Chapter 129 - Agardo Raid (4)
Hyrkan looked forward through the small slits on the Hahoe Mask.
Before he returned to the past, he had only been able to see Argardo through videoes. The White-eyed Knight looked awe-inspiring as it looked at Hyrkan. Hyrkan also looked awe-inspiring as he looked at the White-eyed knight.
He had always wanted to create this scene.
Hyrkan wanted to be the only one fighting against Argardo. He had dreamed about getting all the glory and benefits from this fight.
He had achieved what he had always wanted, yet Hyrkan wasn't feeling that great.
Was he feeling the pressure of meeting an indescribably powerful enemy? Of course not.
If he was someone that wilted under pressure, he wouldn't have sought out the Red Bulls guild to set up a 1on1 stage.
He liked this stage. It didn't matter if he won or lost. This was the stage he had always pined for.
What he didn't like was the path he had to take to get to this stage.
Chev had given Hyrkan a proposal as they shook hands. Instead of a 1on1 battle, he wanted Hyrkan to work together with them on the Argardo Raid. It was a very reasonable and logical proposal.
However, when he received that proposal, his worthless pride that he had wanted to protect cracked.
‘My pride really isn't worth anything, but I can't bring myself to do that.’
One could call it a moral victory. Maybe it was a form of self-pity. He couldn't dispute it if someone said his reasonings were fallacious.
However, Hyrkan wanted to fight Argardo by himself. He didn't want any help from one of the 30 great guilds during the battle.
‘If I get beat, then it was meant to be. It was fated.’
The death would be his comeuppance, yet at the same time, it would feel lame if he died. Since he had reached this point, he had to win. He had to make a pathetic deal to be able to get on this stage, yet if he couldn't do anything here, the embarrassment he would feel wouldn’t allow him to put on his Hahoe Mask again.
In an instant, Hyrkan swallowed all the emotions he felt.
It was time to focus on the battle.
The opponent in front of his eyes was the second strongest NPC one could fight right now. The first was the Blacksmith Olf.
With such an enemy in front of him, he wouldn't let the idle thoughts and remorse shackle his ankles.
Hyrkan pulled out his sword. If one pulled out one's sword in front of a knight, it disclosed one's hostility towards the knight.
Argardo didn't have to unsheathe its sword, so it immediately closed the distance between it and Hyrkan.
The sound of a harsh clanging of metal rang out. It was the first greeting between the two.
Then the greeting continued.
The sound of steel and bodies hitting each other was heard. At time, there was the sound of the air being split, but it was mostly a sound induced by Argardo on purpose. For the most part, Hyrkan didn't dodge the attacks. He met them head on. There was a great amount of force felt by Hyrkan every time they clashed. However, it wasn't as if there wasn't an underlying reason why he was doing this.
‘There is a big difference in Stats between us.’
He was getting a measure of his enemy.
When fighting a large monster, there's no User that is boorish enough to get into a battle of strength with it. However, it was a different story when fighting an NPC. Even if one wasn't engaging in a battle of strength, one had to get a rough measure of one's opponent.
What level of speed, power and reflex did the NPC have? Moreover, what level of AI did it possess?
If you know your enemy and yourself, you can win every battle. It wasn't some profound truth, but one couldn't ignore it.
Moreover, a skilled User like Hyrkan could measure his opponent in about one minute.
It was strong.
It was almost at a level where he was almost unable to fight against it in terms of strength.
This was why Hyrkan was satisfied with his choice of weapon.
‘As expected, Ivan was a better choice than the Black Cobra King.’
Currently, Hyrkan was using the Ivan's Sword as his weapon.
Ivan had been a member of the Secret Society. However, he had been caught by the Immoral Prince's madness. He had died in the midst of indescribable pain, and now Hyrkan was using a sword given to him before Ivan’s death . He was fighting Ivan's enemy with it. It was incredibly dramatic.
Of course, this wasn't the only reason why he had picked the Ivan's Sword. Of course, Ivan's Sword was inferior in terms of damage and offensive ability compared to the Cobalt King Sword. However, it had a No Destruction Option. It couldn't be destroyed.
‘If I had the Black Cobalt King, it would have been totally smashed during the testing-out phase. As expected, the Crying Sword is annoying.’
When facing Argardo, it was mandatory to have an Item with a No Destruction Option. The Special Option on Argardo's Crying Sword was Break. It accelerated the destruction of weapons and armors.
At the same time, Ivan's Sword had another useful Option.
The Item had a C Rank Haste Skill available as an Option.
