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194 I Will Not Be Denied Myself!

 "Master?" Izroth was a bit surprised by the sudden request. Back in the Seven Realms, there were countless individuals who would have killed for Izroth to become their master despite his young age, however, he always turned them down.

However, he was no longer within the Seven Realms. At the moment, he was in an unknown realm and currently inside of RML. To say the least, this was the last place he expected for any to ask permission to train under him.

This was not to say that he did not give some advice or assistance to a few people, but he had never taken a true disciple. The main reason was that, in all honesty, he had never met a suitable candidate. Every time he asked someone why they wanted to train under him, they would always give the same generic answers.

"I made a promise to someone to become stronger."

"I want to take revenge."

"I want to learn from the strongest."

"I want to protect the people I love."

Izroth had heard just about everything there was to hear. However, everyone he met had one thing in common that they all lacked. It was not talent or motivation, but rather an unyielding dao heart.

There were many cultivators who believed that showing any signs of emotion or feeling was a weakness. Therefore, they would bury everything and ignore their dao heart. However, those who truly wished to reach the peak understood that an unyielding dao heart was an absolute requirement without exception.

After all, if one was unable to understand themselves, what hope could they possibly have of gaining a true understanding of the heavenly dao? The dao heart was something that could not be taught and must be improved upon by one's own self.

Azalea's request had brought up some old memories that Izroth had already left behind long ago. But, those memories belonged in the Seven Realms where they were created, not in this new lifetime.

"I am confident that one does not make such a shameless request after launching a surprise attack against someone." Izroth said with a carefree smile on his face.

"I will not apologize for that. If you wish to call me shameless, then I shall accept that burden. I had to test your strength and it was the only sure way to do so. However, if you wish to punish me for my actions then I leave myself at your mercy! But, it will not change the request I have made." Azalea said as she lifted her head and stared at Izroth with a look of determination in her eyes.

Izroth could tell that Azalea was not lying when she said she'd leave herself at his mercy. From the look in her eyes, she was prepared to face any consequences for her actions. What's more, is that she did not try to ask for his forgiveness or attempt to twist her words into something else. She understood what she had done, what was she asking, and what she wanted.

'Oh? It would seem that I continue to underestimate the mortals of this realm.'

"Then I'll be blunt, why do you wish to train under me? Not even taking into account the fact that our classes are different, there should be plenty of player guides that explain all that you need to know." Izroth said as he looked into Azalea's eyes, however, it was as though he was looking right through her.

"Guides are not what I'm after! I made a promise!" Azalea said.

Izroth was a bit disappointed by Azalea's words. It appeared that, in the end, she would give the same answer as those before her.

"I made a promise to myself. A promise that I would never again allow myself to walk a broken path. I will never allow myself to become as I once was! I have no choice but to move past everyone in my way. While it's true that for others this is just a game, for me this is my only chance for a true life! I will not be denied myself!" Azalea said in an unwavering manner.

I will not be denied myself! Those were only a few words, however, there was a tremendous amount of power behind them. To not be denied one's self may seem like something that should be natural to every living creature, but this was not the case at all. It was a task that sounded simple and yet, was as hard as reaching for the heavens itself.

Izroth stood there silently for a moment as he observed Azalea. A few moments later, he closed his eyes and turned to walk away without a word.

Azalea was shaken on the inside as she watched Izroth's back while he walked away. She knew that Izroth was an expert not only within RML but in the real world as well. After all, his fighting sense, reaction time, as well as, the way he maintained a completely serene and calm appearance during the fight made it clear.

That was part of the true reason she wanted to train under Izroth. It was easy to learn gaming mechanics, however, it was nowhere near as simple to learn how to be a true expert.

To say that she was disappointed was an understatement. She had fought against many players rumored to be the best or strongest in search for someone like Izroth. However, they all turned out to be unworthy of their reputation. Who knew how long it would take for her to find someone else like Izroth?

"Are you coming or do you wish to remain there? It just so happens that I am currently lacking some company on this journey." Izroth said without halting his steps.

Azalea was stunned when she heard his words. Does that mean he accepted her request? He had not yet given her a clear answer, however, it seemed as if he was not completely against it since he welcomed her on his journey. Otherwise, he would not have bothered to say anything at all.

She believed that he was still deciding on whether or not to accept her request. If that was the case, then she would the duration of this journey to further prove herself if need be.

Azalea quickly stood to her feet and darted over to Izroth's location without a word as she silently walked on his side, but slightly behind him.

