Chapter 304 Approach to Power
“Three hundred and you already took one down? Not bad Ilea.” Maro nodded, “Especially for a healer.” His grin brightened his face, green eyes sparkling.
“Suspected as much. Well I guess I’m going to be underestimated again.” Ilea said, sitting down on the chair and putting away the Kingsguard blade again after showing him. “You’re not fucking with me are you?”
[Necromancer – lvl 310]
Maro laughed, shaking his head, “No, for once I’m not. You identify as a healer. Having told me about both classes leveling I assume your first class is the healer one. If your second one gets higher you’ll be a warrior or mage again, depending on what it is.”
“Well, speaking of underestimating I have to give credit where credit is due. I thought I’d be stuck in her for a decade at least. When you talked about the Descent as well as the Taleen dungeon. Seeing your constant growth, I hoped for a couple years. To think it took less than a couple months.” He shook his head.
“And here I though I was crazy.” The king laughed and Ilea smiled, sitting in her Hand leather armor, cuts showing on her shoulder and side. Nothing that would threaten the integrity of the outfit but she would have to change it eventually.
At least I have regenerating armor now. That fight would have used up like ten sets of my usual one. Might have even cut straight through my limbs again. Even with all those bonuses. She sighed.
His eyes were focused on her, “What? Not satisfied with your growth? Even though you’re one of the youngest people I’ve met reaching three hundred? With an assortment of abilities that would actually let you advance even further?”
“No I’m definitely happy. Just a bit tired is all.” Ilea replied. She could face and kill Kingsguard that were being healed, a feat she doubted a whole human expedition would manage. Fuckers were at level five hundred after all.
“You don’t really need much sleep anymore do you? Oh… tired of all the fighting. Well I can see that. I appreciate it you know.”
Ilea smirked and leaned her head back, looking at the white marble ceiling, “Didn’t do it for you Maro. You could however have given me some info about the magic abilities they have. The one I faced sent mana waves capable of cutting through steel my way.”
“Sure, you didn’t.” He smiled, looking incredibly handsome. “As to their abilities, when I created them they didn’t have such. Capable swordsmen and women, sure. You’ll have to figure it out by yourself.”
She only watched through her sphere, not giving him the satisfaction. Neither did she react in any way. He wasn’t much of a help regarding the abilities of the Kingsguard either.
“Well we can visit Lisburg when I’m out. Catelyn told me most of the city turned dungeon is now a place where Dark Ones dwell. Fine by me, as long as there’s something to eat and drink. Some of the vineyards still remain I’m told.” He added.
“Can’t imagine a more relaxing dungeon exploration than a team with you and Terok in it.”
He snorted, “Oh stop it, you love us. Even if you hate us.”
How does that even make sense. Ilea asked herself but realized she was smiling despite his nonsense.
Sitting up again, she spoke, “You’re not going to visit Elana in Hallowfort? I’m sure she already has plans to implement you in her takeover of the world.”
His lips formed a line, eyes losing some of their joy, “She does. Which is why she’s not here and why I won’t be visiting her. At least not immediately. I declined my help. We were a good team, built a kingdom and governed more or less successfully. Decades of work and dedication. I would fight and die for Rhyvor Ilea, even today. Nearly did in the end. But this is it.”
“And here I thought a necromancer at three hundred wouldn’t need sleep either.” She said, crossing her arms.
Maro snorted, “She blames me I think.” His voice was quiet again, “For being stuck with me all this time.”
“When you were king and queen?”
“No. In here.” He said.
Ilea raised her eyebrows, “Well as far as I recall it was her choice. Or was that a lie?”
“It was her choice.”
Ilea smiled, “Oh I get it. You think she blames you for falling in love with you. Pretty insensitive, she’s been down here for decades you know, conscious at least. Maybe you just fucked up an enchantment or something.”
He laughed in turn, “I can see why you would think that. I’m a king Ilea, there’s hardly a man in a position to think higher of himself than that. Still, you don’t know her. Not like I do.”
“True. Why do you care then? She hasn’t given you much attention sine you woke up.”
He smiled, shaking his head, “Now you’re the one being insensitive. Well I can see why you dislike her. She never liked Elana either.”
Ilea cocked her head, “She?”
“Adventurer friend of old. You reminded me of her before. Now you seem quite different but there are some things that fit. A dislike for Elana being one of them. For understandable reasons.”
“You think she’s still around? Might be fun if you think she’s similar.” Ilea commented.
“She was cut apart in an inn, by a bunch of mercenaries she offended. Half drunk I was told.” Maro said.
She pointed at him, “Doesn’t sound like me then. I’m uncuttable. Did you kill the mercenaries?”
“Doubt it. She was pretty tough too. Not expecting an attack can do a number on you. No. The girl had friends all over, someone else reached them before me. Nasty scene.” His voice had turned even more quiet.
“We found him by the way. Terok found him. The knight patrolling the throne room.” Maro said suddenly. Seeing her questioning gaze, he elaborated, “My… son. Well, his body at least.”
