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A note from Rhaegar

Reminder that Hollow Knight is a great game.

To quote a certain dunkey: "A masterpiece, for yo wallet."

Chapter 250 Undead Rose

 

 

Delivery and armor manufacturing was prepared and underway a day later, Ilea getting her first couple sets from Terok who seemed a little off that day. Maybe he’s been working too much.

“Everything alright? You’re strangely serious.” She asked, putting the four finished sets into her necklace. As much as she would carry with her on a normal day. The other five she would put into her apartment, to be switched out as soon as they were needed.

The dwarf sat down and shrugged, “Lost three people on the expedition.” He ultimately said.

“I’m sorry.” Ilea said but he waved her off.

“Keep your pity. They were young, overconfident and frankly incapable. It was only a matter of time.” He said and sighed.

Ilea didn’t reply for a moment. She had never been good with situations like that and she didn’t know the dwarf well enough to gauge what might help him. Shutting up seemed like the best bet for now. “Told them it was stupid but of course the fucking wall breaks right when we make our way through.” He didn’t elaborate any further, downing a bottle of ale before he threw the empty container to the corner of the room.

Why did you go when you thought it was stupid? Ilea didn’t ask of course. He was either blaming himself or annoyed that whatever they had tried hadn’t worked out.

“What do you do all the time anyway?” He asked suddenly, cracking open another cold one.

Ilea shrugged, “Exploring a dungeon.”

“And you just find all that armor laying around?”

She locked eyes with him and sighed, “I kill them.”

The dwarf nodded and looked at his bottle, “Need a hand with that?” He asked, not looking at her, a hand scratching his black beard.

“I’m fine. You’ve got plenty of places here to explore. Safer than what I’m doing.” She said, not seeing how it would benefit either of them.

He snorted and opened his mouth but closed it again, “I see. Well good luck then. I’ll be finished with your armors by the morrow.” The dwarf said and got up, walking out of his own home and leaving her there.

Did I say something wrong? Ilea questioned but chalked it up to his failed expedition and the losses that came with it. Sighing, she prepared to go and blinked out. She was ready again. Fully stocked and soon with five additional backup sets of armor. Making her way back, she quickly dropped through the mountain hole and entered the dungeon. There was still no sign of the elf but he would return eventually.

And I don’t have anything new for him. She still had a lot to learn about elves and their culture. A lot that might help her friends in the south have an easier time with their race. Especially Dale in Riverwatch. She didn’t expect him to be gone for long but seeing the empty chair and the abandoned cathedral made her think he might actually leave for good if she stayed empty handed. Could still tell him about Goliath… The smith was ok with it but she still didn’t feel comfortable with bringing the elf to Hallowfort. Just because he might make a mess. You’re being racist…

Still, it was worth a try to get something else first. To find out more about his nature, his people and his motivations before she brought him to the only source of new armor and enchantments she had so far in the north. Entering the dungeon, she spread her wings and hovered downwards, over the first line of buildings. Her notebook opened, she looked at the areas marked as safe. There was plenty to go before the thick black line was met where she had found the broken down wall.

The sunlight didn’t reach there, even a couple dozen meters before the wall in most places. There had been plenty of knights to fight in the areas before the darkness but she had found nothing of worth, nothing other than the palace guarded by kingsguard. Tapping on the map, she chose the safest spot to retreat from quickly and put it back into her necklace. Today she would go a little further. Her stats and the third tier of both Destruction and Ash Creation gave her a little more confidence but she couldn’t help but be a little apprehensive.

Not because she was scared of an unexplored section of dungeon or because a dangerous beast might lurk within. Simply because she had trained for so long in the city of Tremor, the wall to the dark area constantly being a line she didn’t cross. A mental barrier of sorts, reinforced by her behavior in the past months. And today she would cross it.

 

 

Reaching the wall wasn’t a problem, a big section before already cleared out of enemies and the last stretch devoid of patrols, Ilea slipping through the houses in silence. Several clumps of ash had formed around her, culminating near her back and getting more and more dense by the minute. Veil of Ash was moving around parts of her armored body, her blue eyes piercing the darkness before she vanished. Her blink bringing her beyond the wall.

Immediately she noticed the smell, the higher humidity as well as the more rotten state of all the buildings around her. A lack of any sun for hundreds of years hadn’t improved the charm of this part of the city by a long shot. If anything, this part of the dungeon actually looked the part. Dangerous, abandoned and smelling a little weird. The further she went downwards, the more houses lay collapsed. Her hopes of finding any useful information revealed themselves as mere delusions. At least it was intriguing, the thrill of a new discovery taking over as she slowly stepped through the dark, her sphere the only thing that let her see.

Pitch fucking black…, The thought was interrupted when she heard the sound of metal scraping against stone. A sound she had heard before in Tremor. Quite a while ago when she too had been close to the wall that separated what she assume to be the noble district from the rest of town. The creature appeared in her sphere a moment later, both of them walking closer towards the other. Glimpsing around the corner, she saw it.

