Meanwhile, the raid group reached the inside of the Sprite Dwellings and were separated from one another.
After spending just a few seconds in the Sprite Dwellings, multiple groups came across some troublesome obstacles. For some, it was monsters. But, for others, it was deadly poison like the Phantasmagoria or a form of an illusion. However, they had an advantage that Blue Oasis lacked—the Evil Cleansing Pill!
Thanks to the Evil Cleansing passive provided by the pill, the Phantasmagoria, other poisons, and illusions were all rendered useless. As for the monsters in the Sprite Dwellings, it would be up to each individual group to approach the situation as they saw fit. In the end, Izroth nor the members of his main group had explored every corner of the Sprite Dwellings. Hence, there were bound to be some things that even they were unaware of in the area.
But, Izroth was not the type of person to rely solely on luck to succeed. It was due to the unique nature of the Sprite Dwellings that Izroth requested a specific kind of player from Sleeping Gardenia. This player was Breezing Gladiolus, and right now, she was accomplishing the sole task given to her by Izroth.
"How is it? Can you do it?" Mariposa asked.
Breezing Gladiolus rested motionlessly on one knee with her eyes closed and her left hand placed upon the ground before a wall made of a strange glass-like material. It was the same wall that led into the room of the first boss of the Great Sea Palace raid, Ooudamu!
Fortunately, their group got one of the more convenient paths in the Sprite Dwellings. This saved them a lot of time as they were able to reach the outside of the boss room in just several minutes.
At the moment, there were numerous azure strings the size of a strand of hair that danced around Breezing Gladiolus. In total, there were 24 azure strings, and the tip of each string bent itself in different directions. There were also some azure strings that were grouped together and pointed in the same direction.
A light smile found its way onto Breezing Gladiolus' face as she replied, "It's working without issue. However, with this many Azure Placement Twines active at once, I can only manage it for ten minutes. After that, we will once again become blind."
Azure Placement Twines was a unique skill of Breezing Gladiolus' class called the Threads of Fate Manipulator. Even though it was not ideal for combat and its offensive power was on the weaker end of the spectrum, its practical applications were limitless. This was the main reason why Mariposa was somewhat surprised when Izroth requested a class that specialized in long-range communication and management. But, not even Izroth expected that Sleeping Gardenia would have someone who met the requirements so perfectly with them!
Mariposa nodded, "Ten minutes is more than enough time. Can you guide Shao Qingge and the others from this far away?"
Breezing Gladiolus furrowed her brows as her level of concentration increased. She was not used to managing so many Azure Placement Twines. To put it into perspective, it was like looking through the eyes of 24 different people at once! The sole difference was that instead of clear images, everything was made from a bundle of azure strings. Trying to organize and sort that kind of information was no easy task. But, Breezing Gladiolus would not let such a trivial matter stop her.
"I can do it!" Breezing Gladiolus responded confidently. She took a deep breath before exhaling.
"Connecting Threads: Resplendent Ring Layout." In the next moment, a perfect circle drew itself on the ground before Breezing Gladiolus. This circle contained weak yet extremely dense magic energy. Then, in the blink of an eye, the azure strings around Breezing Gladiolus dived into the circle and connected with it.
A few seconds later, an image that resembled that of a maze had formed inside of the circle. Within the maze, there were 23 little orbs of lights in groups of six. However, there was one group that only had five orbs of light.
Mariposa noticed this and could not help but frown. Could it be that Izroth had yet to enter the Sprite Dwellings? It was already nearing the ten-minute mark. It couldn't be that he was having some difficulties outside, right?
"There's no point in worrying about something outside of my immediate control. For now, I will make sure that we are successful on our end." Mariposa said to herself. In the end, she knew that it was impossible to communicate via the system in the Sprite Dwellings.
She then spoke clearly and ordered, "Begin."
"Everyone, this is Breezing Gladiolus. I will now guide each group to its correct destination. But, you will have to swiftly deal with any obstacles along the way as I can only maintain this for a limited amount of time. I'm sending over a Guiding Strand to every group. Once you at your destination, await your next orders." Breezing Gladiolus stated as she held her left hand over the circle, and three azure strings emerged from her fingertips before attaching itself to the maze.
Breezing Gladiolus then carefully controlled each of the azure strings, and in less than a breath of time, three new lines appeared within the maze. Each line was created from the azure strings that left Breezing Gladiolus' fingertips and led to the center of the maze. These were the Guiding Strands.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Sprite Dwellings...
"Look, it's the Guiding Strand!" Shao Qingge announced.
A thin azure-colored strand had appeared on the ground in front of their group. As long as they followed it, they should have no trouble reaching their destination.
"I can hear her so clearly. Can she hear us as well?" Guan Yu asked with a gleeful smile on his face. How could he not be happy? He was put into a group made solely of Sleeping Gardenia players! What man would not be happy after becoming surrounded by beauties on all sides?
"She can hear us, but only if she wants to." Shao Qingge answered as she pointed towards a nearby passageway where the Guiding Strand flowed.
She then continued, "We have to hurry before the Guiding Strand disappears."
Guan Yu, Shao Qingge, and the other players from Sleeping Gardenia quickly followed the Guiding Strand. While doing so, they ran into a couple of monsters along the way. But, they were normal monsters, which were quickly eliminated by the group.
It was not long before Guan Yu's group came before a glass-like wall identical to the one before Breezing Gladiolus. The sole difference was that this wall was located at a different area of the Sprite Dwellings.
"We're in position. I'm going in." Shao Qingge said to seemingly no one. Though, of course, it was meant for Breezing Gladiolus, who listened in carefully and gave her the all-clear.
"Lady Mariposa, Shao Qingge is moving into position. The others are also approaching their respective entrances. I can only maintain the Azure Placement Twines for another minute. Shall I give the order to proceed?" Breezing Gladiolus asked.
