Chapter 303 Missing Pieces
Ilea found her own head where she had left it. “At least none of those void fuckers found the snack I left behind.” She said, stopping a couple steps off from what was undoubtedly her own head. Feeling her heart rate quicken, she started meditating, forcing herself to blink a moment later. The blood had dried, her eyes lifeless and mouth slightly open. She knelt down, reaching out with her hand but hesitating. The armor on her arm moved back when she touched her own face, closing the eyes a moment later.
Is it still me? Or did I die here and my healing created a clone? “That’s not a road to go down on Ilea.” She said to the empty room, sighing a moment later. When I lost my head, my awareness split. I chose the body. I didn’t die. Her chest was heating up as she held the head in her hands, looking at it as the ground got scorched, the hair on the head catching fire. Ilea shut down her sphere and closed her eyes, touching the forehead with her own. Half a minute passed before a rush of heat extended from her, the rush of heat and sound the only thing she noticed.
When she opened her eyes again, Ilea was happy to find the head gone. Only ash remaining that fell to the floor. She attributed the lack of resistance to the fact that it was simply cut off tissue and bone, not connected to her mana anymore. Glad that’s gone. She reached out with her ash and ember unity, feeling the remaining ash. Still warm. She noted and focused on it. Perhaps it was her unity or True Ash Creation but Ilea knew then that she could banish the ash, turn it back into mana itself. Not for herself to use but simply to give it back to nature.
Her eyes closed again and after a brief moment, there was nothing left of what she had lost here. The sound of steps resounded nearby, the familiar tapping of steel on stone. Ilea knew there had been a knight remaining nearby, had known it even the week before. Still she had avoided the area. Now that she reached her goal, had found new strength, Ilea was confident to return. Knew that she would not be deterred or chased away by the monsters lurking in the dark.
She watched in silence as the monster turned the corner, seeing her in the small black crater, nothing remaining of the rotten and ancient house that once stood where she stood now. Only a woman remained, clad in a writhing armor of ash. Eight limbs grew from her back, as if conjured from the air itself. She prepared herself, cold eyes focused on the white and dead ones of her enemy. The knight jumped. Waiting for the last moment, Ilea stepped a little to the side, letting the blade cut into her shoulder.
The weapon dug into her ash with a dull loud sound, as if it had hit brittle stone. She didn’t take her eyes off him, using her hand to push on the blade as it glided out of her armor. Perhaps if he had used a sharpened blade, the knight would have reached her skin. As it was, the armor reformed quickly as her own strength fought that of the knight. Ilea had to admit that the monster was stronger. Still, the blade slid out and her ashen limbs crashed into him. Storm of Cinders. Ilea watched as blazing heat rushed over the creature, embers lighting up the darkness, flames burning past. Its skin was singed, armor scratched, two limbs piercing even.
Her fist rushed out, ignoring the knight doing the same. Hers landed first, blue energy erupting from the impact as her mana sought his very core, shattering his insides. The counterattack crashed into her chest but her armor held, her body uninjured. Ilea still held onto the sword, the knight frantically ripping it free after several failed attempts. The blade flashed, Ilea lifting her arm to deflect it over herself, another strike sending both embers and destructive healing mana into the once proudknight of Rhyvor. Her ashen limbs switched to mana intrusion as well while her chest started heating up. Two more hits landed, the knight’s sword smashing into her side. This time she felt some damage but nothing serious, the injury already healed when he prepared for the next attack. The heat from within her was released, coupled with a strike from all eight limbs. The monster staggered and jumped back but Ilea simply appeared right in front of it. Her fist clad in hardened ash smashed into his armored chest, mana flowing into him as he was pushed back.
The blade moved but Ilea was too close, her left hand hitting his forearm to stop the blow before it even came. Her other hand rushed out, fingers grabbing onto his helmet by thesockets for his eyes. She held onto his sword hand, struggling to keep him from attacking as her ashen limbs cut into his neck. Again and again the knight punched her with his free arm, trying to release her hold but failing to do so. Finally he managed to rip away his right hand, slashing at her neck with his sword. Ash formed around her arm as she held it up, intercepting the blows time and time again.
With a wet sound, her ashen limbs cut through, piercing the steel mail and ripping through the chain links below. Ilea whipped her hand to the side, the blade stuck in her ash was flung to the ground, steel clattering on stone as she kicked the knight’s body away from under his head. She held on to the helmet, dead eyes below still staring at her. “That’s how it feels. Fuck you too.”
