Chapter 271 Poison
Austin laughed, “I can see that. You’re a Shadow though aren’t you? Or is the black coating there for another reason?”
Parts of her armor had been damaged in the fight, revealing that her Rose Hunter set was coated in a layer of black steel. “I am a Shadow. Was I guess. Not on a mission currently.”
He nodded, their voices barely carrying over the drilling. Baron was progressing well, already a meter into the wall. He would have to remove quite a bit of the stone because of his massive form. “Ever been to Virilya? City still exist?”
Ilea stuffed a meatball into her mouth and started chewing, swallowing a moment later, “Yea. Baralia is at war with the empire currently. City was under siege a couple months ago when I left.”
The man made a hissing sound with his mouth, drawing in air, “It’s been years but that doesn’t sound like a smart move for Baralia.”
“Why not?” Ilea asked. The capital at least had been pushed to the central district already. She had no idea about their general forces, defenses and funding.
He just shrugged, taking another bite from his jerky, “The empire is old, one of the oldest places among the human territories. I just don’t think it’ll fall. Call it a feeling.”
Ilea shrugged, “I don’t really care. If it means Ravenhall will continue to do well and slavery stays out of that territory then I call that a win.” She didn’t mention the thousands upon thousands that would suffer and die in the war.
“True Shadow then.” He said and laughed, “You think they’d let me join?”
Ilea took another bite, the drilling stopping for a moment as Baron retracted his arm to continue on another section, “Of course, you’re above two hundred. It’s a hundred gold but maybe the payment has changed after the demon fiasco.”
“Now that’s a story I’d like to hear.” Austin sat up a little, a big smile on his face as he looked at her with anticipation figuratively written on his face.
Ilea waved him off with her fork, “Not that big of a deal. One of the elders summoned a couple thousand into the city and vanished into the demon realm. Wiped out the population of Ravenhall and many surrounding cities. The Hand lost a bunch of people but we managed to clean up in the end, as well as we possibly could.”
“You’re not one for storytelling are you? Makes sense that Baralia attacks then, the empire dealing with runaway demons and the Hand occupied with their own fuck up. Oh well, not that it matters here.” He concluded.
Ilea was alright with the topic ending there. She didn’t feel responsible for either the demons or the war but thinking about the chaos and all the dying people, the absolute slaughter the demons caused and the ensuing war. The murders of the Birmingales and Redleafs she had been a part of. “Doesn’t matter here.” She mirrored.
Seath listened to them but didn’t comment, their topics of discussion of places and people far away. “How far in do I have to go?” Baron asked then, a couple meters deep already.
“You have around another three meters big man.” Ilea said, her sphere perceiving the end of the room beyond the closed off door.
“Big dwarf little lady.” He grumbled and continued his work.
I thought political correctness wasn’t a thing yet in medieval times. She sighed at his comment and finished her meal, helmet appearing a moment later.
“You have gorgeous eyes.” Austin commented suddenly, grinning at her.
“Thanks.” Ilea said, “Yours are pretty unique as well. Now if only you had an interesting character.”
Seath snickered at that while Austin laughed out loud, “You on the other hand are pretty interesting. I must admit though, I wouldn’t want to get too close to that. Lest you smash my dick off.”
Ilea grinned under her helmet, “I can heal so you’d survive. Very painful though, I suggest getting a high resistance first.”
“There’s no resistance to getting crushed.” Seath suggested with a purr.
“I think I’m done guys. What did I miss?” Baron asked, his metal head looking out from the new section of hallway he had dug out.
“He might be able to handle you.” Seath suggested, Ilea answering with a wave of her hand.
Ilea and Austin went to check the wall again. They could break through now quite a bit farther away from the packets below the doors. “You still have no idea what they are?”
“No, could be anything from poison to fire.” The man admitted, Ilea nodding.
She knocked her knuckles against the stone wall, “They will activate no matter what? How long to deactivate the enchantments?”
Austin frowned, “Not sure I could even do that. Honestly I’d just put down a couple arrows and let them explode in here.”
“Then let’s do that.” Ilea confirmed, eager to continue into whatever hellhole this inner circle was.
The group was standing outside the hallway, in the room Ilea had fought the Old blooded previously. “Three, two, one.” Austin called out before a dull rumbling sound reverberated through the room. A hissing sound followed before a red gas filled the hallway and rushed towards them.
“Ah fuck, retreat guys.” Austin said, the three of them rushing back and working their way up the walls to reach the balcony above.
Ilea wasn’t reacting immediately, waiting instead as her ash spread to block out the gas and redirect it to the side. She let some of it through on purpose and identified it with her Poison Resistance.
[Blood Vapor – Medium Danger]
Medium. Taking a step towards the gas, she breathed it in.
