Chapter 297 Helpful Advice
The blade cut through her Veil, scratching against her shoulder before it smashed into the floor, Ilea’s fist lashing out into the stomach of the undead. It replied in kind, Ilea sent back through the air as she healed her damaged rip cage. The color was still there. The dents and scratches on his armor were still there. When she touched him, even if he resisted, she knew through her healing that the damage had remained.
It wasn’t unwinnable. As long as she didn’t die and retreated once more of them joined. A matter of time. Still, she moved in, ignoring a more defensive approach as her body slid past the blade, the dull weapon cutting the air with a loud sound. Ilea screamed as her fist smashed into the beast, her third tier auras working together, five hundred health sacrificed. Her arm was wreathed in flame and ash, red runes and fiery lines glowing from the cracks and ripped out pieces of her armor. The strike landed with an ear shattering crash, the knight flying through the wall behind him and into the house. Ilea in the meantime healed the broken bones in her fingers and the light damage her arm sustained.
Breathing out, she took the next seconds to meditate, calm herself down before the battle would once again start. Barely two had passed when the undead came rushing out again from within the rubble. Ilea jumped to the side, rolling before she turned and dodged its quick slashes, slowing him down with her ash as well as she could. She tried to trip him, tried to send ash into his eyes, nose and mouth, tried to rip the blade out of his grasp but nothing worked. The undead was too powerful, like a force of dark magic itself it moved, untiring, unrelenting. And Ilea stood against it, cold eyes and a grin on her face as she deflected and dodged its attacks, getting in damage wherever she could, healing the wounds every strike of the monster caused.
Ilea fought on, her whole being focusing on the enemy. An opening showed and she sent five hundred health into her third tier aura, the punch sending the knight stumbling back. Eight ashen limbs smashed into his neck, finally smashing through the rotten and rusted steel. The knight screeched and Ilea screamed in turn. It lifted its sword, slashing from above with enough power in the blow to cut her in half. Ilea blinked, just half a meter to the left, the blade passing by as her azarinth aura once again came to life, her fist smashing into the knights head with eight ashen limbs cutting into its neck.
Ilea blinked away and watched the undead sink to his knees, his neck cut open and head sitting at an unhealthy angle. The knight fell to the ground with a clattering sound, movements ceasing as Ilea too sank to her knees. She was down to five hundred mana and a third of her health, both quickly recovering. “I said I would kill you.”
Hearing noises nearby, Ilea spread her wings and ascended, flying away from the knight coming into the square. The notification was bright in her mind, the smile on her face vicious, her eyes speaking of what was to come. She had won. Ilea could kill them.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Undead Rose Knight – lvl 512] – For defeating an enemy two hundred twenty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 291 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 289 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 290 – Five stat points awarded’
Ilea immediately spent the points on Vitality, her beheading fresh on her mind.
‘ding’ ‘Ash Creation reaches 3rd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 3rd lvl 2’
Needing a little break, she flew high to try and find the elves, spotting one of Heranuur’s explosions in the distance a couple minutes later. There were plenty of normal knights remaining in the dungeon and each had to be defeated before Maro was ultimately freed.
Landing on a roof overlooking the small, already half destroyed square, Ilea watched the battle between two knights and the team of elves as well as Terok. He was still the only one using ranged magic. Goldie was engaging one knight with the dwarf’s support while the others were facing the second one. She watched them coordinate their attacks, Neiphato creating openings before moving away to allow Heranuur to use his explosions.
Even Goldie and Terok managed to push the knight onto the defensive, his shield trying to deflect the metal projectiles that flew past Goldie. The elf constantly forced the enemy to change positions while avoiding Terok’s attacks. All of them seemed exhausted, sweat on their faces wherever they weren’t covered by helmets. The knights had dents and scratches all over their armor, the one Terok was facing even had an entire shoulder piece missing. Not bad.
Ilea was more impressed two level three hundred creatures could stand against a team of four in their lower two hundreds. It would be different of course if the two had been conscious but the knights were mere undead. Maro really was a pretty scary guy to face, if this is what he could bring to the table. Even if his resurrected creatures weren’t over level three hundred, commandeered by him it would surely close the gap. She sat down and watched them fight for the next half hour, their eyes occasionally flicking towards her, either noting her there or perhaps expecting her to intervene.
Maybe I should join team knights. Ilea wondered, the battle terribly one sided even with the undeads’ tireless fighting and seemingly unlimited health pool. That gets constantly refilled. She wondered how much damage was necessary to overcome Maro’s healing. Or was the healing coming from his machine alone? Well I’ll see after he’s free. A battle between two level three hundred humans. We should sell tickets.
