Vanaheim released a small sigh of relief when she witnessed Ooudamu's reaction—her plan was even more successful than she originally intended it to be!
"That's our Captain Vanaheim! The best Elemental Mage in RML." Emberheart commented excitedly.
"Casting that many spells at once is not a difficult task. But, to coordinate them to the point of basically creating a new spell—she has a terrifying affinity with the Elemental Mage class. It's almost as if it was made just for her." Abstract muttered quietly.
'Oh? A simple application of multiple elements that overlap and transforms into something increasingly complex. Besides "him", I have yet to see this level of complexity among other mages. Though it's a shame—this much is far from enough to subdue it for long.'
In RML, the majority of players accepted things at face value, therefore, this did not leave much room for creative uses of skills. But, it was different for top guilds and competitive players whose main focus was to be the best of the best. To accomplish that goal, they had to constantly think outside the box and gain even the smallest of advantages that put them ahead of other players on an otherwise even playing field.
This is why the top guilds rushed towards the Mystical Realm Palace when it was opened and mentioned having top grade pills. Though they found it hard to believe, if there was even the smallest possibility of it being true, they could not allow another top guild to gain such a massive advantage!
As the members of Blue Oasis were in awe of Vanaheim's skills, a thoughtful expression soon found its way onto her face.
"My goal was to slow her down as much as possible, however... Who could have imagined that it would interfere with that troublesome voice magic? Though it's still odd..." Vanaheim thought to herself as she furrowed her brows.
Why had Oooudamu's voice magic stopped working? That was the main question that crossed Vanaheim's mind.
"Has she reached her limit? Or, is it that the voice magic limited by her line of sight when trying to directly influence its target?" Vanaheim pondered. She found the former difficult to believe considering how frequently Ooudamu used the voice magic with almost no pause. It did not make sense for her to suddenly arrive at a limit. Therefore, Vanaheim leaned more towards the ladder. Unfortunately, she had no absolute way to confirm this theory. She knew that the makeshift mirage would not fool Ooudamu for long, and so, she did not lower her guard.
Vanaheim removed an Echo Talisman from her inventory. The moment she did so, the talisman disintegrated into countless particles that briefly drifted in front of Vanaheim before vanishing.
"Everyone, we will not falter. Any challenge that stands before our Blue Oasis—it is not a question of if we will overcome it—but when." Vanaheim stated in a clear and stern tone. Thanks to the Echo Talisman, her voice easily reached every member of Blue Oasis. Not only that, but it echoed from every direction of the room which made it impossible for Ooudamu to determine where it originated.
Vanaheim's words caused a fiery spirit to burn within the members of Blue Oasis. That's right! So what if they were facing a hardcore raid boss? It is not a question of if they could defeat it, but when they would defeat it!
At the moment, there was a lot of pressure and strain that had descended upon the members of Blue Oasis from the time they first set foot into the raid. That pressure has only increased since their separation in the Sprite Dwellings and again when confronting a seemingly unreasonable raid boss with minimal support. This was enough to make most individuals crumble under the circumstances and just give up.
But, Vanaheim's simple statement had pressed the reset button on that strain and ignited something the members of Blue Oasis were not willing to forfeit—their pride! How could they call themselves members of Blue Oasis and hold their heads up high in front of their fellow guild members if they did not give it their all until the end?
Just as the members of Blue Oasis were overcome with a second wave of newfound energy, Feint experienced a familiar sensation as something dripped on top of his head.
Feint looked upward, and right when he did, a drop of liquid fell onto his forehead from above. That small drop of liquid was soon followed by a drizzle. At the same time, a strong wave of mana spread through the room.
"This is... Rain?" Feint muttered as the drizzle quickly picked up and spread throughout the entire room.
"Eh? Where did this rain come from? So chilly..."
"Why is it suddenly raining inside? It's freezing!"
"Is this one of Captain Vanaheim's spells? No, otherwise, how could I be affected this much by the cold?"
Vanaheim narrowed her eyes when the rain abruptly appeared. Of course, she was not the one behind this occurrence.
"Just what are your intentions?" Vanaheim pondered as she exhaled a breath of cold air. The temperature in the room had dropped so low that she could see her breath when she exhaled.
Vanaheim sensed a faint presence of mana infused with the rain. This mana, without a doubt, belonged to Ooudamu.
The rain itself was extremely cold and the temperature of each droplet mimicked that of snow. No, it was even colder than snow! It was unnatural for water to be so cold and yet remain in a liquid form. When Vanaheim realized this—that's when it suddenly dawned on her. As the temperature in the room fell, it quickly wiped away the mirage she had set up! For the makeshift mirage to function properly, it required the ground to be hot and air to be cold.
