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413 Circumstances

 Izroth's actions made Vanaheim take a second look at the pickaxe in his hands. Maybe there was something special about it?

"No, without a doubt, that is a Miner's Pickaxe. Even complete beginners should know that it's impossible to mine ore with such high toughness using that garbage. It's like trying to break a diamond using only a handful of cotton." Vanaheim thought to herself. Although her example was somewhat exaggerated, there was certainly some truth to it. But, she did not take Izroth as the foolish type. After all, how could someone running a successful player shop at a prime location be considered a fool?

It was because of this that Vanaheim was curious to see what he had planned. Although she found it to be a waste of precious time, she could not afford offending Izroth. After all, he held the secret to how to cure the Phantasmagoria. Therefore, Vanaheim decided to wait until he failed before confronting him about the matter of the cure he used on Sacred Blade.

'I only have one shot.'

Izroth carefully examined the Unrefined Arisia Crystal before him. As he brandished the Miner's Pickaxe in his hands, Vanaheim noticed that something was off. Her eyes were drawn to the pickaxe in Izroth's hand, however, it was not the pickaxe itself that drew her attention. Instead, it was the left hand in which Izroth was wielding the pickaxe.

"I'm positive that he was wielding his sword with his right hand just now. Even during our fight with the Great Palace sea creatures, I'm sure..." Vanaheim thought to herself as she furrowed her brows.

Izroth swung the Miner's Pickaxe full force at a weak point in the Unrefined Arisia Crystal's structure.

Ding! Crrrrrrck...!

The moment the Miner's Pickaxe made contact with the Arisia Crystal, some cracks formed on the pickaxe. To make matters worse, it did not create a single scratch on the Arisia Crystal!

Vanaheim released a sigh as she shook her head. Originally, she believed that perhaps there was more to the pickaxe than what appeared to be. However, it ended just as she had predicted it would-with Izroth's failure.

"What did he expect to happen? Even my Blue Oasis lacks a pickaxe sturdy enough to-" Right when that thought crossed Vanaheim's mind...

DING! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!!!

Vanaheim, as well as, Sacred Blade covered their ears as a loud ringing sound washed over them from out of nowhere and a bright flash of light caused them instinctively shut their eyes! The sound was so powerful that it made the members of Blue Oasis temporarily disoriented. Everything became a humming silence as there was an intense burst of wind followed by a gentle breeze that brushed over them.

What's going on? Were they being ambushed? These were the first thoughts to enter into their minds. But, a few moments later, the ringing came to a fading halt as it dispersed.

By the time Vanaheim and Sacred Blade regained their senses and opened their eyes, they witnessed the pickaxe in Izroth's hands shattered into countless pieces and turn into particles that drifted away into nothingness.

The two also soon realized that the source of the light and sound came from the Unrefined Arisia Crystal that Izroth had struck. If that was the case, then it was likely that the disorientation was just a defensive mechanism of the Unrefined Arisia Crystal. In the end, it was common that rare or higher resources such as plants and ores had natural defensive mechanisms that made them increasingly difficult to collect.

There was a slight look of disappointment in Izroth's eyes as he released a small sigh.

'As I thought, it was impossible to do with that pickaxe.'

"This is something that was out of your control. You should not feel dejected. Even the strongest pickaxes at my Blue Oasis' disposal would be unable to cause a scratch on that kind of toughness without mining for a minimum of several hours. It's only natural that a Miner's Pickaxe shattered after one strike." Vanaheim said as she approached Izroth and noticed the look of disappointment in his eyes.

Despite her words, as a captain of Blue Oasis, Vanaheim was secretly relieved at Izroth's failure. From the information gathered about Izroth, it seemed that everything he was involved in always ended in his favor. She did not know what lucky star Izroth was born under for this to be the case, however, after he survived against that encirclement of dozens upon dozens of hardcore raid monsters, making it into the Sprite Dwellings, and immediately solving the issue of the Phantasmagoria-even she started to feel somewhat substandard in comparison. Could she have accomplished the same things under a similar amount of pressure and come out of it in one piece? She knew the answer to this question.

