"So, what's the plan?" White said, twirling his blades in an intricate pattern.
"Aren't you the one that supposed to know?" I tilted my head, confused. He did seem to have the most knowledge of the game right now, so he should be the one making the callouts. It was only natural.
"Yea! Aren't you super knowledgable at this game?" Yoona agreed, returning to her happy-go-lucky attitude.
"Wait, when we invite this guy to our party?" Ace butted in, realizing that we had an extra party member within our midst.
Now that I thought about it, when did he get into our party? Party members were displayed at the top left of your reticle, and I could concisely see his name in our party. Double checking, it was most definitely there. The only person who could have added him was the party leader. Looking at Yoona, both I and Ace knew that it was her.
"H-hey, he was the one who sent it first!" Yoona laughed nervously, "and I was thinking the more the merrier, right guys?"
I narrowed my eyes. Usually having someone you didn't trust in your party gives implications to fighting a boss. Since the boss's items are bounded to a player upon drop, it prevents other players from stealing their loot. Being in a party, however, everyone in the party shares the items so he could essentially steal all of our items while being in our party and take off.
I guess I didn't have time to really care about that sort of thing, so I just nodded. Having him in our party did increase our parties total damage output, so we would have higher chances of getting drops.
"Ya, that true." Ace nodded as well, "But how we gonna kill the boss then?"
Looking at the fight, the several groups were engaging the boss. We stood a fair amount of distance away, so we weren't wrought with any immediate danger unless he decided to switch aggro on us. To be honest, they weren't doing that bad, as they managed to sort out all of the chaos and readying a plan to kill it.
"I guess, we assist the groups the best we can." White replied, "Then we can try to nag the kill once the boss gets low."
"Does that do anything though?" I said. "Last hitting the boss, I mean."
Usually, last hitting the boss gave you a bonus, whether that was bonus experience or a chance at a rare item drop. Some people would purposely leave the boss at a low health total, and rock-paper-scissor who would get the final kill. There were variations in different games, but most players knew the importance of the final hit.
"It gives you and your party an extra bit of experience." He said, "It also says your name on the channel feed that you killed the field boss, so everyone in the vicinity knows that you killed it. Good for rep, I guess."
"I get it," I replied back, "Should I go in first then?"
"If you want." He said nonchalantly, leaning on a nearby tree.
"So do we have a plan for this phase?" Yoona said, readying her staff. "The bosses movements are different from before."
"I say we just go in guns blazing, baby!" Ace shouted, getting hyped up.
"I don't think that's a good idea." I chuckled. "Be my guest, though."
"Shouldn't we talk to the other groups to see what they're doing?" Yoona inquired.
"I mean, I guess so," I said. I did want to have a chat with that Hammer guy since he was the same class as me. I wanted to compare our strategies and see how I can improve. It's always good to look to others for advice.
"Ah, but I don't want to talk to that Archer guy." Ace retorted.
"It's alright, Ace. We can just talk to that Hammer guy." I replied.
"I don't think he great guy either, man." Ace scoffed.
"Really? I thought he was pretty decent."
"Nah man, I don't trust him."
"You don't trust a lot of people, Ace." Yoona tuned in, giggling.
"That not true!" Ace replied, "I trust you."
Yoona raised an eyebrow slowly, "Right."
While Ace and Yoona were having their conversation, I was paying more attention to the fight that was currently ongoing. It seemed that White was also doing the same thing because he was observing each of the player's movement. Each of the groups was fighting a section of the boss, trying to surround and trap it.
They managed to get everything under control, at least it looked like it, because the remaining players were finally grouped up again after all the chaos, and you could hear large shouts among the vicinity, probably a leader trying to rally their teammates or a person trying to voice out commands.
Either way, the boss's movements were getting more and more unpredictable, and only a few amounts of players were catching up with its attacks. The rest of the bunch sort-of played safe, situated away from the boss in huddled groups, only attacking it when a direct order was given.
"You think we'll be able to talk to them if they're that busy with the boss?" I asked, not sure if it was a wise idea to be going up close to the boss.
"I mean, I guess we can try." Ace said, finishing his conversation with Yoona.
