201. Elf Attack
“Destroy the fruits! Don’t let the Humans steal our sacred gifts! For Dominion As’triel!”
A dozen little Elves dashed forth, rushing past the screaming nobles with their weapons drawn, aimed at Ivonne. The Human woman blinked as they charged, not moving or fleeing from the stage. There were shouts— screams. It came from throughout the room.
“Why are they here?!”
“Someone stop them!”
An Elf raised her bow, aimed at Ivonne— no, at the Fruits of Y’gdrazil. They released the arrow, and it burst forward. In an instant, it crossed the distance to the stage. It was powerful. It'd have torn asunder the entire platform. But a figure moved.
Lamarr, the Warrior King of Traith, leapt into action. It was like he was ready for this. He drew a long sword, swinging it forward as it carried him up onto the stage. It was as though his blade had yanked him up, moving faster than he could. Then, the image of a shield overcame his entire body. It was larger than his being— it absorbed the arrow into its center, consuming the projectile before the projection vanished.
I blinked, confused by that Skill. Figures moved quickly, the Elves for the barrel of fruits, and the adventurers, nobles, and all those in between to intercept them. A voice called for me as chaos broke out— a battle between Humans and Elves.
Saffron shouted, stumbling back. I glanced over at her, and she pointed past me.
“And she may give me a reward, right.”
I nodded. I spun around, activating [Haste] as flame built up at my feet. It propelled me into the air, above the fighting. I watched an Elf knock away a charging Human adventurer. They didn’t try to engage. They only had one target. Ivonne and the Fruits of Y’gdrazil. I descended next to the Human [Merchant], leaving Saffron behind to fend for herself.
“Well, that’s not what I was going to say, but sure.”
The noble woman shrugged.
I grabbed Ivonne right as a large spike of ice streaked towards her. It froze the ground under it, leaving a trail of sleet, colder than my regular blue flames. I placed the [Merchant] down on the ground, looking her over. She dusted herself off.
“Are you ok?”
I asked, and she simply smiled.
“I am. But perhaps you should worry more about yourself.”
I cocked my head, and my [Passive - A Hunter’s Sense] blared in my head. I spun on my heels, conjuring a Nebular Dagger in both my hands. I slashed up with the black blades, leaving a trail of flames where it swung.
An Elven [Rogue] parried the attack. He was four levels lower than me, but he was fast. He leapt back, throwing his dagger at me. It multiplied mid air, turning into a dozen different flying blades. I narrowed my eyes. Those weren’t just aimed for me, they were aimed for Ivonne too. The Elf snickered, and I grinned.
Flames exploded out of my mouth, pouring out like a splash of water, washing the throwing daggers out of the air. The Elf darted around me, moving faster than I could keep up. He reached Ivonne—
He froze for a second. And I sliced apart his back. He screamed, pulling away as I followed up with a second swing. He drew back, dodging it, glaring at me with a maddened gaze. I flipped my dagger in my hand, looking at his blood. The feeling of cutting through his skin was unnatural. As though he was protected by some kind of artifact that made his body tougher.
And he was faster than me too. This was going to be annoying, especially since he just had to kill Ivonne.
“Can you handle it?”
The [Merchant] spoke casually from behind me. I bared my teeth.
“Of course I can. I just have to kill him with a single strike.”
The Elf eyed me warily as another dagger flashed into his hands. He threw it as he darted to the side, and I swiped my hands at the dagger, unfurling a blue streak of flames. It knocked the dagger away before it could even multiply. Then I dashed to the side, cutting off his path as a powerful black flame overcame my weapons—
And he vanished. The Elf appeared next to his dagger, grabbing it as a grin flashed on his face. He struck for Ivonne, and I cursed. But a small smile crept over my face as his movements slowed.
I activated [Temporal Distortion] right over him, decreasing the speed of everything within the bubble. He didn’t come to a halt like with [Intimidation], but it allowed me to zip up to him before he could even reach Ivonne, my daggers raised in a cross.
Black-white flames gathered between my daggers, drawing the attention of the Elf as he twisted in the air. I brought the blades down at him, shearing through his body.
It seemed like a long time had passed, but in reality, it only took a few moments. The fight was over. The Elf dropped out of the air in two pieces, a scorched mess burnt by my flames. I turned back to the battlefield, seeing how much had changed in such a short amount of time. Even though my fight with the [Rogue] didn’t take long, the earth was now scarred as bodies littered the ground.
