Chapter 339 Skill Testing
“That’s insane. And it’s not powered by mana alone but generated heat that’s stored within you?” Trian asked as his eyes sparkled with joy.
“Yes. It does cost mana to channel but not much at this level. Normally it’s released in a sphere around me but the third tier allows me to use it like you just saw. A cone of flame shot out from either arm.” She explained, feeling a little weird that Trian of all people would be such a fan of her ability.
“Either… what about those ashen ones? Very impressive manipulation by the way, I assume they’re considered part of your body?” He asked.
Ilea scratched her head, “I haven’t actually tested that. Pretty recent that one. And yes, they’re part of my body.”
“Does the sphere damage your ash when it expands?” He asked again.
I should really do more testing. Ilea thought and smiled, happy to have people pointing things like this out for her. I miss the simple days, where a fist to a monster’s head was enough. All this Intelligence and here I am.
She tested both, generating heat with mana, one of her ashen limbs moving ahead of herself and pointing back at her. She created some ash and let it float before her face, leaving room for the blast to reach her ashen armor as well as the wings and limbs she spread behind her. She focused on the ashen limb and released the spell.
Fire and energy washed over her, slightly damaging the ash in front of her but neither her armor, her wings or even the ashen limbs behind her. “Ok… that doesn’t make any sense.”
Trian shook his head, “No, it does. It doesn’t damage your body.”
Ilea nodded and tried again, having an idea. She formed a dome of ash and connected it to one of her limbs before releasing another lightly charged blast of Heart of Cinder. This time however, the dome was damaged. “What?” She asked.
“I don’t know. It’s supposed to be part of your body. Maybe it has something to do with familiarity as well?” Trian asked, his hand on his chin. “What about when you release it as a sphere?”
The test ended in the same way. “I mean it doesn’t damage my bone armor or clothes either.” She said, “Magic mumbo jumbo, man.” She shook her head. That’s why I don’t overthink this stuff too much.
“There has to be a reason. I can’t see past your ashen armor with my magic sight but if you have something similar you might be able to spot it.” He stepped past her and looked at the floor. “Hmm… I mean… I’m not sure. Try again, use it on yourself but stand next to the wall. That way we can tell where the beam actually goes.”
Ilea sighed, not particularly seeing the reason why they were doing this. If I aim it at my enemies, it will deal damage to them. She tried, basically making a shadow puppet of herself, just that the light was a deadly beam of energy, heat and fire.
Ilea concentrated on her magic sight added to her sphere and closed her eyes, releasing the spell and trying to make out what happened exactly. Indeed, the spell didn’t burn the wall where her limbs hovered, neither did it damage the stone behind her body or wings. What was peculiar was the fact that the magic in the spell seemed to be absorbed again by the protrusions.
“Yea.” Trian said, “It just flowed back into you. I think it has to do with the substance of your ash. The spell is aligned with your body, meaning the energy gets absorbed again. At least in part. I suspect its so little that you barely notice, especially with it being mostly heat and not pure mana.”
“Good to know.” She murmured.
“At least you know that if someone is behind your wings, you can’t aim at them.” Trian said.
She tested again with the sphere instead and found the limitation didn’t apply there, the energy flowing past her ashen limbs and wings. “And why is this working instead?”
The man again scratched his chin, “The source is different. You release the spell from your core, slightly below your chest I think. The magic registers your body, where it is and what’s a part of it. I suppose it forms the energy around those parts instead of just sending it out of your limb.”
“I’m not sure how this knowledge will be of any use.” She said.
Trian smiled at her and chuckled, “You will never change, will you? Most other mages would test their skills until exhaustion, to understand every little piece of it. I suppose your way is more instinct based. The results speak for themselves, I suppose.” He laughed. “Any other cool things you can show me?”
Ilea rolled her eyes, “Definitely agree on the instinct part. I do like to trust my gut. Not just when it comes to food.”
“Do you even need to eat at this point?” He asked, tilting his head to the side.
“I do. The need comes less from my body and more from my mind.” She explained and left it at that.
The vampyr looked at her with raised eyebrows, “Oh k.” He murmured something to himself, “I noticed my mana drain didn’t really work. I even took damage after a while.”
She nodded, “Yea, I have the second tier resistance maxed at level twenty. It’s harder to drain obviously and if you use the mana, you take damage. It should increase with each unit of mana drained.”
“Fascinating. I didn’t know about the effects.”
“Also I can drain a part of your spells’ mana. Not sure how much though, it’s kind of unclear.” She added.
“You mean the second tier lightning resistance?” He asked.
Ilea shook her head lightly, “No. I mean yes. That too. I have an additional skill that absorbs mana.”
He looked at her wide eyed, “You are… what a combination of skills. If we can train people to have at least similar classes…,” He mused, “The Mending Pact will rise in power, surely.”
Ilea groaned, “I don’t remember you joking so much.”
He shrugged, “I said I changed. In many ways, I think. Not taking everything so seriously is one thing I strove for. You were a good role model.”
