132 Chapter 78: Jayce“s Party“s Progress and System Bought Skills
It was getting near the end of the week and it was almost time for Joshua to head back out for his final exploration trip before grouping up with the rest of his friends. He planned on at least reaching level forty before joining them so he and Lilly needed to gain another five levels at the least this time around. Over the time he had spent training Jayce's group they had come a long way in such a short period.
The slightly functional group that did well against stupid enemies, but poorly against smart ones was no more. On an individual level Julia was probably the one that made the most overall improvement. She had learned the basic spells for three other elements, earth, water, and wind. This gave her a more versatile move set even if those spells weren't all that powerful in the end. She was also able to use a combination of spells to improve her damage. For example while using one of her powerful fire spells she could use a wind spell to strengthen the flames. Combinations like that would do a lot for her against larger groups of enemies. She also learned some more neutral spells that could work on any opponent making sure that she'd always be helpful in a fight.
Marcus was the next person with the highest amount of improvement as an individual in the group. His improvement wasn't so much any abilities that he learned. He did become better with traps and scouting, but that wasn't what made such a drastic change in his capabilities. No, the reason Marcus had improved so much was the simple fact that Joshua had introduced him to a bunch of items from the system that could be incredibly helpful in a fight. From different types of traps to grenades and other explosives, Joshua made sure that he had all sorts of items for all sorts of situations. After seeing how Derrick was able to use basic items to deal major damage to even a boss creature like the Ant Queen, Joshua knew that it would be perfect for the role Marcus played in his group. He also learned a few more techniques with his daggers so that he'd be more efficient in close combat.
For the rest of the group they were able to finish their training in their own ways. Monika had gotten more use to being able to react and concentrate under large amounts of killing intent. Allen had learned how to use his heightened perception to not only see things coming, but also predict other attacks based off an enemies movements. In the end this allowed Monika to be more consistent in fights and made it so that Allen could take greater risk when fighting since he was far better at avoiding retaliation. Jayce on the other hand built up on his stamina and was able to hold off enemies for longer amounts of time in case of more dragged out fights such as against boss level creatures.
In the end the group had come a long way individually and at the moment Joshua was dodging around and fighting them on his own. Unlike the previous time the fight went on a lot longer and it was far harder for Joshua just to pick them apart. The group made sure to keep Monika and Julia protected this time around instead of just keeping them in the back. Marcus was standing closer this time and would intervene whenever Joshua tried to go for the two of them. Of course Marcus wasn't exactly strong enough to hold off Joshua for long, but all he had to do was get in the way for a moment to give Julia and Monika time to get out of the way of Joshua's attempts on taking them out. Then Joshua would have to avoid a powerful spell from Julia that was more designed to hold him in place then to actually damage him. They knew his aura could hold up pretty well, so instead of trying to outright damage him they decided to try to trap Joshua long enough for the others to come over to help.
That's why Joshua found himself avoiding hands made of dirt coming from the ground trying to lock him down. If he got stuck for a moment then Allen could come in and do a powerful blow from behind. In this spar Joshua was holding back a bit since he wasn't using aura blast to do direct damage or aura shield to block any of their impressive attacks. The only abilities he would use were his regular aura shroud and his blink ability so he could get use to using it in combat. Not to mention the fact he wasn't using his scale blade which could tear through Marcus and Allen like paper. That's why he had to make sure he didn't get locked down and bombarded on from multiple directions at once. His aura could only block so much after all.
The change in combat strategy from Jayce's group was doing wonders for them and Monika was able to heal up anyone Joshua was able to knock down. At this point he had put Jayce down several times, but the stubborn fool just got right back up after a few heals. Allen on the other hand used his heightened perception to avoid being knocked out as much as possible. All this together put Joshua in a bit of a conundrum. He couldn't take out the back line since the group was playing so defensively, but whenever he tried to take out the front line they'd be back up in a few moments with a heal from Monika. Clearly taking her out first was the way to deal with their strategy, but everyone reacted whenever he went for her. Even Julia stepped in front of his way just to make sure that Monika would be safe.
After going through the motions and trying out different tactics against them Joshua finally stopped his assault and smiled at the group. "Well it seems you guys have come a decent ways over the past couple of days. I'm proud of you." Joshua said with a big grin.
"Thanks boss, although we still wouldn't stand a chance if you went all out." Jayce said getting a downtrodden nod from the others.