This was a battle of Level 100s. Not all the Humans were above Level 100. Many of those at around Platinum jumped in the moment they saw the Elves. A few of them had died, alongside some bystanders. Many more Humans would’ve been killed if the Elves weren’t aiming for a specific target.
“You have stolen our treasure! We have caught you, thief—”
The lead Elf shouted, knocking Lamarr back. He stepped up onto the stage, and something caught him by the leg. An ethereal chain stopped him, wrapping around his body, holding him where he stood. More chains shot out past him, headed for his Elven allies as they tried to avoid them. They were caught, either by these purple, almost transparent bindings, or the swinging blades of the other Humans.
It didn’t take long, but the battle was already over. The Elves— only five of them were left alive— were apprehended. A figure hovered above them, bringing down an unbridled raged with him.
“You foolish Elves!”
Headmaster Clayton Skyshredder bellowed.
“Do you not understand what you have done? Do you not understand what this means, puny Elf?!”
He landed right before the leader of the Elves. I took a step back as he seemed to tower over them, more so than he should. Was it an illusion? Magic? Or just the gulf between his levels and theirs?
It didn’t make a difference. The leader of the Elves was a mere Level 110. He held Clayton’s gaze for a moment, trapped by the magical bindings of the most powerful Human [Mage] in the world. Then he grinned.
“I do, Human filth. It is war.”
His chains shattered. The Elf leader broke free from his bindings as Clayton raised a hand, a powerful ball of flames already forming. But the Elf leader didn’t care. He faced only the barrel of fruits before him. He swung a saber, and the ground was split open, the barrel smashing into a thousand pieces along with the Fruits of Y’gdrazil. Then he was incinerated.
I stared at the ashen remains of the Elf.
And it was over.
Defeated [Flash Blademaster - Lvl. 102]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Subspecies [Daeva Cambion] Level Up!
[Daeva Cambion – Lvl. 106] -> [Daeva Cambion – Lvl. 107]
Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 38] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 39]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!
[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 39] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 40]
Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!
The battle ended, Saffron, thankfully, was smart and stayed out of the battle. So, she came out unscathed. A few nobles and merchants and lower-leveled adventurers were caught in the fighting. They didn’t survive, just out of being unlucky enough to be seated where they were.
Clayton Skyshredder spoke to Ivonne for a moment before escorting the chained Elves out of the Tower of Truth.
“...you knew this would happen.”
“How could I have possibly known this, dear Headmaster? I’m but a humble [Merchant]. I wasn’t aware of their presence in the audience as you were.”
He clicked his tongue.
“You instigated this. You were the one who led them here. I couldn’t have stopped them. Not without starting a war.”
“And now, there is still a war. But it is at the fault of the Elves, no?”
Ivonne shook her head, patting him on the shoulder.
“Thank you for saving me, dear Headmaster, but it is about time you bring our prisoners out of here. After all, the nobles are growing restless.”
With that, Clayton was gone.
I stood with Saffron, making sure that she was fine, when I heard the footsteps approaching me from behind. I looked up, seeing Ivonne come to a stop just before me. The dark-skinned woman smiled, bowing her head slightly.
“I’d like to thank you for saving my life, Ms Salvos. To think that the Liberator of the Plaguelands herself would come to my rescue— I am honored.”
“Oh, it’s nothing!”
I beamed, giving Saffron a small wink from the side. Your plan worked! This was why helping others was good, sometimes. It had its benefits!
Saffron just rolled her eyes in response. Then I faced Ivonne.
“So, do you have a reward for me?”
She raised an amused brow.
“Why, straight to the point are we? Yes, I was hoping to repay my dear savior in kindness. Tell me, what is it that you desire? If it is within my power to obtain, I shall grant it to you.”
“Well… I was hoping to get the ingredients necessary to make a Potion of Regeneration. Say, some sagetree sap?”
Ivonne chuckled, turning her hand over. She revealed a tube of glowing golden liquid, one that I instantly identified as what I’d been looking for.
“Is this what you need?”
I reached out to snatch it off her fingers, but Saffron cleared her throat. I blinked, remembering my manners. I bowed slightly.
“It is, [Merchant] Ivonne. I would truly appreciate it if you could gift such a valuable item to me.”
Well, I called her a [Merchant], but that was only because everyone else did. In truth, I couldn’t see her levels or her Class. She had some kind of obfuscation artifact, just like Daniel did.
Ivonne waved a hand off, placing the sagetree sap onto my open palm.
