The beast of a skeleton that nearly ended Liri's life hadn't noticed she was stirring. It was making its way somewhere, but as she crawled away, Liri didn't even look back. She saw some stairs to her right leading up and hobbled over to them. Once she reached the top, she fell to her knees. Quickly, with trembling hands, she lifted the potion to her lips. She was shaking so badly that the liquid fell on her cheek at first, before she readjusted to her mouth. She chugged the rest of its contents down before checking her Status.
Stamina: 36/ 62
A disbelieving hand touched her stomach. She could remember how just a few seconds ago, her entire body felt like it'd been slashed open. Tears slid down alongside blood, her blood. Her hand gripped the red-stained fabric tighter. Her other hand threw the potion away and patted at her head. She swore she could feel it, a long scar running from her forehead to the space between her eyebrows, another scar running down the middle of her chest. She sobbed, her forehead touching the stone floor.
Every horrible memory she had reemerged. The assaults, the insults, the struggle at Ora. Not to make her braver, but to settle the reality that she was never meant to be anything.
Here she was, thinking that just because she got a few easy kills she was ready for the real world. What in all of Helia gave her the right to think that? She'd been an idiot. A colossal idiot.
Coughing, Liri did not stop walking till she reached a room with two halls extending from it, that she recognized as one of the first places she'd reached when she went inside the ruins.
Teary-eyed and all, with no dignity to spare, without hesitation, she retraced her steps, looking for the exit. This place and whatever was in it, was evil. She had no business being here.
She found the entrance, an angelic light cast onto the stairs from the outside. Liri desperately walked up, only to be stopped by something. It felt like she ran into a wall. She moved back, to see that there was a green, transparent light standing between her and salvation.
"What? No, come on, come on!" Liri yelled, punching the ethereal shield. What... What? "... You've got to be kidding me." Liri laughed darkly. "I'm stuck here." She slid down, her back pressed against the magical surface.
She put her knees to her chest and whimpered.
Ahead, something croaked. Liri's head snapped up. Her hand reached for the Iron Sword on its own. She stood, staring off into the distance where the sound had come from.
Taking cautious steps, Liri walked forward. If it was that monster, here she'd be trapped. She would need options to run if that was the case.
Instead, when she came into the first room, where she'd killed the weaker skeleton from earlier, she found that the one with the exotic armor had risen.
Her first thought was, why? She'd come here before, in fact, she'd touched its body and taken its journal from it. How did that not stir the creature?
Her next thought, well, her next emotion, was a pure rage.
Her grip on the Iron Sword was so tight, she almost drew blood in her palm. Ahead, the skeleton raised its curved, golden sword at her, and croaked again.
Ultimately, Liri could care less. She charged at it, looking to empty everything she felt in the past ten minutes or so onto this creature.
Surprisingly though, the skeleton raised its hand and from its bony fingers, a ball of fire launched itself at Liri.
Liri's eyes widened, unable to stop the projectile from hitting her, as she could never have dreamed of this.
She fell back, the force of the projectile felt like an incredibly strong man had just pushed her down.
Stamina: 56/ 62
Liri gasped. The wind had been knocked out of her. The skeleton responsible for the attack calmly waddled over to her. Even though its face gave no room for expressions, Liri felt the skeleton was smirking at her.
It raised its sword up and brought it down where Liri was. Only, the girl turned at the last second, feeling the wind sweep against her back caused by the swords swift movement.
She swiped her own weapon across its legs.
There was somewhat of an animalistic roar sounding off somewhere. Liri didn't realize that it was her own voice making that sound as she stood and tackled the creature.
The skeleton tried to raise its sword hand, but Liri pressed a foot against it. Insensed, she raised her sword and brought it down on the creature's head.
Until, with one final cry, she plunged her sword into her enemy's golden plate, causing the skeleton's bones to fall down as if they'd been held up by magic this whole time.
EXP Gained: +18, 18/30
Liri's eyes never left her victim. A paranoid part of her thought she saw one of its bones move, so she raised her sword and stabbed through where the head had been. The metal clanged against the stone floor, and still, Liri's eyes never left it.
A message distracted her momentarily. There was a "!" over the skeleton's sword.
Ancient Helian Sword (Common): 27-37 AD (Requires 4 STR and 6 DEX)
Another croaking sound emerged from a nearby room and Liri's eyes locked on to where she thought the sound came from.
She picked up her Iron Sword and the Ancient Helian Sword, tying a small rope around it from her belt and walked towards the noise.
The croaking continued which Liri used to create a path to her enemy. It led her to... A large library?
Sure enough, there was another skeleton, only this one was dressed in some sort of black robe.
It made eye contact with Liri, or at least she felt like it did, before raising its bony fingers at her immediately.
Liri was ready. She dodged the small ball of flame that erupted from the skeleton's fingers, before closing the distance and slashing its bare chest.
A series of attacks later, and this skeleton shared the same fate as its kin a few rooms back.
EXP Gained: +18, 30/30
Once again, Liri continued staring at its fallen body.
Ancient Helian Robe (Common)
Liri furrowed her brows. This was the first time she'd seen anything that required the INT stat. Actually, she could have this right now if she wanted, plus, this would be useful against these skeletons, all of which appear to possess some kind of magic.
Then again, that Ancient Helian Sword was a pretty solid improvement over the Iron Sword she was currently using. Though she couldn't have it now, she could start building towards that goal.
For the first time, she wasn't certain what she would invest her Attribute Points into.
Still, she popped up the Level Up! screen.
[Attribute Points]: 3
Giving it a few seconds to marinate in her mind, she decided it was best to go with what she could use now.
As soon as she pressed "Y", a white circle appeared around her. She felt something inside of her change. Something important, as highlighted by another "!" appearing over her head.
Stamina: 62/ 62
Now you can learn spells! Do this by consulting teachers, reading spellbooks or transferring knowledge
With enough practice, you could even craft your own!
Liri looked around. She was startled when she saw that now, a handful of the books in the library were glowing white. One was right next to her, to her left. She touched it and a text box popped up.
Spell: Fireball - 20 MD
Launch a small sphere of flame
Costs 5 Mana (Requires 1 INT)
As soon as she finished reading the prompt, the book disappeared. Liri stepped back, however, a string of clear white light entered her veins.
Liri's bottom lip shook.
"I know how to cast a Fireball." She whispered to herself.
Quickly, she ran over to the next glowing book.
Spell: Soft Heal - 15 HP
Regenerate a portion of health in one second.
Costs 8 Mana (Requires 1 INT)
Again, she suddenly learned a new spell.
Liri was almost smiling. She wasn't about to say she caught a break, or that she'd have to be any less careful than before, but this was progress.
However, an obstacle quickly presented herself. The few other books that glowed were all beyond her grasp.
Redirect an enemy spell back at them
Costs 20 Mana (Requires 7 INT)
Spell: Hero's Speech
Inflict Effect [Fear] on an enemy for 10 seconds
Costs 37 Mana (Requires 11 INT)
Some, like these, could possibly be attained with a few levels, but of the few spellbooks that were there, the vast majority were simply too far away. Not to mention that even though she'd discovered this new means of survival, she still wanted to be able to use that Ancient Helian Sword, so she couldn't put all her points into INT.
Still, she could become stronger. Maybe not significantly stronger, but stronger nonetheless.
And as she heard another croaking sound coming from a previous room, she realized this place was filled with skeletons all willing to help her reach that goal.