"Is he someone you know?" Luna asked curiously. She was surprised that one of the other groups present seemed to recognize Izroth.
"We've crossed paths once before." Izroth replied with a carefree expression on his face.
Izroth could see the rage within Gripler's eyes. There were even two other players who were with Gripler at that time that also recognized Izroth. How could they not be enraged? It was all because of him that their plan ultimately failed!
"It looks like they aren't exactly pleased to see you here." Mirage said as she saw three players glaring at Izroth.
"Heh, enemies often cross paths. We should stay out of it if they decide to battle, Tian Suyinrong. It isn't our fight." Present Order said.
Mirage scoffed, "Have you already forgotten that we're all tied together? If you want to die then fine, but I'm not going to willingly do so!" She was beginning to regret more and more that she allowed Present Order to accompany her on this journey. When things failed to go his way, he would lose sight of everything that mattered for his own personal agenda.
Present Order released a small harumph and did not bother to respond. It was obvious that Mirage was taking Izroth's side. This only made him want to reach the Blazing Temple even faster so that he could hurry up and take care of that piece of trash nobody combat master!
Then he would finally be able to focus on spending some quality time with Mirage. Who knows? After seeing their battle, there was even a chance that beautiful healer would want to come along with them as well.
Izroth's party stopped a few meters away from the group of players and caught the attention of everyone as they approached.
"You... You're called Izroth, right? You look a bit different." Olohas said with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. Not only was Izroth's equipment different from the time they last met, but there was something else strange about him. However, Olohas was unable to put his finger on it.
Izroth nodded and replied, "Indeed, I'm called Izroth. If I remember correctly, you are a commander of Blue Oasis, Olohas, correct?"
"I'm flattered that you still remember my name after our brief meeting." Olohas responded. Izroth was someone his captain, Niflheim, talked about quite often.
Not only that, but it was common knowledge amongst most of the top guilds players that the player who ranked first in the event Protectors of Amaharpe was named Izroth. However, most top guilds had no idea who this Izroth person who appeared out of nowhere was!
But, this could be seen as a blessing in disguise. While Izroth's relationship with his captain could not be defined as being particularly close, there was still at least some connection between the two of them even if it was small. He had witnessed Izroth's fight against those three players back in Opal Town and knew of his frightening speed.
If he was already that fast and strong at the low levels, then he must be even more powerful than at that time. If he could convince him and his party to help secure the Fire Spirit against Gripler's party then there was a good chance that they did not have to worry about losing a single member! However, he had to find a way to convince Izroth to assist him without being too direct about it.
"You dare show your face in front of me again?!" Gripler said without restraining his anger and having his gaze locked onto Izroth. It was as if he were afraid that Izroth was going to disappear right before his eyes before he could take his revenge.
Olohas was startled by Gripler's sudden outburst and how he seemed to want to tear Izroth to shreds. There appeared to be some history between Izroth and Gripler that he was unaware of. However, this worked well in his favor. If they were already at odds with one another, then he may not even have to convince Izroth to join him in dealing with the members of the Headhunter Syndicate.
"My teacher can show his face wherever he pleases. If you wish to change that matter, then step forward. I will personally deal with you." Azalea said in a cold and detached voice. Finally, there was someone for her to take her frustration towards Present Order out on!
"May I ask what purpose the Fire Spirit serves?" Izroth asked while completely ignoring Gripler.
Olohas was startled by Izroth's question and had a shocked expression on his face as he asked, "You entered into the Blazing Tempris Domain without knowing about Fire Spirits?"
How reckless! If he had entered into the Blazing Temple without first obtaining a Fire Spirit then...
"I'm afraid this is our first time in the Blazing Tempris Domain. Though if you can enlighten us on this matter, then I would be grateful." Izroth said in a calm and straightforward manner.
Olohas saw this as a chance to gain izroth's favor and build a deeper connection between him and Blue Oasis. So, of course, he would answer Izroth's question.
"My apologies, I was just a bit shocked is all. You see, in order to gain official entrance into the Blazing Temple, one needs to first acquire a Fire Spirit. If your party entered into the Blazing Temple without a Fire Spirit then I'm afraid that your time within the Blazing Tempris Domain would have been cut short. Without a Fire Spirit, a party will become a target of the wildfires within the temple." Olohas explained.
He then continued, "These wildfires are extremely dangerous and can even kill tanks within just a few seconds. However, if one possesses a Fire Spirit, then the wildfires will not target them and they can explore the Blazing Temple without any worries about the wildfires. In simple terms, it acts as a protection charm for those who entered into the Blazing Temple."
"There's just one small problem. The only monsters that drop Fire Spirits are level 35 and above elite fire-type monsters that naturally reside within the Blazing Tempris Domain. Needless to say, finding elite monsters outside of dungeons and certain special areas is no easy task. We all happened to come across this Ragnis Salamander and came to a fair compromise. However, a certain group wishes to go back on their words." Olohas said as he glared at Gripler.
So that was the reason why thirty players were all teaming up against one elite monster! It was not that one was unable to enter into the Fire Temple without a Fire Spirit, it was just extremely unwise to do so.
