It was not uncommon for pro gamers who signed a contract to have some restrictions set in place when it came to joining an organization. However, in the case of Niflheim, the limits were much more significant. This was due in part to his position as a Captain of Blue Oasis. But, the foremost reason had to do with the sensitive information he possessed as the leading strategist for Blue Oasis.
If Niflheim were to go to another top guild, Blue Oasis would be at a considerable advantage when facing them in the future. To prevent this from happening, top guilds such as Blue Oasis made it so that players like Niflheim had to wait for two years before joining a different organization.
While two years did not seem like a long time, it was just as Niflheim stated—a death sentence for pro gamers who were in their prime like him.
As for joining a smaller guild in RML, Niflheim was not a fan of this idea. Smaller guilds lacked the competitive drive, ambition, and resources of a top guild. Staying in a place like that would only dull one's talents.
Niflheim and Vanaheim talked in a leisure manner as time went by. Near the end of their conversation, Niflheim had to ask the question that lingered in his on his mind.
"Why did you vote no back there?" Niflheim asked.
The sudden change in topic surprised Vanaheim. Earlier, when they took a vote on whether or not Izroth should keep the Guild Order, besides Niflheim, Vanaheim was the only other person to vote no.
Although Vanaheim considered Niflheim a friend, it was not in her personality to take sides based solely on that fact. Not to mention, as far as he understood, Vanaheim had no type of relationship or even friendship with Izroth. This is why Niflheim was taken aback for her vote.
"If I am being truthful, I myself do not understand why I made the choice that I did. But, if I had to put it into words, it would be because he is an enigma." Vanaheim stated.
She sighed and continued, "I am sure you of all people know the fate of individuals like him. Since the beginning of time, man has both admired and feared the unknown. Nevertheless, more times than not, when one is faced with the unknown, there are only two outcomes—attempt to understand it, or destroy it."
Niflheim fell silent after Vanaheim's words. He put himself at fault for actively advocating for Izroth's presence in the raid group. He thought that it was the perfect opportunity to build a closer relationship between Blue Oasis and Izroth. But, who knew that fate was such a cruel mistress?
"Xiang Enlai, there are not many men that I respect, but you are one of them. Think of this as the start of your journey—not the end." Vanaheim said as she walked away.
However, before going too far, she halted her steps and said, "There is still hope for you, Xiang Enlai. A mountain cannot be turned—but a road can. Set your sights on what is to come, not what is already here. After all, every dragon eventually awakens from its slumber. It is just a matter of when." Vanaheim left Niflheim with those words as her last.
Niflheim entered into deep thought as he took Vanaheim's words to heart.
"On what is to come... is it?" Niflheim released a long sigh. He had been staring at the confirm to leave the raid group for a while now. But, every time, he stopped himself. This was the last time he would be a part of Blue Oasis; therefore, he wanted to hold on to it for as long as possible. However, after talking to Vanaheim, he gained some new insights into his situation.
Niflheim closed his eyes as he confirmed his departure from the raid group.
As he was teleported out of the raid, at the last moment, Niflheim opened his eyes as a look of clarity could be seen. In that instant, he accepted that he was no longer a member of Blue Oasis.
Psst! Psst! Psst!
Izroth evaded the golden disk that flew towards him as he adjusted his position to the Second Sword Form: Returning Wave.
Izroth used Enhanced Instaneous Movement to close the distance between himself and Mona.
As Izroth activated the Sword Counter effect of his Second Sword Form: Returning Wave, the Sword of The Storm in his hand instantly slashed out at Mona before there was any chance for her to react.
Almost immediately after Izroth's strike landed successfully, the first purple arm of lightning lashed out with a mimicked version of his Sword Counter.
The arms of lightning attacked one after the other; however, Mona was the complete opposite of Ooudamu who lacked mobility and speed. As a result, only 85 out of 100 arms of lightning managed to land a hit on Mona while she dodged the remaining 15 attacks.
In the beginning, she could only dodge 4 or 5 arms of lightning, but now, she could evade up to 15 of them!
'Her speed has increased again.'
Izroth realized that the lower Mona's HP decreased, the faster her speed seemed to become.
'Is it the work of that hardcore effect?'
