Niflheim frowned as he continuously surveyed the surroundings. However, the more he observed the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace, the more he felt uneasy about things. What bothered Niflheim the most was that they had yet to receive the second phase of the raid after completing the first phase, Disharmony. The phases provided the means of a successful advancement in a raid, so naturally, Niflheim was wary in how the raid group proceeded due to its sudden absence.
Guan Yu yawned as he said, "So boring... When are we going to run into some monsters? We've already been walking for hours and haven't seen anything remotely threatening since entering this place. Aren't raids supposed to be full of tough monsters?"
Zi Yi shook her head and responded, "First off, it's only been about 15 minutes. But, I do find the lack of monsters somewhat strange. Originally, I thought it was because of the confidence placed in the barrier that protected the outer layer, but I find it difficult to believe that whatever is inside the inner palace failed to notice our entry. At the very least, it would make sense to send some guards to check. Though, of course, I could be overthinking things. Then again, from what I know, NPCs and monsters alike become smarter the further we advance in RML. So, it's not out of the question that they're just being cautious of unknown intruders."
"It still feels like we've been walking for hours..." Guan Yu muttered to himself. He was disappointed that he did not get a chance to properly fight the Relic Guardians or the Seafolk guards. If he was not given the opportunity to show his strength, then how was he supposed to claim a spot among the main damage dealers?
'For a palace, it is unusually quiet. It could mean one of two things, but...'
If this palace were like any other, then two reasons came to Izroth's mind that would explain the lack of guards or anyone else for that matter. The first was that the palace itself had been abandoned. Of course, this would not make any sense given that it was a raid. Therefore, Izroth leaned towards the second reason which was that something was taking place internally. As to what it could be - This was hard to say.
'If this place is related to the Sea Palace Graveyard, then it could have something to do with the injured ruler... However, I can't say how much time has passed in this world since that event transpired.'
Izroth remembered the vision he saw back during his first time going through the Sea Palace Graveyard. The ruler was injured by what Izroth speculated to be a shadahi based wound and corrupted aura that encompassed it. Therefore, if the dungeon and this raid were connected, then it would certainly explain the lack of anyone in the outer layer. There was a chance that it could be just as Zi Yi said and they were simply overthinking things, however, Izroth believed that this was not the case.
Izroth narrowed his eyes as he sensed an instant change in his surroundings. The atmosphere had become heavier and there was a hidden bloodlust that washed over him. However, he was not a direct target of this bloodlust and it appeared to be channeled towards everyone in the raid group. But, there were not many players who realized this.
All of a sudden, the raid group came to an abrupt halt. Just when everyone was wondering why they stopped, Niflheim and Halls went on high alert.
"Did you feel that too?" Niflheim asked Halls with a serious expression on his face as he remained cautious.
Halls nodded as he furrowed his brows and replied, "Yeah... But, where did it come from? I've never felt something that piercing before."
Since Niflheim and Halls were tanks, they both possessed passive skills that allowed them to feel when there was a level of threat directed towards them. Most of the time, this feeling resembled uncomfortable pricks. However, this time was different. Halls believed that besides the Envoy of the Netherworld and Syxirius, the shadahi who was chained up inside of the throne room in the Shadahi Realm, he had never experienced such an uncomfortable feeling that was similar to a knife stabbing him.
The ground shook as violent tremors spread throughout the entire outer layer of the Great Sea Palace. This caused every member of the raid party to prepare for a potential fight to occur. But, a few moments later, something terrifying happened that caused everyone to look on in horror. Just where did that thing come from?!
'This is unexpected.'
"This... How are we even supposed to defend against something like that?!" Tagz, one of the Blue Oasis core members, commented with an expression of disbelief on his face as he stared upward.
"Everyone, quickly find something to grab ahold of! Whatever you do, don't let go until I give the order!" Niflheim swiftly commanded as he dashed to a nearby pole-like object that was made entirely out of a unique marble. It was incredibly sturdy and there was a multitude of them along each side of the road that emitted a light and soft glow.
Without wasting time, the players in the raid party followed Niflheim's lead and found a nearby object to hold onto. As they did so, the sky above them darkened as a large shadow was cast over the entirety of the outer layer.
At the moment, a massive tidal wave blotted out the sky and was headed right for the raid group! This tidal wave manifested from the very core area of the outer layer and showed no signs of slowing down. It was too late for the raid group to turn back from the way they came, therefore, they could only brace for impact.
Izroth and his party also found something to grab on to as they wondered what generated such a fierce tidal wave capable of covering the entire outer layer of the Great Sea Palace.
"Should we use the Merfolk Scales?" Zi Yi questioned.
Izroth thought to himself for a moment before looking towards Valentine as he asked, "Do you notice anything unusual with your Eyes of Magic?"
