"Let's find out, shall we?" Izroth said as he made his way towards the members of Blue Oasis that were gathered together as the others followed after him.
"You have to pay attention next time. While I was able to give the orders this fight, there may be a point when I'm incapacitated during a battle. If that happens, then I won't be there to warn you of what's to come. If you've seen the pattern once, then there's no excuse for you to get caught up in it a second time. Furthermore..." Niflheim was currently surrounded by nine members of Blue Oasis. They were the individuals who made the most errors during their fight a few moments ago.
All nine members were core members of Blue Oasis and were not upset at Niflheim for pointing out their flaws. In the end, if they failed to deliver then there was a good chance that their position in the guild would be lowered. Once that happened, who knew how hard they would have to work to reclaim their spot? Therefore, everyone took Niflheim's words to heart.
Niflheim released a small sigh as he spoke in a serious tone, "I know this is everyone's first raid in RML - It's even a hardcore raid at that. Some of you may be nervous or tense and afraid of making a mistake, however, just know that I don't ask for perfection. All I ask is that you try your best and give me 110%. If you can do that, then no matter how this raid turns out, I'll know that all of you are proud to be members of our Blue Oasis!"
When Niflheim saw Izroth and the others approaching, he finished things up with the nine members of his Blue Oasis as he announced, "We'll be entering the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace! Everyone, be sure that you remain on high alert at all times. Remember, it's not only monsters that we face in dungeons and raids, but the environment itself as well. Is everyone clear?"
"Yes!" The members of Blue Oasis roared in unison. Now that they had experienced fresh combat, the members of Blue Oasis was able to grasp just how terrifying the monsters in hardcore raids were in reality. Fighting against Tempt and Ord was similar to fighting against a mini-boss. Not to mention, there were different hardcore effects they had to watch out for. Although they quickly grasped a few of the hardcore effects, there were still some that remained a mystery such as Erosion. There was also the fact that they had no idea just how many hardcore effects were implemented in this raid.
Of course, the most frightening thought had crossed the minds of every Blue Oasis member. If the elite monsters in the raid had hardcore effects... Did that mean the bosses possessed them as well? If so - Then another towering obstacle had just been set before them.
However, things were not as bleak as they seemed. The good news was that after defeating Temp and Ord, the entrance into the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace was cleared. Along with Zi Yi destroying the 8 Relics of the Sea, they had managed to successfully clear the first phase of the hardcore raid without any causalities!
Niflheim approached Izroth and his party as he turned his attention towards Zi Yi and said, "Good work. If not for your skill, things would not have gone so smoothly."
"You entrusted me with a task, and I accepted it. My skin isn't thick enough to return without accomplishing what I set out to do - That's all." Zi Yi replied nonchalantly.
Niflheim gave a small nod in response. In truth, Niflheim understood that what he did was take an incredible risk by dividing the raid party when they had no idea what to expect, however, he felt that it was a risk worth taking. He glanced towards the members of his Blue Oasis and noticed that those who had previous doubts about Zi Yi's abilities and priorities were no longer looking towards her with hardened suspicion.
Although there were still some who remained a bit paranoid, their guard had considerably weakened. Even if they did not accept Zi Yi, they would have to respect her skill and ability to get things done. This was one of the main reasons Niflheim assigned the task of destroying the eight relics to Zi Yi.
"This much should be fine." Niflheim thought to himself as he then set his sights on Izroth and the others, but before he could speak, Halls could no longer hold back his curiosity as he had to ask the question that was on his mind.
"What caused such a large hole to appear here?" Halls asked.
"I had already planned on briefing all of you on the newly discovered hardcore effects. You see..." Niflheim went on to explain both the Explosion and Softening hardcore effects to Izroth and his party.
"You mean that explosion thing caused this?" Halls said in a tone of disbelief. He was surprised that no deaths had occurred! After all, the explosion appeared to be quite powerful.
"I'm curious as to why this monster exploded, but the Relic Guardian with the same effect failed to do so." Valentine stated.
The first Relic Guardian they fought against also had the Explosion hardcore effect, however, unlike Ord, it did not explode.
"From the information available, it's possible that the monster's HP has to fall below a certain threshold before it explodes. Since the Relic Guardian wasn't technically killed and instead disappeared as soon as the Relic of the Sea it was protecting shattered - It could explain why the Relic Guardian failed to explode." Zi Yi explained.
Niflheim nodded, "I also came to the same conclusion. For now, we'll proceed with that prerequisite for the Explosion effect in mind." Even though he did not show it, Niflheim was secretly impressed by how fast Zi Yi pieced things together. With that kind of intelligence and the skill he had witnessed, he was certain that Zi Yi would be among some of the top players within RML in the future.
