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31 The Valley of Death Part 1

 It was dark and cold inside of the valley. The only bit of light that shone within the darkness was confined to a 5 meters radius around Luna. The only noise that could be heard were the footsteps of four people traveling inside of the valley.

"This place is really creepy... It feels like someone is constantly watching us..." Halls muttered to himself. As soon as he stepped into the valley, Halls felt as though many eyes were gazing upon him. He wasn't the only one who sensed it. Izroth, Luna, and Scarlet also felt as though they were being watched closely.

A small frown formed on Izroth's face as he thought to himself, "How bizarre... It does not feel like the eyes of monsters or even people but rather something with an absence of life itself." it was similar to something Izroth knew called a gazing artifact. With a gazing artifact, one could observe events happening from far away without being present in that location. It was mostly used by kingdoms and sects to view major events taking place in the seven realms without getting directly involved.

Scarlet was staying close to the group with a gloomy face. She absolutely despised dark cramped places such as this valley. It was barely wide enough for 4 people huddled up together close to one another to stand side by side. Not only that, but she also had to remain extremely close to the group or else there would be no source of light she could use to navigate. She thought to herself, "I swear it'll be your turn to owe me after this...".

Hwooooooooooooo~ Hwooooooooooooo~

A wailing cry suddenly invaded the atmosphere. It sounded as though souls were being tormented and bellowing out in agony with tones full of hatred. This caused all of the group, excluding Izroth, to feel a shiver run down their spines. Scarlet had it worse than Halls and Luna, after all, there was a reason she never went out to see scary movies. She was too easily scared when it came to these types of things! Just a few seconds later something odd took place...

Ding! Player Izroth has successfully passed a 'Willpower' check!

Ding! Player Halls has successfully passed a 'Willpower' check!

Ding! Player Luna has successfully passed a 'Willpower' check!

Ding! Player Scarlet has failed a 'Willpower' check!

Battle Alert: Player Scarlet has been possessed by a 'Vengeful Valley Spirit'! They will remain in this state until their HP falls below 50%!

Scarlet suddenly stopped moving as her eyes turned lifeless and she could no longer control the actions of her character. "What's going on?! Why can't I perform any actions?!" she was in too much of a panic when she started not being able to move and failed to notice the battle alert.

Before the group even took note of the battle alert, a ball of fire formed in front of Scarlet aimed in the direction of Luna who was closest to her!

The fastest to react to the situation was Izroth, but it did not take long for Halls and Luna to feel the intense heat coming from behind them. "Step aside" Izroth said as Luna quickly moved aside and soon after he zoomed right past her.

Izroth's leg appeared to turn into that of a snake slithering to strike out at its prey aiming right at Scarlet's left leg. The spell she was charging immediately dissipated into nothingness and her body became unable to move. He used the skill 'Serpent's Bite' to 'Paralyze' Scarlet and prevent her from taking any further action.

-105 HP!

555/660 HP Remaining! (Scarlet)

Battle Alert: Player Izroth has 'Paralyzed' Player Scarlet for 1.5 seconds!

Battle Alert: Player Izroth has interrupted the casting of Player Scarlet's spell 'Fireball'!

When Izroth checked the system alerts and discovered what needed to be done he decided to not consume too much time. While Scarlet was under the effect of 'Paralyze' it made her vital points extremely vulnerable and Izroth would not miss such a chance. His 'Nameless Blade' was swiftly unsheathed and passed smoothly across Scarlet's neck.

Critical Hit!

-330 HP!

225/660 HP Remaining! (Scarlet)

Battle Alert: Player Scarlet has been freed from the possession of the 'Vengeful Valley Spirit'!

Izroth put his sword back into its sheath before walking back to his position towards the front of the party with Halls. But as he was walking away he said to Scarlet, "A weak Dao of Heart is bound to fail on the path of cultivation". Though it was only after he spoke did Izroth remembered that he was no longer in the seven realms, but on a planet called Earth that did not have anything such as cultivation. It has been many centuries since he last felt a bit embarrassed, but he did not show any change in his facial expression and kept his carefree attitude.

"Dao of Heart? Cultivation? What is he on about..?" Scarlet thought to herself and felt a bit upset at how nonchalant Izroth was towards her. It almost felt as though she were a burden and only dragging them down from the way he spoke. It did not help that the words he spoke were utter nonsense. Maybe he was just the type who was into the roleplaying part of this game and tried to appear wise. "Hmph, trying to sound like some kind of expert, who're you trying to impress?" she wouldn't speak these words out loud but they sounded out within her mind. "Well, it's fine... The sooner this is over with the better".

"What was all of that about?" Halls muttered to himself as he read the system alerts and realized what took place. The one thing he didn't understand was how come Scarlet was the only one affected by the 'Vengeful Valley Spirit'. Besides, what the heck was a 'Willpower' check in the first place?

