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428 A Blessing Hidden As Misfortune

 Earlier, when Niflheim used the Maw of the Devouring Beast, it canceled out Ooudamu's skill before it could fully manifest. Niflheim then activated his Assimilate skill to adjust his defenses to properly counter Ooudamu.

"What are those things?!" Minus exclaimed when he observed the ancient warriors in the distance. The two warriors gave off a great deal of pressure that was impossible to overlook.

Niflheim and Complex Assault also noticed the two ancient warriors, however, the two knew that they would have their answer soon enough after joining the battle-whether they wanted it or not.

Bang!

Niflheim's shield slammed into Ooudamu sending her stumbling back a few steps.

"A raid boss is indeed a raid boss." Niflheim muttered. Usually, when he used Unimpeded Charge with his assimilation shield, the target would be sent back a couple of meters. However, Ooudamu had just taken a few steps back and simply shrugged it off. Though this was well within the range of his expectations.

He then shouted, "Halls! I will grab the main aggro when your HP falls below thirty percent! Until then, it will be up to you to hold on!"

Niflheim was careful with the amount of threat he generated with his attack. After all, he possessed many passive and activate skills that could generate a great deal of threat, however, he chose to pace himself and slowly build up to a threat level just under Halls.

Of course, Niflheim wanted to take over the main aggro without hesitation, but he understood that such an action against a raid boss would be extremely reckless. Although it had not been long, perhaps Halls was already familiar with some of Ooudamu's attack patterns. If so, then it could be used to their advantage. So until he acquired a better grasp and understanding of the situation, Niflheim decided that it was best to briefly take a small step back.

"Leave it to me!" Halls responded with an excited grin on his face.

Since Niflheim was the main tank of the raid group, Halls did not get many opportunities to display his skills. While he managed to gain the respect of several Blue Oasis members as an off-tank, this was not enough.

Although Halls hated to admit it, he recognized the clear gap in experience between Niflheim and himself when it came to being a tank. When it came to skills and overall strength, he was not necessarily weaker than Niflheim. He may even have the upper hand in a few areas. But, when it came to leading, commanding, watching the entire battlefield-Niflheim was in another league.

This was revealed early on in the raid when Niflheim was able to give feedback and point out the mistakes of the core members of Blue Oasis who made various errors during the fight with Ord and Temp.

To be capable of not only handling the aggro of two elite hardcore raid monsters but also having total awareness of the battlefield-it was no simple task. However, Niflheim made it look effortless!

Of course, Halls was not the type of person to just accept things as they were. In a short time, he had absorbed a great deal of information from Niflheim by observing his playstyle.

Halls used the skill Rush, a lower-ranked version of Unimpeded Charge, to briefly boost his movement speed. He then activated the skill Shield Slam as he lashed out with his shield and crashed it into Ooudamu who had just recovered from Niflheim's Unimpeded Charge. This attack acted as a way to reinforce his threat level after Niflheim's successful attack.

Although Ooudamu was considered intelligent when compared to the bosses most others have come across within RML so far, in the end, she was still greatly influenced by threat generating skills.

As it made contact with Ooudamu, the force of Halls' Shield Slam caused her to be knocked down. But, Halls did not stop there. He swung his sword at Ooudamu with a raging momentum using Ferocity Slash. That was when something unusual happened. Just as Halls' sword was about to connect with Ooudamu, at the same time, he pushed forward viciously with his shield.

"That's...!" Niflheim was shocked when he observed Halls' actions. Why? It was because that method of technique execution belonged to him!

It was well known that within RML, the speed of one's actions was limited by the system. This varied depending on many variables such as player mass, equipment type, agility, and so on.

However, there was a way around this limit that only a few players knew of and fewer were capable of pulling off-this was even more so for tanks who had greater player mass than normal and lower agility than other classes.

But, ironically, it was a tank who first discovered this technique and used it to overwhelm his opponents with attack patterns too sharp and agile for his class. This tank was, of course, Niflheim.

Though it was not until the other top guilds did some deep digging that they were able to uncover his secret. However, despite the discovery made by the top guilds, even their best veteran tanks had a difficult time consistently executing the technique-and that was during fights against normal monsters. As for it being practical in dungeons, raids, or PVP-it was not yet possible for them.

