Teaser II: Together We Fall, Divided We Fall

Like a flamethrower, Zephyr unleashed a fiery curtain into the creature’s face in a desperate attempt to capture its attention and safeguard his comrades.

“Haxks!” Elena cried out in alarm when Daisuke and Finnian crashed into the ground.

Gavric and Milo swiftly followed Elena as she rushed to their side. “I-I’ll heal you right away!” Milo exclaimed as he dropped to his knees beside Finnian.

Daisuke clutched his arm, coughing up a mouthful of blood. “Don’t,” he urged, his voice strained. “I have a feeling that thing… will attack the moment it senses any form of magic, especially healing magic.”

Taking that warning to heart, Finnian sought an alternative solution. He reached for a potion, and Daisuke did the same.

“Try to… keep a low profile until we find a weakness,” Daisuke panted, his chest heaving.

“I-I have a stealth skill that hides my presence for 5 minutes,” Milo informed nervously. “It also applies to anyone I’m in contact with.”

“Good. In that case… you, Lyanna, and Elena should conceal yourselves. Gavric, come with me,” Daisuke directed, taking a breath. “Milo… only use heals if it’s absolutely necessary. Lyanna, I’m sorry to say, but it doesn’t seem like your arrows will penetrate that thing’s hide. Elena, we’ll try to create an opening for you to use Poison Dart. Let’s go!”

“Right!” Everyone nodded in agreement.

Zephyr’s tiny legs blurred as he sprinted, desperately trying to outrun the pursuing beast. His breaths came faster and faster. The air in his lungs burned like bile, and his mana reserves were quickly dwindling.

Lime-blue electricity crackled around the Volturax’s legs as it activated a skill. A sudden burst of speed had it closing the gap between it and its prey in an instant. Zephyr’s eyes widened as a dark shadow slowly enveloped his body, the creature’s gaping maw drawing nearer.

RATTLE-RATTLE-CHENGG!

Just as the pup was about to be swallowed whole, several golden mana chains ensnared the Volturax, halting the flailing beast in its tracks.

Despite being inches away from two rows of menacing, razor-sharp teeth, Zephyr spun around, raised his tail, and cheekily presented his rear end.

“Zephyr!” Daisuke shouted urgently. “Run!”

Heeding the command, the canine dashed away, his small form dwarfed by the colossal monster above.

Daisuke grunted as he sprinted after them. Dammit! I’ve already lost over two-thirds of my mana just holding it for 2 seconds.

But his concern of over-depleting the remainder of his mana was overshadowed by the Volturax’s fury at Zephyr’s provocation. The beast broke free of the chains and spun around like a raging bull, launching itself in a furious charge.

In an echo of their earlier exchange on the 5th floor, Daisuke tossed a vial of small MP potion to Zephyr as they passed each other. The pup deftly caught it in his jaws. “Take it to Elena; she’ll help you open it.”

 [Small MP Recovery Potion] [A potion brewed by combining Lunarfrost Lily and Etherberries. Its restorative potency varies depending on the concentration grade.

Item Effect: Replenishes 450 mana

Cooldown: 20 Seconds]

Now, Daisuke locked eyes with the Volturax challengingly. Neither of them stopped or even slowed down. Just before Daisuke would have been devoured, he dropped low and slid beneath the monster, his blades slicing a long line along the underbelly. However, instead of cutting through flesh, his weapons generated sparks, as if he were trying to cut through steel.

The Volturax’s eyes narrowed in calculation. Its tail descended like an axe, aiming to split Daisuke in half. But he quickly wrapped a magic chain around the monster’s hind leg, pulling himself in to deliver a powerful kick.

The Volturax stumbled but quickly regained its composure.

“Now!” Daisuke barked.

Time slowed.

The Volturax turned its massive head, only to meet the gleam of a long sword. The weapon was poised to plunge into its eye, only to be met with a third eyelid—a membrane that was as strong as metal as the blade utterly failed to pierce it.

The Volturax reared its head, sending Finnian flying off its snout. His trajectory led him toward a spiked tail poised to skewer and pummel him, but a golden chain coiled around his arm, swiftly pulling him out of harm’s way.

Daisuke shoved an Etherberry into his mouth, then a cleverly placed Frost Prism—an item that inflicts ice damage—detonated to form a large pillar of ice underneath the Volturax, flipping it onto its back.

