The moment Young Master Han said this, he tossed away the fish he had been feasting on and stoppered the bottle of liquor in hand. Standing up, he casually wiped his hands off and took out his weapon. The players from Luori City had already left to get credit for the mission in their hurry, and the Eternal War mercenary group was no exception. Those who were a little slow may have heard what Young Master Han said, but it was apparent no one had bothered to remain behind to assist Southern Lone Blade.
Southern Lone Blade naturally knew he was at a great disadvantage now that he was down to just four men, but the issue was that they were down to a Thief, Warrior, Mage and Priest; while the Thief might find a chance to flee, the same could not be the said for the other three job class, leaving them no choice but to fight their way out if they hoped to escape.
Moreover, Southern Lone Blade spared not even a single thought trying to explain his way out of this quagmire. He knew his opponents this time were certain of what he had planned, which meant any attempts to hide his intentions were essentially futile. Even if he told them his true target was the Video Mage and unrelated to them in the least, there was truly no point in saying such stupid things. They were most likely all friends, so why would they idly sit by and watch him hunt that Mage to loot that man’s dropped equipment? They would truly be worthless friends, had they really stood by and done nothing.
As such, despite Southern Lone Blade’s squad of seven having been reduced down to four, he and his men resolutely stood directly in a straight line before their opponents and locked their gazes.
Brother Assist and Southern Lone Blade were originally friends, but any words exchanged right now would only make things more awkward than it stood as both sides knowingly avoided communicating with one another. With weapons already drawn, this situation had devolved to the point where only their blades would be the ones doing the talking.
“Be careful!” The first one to shout was actually Drifting. Living up to his name as the top Mage of Parallel World, he quickly warned everybody the moment he discovered that the enemy Mage had been silently mouthing a spell incantation.
The others were combat veterans as well, so they were deeply aware of the method of attack Mages demonstrated when they subvocalized their spells. It was comparable to the sneak attacks Thieves or Archers would attempt at the start of battle, and seeing that their opponents had no Archers while the Thief was standing there in all his glory without activating his Stealth, it made perfect sense that it would be the Mage who picked up this role this time.
“But no one has to move!” Drifting extended out his hand to stop the others as he finished his sentence.
Mages could not simply just move their lips; where they pointed with their fingers would naturally decide where the spell was going to be unleashed. The expert Drifting had noticed where the enemy Mage was pointing the moment he discovered the spell being cast, almost instantaneously discerning just where the spell would be positioned.
A glorious BOOM sounded, as a Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos erupted a few steps before everyone. Flame Singed Clothes sighed audibly and said, “No doubt you deserve to be called the number one Mage!”
Now that they were in the valley like this, since their opponent had their backs against the wall, the only way for Young Master Han and the experts to avoid any incoming spell would require them to step forward. Thus, he tossed his spell several steps ahead of them, so as to contain the enemy within his AOE spell the moment they attempted to evade the attack. However, how would Drifting not be aware of such a commonly used tactic? He easily saw through it and informed the rest accordingly.
That Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos became the signal for the battle to start, as Royal God Call drew his bowstring and released a whistling Snipe that raced through the air, directly targeting the enemy Mage.
Southern Lone Blade had already expected this Archer to habitually target their Mage in an attempt to insta-kill their weakest link. He had already positioned himself beside Flame Singed Clothes in defense of this, and a satisfying metallic thunk could be heard when he caught that arrow with a lift of his shield.
The damage from Royal God Call’s Snipe shocked Southern Lone Blade greatly, definitely worthy of his title as a top expert. Their Priest immediately got to work and reactively bestowed a heal upon Southern Lone Blade.
Meanwhile, Young Master Han and the rest were rather taken aback themselves, though it was not due to their reaction or coordination they demonstrated. Just like Gu Fei had been initially, they were instead surprised that Southern Lone Blade had a sword in his right hand and a shield in the other.
