Chapter 275 Search and Exploration
Ilea sighed and stretched, ash whirling around her as it plucked away the dirt and blood clinging to her armor. Removing her helmet with her hands, she moved ash inside to clean out the blood, spitting on the ground to add to the red soup seeping out of the downed enemy. The simple addition of a regeneration ability had turned the fight that would’ve likely not lasted longer than ten to twenty minutes into a nearly two hour ordeal. Makes me a major pain in the ass to fight too. She noted, smirking at the broken deformed lion head.
Keeping the ten stats for now, she planned to talk to the necromancer king first, maybe he was already over three hundred and was willing to share some things. They had been awake for a couple days now and would likely have calmed down by now. Either that or Terok and Elfie were dead with a new plague ready to take over this land. Ilea doubted the two, even with all the kingsguard at their disposal would be capable of much. Not in the north. In the human plains, maybe. Then again a single miststalker would probably take out half of Riverwatch before it would be taken down.
Demon spawn seemed positively non threatening to her now that she was facing these abominations. Ashen limbs started cutting into the beast’s shoulders while the fae moved closer again, coming to a stop near Ilea. Putting on her helmet again, the fae sat down on her shoulder when the first arm of the beast came loose with a loud tear, Ilea storing it in her necklace. More poison resistance training. “Ready to move on little one?”
The fae looked towards her head and then forward again. Ilea cracked her neck and her knuckles, meditation increasing her recovery as she waited for her mana to reach acceptable levels again. No magical lights were working anymore in this section of the inner circle but Ilea soon realized the door she had opened didn’t lead to another labyrinth of corridors, instead to this room, a single hallway and another room. Smiling, she started opening the various wooden chests standing in the dark room.
“Let me know if you want any of this.” She said and opened some of the pouches, finding gold coins. Not ridiculous amounts like with the Taleen stash she had found but certainly enough that the people previously traveling with her through this forgotten part of the Descent would be more than just a little pissed. Putting them into her necklace, she found the assortment to equal around sixty gold and twenty silver coins. Taking one of the coins, she handed it to the fae who just looked at it and turned its head sideways. A shadowy tendril extended before it wrapped around the coin. Ilea watched in fascination as it moved the coin towards its head and then inside, as if it wasn’t solid at all.
A metallic noise resounded before it took out the coin again, what looked like a small bite missing out of it. The coin was tossed back into the chest below them, “Gold isn’t tasty eh?” Ilea asked with a chuckle, addint the coin back into her necklace. Some of the chests held old rusty gear, Ilea storing it just in case it was made from some rare metal. They had a golden copper sheen to it, at least near the parts that weren’t completely ruined. Opening another chest, Ilea blinked as the fae moved forward immediately, stopping before it looked towards Ilea, flapping its wings excitedly.
“Go ahead, I have little use for them.” Ilea said with a smile, looking at the fae who started eating or storing the mana crystals filling up the chest. They were refined and small, not quite as chunky as the ones she had gotten in the Demon Realm.
[Mana Crystal 5/5 – Medium Quality]
They were all the same. While Ilea could sell them, she had just found sixty gold coins and watching the fae eat the little crystals was fascinating enough to pay whatever they were worth to see the spectacle. Ilea noted white veins of what she assumed to be mana flowing through the fae’s little body, solidifying it a little more as time went on. “I’ll leave you to it.” Ilea said a couple minutes later, checking out the last two chests in the room.
One held daggers and short swords made from a gleaming black metal, still holding up after however many years they had been down there.
[Blade of the Moon – Rare Quality]
The names were varied slightly but the theme definitely revolved around night and celestial bodies. The last chest held another tank of the red substance, still what Ilea believed to be the pure blood.
Her identify skill wasn’t helpful with that one but if anything, Ilea was content with herself having the substance rather than Krentin, the Shadow’s Hand or someone like the Golden Lily. Worst thing would be to drink it and gain some weird resistance I guess. Eyeing the tank, she instead stored it in her necklace. Another day perhaps. Crunching noises still resounded from the old wooden chest in which the fae was having its lunch break. Or was it dinner? Ilea had no idea what time of day it was down here. Stepping over to the fae, she found it lying on its back, wings stretched out and white eyes closed. Somehow. It didn’t have any eyelids Ilea could see but the glow was gone, a smooth black surface remaining. “Did you eat yourself to death?”