Hyrkan decided to use that Option at that moment. Naturally, the speed of the battle caught fire. The gap between each sound of steel ringing out decreased. Of course, as the gap decreased, the margin of error decreased. Hyrkan and Argardo didn't have the luxury to pay attention to their surrounding.
‘Let's do this properly.’
Hyrkan was afforded a moment where he was able to summon the Skeleton Knight. It appeared fully equipped with its Bone Armor and Madness Helm on.
While the guild members of Red Bulls were cleaning up the remnants of the Corrupted army, Chev was watching the battle between Argardo and Hyrkan. He had to direct the battle, but he was neglecting his duties. However, there were no looks of condemnation directed towards him.
‘As expected of the Hahoe mask.’
It was worth watching the battle between the Hahoe Mask and Argardo.
The pincer attack between the Skeleton Knight and the Hahoe Mask was surprising. The Skeleton Knight's AI was astounding in itself, but Hahoe Mask was in perfect sync with the Skeleton's Battle AI. Hahoe Mask's battle sense was astonishing.
‘The method on how Hahoe Mask grew his Skeleton underlings had been mostly figured out, but...’
The secret behind the outstanding Battle AI of the Skeleton Warriors possessed by the Hahoe Mask had already been mostly revealed. The Hahoe Mask's Skeletons didn't follow the conventional method of Defend First and Attack After. The Skeletons had learned the method of Evade First, and Attack After. It had learned how to evade. If one looked at Hahoe Mask's Character Growth Style, one could pretty much deduce some of the answers.
‘However, no one can fight like the Hahoe Mask.’
Even if one was able to train the Skeleton underlings like the Hahoe Mask, it was impossible to fight like him.
This battle was the proof.
On the other hand, this tag team approach from the Hahoe Mask and Skeleton Knight wasn't producing any result.
This was the reason why Chev's eyes narrowed as he watched the battle.
‘It'll be useless to summon additional Skeletons.’
Currently, the Hahoe Mask had only summoned his Skeleton Knight. If one considered the over 20 Skeleton Warriors and Golem he could summon, the Hahoe Mask had a very powerful force at his disposable.
However, even if he did summon the rest, it would be meaningless in this battle. This wasn't only true for the Hahoe Mask. Even if other Users attacked Argardo together, only two or maybe three would be able to attack it at once. It was impossible to send more into the fight even if one wanted to.
Even if Users clung to Argardo, it was hard to achieve any result. Argardo didn't take any damage from physical or magical attacks. In front of Argardo, Hyrkan and the Skeleton Knight could make sounds of attack, but there was no traces left behind on Argardo.
On the other hand, Argardo's Crying Sword was slowly leaving its mark on the body of the Hahoe Mask and the Skeleton Knight.
If time passed as is, the result was obvious to see.
‘Hahoe Mask will use his winning move now.’
If the Hahoe Mask had something planned, he would have to do it now. This was why Chev narrowed his eyes as he watched the battle.
At that moment, Argardo's Sword pierced through the Hahoe Mask's stomach, and it exited through his back.
When everyone saw this sight, they let out a sigh.
On the other hand, Chev's eyes narrowed further.
The first one to kneel in this ceaseless battle was the Skeleton Knight. Argardo's sword severed the Skeleton Knight's two knees at the same time. No matter how great the Skeleton Knight is, it couldn't continue to battle without its legs.
The Skeleton Knight had fallen.
Argardo and Hyrkan once again looked at each other.
At that moment, Hyrkan suddenly shifted his left arm in mid-air. It was a clear crack in his defense.
Argardo didn't miss the opportunity. It narrowed the distance as it aimed its sword towards Hyrkan's stomach.
Hyrkan was using Bone Armor, Items and Passive skills like Skin Sewing. His defense was incredible, but the combination of the Crying Sword's attack stats and its Special Option ruthlessly ignored everything in its path.
His armor was pierced.
The flesh of Hyrkan's belly was pierced.
The Crying Sword exited the stomach, and it once again pierced through the armor and Bone Armor on the other side.
The hand holding the sword was so close to Hyrkan's stomach that there was barely any distance between them. It was that deep of an attack.
At that moment, Hyrkan had a smile on his face. As he smiled, Hyrkan hugged Argardo.
At the same time, Hyrkan used that brief moment to change the scattered Skeleton Fragments into Skeleton Warriors.
After they formed, it could be seen that they weren't holding any weapons.
They were barehanded.
Of course, this didn't mean they couldn't attack.