Considering she alone had overpowered them below even level two fifty, she was sure the group would manage. Especially with most of them having less defense and healing oriented classes. As much as Terok bragged, he didn’t seem to have changed much. Then again all he had to do in the fight was stay back and float around a little. The knights primarily focused their attacks on the melee fighters.
Maybe we should have the bout now. Before I get my evolutions. I don’t want to put him down even harder, as optimistic as he seemed earlier. Summoning some food, Ilea started eating in silence as she continued watching the battle unfold. Seeing the elves fight up close, against enemies she had initially struggled against showed that they weren’t exactly helpless. Finally staying more defensive compared to their reckless behavior definitely improved their sustainability. Without healing abilities. Even for Ilea it seemed ridiculous. She couldn’t help but admire them a little.
To think they went out to seek unknown dungeons, completely unprepared to face the Taleen machines within. Ilea just hoped not all Cerithil hunters were that brazen, for both the elves relying on the thinned numbers of machines as well as their very lives. Remembering the elves she had fought and at least helped kill, she doubted it. At least with what they considered young ones. Fucking racist idiots is what they were. Arrogant racist idiots. They probably lost as many of their population against ridiculously powerful monsters as they did against the Taleen robots.
A chuckle left her as she chewed on a piece of bread coming with the hearty stew Keyla had prepared. Maybe that’s why I’m willing to work with them. I’m a bloody elf myself. The fight below had changed, Terok and Goldie’s knight having fallen to their constant attacks. She really expected them to wait it out but both immediately helped the other two. At least Goldie she thought would mock and taunt them while they struggled against the foe.
The remaining undead was quickly finished by the four people, none of them sufferingmore than minor injuries. Heranuur looked up to her and waved, Ilea jumping down as she stored the empty box in her necklace, clapping after she landed. “Good job. It’s only going to take another two years for you to clean up the rest of the knights.”
Goldie hissed but didn’t utter a word, his helmet of much better quality than the last time she had met him. Who got that for him?
Heranuur grinned and licked his lips, “I like to take my time.”
Exhibit A why this elf will never be more than a fling. She snorted.
“Remember, we’ll get stronger as we fight them too. Gonna be a week and the time will be down by half, a month and we can each fight one alone.” Terok said, arms crossed.
Ilea doubted it. Not because what he said was inherently wrong but she had seen them fight. Most of the damage came from their partners creating openings, most of the enemy hits were avoided because of the partners’ interference. They were a good team, or well, teams. “Just make sure someone is around while you try.”
“Don’t worry lassie. I don’t suggest your approach. Can’t very well heal if I lost my head.” He laughed but Ilea didn’t respond, instead looking at him as she gulped, “You ok? Don’t worry, I won’t do anything stupid. Can’t speak for the carnivorous bunch.”
“You eat meat too dwarf.” Heranuur said, rolling his eyes under his half broken steel helmet, red hair flowing out.
“Yea from animals. I suggest you don’t try that one, bad on the stomach.” Terok said, pointing at the undead lying on the floor.
Ilea smiled at the exchange. She knew the mouth on her and the stupid jokes occasionally brought trouble but if Terok had made it to his age with that snout of his, she was golden. Heranuur just laughed at his comment, patting his mech suit’s shoulder, the elf quite a bit smaller than Terok in his gear.
“We did it.” Goldie said to nobody in particular, nearly whispering as he knelt down next to the undead.
Neiphato nodded and smiled, “Indeed. If we continue like this, we’ll be able to face the Taleen in less than a year.”
“Nonsense. We can already kill Centurions. What else would they throw at us.” Seviir replied, taking off his golden helmet, revealing the white hair below.
“Praetorians.” Ilea simply stated, all of them glancing at her. Goldie stared at her with his yellow eyes, an intensity within that she couldn’t quite place. “Centurion Rippers and Juggernauts are probably enough to take you out.” Ilea said, not trying to embarrass them, simply stating fact. Without considerable healing power or incredible burst damage like Viper or Philipp could produce, each of them would be ripped apart. Maybe if they had a tank like Bataar but none of them except for Teork had a way to deal ranged damage. It would still be difficult.
“How dare you… human.” Seviir said and hissed at her. Ilea was surprised when Heranuur hissed back at him, the two staring at each other. “You… of course you would defend her. I smell the human whore on you… to defile our ancestors like this.”
“Don’t.” Ilea said to Heranuur who was extending his claws already.
He looked at her, stopping for a momentbut she could tell he was ready to strike. Seviir started laughing, “And he even listens to her… if I weren’t cursed I would slice your throat right here.”
Ilea appeared in front of the elf, watching his eyes go wide. She released her defensive Veil and switched her armor to casual clothes. “I don’t need him to defend me. Now go on, strike me with all you have elf. Let’s see if you can back up that shit mouth with more than retarded gibberish.”
