Chapter 325 The Vault
It felt a little weird, to be down in the king’s cellars without any kingsguard around. The danger was gone, the tension of walking the white marble halls replaced by the atmosphere of a forgotten and empty ruin. Ilea decided that she liked the danger more. It’s eerie here, something’s fucky.
Looking around and seeing her surroundings in her sphere of course proved the opposite. The plants didn’t look as healthy anymore, the enchantments to keep them alive losing power already. Leafs had fallen to the floor. The lights above shined brightly but some day, they too would cease. A job done for millennia, now finally put to rest with her intervention. Somehow it felt weighty, just looking at the magical lamps. Terok tapped her side, making her jerk towards him.
He held up his hands in a placating gesture, “Hey there, maybe you should get some sleep soon.”
Ilea yawned, perfectly timed before pointing a finger at the laughing dwarf, “Hey! You’ve been awake just as long.”
“Not really.” He replied, “You were training nonstop before killing all the kingsguard. I had a couple hours every night. Plus I found a nice lounge in Lisburg, very comfortable couches there.” He stopped talking when she narrowed her eyes at him, instead focusing on the closed door before them, “Well… I guess you had to be there,” He gulped at her stare, “At last we’re here now. You have the key?”
She summoned the little golden thing and flung it over, the dwarf catching it with an open metal palm. “Damn…,” He murmured as he looked the thing over, “Yea that would have taken a while to crack.” He hummed and inserted it into the keyhole, a sizzling noise resounding as Ilea watched the magic flow through not just the metal door but the walls too, even the floor and ceiling. An impressive burst of energy.
She looked at Maro who was scratching the back of his head, “Only the best. We had the money.”
Terok laughed, “Hope some of that is left, king necromancer.” The gate moved away and a corridor opened up before them, the glint of shiny steel already visible in the room ten meters farther in. “Looks clear.” The dwarf added, taking the first steps without a response from possible defensive enchantments.
“There’s nothing there beyond the door. Having the place combust upon entry seemed like a stupid idea, despite Elana insisting on such measures. Even the best enchanters told me there was a tiny risk of it going haywire.” Maro explained and looked at Ilea, entering behind a giddy Terok, his feet only touching the ground with every second step.
Ilea crossed her arms when they were in the surprisingly large hall, Terok’s teleporting only interspersed with excited squeals. “Now that’s what I call Christmas.”
“Is that a word from your realm?” Maro looked over, “There’s more left than I thought.”
There was so much stuff Ilea could barely process it all, chests all over, opened with gold and silver glinting, full sets of armors, some carefully resting on prepared stands, others simply strewn around. Different colors of metals, ingots as well as ore piled up next to assortments of weapons of all kinds, some looking deadly and efficient, others ornamental in nature. There were steps a couple meters in front of them, leading a couple meters down as the room expanded, Terok picking up thing after thing as Ilea and Maro slowly made their way down.
The light from above was bright and cold, reminding Ilea of a famous scene. I need guns, lots of guns. In this case there were crossbows, swords and halberds instead. “It’s a holiday from my realm. Many associate it with presents. Kids would get incredibly giddy the closer the day came, most luckily couldn’t teleport while wearing a five hundred kilo steel suit.” She stopped and watched him look over the room. “Rhyvor was quite impressive wasn’t it?”
He didn’t react for a moment, jerking his head towards her when the sentence hit the spike of a question, “What… yes… well you could say that.” He glanced past her before walking towards a specific weapon rack.
Ilea smiled, following him before she stopped next to the man. He carefully reached out and grabbed a rather worn looking staff, the wood still holding up after all this time. There had to be an enchantment in the room helping to preserve things. “The Staff of Hemur, Doom of the East. It’s one of the most powerful and precious items in this whole dump.”
He smiled, holding the thing as his hands carefully brushed over the wood. “Yours isn’t it? Let me guess, your first weapon?” Ilea asked, the man grinning at her before he pointed it at her. A glow formed on its tip, red energy rushing out and hitting her in the face. Ilea’s Azarinth Fighting had informed her about what she was certain off already, the energy splashing onto her skin without a noticeable impact.
Maro twirled the staff and handed it to her, “You know me too well already. I need people more gullible than you lot.”
Taking the staff, she inspected it and smiled, “Maro. I think you might be the first person to call me anything but gullible.”
[Arcane Staff – Common Quality]
She twirled it and handed it back, “Feels good in my hand. So there are magic wands that can use spells you don’t have a skill for.”
He brushed over it once more and stored it in his ring, “Yes and no. You need a certain affinity to use it. It can be a good help to channel or focus spells but pure skills are always stronger, by a massive margin.” He thought about it for a moment before expanding, “Comparable to the fire rune tool you have I suppose. Not worth the cost of production usually.”