While Hyrkan was impaled on Argardo's sword, he continued to hug Argardo as he flicked his finger. At that moment, the Skeleton Warriors ran in towards Argardo empty handed.
During all of this, Argardo wasn't struggling to escape from Hyrkan's grasp. Instead it kept moving the sword that was piercing Hyrkan's stomach.
Argardo couldn't be damaged by anything, so it didn't have to pay attention to the new beings that was showing hostility towards him. In the end, Hyrkan was controlling the Skeletons, so it just needed to kill Hyrkan.
However, Hyrkan didn't easily show signs of weakness.
There was a reason why.
‘I finally benefit from the Life Vessel.’
Life Vessel was a Body Modification skill that drastically increased one's health.
Of course, Life Vessel wasn't a heal-all remedy. If the situation remained the same, Hyrkan would eventually die.
It was almost time to end this exchange.
In a flash, four Skeleton Warriors got close to Argardo. Their hands held nothing except the bones that composed their hands, and they started pounding on Argardo's armor. Then they grabbed his armor as if they were about to pull it apart.
Argardo still ignored the Skeleton Warriors, and it put more strength into the sword piercing Hyrkan's belly.
The Crying Sword let out a cry as if it was happy.
At that moment...
A thunderous roar engulfed Hyrkan and everything near him. It engulfed Hyrkan, Agardo and even the Skeleton Warriors!
Accompanying the explosion, a black liquid spread out as it covered Hyrkan and Agardo.
[Argardo was effected by the Black Sap.]
[It was exposed to the Black Sap. Your opponent's HP will decrease.]
The two Announcement tickled Hyrkan's eardrums.
On top of it all, it seemed Argardo must have realized something was wrong. Argardo kicked him as it distanced itself from Hyrkan.
In the process, the sword was roughly pulled out of Hyrkan, and the sword grated itself against the wound.
If this was reality, it wouldn't have been strange for Hyrkan to let out a scream.
However, Hyrkan spoke in a low voice as he smiled instead of letting out a scream.
He had only one aim.
It didn't matter how impressive one's physical and magical defense was. It was useless against the Black Sap's fixed damage done over time.
Hyrkan wasn't the only one, who had come up with this method. The members of the Red Bulls and the Storm Hunters were all wearing Items that would ignore the opponent's defense. They were wearing Items that had the Option of causing damage over time. They had determined this was the way they'll clear the Argardo raid. However, these Items worked only when the Armor came off. The Black Sap was different from those Items. The Armor Break was unnecessary. Argardo's armor was invincible, but it couldn’t keep liquid out.
This was why Hyrkan had placed the Skeleton Warriors equipped with the Black Tree set nearby. Then the Skeleton Warriors were detonated using a Bone Explosive. This battle scenario was all put together to achieve this.
Of course, if this scenario was carried out, Hyrkan would also be drenched in the Black Sap.
This was why he had prepared the Circlet of Purification and the Skeleton Panda set.
[The Circlet of Purification is protecting you from the Black Sap.]
The Black Sap that was covering Hyrkan let out a foul smell before it evaporated into smoke.
On the other hand, no smoke emanated from Argardo's body. It basically meant that the Black Sap was still there. Since the Black Sap was still present, it would continuously drain Argardo's HP.
‘The Black Sap damages at a fixed rate, and if I consider the estimated HP Argardo has.... At the very least, I need 20 minutes.’
Agardo had an enormous amount of HP. One couldn't expect the Black Sap to produce result in only couple minutes.
If his estimates were right, he needed at least 20 minutes.
He'll see the HP bottom out only after that amount of time had passed.
On top of it all, Argardo and any monster in Warlord had a characteristic they had all in common. While not in battle, their health regenerated rapidly, and the Abnormal Statuses reset after a certain amount of time.
Basically, Hyrkan had to battle Argardo for several dozen minutes. Moreover, every time the HP is reduced, Argardo would enter into a new phase where its ability and Skills would be used in a terrifying manner. Hyrkan had to solo such an opponent.
There was a really long way to go.
Even if he asked for help, no one would have blamed or disparaged him.
However, Hyrkan didn't ask for anyone’s help. He didn't even intend to buy time by going on defense.
Attack is the best form of defense!
Moreover, Hyrkan had a battle strategy that was well suited to this stage.
While engaged with Argardo, Hyrkan scattered the Skeleton Fragments. He had scattered the Skeleton Fragments for neither the Skeleton Warriors nor the Skeleton Knight.
It was the Skeleton Magicians.
‘I'll finish it with the Waltz.’
