Chapter 502 The Immortal Umbra Horde Attacks!
Izroth opened his Event Interface and viewed the new emergency-type war objective. He was curious as to what separated it from the general-type and vicinity-type classifications. From its classification type alone, Izroth figured that the contribution points that came with it would not be inadequate, to say the least.
«Operation Identifier: Emergency Border Defense»
Contribution Points Bonus: +100%
Min. Requirement(s): N/A
Min. Level Recommended: N/A
Slots Remaining: Unlimited
Objective: Defend the «Unsanctioned Zone» borders and prevent the enemy from gaining a foothold in the Unsanctioned Zone. Eliminating enemies and securing checkpoints provide varied rewards.
[+1(1) Contribution Point for participation]
[Securing Checkpoint: +1(+1) to +3(+3) Contribution Points]
[Soldier 1st-10th Class: +0.25(+0.25) Contribution Points]
[Lieutenant: +1(+1) Contribution Point]
[Captain: +4(+4) Contribution Points]
[Commander: +16(+16) Contribution Points]
[General or higher: ???]
Failure: [-15 to -2 Contribution Points]
Special Note: Contribution Points are distributed in real-time for Emergency-type classifications. Enemy ranks will vary, which in case, Contribution Points will be allocated based on that rank's war rank equivalent.
'To think a War Kit's original worth is equal to the life of two enemy lieutenants under normal circumstances.'
Izroth may have called the exchange of his War Kit a fair trade back then, but he was going solely based on Hyasin's words. However, in the end, his understanding of contribution points and their value was in the early stages. But, after seeing that defeating an enemy Lieutenant gave a mere one contribution point without counting the provided bonus, Hyasin was quite generous when he gave an extra contribution point.
What grabbed Izroth's attention the most was the new Contribution Points Bonus that appeared on the war objective display. The current value was 100%—this meant that whatever contribution points would have initially been earned was now doubled because of the state of emergency.
A Commander's life, which was worth 16 Contribution Points in regular times, was now set at a staggering 32 Contribution Points. That was more than eight times Izroth's total number of contribution points.
Of course, getting those contribution points was another story. If Aurie's strength were common among those of the Commander war rank, it would be a little troublesome. Unfortunately, the only Commanders Izroth had come across were Seraphina and Aurie; therefore, his frame of reference was limited. However, it appeared that he would not have to wait long to see just strong these new enemies were as the mist of darkness had reached every corner of the marsh.
If one were to look from the skies to observe what was taking place below, they would notice an enormous dome that covered the Unsanctioned Zone and all three kingdoms' borders. It was impossible to see through this dome and tell what was going on inside from the outside as one's sight was obstructed by large-scale concealing magic.
Izroth had begun to move with Maeva trailing close behind. Their destination was one of the nearest checkpoints that needed to be secured. These checkpoints were placed at several locations on the battlefield and could be spotted from a distance due to the unique light it emitted. This light was not very powerful, and it was unable to pierce the darkness completely, but it was just enough to determine the position of the checkpoint—even for those with ordinary vision.
The mist obstructed Izroth's vision, but it was easier for him to navigate with his heightened senses than it was for the others present.
As for Maeva, she was keeping up perfectly with Izroth despite the dark surroundings. He was sure that she had consumed a Five Cycles Pill, but what came in handy was her ability as a talisman maker.
"It's so dark! I can't see anything!"
"Eh?! Where did you guys go?! Follow my voice and regroup!"
"Lieutenant! I can't find the Lieutenant!"
"If you have an illumination skill, use it now!"
The voices of the War Brigade members echoed in the darkness as it became a mountain of a task to maintain proper order among the ranks. The mist not only reduced one's vision significantly, but it also messed with their sound perception.
"Stay close and don't stray too far away," Izroth said as he activated his Energy Vision Sense, and wisps of flames appeared in the darkness. Ever since his Soul Essence trait was upgraded to a Spirit Source, Izroth received an abundant amount of breathing room when it came to the usage of his Essence. While its overall quality had not changed too drastically, the new quantity was unquestionable!
Maeva nodded and replied, "This mist is too strange. I know that you are right in front of me, but your voice sounds as though it is very distant. Luckily, the effects of my talisman still work under these conditions."
Maeva used a tracking talisman called the Mirrored Steps Talisman. When used, this talisman would attach itself to the target for a set period of time. During that time, whenever the target moved, it would reveal an energy-like silhouette at their location. Its primary purpose was to counter stealth-type playing styles; however, it was also convenient in situations such as their present one.
Maeva used the Mirrored Steps Talisman on Izroth so that she could follow his movements and not lose his position within the darkness. The downside was that enemies could also see the silhouettes left behind by Izroth. This made him stick out from the members of the War Brigade. But, Izroth did not seem to mind and casually accepted it despite the inherent disadvantage it brought upon him.
His reason? "If the enemies can see my movements, won't that increase the chances of them attacking me? It's a perfect contribution point magnet—like a moth to a flame." That was his response. Maeva thought he was crazy for putting such a big target on his back. But, since he was so confident in his ability, she could only trust that Izroth knew what he was potentially getting himself into.
"Ahhhh! My arm! I can't-!"
"Careful! There's something here!"
