The clear water that flooded into the colosseum quickly turned dark and murky as it actively obstructed the vision of the raid group. It limited one's field of view to just five meters.
A few of the supporters used the skill Illuminate to create a source of light and help ease the vision restrictions on the raid group. However, even with the effect of Illuminate, multiple sections of the water could not be covered by its shine.
〈Battle Alert: Player Red Meadow has been marked for «The Hunt»!〉
"Where did this thing come from?" One of the Sleeping Gardenia players known as Red Meadow, a supporter, exclaimed as a thin red ring of energy materialized around her.
Less than a handful of seconds passed when the temperature of the water around Red Meadow suddenly dropped to freezing levels and became turbulent.
Psst! Psst! Wooosh!
Without warning, a streak of green and silver light encompassed in a fierce aura flashed past Red Meadow as the ring around her body was forcibly torn off and ripped to shreds!
Red Meadow felt her heart sink as she virtually jumped out of her skin from the unexpected shock! Even though she was a supporter, she had no time to protect herself as things happened faster than her eyes could follow.
But, at the last moment, just when the red ring was being torn to shreds, a protective barrier accompanied by a holy aura covered Red Meadow from head to toe.
826/11,175 [Red Meadow's HP Remaining]
The protective barrier was shattered as Red Meadow's HP fell to critical levels! However, almost instantly after she had taken damage and just before the next tick of 2,500 damage went off, two waves of refreshing mana washed over Red Meadow and recovered a huge portion of her HP.
7,261/11,175 [Red Meadow's HP Remaining]
"T-thank you, Luna." Red Meadow uttered as she looked over at Luna, who was just a couple of meters away from her. If it were not for Luna's quick reaction just now, Red Meadow knew that would have died in one hit! After all, as a supporter, her HP was not that impressive, to say the least. Not to mention, if Luna's heal just now had been even one second slower, she would have died from the 2,500 damage that the raid group was taking every second. This made is so that in less than a single breath, Luna had saved her life twice!
Luna gave a small nod in response. However, she inwardly furrowed her brows at that surprise attack. To save Red Meadow, Luna used the A-ranked skill Protective Barrier. At its max rank, Protective Barrier reduced the damage of the first attack it encountered by 50%. This meant that the original damage of that attack was not around 20,000, but 40,000! Fortunately, she did not use a weaker barrier skill; otherwise, Red Meadow would not have survived.
Once her Protective Barrier was destroyed, Luna immediately cast Holy Flash Heal to restore Red Meadow's HP and followed it up with a Revitalizing Mist so that the rest of her missing HP would be restored over time.
"If you're marked, call it out! Halls, protect any marked targets! Everyone, move closer to the center—we are tightening our formation!" Zi Yi stated as her eyes darted around the murky water in search of the missing boss monsters.
"Got it!" Halls acknowledged.
'The Heavenly Arms are not a good matchup against this kind of speed. How troublesome.'
Moving that fast, Izroth understood that even if his initial attack struck its intended target, the arms of lightning would have trouble following such quick movements. Therefore, he decided to try a different method.
The purple arms of lightning behind Izroth slowly shrunk until every last one of them retreated into the purple ring at Izroth's back. When the final arm of lightning retracted into the purple ring, it vanished. Izroth actually canceled his Third State: Heavenly Arms!
Once the light from his arms of lightning disappeared, the area surrounding Izroth descended into further darkness—even with the presence of the supporters using the Illuminate skill.
Mariposa frowned when she saw that the light from Izroth's "lightning wings" disappeared.
"Did his skill finally end? What bad timing..." Mariposa muttered. She was amazed that Izroth could maintain such a powerful skill for so long. So, a part of her was prepared for this moment. But, that did not make it any more pleasant.
The raid group had tightened their formation as Zi Yi commanded. As the supporters concentrated on keeping everyone's HP in a safe area from the damage over time effect, the raid group stayed silent. Many of the Sleeping Gardenia players became anxious that they might be the next target.
It was impossible to see through the cloudy water, and it seemed that no attacks were taking place outside of "The Hunt". It was as if it were a great predator—watching its prey as it hunted.
An alert sounded off that caused the most of the raid group to jump from being startled. Everyone had become so tense that the smallest thing started to get to them. One could tell that they were not used to experiencing this type of pressure firsthand.
〈Battle Alert: Player Shao Qingge has been marked for «The Hunt»!〉
"Eh? Why me?!" Shao Qingge cried out after a red ring appeared around her.
"This thing sure does like our supporters!" Halls said as he wasted no time and charged towards Shao Qingge's location.