Therefore, to see Izroth fail was a reminder to her that, he too, was only human.

After things settled down, Vanaheim asked Izroth about the method he used to help Sacred Blade regain his senses. Of course, Izroth had no intention of keeping it a secret and fully disclosed the effects of the Corporeal Lucidity Moss.

"I see... Who would have thought that the answer was right in front of us the entire time? The next time we enter, we'll have to bring along some poison resistance potions as well. However, poison resistance potions are some of the most expensive potions to produce..." Vanaheim muttered to herself. She was already thinking ahead and preparing for the next raid run. But, she did not get too far ahead of herself. She understood that no matter what, this raid run had to be successful. If not, the losses they suffered would put Blue Oasis in an unfavorable position among the top guilds.

"Alright, our number one priority is to locate the others and cure them if they have been affected by the Phantasmagoria. Sacred Blade and I will focus on restricting their movement. Izroth, since you've already done it once before, we'll leave applying the Corporeal Lucidity Moss to you." Vanaheim stated.

Izroth had no objections to his role in Vanaheim's plan. Not only was he faster than her and Sacred Blade, but he was aware of the fact that with his current set of skills it would be too troublesome to restrict the movement of others without harming them. This was better left to Vanaheim who was an Elemental Mage.

Vanaheim then continued, "Remember, this place may be full of traps like the Phantasmagoria so we do not have the luxury of relaxing. Until we manage to regain contact with the rest of the raid group, we'll move under the assumption that everyone is in a similar situation to ours."

"What if the others were affected by something other than the Phantasmagoria? What if the Corporeal Lucidity Moss fails to work on them the same way that it did on me?" Sacred Blade asked. While it was highly possible that the Corporeal Lucidity Moss would work, there also existed the possibility of it failing. In the end, it was impossible to predict the exact nature of a raid, let alone a hardcore raid. Rather than wait until they came across that scenario, it was best to decide beforehand to prevent any hesitation. Sacred Blade understood that a slight moment of hesitation is all it took to lose control of the situation.

Vanaheim did not immediately respond to Sacred Blade. However, she had to put the well being and success of the guild before her personal feelings.

"If the Corporeal Lucidity Moss fails to be effective and we are unable to find a timely secondary solution, then... We will clear whatever obstruction that blocks our path to secure the success of this raid-no matter what or who that obstruction may be." Vanaheim declared in an unfaltering tone.

Even if the difficulty of the raid would increase severalfold once it reached that point of no return, it was much better than having madmen unable to tell friend from foe running around. What would happen if that person appeared during the middle of a battle? Or even worse, a boss battle? At that point, a disaster would be inevitable! Understanding the circumstances, Izroth nor Sacred Blade found Vanaheim's decision to be cruel.

'It's not a decision one enjoys making, however, it's impossible for a captain of Blue Oasis not to see the bigger picture. To them, failure is out of the question.'

"Sacred Blade, you'll act as the temporary vanguard. We're going!" Vanaheim stated.

With that, Sacred Blade took the lead, followed by Izroth, and finally Vanaheim. The entrance that they had originally gone through was no longer there. What appeared on the left side of the room after the Phantasmagoria was cleared from Sacred Blade was a passageway that was neither spacious nor narrow. After briefly looking around once more to make sure that there was no other way out, the group walked down the passageway. As the group entered the passageway, it closed behind them.

...

If someone walked into the area that Izroth and the others just left and closely examined the Unrefined Arisia Crystal, they would notice that something was off about one of them.

There was an unnatural crack on the back end of one of the Unrefined Arisia Crystals! Near that small area was a crevice a little bigger than one's finger. Someone managed to break off a piece of a material with a toughness of 82?! This, someone, was, of course, Izroth.

