679 Gan Ceann


    The sound of the ground breaking apart echoed throughout the first stage as the earth shook uncontrollably.

    On Morrighan's magic screen was the image of a fissure that branched out from the aperture.

    The fissure formed in the earth and was headed right for Izroth's party. And, at its current rate, it would reach them in less than five seconds!

    "Something's tunneling towards us! Everyone spread out and get ready! I'll build aggro the moment it shows itself!" Niflheim stated as he positioned himself to be on a direct collision course for the opening fissure.

    At the same time, Izroth and the remaining party members moved a few meters away from Niflheim.

    As the party's tank, Niflheim had to ensure that he was the primary target. There was no telling how much damage whatever emerged would do, and out of everyone present, he had the greatest chances of surviving.

    Niflheim was confident that not even a level 60 world boss could take him out in a single strike with his current defenses and HP, even if he took its strike head-on without blocking. Not to mention, because of Gram's buff Steadfast, he did not have to worry about wasting his own skills to escape from any potential crowd control.


    Suddenly, the tremors spiked to a terrifying degree, causing nearly everyone to lose their balance in the process. However, after going on for a few seconds, something unexpected happened-the tremors came to a grinding halt.

    For several seconds, an eerie silence filled the first stage as Izroth, and his party stayed alert.



    "?!" Without a second thought, Niflheim abruptly leaped back. The instant after doing so, the ground where he had been standing just a fraction of a second ago ruptured!

    Crrrackle! Swoosh!

    At the heart of the flames was a pair of lifeless blue eyes-the same eyes Izroth noticed just before the phantom raven that dove into the crevice was incinerated.

    Niflheim did not wait until whatever appeared showed itself. Instead, he immediately used the skill Taunting Pressure to increase his active threat level.


    When the horse's war cry echoed, the flames were dispersed as a powerful shockwave washed over Izroth's party.




    〈Battle Alert: You are unaffected by the crowd control of «Ghastly Wail of the Damned» due to the skill «Steadfast»!〉

    Once the flames cleared, everyone could finally see what arrived before them.

    Standing with its head held high was a large warhorse the color of obsidian. The warhorse's eyes were covered by its mane made from blue and white flames. Every time the creature exhaled, a jet of fire and lightning was expelled from its nostrils. Around its hooves were flames, causing wherever it stepped to be scorched by the intense heat.

    However, this beast was not alone. There was someone on its back-a headless black knight with a fierce obsidian longsword at its side and a helmet in its hand. The disturbing part was that the lifeless blue eyes were coming from within that helmet!

    "A Dullahan..!" Niflheim uttered as he recognized the creature from numerous myths and legends.

    Name: Gan Ceann, The Headless Horseman of the Abyss

    Class: Guardian

    HP: [100%]

    "..." Gan Ceann slowly began to raise its arm; however, before it had time to finish, a massive mouth of a beast constructed of energy rushed out from Niflheim's shield and swallowed it whole!

    "Assimilate." At his command, the beast disappeared, leaving no wounds on the Headless Horseman. But, Niflheim's shield underwent a few physical changes. It transformed into a golden kite shield that contained a faint trace of holy aura!

    "Now!" Niflheim called out after successfully establishing aggro!


    At the same time, the clouds in the sky turned gray and formed a vortex.

    But, despite all of this, instead of defending itself, Gan Ceann did not change its actions. Its arm continued to rise until, ultimately, it pointed its finger towards Colorful Nimbus.

    〈Battle Alert: Player Colorful Nimbus has been affected by «Dullahan's Call»!〉

    〈Battle Alert: Player Colorful Nimbus will have their name called by «Gan Ceann, The Headless Horseman of the Abyss» in 5 minutes!〉

    Soon after the alerts went off, a white skull no bigger than the size of a fist appeared above Colorful Nimbus' head. And, right beside it was a set of foreboding red text gradually counting down from 5 minutes.

    "What did this thing do to me?" Colorful Nimbus frowned.

    He was uncertain what would occur when the timer reached zero; however, Colorful Nimbus had no plans to wait around and find out!

