Niflheim's first thought was that perhaps the relics were all gathered together near the same location. Although it would be somewhat strange, it was not impossible. But, if that was the case, why was there only one relic being displayed on the raid map?
[Raid Voice Chat] Niflheim, "I'm not seeing any other relics being displayed on the raid map. Are you certain you've found the other relics?"
[Raid Voice Chat] Izroth, "I haven't gone there personally yet, however, there's no doubt that the relics are at the following coordinates I've sent over via system message in the raid party chat. As long as we visit these coordinates, we'll find the relics we're looking for."
Of course, Izroth's words left the members of Blue Oasis skeptical. Izroth had not even traveled near most of these coordinates he posted, therefore, how could he possibly know what was there? Could he have already completed this raid before? Everyone knew that was impossible considering this was the first time the Great Sea Palace raid was being attempted.
Niflheim contemplated for a while before deciding to give it a chance. He knew that Izroth had nothing to gain by providing false information. Besides, his gut feeling told him that Izroth was not the type of person to depend on petty methods or showing off. At worse, they may lose 5-10 minutes if he was wrong. But, if Izroth turned out to be correct, then the time they could save would assist them greatly.
[Raid Voice Chat] Niflheim, "Captain Vanaheim, your group is the closest to one of the listed coordinates. Go and confirm if there's a Relic of the Sea nearby."
[Raid Voice Chat] Vanaheim, "Understood."
A couple of minutes later...
[Raid Voice Chat] Vanaheim, "Confirmed, there's a relic at the exact coordinates that were provided. There's also a single Relic Guardian protecting it. Its hardcore effects are Bulk and Propagate."
Vanaheim's voice seemed to carry with it a hint of disbelief. She could not help but wonder how that person managed to uncover the exact location of the relics in such a short span of time. Though she was not the only one with these thoughts. Needless to say, besides the players in Izroth's group, everyone else was left speechless and curious. They wanted to know how he did it!
[Raid Voice Chat] Niflheim, "Everyone, choose the coordinates closest to your immediate location and confirm the relic's position, as well as, the hardcore effects of each Relic Guardian. We need to collect as much information as possible before we attempt to destroy the relics."
It was only a few seconds after Vanaheim confirmed the coordinates, and Niflheim gave those orders, that Niflheim received a message from group B. However, a helpless smile appeared on his face as he read over the message. What did it have? Two coordinates that matched that of Izroth's! In other words, their group was ahead of group B!
Niflheim shook his head as he messaged the list of coordinates Izroth sent in the raid party chat over to group B. He needed them to stay ahead of group A, otherwise, their main objective of providing them with information as quickly as possible would be useless!
As Niflheim forwarded the information over to group B, he also sent another message with it. A few moments later, he received a response, however, it was just as he had expected it to be.
"The Relic Guardians of the normal raid lacks any sort of effects whatsoever. That means this is something unique to a Hardcore raid. Let's hope it doesn't affect things too much." Niflheim thought to himself. The last thing they needed was more unknown variables to deal with during this raid.
A few minutes later, Izroth's group and the other groups that split up to search for the relics had gathered back at their meeting point.
"So far, we've discovered four different hardcore effects. Bulk, Explosion, Propagate, and Erosion. Those with Bulk appear to have their HP doubled from their original amount. As for the others... We have no knowledge of their effects, therefore, we'll have to tread carefully." Niflheim said.
After deciding on the order in which they would face the Relic Guardians, Izroth and the raid party made their way towards the closest Relic Guardian. It was the same Relic Guardian that Izroth's group discovered with the hardcore effects Bulk and Explosion.
"These hardcore effects concern me." Zi Yi said with a slight frown on her face.
"They just sound like extra skills. What's there to be concerned about?" Guan Yu stated.
"The real question is, what is there to not be concerned about?" Zi Yi sighed.
The raid party arrived at the Relic Guardian as Niflheim and Halls were positioned at the front of the group. The ranged damage dealers and magic casters maintained a safe distance that would allow them to attack while staying out the way of the melee damage dealers.
"Avoid using skills that generate large amounts of threat level. The threat level you generate shouldn't be higher than mine, but it also shouldn't be too low just in case any unforeseen circumstances occur. I'm sure I don't need to tell you anything more than this." Niflheim said to Halls who stood next to him as he removed a plain-looking silver kite shield from his back. However, one should not be fooled by its appearance. There was a faint aura around it which was a sign of rare quality equipment!
Niflheim also unsheathed the sword at his side. It was neither long nor short and the blade was incredibly sharp. It was also rare in quality.
"You can just focus your attention on dealing with the Relic Guardian. It's alright if you fail, after all, I'll be right behind you." Halls said confidently.
"I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you." Niflheim responded without hesitation. As a captain of Blue Oasis, as well as the one tasked with commanding the raid, how could he slack off and let someone else take away his position as the main tank? Therefore, when he heard Halls' words, Niflheim grew even more motivated and competitive than he was before. He wanted to personally show Halls the difference between those who constantly competed in a competitive top guild environment, versus those who only played for fun.
