Izroth and his party made their way towards the Blazing Temple at a steady pace. Hovering above Izroth's head was the same Fire Spirit he received from Olohas. After walking for a few steps with it inside of his inventory, the Fire Spirit appeared on its own without any warning.
Around twenty minutes later, the group could see a grand structure in the distance with a great and spacious staircase that led up to a temple. The structure had an ancient and desolate feel to it. One could see streams of flames exploding up from the ground.
"It's the Blazing Temple! We've finally made it!" Mirage said excitedly.
"Heh, it looks like we won't have to worry about this irritating passive anymore." Present Order said while secretly glancing over towards Izroth.
Sinking Clouds sat his hand onto Present Order's shoulder and signaled him to slow down his speed a bit. A few seconds later, the two of them were around six meters away from the main group who were ascending the stairs.
"What is it?" Present Order said with a frown. He was just about to make sure that Izroth did not try to back out on their precious arrangement when Sinking Clouds interrupted him.
"Fu Chun, are you sure about this?" Sinking Clouds asked.
"Am I sure? Don't tell me you actually think I'll lose to some combat master piece of trash? Even if he does have a 4/5/6 set up by some miracle, my HP is three times more than his. Also, you saw the damage he was doing when we were fighting against those Lava Beast. At best, he's equal to me and even that's pushing it. What are you so worried about?" Present Order said.
Sinking Clouds shook his head and responded, "Brother, it's not him I'm worried about, it's that girl with the mask who's with him. You saw how she took out that party with ease...! What if she decides to help him once it's clear that he's going to lose?"
Present Order furrowed his brows as his facial expression turned a bit gloomy at the thought. Indeed, he had already insulted her and it was obvious that she had been watching him closely every time he even glanced towards Izroth. However, after thinking about it for a while, he came up with a solution.
"Don't worry, I have a plan. Trust me, when have I ever let you down, Wu Zemin? By the time I'm finished, we'll have the Fire Spirit, a few grade three pills, and that guy will be dead." Present Order said with a grin on his face.
Present Order and Sinking Clouds were whispering instead of sending private messages to one another at only six meters away. To Izroth who possessed the Heavenly Golden Body physique, as well as, the Superior Perception skill from the Five Cycles Pill, the two of them might as well have been shouting in his ear.
However, how could the two of them know that Izroth's hearing skills had been improved to such an extent?
Izroth and his party made it to the top of the staircase without any difficulties. As soon as their foot touched the ground outside the staircase, everyone received a few system alerts.
〈System Alert: You have entered the region «Blazing Temple».〉
〈System Alert: The skill «Bounded Fire Domain» has been removed from your skill list.〉
〈System Alert: You have gained the temporary passive skill «Protection of The Fire Spirit».〉
Skill Name: Protection of The Fire Spirit
Skill Level: MAXED
Skill Rank: Unique*
Passive: The user of this skill is unaffected by the wildfires that reside within the Blazing Temple. Gains the temporary passive skill «Basic Fire Resistance».
«Basic Fire Resistance»: +10% Fire Resistance
Special Note: If the user or any of the user's allies no longer possesses the item Fire Spirit or the owner of this skill leaves the Blazing Temple, this skill along with its provided effects will disappear.
'I wonder how troublesome these wildfires are since even the members of top guilds are willing to spend so much time and effort searching for a Fire Spirit.'
"I hope you haven't forgotten about our arrangement!" Present Order said as he arrived at the top of the staircase and turned to face Izroth. He had been waiting for this moment to come long enough.
"You're still on about that?!" Mirage said in a displeased tone of voice. Just when she enjoying the sight of the flames spewing from the grounds and dancing within the air, as well as, the ancient looking temple before her, Present Order just had to go and ruin her entire mood with his nonsense.
"A man doesn't go back on his word! It's too late for him to back out now!" Present Order reminded Mirage.
In all honesty, Mirage did not want the two of them to fight. Just looking at the massive HP gap alone made her worried about an unfair match. After all, Present Order purchased a full equipment set.
One had to know that equipment sets gave special bonus effects to its wearer depending on the total number of pieces that were being worn. At the moment, Present Order had all six pieces to a set! Therefore, he received every single bonus effect it had to offer which put him at a major advantage.
But the most concerning part was that his damage was higher than the average tank. Mirage had witnessed Izroth's skills and although they were good, especially for a combat master, his damage could only be comparable to Present Order at best.
Even though his gaming sense and reaction time were far ahead of Present Order, she did not believe that it would be enough to make too much of a difference in the outcome.
The most frustrating thing of all was that the two players who Mirage thought were Izroth's friends did nothing to talk him out of fighting! Why did it seem like she was the only one who cared what happened? How could the two of them be so calm when their friend was in trouble?