Goldie’s smirk vanished but he didn’t hesitate. At least he learned something in the past months. His hand lashed out at her neck, bones extending and sharpening as she felt the mana around him explode in power. A smirk came to her face right before the strike dug into her flesh and stopped at her spine, his lengthened claws unable to get through her own bone. The surprise was apparent on his face, Ilea using the moment to grab his arm. Blood flowed down her neck, several centimeters of it slashed through by Seviir. “The Taleen don’t care if you damage them.” Ilea said, pushing his hand away, her flesh ripping as more and more blood started to drip down.
“They will fight until they drop dead.” She said, the wounds closing in an instant. A mere one hundred mana sacrifice. “Whittling them down is a better option than trying to take their head.” She said and started crushing his arm with her hand, surprised at her inability to break it. The elf was grinding his teeth at the pain of his crushed muscles and tissue. Not bad. Not surprising from a bone mage. Still, red runes started to glow on her body before his bone snapped, the elf’s arm facing upwards in a ninety degree angle.
He cried out in pain as he looked at her with hate in his eyes. “They don’t care about your pain. They won’t stop until you’re dead. If they themselves feel pain then I haven’t ever seen it.” She let go of his arm as he stumbled back. “Heal it.” Her armor appeared again as well as her Veil. “One way or another you will get injured. Be prepared to flee and recover. A dead elf won’t help anybody.”
Ash started to form at her feet, flowing on the ground towards and around Seviir as the others watched on, Heranuur with a big grin on his face and Neiphato with an unreadable expression. Terok of course had his face hidden behind his suit.
“Heal it!” Ilea shouted, taking a step closer as her ash swirled upwards, a whirlwind flowing around the group. She locked eyes with the elven warrior calling himself a Cerithil hunter, his face twisted in pain as he grabbed the broken arm and snapped it downwards, back into place. Mana surged and she watched through her sphere as the bleeding slowly stopped, the tissue reforming. It wouldn’t be quick enough to heal a fatal wound in the midst of battle but it was better than most had. They kept staring at each other. She took a step closer, their eyes mere inches from each other as Ilea spoke with a calm voice, “Now if you ever call me a whore again. I will rip off your head with my bare hands and feed it to the nearest animal.”
“Did you get me?” Ilea insisted.
He broke eye contact and nodded lightly. “I asked if you understood what I said, Seviir.”
He gulped, “I understand human.”
“Good.” She said and smiled, “Now Terok I think you mentioned a bout?”
She heard him swallow, “I’m not so sure about that lassie. You seem a little. Aggravated.”
“Teeny tiny bit.” He added, gesturing with two fingers held close together.
“Come on, don’t be a wuss. Show me what you got.” She said, cracking her fists. “You three go back to hunting, plenty of knights to go. Get out some of that steam Goldie, before you slaughter some weak humans like your worthless southern peers.”
The elf hissed and vanished, appearing on a nearby roof before he went further. Neiphato looked at her with apologetic eyesand then towards Goldie, disappearing as well. “He cares too much.” Heranuur said, “Know that not all of us would kill humans for fun.”
“I’m well aware of that Hera. Now go, before he kills himself against ten of them.”
“Thank you. For letting him live… once again.” The elf said, touching her shoulder before he vanished too.
Terok looked unsure as he looked at the back of the elf, quickly moving over the roofs. “Don’t worry, you’ll get your experience. I doubt they’ll kill one in less than thirty minutes.”
He nodded, “Sure sure. He respects you you know. Seviir that is, the others I don’t know. Heranuur likes you and Neiph is scared shitless.”
“Calling me a whore and challenging me? As well as striking me immediately with intent to kill.” Ilea said, shaking her head while she took a couple steps away from him and towards the center of the square.
The dwarf caught on and positioned himself accordingly. Touching his suit’s neck, he spoke, “What’s with that? Did he actually manage to injure you?”
Ilea noticed then that her hand was resting on her helmet, near her throat. “It’s nothing.” She said, her hand moving down again.
“Of course.” He nodded, “Well he’s been calling everybody names. Whore is probably one of the nicer things he uttered. It’s a respectable profession Ilea. Thought you humans were at least that far as a society.” He chuckled when she rolled her eyes, “He tried to kill Elfie several times you know, was always beaten down but it didn’t stop him. Never even admitted he was wrong or apologized. Certainly was a joy to see this spectacle.” He opened his arms wide.
“Elfie let him do that?” She was surprised. He wasn’t as aggressive as Goldie but he didn’t strike her as a pushover either, certainly more irascible than herself.
The dwarf laughed, “Well let’s say Goldie was quite a bit closer to death than anytime during our dungeon runs or against the knights. Was pretty sure he was dead at least twice. Those curses are fucking nasty Ilea. You shouldn’t mess with those.”
“Seen worse.” She simply said. “Now show me something cool robot dwarf.”