Chapter 319 Taleen Praetorian
Seeing the others unable to respond, Ilea simply deflected the blades coming for her, the third hit cutting halfway through her armor and the fourth one penetrating. Her skin and muscles weren’t easily damaged either, blocking most of the force before the fifth hit was only stopped by her bone, her arm trying to regenerate around the blade as she tried holding on to the weapon. Maro finally separated the second leg of the scythe Praetorian, the two elves waiting to the side as they regenerated mana, Neiphato focusing solely on the crawling machine, wood corroded through as they both formed their elements of magic to fight one another.
The second scythe penetrated her stomach with the ever increasing speed and power, ripping through her armor, skin as well as organs. She smirked, blood dripping from her mouth and onto the ash covering her face. Her right arm gripped the blade and held it in with all the strength she had, her ashen limbs covering both blades as she held them back, Maro moving on to the third leg of the creature. You’re going to lose. She felt the cold of a curse spreading through her body but it was insignificant, her defenses and resistances too powerful for the effects to take hold in a meaningful way.
Six seconds she could hold onto the weapons before they were ripped out of her body, dealing just as much damage as they did when they had penetrated. Freeing up her armor near her mouth, she spat a mouthful of blood to the floor before blinking away, her injuries healing. Not as quickly as they should thanks to whatever curse was inside of her but it was manageable. “Are you ready again?! I need some time to recover mana!” She shouted, watching the creature turn before the two elves moved in again.
Meditation came on and her recovery increased, her mana down to two hundred and her health down by a couple thousand. Healing was a priority for now and she had used only her Storm of Cinders as a means of attack in the last three minutes. Still, with sixteen limbs it was quickly burning through her batteries. They wouldn’t have stood a chance. She thought, watching the elves move in. The shields were ridiculous, only Ilea and Maro combining their efforts doing enough damage to get through. And here I speculated on who would win between a Kingsguard or one of these. The elves successfully got its attention, mostly dodging as fast as they could with alternating attacks to give each other room to breathe.
“Watch out!” Terok shouted towards Neiphato, the elf focused on the corrosive mist spheres, unaware of the thrown mace flying right at him. The dwarf appeared, metal shields held forward before the weapon hit, taking both the dwarf and the elf behind him on a short flight through the throne room. They both teleported before they hit the wall, the flying weapon luckily not categorized as an enemy in contact with their bodies. Ilea kept regenerating, her wounds closing as the dwarf and elf resumed their posts, Terok’s metal and armor suit had dented inward but held up surprisingly well. Throwing a two handed mace while crawling is not the intended way of using it after all.
I’m surprised the thing even thought of doing that. Having recovered a couple hundred mana, she moved back in, focusing on distraction first and foremost, using Storm of Cinders when an opening allowed for it. Maro with his constant meditation didn’t have as much of a mana problem, both of them continuing their focused assault. Knowing that the machine built up speed if its attacks kept going, the three melee fighters teleported away whenever it started with its frenzy, quickly distracted and stopped by someone attacking from behind.
When they finally broke through the third and fourth leg of the scythe Praetorian, Ilea blinked towards Terok, the others following quickly while the Praetorian toppled over. Nobody spoke at first, Ilea breathing hard as she formed several walls of ash just in case the machines used their limited ranged capabilities. Neiphato and Maro joined them too, “I’m pretty much out. Is it safe enough to recover for a while?” Maro asked as Neiphato collapsed next to him. Slight burns from the acid but otherwise uninjured Ilea noted.
“We should fly up to make sure they can’t reach us.” Terok said, grabbing the still unconscious Elfie before hovering upwards. The rest followed suit, flying up before hovering slowly. Ilea held onto Neiphato, taking over his job of neutralizing the corrosive attacks with her creation skill. Her walls of ash moved up with her.
“Stay behind me. Take him.” She said, moving Neiphato into Heranuur’s hands with four of her ashen limbs. The scythe Praetorian threw his weapons as soon as it realized the group was unreachable with most of its legs broken and the fact that they were hovering above. Ilea’s wings spread as far as they could, the weapons cutting through her walls with ease before impacting her wings. The momentum was reduced enough to allow the others to dodge easily. The weapons rushed back to the machine before they slammed into its hands again.
“Did we win?” Terok asked, “Doesn’t look like they can do much at this point.” The machine put down one of its weapons, using both arms to throw the scythe at them.
Nicely jinxed. Ilea thought, her wings overlapping, the ash punched through before the blade slammed into her armor. The blade had a greenish glint of magic on it, cutting into her defenses and a couple centimeters into her chest. She ripped it out before it fell downwards, Ilea seeing the Praetorian spinning after having slammed the two legs into the floor for stability. The second blade was released, spinning quickly before it crashed through her reformed wings, her armor and her chest. She saw the damage it would do but nobody else could likely take the attack and live.