"Is 'he' within the Sprite Dwellings yet?" Mariposa questioned with furrowed brows.
"No-" However, just as Breezing Gladiolus was about to speak, she realized a change to the maze within the circle. A new orb had just appeared!
"He just entered." Breezing Gladiolus swiftly corrected herself. At the same time, the entire raid group received an alert from the system, notifying them that Ooudamu's Pool had been successfully located. This was the signal Izroth mentioned that would confirm that Shao Qingge was in position.
"My Azure Placement Twine to Shao Qingge was forcibly terminated. I have lost contact with her." Breezing Gladiolus stated.
Mariposa nodded and said, "Very well. Give the order for everyone to enter with caution. As for you, send him a Guiding Strand and give him specific directions so that he knows the way. Once your skill ends, join us immediately."
"Understood." Breezing Gladiolus carried out Mariposa orders. Her Azure Placement Twine was channeling type skill. This meant that she could not move while using it. If she did, then the connection would instantly be severed, and the skill deactivated.
Mariposa stepped through the glass-like wall, and everyone, except Breezing Gladiolus, went in after her.
When Mariposa entered the boss room, she saw the other groups arriving at the same time through different glass-like walls. But, what immediately captured her attention was the figure floating peacefully above a small pond in the distance.
This figure strongly resembled Shao Qingge. However, she had undergone the same physical changes that Luna experienced when Ooudamu controlled her!
Name: Ooudamu, Queen of the Water Sprites(Raid Boss)
Player Host: Shao Qingge
Hardcore Effect(s): [Softening]
"Filthy Oversiders! You dare enter into this place?! It shall become your grave!" Ooudamu roared. Her initial playful personality seemed different from when she first took control of Luna. However, the core reason behind this change was Shao Qingge—or to be more specific—her class!
"Get into formation!" Mariposa commanded as the raid group swiftly adjusted their positioning.
Halls led the charge as Ooudamu levitated forward. As her feet touched the ground, she waved her hand outward.
"Water Approach - Aquatic Surge!" Ooudamu unleashed a thin blade of water that was aimed at Halls.
Halls lifted his shield and blocked the blade of water. But, he seemed surprised by Ooudamu's sudden attack.
"It's just as he predicted. After all, how could it be so easy?" Zi Yi commented as she observed Ooudamu.
Izroth deduced that from their last fight with Ooudamu that she could only use player skills that possessed offensive components. So, theoretically speaking, if one had no offensive skills, then Ooudamu should not be able to attack!
Of course, it was challenging to find anyone in RML, even a completely new player, who lacked a single offensive skill. But, this was the case for Shao Qingge's support-type class. It was unique in the sense that it did not have even one offensive-type skill! Its whole purpose was purely supporting.
Unfortunately, as Izroth predicted, the system would not tolerate such an effortless victory. It appeared that in the event the player who Ooudamu took control of lacked any attack-type skills, she would immediately be able to cast a weaker version of her own Sprite Magic: Water Approach - Aquatic Surge. But, this was still a much better outcome than facing something like Luna's voice magic, or the full arsenal of player skills.
Once the initial surprise from Ooudamu's attack wore off, the raid group pressed onward with their assault.
Although Ooudamu was a highly intelligent raid boss, the skills at her disposal were limited, making her attacks incredibly predictable. However, everyone could not afford to be careless. Ooudamu had the hardcore effect Softening, which lowered the overall defensive stats of the raid group and made it so that the damage they received was increased. One attack could be fatal to players who had an inadequate amount of health.
The raid group was making quick progress against Ooudamu. But, despite their current speed, they would never finish in under 20 minutes.
"As I thought, it is not possible to defeat a hardcore raid boss so fast even when we have restricted it this much." Mariposa stated.
That was when, all of a sudden, the sound of a violent thunderstorm spread throughout the boss room. This sound startled some of the raid members. Where did such a loud thunderstorm come from?
But, before they could look for its source, a figure appeared before Ooudamu. On that figure's back were two enormous wings that were nearly 17 meters high from top to bottom. However, these were not normal wings. They were made from vicious purple lightning that looked as if it wanted to devour everything in its path!
Though if one looked closely, they would notice that they were not looking at a pair of wings, but instead, numerous arms made out of pure lightning!
'It took me longer than expected to reach this place. I suppose I should make up for lost time.'
The figure who appeared with the "wings of lightning" was none other than Izroth! Without hesitation, he swung out with his Sword of The Storm at Ooudamu.
The sword carried an overbearing aura with it as it struck the boss monster. It was Izroth's First Baneful Sword: Destruction!
73,000 damage! He did not even land a critical hit, and yet he managed to do 73,000 damage?!
When the members of Sleeping Gardenia witnessed that damage number, their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets from shock! However, just when they thought it was over, something bizarre occurred.
One of the arms of lightning at Izroth's back perfectly mimicked his First Baneful Sword: Destruction, except, the whole attack was formed from purple lightning!
The damage was nowhere near as strong as Izroth's first attack, but this was only the beginning. A second arm went forth and attacked, then a tenth, then a fifth! The attacks seemed to almost go on nonstop, and the stream of damage showed no signs of slowing down!
Ten seconds later, the last arm of lightning landed the final strike. In total, Ooudamu was attacked 101 times for 1,036,736 damage—that was almost 5% of her total HP! Not the HP of a mere dungeon boss, but a hardcore raid boss!
Mariposa's face had lost its color along with the other members of Sleeping Gardenia. Even those within Izroth's main group were astonished.
At that moment, the same two thoughts went through the minds of everyone present.
What kind of supreme skill was capable of such raw destructive power? Moreover, did Blue Oasis have any idea just what kind of enemy they had made?