Chapter 259 Exterminator
Summoning the last of her Dragcal meat she still had, Ilea freed another two space units in her necklace. Cutting out a piece, sizzling it and eating the thing, Catelyn put a big coin on the table, worth ten silvers. Popi could make a killing here…,
“The rest is mostly weapons, armor and clothing. I doubt you’d be interested.” She said after going through her belongings. The fox didn’t seem to disagree.
“You mentioned something about potions? What do you have? I’d be willing to try things out as well.” Ilea was pretty confident in her healing as well as poison resistance.
A vial of glass, filled with yellow liquid suddenly materialized before the fox. Her orange fluffy tail caught it and motioned it towards her. “It’s supposed to make you heavier but I’ve experienced… side effects.” Ilea stared at her inquisitively, “Mostly throwing up and diarrhea.”
Ilea took the vial, removed the cork and smelled it. Her poison resistance didn’t inform her about anything so she downed it. The potion took effect after half a minute, Ilea’s healing monitoring the whole thing as a surprised and quick fox moved everything away from near Ilea’s head and ass. “I am a little more heavy, interesting feeling. Nothing more than what a minor lightening enchantment would bring to a set of armor. Opposite effect of course.”
And then it started, her stomach suddenly contracting before her healing calmed the muscles down. It was gone again quickly, “Something happened to my stomach about fifty seconds in. Can’t say what exactly went wrong but you definitely have to work on that.”
Catelyn grumbled and handed her another potion, “I hoped it worked on red blooded individuals at least… this one is a health potion. Paralyzation as a side effect. As well as… vomiting again.”
Ilea took it and twirled it around before opening the vial, “Am I getting something for this testing as well?” This time her poison resistance warned her about a low level poison.
“Of course… of course. I’ll pay you with shiny coins.” The fox said. Ilea grunted and sacrificed five hundred health, red runes lighting up below her armor. Catelyn looked on with interest as Ilea drank the liquid.
Fifty points of health were recovered almost instantly.
‘ding’ ‘You have been poisoned by Red Beetle juice – You resist the poison’
Interesting… complete resistance? Ilea put the vial down and had to stop her stomach from convulsing again. “Poisoned but I resisted the effects. The stomach thing again. Catelyn are you sure you’re an alchemist?”
The fox turned around herself on the table, avoiding her eyes again, “Of course I am. The best in town.”
“Do you burn and eat the others?” Ilea grinned.
“Now don’t challenge me young huntress. I’ll show you why I’m in the council if you do.” Catelyn replied.
Ilea didn’t care about whatever council it was, probably some form of governing force in Hallowfort. She wouldn’t gain anything useful from Catelyn other than gold and perhaps information she was actually interested in. “Calm down fire fox. I was wondering if you knew more about the Blue Reapers. I discovered a cave system that looked to be dug by them. Is there a dungeon somewhere with the beasts inside?”
The fox seemed to have calmed down a little again, “They dig wherever they go. The ones you faced are hunters and explorers looking for food sources for their nest. I would assume there is a dungeon somewhere but even I don’t face them. Your resistances and healing must be impressive if you survived them.”
“I hear there have been bigger ones sighted as well so be careful where you go.” The fox added.
Ilea nodded, “I’ll be back with more corpses. You buy everything from the Descent?”
“Pretty much. Though I don’t have infinite gold so don’t think about bringing hundreds of dead Reapers to me.” Catelyn said, resting her head again.
“I don’t plan to, don’t worry.” Ilea said and walked towards the exit, waving her hand, “I’ll stop by when I have more interesting things for you.” Maybe she would browse all the trinkets and tools at some point but for now she was glad to have a place where she could sell the stuff she would find, especially corpses. Wouldn’t want undead blue reapers, if that’s a thing. Maybe next time I’ll ask if I can pet her.
Grabbing a bottle of ale from Haiden, she made her way back down into the Descent. Twenty gold coins, enough to get equipment made by Balduur. Not that she necessarily needed something from him now that she had Goliath. My cakes made just as much money as several days worth of fighting…, a bizarre thought but it made sense. They didn’t have any animals here to get eggs and milk, sugar would have to be brought in as well as strawberries and any other ingredients necessary. Traveling merchant with high survivability skills would definitely be a good way to get rich in Elos.
