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204 Even In This World, The Bark of A Dog Remains Unchanged

 The land within the Blazing Tempris Domain resembled a dead and barren wasteland of fire. No sign of water could be seen anywhere, however, there were small lakes and rivers flowing with molten lava. Every few moments, one would be able to see a monster swimming through the lava as if it were a fish moving through water.

Another thing that stood out was the fire geysers that spewed lava into the air and rained down in the surrounding ten meters of it. Sinking Clouds had carelessly gotten too close to one of the fire geysers and was touched by the rain of lava. He received 200 damage per second and quickly learned his lesson in the process.

"What is it that you want from this place again? We should just leave and head to a more... scenic location." Sinking Clouds asked Mirage with a gloomy expression on his face. He had just made a fool of himself not too long ago when he got burnt by the fire geyser. He wanted to get out of this wasteland as quickly as possible.

"To explore, what else would I come here for? Besides, as I recall, I did not ask either of you to accompany me and yet you insisted on coming along. If you want to go back, that's fine with me. However, you'll have to wait until we reach the Blazing Temple first." Mirage responded.

"Come now Rongrong, don't be too hard on him. Our fathers are all good friends and so it's only natural that they would want their children to have to the same close relationship. Besides, our having a good relationship will definitely make our familial ties stronger and benefit both of our families." Present Order said with a friendly and charming smile on his face.

Mirage glared at Present Order and said, "If you call me by that name again our familial ties will be the least of your troubles. Still, my answer from before remains unchanged. Our fathers are good friends, so I tolerate you. However, if you insist on pressing the matter then I'll have to be impolite and trust me, I enjoy being impolite."

"Of course, I meant no disrespect with my words." Present Order said in apologetic an apologetic way.

Mirage then walked ahead at a quickened pace and moved up towards the front area where Izroth's group was positioned.

Present Order continued to smile until the moment Mirage walked away and his facial expression immediately darkened.

"I don't see why you keep chasing after her. Even if our fathers agree on the arrangement, the head of the Tian Family is another story. He is a stubborn old man who dotes on his daughter and would never go against her wishes. Besides, isn't Tian Suyinyan interested in you? Why not just go after her instead?" Sinking Clouds questioned in a low voice.

"Why go after something I can easily possess when there's a prize to be won right before me? Rongrong will come around, trust me. If I can't have her, then no other man would dare even dream about it." Present Order said as he locked his gaze on Mirage.

"You know, you're the very first Combat Master I've seen. Well, I suppose that's not entirely accurate. I have seen a few at the starting area, however, I recall them never leaving that place. In fact, they may still be there trying to finish the class quest." Mirage said jokingly.

It was a well-known fact that Combat Master's were considered to be trash. Anything they could do, another class could do better. Even if they found a way to do a little of everything, there would be no real place for them within parties. In other words, the risk was too high and the reward was far too low.

Even if by some miracle someone managed to create a few C-ranked or higher skills, it would still not be worth the effort it took to do so. In theory, the Combat Master Class would only be useful if a player was capable of creating at least one A-ranked skill on top of what those in the gaming community called a 4/5/6 split.

The 4/5/6 split referred to learning four B-ranked skills, five C-ranked skills, and six-D ranked skills. After doing the proper math, it was found that in order for a Combat Master Class player to compete against other classes, that was the bare minimum needed so that they could be considered a viable choice. Not only that, but all the skills must be focused on a single area such as damage, speed, or defense.

So, a player had to not only somehow create an A-ranked skill, but they also had to create an additional 15 skills on top of that. Not to mention B-ranked skills, most players who chose the Combat Master Class struggled even creating something as miraculous as a C-ranked skill and that took them an enormous amount of effort to achieve the wanted result!

"It is not a class one should choose without giving it some thought, otherwise, there is nothing to be gained." Izroth responded in a carefree manner.

"Hmph, if you ask me, anyone who chooses such a trash class lacks the brain to even give a single thought about it in the first place." Present Order said loud enough so that everyone could hear in a mocking way. However, he spoke in such a way to make it seem as if he were having a private conversation with Sinking Clouds by his side.

Some nobody was talking to his woman who, in his mind, was already his wife and belonged to him. Therefore, how could he not become agitated and annoyed when he saw Izroth talking so nonchalantly to Mirage. Present Order felt as though he were being slapped in the face.

Azalea eyes turned cold when she heard Present Order's words. However, she understood that given their current circumstances, she had no choice but to bear with it; at least until they reached the Blazing Temple.

