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441 Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace

 Shao Qingge had regained herself once Ooudamu relinquished control of her. She blinked a few times and looked around, slightly confused. One moment, she was touching the stones around a small pond, and the next, everyone was in the boss room! It felt as if a single second had not passed!

"What a bizarre experience!" Shao Qingge exclaimed as the members of Sleeping Gardenia went over to check on her.

After successfully defeating Ooudamu, the water within the small pond drained out, and a hidden passageway revealed itself. It was likely that it led deeper into the heart of the outer palace-that was where Izroth's true goal lay!

...

The raid group had entered the hidden passageway at the bottom of the small drained pond. Despite the entrance being somewhat narrow and dark, the inside of the passageway was quite spacious and well-lit by luminescent corals.

The luminescent corals emitted a soft aqua-colored light that made one want to relax instinctively.

As they ventured with hastened steps into the passageway, Izroth took a moment to check over the temporary raid buff Touch of a Water Sprite that was acquired after completing Phase Two: Ooudamu.

Skill Name: Touch of a Water Sprite

Skill Level: None

Skill Rank: Unique*

Passive: The user is unaffected by the negative environmental effects within the «Sprite Dwellings». In addition, the user gains a 15% damage reduction against all creatures of the sea and regenerates 0.5% of their maximum health and mana every 1 second while inside the «Great Sea Palace». The regeneration effect is quadrupled outside of combat.

Special Note: This passive is automatically removed upon exiting the raid «Great Sea Palace».

'What a useful buff. Though it's a shame that one loses it the moment they leave the Great Sea Palace.'

Halls approached Izroth as he examined the raid buff and could not help but ask, "Brother, what is that thing on your back?"

When Halls asked that question, everyone in the raid group immediately concentrated on their conversation. They were just as curious; however, none of the Sleeping Gardenia members had the nerve or right to ask. In the end, it would be strange for them not to be curious about it!

"You mean the ring? It's the dormant state of the skill you witnessed earlier. Think of it as a way of conserving energy." Izroth replied.

The 100 arms of lightning at Izroth's back disappeared and was replaced by a circular purple ring created from a pure form of purple lightning energy. It was about 1 meter in diameter and as thick as one's finger, but the raw destructive power contained inside of the ring was extraordinary.

"Heh, when you made that grand entrance back there, I almost didn't recognize you." Halls stated.

He then continued, "How about showing me some face and not taking away aggro next time? It's the most embarrassing feeling for us tanks, you know?" Halls spoke in a joking manner.

"I can't make any promises." Izroth responded with a carefree smile.

The raid group increased their speed and soon arrived at a thin bubble wall. The wall was approximately 20 meters in diameter, and on the other side, one could see what appeared to be a gladiator-style arena-a colosseum!

Without delay, the raid group stepped through the thin bubble wall and into the grand colosseum.

〈System Alert: You have entered the «Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace»!〉

〈System Alert: You have automatically entered «Final Phase: Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace»!〉

'Many dangerous flames are lurking in this area.'

The instant Izroth stepped into the colosseum; he had his Energy Vision Sense active. Immediately, he sensed two mighty flames that rivaled that of Ooudamu in terms of pure quantity. However, there was a harmony that existed within those two flames that Ooudamu lacked. As for the other flames, they were likely to be elite monsters judging from the quality of their flames.

Izroth deactivated his Energy Vision Sense as he quickly scanned over the information about the final raid phase. At first glance, the objectives did not seem unreasonable. But, the most eye-catching part was the rewards listed at the very bottom.

'Not bad.'

Final Phase: Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace

Phase Difficulty: Hardcore

Recommended Level: 54

Recommended Party Size: 24

Phase Status: Incomplete

Objective: Clear the «Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace» and defeat the Sea Bound Lovers, Heski and Mona.

Time Limit: None

0/1 Clear the «Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace». (Optional)

0/1 Defeat boss monsters Heski, Angel of the Sea and Mona, Nimble Child of the Sea.

Reward:

-1,500,000 EXP

-50% chance to receive x1 «Rare Equipment Treasure Chest»

Rewards(Colosseum Cleared):

-Gain 1 level. *(Requirement: Player must be below level 50)

-4% chance to receive x1 «Epic Equipment Treasure Chest»

-Breathe of the Great Sea(Permanent Passive)

Not only would one's level rise by one if they were below level 50, but there was also a 4% chance to obtain a piece of epic-quality equipment! Not to mention, there was even a permanent passive skill they could acquire! This was a huge opportunity-especially for a top guild, such as Sleeping Gardenia. If they could get their hands on another epic-quality item, their standing among the top guilds would soar to the heavens!

However, it seemed that clearing the colosseum was optional. Even if one chose not to do so, they would still receive the basic rewards, and it would be considered as them having completed the final phase. The question now was, what would Izroth decide to do?

Since Izroth was in command of the raid, it was naturally his decision whether or not they would attempt to clear the colosseum or not.

Mariposa furrowed her brows as she entered into deep thought. Were these rewards enough to enter Izroth's sights? Should she just ask him to lend her Sleeping Gardenia a hand in clearing this final phase as a personal favor? Although she would owe him quite a bit, it would be well worth it if they could get there hands on another epic-quality item or two. But, the only problem was that Izroth appeared to have his own set of goals in mind. Would he be willing to take an unnecessary risk? After all, there was nothing known about the colosseum. For all they knew, it could be a series of one on one battles or even a gauntlet style match!