    "Expel of the Wicked!" A white veil of light briefly encompassed Colorful Nimbus before subsiding.

    Expel of the Wicked was an A-rank cleansing skill that rid the target of all harmful negative effects. Against a boss-level mob like Gan Ceann, at least this much was required to get rid of any weird debuffs or effects.

    But, to Colorful Nimbus' surprise, the countdown above his head had not disappeared-nor did it show any signs of slowing down!

    "Damn, how annoying...! Guess it's a bridge I'll have to cross when I come to it." Colorful Nimbus grumbled.

    After pointing at Colorful Nimbus, Gan Ceann reached for the obsidian longsword at its side. Then, with blinding speeds, it cut outward in an arc!

    Ding! Bang!

    Niflheim reacted quickly, activating the skill Rush as he gained a burst of movement speed. Then, in one swift motion, Niflheim moved to successfully intercept the longsword before it could complete even a quarter of its arc.



    〈Battle Alert: Player Niflheim has been affected by «True Cuts»!〉

    Out of nowhere, Gan Ceann's longsword was encompassed by a milky white aura as Niflheim suddenly felt as though his entire body was being cut into pieces even though he blocked the strike.


    56,034/72,836 [Niflheim's HP Remaining]

    "This damage..." Niflheim internalized as he furrowed his brows.

    Right now, thanks to Gram's buffs, Niflheim's physical resistances were maxed out at 90%! On top of that, he had his normal defense stat, the buffs from his assimilated shield, and he blocked the strike. Yet, a casual attack from the Headless Horseman still managed to inflict more than 2,000 damage. This placed the original damage somewhere over 100,000!

    Followed by that, 20% of his HP went missing after being affected by that True Cuts skill.

    However, Niflheim remained calm as he activated Shield Smash and knocked the Headless Horseman's longsword back!

    "It's just a Guardian, but its damage output is already on par with a level 50 world boss. No, it should be a step above. Are we really supposed to defeat something like this with only six players?" Niflheim thought to himself.

    As Niflheim focused on keeping the Headless Horseman's attacks from reaching the other party members, Izroth noticed something familiar about Gan Ceann's most recent attack. It happened right after Niflheim blocked its strike and True Cuts was activated.

    'That attack just now... I'm certain of it. It used genuine Aura.'

    Genuine Aura-this was something Izroth only encountered once before in RML. But, he was not sure genuine Aura existed anywhere else in RML. Why was this? Because the place he encountered that same genuine Aura was in Commander Aurie's Dream Domain!

    To Izroth's knowledge, there were only two people in the Dream Domain capable of utilizing genuine Aura, and both individuals were considered the Grand Protectors of a great kingdom!

    In many ways, genuine Aura was several times more frightening than mana. For one, it did not need to work on a building principle in the same way that mana required many steps to generate a spell. Instead, it was more similar to essence and could be employed numerous ways-including amplifying one's attacks!

    'It will be too dangerous if this fight is allowed to drag out. It looks like I can't afford to slack off.'

    Bzzzt! Clap!

    Electricity danced wildly within Izroth's eyes as two bolts of purple lightning struck down from the sky, and the sound of a thunderclap rang!

    The lightning strike startled Izroth's party, but none of them allowed their focus to shift for even a moment once they realized it was of no threat.

    After the lightning faded in a flash, a dense form of lightning energy gathered around Izroth's Sword of The Storm.

    The sword's physical size had not changed, but the purple lightning from Izroth's Call of the Thunder God's First State: Heavenly Descent reached outward, acting as an extension for the sword and doubling the weapon's range!


    Izroth's figure started to flicker in and out of existence as he kicked off his back foot, launching himself into the air in front of the Headless Horseman!

    As his feet left the ground, the lightning element encompassing Izroth's Sword of The Storm increased severalfold.

    The next moment, a thunderclap pierced the ears of everyone present.

    Then, in the blink of an eye, a thin purple line appeared down the center of the Headless Horseman and its mount.
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