Ilea nodded. I’ll try not to smash his face in. She didn’t voice the thought, unsure why he had even shared it in the first place. She hadn’t forgotten his plea to keep their corpses. For a funeral or additional resurrection, she didn’t know. Either way, she didn’t fear him. Hadn’t before but now she was even confident in facing him. A bunch of undead wouldn’t stop her from crushing his skull, before they could tear through her defenses. The thought felt weird. Ilea knew him, considered him a friend even. Yet she couldn’t shake the suspicion, her rational mind sure he was too smart for such a stupid move.
Sighing again, she looked through her potential third tier advancements.
“You’re in a terrific mood today.” Maro said.
She stared at him, “Be happy someone came to visit grandpa.”
Confusion was apparent on his face before he started laughing, Ilea focusing back on her skills.
‘3rd tier skill points available [The Azarinth Sentinel]: 1’
‘Skills available for third tier advancement in [The Azarinth Sentinel]:’
- Sentinel Sphere
- Azarinth Perception
- Azarinth Reversal
3rd tier skill points available [Kin of Ash]: 1
Skills available for third tier advancement in [Kin of Ash]:
- Storm of Cinders
- Avatar of Ash
- Heart of Cinder
Well… they’re all fucking amazing. Sphere and Perception would likely give some utility and Reversal might be offensive power. All are interesting. Maybe I’m wrong too. Never know what you’re going to get. Box of bloody chocolates.
For her second class Ilea too was favoring either Storm of Cinders or Heart of Cinder. Both could enhance her offensive capabilities. “Hey can you help me out? I still have my third tier points from hitting three hundred.”
“Oh? And you would honor this old king by asking his advice. Well bring it.” Maro spoke, smirking all the while.
“One is a sphere of perception around me. One increases my reflexes and perception passively and the last one lets me use my healing offensively as well as changing a mana intrusion attack I have, giving it a mana drain on hit.” She quickly explained what her three Azarinth skills did without going into their second stages.
Maro seemed to actually give it some thought. She had expected him to immediately shoot an answer, likely some kind of joke. She knew based on their previous talks that he was serious quite often but looking at his face and constant smirk, it was hard to believe those memories were real at all.
“I think all those skills sound good. You won’t know what the third tier does until you get it. Maybe you could wait a little longer? It’s not been long since you hit three hundred I assume. Get used to all the changes and then make a decision?” He suggested.
Ilea wasn’t a fan, “And then get used to even more changes? No. Look I don’t intend to stay at three hundred. Soon all of them will be in the third tier anyway. It’s just a matter of choosing best ones for now, this very moment.”
He looked at her and spoke, “Well then it just comes down to what you need. Survivability? Damage? Speed? Maneuverability? Detection? Can your reflexes keep up with all the other gains you have gotten? No? Take that one. Any reason your sphere isn’t up to the task anymore? Take that. Need a boost to your healing and the mana intrusion attack, take that one. If you’re not in need of anything specific, take the one you use the most.”
“I don’t think I’m in need of anything.” Ilea said, “I use my sphere constantly, as well as my healing and the mana intrusion.”
“Well you have eyes still, as well as your other senses. I don’t think reliance on anything like that should come first. There are spells and enchantments that can make perception skills like your a terrible experience. Trust me, happened to me once.” He said. “If the choice is between that and a boost to your healing and mana intrusion, I’d take the latter.”
Ilea nodded, “Reasonable points. Or a necromancer trying to deceive me right before he takes over the world.”
“Or that. True.” He said. “What about your second class?”
“Defensive skill boosting my body passively as well as speed and perception, mana intrusion skill… well not purely anymore and lastly an area attack that targets a sphere around me.”
Maro didn’t pause for as long this time, “In that case, can you use both mana intrusion spells at the same time?” a nod, “Then for me at least it would be clear. If you’re not in need of anything else then take the two skills possibly boosting your mana intrusion. You’ll get the combined boost of both.”
“Hey that actually makes sense. Why not. I’ll get two more again at three ten anyway.” Ilea said and used the points on the respective skills.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 3rd lvl 1’
Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 3rd lvl 1:
You have learned of Absolute Destruction and Sentinel Reconstruction. Now you will learn of their Reversal.
Upon activation, Absolute Destruction will send a part of the struck enemy’s mana into yourself. No mana will be released on impact, rendering Absolute Destruction’s offensive potential to zero.
Upon activation, Sentinel Reconstruction will send a destructive force of channeled mana into yourself or an enemy you touch, the healing aspects are reduced to zero.
2nd stage: You may have both the original and reversed aspects activated at the same time.
3rd stage: Healing, power, resilience and speed. An Azarinth Healer requires balance. Your respective Destruction and Reconstruction spells have their potency increased by a static 25% of your lowest stat. [100%]
Category: Body Enhancement
So I should invest in Endurance is what you’re telling me. Ilea looked at her ten stat points remaining and put them into Wisdom. Getting more mana she could use for anything would be the most beneficial at the moment. Especially now that she felt both her defense and offense were covered. For a while at least.