"Chain Link!" The members of Blue Oasis who had just arrived and were close enough to witness Halls' action recognized that technique anywhere. Some of them could not believe their eyes and thought that they were just seeing things. After all, it was the same technique their Captain Niflheim used when tanking, Chain Link!

Chain Link was not a skill that one could simply activate. It required perfect timing when performing skills in succession. If one canceled their skill just before it was about to connect and instantly used a follow-up skill that lacked a cast time, then not only was it possible for the first skill to hit, but it was also possible for the second skill to hit with near-zero delay! Not only did it disguise the first skill as a simple "feint" that was in actuality a real attack, but it also left one with practically no time to react to neither skill!

But, if one canceled the skill, how was it possible for it to still hit? This was due to the way the system interacted with players in RML. If one's timing was flawless, then the system would register the first action as still valid even if it had been canceled! Then, since the skill was technically canceled, it allowed for the player to immediately use another skill, effectively ignoring the normal system restrictions put in place.

Of course, this was not possible with every skill and class. Chain Linking was also not without risk. If one failed, then not only would their first skill be canceled, but it would leave them wide open to attacks for a brief period just before they used their second skill. While this was not too bad in normal situations, the same could not be said for dungeons, raids, and most importantly PVP. A split second could mean death! This was why only a tank such as Niflheim who had mastered this method would dare use it during a hardcore raid.

"Did he know about my Chain Link beforehand? Or, did he naturally pick it up by watching me during battle? Either way, what frightening ability." Niflheim said silently to himself. It was the first time he had seen Halls execute a Chain Link during the raid. He was unsure if Halls had intentionally hidden it to not reveal all of his cards, however, it was certainly more plausible than the thought that had just run through his mind.

As Ooudamu was about to spring back up after being knocked down by Halls, she was met with his shield to her face right after she was struck by his sword.

Swoosh! Bang!

Halls was completely unaware of what he had just accomplished. He did not even know what "Chain Linking" was! He simply thought that the way Niflheim attacked was weird but much faster than usual for tanks, therefore, he just copied his actions. Though when he succeeded, Halls was amazed by how smooth the transition between his skills felt during that moment.

"What a nice feeling...!" Halls unconsciously muttered. The timing was somewhat tricky, but Halls believed it was not that difficult. Though if the members of Blue Oasis or other tanks knew of his thoughts at that moment, they would have coughed up blood from anger. Not difficult?! They would strangle him if he ever spoke such nonsensical words!

'It seems he has improved once again. It is a shame that he is still unaware of his natural talents. Perhaps I should give him a small push soon.'

Izroth was well aware of Halls' ability to quickly adapt and pick up on things. While he was not the most intelligent person, Halls' instinct and unwillingness to yield were two of his strongest qualities.

Though Izroth felt that it was best to let such things grow at its own pace, otherwise, it could limit Halls' overall potential. However, a small push in the right direction on his current path would not harm him.

Halls winced when his shield made contact with Ooudamu. Even though there was no choice, he still felt wrong to fight so harshly against Ooudamu while she was in control of Luna's body. But, since his brother had already determined that this was the best way to save Luna from Ooudamu's control, then he would not pull any punches! Still, he felt that perhaps he should apologize to Luna once this was all over, otherwise, he would feel too awkward about things.

BANG!

Halls' shield collided with Ooudamu causing a small crater to form from the impact. He had just used the skill Shield Smash and even though it was only a B-ranked skill, the story was different when used right after Shield Slam.

Shield Slam was able to forcibly knock targets down. As for Shield Smash, when used on targets that were knocked down, its damage was tripled!

Not too long after Niflheim and Halls made their move, the last few members of the raid group finished stepping through the wall. Among these members were Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine.

"Were they fighting this entire time without us? How unfair!" Guan Yu said with a fired-up expression on his face. It had been too long since his last battle and the fight ahead appeared fierce!

Zi Yi, however, had better vision than most due to her Void Seeker class.

"Let's hurry. Luna and the others may be in trouble." Zi Yi stated as she hurried forward.