'The rope bridge should not be too far away from here. After that, the information details become a bit vaguer. However, if I can obtain a higher grade fire core, it will all be well worth it in the end.'

Izroth continued on his journey towards the Blazing Tempris Domain. Though now it was along with some unexpected company he picked up on the way.

...

"This is bad." Luna muttered to herself as she activated the skill attached to her ring called Eye of the Wolf. It allowed her to perceive her surroundings with greater detail and heightened senses. From the looks of things, there appeared to be no way out.

Luna's first thought was that maybe they should have continued to run away when they were already ahead, however, she quickly dismissed that thought. If they kept running in their previous direction then eventually they would have run into Silent Steps and his group.

Although this situation was bad, it would have been much worse if they were to face that group head on. At the very least, Luna and her party were familiar with this specific area and held some kind of home-field advantage.

Also, there were still more than twenty elite plant monsters left that they may be able to use to their advantage. Not to mention the various vine and spore traps that were around. Now, she just had to hope that Silent Steps and his party were unaware of the surrounding traps in the vicinity.

"You- Let her go!" Jia scowled as she angrily glared at Savage who had attacked Xun Guiying.

"Hahaha! It's funny when someone in your position thinks that they can afford to be concerned about anyone but themselves." Savage said as he gave a hearty laugh full of ridicule.

Xun Guiying glared at Savage. She felt humiliated being pulled before his feet like a ragdoll. She gripped tightly onto the longbow in her hand and tried to draw an arrow, however, before she could even do so a blade fell directly through her neck.

That blade was followed by a spear and when that spear pierced through her body, Xun Guiying turned into countless particles before dissipating into thin air. She had been killed!

"Tch, you had to go and ruin the fun. I was going to let them watch her suffer for a bit, Haishe." Savage said to the player next to him. That player was the one who put the blade through Xun Guiying's throat when he saw that she was about to attack.

Luna's eyes turned cold as she watched them ruthlessly dispose of Xun Guiying without remorse. Although she wanted to save her, Luna was unable to get a successful heal off beside the Healing Essence she first used on Xun Guiying. Obviously, it was not enough to keep her alive, but she had died before Luna could cast Heal.

In other words, even if she tossed out all her lifesaving skills to save Xun Guiying, she was a ranged based class with a low HP stat and would not have lasted under the direct assault of that many players. The most she would be able to do was waste a large portion of her MP delaying the inevitable. She took a moment to discreetly open up her system interface.

"Boss! Be careful, that healer has some kind of AOE sound magic that can paralyze you can for twenty seconds!" Owl shouted to warn Silent Steps and the others.

Silent Steps frowned when he heard those words. An AOE skill that was capable of paralyzing a group of players for twenty seconds? What an incredibly lethal skill to those who lacked any skill to break free of crowd control!

He did not remember her having any such skill during their fight in the Chaotic Dogma Realm. However, it could have simply been on cooldown or she had not yet learned it at that time. But, now that he was aware of the skill's existence, he would be prepared for it.

"Five of you stay back out of range. If she really does have such a skill, I don't want to take any chances at letting them escape from here alive." Silent Steps ordered five of the players in his group as they fell back to a safe distance. They could still see the fight, however, they were now mere spectators for the moment.

"Luna, w-what are we going to do?" Starry said as her eyes darted around everywhere as she hid behind Su Cui.

Indeed, what were they going to do? At the moment, there were ten players in front of them, five players still alive behind them along with a group of more than twenty elite monsters, Luna's voice magic was still on cooldown, and they were now short one player. There was nowhere for them to escape and there was no way that they could win in a direct confrontation.

Thoughts began to race through Luna's mind as she tried to think of their next course of action, however, she saw no way out of this situation for them. But, if that was truly the case then there was only one thing to do.

"We fight." Luna said in a calm tone of voice.

"Fight? But, that's impossible! There's too many! M-maybe if we ask politely then-" Starry said, but she was soon interrupted by Jia.

"So what if we're outnumbered?! Those guys killed Xun Guiying and they don't plan on letting us off the hook either! I'd rather go down fighting rather than simply giving up!" Jia said as she gripped the daggers in her hand tightly.

"Well said!" Su Cui said as she slammed her fist into the palm of her hand before taking a basic fighting stance.

Luna nodded as she closed out her system interface and said in a low voice, "I have an idea. It's almost guaranteed that we won't live that long, however, it's still not absolutely zero percent. We just need to buy as much time as possible. For now, we have to focus strictly on surviving and wait."

"Wait for what?" Yu Lan asked.

"Reinforcements." Luna said in a reassuring manner.