Aldrich could not hear or see until his eardrums healed and his eyes adjusted from the intense blinding light, like a flash bang had been set off right in front of him. Seemed like though undead had night vision, blinding effects still worked on them provided they still had eyes.
Nothing could tell him how the battle ended except a message from his status screen:
[Boss: Fler'Gan the Zealot defeated]
[EXP Bar: 770/1200 ]1570/1200]
[Level 10 ] 11]
[EXP Bar: 370/1400]
[5 stat points available to distribute]
Aldrich breathed a sigh of relief. He was 99% sure Fler'Gan was dead, but when he saw those messages, he felt absolutely confident. He waited a good twenty or so seconds until his blinding faded and his ears healed up with his [Anti-Life Shell].
He saw Valera and Dynamite Girl standing in front of him, squabbling while the Geist looked awkwardly between them, trying to resolve the conflict but not knowing how.
"You blinded and hurt him!" said Valera as she pointed an accusing finger at Dynamite Girl.
"What? You wanted me to hold back on blastin' that squid face freak!? You think that's what the captain would have wanted, huh!?" said Dynamite Girl.
"Enough," said Aldrich. "Both of you did well. All of you, in fact."
Aldrich looked around with appreciation at his undead.
Valera was still shaky on her feet, weak from taking so much damage. Dynamite Girl's arms were both mangled with cracked bone hutting out through the skin of her arm while she bled from the mouth, her heart ruptured from exerting herself. Most of his undead suffered significant burns that they now slowly healed under Aldrich's [Anti-Life Shell].
Really only the two crabs got out of this fight untouched, and that was because they had been protected.
All in all, though, Aldrich felt that he had cleared Fler'Gan with moderate difficulty. He initially thought the fight was going to be an easy cakewalk by abusing the boss's game A.I., but he was sentient, or at the very least somewhat sentient, letting him make decisions outside of Aldrich's awareness.
"Where is he? The boss?" said Aldrich.
"Nothin' left of that freak!" said Dynamite Girl proudly as she pointed over to a massive blackened crater. It looked like a high ordinance missile had bored into the ground and exploded, gouging out a blackened crater the size of a small house at the end of the arena.
Aldrich sighed. "I wanted some part of him left to see if I could resurrect him."
Normally in Elden World, it was not possible to reanimate boss type monsters or beings. But maybe now it was different. Aldrich had wanted to find out.
"Sorry, captain," said Dynamite Girl.
"No, it's fine. You couldn't have held back anyway. We either finished him in one hit or we didn't. Good job." Aldrich walked over to the crater and spied the rewards from this boss fight.
Fler'Gan's lantern floated in the air in the deepest center of the crater. Aldrich picked it up by tapping it with his staff.
[1x Firekeeper's Lantern obtained]
There was also an item orb containing a silver ring designed in the shape of two coiling serpents. The [Ring of Avarice].
Aldrich absorbed this too.
[1x Ring of Avarice obtained]
With the [Ring of Avarice], Aldrich would receive a set amount of coins every 3 days. The amount of coins he received for this changed depending on what level he was. From levels 1 - 10, he received 100 coins.
In increments of ten levels, this coin reward increased according to these values: 150 (at level 20) - 225 (lvl 30) - 300 (lvl 40) - 500 (lvl 50) - 700 (lvl 60) - 1000 (lvl 70) - 2000 (lvl 80) - 2500 (lvl 90) - 4000 (lvl 100). Hopefully, this would give Aldrich enough coins to last as he did not start receiving coin drops from monsters in Trial Quests until the second one onwards.
But beyond this, Aldrich noticed something that Fler'Gan did not drop his Soul. Ordinarily, bosses always dropped their Soul.
What changed now?
What Fler'Gan did drop was something he never dropped in the game. The crimson red orb he held in his hand that was part of his visual design but nothing more than that.
Aldrich knelt down and picked the orb up. It was the size of baseball, not particularly large, but it was surprisingly heavy. On it were inscribed several lines of sigils glowing an eerie green. Within, he saw the faint flicker of a familiar white - the flicker of a Soul.
That was when Aldrich noticed that he could see the bright green of a Grave Marker inside the orb as well. Fler'Gan could be resurrected using this orb.
Aldrich started to recall game lore.
Mind Eaters like Fler'Gan were obsessed with knowledge and because the pursuit of knowledge was never ending by its nature, they required immortality to continue amassing knowledge throughout Elden World and its realms.