The hardcore effect Mona received was called Quickened. From its name alone, it was not a crazy idea to assume that it had something to do with one's speed. However, in the end, it was only speculation at this point.
After receiving massive damage from Izroth's attack, the disks returned to Mona as a golden aura encompassed her.
"Change focus to Heski! Your main task is to survive, so don't take any unnecessary risks!" Zi Yi reminded. As long as they did not make any reckless errors, with Izroth's insane damage output, they should be able to secure the victory! Of course, they would not sit back and let Izroth do everything alone, but the overall playstyle of the raid group had transformed into one that was defensive and passive in nature.
When Zi Yi gave the command, the members of the raid group wasted no time switching their focus to Heski. The raid group had experienced this before and knew that after one of the bosses received too much damage, they would enter into an absolute state of invulnerability. The good news was that the boss who entered into this state was incapable of taking action. Otherwise, if a boss went around with full invulnerability all the time, what could players do but accept their fate?
Although the invulnerability aura was not the unique thing about this fight, what came as a shock to the raid group was that the two bosses actually shared HP! This meant that when one of them received damage, the other's HP was reduced by the same amount—even if one of them were in their state of invulnerability.
[Heski HP Remaining: 45.08%]
[Mona HP Remaining: 45.08%]
While it was a shock to the raid group, it was also a sense of relief. After all, fighting two raid boss monsters at full HP in one battle almost immediately after fighting waves of elite monsters would be too much—even for players fully equipped in rare equipment.
Of course, what helped to relieve most of the pressure of this fight was the temporary buff they obtained after completing the second phase of the raid, Touch of a Water Sprite.
A 15% damage reduction along with the 0.5% HP and mana regeneration it provided reduced a lot of stress for the healers. Both Heski and Mona had a full arsenal of attacks at their disposal with no shortage of AOE skills.
"Don't get cocky, Oversiders." Heski said as he charged towards Izroth with his arm gauntlet in front of his body using a skill that was eerily similar to a warrior's Unimpeded Rush!
Izroth sidestepped the attack at the last moment as Heski sped past him. Then, in a fraction of time, Heski changed the direction after missing and targeted Halls, who held the second-highest aggro.
Halls took a defensive stance, and just when Heski was about to crash into him, a thin transparent barrier formed on the surface of his shield.
A loud crashing sound filled up the entire colosseum Heski's gauntlet met with Halls' shield.
The next moment, Heski's shook violently as an overwhelming force swept across him. Then, a second later, a streak of green light could be seen soaring away from Halls, and Heski, who was just there, had disappeared!
But, in truth, he did not disappear. This was the effect of Halls' skill Rebound. Since Heski was moving at such great speeds, the impact of Halls' Rebound increased in strength and sent him flying back at a much greater distance than usual.
After finding a rhythm to the battle and having avoided major mistakes along the way, the raid group swiftly shaved away at the HP of the boss monsters.
〈System Alert: Raid Boss Mona has entered into an enraged state!〉
〈System Alert: Raid Boss Heski has entered into an enraged state!〉
When Heski and Mona's HP reached the 10% mark, and they entered into an enraged state, an aura of invulnerability appeared around both of their bodies simultaneously.
"Heski!" Mona cried out.
"Mona!" Heski yelled.
The colosseum began to shake violently as Heski and Mona rushed towards one another at full speed! Without stopping, the two collided and created a large discharge of green and silver lights.
The walls of the colosseum collapsed as water started to flood into the arena, quickly filling up every corner. If it were not for the Resistant To Flow passive, the raid group would have been scattered throughout the colosseum when the flood of water entered.
Fortunately, it was similar to the water produced by the Great Tidal Wave, where they could move around freely—for the most part. Their movement speed was reduced by 10% as a side effect of the water. As for Heski and Mona, the two bosses were nowhere to be found!
Izroth narrowed his eyes as he observed two faint lights no bigger than a small marble in the near distance. One was green, and the other was silver. The danger from those lights far exceeded that of both Heski and Mona!
Izroth activated his Energy Vision Sense and soon discovered that something was off. The green and silver flames no longer existed! They had simply vanished into thin air! Now, what he sensed was a light green-silver flame that was far more concentrated, connected, and violent in intent.
All of a sudden, the raid group started to lose 2,500 HP per second—regardless of their maximum health!