While Izroth and his party were successful in temporarily halting the invasion of the Netherworld creatures, they did not immediately rush over after closing the tenth portal.
Instead, they took a bit of time to regroup and reorganize themselves, as well as, wait for some cooldowns to come back up. During that time, Zi Yi asked the question that was on everyone's mind.
"What happened back there?" Zi Yi asked. Her question was, of course, directed at Luna who had sudden complications out of nowhere for some unknown reasons. While she was alright for the time being, Zi Yi wanted to be certain that it was not just some quick fix to a long term problem.
Everyone turned their attention towards Luna and had an inquiring expression about them. Indeed, they were curious as to not only what was wrong with Luna previously, but what Tererestiaa did to cure her.
Luna gave a helpless smile and inwardly shook her head. To begin with, she had already planned on explaining everything. However, Zi Yi had brought it up first and now everyone's eyes were locked onto her as if they were afraid to miss a word. Luna did not get too long-winded in her explanation and kept her focus on describing the key points.
To put things simply, Luna said she felt as if she was in a dark room covered in ice. However, what was unusual was the fact that she could still perceive the events that were going on around her. Gear's fight with the arm of Nekrostalmenos, Tererestiaa being fully concentrated on healing her, and even the others heading off to seal the portals.
It was a bizarre feeling that was not necessarily bad, but it was difficult to define it as being good. In the end, Tererestiaa managed to assist Luna in aligning the multiple powers in her body and was able to bring her back to a stable level.
Luna did not have time to discuss any details with Tererestiaa since she immediately took off to rejoin the party, however, she was informed that she should not have any issues going forward for the time being.
"Interesting..." Mariposa muttered to herself after Luna finished speaking.
"If you feel any symptoms coming on you should inform us at once just to be on the safe side." Izroth said.
Luna nodded and replied, "I'll be more cautious from this point on."
After waiting for around five minutes for cooldowns and to reorganize themselves, Izroth and his party had approximately ten minutes remaining on the quest before it would be considered of their failure. If that happened, not only would they lose levels, but even the SSS-ranked quest would be failed and the destruction of Amaharpe would become inevitable.
If they failed both quests, they would be set back six whole levels! That was millions of experience points going down the drain and countless hours of their time being reduced to nothing. No matter what, they had to succeed.
'The only task left now is to force that arm to retreat back into the portal.'
Once that arm was forced back through the portal, everything else would fall into place by itself. Sealing the final portal after that arm retreated would be simple and the Lost Page that they originally came to this location for should also reveal itself.
"Let's go." Izroth said in a carefree manner as he started to make his way over towards Gear and that massive arm which belonged to Nekrostalmenos in the distance with the other members of his party.
A few moments earlier...
"You don't give up do you, old man?" Gear said with a grin on his face as he removed the flask from his pocket and began to chug down the liquid inside.
"Ah, that really hits the spot. I would offer you some, but your mouth is an entire realm away." Gear said as he shook the flask in his hands before it disappeared.
"Hmph, to use Imperious Rejuvenation Liquid in such a wasteful manner, how disgraceful. Though it is to be expected of a human. Greedy, wasteful, arrogant, and overly confident in their own miniscule and feeble abilities. Death is something to be embraced." Nekrostalmenos spoke in a voice filled with disdain and contempt.
"I'll have to disappoint you then since I've never been a huge fan of the whole embracing death concept. If I told you to embrace life, would you not laugh in amusement?" Gear said.
"You jest, but I see past your flaws. Your strength is limited by the flesh while mine goes far beyond your imagination. You struggle just to stand, human, do not think me a fool. Even from this realm, I can feel the aura of that fowl creature carved into the depths of your body. It is too late for you. Your death is inevitable." Nekrostalmenos spoke in a cold and emotionless voice.
Tererestiaa was only around ten meters away from Gear. Unless she left the underground chambers altogether, she would still be within attack range of Nekrostalmenos. For obvious reasons, Tererestiaa did not intend on leaving the underground chambers until everything here was settled. This was the path she was destined to walk by the all-seeing goddess.
However, there was a small look of concern that could be seen on her face when those last few words left Nekrostalmenos' mouth. Although she was currently blinded, Tererestiaa could see things that others would only be able to dream of setting their sights on.
She saw past the artificial and superficial straight to the core of things. Right now, it was just as Nekrostalmenos said, Gear was struggling simply to stand on his own two feet. One part of her wanted to go to him and give him a shoulder to lean on. Even if it would only ease his burden for a moment, to her, it would be worth it.
But, in the end, she knew that such a thing would only interfere with Gear's resolve. Just as she had a path that she was destined to follow, Gear also had a path laid out before him that he must walk himself.
However, just as things were silent and the mood appeared to grow increasingly heavy, a burst of laughter sudden echoed throughout the underground chambers. It was at this moment that Izroth and his party arrived on the scene. Initially, they were dumbfounded by what they caught sight of.
Gear, who was supposed to be locked in an intense struggle with Nekrostalmenos, was laughing heartily and without restraint.
"What the heck's going on here?" Guan Yu spoke in an astonished manner. But, there was no one who had an answer for him. After all, they were just as confused as he was about this situation!
