There were no objections to Second Tyrant's words, however, from the lackluster response of the members of Blue Oasis, one could tell that they were not pleased with their current situation. In their eyes, it would have been better to be a part of the 2nd Captain Nidavellir or the 7th Captain Niflheim's group. When it came to planning, they were the top two individuals in Blue Oasis.
Meanwhile, one of the Blue Oasis members, Feint, seemed to have his mind on something else entirely. In actuality, he also held the rank of commander. But, he was well aware of his strengths and weaknesses.
Feint was the type who relied on brawns over brains, therefore, taking the group leader position was something well outside of his comfort zone. Not to mention, Second Tyrant held seniority over him. This, by default, made it so that even if he wanted to contest the group leader position, it was against guild protocol.
"Still, this could be troublesome..." Feint thought to himself. The problem was not with Second Tyrant's skill, after all, he was a core member of a top guild like Blue Oasis. The issue lied in two things—his aggressive leadership style and his ambition. It was because of these two qualities that Feint was not too enthusiastic about Second Tyrant's declaration.
In the end, it was impossible to become a lieutenant or captain of Blue Oasis without a solid list of merits. Needless to say, there were those who looked for every opportunity to show off. While this was not necessarily a bad thing, now was not an ideal time to pursue such ambitions.
"Well, it should be fine. Even he should be aware of the importance of this raid." Feint thought to himself as he pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind. This was a hardcore raid, so surely, Second Tyrant would act accordingly, right? Feint decided it was better to direct his full attention to the raid itself.
"Though I have to say, our line-up right now is disappointing." Second Tyrant sighed as he swept his gaze across those before him. He was not confident in making it very far with those present. Though it was not that he doubted their skill, after all, they were all core members of Blue Oasis with the exception of one. Instead, Second Tyrant's biggest concern was the group's overall endurance.
Player Name: Second Tyrant
Class: Night Shade
Player Name: Feint
Class: Glacial Fists
Player Name: Tagz
Class: Pulse Ranger
Player Name: Luna
Including Luna, there were no members of the party who wore plated armor. In other words, they had no frontline to rely on for protection! The only true melee fighter was Second Tyrant himself. Although Feint's class was called Glacial Fists, in reality, it specialized in mid-range combat more so than close-range combat.
As for the others, nothing needed to be said when it came to their defensive capabilities. A rogue, a healer, and a ranger were some of the weakest classes when it came to defensive stats.
Despite all of this, Second Tyrant did not overlook the fact that their sole saving grace was the presence of a healer.
However, Second Tyrant was not aware of Luna's abilities as she was not a member of Blue Oasis. Therefore, it was difficult for him to be completely at ease even with a healer being in the group.
"Honestly, what was Captain Niflheim thinking when he assigned an unknown healer to the main support group. Is she even any good?" Second Tyrant thought to himself as he glanced over at Luna.
After taking a few moments to collect themselves and failing to make contact with any of the other raid members, Second Tyrant was ready to depart.
"We won't accomplish anything standing in one place. Feint, since you have the most HP, you'll be leading the way. As for myself, I'll enter stealth mode and guard the rear." Second Tyrant stated.
Feint inwardly frowned when he heard Second Tyrant's words. He was not bothered by taking on the vanguard role as that much was to be expected given their current circumstances. But, the fact that Second Tyrant did not refer to him as "Commander Feint", especially in front of other members of Blue Oasis, revealed a blatant lack of respect. Fortunately, Feint understood that now was not the time to engage in an argument and so he held back his words.
"Understood." Feint responded professionally.
"Tagz, you'll have to focus on not going too overboard with your damage. No one has a taunt skill and so if you attract the aggro of a hardcore raid monster, you'll be lucky to survive one hit. As for you..." Second Tyrant turned his attention to Luna.
He then continued, "Try to keep your healing under control. Monsters hate healers even more than damage dealers. If you overheal and end up drawing the aggro of the monster—I'm sure I don't have to tell you the results. Just heal us properly and we'll take care of the rest."
