2.74 Speed-Run – Elemental Challenge
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After Mia spent half an hour going over THE PLAN, the women ported to Zauberberg.

The dungeon Elemental Challenge was located in the cliff surrounding the city, just a few hundred meters from the Elemental Caverns. Like the caverns, the area connected to the city with a rickety rope bridge.

The dungeon's antechamber was a massive cave with the same confusing energies glimmering as the Caverns. It was packed with people to such a degree that Flora asked herself if somebody offered free toasts.

Mia cleaved a path through the crowd of mages, acting like the valiant knight she resembled. She had exchanged the Counterflow mech-suit with ivory plate armor and carried a long sword and shield. Because her Batticle didn't work in Zauberberg, she had to leave it behind and rely on her Sword-Master, Shield-Master, Warrior, and Markswomen class in the technology restricted area. Her signature grey hoodie poked out where the ivory didn't cover her, and a soft glow caused by her active boosts surrounded her. Flora and two Tollies followed her.

Because Flora hadn't wanted to waste any more time, she wore only her + 12 OV Magical Regeneration set and felt naked.

The densest crowd lingered around the loggy. Thankfully, Flora had enough reputation with Zauberberg that Aiden could pick up the instance's quest remotely. Mia had already done the weekly yesterday on her run with the Riverstones.

Weekly Quest: Elemental Conquest (Zauberberg)

Description: Slay the rogue Summoner Thirresi in the dungeon Elemental Conquest.

Bonus: Defeat Thirresi in the Heroic Mode.

Rewards: 500 Credits and Reputation with Zauberberg

Penalty: None

Rating: C

"Mia, Mia! Over here!" A girl in a pink and silver mech-suit bounced up and down, waving.

"We don't have to meet them," Mia whispered to Flora.

"Nonsense, let's say hello to your friend. How come she can wear a mech-suit?"

"Kitty added an insulation layer. I don't recommend it, one bad hit breaching it, and you are stuck in an inert metal cage." Mia said, paving the way.

"I heard that! However, the elementals have to catch me first!" Kitty laughed. Her mech-suit was a heavier model than Flora preferred, but still in the medium-category. Thick shoulder pads sat on a bulky body without any feminine shapes. Because Kitty had folded back the helmet, Flora could see her long black hair and pink eyes.

Name: Kitty McSmash

Level: 1

Class: Janitor

Clan: DragonDescendants - NewBlood

Rating: A (Global)

"What a nice mech-suit! And so good to see a fellow Janitor. Have you heard of the Church of Evailyn? We welcome all Janitors, Homemakers, and especially toaster enthusiasts." Flora said.

"Hello, Auntie and Mia. Nice to meet you again." A blond girl with a doll-like face next to Kitty said.

Flora hadn't noticed her before because the shiny mech-suit occupied 65% of her attention but remembered her vaguely from her PVP lessons.

Name: Poppy McLaughter

Level: 1

Class: Summoner

Clan: DragonDescendants - NewBlood

Rating: A (Global)

"Long time no see! Your Astral Vision spell served me well. Thanks a lot for teaching it to me." Flora beamed.

"3:14," Kitty said and winked at Mia.

Mia nodded. "Good job." She said evenly.

"What are you aiming for?" Kitty said, challenging.

Mia shrugged. "It's Auntie's first time, so we'll concentrate on a clean run."

"3:13," Flora said, grinning. She hoped that she interpreted the number right as a time and a "the lower, the better" situation.

"Woohoo! I love your attitude!" Kitty cheered, and Poppy smiled. Mia just blinked. "And there are the boys. Hey losers, what did you get?"

Little Hero, clad in white, and SAF, dressed in black, appeared out of the big instance portal and greeted them.

"3:21, and who's a loser?" Little bragged.

"You are!" Kitty and Poppy said simultaneously. "3:14"

"Your beauty is only surpassed by your grooviness," Little said, smiling at Kitty as smitten as a kitten.

"Lame," SAF looked away.

"Well, records don't break themselves. Bye-bye." Mia stated and strode into the portal.

