"As long as I'm here, I won't allow any of you to die. But, try not to make a habit out of drawing her attention." Emberheart said as a light smile appeared on her face.
She then continued, "But, it's still bizarre to witness... This boss is just too unpredictable. I have participated in numerous boss fights, however, this is my first time facing a fully controlled player boss. Not to mention, that skill from before resembled Superior Holy Smite. The only difference was that its power was far beyond the version of the skill that I am familiar with."
False Summit released a sigh as he stood straight and replied, "I suppose we shouldn't expect any less from a raid boss. To be honest, I'd find it more bizarre if things were on the normal end of the spectrum. After all, if the circumstances did not call for it, we would have never rushed in without a proper and concrete plan."
So far, it appeared that nearly everything they tried to prepare for fell apart. They were out of contact with the other raid group who was supposed to be supplying a steady flow of information to them as they ventured deeper into the raid. But, that group lagged too far behind them to be of any real use with their current press for time.
The raid group was separated and they had no idea if any of them were still alive thanks to the absence of the communication system. The raid had been activated early and caused them to have to rely on Cross Haven to hold off the other guilds that were sure to rush over. However, even Cross Haven was no match if the other top guilds really wanted to throw all face aside and barge in.
How long could Cross Haven hold the other top guilds back? Was it possible to complete the raid in that time frame? Or, better yet, was it possible to finish the raid at all with their non-existent data? Were there even enough players still alive to continue with the raid? These were the questions that raced through the minds of the Blue Oasis members present.
However, this did not cause them to lose spirit. No matter the outcome, how could they hold their heads high if they gave up without fighting until the very end? There was a saying—It does not bring shame to fail in one's efforts as it does in one's indolence!
Meanwhile, Ooudamu continued to close in rapidly on Izroth's location. Although the members of Blue Oasis only needed to stall the raid boss for 15 seconds, that small amount of time felt as if it were an eternity. At this point, Izroth was uncertain if they were capable of stopping Ooudamu's charge for the amount of time that remained.
'Do I have no choice but to waste some cooldowns at the first boss?'
The main reason Izroth resorted to using the Twin Lasting Epoch Sentinels was not only its effectiveness. It was also the fact that it did not directly interfere with the cooldowns of his higher-tier skills. This was ideal considering what may lie ahead of them.
As Izroth pondered his next course of action, at the same time, as Ooudamu rushed forward, she stepped onto a dark surface. At first glance, it appeared to be a massive shadow. However, there was nothing in the room large enough to cast such a sizable shadow. Though when one observed closely, they would be able to see that the dark surface was slowly bubbling like boiling water. The main difference, however, was that its physical properties did not resemble that of liquid.
"How troublesome... I had hoped that Vanaheim's magic would be enough to stop her. It seems I won't be permitted to relax after all." Abstract muttered as he narrowed his eyes and held the palm of his hand outward.
"Desolate Assembly: Blight of Demise. Ingurgitate." The instant those words left Abstract's mouth, the dark surface started to become more active as if it was suddenly agitated by an outside force.
A faint popping sound could be heard as the activity atop the dark surface came to an abrupt halt.
Just as the movement of the dark surface went deathly still, Ooudamu's foot made contact with it and became stuck! The solid yet liquid-like substance had transformed into some type of strong adhesive. But, that was not the only thing that occurred.
Ooudamu began to sink into the dark surface. No, to be more accurate, she was being forcibly pulled in. It was as though she was being swallowed by a beast with an endless appetite!
Of course, Ooudamu would not simply sit back and allow herself to be pulled in by the dark surface. But, no matter how much she struggled, she could not escape its grasp. It appeared that the more she struggled, the faster she was drawn inward—almost like quicksand.
"It's no use. The moment you enter into the area of my Desolate Assembly: Blight of Demise, the thought of escaping is nothing but a distant dream." Abstract stated as Oodaumu sank deeper into the dark surface until no part of her could be seen.
In the blink of an eye, the room was filled with an eerie silence. There was only one question on the minds of the Blue Oasis members present—did their captain just solo a raid boss?! However, this was quickly dismissed when they noticed that no new system alerts had popped up. Not to mention, the raid phase had not been updated which meant that Ooudamu was still alive!
For most of the Blue Oasis members present, this was their first time seeing Abstract use the Desolate Assembly: Blight of Demise. However, there was a few among the group who was more knowledgable. One of these individuals was Vanaheim.
"To think he would use that skill so soon. With this, our Blue Oasis has one less trump card to play this raid." Vanaheim sighed.
Although Abstract's words may have sounded arrogant earlier, he was simply speaking the truth. Anything that stepped into the range of his Desolate Assembly: Blight of Demise could not escape. Power, speed, skills—everything became irrelevant. Unfortunately, such a domineering skill did not come without a heavy price.
The moment Ooudamu was dragged into his Blight of Demise, an overwhelming sensation descended upon Abstract followed by a stream of willpower checks. He felt as if his body was being constantly pierced by thousands of needles. At the same time, his mana was being depleted at an incredible rate of nearly 20% per second. At its current rate of depletion, his Blight of Demise would not hold for more than 4 to 5 seconds!
