Chapter 174: Chapter 173: The Dark Caster Raid Part III
==[You have entered the 27th high-grade dungeon’s boss room: The Dark Caster.
This raid requires twenty party members to start.
Not a single party member must die until the Dark Caster is defeated.
Should even a single party member die before the Dark Caster is defeated, the party will fail this raid and will be forcibly removed from the dungeon immediately.]==
It had been so long since I last entered a boss room that it was nice to see that message. I had plenty of chances to raid over the past several months, especially when the Myth Guild and the Werewolf Clan had always offered to take me along in their raids, but I always turned them down. I had always preferred to hunt in the dungeon floors and gain more EXP than to incur the Dungeon Blessing and not be able to enter a dungeon for a whole month each time. I wanted more levels than random chests.
[Who dares to trespass into my domain?]
A loud bellow echoed from the center of the room, where the problematic Dark Caster I had seen several times in the videos stood.
“Get ready for battle!” This was it. It was up to us now. Once we entered the boss room, any buffs that were in effect were removed. We were alone.
“Mana Conversion – Fire. Warrior’s Brave Spirit. Howl of the Wolf.”
==[Mana Conversion – Fire Level 2 has been activated.]==
==[Warrior’s Brave Spirit Level 1 has been activated.]==
==[Howl of the Wolf has been activated.
AGI will be increased by 20% for one hour.
You may now use Razor Fang.]==
Once we entered the boss room, a timer activated. We had to deal with the curse beams it fired every time it lost 20% of its HP, and had to defeat it as fast as possible as to decrease the amount of times it used its timed curse beams. It was a battle against time!
“I form the Earth to my will; release the Spring of Energy. Earth of Rejuvenation!”
“Take up your positions and get into an encirclement formation!”
The five teams quickly and expertly surrounded the Dark Caster. Most of the party had plenty of experience against the Dark Caster by now, and while this was my and Devram’s first time here, we had pored over the Shire’s videos countless times.
“Altered Equality.” The Dark Caster was a Mage-type monster. In other words, it had high INT and WIL and relied heavily on those Stats. With Altered Equality, its INT and WIL would be severely lowered while its STR, AGI and VIT would rise sharply. It also meant that its HP would go up.
The Shire’s officers debated heavily on whether or not I should use Altered Equality for this reason, but in the end, it was decided that it should be used. Its lowered INT meant lowered MATT, which also meant that our DPS could attack more freely without having to worry about taking heavy damage. It also made it easier for our tanks to absorb the attacks for their teams. We could also afford to stay in this raid a little longer since its curse beams that doubled in strength each time they fired would lose power.
==[You have activated Altered Equality – Altered Equal Stats on your opponent.
Your opponent’s base Stat points, Stat points increased by skills and items and Stat points granted by specials will all be redistributed.
Calculating all Stat points…]==
==[Your opponent’s Stats have been redistributed.
The effects of Altered Equality will last for the next 24 hours, and you must wait that time before using Altered Equality on someone else.
Stat points received for Kiran will be set to 0 as payment for using Altered Equality.]==
Every single person I used Altered Equality on always became furious. The Dark Caster was no different.
[You’ll pay dearly for that, filthy insect! Disorder and Chaos! Descend upon this place and reveal thy strength! Tangled Connection!]
“It’s using Tangled Connection now?!”
“Everyone but tanks, get back! If you don’t have status immunity, you won’t be able to tell friend from foe!”
The five tanks remained close to the Dark Caster while the remaining fifteen party members leaped back as far away from it to the edges of the boss room. I stared at the Dark Caster in shock. It shouldn’t be using Tangled Connection this early in the raid.
Tangled Connection was the main reason the Shire Guild had failed its first raid attempt. Those caught in its Area of Effect received the Confusion effect and begin attacking friend and foe alike. Thankfully, it didn’t last forever.
It had a time limit of thirty minutes, but that essentially meant that the party couldn’t get close to it for those thirty minutes, allowing the Dark Caster to get one more curse beam in. During the past raids, the Unrivaled tanks weren’t affected by the Confusion effect, but their attack power just wasn’t enough to break the spell for the other party members.
But this time would be different, now that I was here.
“Move away! Judge’s Gavel!” So what if the Dark Caster was furious at me for ruining its Stats? I needed to take this chance and inflict as much damage as I could at once, and create another opening for the party. I charged in and swung my spear hard at the black crystal atop the Dark Caster’s head that was oozing a black haze.
The Shire Guild had told me that this diamond-hard crystal was the source of its Tangled Connection, and breaking it would also break the spell. My spearhead slammed into the crystal, and the giant red hammer of the Judge came thundering down on top of it, crushing it into dust. The black smoke dispersed almost immediately.
“The Tangled Connection spell is broken. Attack!”
“Exploding Fire Sparks!”
“Rain upon my enemy, Earth Spears!”
“Transform – Ultimate Ice Arrow.”