In the end, it was too good of an opportunity to let pass by without saying a word. Therefore, Mariposa made the decision to ask Izroth. However, before she could open her mouth, Izroth spoke.

"Since we have come this far, we might as well see things properly through until the end." Izroth stated.

He then continued, "Whatever this colosseum may be-we shall be the ones who first conquer it."

...

Meanwhile, at a room located within the heart of the Great Sea Palace inner layer...

On a table made of elegant rainbow-colored marble were a total of 14 aqua-colored orbs. But, unlike last time, only 2 out of 14 of the orbs were lit up. The glow on one of the orbs was green, while the other was silver.

"How did Ooudamu lose to those Oversiders? Was she slacking off?" An almost distorted voice sounded from the green orb.

"Although she is somewhat playful, Ooudamu's hatred of the Oversiders runs deep. The last thing she would do is slack off." A distorted from echoed from the silver orb.

"Whatever the case, it seems they have reached the colosseum. Do you think they will accept the challenge?" The green orb sounded.

"Whether they accept it or not, does it matter? The outcome of their fate has already been determined. Isn't that right, Heski?" The silver orb echoed.

"You are correct, Mona." The green orb responded.

"Besides, what is there to worry about? That place was created by Krr. Even though he entered his state of Torpor, he left behind a strand of his will to manage it-its power is still not to be underestimated. Would any Oversider dare challenge it?" The silver orb chuckled.

The light from both orbs dimmed as the echoes of the two voices drifted away.

...

Mariposa was secretly relieved by Izroth's choice. If there were ever doubts that lingered in her heart before this moment, they all vanished without a trace. From now on, she made a promise to herself. No matter what happened in the future, her Sleeping Gardenia would side with Izroth!

The raid group walked forward until they made it to the center of the colosseum.

Rmmmmble!

The ground tremored violently as the loud cheers and roars of a crowd echoed throughout the colosseum. The strange thing, however, was that there were no other people within the colosseum itself!

"Where is this noise coming from? So loud!" Guan Yu exclaimed at the sudden wave of cheers.

All of a sudden, the tremors stopped, and the sound of the crowd died down.

"Welcome travelers! I am Krr, owner of this majestic Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace! Tell me, do you wish to challenge my colosseum?!" The voice reverberated throughout the entire colosseum.

〈System Alert: Do you wish to challenge the «Colosseum of the Great Sea Palace»? (Warning: Once you accept, you must complete this task in order to clear the raid successfully!)〉

"We accept." Izroth answered without hesitation. Was he the type of person who was afraid to accept a challenge?!

"Heh, I like your style! You're alright-for a revolting Oversider." Krr stated.

He then continued, "Even though you are Oversiders, the same just rules of the colosseum applies to anyone who enters this sacred place. Survive or die."

After that statement, Krr's voice grew quiet was the numerous gates located on all sides of the colosseum began to open. At the same time, water started to flow into the center of the colosseum. While it was flowing slowly, at its current rate, it would only take around 10-15 minutes for the entire colosseum to be submerged in water!

"Stay alert!" Mariposa warned as Sleeping Gardenia repositioned themselves into a battle formation.

"Hahaha, I've always wanted to be a gladiator like in those old stories!" Guan Yu said as he brandished his guandao.

"How can you enjoy such a barbaric sport?" Zi Yi scoffed as she aimed at one of the opened gates.

From one of the gates came a humanoid sea creature that stood nearly 2 meters tall with webbed fingers and feet with scaly green skin and beady black eyes.

Name: Bikrosh(Elite)

Level: 50

HP: 200,000 (100%)

Hardcore Effect(s): [Propogate][Erosion]

In total, there were eight gates. Above each gate were six gemstones that illuminated a red hue along with two gemstones twice their size-one that was lit up green and the other silver-placed above them. Every gate released a Bikrosh with identical hardcore effects, and when the sea creatures stepped out of the gate, one of the red gemstones became translucent.

Each Bikrosh was equipped with some sort of armor and weapon that differed from creature to creature. Their speed was surprisingly slow and stiff-they did not appear to be in a hurry to engage in combat. However, as more water started to pour into the colosseum slowly, the speed of the Bikrosh began to increase at a visible rate!

"So, all we have to do is defeat these guys, and we'll clear the colosseum?" Halls asked. But, wasn't this a bit too easy to acquire a permanent skill and a chance to obtain an epic-quality item?

Name: Bikrosh(Elite)

Level: 50

HP: 400,000 (100%)

Hardcore Effect(s): [Bulk][Softening]

But, ten seconds later, before the first wave of slow Bikrosh could even reach the raid group, the gates released a second wave of Bikrosh with a different set of hardcore effects! At the same time, another one of the red gemstones turned clear. Now, there were only four that remained above each gate.

Mariposa's facial expression darkened. She quickly picked up on the way the gates worked. Every time a Bikrosh stepped out, one of the gemstones above the gates would lose its glimmer. They would then have to be prepared to deal with a new set of hardcore effects from every new wave of the Bikrosh, who were all elite monsters! To make matters worse, their speed was slow now, but Mariposa observed that they were becoming faster as more water appeared on the battlefield.

Although Izroth's skill was powerful, Mariposa was confident that there had to be some sort of limit to its usage. If that skill ran out, would they be able to handle the waves of Bikrosh?