"If that's true, then we could have died even after we got rid of that passive..." Mirage muttered to himself with furrowed brows. The places outside of Amaharpe's jurisdiction truly did acquire a new level of attention to detail. Otherwise, players could find themselves in an unfavorable situation due to a lack of knowledge.
"Who are you little girl? Go back to playing with your toys at home! As for you, Olohas, you open your mouth too easily! Now move out of the way so that I can kill him!" Gripler growled as he lashed out with his words.
"Izroth is a friend of Captain Niflheim of my Blue Oasis guild! If you attack him, you'll be showing us no face! Do you really want to act in such a reckless manner?" Olohas said as he did not budge and turned to face Gripler.
The moment Azalea heard those words leave Gripler's mouth, she vanished from the spot she stood in. This time, however, Izroth did not prevent her from acting. He could tell that she was already agitated and holding herself back from attacking Present Order. Therefore, if she wanted to vent a bit of her frustration, he would not stop her.
'Her self control seems unrestrained in many areas. I suppose that is something to be worked on.'
"I'll tear you to pieces and-!" Gripler was ready to charge at Izroth, even if he had to go through Olohas to get to him. However, he suddenly felt his entire body tense up as he became unable to move. No matter how much he struggled to do so, he was unable to take a single step.
Just moments before Gripler became stunned, a shadow appeared on the ground behind him as a hand holding onto a dagger pierced into his body. A small figure leaped out from within the shadow and swiftly swept her daggers six times in quick succession across Gripler's immobilized body.
The small figure was Azalea who chose not to wait any longer to act. She used an advanced version of the skill Pressure Point to stun Gripler. It was called Crippling Edge. She then followed up with a swift chain of attacks using her daggers.
"I can't move!" Gripler had no idea what was going on as his HP began to rapidly drop. He could not see Azalea's movements and attacks that were taking place behind his back.
"Boss!" One of the players from the Headhunter Syndicate's party yelled out as he held his staff forward. However, just as the spell he was casting to heal Gripler went off, he felt a strong force slam into the side of his body. Although he still managed to get the healing spell off, he suffered a great price for it and loss around 20% of his HP from one attack!
Azalea's figure was like a phantom roaming throughout the battlefield. Every time someone looked to see where they had been attacked, there was no one to be seen! It was a frightening experience to go through.
Gripler was finally freed of his immobilized status and was able to regain some of the HP he lost thanks to the healer in his party. However, by the time he turned around to tell the healer job well done, all he saw was the last of a few dissipating particles floating into the air. When he looked at the party window and saw that the healer had died, he was dumbfounded.
He had only been stunned for around two seconds! How was it possible that someone from his party died so fast?! In the first place, how was it that they were even losing HP? What was going on?
Gripler was not the only one who was confused. His own party, as well as, the other groups of players were also baffled. The other groups had a better view of what was going on and every once in a while, they could see a drifting apparition of sorts appear just as a player from the Headhunter Syndicate was attacked.
Olohas, however, had a pretty good idea about what was going on. The girl who with Izroth's group had vanished the same time that Gripler's party began to experience their current predicament. Therefore, it was not difficult to connect the dots. But, he was speechless about something else.
It was not by what kind of high ranked skill Azalea must be used to cause so much damage and chaos, but rather what was stuck in his head was that she referred to Izroth as her "teacher". If Izroth was her teacher, then what exactly was he teaching her? If it was what he believed it to be, then the thought itself was terrifying.
Woosh! Woosh! Woosh!
Three more players from the Headhunter Syndicate party were eliminated by Azalea. There was large darkness on the ground that moved around with incredible speed. From out of this darkness came arms made of shadows that each wielded a dagger. It was Azalea's Dance of Fusillades that she used against Savage.
She caught three players within its grasp and since they did not split up, she was able to focus on every one of them. Now all that remained was Gripler and one other player of the Headhunter Syndicate.
Amazing! That was the one thought that went through everyone's mind as they watched the spectacle unfold. In less than thirty seconds, she had already managed to kill four out of six players by herself! Who was this person?
It did not take long for Azalea to deal with the other remaining Headhunter Syndicate player as her dagger slipped right across his neck causing a critical hit. She quickly followed with a few more strikes and finished him off.
"Die!" Gripler swung his sword down and cut Azalea in half, or so he thought. Azalea's body that was cut in half turned into a congress of ravens that rushed towards him and temporarily blocked his vision.
Azalea appeared behind Gripler as her daggers seemed to dance and soar freely over his body.
Gripler tried to create distance and shake Azalea off of him, however, every time he attempted to even look in her direction she was already behind him! It was incredibly frustrating!
"I'll kill you!" Gripler shouted in anger, but those were his last words.
Both of Azalea's daggers sunk into Gripler's head as he stood there motionless. In the next moment, his body turned into particles and disappeared into nothingness. Just like that, Azalea had taken care of six elite players in less than one minute!
Azalea returned her daggers to their sheath before slowly walking back over and standing slightly behind Izroth in a respectful manner as if nothing happened.
Everyone was silent as they witnessed the end of Gripler and the other members of the Headhunter Syndicate. However, there was one thing that was well imprinted into them after that brief exchange... Fear!