“Quickly!” Shouted Gardenia as she began to run into the cave.
Elunial just stood there gaping as Gardenia’s form disappeared into the darkness of the cave. “You know, I think I just realized something about her.”
“Too late to worry about that. I’m following after. It might be better if you just stay out here. We won’t come back so don’t bother waiting for us to return.” Said Oblivion Shadow as he began to run after Gardenia.
“Is this what is means to be a Wanderer? Do they not have fear?” Then the roar came bellowing once more from the cave.
While Elunial stood by the cave trying to decide what to do Gardenia was running forward into the cave. While it was mostly dark the occasion glowing crystal gave her enough light to continue to see the passageway that continued forward. At this point she could also hear people shouting and the clashing of steel against something else.
The dragon roared again.
As she broke out of the tunnel and into a extremely large cave. At the far end was the giant dragon. Red scales glimmering in the glow permeating the cavern. The dragon stood atop a large pile of gold, not coins but more like melted gold slag that had hardened with gems glinting in the mix of the gold.
Around the dragon fighting it were six people. Leading the fight was a man wearing brilliant silver armor and carrying a spear, thrusting at the underside of the dragon as it reared up. Next to the spear wielder was another man who was wearing chain like Gardenia he had a pair of swords and was deftly blocking the incoming attacks from the dragon’s claws. At the back was a pair of men carrying staffs. One was casting healing spells at the two men in melee and the other was shooting bolts of lightning at the dragon.
There were two woman in the team. One was a woman wearing leather armor and carrying a mace two hands. The other one had a crossbow which she was feeding bolts into one by one before launching them at the dragon’s head. All together they made a competent team.
Gardenia however could tell that the battle was going badly for them. The one healer was having trouble keeping up healing the damage that the dragon was delivering to the three front line combatants. As a skills life mage herself she could tell that the spells that were being used were all powerful, and expensive, spells and that the healer would run out of mana soon at this rate.
Assisting the other party shouldn’t problem. While they were doing alright now Gardenia could see that the battlefield was soon going to crumble. Assisting another party that was doing well was considered bad manners but helping one that was losing usually was appreciated.
The dragon pointed its head to the roof and began to breath in. Gardenia could hear the man with the spear shouting, “Watch out, it is going to breath fire.”
That instruction was enough for the entire team so begin running in different directions, splitting up and attempting to avoid clumping up for an area of effect attack. It was a good move and would have been effective if the dragon had aimed for the tank with the fire breath. Instead as it lowered its head and began to breath fire it was aimed directly at the healing.
The fire was about to hit the healer and certainly put an end to his life when Gardenia intercepted the beam of fire. She stood directly in front of the healer with her shield raised and blocking the fire with her own body.
When the fire dissipated Gardenia was still standing there. She had lost over half of her health and the healer behind her had also last about the same but they were both still alive. While the healer had taken heat damage from the breath weapon Gardenia had blocked most of the damage.
Gardenia was glowing with flickering red flames. Her shield was melted in places but otherwise she was doing fairly well. Not only was she a healer she also had fire magic. Ice resistance wasn’t the only defensive fire spell that Gardenia knew, she also knew the Fire resistance spell. That combined with her higher armor defenses let her survive the attack with enough health.
The team that had been fighting the dragon looked her in surprise but not for too long. The man with the speak called out, “Stop wasting time folks. Keep up the assault.” With that all the members turned their attention back to the dragon who had used the spare moment to recover from the breath weapon.
The healer began to cast a healing spell at Gardenia but she only said, “Don’t bother healing me. I will do it myself. Save your magic for the others.” She didn’t want for a response and instead began to run toward the front line to directly fight the dragon.
The healer must has listened because Gardenia was never healed by him. Instead she cast the healing spells on herself as well as casting her physical enhancement on herself. As she go closer she could feel the intimidation radiating of the giant dragon. It set electric bolts down her spine, this, this is what she had been looking for. As the dragon was about to snap its jaws onto the man with the spear Gardenia interposed and deflected the attack with her shield.
The three front line members of the team all looks like they had good defensive abilities but none of them were strictly tanking builds. Technically speaking Gardenia was not a tanking build but she was closer than the others. She had an intermediate shield skill and the ability to heal herself. That made her more qualified to tank then the other three. She was able to use her sword art ⎡Aggression Blade⎦ to draw even more of the attention of the dragon away from the others.