The question was answered when its white eyes opened again, watching her as she looked down. “Ready to move? Kind of want to explore some more before all the idiots gain back some confidence and come down here again.”
It floated up slowly and landed on her shoulder again, resting against her head. Ilea moved, slowly at first but then back to the pace she could manage with meditation active. The fae didn’t fall, wrapping its wings around her shoulder and helmet to stay stable. Sacrificing three hundred health, Ilea continued her training, adding the newfound poisoned glands after a couple minutes of walking.
Two hours or more later, the two of them had discovered a high number of rooms, hallways, broken and working magical lights, worn down as well as surprisingly intact red rugs. No more enchanted doors or monsters tried to stop their exploration. Adding flying maneuvers as well as heated ash control in the small corridors made the search more interesting at least, the fae surprisingly sticking to her armor like an extension of the metal. Adding Hunter’s Sight to the list of skills on her search for monsters to fight and kill, she made it a challenge to try and shake off the little creature on her shoulder.
Ilea managed it a couple times, the fae simply appearing next to her head again as if nothing had happened. The thing had incredibly precise teleportation magic, something Ilea only managed because of her added spherical perception. Any target outside of the sphere was usually a little less precise. She wondered what kind of skills the little creature had, its level even below one hundred. Still, it had survived for however many hundred or thousands of years down here without sustenance, hadn’t been frightened when she had faced down the Pure Blooded or even the Old Blooded.
Jotting down the pathways and corridors, Ilea grinned at all the ways left to go. She wondered if what the people form Hallowfort called the inner circle was just another big part of the city, like what the lighted part of Tremor was compared to the abyss below. Checking her notifications, she was happy to find her training was showing at least some results.
‘ding’ ‘Poison Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 9’
‘ding’ ‘State of Azarinth reaches 3rd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches 2nd lvl 20’
Only two skills remaining. Ilea thought, checking her stats quickly.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 10
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 263
- Active: Destruction – 3rd lvl 4
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 3rd lvl 3
- Active: State of Azarinth – 3rd lvl 7
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 7
- 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 17
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – 2nd lvl 20
Class 2: Inheritor of Eternal Ash – lvl 256
- Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 6
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Ash Creation – 3rd lvl 3
- Active: Embered Body Heat – 2nd lvl 17
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 3
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 20
- 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 19
- 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 6
- Mana Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 12
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 13
- Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Poison Resistance – 2nd lvl 9
- 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
Bloody novel at this point. She thought, reminiscing about the simple days of pure terror and survival when her skills leveled from battles against mere level twenty Drakes. Of course the novel was a testament to her growth and she was still progressing, fighting challenging enemies and exploring the unknown. Strength and Dexterity were falling behind, that much was true but Ilea had found that Mana intrusion was a good way to damage beasts, most of them rather resistant against physical damage alone. The knights didn’t even wince at her fully powered fist, even though both of her main auras increased her strength by an insane amount. She sighed and tapped her thigh. Maybe I should ask the king about this as well. At least concerning the likely evolution of classes at level three hundred.
Finally, after another three hours of traveling and training through the depths of the inner circle, Ilea and the fae came up on another enchanted door, again opened by the golden key she had found. The thing was likely a general one handed out to people with a certain degree in power. The skeleton she had found it on must have been someone rather influential.
Contrary to the previous doors, this one didn’t lead to another hall or dark room, instead a rather small one holding a single thing. An elevator. Ilea saw through her sphere that the thing only went up, closing the door behind herself and locking it again. She was ready for a change after exploring so many of the same looking halls without any fights. Maybe going a layer down might be another good option. She thought about the different dungeons she could go to but first she’d visit Goliath and ask it about the fae as well as the metal she had found.
Activating the rune in the elevator, the two of them shot up, the thing screeching as it slid through the metal cage it was placed in, the stone holding, even after the long time it likely hadn’t been used. Ilea looked at the fae on her shoulder, the being unconcerned with the velocity they traveled at and the height they covered. Ilea wasn’t quite sure how far they had come but stepping out and opening the enchanted gate, the two of them found themselves in a dark corridor again. Above the first layer? She was pretty sure, or a hidden part of the dungeon and city perhaps. Stepping out, she closed the door again and flipped her notebook to the page for the city directly under Hallowfort. Marking a random spot, she started moving through the darkness the same way she had previously through the fourth layer.
