Chapter 175: Chapter 174: The Dark Caster Raid, Part IV
An hour and thirteen minutes into the raid…
“The Dark Caster’s HP is at 20%.”
“Damn! It actually took us forty minutes sooner than we planned, huh?”
Even I believed that if this raid took more than two and a half hours, it would be too difficult to clear. By then, it would have fired its ninth curse beam, which would be 256 times stronger than its first one. That was way more damage that even I could deal with easily.
That was why we planned to get its HP down to 20% before the two-hour mark and attacked every chance we had, to end this as fast as possible. At this rate, we could actually end the raid an hour sooner than we anticipated.
[Insolent fools! Die!]
Another golden barrier formed around the Dark Caster and it fired the sixth volley of twenty curse beams. They were 32 times stronger than the first wave, but we had five Unrivaled tanks. Again, each team’s dealers and healers hid behind their tanks while the tanks took four curse beams each.
“Flourishing Incense of Cure!”
“Hah! I wonder what the guys at Spencer will look like when they see our record!”
“Is that all? They’re going to lose this dungeon to us so I’m sure they’ll be pissed.”
Victory was actually within our grasp!
“All of you, focus! This isn’t over yet.” Had I not been their captain, I would have laughed and joked along with them.We were almost done, but it wouldn’t do to let our guard down and flush all of our hard work down the toilet, now of all times. “We have seventeen minutes until the next thirty-minute mark. Surely you’re not all thinking that we’re going to allow it to fire its next volley when we have 20% left to go, are you?”
“Like Jiwon, no, like the captain said, let’s set our record to an hour and a half. We’ve cleared each 20% in fifteen minutes before so it should be possible for us, right?”
“You just need to do your job and we’ll be fine, Jacob.”
“Hey, screw you! I’m the hardest working guy here.” Thanks to my little speech and Jacob’s jokes, our morale was through the roof. At that point, the Dark Caster’s shield spell dispersed.
“Attack! Attack with everything you have!”
I wanted to use Judge’s Gavel again in a grand finale but I had already used it a few minutes before when its one-hour cooldown was up. But my normal attacks were enough.
The closer the Dark Caster’s HP fell to zero, the healer with Monster Detect used the skill as much as possible while shouting out how much HP were remaining.
“The final blow belongs to me!”
“You joking? The final blow is mine!”
“Hey, I was wondering. It’ll die when its HP hits zero, right?” a Shire guild member asked.
“Well, yeah. That’s how it works,” another guild member said, confused as to what he meant.
“No, I know that too, of course. But it fires a volley of curse beams when it loses 20% HP so I was just wondering if it did when its HP hits zero. Like, will it do a final attack when it dies or something?”
“…” The other guild members had nothing to say, as it did make sense.
I heard what the first Shire guild member said as well. “It doesn’t matter. If it does, it’ll only be its seventh volley. Don’t worry about it.”
“It’s as the captain says. We’re almost there, so focus on defeating it first,” said Samuel.
It didn’t take long for its HP to hit zero from 2%. It was over. It should have been over. That was common sense.
[Graah! Curse you all!]
Common sense must have not applied to the Dark Caster. It wasn’t dead yet, and just roared out in rage. Another golden barrier appeared around him just like always.
“But its HP is at zero!…” protested the healer with Monster Detect.
“It’s because you jinxed it.”
“What? I didn’t do anything. I just pointed out something that could happen”
“It’s fine. It’ll be its last volley. Prepare yourselves,” I said to quiet them.
The other tanks walked forth, muttering all the way while their teammates moved behind them. They prepared themselves the same way they did against the curse beams but something was different. The Dark Caster should have fired the curse beams by now, but nothing happened. Just then, the Dark Caster began to chant a spell.
[I call upon the Darkness that is darker than Death. You contain a life that is unable to free itself from your cold grasp. Grant that life unto me. Life of Darkness!]
The Dark Caster chanted something from within its barrier that none of us had heard before, but we could tell what it meant, especially as the healer continued to scan its condition.
“Its…its HP is going back up! It was at zero, but it’s now up to 0.1%!”
As soon as I heard the healer’s report, I rushed in at the Dark Caster, while everyone else stared at it in shock.
I attacked just in case something else changed and I could break this golden barrier this time.
However, my spear bounced off the golden barrier.
==[The Dark Caster is currently invulnerable. It is immune to all types of damage.]==
“What the hell is going on?”
“Is this raid even clearable or not?”
The other party members didn’t know about this, either. The Shire Guild wasn’t able to get this far the past three times. Hell, they couldn’t get past 32%.
“Its HP is back up to 1%!”
“This is bullshit! What is he, a Lich King or something? If he was, at least we could have prepared for a life vessel or something!”
“That’s what I’m saying! Fuck! Why does he get to do this? The only thing he and a Lich share is Dark Magic, so what the hell is this about?”
The other party members spat out their insults at how the Dark Caster literally had a second life.
“Burn his soul to cinder! Hellfire!”
“Burning Flame Pillar!”
A couple mages shot their spells at the Dark Caster, even though they knew it was immune to all attacks, but they tried nonetheless.
