Chapter 342 Are you not entertained?
“Well, Mr. Grom, do you have any proof or eye witnesses to testify against this woman?” Jacquen asked, forcing himself to look at her.
He noticed his colleague had taken a couple steps back, letting him take the lead. Abandoned as always. Then again, for the level sixty warrior, everybody here was likely terrifying.
“Proof? My word? I’m a noble, that should be enough. Or am I misremembering imperial law?” The man said.
Jacquen rolled his eyes, How long exactly have you lived here? “A noble of your influence must know about the contracts forged after the demonic catastrophe. Without proof, even the empress herself could not convict someone of a crime, not in Ravenhall.”
The noble ground his teeth and looked his way with an annoyed expression.
Very much aware of the contracts, as I had suspected.
The healer spoke up then, “I don’t know about the laws but we could end this quickly. He can hit me ten times, with whatever he can do. Afterwards I hit him just once, to make it fair. I suppose that could alleviate his anger?”
Thank the gods. Jacquen thought, “A challenge was raised Mr. Grom. The guard may be witness to its execution should you wish to accept.” Come on you arrogant fool.
The noble laughed, “A healer? Challenging me? Of course I accept. You will rue the day when you offended and attacked Villibald Grom, sage of fire and bearer of the Grom secret skills! I shall show you why they call me the devourer. Now prepare.” Fire came alive around the man, surging in power as his mana permeated the surroundings.
Jacquen looked at both of them before he stepped a little to the side, She offered him ten strikes. He watched her send away the cook, lazily stepping up towards the noble. “Please step aside to avoid collateral damage.” Jacquen said to the onlookers, a rather large crowd having formed, the first bets being made. He was glad the woman had chosen such a brazen solution. It’s going to be interesting to see how she deals with his blows.
The fire surged once more before a swath of flames surged out from the noble’s outstretched hand, the surroundings heating up instantly. The crowd stepped farther back as the spell engulfed the woman, burning her alive.
Jacquen blinked and had to take a double take through the flames, Well… that’s disappointing. She had been burnt to the bone, dead with the first hit. Why isn’t he stopping? He watched the noble lift his other hand, a more powerful spell engulfing the skeleton of the woman. The guard was just about to stop the noble when he realized the remains hadn’t yet collapsed to the floor. When the flames of the second spell settled, her form was revealed.
His eyes went wide as he looked at the fierce set of armor covering the healer nearly fully. Her blue eyes were focused on the noble, her eyes the only thing visible on her head, the two small horns on the side of her helmet pointed forward in a savage defiance. Her arms were still crossed in front of her, looking unbothered by the powerful fire spells. Jacquen had to at least admit that the noble’s power was on par with a scout, despite his low level. He must have worked hard to level his skills as well as having a good class for his level.
Nobles and their privileges. He couldn’t help but smirk, instantly turning serious again when the woman’s eyes glanced his way. He gulped and hoped he hadn’t offended her in any way. I have a wife and kids. He nearly wanted to say, hoping that the monster would somehow understand. There were eight more blows coming but he knew for sure now that there was nothing this noble could do. Even he himself was unsure if his magic could in any way damage her armor. Beautiful. The thought came to his mind. Fierce and elegant.
“Well it seems your defenses are formidable. Well in that case… let me show you, the most powerful fire magic you have ever witnessed.” The noble babbled.
Jacquen wasn’t listening to his words, enthralled more and more with every spell that washed over the unmoving healer. The flames turned hotter and hotter, nearly white with the last three blasts. It really was a shame such an exquisite class had been taught to such a boring and petty man. Yet there she stood, uncaring, resisting with ease and confidence. The words nearly wrote themselves, Jacquen having to muster up all his professionalism not to grab a notebook and to start writing out songs and poems. Lilith, guardian and shepherd, standing against the immortal institution of nobility. Blue tears of love flowing from her ever mourning eyes, to heal and protect those she has deemed worthy. Born of the spirits themselves she walks among mortals, her grace and elegance bestowed upon admiring minds.
He had a melody in his head already but without paper it was hard to write songs. Jacquen noticed he had begun humming, leaves flowing in the wind around him, elegant and deadly. The bard stopped his spell immediately, the birth of his daughter the last moment he had experienced such beauty, such power. He couldn’t decide if his wife back then, screaming and pushing had been more fierce than the ash armor clad healer standing before him. Jacquen asked for forgiveness in his mind, hoping his wife hadn’t sensed his thoughts. Women and their elusive perception. He hadn’t even noticed that the ten blows had come and gone.
The noble mage was shaking with anger and mana exhaustion. “Impossible… where did you steal that armor?”
Lilith smirked once again, taking a step towards the man as a black mist started to form around her, quickly forming a dome like barrier of ever moving ash, effectively cutting off the view of the onlookers. “My turn.”
Jacquen saw an ashen protrusion form on the healer’s back, the sharp tip lashing forward with a blur, its impact rushing past the noble and crashing into the stone floor. Stone and debris smashed outwards, crashing into his own armor and into the back of the noble.
He watched as the healer appeared before Grom, her ashen limbs fanning out behind her.