In theory, it sounded simple, however, it was extremely challenging to execute properly since it required precise control and balance. In truth, it did not take Vanaheim a long time to cast the spells to create the mirage. The large majority of the time came from carefully navigating the delicate balance, otherwise, it would have been impossible to generate a mirage large enough to obscure Ooudamu's vision and engulf the raid group.
Ooudamu, as if discovering the secret behind the mirage, summoned the icy rain and erased Vanaheim's mirage. Just like that, a huge amount of effort was washed away. To make matters worse, it only managed to stall Ooudamu for 7 seconds. Added on to the time that had already passed, it made for a total of 9 seconds. This meant that they still had to delay Ooudamu for another 7 seconds!
"Perhaps, we were too hasty in attempting this raid." Vanaheim thought to herself. She hated to admit it, but the situation was looking grim. They were only at the first raid boss and yet it was already this difficult. Although attempting to quit never crossed her mind, she could not help but wonder if they had grossly underestimated the bosses of hardcore raids.
"We knew that going into this that our chances of success would be extremely low—less than fifteen percent. But, after this encounter, I'm afraid we were still too reserved with our calculations. Right now, I fear that our chances of completing this raid is five percent-... No, it may not even be one percent. But, even then, we cannot afford to fail." Vanaheim silently contemplated as she consumed a High Grade Mana Potion to restore some of her lost mana.
The biggest thing that bothered Vanaheim was not the voice magic or Ooudamu's ability to possess a player. Instead, it was Ooudamu's intelligence and adaptability that was the most frightening aspect to confront. She expected it to be a towering task, however, it turned out to be a mountain that they had to overcome. If the boss could learn and adapt during the fight, then it became infinitely more difficult to find a pattern or weakness to exploit.
As Vanaheim's outlook on the future of the raid grew increasingly pessimistic, Ooudamu shot forward at incredible speeds! Her target was still Izroth who was positioned at the back of the raid group.
"Hehehe, such little tricks. I think I will play with that one next, hehehe." Ooudamu said in a playful tone. She had used a skill called Drizzle and Downpour that allowed her to summon rain out of thin air. This rain increased enemies' Fatigue and lowered their Willpower—this was the reason why Vanaheim had a slither of doubt briefly cross her mind.
Since Fatigue and Willpower were hidden stats that players could not view, those affected had no idea that they were under its influence! It was not a particularly strong skill, however, in an intense confrontation where everyone was constantly on their toes and aiming to make zero mistakes, it had the potential to generate countless openings.
On top of that, she used voice magic and the word "Cold" to neutralize the effects of the mirage after she discovered the unusual change in the environment caused by Vanaheim.
Although Ooudamu did not know what Izroth was up to, the surge of energy made it so that her attention was drawn to him. This meant that the threat level generated by whatever he was doing could not simply be ignored.
'At this rate, she will close the distance between it finishes activating. I need more time.'
Izroth looked on as Ooudamu charged forward without regard to the members of Blue Oasis who wanted to halt her movements.
Woooosh! Ziiip! Ziiip! Ziiip!
Out of nowhere, something cut through the rain and tore through the air. The sound resembled that of a cicada and one could see a faint metallic sheen as the object rotated like the blades of a fan.
The object flew horizontally over Ooudamu's head and missed her by mere centimeters! Just by lowering her head slightly ahead of time, as if she already knew that an attack was coming, Ooudamu was able to avoid the object.
But, not even a full second after she dodged the object, it changed its trajectory and circled back around! Unfortunately, even this was not enough to catch Ooudamu by surprise as she used little to no effort in avoiding the attack.
The object continued to travel as it straightened itself out and changed to a vertical angle before stopping in mid-air near the hand of one of the Blue Oasis members, False Summit. The object maintained its spinning momentum as False Summit's right arm was stretched outward with the palm of his hand open. There was not much space between the palm of his hand and the surface of the metallic object.
"Even my Air Splitter skill was evaded... How can she constantly avoid my Skygazer?" False Summit said with a frown.
The Skygazer was the large metallic weapon that was currently spinning at high speeds next to False Summit and it was one of the most accurate weapons within RML once it was locked onto its target. However, time and time again, Ooudamu evaded it effortlessly!
Ooudamu, without stopping or adverting her gaze from Izroth, held the palm of her left hand towards False Summit who was around 15 meters away from her position. A ray of light appeared above False Summit, however, there was no time for him to react.
The ray of light descended upon False Summit as the sound of a loud explosion could be heard. The explosion caused a cloud of white dust formed where False Summit was located. Ooudamu had used an empowered version of the skill Superior Holy Smite!
Although the damage on the skill left more to be desired, it could be instantly cast. This made it next to impossible for someone to avoid it.
A few moments later, as the dust quickly settled and dispersed, False Summit could be seen standing still with a faint peach glow around his body.
"Thank you, Emberheart." False Summit said as he recognized the peach glow that encompassed his body. It was the work of Emberheart, the only supporter of their current group.