"How absurd...!" Abstract could not help but utter those words from his mouth when he saw how quickly his mana was being consumed as he managed the stress his body was undergoing. The overall mana consumption of his skills was low compared to most classes, however, Blight of Demise was an exception. The stronger the enemy trapped by the skill, the faster Abstract's mana would be consumed.
"It's in a league of its own. A dungeon boss doesn't even begin to compare. Twenty seconds—even thirty seconds is not impossible depending on the dungeon monster. But, for my Blight of Demise to be weakened to this extent... I did not think it was possible. Not to mention, the feedback is unlike anything I've experienced before." Abstract stated as he struggled to maintain control over the skill.
Four seconds passed by in the blink of an eye as the dark surface ruptured and Ooudamu broke free of its influence. Physically, she appeared to be completely unharmed and immediately continued to move towards Izroth. As for the dark surface, it quickly disappeared and was drawn into Abstract's hand where it transformed into the dagger he had dropped into the dark surface earlier.
With the help of Mirage, Abstract, and the other members of Blue Oasis, a total of 13 seconds had gone by which left Ooudamu unchecked for 2 seconds. Not only that but as if sensing the approaching danger, Ooudamu increased her speed. At her present pace, she would arrive within the attack range of Izroth just before he was able to finish!
"Desolate Assembly: Blight of Demise. Expunge." Abstract swiftly stabbed his dagger into the palm of his hand. However, his HP did not go down as a result of his actions.
There were two different commands at Abstract's disposal whenever he activated his Blight of Demise. The first command was Ingurgitate. This made it so that any enemies that entered—or were caught within the range of the dark surface he generated—would be drawn into a virtually inescapable prison of darkness. But, its sole purpose was not to trap enemies. Ingurgitate also inflicted anyone trapped inside with multiple stacks of Blight. Those inflicted with Blight would have their overall stats reduced by a percentage amount depending on how many stacks they had incurred. In Ooudamu's case, the effects were not too noticeable due to her status as a raid boss. Fortunately, the stacks of Blight served another purpose once Abstract activated the skill Expunge.
A faint sizzling sound originated from Ooudamu as tiny droplets of corroded black liquid seeped from her pores. The second the corroded liquid made direct contact with her skin, a numbing sensation spread through Ooudamu's body which caused her movements to become sluggish and somewhat erratic.
A grin appeared on Abstract's face when he observed Ooudamu's irregular movements. From this, he knew that his Expunge had been successful!
"I was not certain that it would work properly on a hardcore raid boss. But, it seems that my worries were misplaced. Though it is a shame that I could not hold her within the Blight of Demise a bit longer, otherwise, the benefits would have been greater." Abstract was suddenly surrounded by a thick aura of darkness that released a frightening amount of killing intent. His eyes became a reflection of a moonless night and the dagger that had been stabbed into his palm fused into his hand. Now, it looked as though the dagger was an extension of his body.
Expunge caused affected enemies to experience a state of temporary disorientation. In addition, it reduced the stats of the targets by a significant value depending on the stacks of Blight that were removed after its activation.
However, the biggest benefit Abstract obtained from Expunge was a massive boost to his stats and the protection of the passive skill Nocturnal Veil. But, of course, Abstract had not forgotten the most important task at hand.
Although it did not take long for Ooudamu to regain her sense, by the time she recovered, it was already too late. Thanks to the temporary disorientation generated by Expunge, Abstract was able to slow Ooudamu's movements just long enough for two seconds to pass.
It was at that moment that a bright ray of light accompanied by a monstrous surge in energy erupted from Izroth's location!
'It seems that Blue Oasis is full of hidden talents. Perhaps I've underestimated them.'
Izroth understood that he could not compare other players to himself for obvious reasons. After all, how many in RML could meet his standards? Therefore, he knew that any party who was abruptly thrown into a calamitous situation like the one at hand—even if it was another top guild—would struggle with basic survival.
However, not only had no member of Blue Oasis been killed, but they had also delayed the boss for 15 seconds! For a hardcore raid boss who possessed great intelligence and an inherent high resistance against crowd control effects, 15 seconds was no different from an eternity!
Ooudamu sensed the danger coming from Izroth, but before she could even react, she was blown back by a powerful wave of energy that originated from his position.
A few moments later, two towering figures, who were at least 6 meters in height and resembled the warriors of ancient times, materialized on the right and left side of Izroth.
The warrior on the left wielded nothing but a shield. However, that shield emitted a terrifying and oppressing aura that belonged to one who had experienced countless battles.
As for the warrior on the right side of Izroth, they wielded a mighty bow that looked as if it were capable of piercing mountains and splitting seas.
Both warriors released a frightening battle cry that echoed throughout the boss room and shook the souls of the Blue Oasis members present.
The players from Blue Oasis looked on in shock and awe of the towering ancient warriors that had appeared out of thin air as they released their great battle cry. There was only one thought that drifted by their mind at that moment—These ancient warriors... How fierce!
'I never expected that I would use an item from the Netherworld Exchange so soon.'
"Now, let's see just what this Twin Lasting Epoch Sentinels is capable of." Izroth stated with a carefree expression on his face as the fierce aura around the two ancient warriors began to grow!