Yoona gave a slight nod, agreeing with Ace.
Slowly creeping up behind some of the players, we were adamant to get close to the fight without being targeted by the boss. I wondered if I could steal the kill as the boss was about to die and get that status announcement for myself. It was, in essence, a 'dick move' and I would get a lot of slack for it, but that idea crossed my mind as soon as I met Apoc.
I didn't like the guy, so stealing off his prey was probably the best way to make him angry, but then I realized Hammer was also aiming to get the final hit. Maybe it was every man for himself, was there a rule to that? Maybe so.
Both leaders were occupied with commanding their respective groups, so there was no time to even think about looking to start a conversation with any of them as we approached. It was a shame really, I wanted to share some knowledge about my class to another respectable player. I guess that would have to wait until after the boss was killed.
Speaking of the boss, it's HP was going down steadily. Apart from the rapidly changing movements that the boss was making, the boss didn't have any new abilities that it was using so the players were able to catch up and anticipate the timing of the bosses attacks based on reaction alone.
White didn't waste any time going in on the boss, quickly diving at the very front of the players and engaging the boss face first. I couldn't stop admiring his tenacity and recklessness but at the back of my mind, I was slightly worried that he was biting off more than he could chew.
His sudden movement attracted the attention of not only Ace and Yoona, but the other respective groups as well. Both of the leaders of the big groups looked at him with suspicion, questioning if the person that just dove straight into the frontline was one of their own members. They would surely get a scolding right after for their carelessness. The smaller, safer groups that were still left were dumbfounded, questioning themselves if they saw what had just happened.
"Holy shit bro, he just dive in like that!" Ace staggered forward, surprised.
Ace bolted into action, also jumping headfirst into the battle. It looked like the recklessness of White rubbed off on Ace as well because he was yelling in Chinese as he stampeded directly at the boss, causing some of the player's that were in his path to disperse rapidly in the process.
"Ah, come on you guys!" Yoona exclaimed, slightly irritated. "You're not supposed to just go charge in like that!"
She looks at me with an expression on her face that told me everything. The decision to dive straight in was certainly not a good one. Since our gameplan of assisting the other groups was quickly dismissed with that play, we actually had no gameplan going into the fight. It wasn't ideal either that this boss was a pretty important milestone for achieving the experience you needed to level up. I could only look at her and extend my hands out in a shrug.
"These guys..." She mumbles, her voice so soft I could only make out a little of what she was saying. She was probably cursing at them under her breath.
"I guess I go in with them." I sighed.
Yoona was about to say something, but I couldn't hear exactly what as I already leaped into action, quickly following behind Ace. Dodging through the players, I found Ace and White directly at the front of the boss, each one doing their own thing. Ace was swinging wildly at the boss with little disregard to the patterns and attacks the boss was doing. It was only working because the boss was pre-occupied with other players, but under normal circumstances, Ace would be immediately blown away.
White was a bit more conservative, acting with grace in his every step. Because he was a melee class that didn't have a lot of health, he had to take liberties with some of the attacks he was dealing to the boss. It didn't stop him from dealing massive amounts of damage however, as it was incredibly hard to track him as he maneuvered around, his body in a blur.
The boss was becoming more and more irritated, thrashing around and whipping its tail with great vigor. Lightning coursed through its body, and with every sweep of his tail, streaks of thunder spread across the forest, igniting the nearby tree stumps surrounding it.
The lightning didn't particularly do a lot of damage but would apply a short paralyze to affect people within the area. Players that had metal equipment on would feel the paralyzing effect for a slightly longer duration, and most of the sword classes had chain armor currently equipped. Some players that were paralyzed would occasionally get targeted by the boss, but with quick abilities cast by their nearby teammate, they would be able to survive a lethal strike.
I manage to evade most of the tail swipes from the boss but sometimes would get paralyzed in the process. Being at the front was definitely not a safe place to be, but I was rallying behind Ace, covering his eccentric attacks. Taking a few glances at Yoona to see what she was up to, she was standing in a safe place from the boss casting her abilities.
