Chapter 249 The Need for Steel
Training with the miststalkers had progressed as well but not to the extent Ilea had hoped for. It would remain a strict resistance and meditation training for now, though the latter skill didn’t manage to level even once since the last time.
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 14’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 12’
It wasn’t that the training wasn’t effective, her skills were rising after all but Ilea still couldn’t engage them in direct combat. Even with her new third tier Ash Creation. Of course she could damage the spirit like beings with Wave of Ember and Reversed Reconstruction from a distance but in the end she still lost out in damage, even when there were only two or three of them. Directly fighting inside the mist was even worse, the added dodging and possible hits from their corporeal blades reduced her resources even more and while Destruction added damage, it wasn’t enough to turn the tides.
Ilea gained a hundred and forty five stat points from her leveling, five additional still remaining from a previous advancement. Seeing how her miststalker endeavor was going, she decided to invest twenty five points into Endurance and the rest into Wisdom. Soon she might start with Vitality and Intelligence again, as well as perhaps pushing her lowest two stats a little to keep her physical power at a somewhat even level. Checking her stat sheet, she was definitely content with her idea to come north. More so because of the interesting fights she had but the improvements cemented her decision.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Azarinth First Hunter]: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 0
Class 1: Azarinth First Hunter – lvl 255
- Active: Destruction – 3rd lvl 2
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: State of Azarinth – 3rd lvl 5
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 6
- Active: Azarinth Hunter Sphere – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of the First Hunter – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Hunter’s Sight – 2nd lvl 15
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 2nd lvl 20
Class 2: Inheritor of Eternal Ash – lvl 248
- Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 3
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Ash Creation – 3rd lvl 1
- Active: Embered Body Heat – 2nd lvl 13
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 2
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 18
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 20
- Elos Standard language - lvl 6
- Harmony of the Drowned – lvl 1
- Heavy Archery – lvl 4
- Identify - lvl 7
- Meditation – 2nd lvl 18
- Veteran – lvl 6
- Arcane Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Blast Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Blood Magic Resistance – lvl 8
- Blood Manipulation Resistance – lvl 4
- Corrosion Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Crystal Resistance – lvl 15
- Curse Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Dark Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Dust Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Earth Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Fear Resistance – lvl 5
- Health Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 14
- Heat Resistance – 2nd lvl 3
- Ice Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 16
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 5
- Mana Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 12
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 11
- Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Poison Resistance – lvl 2nd lvl 1
- Silver Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Void Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Water Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wind Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wood Magic Resistance – lvl 1
One forty five… one stat point for each. She remembered a time when a single challenging enemy brought several levels. With all her skills now, every single stat point would bring a big improvement on its own at least. She was a little disappointed her main class hadn’t gotten an evolution at two fifty and by now she wasn’t expecting anything in her second class either. It didn’t bother her majorly, she was glad to be alone in this dungeon, to be able to experience it all. The leveling reason enough to justify such a solitary and dangerous lifestyle.
Perhaps it would be difficult to explain to someone that she didn’t do it mainly for the sake of getting stronger. Ilea knew of course that with her personal power at this stage, she hardly needed to justify anything. To anyone. The only reason she was disappointed in the lack of fast advancement was the fact that she really wanted to explore the palace more, its working enchantments more and more becoming an enigma, a lure drawing her in. The only thing alive in this whole place and there had to be a reason for it. Still, without a major power up, there was no way for her to face even a single kingsguard. It might be akin to facing a Praetorian and she definitely wasn’t ready for that yet.
It would be interesting to try of course, now with her third tier in Destruction, perhaps she could damage them a little more efficiently compared to the impregnable shield they had sported the two times she had faced them. At this level, she couldn’t be as careless anymore. Monsters like them didn’t forgive mistakes and would finish her quicker than she could flee. Even her encounter with the kingsguard had nearly cost her her life. Blink and her wings barely enough to get her to safety and the fact that the knight didn’t pursue was her main saving grace. A human or elf at that power, set to hunt her down would be a real problem. Steadily growing stronger was in part a necessity because of such a possibility. She sadly had made enough enemies in her time here, even if it might be paranoid to think they were at the power of a kingsguard or praetorian.