"I believe there is a hidden stat called 'Willpower'. It's unclear how the system determines it, but it seems like ours were strong enough to resist the possession of the 'Vengeful Valley Spirit'. As for Scarlet..." Luna explained and did not need to say anymore as everyone already understood what she meant.

"This place is sure is creepy. It reminds me of a haunted house I went to in grade school with some friends of mine. One of them actually pissed their pants from being so scared hahaha" Halls was speaking in a casual manner. To him, this was just like another haunted house and rather than fear it produced adrenaline from the excitement of the potential scare.

However, if someone's heart rate were to exceed a certain amount, the game would automatically disconnect their character and contact the nearest listed hospital if the player did not confirm their well-being within 10 seconds of being disconnected. This was a protection feature the company implemented as an emergency measure in case the player could not handle certain gaming content.

Scarlet moved in closer to the group as Luna used 'Cure' to slowly heal her up back to full HP. Even if Scarlet hated to admit it, she knew that the best place was as close as possible to the group so that if such a thing happened again at least she could be stopped much easier. Though her pride wouldn't be able to handle it if she were to be possessed like that again.

Izroth, along with everyone else moved forward through the valley. It was unknown how far the valley stretched as they could not see the end of it due to the darkness.

After advancing for a few minutes, the group could hear a scuttling sound from above them as though something was constantly moving around within the darkness on the valley walls.

A pair of bright red eyes could be seen above Izroth and his party members, staring at them with a hateful gaze. A loud screeching sound resembling that of a bat was released by the creature from above.

Screeeeeeeeeeech!

-150 HP!

-150 HP!

-150 HP!

-150 HP!

The creature lurking in the darkness used an AOE sound-based attack. Those kinds of attacks could not be blocked and usually ignored all defenses of their opponents. The downside to it was usually that the attack was only capable of dealing a specific set amount of damage.

The creature then swooped down aiming right for Luna in the middle of the group due to her being the source of that detestable light.

Halls hurriedly moved to cover Luna as she ducked down to avoid the attack, holding his shield above her and taking the hit of the creature.

BLOCKED!

-206 HP!

1,144/1,500 HP Remaining! (Halls)

During that time Izroth reacted swiftly as his 'Nameless Blade' silently left its sheath before managing to just slice the leg of the creature. It howled out in pain and once again flew up into the air. Though everyone managed to get a good look at what it was.

-130 HP!

2,170/2,300 HP Remaining! (Valley Lurker)

Name: Valley Lurker(Normal)

Level: 15

HP: 2,170/2,300

ATK: 300

DEF: 50

AGI: 130

MAG: 0

Skills:

Supersonic Sound Wave(Active): Deals 50% of the lurker's attack as damage to all enemies within 20 meters range. This skill ignores all defenses.

Wrathful Dive(Active): The lurker dives down at an incredible speed temporarily increasing its agility by 50% and dealing 125% of its attack as damage.

Night Vision(Passive): This creature is able to see clearly in the dark.

Flight(Passive): This creature is capable of flight.

What a high agility stat! Not only that but when it dives down its agility actually increases by 50% putting it close to 200. The fact that Halls was able to react in time to defend Luna and Izroth was able to successfully get an attack off on the 'Valley Lurker' went to show how skilled they were as players.

Scarlet was startled by the sudden monster diving down out of nowhere and could not even see it strike within the darkness. The light provided by Luna was limited and so she only caught a glimpse of it when it struck Halls shield before it retreated back above their heads. When she saw that during that short period of time Izroth, Halls, and even Luna were able to react to the situation, she could not help but feel extremely impressed.

Even though Izroth was only a level 12 Combat Master, for some reason he gave off a terrifying aura. The scariest part about it was that you could not notice it at first due to his carefree expression if you did not observe closely. But if one did stare for an extended period of time, they would feel an overbearing pressure slowly start to form and suffocate them.

The 'Valley Lurker' scuttled around on the walls of the valley and swooped down once again. This time they were aiming for Izroth since he dealt damage to it before Halls had a chance to pull the aggro onto himself properly.

This time everyone was prepared for the attack.

Swoooooooosh!

BLOCKED!

-206 HP!

+225 HP!

1,163/1,500 HP Remaining! (Halls)

Halls managed to position himself in a way that he was able to react and defend against the attacks of the 'Valley Lurker' if it targeted another member of the party. This time he managed to properly pull aggro from the creature by using the skill 'Taunting Aura' to swap its focus from Izroth to himself. The moment the 'Valley Lurker' damaged Halls, Luna cast 'Cure' in order to heal him.

The 'Valley Lurker' once again returned back to the upper half of the valley. Though something surprised it when it was safely on the top walls of the valley. A sword came flying at it directly slashing it, making it cry out in pain and crash down into the ground.

-1,160 HP!

1,010/2,300 HP Remaining! (Valley Lurker)

Everyone was completely dumbstruck by what they just witnessed. You could do something like that too?

Ding! You have learned a new skill 'Wall Walking'!