Chapter 273 Regeneration
For the first time Ilea shared one of Keyla’s meals. She had thoroughly enjoyed the hours of battle against Hana, the lizard warrior working for Krentin. Carefully opening one of the two barrels of ale she still had from Walter, she poured two cups and handed one to the lizard. “So you met him a couple years ago?”
The lizard took the cup with her good arm, the other one broken and bleeding. She had refused healing from Ilea, her berserker skills keeping her injuries in check right until she ran out of mana. They had paused a couple times to meditate. Often they did not rush at each other immediately again and again, leaving ample time for recovery even during their bout. Ilea had only used her strength and physical attacks, neither Wave of Ember nor Destruction delivered through her blows.
“Six… seven years ago. Something like that. He asked for me to show him my power. So I attacked him and we fought.” Hana explained, “We were below two hundred then, the both of us.”
“I can’t see him winning it.”
“Well I didn’t have a healing skill then and trust me, he’s stronger outside and at long distances. You caught him at an advantage.” Hana said.
Ilea grinned and put away her helmet, taking a sip of Walter’s ale. She savored the taste for a moment before speaking, “You think I couldn’t have won without?”
Hana took a sip as well and looked first at the cup and then at Ilea, “This is fantastic… not from Hallowfort, that’s for sure.” She took another sip, “It’d be a fight to see but with your healing and defenses… no I think you would win nine out of ten.”
“That’s not good enough.” Ilea grumbled. Of course Hana didn’t know about all her abilities but neither did Ilea know about all of Krentin’s abilities. She knew that at least the lizard warrior was outmatched by her, mostly due to her versatile ash. Without her added limbs and mana intrusion abilities, it would be more even. She had forty levels on the lizard but that meant little if she couldn’t get in any hits.
Hana chuckled, the sound having an added hiss that Ilea just attributed to her biology, “You will stay here then? Train against the blood monsters?”
Ilea thought about it. She had plenty of poison now to work with and some people to train resistances, “While I’m here. I don’t think I’ll stay for a long time at least. Do you think Krentin will stay true to his word?”
Hana thought, finishing her food and ale before she spoke, “He is crafty. Smart and he can be deceptive. All reasons I decided to work for him. The way he looked at you. I believe he has taken a liking. Perhaps you will find him trying to woo you instead of sending assassins or coming to kill you himself.” She laughed, Ilea smiling in response before she put on her helmet again.
“Well, the dungeon is dangerous enough. No need for fighting among the conscious. At least not with the intent to kill.”
Hana grabbed her massive curved sword, the blade reflecting some of the light coming from the magic lamps above on its cool steel. “I have been fighting with the intent to kill.” She said with a smirk.
“Oh I know.” Ilea answered with a smirk, closing the barrel and storing it in her necklace.
Hana twirled her sword and went into a stance, “Perhaps I should explore on my own too, otherwise I’ll never be able to smack that smirk off your face.”
“How did you know I was smirking?” Ilea asked, activating her buffs and preparing to fight.
Hana just shook her head, “And you can heal yourself too. Lucky find, your class.”
Ilea shrugged in response, “I suppose it was.”
Walking through the corridors as quietly as possible, Hana listened carefully for any monsters that might creep up on her. The exit was rather distant and she was glad the thing led back to the second layer directly. She winced at the pain, rubbing on the dent in her armored arm. A smile was on her face, her scales shimmering a dark green in the light of the magic devices built into the ceiling throughout the Heroes’ Descent. I will have to have it repaired again. Her scales would normally not show as much, the dents and splinters the warrior had caused making them visible. It would cost at least two gold coins, the smiths in Hallowfort charging ridiculous prices for mundane work.
In her tribe this would be done free of charge, to protect a life of their own. Ilea had offered to heal her wounds, the pain of her failed battles weighing heavy on her shoulders. Hana reminded herself that the woman was human, their sense of pride and honor not quite like her own. The healer Krentin had gotten a year ago constantly offered to heal her too, sometimes doing so without asking. The only reason she didn’t crush her so far was Krentin asking her to accept it. She knew it was logical, to be ready to fight always and to not die in battle for no reason.
Wincing again as her broken leg came down in a bad angle, she listened around the corner. Her mana was full again but she didn’t think it safe enough to meditate her and take care of her wounds. Getting back to the first layer would be the safest bet, meeting back up with Krentin and the others. What a glorious warrior. The pain was bad but not a new feeling for her.