“HOLY FUCK!” They turned their heads at Terok’s exclamation before he walked over, a chunk of azure ore in his steel arms, a golden crown on his head as well as a massive fur coat barely hanging on to his shoulders as he walked over. Gold coins spilled from every opening in his metal suit, rolling away with every step he took.
“You know we have storage items.” Ilea said, grinning at the look. “You think he’ll just make a suit out of gold?”
Maro crossed his arms and sighed, “I’m surprised his magic hasn’t evolved into gold magic by now.”
“This.” Terok said as he reached Ilea, holding up the chunk of ore, nearly touching her face with it, “Can I have this?! Please.”
She pushed it away, “Goliath gets the metals. If we can use it in any of our gear then sure.”
Maro raised his brows, glancing over at her while Terok rejoiced, prancing away with his rock. “You want to give all the metals to Goliath?”
“He’s the best smith I know. In turn he will make gear for me, I don’t see the downside.” She replied and looked at him, “I trust him. More than most. If anything he’s obsessed with his craft.”
“Fair enough.” Maro said, “Do you think I should tell him where the storage items are?” He glanced at Terok in the distance.
Ilea grinned, “Let him roam a bit… look, he found another two rocks. You think he can juggle?”
She was impressed when the dwarf’s right metal arm split in two, picking up two massive chunks of ore, his movements getting more clunky with all the weight. At least the white marble floor wasn’t cracking under the dwarf’s steps. “Come on. Let’s see what we have.” Maro said, gesturing to her as he moved a chest to the side, taking a silver box from behind. The locks snapped open, two smooth clicks.
Inside were two rings and a bracelet. “They’re empty and unclaimed. This one…,” He paused before chuckling, taking out the bracelet, “Well let’s say I might have been a little overeager in having it made. A rejected gift.” He held it out towards her, “I’d be happy if you accepted it.”
It shimmered a little in the light, silver just like the rings. She smiled and accepted it, “Thanks Maro.” There was a small clasp that let her open it.
[Legacy of Rhyvor – Rare Quality] – [Storage capacity at 0/100]
Would you like to claim Legacy of Rhyvor?
She confirmed with a thought and closed the necklace around her right forearm, the base lying comfortably on her skin while the top was adorned with thorned silver stems winding around in a beautiful fashion, all congregating on the small silver rose sitting at the center, right above the top of her arm. She moved some mana into it and felt it tighten before sitting unmovable yet not discomforting on her arm. “It’s beautiful Maro, thank you.” She said with a smile.
The man remained quiet as he looked at her for a moment. Before long he cleared his throat and looked away, “You’re not the one to thank me. All this stuff would be worthless without you saving us.”
“May I ask…,” Ilea glanced at him, “For whom was this intended?”
He smirked, “Now that. That is a secret I will keep.” The man quickly changed the subject, “Do you want the rings too? I promised Terok my own.”
“Keep yours. I don’t want to luge around your shit. I’ll take one, sure. Would make a very nice gift.” She took them and identified each.
[Bottomless Ring of Fire – Rare Quality] – [Storage capacity at 0/50]
[Band of Infinity – Rare Quality] – [Storage capacity at 0/60]
“Guess the Fire one heats up stuff inside? Any quirks with the infinity one?” She asked.
“Yes, but the heat isn’t bad. At least if you have a basic resistance. The infinity one needs more mana to use, also takes longer to store things.” He explained, Ilea storing the latter in her new bracelet, twirling the ring of fire in her hand.
She smirked, “Storing storage items… seems to work fine.”
“They’re empty and unclaimed. It would be different otherwise.” Maro supplied, Ilea waving at Terok, the dwarf hunched over as he tried balancing the ores, metals and armors on his back, the metal having reformed to make him look like a treasure turtle of some kind.
“Seems like the fire one would be more useful for him then.” She said, “Terok, drop the crap. Maro has a ring for you. And calm down, otherwise you’ll have to wait outside for ten minutes.”
The dwarf looked at her and groaned, the sound turning into a full on scream as he straightened, the ores rolling off his back and falling to the floor before he approached in a calm and quiet manner. “How can you not be excited?” He asked in a defeated voice, damn near hissing.
“Don’t turn into an elf.” She said, quite excited about her new bracelet herself. Her ashen armor was likely better than anything here and weapons wouldn’t have much use for her. Gold she had plenty but more certainly wouldn’t hurt. His whole suit being all about rare metals as well as the fact that he was still in debt made this treasury magnitudes more significant for him. The recent evolutions had been her excitement, still not quite used to all the changes.
All I did was fight so far, other than a couple hours in Lisburg. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she felt her heart thrum in her chest, felt the spot of ash on her back, tiny yet its potential overwhelming. She clasped the ring as Terok approached, visible in her sphere, the magic helping him move his steel suit as its back reformed like flames wrapped around his very being, dozens of items in the room bright in her sphere, different hues as well as shapes wrapped around them, carrying not just magic but a part of what they were.
