Chapter 571 - Sword & Shield Part(4/4)
At the moment, Izroth was attempting to complete his ninth sword form. But, for some reason, the system was not registering the skill. Even more bizarre was the fact that Izroth could see faint signs of the sword form's influence manifesting around him.
'Is there something I'm missing..? No, there are no flaws in my movements. Then, what is it?'
Izroth sidestepped to evade the dagger training puppet's piercing strike and instantly counterattacked with Sword Counter, one of the two effects of his Second Sword Form: Returning Wave.
Izroth's steel sword connected to the dagger training puppet; however, it felt like his blade had just struck something indestructible as it bounced off the metallic puppet's body.
'What kind of material is this?'
As it inflicted damage to its opponent, Izroth's Sword Counter ignored all defenses. Therefore, no matter how great the metal training puppet's defensive capabilities, the steel sword should have cut through it with relative ease.
At the same time, Niflheim charged into position and deflected the sword training puppet's blade with his buckler.
"There's more force behind their attacks now. It's a good thing that blocking in this place absorbs 100% of the damage instead of the usual 50%." Niflheim said. His arm with the buckler attached to it trembled as a result of defending against the sword training puppet's attack.
Niflheim had blocked attacks from players, elite monsters, boss monsters—even some NPCs. However, none of them compared to the sword strike he just received from the metal training puppet. One attack was enough to make his arm go numb! Although the numbness only lasted for a split second, if every attack were similar to the last, blocking consecutive blows would become a towering task.
It was just a one stage difference, but the difficulty level of the challenge had risen severalfold!
Despite the sudden spike in difficulty, Izroth and Niflheim held their ground as they adapted to the metal training puppets; however, no matter which angle or spot Izroth hit the training puppets, they refused to fall! They simply brushed off every attack as though he were striking them with a stick made of soft feathers. Even his First Baneful Sword: Destruction could not penetrate the puppet's defenses. It was at that point Izroth realized that something was off.
While he did not know them personally, Resseki and Kiren did not seem like the type of people to leave behind an impossible challenge. Could it be that he and Niflheim were too weak to attempt this challenge? Izroth found this to be highly improbable.
Izroth was confident in his sword skills, and Niflheim was one of the best tanks and overall players in RML. Not to mention, Resseki and Kiren appeared to care more for one's natural talents than their general strength. Otherwise, why would there be a restriction in this place that disabled specific skills, limited one's stats, and forced the participants to use certain equipment provided by the brothers?
Every restriction was a clear indication of what Resseki and Kiren were searching for in who they wanted to hand their inheritance to.
'What am I overlooking?'
〈System Alert: Stage 12 Training Puppets are spawning!〉
As that thought crossed Izroth's mind, the next wave of metal training puppets arrived on the battlefield. Unlike the Stage 11 training puppets, they remained visible. However, the gate that usually spawned the saber training puppet produced a bow training puppet in its place.
Now, there were a total of eight metal training puppets on the field, and to make matters worse, one of them could launch ranged attacks!
"We have to think of something fast," Niflheim said as he retreated to Izroth's side. The shield in his hands had returned to its original state as his Assimlated Shield wore off a while ago.
Izroth thought back to Kiren's words. He knew that he was overlooking something, and the moment he recalled what Kiren said, it suddenly dawned on him.
'Not everything can be overpowered with brute force alone. Your technique, your environment, and your mind—I see.'
Izroth's gaze locked onto one of the visible metal training puppets as they stepped into a puddle of liquid. At a glance, it was hard to notice; but, corrosive rust formed around the training puppet's foot that made contact with the liquid. After seeing this, Izroth quickly connected the dots to one another.
'This Kiren... It seems his first few words were quite literal to the moment at hand and not just general advice.'
Since the Stage 11 training puppets were invisible, it was almost impossible to see the liquid's corrosive effect on their feet. But, with the appearance of the Stage 12 training puppets, Izroth believed that he discovered the answer to their problems.
"I have an idea. Just take care of the arrows, and I'll handle the rest." Izroth stated with a carefree expression.
An arrow came soaring through the air towards Izroth, but it was swiftly blocked by Niflheim. The force generated by the arrow caused Niflheim to slide back a full meter before coming to a stop.
"Leave it to me and do what you need to," Niflheim responded. He did not know what Izroth had in mind, but anything was better than their current predicament.
Izroth took two steps forward and stopped in front of a liquid puddle. At first, he thought this puddle was nothing but water. However, this liquid may be the key to defeating the metal training puppets!
The saber training puppet darted in Izroth's direction and launched at him with a mighty force contained within its saber! But, it was not the only training puppet on the offensive. Not too far away were the dagger, sword, and claymore training puppets. Also, excluding the bow training puppet, the recently spawned Stage 12 training puppets quickly narrowed the distance between themselves and Izroth!
When Niflheim observed this, he furrowed his brows but did not forget Izroth's words. He kept his attention on the bow training puppet.
Niflheim understood that if Izroth said he had an idea, then he was not speaking empty words.
Meanwhile, as the training puppets grew nearer, Izroth lowered his steel sword, dipping the tip of its blade into the puddle of liquid at his feet. The instant he performed this action, the liquid moved up the steel sword and stuck to its edge as if it had a will of its own!
In the next moment, the puddle disappeared as every last drop was now attached to the steel sword in Izroth's possession.
When the saber training puppet reached a bit less than two meters away from his position, Izroth swung his steel sword sideways in a crescent motion as a wave of sharp sword intent emerged from its blade—this was Izroth's Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides. But, there was something different about the sword intent it released.
The liquid attached to Izroth's steel sword had left the weapon's edge and merged with his fifth sword form's sword intent!
Bang! Clank! Crash!
The liquid infused sword intent sliced through the metal training puppet's sturdy body and shattered it into multiple pieces.
〈System Alert: You have defeated a Stage 11 Training Puppet!〉
〈System Alert: Your score has increased by +2! [Score: 46]〉
Bang! Bang! Bang! Crash!
The sword intent continued to travel onward for several meters, sweeping through three charging metal training puppets before receding towards Izroth.
〈System Alert: Your efficiency with the skill Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides has increased by 1.〉
'It appears the liquid has a strong corrosive effect on the metal training puppets. It's convenient that it can attach itself to the sword; however, it disappears after only one attack. Fortunately, there's plenty of puddles scattered throughout the room.'
Now that he discovered a way to deal with the metal training puppets, Izroth rapidly destroyed the four Stage 12 training puppets using the liquid's effects. Every time he attacked, Izroth would immediately locate the closest puddle to prepare for his next strike.
With their newfound momentum, Izroth and Niflheim swept through the following stages with a vengeance!
A total of 9 minutes and 30 seconds had passed since Izroth and Niflheim started the challenge. They were just 30 seconds away from reaching the initial 10-minute mark set by Resseki.
〈System Alert: Stage 19 Training Puppets are spawning!〉
'Oh? They changed again.'
When the Stage 19 training puppets spawned, a golden bronze sheen replaced the previous silver coating.
However, the biggest change was that only two training puppets appeared this time, both exiting from the north gate.
One training puppet gripped a cerulean steel sword in its hand, while the other held a turquoise metal shield.