It looked like she was sending out magic attacks plenty times faster than the other mages, but I realized that she would almost perfectly weave her basic attack with her abilities, knowing exactly the full scope of her range and abilities. She would occasionally stop to drink a Mana potion, but quickly once again go on the offensive.
I started doing the same, weaving several attacks with abilities and trying my best to dodge all of the bosses attacks simultaneously. It was working quite well because I was dealing quick damage on the boss with the use of my well-timed skills along with my strong sword slashes. The boss would occasionally send out a wave of lightning, but a quick sidestep would render the attack null. I was completely in the zone, thinking that I was on top of the world. This boss was a piece of cake!
"Yo, watch out!" Ace exclaimed, yelling in my direction.
Snapping back into my senses, I realized that the bosses aggro suddenly switched directly to me. Instead of panicking, however, I assess the situation logically and managed to narrowly avoid a lethal attack. Suprised at how fast the attack was, I go into a counterattack, but I felt something wasn't right.
Trying to activate my abilities, my knees give in and I fall to one leg; a sharp pain invades my lower body causing me to curse out in pain. What the hell just happened? Ace gave me a glance of worry, but he quickly dismissed it before continuing attacking the boss. Something just happened, but I didn't know what.
Ah fuck, my spirit and stamina were dangerously low.
I was using too much stamina to maneuver around the boss. I should've realized ealier, but it completely crossed my mind that the more stamina you use, the less spirit you regenerated. Overuse of your stamina or spirit could cause player debuffs that were self-inflicted. I didn't have time to explore the full ramifications of my actions because I definitely couldn't afford to die here!
Shit, what do I do? The next time that the boss sends one of those attacks towards me, there's absolutely no way I can dodge it. Should I hope to survive the attack by bolstering my defense? Should I use my remaining stamina to dodge out of the way, knowing that I'll have to endure the self-inflicted debuff right after? Many things crossed my mind in that instant, but each of them wasn't good.
Yoona see's my predicament and she quickly springs into action. She closes the distance between us and yells out something I couldn't quite make out. It looked like it was an ability that gave me an energy shield, because another bar appeared above my health bar, giving me more points of health.
"Are you alright?" Yoona asks worriedly. "I just saw you collapse like that."
"Yea, I'm fine." I say with little confidence. Was I really fine though?
"You're using too much-wasted movements," White said from the side, his body bouncing off the boss and landing next to my location with a hard thud. He was fighting the boss, but he managed to find the time to back off and check on my position. He slid back a few steps from the recoil and took a small breath. "Make sure not to spam too much of your abilities."
With that statement, he takes several more quick breaths and dashes back in, disappearing in a blur.
What does that even mean? Sure, I spam some of my abilities, but I take in mind the Spirit usage of each ability, only making sure to use it when I have enough. I knew that the more fatigue you get, the less your spirit regenerates but was it to the point that it was this severe? A multitude of questions entered my mind. Maybe I was just rusty, and it might just be that my skill deteriorated over the years.
I couldn't stop to think any longer, because the bosses Aggro was still on me. He was getting ready to perform another attack, and this one I didn't think I can dodge. The boss winds up his tail, getting ready to sweep the entire floor with lightning, I could only hope to survive the hit.
Activating my [Iron Defense] with the little Spirit I accumulated left, the tail smacked into the side of my body, sending me flying back. The sound of ribs cracking could be heard, and my health pool tanked drastically. The pain of getting thrown around put me into a state of shock, my head growing cloudy, and my vision going immediately blurry.
I only had to endure the pain only for several seconds because the system dulls the pain afterward, blocking most of it before receding away. This is to prevent people from getting crippled only after taking one hit in situations like this. I didn't know if it was just me, however, but the several seconds felt much longer than that.
The bosses Aggro switched to someone else after sending me that far back, so it gave me some to draw out a Health Potion from my inventory and drink it. My health increased to a favorable amount, and the pain from my body receded quickly, giving me a clear head again to assess the situation.
I didn't realize how much damage we've dealt with the boss because I was too focused on its movements, but its health only stood at twenty-three percent now. We had chunked it an acceptable amount since the phase shift, and it looked now that everyone remaining had a firm grasp on the bosses mechanics.