With how everyone talked about the north, how the elf had talked about dragons and how few of civilization really spread through the areas she had visited so far, Ilea believed that the wild, monsters and animals incapable of more complicated thoughts and speech were the ones most dangerous when it came to pure physical or magical force. If there even was a significant percentage of ridiculously powerful people, a lot of dungeons wouldn’t exist at all and the most dangerous wild beasts would simply be finished. Outliers had to be around, she considered herself one of them, as were the members of the hand but even their numbers were insignificant to the sheer size of the world. The human plains alone really.
She sighed and put away Keyla’s food box. There were still over four hundred meals remaining in her necklace but she already dreaded the day when they ran out. It would come, of that she was sure. Perhaps that was when she sneakily returned to Ravenhall just to restock. Time would tell.
Blinking into her room, she switched into comfortable clothes and grabbed the book she had been reading in the few hours every day that weren’t dedicated to training. Earth had definitely been more thrilling when it came to literary works, people honing their entertainment skills rather than their fighting or magic ones. The thing that made reading in Elos just a tad more exciting though, was the fact that a lot of the mentioned legends, monsters, magic and people might have actually existed. Or still did. They lived forever after was a line that might actually apply here.
Of course a lot of the stories weren’t written by the strongest adventurers or explorers but if someone like Elfie, self proclaimed historian, decided to write a couple books Ilea would definitely consider checking them out. Dagon or Elise might be good candidates as well. Or Claire, but she would probably rather write a book on economic theories and city management. Something these guys here might have needed. She thought and looked at the wooden ceiling. Scared of it suddenly falling down not because of herself but her bed mostly.
If she were totally honest, Ilea simply wanted to continue. To fight and clear out the dungeon but she had only a single set of armor left, her nine others unusable, a liability that she was not allowed to indulge in. Not anymore. She owed that much to her teammates, to Eve. Of course full responsibility wasn’t on the table but then she wouldn’t be adventuring in the first place. Putting in a bookmark, Ilea stretched on the bed and sighed. Ash flowed around her and swiped her off the bed. Having ash respond to the slightest thought definitely helped with getting up in the morning. Her muscles didn’t have to move at all and activating the magic wasn’t much of a conscious effort anymore either.
Blinking out of the house upwards, she twirled in the air as ashen wings materialized and took her towards the exit. The plain black pants and white shirt were replaced by black armor, heavy but framed close to her body. Full plate and horns adorning the head, she looked positively intimidating and like a super soldier with magical wings and abilities. At least according to her sphere, with which she checked herself out. Ilea could leave the dungeon by simply flying upwards but it just felt right to use the cathedral’s double doors that waited for her after the small patch of dirt.
She smiled at the fact that some grass was growing again, the only spot covered in earth with enough sunlight to actually produce something. If the silver roses would start growing was another question she asked herself but other than the flowers still remaining at the edges, no fresh ones had sprouted. Perhaps they had simply been placed there. Being made of metal was likely a detrimental factor in growth through soil, water and the sun. Then again, in this magical ass place it might just be possible.
Slamming open the double doors, she found the cathedral utterly abandoned. The chair and table of the elf had remained, as did some of his work but he wasn’t there. The lack of his smell indicated him being absent for quite some time. Ilea didn’t particularly mind, instead flying up to the opening in the cave’s ceiling. Checking for arcane storms or any blizzards that might drift over the mountain top, she rushed off.
Hallowfort was the same as when she had last visited several months prior. Illuminated by the crystals as well as magical lights and torches spaced around the little town built on top of the monumental statue once belonging to a big sprawling city. Shimmering crystal light reflected off the water below as Ilea dived past the city, directly towards Goliath’s forge before she appeared inside.
The smith looked like it was napping, sitting on top of the anvil with no light sparkling inside the black mist of a head. “Hi.”
Golden eyes opened slowly and focused on her, “Human. Welcome back. I was meditation, to pass the time and here you come to provide entertainment. How have you been?”
Ilea smiled and dumped nine sets of damaged rose knight armor. “Splendid, months spent on mostly just fighting… it was, marvelous.”
The smith made a bubbling noise, its eyes dancing around happily, “A treasure truly, to find joy in such a gruesome and instinctive past time.” She felt his words to be sincere, happy for her ability to fill her time with fighting.
She laughed and motioned to the armors, “It really is. And now you can forge again. Maybe we’re not so different, me and you.”
