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203 Fiery Burden

 Izroth took a moment to examine the woman who called herself Mirage. From the initial impression of her that he received, Izroth did not believe that Mirage held any hidden intentions. Indeed, she was being truthful with her words when she said that they had a mutual problem that they could solve together.

However, when he observed the two male males in the back they had a notably arrogant presence about them. There was a condescending and proud look in their eyes as if Izroth should be grateful that they took the time out of their day to speak with him.

"The one on my right is Present Order and to my left is Sinking Clouds." Mirage introduced the two male players behind her.

Both of them were quite handsome and possessed well above average equipment. In fact, there was not a single common piece of equipment anywhere to be seen. Most of their equipment was actually rare quality!

Even though it had become a bit easier to acquire rare quality equipment, it was still difficult to do so, especially for the average player. Just having a single piece of rare equipment would already be seen as amazing by most players at this point and yet these two players nearly had a full set of rare equipment!

Present Order and Sinking Clouds was ready to object to the matter, at least until they laid their eyes upon Luna. When their eyes fell upon her, it was as if they had forgotten all about the words of objection they were about to spew from their mouths.

It was common knowledge that players within RML bore a strong resemblance to their real-world self. Therefore, the woman before them was not only a beauty within RML but the real world as well.

"Hm? Your ears are..." Mirage noticed that Luna's ears were not only slightly longer than average, but the top end of her ears was pointed.

"The Trephasia race?" Mirage said as her brows rose from the shocking discovery. To her knowledge, there was no such thing as non-human players within RML. Her first thought was that Luna was an NPC, however, that was quickly debunked as it did not display any NPC information about her.

Then she thought about cosmetics, but the aura around Luna was too similar to some of the Trephasia NPC's she had come across during some quest. Strangely enough, Luna's aura was actually much stronger than those Trephasia's.

"Really? Woah, it's actually true!" Present Order said as he finally noticed Luna's ears.

"It truly takes her beauty to the next level." Sinking Clouds whispered to Present Order.

Luna was used to this kind of reaction. Ever since she returned from the Chaotic Dogma Realm, she had been hounded almost nonstop whenever a player saw her ears. Most believed that they were just a rare kind of cosmetic, however, she was still approached by guys and girls alike.

The guys wanted to woo her, while the girls wanted to know how she managed to get it. In all honesty, there were some points when she wished that the transformation had been given to Zi Yi or another party member so that she would not have to deal with it constantly.

"You were saying about our mutual problem?" Izroth said as if to remind Mirage of her own purpose for having approached them.

"Ah, right. You'll have to forgive my rudeness, it's the first time I've seen a non-human race being used by a player." Mirage said as she released a light giggle.

Present Order glared at Izroth and said with a voice full of disdain, "Who are you?!" He was already annoyed by the fact that Mirage was even talking to Izroth and now, he dared to take the initiative to speak to her? Also, he felt that a beauty like Luna should not be hanging around some nobody when he was standing right before her.

"Do you dare to say that again?" Azalea said as she removed both of her daggers from their sheaths and stared coldly at Present Order. Even though Izroth had not officially accepted her request to train under him, she still considered him to be her teacher. Therefore, as his student, how could she allow someone to openly insult her teacher while she was present and do nothing about it?

"Hmph, just a little brat talking big! Stay out of this kid." Present Order said as he brushed off Azalea as if she were nothing to him. After all, he had no interest in paying attention to a little kid like her.

Azalea's facial expression darkened as she was about to make her move, however, Izroth held his hand up and prevented her from doing so. She looked up at Izroth for a moment and without saying a word, she returned her daggers to their sheaths and stood there quietly.

"Fu Chun, will you continue to behave like a child in front of me?!" Mirage said angrily as she glared at Present Order and called him by his real name.

"No, of course not. My apologies, just a simple slip of the tongue." Present Order said with a sincere looking smile on his face. But, while the smile may have seemed sincere, it was far from it. There was a hidden amount of disgust behind it.

"I hope that you can overlook this matter. I assure you that it will not happen again." Mirage said as she turned to Izroth and made an apologetic gesture.

"Think nothing of it. I just hope that some people can remember that a bitten tongue is better than a pierced heart." Izroth said in a calm and carefree manner.

Present Order and Sinking Clouds looked as if they wanted to jump out and tear Izroth to shreds after he said that statement. He was obviously threatening Present Order. Of course, Sinking Clouds was close friends with Present Order so if someone threatened his friend then they would be making an enemy of him as well.

However, since Mirage had already spoken, the two of them did not cause any trouble, at least not for the moment.

"So, let me guess. You took damage as soon as you stepped onto the stone pathway, right?" Mirage questioned.

Izroth nodded and said, "You are correct."

