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30 This Mountain Region Is Strange!

 After the group finished their fight with the 'Mountain Golem', they came across five more on their way towards the main area of the mountain region. Their current party combination was strong with Izroth and Scarlet dealing damage, Halls receiving the damage, and Luna healing near flawlessly.

The group had no issues defeating the other five 'Mountain Golems' gaining a total of 3,000 EXP as well as 7 silver and 50 bronze coins each.

Izroth narrowed his eyes as the party was traveling towards the mountain region, but something strange was taking place. "We aren't getting any closer..." Izroth thought to himself. He was not entirely sure before, however, after walking for another 10 minutes straight they weren't any closer to the main mountain region. A light fog formed on the ground beneath their feet.

It wasn't long until the other three realized that something strange was going on as well.

Halls frowned, "Why do I feel like we aren't getting any closer?"

"Because we're trapped in some type of illusion" Izroth responded to Halls while maintaining his usual carefree facial expression. From the moment they defeated the first 'Mountain Golem' Izroth felt as though all of them were confined to a limited area. He was very sensitive to changes within the atmosphere and so when he felt a major shift he could guess that something was wrong. This whole time Izroth was actually looking for a way out. Usually, things like this had a core that needed to be destroyed or someone secretly controlling it from the shadows.

"An illusion? How do we escape?" Halls was startled by the revelation. Since when did they step into an illusion?

"I thought there was something weird about this... Although, I wasn't absolutely sure until Izroth just confirmed it." Luna spoke in a low voice as though she were concentrating on something else while speaking.

Scarlet, on the other hand, was busy keeping in touch with the other members of her group making sure they did not get lost in illusion. If that happened and they couldn't find a way out, her entire purpose for being here would be useless.

"Wait" Izroth came to a sudden halt. Soon after everyone else stopped to turn and look at him with a curious look on their faces. Did he discover something about the illusion?

Izroth quickly kicked off his right foot, unsheathing his 'Nameless Blade' and charging straight towards Scarlet.

Scarlet did not have any time to react, "Wa-!" she was shocked by Izroth suddenly turning around and rushing at her. Did he realize see through her and so was taking this chance to remove the threat? She witnessed firsthand how powerful Izroth's attacks were and so even if she used a barrier it would be destroyed in one hit along with all of her HP. Scarlet closed her eyes tightly awaiting her certain death.

Pluuuuck! Eeeeeeeeeggggghhhhh!

There was a loud high pitched screaming sound that pierced the eardrums of everyone present.

Scarlet slowly opened her eyes and discovered that she was still surprising alive. Then she was shocked when she felt something slithering and squirming around near her feet. A shiver ran down her spine as she slowly looked downward. When she saw the creature, her entire face turned deathly pale. It was a strange monster that resembled a mixture of a 'Blatta orientalis' the size of a cat with a weird group of worm-like feelers upon its back. It was the creature that released that ear-piercing noise just a moment ago.

Name: Illusionist Mountain Bug(Normal)

Level: 15

HP: 0/150

ATK: 50

DEF: 20

AGI: 120

MAG: 150

Skills:

Illusionist Pact(Passive): This bug always travels within underground mountainous regions in a group of 10 or more. While doing so they produce a strong illusion that can trap travelers inside unknowingly and wearing them out mentally before devouring them. This skill is only effective when there is at least 5 'Illusionist Mountain Bugs' present.

Earth Swimming(Passive): This creature can travel through the earth as though it were a fish swimming in water.

Devour(Passive): As long as enemies are trapped within the 'Illusionist Pact', this creature deals 100% of its magic damage as bonus attack damage. This skill ignores all defenses.

Ding! Congratulations, you have defeated 'Illusionist Mountain Bug'!

Ding! You have been awarded 50 EXP!

These creatures were incredibly weak but were also very numerous. If what its skill said is true, that meant there were at least nine at the very least stalking them underground. They did not give much EXP but since there were at least ten of them total it would add up to 500 EXP.

Scarlet wanted to scream but swallowed it back down and quickly moved away from the bug-like creature. She did not want to appear weak, but her face had already lost all its color and she was wobbling as she walked. Scarlet possessed a natural hatred and disgust for bugs.

Even Luna who was usually calm and collected couldn't help but slightly shiver when she saw the creature squirm around pierced through with Izroth's sword, her face also lost a bit of color.

When Halls saw how Luna and Scarlet reacted he couldn't help but laugh out loud. "Hahaha, relax it's just some weak little bugs. You can let us guys handle this. Hahaha!".

Luna and Scarlet gave Halls a death glare that immediately shut him up. He rubbed the back of his head and avoided direct eye contact with both of them.

Izroth noticed that the earth beneath them kept constantly shifting as though something below was changing and moving it around. Whatever was doing it was fast and difficult to pinpoint accurately. That's why Izroth was waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike once he discovered them.

"There's still 9 more, we need to eliminate 5 of them to break the illusion" Izroth spoke in a calm manner as he swiftly moved a few meters to his right piercing his sword into the ground once more.

Eeeeeeeeeggggghhhhh!

-160 HP!

