There were over 100 elite monsters in total. Although the Great Palace Seeker Fish and the Great Palace Sharks had low HP for raid monsters, their large numbers and hardcore effects made them a nightmare to face head-on! After all, everyone had seen the results of a monster with the explosion hardcore effect. Would they truly have to defeat all of these monsters to advance? This was the main thought on the minds of those present in the raid group. The only good news was that the hardcore effects were consistent.
What this meant was that all of the Great Palace Sharks had the same virulent hardcore effect and every Great Palace Seeker Fish possessed explosion and propagate. At the very least, they would not have to face tens of different effects. If that became the case, then there was no way they would be capable of maintaining some kind of control over the battle.
"I guess this explains where all the monsters were hiding." Peaceful Chaos said in a half-joking manner.
"This is no time for jokes. We need to figure out how we're going to fight this many monsters at once. If they were normal monsters it may be possible, but we're dealing with elite raid monsters. Fighting them head-on is out of the question. We can't risk suffering any losses this early in the raid. Though I have to admit, if not for the Resistant To Flow raid buff, we may have just been completely scattered throughout the outer layer." Vanaheim stated with a troubled expression.
"They're coming!" I Do Zero Quests warned as the first wave of monsters closed in on their location.
The monster leading the group was the first Great Palace Shark that came out from inside one of the whirlpools. Not too far behind it was a dozen Great Palace Seeker Fish with serrated teeth and razor-sharp fins.
Fortunately, even though nine additional whirlpools appeared, each was separate and far away from one another which provided the raid group with some breathing room - Even if it was minimal.
"Everyone, you know your roles! Main DPS, focus on taking down the Great Palace Shark before the next group closes in! Clean-up DPS, we'll be counting on you to take care of all the Great Palace Seeker Fish!" Niflheim commanded.
Halls was assigned to holding the aggro of the Great Palace Seeker Fish, while Niflheim himself would take care of the Great Palace Shark. The supporters also understood their tasks in this situation. As a result, the battle started off astonishingly smooth and organized.
Izroth wasted no time as he went on the attack as soon as Niflheim and Halls secured aggro on their respective targets. Since Izroth was a part of the main DPS, he turned his attention towards the Great Palace Shark. He swung his Sword of The Storm right near the area surrounding its gills.
Izroth made sure to target the area near the gills of the Great Palace Shark. He learned from his experience back in the Sea Palace Graveyard, that fish-type monsters had a common weakness - The area on their body where the gills were located. But, he also found that the location of the gills found on merman or humanoid sea creatures were not located in the same areas.
When Izroth's attack struck the Great Palace Shark, one could see a faint trace of electricity around the area that was just damaged. This was the effect of the Lightning Edge enchantment stone given to Izroth by Blue Oasis before the raid begun.
Name: Lightning Edge(Enchantment Stone)
Rank: Grade Three
Usage: Enchants one's weapon with the powerful Lightning attribute. Last for 24 hours.
'Its defensive stats are lacking. Though it may also have something to do with the Lightning Edge enchantment stone. I should look into securing different enchantment stones. Their usefulness and versatility can't be ignored.'
Using only a basic swing of his sword, Izroth shaved away almost 7% of the Great Palace Shark's HP. Even though he landed a critical hit, his damage should not have been so high from a casual swing of his sword even if the Great Palace Shark possessed weak defensive stats for its level. After all, in the end, the Great Palace Shark was a level 50 elite monster. Not to mention, it's HP was also extremely lacking for its level.
'A combination of low HP and low defensive stats can only mean one thing for a monster like this...'
39,063/50,025 [Niflheim's HP Remaining]
Niflheim blocked the head-on collision of the Great Palace Shark. The Great Palace Shark did not stop its attack there as it pulled back slightly before slamming its head down towards Niflheim once again. It also seemed as if the sea creature wanted to forcefully overpower him!
The sea creature's large body made Niflheim seem like a small child in comparison, however, he was still successful in containing the attack of the monster. He was surprised after seeing a good portion of his HP disappear give his high defensive stats. But, the supporters made sure that he did not stay that way for long as they focused their healing on Niflheim.
"Even though I've already assimilated this thing and blocked its attack, it's still doing this much damage? If this attack were to hit anyone but Halls or myself, then..." Niflheim thought to himself as a grave expression formed on his face. He had to face nine more of these monstrosities? Even with mana potions, could the healers sustain that kind of damage output for an extended period of time? Niflheim knew the answer to that question, and he was not fond of the end result.
Niflheim was thankful that the Great Palace Shark only had 100,000 HP, otherwise, this ordeal may have been impossible to overcome with their current combat power.