Finding the right buyers was key of course but she had the notion that smiths all over the human plains would pay quite handsomely for Stonehammer steel, the way Balduur and the others in Virilya had fawned over her elven Niameer armor. Going back the same way she had taken days prior, she quickly found the tunnel entrance to the Blue Reaper cave system. Ash was constantly moving around her, ready to intercept an enemy attack in the darkness of the underground maze.
It took her hours to find any sign of life this time around. A lot of dead ends, as well as flooded sections leading out into the sea. Ilea avoided those areas or passed through as quickly as she could. The tunnels led along the cliff side and away from Hallowfort but still remaining near the underground sea. When she finally heard a clicking in the distance, she stopped immediately and quietly walked backwards. There were dozens of them if not more beyond the tunnels she was currently in.
Taking another route a couple hundred meters further back, she found a single one of the Blue Reapers coming her way. It attacked immediately upon seeing the intruder, Ilea making sure there were no more of them lurking. Jumping in, she risked a little more to make it a quick kill. Too much noise or perhaps a screech for help from the beast and more would surely join, perhaps even hunt her down. A couple minutes of breaking bones, burning organs and cracking bone later, she stashed away the body and healed herself. She remained silent and listened for any other crawling critters as the destroyed tissue in her body reformed through mana.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Blue Reaper – lvl 331] - For defeating an enemy seventy levels or more above your own, bonus experience is granted’
Walking on through the same tunnel, she quickly found another two reapers. Ilea managed to take them out one at a time thanks to the distance between them. Healing up again, the summoned the rest of her ale and finished it. Ilea still had several barrels from Walter but wanted to keep them for a special occasion. She wasn’t quite sure what that would be but certainly not killing a mind and lightning magical insect somewhere in butt fuck nowhere.
An hour later she again found a group of the buggers, this time one of them noticed the noise she was making. Her sphere picked up five of them before she blinked away. Again and again until she was at the last diversion. Only two or three had managed to get their magic off before she reacted but the headache was still quite overwhelming. How are you supposed to defend against that? If she wanted to invade their living space, she’d have to have quite a bit more mental defense. Perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be, that someone would be stupid enough to rouse monsters like that in their home.
The Miststalkers were similar, as were the Famine Crows. Dangerous because they appeared or moved in groups. Ilea doubted she could take out a single Miststalker but she’d definitely try if the opportunity ever presented itself. Waiting for ten minutes, none of the monsters came to look for her. Ilea quickly checked if maybe a straggler was left behind but found them waiting in the same area of the tunnels again. This time she made sure to be a little more sneaky.
Two more ways led to similar results before finally she found two of them alone again. Using the same approach as with the first double she had faced, she took them out in under ten minutes. Her health pool was resting at above two thousand this time but that was mostly due to her taking the time to heal in between killing them. Getting out of range of their mind magic was pretty easy, especially with her teleporting ability. They didn’t pursue far either, at least not when they didn’t see her anymore. The tunnels quickly broke off line of sight, allowing her to have a breather. Ilea briefly considered a similar approach to kill the others or perhaps collapsing parts of the tunnel to separate them but in the end it felt too dangerous.
She remembered when her Shadow team had nearly been taken out entirely by a group of mind magic beasts. If she were to be overwhelmed even for a couple seconds, it would be over. No Eve to bail her out this time. She knew her capabilities, her newfound power since that time in the south. Ilea also knew how powerful the little critters were that she was facing down right now. Getting one gold coin for a corpse alone was prove enough for that. Tapping the side of her helmet, she walked back to the last divergent path while checking her notifications.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Blue Reaper – lvl 372] - For defeating an enemy one hundred and ten levels or more above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Blue Reaper – lvl 312] - For defeating an enemy fifty levels or more above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 259 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 252 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Mental Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 13’
She was progressing much quicker again. Though with the added time to find isolated monsters, she’d get more out of fighting the knights. At least personal experience wise. Knowing how to deal with feints from a swordsman seemed more beneficial than knowing how quickly her heart and brain could be burnt up by ridiculously powerful lightning. In the end, Ilea believed that both leveling experience as well as just plain old know how was necessary. Dale for example was at a pretty low level compared to most people Ilea had to deal with in the past year but she still considered him one of the more experienced swordsmen. She put the ten points she had gotten into Wisdom and continued her search.
Plop, plep, plup…, Ilea shoved another mouthful of warm food into her mouth as she imitated the dripping water around her. She was close to the sea, that much was sure. After hours and hours of searching, Ilea had mapped out a big chunk of the area and was somewhat certain about the Blue Reaper nest. Or at least the beginnings of one. Groups of dozens occupied bigger chambers further in, Ilea only escaping thanks to her blink.
