"That lightning..." Roudin narrowed his eyes as he observed the purple bolts of lightning strike down from the sky above. A look of interest flashed through his eyes, however, it quickly vanished. He folded his arms and the moment he did so, the pressure in the surrounding atmosphere seemed to increase. In that instance, Roudin resembled a towering and immovable mountain.
As the purple flash of light faded away, Izroth's figure reappeared. However, the aura around Izroth seemed different from the last time he used the Call of the Thunder God, First State: Heavenly Descent. Instead of two swords made out of pure purple lightning, the Sword of The Storm in Izroth's hand had changed its appearance.
It's previously azure-colored blade had become a deep, dark and saturated purple. The length of the blade also increased in length by nearly 30 centimeters.
Originally, Izroth only materialized weapons from the purple lightning itself. However, after a bit of experimenting over the last three days, he found that he was capable of using the First State: Heavenly Descent directly on his Sword of The Storm. While this did not change the effects of the skill, it altered the properties of Izroth's sword.
One of the things Izroth discovered recently was the abundance of hidden variables that were within RML. An example of this was Izroth's Heavy Wounds, or to be more precise, how it affected a player's mass. Although mass was not clearly defined in a numerical value anywhere in players system interface, it was still there just like the willpower that was used for willpower checks.
Enhanced skills, element fusions, fusion skills, and the astronomical amount of in-game knowledge located in the game's libraries caused Izroth to arrive at a shocking conclusion. Every class was secretly a combat master! Well, not in exact terms, but more in a generalized manner. To simplify it, every class had limits but it varied from player to player.
The best way Izroth could describe it was to think of every class that existed in RML as a tree. The body of the tree represented the class path that one chose and the branches could be considered the respective skills of that class. The leafs attached to the branches could be thought of as the various enhanced versions or variations of that class' skills. However, there was one part of the tree that could not be ignored; the roots.
Without roots, a tree would be hard-pressed to stand tall. It would be fragile and easily pushed over by a random gust of wind. So then, what did the roots represent? The origins of all classes. Though this was still a rough around the edges speculation that Izroth managed to come up with over the past few days.
Izroth had previous thoughts about this topic, however, he lacked any type of definitive proof until he met Valentine several days ago and saw that he managed to learn an enhanced skill. This caused him to revisit the subject after he learned the Call of the Thunder God and he did not regret his choice. The end result of his findings led to the discovery of what he called Properties of Hidden Influences or PHI for short.
Willpower and Mass were examples of PHI. These were things such as stats or properties that were hidden away from players eyes. They were capable of having direct physical or mental influences. Of course, the mental influences were non-harmful and would not actually cause the player to experience any true mental damage, otherwise, how much of an uproar would the public make?
In the end, it was something full of countless mysteries and Izroth decided that he would look more into it when he had some free time. As for whether or not the top guilds had this kind of information, Izroth highly doubted it. However, he knew that it was only a matter of time until it was discovered. After all, the top guilds were filled with experienced and veteran players who had vast resources at their disposal.
Izroth brandished his sword and disappeared from the spot he stood in. The next moment, he reappeared right next to Roudin and his Sword of The Storm was already traveling towards his neck! Even though Roudin said that he would take every attack head-on without moving, Izroth was not naive enough to simply trust his words. Therefore, he did not hesitate to use Enhanced Instantaneous Movement to instantly close the distance between himself and Roudin.
However, just as Izroth reached the space next to Roudin, he felt a large shift in his speed. He was prepared for this since he knew that the closer he moved to Roudin, the more his speed would be affected. Although he left room for error, he still underestimated just how great the pressure was in that area.
Izroth estimated that his agility went from 75% of its total, all the way down to 20%! Originally, he calculated that his agility would decrease to around 30% to 40%. This meant that Izroth's current movement speed resembled an agility of 275 points. In other words, he might as well be standing still to Roudin.
When Izroth experienced this drastic change, he wasted no time activating his Flickering Steps to maintain a viable movement speed. That's not all, he also poured ten points of his Essence into the skill. This increased the overall effectiveness and strength of his Flickering Steps by 50%, which was the maximum he was able to boost it by using his Essence.
If he was not affected by whatever strange skill Roudin was using at the moment, then his movement would feel like the 8,244 points of agility that it was supposed to. However, his speed resembled about 1,650 points. This was only around 300 points higher than his base agility!
Roudin was surprised by how fast Izroth was able to move. When he observed the flickering afterimages, he could tell that Izroth must have been using a high-level movement skill to move about so freely under his Atmospheric Duress. The area around him should resemble that of a level two gravity pocket. Therefore, the fact that Izroth was still capable of moving at such high speeds despite this restraint caused him to be somewhat impressed.
Roudin's eyes suddenly widened when as he saw a flash of purple light rush towards him as a bolt of thunder struck down at his location.
Woosh! Bzzzzt! BOOM!