Luna simply gave a small nod in response to Second Tyrant's words. From his tone and wording, it was clear that he questioned her abilities as a healer. After all, only inexperienced healers would ever pull aggro by overheal—even with the absence of a tank!
But, Luna did not lash out at Second Tyrant. In the end, what did she have to prove to him?
A few moments later, Luna and the others started to make their way deeper into the Sprite Dwellings. The surrounding atmosphere felt heavy and everyone was tense. There were just the four of them alone in a hardcore raid. If they ran into an elite monster, even if they all worked together, it was unlikely that they'd be able to defeat it with their imbalanced line-up. That's why it was best for them to avoid any fights altogether if possible—or at least that's how it should have been.
Feint abruptly halted his steps after he entered into a room shaped like a crescent. There were two different paths at each end of the room and neither appeared to differ from the other. However, there was one major distinction between the entrances. While the left entrance was a clear and open path, the right entrance was being guarded by a creature made out of water. It almost resembled a humanoid slime of sorts with several tentacles that grew out from various parts of its body.
The strangest thing was that even though the creature did not possess any facial features, such as eyes or a mouth, it could still somehow produce audible noises.
Name: Aqua Drifter of the Sprite Dwellings(Normal)
Hardcore Effect(s): [Propagate]
After seeing that the left entrance was unguarded, Feint chose to lead the group in that direction. However, he barely took two steps before being stopped by Second Tyrant.
"What are you doing? You're going the wrong way! It's obvious that the path guarded by that monster is the correct one. The other is just a decoy. Don't you even know this much?" Second Tyrant scoffed.
"It's too dangerous to engage a monster we know nothing about." Feint responded as he held back his anger. He was being talked to as if he were a noob!
"Even if it is a hardcore raid, it's just a normal monster. When did a commander of our Blue Oasis become so fragile?" Second Tyrant stated.
The two went back and forth for some time. As for Tagz, the other member of Blue Oasis, he chose to stay out of it.
Luna, on the other hand, inwardly furrowed her brows. The last thing she expected was for Second Tyrant and Feint to have an open dispute. She recognized the subtle signs that the two did not like nor respect one another, but she still believed that they had enough self-control of themselves as members of a top guild. Perhaps the pressure of the raid was getting to them? Or maybe they just simply never liked one another? Whatever the answer was one thing was for certain—they would not last long if they continued in this manner.
A few moments later, things finally settled down. In the end, Second Tyrant remained unmoved in his decision. He did not understand how a cowardly person like Feint obtained his position as a commander. It was just a normal monster, what was there to be afraid of? Even if it was a hardcore raid, a normal monster was just a normal monster. How could it be compared to the likes of an elite monster or a raid boss?
"We are advancing down the right path. This is a direct order, Feint." Second Tyrant stated in a serious tone.
Feint tightly clutched his fists at his sides, however, he soon relaxed his hands and shook his head.
"Alright, if it's your direct order, 'commander', then I'll follow it. However, I hope that you are ready to take full responsibility for any mishaps, 'commander'." Feint responded in a cold and detached manner. He emphasized "commander" in a way that caused Second Tyrant to feel annoyed, but after thinking about how Feint had to follow his orders, he became calm and empowered.
Second Tyrant secretly smirked. He knew that with Feint's straightforward personality, it would be unthinkable for them to disobey a direct order. As for taking full responsibility—did he need Feint to tell him that? Failure? It had not even crossed his mind!
"Get ready." Second Tyrant said as he glanced towards Luna and Tagz. At the same time, a pitch-black dagger appeared in his right hand with a faint white hue wrapped around its blade.
Feint smashed his fists together as a cold burst of wind was expelled from his hands. This left a chilly aura lingering in the atmosphere.
Feint kicked off his back foot and dashed towards the Aqua Drifter. The moment he arrived within 15 meters of the creature, it went on high alert.
