A few moments later, Izroth reached an area that was located not too far away from the point where he and his party first entered into the Millennial Veiled Oasis.
Izroth examined what was once a beautiful garden of plant life in that section of the forest. He saw that it had been decimated and transformed into a battlefield.
Judging from the scene, Izroth knew that whoever or whatever trespassed into the oasis was a vicious entity.
'If they are no longer here, then there is a high chance that their next destination is the Trephasia village. The strength of those three elders is unknown. It's better not to take any chances.'
"Azalea." The instant Izroth said this name; an apparition appeared next to him.
"Yes, teacher?" This apparition was, of course, Azalea.
"Go to the village. It would seem that some unwanted guests have made their way into the oasis. If necessary, you can lend the villagers a hand. However, prioritize your own safety above all else. If the enemy is too dangerous, just observe their actions and await my arrival." Izroth stated.
"Understood." Azalea said as her form apparition burst forward at high speeds.
Only a handful of seconds after Azalea took her leave, Izroth heard a faint breathing sound coming from some of the nearby bushes.
'Hm? Did I miss something?'
The first thing Izroth did when he arrived at the scene was use his Energy Vision Sense to sweep and survey the surrounding area. If there was someone or something close to his position, then it should not have been able to escape the detection of his Energy Vision Sense.
Izroth approached the bushes, and the moment he did so, the breathing he previously heard ceased. When he split open the greenery, Izroth was greeted by an arrow pointed directly towards him!
'I guess this explains why my Energy Vision Sense could not pick him up. He can barely be considered living.'
Artemius stared at Izroth with eyes full of killing intent, anger, and, most of all, fear!
NPC Name: (Severely Wounded)Artemius(Rare)
NPC Level: 45
NPC HP: ???(0.01%)
Izroth noticed that Artemius' hands were shaking, and just holding up the bow was a daunting task for him. Even if he were to fire that arrow, it would likely do no damage to Izroth, who possessed the Heavenly Golden Body.
"Human...! Was this your people's plan all along...? Pretend to be friends with one of our kind and then have your warrior attack us?! Or, was it to use us as a shield?!" When Artemius raised his voice, he coughed up a mouthful of blood as the bow in his hands fell to the ground.
"I am afraid you are confused. This fault does not lie with me. Tell me, does the action of one Trephasia speak for the actions of all? If not, then how could the actions of a single human speak for the rest?" Izroth responded.
Artemius knew that Izroth was speaking some truths; however, after watching all of his brethren die before his eyes and barely escaping with his own life, he needed someone—anyone to direct his anger towards right now! Not to mention, there was something Falcinean said to him that he had not forgotten.
"Humans—I have heard stories that chaos and greed follow them wherever they go. You speak of the fault not lying with you...? Then, tell me—why was that man searching for your group?!" Artemius shouted. However, he lost the last bit of his energy as he did so and fell unconscious.
〈System Alert: You have received the quest «Reserving Life In The Oasis». Would you like to accept?〉
Quest Name: Reserving Life In The Oasis
Recommended Level: ???
Recommended Party Size: 6
Quest Rank: S
Quest Objective: Unknown intruders have entered the «Millennial Veiled Oasis». Protect it! This quest will be considered a failure after the death of 13 villagers.
Time Limit: 1 hour
Trephasia Villager Deaths: 9/13
0/1 Deliver Artemius' safely to the village elders to prevent his death
0/1 Protect Trephasia villagers
0/4 Eliminate intruders in the «Millennial Veiled Oasis»
-Gain 20% EXP
-100 gold coins
-Permanent +5% Experience Boost
-Ancient Gate Activation Stone(Magic Item)
-Lose 3 levels
-Death of Artemius
-Death of all Trephasia villagers
-Millennial Veiled Oasis conquered
Special Note: This quest is automatically shared with all members of your current party. Once accepted by the party leader, it cannot be declined by other members of the party.
Izroth inwardly furrowed his brows when he finished reading over the quest. Usually, he would not hesitate to accept an S-ranked quest; however, the circumstances this time were a bit different.
First, the quest would automatically be considered a failure if thirteen of the villagers were to die, and there had already been a total of 9 deaths! This meant that if just four more villagers died, even if it were only in the crossfire, the quest would be failed.
Not to mention, the loss would be three levels! Just to get from level 49 to 50 required a massive amount of experience. If not for the final phase of the hardcore raid, even after defeating Heski and Mona, Izroth would have still been quite far away from reaching level 50!