0/150 HP Remaining! (Illusionist Mountain Bug)

Ding! Congratulations, you have defeated 'Illusionist Mountain Bug'!

Ding! You have been awarded 50 EXP!

In but a moment Izroth had eliminated two of them with ease. If it were someone else these bugs would be tricky to lure out into the open before defeating them due to their high agility stat, however, Izroth possessed an astronomical amount of battle experience and could make accurate predictions to their next movements.

Izroth then sprinted in the direction to his left, "Halls, in 3 seconds strike the ground next to your left leg using your weapon skill. Scarlet, aim your first fire spell 10 meters directly in front of you, start casting it in 2 seconds. Luna, try to prevent any bugs from burrowing back into the ground once they reveal themselves if you're able to".

Izroth commanded as if he were used to leading a group into battle. In fact, back in the seven realms in the days of his youth, he used to be the leader of an elite small group of cultivators that would go on highly dangerous missions for the kingdom he fought for at that time. However, because the king feared their power was growing too strong and he would no longer be able to control them, he ordered their deaths. Izroth was the only one who survived and managed to escape from that kingdom, holding onto his life by a single thread.

As those memories slowly crept into the mind of Izroth, he could not help but let out a sigh of regret. If only he were strong enough to protect everyone at that time, they would not have needed to sacrifice their lives in order for him to survive. There were not many people Izroth trusted or respected outside of his teacher, however, every member of that small elite group held both his trust and respect.

Even though Luna and Scarlet were disgusted by the bug type monsters, they still followed through with Izroth's instructions. Halls also took action, following Izroth's exact orders and stabbing his sword into the ground. He released the skill attached to his weapon called 'Shadow Pressure' and a dark oppressive aura spread out 10 meters from his 'Shadow Fang Sword'. It wasn't long after Halls heard three high pitched screams and 3 seconds later all of them stopped. He eliminated three of them in one go leaving only 5 remaining. The group gained a total of 150 EXP from that attack alone.

Just soon after Halls struck his sword into the ground, Scarlet fired off a 'Fireball' spell at the location Izroth gave her beforehand. Internally she frowned because it would be a waste of her mana if there was nothing there, but after seeing that Halls was successful it made her feel like maybe it wouldn't be a waste after all.

Woooooooosh!

A ball of fire streaked towards the ground smashing into it as yet another 'Illusionist Mountain Bug' eliminated and incinerated in the fire. Scarlet defeated the last bug required to break the illusion and soon the fog beneath their feet cleared out completely. The group could see a few things actually moving in the distance, they had successfully broken the illusion of the 'Illusionist Mountain Bug'!

The last remaining 4 'Illusionist Mountain Bugs' tried to group together and flee, but why would Izroth let go of free EXP? Although they were fast, Izroth was still slightly faster and felt their movements underground by the shifting of the earth. When they all converged onto one point, Izroth struck out with his palm causing a myriad of illusions to form in the shape of his palm smashing into the ground where he targetted! He used one of the new skills he learned while traveling to Amaharpe, 'Myriad Elusive Palms'. Not only could this skill attack multiple targets, but it also possessed an increased hit rate and was difficult to avoid, making it perfect for fast creatures like these bugs.

Eeeeeeeeeggggghhhhh!

A group screams came from the ground beneath as Izroth's palm struck each of the four points where the 'Illusionist Mountain Bugs' were located.

Ding! Congratulations, you have defeated 'Illusionist Mountain Bug'!

Ding! You have been awarded 50 EXP!

Ding! Congratulations...

Izroth eradicated the last remaining creatures gaining 200 EXP in the process! They did not drop any coins or other loot, so that was a bit disappointing. On the bright side, they were finally free of the illusion.

The party reorganized and continued their journey towards the main area of the mountain range.

After traveling for around 15 minutes, the group finally arrived before a dark and desolate valley. They could only see darkness and nothing else, not even a single stone within the valley.

"Is this the only way inside? There's no way we can see inside, if we're attacked we may not even be able to defend ourselves let alone find our way out" Halls frowned while examining the valley. There were no other entrances nearby and if they traveled too far away only to not find another way in, then it would waste too much time.

"It's fine" Luna spoke as her staff lit up brightly with an illuminating light. "It's one of the first skills all clerics learn called 'Illuminate'. This should give us enough light to travel inside without issue".

Skill Name: Illuminate

Skill Level: MAXED

Skill Rank: F

Mana Cost Per Second: 0.2

Cast Time: Instant

Active: Creates a bright light that illuminates the surroundings within 5 meters of the user.

Description: Even in the darkest of nights, the light remains a beacon of hope.

"It only cost 0.2 mana per second to maintain, so it should be more than enough to last until we find another source of light" Luna also had 'Lesser Mana Potions' on her so she was not worried about running out of mana even if it did take a while to find a light source.

Halls nodded, "In that case, we'll need you closer to the front just behind us".

Luna moved forward closer until she was only a few steps away from Izroth and Halls.

"Let's go" Izroth started walking forward towards the valley which made Halls also start moving to maintain the frontal position as a tank.

Ding! You have discovered a new location 'The Valley of Death'!