Opening her eyes, she flipped the ring at Terok, the dwarf catching it before his suit opened, his jolly figure jumping out and grabbing the item. “Lassie…I could kiss you right now!” He jumped up, ring in hand before he put it on, cackling like a madman.
Many spies have many eyes. She smiled. One reason at least to get back to Earth at some point. They had a new show too.
As soon as he had it on, the chunks of ore vanished at his touch, Terok even forgetting about his armor suit as he collected all his loot. “There should be some gold left, let me see.” Maro said as he walked through the room, Ilea seeing into the chests he approached. “Though we had to fund quite a bunch of mercenaries and adventurers in the last years.” He said, opening the containers before Ilea put her hand onto the gold coins.
“A thousand coins Maro. And there are three more chests…,” She shook her head, storing nearly all the gold, leaving behind a couple hundred for Maro and Terok. 3600 gold coins richer, Ilea now definitely wanted to check in with Claire. Ravenhall had likely recovered enough so that investments wouldn’t be as easy but the amount was insane. “Are you sure I can just take it? It’s your kingdom’s, collected over decades.”
Maro waved her off, “I trust your judgment more than my own, Ilea. As far as I’m concerned you cleared this dungeon, the treasure in turn goes to you.” He breathed in deeply, “Honestly, I feel like I have cheated fate by being alive. Makes me feel a little better for you to have all this.”
“What about Elana?” She asked, finding her new gold total at 4325.
He laughed, the reaction surprising her, “Oh you have no idea how stubborn she is. After what you’ve done for us, she wouldn’t accept a single coin of copper.”
“I took her for someone who wouldn’t care about that. Everything for her goals, her people.”
He shook his head, “Perhaps if she thought you incapable. Elana isn’t stupid Ilea, having you as a friend as well as knowing you would feel somewhat indebted… again, I don’t think that you should feel that way at all, she will see it as more beneficial. If anything, what makes Elana special is her ability to plan and think long term. No wonder both of us are still alive.” The man laughed again and shook his head. “She was well aware of the treasury but at this point she likely has a grasp on Hallowfort’s resources too. As far as dark ones go, the way they think and live as well as the town being as old as it is, I think they have a comparable vault, if not more.”
“Catelyn doesn’t strike me as someone who would care to invest heavily. She cares a lot but the way she talked about her shop as well as the way the town is managed, she lacks in knowledge about economics. Investing money in the right places doesn’t automatically take away the people’s freedoms, Elana knows as much.” He sighed, “Look at me, she really trained me up to be a boring official, didn’t she?”
She smiled, “Are you sure you don’t miss her?” The necromancer considered the question but ultimately shook his head.
“It would be easy.” He said ultimately, “I got comfortable, helping out where I could and following whatever suggestions she had for me. Still I sought to escape whenever I could. Of course I had a responsibility and if Rhyvor was still here, I would continue to serve as its king. Yet I can’t say I was fulfilled, happy.”
He considered, his mouth opening and closing. “You know. I would have loved to get a small mansion in Lisburg, live there in peace with Elana and seeing our son… grow up.”
And she knows it too. Knows that her ways make him feel like that. Ilea smiled, “Hey it’s fine. I’m sure I can introduce you to a bunch of cool people you’ll like. Never too late to find joys in life.” Ilea felt like a hypocrit, talking to him as if she had any more experience in her young age. Fuck it. Getting older doesn’t mean they solve their problems.
“Thanks.” He said, “You know… I didn’t expect you to care as much.”
Ilea shrugged and grabbed a halberd, twirling it around before it hit the floor with a loud banging noise, “I just think you should get the chance to choose.” She eyed the weapon, looking down the length of the pole.
“It’s too long for you.” He said and smiled, grabbing a couple swords before he handed them to her, “Is that what you want to shake up then? Give people the chance to choose?”
She grabbed the weapons, the halberd set down previously. They were curved but already she felt the blades lacked impact. Trying to cut into her skin proved difficult, only cutting once she disabled her ashen armor. “Everyone can get a class here, can fight if they want to. But yea, something like that I guess.” She let the blades fall down, Maro looking at them before he stared at her. “I haven’t really thought about it much so far.”
“Warriors don’t think very highly of you, do they?” He asked.
“They can bring it up with my fists.” If the weapons were damaged from falling to the stone floor, even in the slightest, they weren’t worth anyone’s attention. Not here, not with the monsters around.
He laughed, “Why even try them? Do you want to get a general skill? Or get a weapon based third class?”
“So you do know about them?” She said, appearing in his face but the king just chuckled, not moving an inch.
“At the rate that you’re going, I’m sure you’ll discover the truth behind those legends before me.” He smiled as she turned her head and moved on to grab a scythe.
Twirling it a couple times, her speed increased before it slipped out of her grasp, slamming blade first into the wall. “Good blade at least.” She commented, moving on, “I got my hammer, just thought I could at least try some other things. It’s not looking good though, Maro.” The spear she grabbed was immediately discarded.