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Undead Rose Knight – lvl 510] – For defeating an enemy two hundred and ten or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
Ilea breathed out slowly, feeling the power coursing through her body. The last punches had managed to deal some damage. Her arm had been injured by the sword but with every passing second her healing mended the tissue.
The head was tossed towards the body, Ilea turning around as her wings spread behind her. Now to get back that leg.
Her assumption that Terok had found and taken the leg as well as the valuable steel still wrapped around it had been wrong. It was lying there, untouched, a dozen meters away from the Kingsguard guarding the entrance to the palace. Ilea frowned, somehow more annoyed at that fact. The sun felt nice, she noted, taking a moment to appreciate how far she had come. The knight before her had been too much to engage, had cut through her armor with ease. Now she felt like she at least had a shot.
Still two third tier skill points. Both were kept for now, to gauge the skill changes and what would be worth to advance. If Maro was to be believed, she would gain another third tier point for every ten levels after three hundred, meaning if she continued to engage ridiculously higher leveled beings, she’d get there in reasonable time. At least if the experience necessary didn’t go up by just as ridiculous amounts. Few would be the humans to have reached these levels and Ilea assumed most of them did it over decades or even centuries, not in the span of two or three years.
Why bother if you’re already set for damn near eternal life at two hundred? There were various reasons of course but extending political power needed time and effort as well. Even an organization like the Golden Lily, shrouded in mystery, Ilea doubted to have more than a handful people at her level. Catelyn had confirmed at least that they do have people over three hundred. She could activate her third tier blink anytime, return to her house, to Ravenhall. She could join the war, help tip the balance for the side she preferred. She could go look for the Lily, find those responsible.
“The Azarinth Sentinel, returning from the ashes to deliver justice.” She said in a mocking tone, “Doesn’t that sound fucking stupid.” Ash formed around her, covering her body before it closed around her head, two black horns extending near her temples. No, there are still things to do here. Things to kill.
Ilea jumped down, walking casually towards the knight, his armor glistened in the sunlight, sword sharp and brandished. Let’s see how much damage you do this time. As soon as he spotted her, the blade flashed. A horizontal strike aimed at her chest. Ilea saw the invisible force moving in her sphere, a blade of magic itself. She saw the damage before it hit, a big grin on her face before the force crashed into her. Ilea was pushed back half a meter, the armor on her chest cut, blood showing for a split second before it closed again, the shallow wound healing in mere seconds.
“Not so easy this time.” She said, four lances of ash forming over her. Let’s see if it even does anything. Damage buffs apply, toughness and density buffs apply. I don’t see why they shouldn’t pack a punch even against this guy. The knight seemed to evaluate her as he stepped forward. His blade moved through the air, two quick motions. Ilea saw the attacks coming in her sphere. Very quickly but nothing she couldn’t handle anymore. She appeared several meters to her left, the lances reaching the optimal density and form where they had floated before.
Ilea let her intent be known, the ash following her wishes. Fourblack sharpened lances rushed towards the knight, coming from an elevated position not to alert more of the kingsguard in the palace itself. She was amazed to see the knight actually dodged three of them, deflecting the last one with his greatsword. Three cut into the stone ground, sending some rubble flying. The deflected one crashed sideways into an extension of the massive structure, getting stuck in the side of it.
“Okay, this is already getting boring. Let’s get close and personal.” Ilea sacrificed three hundred health, feeling the power of her auras rushing through her veins. Two steps and then she vanished, an invisible blade rushing past. She dashed to the side when the knight slashed at her from a couple meters away. Ash started forming around her, her limbs poised and ready to strike just as she was. Ilea started storing heat while continuing to sacrifice mana into her third tier Azarinth Awakening.
Dodging another blade by jumping and twisting her body mid air, Ilea reached the enemy. Her limbs rushed out, two small spikes of ash she had formed flying in from the side. To her surprise, the kingsguard jumped back, starting to run as she followed, his sword slashing her way time and time again as she avoided the blades of mana. Twice they grazed her, the ash quickly reforming, once an attack landed on her leg but her damage foresight told her what she needed to know.
Her armor was cut, a wound on her leg forming that quickly closed again, neither interrupting her pursuit nor stopping her from forming additional lances as well as smaller projectiles in the air around her, the ash moving with her as well as it could, not profiting from her auras’ speed boost but being dragged along by her unity and creation skills. The knight rushed through the streets of Tremor, jumping into houses and through walls to avoid the spears and spikes as well as the woman herself.