“Don’t ever pester or attack anyone under me again. I won’t miss the next time. This is your last warning.” She said in an icy tone, her eyes focused on the noble.
She turned and sighed.
Don’t do it.
Grom lifted his hand, white fire forming.
He’s not aiming at her.
Jacquen couldn’t react in time and watched as the healer appeared again, this time right in front of Grom’s hand.
The spell flashed up, burning into her armor before a single limb soundlessly smashed through his skull.
Blood and bone splattered towards the guards as the ashen limb disintegrated.
The man instinctively stepped back and activated his skills, both his defense and perception increasing. He watched the noble man collapse, his head gone, blasted from his shoulders with such force that blood had colored a big chunk of the ever moving ash behind them. When he looked back at the healer, she was back in her normal attire, a light frown on her face.
“You don’t need to be afraid.” She said, walking towards the corpse before it vanished, ash appearing out of thin air before it moved over the cobbled street, cleaning off the blood and chunks of tissue.
Jacquen heard his heart pump in his chest, his hearing dull, a slight beeping noise suddenly appearing in his right one. He barely noticed the other guard puking on the floor.
It was difficult to move but he forced himself to turn and look at her.
A hand on his fellow guard’s shoulder as the puke was cleaned up with ash. She turned his way and smiled, a limb of ash forming on her back before it gently reached out to him.
This is it…, He was sure of his death, closing his eyes as he accepted the inevitable. Instead he suddenly felt better, a warm feeling flowing through his body and mind. Healing magic. He immediately noticed, hearing a noise resound in his mind, the beeping in his ear already gone.
‘ding’ ‘Fear Resistance reaches lvl 6’
When he opened his eyes, the ash around them was gone, no sign of the ashen limb that had reached out to him and the healer simply stood amidst the guards. For the first time in a long while, the bard was lost for words.
Ilea just couldn’t bear to deal with the man in a more reasonable way. He would just crop up again and again. She felt no remorse, only glad to be rid of a problem that was bothering both her and someone close to her. Perhaps in a better world, another solution was possible. Perhaps even in this one. Yet it certainly was effective and Ilea hadn’t survived Praetorians to be lectured and ridiculed by a stranger, not even if it was the empress of Lys herself. She had given him another chance even and he decided to spit on it.
The guards looked terrified but she couldn’t quite place the look in the higher leveled one’s eyes. Terror? Admiration? She certainly knew that she didn’t like it. “Was that legal?”
He shook his head to calm down.
Her healing had stabilized them mostly, at least as far as her Sphere had informed her.
“It was. The challenge was clear and no kill restriction had been offered, he broke the rules and you retaliated. It is allowed. I will of course report this incident. Your name was Lilith?” The man said quickly, a glint of joy in his green eyes.
The long blond hair reminded her of the elves. A distant relative perhaps? She wondered. “It is. If there are any problems in regards to my actions and I’m not available, do inform the head administrator. She will surely help to sort it out.”
The man nodded, “I will, thank you. I suppose the issue will be brought up to the nobility mediator too, just so you know.”
Trian? Or is that someone else. “Sure, whatever.” She shrugged. Dealing with Miststalkers is much simpler.
The people around them were murmuring, some already leaving again, others obviously annoyed they hadn’t seen what had happened. People were getting into fights about bets because they argued the noble had fled. Others instead suggested she had devoured him instead.
Lilith the devourer. I suppose now that he’s dead, I might as well steal his title. She smirked, “Anything else?” She asked the guard.
The man was staring at her intensely before clearing his throat, “Y… yes. I. May…,”
“What do you want?” She asked.
“I’m a bard… I wanted to ask if I may retell what I saw… your ash armor.” He stammered out.
I can see about fifty ways how that will create problems. On the other hand, songs about me being awesome? “Sure, just don’t forget my name. Lilith.” She reminded him, making it somewhat obvious that it wasn’t her real one.
The man didn’t seem to care, a big smile on his face as he literally bowed to her, “I will, I will. Thank you!” He grabbed his fellow guard who had beentrying very hard not to look at her and walked off briskly.
Keyla stepped up to her and touched her back, “I’m not sure if that was a good idea.”
Ilea turned her head, “Killing the noble?”
“No, telling a bard to sing about it.” She chuckled, “Good riddance.”
She shook her head, I suppose everyone I know is well acquainted to death. She was at least glad Keyla hadn’t made a fuss about it. Turning her head suddenly, she squinted her eyes at someone in the crowd and focused her hearing.
“Rumor is the necromancer summoned her and now he’s her minion. No, I tell you Joan saw them arrive together just this morning.”
Someone else chimed in, “The necromancer who is losing dozens of gold coins in the gambling halls?”
“Heard of another necromancer? Both guards are looking away. How else would you explain that, he must have connections high up. She’s Lilith and you heard them, she owns the Drake, can you imagine how rich she is?”
“Hey… guys… I think she can hear us.”
Ilea smiled with teeth at the group glancing her way before she watched them run off, two of them literally vanishing. She laughed and shook her head, Damn Maro. I hope I own those gambling houses, I guess it wasn’t bad after all that I took most of the money.
