Ooudamu slammed the palm of her hands together as water erupted from the ground creating 36 pillars in the process. These 36 pillars of water created a makeshift cage around the battlefield and surrounded the raid group from every direction.
The pillars then began to move counter-clockwise at a speed so great that it looked as if the water from each pillar had fused into a single mass. If one were looking at this phenomenon from the outside, it would resemble that of a giant cylinder screen made out of water.
As the pillars formed, the HP of four raid members started to rapidly fall. This put a great deal of pressure on the supporters to keep up with the abrupt HP loss of the affected raid members.
"This rate of healing is not sustainable!" Complex Assault warned. It did not help that they were down one supporter due to Ooudamu taking control of Luna, but even if they had an extra supporter the result would remain unchanged.
The four members affected were losing 10% of their HP every 1 second. To make matters even worse, Halls—the main tank—was one of the affected targets!
A tank losing 10% of their max HP was the equivalent to a normal class losing 20-30% of their max HP—or even more depending on the class!
Halls frowned when he noticed his HP began to fall. Even if his HP was no small number, it meant nothing in the face of percentage-based damage! If Luna was one of the healers, then he could feel at ease. After all, they had been through life and death situations together. However, now, he could only place his fate in the hands of the Blue Oasis supporters and hope that they could keep up. Though, it did somewhat ease his mind that the supporters behind him were all skilled players given their position in a top 10 guild.
While Halls remained steadfast, one of the Blue Oasis members, Nidavellir, was able to locate the cause of the unexpected HP loss to certain members of the raid group.
"It is the effect of Aquatic Fever!" Nidavellir stated with a grim expression. He was one of the individuals who was targeted by Aquatic Fever. But, that was not the reason he located the source so quickly.
Since Nidavellir was a supporter, he had already prepared beforehand to check the battle logs the instant Ooudamu entered an enraged state. It was there that he discovered beside himself, Halls, Peaceful Chaos, and False Summit had been targeted by Aquatic Fever. From there, it did not take a genius to piece things together.
"Emberheart, Plays Two—Can either of you dispel it?!" Complex Assault asked. He attempted to dispel the Aquatic Fever, but his skill did not affect it even though it was a B-ranked dispel skill.
"I already tried, however, it is no use!" Emberheart responded in a disappointed tone.
"Same here!" Plays Two replied. Unfortunately, Ooudamu did not give them much time to think before she made her next move.
"Sprite Magic: Water Approach - Aquatic Surge!" Ooudamu sounded as she released a horizontal wave of water that was approximately 4 meters in length. This water from the wave was compressed and folded into itself multiple times which made it so the outside was as sharp as any blade!
The Aquatic Surge cut through Halls before it continued forward and struck four additional raid members who were in its path. Although Halls absorbed a large portion of the damage by taking it head-on, the members who were hit by the attack lost 50% or more of their HP!
Though before the wave could travel any further, Izroth swiftly appeared in front of it using Enhanced Instantaneous Movement. His stance matched the Second Sword Form: Returning Wave as he swung his sword outward to meet with the Aquatic Surge, activating the Sword Return effect of his second sword form.
The pressure generated by the wave was massive and caused Izroth to slide a few steps back when it made contact. But, after it lost its initial momentum, the wave suddenly shot back from where it originated. This time, however, its main target was Ooudamu!
If not for Izroth's quick reaction, the damage to the lower HP ranged players would not have been light when the Aquatic Surge made contact with the backline of the raid group. After all, the ranged players did not have as much HP as those who were melee. Not to mention, the supporters were already under enough stress dealing with the Aquatic Fever.
The members of the raid group were taken aback by Ooudamu's attack. It was the first time she used an offensive skill that was not from Luna's class.
"What's going on? I thought she did not have any attack skills of her own!" Nidavellir stated.
"It seems her enraged state changed that fact! Everyone, remain alert, and do not get caught off guard a second time! Halls, prepare to switch with me!" Niflheim shouted. Given that Halls was losing too much HP per second from the Aquatic Fever, it would be safer for him who was unaffected to become the main tank.
"Got it!" Halls responded. Though he was reluctant to swap with Niflheim, even he knew that his HP could not take this type of percentage-based punishment during a raid boss' enraged state.
Since Ooudamu was now capable of using personal offensive magic, her danger level had risen tenfold! Naturally, it also increased the pressure on the supporters as they burned through their mana faster than desired. Considering the Aquatic Fever showed no signs of stopping or slowing down, and the fact that they had to deal with strong offensive magic—reserving their mana was the least of their worries.
But, just as Niflheim was about to switch with Halls and the raid group thought that things could not get any worse, they were confronted by a harsh reality.
〈Battle Alert: Player Tagz has been affected by Raid Boss Ooudamu's «Aquatic Fever»!〉
〈Battle Alert: Player Niflheim has been affected by Raid Boss Ooudamu's «Aquatic Fever»!〉
〈Battle Alert: Player Abstract has been affected by Raid Boss Ooudamu's «Aquatic Fever������!〉
〈Battle Alert: Player Sacred Blade has been affected by Raid Boss Ooudamu's «Aquatic Fever»!〉
Four additional members of the raid group were effected by Aquatic Fever and started to lose 10% of their HP every second. Their misfortune also took a wild turn when Niflheim, their other tank, was targeted by it. Now, both tanks were being mercilessly drained of their HP!
