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294 Collapse of The Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan

 Izroth's flickering silhouettes could be seen as he moved throughout the battlefield. However, by the time one silhouette appeared, he had already moved on to the next location.

Izroth arrived behind the Faceless One as he swung his Sword of The Storm towards the back of their head.

Woosh! Ding!

«Parried»

-1,350

'Parried?'

Izroth was surprised that the Faceless One had actually managed to parry his attack while he was using Flickering Steps.

However, launching a few more attacks, he started to understand the reason as to why his attacks were being parried. It was not that the Faceless One actively parried his attacks with their greatsword, but instead, there was this faint and sharp aura that lingered around their body.

A purple aura slowly spewed out from the greatsword in the Faceless One's hand and encompassed their whole body. That purple aura felt sharp like the edge of a blade and it was almost as if it was, in fact, a weapon of its own.

The earth beneath the Faceless One began to shift and deform. A few moments later, ten pillars of earth shot out of the ground as they turned inward and crashed down towards the Faceless One.

Boom!

-4,852

A small crater was formed where the Faceless One stood as the earth pillars that crashed into them started to crumble and turn into dust.

That attack came from none other than Ying Yue. Even though her class was based heavily on crowd control and free mobility, she still had a few skills up her sleeve that made it so that her damage was far from lacking.

The Faceless One waved their greatsword in a full circle leaving a thin purple trail of energy in the process. When the purple circle became fully connected, a ring of energy rapidly expanded in all directions!

'Every ability seems to be attached to that greatsword in their hand. The purple aura is most likely an extension of that greatsword. If that's the case, it would explain a few things, however...'

Hmmmn...

The greatsword formed its second purple crescent! It was happening at a much faster rate than when they fought against Switch To Kill and his party.

The ring of energy stopped expanding after it reached ten meters before it closed back in.

Fortunately, the attack was too short to reach Ying Yue and Midnight who were further back than ten meters. As for Izroth, with his Flickering Steps, moving ten meters out of range in time was a simple task.

Mirage, on the other hand, was hit by the expanding and collapsing energy.

«Guarded»

-2,968

-4,750

While she was fortunate enough to guard the first part of the attack, she was unable to do so as it collapsed back in towards the Faceless One. As a result, she had less than 2,000 HP remaining after being damaged by that attack!

"NPC's really are more annoying to fight against." Mirage said as she consumed a health potion to restore some of her missing HP.

Swoosh!

A small totem appeared over Mirage's head. Unlike the other totems, this one did not turn into any kind of animal or beast, instead, it positioned itself above Mirage's head and released a gentle stream of light green mist.

"Try to be more careful. If you die, my role as healer won't be quite as interesting." Midnight said as he cast the spell Totem of Augmentation on Mirage. The skill temporarily doubled the effectiveness of his totem auras on a select target for a short period of time. This meant that the heals Mirage received from his Gaia Avis and Brilliant Regnouda would be twice that of its normal value.

"I'll try to take that as a compliment." Mirage replied in a joking manner.

+1,500

+334

+730

Although the Faceless One's damage was quite high, surprisingly enough, their HP was incredibly lacking when compared to other elite NPCs. However, Izroth did not necessarily see this as a good thing. After all, what one lacked in a certain area was usually made up for in some different way, especially when dealing with someone like the Faceless One.

'I suppose I can't allow them the luxury of getting to that point.'

A strong gust of wind appeared around Izroth's Sword of The Storm as he set his gaze upon the Faceless One.

...

Meanwhile, over at Robin's carriage...

"Vice-leader, we must use this chance to escape while they are keeping that thing preoccupied." Lyn said as he tried to convince Robin of the best course of action for them.

"Lyn, you should know that even if we do move on from here in our current state that we would not make it out of the Tiger's Mouth alive. If we leave them behind and escape, the Equosavras are simply not fast enough to create a safe distance. Essentially, we would only be putting ourselves at the mercy of the bandits and factions that lurk within the Tiger's Mouth." Robin explained.

"But, vice-leader-"

"I've made my decision, Lyn. You will respect it." Robin said in a stern tone. He had been patient, however, even if he was currently posing as a vice-leader of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan, as a prince of royal bloodline, how could he stand having his decision constantly questioned?

"...I apologize for my inappropriate conduct, vice-leader. I hope you do not take offense." Lyn said as he gave a respectful bow.

Robin released a sigh and said, "I take no offense. I realize that you are just thinking about the well-being of the caravan. But, there is something that you must understand. I want nothing more than for us to reach our destination safely. In order to do that, we need as much help as we can get. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind."

"I understand, vice-leader. However, as second in command, I must insist that you move to a safer position towards the rear of the caravan. I'm afraid this is a matter I can't budge on." Lyn said with a serious expression on his face.

Robin shook his head and responded, "Since you feel so strongly about it, then I suppose I'll have to make some concessions."

Robin stood up from the carriage and stepped out as he walked towards the rear of the caravan with Lyn as Jyuuriel followed after them.

...

When the Faceless One saw Robin attempt to leave the carriage, they immediately launched an attack off towards his direction. It was just like the first attack the Faceless One used against the carriage.

As that sharp and thin sword aura shot towards Robin, Izroth's silhouette flashed before it as he shifted his stance to the Second Sword Form: Returning Wave.

