Teaser I: Double Whammy

“Oriyaaa!” Rexar roared, nailing an Arctic Dire Wolf in the ribs as it menacingly hurled itself at him, razor sharp fangs and saliva narrowly missing his cheek.

Gavric, akin to an unyielding fortress, raised his mighty shield to thwart an attack aimed at his jugular. He then thrusted his one-handed sword forward, impaling the miserable fiend.

In the rear-guard, Lyanna, the sub-damage dealer, loosened her arrows, her aim strong and true. With a cool demeanor, she skillfully targeted the eyes and vulnerable underbelly of the creatures not shielded by ice shards.

Elena, the main damage dealer, raised her staff as an incantation rolled off her tongue with poetic grace. The wolves that were already aflame from an explosion howled as they were consumed by even fiercer flames.

Milo stood amongst the damage dealers, giving heals and buffs as needed. Safeguarding the trio from the rear was Finnian, his blade ringing as he cleaved through his enemies like tofu.

SHINNG!

His weapon drew a white trajectory that severed a wolf’s head from its body. As the lifeless corpse fell to the ground, decapitated, the samurai warrior raised his sword and brought it down in a sharp arc, flicking the crimson stain from the gleaming blade.

Simultaneously, Daisuke and Zephyr played a versatile role—keeping a vigilant watch on the battlefield, dispatching monsters, and providing aid as required. With this coordinated team formation, the party efficiently eliminated the remaining Arctic Dire Wolves.

“Is everyone alright?” asked Daisuke.

“Yup.”

“Kiyuu~

“Too easy.”

“Recycling my arrows is a pain, but I’m okay otherwise.”

Elena, Rexar, Lyanna, and Zephyr, a small wolf, responded with enthusiasm and vigor, their spirits undeterred. Meanwhile, Gavric and Finnian simply gave a thumbs up in affirmation.

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For a moment, silence fell, but a palpable wave of bloodlust suddenly arrested the atmosphere, almost deafening in its intensity. Then, a pair of malevolent eyes, glinting like frozen sapphires, pierced through the inky darkness like twin lanterns.

PLOP-PLOP-PLOP!

The steady footfalls echoed throughout the cavern, sending shivers down everyone’s spine. As the eyes slowly emerged into the light, a monstrous beast was revealed, one that rivaled the previous Floor Guardian in its sheer, imposing presence.

Much like the Arctic Dire Wolves, the creature’s body bore accents of protective ice, and the ice formation around its neck resembled the majestic mane of a lion. With each step, a bone-chilling aura followed, transforming the surroundings into a frigid wasteland.

DING!

[The Floor Guardian is infuriated by the death of its kin.] [Glacial Dire Wolf | Lvl 26 | Floor Guardian]

RAWRRRRRR!

An ear-splitting roar tore through the silence, shaking the stone walls and sending chilling gusts through the chamber, leaving everyone quaking in fear and shivering from the cold. Icicle-laden rock formations dislodged from the ceiling, plummeting like menacing death traps.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, in a jaw-dropping turn of events, a blinding bolt of lightning surged from the cave’s dark ceiling, striking the beast like a powerful tractor beam. The resulting thunderclap reverberated even more loudly than the creature’s prior roar.

The Glacial Dire Wolf convulsed, its once powerful and icy form now steaming and charred. It collapsed lifelessly, a smoldering husk. Emerging from the shadows, a larger, more imposing beast approached with deliberate strides. It clamped its massive jaws around the neck of the motionless Floor Guardian, dragging and flailing the lifeless body as though it were a mere rag doll, until it hung limp.

Time seemed to slow as the shards of ice that once encompassed the guardian’s mane broke free, falling to the ground like panes of glass. The party’s mortified expressions were reflected in the fragments. Elena blanched, her eyes quivering with dread, while Gavric and Rexar took a step back, their faces slick with sweat. The blood drained from Milo and Lyanna’s faces, and the sword in Finnian’s hand loosened, his shoulders slumping.

Gradually, the fiend turned its malevolent gaze toward the humans, blood dripping from its maw. A shiver coursed through the onlookers as they confronted the formidable force that had just effortlessly dispatched the guardian.

DING!

[The Dungeon Boss awakens, seeking retribution against those who have disrupted its peaceful slumber.] [Volturax | Lvl 30 | Dungeon Boss]

A thunderous roar, making the Floor Guardian’s pale in comparison, resounded through the cavern. The creature’s appearance was a grotesque sight. Its body was adorned with an array of jagged spikes—a nightmarish fusion of bone and exoskeleton, forming a frightening carapace-like exterior.

Lime-blue electricity crackled and danced across its frame, resembling venomous serpents. The eerie, flickering radiance cast an unsettling glow, emphasizing the lupine characteristics of the monstrous beast. It appeared prehistoric, evoking memories of creatures from the ancient Cretaceous Period.

