Luna and the members of Blue Oasis ran down the middle path. The moment they did so, the strangest thing occurred. The Aqua Drifters who were chasing after them stopped at the entrance of the passageway as if there was something that prevented them from entering. Some of the Aqua Drifters went around to the left path and right path after being blocked by the middle path.
Then, out of nowhere, the Aqua Drifters that tried to enter the middle path started to melt and be absorbed into the ground! By the time it was over, there was not a single drop of liquid remaining from the Aqua Drifters near the middle path. They had simply vanished!
The ground released a few tremors as the entrance to the middle path was sealed off by a wall of crystals. Now, the only way for the group to go was forward.
"What happened to the Aqua Drifters?" Tagz stated in a tone of slight disbelief.
"It looks like we chose the correct path after all. Even those Aqua Drifters are unable to enter." Feint said as he released a sigh of relief.
"Good job, Commander Second Tyrant. But, we should remain on high alert. The path behind us is closed off so there's no turning back." I Do Zero Quests commented. He was glad that he chose not to push further than he did against Second Tyrant's choice, otherwise, they would have still been running for their life!
"What is there to go back to anyways? Besides, even with the restrictions in this place, my natural sense of perception is still quite strong. So, this much is to be expected." Second Tyrant stated as a gleeful grin secretly found its way to his face. In truth, he had just chosen randomly! He never expected the results to be so good and on his side!
Second Tyrant glanced towards Luna who had fallen silent ever since they stepped onto the middle path.
"She must be too embarrassed to say anything now." Second Tyrant thought to himself as he turned his attention towards the front.
"It's still there." Luna thought to herself. She was not too embarrassed to speak, but she understood that there was no turning back from whatever awaited them up ahead. Since that was the case, there was no reason to dwell on the subject of turning back. Now, she was focused on quickly thinking of a way to minimize any potential damage.
A few moments later, Luna and her group reached an opening in the passageway and soon found themselves in a spacious room. However, the first words to leave their mouths were not what one would expect to hear in the middle of a hardcore raid.
"Did we accidentally step into some kind of utopia?" Feint unknowingly muttered aloud.
The spacious room that the group stepped into was nothing like the other parts of the Sprite Dwellings. For one, there were no crystals in the room which was the most surprising to see as they were spread throughout the Sprite Dwellings.
The ground was the color of snow and the earthy walls were transparent. But, strangely enough, one could not see their own reflection on the walls. Instead, there were small orbs of light that came in a myriad of colors and were no bigger than one's fist which danced around freely throughout the transparent walls.
At the opposite end of the room was a small body of water that could only be described as a beautiful pond. One could tell that the water was pure and untainted by worldly objects. Surrounding that pond was a circle of stones with bizarre symbols imprinted on them and at the very center floating atop the water was a single aqua color leaf.
"I have not come across such pure water since that time at the Lake of Tears. This place certainly has a level of beauty to it, however..." Luna thought to herself. At the same time, her eyes remained locked onto the beautiful pond in the nearby distance with a calm yet serious look on her face.
In the same way that the middle path was sealed earlier, the entrance into the room was closed off by a wall of crystals.
The sudden noise and tremors caused the group to go on high alert, but they loosened up when they discovered that nothing else was taking place.
"That's strange. There doesn't seem to be any way out of this room." Tagz stated as he observed his surroundings.
Indeed, there did not appear to be any other openings or passageways anywhere in sight.
"Could we have walked into a trap by mistake?" I Do Zero Quests questioned with a frown.
"If it is a trap, it's a bad one considering how we're still unharmed. I'm confident that there's an exit somewhere in this place. We just have to look for it. Everyone should spread out and search the walls. Even though they look transparent, it could just be that this room is playing a trick on us. That pond over there is also a bit suspicious." Second Tyrant stated.
"We should not move around freely in this room." Luna replied.
Second Tyrant glared at Luna as he narrowed his eyes. Was this person not afraid of embarrassing themselves a second time? How would others respect him if he kept being questioned by someone like her? He had to let her know her place!
"Then, what should we do? Stand here and do nothing?" Second Tyrant scoffed.
"Yes." Luna responded without hesitation.
Second Tyrant mocked, "What? Is it your 'feeling' again?"
"Yes." Luna replied with an unmoving expression.
This caused Second Tyrant to almost cough up blood from anger. At this point, it was obvious that this person just wanted to go against him at every turn possible! She wanted them to just stand there and do nothing? What a joke! He wondered what Captain Niflheim was thinking when he allowed this person into their raid group.
Second Tyrant was the only one bothered by Luna's response. Her response caused the other members of Blue Oasis to frown. They thought that Luna was asking for a bit much and intentionally stirring up trouble.
Second Tyrant wanted to unleash his anger, however, he remembered that Abstract and I Do Zero Quests were present and kept his anger under control.