The moment Niflheim's sword fully left its sheath, his entire personality seemed to change. The aura around him grew more concentrated and fierce as the look in his eyes became sharp. Niflheim rested the flat side of his sword atop his kite shield as the tip pointed in the direction of the Relic Guardian.
"Maw of the Devouring Beast." Niflheim said as the silver shield in his hands emitted a bright flashing light. All of a sudden, the massive mouth of a beast formed from pure energy emerged from the shield in Niflheim's hand and rushed towards the Relic Guardian.
The maws of the beast snapped shut and swallowed the Relic Guardian whole!
"Every time I see it, I'm still amazed that he was able to find such a rare class." Asgard thought to himself as he witnessed the sight before his eyes.
'This certainly is an interesting class.'
The mouth of the beast made from energy dissipated and left behind the Relic Guardian completely intact. Even after that frightening attack, the Relic Guardian did not have a scratch on it! However, this was because the skill Niflheim used was not meant for dealing damage to a target...
There was a thin film of energy that encompassed Niflheim from head to toe after the maws of the beast vanished.
"Assimilate." The instant this word left Niflheim's mouth, the silver kite shield in his hands started to morph and transform. That was not all, but Niflheim's physical appearance also underwent some surprising changes.
The kite shield was no longer silver, but instead, it was aqua in color and its surface resembled that of untamed ocean waves. A small amount of steam could be seen leaving Niflheim's shield and every part of his body. At the same time, sparks of electricity could be seen flowing around him and throughout the untamed ocean waves on the surface of his shield.
Niflheim released a great deal of pressure in the direction of the Relic Guardian that immediately caused its attention to be locked onto him. The skill he used was called Taunting Pressure, a skill that was unique to Niflheim's Assimilation Guardian class.
Skill Name: Taunting Pressure
Skill Level: MAXED
Skill Rank: A
Requirements: Level 35 Assimilation Guardian
Mana Cost: 150
Active: The user releases an immense pressure towards a select target within 20 meters. Increases the user's 'Threat Level' on the selected target by 300%. Grants the user 6 «Assimilation» stacks if the target is affected by the skill «Assimilate».
Cooldown: 6 seconds
Niflheim immediately followed up with the skill Unimpeded Rush to quickly close the distance between himself and the Relic Guardian.
Niflheim's shield crashed into the large body of the Relic Guardian as it shook slightly and was stunned in place.
"Attack!" Niflheim roared after he successfully locked in aggro on the monster. Without the slightest delay, everyone started their assault on the Relic Guardian.
The first battle of the raid had finally begun.
Meanwhile, at the surface area above the True Settlement of Clearwater...
"They acted faster than I originally anticipated." Ewan thought to himself as he swept his gaze over players that had arrived at the Settlement of Clearwater. It had not been long since the location of the raid was broadcast to the world and yet some stray players and guilds had already begun to make their move and sent out advanced scout parties. Of course, most of the players were too scared to approach the large force of Cross Haven that had completely blocked the only way into the rainbow-colored coral.
However, there were three groups that refused to leave and was currently holding back their anger towards Ewan, the guild leader of Cross Haven.
"Guild leader Ewan, what is the meaning of this? This is a raid, not a dungeon! The top guilds have all agreed that if a raid is discovered, no guild may claim priority ownership over it! For you to intentionally block our paths - Are you attempting to start a war against all the top guilds?!" One of the players tried to maintain their calm, however, after being repeatedly turned down despite using kind words, he felt that it was time to take things to the next level!
"Block your paths? You're mistaken. It's just that my Cross Haven happens to enjoy the scenery from this specific spot. I don't believe this can be called a reason for war, correct?" Ewan stated in a calm tone with a nonchalant expression on his face.
What?! He wanted them to believe such nonsense? Unless one was blind or dumb, how could they not see that Cross Haven was intentionally preventing them from entering into the rainbow-colored coral? But, what they did not understand was why Cross Haven was going through so much trouble to simply stop others from entering. Why was it that they were not entering inside themselves? Not only was Ewan outside, but even Wang Qiang and Zhang Jie, two of the Five Great Generals, were still here. But, if that was the case, then who entered into the raid? Could it be that one of their members entered inside by mistake? Even so, it did not explain why they were guarding it so thoroughly.
"I don't care about those two, but can Cross Haven afford to offend my Mist Palace? If I inform the guild leader of your actions of barring us from entering, then do you still think my Mist Palace will do any business with your Cross Haven?" One of the leaders of the second group spoke. She was one of the core members of Mist Palace who went by the player name Exheart and led a group of 11 other players to rush over immediately after the raid was broadcast. Fortunately, they were already close by and was one of the first groups to arrive.
"Oh? Is that a promise or... Perhaps a threat?" Ewan inquired as he narrowed his eyes and a cold glint flashed as he locked his gaze onto Exheart from Mist Palace.
"Y-you!" Exheart felt intimidated by Ewan's gaze and instinctively took a step back from the pressure. Of course, this left her in a flustered and angered state.