"Well, I wouldn't compare many others to me if I were you guys. Besides as long you keep training and improving I'm sure you guys will reach my level in the future, but for now you're more than good enough to be a part of a guild from what I can tell." Joshua said getting a sigh of relief from all of them.
"Is there any advice you could give us to improve going forward?" Julia asked. "I mean I know we'll grow stronger as we level and get more skills but is there anything in particular we should be looking into to improve?"
"Hmm, I'd say there are clearly still a few things you guys can do to get better and those will happen as you fight more in the future. A lot of it is just experience when dealing with different types of opponents. I tried to mimic different fighting styles while going after you guys, but there will be people or beast out there that are just faster than me or stronger than me. In that situation you need to adjust your strategy." Joshua said before thinking something over for a moment. "Also I'd say if you can get a spell for Monika that can create small shields that could go a long ways against certain types of opponents."
"I don't think there are many shield spells a healer can learn at this stage that can protect them from someone or thing as powerful as you from tearing through them if you actually tried." Marcus said while scratching his head. "No offense man, but fighting you is like trying to stop a bull on steroids. Putting a sheet wall in front of that isn't going to matter."
"True, but the shield isn't for stopping a frontal attack like mine usually are. In that case if one of you don't get there in time to protect her then you've already failed. No, what I'm talking about is for protection against long distance attacks. Most long distance attacks that are too fast for Monika to be able to dodge could easily be blocked by a basic shield spell. Any attack stronger from range would either be slow or have to be charged up beforehand. Both situation would give Jayce time to either block the attack or Monika time to move out of the way" Joshua explained getting nods from all of them.
"Makes sense, I guess we can check it out at the system Auction Shop." Allen said getting looks of agreement from the rest of his group.
"System Auction Shop?" Joshua asked surprised he had never heard of it. For all the things that old dwarf had taught him he sure did seem to forget to tell him about quite a few things. Knowing him though he probably thought they were too small to worry about or some other excuse he'd come up with in his laziness.
"Oh I guess you and Lilly probably haven't heard yet. It did just open up in the hub city recently. Last week while you guys were still out exploring the ant hill the system opened up an auction like shopping area where people could go to bid on skills that other people were selling off. I mean some people do get repeat skills when they go through dungeons over and over again after all. Especially those who tend to stick to system dungeons for the most part." Julia started to explain.
"Yeah that's right boss. It's pretty awesome and I'm sure we could find a decent skill for Monika there, but be careful if you do decide to buy skills from there. Make sure to read the description since there can be multiple of the same skill yet they could be different version of it. For example I did see your echo strike skill at the auction shop once before, but it was an incredibly weakened version of it only giving people a five percent effect at level one instead of twenty percent like yours." Jayce explained.
His explanation made sense to Joshua just going off of the large difference between the blink skill he had and the one that Derrick had. "Oh one other thing." Julia said getting Joshua's attention once again. "There are also things called mini skills at the auction shop as well that are sold directly by the system. They are little skills that aren't all that powerful or anything. It's similar to basic spells like energy bolt, anyone can use these skills as long as they meet the requirement."
"I'm guessing they must be incredibly simple and weak then?" Joshua asked.
"Basically, for example they could make a follow up attack do five percent more damage if you do a certain sword technique. Little things like that. It adds up though in long drawn out fights if you have to chip away at a beast. Besides it's not like we've got a limited amount of skill slots right boss?" Jayce said with another one of his big smiles that tended to always appear whenever he called Joshua boss.
"That's true to an extent. We might not have a limit on how many skills we have, but we do have a limit on time even If our lives have been extended. I can tell you right now it took me nearly two months to level up echo strike once and its been used often while I've been fighting. If I were to try to level up hundreds of different skills there would be no way that I could get any of them to their max level in thousands of years." Joshua said getting a look of understanding from the others.
"Well I'll keep that in minds. We don't have the money to be buying every skill we see anyways." Jayce said with a smile.
"Just make sure the skills you do have fit your style and your group's style as a whole. In the end that's what matters most. Don't go buying flame spells if you're a tank." Joshua said with a chuckle. "Any ways you guys get some rest for tomorrow. I'll be bringing you to see Laura and set you up for one of their expeditions." They all nodded and parted ways to do their own thing until tomorrow.