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A note from Rhaegar

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Chapter 285 Training Considerations

 

 

Her mana reached five hundred before she could take out another one of the machines, Ilea blinking out into the open as her wings spread, another blink let her dodge the thrown spear before she was back up near the railings. Exiting the production facility, she turned around and meditated, waiting to see if any of them pursued her. A minute passed and then two. Nothing followed, either because the things had no way to fly or climb up or because they weren’t supposed to do anything but defend their lair.

Ilea sighed, breathing out as she cracked her neck. She had a bunch of high leveled enemies in there that didn’t completely rip her apart in groups as well as a spot up here to recover her mana and health if necessary. I gave them one week. Now let’s see how far I come in that time.

 

 

The answer was mixed. It surprised her that nobody actually bothered her in the full week, allowing her to focus fully on the task at hand. Ilea learned that the Centurions did in fact not have a way to repair themselves. This was counter acted by them not forgetting about her and the tactics they kept developing to fight her. After the first day they only moved in groups of six, after the second day they started to keep the damaged machines at the center of their formations and after the third day they actively prowled the first floor as soon as she destroyed her first Centurion. She couldn’t fight for more than a couple minutes before a second group showed up, making it a ten to twelve Centurions versus her solitary self.

The number itself wouldn’t have been an issue in the forest of metal and molten steel, were it not for their increasingly defensive tactics. As if they were a group of hunters trying to exhaust and corner a wild animal. Problem was that she wasn’t exactly a wild animal, her mobility simply overwhelming and the damage she put into them stacking up more and more. They couldn’t repair it and every day their numbers decreased. Ilea was pretty sure the machines on the floor below never actually joined the battle, either trusting the Centurions above to take care of it or designated to their areas.

Their similar levels let her see exactly how with each level gained, the requirements increased. She didn’t know if it was simply because they gave a flat amount of experience upon death and her higher level demanded more or if her knowledge of the enemy, her increasing confidence and traditional experience influenced it. Likely it was both and some other things she didn’t even consider. What was sure was that she was increasing in level. The latest two kills had finally brought her ashen class to another threshold. Just in time to go and check on Elfie, Terok and the three young hunters. She hoped all of them were at least still alive. Somehow she trusted Elfie with the task, the mage just like her probably able to take care of the four of them should they act out. She sat down on one of the few benches still intact and summoned one of Keyla’s meals, taking off her helmet to eat as she mentally scrolled through all the messages from the past week.

ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Centurion – lvl 305] – For defeating an enemy forty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’

‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Centurion – lvl 310] – For defeating an enemy forty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’

 

ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 265 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 266 – Five stat points awarded’

ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 258 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 259 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 260 – Five stat points awarded - Third tier skill point awarded’

Ilea had put all thirty points into Strenght to bring it up to three fifteen. Having tested her physical power against the hall’s walls, she found that the difference was definitely noticeable. Against the Centurions however it had brought little change. Most of her damage was still coming from her ashen limbs that had the simple advantage of getting through their defenses much more often. That was likely the main factor in her ashen class leveling once more than her Azarinth one. Ilea took a bite of her food and closed her eyes, savoring the fragrance. It was an oily meat and vegetable soup with thin noodles. The spiciness reminded her of some cheap ramen noodles she would’ve eaten back on Earth but elevated to another level with Keyla’s expertise and fresh ingredients. She really had to go and hug the woman again, making her adventurer lifestyle not just bearable but outright luxurious.

Ilea had little need for sleep. When she did she had her bed with her at all times. Keyla’s meals were there for food and with her ash, her cleaning needs were mostly taken care of. Water was really the only thing that could be added but a simple water collection rune to go could fix this easily. Why did I never get one of those. If she wanted to stay in this dungeon for longer she’d definitely want one. Especially with how hot it was in the production part. Taking another slurp of soup, she checked the possible advancements for the third tier skill point in her ashen class.

3rd tier skill points available [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 1

Skills available for third tier advancement in [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]:

- Form of Ash and Ember
- Wave of Ember
- Body of Ash
- Ashen Warrior

Ilea was surprised to find such a choice. She previously had only her Veil and Ash Creation available for a third tier level up and afterwards her Ash and Ember Manipulation. Going through the skills, she decided against Wave of Ember immediately as it was categorized as ashen magic. Body of Ash was a secondary priority too, one because its bonuses were simply inferior to Form of Ash and Ember as well as Ashen Warrior. Plus it was both Body Enhancement and Ashen Magic. Ashen Warrior was purely categorized as Body Enhancement while Form had the added Aura description.

Ilea read through the two skills again, even though she knew them by heart at this point.

Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 20:
Ember glows within you raising your resilience, speed, strength and dexterity by 55% [275%].
2nd stage: The longer you fight while in the Form of Ash and Ember, the deeper it roots. Each minute of fighting adds 15% more power to the skill with a maximum of 150%.
Category: Aura – Body Enhancement

The bonuses were absolutely insane compared to many of her other skills. Especially with both her classes enhancing Body Enhancements by each two hundred percent. Of course that was why she wanted to prevent herself from getting a purely ashen magic class. Ilea wasn’t too worried to get at least one or two good choices but it couldn’t help to add a couple persuading reasons for the gods, the system or the simulation to give her what she wanted.

Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 20:
You are familiar with the fighting style of Ash. Damage inflicted with your own body and while shrouded in Ash is 70% [350%] higher.
2nd stage: Shroud your weapons in ash to produce various effects. Shrouded weapons deal additional damage. Affected by Ash and Ember Manipulation.
Category: Body Enhancement

The percentage bonus was higher for Ashen Warrior and it was basically a direct damage buff. Ilea knew it affected her mana intrusion abilities too which made it one of the best skills she had as well. She thought about possible third tier advancements that could be unlocked but finally decided on Form of Ash and Ember. Reason being that her auras were the staple of her power from early on. She would likely chose Ashen Warrior at two eighty, just to get another Body Enhancement ability up there but if she got something similar to State of Azarinth’s third tier, the two could stack. Ilea hesitated but then shook her head. Both skills were really good but she felt like the aura was a safer bet for a good third tier.

 

ding’ ‘Form of Ash and Ember reaches 3rd lvl 1’

Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 3rd lvl 1:
Ember glows within you raising your resilience, speed, strength and dexterity by 55.5% [277.5%].
2nd stage: The longer you fight while in the Form of Ash and Ember, the deeper it roots. Each minute of fighting adds 15% more power to the skill with a maximum of 150%.
3rd stage: Familiarity with the skill removes its upkeep. When reaching the maximum second tier bonus you may reset it by amplifying your next attack with ash and ember.
Category: Aura – Body Enhancement

 

Ilea read through the new third tier and nodded, “Nod bad.” It really wasn’t, the skill’s upkeep being by far the most mana intensive skill she had up at all times. Now her recovery improved considerably, especially when not using Meditation. Of course her attack magic was what drained her during her battles but it would help. Even more sustain. She smiled at the thought. Longest fighting and most durable warrior of all time? She doubted it. The second part of the third tier ability was interesting. Giving up the 150% added bonuses for a single empowered attacks.

The second tier bonus wasn’t influenced by her class bonuses which would make it less of a dent during a battle to lose. If it were amplified by her classes, she’d never even consider using the new third tier. Either way, depends on how powerful the attack actually is. Activating her Form of Ash and Ember, Ilea immediately smiled at the lack of mana usage. Her Veil and Sphere were damn near free at this level too and her passive skills were always up without cost. She smiled at the fact that Embered Body Heat was now the most expensive always active skill she had, her only hope to get something better at her evolution. Otherwise she’d replace it after three hundred.

Can’t exactly test it without somebody to fight. She thought, finishing her soup before getting up. Spreading her wings, she ascended and made her way out of the room to reach the hallway leading out of the dungeon. Definitely not the official entrance but it was likely the best one, leading to both the production facility and the ancient dwarven city. Terok might argue an entrance directly to the treasury would be better but Ilea had her own priorities.

She heard the sounds of battle when she walked into the dug out entrance leading into the dwarven ruin. Steel against steel before an explosion paused the sound. Stepping out, Ilea saw that the previously rocky environment had been mostly flattened, stones either moved away or pulverized by magic or sheer strength. Goldie was either sleeping or knocked out, same with the brown haired elf called Neiphato. Their bodies were sprawled on the hard ground, cuts and bruises visible as well as dents and damage in whatever armor they were wearing.

Ilea appeared next to Elfie who had one hand on his chin, the elf staring at the two fighting contestants, his eyes focused on every move. “Refrained from killing Terok. Managed to keep the elves back and you’re actually training them? Color me surprised.” Ilea commented, watching Terok disappear to dodge the fiery explosion extending around Heranuur’s body, the tall and muscular elf laughing as his blades clad in flame deflected the metal spikes shot out from Terok’s armor, the thing looking bruised but not dented.

He didn’t look at her, “I don’t have any colors with me human. You leveled again. Is the facility really full of Centurions?” He asked, his voice disinterested.

Ilea was pretty sure the elf cared more than he let on, “Yep, tons of them. It’s going to take a long time to clear it out. I’ve found something else last week. You guys didn’t explore further?”

