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61 Crossing Paths

 According to the coordinates that Izroth received from the «Exploration Logs», the «Dungeon: Sea Palace Graveyard» was located south of «Amaharpe». It was currently the nearest dungeon to «Amaharpe» and had a level range of 18-23.

The level range was the recommended level for a player to attempt a dungeon, but there were no actual requirements to enter a dungeon. So, in theory, a level 10 player could enter inside of a level 20 dungeon, however, surviving once inside was a different story altogether.

Also, it would be useless for higher level players to try and power level lower level players. Power leveling was when higher leveled players would take lower leveled players along to a place beyond their original capabilities, and attempt to increase their level rapidly by clearing monsters there.

However, RML had a merit-based EXP distribution system that was strict when it came to parties with large level gaps. This meant that if a player did not contribute enough to the battle, then they would obtain a negligible amount of EXP. The system possessed its own unique way of determining a player's contribution to a battle.

As Izroth was walking on the road that ran south of «Amaharpe», he came to a forest that was similar to the «Willowed Forest» he traveled through on his way to the capital city. This forest had gigantic trees that easily reached heights of over 100 meters making the trees inside of «Willowed Forest» look miniature in comparison.

〈System Alert: You have entered the «Towering Oak Forest»〉

The trunks of the trees were so wide that even five people linking hands would not be able to fully wrap around the tree. The ground of the forest was covered in verdant grass that appeared to be almost unrealistically perfect.

Before traveling further into the «Towering Oak Forest», Izroth removed a «Five Cycles Pill» from his inventory. A strong medicinal smell instantly rushed out towards him and invaded the surrounding atmosphere.

When Izroth consumed the pill, it instantly dissolved within his mouth and a refreshing feeling ran throughout his entire body. Everything around him suddenly became increasingly vivid and his overall sense of perception rose tremendously.

Thanks to his natural experience, along with being at the second stage of the «Heavenly Golden Body» physique, Izroth senses could already be considered as monstrous even when compared to top players. So adding the «Five Cycles Pill» to the equation provided a great boost.

Izroth wanted to wait until he was in a place with monsters lurking nearby in order to feel the difference between and after using the «Five Cycles Pill». He needed to have a full grasp of his sense of perception.

'The difference really is huge, my overall sense of perception has risen at least twofold.'

The deeper Izroth journeyed into the forest, the more he felt as if he was being watched. But this was not like that feeling back at the «Valley of Death» where it was similar to the gazing artifact. This was someone observing from a far away distance, whoever or whatever it is was close.

Izroth frowned, that feeling did not disappear even after traveling for 5 minutes, someone was definitely observing him. 'Even with my senses heightened to such a degree someone still managed to get this close before I could discover them... Interesting.'

The fact that someone could get so close to Izroth without him realizing it meant that the person was incredibly skilled at hiding their presence. So much so that they appeared to be one with their surroundings in a natural manner.

Just as Izroth was about to call out, bushes that were around 20 meters away from him rustled a bit. It was in the same general direction that Izroth felt as if he were being watched from. What stepped from out of the bushes was a young man that looked as if he was in his mid to late twenties.

The young man had short dark red hair that was slightly spikey, and crimson red eyes with pupils that looked abnormal. The pupils resembled a lemniscate and were just like an infinity symbol. There was this strange light red energy constantly running in an infinite loop around the lemniscate.

The young man was quite handsome and stood at around 178cm tall, and possessed a very lean build, but he was not at all bulky in any way. On the right side of his face was a small tattoo sitting just under his right eye of a symbol or shape that Izroth had never seen before.

The young man gave off a very calm aura, but underneath that calm aura was a ferocious beast. It was very similar to the aura that Izroth himself naturally gave off at times. The young man stopped a few meters away from Izroth.

When the young man stepped out, Izroth's feeling of being watched disappeared completely. The strange thing was that the aura this person gave off was a bit different from the one earlier, but he may have just been imagining it.

...