"Ignore her. She's speaking nonsense. Everyone spread out and search. Watch out for any traps or suspicious objects." Second Tyrant ordered.
After everyone started to search around the room, Second Tyrant turned to face Luna and said, "You can just stand there and go along with that feeling of yours you like so much."
Second Tyrant grinned. There was a look of disdain in his eyes as he left to join the other members of Blue Oasis in exploring the spacious room.
Luna's eyes became ice-cold, however, her facial expression remained unchanged. That was the last "peaceful" moment the group experienced. Not too long after they were sealed in the room, everything quickly fell into chaos.
During their search of the room, the group had no luck finding any sort of hidden exit on the walls. That was when Second Tyrant decided to approach the beautiful pond. If it was just approaching the pond, then maybe things would not have been so bad. But, Second Tyrant touched the stones that surrounded the pond causing them to have an unusual reaction as a system alert popped up.
Before they knew it, Aqua Drifter after Aqua Drifter kept spawning and activating the propagate hardcore effect when they were near death. This caused the group to become encircled by the wave of sea creatures. It was at this point that Luna's Soul Sense spiked to new levels. But, it was not due to the wave of Aqua Drifters, but rather the entity that sat atop the leaf floating in the pond. That entity was, of course, Ooudamu.
If not for her Soul Sense and heightened senses from consuming the Five Cycles Pill, then perhaps even Luna would not have been aware of Ooudamu considering that the creature was no bigger than the size of one's palm. How was a raid group even supposed to fight against something so small?
After discovering that he led everyone to this point, Second Tyrant fell silent. His thoughts raced to find a way to recover the situation, but there was nothing that came to mind. Why? Why didn't he just give the command over to I Do Zero Quests?! If he did that, then all the responsibility would have been shoved to them!
Once Second Tyrant became lost in his thoughts, I Do Zero Quests officially took command given the dire circumstances. However, he had no idea how to escape, but there was one person who might have an idea. Though would that person truly be willing to help after how poorly she was treated?
"Fortunately, she doesn't seem to hold a grudge against us." I Do Zero Quests thought to himself as she glanced over at Luna. Indeed, if they had just listened to her then maybe this could have been avoided. But sadly, there is no medicine for regret! In the end, he decided that at this point, there was nothing to lose by relying on Luna's 'feelings' that had not been wrong so far and asked for her assistance.
To his surprise, Luna agreed without making any unreasonable demands. Her sole request was that they did as she said without question. I Do Zero Quests agreed to those terms. Of course, he made sure to add that the request would not require anyone to freely forfeit their lives. Luna had no issue with this addition.
"What do we do now, Miss Luna?" Feint asked Luna who was now in command.
"What other choice do we have? We fight." Luna responded as she held the staff in her hands forward. She could not help but remember her warning to Second Tyrant and the instant everything spiraled out of control. But, now was not the time for such thoughts.
Fight? How were they supposed to handle the neverending Aqua Drifters, let alone a raid boss? No, forget the Aqua Drifters. If they fought against a raid boss with just the six of them, then they would surely die! It was practically asking them to forfeit their lives! But, did they even have a choice? After all, there was nowhere for them to escape.
"I don't know how long we can hold out against this many monsters. They are splitting apart faster than we can kill them. Unless we can find a way to take care of these monsters, then we won't have to worry about the boss." I Do Zero Quests said with a gloomy expression. If they were dead before they faced the boss, then what was the use being concerned about now?
"Stop." Luna spoke in a normal manner, however, her voice soon echoed and reverberated throughout the room as a powerful wave of mana was released in the form of sound waves.
As the magic sound waves swept across the Aqua Drifters, the monsters came to an abrupt halt. Even the ones that were in the middle of attacking frozen with their liquid tentacles still in motion!
What was going on? Why did the monsters just... freeze? Also, what was that overwhelming pressure just now? Did that pressure come from a healer? No, that should be impossible. Maybe it was a special item they were using? A multitude of questions went through the minds of the Blue Oasis members present. However, they did not have time to ponder before a calm yet compelling voice traveled to their ears.
"I've halted their movement, but it will not last forever. What are you waiting for? Attack." Luna stated.
With those words, the members of Blue Oasis snapped out of it and charged forward to slaughter the Aqua Drifters. Fortunately, the HP of the Aqua Drifters was lowered every time they split into two.
Abstract's dagger soared through the air as he finished off one of the Aqua Drifters and quickly moved onto the next. As a captain of Blue Oasis, he was ashamed that he had fallen under a curse under such vicious conditions. Since there was no time to stop and regroup, he was incapable of communicating anything to those around him.
To make matters worse, he had no idea how he was affected by such a curse and yet I Do Zero Quests was not. Naturally, all of this caused some frustration. But, what truly startled was this healer. She was unusual from head to toe.