The water tentacles around the Aqua Drifter's body shot out with great precision at Feint. However, instead of slowing down, Feint began to speed up! He used the skill Nimble Footwork to boost his overall agility and movement speed. This allowed him to dodge the incoming attacks of the Aqua Drifter.
Woosh! Woosh! Crash!
There were multiple small craters left behind as the aftermath of the creature's attack which sent a chill down Feint's spine. If he was hit by even one of those attacks, Feint had a strong feeling that he would immediately be put into a critical state—regardless of whether or not he managed to successfully parry the blow!
Although his fighter-type class had more HP than the likes of a rogue-type or mage-type class, he was not a tank who possessed the proper defensive stats and skills to deal with vicious attacks head-on.
However, Feint was not given the rank of commander just for show! As the fight progressed and he calmed his initial nerves, Feint's movements evolved and gained more fluidity.
The Aqua Drifter's body was impacted by an invasive and freezing aura that rapidly scattered throughout the liquid from which it was formed. If one looked closely, they could see tiny particles of ice shards within the Aqua Drifter.
This was due to a skill from Feint's Glacial Fists class called Invasive Glacial Flux. As a result, this caused the quick and sharp movements of the Aqua Drifter's tentacles to fall drastically! It also granted Feint some much-needed breathing room after the effects of his Nimble Footwork skill wore off.
Meanwhile, Tagz controlled his damage output so that he would not overtake Feint. If that happened, the Aqua Drifter's sights would be immediately set on him.
Every time an arrow left Tagz's bow a strange aura pulse in front of it. Despite the Aqua Drifter's body being made of liquid, the arrows were still able to harm it physically—this was unusual for monsters with a liquid or gas body type.
As the Aqua Drifter's HP fell at a steady pace, Luna observed the Blue Oasis members fighting and was pleasantly surprised. Not counting her time spent with Izroth and the others, this was the most highly skilled random "party" she had been a part of in RML.
Luna minimized her heals and instead used shield-type skills such as Protective Barrier just before Feint would receive damage. This required incredibly accurate timing that was well above the level of even the most elite of players. But, the truly bizarre part was that her timing was perfect. No, it was too perfect!
"How can someone have such inhuman reaction time? Is it her class skill?" Feint questioned internally. There were times when he thought his HP was about to fall because of a small slip up, however, before he knew it, he was being protected by a magical barrier. It was almost like she knew what would happen before it even transpired! That paired with the barrier skills—could this even be considered healing anymore?
Second Tyrant frowned as he observed the calm and distant look on Luna's face as she seemed to effortlessly control her skills.
"Just what is her class?" This question constantly came across Second Tyrant's mind. From her skills alone, he was unable to place her within any of the known classes. The basic skill set she demonstrated thus far could be found in almost any supportive class. So then, why was her class showing as "???" in the raid party window? This was something he had never seen nor heard of before! Not to mention, what was with her race? Wasn't she one of those Trephasia's? Was there even a way for players to change races in RML? There were too many unanswered questions that bothered Second Tyrant.
Meanwhile, although she looked indifferent, Luna was keeping a careful eye on the fight while also staying aware of her surroundings. For some reason, there was a faint warning bell ringing in her mind from her Soul Sense trait.
Unfortunately, Luna's Soul Sense was nowhere near as strong and perceptive as Izroth's, therefore, she simply tied it to the Aqua Drifter. After all, despite its normal rarity, it was still a hardcore raid monster. Though unknown to Luna at this moment, this "small and faint" warning was something much bigger than she could have anticipated.
"As expected from a top guild. Even if the members do not all get along, at the very least, they are not lacking in experience when it comes to combat." Luna thought silently to herself.
As those thoughts crossed Luna's mind, something odd started to happen to the body of the Aqua Drifter. The Aqua Drifter's once stable liquid structure began to have unstable convulsions that caused the liquid in its body to expand in random and sudden pulses!