"Nice timing..." on top of a tree branch more than 50 meters away from Izroth was a shadowy figure. It was the same shadowy figure that had been following Izroth since he was back in the «Willowed Forest».

"I did not expect for his strength to increase so rapidly... He may be ready sooner than I anticipated. It seems as though I have to be more careful from now on and maintain a further distance or I'll risk being discovered..." the shadowy figure was impressed by Izroth being able to sense him.

Due to a special ability that the shadowy figure possessed, even those who were many times stronger than he was would not be able to notice him. If that other player did not appear when he did, then the shadowy figure may have had to reveal himself earlier than he wanted to.

"Oh...? That other guy is pretty interesting too..." the shadowy figure turned into a blur before disappearing from his current position.

...

Izroth examined the player who stopped a few meters away from him. He was unsure of what their intentions were, but he was not afraid of a fight if the player that stood before him wanted one.

Izroth found something intriguing about this player besides his strange eyes, and it was the two swords were placed upon his back. Based on the knowledge Izroth recently acquired, there should be no dual-wielding classes within RML this earlier into the game.

The young man was sizing up Izroth and narrowed his eyes when he realized that it was impossible to get a solid grasp on Izroth's strength.

This was the first time the young man ran into this kind of player. He was just heading back to town to turn in a quest when he had a strange feeling as if someone was hiding their presence nearby. But even with his eyes, he could not lock onto their exact location. That was when he discovered Izroth.

"Do you have some business with me?" Izroth still had a carefree expression on his face and his tone of voice sounded relaxed and without worry. This player had approached him first and so he did not know of his intentions.

"Amusing... I was going to ask you the same question." When the young man spoke, his voice was tranquil. It was as if just by listening to his voice alone one would find themselves at peace with the world around them.

〈System Alert: You are being targeted by a mental skill.〉

〈System Alert: You have successfully passed a Willpower check!〉

Even though Izroth was immune to the mental skill of that player, he could still tell that it was not a normal skill. The facial expression of that young man changed for a brief moment and a small frown appeared on his face, however, it quickly disappeared.

'That skill... It's almost similar to a...' Izroth narrowed his eyes slightly. This person was the first to make a move against him and so he would not be polite.

Izroth kicked off his left foot and as he did so, his right foot struck out like a snake wanting to sink its teeth into its prey, he used the skill «Serpent's Bite».

The player standing before Izroth took half a step back at the very last moment and avoided the incoming kick. He then reached out with the palm of his hand aiming directly at Izroth's right shoulder area.

As that palm was rushing to hit Izroth's right shoulder, Izroth shifted his left foot forward half a step and narrowly evaded the attack. At the same time, Izroth launched a counter-attack as his palms rapidly descending at the other player, leaving behind a myriad of illusions that appeared realistic.

This was the skill «Myriad Elusive Palms» and it was exceedingly difficult to avoid its one true strike. Just as Izroth's palm was about to strike at that player dead center in his chest, something bizarre happened.

The hand of that player appeared to be moving so slow that it was almost as if it were not moving at all. However, as his hand was moving, it left behind a trail of afterimages and each one shot out to meet with one of the palms aimed at him.

All of the incoming strikes were being intercepted by that player. But just as he believed he blocked the skill successfully, his eyes widened slightly as he tried to immediately retreat.

However, it was too late and the palm struck him dead center in his chest area slightly to the left side where his heart should be located.

He was knocked back by the force of the palm and slid backward a few meters before coming to a halt. He had a look of disbelief written all over his face. When was the last time he lost an exchange?

Izroth was fairly impressed by this player and their reaction time. If it was before Izroth consumed the «Five Cycles Pill», then it may have taken him a few more moves before he landed a blow.

Besides that, this player managed to avoid a direct hit and reacted in time to minimize the impact of the blow and so they only receive a partial amount of damage.

The player who was just knocked back by Izroth stood up straight and stared at Izroth. This time, however, his gaze was becoming increasingly serious.