22,603/42,323 [Hall's HP Remaining]
Just as he arrived, Halls swung his shield forward as it crashed into something harder than steel and bounced off. Fortunately, he was able to intercept the attack in time before Shao Qingge was hit. Though his success was in part due to his Soul Sense trait warning him of the potential danger.
The moment after Halls was attacked, a flickering silhouette appeared next to him, followed by an immense amount of deadly killing intent that flooded that colosseum. The killing intent caused the raid group to shiver.
The flickering silhouette that materialized next to Halls was none other than Izroth! He waited for the exact moment when the creature attacked and used the opportunity to strike. Just now, he used his Second Baneful Sword: Kill, however, the results were somewhat disappointing.
Izroth wanted to use the Execute effect of his Second Baneful Sword: Kill to finish off the creature. After all, the lower their HP, the higher the chance that his Execute effect would activate successfully.
Izroth shifted his sword stance for a split second as a second wave of killing intent swept out. Even though the wave killing intent this time around was weaker than that of the first strike, it matched Izroth's Second Baneful Sword: Kill perfectly.
However, if one looked closely, they could see the faint shadow of a different sword stance that was not at all like the Second Baneful Sword: Kill. This phantom sword stance was the Sixth Sword Form: Double Blooming Lotus, the sword form capable of copying the last sword skill Izroth used. This also meant that it was capable of replicating the Execute effect of Izroth's Second Baneful Sword: Kill!
Of course, this copied sword skill was naturally weaker than that of the original. But, in a sense, it still remained a perfect copy, and while the damage was not great, it was not Izroth's primary goal.
"Ahhhhhhhhh!" A booming cream that sounded like a mixture of Heski and Mona's voices reverberated throughout the colosseum.
The scream had a high-pitch to it, which caused the raid group to cover their ears for protection. At the same time, the water that flooded into the colosseum began to recede as the raid group's vision was restored.
After the water cleared out, all that remained of Heski and Mona were their particles that drifted off into nothingness.
There was a lingering silence that filled the colosseum at that moment. The only thing that could be heard by each player was a flood of system alerts. But, this sound was blocked out by the members of Sleeping Gardenia as they were still in a state of disbelief. What just happened? Did they win? Were they really a part of defeating a hardcore raid? For most of the members of Sleeping Gardenia, this was something far off into the future! Who would have thought that it would be them, not the Lotus Guard, who were a part of their Sleeping Gardenia's first raid clear?!
"We did it!" Shao Qinggee cheered, breaking the silence.
The realization set in for the other members of Sleeping Gardenia as they could not help but celebrate along with Shao Qingge. Some of them even cried from happiness! This moment was huge, and they were lucky enough to be apart of it! The majority of them were prepared to die in this hardcore raid countless times, and yet, not a single one of them had experienced that misfortune. A hardcore raid without a single death? If they did not take part in it firsthand, then even they would have a difficult time believing it.
A lovely smile appeared on Mariposa's face. She was worried towards the end when Izroth's skill ended. But, thankfully, everything turned out alright. No, everything turned out better than alright! Tonight, there would be a grand celebration for her Sleeping Gardenia!
〈Battle Alert: Raid Boss Heski\u0026Mona has been affected by «Execute»!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have defeated Heski\u0026Mona!〉
〈System Alert: You have gained 6,261,173 EXP!〉
〈System Alert: 1/1 Defeat boss monsters Heski, Angel of the Sea and Mona, Nimble Child of the Sea.〉
〈System Alert: 1/1 Clear the Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace.〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have completed «Final Phase: Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace».〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have completed the raid «Great Sea Palace»!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you are the first raid group to clear «Great Sea Palace» and have been rewarded! Would you like to announce it to the world?!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you are the first raid group to clear «Great Sea Palace» on the Hardcore difficulty and have been rewarded! Would you like to announce it to the world?!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you are the first raid group to set a clear record under 30 minutes for the «Great Sea Palace» and have been rewarded! Would you like to announce it to the world?!〉
〈System Alert: Congratulations...
As the members of Sleeping Gardenia celebrated and alerts sounded one after the other, something that dropped among the loot immediately caught Izroth's eye.
'Hm? This is...'
Halls, who was next to Izroth and whose eyes could not help but be drawn to the loot as he, too, recognized the same item as Izroth. But, he did not believe he saw things correctly as he rubbed his eyes and stared on in disbelief.
"Brother, how many lucky stars were you born under in this lifetime?" Halls sighed in admiration. His brother's luck was just too good!