"We found that the way it works is that the fewer people in your party, the more damage you receive once you step onto the pathway. For example, a solo player would receive around 2,500 damage per second as magic damage. Two players would take 2,000 and three players take 1,500. Nothing prevents or reduces the damage and even shields are useless." Mirage explained.

'It adds up.'

Everything added up with the exception of nothing reducing the damage. At the moment, Izroth had 20% magic resistance which meant that instead of 1,500 damage, he would have taken 1,200 damage. That amount was a bit more than 25% of his total HP.

However, magic resistance was still incredibly hard to come by at this point and not many players had it. Even those with rare equipment crossed their fingers in hope of a magic resistance stat. Just look at Izroth for example, all of his magic resistance came from an A-ranked skill and S-ranked skill and not a single piece of gear had granted him the magic resistance stat.

How difficult was it for players to acquire skills of that rank? Not to mention the fact that even someone with the Luck stat like Izroth had yet to come across a single piece of equipment that had the magic resistance stat. Therefore, how low did the chance have to be for a player to obtain one?

"If we keep following the pattern of every additional player added to the party reduces the damage amount of 500 points, then that would mean it takes six players to cross unharmed. Six... Of course, the Realm Chart...!" Luna said as if it had suddenly dawned on her.

She thought back to the Realm Chart and the VI Roman numerals it displayed. They had no idea what it represented at the time, however, it's possible that it was trying to warn them that they required six players to cross this point!

"That's the same conclusion I came to. In order to cross the pathway, a full party is required to do so. Or at the very least, one must have enough HP to endure the entire walk. However, it looks to be nearly 200 meters long so that's unlikely at this point. So, do you understand now why I said we have a mutual problem that we can solve together?" Mirage said.

"She's correct. If we want to cross, then we'll have to do so in a full group. Even if I could cast my heals while moving, it would still not be enough to heal through 1,500 points of damage between the three of us." Luna said.

Izroth nodded and said, "Then it's decided. We'll cross and then go our separate ways."

"Oh? You seem in such a hurry to rid yourself of me." Mirage said teasingly with a sly smile on her face.

"I'm sure your two friends are the ones eager to get this over with." Izroth said in a carefree manner.

A few moments later, Mirage's group had joined Izroth's party and just as they suspected, no one received any damage after they stepped onto the stone pathway.

"I wonder if such things are located all around the Blazing Tempris Domain." Mirage said.

"If so, that would make exploring the lands alone a dangerous task." Izroth said.

Izroth wondered how something as critical as needing six players to cross into the Blazing Tempris Domain escaped He Huian's information. However, when he thought about it, Sleeping Gardenia was a top guild and did not lack players. Therefore, there was a good chance that the members who visited this area were already within a full party and did not even know this restriction existed.

It did not take long for them to successfully cross to the other side of the stone pathway. The moment they stepped off the pathway, everyone within the party received an alert from the system.

〈System Alert: You have entered the «Blazing Tempris Domain»〉

〈System Alert: You have gained the temporary passive skill «Bounded Fire Domain»〉

Izroth took a brief moment to read over the passive and found that things were not as simple as he originally believed it would be.

Skill Name: Bounded Fire Domain

Skill Level: None

Skill Rank: Unique

Passive: Every player that steps foot into the «Blazing Tempris Domain» receives this passive until they set foot outside of the domain, or reach they reach «Blazing Temple». The user with this skill is affected by the fiery burden of the «Blazing Tempris Domain» when any party member is more than thirty meters apart from one another.

'It appears that we're going to be stuck with each other until we reach this Blazing Temple place.'

It did not take a genius to figure out what the skill meant by fiery burden. It was almost certainly referring to the damage they would receive if they were not in a group of six players. After all, there was no other fiery burden Izroth could think of at the moment.

"This is a rather unexpected turn of events. So, what do you intend to do now?" Mirage asked.

"Since we still share a common goal, we should locate the Blazing Temple." Izroth responded. At the moment, both of their groups were in a very sensitive situation. If even one player left or died, there was a good chance that every single one of them would pay the price for it.

Of course, there was also the chance that only the player who strayed too far away would suffer for it, but it was a chance Izroth would rather not take.

"I agree. Though I must admit, this place seems to be quite troublesome in many ways." Mirage said.

'Indeed, in many ways.'

Izroth set his gaze onto the towering volcano in the distance. It was a single volcano and yet its size was so massive that it made the dangerous mountain regions look insignificant by comparison. Even from this distance, he felt as if a pair of vicious eyes were locked onto him. His Soul Sense was sending him a warning, but he had no idea what it was warning him of.

Izroth and the others began to make their way deeper into the Blazing Tempris Domain, unaware of the true dangers that this place held.