Ilea decided to blink, closing the distance immediately. To her surprise, the knight had turned, sword already rushing at her. Unavoidable. In the split second she had, her body twisted a little to the side, her limbs and her right arm lashing out to use the undead’s strike to her advantage. Activating her Heart of Cinder, the fire swept through the knight and the house, his blade slowed ever so slightly as the heat washed over his armor, singing and crashing through the stone around them before Ilea’s attacks hit too.
The sword had cut into her shoulder, had managed to penetrate to her skin before the knight let loose his ranged attack, blade still stuck in her. This time it cut halfway to her bone, Ilea’s own attack sending mana into the creature in turn. The remaining projectiles slammed into his face, turning his head to the side. His free hand lashed out at her own head but Ilea stayed unmoving, taking the force before healing her lightly bruised face.
The knight jumped back, sword ripping out of her shoulder as the armor closed, wound quickly thereafter. Blood dripped from his blade as Ilea continued her attack. The knight was a triple mark but neither speed nor skill separated him much from the undead she had faced earlier. It had magic and certainly more brains as well as a complete armor and healing support from Maro. The sharp weapon didn’t detract either, Ilea’s defenses definitely more durable against the dull blades of the crazy knights.
She could see it too now, the connection the knight had to the palace, to the king and his unholy necromanticmachine. It pulsed with power, mana flowing along the thin invisible strand. I wonder if one could cut it. With a suitable attack. Ilea slashed one of her ashen limbs through it but found it simply moving aside. After five minutes of the same pursuit and rare hits, she instead grabbed onto his blade once it had cut into her.
Ilea charged up her Absolute Destruction as well as pumping destructive mana into him, surprised to find the knight immediately letting go of his weapon and jumping back. “Really?” She asked, ripping the blade out of her side before her skin and ash closed quickly. Trying to store the blade in her necklace failed, not that she had suspected a different result. Feeling a strong pull on the weapon, she resisted, instead jumping at the knight blade in hand. Ilea had no intention of using the weapon but as long as it was in her hand, all he had were his fists.
When she reached him, her fist smashed into his chest, her ashen limbs delivering their Storm of Cinders into him. The blade was ripped from her hand, turning in mid air before he clasped it and attacked. This time she had time to dodge and continued her assault, health back to the max as she started again to sacrifice health towards her aura. When she noticed her health dropping from the heat within her, Ilea once again blinked, shifting her body ever so slightly to take the incoming blade into her arm. The blast was released in a dome of fire and cinders, the houses around them vaporized by the damage.
The silver armor on the knight was smoking, the front black in parts as the knight stumbled back with a raised arm to shield himself. His sword came free as Ilea blinked the two meter distance. Charging her Destruction for three full seconds, she released it coupled with the third tier of her Aspect of Ash. The arm covered in ashen armor suddenly exploded with fire, blue mana breakin free even before her fist landed. The impactshattered through her, the punch denting his helmet in before he was sent flying. Two times he hit the ground before skidding to a stop, Ilea landing on him with her knees next to his chest.
He raised his blade but she smashed his arm aside, her other fist crashing into the helmet time and time again, blue wisps and fiery cinders rushing out with each impact. Her limbs focused on his right arm, cutting into the armor and holding down his arm as more and more ash formed to keep him down. When he was secured, Ilea charged her Destruction for ten seconds before delivering one thousand mana directly into whatever was left of his brain. Her mana was down to three thousand at that point, all the attacks eating away at her resources faster than she liked.
The punch squashed his head, killing him and separating the connection to the center of the palace. Removing each piece of armor, she stored both the corpse and the gear in her necklace and stood up. Her mana was recovering quickly, the only reason she was so aggressive the fact that the Kingsguard had a way to heal themselves. Otherwise a slower approach would definitely be beneficial. I wonder if the others are so defensive too. Trying to run away from me while regenerating. Who does he thing he is, me?
The sword was in the best shape, not a chip showingand of rare quality. Seeing it only took up a single space in her necklace, she decided to keep it. Maybe try to put the armor in crates and see if the weight decreases. A viable option to store and carry the gear, not one to quickly getting it on.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Kingsguard – lvl 508] – For defeating an enemy two hundred or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘Absolute Destruction reaches 3rd lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Fighting reaches 3rd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Aspect of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 6’
Ilea grumbled, walking over to her stinking leg and grabbing the thing. Removing the gear itself, she stored it. Heart of Cinders charged up before she blasted the surroundings turning the rotten flesh to ash. RIP leg. Your service shall not be forgotten.