“This is the least I can do for the one who saved my life.”
I gratefully accepted the sagetree sap. For something that was so difficult to obtain, it really didn’t look like anything special. But I was very much glad to have received it anyway.
“Alright, so all I need now for my Potion of Regeneration is…”
I scratched the side of my head as I tried to remember what else I needed. Ivonne helpfully spoke up.
“A single shard from an Enigmatic Heart, yes?”
“Um, yes. It’s supposed to come from—”
“A [Lux Golmi]. A type of Golem that is said to be over Level 100. The only type of Golem that is said to reach that level.”
A thought crossed through my mind, and I hesitated. I opened my mouth, but the [Merchant] shook her head.
“I must apologize, my dear savior, but I do not have such an item on me. Perhaps if I had arrived from the southwest as I did a decade ago… alas, I came from the east this time. I only have within my wares things you can find from the Elven and Dwarven lands.”
“Do you know where I can buy this, um,, Enigmatic Heart thing from? I have the money.”
“Unfortunately, matters are never just about that of wealth. Those who have it tend to be [Alchemists], hoarding resources for their own research. Perhaps an adventurer has recently faced one of these powerful Golems, and has put up its Enigmatic Heart for sale. But this is not something that happens frequently. A rare occurrence predicated on chance. It’d be wiser for you to seek out one of these [Lux Golmi] yourself and steal a piece of its heart.”
That answered pretty much all the questions I had. Well, all except for one.
“Where can I find these [Lux Golmi]’s?”
“They reside deep within the Rainforest of Monsters. I’m sure your Adventurers Guild can offer you more information. But I must warn you, my dear savior, the Rainforest of Monsters is a dangerous place. Even for Diamond Ranks such as yourself.”
“It’s fine! I’m the Liberator of the Plaguelands, remember? That place was also a Diamond Rank area, and I came out of it just fine.”
I flexed an arm, ignoring the fact that I lost an arm from the Plaguelands, and Ivonne just smiled.
“Perhaps the Rainforest of Monsters is even more dangerous than the Plaguelands.”
I looked at Saffron for confirmation, and she shook her head.
“I’m not certain, but I’m under the impression that the Rainforest of Monsters is generally the safest Diamond Ranked zone. Unlike the Plaguelands and the Bloodied Gulf which claim many more lives a year.”
“The Rainforest of Monsters is safer. At least, if you tread carefully, as long as you do not venture into its deepest depths, where sunlight is blotted out by the canopy of trees, and the world is a permanent night. It is dangerous enough for the Watcher himself to warn against delving into the forest’s heart.”
I looked between the two women, confused. Saffron explained.
“He’s supposed to be the protector of the Human lands. The highest-leveled Human in the world. There are rumors that he’s actually… a summoned [Hero]. I don’t really believe these rumors myself, but that could explain why he’s nearly Level 200.”
“Rumors are rumors.”
Ivonne stepped back away from us, her arms behind her back.
“Is the Watcher truly a [Hero]? Is the Watcher even a Human and not a Spirit? Is the Watcher even a man? These words spread whenever there is interest in an individual, just as I’m sure there are rumors being spread of you, my dear savior.”
I tilted my head to the side. Ivonne’s eyes flickered.
“Indeed. And while I’d love to stay and discuss these rumors, I must take my leave now. Once again, I thank you for saving my life, my dear savior.”
“Oh, sure. And thanks to you too!”
I waved at her as she walked off. She approached Lamarr, speaking with him as I raised a brow. I wondered for a moment what they were talking about. But I turned back to Saffron.
I pocketed my sagetree sap, grinning.
“I just need one more ingredient for my Potion of Regeneration, then I can finally begin work on actually making it.”
Saffron eyed me, arms crossed. I wasn’t sure why.
“It’ll probably take a whole day for me to find one of these [Lux Golmi]’s. I could try to go tomorrow, but I have a test next week, and I should probably study for it. I should probably go next weekend, then?”
She tapped her fingers on her elbow, her gaze boring into me.
“Will you, Salvos? Will you really be doing this next weekend, and, I don’t know, not something else?”
“What else would I be doing?”
I gave her a puzzled look. Saffron sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
“You really forgot again, didn’t you?”
“What did I forget?”
“You have a date.”
She spoke flatly, and I blinked. I worked my jaw, raising a finger.
“...huh, I do.”
I just shrugged.
“I’ll just postpone—”
“No you won’t.”