Chapter 314 Worthy Opponents
Ilea checked the plethora of messages she had received during the battle in Lisburg. Most of them were kill notifications, the highest level being a 261 mage.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Spearmaster – lvl 151 / Iron Defender – lvl 138]
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Soul of Fire – lvl 189 / Sharpshooter – lvl 172]
‘ding’ ‘Blood Magic Resistance reaches lvl 15’
‘ding’ ‘Dark Magic Resistance reaches lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘You have learned the General skill: Stamina Drain Resistance’
‘Stamina Drain Resistance – lvl 1
The more rarely used drain magic focused on Stamina. Its effects are not as immediately noticeable as Health or Mana drain skills but the end result is just as devastating. You have leaned to resist such spells to an extent.’
For all the death and chaos, the yield was certainly lackluster. At least the new resistance boosted her resilience thanks to Avatar of Ash. Probably the biggest change. The three were quiet as they flew towards Hallowfort. Ilea had Terok hold onto her back to allow for a faster flight. It was luckily dark enough already, no arcane storms active anymore. Maro could nearly keep up with her, the added weight of Terok making little difference.
“What was that mist accruing all over the place?” Maro asked when they entered the caves above the town.
“Miststalkers. Can’t kill them yet… well actually. I should probably try again at some point, with all the changes. They drain mana and health, use mist magic when you’re closer so I suggest staying away.”
“Interesting. Yea without a healer even I don’t want to try drain monsters. The benefits usually come with a somewhat lacking defense so you should definitely face them again.” Maro explained. “If you’re looking to fight more monsters that is.”
Ilea didn’t reply, listening instead to the noises coming from the caves around. “Dead.” Maro said after they found the destroyed gate and went inside.
“Sounds like it’s already over.” Terok said, the trio appearing in the crystal lit caves where both the Descent as well as Hallowfort lay. Smoke was rising from the town. Various buildings covered in flames. The bridge had been cut, likely not stopping many of the attackers. They landed on the statue holding the settlement, bones piling up as Maro moved them from his ring to the ground, the wet sounds of corpses landing on stone as Ilea looked over annoyed.
There was blood everywhere, Maro simply adding to the massacre. Dark ones as well as Feynor. Ilea moved a big body to the side, the thick armor punctured in at least fifty places, head dented in. Fuckers. She grabbed the heavy hammer and stored it in her necklace. The thing now manageable compared to last time she had lifted it. May you find peace. She thought and moved on, the two behind her following slowly, more and more of the corpses standing up. “Maro don’t use the dark ones.”
She found an injured one holding a wound on his belly when she reached the square where the Hunter’s Den was located. Crouching down, she healed the wolf like creature, “The Feynor. Where are they? Where are the survivors? Injured?”
He winced, barely conscious as he coughed up blood, Ilea’s healing moving quickly to stitch up the cuts, regenerate the lost arm. “The Abyss… we… are to gather… there. Should an attack… happen… barricade it. Came from… below.” She nodded, standing up as soon as he was stable, his arm recovered. “Thank… you… Warrior of Ash…,” He smiled as she nodded, blinking down the stairs and running towards the inn, Terok and Maro as well as a part of his undead moving quickly.
The inn was warded, her sphere unable to pierce the walls and her blink unable to bring her inside. Instead, she simply kicked in the doors, three dark ones holding them closed were flung backwards as she stepped inside. Lightning smashed into her chest as she moved in, her steps slowed by dark magic wrapping around her legs before she heard Haiden’s voice from further back, “Hold! She is no enemy!”
The spells stopped, the mages looking at her and then Haiden, confused. “Do you have healers?” Ilea asked, blinking to the cat who was wearing light armor for once, head covered in dark steel. “Where are the Feynor?” Dozens of Dark Ones looked at the newcomers with fear and confusion, some with weapons unsheathed, hammers and spears in hand. Others tried to get closer to the walls.
“The injured are in a back room. The city is cleared, the attackers were more numerous coming from the Abyss. Catelyn went down there an hour ago.” He informed her quickly, moving to the room as Ilea followed.
“You two, go help the fox.”
Terok motioned to Maro and the two rushed down towards the Descent, dozens of dead Feynor and skeletons following the necromancer, some of the Dark Ones nearly attacking the former before others stopped them. Ilea blinked into the room as soon as it had reached her sphere’s influence. Since when am I so squeamish. She was appalled by the smell, the sounds, the overwhelming scent of iron, wetness of blood on the floor. A single healer was there as well, a dark one with reddened eyes, tears still rolling down their cheeks as it moved from person to person, sending whatever little mana they had to stabilize the dozens of heavily injured.
Ilea’s ashen limbs moved through the groups, checking on each as she determined the most important to treat. Worse than I thought. She started with those about to die, her mana quickly rushing into them, focusing only to treat the worst of wounds before moving on to the next. Their health would recover on its own, given enough time but broken bones, open cuts, infections as well as fevers and coughs would slow it down, even make it impossible to recover at all.