Luna frowned and realized that from the moment their two groups met, Present Order had been constantly insulting Izroth at every turn for no apparent reason. It was not often that she wanted to silence someone forcibly, but for some reason, Present Order seemed like a good reason to make an exception.

However, Luna was even more surprised by Izroth's laid back attitude about the whole situation. She knew that if he wanted to, he could end Present Order at any given time. After all, she had witnessed his strength firsthand plenty of times. Could he truly be restraining himself just because he did not want to risk everyone's lives due to the Bounded Fire Domain passive they gained?

'Even in this world, the bark of a dog remains unchanged. However, it has been quite some time since I've last played such an amusing little game.'

"If you would like to test my lack of brains, I'm sure such a thing could be arranged once we reach the Blazing Temple. Of course, unless you are afraid of someone who is incapable of giving a single thought." Izroth said without even turning to look in Present Order's direction.

If Present Order believed that he could freely bully him, then he was sadly mistaken. Izroth had dealt with many individuals who barked just as loud as Present Order and knew just how to respond to them. Izroth was not blind or deaf and knew that Present Order was obviously trying to impress Mirage with his haughty attitude and his "above all else" arrogance.

There was one thing people like Present Order had in common when it came to trying to impress a woman; they would not be able to deny a direct challenge in front of them. This was even more so after Izroth used his very own words against him.

Present Order smirked as he listened to Izroth's request. This is the moment he had been waiting for all this time! If he had challenged Izroth, then Mirage would have stepped in and looked down on him for making such a challenge.

However, since Izroth was the one to request the challenge, it would be within his right to accept. Izroth had fallen right into his trap. Now, Mirage could witness his strength firsthand and he would get to humiliate Izroth. It was truly the definition of killing two birds with one stone.

Mirage frowned as she looked towards Izroth and asked, "Are you sure that's what you want?"

Izroth seemed like a nice guy and unlike most other guys she came across who stared at her with eyes full of lust, he appreciated a conversation that did not involve staring at her body. Therefore, he had already made a good first impression with her and so Mirage did not want to see something bad happen to him so soon after they met.

"I-" Just when Izroth was about to respond, he was quickly cut off by Present Order.

"If he's a man then he won't take back a challenge he's already handed out! Of course, I accept!" Present Order spoke with haste. He was afraid that Izroth may want to change his mind after Mirage handed him a small way out.

"I have no intention of going back on my word. Do not worry, if I lose it will only be due to my lack of ability." Izroth said as he shook his head.

At that moment, both Azalea and Luna had puzzled looks on their faces. Lack of ability? Izroth's name should not even be in the same sentence as "lack of abilities"!

As the group walked deeper into the Blazing Tempris Domain, the ground ten meters ahead of them began to crack open as a burst of lava shot up from the ground.

The next moment, a humanoid figure that was 1.5 meters tall and bulky emerged from the crack in the ground covered in a constant flow of molten lava. It had no facial features whatsoever and its body was made out of some kind of black volcanic rock.

Hwooooo!

"It's a fire monster!" Sinking Clouds said as he was shocked by the sudden emergence of the monster.

Name: Lava Beast(Normal)

Level: 30

HP: 54,180(100%)

The Lava Beast released a strange cry as it moved slowly towards Izroth and his party.

"Heh, this thing is so slow! It won't be able to hit a snail at that rate!" Present Order taunted as he stepped forward as a small buckler shield appeared on his left arm. Right after the buckler appeared, Present Order reached behind his back and drew a magnificent two-handed greatsword. To sum up his current appearance, he looked as if he were a noble knight ready to charge head first into battle.

Present Order decided that he would use this chance to show Izroth that his fate was already sealed the moment he made his challenge. As he charged towards the Lava Beast, he used the skill Taunting Aura to grab ahold of the aggro.

When he approached the Lava Beast, he lifted his greatsword above his head as a red aura encompassed the blade and swung it straight down towards the head of the Lava Beast. He was using a skill similar to Halls' Ferocity Slash, except, his skill obviously had a greater damage output due to the fact that he was using a greatsword.

«Critical Hit»

-3,155

Present Order grinned when he saw that he had successfully landed a critical hit. He could already imagine the amount of panic and regret that was going on through Izroth's head at the moment when he witnessed such a huge damage number pop up.

The Lava Beast cried out when it was struck by Present Order's greatsword as it lashed out with a fist made of molten lava.

Present Order quickly moved his buckler to intercept the fist and it crashed his shield. However, he did not budge a single bit from the attack and held his ground.

«Blocked»

-835

-100

Present Order was affected by the burn effect of the lava and received 100 fixed damage per second that ignore all of his defenses. But, he did not let such a thing bothered him and pressed forward with his attack.