Ilea laughed, “I can see that. I think a middle ground is good though. I was damn near apathetic for a long time.”
“True.” Trian said, reeling back their subject, “I think it’d be good to test your mana absorption ability. Is it active or passive?”
“It’s passive.” Ilea replied, “The efficiency is determined by the mana used for the spell and my resistance to it. At least that’s the wording in the skill.”
“Hmm, with our regeneration it’s going to be difficult to test, adding in the lightning resistance bonus. That one isn’t very high usually so it should still be a reasonable test. One strong blast is probably best. What’s your lightning resistance at?” Trian asked, lightning flowing over his arm.
“Second tier, level six.” She replied.
“I believe it was around ten percent absorption at level one for the resistance, probably up to thirteen percent then with your level. I tested Claire and it varied between one percent and ten at level one, depending on… well we didn’t really find a definitive answer.” He paused, “So, the damage itself doesn’t get affected at all by that absorption skill?” He asked.
“Not that I know. There are other skills that reduce magical damage as well as resilience in general but I think it’s completely separate.”
He nodded, “Good. So that’s twenty six levels of lightning resistance. Can you use up some mana, I’ll hit you with a single attack afterwards.”
Ilea nodded, sacrificing two thousand health before healing herself back instantly. “Alright, I’m down around seven hundred mana. Hit me.”
“I want to know what you just did… oh well.” Trian said before a single massive lightning bolt discharged from his hand, slamming into her chest. She had to step back a single step as the energy flowed through her. Her health was down only two hundred points, regenerating quickly.
“Around one hundred and ninety mana from that.” Ilea said.
He got out his notebook again, “Five hundred mana used, one ninety would be thirty eight percent.” He noted it down and nodded, “Let’s do that again. Until we can ignore the randomness of your Lightning Resistance absorption.”
They tested with another thirty or so attacks, Trian continuously writing down the numbers, “Twenty six levels in resistance and with all taken into account your should… more or less gain either around 1.4 percent per level of your absorption skill or what I assume, ten percent if you have the resistance and then one percent for each level in the resistance.”
Ilea ran it through in her head, “So if it’s at the end of the second tier, I get 50 percent of the mana used in the spell? That’s insane.”
“I mean, you need the resistance at that level. How many of them do you have?” He asked.
“Like twenty, thirty? I don’t feel like counting right now. A lot in the second tier as well.” Ilea replied. “It’s super simple to train with a healing spell and Pain Tolerance in the second tier. It just negates pain altogether.”
“Yea, I did hear about that one. You still need people or monsters to train you. The healing is an issue as well but most of all, you need to get to the second tier of Pain Tolerance. I’m at level five and honestly, I’d rather keep it that way.” He sighed.
“As to what I did earlier, I can activate a third tier aura by sacrificing health. Then I use my third tier healing to instantly recover, using a chunk of mana.” Ilea explained.
He shook his head and blasted her stomach again, continuing the resistance training, “You’re even harder to kill now. I should really level more to get those third tier skills.” He said. “You should train your healing by sacrificing health randomly.”
She nodded, taking a step forward against the lightning, “I did that before. It’s alright but in the third tier it takes ages. I’d rather just fight something and heal myself. More efficient I think.”
“Probably.” He replied, “Thing is, most people wouldn’t prefer fighting monsters all the time. With your healing and level I’d assume you’re not really aging anymore. Getting a couple skill levels by shutting yourself inside an academy for a decade or two would be the reasonable thing to do.” He paused his lightning, “Of course I’m not suggesting you do that. I know you’d rather starve.”
“Yea, mate I’d rather have fun than doing that.” Ilea said and laughed, “I can see the reason of course but I suppose you could train for decades in a library too when you’re level fifty, then at level one hundred and then again at my level. Fighting and progressing is at least exciting. I didn’t get here because I wanted power, not mainly at least.”
He nodded, “I know. You have to agree though that a lot of close death situations you undoubtedly had on your way could have been avoided with more preparation and skill leveling in between.” The lightning slammed into her again.
‘ding’ ‘Lightning Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 7’
“Probably. Might have gotten myself into other situations though.” She said.
“You? Yea I can see that.” Trian laughed. “Can’t believe that my magic isn’t even damaging you anymore.” He added, “Most of the nobles wouldn’t even think about offending me. They’d be terrified of you.”
She smirked, “Exactly the way I like my politics.” She replied, “Oh, I actually did get attacked by someone calling himself a noble today. In case you hear about it, he was being a haughty idiot.”
“From north of here then, I assume? Most from the region around here are actually quite competent. They know and respect the Hand and act accordingly. The higher ups from smaller cities in the somewhat safe areas of the plains are usually the hardest to deal with. The influx of self declared nobles moving here has slowed down considerably though.” He explained.
“I don’t care much, have to be honest there.” Ilea said with a smile.
He chuckled, “I can see that. It’s why I’m here after all. You would think I had a similar opinion on nobles after all… that has happened. Yet I find it refreshing. The position of power I was bestowed certainly helps.”