As for Izroth, he was somewhat intrigued by the way raids functioned in RML. To be more precise, the way hardcore effects were implemented.
'Interesting... Even if two monsters are the exact same creatures, the presence of the hardcore effects can make it feel as if one is facing two different monsters. Though it goes much deeper than that. There seems to be a large variety of effects that forces players to think on their feet and adapt to the situation as it comes. Indeed, it's worthy of its title as a hardcore raid.'
After making sure their health and mana were restored to full, the raid party took their first step inside the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace. The moment that happened, the entire group received an alert from the system.
〈System Alert: 1/1 Enter the outer layer of the «Great Sea Palace».〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have completed «Phase One: Disharmony».〉
Once they stepped into the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace, the phase status on Phase One: Disharmony changed from 'Incomplete' to 'Complete'. This, of course, caused the members of the raid party to become excited. However, there was disappointment written on the faces of some individuals. Why was this? It was because there was only a 35% chance to receive a Rare Item Treasure Chest. Needless to say, out of 24 people, not everyone was fortunate enough to obtained one.
Izroth himself managed to obtain a Rare Item Treasure Chest - No doubt due to the point he had in his luck stat.
〈System Alert: You have gained 210,000 EXP.〉
〈System Alert: You have acquired the temporary raid buff «Resistant To Flow».〉
〈System Alert: You have received x1 «Rare Item Treasure Chest».〉
As for the other members of his group - Luna, Zi Yi, and Halls were also fortunate enough to get their hands on a Rare Item Treasure Chest. Unfortunately, Guan Yu and Valentine did not receive one. Although Valentine was not too bothered by it, Guan Yu appeared dejected. He felt that his luck was really too bad!
'I wonder what use this skill has...'
Izroth read over the system alerts and the first thing to catch his eye was not the experience or the Rare Item Treasure Chest, but instead, it was the temporary raid buff Resistant To Flow. As he reviewed the skill, he still did not understand its immediate purpose.
Skill Name: Resistant To Flow
Skill Level: None
Skill Rank: Unique*
Passive: The user is unaffected by «Flow» while inside the «Great Sea Palace».
Special Note: This passive is automatically removed upon exiting the raid «Great Sea Palace».
'I'm sure this passive will come in handy as we venture deeper into the Great Sea Palace.'
It spoke of them being able to go against the flow, however, it did not specify as to what this meant as anything thought of at this point would just be pure speculation without any solid foundation. But, Izroth knew the system well enough to realize that it would not have given them something useless. This was even more so considering that it was one of the rewards of clearing a raid phase.
'Though I have to say, I didn't expect to receive this kind of item from the treasure chest.'
After he finished looking over the Resistant To Flow skill, Izroth wasted no time opening his Rare Item Treasure Chest. What emerged from it was a dark blue paper talisman with strange writings etched on its surface in light sapphire colored ink that emitted a faint white hue of energy.
Name: Preserving Breath of Life Talisman(Rare)
Usage: If the user receives a fatal blow, their HP will stop at 1 and they will gain immunity to all damage and forms of crowd control, as well as, +1,000% HP Regeneration for 10 seconds. For the duration of the effect of this talisman, the user cannot attack, use items, use skills, or receive healing from other sources. This talisman will automatically activate if the user receives a fatal blow. This talisman can be used on a nearby ally within 20 meters.
Cooldown: 125 hours
'It's a shame a talisman can only be used once before they're rendered useless. The effects of this talisman are indeed lifesaving, however, it's far from being perfect. Though I suppose I shouldn't expect too much from a talisman of rare quality.'
Although the talisman made one invincible for 10 seconds, the downside was that it also made them useless for an equal amount of time. Being out of a fight for 10 seconds could completely change the outcome. Therefore, if it was used incorrectly, then it was possible that one would only be delaying their inevitable death!
Izroth set the talisman into his inventory. It was always better to have multiple lifesaving methods at one's disposal. After all, he was aware that his current strength was incredibly lacking when compared to those at the top of this world.
Once the raid party reorganized themselves, Niflheim and Halls led the group deeper into the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace. However, there was this eerie and strange feeling that washed over the raid party as they ventured further into the outer layer.
Around 10 minutes later...
After the raid party journeyed into the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace, they were somewhat puzzled by what they discovered. Instead of being filled with water passageways and coral-based buildings as they predicted, it resembled a normal city with buildings made of stone and other unique materials.
There were even roads that were paved with some kind of crystallized marble that generate a multitude of colors across the spectrum. It was difficult to believe that such a place could exist inside of a place like a raid - It was unexpected, to say the least.