Meanwhile, Izroth did not let up on his attacks as he continued his assault on the Great Palace Shark. The members of Blue Oasis did not sit back and allow themselves to be showed up as they, too, carried out their attack on the sea creature. This caused the HP of the Great Palace Shark to rapidly plummet. However, something unusual occurred when its HP reached around the 15,000 mark.
'My damage is getting weaker... Or, is it defenses getting strong? In that case...'
Izroth held his index finger outward as energy started to converge towards his fingertip. As if a hot knife slicing through butter, Izroth's Fissuring Point pierced right into the large body of the Great Palace Shark.
Fissuring Point was a skill that ignored 100% of its target's defensive stats. Even shields could not protect someone against his Fissuring Point. Therefore, when he only dealt 397 damage to the Great Palace Shark despite all of this, Izroth immediately pieced things together. It did not take long for the members of Blue Oasis to realize this as well.
Niflheim frowned as he noticed that the Great Palace Shark's HP that started off as rapidly depleting had started to be reduced at a snail's pace. What was going on with the damage dealers? He did not believe that everyone decided to be lazy at the same time and hold back for no apparent reason, therefore, he knew something was off.
But, there was no sign or anything that appeared in the battle logs about the Great Palace Shark using any kind of skill that would produce such an outcome. Since it was as such, Niflheim turned his attention to one thing - The hardcore effect, virulent, that the Great Palace Shark possessed. It had to be the work of that hardcore effect, however, the question now was how were they supposed to overcome it?
"What's going on with my damage?" Vanaheim questioned with a frown. Her damage started off strong, but it quickly became an itch at most to the Great Palace Shark.
"So it's not just me... It may be using a skill that reduces the damage it receives. Though my money is on that cursed hardcore effect." Peaceful Chaos stated.
38,610/50,025 [Niflheim's HP Remaining]
Niflheim blocked the incoming attack of a Great Palace Seeker Fish as he spoke and said, "The damage reduction is likely caused by the virulent hardcore effect! Everyone - The phase states that we have to survive. It fails to mention anything about eliminating every monster. Right now, our main focus should be solely on survival and since our goal is to survive, we have to find a way to the core of the outer layer and not waste too much time here fighting!"
The initial tidal wave originated from the core of the outer layer, therefore, Niflheim believed that it was a good place to start their search for Ooudamu's Pool, or even some kind of temporary safe haven from the wave of monsters. Not to mention, he had no idea how to get around the virulent hardcore effect and there was no time to test any kind of theories. It was not a risk he was willing to take.
Izroth had come to a similar conclusion regarding the cause behind the sudden damage reduction. However, he believed that the system would not give them an impossible task, even if it was a hardcore raid. Therefore, there had to be a proper way to deal with the virulent hardcore effect - If it indeed turned out to be the reason behind the decrease in their damage.
One thing was for sure, at the very least, it had something to do with attacking the Great Palace Shark as the clean-up DPS was still dealing full damage to the Great Palace Seeker Fish.
As for Halls, he was properly maintaining aggro on the dozen monsters. Although it was somewhat hectic at first, he found that the supporters of Blue Oasis were quite reliable and this gave him some mental breathing room. The one major thing he learned from this fight was that the difference between a raid party and a normal party was like that of night and day. While Halls already knew this in his mind, experiencing it firsthand made all the difference.
"Captain Abstract! Take five people with you and find a safe way out of here! Whatever you do, don't allow yourselves to get surrounded and retreat immediately back to our position if you run into any trouble!" Niflheim ordered.
"Got it!" Abstract replied as he pulled back out of the fight and selected five people from the raid group to assist him. He chose those that were mobile with high agility so that if they needed to escape, it could be done at a moment's notice without anyone to slow them down.
Niflheim furrowed his brows. To be honest, he did not want to split their raid group at a time like this, however, he understood that if plated users like himself, or cloth users like the magic casters and healers, tried to move as a group then they would be surrounded in no time with their overall speed. At least with Abstract and the individuals he picked, they could drastically reduce the chances of being surrounded as they searched for the way into the core area of the outer layer. Until then, Niflheim could only push forward slowly with the remaining raid group.
"Halls, start moving towards the core area of the outer layer! Everyone, continue your assault while moving with us!" Niflheim said as he started to slowly move off in the direction of the core area of the outer layer. The Great Palace Shark followed after him as he still possessed the highest threat level due to his taunting skills.
Meanwhile, Izroth saw something bizarre in the distance as he moved off along with the group and continued his attacks on the Great Palace Shark. It was difficult to make out, but it resembled that of a floating orb of pure light that was constantly moving back and forth between the different whirlpools. He had seen that same exact light at the center of the tidal wave where the face formed! But, there was another reason that this light caught Izroth's attention.
'It may be worth taking a closer look.'