Still, if he were by himself, Izroth would not mind taking this chance. But, once he accepted the quest, the others in his party did not have a say in whether or not they wanted to participate!
Therefore, Izroth sent a message regarding the quest details in the party chat via the system. But, not even a full breath had passed before he received a response for everyone, which caused a carefree smile to appear on Izroth's face as he shook his head.
'I suppose this answer should have been expected.'
[Party Chat] Player Mirage, "Eh? S-ranked quest! Finally, something exciting in this place! Hurry up and accept it! Accept it!"
[Party Chat] Player Luna, "Do what you think is best. I will have no complaints if it is your decision."
[Party Chat] Player Azalea, "I will follow teacher no matter what choice is made."
Since everyone was on the same page, without further delay, Izroth accepted the quest.
'The rewards are not bad.'
The experience gain and gold coins were not the best. However, there was no question about the usefulness of the permanent +5% experience boost. Considering the experience boost permanent, it was something that would be useful at any level one reached!
Unfortunately, Izroth did not know what purpose the Ancient Gate Activation Stone magic item served. But, as a reward for an S-ranked quest, how could it be anything worthless?
Izroth removed a Medium-Grade Health Potion from his inventory and used it on Artemius. Although his HP did not increase by much, at the very least, it took him out of the immediate danger zone. After all, with his previous HP, Izroth felt that if one just looked at Artemius the wrong way, he would die!
'Judging from the quest information, there are a total of four intruders. If they are headed towards the village and were able to leave Artemius in this state, then their strength is at least equal to or greater than a level 45 rare NPC. If that's the case, it will be impossible for Azalea to fight alone while also protecting the villagers. As for Luna and Mirage, there is still some time left before they catch up. In the meantime, I should hurry to the village before any of the other villagers are killed.'
Izroth grabbed Artemius by the collar of his clothing as he made his way towards the Trephasia village.
Azalea successfully parried two attacks from a pair of crimson blades. But, the strikes did not cease and continued to move at an exceptional speed and before she knew it...
Azalea was stabbed through by a crimson scimitar with a look of shock on her face.
The owner of the crimson blades, Falcinean, hiddenly frowned. Even though his blow had successfully struck its intended target, he could not help but feel as though something was off about his last blow.
All of a sudden, Azalea's body that was impaled by Falcinean's scimitar turned into a congress of ravens!
Falcinean narrowed his eyes as he swiftly adjusted his position and swung both of his scimitars in a semi-circular sweeping motion!
Falcinean's scimitars cut Azalea's body into two. But, this time, her figure became distorted before dissipating into nothingness. Then, without warning, three shurikens came flying from Falcinean's side.
Falcinean once again adjusted himself as he managed to deflect two of the shuriken. However, one of the shurikens was able to slip through his defenses. It was aimed right at his head!
At the last second, Falcinean leaned his head to the side slightly, avoiding the shuriken—or so he thought. A short cut appeared on his cheek as a small trail of blood could be seen sliding down his face.
"An annoying insect. These attacks are not enough to defeat me." Falcinean said as he wiped the blood from his face. Compared to the Trephasia he fought earlier, this opponent was much more troublesome to deal with. While the strength behind their attacks was not great, their speed and evasion techniques were something that could not be ignored.
"This guy is dangerous. However, if it is a contest of speed, the current me—I am afraid even teacher would find it difficult to keep up." Azalea said to herself. But, she was not empty boasting. The first time she sparred with Izroth, she was unable to use her full speed due to her senses not being strong enough to keep up with her movements. However, the story was different now that she had consumed the Five Cycles Pill.
With her improved senses, it was as if giving wings to a tiger as Azalea could now maximize her full speed without fear of losing control! Not to mention, now that she was a higher level, the skills in her arsenal had naturally improved as well.
"His reaction time is fast, and his accuracy precise. Those scimitars are also something that I cannot afford to take a hit from. His defense is also surprisingly tough to break through. Then, I guess that I will have to resort to 'that'." The daggers in Azalea's hands became coated in a milky white aura. At the same time, her body sunk into her own shadow, and a few moments later, the earth below Falcinean was engulfed in total darkness.
The darkness stretched more than 20 meters in range, and if one stared too deeply into it, it was as if the abyss was staring right back at them!
Azalea's eyes turned cold as the rest of her body descended into the darkness, "Dance of Fusillades."