An hour later she found herself in a familiar location, the hole in the wall too similar to the one she had found upon going after the Blue Reapers to be anything else. With my third tier recovery? She wondered how she’d fare but at most she expected to be able to face four or maybe five of them at the same time. The danger of being knocked out immediately was still there of course, making it one of the most dangerous options she had at the moment. Moving on, she sketched down the areas she had traveled through in her notebook before walking into the corridor leading to the Abyss.
“There’s gonna be other people up there, I wouldn’t trust them too far little fae.” Ilea said, spreading her wings of ash and ascending through the darkness until she came out in the lit guard room. She wasn’t sure if the fully plated dark one with wisps of darkness coming out of the cracks in his armor was one she had seen before but she simply nodded lightly.
Contrary to her previous encounters, this one went to one knee and bowed his head, “I greet you, spirit of old.” The greeting was directed almost certainly at the fae and not herself, the dark one only lifting his head when she was ascending the stairs leading to the pub. He went back to his post a moment later, nothing indicating what had just happened.
Ilea waled through the pub, getting more than a couple looks, directed mostly at the fae clinging to her shoulder. The creature didn’t stray from her, looking around but nothing apparently striking its fancy. Haiden the barkeeper stopped cleaning his glass and just stared at her, a smirk on his feline face. Stepping out, Ilea turned her head sideways and smiled, “You’re quite the attention grabber, aren’t you?”
Walking through Hallowfort, she soon stepped down the stairs leading to the smith. Maybe he knew more about the creature, with the apparent old age of the forge master. “There’s going to be a curse here, I’m not sure if it affects you. I’ll heal you if necessary.” Ilea said when they reached the corridor, her shoulder feeding healing mana into the creature as she continued walking, the nausea and health drain starting a couple steps later.
She lifted her eyebrows when her mana influx was cut off, a shimmering barrier of translucent white light forming around the fae that seemed unconcerned. Shrugging it off mentally, Ilea walked on until they passed the sound barrier, loud snoring echoing through the room. The sound stopped immediately when she walked down the stairs, the smith’s golden eyes appearing on the black mist laying on top of a workbench. “Thought you couldn’t sleep old man.”
“Child of… what is? A spirit of old… you are truly. Full of surprises, human, inheritor, no. Friend of ash perhaps.” The smith inclined his form a little to show respect, to either her or the creature. Maybe both.
“What is it with this little guy? Found it in a cage in the fourth layer.” Ilea said, “You didn’t answer my earlier question.”
The smith clasped his black stone or metal hands together, creating a rough coarse noise, “I cannot sleep biologically though the thought of it. It has been a romance of mine human, for many hundreds of years. Coupled with Meditation it is… pleasing, to lie down my body. Neither necessary nor logical but… perhaps a feeling, fleeting yet satisfying.”
Goliath had a way of explaining things that resonated with her. Perhaps it was just the topic of sleep appreciation that enticed her, she wasn’t quite sure. “As to the spirit of old there sitting on your shoulder, I thank you. For saving it and bringing it to light again. Farther and farther they stray, many of them stuck or worse in places not suitable for them yet it would be against the will of magic to deny their nature.”
“Can it understand me? Why the reverie? Some kind of religion for you dark ones?” Ilea asked, summoning a meal as she hopped onto a workbench.
The smith walked up to her, a hammer appearing in one of its hands before it smashed it into her chest, finding her Veil of Ash impenetrable, “Religion? Hmm… perhaps similarities yet I lack the study in the human ways to say for sure. It is a deep respect, gratitude and perhaps even love. Remove thy ash, the damage on your chest piece is substantial.”
Ilea shrugged and did as it asked, the hammer striking true, heating up the metal immediately and forcing it into shape again. The smith needed all this preparation and heat treatment to make it and now it’s repaired by a couple hammer strikes? She wondered what exactly the dark one’s skills did. Perhaps repairing something it created was simpler than making something anew.