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106 Struggles

 Although Mariposa was prepared for the battle ahead, it was one that she was unwilling to participate in. After all, her main purpose for coming to this place was not only to help Amarharpe but to also obtain the hidden treasures of the Chaotic Dogma Realm that she was informed about.

Her original plans were to avoid direct contact with all other teams and sweep up as much loot as possible from this place. However, her plans were ruined by the people she wanted to avoid the most while on this quest.

Silent Steps was the leader of Fatal Touch, an organization that specialized in PVP. They were similar to a guild, however, the members of Fatal Touch were given a much larger amount of freedom. If one had to make a comparison, it was closer to a mercenary group or union with players that had a common interest, rather than a guild.

Fatal Touch mostly took on assignments such as assisting other guilds in securing resources, bosses, or even assassinating other players for the right price. Of course, their services were usually not requested by top guilds and more so by smaller guilds or some bigger guilds trying to gain more influence.

Although Fatal Touch was not within the top ten guilds, their level of influence was not to be underestimated. Even the top guilds would consider giving them some face as long as they did not cross their bottom line.

As for Silent Steps, he was known within the gaming world as the number one assassin! This was due to the fact that no matter which MMORPG or game he touched if he played an assassin type character, he was practically unstoppable!

From her short exchange so far with Silent Steps, Mariposa knew that this rule applied to RML as well. She hated to admit it, but she was currently no match for Silent Steps with her present set of abilities.

Rogue classes were the bane of mage classes by nature. Also, due to the uniqueness of her class, Mariposa did not have a large set of skills at her current level to deal with an assassin player like Silent Steps. If it were any other assassin she would be confident, however, she was not very optimistic about her present situation.

"Just tell me one thing. You said you were made a much better offer. By who? What were you offered?" Mariposa was discreetly channeling energy to the magic staff in her hands. It was very faint and difficult to detect, especially from a distance.

"Hah, why should I tell you? Some things will naturally reveal themselves in time. That time will be when I am the undisputed number one player within all of RML. At that moment, you will see why it is that I say that you are very narrow-minded." Silent Steps knew that Mariposa was trying to stall for time.

However, he also knew that it was useless since it was likely that she was unable to access her message system, just as he could not do so. Even if she was able to send a message, no one would be able to enter the Chaotic Dogma Realm to provide assistance.

"Wh-" Just as Mariposa was about to continue speaking, she was suddenly cut off midsentence by Silent Steps.

"Alright, that's enough stalling for time. I've been patient enough only because we have some history. I still have three more teams to go after you." Silent Steps smirked as he made a slight hand gesture and the five shadows who appeared earlier all vanished. Soon after, Silent Steps vanished as well.

Mariposa understood that the moment she attempted to cast any spell that required more than one second to cast, she would die. "Star formation!" Mariposa ordered and the four remaining members of her party got into position.

The tank of the party stood at the very front of the group. Two members stood behind the tank, one on her left side and the other on her right side. Finally, Mariposa herself and the healer of her party shifted their positions to be a bit closer to one another and stood furthest in the back.

Poof! Poof! Poof!

All of a sudden, a smokescreen encompassed the area of Mariposa and her party. This caused them to tighten their formation, however, they still maintained enough distance from one another to not become easy targets for AOE attacks.

Swish!

A dagger cut through the smoke and was aimed right at Mariposa. It was reasonable that she would be their first target since she was the leader and the strongest amongst them. However, Mariposa had already prepared for such a turn of events and before the dagger reached her she activated the skill, Mana Shield.

Ding!

The sound of the dagger striking a solid surface resonated throughout the battlefield.

Mariposa would not just sit back and wait for her death, she would fight until the bitter end if necessary. She tapped her magic staff against the ground three times in rapid succession. Not too long after she completed her actions, two unstable spatial rifts appeared.

One of the spatial rifts floated in midair a few meters above the player who just attacked Mariposa. The other spatial rift appeared beneath that player's feet and caused them to fall into the hole.

"?!" The player who fell into the spatial rift was alarmed when he was suddenly dragged down forcibly by an overwhelming force. He did not even have a chance to evade the attack as he did not see Mariposa cast her spell.

However, unknown to the player caught within Mariposa's magic, she had actually cast three different spells in that brief period of time. She cast two Spatial Rifts and the last spell she cast was called Spatial Rend.

After falling through the spatial rift beneath him and reappearing in the spatial rift above, the player continued to experience an endless loop of falling through the spatial rifts. Every time their body left the spatial rift, the sound of something shattering and tearing apart could be heard.

Swoosh!

A group of throwing knives soared through the air aimed directly at Mariposa. However, she did not bother trying to dodge them. The tank within her party reacted quickly and was able to block the incoming throwing knives. Even if their vision was impeded by the smokescreen, Mariposa and her party were all top players with the skills to prove it.

"Ahhh!" One of the members of Mariposa's party screamed out as they were pierced through with multiple daggers. There was a look of disbelief and shock on her face.

Their plan was never to eliminate Mariposa first as that would cause a long and drawn out battle. What they really wanted to accomplish was to take another one of Mariposa's party members out of the picture completely.

"I-I'm sorry. I've failed you... Lady Mari-" A dagger pierced through her chest and directly through where her heart would be.

"Fei Fei!" Mariposa instantly cast Spatial Rend at Silent Steps location, however, he managed to retreat just before the attack took effect.