The blade pierced muscle and bones, finally stopped by the armor on her back, a cough filled with blood left her, the cool feeling of the curse flowing through her before she ripped out the weapon, holding it against the second blade that was coming. Most of its momentum was stopped before it slid past, crashing into the wall behind them.She sacrificed a couple hundred mana to recover instantly, “Maro it’d be helpful if you start burning down its health, I won’t be able to take this forever.”
Terok gave Elfie to Seviir and moved closer to her, a part of his armor separating and forming a shield that quickly hovered in front of her. “Might help a little.” He commented. Maro moved behind her too, his purple shield forming around the two as he continued firing his beam at the scythe wielder.
“Couldn’t you do that earlier?” She asked, ash forming to stop the corrosive mist.
Maro shrugged in the air, “You wanted to see what happened didn’t you?”The next blade hit, ripping through his barrier before penetrating Terok’s shield and slamming into her wings. The blade still got through her armor but this time it didn’t penetrate her bones. “I doubted it could throw that hard.” Maro added in a serious tone, their combined defenses not enough to prevent damage still.
What do I need to block these throws. Ilea wondered, watching the purple stream of energy flow down, the barrier and metal reformed to take the next blow, the wound healing as her mana continued to recover. She focused completely on defense now, all the ash she formed connected to her body and creating an ever growing wall. It left her somewhat immobile in the air and soon she had reached the limit of ash she could control, the scythes now barely punching through her armor after working through the thick layer coupled with Terok’s metal and Maro’s shield.
“Will they explode?” Seviir asked after a while, Neiphato awake again and adding another layer of defense to Ilea’s arsenal. She had started splitting off parts of the ash to send lances at the incoming blades as well as unshielded parts of the machine. The Praetorians tried circumventing their defenses but it simply led to the group moving together more tightly, trusting Ilea’s defensive capabilities boosted by the powerful additions.
“We’ll see.” Ilea said, the scythe throws now barely reaching her body anymore. Her focus moved to ashen lances now, a big chunk of her mana recovered as she sent the projectiles crashing into the unshielded torso of the machine. Finally, after around twenty lances, one of them penetrated. “I think we’re getting close.”
A sudden wave of mana flashed through her sphere, Ilea feeling herself being pushed back a little. The scythes had stopped, the machine now frantically moving closer to them on both legs and arms. Another wave of mana went over them. “Move away from it, steady.”
“Get behind me, as close together as you can, make whatever defenses you can.” Ilea said as they hovered through the hall, the Praetorian following. When a third massive pulse of mana reached them, the machine stopped moving and looked up. Ilea turned around, her wings spreading around the group of elves, human and dwarf. Most of Terok’s armor moved out, reforming in a dome like shield behind her back, Neiphato’s roots forming a sphere around them with Maro’s shield layered in between. Leaving the throne room was the safer bet but Elfie was still out.
A pulse of kinetic energy washed over them, cracking the pillar they floated behind, cracking the walls and the floor, the second Praetorian sent skidding as its corrosive projectiles dispersed. Ilea felt the heat behind her, saw the approaching wall of energy that burned through everything in its path. It moved slowly, almost in a crawl compared to a conventional explosion. The energy reached them, burning through the walls of ash, the wood, metal and death magic shield. Ilea smirked, looking at the half awake Elfie who held out a hand, purple veins pulsing all over his face and arms, blood seeping from every orifice on his body.
The barriers cracked and shattered, Ilea circulating healing mana through herself and all of them as the energy pushed into her. Her Ashen armor was burned through, her skin and muscles evaporating faster than the could recover it, using chunks of mana to instantly recreate what was lost. A second wave of energy came a couple seconds later, the hastily reforming defenses crashed instantly. When she was nearly out of mana, her normal healing took over. Their defenses were gone.Her bones were seared, the back half of her body pretty much gone, Ilea’s skills and classes taking over as she fell. Two soft dings resounded somewhere in her mind.
Someone caught her as her sight returned, her brain reformed before anything else, blood dripping down as her organs started recovering. The smell was overwhelming, everything had been burnt. She found herself not really caring, looking up at Maro’s face, the blood pooling below them. One of his arms was burnt to the bone, his teeth gritting against the pain. “Did… anybody… die?” Speaking was difficult she found, all the recovered mana instantly sent to reform her body.
“We’re fine. Thanks to you. Now stop speaking until you have recovered. You’re one hard nut to crack.” Maro said, purple flames going up and searing his wounds shut as he nearly buckled from the pain, still holding her.
“The gates broke!” Terok shouted, his armor mostly gone, a couple of metal lances hovering around him.
Ilea closed her eyes and focused on her healing, hearing Neiphato speak close by. “Come, it is our turn now to defend them.” Turning her head slightly, she wearily blinked open her eyes, seeing the three elves ready their weapons, burns showing all over. Taleen Guardians, some rare Centurions in their midst pooling in as a wooden barrier formed around them, Terok grunting as he dragged Elfie inside.