“What is it? You look like you’re about to kill someone else.” Keyla said with a smile.
“Not going to be as easy. I think the lower his health is, the harder it gets.” She murmured, “I could finish it though, pretty sure about that.”
“Well do let me know if you need help. I have enchanted kitchen knifes and I know how to use them.” Keyla said, her reptile like tongue slithering out over her sharp teeth.
Ilea shook her head, “I would never endanger and artist such as yourself. You must be protected, at all costs.”
“You don’t have to look after me, Ilea.” Keyla said.
“At. All. Costs.” Ilea said firmly, grabbing the cook’s arms.
She seemed to understand and just nodded lightly. “Want to have another meal?”
Ilea thought about it but there were still things she wanted to get done, “Later maybe. Tomorrow I suppose.” She said, looking up to see the mountains now blocking out the suns, the sky tainted in a reddish purple color. Magical lamps flickered on in the street around them, the people already moving on with their business.
I was pretty productive today. She patted Keyla’s shoulder, “See you around.”
“Stay safe.” Keyla said after her.
Ilea walked towards a nearby building, “Never.” She said and jumped up to the roof, her wings spreading before she rushed off eastwards. Her ashen armor came out from her back and spread over her flying form in an instant. She saw the barrier extending over the outermost city wallsin her sphere, a pulse of mana rushing out after she had past them, likely informing someone that a person had left through the air.
A couple flying people reached the spot where she had exited a couple seconds later, Ilea too far away to make out any details. They didn’t pursue.
Ilea moved the ashen armor from her face and enjoyed the cool air on her skin, her wings moving behind her with powerful motions, pushing her towards the distant ocean with increasing speed.
Ashen wings disintegrated behind the landed healer, a growl making her turn. “Oh, you’re still alive?”
[Swordmouth Tiger – lvl 102]
“Wait… weren’t you higher than that?” She asked, pretty sure the one that had lived in the cave was at least level one fifty. Her eyes went wide when the monster jumped at her. “You’re one of the pups!” She exclaimed, catching the ferocious two hundred fifty kilo murder machine with open arms and a laugh.
Claws and teeth scratched against her skin, leaving thin marks that instantly recovered without her healing skill ever activating. She wrestled it down in a playful manner and cuddled the rough furry creature.
It let out a desperate howl, lashing out with sharp claws as long as the woman’s fingers, not quite drawing blood against the hard skin. Its attacks ineffective, it instead turned to the cave and tried to run off, only to find itself unable to move.
Ilea laughed, holding onto one of the monster’s legs, “My name is Ilea, I live here.” She said and grinned.
Two more cats shot out from the nearby cave and rushed her, ashen limbs extending quickly behind her.
Ten seconds later, the three tigers were all growling, pushed to the stone floor by her ash as she looked for something to eat in her necklace. “I don’t suppose you would appreciate Keyla’s cuisine.” She sighed.
When she looked around, she found a group of birds flying above. Ilea formed an ashen lance and fired it off, the unluckiest of the three avian creatures pierced and falling quickly. A one meter long gull like monster with sharp talons splatted against the stone nearby.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Son of the White Flame – lvl 118 / Arcane Enhancer – lvl 103]
Oh, that’s the message from before. She hadn’t even looked at it.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Raptor Gull – lvl 101]
“Do you like to eat birds?” She asked before she squinted her eyes, “That reminds me.” She summoned the noble’s corpse and tossed it to the cats. “Don’t eat too fast.” She released the three and walked over to the dead Raptor Gull, the sounds of flesh ripping and tearing not quite as disturbing as they should probably be. Ilea grabbed the bird and walked back.
The three cats finished their meal, down to the clothes and boots. They looked at her and growled, two stalking to her sides.
Ilea rolled her eyes and formed her ashen limbs again, the cats stopping immediately at the sight of the magic. She held up the dead bird, “Me, friend. Not food.” She tossed the bird to them and watched them eat with a proud smile on her face. I do hope the mother is fine. She remembered fighting the beast before choosing the spot for her house. Having them around would be a good deterrent to adventurers or random explorers. She ruffled the head of one of the massive cats, a little bigger than adult tigers from Earth.
They seemed to understand already that she wasn’t food, leaving her alone after finishing their meal.
Ilea found her house untouched, the door locked, opening with her mana signature when she activated the enchantment placed into it. She stretched and sighed, looking at her living room. Ilea appeared two floors down in the armory and started looking through her storage items. That’s a lot of crap. She was pretty sure her house wasn’t a safe place to keep it all. Pretty much anybody could just walk in and take stuff and she wasn’t exactly there most of the time.
Another thing to my list of ever growing… things. She sighed, missing her time in the north already. Who am I kidding. I like the change of pace. And I can leave whenever I want. She reminded herself and smiled as she looked at the Taleen weapons displayed in her armory. Wish I had a Praetorian head to display. She mused, the thought of an adventurer invading her home and finding that before fleeing in fear. Let’s be honest, deadly traps would be more effective. Or good locks. Otherwise Kyrian returns from his adventure only to tragically die of poison.