The inside of the rainbow-colored coral was surprisingly spacious; not at all what one would think looking at it from the outside. There were also different colored lights matching that of the rainbow-colored coral that was constantly flowing throughout the walls and pulsating like a heartbeat. There was no one in sight when Izroth and his party first entered, however, they had been told by the players standing guard outside that everyone would be at the deepest point of the coral.
"Izroth, this place..." Zi Yi furrowed her brows as she examined her surroundings.
"What you're thinking is certainly a possibility, however, it's still much too early to tell." Izroth replied as if knowing beforehand what Zi Yi wanted to say.
"Hm? Is there something I missed?" Valentine questioned after hearing the exchange between Izroth and Zi Yi.
"Ah, that's right. You weren't with us at the time. Before we entered the Chaotic Dogma Realm, we cleared a dungeon called the Sea Palace Graveyard a few times to get familiar with each other's abilities. There was a boss in that place called Calder, The Seahorse Knight who resided in a coral similar to this one." Zi Yi explained.
"Oh? Do you think that dungeon is related to this raid?" Valentine asked.
"That's overstretching it, but it's not completely impossible. Even if the raid isn't related to the Sea Palace Graveyard, at the very least, this place may provide us with a clue to the location of the memory fragments needed for the 2nd part of the world quest The Beginning of Beginnings. After all, Izroth did locate the first fragment within the Sea Palace Graveyard, therefore, perhaps there's another dungeon nearby?" Zi Yi stated.
"I see, so it's like that. If that's the case, then maybe we should explore the entire Cleargate region after the raid ends. But, there's one thing bothering me about this place. Isn't Clearwater supposed to be a settlement?" Valentine said.
"I find it strange as well. For a place claiming to be a settlement, it sure is lacking people. We haven't seen a single local on our way here." Zi Yi commented.
"They're around here. Though, it appears that they're quite shy by nature." Izroth said. From the moment they entered the Settlement of Clearwater, he had sensed some individuals lurking below ground. He believed that the waterways that ran through the settlement were connected to a large underground water source that acted as the actual Settlement of Clearwater. He could feel that they were being closely watched, however, there was no hostile intent coming from those watching.
Everyone was surprised by Izroth's words. They were around here? Where? No matter where one looked, there were no signs of anyone whatsoever.
"Could they have some kind of special stealth skill?" Halls asked.
"It's nothing so complicated. I can sense at least five dozen individuals below us at this very moment." Izroth said casually. However, these words came as a huge shock to those present. Five dozen?! This meant that there were currently, at the very least, 60 people under them?!
"What?! They aren't going to ambush us, right?!" Guan Yu questioned as he carefully watched the floor beneath him as if something would jump out and attack him at any given moment.
"I doubt it. Seafolks aren't exactly a warrior race and they like to keep their distance from the other races. Since these locals are their descendants, then it's safe to assume they're probably the same. Given the large volume of water and available water sources in this area, it's most likely an underground water source that acts as the real Settlement of Clearwater." Zi Yi explained.
'As usual, she catches on quite fast.'
After Izroth and his party walked deeper into the rainbow-colored coral, they reached a room where there were 17 other players present. The moment Izroth and his party stepped into the room, all eyes fell onto them. It was obvious that the other players present were sizing them up. After all, they were total strangers who would be joining them for this raid. Not to mention, one of these strangers was the younger sister of Sleeping Gardenia's guild leader! Naturally, there were a few who were against this idea, but since things were already decided they would not object vocally.
Immediately, Izroth recognized three individuals. Niflheim, Minus, and the guild leader of Blue Oasis himself, Asgard. Minus only briefly glared at Izroth before turning his attention away. Niflheim and Asgard, on the other hand, gave a small nodding gesture to greet Izroth and the others.
The other 14 players were individuals that Izroth had never seen before. However, even though this was the case, he could instantly point out the Seven Captains of Blue Oasis from those present.
'So these are the core members of Blue Oasis. Not bad. Those two are also pretty interesting.'
One of the players that caught Izroth's attention had a calm and reserved aura around him. His hair was dark purple and neither short nor long as it covered the left side of his face. Although only one of his eyes could be seen, it was gray in color. His appearance and height were both only slightly above average.
But, what stood out the most was the strange weapon on his back. It was a large broadsword that was around the same size as him on that was purple and gray in color. The strange part was that the blade of this broadsword was shaped like a perfect rectangle and instead of a pointed blade, it was flat. This was the captain of the 1st squad of Blue Oasis, Road.
As for the other player who caught Izroth's attention...
〈System Alert: Your party has been invited to join a Raid Party[Current Members: 18][Party Leader: Asgard], would you like to accept?〉
Izroth accepted the raid party invite as his entire group instantly become a part of the main raid party.
'It looks like there's still one missing... Complex Assault?'
In a party, when one was too far away their name would be grayed out. At the moment, the only name grayed out was one called Complex Assault.
'If I remember correctly, he should be the vice-guild leader of Blue Oasis.'
"Welcome, everyone. Now that you're all here, we can officially begin the strategy meeting. Though, to be honest, there's not much to discuss since we're unable to send in a scouting party in advance due to the unique circumstances of our current situation. Captain Niflheim, I'm passing the floor over to you." Asgard stated.