Brother Assist was the most sensitive to this strange set-up, quickly using his Appraisal for a look. But he had forgotten a crucial fact in his excitement: The Appraisal skill would be useless when used against a another player of a higher level than the user. Southern Lone Blade was one of the Five Unyielding Experts, and he was now about to reach 42; Brother Assist was still working his way to level 41, so Southern Lone Blade was literally up another level on him.
However, there were other players among Young Master's Elite that were level 41, namely Sword Demon and War Without Wounds. Brother Assist hurriedly asked Sword Demon to help him check, seeing that his proficiency with his Appraisal skill was about the same as his. Sword Demon shook his head upon usage, “I’m only getting question marks from the shield on his left hand.”
“Quick dodge! A spell’s coming!” Drifting shouted out once more. Flame Singed Clothes had unleashed another spell the moment Southern Lone Blade came forward to defend him. And since the members of Young Master's Elite had the wall behind them and the still raging Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos was right before them, the burning damage from the latter was much easier to bear than the new spell coming their way.
The rest of the experts had made the same judgement call as well, stepping into the flames in unison even as a fiery light flashed in the sky above them and a Descending Wheel of Flames came crashing down onto the ground they had been standing on moments ago.
“Why didn’t you cast that on top of the Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos?” The Thief Blackwater knit his brows after realizing Flame Singed Clothes had changed his fighting style quite a bit for this battle.
“Drifting has too much experience when it comes to Mages; that trick would not fool them in the least, so we are better off forcing them to step into the sea of flames in earnest, and take what little damage we can do!” Flame Singed Clothes answered.
“Get out quick! This burning effect lasts for quite a long time!” A Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos originally had a five seconds sustained burning effect. These experts had reckoned the effect would soon finish after they stepped into the flames, so were in no hurry to move once more, yet Drifting had immediately shouted this nugget of information to them. None of them cared to wait for an explanation as they made a break for it, with Royal God Call saying as he ran, “The damage from the burn should reduce in time, and this should have been the final second of the supposed five seconds. Considering the actual amount of burn damage we’re taking now, it’s clear that it will last longer than we expected!”
Royal God Call was also an expert when it came to the Mage job class, so he was able to analyze this fact as well. But more importantly, given how Drifting had time and time again displayed his level of expertise with the Mage job class, Royal God Call could no longer stand it and instantly snatched this chance to explain the matter instead.
Drifting had indeed had the same thought, so when he saw how Royal God Call rushed to grab this chance to explain the matter, he merely smiled and said nothing more.
Flame Singed Clothes had also heard all that was said and could not help but deeply sigh in awe of their enemy’s experience with Mages. The moment that Archer realized the underlying implication of the burning damage, he immediately thought of a name: Royal God Call. The enemy did have an expert with this name, and Southern Lone Blade had already mentioned him, yet he never would have guessed that such a renowned Mage expert would actually change his favored job class to an Archer in Parallel World.
While Flame Singed Clothes might have been preoccupied with his thoughts, his hands did not stand idly by, quickly jerking his magic staff upwards. He had already begun the incantation the moment he cast the Descending Wheel of Flames, so the next spell he was about to release followed quickly, causing a row of flame to shoot up towards the sky and abruptly seal off the path those seven men were running towards.
This was the first time the veteran Drifting had even seen the spell Palatial Balefire in action. Just from the atmosphere it created hinted the damage it could do would be substantial. None of the seven, who had already taken some damage from the Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos, dared to force their way through the intense flame before them. Yet the inferno they were in continued to rage, and they had no idea when it would end it. Letting their HP lower at this rate was no way to go either, so the seven men could only helplessly retreat back to where they were originally standing.
The Thief Blackwater regretfully commented, “It would be great if Glue was still around!”
At the moment, melee classes like him or Southern Lone Blade were unable to use this chance and attack the enemy while they were trapped.
“Man, this Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos burning effect lasts really long!” The seven had already retreated back to where they started, yet the flames from the spell had yet to extinguish, while the conflagration from the Palatial Balefire continued to flare in the same intensity as before.