Around her in the dark were a bunch of old bandages, a fucked up mace, a Taleen sword and dagger as well as six dwarven helmets. The remaining shield she kept for now as it might actually come in handy in a special situation. After hours in the dark, each more frustrating than the last, Ilea had finally found something to do. The complete opposite of what she came here for. Going through her necklace. Most of the work was just piling lose books, maps and small trinkets into the big crate she still had from Salia. It was only half full of books and now what previously used up at least ten spaces only used one.
Yey me! Ilea rejoiced, very sarcastically. She had food from the restaurants in Ravenhall remaining, from before the demon attack. Ghost cooks. She couldn’t help but snort at the thought. At least someone remembered the poor souls slaughtered by the whims of Adam Strand. Had to have a damn good reason to do that… maybe his dog was killed by the big demon lord or something.
Being in the darkness with little to show for her last day of hunting, she didn’t feel like eating Keyla’s godly meals. The restaurant food wasn’t bad by any means but it wasn’t quite the same after all. Her necklace was down to 158/250 storage units, even with four full sets of Rose Hunter armor. She decided to give it another day or two before going back to check in with Terok. She had said she’d be back in a week or two. Exploring the actual Descent would definitely take longer than that. Or she would at least plan for longer.
Ash cleaned off her gauntlets as she got up, ready to continue her search for single or double features of the more and more elusive Blue Reaper. Maybe they learned that going out alone is stupid…, Thinking about the possibility made her hope they didn’t send a kill squad after her. She’d probably still escape. The things weren’t terribly bright and other than the massive blast cannons of magic they had, they didn’t have a lot going for them.
“You can piss off you fuck shits!!” The shout went down the tunnel before she blinked again, making more distance between her and the group of Reapers further down the cave. Her self imposed deadline was coming up and she had only managed to kill another five critters. I’m so close to 260…,
Giving herself another couple hours, she came up on clicking after two more hours of searching.
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 17’
The more and more frustrating search was at least not for nothing. Her wings took her the last couple meters towards the clicking, her flying form much more quiet than the steps of her steel boots. Ilea’s eyes opened wide as she perceived the enemies in her Hunter Sphere. Three…, Previously she had avoided more than two but her battles had improved and she knew at least that even five of them at the same time couldn’t easily knock her out. A little bit more Vitality and Wisdom would make a small difference as well as the skill levels she had gained along the hunt.
Pumping out as much ash as she could, she tried moving a projectile around the bend in the dark stone tunnel. The three Reapers were clawing at the wall, the ashen spike hitting the one closest to Ilea. Its mantis like head was knocked forward, all three of them turning towards her, their six legs crawling as magic gathered around them. Ilea frowned but simply moved back to the last bend, her healing already fighting the mind magic flung her way. Trying to create walls between two of the critters and the third proved ineffective, lightning flaring up as soon as they touched the barriers, burning through in an instant.
The longer she waited, the lower her health would go. Blindly charging in without any recovery time in between would prove fatal as well. After having fought a bunch of them, Ilea already felt that the three of them were not all above three fifty, otherwise she’d be forced to flee already. It was difficult to gauge the exact levels but she assumed two of them were below that threshold. Blinking to the one furthest back, she wrestled it down and grabbed onto one of its hind legs before a snap resounded, Ilea quickly blinking away four times. Blood was streaming down her face, healing magic flowing through her as she breathed heavily. Eyes closed, she trusted in her Sphere, knowing the conventional seeing organ had failed her already.
Mind magic, at least cast by the Blue Reaper had an effective range of around forty meters, a little more depending on the level range of the critter. With their walking speed, she had just brought herself a couple seconds to heal. The hind legs she found, had the highest impact on their speed. The injured bug would fall behind. Moving too far away would make them flee if too injured or would even make their numbers increase. They had some sort of defensive system in place which didn’t allow her to simply blink in, break a leg and blink out, recover fully and go back at it.
A pain really but Ilea was kind of glad it wasn’t possible. Otherwise she’d just be stuck in these tunnels for months breaking one leg at a time. Neither a challenge nor exactly entertaining. She’d still do it to get more powerful of course, to face the kingsguard and undead knights as well as other interesting foes she currently had no means to even touch. Taking care of the worst injuries and getting back a bunch of mana as well, she prepared herself and sacrificed a hundred points of health.