Flora was a bit taken aback by Mia's sudden departure but decided to roll with it. She pointed at the portal. "What she said." She waved her good-byes and skipped after Mia.

The antechamber of the instance was in a cave. The orange veil of the loser's corner separated the room into two halves.

Mia peeked into the tunnel. "Water elementals are first."

Flora nodded. The girl had explained to her that elementals were the only enemies besides the Summoner in the instance. While the elementals between the bosses could come in all eight flavors, one per corridor, the two other bosses could be only the five Chinese elements, Metal, Earth, Water, Fire, and Wood. All of them had different abilities, and Flora had no confidence in remembering the details but trusted Aidan to remind her.

Mia sat down and ate a steak. Flora joined her on the cave floor with a plate of seafood. After they finished, they swallowed their potions, and Flora checked her set-up one last time.

Set-Up

Flora's Magical Regeneration: + 37 MR/min

Embroidered Satin Set: + 12 MR/min

Food-Buff (Eddie's Seafood Buffet Leftovers): +3 MR/min for 30 min

Potion-Buff (Regeneration Potion): +9 MR/min, +9 PR/min for 10 min

= 61 MR/min

Water Tolly: - 23 MR/min

  • Divine Water Enhancement
  • Holy Rain
  • Holy Bolt
  • Reconfirm

Earth-Wood Tolly: - 23 MR/min

  • Divine Earth-Wood Enhancement
  • Holy Rain
  • Holy Bolt
  • Elemental Crossing

Two Multitool Scepters, Toasted Bracelet, Wavering Wave-Ring: - 4 MR/min

Divine Radiance: - 10 MR/min

= - 60 MR/min

= 1 MR/min

Flora was pleased that the Water Elementals appeared first because that meant that there was no Water element boss, and her Water Tolly's secondary effects weren't wasted.

Mia had dissuaded Flora from using Divine [Elemental] Enhancement on herself.

Flora was sad but understood the reasons. If she would commit to one element, there was a high chance that at least one group of enemies would be immune. Additionally, Mia said she didn't want the groups to spread out, so Lightning(-Metal) and Ice(-Water) would be out. Fire-Wind and Earth-Wood had their own problems, and Flora wasn't willing to spend 25 MR/min on a configuration that was not optimal for the circumstances. She was sure there would be an instance in the future where she could use the boost on herself. Meanwhile, she could see how her cute Tollies fared with it.

Mia fetched the Roadblock from her inventory. The thing was a cylinder, nearly as wide as the tunnel and thicker than Abbot Irden's waist. Vicious metal spikes and two handles protruded from it.

"Is the Roadblock based on a lawn rake?" Flora asked.

Mia nodded and picked it up, a feat of supernatural strength.

"I'm so proud of you! Weaponizing garden appliances, Evailyn will be delighted!" Flora cheered.

Mia looked at the floor and swallowed. "Let's go!" She said abruptly and charged at the first group of water elementals.

"You are my tank!" Flora yelled, marking the girl for her aggro transfer techniques.

(Left Hand, Wavering Wave-Ring) : <Transfer AoE> <Holy Rain>

Flora stormed after her and hopped over the steam-rolled elementals. Those poor dears didn't know what had hit them! An oversized lawn aerator! She cackled in delight but didn't forget to wash them with her divine confetti.

THE PLAN required Flora to channel Holy Rain for the entire duration of the run.

Meanwhile, Mia had swept three elementals in the corner and went for the big group further down the tunnel.

Dutifully, Flora pointed her Holy Rain at them while hurrying after Mia. Her own Tollies had overtaken her and stuck to Mia's heels.

The last group blocked the entrance to the boss cave before Mia bulldozed over them.

<Riding the Ivy>

A vine of ivy picked up Flora, and together they barreled through the bunched up elementals, leaving a poisonous track on the floor.

As soon as Flora passed through the entrance, Mia wedged the Roadblock in it, roaring a Battle Cry.

Fifteen water elementals impounded behind it and fired Acid bolts at the girl.

