Chapter 308 Mansion of Bones
The two walked in silence for a while before Maro made a delighted noise, stepping over and into a store Ilea identified as a wine seller. The inside had walls lined with bottles but she could tell by the smells alone that this wasn’t exactly what the king had been looking for.
He stood near one of the displays, looking dejected as he held one of the bottles. “I thought with the name remaining that maybe some of the wine had too.”
Ilea chuckled, “Well there are some bottles left in Tremor, not sure how many Terok drank already.” She added the second part a little more quietly.
“It’s not really about the wine.” He said, more to himself as they stepped out again, ignoring the shopkeeper’s attempts to sell the dubious potions. The streets weren’t cobbled, instead dirt or wood covering the obviously worn sections connecting the buildings varying in design as much as those back in Hallowfort.
Coming out on a square, the two walked towards the railings and found a view overlooking nearly the whole of the cave. Much of the city had remained, ruins now or repurposed as well as integrated into the new homes and dwellings of the various dark ones living here. There were hills too, covered in green but the plants didn’t look like vines to her. Still, coupled with the serene beauty from the stones and crystals shining in their various hues, she could understand why the king had liked it so much here.
“You know. Even warped as it is, I hadn’t dreamed of it to retain any of its beauty.” Maro said after a while.
“Not overrun by fucked up creatures like Tremor? I can see that.” Ilea said as they sat. She summoned two meals, handing one to the king of Rhyvor.
When they were done eating, Ilea stood up and stretched, “So.” She said afterwards, “Where do you think that key would be? If it remained at all.”
He smiled, “Gadrian had a massive mansion. If the geography didn’t change it should be near the back end of the cave.”
“Then let’s see what remains.” Ilea said and smiled, lending him a hand to get up. He laughed and took it.
The two of them flew over the city, the only notable thing they spotted being an arena that according to Maro hadn’t been there before. “We could have our bout there.” He suggested when they landed near the open gravel road leading to the mansion on the distant hill.
“Yea if you want to destroy the whole thing.” Ilea replied with a smile.
He waved her off, “You think too little of the dark ones. Their buildings might not look conventional but they’re sturdy. More so than most cheaply made houses in most human cities.”
“I know. Most of them build their homes themselves. Doesn’t mean they’re more sturdy than what a professional builder or architect can make. Heart isn’t going to save a house from a flood.”
The king chuckled, “Well I suppose it would be true if builders actually cared about their work. Where you’re from, didn’t people and cities just decide on cheap solutions making the whole thing badly constructed?”
Ilea pointed at him while they walked, “Don’t bring my world into this. There’s magic here, it should be much simpler to build a sturdy home.”
“Well if all it has to hold against is rain and snow then I doubt there are any issues either. Wait.” He said and held up a hand, “I can sense an aura of death coming from this place.” Maro said.
She looked around, noticing only now that the whole area seemed deserted. Not just void of people but plants and insects. It was utterly and completely silent. “I guess you have a point. Doesn’t mean we didn’t have wars among ourselves. Plenty of destructive potential there. Natural disasters were a thing too. What are you sensing? Monsters nearby?”
He kept walking, “No. Just a feeling. With how long you’ve been here in Elos, I think you know too that magic doesn’t just solve everything. I would prefer a lack of monsters and magic to what we have here.”
Ilea stayed silent. She didn’t agree for various reasons that she kept to herself. Earth still had monsters, just ones disguised as other things or people themselves.
“You disagree?” Maro asked when they reached the courtyard. The silence persisted.
He walked up to the doors and knocked, “Why? Humans the only species, no monsters. I bet millions were living a wonderful life, filled with joy and riches most in Elos could only dream of. Not having to hide behind walls, not having to fight against beasts. Knowing that without levels people were the same. Of course wealth and influence remains but in the end I can’t see it being worse than here.”
Ilea shrugged. She didn’t know what to tell him and was happy that the doors opened a moment later, stopping their conversation. She felt the mana around her fluctuate but didn’t let herself react in any way. Enchantments? She wasn’t sure, her arcane sight through her sphere still new to her.
A man looking almost human bowed to them, dressed in a black suit that was torn in more than one place. His eyes moved weirdly from side to side, as if they were marbles placed in a doll’s head. Jewelry? Ilea asked herself when he spoke.
“Welcome, travelers, guests. Visitors are so very rare these… days. Why not come in and join the lord on his banquet. It is almost time for… dinner.” The words came out without his mouth moving. Ilea rolled her eyes and looked at Maro.