To Gardenia is was like nothing else existed. Just her and the dragon. It was like all the others had vanished. Like the sounds of combat had disappeared. “Come at me. Let’s see what you can make me feel.” Said Gardenia as she stared down the dragon.
It stared back at her and she smiled. The crashing of its clawed armed into her shield was all that she could feel. Even though she had expertly blocked it she had still taken a significant amount of damage. It battered her one claw attack after another. She continued to block them.
Her sword was practically useless against the Dragon, however she still kept attacking it to keep its attention on her. It would be disappointing if it started paying attention to anybody else. She was being pushed back by the dragon but it followed after her. It was like a dance with the two for them turning around in the center of the cavern.
Gardenia’s health remained relatively high through the entire fight. With inner focus she was able to continue to cast healing spells on herself while still defending and making her own attacks. Gardenia was in a trance, she was moving rhythmically to the movements of the dragon. Even when it raised up to breath fire against she could feel whether it was aiming and was able to position herself directly into that line.
Other people might find that deliberately intercepting the fire would be a foolish action but Gardenia could feel that it was correct. If she was the one intercepting it then nobody else would be harmed. At the close range it would be difficult for anybody else to get armed if she blocked it.
Her moment of harmony was shattered as the dragon roared once more. Red tendrils began to wrap around the dragon and she could feel the temperature rising. It felt like her blood was boiling, like her skin was melting. Even with the pain weakened it felt like she was actually dying.
Then she was knocked over, there was the flapping of wings and another roar and the room was painfully quiet. Even laying on the ground her hands were shaking. She could still feel pain, like she was burning up.
⎡Chill⎦ came a familiar voice next to Gardenia and she could feel her body cooling down. The pain began to recede and she began to come to her senses. Above her was Elunial looking down at her with a concerned look.
“Are you alright? For a moment there I thought you had died.” Said Elunial.
“I think I am alive. However I can’t seem to move. What happened?”
“There was a field of fire that you were in and then the dragon flew away. I am pretty certain your chainmail partially melted and then fused together. It is a wonder you managed to survive at all.”
There was a laughing. A man’s voice. His voice was clear and strong. Gardenia looked up to see the man with the silver armor and the spear. “You did well. I was surprised when you just ran in and saves our healing. After that you did a brilliant job at tanking the dragon. Without you I it would have much a lot more difficult. When the dragon fled I was sure you were dead but it looks like you have a little spunk and managed to survive after all.”
“No, I’m sorry. Once I starting fighting the dragon I just completely forgot about all of you. Had I been paying attention we might have been able to prevent it from flying away.”
“Hah, don’t worry about that. The quest wasn’t to defeat the dragon. We were searching for one of the dragon’s treasures. Driving the dragon away was more than enough to succeed at the quest. Besides had we stopped it from escaping it certain would have gone berserk and killed us all.”
He looked over at the woman holding the mace, “Stella, do you think you can try to get this woman up? She seems to be melted to the floor.”
Steela shook her head and walked over to stand above Gardenia. “Yeah, this looks bad. Good thing you had your friend here with ice magic. Otherwise you certainly would have died. But it looks like both your shield and armor is toast. It will need to be completely replaced. What a cruel attack the dragon used to destroy equipment like this.”
She readied her mace before saying, “This might hurt a little but I am going to try and break you free.” She swung the mace softly, and then a little bit harder. There was cracking and snapping sounds. After a few more swings Gardenia was finally free of her melted chainmail. She was stuck with just her light underarmor.
“Thanks” she said as she shook some of the chunks of metal out of her clothing.
“Nah, as Drake said, we should be thanking you. While Drake might say we could have done it without you that would have been impossible. If our healer had died that would have been the end of us. Plus getting three more party members really helped stabilize the fight.”
“I’m glad to be of help.” She looked over and Elunial who was standing next to her and at Oblivion Shadow who was standing farther away looking aloof. “Thanks you two for following me. I kinda didn’t expect you to.”
Elunial shook a hand in front of her face, “Don’t worry about it. I was never the one in danger, it was you. Plus like the master said I learned a lot watching you. I am just surprised we managed to drive the dragon away, I was expected us all to get killed indeed. It really was a kind of miracle.”
Over at the pile of slag gold was the man who had wielded two swords. He had a pickaxe in his hands and was bringing it down on the gold one strike at a time.