“What position? Noble manager? Are you hired by the city or the Hand? Or are you just considered the highest noble around here? Mayor or governor?” She said, tilting her head to the side.
“I need to regenerate.” Trian stopped his magic once more, “The previous governor died in the demon summoning, it’s been… kind of awkward since then, at least in regards to that. The empire didn’t appoint anybody else and Claire kind of took over the tasks that would be required of that role. Since then many others have taken up certain tasks but Lys still hasn’t done anything about it.”
He cracked his neck, “I suppose it’s easier to just let us handle stuff on our own down here. Ravenhall is one of the outermost cities in their territory.”
Ilea nodded, “The establishment of our organization won’t be a problem in that regard either then.”
“I hope so.” The man replied, glancing at her, “I think most of the basics are covered for now. I’ll get to work if you don’t mind.”
She crossed her arms and smiled, “I won’t stop you. I’ll try to come back from time to time, also because of the class thing. Maybe I can find a bunch of healers that could help.”
He grinned, “Do that. Yet there’s enough I can work on anyway, especially once we have a couple teachers and trainers as well as volunteers. Even if there’s no class yet. Rooms will need to be furnished, facilities prepared.”
The two made their way back, Trian locking the gate behind them. He breathed in the cold air outside and smiled at her, “See you then, don’t do anything too stupid. And don’t get yourself killed.”
Ilea chuckled, “It’s not like you depend on the income, Trian.”
He rolled his eyes, “The southern healing tribe depends on you, Ilea.”
“Of course it does. See you, Trian. You don’t do anything ridiculous either.”
He waved his hand sideways and vanished with a grin on his face.
Ilea stretched and yawned.
“How you doin, fair healer?” an adventurer in full plate and a claymore on his back asked her, walking by.
She glanced his way and shook her head lightly, “I’m alright, how you doin?”
“I don’t know, I have never gotten this far. May I invite you to supper sometime?” The man asked, surprising Ilea.
[Warrior – lvl 109]
“I’m fine, thanks.” She declined and spread her wings, flying off towards Viscera. There were some things she needed from the two librarians. Seems like the healer tag makes people less scared of me at least. Now, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.
‘ding’ ‘Identify reaches lvl 9’
“I will see what I can find.” Elise said, “Eve Aillan and a man named Albert or Scipio, the descriptions of their abilities should help tremendously.”
“Hire people too, you can use this to pay them.” Ilea said, dumping thirty gold coins on the table the woman was sitting at. “Try to be a little discreet and if possible only use people you trust personally.”
Dagon walked in and laughed, “Overpaying people again, I see?” He commented, “I thought you were already gone.”
“I wish.” Ilea sighed, forming an ashen chair and falling into it, “There’s another thing I need from the two of you.”
“Whatever you need, the information you provided earlier is worth damn near all my secrets.” Dagon sighed, “Not that you still need to trade for anything.”
She had thought it was an iron rule for him to always ask for something in return. “Books and information on healing classes of any kind, medicine, first aid, anatomy, healing potions, injuries and related runes and enchantments if you have anything. Trian will have copies made so just give all of that to him.”
Elise nodded, “I can collect what you need. Do you plan to enhance your healing class?”
“Not exactly. You’ll see in time, I suppose.” She replied with a smile.
The next stop was outside the city itself, Ilea flying northwards to the village of Indur. I’m getting tired of all this organizational stuff while Maro is building his undead army to destroy all of humanity from within. She decided to get a meal and drink once she was done with the enchantress and the smith.
She found it already nice to fly out of the city, the snowy landscape spreading before her. A deep breath entered her lungs, the cold air welcoming her back into the wild. I need to get some sense dampening skill again. She hadn’t managed to get used to all the sensations in the city, even after staying there for nearly a day now. There were escapes of course and with all her gold as well as restaurants and other places she owned, she could get a whole terrace to herself. Not the same as out here. She thought, after two minutes of flying not a single sign of human life visible.
Ilea did try to avoid the road, instead flying over a nearby summit, checking for arcane storms out of habit. There were none of course. Twenty minutes of flying later, she landed and stepped closer to the cliff side before her. Good thing I’m not terrified of heights. The ghost town of Morhill was visible, no clouds nearby. No refugees visible. She thought. Ravenhall took everybody in, or the dangers were so high that people still deemed the town inhabitable.
Even if there had been people in the cellars and houses somewhere, she expected at least some signs of life, burning fires or nearby hunters. The dirt road leading past the city and towards Ravenhall was covered in snow, empty as far as the eye could see. Indur wasn’t visible, a little off the path and located in a nearby valley between the high reaching mountains.
She crossed the rest of the way, leaving the ghost town behind and landing outside the little village. Smoke was rising from several of the buildings and the walls were higher now, sturdier. A steel gate had been added, a single fur clad heavy plated warrior standing atop with crossed arms.
“Ho there, what is your business in Indur?”
Ilea waved, “Meeting an old smith and his lovely daughter.” Her ashen armor receded, revealing the bone below.
“Entry fee is one silver.” The man said, hand moving to the hilt of his ax.