The king wasn’t wearing his helmet, instead smiling brightly as he bowed back, “We would be happy to accept such a generous invitation. Much have we heard of the lord’s prowess.” He didn’t even glance at Ilea before he stepped inside, herself close behind.
[Human – lvl 30]
She identified the butler and had to roll her eyes again. What the fuck is going on here. Ilea assumed Maro had an idea, which is why he had accepted the invitation. So it’s an illusion or something? I doubt anybody would be identified like that. That guy is dead. She looked at the creature walking in front of them, leading the two through the dark mansion and up a flight of beautiful stairs. Her sphere again flickered, Ilea nearly staggering as she saw the bones and rotten meat around her. The most irritating thing was that she didn’t smell any of it.
A fire was burning in the hearth of the big hall, a long beautiful table had been set with various foods displayed. A big glass chandelier hung above, candles bathing the room in a warm light as they approached. The human moved a chair and Maro sat down without a care in the world. Is he somehow influenced by a spell? I won’t believe it. Guess I’ll go with the flow for now.
Ilea too sat down. At the head of the table, a figure wreathed in darkness appeared.
[The Undying Lord – lvl ???]
She glanced at it and watched Maro lightly incline his head. “Necromancer… and a healer. How amusing.” The voice spoke directly into her head. “Have you come here to die?”
“We haven’t come to fight you. Spirit of Death.” Maro said. A hiss resounded from the dark figure, its features entirely hidden.
“It is not your choice to make, human. Those walking into my halls willingly or not, are mine to feed upon.” It said. Ilea was getting tired of listening when Maro grasped her hand and squeezed lightly.
“My Lord. Before we are to die, may I tell you about a man I once knew? He was the owner of this very mansion. The one who had it built even.”
The dark figure moved forward a little, hands of bone moving out of the shadows. “Is that why you have come? Yes… I remember him, vaguely. A long time has it been. I had been young then, powerless and wild. A land torn by war yet governed by humans such as yourself. Gadrian was his name was it not?” Ilea saw Maro gulp at the mention of the name. “A formidable mage, despite his injuries and the battles he had fought. His death was quick if you cared to know. His remains rot in the cellar to this day.”
The wood of the table and floor cracked when Maro’s teeth ground against each other, a burst of deathly mana washing over her.
Maro sighed, “He… he was a good friend. One of the few that had remained to the very end. Gadrian loved this town, loved the quiet. This mansion was built to capture the best view of the sunset, did you know that?”
A hollow chuckle came from the being, “A tragic story then, that such town would fall to monsters, would vanish into the earth, the very suns unable to reach it anymore.”
“Perhaps. I do believe Gadrian lived his life to the fullest. If either one of us was truly fulfilled, it was him.” Maro said and shook his head.
“Is it revenge then that you seek?” It asked, the tone casual.
Maro tapped onto the table with one finger, “I don’t know. I guess I wanted to see Lisburg again, find out what had happened to Gadrian. It has been so long in this world since I sealed myself away, one way or another he would have passed. To learn about his demise, to find the one who killed him even. It is more than I had expected to find here.” He sounded almost defeated Ilea noted, unsure about how he felt about all this.
“Know that it was not malice but simply my very nature that had me kill, makes me kill to this very day. You, one of death would surely understand.” The being said. “Are you here to die then?” It asked again.
Maro stopped his tapping and stood up, “No. I don’t know what I expected to find, stepping into the domain of a spirit of death. I’m sorry but we’re not here to die.”
The doors swung closed before the room turned from the nicely furnished and clean hall to one of death and blood. Bones littered the wooden floors, rot and blood coloring the walls. Ilea pushed the plate of meat a little further away when the spell was lifted. She moved her head over the chair’s side and puked up the food she had eaten just an hour ago. Maro’s helmet was back on his head as the being stood up, black mist lifted to reveal the skeleton protecting a black ethereal form within.
It was two meters in height, the bone grown out enough to form suitable armor, nearly creating something akin to a full plate suit. “This mansion. Has been one with death for millennia. Those seeking it come here. Rarely do I stray. Know that it is an honor to bring one as old as yourself to rest.” A beam of black energy slammed into a shield of the same color thrown up by Maro. Ilea summoned a flask of water and cleaned out the taste from her mouth, more used to the scene around her.
“Why do you resist? All the rare humans meeting my path have acted the same way. Clinging to life with all they have. Let go and rest. You already feel my power Necromancer. Though impressive, you cannot stand against me.” The beam turned purple, as did the shield. Maro seemed unimpressed as Ilea moved the chair back and stood up, cleaning off her legs and ass from the filth on the chair.
“You should really clean up a little better.” She said to the butler standing to the side unmoving.