There was also a look of respect hidden away behind that gaze. "May I know your name?" Although his tone was not submissive in any way, he still spoke in a respectful tone as if Izroth was his equal. True experts could somewhat gauge the strength of someone from a brief exchange. Aegis knew that if he were to fight seriously against this player, he would not necessarily have an advantage over him.

Izroth still had that carefree expression on his face as he spoke, "Izroth."

"Izroth... I see... I shall remember that name. I hope that you can remember mine as well, as we will definitely cross paths once more in the future, I can see it clearly. I am called Aegis."

"Oh? You sound as if you're about to leave. Why not stay a bit longer and exchange some pointers with me?" Of course, Izroth did not really need anyone to exchange pointers with. It was just that so far the players he had come across were disappointing, to say the least when it came to combat.

In order to further improve upon the «Heavenly Golden Body» and to gain more experience from fighting against other players, he needed someone who could live through more than one or two of his moves.

Izroth the impression that Aegis did not use his full power during that brief exchange, however, neither did he. He was interested in seeing exactly how strong this person before him was and if he could level up his «Heavenly Golden Body» skill in the process, or at least make some progress.

Aegis shook his head, "Normally I would never turn down a fight. However, I have already made other plans, so I'll have to decline your generous offer."

"I insist that you stay." Izroth's voice was still carefree and calm, but that was only how others would see it.

Aegis awareness level was much greater than that of normal players. Other players may only see the surface of things, but he could see it with his eyes. This player called Izroth was another monster. Aegis furrowed his brows, he was a little regretful that he would not be able to fight against Izroth.

"As I've said before, I have plans. So you'll have to pardon me." The space located before Aegis distorted and his figure began to turn into a blur. In an instant, he disappeared from the spot he was previously standing at.

'That skill resembles the one that Terminus used back in the Combat Master class building... It looks like a skill that allows for its user to travel instantaneously...' There was nothing that Izroth could do about it now since Aegis left in such an abrupt manner.

'The power he used earlier seemed incredibly familiar... I wonder...' Izroth was thinking to himself as he continued onward towards the «Dungeon: Sea Palace Graveyard».

...

Around 20 minutes later located somewhere within «Amaharpe», a male player walked into a building that did not have much traffic when it came to players. That male player was Aegis, and as soon as he stepped into the building, someone spoke in an agitated tone of voice.

"You're late Aegis. What makes you think you have the qualifications to make us wait?" The player who spoke was a woman with long purple hair that went down to the lower end of her back and possessed violet-colored eyes that gave off a mystical feeling.

With her appearance and figure, she could easily be mistaken for a professional model. She had curves in all the correct places and even just sitting down in a chair was done with a high level of grace.

In total, there were eleven other players sitting or standing around the room making for a total of twelve players, this was including Aegis now that he finally arrived.

"Should I remind you of my qualifications to do so, Mysphia?" Aegis looked coldly at the woman who just spoke to him.

"Alright you two, if someone did not have the qualifications to be here then they would not be here. We have more important topics to discuss right now. However, you should give us a reason for your tardiness Aegis, it's very unlike you." The one who spoke this time was a male player covered from head to toe in a black cloak.

Even if you looked closely you would be unable to see their facial features. This player went by the name of Xalvizek.

"I just ran into someone interesting and got delayed, that's all." Aegis kept things nice and simple.

Mysphia narrowed her eyes when she heard that statement. Although she was annoyed from having to wait for Aegis, she was no fool and knew that he was very powerful. Someone capable of catching his attention was most likely not normal at all.

"Oh? Someone interesting enough to grab your attention...? Do you know their name?" Xalvizek was a bit surprised. Aegis was not the kind of person to use the term interesting lightly.

"He called himself... Izroth." The moment Aegis said that name, all eleven of the players seemed to pay more attention and look in his direction.

"Did you say... Izroth?" Xalvizek appeared to be thinking about something, however, he quickly pushed the thought to the back of his mind.

"It's probably just a simple coincidence... Well, enough of that. Now that you're here we can finally begin."

...