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112 Monster See Monster Do

 Izroth and his party were locked in an awkward exchange with the Silverline Entity. At times, it was like it had no intelligence. However, at other moments, it was extremely fierce and attacked without mercy.

Halls arrived back within melee range of the Silverline Entity. Although it had recently launched a surprise attack against Zi Yi, its main aggro was still very much focused onto Halls himself. From the short exchange so far with the Silverline Entity, it appeared to at times attack targets at random regardless of how much aggro the targetted person held.

This made everyone even more cautious than before. But what was even more baffling was the fact that the Silverline Entity did not seem to possess a set attack or magic stat. Even though it damaged Halls for over 1,600 damage, one of its attacks had struck against Valentine's Mana Shield and only hit him for a total of 850 damage.

It was needless to say that Valentine's defenses were nowhere near as powerful as Halls' defensive capabilities. Also, Valentine did not have a physical shield and so he was incapable of blocking an attack and further reducing the damage. He also did not cast any additional skills outside of Mana Shield that would forcibly cut out some of the damage.

Thankfully, most of the damage was absorbed by his Mana Shield and Valentine only took a minimum amount of damage. However, the Silverline Entity's attack patterns were becoming more erratic and unpredictable. It also stopped pausing in between assaults as much as it did before.

Now, it only halted its movements for around one second after taking action before it started up once again. But, it was clear to the party that this one second would most likely grow even shorter and its reaction time, as well as, the monster's active period would become increasingly faster.

Izroth and his party shaved away at the Silverline Entity's HP until it reached the 75% mark. The group had not used any higher level skills and kept the skills they exposed to the Silverline Entity limited. Therefore, it was much easier to deal with than most rare boss monsters.

At least, that was the way it appeared to be at first. But, when the Silverline Entity's HP hit the 75% mark, its metallic-like body darkened slightly and it formed a deeper shade of silver.

Woosh!

The Silverline Entity's agility slowly began to rise with each successful attack it made against Halls. It swung its large metallic arm that was in the shape of a guandao downward at Halls.

Halls had just recently used his Rebound skill and it was not yet off its cooldown. So he lifted his shield up to intercept the attack and block it the normal way.

The Silverline Entity's attacks did not stop there, it pressed on with its assault and struck out three additional times at Halls. However, Halls was able to intercept those attacks as well. For the last incoming attack, he activated his Rebound skill which knocked the Silverline Entity backward. If not for that, he was unsure if the barrage of attacks would ever slow down.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!

«Blocked»

-625

«Blocked»

-452

«Blocked»

-870

+1,485 HP

«Blocked»

-488

5,200/6,756 HP Remaining! (Halls)

Luna cast her Heal skill between the attacks and restored most of Halls' missing HP. However, she was not at all confident keeping up with the Silverline Entity's damage if its attacks maintained such a high level of speed.

"If the Silverline Entity's agility continues to increase, I'll have to revert back to using Cure in order to save mana. However, if I swap back to Cure this early on then Halls may not last until the end of the fight." Luna stated.

"If it becomes too difficult to maintain, then Halls and Guan Yu should share the aggro of the Silverline Entity. It should give them enough time to regain some of their lost HP between aggro swaps." Zi Yi suggested.

"Then, we'll go with that plan. Luna, we'll leave the timing up to you." Izroth said as he watched the movements of the Silverline Entity closely. He noticed something peculiar, but he needed to verify it.

"Valentine, can you cast the same crowd control skill that you used against the Earth Devouring Groundbull on the Silverline Entity?" Izroth asked.

Valentine nodded, "I can. However, the effects will probably not be as strong since the Silverline Entity is a rare boss and the Earth Devouring Groundbull was only an elite monster." Valentine clarified.

"It's fine, just shave as much time off of the moment until its next attack that you can. Three seconds is all I need. Halls, Guan Yu, create as much distance between yourselves and the Silverline Entity. I will do the same." Izroth retreated soon after he said those words. Not too long after he fell back, Halls and Guan Yu did the same.

Although they were confused by Izroth's instructions, they knew that he must have had a good reason for telling them to do so.

Just as Izroth instructed, Valentine cast the skill Encompassing Mana String and it soon wrapped around the entire body of the Silverline Entity, trapping it inside of a mana cocoon. However, around 1.5 seconds later the mana cocoon was broken and the Silverline Entity charged straight towards Halls.

During that charge, another 0.75 seconds passed by. Just as the Silverline Entity was ready to ram into Halls, Izroth appeared at its side and his leg swept out towards the body of the Silverline Entity, smashing into it and paralyzing it thanks to the effects of his Serpent's Bite.

-283

Even though the paralyzing effect lasted less than one second, it gave Izroth the three seconds he needed. When the Silverline Entity broke free of the paralyze effect, its agility was no longer as fast as it was before. It had slowed down considerably as compared to just a few moments ago.

Everyone noticed the change in the Silverline Entity's agility and was shocked. What had Izroth done to reduce its agility just by stopping it for three seconds?

'It can even copy those skills.'

This might become even more troublesome than he originally anticipated.