"Everyone, make sure to stick to formation!" Hammer said in the distance. "We're almost there, just a little more!"
Several players yelled in agreement, and it started a chain reaction amongst the crowd. The tension between both of the groups started to go up because the bosses health was getting close to zero.
"You're a fucking idiot if you think you're gonna steal this from me." Apoc berates Hammer. His group was behind him, voicing shouts of agreements along with a few players cursing at the other team. The tension was only going to get higher as the bosses health decreased.
"Ace!" I yelled towards him, "I have a plan, get over here!"
At the corner of my eye, I see Ace was busy with the boss. He seemed to have heard me though because he quickly drops what he's doing and comes over to my location.
"You good bro? I saw what happen but, I can't help you there mate."
"I'm fine, don't worry about me. The bosses health is getting low, so we should try to snipe the kill."
"Ya, I know. Got any idea?"
"What's that ultimate skill you were talking about?"
"Oh, that one? I see what you talking about bro."
"Think you can use it?" I asked.
"No, take too much time to charge up. Boss deal too much damage."
"What if we defend you while you charge up the ability?"
"Ah, maybe it might work." Ace scratched his head.
"Let's try it then."
I gesture towards Yoona, and she quickly groups up with the team. Using her blink ability, she was able to get here pretty quick, minimizing the time I needed to explain the strategy to the team.
"So, we're gonna use Ace's special move to snipe the kill off the boss." I started explaining, "Since there isn't a lot of Berserkers in these parties, we can be pretty sure that no one else can execute this same strategy."
"What's your plan?" Yoona asked.
"He's going to charge up his ability while we protect him." I reply, "Since the charge time is pretty long, you need to activate your barrier skill when the boss goes in for an attack. I'll keep him occupied by trying to draw his aggro. I don't know how exactly it works, but it seems like the closer you are the more likely he is to aggro you."
"You're probably right." Yoona agreed. "He hasn't targeted any of the archers or magic casters in the back of the groups this whole entire fight. Maybe it can't."
"In the case, the boss does aggro onto Ace, you just need to make sure he makes out the attack alive." I continue talking, "His charge up ability shouldn't get canceled unless the attack applies a stun or disable effect."
"What bout that tail sweep move then?" Ace asks.
"He isn't using it as much as before, but that's the only thing that can stop you from charging up your ability. I think we just have to be lucky and hope the boss doesn't use that ability any time soon."
"Don't worry, I can help with that," White says, appearing next to us seemingly from nowhere.
"Ah!" Yoona jumps in surprise, shocked. "How do you do that!?"
"Do what?" White tilts his head in confusion.
"Like appear out of nowhere like that!"
He shrugs, "Anyways, I can stop the tail sweep from happening."
"You can?" I ask, confused. The tail sweep covered a big part of the area. There's a wind-up time, so people can see it coming and dodge it, but stopping it was another thing. How could you even stop something that big!
"Yea, there's a wind-up time." He says, "But if you attack him in his eyes, or blind him with an ability then he'll stop the animation."
"Alright, so we have our plan then?"
Everyone agrees or gives a quick nod. Since the bosses health was almost in the ten percent range, we had a little more time before we can execute our plan. My stamina was regening back to decent amounts and we were no longer situated at the center of the fight, but I was nowhere near close enough to be back at the front lines.
The other groups were dealing significant damage to the remaining health of the boss. Several streaks of light could be seen hurtling through the air, along with quips of wooden arrows arching across the skies. The melee players were also doing a good job, several sounds of swords slicing through flesh could be faintly heard giving a satisfying resounding sound.
Ace started charging up his ability, and that was the sign for the engage. White rushes towards the boss, disappearing in a blinding flash as per usual while Yoona raises her staff, getting ready to cast abilities on a moments notice. I carefully close distance on the boss, making sure to not get hit.
The boss was getting more and more enraged the lower his health got, completely losing all his previous attack patterns and just furiously sending attacks all around the area. A deep roar echoed through the trees, and several Grey Wolves started appearing from all around the forest, their eyes deep red. This was probably the last phase of the boss!