“Perhaps not. Yet the thrill of smith’s work is not quite as exotic as that of exploring, of fighting and being close to death. You wish for new armors? I assume more metal is coming?”
Ilea nodded, “Plenty. Just make another nine sets again. I assume you have plenty of Stonehammer steel left in case I need more? I don’t know how long I’ll be able to provide metal.”
“Of course. I forge and reforge. Most of the metal you have brought is here still.”
“Good to know. What are you making anyway? Care to show me some of your work?” She smiled, the smith’s eyes sparkling with joy.
Ilea was a little dazed, leaving the forge a couple hours later after the demonstration, explanations and monologues of an old smith. Artist of abstract shapes more like. She had no idea, nor did she believe even now that a crude forge and big hammers could shape the intricate designs it had shown her. Even having seen it all and hearing it talk about it. Goliath’s philosophy implied, as far as Ilea understood, that metal was living and breathing. Form always changing and the work of art, the enjoyment he got out of his skill not bound to the result, a usable tool or weapon but to the change it could bring to the metal.
It had talked half an hour about the intricacies of shaping a perfect sphere and how thirty two different kinds of metals reacted to the treatment, how the result changed. Ilea didn’t have the heart to stop the smith when it went on to talk about alloys in accordance to the sphere. Not because she was being nice but because the smith showed genuine enthusiasm, passion and love for the work it did. For the skills it had acquired over the years, decades and centuries. Plus it was a good talker. Still, it wasn’t exactly her topic but she bet Balduur and Goliath could talk for days on end.
Neither seemed to have much joy left in forging weapons and tools of war, both of them not in much need for gold anyway. Still, Balduur had been more enthusiastic when making her gauntlets than the newfound master had in making her armor. She had asked Goliath to forge her a set of armor in the smith’s own design, to perhaps provide some interesting work after all. Ilea had no idea what kind of impractical sphere shaped Christmas tree of an armor she would get but it certainly would be worth seeing.
Terok wasn’t home but she had plenty of runs to do until she got all the metal back to Goliath. Over a hundred sets of armor remained. The smith had reassured her that there was enough space. Most of the steel would be melted down into ingots, to be tested, used in later works or simply stored by the smith. Ilea thought that next to forging, the smith might have a bit of an addiction to collecting and storing different kinds of metals. There was no other reason to have use for that much steel. Other than maybe building a Mecha.
Maybe Terok could be the one moving it. Drills, drills, drills. She smiled and made her way back, rushing through the valleys, the only signs of life small critters rushing away as soon as she approached. A massive eagle flew high above at some point but either she was too quick or too small of a target to get its attention. If it was anything close to the last one she’d seen, Ilea would hardly constitute of a tiny snack. Not enough to fly down if the hunger wasn’t biting.
After her fifth trip, Terok was actually home. Checking his rig that showed some minor scratching. Ilea knocked and blinked inside, the dwarf not even reacting to her invasion of privacy. “You’re alive. Good on ya.” He simply stated as he frowned and screwed away a rather small piece of plating. Beneath was a sea of metal pieces and gears, interlocking in ways Ilea couldn’t understand. It reminded her of the inside of small clock. Just extended to the two and a half meter robot. A single blow capable of bending it must deal tremendous damage to the thing.
“Same to you. New armors need to be enchanted. Do you have time today and tomorrow?” She asked, taking a chair from the kitchen and sitting down next to the battle machine.
The dwarf nodded, “Just came back from a small expedition. Didn’t go particularly well but this thing is better than I imagined. Thanks to your generous donation and Goliath’s outstanding work.” He grinned broadly, “Of course I have time. For you always.”
Ilea smiled and nodded, “Great. I’ll leave you to it then and I’ll let Goliath know to deliver the armors to you. I’ll be back in two days, need to get some more of the metal.” She said and shook his hand before she left him to the further inspection of his rig. Ilea saw him look at the ceiling after she had blinked out. She jumped off the cliff and spread her wings, more deliveries to be made. Perhaps she should have asked what about his expedition didn’t go particularly well. Ilea hoped none of his friends had died or gotten lost but he didn’t seem to be that down.
She’d ask him when she got the armors in two days. Just her further deliveries would take another half a day if not longer. Mostly due to moving through the day, limited to the valleys and cracks in the land to avoid the arcane storms. Blinking out of the cave, she rushed off towards Tremor.