'He's still alive after that attack... How high is his HP? Or, is it a skill?'
It would be a lie if Izroth said that he was not shocked by Roudin's level of durability. Izroth believed that he had underestimated just how far the level and stat gap was between the two of them. Then again, he knew that this selection was not truly meant for players to participate in to begin with, especially someone with his level.
Thanks to his 6% lifesteal, Izroth regained all the HP he lost when performing the Element Fusion and returned to full health. Just as Izroth was about to follow up on his attack, his Soul Sense went off. At the same time, he saw a silver flash of light shoot past his eyes.
Without a second thought, Izroth tossed aside his previous actions and retreated to a safe distance. Luckily, his Flickering Steps still had a few seconds left until it ended, otherwise, he would not have been able to retreat in time.
All of a sudden, as soon as Izroth's feet touched the ground after his retreat, a wound appeared on his shoulder as if he had just been cut by a sharp blade. Strangely enough, he clearly felt that the attack just now had not struck him!
'I definitely evaded that.'
Izroth did not bother looking at the wound on his shoulder as he kept his gaze focused on Roudin. He knew that a person was most dangerous when backed into a corner. In all honesty, it would have been ideal for him if Roudin had fallen to his attack a few moments ago. Izroth understood that such a rare opportunity would not come around again.
But, what really bothered Izroth was the fact that he was confident that he had just avoided Roudin's attack. While it looked like a silver flash of light, it was actually Roudin's fist that had a strange silver energy wrapped around it. The moment Izroth felt that increased sense of danger, he believed that if he had just tried to exchange blows with Roudin and followed up on his attack, then he would have undoubtedly perished.
Therefore, he swiftly pulled his blade out of Roudin's chest and fell back the second his Soul Sense warned him, but he still ended up receiving a portion of damage from the attack. It just barely grazed his shoulder and yet its damage was more than 50% of his total HP! If it had been just a few more centimeters over, it would have struck his neck and instantly killed him. Fortunately, he adjusted the original position of his body when he evaded the main attack itself.
Roudin's eyes were cold and filled with rage, however, his mind was surprisingly calm. He was not like most individuals who would completely lose their temper when faced with a dire situation. In fact, he was more serious now than he had ever been since he met Izroth.
Roudin had to admit that he severely underestimated the person before him. He figured that someone like that would have no way to survive under the influence of his Mountain Domain and he had paid a heavy price for it. To make matters worse, there was a powerful Domain user headed in this direction. In the end, no matter who won this fight, the chances of them escaping from this place alive was close to zero.
Izroth's Flickering Steps wore off just as he finished retreating. That was not all, his First State: Heavenly Descent had also ended as his Sword of The Storm returned to normal. The only bright side was that the pressure released by Roudin seemed to be concentrated around his immediate vicinity within a small range of three meters. However, the pressure in that small area could not be compared to the one from before.
This pressure was many times stronger and one could visibly see small parts of the atmosphere inside of the three-meter range bend and twist in awkward ways.
'Any attacks at a close range will immediately be thrown off by the sudden sheer increase in pressure. That attack I used just now drained a lot of my Essence. If I continue to use it in a fight at this pace, then I'll inevitably experience Soul Weakness for five hours. If that happens, my time in this selection is over. However, since I've come this far, I have no intentions of turning back.'
What Izroth did not know was that if Roudin did not have his Mountain Domain activated when he was attacked, then he would have been unable to survive Izroth's devastating blow.
"As I thought, he's somehow predicting my attacks and moving accordingly beforehand. If my timing wasn't a bit off, then he'd already be dead." Roudin muttered to himself. Roudin then started to question himself. Even in his current critical state, he was confident in his ability to eliminate Izroth. However, he was worried about the Domain user closing in fast on their position.
Roudin was not foolish enough to believe that he could handle a powerful Domain user with his present injury. He regretted not immediately killing Izroth when he first appeared. If he had done so, then he would not have ended up in this unfavorable situation. Now, he had to decide whether to stay and fight or make a tactical retreat. No, it was too late to think about it in this manner. Would he be worthy of the title Indomitable Mountain if he retreated? Of course, not!
"Well? Are you done thinking yet?" Izroth asked with a carefree expression on his face. It was the same question Roudin asked him before their fight had started. Of course, Izroth was not simply doing this out of spite. In a battle where there was a natural gap in overall strength, one had to take advantage of everything that was handed to them.
Izroth knew that no matter how calm Roudin thought himself to be on the inside, it was impossible for him to be totally unaffected by taking such a critical hit from someone he thought was so much weaker than himself due to his own carelessness. Those who lost their calm in a battle like this for even a split second would pay for it with their life.