Mind Eater immortality was thus quite simple. A large brain shaped, tendril covered super mass known as a Elder Mind spawned Mind Eaters to roam and absorb knowledge, and then Mind Eaters grew too weak or old, they returned to the Elder Mind whereupon they would get absorbed.
The Mind Eater's knowledge would transfer to the Elder Mind and then their biomass would get reused to birth another Mind Eater.
Mind Eaters ordinarily had undying loyalty to their Elder Minds via mental control, but some broke from this control.
Those that broke free still hungered for knowledge and thus still needed long lifespans for this pursuit, and so they sought other means of immortality that did not involve sacrificing themselves.
The path to becoming a lich was one of the more common ones among these Mind Eaters.
Fler'Gan was one such Mind Eater that sought to become a lich. Hence, his backstory was that he had locked himself in this underground study for decades, growing mad trying to become not only a lich, but one also utterly immune to fire to become an invincible undead.
Then, Aldrich thought as he stared at the orb in his hand, this was a Phylactery.
An object, often an orb, that a mortal being imbued their souls in to take the first steps to turning into a Lich.
Their flesh bodies rotted away to skeletal forms upon casting their souls away, but in exchange, these skeletal bodies became highly attuned to magic, death, curses, and, most importantly, were disposable, capable of reforming so long as the Phylactery holding the main soul remained intact.
In Elden World, the player character Necromancer came from a line of mortal Necromancers that reviled becoming a Lich and actively hunted them. Becoming a Lich meant abandoning one's humanity and binding themselves to the original Lich known as the Death Lord, one of the evil gods of Elden World that allied with the Howling Dark to destroy all life.
The Death Lord's end goal was to destroy life so that all souls entered into his own Realm of Death where he would rule over all creation infinitely. Typical big bad evil god stuff.
As a result, the player character's Necromancer and other mortal Necromancers fought against the Death Lord as where the Death Lord believed all creation should die and serve him, mortal Necromancers believed the boundary between life and death should be respected and maintained.
It was said that part of the ritual to become a Lich involved not only forging a Phylactery, but also communing with the Death Lord to take a shard of his power. This shard would then fuel the ritual and make the Phylactery complete, finalizing the steps to become a Lich.
Those that were too weak-willed who faced the Death Lord lost their minds to him and became his lich slaves. Those that were strong enough, however, took the Death Lord's shard of power for themselves and became independent and mighty liches.
This was all Aldrich knew of the process to become a Lich. How to craft a Phylactery and all the steps in between making one and communing with the Death Lord were not explained in the game as player characters could not become undead.
But…what if Aldrich could find someone that knew all of this? Someone that would serve him and guide him through the process.
And that someone was right here in the palm of Aldrich's hand.
Aldrich put down the orb and chanted, "Serve."
He felt an immense strain on his body as his magical energy roared around him in a raging green aura. He felt life and magic leave him, draining him rapidly. All of this sacrificed life and mana flowed into the Phylactery in twin strands of green and crimson.
"Master, you are taking too much damage!" said Valera.
"I'm fine," said Aldrich as mana and life continued to drain from him. This was far, far more than the 10% maximum health cost he sacrificed for raising monsters that were much higher leveled than him.
This was the cost of raising a boss type monster, it seemed. A continuous mana and health sacrifice.
A type of being that Aldrich had never been able to raise in the game. He was thankful he had saved his mana and health so conservatively throughout the fight, but as he felt himself getting drained second by second, he wondered if he had enough.
Eventually, Aldrich reached 10% of his maximum health and mana, and at that point, his spell stopped draining his health and mana. He breathed heavily as sweat trickled from his forehead.
He looked down at the Phylactery.
A green aura enveloped the crimson orb before it rapidly shook and oscillated. All of a sudden, a burst of energy blasted outwards in a shockwave, knocking Aldrich back, Valera caught him and kept him on his feet.
Green and red particles swirled in front of the Phylactery, forming into Fler'Gan's form.
Aldrich waited tensely, wondering if Fler'Gan was hostile, especially with his mental insanity, and was ready to take away his individuality or, if needed, dispel him at a moment's notice.
But Fler'Gan did not fight. Instead, he knelt down and closed his three red eyes in reverence. "Your wish is my command, O Elder. I thank you for granting me the eternity I have always searched for."