Abstract and I Do Zero Quests ran forward without looking back. After leaving the left passageway, the two knew that if they ran towards the area they started at within the Sprite Dwellings, there was only death that awaited them since it was nothing but a dead end.
Therefore, their sole option was to risk pulling the aggro of the Aqua Drifter that guarded the right passageway. After all, they were already being chased by an entire floor worth of monsters, what was one more? As long as they did not damage the Aqua Drifter guarding the right passageway, it should not be too much of a problem—but, who knew that they would run into other members of their raid group? Not only that, but they had already engaged the Aqua Drifter in battle and eliminated one!
Normally this would be seen as a good thing, however, it was different when it came to the Aqua Drifters who all possessed the Propagate hardcore effect. Abstract and I Do Zero Quests knew from firsthand experience that after the Aqua Drifter split the first time... It was too late to stop it from spiraling out of control!
After he received his orders from Niflheim, Abstract decided to scout ahead along with I Do Zero Quests. At first, everything was going smoothly and there was no trouble since the two trod carefully with their stealth skills activated. But, it all changed the instant they entered into the left passageway—that was when things took a turn for the worse.
Although Second Tyrant and the other Blue Oasis members were taken aback by the sudden flood of monsters, they still reacted quickly and disengaged the remaining Aqua Drifter to run down the right passageway. As for the Aqua Drifter, it gave chase as its aggro still locked onto Feint.
"Running away from normal monsters... How shameful!" Second Tyrant muttered under his breath. He never thought that he would have to run from normal monsters, but even he understood that those numbers would, at minimum, force them to use some powerful skills with long cooldowns to survive a head-on assault. However, using such skills on normal monsters would be a total waste! In the end, they would only do so as a last resort.
"What is she doing?" Tagz questioned with a frown as he ran after Feint and Second Tyrant. He noticed that Luna had yet to move from the spot she was standing in even after I Do Zero Quests' warning, as well as, the appearance of the monster horde. Did she have a death wish?
"Hmph, she's probably frozen in fear after seeing so many monsters! Whatever, we can't afford to stop and go back for her. Even if she is a decent healer, her inexperience is finally showing." Second Tyrant stated.
"So she had this type of flaw? However..." Feint thought to himself with furrowed brows. In truth, he believed a healer like Luna was too good to be true. Fast reaction time, perfectly timed barriers and heals, a massive mana pool, and a calm demeanor. Those were all qualities of a top-level healer that even his Blue Oasis would welcome with open arms! But, Feint could not help but question himself. How could someone with those top-level qualities be too afraid to move? Was this truly the case? Feint held some doubts.
"Hm? That's... She's a part of that group that was invited to the raid with us. Why isn't she running away?" I Do Zero Quests thought to himself with a frown. Even if she did not hear his warning, she should have noticed the others run down the passageway and made a move.
I Do Zero Quests yelled out a warning once again, but Luna remained stationary.
Luna's calm gaze was locked onto the two members of Blue Oasis who were dashing in her direction.
"They should be close enough soon." Luna thought to herself.
Indeed, Luna had not yet moved from her original position, but it was not that her response time was slow. Nor was it due to her being frozen in place from fear as Second Tyrant thought. The sole reason Luna did not move yet was that she did not forget her main role as a supporter!
The moment Abstract and I Do Zero Quests stepped within Luna's sphere of influence, a wave of soft mist engulfed the two Blue Oasis members. When the mist made contact with them, Abstract and I Do Zero Quests felt a refreshing aura wash over them and spread throughout their bodies. Not only was their health being replenished, but they were also overcome with a sudden burst of movement speed!
"The mana cost is a bit high, however, this much should do, for now." Luna began to move the instant she finished casting her skill, Revitalizing Mist. Although the mana cost was indeed somewhat high, she was not too worried about it given her massive mana pool and fast mana regeneration.