"Then, I'll make it brief. While we possess little to no factual information about the raid itself, we do believe that it is a raid with mainly water-type monsters. Since we'll be attempting the raid on the Hardcore difficulty setting, we need to be prepared as much as possible for anything that may hinder us in completing our objective. Because of this, each person here will be provided with x2 Water Resistance IV potions, a grade three Lightning Edge enchantment stone, x5 High Grade Health Potions, 25 Medium Grade Health Potions, and those of you who use mana will receive x5 High Grade Mana Potions and x25 Medium Grade Mana Potions." Niflheim explained.
He then continued, "We have also prepared a few talismans and taken other necessary precautions, however, these will only be available in case of emergencies."
As Niflheim spoke, two players went around and distributed the items to everyone present.
'Blue Oasis sure is generous. Though I suppose this only goes to show that they're going all out for this raid.'
The batch of items Izroth received was worth no less than 700 gold coins! Considering that a set of items would be provided to each member of the raid party, this meant that Blue Oasis was spending no less than 16,800 gold coins for this single raid alone. That was more than 5,000,000 RMB! This was not including any other secret preparations they may have made in advance.
However, this price was nothing compared to what Blue Oasis could potentially make if they managed to open up their own territory. 16,800 gold coins? 5,000,000 RMB? This would be mere pocket change to them if they were successful! But, this was not without risk. If they failed, then it would be a big financial blow to them. After all, there were 50 core members in Blue Oasis and even more elite players. Naturally, these players were provided with a basic monthly income by the guild, otherwise, how could they focus on RML and becoming the top guild?
Once the items were finished being distributed, Niflheim continued and said, "Now, I will discuss everyone's roles. I will be taking on the position of main tanker. As for the off-tank, it will go to our friend Halls over here." Niflheim gestured towards Halls as everyone's eyes fell onto him.
Halls felt as if these people wanted to eat him alive with their gazes, but he did not shrink away. Even more so, he was disappointed that he was not the main tanker, but he knew that this was a Blue Oasis ran operation. As for the stares... It was natural for them to be somewhat worried since their lives would be in the hand of a total stranger. But, surprisingly, no one voiced their objection and remained professional about the decision.
"Leave it to me." Halls responded in a confident manner.
Niflheim gave a small nod in response as he said, "Now, for the healers..." He then went on to assign roles to everyone. In total, there were only three roles which were tank, damage dealers or DPS, and supporters. But, for a raid, these roles were broken down even further into six roles. Main tank, off-tank, main DPS, clean-up DPS, main supporters, and off-tank supporters.
Along with eight other players, Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine were assigned to clean-up DPS. This meant that while they would focus on the boss or main monsters, their main task would be pulling off and taking care of any unexpected monsters, or "adds" as they were called, that appeared out of nowhere in the middle of a fight.
Of course, Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine were not at all happy about being assigned to be clean-up DPS. But, just as they were about to object, they were stopped by Izroth who only gave them a simple carefree smile. When they saw this, the three of them decided to not voice their objections. Instead, there was a look of fire hidden away behind their eyes.
They understood exactly what Izroth was saying with that look of his. "They wanted to push them off into the clean-up DPS position? Fine, then just show them that they've made the wrong choice. Show them that your strength is not something to be looked down upon!".
Minus was also pushed off into the clean-up DPS position. Needless to say, he was furious at Niflheim's decision! Wasn't this clearly suppressing him?! He grit his teeth in anger but remained silent.
As for the main DPS, this group consisted of Izroth, Asgard, 5th squad captain Abstract, 1st squad captain Road, 4th squad captain Peaceful Chaos, and 3rd squad captain Vanaheim.
What came as most surprising was the fact that Luna was placed into the main supporters group along with 2nd squad captain Nidavellir and the vice-guild leader Complex Assault. The main supporters goal was to keep the main tank and the main damage dealers alive. As for the off-tank supporters, their goal was to focus on keeping the off-tank alive, as well as, to fill in the blank areas in case any clean-up DPS took damage. They also usually specialized in AOE healing.
"Everyone, I know that some of you may be unhappy with your positions. However, keep in mind that I will do what's best for the raid party and to ensure that our chance of success is at its highest point. Therefore, please note that I have full authority to change these arrangements at any time. If I see that you are not properly pulling your own weight, then I will not hesitate to swap you out. This goes for me as well." Niflheim stated.
The atmosphere became somewhat tense at those words. It would be a great humiliation to lose one's spot in a main position. This would further motivate everyone to not slack off because, at any given moment, they could be swapped out.
"Now that that's settled... Let us head to the raid." Niflheim announced.
It was finally here! They were about to attempt the first raid in RML! Needless to say, everyone became restless and some even started to get somewhat nervous from the pressure.
"Where is this raid anyways?" One of Blue Oasis' core players asked. The location had yet to be disclosed to those outside of the seven captains and guild leader/vice-guild leader.
"We're already here." Niflheim said as he walked over to the nearby rainbow-colored coral and touched a beautiful sapphire gemstone that was attached to the wall. When the palm of his hand met with the gemstone, a hole opened up and a clear tube that traveled downward appeared.
He then continued, "The raid lies within the true Settlement of Clearwater."
'Interesting... Maybe the two are connected.'
Everyone was stunned by Niflheim's words. You mean this entire time... They had been standing right above the actual location of the raid?!