"The Silverline Entity appears to be capable of copying our passive skills as well. Not just our normal passive skills, but also the skills that are attached to our weapons and armor pieces." Izroth said.

Copy their passive skills? Wasn't that cheating? After all, there was no way to forcibly deactivate their own passive skills. There was no counter against something like that.

"How did you figure that out?" Zi Yi asked curiously.

"One of the skills attached to my armor is called Hellfire Rampage. To put its effect into simple terms, as long as I hit a target within three seconds, I maintain an agility boost that continues to increase. Of course, there is a limit to it, but the agility increase is not small. I had a feeling that it copied this skill without our knowledge as its a passive skill and would normally go unnoticed." Izroth explained.

Halls and Guan Yu finally understood why it was that Izroth had instructed them to fall back. He wanted to verify whether or not his suspicion was warranted.

"So if we use skills, it copies them. If we don't use skills, it still copies them? What kind of broken thing is that?" Guan Yu felt as if they were dealt a bad hand. If this thing managed to absorb all of their skills, wouldn't it be unstoppable?

"However, there seems to be a limit or time restriction on the number of skills it can absorb. For example, my Blood Stigma skill has not yet been demonstrated by the Silverline Entity. While this could also be contributed to just being lucky, I highly doubt that is the case." Izroth said.

Woosh!

The Silverline Entity used the skill Encompassing Mana String which engulfed Halls in a bundle of mana and restricted all of his movements in the process. The attack did not have a cast time like it did when Valentine used it and so it came at an unexpected time.

"We have to find out what that restriction is. If we can control the skills it learns and when it learns them, then we can create a false attack pattern for it. If we did that, then countering this Silverline Entity should not pose any issues." Zi Yi suggested as she shot an towards the Silverline Entity.

-343

Valentine fired off a Fireball towards the Silverline Entity that arrived at nearly the same moment as Zi Yi's arrow. Since he started off as a normal mage, he still possessed the skills he learned during that time period. Since he was unable to use higher ranked skills, he had to settle for things like Fireball for the time being.

-810

Now that the group was aware of the Silverline Entity's ability to copy passive skills, they could at least stop its agility spike thanks to Izroth's Hellfire Rampage passive skill. It would allow Luna a bit more breathing room with her heals.

65%...

50%...

40%...

-504

...

-504

At the moment, Izroth had five full stacks of Blood Stigma damaging the Silverline Entity. It was ticking for 504 damage every one second. Unfortunately, the party had been unable to learn anything further about the Silverline Entity. Its choices appeared random and it kept all the abilities it had learned thus far.

Swoosh! Swoosh!

Izroth had not been simply wasting his time just attacking senselessly. Within his basic attacks were certain sword patterns. It was similar to the time he accidentally created the skill Phantom Strike within the dungeon Goblin's Paradise, except this time he was intentionally doing so.

When Izroth's Blade of Lightning cut through the air, it was lifted high into the sky as if it were pointing towards the heavens. His sword then descended downward as if it were the judgment of the heavens that the Silverline Entity should be struck down.

However, Izroth's attack did not stop there. Instantly after his sword finished descending, the tip of his Blade of Lightning curved upward in an arc. As it rose into the air, it stopped on the left side of the Silverline Entity's body at a level near the center of its body.

Izroth's sword slashed in a perfectly horizontal line. There was a slight pause in between attacks due to the limiters placed upon him by the system. It was a small resistance that made his attack flow in an unnatural manner rather than in a single uninterrupted motion.

There was light blue energy that lingered around in the shape of a cross in the two areas Izroth's sword had passed through.

-378

«Critical Hit»

-756

Izroth's second attack had caused a critical hit to occur on a target that, to his knowledge, possessed no such vital points. What it meant was that he was successful in his attempt. Soon after, Izroth received an alert from the system.

〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have learned a new skill. Would you like to name the skill?〉

The skill itself was one of the ten sword forms that Izroth had learned in his earlier years of cultivation. Although in terms of raw power it could not compare to that of the Baneful Swords or Izroth's other heavenly laws, it was still incredibly powerful with a wide variety of uses and should not be underestimated.

When one mastered all ten forms, they would be granted a heavenly law of great power. That was why this particular set of sword forms were referred to as the Way of the Heavenly Sword. The name itself was overbearing, however, it deserved to be so. After all, no one could call themselves a true sword master if they did not perfect the ten forms of the Way of the Heavenly Sword.

Originally, Izroth was going to learn this set of sword forms before the Baneful Swords, however, he did not understand enough about the system at that time. Also, the set of sword forms required complete control over one's body and spirit. At the time, Izroth had not yet adjusted to his current body, however, that was no longer an issue.

'That guy would surely lecture me if he discovered I learned two of the three Baneful Swords without first mastering the Way of the Heavenly Sword.'

To Izroth, those past days were full of pleasant memories and strong bonds. In a way, it shaped him into the individual he became.

The ten sword forms themselves were nameless. Therefore, Izroth had to come up with a name for the skill due to the system's request.

"Name the skill First Sword Form: Converging Paths."