Her class was unknown, her mana pool was massive, she used a wide variety of powerful high ranked skills, she could 'feel' danger and most importantly... She was a Trephasia! To add on, she remained calm and collected even with Second Tyrant's attitude towards her and was constantly looking ahead.
"Where has such a top-level player been hiding? No matter what, after this is over, I have to find a way to pull her into our Blue Oasis." Abstract thought to himself.
Thanks to Luna, the Aqua Drifters were unable to retaliate and so the members of Blue Oasis had no trouble eliminating them. Ever since their movements were stopped, the monsters had been unable to split and create more. This made taking care of those remaining a simple task. After all, no one present was weak given their position in a top guild like Blue Oasis.
Tagz picked off low HP targets with his arrows, while Feint on the Aqua Drifters with the most HP. Abstract moved swiftly with precise and deadly attacks reaping the lives of the monsters. As for Second Tyrant, he seemed unfocused and his movements were sloppy, but he continued to fight. Luna and I Do Zero Quests took a more supportive role on the battlefield.
With their newfound momentum, the group cleared out the Aqua Drifters.
"As I thought... That many targets were a bit much. The voice magic is powerful, but the mana cost is too inconsistent. Each word contains its own power and cost. This cost multiplies for every target that I chose to be influenced. There is still too much I have yet to uncover." Luna thought to herself as she let out a small sigh.
The members of Blue Oasis, excluding the dejected Second Tyrant, were cheerful. The situation had been turned out so fast with just one move! After that stressful scenario, how could they not feel somewhat relieved?
"Now, all that's left is-" Luna's eyes suddenly widened the instant she looked over towards the pond. That was because on top of the leaf was... Nothing! Ooudaumu, the raid boss, had vanished! However, Luna's Soul Sense warned her that they were not out of danger just yet.
Luna's ears twitched slightly as she attempted to move her head to the side slightly, however, she was too late as a thin beam of light no wider than one's finger shot into her forehead!
Everyone was stunned! Where did that light just come from? More importantly, did their healer just die like that?! But, after the initial panic thoughts vanished, the group quickly noticed that Luna was still alive and well. She was not dispersing into countless particles as one would when they perished within RML. Strangely enough, her HP also appeared undamaged.
"Miss Luna... Are you okay?" Feint asked as he approached her. But, there was no response from Luna as she stood perfectly still while looking down towards the ground.
"Did she lag out or fall asleep?" Feint frowned as he reached out towards Luna to try snapping her out of it. But, before his hand could her, he suddenly felt an unbearable pressure descend upon him. It was at that moment, a single word shifted the entire atmosphere for the Blue Oasis members.
Ooooooooom! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Five heads simultaneously hit the ground as the five members of Blue Oasis prostrated.
"W-what is this...?! Why can't I move?!" Feint struggled to resist, however, the pressure was too overwhelming!
"What kind of skill is this? It's absurd!" Abstract thought to himself. Even his crowd control removal skill was unable to remove the effects!
The group heard the sound of light footsteps, however, they could only see that person's feet as they passed by.
Tap... Tap... Tap...
"Hehehe, I never thought I would meet a member of the Trephasia race. This strange voice magic is fun since it suits me so well, hehehe." A sweet voice gently floated into the ears of the Blue Oasis members as they walked by.
"It's been a while since I last had such an interesting host, hehehe. Ah, I suppose I should deal with the little sea urchins who crossed over into my Sprite Dwellings. Otherwise, those two won't let me hear the end of it." She said with a pout.
"This voice... It sounds a bit different, but I'm positive that it belongs to her. That light... Is it possible?" Abstract thought to himself.
Luna was currently levitating above the beautiful pond, however, her appearance was different from usual. Her eyes lacked an iris or pupil and they matched the color of the ocean. But, the biggest change had to be the pair of nearly transparent and gorgeous wings on her back. The tone of her voice was also more playful by nature. Somehow, Luna had become the host for the raid boss, Ooudamu! This was different than the time Zi Yi was momentarily controlled by a creature from the Netherworld. This was a full merge with a player—something that was completely unheard of before within RML!
Name: Ooudamu, Queen of the Water Sprites(Raid Boss)
Player Host: Luna
Hardcore Effect(s): [Outburst]
"Ah, I have a fun game. Why don't we have fun with this voice magic? Hehehe, what word should I choose... Hmmm... Ah, that's it. That's the perfect word for these oversiders, hehehe."
"Die." Ooudamu said as a playful smile found its way onto her face.
Somewhere in the Sprite Dwellings...
'That's the last one.'
Izroth had just finished applying the Corporeal Lucidity Moss to Emberheart, the final member of Blue Oasis in his area of the Sprite Dwellings who was affected by the Phantasmagoria. Since she was a supporter with low mobility, it did not take much to restrict her movements and apply the cure. This was even more so considering it was five against one.