‘ding’ ‘Storm of Cinders reaches 3rd lvl 1’
Active: Storm of Cinders – 3rd lvl 1
Burn the inside of whatever your body hits with a surge of heat and embers or release the attack in a burst of fire and cinders.
2nd stage: The flame burns on. Targets hit will have fire burning through or on them. Time and consecutive attacks will increase the effect.
3rd stage: Storm of Cinders burns away all that stands against it, damaging mana intrusion capabilities of defensive enchantments, natural- as well as manufactured armor.
Category: Ashen magic
“Not bad.” She commented.
“What did you get?” Maro asked, having watched her throughout the whole process.
Ilea smiled, “I’m not telling. One was really good though.”
“You’re no fun.”
“Says the guy stuck in his bloody necromancer machine, forcing me to take care of his undead.” She said, cracking her neck.
“Nobody is forcing you Ilea. I would understand anybody unwilling to face creatures two hundred levels higher than themselves. I simply know you well enough by now to know that you welcome such a challenge.”
“Wouldn’t you?” She asked, the king giving her a somewhat complicated expression. “Oh don’t disappoint me now? With all the stories of your reckless adventures?”
“With a team of experts and friends. Prepared and knowledgeable about the foes. I don’t intend to lose limbs Ilea, even if I could recover in mere days. I know you’re powerful but don’t overestimate yourself just because you can avoid getting hit.”
Ilea walked a little closer and stared into his eyes, “Last week…,” she started but stopped. The part of her that was suspicious reminded her that sharing something like her loss of head wasn’t in her best interest. “… I can take care of myself, king.” She simply said and blinked out of the room.
Ilea decided to lure the knights out into the courtyard of the palace, as few of them as possible. Some patrolled or stood in twos, making it nearly impossible to face them one on one. The two kingsguard patrolling the halls upstairs were the first she targeted. One carrying two short broad swords, guards on his hands. The other one had a nasty halberd. Creating a tiny nail of ash, she sent it flying at the swordsman.
Right before it hit, the knight vanished, appearing instead a couple meters in front of her. She saw a pulse of mana in her sphere before his movements suddenly sped up, Ilea blinking back to avoid the attack. Something’s fucky. The other knight had of course turned as well, looking at her before the halberd was swung downwards. Ilea’s eyes widened at the storm of magic coming her way, noticeable by the destroyed tiles and ceiling even before it had reached her sphere’s range.
Blink used up, she braced herself as the full force of the attack hit her. Not just her but the swords knight too, both of them flung out through the newly created entrance. Her armor had held up, the damage quickly taken care of. Her actual body was fine, she noted. As was the knight’s apparently, the man getting up a couple meters next to her. Blinking next to him, she punched towards his head. He suddenly lit up in her sphere and rolled away, faster than he had moved before. Rushing after him, she punched again. This time she was met with a counterattack, blades moving towards her neck. Ilea ducked but the blades suddenly sped up, too quickly to blink as they crashed into her ashen helmet.
Two shallow wounds had formed on her cheeks as she jumped back. I see. This time he rushed at her and she simply focused on his torso, her chest heating up in the meantime. Ashen limbs rushed out to his sides when he reached her, Ilea’s fist going for his stomach. She ignored the blades moving in piercing motions towards her heart and belly. The knight was apparently confident enough to take the trade, Ilea moving her body slightly as the blades cut into her veil, more shallow wounds added. Her own fist landed, all her mana intrusion skills rushing into him before her ashen limbs closed around his back.
The knight removed his blades with movements far quicker than she could react, vanishing a split second later. She watched as another wave of force came her way, a cone of energy ripping open the ground. Ilea simply let it wash over her, bracing against it as she was pushed a couple meters back. Weaker the further away I am. Deal with the time mage first.
At least they didn’t work together especially well, the halberd user moving slowly and attacking from a range while the swordsman constantly pestered her. The fact that she could defend against his attacks, easily healing whatever damage he got in made the fight simple. Whenever the halberd user attacked, she actually had an opportunity to meditate. That was, if he wasn’t too close to her. She could tell the damage would be a hassle to deal with should she get hit from a couple meters away instead of the twenty so far.
Ashen limbs allowed her to force the time mage warrior to trade blows with her instead of dodging her attacks before he slashed her. When her Heart of Cinder created a heat capable of damaging her body from within, Ilea waited for the next Halberd attack. Seeing the time warrior teleport away, she found the disturbance in her sphere where he would appear and blinked. Ilea released her Heart of Cinder, the knight accelerating his movements but unable to escape the expanding sphere. The blast sent him tumbling, Ilea close behind before she grappled him.
The two crashed down as she started charging up her Absolute Destruction, unmoving as he hacked into her armor with one sword. Each strike was accelerated, hitting the same spot again and again. He was going for her heart, digging a centimeter deeper with each hit. A wave of force was on its way when Ilea’s fist smashed into his helmet, through it and through his rotten skull. A ding resounded in her mind before she blinked away, avoiding the blast.