Roudin grinned as his facial expression darkened and he said, "I never expected there would be someone without a Domain who's capable of wounding me in this selection. I don't know what kind of tricks you used, but my Mountain Domain is not something so easily broken. You've missed your only chance to kill me, Izroth. You will not get a second one."
'He has no openings. I can use Enhanced Instantaneous Movement again, however, the moment I arrive within attack range I'll be rendered immobile by the concentrated pressure. This one is troublesome.'
In the end, Roudin was a terrible matchup for Izroth. His defensive abilities, the pressure that minimized and restricted Izroth's speed, and terrifying attack power to go along with it.
Izroth glanced off to his side when he felt a gentle yet chilling breeze brush across his skin. It was irregular compared to the breeze he had been feeling thus far. At the same time, he saw that Roudin's facial expression had become increasingly grave as every second passed by.
Roudin stomped his foot as four large stone tablets rose up out of the ground and rushed towards Izroth from four different directions.
Izroth sprinted towards the stone tablet that was in front of him and pressed his foot up against it as it was moving. He used his Wall Walking skill to tread up the stone tablet and right before his foot left the ground and made contact with the tablet, a tremor spread out in every direction. This was Izroth's Behemoth's Quake. He then leaped over the stone tablet just as all four tablets crashed into one another and crumbled into dust.
He did not continue to run straight towards Roudin, but instead, Izroth maintained a distance of ten meters. After the first tremor made contact with Roudin, Izroth activated the Tempest Strikes skill attached to his Sword of The Storm. Not only that, but he also used the skill Life Reaping on his Ring of The Exiled which had its full 100 stacks. This granted Izroth a bonus 100% lifesteal making his total lifesteal 106% for 20 seconds!
Since the stacks lasted for one hour and Izroth had eliminated those participants just moments before the first relocation took place, he still had the stacks that he gained from their deaths. With a low amount of HP, Izroth knew that he could not risk, at the very least, losing out to Roudin in terms of sustainability; even if it was only for 20 seconds.
Izroth shifted his stance to that of his First Sword Form: Converging Paths and swung his Sword of The Storm. He used Phantom Strikes along with his first sword form as a blade of wind followed by two shadows soared through the air towards Roudin.
The mountain symbols in Roudin's eyes turned upright and a light glow was emitted from them. He received Izroth's attacks and punched forward with his fist. If one saw his punch, they would think that he was hitting nothing but empty air. However, right when Izroth's attack connected with Roudin, Roudin's attack also connected with Izroth.
1,712/8,169 HP Remaining! (Izroth)
Even though Izroth managed to avoid Roudin's attack again, he somehow still got struck on his outer torso area despite the warning from his Soul Sense. Although he saw the clear movement of Roudin's fist, there were no other signs of danger after that and it was impossible to tell how his attacked worked.
'Where are his attacks coming from? If I can weaken him a bit more, then...'
Right now, Izroth was walking a tight rope of death. If he could not figure out how Roudin's attacks worked, then the moment he slipped up or his lifesteal ran out, he would die.
However, unbeknownst to Izroth and Roudin who could not afford to drop their focus for a single moment, a third party had arrived on the scene in mid-air as they looked on the fight below. There was a gust of wind beneath their body that carried them throughout the sky and countless squalls the size of a small fist behind them. The second that Sage laid her eyes on Izroth they turned ice cold.
"It's him?" Sage said to herself as a look of disgust appeared on her face. However, one could only see the look of disgust in her eyes due to the fan in her hand blocking the lower part of her face. She narrowed her eyes when her gaze landed on Roudin since he was the one emitting the power of the Mountain Domain.
In her eyes, he must have been severely wounded by the person he was fighting against beforehand and then that weakling must have taken advantage of the situation to attack him while he was in a critical state. Otherwise, how could a user of a main upper eight Domain struggle against the likes of that trash?
Though, Sage was not surprised by that weakling's actions. The weak often resorted to such underhanded methods in order to accomplish their goals. Those who lacked power only had cowardly means at their disposals and there was nothing she found more disgusting than this.
"This world has no need for such trash." Sage's hand moved slightly and although one could not see it due to her incredible speed, she had actually just swung her fan out twice towards Izroth's direction. She was aiming to claim his life without a moment wasted!
Around 1% of the squalls behind her descended from the sky and fell directly over Izroth right in the middle of his battle with Roudin! Although 1% may seem like a small amount, that was still around fifteen squalls!