Chapter 296 Azarinth First Hunter
“Oh right.” Ilea said, “Where is she anyway?”
“Comes and goes. Brings me food as well as books and news from time to time. I believe she is counseling Catelyn as well as trying to find anybody who survived. The Vineyard caves… the place is still there. She however refused to go there, telling me there’s too much to do in Hallowfort.” He laughed, “Can you believe it? One day she was out and already she’s busy with learning about the legislature and ties between the current governing forces. She’s truly great.”
Doesn’t sound too bad, “I can see it. Just hope it wasn’t a bad decision to help you guys out.”
He shook his head, “Ilea. I’ve known her for a long time. Elana loves to be in power, loves to rule but her heart was never corrupted. She would never admit it but the reason for her tenacity is her people.”
“You don’t have a people anymore.” Ilea simply said.
“There are always people. Those unable or unwilling to stand up, to fight and choose for themselves. Those who want a simple life, unburdened by responsibility.”
“I guess.” At least Catelyn probably knows what she’s doing. Ilea mused, frowning. Why do I even care? She shook her head in thought.
“I think it’s a good idea. Taking on the undead rose knights. Getting a level five hundred kill should be good for your evolution. I sadly never achieved such alone.” Maro said before he blinked, looking at the wall and then back to her. “I have wondered about something. Something Elana has told me. Maybe you can confirm it.”
Ilea clapped her hands together, “Shoot.”
“Two suns in the sky. That’s what she had said. Arcane storms ravaging the land. Blizzards cold enough to freeze stone itself. Is this really what Rhyvor has turned into?” He asked.
“Pretty much. Why the question though? Terok said as much and I’m sure Catelyn did too.”
He looked at her armor, “I…just. I wanted to hear it from you.Unprecedented… the changes could be… catastrophic.”
“What do you mean?”
“I will think about it. Focus on your hunting Azarinth warrior. I wish to see the sky with my own two eyes again. Could you do that for an old king?” His pleading eyes made her chuckle.
“Maro you look like you are in your thirties. I’ll destroy the kingsguard simply because they took my leg. No need to bring your issues into it.” Ilea stated.
“Don’t flatter me. I might find an interest in you after all.” He whispered with a smirk.
Ilea rolled her eyes and stood up, her gauntlet vanishing as she touched his muscular chest. “Don’t threaten me with a good time.” Taking her hand away, she turned as her helmet appeared. “Plus you’re married old man and I’m sure the mist witch loves you. And you love her.”
He laughed, “I do. It never stopped either of us. Maybe she will agree to let you join. Wouldn’t be the first time.” He murmured, lost in thought.
“See you later Maro.” Ilea said and blinked out of the chamber. Your relationship is complicated enough. I don’t want to get in there. She thought, blinking again to avoid the kingsguard noticing her. Fucking a cursed elf against the very rules of their all mighty oracles is exciting enough for me.
“Alright. Now let’s see how this goes.” Ilea said to herself as she stepped into the dark zone of the dungeon. Compared to last time she now had a way to gauge the damage they would deal, had a way to deal a strong blow enhanced by her third tier auras as well as simply more stats and resources to play with. The problem remained that she didn’t think it feasible to face two or three of the knights, though she’d give it a shot at least.
Summoning the little flask Terok had given her, she uncorked it and smelled on the yellow liquid inside. It was just color. Something to mark the enemies she would fight. If they couldn’t heal, she supposed damaging them sufficiently and fleeing was still a viable option, as long as she could find and fight the same enemy again. The dagger Heranuur had kindly lent her might come in handy as well, though she didn’t know how the undead would react to it.
The approach might have worked too back when she had first encountered the undead, she simply hadn’t tried. With her Azarinth Fighting in the third tier, the insane damage they dealt would hopefully be somewhat easier to deal with. As well as my third tier recovery. Even if she was literally cut in half, now that wasn’t much of a problem. As long as she had mana to heal.
The alleys smelled terrible, the stone of both streets and houses more susceptible to growing fungi as well as anything else that liked the temperature. She was pretty far in already, no enemies to fight as of yet. I wonder if they fight each other… undead knights and Soul Rippers. If it was true then they somehow were incredibly even or the monsters somehow came back, after such a long time there had to be an explanation. The missing parts on most undead she had encountered previously suggested they weren’t on good terms with… well something.
Perhaps they had their territories and somehow respected them but she doubted such, seeing how at least the undead knights were ravenous beasts. They don’t go into the higher parts of the city. Perhaps Maro had an explanation for that. Maybe they simply retained some of the commands they once had or they disliked the necromantic energy coming from the palace. Either way it was in her favor, leaving the once city now dungeon with monsters for her to kill.