‘ding’ ‘Pain Tolerance reaches lvl 17’
Krentin had offered to torture her to get the second stage but Hana had little interest in deactivating her sense of pain. It was necessary, to learn, to grow. To ignore one’s own failures was to lie and stagnate. Finding the path clear, she limped towards the exit. It was another three or four corridors, she was sure of it. Pretending to be healthy cost her but she wanted to fight until she couldn’t anymore, wanted to test that woman with all her power. I couldn’t even scratch her…, Damaging her armor didn’t count, at least that’s how Hana thought.
The ashen defenses were strong, as powerful as some of the monsters found in the Descent. Together with Ilea’s mobility, quick teleport and ashen limbs, Hana considered her at least as dangerous as an Old Blooded. Maybe more so because of her healing. She knew the woman had held back some offensive skills, the first clash when Krentin had ordered her knocked out or dead had proven as much. It had felt like fire invading her every cell, as well as something else, something she had never experienced. As if corruption spread through her body, changing what was normal. Ilea was strong but not stronger than her. When the red glow showed from the cracks of her armor it was close.
Hearing the familiar noise of a Pure Blooded, Hana stopped in her tracks and waited. The thing didn’t come her way. A couple minutes later, it left. Sighing at her inability to fight, she swore to train harder. Maybe using the healer to train more efficiently as Krentin had suggested would be necessary. Ilea can heal herself… maybe I should take advantage. She questioned it immediately. Sometimes Hana wished she had been born in a different place. Training her health steal ability would be the way to go. Through your own power you shall prevail. It was a stretch already to work in a group. Maybe I should listen to my practical side a little more. Even Hogath says so and he’s just a rookie. The mind mage had joined them a couple months ago.
Hana smiled at the thought, nearly cackling when she reached the corridor leading up. Seeing his mind magic fail so spectacularly against the warrior had shut him up finally. The woman must have had someone to train a resistance as well. Strong enough to damage him even. At least Krentin confirmed his theories about the second stage. He was close enough as well, working on it often. A simple task with a healer and his second stage pain tolerance.
Putting her sword on her back, she jumped up and grabbed onto one of the cracks created by what she assumed to be the massive dwarf. This way to the inner circle would probably be widely known soon, now that the human ranger got away. Not that we would have faced the Old Blooded guarding the treasure. She thought, annoyed at Krentin’s cautiousness. They would’ve been back with the price weeks ago if it weren’t for his preparations and overthinking. In, bash heads and out. It seemed easy to her. Laughter brought some sound into the corridor as she ascended, knowing exactly why she wasn’t the leader of their group.
Ilea relaxed for a while, waiting until Hana was likely quite a while away. She had shown obvious signs of injury, her movements slowing down as she more and more favored her left leg. Ilea didn’t get why she refused her healing. Misplaced pride probably. She was glad none of her teammates in the Hand had acted like that. Even the noble Trian. Is he still noble now? She supposed losing most of his family’s influence, the name alone meant little.
If the empire really fell it would mean even less. She sighed and summoned one of the bones she had gotten from the Old Blooded. Checking it again, she slammed it into her leg.
‘ding’ ‘You have been poisoned by Blood Poison -50 HP/s for five minutes. Light paralysis’
Fuck that’s potent. She quickly crunched the numbers. Three thousand health in a minute. Fifteen thousand until it’s done. Storing the blade again, she activated her healing, her recovery canceling out the damage but not by much. Reconstruction alone wasn’t that potent, she knew as much. Her testing with either skill had been minimal but Hunter Recovery had nearly doubled her own healing speed, now sitting at more or less sixty health per second. Her health would be back to full after around a hundred seconds of healing. Of course it wasn’t that simple, some injuries requiring more time and mana. With her quick recovery from the third tier it was even weirder.
Healing others behaved differently too of course, her Hunter Recovery quite a lot better with her own body. She hadn’t asked anybody to test and just checking them with her skill only gave a general impression on their health, not an actual number.
The five minutes passed before Ilea again stabbed herself, her mana recovery boosted by Meditation easily keeping up with what she used. Her combat skills weren’t draining her after all. Except for her Sphere that was always on as well as her main buffs, State of Azarinth and Form of Ash and Ember, the former free of charge since reaching the third tier. Thirty minutes later and four additional uses of the one venomous arm, the venom was gone. In her body and taken care of by her healing.
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
Two levels for a single one. She smiled and got the other arm, continuing her solitary training. Half an hour passed and she sighed, getting up from boredom.