Skill Name: Revitalizing Mist
Skill Level: MAXED
Skill Rank: A
Mana Cost: 525+(75 Per Ally)
Cast Time: 0.25
Active: The user can target themselves and up to five allies within 25 meters. Removes all existing slow debuffs from the target(s). The target(s) is healed for 2% of their maximum HP + 20% of the user's «Healing Factor» every 2 seconds for 20 seconds. The target(s) also gain +10% Movement Speed for the duration of this skill.
Cooldown: 20 seconds
Luna made sure to target herself with the skill to gain the movement speed buff. She also removed a mobility potion from her inventory to further increase her speed. She knew that she could not allow herself to fall too far behind the others since they were rushing down an unknown path. There were too many hidden variables in play for her to lag behind.
With their movement speed increase, it only took a few moments for Abstract and I Do Zero Quests to create a greater distance between themselves and the Aqua Drifters. They had received some heavy damage while escaping the encirclement of Aqua Drifters earlier. Even after drinking a health potion, their situation was not too good. But, Luna's heals was able to lift them out of a dangerous zone. Needless to say, they were grateful that a healer happened to be among the group sent to their location.
A few moments later, Luna, Abstract, and I Do Zero Quests caught up to Feint, Second Tyrant, and Tagz. The Aqua Drifter that they were originally fighting against was still chasing after Feint. It was slowly but surely closing in on his position.
"Why did this thing become so much faster?" Feint commented. It was almost as if the further down the passageway he traveled, the faster the Aqua Drifter moved.
"Hm?" Tagz heard the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. He glanced behind and saw that Luna, Abstract, and I Do Zero Quests had caught up to them!
"The others have caught up!" Tagz informed his guild members.
"Already?! What about the monsters?!" Second Tyrant was shocked. They had closed the distance much faster than he anticipated. While this was a good thing, it was also a bad thing considering what was pursuing them.
"This—there are no signs of monsters in pursuit." Tagz answered.
In the blink of an eye, Luna and the other two members of Blue Oasis were finally within the communication range of Feint and the others.
"Captain Abstract, what are your orders?" Feint asked. Since Abstract was the only captain of Blue Oasis present, then naturally the leadership role rested in his hands. However, Feint was met with nothing but silence.
"Captain?" Feint was confused by Abstract's lack of a response.
"It's no use. Captain Abstract has been affected by an unknown curse. He's unable to speak until it naturally wears off or we find a way to remove it." I Do Zero Quests said in a troubled tone.
"Curse? Then, the healer-" Feint was about to speak, however, he was quickly cut off by Luna.
"Before you ask, I have already tried to remove the curse. Unfortunately, the level of this curse is well above that of my current ability to remove." Luna stated in a calm tone. There was one skill she believed could clear the curse without much issue and that was her voice magic. However, she was unwilling to waste it on a seemingly harmless curse.
She then continued, "As long as one does not break the curse, then there will be no consequence to suffer. Since the curse prevents him from speaking, then it should not flare-up unless he talks."
Curses in RML were strange and bizarre. While the effects were strong, that was usually only if one broke the curse restrictions set in place. As for the restrictions, it widely varied. The trigger could be something simple such as not speaking, not moving, or even using a specific type of skill. But, it could be as complex as taking exactly three steps, jumping, and stopping for 1 second. However, the one consistent thing about curses was that the price for breaking the restriction was a heavy one. Though there was something that bothered Luna.
"A curse that I'm unable to remove could not have been placed by something like the Aqua Drifter. Even removing elite monster curses should not be an issue. In that case, there's only one explanation that I can think of. It's possible that those two-" Luna thought to herself.
All of a sudden, the sound of Aqua Drifters could be heard growing closer to Luna's group. After entering into the passageway, the Aqua Drifters gained a boost to their movement speed as if they were in their natural environment.
Second Tyrant smirked. This was still a chance for him! Lady luck had not forsaken him just yet! Since Abstract was unable to lead, he found himself at the top of the command chain!