Corrupted Comrade Ivan.
It was time for Hyrkan to dance for him.
It sprung Hahoe Mask into super-stardom. He once again did the Waltz except the stage was located at the Havanz Castle.
The Hahoe Mask displayed his masterful skills as Argardo continued to attack him. He was luring Argardo into locations where the Skeleton Magicians were throwing their magic.
Of course, the magic didn't cause any damage, but it was sufficient enough to distract Argardo. This was a fight against time, and anything that occupied Argardo was worth its weight in gold. No, it was more valuable.
Everything was going well up until that point. The viewers watching this footage live was in a fevered pitch. They were going nuts. Moreover, the live tickets were being continuously sold as the battle continued, and the number of people, who purchased the live tickets, broke through the 2 million mark.
It was very rare for people to purchase live tickets during a live broadcast. Moreover, this was the first time anyone had sold hundreds of thousands of live tickets during a broadcast.
This was a historic event that would last forever in the lore of Warlord.
However, as the Waltz progressed, the more astute viewer started to furrow their eyebrows. The viewers that didn't like the Hahoe Mask started to smile, and the viewers that liked the Hahoe Mask started to frown.
‘The Hahoe Mask is being pushed back.’
In Shir's case, she had no expression on her face. She had two feelings...
Hyrkan had refused her love call, yet he kept answering consecutive love calls from the Red Bulls. She felt hatred towards him. On the other hand, he was like an expensive jewel that she couldn't have, so she felt an affection for him. Shir didn't have the ability to display these two emotions at the same time.
Anyways, it had been 7 minutes, since he started the dance. In Shir's opinion, he was starting to waver.
There was a reason why this was happening.
Argardo had entered its 2nd Phase, and its attacks had changed. Its attack speed hadn't changed. Instead of speed, its attack style had changed.
Up until now, Argardo's attack had been very controlled in its attack, and now the attacks were getting rougher.
Hyrkan was trying to dance the Waltz, yet the opponent danced the Tango. Of course, a decent dance wouldn't arise from it.
Hyrkan finally reached the 18 minutes mark, since he started to dance the Waltz. It was at this point when Argardo went into its 3rd Phase. It started letting out Sword Energy, and Hyrkan's arm was severed. He didn't have time to reattach it. He needed a brief respite, so he summoned the Skeleton Warriors to form a defensive wall. However, this defensive wall didn’t even last 10 seconds in front of Argardo's sword.
‘The Red Bulls isn't stepping forward?’
This was a critical moment.
If the Red Bulls stepped forward, this crisis could be resolved into nothing.
“What about the Red Bulls?”
- They aren't moving. Everyone is just watching.
However, the Red Bulls weren't moving. Shir didn't think this wasn't the will of the Red Bulls.
This was the Hahoe Mask's will.
He had set up the carpet with the help of the Red Bulls, but it seemed he wanted to fight alone on the main stage. He was expressing his will to die on the battlefield if it came to it, but he was determine to fight solo.
Shir thought the Hahoe Mask's will was splendid.
He still fought on his own, so he wasn't owned by anyone. She was satisfied.
‘Still, he is in danger.’
This was why Shir wordlessly watched Hahoe Mask's crisis.
Moreover, Chev also watched the sight without saying anything.
“Shouldn't we help him? If we help him, Argardo will be....”
Chev spoke to his subordinate as he kept his eyes glued to the battlefield.
“He doesn't want it, so wouldn't it be absurd if we did step forward? Moreover, isn't it best for us to wait for the Hahoe Mask to die?”
It was a very cold answer.
The subordinate, who asked the question, harbored a suspicion. The Hahoe Mask was held in the highest regar by Chev. At the same time, he knew Chev was a very fiery guy. He was someone that had to work on putting the guild’s profit first. A man like that wouldn’t give such a cold-hearted answer.
‘Does he not like something about the Hahoe Mask?’
It meant Chev's feelings had changed.
The change was centered around the Hahoe Mask.
‘I really want him, but now that I see him fight... I feel jealous.’
Chev wanted the Hahoe Mask. The Hahoe Mask was like the famed sword stuck in a stone. If one could pull out and own the sword, it basically meant victory and glory would be given to the owner.
However, Chev was filled with jealousy right now as he looked at the Hahoe Mask.
Chev wanted to fight like him. No, he had fought like Hyrkan in the past. It was when the Red Bulls guild was still small, and profit gained by others wasn't dependent on Chev's shoulders and hands. Chev had fought like Hyrkan. He had often carried out reckless and foolhardy fights like him.