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter Recovery reaches 3rd lvl 2’
Need to heal a ridiculous ton of damage just to get that up. Thinking on it for a second, she thought of training by sacrificing her health and then healing it quickly with her third tier recovery. Hey wait, that’s illegal! A small voice of her conscience shouted but it was worth a try. If she had ways to damage herself and heal again, why not? If it doesn’t work I can just cut off my legs or something. Perhaps thinking of those things inside the inner circle, a place that had proved to be able to kill her wasn’t the best of ideas but Ilea wasn’t overly concerned, sacrificing two thousand health to activate her third tier State of Azarinth. Now to look for that hidden secret in the treasure room nobody seemed to notice.
Her healing recovered the lost health without use of the third tier, preserving some of the mana as she meditated and walked back to the room filled with cages. It was dark now, the lights previously protected by a layer of glass shattered by her ash. Krentin and his group were gone as was Austin and Baron. She glanced back towards the corridor, the two doors still remaining. Nobody stayed behind to see if there was more? The answer was apparently a simple no. At least according to all her senses.
Back in the room, she continued to search through the left behind boxes but there was nothing else of value. At least she was somewhat sure. Many of the metal tools looked cruel, more than anything else. Torture devices surely. Ilea continued to look through everything, taking her time as her health ticked back up. As soon as she hit her full health, she sacrificed another two thousand. With around sixty health per second recovered, she was back to full in a little over thirty seconds. Ilea repeated the process for a couple minutes. Adding her buffs together with the healing, her mana was slowly dwindling, even with meditation active.
She didn’t get a level up for either of the skills but both were in the third tier, likely just needing a shit ton more experience than previously. Good way to work on both though. She wasn’t quite sure how much being in danger would add to the equation but it probably was a lot. Waiting a couple minutes for her mana to recover again, she turned to the wall from which she had gotten a weird feeling. Either it was another trap or just a hidden wall.
She could still sense the stone behind it but something was off. Ilea searched for a hidden switch for a couple minutes but couldn’t find anything, instead she ripped off the machines clinging to the wall and started working her way into the stone. She wasn’t quite as quick and efficient as Baron but her fists were getting the job done nonetheless.
Ripping out a chunk of stone, her next punch hit something that caused a reaction. An explosion ripped through the room, most of it smashing into Ilea’s Veil and sending her to the opposite wall, machines denting and glass shattering when the armored woman impacted it. The trap had burnt through her Veil, her skin a little smoky below her armor but she only lost around a hundred health. Two seconds of healing was enough to be back. Her skin would need a moment to cool off but she quickly walked back to the opening. Her sphere could now see the hallway beyond, Ilea blinking into it immediately.
It was dark, no magic lights on the ceiling. Carefully stepping on the stone floor, Ilea surveyed everything. There were a couple more cages in here, smaller than the ones in the previous hall. There were notes sitting on a wooden table, a candle at half capacity sitting next to it. Grabbing what looked like an enchanted stick, she willed magic into it and found a small flame coming out of the top. Magic match. Lighting the candle, she stored the match in her necklace and held up the small bowl in which the candle was sitting.
Movement in one of the small cages made her look up. Her sphere hadn’t been able to penetrate the shimmering enchantment that moved through the thin mesh of metal. Getting closer with her candlelight, Ilea found a familiar creature staring back at her with white eyes. Smiling at it, she waved with a hand and crouched down. “Well look at you, how long have you been stuck down here?”
[Fae – lvl 71]
“I can get you out you know.” Ilea said in a calm voice, remembering how defensive the fae was she had met previously. Back then she healed it after it let down its defenses, allowing her mana to pass. Feeling a prodding in her head, she just smiled. “I can’t communicate with you that way.” she said and let healing mana flow towards the cage, not sure if the magic around it came from the fae or something else.
The creature looked similar to the one she had met before. Its whole body was black, as if swallowing the light coming from the candle, white eyes sparkling with curiosity the only thing setting it apart as a conscious being. It could also just be that the fae were peaceful animals but the way it looked at her with the elongated and curved white eyes, Ilea felt like there was more. The head of this one was shaped more dragon like, two black horns jutting from its skull. She couldn’t discern if anything was actually solid matter or just some kind of floating shadow.
Ilea sat down and checked out the lock on the cage. It wasn’t big, enchanted for sure but she doubted it was there to keep someone from opening it. Taking it into her armored hand, she squeezed. A crack resounded, the magic around the cage vanishing before she opened her hand to find the broken and crumbled lock lying within. The fae twirled around, its wings not moving enough to keep it in the air on its own. Ilea spread her ashen wings, sitting on the ground and smiled at the creature, feeling more comfortable with a living thing than she had in a while. The fact that it didn’t talk much to taint this feeling was certainly helpful, after all it could be a warmongering noble.