Although I Do Zero Quests technically outranked him as a lieutenant of Blue Oasis, there was something known as 'Situational Rank'. In simple terms, if for example, a lieutenant or commander suddenly arrived in a group where someone of lower rank was already in charge of the situation at hand, then the higher ranking member could not simply take over by force.
The command had to be handed to them by the current group leader, or by the direct order of a captain. However, since Abstract was unable to speak or access the chat, the latter was impossible. As for the former, most would do so out of respect for those with a higher rank than them. However, Second Tyrant did not even plan on entertaining the thought and missing this chance! Of course, 'Situational Rank' did not apply to the captains of Blue Oasis.
"This is better. With a captain here to witness my leadership, my position in the guild will only become stronger." Second Tyrant thought to himself.
As the group continued to move, they came across three passageways that looked identical.
Right when Luna approached the three passageways, alarm bells started to ring in her head. Unlike before when there was a faint warning, this was loud and clear.
"My Soul Sense is telling me that whatever is lurking down that middle passageway is dangerous." Just as this thought crossed Luna's mind, she heard a voice give out an order.
"We're charging straight down the middle path!" Second Tyrant ordered.
"We must avoid the middle path at all costs. Only danger awaits us down that path." Luna stated.
Feint and Tagz were surprised. This was the first time they heard Luna openly voice her opinion. But, what was truly shocking was how she immediately shot down Second Tyrant's plan!
"Danger?" Feint questioned. How could she know that there was danger down the middle path? The first thing that came to mind was some kind of perception skill, however, the path ahead of them was clear for all to see. Not to mention, could a healer class with versatile healing and barrier skills even possess a skill with such a long-range of perception?
"Oh? Have you done this raid before without our knowledge?" Second Tyrant mocked. He was the leader of this group! What right did she have to question his order when she was not even a member of his Blue Oasis? What danger? If there was any danger, he would have already perceived it with the passive skill Shadow Watch long before a healer even had a chance to do so. In addition, everyone was aware that something in the Sprite Dwellings was blocking and restriction perception-based skills. She was spouting nonsense!
I Do Zero Quests had a thoughtful expression on his face. While he did not agree with Second Tyrant's aggressive leadership style, in the end, everyone had their own way of handling things. However, he knew that Niflheim would not have allowed just anyone to join them on such an important raid. Therefore, he would not brush off Luna's voice as easily as Second Tyrant—even if it meant temporarily overstepping him. Even though he was not the current leader, he was still a lieutenant of Blue Oasis.
"How can you tell that there's danger ahead?" I Do Zero Quests asked.
"I can feel it." Luna responded without hesitation. There was not enough time to explain her Soul Sense trait as they were almost at the three paths and the best way to describe it was, indeed, as a 'feeling'.
I Do Zero Quests frowned when he listened to Luna's words. A feeling? How could he forcibly overrule Second Tyrant based solely on the feeling of someone who was practically a stranger to him? Not to mention, she was not a member of Blue Oasis. Overstepping Second Tyrant in this situation was too much.
"Feeling? Hmph! How can we rely on feeling?!" Second Tyrant scoffed and did not even bother to respond to Luna any further.
He then ordered once again, "We're taking the middle path!"
Luna inwardly sighed. It went just as she had expected. Although I Do Zero Quests made an attempt, there was not enough time to go into details. As for the other players... To them, she was just an outsider—not a member of Blue Oasis. Why would they speak up and take her 'feeling' seriously?
Luna, however, understood that she had no choice but to follow them down the middle path no matter what dangers waited ahead. It was not that she feared being separated from the group, but it would come off as her abandoning the members of Blue Oasis.
She knew that her actions were a direct reflection of Izroth who was invited by Blue Oasis, therefore, she had already prepared herself for that kind of response.
"Worst case scenario, I may have to use 'that'. However, I would rather avoid wasting it here." Luna thought to herself.