However, Mirage decided not to continue overthinking it. Most likely, Azalea Wraith would jump in to stop the fight if things got too out of hand. At least, that was the only logical thing she could think about.
"I have not forgotten. We can begin whenever you'd like." Izroth said in a calm and carefree manner.
"Are you sure it's okay to let him fight like this? Shouldn't we try to stop it?" Mirage whispered to Luna in hopes that she had similar thoughts in her mind, however, she was only met with a simple smile from Luna as a response.
Mirage then looked towards Azalea, however, she was unable to tell what was going on through her mind. In the end, she released a small helpless sigh and decided to simply give up. If it really got too out of hand, then she would just try to talk Present Order out of it.
Present Order stepped forward and walked away from the staircase to where there was more space to move around. Of course, he stayed far enough away from the main temple grounds where the fire was erupting at random intervals and a few Lava Beast were lurking around.
Izroth took his time to walk forward and stood around ten meters away from Present Order's position. Unlike what Present Order was expecting, there was still no sign of panic or fear within Izroth's eyes.
"Before we start, what do you say we make a small wager? Of course, if you're too scared then just forget about it." Present Order said as he tried to goad Izroth on.
"Oh? What did you have in mind?" Izroth asked. However, he already had a good idea of what it was that Present Order wanted from him.
"If I win, I want some of those grade three pills you traded to those players for the Fire Spirit. Also, the winner not only gets the Fire Spirit itself but gets to decide the fate of the loser. Of course, no one is allowed to interfere during or after the fight! Do I have your word?!" Present Order said.
"And if I win?" Izroth questioned in an unhurried manner.
Present Order had a confused expression on his face. If he won? Did he truly believe that he could win this fight? While it was a laughable subject, Present Order still chose to entertain his question.
"Alright, if you win, then I will give you my full set of gear. You're also free to choose my fate as well. Now do you accept or not?!" Present Order said in a voice full of disdain.
"I accept. If I lose, I'll give you one hundred grade three pills. As for interfering, I give you my word that no one will do so. Are those acceptable conditions?" Izroth replied.
Izroth knew that Present Order was scared that Azalea might interfere in their battle. He was not exactly polite towards her over the course of their journey. As for the pills, it didn't matter if Present Order wanted a thousand or a million pills, Izroth was not concerned. After all, he had no intentions of losing.
One hundred grade three pills?! Everyone present, excluding Luna, was shocked when Izroth threw out such a large number without hesitation. Surely he must've been exaggerating about having that many. However, if he gave away six grade three pills so easily then maybe, just maybe he really did have one hundred grade three pills sitting around!
"I accept!" Present Order was secretly gleeful. This would be a huge gain for him if he was able to procure that many grade three pills at once. Wouldn't he have even more than those top guilds? He could use the pills to make a few strong connections within RML. However, he wanted to be sure that Izroth was not playing a joke on him.
"We'll use the dueling system. It will be set Non-Lethal mode and we'll use the built-in wager system. That way, neither of us can go back on our word." Present Order said with a smirk on his face. He may be able to get even more pills out of Izroth by sparing his life at the end. Well, at least that is what he would tell him. As for actually sparing his life, that was a different story.
The dueling system within RML had a large variety of features to choose from, however, the most commonly used feature was Non-Lethal mode. In Non-Lethal mode, the user's HP stopped at 1 once they were dealt a killing blow.
As for the wagering system, it was just as it sounded. Players could put items up for wager and the winner would lay claim to whatever items were put up. This was the best way to make sure others did not go back on their word, or just simply to engage in a friendly wager between friends without the hassle of trading after every match.
Izroth wasn't surprised that Present Order chose to use Non-Lethal mode. After all, it was quite clear what his intentions were. There was also a chance that Present would want him to stick around to endure further humiliation before dealing the final blow.
That was usually the mindset of people like Present Order, but it was nothing new to Izroth. He had met people like Present Order before and not a single one of them had the last laugh against him.
After deciding on the terms of wager and battle, Present Order sent the duel request to Izroth. The dueling interface popped up for Izroth to put in any items that he wanted to wager. Just as Izroth said he would, he set x100 Five Cycles Pills along with the Fire Spirit as his wager.
Without giving it a second thought, Present Order also kept his part of the bet and put up his entire equipment set. He was not afraid of losing it since in his mind this fight had already been won.
When Present Order caught sight of the one hundred grade three pills, he felt a rush of excitement wash over him. It was real! He actually had so many grade three pills on him!
"Alright, everything seems in order. Heh, a pleasure doing business with you. I'm going to start the duel now, so get ready!" Present Order said as he drew his two-handed greatsword and took on an offensive stance.
〈System Alert: A duel has been initiated between Player Izroth and Player Present Order. Beginning countdown sequence. 10 seconds...〉
〈System Alert: Duel has commenced!〉