16 | A Puzzling Oddity

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Artemisia leaped sideways, drawing back the string of her ornate bow Eolian Flare. A split second later, a silver arrow whizzed at the gigantic slime beast's heart—a pulsing, green blob that was visible through translucent flesh.

The beast dodged. Oh, c'mon.

The violent battle unfolded in a humongous cavern, where stalactites hung down like topsy-turvy spikes. A hole in the roof let in shafts of bluish light that illuminated the pool below, at the center of which was the fearsome Moridath.

This was the final boss in the dungeon, taking the form of a globular mass that towered stupendously high. The slimy flesh sparkled due to the subsurface scattering of light, and a network of muck green veins protruded out. The joy of playing with high graphics settingthe RAM upgrade was so worth it.

"Healer!" Croizar bellowed, swinging his mace at the beast's glistening blubber, while Santuin, the off tank, slashed away with his sword.

"I'm running out of mana!" The healer darted closer to cast a spell. "We need to end this now!"

A glowing cloud enveloped both lycans, and their health shot up.

The next second, Moridath stiffened, and Santuin yelled, "Everyone duck!"

All six players crouched down as globs of sizzling slime arced high into the air.

As soon as the slime attack ended, Serafina ran closer with the other mage at her heels. "Temi, we'll distract him. Take the final shot!"

Artemisia drew back a foot and raised her bow. "On it!"

While Serafina cast a misdirection spell to divert aggro to Croizar, Artemisia aimed her arrow at the beast's core. As power surged through the bow, white luminescence ebbed out, and the runes etched on its upper and lower limbs came alive.

At the same time, the two mages wove their spell, and sparks of golden light streaked into the air. Dwarfed by the monster's massive size, they were like tiny raptors facing a T-rex. Then they slapped their hands to the ground.

The spell zoomed towards the beast with lightning speed and erupted at the point of contact, water splashing and rippling from the force. A spasm went up the lower half of the beast, accompanied by myriad tendrils of light. As its health plummeted, it let out a howl that echoed off the walls of the cavern.

Artemisia's quivering bow, now ablaze with pent up energy, shot the arrow straight at Moridath's heart. It thrummed through the air like a swift shooting star, white light streaming in its wake—and hit the target, scoring a critical strike.

The almighty Moridath staggered as green blood spouted out. Then its monstrous bulk fell to the ground in slow-motion. The ground shook, the shockwave dislodging stalactites that pelted down.

The team whooped.

"Oh, yeah!" Santuin's meaty fists pumped in the air while Croizar broke into a victory dance.

The rest of the team laughed and sprinted towards the fallen mass to gather loot.

"That was a close call though," Croizar said to the healer. "I mean, if I took any more damage..."

"I was healing the mages," the healer retorted.

"Noob."

"Shut up or I report!"

"Now, guys, stop bickering." Serafina grinned. "We won."

"Nice ult," the other mage said to Artemisia.

"Yeah, that was so damn cool, Tem," Santuin chimed in and bent down to loot, his plate armor gleaming.

"Thanks!" A smile lit up Artemisia's face as she sifted through the loot items. "Hey, there's a rare helmet."

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