[Undead Rose Knight – lvl ???]

Oh boy. The thought not only in regards to the three question marks but the dents and missing parts on his armor and body. A chunk of the knight’s head was missing and his left arm was completely gone. The sword, the same size as a normal knight would use was dragged behind him, the one remaining hand holding onto it in a lazy manner. She had a feeling that wouldn’t be much of an advantage in a fight. Cracking her neck and spreading more ash around herself, she stepped out from her hiding spot.

The undead looked at her immediately, tensing up and screaming with a voice that sent shivers down her spine. No paralyze effect…, The thought barely processed, the knight had jumped off and smashed his sword into the ground where Ilea had stood the blink of an eye earlier. Screaming again, it didn’t relent. She stepped backwards once more, the knight not hitting the ground this time but simply landing and following. His sword slashed sideways, Ilea dodging downwards but not quite quick enough to get away.

A blink saved her but the monster was on her again, moving with force unlike anything she had encountered in Tremor so far. When the Kingsguard had beendeliberate and deadly, the knights controlled, efficient and precise, this undead was more wild and savage. Ilea read as much in the three or four movements it had showed her already. Another strike was dodged, this time without the use of blink, the sword crashing through the wall of the house next to them.

The blade hadn’t been angled perfectly well but the sheer force of it still broke through the stone, the knight following the sword as if his body was dragged through the wall with it. The wall next to her exploded outwards, Ilea already away thanks to her Sphere and Blink abilities. The knight followed.

She tried to analyze his movements, the turns and twists he did but found it bizarre, unpredictable. Some of the strikes missed her completely, striking houses, the floor or even just air, the knight spinning with the heavy blade as he completely overextended. Other strikes were deliberate, feints or clever thrusts that anticipated her movements and dodges, as if some of his former experience remained and shined through between the craze in his mind.

A quick step brought the knight towards her, his sword creating sparks as it dragged on the ground behind him before it swung at her. Ilea stepped to the right, her ash instinctively expanding on her left before his sword swiped past, shaving off some of the black floating mass before it crashed into the ground behind him. The loud crash and strong swipe dug the sword deep into the stone, Ilea stepped forward, her fist hitting the knight’s back with all her skillswhen he let go of his sword in a split second and slapped at her with the one hand he had.

Her ash moved inand blocked some of the force, her Veil taking the rest before she was thrown backwards a little. She heard the knight’s steps before he was upon her, his sword thrusting at her chest before she blinked behind him. Appearing, Ilea’s eyes opened wide, ash forming a thick layer before her when the thrown sword impacted it all, cutting through sideways and punching into her chest.

The world spun as she was flung away, the sword punching through a stone wall on the way before she crashed through two walls and into another street entirely. Her armor was dented, and her chest bruised and bleeding from within. Nothing that would stop her. She blinked to the side when the undead landed next to her, his swordscraping through stone where she had just sat. A hundred health were sacrificed as she watched his movements, her chest healing up when she let his thrust scrape past. Her fist hit into his body, his forward momentum barely interrupted as her destructive mana flowed into him, eight limbs of ash slashing around his body to find gaps in his armor to deliver Wave of Ember.

The highly damaged armor he was wearing made it simple, especially with her ashen limbs that moved as well as her own two arms. The lack of joints added to their versatility, Ilea just waiting for an opening before she could attack. His movements grew more wild and ferocious with every attack she managed to deliver and the two of them crashed and brawled through an increasing number of houses when he managed to get through again, a wild slash after which he let go of his sword to deliver a kick. Ilea’s ashen limbs were still touching him, not allowing her to blink before his kick landed, a piece of his armor getting caught in a connecting part of her chest and leg piece. Ash culminated above her when the force of the hit traveled through her, dragging the knight a little forward before his fists landed on her defenses.

Two hits landed, Ilea’s ash trying to disconnect the interlocking pieces of armor preventing her to blink. The third punch broke through, Ilea’s skulltaking the brunt, her helmetdenting before finally she managed to dislodge his leg armor and blinked away. The hit disoriented her for a second but she was back again when she saw the sword flying at her, the woman jumping over it with ease. His sheer strength was too much for her to simply grapple on and deliver her own attacks while he attacked her.

While his sword skills were wild and in a way brilliant, his hand to hand was lacking. An arm to be specific. She stepped into the way of the running knight who looked to nearly stumble. Ilea moved to the left with a spin and kicked low at his shin. A loud sound of crying metal resounded before the heavy knight lost his balance and smashed into a house, the whole thing tumbling down as Ilea healed the bruise on her shin as well as the lightly cracked bone beneath. Her resistance training certainly showed its worth here. She doubted her bone would have held without the second tier of Earth Magic Resistance.