Mia dived out of the line of sight, and suddenly Flora stood alone before a horde of angry elementals. Understandable, if you considered that she had never stopped raining holy energies upon them.

"Uhm, hello?" Flora felt a bit shy. Those water elementals weren't cute at all. Blue bubbling vaguely humanoid shapes gaped their maws at the tunnel entrance and searched for Mia, snarling.

"Milady, command the Tollies to AoE!"

"Right, Tollies rain!" Flora joined them with her right hand.

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet): <Razor Leaves>

Three times holy confetti plus ephemeral leaves dripping with poison rained down on the group.

Flora risked a glance at Mia. She fought with the boss, a campfire with aspirations to become a wildfire.

"Water Tolly, attack the boss with Bolts after you Reconfirmed Mia."

Taking a deep breath, Flora watched the elementals wither.

"Hop to the left, Milady!"

Flora jumped, but a wall of fire still grazed her and hit the Earth-Wood Tolly fully.

"You can leave the elementals. The debuffs stacked high enough that they'll die in a few seconds. I suggest Healing Water Rain at your party, Milady. Follow the arrows to Mia."

(Right Leg, Multitool Scepter) : <Pray: Mana>

Flora stood before a wall of fire. Vaguely, she remembered Mia talking about a fire maze ability. Then, it had sounded enchanting. Now, as she had to cross it, primal fear of flames woke up. The fiery walls blazed heat and crackled ominously.

'Don't be stale bread. Be delicious toast!'

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet) : <Healing Rain>

The flames sizzled where the drops hit them, and Flora plunged into the wall, following Aidan's arrows.

To distract her from the burning hell, Flora inspected the HUD display of her party. The Tollies had burning debuffs, and Mia's debuff list was stacked with not only fiery burns but acid as well. Fortunately, the latter ran out as Flora traversed the maze, and the girl had over 50% left from her huge 4000 HP pool.

Suddenly, Flora stood in front of Mia, the Water Tolly, and the rabid campfire.

The boss was a burning pile, surrounded by four blazing logs. Two of them attacked Mia, and one swept the Water Tolly. The small toaster golem jumped over it while firing Water Bolts.

After making sure that everybody received a healing shower, it was fire brigade time! After a glance at her dwindling mana, Flora cast Refresh first.

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet) : <Refresh>.

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet) : <Water Beam>!

Mia blocked one burning log with her shield, and embers burst into the air.

"50% special ability incoming. Hunker down and shield, Milady." Aidan said as the maze vanished.

(Right Leg, Multitool Scepter) : <Fortification of Faith>

The grey temporary HP bar appeared not only on her but also on Mia and the Water Tolly, thanks to the spreading effect of Divine Radiance.

Mia wasn't idle. Little shields appeared between the group and the boss due to her Shield Cyclon.

Although Flora crouched down, she continued channeling Water Beam and Holy Rain.

The four logs started to rotate and formed a propeller of hell around the central pyre. Heat washed over Flora and her companions as blazing splinters duck into her skin.

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet) : <Healing Rain>

Flora held the spell only long enough to clear the burning debuffs of her party. She still had a few seconds until her Acid debuffs would run out, so she kicked the pyre to regenerate a bit of mana.

(Right Leg, Multitool Scepter) : <Rightous Strike>

(Right Hand, Toasted Bracelet) : <Water Beam>

"25%, the maze will reappear. Ignore it and kick the boss, Milady. You'll need the mana. His debuffs will kill him soon."

Flora dropped the Water Beam and stomped on the campfire. While she could cast three spells simultaneously in controlled conditions, the necessity to channel the aggro-transfer Holy Rain led her to act conservatively.

(Right Leg, Multitool Scepter) : <Rightous Strike>

The maze's fiery walls erected themselves out of the cave floor. Flora sidestepped the one appearing directly beneath her and kicked again.

(Right Leg, Multitool Scepter) : <Rightous Strike>

The pyre collapsed in a mighty crash, and a glowing pile of loot appeared next to it.

"Great, next!" Mia said and raced to the tunnel entry on the opposing end of the room.

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