Moving quickly while the beast was disoriented, Daisuke shifted to close quarter combat. The creature’s tail was so flexible that he assumed the base had to be vulnerable to accommodate its dexterity.

His theory proved accurate as both his daggers sunk into the underside of the hide. Then, like a man gone mad, Daisuke began stabbing and slashing frantically until he inflicted the bleed status.

“Aura Blade!”

“Justice Sword!”

Both Finnian and Gavric attacked with a vengeance.

Finnian’s long sword, enveloped in energy, sliced into the tail with a series of swift slashes, while Gavric spawned a large claymore made of mana overhead, which descended like a falling star.

Elena, just before missing the window of opportunity, hastened her spell’s chant and fired a fireball that hit its mark with a satisfying explosion.

The party cautiously retreated as the beast righted itself, its golden eyes wide with rage. A deep roar dispersed the smoke from the explosion, and in its wake, a diverse pack of wolves were summoned from each of the Dungeon’s twelve floors.

Daisuke cast Finnian a silent command, who immediately deployed a smokescreen to shroud the area. In the same beat, Zephyr used Extreme Speed and Divine Armament. Together with Daisuke and Finnian, they quickly went about exterminating the newly arrived foes.

Zephyr utilized his keen sense of smell to navigate the battlefield, while Daisuke used the Eye of Verity and Finnian relied on a skill that detected spiritual energy.

Before the Volturax could use its olfactory senses to follow suit, it detected magic in the distance and instinctively started barreling toward the source.

As it approached, it spotted the silhouette of a mage through the dense smoke and smelled a female’s presence. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a hat and robe affixed to an old spear. Behind it, an illumination skill cast a convincing shadow.

This mistake came with dire consequences.

“Aiyaa!” Milo cried out as he clumsily plunged Gavric’s sword into the base of the monster’s tail. The moment the beast let out a pained roar, the weapon’s owner emerged from the concealing smoke and wedged his shield into the creature’s gaping maw to keep it open.

“Poison Dart!”

In the same beat, Elena appeared and launched the deadly toxin into the creature’s mouth. They quickly retreated as the Volturax entered a blind rage while frothing purple liquid from the mouth. It roared and slammed its head into the cavern wall as the poison and bleed effects took their toll.

Daisuke arrived on the scene just in time to witness the creature’s change in temperament. It was well-known that some Boss Monsters became berserk when their health dropped below 50%. Like Zephyr, they received a boost in speed and attack power.

“Like this thing wasn’t strong enough already,” he muttered as he popped another Etherberry into his mouth. “Everyone, be on guard!” he shouted urgently. “This fight is about to get a hell of a lot harder!”

Daisuke’s words were prophetic, but the Volturax was about to demonstrate that his warning was futile. Electricity, which had previously only rippled or discharged from the creature’s body upon attacking, became a constant phenomenon. And its once-golden eyes were now a fiery red.

RAWRRRRRR!

Another deafening roar reverberated through the chamber.

DING!

[The Volturax’s skill «Predator’s Dominion» has induced the fear status.]

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DING!

[You were subjected to a mental attack. Αφινίτη’s Blessing has countered the threat and preserved the sanctity of your mental state.]

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Daisuke’s heart sank, and a sense of dread twisted his stomach. The System Notification brought only partially good news. His expression crumpled when he turned to look at the party, noting the petrified and defeated expressions etched on their faces.

Elena slowly slumped to the floor, her body trembling uncontrollably. Milo had passed out, and Gavric clung to his sword and shield, his mouth agape in trepidation. Lyanna struggled to catch her breath, while Zephyr remained unaffected, likely thanks to his secret passive skill. Finnian wrestled to maintain his composure with his warrior’s spirit.

But the Volturax couldn’t wait; it wouldn’t—not while its blood boiled like liquid magma in its veins. Every fiber of its being thirsted for retribution, and the destructive electricity discharging from its massive frame reflected its immeasurable fury.

Defying the laws of gravity, the beast raced along the side of the wall in a mindless rage. It coiled into a ball and hurtled toward Daisuke like a giant, spiked bowling ball. Rocks and debris exploded as electricity rippled outward.

Time seemed to slow, and despair hung in the air like a dark shroud. Daisuke’s eyes widened as the meteorite-like sphere descended upon him, and he couldn’t help but wonder: After everything I’ve been through, is this the end?

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