Bricks were sent flying when the knight jumped out of the pile, sword in hand again before he screamed. Ilea jerked her head to the left when a second knight came flying, this one without a head but both arms intact. She knew two were too much but the grin on her face wouldn’t suggest fear or struggle. Her dented pieces were replaced by fresh armor, Ilea identifying the second knightas she dodged his blade.

[Undead Rose Knight - ??]

Let’s see how long I can go before it gets impossible…, Ilea couldn’t help it, the two knights rushing at her without abandon. They weren’t outright attacking each other but every uncontrolled strike hitting the other gave Ilea an opening to get in and deliver a couple hard hits. She was already angling herself so that her controlled retreat would go towards the upper city and not further down. Ilea was quite aware that killing the two of them would not be possible, not while they fought against her together.

She dealt more damage than against the knights, that was sure but each movement, each graze of their blades was unexpected. When one of the knights caught the thrown blade of the other and slashed at her with both at the same time, she laughed out loud. Moving backwards over the pitch black rooftops, now three knights were following her. One of them jumped towards her when a sword caught him in the side of his head but it simply shifted his momentum a little, the flying blade deflecting and making Ilea blink.

The third knight was already next to her and his blade crashed into her side, crushing her arm and digging into her chest piece. Pain deactivated, Ilea landed in the second floor of a building, the walls giving in before she tumbled onto the street beyond. Her armor had been pierced, blood streaming down as she closed the wound. Several ribs had been broken but the damage wasn’t as bad as she had expected. Before she could stand up, she turned her head towards the movement she heard from her right. Oh no…,

Two yellow lights flashed at her from a familiar robot’s eyes, headlights bathing the whole broken down street in light. “Ilea are you alright!?” Terok’s voice came to her as if in slow motion, her healing taking care of the wound as she blinked up, her damaged armor replaced by a fresh one. He rushed next to her when she grabbed his arm and jumped up, the first of the knights landing in a loud boom where they had just stood.

“Shut up and run!” She shouted, dragging him as her wings spread while she ran through the street.

Terok looked back and vanished upwards when a knight’s blade slashed through the air, Ilea ascending quickly to dodge the blade. She saw the knight crash into the flying dwarf a moment later, the two tumbling down before they crashed to the ground. Blinking, she accelerated to her highest speed as she watched the knight lift his fist and smash down at the dwarf. Her heavy gauntlets replaced her armor before she smashed into the undead and pushed him aside, tumbling with the knight before she blinked back to the dwarf.

His head was smashed in, as flat as the sword coming her way. Sliding the dwarf away, she dodged the blade of the second knight. Getting him away from Terok, she dodged another two strikes and blinked away when the third knight landed. Ilea’s wings spread and a thousand health were sacrificed when she grabbed the dwarf and flew off. She swerved in the air as a blade whistled past, the second one deflected by the accumulating ash that formed behind her, cutting into her wing that quickly recovered.

The flying warrior wobbled in the air before stabilizing right above the ground, her orientation bringing the two back towards the wall before they passed it, light returning to her eyes as they got higher up. She checked the dwarf’s status and found him breathing. Injured but alive. The undead didn’t look to be following but she didn’t let up with her speed just in case. Holding the dwarf close, she passed over the houses, soon reaching areas she knew the be secure. “You fucking idiot…,”

Ilea didn’t stop until they were out of the dungeon, landing in the cathedral as she started to heal his injuries. “Good thing that wasn’t actually your fucking head.” She said, the dwarf groaning when he came to. The robot moved backwards but Ilea held on, “Get the fuck out of this thing.”

He calmed down when he heard her but the mechanism to open didn’t react, “It’s damaged.” He said in an angry tone, Ilea simply grabbing the two pieces and ripping them open. She stared at the dwarf within.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” She asked, trying to stay as calm as possible.

He stepped out of the machine and stumbled to a nearby chair, sitting down as he checked his brow. He spit on the ground when his hand came back covered in blood. “What the fuck are You doing here?”

Ilea was baffled, staring at him with wide eyes. Her helmet vanished before she pointed at him, “Your fucking head was smashed, I saved your fucking life you ungrateful shit! Now why are you here? You followed me?”

“Of course I did you dunce. Bringing all that armor back you must have somehow found a gold mine. Never thought you’d actually be fighting something like that!” He shouted and gestured in the general direction of the dungeon.

Ilea balled her fists before she grabbed his armor and flung it at the wall, the thing crashing before it tumbled to the ground. He seemed to have calmed down a little, holding up both hands in resignation as he looked at her, fear now in his eyes. “I’m sorry! Alright. I’m sorry! Don’t kill me! I beg you, I had…,”

“Shut it.“ Ash swirled around her, eight distinct limbs swaying through the mist with frantic movements before she turned away from him. “Stay here. We talk later.” An unlucky knight would be the target of her anger at the bloody idiot. Following me to this god forsaken city. MY god forsaken city.

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Rhaegar

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