The facial expression of the supporters darkened when this took place. With this many targets being affected by Aquatic Fever, it was time to make a difficult choice.
"Vice-leader...!" Emberheart called as she furrowed her brows and looked over in Complex Assault's direction. The other supporters—Nidavellir and Plays Two—also turned to look at Complex Assault as if awaiting his decision.
Complex Assault grit his teeth from frustration. However, he was in charge of the supporters, therefore, the unlucky task had fallen on his shoulders.
"Prioritize the tanks and focus your excess heals on the melee users, starting with those who have the most maximum health! As for the ranged users—they will have to find a way to survive on their own!" Complex Assault ordered.
"Understood!" Emberheart, Nidavellir, and Plays Two replied in a serious tone.
False Summit and Tagz were both ranged users who were affected by Aquatic Fever, and so, they became extremely dejected when they heard Complex Assault's order to the supporters. However, even if False Summit and Tagz felt wronged, neither of them could hold a grudge against Complex Assault. Though their darkened facial expressions displayed their true feelings.
But, the two understood that if it were them in that position, they were uncertain whether or not they would have had the guts to forsake two of their guild members—even if it was for the greater good.
There was an eerie moment of silence that filled the boss room after Complex Assault spoke. None of the supporters possessed a rare revival skill, and so, if someone died at this point in the raid, they would be sent back to the beginning. Not only would they become lost in the Sprite Dwellings again, but this time, they would not be marked by Peaceful Chaos' Marked Scent making it impossible to find them in a timely manner.
Therefore, they would be on their own in the dangerous Sprite Dwellings. Of course, this was if they did not come across any unexpected obstacles on their way back and could even return safely to the Sprite Dwellings. After all, the raid had not yet been fully explored and there was no guarantee that they would not run into hidden monsters.
Plus, more important than anything was the time limit they had in place. Cross Haven could not block others from entering the raid forever. In the end, did they have the luxury to wait around for someone to return? The answer was obviously, no. Although losing even one player would severely hurt their raid group's overall strength and further increase the difficulty of the raid many times over, Complex Assault saw no other choice.
Niflheim, the acting commander of the raid group, did not comment on Complex Assault's decision. If he was in the vice guild leader's position, then his orders would have likely been the same.
As the atmosphere became increasingly tense and Ooudamu's nature shifted to that of a wild beast, Izroth fell back from his assault on Ooudamu. His actions caused the members of Blue Oasis to look on in shock. What was he doing at such an important time? Why did he stop attacking when they were backed up against a wall?!
Izroth closed his eyes and activated his Energy Vision Sense in a large enough range to perceive all of his surroundings in the boss room.
His thoughts were simple. If there was a natural counter for the Phantasmagoria lurking in the same room, as he had encountered earlier, then perhaps the same was also true for the Aquatic Fever.
Though the biggest difference between the two was the fact that the Phantasmagoria seemed to form naturally, while the Aquatic Fever was intentionally invoked by Ooudamu. But, if the smallest chance that he was correct existed, then he had to, at the very least, look into it. Unfortunately, there was no time to explain his actions to the members of the raid group.
'If we continue on this like, then everyone will perish before we can finish off the raid boss. I have an idea, however, if it fails then I may have to resort to my Second Baneful Sword: Kill. Though it is regrettable the Third Baneful Sword is not an option with so many allies nearby since it does not differentiate between friend or foe.'
Izroth fell into a deep state of concentration as he carefully sensed every part of the boss room.
'I can only maintain this level of Energy Vision Sense for a few seconds. I have to act fast.'
At first, the information was chaotic, however, Izroth was able to quickly organize everything as he scanned for anything unusual.
"Is he sleeping or AFK?! Why is he just standing there?!" Tagz shouted angrily. He was already on edge since he had been sentenced to death. So, when he saw Izroth standing there with his eyes closed, how could he hold back his anger?
The other members of Blue Oasis frowned when they noticed Izroth's actions. Had he given up after coming this far?
After five seconds passed, Izroth's eyes shot open as he instantly deactivated his Energy Vision Sense.
In just five seconds, Izroth had consumed almost 100 points of his Essence by using Energy Vision Sense to cover every corner of the boss room! If he had let it stay active for just one or two seconds longer, then there was a good chance that he would have experienced Soul Weakness.
Fortunately, Izroth had tested the limits of his Energy Vision Sense beforehand and knew exactly when to stop before he was in danger of undergoing Soul Weakness. Though if they were not pressed for time, he would have never expended so much Essence just to search with his Energy Vision Sense!
But, just as Izroth had completed his search, out of nowhere, a system alert went off for every member of the raid group.
〈System Alert: Player False Summit has been killed by Raid Boss Ooudamu!〉
A thin stream of drifting particles floating upward could be seen at the spot that False Summit had stood in just moments ago. Although he tried his best to survive, he had succumbed to the Aquatic Fever and perished under its effects.
As the last of False Summit's particles disappeared, the realization finally set in for the raid group—it was their first death. This was the terror of a hardcore raid!
 Away From Keyboard. A term often used in gaming when a player is away from their game.