One such monster appeared a couple minutes later, walking leisurely towards her in the open street. A part of its abdomen was missing, as if removed completely. An undead rose knight. Its armor was dented, bruised, rusted or outright missing in parts, its sword abused and dull as it was dragged along the ground, the noise the only thing audible in the vicinity as if announcing its presence. A challenge of sorts, to anyone that would stand in its way. Or perhaps a plea. Ilea thought, her auras going to the max, ash surrounding her as she stood and waited for the monster to notice her.
[Undead Rose Knight – lvl ???]
Smiling at the information, Ilea uncorked the little bottle and doused her hand in the yellow liquid. You are what I want. The screech coming from the creature rattled through her very bones. A challenge yet it didn’t paralyze her. Three heavy and quick steps brought the undead upon her, its sword clasped in both hands as its strike came downwards. Ilea felt the danger, felt that the hit would dent her helmet, would crash into her skull and incapacitate her, for a while at least.
She stepped aside, stone exploding next to her as the blade came to an abrupt stop. A kick followed, making her spin before her hand landed on the knight’s shoulder. Ilea smirked at the yellow paint that immediately left behind a colored hand, barely visible in her Sphere but it was enough. The sword rushed at her, Ilea blinking away, the attack too quick to dodge. When she appeared the knight had already jumped her way. A thrust, feint, grazing against her arm, the real strike following right after, dodged before she punched his stomach, where his armor was no more.
Her mana intrusion rushed into him, ashen limbs extending behind her as the knight moved to deflect the blows. It had given her enough time to dodge his next attack, avoiding the strike that would have ripped out her legs, armor and all. The knight was on her again, anticipating her dodge. His elbow smashed into her chest, Ilea knowing the damage would be manageable didn’t blink, saving the skill for an emergency. The attack left her breathless, her chest plate denting inwards as her bones groaned.
Flying backwards, she spread her wings to stop herself in the air, twirling to the side when the knight’s sword came flying towards her. He followed right after, landing next to her. Fists moved quickly, Ilea using her fighting skills and experience to deflect most of the blows but her gauntlets were dented with each strike, muscles below damaged and bones cracking as she healed against it. Seeing the sword come from behind made her blink, immediately healing the injuries.
She watched the knight catch the blade casually, walking towards her with near stumbling steps. You can do this. Strike after strike, Ilea weaved around the sword, taking hits where possible as her ashen limbs delivered more and more damage, herself using every opening to get damage in with her fists. Knowing which attacks were feints made the fight possible in the first place, the sheer speed and power of the thing still occasionally overwhelming her.
When the knight suddenly let go of his sword in the middle of a strike, his fist moved too fast for her to even blink, Ilea in the process of dodging the sword. A feint feeling of danger washed through her brain before her head rocked back, nose broken and teeth ripped out. Blinking into a nearby building, Ilea switched out her helmet and used a chunk of mana to heal herself immediately. The sword crashed through the wall a mere second later, Ilea rolling out of the way before the knight landed next to her, a kick sending her through the opposite wall.
She had managed to keep her arms in front of her, her arms breaking but otherwise not causing any major injuries. Healing it back slowly, she spread her wings while in the air and outside the house, looking at the knight that jumped on top of the building. Feeling the attack coming, she moved down, the blade rushing by like a projectile fired from a ballista. No wonder they don’t need bow and arrow. Ilea rushed down to engage when a second blade made her blink. Here we go. She used her momentum to land on the knight with a kick, pushing him backwards as she sent destructive mana through him.
His arms moved quickly, grabbing onto her leg before she could get away. Ilea braced herself as the knight smashed her into the stone roof, her body crashing through a part of it as her leg strained from the force. Another hit followed before a second knight landed on the roof. She saw the blades rushing back to them, frantically kicking with her free leg as ash spread around her. Ilea sacrificed a thousand health to enhance her, kicking twice before she could finally wriggle free.
She blinked, avoiding the swords before appearing thirty meters away. Her eyes opened wide as she noticed the sword coming her way. Her wings spread but before they could even materialize, the sword crashed into her horizontally. The blade cut through her armor and flesh, stopping halfway through her spine.
Ilea’s wings flapped, her limbs going numb as her blood and guts streamed out of the nasty wound. Her perception was still there, Ilea dodging the second blade coming her way as she sped towards the higher section. Can’t heal with the blade in…, She twirled in the air, letting the blade crash into a nearby building. Ilea had disabled her pain, not that it would have mattered with the damage to her spine but when the sword was ripped out of her from the impact, she couldn’t help but yelp.