The battles had been recent, meaning she could take care of missing limbs, ears, eyes or other body parts as well. The lacking knowledge on most of their anatomy had her use the reconstruction skill without advanced methods like she could on herself. The rebuilding was slow, taking much more mana than her own body’s or another human’s would require. Still, together with the other healer, they quickly stabilized the group. The two worked without words, Haiden leaving again when he saw them start. The other healer was at level one twenty and after seeing her work, the being had sat down and started meditating, pulses of healing energy flowing through the room as Ilea saw the health of all recover slowly, infections taken care off and even the blood on the floor slowly evaporating.
She in turn focused on the individuals more, healing the missing limbs and taking care of the bad wounds that the pulses mostly ignored or could only start closing before they opened again. The likely sheer lack of mana and recovery the lower leveled dark one had would make this endeavor difficult anyway but she was glad she wasn’t alone. There were too many here and simply spreading out her ash and healing all of them would suck her dry damn near instantly, not that it worked at all. The control she needed for effective healing could only be delivered with her ashen limbs or by touching them with her real body.
Ten minutes later, the worst had been taken care of and Ilea started focusing on two or three people at once, regrowing limbs as they coughed and screamed. They worked in silence, the pulses vanishing after a couple minutes but starting again two or three minutes later. It likely used up more mana the more people there were. She was impressed by the number of near corpses that had been brought into the storage room.
“Good work.” She said, clasping the dark one’s shoulder as she stepped over, “Can I leave you alone for a while?”
The being looked back, eyes focused and hard before it nodded, another pulse of healing power washing through the room as if to confirm. She didn’t wait, blinking twice to reach the tunnel leading down into the city between Hallowfort and the Descent. There were dozens of warriors and mages near the entrance, poised and focused as they waited for enemies coming up. She jumped down, their eyes focused on her before she focused on the magic around her. Dead, undead, skeletons. Quickly, she sensed the trail and rushed through the darkness, seeing the dozens of Feynor corpses all around, only increasing in number the closer she got.
Some skeletons lay broken too. Soon she saw light flickering in the distance, increasing in speed and blinking before she appeared in a big hall, the heat burning down on her. Flames still clung to many of the bodies around her, others had half of their torsos rotten off. “There she is.” She heard Terok, the dwarf wincing as he lay unmoving with his back on the wall near the entrance of another tunnel.
Appearing before him, she pushed healing mana into him. “There’s still a bunch remaining. Catelyn must have run into a trap. Maro moved ahead.” Bringing him back to half health and taking care of the worst wounds, she nodded.
“Thought you could heal yourself now.” She commented.
The dwarf chuckled, “Low level skill still. Only reason I’m still alive. Now stop being sassy and go.” She nodded and rushed onward. Corpses littered the whole way and the next hall showed a similar picture. When she passed through the next hallway, she could hear fighting coming from ahead. Maro was deflecting a Feynor’s attacks, his body and arms clad in purple flame, beams shooting out that were in turn dodged by the drake like being, half his armor burnt away. Dozens of them were fighting the skeletons as well as their brethren, slain Feynor quickly standing up again to join their enemy.
The groups seemed more organized than those in Lisburg, healers as well as barrier mages present, the rest carefully moving the undead into corners, taking out Maro’s troops with efficient formations. Still he stood, pushing them back, slaying them with his own numbers rising. “Don’t interfere. Help the fox, she’s one hall ahead.” He said, no pause in his attacks and without fatigue in his voice, the Feynor he was facing hissed and appeared behind Ilea.
She simply blinked too, the glint of Maro’s beam coming at her the last thing she saw before she ran towards the Feynor guarding the entrance. Barriers were up, her ashen limbs crashing into them before she sped up and smashed her fists into them, the softened up invisible blockade shattering as her Destruction spread through it. She blinked right after, ignoring the enemies that remained. The heat increased again, Ilea starting to charge up her Heart of Cinder in addition, rushing into the flames.
Dozens of mages of warriors were positioned around a five meter tall and even longer fox clad in flame, teeth as long as her arms and roaring.
‘ding’ ‘You have heard a mighty beast’s roar. You are paralyzed for 0.5 seconds.’
She noticed the change in her body but fought against it, the moment passing before her ashen limbs spread out, shearing into the mages who already struggled against the constant fire flaring up around them. Ilea blinked through, the flames sticking to her armor of ash as she landed on one of them, the mage wrestled to the ground as her ashen limbs crashed into his shields and armor below, her fists crashing onto his helmet time and time again.
A sudden burst of ice froze her up but her legs remained wrapped around him, her ash cracking the ice in the next second before her assault continued, his shields broken through with loud cracks, helmet deformed with the first punch before a heavy projectile impacted her, sending her towards the wall. She saw someone appear next to the injured mage as she tried blinking. The spear clinging to her flared up, preventing her skill before it exploded in green shards that dug into her armor, digging in further and further as they started moving.