"Two down, four to go." Silent Steps voice sounded from within the smokescreen. It echoed throughout the affected area and one could not tell which direction he was in.

The healer tried to heal Fei Fei, however, not only was Silent Steps' party DPS extremely high, but the smokescreen interfered with the party interface. The healer also had her attention focused on Mariposa, as she believed that Mariposa or herself would be the main target.

After Fei Fei's death, Mariposa and her party threw caution to the wind and carried out an assault that they would never normally risk. However, they were able to eliminate a member of Silent Steps party.

"You said earlier that you wanted to know why I'm willing to give up something like an epic ranked item? I can't tell you, but I'll be more than happy to personally show you!" Silent Steps said as soon after, a dark and invasive cold energy engulfed the surrounding atmosphere. He was enraged after they killed one of his members.

The temperature seemed to suddenly decrease by a few degrees and within the smokescreen, one could see something similar to a Will o' Wisp floating around inside of it. However, it was not a gentle light, but rather a great concentration of dark energy.

The smokescreen slowly dispersed and when it fully cleared, Mariposa was startled by the sight before her.

Encompassed around Silent Steps entire body was a dark aura with specs of white mixed in. It looked as if the energy itself was corrupted and was filled with malicious intent. His eyes were red like those of a demon and his skin turned red in color.

"What kind of transformation is that...?" Mariposa furrowed her brows as she muttered to herself after witnessing Silent Steps bizarre transformation.

"This is only a fraction of the power I was promised. Well, how is it? Eventually, even an epic rank item becomes useless. However, this power is something that will always be with me, little butterfly. Ahahaha!" Silent Steps laugh was filled with joy from the amount of power he felt flowing through his body.

But, to those around him, Silent Steps laugh was not one of joy, but rather one of a sinister monster!

"Now, all of you can join the other team I've already taken care of!" Silent Steps unleashed a powerful burst of dark energy. With a simple flick of his wrist, Silent Steps tossed out dozens of throwing knives which were each encompassed by that dark and invasive cold energy.

"Spatial Rift!" Mariposa tapped her magic staff on the ground and a spatial rift appeared in between Silent Steps and the location of her party.

Just as the throwing knives approached the spatial rift, the dark energy actually devoured it, causing the spatial rift to collapse.

"?!" Mariposa was shocked. How was it possible that his attacks could devour such a high concentration of spatial magic?

Woosh! Woosh!

The throwing knives knocked against the tank's shield, causing them to slide back a few meters and take a massive amount of damage. However, one of the other members were not so lucky. The healer was run through with at least a dozen throwing knives. Her heals and shields were useless against it! In fact, it seemed to only feed the dark energy.

Mariposa cast five Spatial Rifts in front of her, but the same thing that happened to the other Spatial Rift took place once again. It was hopeless, she could not defend against such an overbearing attack. What kind of skill this was that?

Mariposa let out a long sigh and closed her eyes as she awaited her fate.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

After a few moments, Mariposa noticed that she was still alive. When she opened her eyes, she saw a male with red hair standing in front of her. When he turned to look at her, she could see that the pupils in his eyes were not normal and resembled that a lemniscate.

"You are..." Mariposa was surprised to see the person who stood before her was none other than a member of Heaven's Law! But, why would he bother saving her? They had absolutely no history together and so it did not make any sense to her for him to interfere.

"It's you!" Silent Steps was infuriated that his plans had been derailed. "I planned on saving your group for last. But it seems that you're in a rush to die." Silent Steps would normally never offend a member of Heaven's Law, however, since he had obtained this newfound power, he was not afraid of offending anyone.

The player who appeared was none other than Aegis. At the moment, he had been separated from the other members of his group by some strange power which resided within the Chaotic Dogma Realm.

Aegis happened upon these two teams fighting by chance and noticed that Mariposa was capable of using spatial magic. If that were the case, then she may prove to be useful to what he had in mind.

Aegis ignored Silent Steps and his empty threats. He then asked Mariposa, "Can you locate others using your spatial magic?"

Silent Steps expression darkened when he was ignored by Aegis as if he was not worthy of a simple glance.

Mariposa was still in shock, however, she soon snapped out of it and regained her composure. "As long as they've been affected by spatial type magic, I should be able to follow the spatial anomalies left behind after space is altered." She answered truthfully.

Aegis gave a slight nod in response and then turned his attention towards Silent Steps. "Scram from here and you can keep your pathetic little power. Otherwise, don't blame me for being impolite."

Silent Steps did not even consider Aegis' offer and believed that he was just being arrogant. He immediately launched towards Aegis, his dark energy even more powerful than before.

"Fool..." Aegis muttered before unsheathing one of his swords.

...

"There's too many of them!" Zi Yi shouted.

At the moment, Izroth and his party were running while fighting against the Chaos Fiends. There were more than fifteen Chaos Fiends chasing them. They had managed to kill four of the monsters, however, they just kept appearing.

"We'll head towards the large mass while picking the monsters off one by one." Izroth instructed as he slashed outward with his Blade of Lightning and eliminated the fifth Chaos Fiend.

'We won't be able to keep this up for much longer. There must be a way to regain our senses so that we'll at least have a better chance.'

Izroth could feel that everyone was reaching their limits. Unlike Izroth, they were not used to fighting battles without all of their senses present.