However, he couldn't do that any more.
This was why he felt jealous.
While Chev was brooding on his jealousy, timed had passed, and the battle was drawing to a close.
‘It's one thing after another.’
After he entered into the 3rd Phase, Argardo started to mix in his Sword Energy skill within his attacks. The concept of distance was meaningless now. Hyrkan had to evade even when the sword was swung from a distance.
At the same time, Argardo's Stats increased by a significant margin after it entered into the 3rd Phase. The Stats it possessed didn't allow for a direct confrontation.
In the end, the Hahoe Mask discarded the Ivan's Sword. He just focused on dodging all of Argrado's attack.
One could no longer see the Waltz in Hyrkan's movements. He was just struggling to stay alive.
‘My reaction is slowing.’
There was another element that was tormenting Hyrkan during all of this. It was none other than the drop in his concentration.
He was fighting in the battle as he maintained extreme concentration for 20 minutes. It was inevitable, but he was reaching his limit. He hadn't been in tiptop condition even before the battle had started. If his physical condition deteriorated, it affected his game play. Hyrkan noticeably felt his body become dull.
‘Had I been too optimistic about this situation?’
The letters of death and defeat was starting to crystallize within Hyrkan's head.
At the same time, Hyrkan could imagine all the members of the Red Bulls surrounding him.
If they helped Hyrkan right now, everything could end in a happily ever after. At the very least, he wouldn't have to waste his time as he stared at the ceiling of his one room apartment for the next 48 hours.
The thought made Hyrkan grind his teeth again.
At that moment, he didn't like the fact that he was thinking that way.
The anger sharpened Hyrkan's resolve.
‘I've died numerous times before, because of my lowly pride. There is no reason why I should start becoming afraid now.’
At that moment, Hyrkan took out his last bastion.
He didn't use Clay Play. He simply summoned his Golem. He didn't have time to even use Clay Play.
At the same time, Hyrkan hid behind the Golem. Instead of chasing after Hyrkan, Argardo took care of the Golem. Argardo raised its hand, and Hyrkan used a Skill.
The Golem's body turned into stone.
At the same time, the white eyes within Argardo's helm flashed as it aimed its sword towards the Golem.
Hyrkan stood still behind the Golem.
As he had said before, the Golem was his final bastion. If the Golem fell, he had nothing to hide behind.
Moreover, Hyrkan didn't have enough energy to fight Argardo again.
Argardo somehow had to die or else Hyrkan was fated to die.
If that was the case, he'd rather have the choice in how he would die.
“Come at me!”
Hyrkan used all the energy and feeling he had left inside the pit of his stomach to let out a yell.
The shout made the hearts of the viewers twitch. The words were scrolling up so fast that it was almost impossible to read the chatting window. However, at that moment, a brief silence fell over the messy chatting window.
At the same time, his yell was like a starting pistol that made Argardo move.
Argardo took a big swing towards the Golem, and the enormous Sword Energy cut the Golem diagonally in a flash.
The Sword Energy cut through the Golem, and it even brushed by Hyrkan's side. If Hyrkan was a couple feet to the side, Hyrkan's body would have been cut open like the Golem.
This was how the Golem bought Hyrkan several seconds.
When the Golem fell, the large noise and the smoke that was created bought him several more seconds.
However, that was it.
The final bastion wasn’t really a bastion. However, Hyrkan wasn't disappointed. Even as the Golem fell, Hyrkan stood still. As the visibility improved, he looked at Argardo.
‘Come at me.’
Hyrkan tightly held his final Bone Explosive in his right hand. He wasn't going to die in a lame way, and he wasn't going to give up. If Argardo used its Sword Energy, he was going to evade it then throw the Bone Explosive. The Bone Explosive wouldn't cause any damage. However, the explosion and smoke would buy him a little bit of time.
‘Attack is the best form of defense.’
It would give Hyrkan time to close the distance, and he was going to kick Argardo's body.
From the beginning, Hyrkan had followed this adage, and there was no reason why he should veer away from it. If he wanted to win here, he had to become more aggressive in his attack.
Of course, if a mistake happened in the process, Hyrkan would be killed in an instant.
‘Come at me.’
Hyrkan squeezed out all this strength, and he regrouped his concentration as he pushed it to the extreme.
At that moment...
[You've gained the Title ‘Defeater of Argardo’.]
[You've gained the Title 'Hero of the Great Battle'.]
When he heard the Announcement of the two Titles, it turned everything inside Hyrkan's head white.Previous Chapter Next Chapter