Watching Xue Yu and the Boss enter a deadlock again, the rest of the party sighed in relief.
The battle after that was very smooth. Every time Xue Yu’s Health dropped to a low point, Zheng Yue healed her. Everything was proceeding in the direction Cheng Yang had predicted.
Ahn Sumin decided against summoning another dire wolf earlier since the Boss’s aggro would be disrupted, which could affect the battle. Now, however, was the perfect time for his summons to enter the fray.
A short time later, Cheng Yang reduced the Boss’s Health to below seven hundred. In just three more rounds of attacks, it would be dead.
Suddenly, the Boss’s eyes turned red and filled with an insatiable madness.
Cheng Yang’s eyes widened as his body instinctively moved between the Boss and Zheng Yue. “Back off! Get ready to heal!”
The rest of the group responded swiftly, especially Xue Yu. The moment she heard Cheng Yang’s voice, she sprang backward.
“Die…” The Boss croaked. Cracks appeared all over its body and out of those cracks, leaked pulsing, blood-red clouds which spread out in all directions.
It blew forwards, eroding the very ground beneath it. The first to be engulfed was Ahn Sumin’s dire wolf. It’s skin melted away instantly, and before it could scream, the bloody clouds turned its vocal cords to dust. A moment later, it was dead.
Although Xue Yu was fast, the clouds were faster. She only escaped a few meters before the clouds engulfed her as well. She cried out in pain but continued to stagger forwards as the clouds dissolved her flesh.
Cheng Yang and the others weren’t spared. The bloody clouds swept past them, slowly eroding their bodies but at a much slower pace than the dire wolf or Xue Yu.
At the time, Xue Yu had taken at least five hundred points of damage. Although she’d chugged a Health Recovery potions when she started retreating, it wasn’t enough. Now she only had a few tens of Health points left before she became a corpse.
“Heal Xue Yu!” Cheng Yang shouted. Zheng Yue popped out from behind him and sent a ray of healing light towards Xue Yu.
The healing spell and the potion took effect at the same time that the bloody clouds started to dissipate. This allowed Xue Yu’s Health to increase to enter a safe range. Now, even if the Boss attacked her, she would survive the first couple hits.
After being healed, Xue Yu powered through the pain and rushed the Boss with her sword. After driving them back, the Boss had finally stepped outside the doors of the cathedral. If Xue Yu wasn’t able to stop it, the Boss would start attacking Cheng Yang and Zheng Yue.
Before Xue Yu could reach the Boss, an icicle flew past her head and hit the Boss in the chest. The menacing creature stopped moving, and it fell flat on its back.
Everyone in the group other than Cheng Yang was stunned. Didn’t that guy have a seven hundred Health left? Even if they’re estimates were off, it still should have had a few hundred Health points. How did Cheng Yang’s Icicle Blast kill it?
Cheng Yang lowered his stave with a smile. “Yall may not know, but the Boss just made a gamble with its life on the line. It used a powerful area of effect attack that dealt damage proportional to the amount of Health it sacrifices. This damage is cumulative among multiple people, so luckily, Xue Yu didn’t die since the dire wolf did. It went all-in on this move, foolishly hoping to kill all of use but only leaving itself with a single Health point. Thus, I sealed its fate with one attack.”
Zheng Yue suddenly understood why Cheng Yang leaped in front of her when the Boss attacked. She didn’t have a large Health pool, so if the Boss’s attack was more potent than Cheng Yang expected, there was a chance she would have died. After all, Cheng Yang lost nearly a hundred Health even after the attack hit two people.
“My Lord, isn’t that skill overpowered?” Xue Yu asked, her heart still beating quickly, “If the Boss used that skill at the start of the fight, we all would have died in an instant.”
“Thankfully, that’s not possible.” Cheng Yang said, “The prerequisite for using that skill is having less than ten percent of your total Health. More importantly, a Boss in the Nightmare Difficulty shouldn’t even have that skill. I must be because we’re doing the first clear.”
Cheng Yang was lucky that he had heard of this skill before. Although he never tried to clear the Hell Difficulty, he’d heard about the Boss’s trump card from others who had. So, when he saw the Boss’s eyes turn red, he reacted instinctively.
If not for his timely warning, Xue Yu would have been in front of the dire wolf and taken more than enough damage to die without leaving a corpse.
Now that the battle was over, even though there were some tight spots, everyone felt that the result was satisfactory. They had successfully obtained the first clear of the Nightmare Difficulty.
Of course, in return for the difficulty, the rewards for the Nightmare Difficulty first clear were incomparable to those for the Normal Difficulty one. Although Cheng Yang had no way of knowing what grade of equipment the Boss dropped, there were rumors in his past life that it was Red Gold quality.
Looking at the silvery-white staff that the Boss dropped. Cheng Yang smiled. It seemed like his bone stave would finally be replaced with something better.
Although Cheng Yang thought like that, he’d only had his current stave for seven days or so. If anyone from his past life saw the rate at which his equipment quality increased, their eyes would be red with envy.
Cheng Yang picked up the loot and checked its system pane.
Mithral Stave of the Future Archmage
Forged from the magical metal Mithral, this stave was gifted to a talented young mage who later reached the pinnacle of magic.
Grade: Red Gold
Requirements: High Grade Apprentice
Effect: Increase Magic Attack by 10
Effect: Increases the level of the Magic Missile skill by 1
It was a god-like piece of equipment!
Cheng Yang wasn’t impressed by the bonus to his Magic Attack attribute since a plus ten was to be expected from equipment of this grade. But the other effect it had was incredible. Raising the level of the Magic Missile skill was the same thing as adding a 10% damage increase.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t benefit Cheng Yang in the slightest. Since he was a Cryomancer, he didn’t have the Magic Missile skill. Although Icicle Blast was a better skill, it meant he wouldn’t be able to utilize the stave’s best effect.
Even unique subclasses had their downsides! The dungeons probably only dropped generic equipment, so the only way he could find equipment suitable for his class would be to find materials and have a Blacksmith make it for him.
Even with that depressing disadvantage, the stave Cheng Yang picked up was still a weapon worthy of his use. If a ranked list of all the equipment on Earth existed, it would be at the very top.
Cheng Yang put his old stave into his Spacial Ring, then equipped his new one. Once he left the instance, he would give his old one away to one of the Mages in his territory.
“My Lord, since we’ve vanquished our foe, should we return?” Xue Yu jubilantly said as she finished healing her wounds.
“Not yet. There’s no way someone else cleared this difficulty before us, so there should be something good inside the cathedral. Wait here. I’ll go fetch it.”
Cheng Yang entered the cathedral on his own. It looked more or less the same as it did in the lower difficulties. The only significant change was that the walls were painted with blood.
There was a chest on the pulpit, and inside was an ordinary-looking object. Rather than something valuable, it seemed to be just a cracked piece of stone.
Cheng Yang knew what the rewards were for getting the first clear on the lower level difficulties of the Blood-Soaked Cathedral, but he had no clue what the object in front of him was.
When he picked it up, Cheng Yang immediately checked the objects system pane.
Statue Lifting Stone (Priest)
Double any one attribute of a Priest class change statue.
After reading the description, Cheng Yang’s mind was filled with questions. When he used the stone, would it double the current attribute value? Or would it double the base attribute value? What would happen after the statue leveled up again?
If it was the former, it would be better to wait since the bonus would be more valuable later. But if it was the latter, it wouldn’t matter when he used it.