==[You are unable to move within the Dark Caster’s invulnerability zone.]==
Back when I fought against the Predator Duke, I was able to Blink next to him when he used Blood Curtain. I had tried to Blink at the Dark Caster when its HP fell to 80%, but I wasn’t able to and was greeted with that same message. It was the same even now.
“Its HP is up to 5% now!”
“Fuck! This just means that defeating it was impossible in the first place!”
“What the hell are we supposed to do now?”
All we could do right now was just watch as its HP continued to recover. I was getting frustrated too. I couldn’t see any way to stop it.
-Shit! What kind of boss it this?-
Wed been properly had. I didn’t know what to do.
I turned around to look at the other party members. Even the optimistic and talkative Jacob didn’t say anything, and just looked at the Dark Caster with a lost expression. I knew how he felt.
-There has to be something we can do. If not, this raid was impossible to clear in the first place.-
I definitely had more experience in all of this than everyone else standing here dumbly. I remembered what the two Shire guild members had mentioned; about the Lich and its second life.
I turned to look at the Dark Caster. It had its arms up and was looking up at the ceiling, as if there was something there. It wouldn’t be weird if something was there, something like a life vessel.
“Look for it!” I shouted at the other party members. “There’s a chance it’s really there. Its life vessel, I mean! Turn this place inside out. Dig through the ground and break the walls. It could even be in the ceiling!”
“The Dark Caster isn’t a…”
“Don’t take what’s happening at face value! There actually is a chance there’s something around here! We need to do everything we can! Whatever we find out now will be experience we can use even if we fail here! Don’t squander what time we have left!”
“Use AoE attacks and break through the floor, walls and the ceiling!”
“Tanks and healers, don’t just stand there. Use your shields and fists if you have to!”
The other party members started to dig through the very ground they were standing on.
It must have looked like we had finally lost our minds but regardless, we all dug through everywhere we could. If we couldn’t do it now, we would have to do it again during the next raid.
“The Dark Caster’s HP is back up to 20%!”
“Gah! I’m about to lose my mind!”
I heard a couple swear because that meant the Dark Caster had just gained another volley of curse beams it could use. We all continued to dig around though, until we heard a different sound. It was hollow, rather than the same thunk that came from the broken rocks.
“Huh?” It was a small sound, but I and the others heard it too.
“Yes sir!” The other party member struck the wall another time, creating a small hole. He put his hand through the hole and pulled out a black crystal.
This crystal holds the Dark Caster’s Essence.]==
That was one simple description, but I didn’t need to look into it more when the healer behind us shouted, “Its HP is up to 39%!”
I grabbed it and crushed it in my hands. I didn’t have time to find out how to use it, but something told me I needed to break it. When the crystal crumbled in my hands, I found that I made the right choice when the Dark Caster screamed.
The barrier surrounding the Dark Caster disappeared at the same time, the healer behind us shouted, “Its HP stopped recovering. It’s still at 39%!”
I turned to face my party. “It’s too early to give up! Am I the only one who thinks so?”
“Attack!” By my command, the party split back up into the five teams, as if we had just entered the boss room.
The Dark Caster fired its volley of curse beams at the two-hour mark, even though it couldn’t use it at the hour-thirty mark. This would be its seventh wave, but we had already been prepared for that.
“Piercing Power Shot!”
We attacked relentlessly once more and when its HP fell to 20% again, it fired off its eighth volley of curse beams. We couldn’t afford to let it fire off another volley again. That volley had done 128 times more damage than its first, and was painful enough already.
“DPS, don’t just hide behind the tanks, attack until your HP is in the red!”
“Flourishing Incense of Cure!”
The tanks could withstand a single beam each, but it was getting difficult to withstand the damage for their teammates.
“Hang in there!”
[Graaah! Damned insects! Multi Dark Spears!”
We all remained standing, while the Dark Caster grew more and more furious. I checked the timer. Two hours and sixteen minutes had passed since the raid started. We had fourteen minutes until it was going to fire its ninth volley. There was a good chance at least one of us wasn’t going to survive it. If that happened, we would fail this raid. We had to end this within fourteen minutes, no matter what.
“We have fourteen minutes left! We have to bring its HP down to 0 in that time!”
“…” No one replied this time and I turned around to see why. They were all exhausted. Their Fatigue was probably too high at this point. Many had trouble catching their breath, as we had all been fighting nonstop for two hours now. The DPS and healers with lower VIT were especially exhausted. Still, we had come too far to surrender now!
We came back with even more confidence that we could succeed since we knew everything by this point, but that meant giving the Spencer Guild another chance and even if they didn’t, we would still have to wait another 2-3 months.
“Listen carefully. It’s okay if you all want to give up now. We have another chance, and I’m sure we can succeed then. But it’s too much of a waste to give up now. I believe that we must do everything we can until the end! That’s what I think! If at least one of you here wishes to give up, then I will agree to give up now, too,” I said to my party members.
“I don’t see a next time as well, sir!”
“I don’t have surrender in my vocabulary, sir!”
“Then let’s go!”