“Formation E!” Daisuke bellowed urgently, the booming sound of his voice jostling the party, wrenching them from the icy grip of fear.

“OWOOOO!”

With Zephyr drawing the creature’s attention using his Antagonize skill, Gavric and Rexar swiftly repositioned themselves to protect the damage dealers and healer.

Elena, in turn, wisely ceased her attacks; mages possessed formidable attack power, making them prone to inadvertently pulling the aggro of monsters. And they couldn’t afford such risks until they discerned the Dungeon Boss’s weaknesses and combat mechanics.

BOOOOOM!

The Volturax brought its claws down like multiple guillotines stitched together, gorging out a section of the wall as it targeted the elusive Zephyr, who darted around like an infuriating fly.

At the same time, Daisuke and Finnian launched their offensive while Milo provided crucial buffs from a safe distance.

Daisuke took a deep breath, his expression unwavering as he and Finnian closed in on the fiend’s hind legs. It’s alright, he reassured himself, his expression controlled. I have buffs from my titles.

[Pathfinder] [Rank: Epic

Lvl: 1

Proficiency: 0%

Given to those who have glimpsed the elusive Hidden Dungeon. The initial rank is established by your level of involvement in discovering, entering, clearing, or failing of the dungeon.

Title Effect:

▪︎ Increases attack power against dungeon-based monsters by 15%. The percentage scales with the Title’s Rank.]

[Master of Divine Beast] [Rank: Legendary

Earning the affection and unwavering loyalty of a Divine Beast transcends the abilities of even the most skilled beast tamers. In reverence to the bond woven through trials and tribulations, Zephyr pledges to safeguard his master with every essence of his being, a vow sealed in blood and tears for eternity.

Title Effect:

▪︎ All Stats will increase by 12% while hunting with Zephyr.

▪︎ If your health falls below 25%, Zephyr will rush to your side. In that moment, his Strength, Defense, and Agility will increase by 40% for 60 seconds.]

And I recently leveled up.

[Name: Haxks

Race: Human

Level: 20 | EXP: 33,688/62,500 (53.90%)

Class: None

Affiliation: Adventures’ Guild | Merchants’ Guild

Title: Lone Wolf, Pathfinder, Unwavering Spirit, Congenial Denizen, Master of Divine Beast, Devoted Hunter

HP: 2669/2669 | MP: 313/313

Strength: 62 (+28) | Stamina: 96 (+25) | Agility: 105 (+48) | Intelligence: 26 (+8) | Dexterity: 16 (+41) | Composure: 7 (+1) | Indomitable: 5 (+1)

Stat Points: 0]

CLANGGGG!

And I’m not alone, he asserted as both his and Finnian’s weapons struck the creature’s hind legs. However, they couldn’t make a dent in its hard hide, let alone sever its tendons.

And the Volturax didn’t even spare them a sidelong glance, but Daisuke refused to despair. Seizing an opportunity, he thrust the Lipanthyer’s Fang between the creature’s paws. But, unlike the Inferno Wolf, there was no soft, vulnerable skin for the weapon to pierce, and his expression contorted into shock.

In the next instant, the Volturax’s spiked tail lashed out like a colossal mace. Daisuke leaped in front of Finnian just in the nick of time, crossing his weapons in a defensive stance. His eyes widened as the appendage collided with a transparent, hexagon-shaped barrier forged from mana.

DING!

[The active skill «Impeccable Parry» has been acquired.]

[Impeccable Parry] [Rank: Epic

Classification: Active Skill

Lvl: 1

Proficiency: 0%

In the hands of a true weapons master, the enemy’s attacks become a canvas waiting to be shaped.

Skill Effect:

▪︎ While wielding a weapon, you have the ability to parry an enemy’s physical attack if performed at the right instant.

▪︎ In the rare instance that damage is received, it first depletes your stamina and mana. Only when both resources are exhausted will your HP be affected.

Mana Cost: None

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Skill Cooldown: 30 Seconds]

Daisuke felt a surge of excitement that he had learned a new skill, but that fleeting dopamine rush was short-lived. A profound sense of dread gnawed at the pit of his stomach as he began to lift off the ground.

Even though he managed to parry the attack, the force launched both him and Finnian across the room like projectiles fired from a ballista. They collided with the cavern wall, and time seemed to stretch out in that frozen moment. The Volturax followed up with a swift, deadly bolt of lightning.

Daisuke reacted, demonstrating what the 105 stat points in agility was capable of. Despite being wedged into the wall some 12 feet above the ground, he grabbed Finnian, found his footing in the crater they had made, and forcefully pushed off the wall.

The Volturax roared in outrage, its spiritual pressure saturating the chamber like a thick miasma. The beast’s eyes locked onto the tenacious duo who had escaped its divine judgment, determined to prove that lightning could indeed strike twice.

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