Izroth had hoped to break off a piece the size of a fist, however, what he received in return was one around the size of a finger. Therefore, he considered it to be a failure. But, if anyone else knew that he thought this way, then they would want to strangle him to death!

Even if it was just the size of a finger, that one piece of Unrefined Arisia Crystal was enough to create tens of pieces of equipment that contained anti-energy properties.

At the moment, the Unrefined Arisia Crystal was a priceless treasure that even the top guilds could not necessarily afford! Of course, Izroth had no intention of selling it.

As for what method Izroth used to break off a piece of the Unrefined Arisia Crystal -the chances of there being another player in RML who could replicate it was practically zero!

...

Meanwhile...

"What do we do now, Miss Luna?!" A nearby player shouted. This player wore fighter robes and went by the name Feint. He was one of the core members of Blue Oasis assigned to the clean-up DPS group. At the moment, a piercing and chilly frost was being emitted from his hands. He was currently surrounded by dozens of sea creatures.

However, these were not normal sea creatures.

Skkkkreeeeeat!

One of the sea creatures leaped towards Feint. Even though it lacked a mouth and other facial features, it could still somehow release a battle cry.

Woosh! Splash!

Feint used his right palm to intercept the sea creature's attack as his fist went straight through its body leaving a hole the size of his palm. The piercing frost from Feint's hand caused the sea creature to freeze into a sculpture of ice before shattering into countless pieces. However, the pieces quickly defrosted and fused back together into two separate entities!

The sea creatures were made of some kind of bizarre liquid that constantly regenerated when destroyed. Not only that but after destroying one of them, two more would in its place. This made dealing with them a living nightmare!

But, luckily, Feint was not alone. There were five other players trapped in the encirclement along with him. One of those players was none other than Luna!

Luna had a calm and composed expression on her face. Despite their dire circumstances, she did not allow herself to fall into a panic. She inwardly furrowed her brows as her gaze could not help but land on one of the members nearby. That player with an expression of dread on his face went by the name Second Tyrant and he was a commander of Blue Oasis.

Second Tyrant was the present group leader due to certain circumstances and it was his fault that they ended up in their current predicament. If he had just listened to her, then this mess could have been avoided! But, Luna knew that it was too late to change the outcome. Now, she could only think of a way for everyone to survive.

"What would those two do at a time like this?" Luna thought to herself as the images of two individuals crossed her mind. The first was Zi Yi and the second was Izroth.

There were no exits and the only entrance had already been sealed the moment they all entered. If it were just the sea creatures, then it would not be too troublesome. Unfortunately...

"Our luck is not too good... No, I suppose in a way our luck is 'too good' to find this place so fast." Luna said to herself with a look of clarity in her eyes. Her gaze then shifted to a beautiful pond that was around 15 meters away from their position. Floating on top of the pond was a single aqua color leaf. On top of that leaf was a small fairy-like creature with eyes that were whited out and razor-sharp teeth. Their skin, hair, and almost transparent wings matched the color of the ocean. At the moment, that creature's eyes were locked onto Luna and the other members of Blue Oasis.

"What other choice do we have? We fight." Luna responded as she held the staff in her hands forward.

Name: Ooudamu, Queen of the Water Sprites(Raid Boss)

Level: 52

HP: ???(100%)

Hardcore Effect(s): [Outburst]

That small and weak looking fairy-like creature was the first raid boss of the Great Sea Palace, Ooudamu!

...

Several moments ago just as Luna entered the Sprite Dwellings...

Since Luna had entered at the same time as the other raid members, she was paired with three other players and was transported to the same location as them. Though it was expected, she was somewhat sad to see that there were no familiar faces among those present. Not too long after arriving inside the Sprite Dwellings, Luna heard one of the players start to speak.

"Alright everyone, listen up! Seeing as how I hold the rank of commander, that means the role of group leader falls onto my shoulders. As long as you all stick with me and follow orders, I can guarantee that we'll get out of this in one piece." The one who spoke had a voice filled with authority. This voice belonged to Second Tyrant.