“It's very likely that man has equipment that increases the duration of the burn effect for fire spells!” Drifting evaluated. As he said this, everybody saw the flames from the Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos extinguish. Yet before they could step forward, Drifting alerted everyone once more as the sound of a fiery explosion filled their ears, and another Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno surged anew.
“This guy!!” Royal God Call was stunned. Even though he was not a Mage, he nevertheless had quite the good grasp of the Mage job class given his interest towards it in Parallel World. The cooldowns a Mage had for the few AoE spells they had in their arsenal were by no means short, yet Flame Singed Clothes was able to cast two Blazing Trees of a Thousand Infernos consecutively, which meant the cooldown reduction he had for that spell was more than substantial.
“That man has carefully calibrated his Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos so that the duration of that spell is around the same time it took for it to finish its cooldown,” Drifting said. The others did not bother to think what sort of resultant effect such an achievement could mean, but Mage experts like Royal God Call and Drifting could already come up with plenty of ideas to capitalize on it.
“I did not expect that twerp to actually have such an ace up his sleeve. It appears we have been properly sealed in this time around,” Royal God Call said.
“And it would be as just what you've said; Using his Descending Wheel of Flame to force us to step into that sea of flames and take damage, doing so repeatedly will slowly, but surely grind our HP way down till we have nothing left…” Drifting concluded.
“And what you’re competing against at this point will be mana consumption. Him or Young Master, whichever side first uses up their mana would then be the one in danger,” Royal God Call commented.
“Since that man has to take note of his cooldown timers for his spells, there’s a good possibility he will have also distributed quite a lot of Spirit as a result. There’s no way his mana could last.”
“Also, Young Master isn’t your average Mage; his build focuses solely on the Intelligence and Spirit Stats, making his mana pool even bigger than that of the average Priest,” Royal God Call said.
“Even though he was able to cast two AOE’s in succession like, Young Master would have to cast seven instances of Heals to save our lives. The mana cost for either side of this confrontation will be huge, making it all the more difficult to tell,” Drifting said.
“Yeah, it truly is difficult to determine the outcome,” Royal God Call nodded.
Young Master Han placidly gazed at the two, “You two work really well together when you finish each other thoughts and sentences like this!”
“Ahhhhhhh!” Royal God Call realized what happened and covered his mouth with his hand with an extremely pained expression, “Is my mouth going to rot as a result?”
No one bothered with him any longer. Young Master Han stared at Drifting. “If pushed to the extreme, I can go at least seven rounds of healing all seven of us.”
Drifting understood what Young Master Han meant when he told him this, instantly beginning his calculation of the enemy. “I don’t know how much mana it costs for that man to cast that spell of his that creates a wall of flames, but if it is anywhere around the same as a Descending Wheel of Flames or Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos, I can guarantee they could at least go on for around ten rounds or more if he were to cast that whole set of spells. It would be a lot more annoying if he has any form of equipment that increases his mana, though…”
“Do most Mages have that sort of equipment?” Brother Assist was standing at the side when he asked this.
“No…” Drifting said, “So there’s a possibility he would swap them out at this moment.”
“There’s no way for Archers to interrupt his casting!” War Without Wounds looked over to the enemy, spotting Southern Lone Blade standing right in front of Flame Singed Clothes. Any and all arrows sent towards Flame Singed Clothes would all be blocked by this man, and they even had a Priest Healing right behind them. “Could we not just forcefully rush them?”
“Job Classes with low HP would likely lose their lives if we were to forcefully rush them. Even if they manage to survive thanks to good fortune, the Thief the enemy has on their side would just sneak right up to them and strike,” Young Master Han said, and everyone realized that Thief had already activated his Stealth and disappeared from the squad before them.
“We really got careless this time. The terrain here is really ill-suited for us…” Sword Demon said.
Everyone was quiet.
“Here it comes…” Royal God Call shouted, even as he saw Flame Singed Clothes raise his magic staff to call forth a Descending Wheel of Flames...