Maro put her down ten seconds later, the bleeding had stopped and her skin mostly reformed. Bones came from his ring as he animated the skeletons with his magic to help the others. “I’ll support you from here, mana is still rather low.” He said, Neiphato nodding as his roots continued to spread around them.
“Now let’s see who can get more.” Heranuur said, Ilea knowing that he had a stupid grin on his face. She heard the cracking of Seviir’s bones. A chilling sound, she found. Had she met the elf back in Riverwatch, him being one of the attackers.
I can see that. And yet they’re so normal. She breathed in, her chest reformed and her lungs back in working order, the partially cut rib cage as strong as before.
“You will lose.” Goldie said, the two of them running off before the dull sounds of fighting could be heard, steel and bone against metal, the impacts of projectiles on wood, ranged Guardians below level two hundred hardly a concern.
Ilea relaxed, closing her eyes again as she lied on the floor. Her body had recovered, barely a minute after half of it had been missing, no mana left and her health down to half. She smiled, Half of my body missing, half my health. Maybe that’s what the critical damage calculation bit meant. She sighed happily and checked the messages, trusting the elves as far as handling themselves against the horde of Guardians.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Taleen Praetorian – lvl 600] – For defeating an enemy two hundred and ninety or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Taleen Praetorian – lvl 600] – For defeating an enemy two hundred and ninety or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘The Azarinth Sentinel has reached lvl 305 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Kin of Ash has reached lvl 304 – Five stat points awarded’
The ten points went into Wisdom immediately. Nearly three hundred levels higher and I got one level out of it. “This three hundred business sucks.”
“Sure, if you’re in a group.” Maro said, “Glad you’re back with the living. Almost worried there, when I held the remaining half of you.” He looked down at her, his arms crossed and helmet gone. A warm smile showed on his face, covered in blood and sweat.
Sitting up, Ilea’s ashen limbs came to life behind her, reaching out towards the three nearby people, her sphere back online too now that she didn’t immediately need all the mana for her healing anymore. Maro’s arm wasn’t just burnt but damn near gone completely, insides mangled and fucked up. Nearly half of all his bones in the right part of his body were broken, some damn near pulverized. “Do you perchance have a pain reduction?”
He grinned at her, “Partially. Most do at our level Ilea. Otherwise you wouldn’t remain standing for very long.” The man closed his eyes when she started healing the damage, his breathing and heart rate slowing. Neiphato was mostly fine, him Terok and Heranuur had been shielded by her the most. Seviir was at the side but she knew he had some sort of self healing. Not the best but at least something. Still, the wood mage had broken bones, severe inner bleeding and a couple crushed organs.
Tough fuckers. She started healing him too, the elf glancing back with a smile and striking blue eyes. This guy should represent elves around humans, not the idiots that just murder everyone. Terok only had minor bruising, the best in shape of the five. Elfie was out again but other than checking his body, she still left him alone with her mana. None of his injuries were a danger to his life either. Other than Maro and herself he was the toughest here. She continued healing them, her ash cutting through a part of Neiphato’s wood to allow a view on the shattered gates, blown out partially by the Praetorian detonations.
The two elves were flying through the chaotic horde of machines, bits and pieces flying around. In the actual throne room only two Centurions remained, the two elves mostly avoiding them and using the other Guardians as shields against the thrown spears.
‘ding’ ‘Absolute Destruction reaches 3rd lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘Sentinel Reconstruction reaches 3rd lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Awakening reaches 3rd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Fighting reaches 3rd lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Armor of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Aspect of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Storm of Cinders reaches 3rd lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Ash and Ember Unity reaches 3rd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Keeper of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Arcane Magic Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Arcane Magic Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Arcane Magic Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Blast Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Blast Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Corrosion Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 2’
‘ding’ ‘Pain Tolerance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
While the level ups to her classes weren’t spectacular, the skills certainly profited. So the blast was arcane in nature? Maybe a mana core or something powering them. Weird that I never got anything like that from the Centurions. Oh and Pain Tolerance leveled. I did activate the second tier only in the end. Guess the accumulated pain until now was enough to trigger it.
“Hey Maro, is there another cap at level twenty for third tier skills?” She kept her eyes focused on the fight happening before her, the elves focusing on the Centurions now, fighting one each.
The man leaned over the wooden barricade, already completely useless to protect anybody but Terok. Still, a nice gesture she felt. “No idea. Haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m very close though.”
“They’re actually doing it.” Terok said as he walked a little closer, standing near the barrier. “Hey Maro, can you drop me some of that metal you still have? I feel naked.”
Ilea smiled as Maro handed over some ingots, the dwarf’s metal eye focusing on her, his beard disheveled. “I think you look great.”
He rolled his one real eye and started funneling mana into the steel, “Thank you lassie. Saved my ass once again.”
She leaned back and looked at him, “No worries. It’s what I do.”