He scoffed, “The dwarf tried several times. He is lucky to be a metal mage.”

She nodded, impressed he had managed to stop the dwarf. Was he holding back against me? She wasn’t sure. Ilea knew at least that her mana intrusion spells were very effective against barriers, maybe that was it. Coupled with her Curse Resistance and recovery, his abilities were quite ineffective against her. “There’s a Taleen city in there as well, Guardians and all. Reminded me of the dungeon I’ve explored before. I though maybe they could explore and train a little in there, depending on how they do.”

Elfie looked at her then, the silver in his eyes swirling before he again looked at the two fighters who were breathing hard, looking at each other. Ilea felt Elfie use a skill, Terok and Heranuur groaning before they continued their battle, neither very enthusiastically. “Not a bad idea. They have been itching to kill for days now. I however doubt Guardians will be a sufficient challenge for them.”

Ilea shrugged, “There’s plenty of them in there. If it’s anything like the first Taleen dungeon I’ve explored then there will be Centurions as well as traps. It won’t be simple and they don’t have a healer.”

Elfie chuckled, “You want to have the Centurion facility for yourself don’t you human?”

She grinned, looking at the two fighting warriors, back to using more frantic and dangerous moves. “That doesn’t change what I told you. They would be slaughtered in there.”

He didn’t deny what she said, “I would still like to talk to the Tremor royals.”

“Tell them to bring out documents and relics from the dungeon.” She gestured to the group, “When Terok reaches level two hundred he might be able to get at least the queen out more quickly. Plus shouldn’t destroying this dungeon and the machines within have priority for you?”

Elfie was quiet for a while, “You said they have to fight a Centurion for evaluation. They each have destroyed one previously, it won’t be the challenge you think it will be.”

“I know they have, at least together. It’s a question of how, not if.” A quick teleport by Heranuur and followup explosion sent terok into the ground, the elf following before he hit an invisible barrier.

“That is enough. If you heal them we will be able to move on to your test today. Otherwise it will take longer.” Elfie said, Ilea nodding as her ashen limbs extended.

“They should really get a healer. Maybe we can find one for hire in Hallowfort. I don’t want to bother stopping my own exploration to take care of them.” Ilea commented, Elfie nodding at that.

He watched her as she healed up first Heranuur, then Terok and finally the other two elves. Each had what she considered severe injuries, making the fight she had watched quite impressive. “It will be good for them to learn and fight without a healer, at least for a while. If they can’t recover their own health that is. Do you agree?”

Ilea was surprised he would even ask her opinion but she nodded, “However long you think is good. For resistance training they’ll need someone though, that’s for sure.”

“I have heard of Cerithil hunters able to heal themselves. Perhaps something will reveal itself with time.” He said, Ilea finishing up. The two elves were waking up when she made her way back to the dungeon.

“Send them in to the room they had fought previously. I’ll drag out a Centurion for them to tackle.” Ilea said, “You’re free to join too of course. Might be good to see them fight it.” Elfie just hissed at her, Ilea blinking into the dungeon and rushing to the abyss. This time she did activate the elevator, finding it working as intended.

Now, how do I get one of the fuckers up here…, She considered and dismissed the top floor already. They were moving in groups already. Descending, she spotted a lone Centurion with its back to her on the third floor. It looked to be patrolling, each step taking it further away from the central abyss. Ilea blinked in and grabbed one of its legs, the thing immediately whirling around and trying to attack her. Slamming the spear away, Ilea flapped her wings and used all her strength to drag it out while her ashen limbs tried to destabilize the machine’s legs. A moment later, she was flying over the darkness below her with a Centurion hanging from her arm, the thing turning and twirling as it tried to attack her.

Ilea’s ash smashed down without Wave of Ember, trying to distract the machine as she ascended. When she finally got high enough, she twirled in the air before throwing the machine through the opening. That was pretty simple. It had nearly gotten her with its spear several times but perhaps just dropping them down the hole would be enough to kill them. She wondered if she had just figured out an easy mode for clearing out the production facility. A boring one to be sure but she’d take it anyway. The thrown spear rushed past her, Ilea having moved her head to the side. “Hey, I’m not the one you’ll fight.”

Rushing into the elevator, she punched the Centurion a couple times before activating the lift. What followed was definitely one of the busiest elevator rides she had ever been part of. The small room allowed for little room to dodge but she also wanted to stay close, just in case it decided to move back down. She was punched out of the thing when it stopped, her ash reforming in front of her chest as she healed the light damage from the punch. “Come on then.” She said and blinked back and into the doorway leading to the hall the test would take place in.

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Rhaegar

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