When Guan Yu and Valentine heard her words, the two became serious as they also increased their speed. If one of their comrades were in trouble, then naturally they would not sit back and watch idly!

When Izroth saw Zi Yi and the others rush forward with serious expressions on their faces, he fell back to intercept them. After all, he could not allow the incident with Halls to repeat itself.

Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine were surprised when Izroth suddenly appeared in front of them. If Luna or Halls were in trouble, they knew that Izroth would be the last person to stand back and do nothing. As someone who personally offended one of the former top ten guilds Sage Falls and remained unafraid of the consequences, how could he possibly fear anyone else?

"View her status." Izroth explained the situation in three simple words before using Enhanced Instantaneous Movement to immediately rejoin the battle. He knew that was more than enough information for someone like Zi Yi and Valentine to comprehend. As for Guan Yu, Izroth did not have to worry since he was with Zi Yi and Valentine, but even he should understand with a simple gaze.

Although the three were surprised by Izroth's sudden appearance and disappearance, they did just as he instructed; the three of them checked Luna's status.

Valentine released a sigh and commented, "So it's like this."

"This thing dared to control one of our comrades?! It must have a death wish!" Guan Yu roared.

"Since it has a death wish, we should grant it." Zi Yi spoke in a cold tone. She considered Luna to be a sister to her and the price of messing with one of her sisters was not something anyone could afford!

Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine unleashed a vicious wave of attacks on Ooudamu along with the members of Blue Oasis who had just arrived!

With new damage dealers, tanks, and supporters joining the battle, Ooudamu's HP started to rapidly descend!

80%...

60%...

50%...

When Ooudamu reached the 50% HP mark, she once again used the hardcore effect Outburst and caused a massive amount of damage to the raid group. Fortunately, the supporters were able to keep up with the damage-although they had to burn some long cooldown skills in the process.

"Keep up the pace everyone! Do not let up on your attacks! Supporters, make sure you watch your mana usage!" Niflheim commanded. Surprisingly, Halls' HP had yet to fall below 30%, therefore, Niflheim was still acting as the off-tank for the fight. But, he did not relax because of this and instead used the extra time to give more precise commands. This played a large part in how smoothly the fight was progressing.

Though the biggest advantage and contributor to this battle was, without a doubt, Luna. Her natural lack of offensive skills, due to her supporter class, made her an ideal candidate to be controlled by Ooudamu out of those who were present at the time. If it had been someone like Vanaheim or Izroth who was taken control of by Ooudamu, then the difficulty of the fight would have increased by untold leaps and bounds given the number of offensive skills in their arsenal.

It was not that Luna's voice magic was weak, but rather its offensive ability was limited. In most cases, it was used as a means of deterring enemies making it nearly impossible to land an attack. However, if it came down to a battle of who could survive longer, then naturally Ooudamu would have ultimately walked away as the victor with Luna's voice magic at her disposal. But, with the voice magic sealed, Ooudamu's main attack had changed to Superior Holy Smite. In addition, her defensive capability and mobility became extremely lacking!

As it turned out, once her voice magic was out of the equation, a supporter like Luna being the one possessed by Ooudamu was a blessing hidden as misfortune for Blue Oasis!

30%...

20%...

10%...!

"It's here." This was the same thought that traveled through the minds of those present the moment Ooudamu's HP fell to 10%. When her HP reached the 10% mark, the atmosphere became increasingly tenser for one simple reason.

〈Battle Alert: Raid Boss Ooudamu has become enraged!〉

〈Battle Alert: Raid Boss Ooudamu has activated «Call of the Water Sprite Queen»!〉

〈Battle Alert: Raid Boss Ooudamu has activated «Advanced Water Screen»!〉

〈Battle Alert: Raid Boss Ooudamu has activated «Aquatic Fever»!〉

Ooudamu's danger level had just soared to new heights. She had entered an enraged state. But, this was not just any enraged state. It was the enraged state of a hardcore raid boss!

"Filthy Oversiders! You have plagued this sanctuary with your very presence long enough!" Ooudamu yelled as her once beautiful eyes that resembled an ocean turned crimson red!