‘ding’ ‘You have been poisoned by Blood Vapor -30 HP/s for two minutes. Paralysis resisted’
Meaning there’s an additional paralysis added to the poison? Ilea walked into the poison, the only thing changing was the notification refreshing. The damage wasn’t stacking, the duration likely just going back to two minutes every time she breathed in. Moving around her ash, she created a sphere around her before heating it up to the highest she could. Waiting for a couple minutes, she breathed in again and found the poison not reactivating.
She continued to walk around and burn the gas with her ash, or at least heat it up enough to damage the molecules enough for it to become ineffective.
“Are you alright in there?!” Baron shouted.
Ilea formed a thumbs up with ash that she sent hovering a little over the red gas before it disintegrated. Just to be cool.
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 2’
Her cleanup continued for another five minutes, taking care of each section before moving into the hallway. The poison apparently had spread towards them and little of it had spread into the room beyond the still closed door. She noted that the section Baron had freed now contained an entrance at least. The plan had worked and the poison was thoroughly ineffective against her.
Mentioning to the others that the poison was dealt with, Baron jumped down pretty much immediately. Either he trusted her more or had some confidence in his own survivability. “Good job. You must have a high poison resistance. That was Blood Vapor right?”
Ilea nodded. Makes sense that they’d know about it. The place is supposedly trapped all over. “Yea… been wondering. Does it reduce the effects of the poison or does it just make lower ones ineffective?”
“You have the skill and never cared to test that?” The dwarf asked, more surprised than judging, “Well the effects are reduced. Though Blood Vapor is insanely powerful even with a high level of resistance. If you don’t have a healer nearby most are proper fucked.”
Seath jumped down and Baron motioned her to come, “Take care of her.”
The cat woman just smiled, waving him off, “She can heal well enough.” Ilea winked at her after the comment.
“I just heated it all up, the poison seems dealt with. Just don’t stray too far from the center of the room.” She said and started making her way towards the hallway, Austin now deciding to join them as well, ever cautious. They walked through the entryway created by the explosion, Ilea noting the cages scattered in the room. The steel was rusty in places, some holding skeletons of monsters she couldn’t place. Others held what looked like people of various species.
“Stumbled upon a happy place here.” She grumbled, swinging one of the cage doors around, the hinges creaking from old age and wear. The room continued further in, creating a rather large hall filled with cages separated by several meters in each direction. Ilea listened but couldn’t hear anything moving. The residents of the open cages must have either died or had found some way to escape. Some skeletons were lying around freely too.
Austin checked some of them and looked around, “Something’s still alive here. Be careful.”
Ilea raised her eyebrows. Magic lights built into the ceiling around five meters above them lit up most of the place, some having their circular glass casings broken in. She wondered if someone deliberately tried to destroy them. “Any idea what it could be?” She asked, glancing at the ranger.
He checked the ground several times, blood stains as well as discolorations on the stone. Lifting a small piece of bone he shook his head, “No idea. I’m just sure something’s been walking around here, disturbing the place in the past week.”
They walked through the hall, the three staying close together while Ilea moved a little ahead. Movement suddenly showed in her sphere, Ilea catching a thin leg going by at the corner of the room, moving behind them. “We’ve got company.” She said and blinked towards where she had seen the movement. Her sphere picked up something that looked like a spider. The thing definitely looked similar to the monsters they had encountered in the inner circle so far, something dripping down from its body, the legs mere bones and its body disfigured. The chunk of congregated muscle forming the center, eyes peeking out from random places and eight bony legs jutting out.
The thing was around a meter tall and long, more if the legs were outstretched. Ilea rushed towards it, the thing now turning to her.
[Blood Tainted – lvl 128]
The low level was a little confusing but it jumped at her a moment later, Ilea’s ashen limbs intercepting it. The pointed tips pierced through the center and kept the thing floating in the air, more and more blood seeping to the ground. “Careful, explosion!” Someone shouted but Ilea just watched as the core expanded in a flash of red, blood and guts smashing against her Veil before a now familiar poison entered her system.
‘ding’ ‘You have been poisoned by Blood Vapor -30 HP/s for two minutes. Paralysis resisted’
She started heating up the localized cloud. Her defenses had held, none of the blast getting through. “And she saved us again.” Baron commented, “Does your map say anything about how long it is from here to whatever treasure there is? Otherwise I’m out. That thing could’ve ended us three immediately.”
Ilea moved the thing a little closer before cutting herself with one of its legs. It wasn’t venomous. Dropping it, she joined the group again, “Well Seath could heal everyone. I doubt the blast would’ve taken out any of you so they’re alright. If there aren’t hundreds of them waiting behind that door.” Ilea said, pointing to the metal gate at the end of the hall.
Crossing the distance, Austin checked it. “No enchantments on this one.” He moved the handle, “Locked.”
Ilea motioned him aside and kicked against the door. The metal bent inwards but it didn’t open. A second kick broke the lock entirely, Ilea reaching in a hand before she pulled it open. “Get the fuck out of here.” She said, seeing the spiders move into her sphere from the distance. Ash spread out as she closed the door again. The sound of dozens of them moving in filled the air, Austin the first to react as he rushed back, quickly followed by the other two.