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Izroth fired off a blade of wind from his Sword of The Storm as it collided with the Faceless One's attack. For a moment, the two attacks seemed to be at a standstill, however, the Faceless One's attack appeared to have the upper hand in the exchange.

'It's a good thing I took some precaution.'

Izroth's blade of wind suddenly gained a boost in power as it consumed the Faceless One's strike! Right as it did so, the same sharp aura that the Faceless One tried to attack Robin with was reversed and returned to them.

This was due to the Sword Return skill of Izroth's Second Sword Form: Returning Wave. He returned the Faceless One's attack right back at them! Not only that but the tenth strike guaranteed critical hit effect of Midnight's Totem Aura: Mighty Magnarvos was also activated.

«Parried»

«Critical Hit»

-13,250

Izroth knew that with its own power, there was no way that his Sword Return could handle the Faceless One's attack head-on. However, it was a different story if he poured Essence into his Sword Return. While it would not increase the damage of the attack being returned, it would raise the amount of punishment his Sword Return could take before being overwhelmed.

The Faceless One was sent flying back as their body slammed into one of the trees next to the forest path. The trees that were behind and on the side of the one they crashed against was sliced in two by the sharp aura of the attack. After they suffered from that attack, the Faceless One had around 25% of its HP remaining.

With Izroth's ruthless assault, along with Mirage and Ying Yue doing their own fair share of damage, the Faceless One seemed to be overwhelmed.

"They are strong. Will they kill us?" The Faceless One said in a fragile tone. It almost seemed as if they were actually frightened and one could hear the fear present in their voice.

"Fool, we are a Faceless One, we cannot die here." The Faceless One said in a stern tone as they strengthened their grip on the greatsword in their hands. There were now four crescents formed on the top area of its blade!

Qi Jiguang and his party who spectated the fight had expressions of disbelief and shock written all over their face. They had a difficult time believing what was taking place right before their very own eyes.

Izroth and his party made that cloaked figure seem like a ragdoll! In fact, they were beginning to think that maybe Switch To Kill's party was just incredibly weak even by normal player standards.

However, what really left them nearly speechless was how fast Izroth moved around the battlefield. Even looking in from an outside perspective they were unable to keep up with his speed, therefore, they could only imagine what it was like to face in an actual battle.

"Those guys are a bunch of freaks, especially that guy with the sword. That has to be an S-ranked movement skill." Omega said with his brows furrowed. He had fought against other players who used high ranked movement skills, however, none of them had ever left his head spinning trying to keep track of them.

"It's already been more than fifteen seconds and it's still active. Just how long does that skill last?" Qi Jiguang frowned. Usually, skills that provided such a huge boost did not last for a long period of time and yet the skill Izroth was using had already been active for fifteen seconds! How was any player supposed to survive under that kind of assault for fifteen seconds or more?

As Izroth saw the fourth crescent form on the greatsword, he knew that the time limit he set for himself was up. He had to end this now.

An overbearing aura appeared around Izroth's Sword of The Storm. However, just before he was about to make his move, something baffling took place.

Out of nowhere, the Faceless One stabbed the greatsword in their hand right into their stomach. The purple aura that was around their body had completely vanished the moment the greatsword stabbed into them.

Everyone had a look of shock and confusion on their face.

"What are they doing?" Mirage questioned as she looked baffled.

Whatever it was the Faceless One was up to, Izroth decided that he would not wait around to find out. His silhouette flickered as he arrived within attack range of the Faceless One. With his Tempest Strikes still active, he slashed outward as an overbearing aura descended upon the Faceless One. Izroth used his Tempest Strikes to carry his First Baneful Sword: Destruction.

-8,282

Immediately after his First Baneful Sword: Destruction connected, he shifted his stance slightly and prepared to follow up with his Second Baneful Sword: Kill. However, before Izroth could deal the killing blow, he felt himself slow down.

'What is this?'

He should have still had three seconds remaining on his Flickering Steps, therefore, why had he slowed down? But, what he soon realized was that he did not return his to normal agility or movement speed, but instead, he was moving at a snail's pace!

Izroth was not the only one to experience this feeling. Mirage, Ying Yue, Midnight, and even Qi Jiguang and his party were moving in slow motion.

A series of vibrations was released from the greatsword that was stabbed into the Faceless One's stomach. Each vibration was stronger than the last one and soon enough, the vibrations reached the wagons of the caravan.

Ooooooom! Boom! Crrrrk!

The caravan wagons were knocked over and there were even a few that exploded into countless pieces. It was as if the structural integrity of the wagons were unable to hold up against the rapid vibrations.

Even Omega's Shield of Pacification was immediately shattered from the vibrations!

In just a few moments, the caravan was in complete chaos! The wagons were destroyed or in pieces and the members of the caravan in the way of the vibrations were instantly killed.

Everyone looked on as the caravan was destroyed and its members were either injured or killed. No matter how much they willed their bodies to move, the only thing that was able to move around normally was their eyes. They could only witness everything taking place and yet do nothing about it.

Without a doubt, it was the collapse of the Silver Hawk Merchants Caravan.

〈System Alert: You have failed the quest «Guardians of the Caravan»!〉