Izroth had tried using his Energy Vision Sense to see through the tidal wave, however, it was simply too massive and overloaded his Energy Vision Sense. But, in that small span of time, he did realize that something was off. An illusion? No, that was not the case. Though it certainly appeared almost ethereal by nature.
Valentine closely observed the nearing tidal wave as he replied, "It's... Weird? I'm not sure. Although this is magic, somehow it looks completely different. It's like comparing the clouds in the sky to the water vapor released by a tea kettle. If you were able to somehow display both of them in their natural state inside of clear glass jars next to one another, they'd appear to be the same. However, both are fundamentally different."
"So is it magic or not?" Guan Yu questioned as Valentine's explanation left him confused.
"This - I can't say... If it is magic, it's nothing like the magic I know of." Valentine answered.
"I see... Then, we'll hold off using the Merfolks Scales. We may need them later and our supply is far from limitless. It won't be too late to use it once we're underwater if the situation calls for it. For now, let's see how this plays out." Izroth stated in a calm tone.
If things got too out of control, Izroth had some methods up his sleeves. After all, how could he possibly leave something to chance?
"Oversiders dare to step foot in the Great Sea Palace?!" A powerful voice was embedded into the tidal wave itself.
"Don't tell me we have to fight that thing." Peaceful Chaos said as a helpless smile found its way onto his face.
At the moment, there was a face at the center of the tidal wave that was crashing down to flood the outer layer. This face was filled with anger and rage, however, it was difficult to make out any precise facial features. At the same time, everyone in the raid group received an alert from the system.
〈System Alert: You have automatically entered «Phase Two: Ooudamu»!〉
Phase Two: Ooudamu
Phase Difficulty: Hardcore
Recommended Level: 52
Recommended Party Size: 24
Phase Status: Incomplete
Objective: Survive and locate «Ooudamu's Pool».
Time Limit: None
0/1 Locate «Ooudamu's Pool».
0/1 Defeat boss monster Ooudamu.
-Touch of a Water Sprite(Temporary Raid Buff)
-x50% chance to receive x1 «Rare Equipment Treasure Chest»
The tidal wave slammed into the ground and quickly flooded the town. In the blink of an eye, the outer layer of the Great Sea Palace was completely submerged underwater! Naturally, this caused the raid group to grow restless as they embraced for a potential disaster, however, that disaster never came.
"What happened? Why didn't I feel anything?" Halls questioned. He was not the only one who wanted an explanation.
When the tidal wave crashed down, everyone naturally expected to hold on for dear life due to the pressure and force that would be generated by the water. However, they did not even feel the slightest bit of discomfort even though they were just engulfed by a tidal wave and submerged deep underwater.
Niflheim let go of the object he was holding onto and found that nothing had changed. He could still walk normally even though he was underwater. When he jumped, he was quickly brought back down by gravity. What was this? They were submerged in water, but their movement was still as if they were on land!
Unfortunately for Niflheim, the second raid group was still behind them, therefore, any information they provided would be useless until they managed to catch up. However, after seeing the objectives that needed to be completed for phase two, Niflheim was troubled. Would he have to wait for the second raid group to catch up and start their fight with the boss so they did not have to go in blind?
"Let's focus on the first two objectives. We'll cross the final bridge when we come to it." Niflheim thought to himself.
'Interesting... So this is what it meant by resisting flow.'
〈Battle Alert: You have resisted the «Flow» of the environmental skill «Great Tidal Wave».〉
The temporary raid passive received from completing phase one turned out to be the reason behind everyone being unaffected by the Great Tidal Wave. If they had somehow found a way through the barrier without completing phase one and obtaining the Resistant To Flow passive - Who knew how things would have ended just then?!
All of a sudden, a whirlpool appeared in the distance as a large and vicious shark-looking creature rushed towards the raid group. It was the color of a killer whale and its size was not that far off from one. It was followed by a school of fish that were a bit smaller than the average human and numbered a dozen. Although the species of the fish differed, none of them looked friendly by any means!
Name: Great Palace Shark(Elite)
Hardcore Effect(s): [Virulent]
Name: Great Palace Seeker Fish(Elite)
HP: 20,000 (100%)
Hardcore Effect(s): [Explosion] [Propagate]
"Everyone, take your positions! Prepare to engage!" Niflheim commanded as he saw the approaching danger. They would have to deal with a group of monsters that had hardcore effects, but it was not too bad. As long as they worked together properly, there should be no issues facing this wave of monsters - At least that's how it should have been.
When the raid group saw what took place next, they nearly lost all the color in their faces!
'I suppose this is what it meant by "survive".'
Izroth unsheathed his Sword of The Storm as a strong gust of wind caused ripples to form throughout the water. At the same time, nine additional whirlpools appeared as similar shark-like creatures and schools of smaller fish poured out!