Ilea shed her armor, moving the shards away with her ash before a new one formed, two Feynor appearing next to her. Hear of Cinder was released, making their weapons slow down, a scythe and shining claws before she blinked again, her armor reformed. The ice mage was already standing again, Ilea reactivating her area skill as she blinked at the two. This time she ducked, avoiding another spear from the other mage, her limbs lashing out at them as they jumped away, the ice mage vanishing before she felt the air around her cool down, her ash freezing over before she blinked.
The fox released a wave of fire, clawing at the warriors that had attacked her, three more mages sending their magic into them, another two spreading their magic outwards around the group. Ilea saw it in her sphere but couldn’t see the effect before entering the area. Curses as well as a mana and stamina drain. She pushed on, the barriers stopping her ash as she formed lances, charging up Absolute Destruction while her limbs weakened the mana intrusion defense.
She heard the ice mage scream, ripping away the deformed helmet before his wounds slowly recovered, another Feynor touching him with a hand, hard eyes looking at Ilea. “Leave and live!” She shouted, her fist charging up as she stood unmoving behind the barrier, the mages focusing on the fox.
Ilea unleashed her punch, blue magic flowing through the barrier, a loud crash resounding before she blinked, spells rushing past behind her as she slammed into their healer, ashen limbs whirling around as they tried to pierce and slash into the mages that vanished or jumped away, raising their shields before her lances rushed at them. Two avoided the black missiles but one was pierced, having concentrated too much on the limbs coming for him. The lance was stopped by his bones but still sent him sprawling as Ilea pumped her destructive mana into the healer below her.
[Warrior – lvl 305]
Several thoughts flashed through her at once when she saw the scythe wielder appear behind her, fire burning over them all in the instant after. Ilea’s armor barely moved but the scythe wielding warrior had buckled over, screaming before his armor started melting. The Feynor she held down was burning too, his scales melting but reforming quickly before she smashed her fist down, health sacrificed before eight hundred mana spread into him. Her position now hidden by the continuous stream of fire from the fox allowed her limbs to cut into the one below her.
She focused on his neck, cutting in again and again before she saw his spine, her ash glancing off, unable to get through. Her punches sent more and more destructive mana into him while her reverse Reconstruction worked against his recovery. The Feynor was certainly on her level when it came to regenerating his own wounds but hadn’t shown an instant heal like she could manage with her third tier. Her Meditation was working hard to recover her mana but she was already using way too much. His resistance against the flames seemed high too, the scythe wielder having vanished out of the fire already, his back melted and his screams still resounding from somewhere to the side.
Sacrificing health again, her fist slammed down, Heart of Cinder releasing just as it started to damage her. The metal was now washed away, half of the warrior gone, his brain exposed as her ashen limbs cut into it. His bones were still undamaged but she didn’t stop, her damage overwhelming before the ding resounded in her mind. The flames around her turned and moved towards the screaming warrior, her body suddenly freezing up entirely, icicles forming on her ash before she blinked away, appearing next to the Feynor struggling to rip out her ashen lance.
Ilea’s mana was down to half, her mind pushing the lance further into his wound as he screamed, his magic identified as the cursing and drain kind. He added health drain to the mix when she moved closer, the ice on her ash cracking before she dodged a spear flying at her. The thing exploded when it passed, sending black and green shrapnel into her armor, digging into it as her limbs added shallow cuts into the curse mage, denting his armor as she pushed him back.
The fox roared behind her, the shrapnel reaching her skin before they exploded once again, ripping into her flesh as one of them appeared behind her, Ilea turning to face the warrior as his claws ripped into her flesh and ash alike.
[Warrior – lvl 310]
His helmet had been melted onto his face, blinding him entirely. The rest of his body was steaming, half molten and black but the attacks weren’t any less powerful. Still, her wounds were recovering quickly, her ash reforming as she focused on deflecting his claws and continuing her assault onto the curse mage behind her. Ilea’s movements were slow, allowing for meditation in between strikes. When she finally grabbed onto the warrior’s hands, she moved him towards the oncoming spear, seeing the projectile stop an instant later.
Fire rushed over the three of them as she heard the fox roar. The scythe wielder moved in and dug his weapon into the monster’s leg, the flames moving up and away from her enemies. She watched the claw warrior scream through his molten skin and steel as he moved apart her arms, kicking her in the stomach and sending her back, his arms free again. Two thousand mana left. She thought, her armor reforming before shards of ice crashed into both her and the fox. When another lance rushed at her, a purple beam intercepted it, sending it crashing into a nearby wall before skeletons rushed in, cut apart by scythes and claws. She stepped towards Maro and the fox too moved closer, the heat setting his shield and her armor aflame, neither inhibited as her limbs reached the two, quickly healing their injuries. “Their healer is down.” She said, grinning as her own ashen lance slammed into an incoming metal one sent by their highest level mage, his armor black and undamaged.