I bolted to defend Ace, knowing that he couldn't take any extra damage if we were going to execute this plan correctly. I got there in time as the wolves started closing in on everyone. Yoona focused her attention off the boss and onto the remaining mobs, but we couldn't defend Ace for long.
"How long before that attack is fully charged?"
"It's almost done man! Just have to wait for boss to be low health enough."
The health of the boss decreased to five-percent, but that wasn't near enough to get a final hit on the boss. Since the other groups were also dealing with the incoming wolves, the amount of damage being dealt to the boss started lessening, so it's health went down at a slower rate.
The boss lowered his body and started winding up it's tail, getting ready for the much-dreaded attack.
Shit, that's not good.
I could only hope that White was ready to do what he was meant to do because at that point, it was completely up to him to pull through or the plan would completely fail. This was it, this was the end. The wolf was about to finish his attack, but before the tail sweep could smack into everyone, a pained whimper could be heard from the boss. Looking at its face, there stood White hanging onto the wolves rear with one dagger cut within its flesh while the other one was embedded directly into one of its eyes.
The boss shakes his head violently, knocking White back and onto the hard dirt floor. White slides back on the ground, getting damaged significantly. This was the first time I had seen him hurt this whole fight.
"You think you can activate it now?" I asked Ace while fighting off several wolves that were coming. The health of the boss was two-percent now, so it was really close to dying.
"No, I don't think it enough damage yet." He said, holding his course stance position.
The boss started repeating the same movements as before, lowering down his position and getting ready his tail. I looked over to White, but it didn't look like he was going to be able to stop it again this time.
This was truly bad luck.
"I can't stop him this time!" White yells to me, "I don't have enough Spirit left to engage."
Shit, what do I do? If we let this attack happen, then all of our efforts would be wasted. I tried to think of any possible ways to stop the incoming attack. Do any of my abilities have a stun effect that would prevent the boss from attacking? I had one, but I tried it earlier and it didn't work on the boss, only on the small wolves. What about Yoona? Did she have an attack that can stop it? Maybe if she tried to send an icicle attack. The timeframe was too small though, would that really work?
"Ace, send your attack out now!" Yoona yelled.
"You sure? It won't kill him yet." Ace said nervously
"Do it! Send it before the next attack hits!" Yoona re-affirmed Ace.
What could she be thinking? Surely she had a plan, maybe she was seeing something that I wasn't. She took a quick glance at me and gave me a slight nod. I was confused, what was she trying to tell me?
Then it hit me.
Ace wasn't the only one with a finishing move.
"Hiya!" Ace yelled, releasing his ability. A colossal wave of dark crimson pure energy released from his blade in a straight line, streaking through the battlefield. Everything in its path was destroyed. Trees, brushes, the dirt ground, even the players had a hard time moving out of the way. I chased behind the energy strike, using the remaining stamina I built up to rush the boss.
Everyone was surprised at the damage Ace dealt, it was the biggest value anyone had ever seen. It wasn't enough though. The boss had a sliver of health remaining, meaning anyone could've stolen it and sealed the deal. The boss started swinging its tail across the area, swishing through the air.
I wasn't going to make it.
In a last-ditch attempt to get the final kill, I use the last of my energy and pour it all into my legs. I jumped as high as I possibly could, dodging the tail sweep by a hairsbreadth, and activating the only ability that I could at that moment.
"Eat shiiiit!" I yelled as I activated the[Lunge] ability, piledriving my sword directly into the bosses forehead.
If this ability wasn't going to kill him, then it was going to be me instead. The boss whimpers in agony as it sways around and topples itself directly towards the ground. It's health hit a solid zero, and items start flinging out from its dead body. Everyone was confused about what had just happened. The boss died too instantly for anyone to react.
「System Notification: Player 'Winter' and his Party has slain Ragna, The Wolf of the Woods」
Sorry for the late release. I had been busy with stuff within the last few weeks, mostly IRL things. Riot Games had also ruined my MMR, so I had fun fixing that. Anyways, I'll be getting into the schedule of things and releases should be more streamlined. To make it up, I'll post two more chapters on the weekend.
Anyways, thanks for your continued support. Hope you enjoy!
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