Blood and innards spread out, her wings the only thing still carrying the limp body onward. Ilea’s vision was getting blurry but her sphere was crystal clear. Storing her destroyed armor, she used eight hundred mana to heal herself, feeling returning to her arms and legs immediately as her spine reformed, her organs coming back and the two parts of her body nearly separated came together again.
A fresh set of armor appeared right in time to deflect the thrust coming at her. Relentless bast…, She couldn’t finish the thought, the second knight crashing through the wall next to her before she blinked away, all the buildings giving her a second or two to breathe. Don’t get grabbed. She waited inside a house before the monsters came in, quick and silent. The room was in near complete darkness, Ilea’s fiery buff the only thing shining through the openings in her helmet and the thin lines connecting her armor.
Healing mana flowed through her as she sacrificed the same amount she recovered per second to her third tier State of Azarinth. Moving towards the wall, Ilea tried getting the knights in an awkward position, their huge statures as well as weapons working in her favor in the close quarters. Ashen limbs continued to deal damage but she didn’t know which one of them was marked, no time to check. Their swords cut through the walls and crashed into ceiling and floor, Ilea jumping and rolling through their attacks, ashen limbs delivering damage as she spread her ash and used reversed reconstruction to add to their suffering.
Thanks to her second tier in the skill, she could keep her own healing up. As long as the knights were using their swords, she was semi sure they wouldn’t try to grab her. Dodging one of their blades opened her up for the second enemy, its weapon crashing into her head before she could spread the ash to blink. The sword cut through her helmet and got stuck inside her head before the monster simply ripped it off from her very shoulders.
A weird sensation spread through her, her sphere and awareness splitting. She saw her body through her sphere, saw it both as her center and away from her. The one eye that hadn’t been crushed looked on as her body was kicked through the nearby wall. Eye closing, she focused on her body and sacrificed a thousand points of mana, her awareness returning to normal as she blinked upwards to avoid another strike. Her armor was there, no helmet. Fuck.
It was then that she decided to retreat, for now at least. Ilea made sure to avoid blinking as she flew towards the higher sections of the dungeon, dodging the thrown blades whenever they appeared behind her. She moved higher and higher to giver her more time as she murmured to herself, hands grasping her face.
The sun was shining through the crack in the cave, Ilea angrily eating her food, conscious of every movement of her jaw, every gulp. Her movements suddenly stopped, the feeling of her split awareness flashing through her mind. She shook her head, taking another bite and trying to focus on the taste. Ilea didn’t notice the tears dripping down from her chin, noting instead the salty taste from the food. You can do this. She reminded herself, Meditation flowing through her. They can take your head but they can’t kill you. Never. Don’t give in to fear.
‘ding’ ‘Fear Resistance reaches lvl 6’
Are you fucking kidding me? Ilea felt four different things at the same time. What came out was a soft chuckle. Maybe I’m going mad. The ridiculousness of it all was overwhelming. Healing back a lost arm was one thing but she had lost her head, her brain, her eyes, her nose. She stopped the train of thought. And then the system, gods or whatever the fuck it is mocks me with a fucking resistance skill…,
A shudder went through her, healing and meditation flowing through her body and calming her down. She was pretty sure that without them, even with all her experience, she would be sobbing in a corner somewhere. My perception skill didn’t activate… so I had enough health? A weird notion. Perhaps her ability to heal even fatal injuries made the skill less useful, only activating on high enough health loss alone. “Motherfuckers.”
“I will rip off your limbs and heads, stuff those rusty swords up your asses.” The words came out hollow but her gaze focused, the slight shaking in her hands calming down with each passing minute. There will always be a Drake. She said to herself, over and over. Finally, an unknown amount of time later, the suns having set and the city now clad in darkness, Ilea stood up. She stored the empty box of food in her necklace and put on a fresh helmet. Retreat when a second one appears. I get it. Don’t lose your head. She didn’t smile at her own joke, even though it was terrible.
Both her hands clasped her neck, her mouth opening before a scream ripped out of her, audible in a big part of the silent ruin. Wings spread before she jumped off the roof, her target the marked Undead Rose Knight. Her eyes were focused, cold, her body poised. Her mouth a thin line below her helmet.
Landing behind the wall, Ilea started her search. She had the scent and her Hunter’s Sight would lead her to the target. Not the undead himself but the yellow paint she had used. Noticing her perception focus on her own right hand time and time again, Ilea switched out the gauntlet before continuing her search. I will find you.
It took an hour to pick up the scent, a grin blooming on her face. I will kill you.