“I have not come alone.” Maro said. “Ilea, I know you have done a lot for me. This I ask you for both myself and the thousands that have died to this creature. I’ll invite you to dinner once it’s over.”
She looked at him and frowned. “Just brought me here because of this?” He smiled, an apologetic look on his face as she sighed.
The beam stopped, “A healer will not stand against me. You have known this futile when you stepped into this mansion Necromancer.” It moved its hand towards Ilea before a beam of purple energy smashed into her.
She simply stood, her leather armor rotten through in a mere instant before her skin started to melt. Her armor of ash formed as she spread her arms, intercepting the beam to allow her chest to be covered by ash too. The wounds reformed quickly as the death magic burned into her ash, moving incredibly slow through the element. When it stopped, her armor simply reformed, her skin healed already. “Ash?” The being asked.
“Yes exactly that.” Ilea said, her chest heating up slowly as lances formed around her. She jumped onto the table as her ashen limbs formed behind her. “You have lost murder privileges death sprite.”
“So bold. Come then human. Perhaps you will be the second one in this month to escape with their life.”
Ilea raised an eyebrow and watched the bones around her move to form weirdly proportioned warriors, claws and weapons of bone as they quickly rushed at both her and Maro behind his shield. She appeared in front of the creature only to be engulfed by a massive beam of purple light. The energy shaved into her defenses but she simply pushed on against it, blinking again a moment later before her fist smashed into the lord’s leg. Her mana flashed into him as he screamed in pain, vanishing before he appeared once again floating in the middle of the hall.
The skeletons around her rushed in, stopped by the ash that formed around her. The lances, having reached peak density were fired at the dark mage, impacting its bones with a loud shattering noise. The bone won out. Ilea spread her wings before the creatures broke through her ash, flying up and towards the mage.
“Will this be the one?” It asked, excitement flowing into its voice as another beam enveloped hear, Ilea simply pushing through as the death magic intensified, slowly getting through her ash before she reached him again. His hands rushed out with lightning fast speed, making her blink away to avoid the grab. She appeared with a skull in front of her, his hands again grasping at her. This time they found purchase. Ilea smiled as it tried to squeeze her very bones, one of his hands around her arm and the other clawing into her chest.
Her healing mana flowed into him and her ashen limbs smashed into his head to deliver more damage. She held her fist close to herself as she charged up Absolute Destruction, counting the seconds. When she felt his attack coming through her third tier Azarinth Fighting ability, she simply continued. Her heart suddenly quivered, pulses of death mana directly flowing into it and exploding. The skeleton in front of her showed no emotions and after the fifth pulse, her heart exploded.
It paused but when her assault didn’t stop, the being moved on to her brain. It was then that Ilea sacrificed five hundred health and punched its chest with a ten second charge of her mana intrusion ability. Blue energy was visible as it flowed through the bone and into the black mist below. The death spirit screeched, writhing in pain as it tried to get away from Ilea who was now the one holding onto his hands. Her grin was wide as her heart reformed in an instant, another chunk of mana sacrificed.
I have more still than I expected. Another attack was already charging up as she stopped the assault from her ashen limbs.
“Marvelous… the Azarinth.” It said, the dark form within it writhing as blue lines burnt up more and more of it, her reversed Sentinel Reconstruction continuing to push mana into him. She noticed the being wasn’t floating on its own anymore, her strength and wings keeping it in the air as the skeletons on the floor looked up, some smashing into the shield of an unconcerned Maro.
“What do you know of the Azarinth?” She asked but the being simply exploded in purple light, a flash of magic burning a part of her armor before she too released her area attack to prevent it getting her health down. Fire erupted, cinders dancing over the skeleton, half of the black mist withing turned to ash. Feeling another attack coming, Ilea punched and released the charged up attack.
“I thank thee, for granting death.” The blue lines became bigger before the rest of the black mist evaporated, the skeleton sagging down to the ground immediately.
She held onto it, watching all the other skeletons collapse. The butler too fell down, head rolling away from his torso. Ilea hoped he was fine.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [The Undying Lord – lvl 540] – For defeating an enemy two hundred and thirty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘The Azarinth Sentinel has reached lvl 303 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Kin of Ash has reached lvl 302 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Absolute Destruction reaches 3rd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 3rd lvl 2’
‘ding’ ‘Armor of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 9’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘Death Magic Resistance reaches lvl 12’
She slowly landed, placing the massive pile of bones onto the table. Basically a single piece of bone. Hey I leveled.
“You got the whole kill. Good.” Maro smiled as he stepped towards one of the fallen bone piles. “Thank you Ilea.”