The voices of the War Brigade members could be heard as multiple flames revealed by Izroth's Energy Vision Sense were extinguished one by one.
Izroth glanced to his left side as he instantly gripped the hilt of his Sword of The Storm and slid his left foot back as he shifted his body's position. He then swung his sword outward, performing a flawless arcing slash.
Izroth's sword collided with what felt like an unbreakable steel wall. But, as soon as his sword made contact with this hard surface, it abruptly vanished.
While he could have avoided the attack, Izroth's Soul Sense did not perceive it as life-threatening. Therefore, Izroth decided to use the chance to gauge the enemy's strength.
"What was that thing?!" Maeva exclaimed as she had unsheathed her blade the instant she felt that something was off. She could not get a definite look at its face, but for a brief moment, she caught a glimpse of cold palish-grey skin and a pair of lifeless shining blue-eyes.
〈Battle Alert: Player Izroth is unaffected by ???'s «Curse of Darkness»!〉
'So, this is the race that dominates Malentansium. A bit interesting, however...'
A pair of glowing blue-eyes emerged from above Maeva, seemingly out of thin air. It switched its target after failing its attack on Izroth! But, just as this mysterious figure was about to carry out its assault, an azure-colored line flashed directly across its eyes.
'It's quite persistent.'
〈Battle Alert: Player Izroth has «Impaired» ???'s vision!〉
"Foul human! How dare you cut me!" The unknown assailant roared as they landed on their feet in pain with their eyes tightly sealed shut. There was cyan-colored fluid streaming from their eyes that was the color of their blood.
Izroth uncovered the assailant's plan to switch targets effortlessly with his Energy Vision Sense. Then, using Flash Counter, Izroth instantly launched a counter-assault. This attack also activated Izroth's trinket effect, Blood Stigma, which inflicted 10% of Izroth's attack as damage every second for 10 seconds. The damage from both skills completely ignored enemy defenses!
Now that they had been injured, Izroth and Maeva finally got a look at their attacker. Its body was similar to humans; however, they were much thinner and taller than the average human. Its skin was deathly pale and visibly cold to the touch. Accompanying it was a pair of glowing blue-eyes that carried with it an immense killing intent. It had short snow-white hair and pointed ears that lined-up perfectly horizontal. The fingernails on their fingertips were more like sharp claws than actual fingernails, and they wore black armor that resembled a mixture of leather and cloth.
NPC Name: Immortal Umbra Horde Baron Norehca(Elite)
NPC Level: 45
NPC HP: 127,092/134,200(94.70%)
Norehca was a member of the Skounae race, which dominated Malentansium. The Skounae were a race that thrived in the darkness.
'Oh? To think that I would run into a Baron of Malentansium first.'
The Event Interface had many useful functions, including a simplified overview of the enemy's armies. It was essential to know the enemy ranks, as those were the targets that needed to be prioritized.
Naturally, Izroth read over every bit of available information and knew that the Immortal Umbra Horde was the name of Malentansium's military force. In addition, he understood that Norehca was a Baron of Malentansium, which was the equivalent of an Amaharpe Lieutenant. But, in Izroth's eyes, he did not see a Baron of Malentansium—he saw two contribution points!
"Maeva, continue ahead to the checkpoint and secure it. I will catch up to you soon." Izroth stated as a gentle breeze flowed around his vicinity.
Maeva furrowed her brows at Izroth's request. He may be level 50, but going up against an elite NPC by himself would not be like fighting the Toxic Marshpits. Was he planning to face them alone?
"I understand. Be careful, Izroth." Maeva responded without protest as she sped off towards the checkpoint. Even though she had some reservations about leaving Izroth to fend for himself, ultimately, Maeva believed that he was not the type of person to fall so easily.
There was also a particular thought that lingered in the back of Maeva's mind. Although it was dark and she may have been mistaken, when she glanced at Izroth's expression before leaving, while his carefree image did not change, the look in his eyes was different.
Those were not the eyes of a person who was about to undergo an intense battle. No, Maeva felt it for a split second—that overwhelming and suffocating presence. Those eyes... They belonged to someone looking at prey!
A carefree smile appeared on Izroth's face as Maeva left without hesitation. He was sure that she would insist on staying to help him. But, the fact that she did not do so saved him some trouble. After all, how could he have a problem with an enemy of this level?
Not to mention, Izroth was unsure what effect his next actions would have had on Maeva if she remained too close. Even if it did not directly target allies, it was still possible that she may be influenced in some form.
'Now... How many contribution points will I be able to collect this way?'
Norehca had just regained his eyesight when, all of a sudden, he felt an overbearing force descend upon him. Even a task as simple as standing had become a challenge! Norehca was not alone. Virtually every member of the Immortal Umbra Horde within 60 meters felt this pressure descend! Some attacked their own allies, while many even directly perished under the deadly influence!
Norehca had no idea what was producing this terrible force! That was when he looked forward. A horrified expression found its way onto Norehca's face, and a suffocating wave washed over him.
At that moment, Norehca did not see a human standing in front of him—but a terrifying demon king that existed in one's nightmares!
This was the power of Izroth's improved Spirit Source skill—Soul Pressure!
'Let's cut the weak out of the way first—shall we?'