Ilea formed thick walls of ash behind the metal door, waiting for them to get away. Some of her ash seeped in and started delivering her destructive mana into the monsters that started to pile up. I’ve become a quite effective exterminator…, The same tactic as applied against the roaches and these were even of a much lower level. The things died like flies, the poison blocked by her ash, slowly filling the room beyond. There had been no light coming from within but Ilea knew it was just filled with machines, tubes and crates. They’ll be sad to find this at the end of their treasure map.
The last of the spiders died, Ilea ignoring the notifications about dozens of them dying. The low level did little for her experience. Stepping inside, the poison was reactivated. Spreading out ash, she waited with burning it all and checked out the room instead. A big chair was situated in the center, cuffs attached for feet and hands as well as a bunch of detachable additions that would allow for less humanoid or perhaps winged creatures to be fastened to it.
Most of the vials were broken, the ones that weren’t contained a red substance. Ilea assumed it was blood. Checking the crates, she found mostly trash or instruments she had no idea what do do with. There was a book she quickly stashed into her necklace before she continued on. Her ashen limbs moved the spider corpses into the least cluttered corner and she started to clean out the poison gas, figuring there wasn’t anything of real value down here.
“Hey is it safe in there?!” She heard Austin’s voice, the need for looting audible in his voice.
She removed her helmet to get some light from her Form of Ash and Ember, turning around the golden key she had found near a skeleton, the only non spider one in the room. Looks important. Even has a ruby or something in it. She thought, putting it into her necklace as well, “Taking care of the poison now. Couple minutes.” She commented offhandedly.
Turning a vial in her hand, she identified it.
[Vial of blood]
Useful. The key had identified as just that, a key. Maybe her identify skill just wasn’t high enough or it simply wasn’t that kind of skill.
Not finding anything else that might be of interest to her after looking through all the crates with her sphere, she started fucking with the chair in the middle. Tubes connected it to the big glass containers on the walls, most of them shattered and broken.
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 3’
Baron’s floodlight broke into the room at that point, most of the gas burnt up by her ash. “Should be safe enough now.” She said, clicking one of the cuffs shut and trying to open it again with strength alone.
Austin looked around as he entered, frowning as he put up a portable magic light. Ilea glanced his way and then to the light source, “Why not use that instead of the torch?”
He didn’t reply, instead looking around and focusing on the glass containers on the walls. “Because monsters sometimes fear fire.” Baron supplied, coming into the room crouched and sideways.
Austin unhooked some of the tubes and started unscrewing the containers from the walls, “That’s the treasure?” Ilea asked, looking at him and then Baron.
“This is blood they used in their experiments. The right buyer will pay quite a bit for it.” The ranger explained.
“So you’re dooming all of life to become Pure Blooded?”
Baron intervened, “I don’t think you understand. This substance was and is still apparently found on lower levels. The red church simply brought it here and experimented with it. Drinking it on its own is a high quality health potion but it’s a versatile substance, allegedly.”
“You’ve never seen it… none of you have?” Ilea asked.
Austin carefully took down the tank and looked at her, “Who cares, it sells and you get your share.”
Ilea smiled, “And it was used to create the Pure Blooded and the other variants?”
He looked at her and then at Baron, “That’s a theory.” The dwarf supplied.
She tapped the armor on her thigh, “I get the thing then and you get a share of how much it would sell for. As far as I’m concerned the only thing you supplied was the map.”
“You what?” Austin asked. She felt his heart rate accelerate.
“How much would all of it in this room sell for?” She asked when someone shouted from outside of the room.
“Austin you sleazy fucking dimwit!” Ilea noted that Seath was nowhere to be seen.
Austin’s eyes darted towards the voice. “Fuck.”
Ilea rolled her eyes, “You stole the map, didn’t you. Give me the stuff, I’ll store it safely at least.” He hesitated but ultimately handed it over. Grabbing onto the two tanks still hanging on the walls, Ilea simply ripped them off and stored them as well. “What are you looking at me for, this is your problem.”
Austin’s trademark smirk was back on his face before he dusted off his cloak, “Baron move out of the way would you.”
The dwarf obliged, stepping out of the room before the others followed. Ilea looked at the group moving closer, now in range of her sphere. The one in the middle looked humanoid other than the bug like head on his shoulders. A lizard person was standing at his side, massive sword dragging behind it on the ground as its tail twitched from time to time. Both were around two meters tall. The next one was a human, a woman Ilea thought she recognized. A black mist floated next to her, only recognizable as a person due to the two arms holding onto the long halberd.
The last one in their group was a serious looking Seath, the healer bard standing with arms crossed to the bug person’s side. “You owe me a map and whatever you already found.” The bug person said, likely the leader of their group. Ilea looked over them, meeting the eyes of the lizard warrior who grinned and slithered her snake like tongue towards her.