"Has he gone mad?" Halls asked as he rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. It was the only logical explanation he could come up with on such short notice as to how Gear could laugh at such a moment.
Gear stopped his laughter as he looked over in the direction of the portal and said, "You underestimate my level of stubbornness when it comes to living, old man."
"Look, it's missing a finger!" Guan Yu was shocked when he noticed that the hand attached to that massive arm was missing one of its fingers. As to where that finger had gone, it was nowhere to be seen.
Therefore, it was most likely Gear's doing! Just the voice of that creature could cause earthquakes and yet Gear had actually robbed it of one of its fingers. They knew he was strong, however, it seemed as if they had still underestimated the limits of his strength.
After their initial shock from everything that was going on died down, everyone quickly gathered themselves and went into full concentration mode. They still had a daunting task ahead of them!
Tererestiaa made her way over towards Izroth and the others with a slight smile on her face.
"It is good to see that you are all well. However, there is still much to be done. The final portal before us must be sealed in order for the safety of this realm to be solidified. But, as long as Nekrostalmenos is blocking the passage between both worlds, it will be impossible to seal the portal even with the Half Mark Sealing Totems. Therefore, we only have one option-" Tererestiaa's facial expression turned serious.
"You must help in forcing Nekrostalmenos to retreat. We do not have much time." Tererestiaa stated.
Everyone knew that this moment was coming, however, actually hearing it made reality set in. Just one flick of that creature's finger was probably enough to annihilate their entire party! How were they supposed to force such a monstrosity to retreat willingly?
"What you're asking for is a little impossible." Guan Yu said as he let out a helpless sigh and shook his head. He was always up for a challenge, however, even he knew when to draw the line between bravery and stupidity. Trying to fight against that creature with their current level of strength was the equivalent of them voluntarily committing suicide!
This was something that everyone was in agreement with. Even if they used all of their strength, the damage they dealt would probably be negligible at best. That was assuming that they would even be able to deal any damage to that creature at all.
"We are willing to help you in any way possible, however, I will not ask everyone here to foolishly sacrifice themselves. Though, I am sure you are not the type of person to send us marching to our deaths. Therefore, I assume you have a plan?" Izroth said in a carefree manner.
Tererestiaa gave a slight nod and responded, "Your fate is not to perish in this place, nor is it for me to lead you to your demise. While I cannot assist you directly in your fight, I can provide you with the necessary tools to accomplish the task ahead."
Tererestiaa clasped her hands together and began to chant. However, even though it was supposed to be a chant, it resembled a beautiful hymn being sung by a chorus of holy beings. A wave of light washed over Izroth's body, as well as, those of his party members.
Nekrostalmenos immediately launched an attack at Tererestiaa when it felt that gathering of powerful divine energy that was being channeled through the Seer. However, Gear moved in an instant to intercept and cut off Nekrostalmenos' path of attack.
"Very well, if you are in such a hurry to die, then so be it!" Nekrostalmenos voice deepened as the deathly energy surrounding its arm increased countless times over in strength to a terrifying degree!
'What is this strange energy? It's something incredible.'
As Izroth felt a pure and untainted energy flow throughout his body after the light wave passed through him, he could feel his body become extremely light in the process.
"Woah! This buff is crazy!" Halls exclaimed.
Everyone else was left speechless by what they were seeing. For a moment, they believed that something was wrong with their vision. What an insane ability!
"I am a vessel to carry out the will of the all-seeing goddess. She who possesses the eyes of truth. She who guides me on my lifelong journey... Go, brave adventurers, use the power bestowed upon you to rid this world of its encroaching darkness." Tererestiaa said as she stayed perfectly still with her hand clasped tightly together. One could see that it was taking every ounce of her strength to sustain that ability.
〈System Alert: You have been affected by «Divine Blessing of the All-Seeing Goddess».〉
〈System Alert: All attacks will now deal a bonus 10,000% Holy Damage.〉
〈System Alert: You have gained 99% damage reduction against creatures of the Netherworld.〉
〈System Alert: Your HP has temporarily been increased to 1,000,000.〉
"Now this is more like it!" Guan Yu said in a voice filled with excitement! With this, the playing field was a little more even now. It would no longer just be them charging towards their deaths. How could he not feel exhilarated?
"You must hurry. I cannot hold this level of divine energy for long." Tererestiaa said as one could see a thin line of blood fall from her mouth at the corner of her lips. If it were any other person receiving such a tremendous amount of divine energy at once, they would have already imploded. However, Tererestiaa possessed a masterful level of understanding when it came to divine energy.
"We were completely ignored by this arm when it first arrived. It did not see us as a threat. It even felt that we were beneath speaking to. Well then... Shall we make it regret its decision?" Izroth said in a carefree manner as he unsheathed his Sword of The Storm.
Everyone became fired up and their blood boiled when they heard the words Izroth spoke. How could they possibly like being looked at as if they were insignificant insects? Of course, they would do everything in their power to make that creature regret ever turning its nose up at them!
There was a sharp glint that flashed through Izroth's eyes. If there was one thing he hated, it was being looked down upon!