As the rupturing earth spikes rushed towards Luna, it rose up everywhere around here besides the one spot she stood in after moving over two steps. It was as if she knew the path that the rupturing earth spikes were going to travel and what areas would be affected by it.
Everyone was amazed at how lucky Luna was to avoid the earth spikes. However, Izroth had clearly sensed Luna's precise and unpanicked movements when it came to what had just transpired. He understood that there was more to it and not just simple luck at play.
'Could she possess a skill that increases her sense of perception to such a high level?'
During their time clearing the Sea Palace Graveyard dungeon, Luna had never been in any type of real danger. With Izroth, Zi Yi, and Guan Yu dealing heavy damage, as well as, Halls absorbing the attacks, Luna was virtually untouched.
She was never in a position to move against her will. During the fight against Barbados, Luna had never been close to getting caught up in a whirlpool. But, Izroth quickly dismissed the thoughts he had in mind.
The system may be wondrous, however, if her skill was what he believed it to be then it would be what gamers called a true cheat ability! Though, Izroth would not mention anything if Luna herself did not want to shed any light onto the situation.
Everyone managed to successfully evade the attack, except for Halls and Guan Yu who intentionally did not dodge and decided to receive it head on instead. Halls was able to block the earth spike, while Guan Yu used his guandao to stop the earth spike from piercing directly through his body.
5,749/6,650 HP Remaining! (Halls)
3,625/4,225 HP Remaining! (Guan Yu)
As a pure tank, Halls possessed higher defensive stats than Guan Yu. Also, since Guan Yu lacked a shield, he was only capable of parrying at most and was unable to block attacks to further reduce their damage as Halls was able to do.
Guan Yu then continued onward with his charge towards the Earth Devouring Groundbull. When he arrived before it, he swung out in a mighty arc with his guandao. The weapon sliced cleanly across the Earth Devouring Groundbull's body as if there was nothing solid to halt the guandao's advances.
Skill Name: Arcing Armor Crusher
Skill Level: 1/4
Skill Rank: B
Requirements: Level 20 Spear Enforcer, Guandao Equipped
Mana Cost: 75
Active: The user sweeps their guandao outward in a mighty arc dealing 175% of the user's attack as damage, and penetrating through their enemy's defenses. This skill ignores 50% of all enemy physical defenses. Has a small chance of causing the «Fragmented» effect to occur on a successfully struck target.
«Fragmented»: All damage done to the target is increased by 10% and ignores 20% of all the target's defenses for 5 seconds.
Cooldown: 2 minutes
93% HP Remaining! (Earth Devouring Groundbull)
The attack power of Guan Yu's two-handed weapon, the guandao, was extremely powerful. However, since it is a two-handed weapon, he was unable to attack in quick succession. But, Guan Yu's speed was still considered astonishingly fast for someone who wore plated armor.
"Tch... It seems my luck isn't all that good." Guan Yu muttered to himself. He was referring to the fact that he was unable to trigger the Fragmented effect from the Arcing Armor Crusher skill.
"It's finished." Valentine said with a smile on his face. The thin string of mana Valentine had sent out towards the Earth Devouring Groundbull finally reached the monster's feet. As soon as the thin string of mana made contact with the Earth Devouring Groundbull, it quickly wrapped around its entire body.
The monster roared loudly as it tried to break free of its bindings, however, it was unable to do so. The mana strings seemed to become stronger and more durable the more the Earth Devouring Groundbull struggled to break free. It was not long until it was trapped within a cocoon formed from pure magic.
"Shatter." Valentine directed the magic flow around the cocoon as several cracks appeared throughout the structure. Instantly the cocoon shattered into countless pieces, however, Valentine's assault did not stop there.
He clapped his hands together as a strong burst of mana gathered above the Earth Devouring Groundbull. Above the monster's head, five magic symbols and magic sequences appeared in the shape of pentagons which were yellow in color.
"Zarkox First Sequence: Release." Valentine chanted as the magic pentagons moved rapidly and overlapped one another forming a total of five layers. A powerful surge of magical energy converged at the very bottom layer as a sphere of mana was created in the process. A beam of light instantly encompassed the whole body of the Earth Devouring Groundbull.
The beam of light soon vanished, however, another one took its place a few moments later. This occurred until a total of five beams of light fired down from above. It was like a constant barrage of magic energy was crashing down onto the monster.
Valentine used two skills with precise timing. The first skill was called Encompassing Mana String. Its purpose was to immobilize and control the movements of the Earth Devouring Groundbull. The second skill was known as Zarkox First Sequence: Release. Its main task was to inflict damage.
The ground surrounding the Earth Devouring Groundbull was completely charred as if it met with an intense source of heat.
Skill Name: Encompassing Mana String
Skill Level: MAXED
Skill Rank: B
Requirements: Level 20 Sequence Mage
Mana Cost: 100
Cast Time: 1.5 seconds
Active: The user sends out a thin string of mana which encompasses the target completely in magical strings, forming a cocoon that encases its target and prevents the target from taking any action for 3 seconds. Damage dealt to the target while encased within the cocoon is reduced by 75% of its total amount. The user can activate this skill's second command, «Shatter», during the 3-second duration.
«Shatter»: Shatters the cocoon encasing the target so that they may once again take action. This removes the reduced damage effect on the target, however, their mobility is reduced by 80% for 2 seconds.
Cooldown: 30 seconds
Skill Name: Zarkox First Sequence: Release
Skill Level: 2/4
Skill Rank: A
Requirements: Level 20 Sequence Mage
Mana Cost: 200
Cast Time: 2.5 seconds
Active: The user forms five stationary magic sequences within a compressed pentagonal shaped field of mana above its intended target. The user must then properly overlap the magic sequences into five layers which will then create a strong burst of light based energy in the form of a beam. The beam fires down in 0.4-second intervals for 2 seconds, dealing 125% of the user's magic as damage.