As soon as the crystal broke, the DPS devas hugging the walls immediately fired off their most powerful spells and skills. I made sure to get in a few hits as well, since I had the highest ATT here.
[Graah! Dark Explosion! Dark Explosion!!!]
The Dark Caster retaliated by throwing bombs of black miasma everywhere. Two damage dealers and one healer were about to be hit by one bomb, but their tank quickly stepped in to absorb the damage.
“The Dark Caster’s attacks are… much weaker!”
The three Unrivaled tanks of the Shire Guild had been in all three previous raid attempts. They had been hit the most by the Dark Caster’s attacks, and knew firsthand just how much damage they did.
“Yeah, we expected that. It’s already under the effects of Jiwon Lee’s Dignity and Altered Equality.”
“Right, I know that. I saw it with my own two eyes, so of course I know. But its attacks are much weaker than when our own supporter used Weakness and Debilitation. How is it possible that his debuffs are stronger than a supporter specialist?”
“Damn! Jiwon’s amazing, ain’t he? He was going easy on the normal monsters all this time, huh?” Jacob exclaimed from the back. His job was to just keep Lee Jiwon, Samuel, and Jayden alive. Lee Jiwon was the most important and Jacob was preparing his best heal spells, but it seemed he didn’t need to. Lee Jiwon was taking the most of the Dark Caster’s attacks, but had barely lost any of his HP.
“Hey! Concentrate on the battle.”
“Come on, Jayden. How could I not be doing anything during the most important day of our guild? Don’t worry. My mind never falters.”
Jayden rolled his eyes as he fired another arrow. There was no winning against Jacob, ever.
I continued to relentlessly slash the Dark Caster with my spear.
“Tanks, don’t stop your attacks as well!”
We aimed to bring the Dark Caster’s HP by 20% within twenty-three minutes. That meant the raid should ideally take an hour and fifty-five minutes. We had to decrease the number of times the Dark Caster could use its curse beams by at least one. Then we should have a good chance to clear the raid.
But now that Tangled Connection was already out of the way, we had more openings to attack. The tanks had to attack as well, even if they had lower ATT.
“It’s been fourteen minutes and fifty-three seconds. Its HP is at 81%. It’s about to fire its first wave of curse beams.”
“Damn! It’s only been fifteen minutes?”
“We actually lowered its HP by 20% in fifteen minutes?”
The previous raids took thirty minutes to lower its HP by 20%. Sometimes, it took forty minutes and Tangled Connection had forced them to waste time many times.
This was a record no one ever thought was possible.
“Each person will deal with curse beams on their own until after the third wave. Tanks are to tank starting from the fourth wave with everyone else behind their teams’ tanks!”
Soon, a golden barrier formed around the Dark Caster. It was in its invulnerable stage. Twenty red rays of light shot out, one at each of us.
One of the rays hit me as well. I checked my HP bar to see how much damage it did, and to expect how much the seventh would do. I barely lost a tick and gained it back thanks to Jacob’s healing circle.
“Hah! That tickled!”
“Rest as much as you can for the next minute. We’ll have to attack like crazy again soon.”
“Hey, Jiwon. What’s your secret? Is it the water in Korea? You and Sunbin are really at a different level than the rest of us. Hell, Haein-noona also gave us a real shock when she came over to raid a dungeon boss with us, and now you…”
“Leave your jokes for later and focus. It’s only going to get tougher.”
“Hmph! Don’t worry bro. I know what I’m doing. This is my fourth time here, didn’t ya know?”
Just then, the golden barrier around the Dark Caster disappeared.
“It’s not over yet. Don’t get cocky yet!”
I charged in before anyone else.
[Curse you all! Rippling Dark Curtain!]
Black curtains appeared around the Dark Caster.
“Everyone, get behind me!”
That was one of its tactics to burn time. We had to get the Dark Caster out from those curtains. “Focus your attacks on a single point!”
We needed to focus on a single point instead of attacking anywhere we could. We just needed to rip a hole in one spot and those curtains would disappear. I still had forty minutes left on Judge’s Gavel’s cooldown, so I opted to just repeatedly stab at one spot.
“Piercing Power Shot!”
“Thorns of Agony!”
“Razor Wind Storm!”
All we needed was just one small hole. I kept digging my spear into the same spot after every time my party members’ attacks landed. Then, I finally saw a glimpse of the Dark Caster through a small hole we managed to rip.
“Scatter and continue your attacks!”
After that, we continued the same attack patterns, taking all of its curse beams every time its HP decreased, from 60% to 40% and then when one hour passed. The curse beams really did hurt, as they doubled in damage every time.
However, we were way ahead of schedule and we were actually fighting with smiles on our faces. Victory was within our grasp. If it could take us an hour and thirty minutes to get its HP down to 20%, it would only have two curse beams it could use. There was even a chance we could defeat it by the time it only used one!
“We’re almost there!”
Ed. Note: We won’t ask why the defense-destroying effect from his boots doesn’t proc once during the ninety minutes.