Izroth used his Third Sword Form: Collapsing Thunder as his first attack. Surprisingly, Roudin did not move just as he said. Even more surprising than that, however, was the fact that Izroth felt as if he just struck his blade against something just as tough as itself or maybe even tougher when it made contact with his neck. There was not a single scratch made from his attack and Roudin remained unmoved. Not only that, but the amount of damage he did to Roudin was laughable at best.
"That's one." Roudin said as a grin appeared on his face, counting along with the attack Izroth had just made. He was caught off guard by that sudden boost in speed of Izroth's attack, but the damage turned out to be incredibly lacking. To be honest, he thought that it was a little disappointing since the attack itself appeared to be powerful. Unfortunately, the person before him seemed to lack a high level of attack which made it negligible.
However, he believed that if Izroth was equal to or closer to him in terms of raw attack power, then he may have been forced to concede a step just then. What frightening potential!
What a disgusting level of defense! No wonder he was so confident in his ability to remain practically unharmed. For someone like Roudin, 1,463 points of damage could be considered as scratching an itch.
From Izroth's estimates, that attack he just performed should have done around 17,000 damage before any defenses were taken into account. This meant that his damage had been reduced down to nearly 15%! How ridiculous was that?
A skill that mimics a gravity pocket, paired with that kind of monstrous defensive ability, made Roudin the perfect counter to Izroth's fighting style of overwhelming opponents with pure speed and power.
'If that's unable to damage him, then...'
All of a sudden, pulled back his sword as an overbearing and piercing aura appeared around his Sword of The Storm. As it descended downward, Roudin did something unthinkable. The moment Roudin sensed that destructive and piercing aura behind Izroth's attack, he kicked off his back foot and jumped back. Izroth realized Roudin's intentions just in time to cancel his attack before his skill went on cooldown.
Roudin's eyes became emotionless as his facial expression turned cold. His previous nonchalant attitude had disappeared as his cold gaze locked onto Izroth.
"Two. You moved." Izroth said in a carefree tone. The move he just executed was one that he had not used in a long time. It was the Fusion Skill he learned back during his first time in the dungeon Sea Palace Graveyard, First Baneful Sword: Destruction Point. It was the Fusion Skill he created by merging the First Baneful Sword: Destruction with his Fissuring Point.
This not only improved the overall strength of his First Baneful Sword: Destruction, but it gave it a terrifying effect that ignored one's defenses. However, unlike his normal First Baneful Sword: Destruction, it was a skill that required a large portion of his energy stat to use. This was even more so after both skills became fully maxed out. This was the reason why Izroth did not use it too often unless it was absolutely required.
"You've ruined my good mood. However, I'm a man of my word. Get lost." Roudin said as one could clearly hear the annoyance present in the tone of his voice. Luckily, there was no one around to witness his humiliating retreat, otherwise, they would definitely not live to tell the story.
Roudin was completely caught off guard by the level of viciousness behind that last attack. His body moved instinctively as if it could sense the fact that his defenses would not hold up. But, just that would not be a problem. It was the sudden spike in power that hid away within the attack that caused him to retreat. Although he was confident in surviving that attack, it was definitely not something he could afford to receive freely.
There were still Master Zushuatri's students, as well as four other individuals he was cautious about what he had to deal with later on in the selection. Therefore, how could he stand still and allow himself to be intentionally injured when he did not know when they would cross paths? It was not a chance he was willing to take. Still, he never truly believed that the person before him actually possessed that kind of terrifying attack. Just who were they? Izroth? He never even heard of that name before.
However, despite Roudin's words, Izroth did not turn and walk away. Instead, a carefree smile appeared on Izroth's face as he said, "Was it not you who asked to see how I would claim your life? Do you still not wish to see?" Opportunities for a fight such as this did not come often to Izroth, therefore, he would have been disappointed if Roudin just stood there and waited for death to arrive.
When those words left Izroth's mouth, Roudin could not help but burst out in a fit of laughter. How many people would dare speak such bold words to him? At the moment, he did not know if his current laughter was due to anger or actual amusement.
Roudin's laughter quickly died down as he replied, "It seems you've misunderstood my level of generosity, Izroth."
"Do you know why I'm called the Indomitable Mountain? It's not a title I just randomly gave myself. It was a title bestowed upon me by my elders and peers. I have been challenged countless times, but never have I once lost a battle. Do you think that my strong point is my defensive ability? Let me tell you, you're far away from the truth." Roudin said as he stretched his arm forward with his palm facing towards the ground.
Roudin canceled his Atmospheric Durress skill as the gravity pocket-like effect ended.
Even Izroth inwardly furrowed his brows at Roudin's statement. Such monstrous defense was not his strong point? If that was the case, then what could his strong point possibly be?
"Mountain Domain: Worldly Peak Drop." Roudin said as the entire piece of land, as well as the nearby water surrounding it, began to tremble violently.