Cooldown: 5 minutes 30 seconds
Special Note: A brilliant, powerful, and complex magic sequence created by Zarkox, a famous Sequence Mage. One can only learn this skill if they have a true affinity with magic! This skill is awarded to the first player that completes the quest to become a Sequence Mage.
Valentine had used the Encompassing Mana String to bind the Earth Devouring Groundbull in place before making sure to free it before his Zarokox First Sequence: Release finished charging. This was so that the Earth Devouring Groundbull would be unable to avoid all five beams of light and still take full damage thanks to the effects of Shatter.
The magic defenses of the Earth Devouring Groundbull were practically nonexistent. Valentine managed to deal a considerable amount of damage to it with each of the five beams of light, which hit for a total of 2,530 damage.
If not for Valentine's perfect use of the Encompassing Mana String, there was a chance that only one or two of his light beams may have successfully hit. After all, the light beams had only one shortcoming and that was the fact that it could not strike outside of the spot it was initially cast in.
However, this seemed to only further feed the rage of the Earth Devouring Groundbull. Tremors once again shook the entire cave, but this time the steam that spewed from within the cracks was higher in density. Soon enough, a thick cloud of steam filled the whole room, making it difficult for the party to see even a few steps in front of them.
Thankfully, all of them had taken the Five Cycles Pill and so their senses were greater than the average player. If not, then they may even be unable to see even a few steps directly in front of them. Their hearing was also rendered useless thanks to the now non-stop tremors.
Izroth, however, was a bit better off as he had already gained the experience of separating the tremors from the sound of the Earth Devouring Groundbull itself. His vision was also better than the rest of his party, but he was still incapable of seeing more than three to four meters outward from his current position.
With the thick layer of steam limiting the party's range of perception, the Earth Devouring Groundbull took the opportunity to resume its assault on Halls and shot over in his direction as it burrowed underground.
Halls had his shield raised, keeping his guard up against possible incoming attacks. However, it was difficult to do so with the constant tremors that caused his stability to be thrown off. "Is everyone alright?" Halls shouted.
Everyone checked in and none of them had experienced anything more than the steam being a nuisance.
"Where did the monster go?" Guan Yu examined his surroundings, but he was unable to discover the position of the Earth Devouring Groundbull. It was bizarre since he was the closest to the monster before the steam appeared. Given the size of the Earth Devouring Groundbull, it was unlikely that he would miss it moving right before his eyes.
Izroth furrowed his brows as he stood with his Blade of Lightning in hand.
Izroth had lost track of the Earth Devouring Groundbull a few seconds after the steam filled room.
'It must have returned underground and fallen back in synch with the tremors.'
While Izroth was still capable of locating the monster, it would take him a few moments to discern the difference between the new tremors and the movements of the Earth Devouring Groundbull.
Out of nowhere, Halls felt as if he was sinking into the ground slowly. However, the feeling was more similar to stepping into a muddy swamp. Halls's entire body was not actually sinking, but the ground beneath him had turned soft and wrapped itself around his legs halfway up to his knees.
"?!" Halls was immediately alarmed. Though, he could not react in time as it happened in a mere instant. "It's here!" Halls yelled out as he tried to turn his body to defend himself, but it was too late.
The Earth Devouring Groundbull had traveled underground and used its abilities to soften the ground that Halls stood upon. Afterward, it moved above ground behind Halls and launched a surprise attack.
4,121/6,650 HP Remaining! (Halls)
Halls took a massive hit and lost a lot of HP from one strike due to his inability to block the surprise attack.
Once the Earth Devouring Groundbull's attack connected, the steam within the room started to clear up.
Luna instantly cast Healing Essence and Cure on Halls when the steam cleared. Due to the steam, she was unable to lock onto anyone since they were not within her direct line of sight.
4,804/6,650 HP Remaining! (Halls)
The party continued their assault against the Earth Devouring Groundbull once the steam cleared up.
Izroth and Guan Yu rushed over in Halls direction. Izroth's sword and Guan Yu's guandao fiercely struck out at the Earth Devouring Groundbull.
Zi Yi and Valentine resumed their ranged onslaught. The total amount of damage Izroth and his party was outputting would frighten even those top guild players.
They acted quickly and chipped away at the monster's HP. The party did not have to deal with the steam surprise attack again. It appeared that the Earth Devouring Groundbull was only able to use that skill once.
However, if the target had been Zi Yi, Luna, or Valentine directly, then they could have very well lost someone during their very first fight within the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
The Earth Devouring Groundbull had around 3,500 HP remaining.
Zi Yi released another arrow which soon disappeared and then reappeared next to the monster, piercing into its neck with amazing accuracy. Although Zi Yi could not land critical hits as often as Izroth did, her success rate was well above average for an archery-type class.
Izroth's Blade of Lightning released an oppressive aura as small crackles of lightning could be heard coming from his sword. Izroth's sword flashed outward and cut down vertically from the Earth Devouring Groundbull's head all the way through its torso, slicing it cleanly in half.
〈Battle Alert: Congratulations, you have defeated Earth Devouring Groundbull〉
The body of the Earth Devouring Groundbull turned into ash the moment it was defeated.
Izroth and his party were victorious. They had survived their very first encounter with a monster from the Chaotic Dogma Realm without losing a single member. However, none of them were celebrating.
This was only a level 25 elite monster and yet it was so strong, much stronger than normal elite monsters. This was most likely the average level of strength that monsters within the Chaotic Dogma Realm possessed. It may be even weaker than that!
If that was the case, then the road ahead of them would be a challenging one.