Aldrich and Fler'Gan stepped up to the precipice of a ledge leading down into a large nest scattered with blackened scorch marks. Charred and torn apart lizard corpses and destroyed eggshell shards lay strewn about everywhere - the remnants of Valera and Stella destroying everything in their path together.
They might not have gotten along in other circumstances, but in battle, in killing, well, they were best friends.
"Good to see you, master!" said Valera as she raised her cross shield as Stella hunkered down behind her.
A much larger lizard, almost twice the size of the other ones, hissed at Valera.
It did not have the blurring camouflage effect on its scales, and indeed, it seemed that its scales were meant to be shown off. They were spiked and oriented in thick plates like armor. Two noticeable, large red glowing horns jutted out from the sides of its head.
The lizard's yellow eyes turned bright red before firing off a twin stream of highly pressurized blood. The blood slammed against Valera's shield with a crashing impact, but she dug her greaves in and held her ground. The blood crashed and splattered behind her, and anywhere the blood touched, it ate away at, melting the rocky ground with ease.
Aldrich did not know what the variant was.
Because Blackwater thoroughly neglected the Dud students, Aldrich had no access to classified AA information about variants. The more common ones, he could find info on through the Net, but stronger and rarer ones like this - nothing.
"Can I get some help here!" said Stella. "Squid face!?"
"Shall I?" said Fler'Gan.
"Go ahead." Aldrich nodded.
Fler'Gan floated in the air and clasped his hands together. "I suppose you young ones do require the assistance of a true master."
Stella was about to say something, but she heard Fler'Gan's words and stopped.
Bright orange magic circles formed around Fler'Gan's hands. "And I am eager to see how the creatures of this new world deal with proper magic."
Fler'Gan cast [Flame Lance], shooting out a concentrated spear of bright orange and red flame.
The blood shooting lizard stopped its blood spray and looked up before the fire slammed into it. The magically condensed flames acted like a spear, too, stabbing into the lizard's stomach with piercing damage.
The lizard just sat there as the flames exploded over it, taking zero damage.
"Hm." Aldrich noted this development with interest. He saw that the lizard's spiked scales were distorting, and not just because of the heat waves from Fler'Gan's flames. They were doing something to nullify the damage.
"This thing's a Bloodspitter Lizard!" said Stella. "Its hide's resistant to practically any damage! You gotta hurt it internally!"
"You tell me this now!?" said Fler'Gan.
"Well, I kinda wanted to see you makin' a fool of yourself after actin' all cocky." Stella smiled a little before she grew serious. "But yeah, now that you know, go ahead and toast this thing from the inside if you can.
These things are practically indestructible, but they're slow, and they need to breathe.
Burn up the air here and cook this thing out!"
"A surprisingly apt strategy coming from one such as yourself." Fler'Gan prepared to cast [Flamethrower] and constantly generate flames to fill the area with smoke to drain it of oxygen.
"Wait." Aldrich raised his hand. "I'll do it myself."
Aldrich jumped up and landed behind Valera.
"Give me some protection," said Aldrich.
"Understood, master!" Valera stood firmly in front of Aldrich with her shield up.
"One last thing I wanted to test out," said Aldrich. He took out his lantern and flashed its eerie red light at the lizard. He did not fully open the eye of the lantern for its disintegration effect. Instead, he just kept the foggy passive light on the lizard.
The lizard cocked its head and blinked its eyes, wondering what the light was supposed to do.
Unless Aldrich opened the eye held within the lantern, it did not do damage. It just stacked the [Eye of the Watcher] passive. Three seconds of exposure under the light for one stack of the passive, with the stacks applying up to ten times.
Each stack reduced resistances to curse type damage, and there was one type of magic that Aldrich knew that fell under curse type damage that he was very curious about.
Instant death magic.
The bloodspitter lizard growled, still a little confused as to why nobody was reaching out to attack it.
After five seconds, it grew impatient and decided to shoot out its acidic blood streams again from its eyes.
Valera raised her shield again while Aldrich actually moved out of the shield and strafed to the side, content in knowing that the lizard had distracted itself firing its initial blast at Valera.
He lost his cover against the blood, but this allowed him to cast the light continually on the lizard without Valera's shield and the splashing of blood to obscure him.
The lizard ignored Aldrich and just kept its blood spray on Valera and Stella, obviously registering them as far more of a threat.
Aldrich waited as he cast the light on the lizard. He had expected to dodge the blood or an attack or anything hostile, but the lizard simply did not care about him.
It could not feel pain, so it ignored him.
"It appears the creatures of this new world do not understand the concept of debuffs," noted Fler'Gan.
"Or this variant is simply stupid. Most likely, a combination of both," said Aldrich. "Regardless, it's time for me to begin my instant death experiment."
Thirty seconds passed, stacking the [Eye of the Watcher] debuff on the bloodspitter lizard fully.
A shimmering red haze flickered around the lizard, signifying that it was fully debuffed, its resistance to instant death neutralized incredibly low.
Even more so against the lantern's active disintegration attack.
"Let's test how your invincible scales deal with this." Aldrich opened the eye of his lantern, casting [Disintegrating Gaze].
When the eye suspended within the lantern opened up, it was horribly bloodshot with a dark purple iris and blazing red, hateful pupil.
The normal foggy red light the lantern cast transformed into a solid, conical beam that washed over the lizard.
Aldrich was careful only to let the beam hit the lizard's head as he wanted to preserve its body.
The lizard managed to let out one confused shriek before its head turned solid white before breaking apart into a pile of ash. The creature slumped over, dead, its neck stub utterly cauterized so that not even blood pooled out.
"Looks like Alter powers, or at the least this one, can't defend against instant death. Good to know." Aldrich walked over to the lizard's headless corpse and waited to see whether a soul appeared.
But a grave marker did.
Aldrich had wanted to see whether he craft an item, specifically an accessory like a ring, to give him some of the lizard's invulnerability. But unfortunately, no soul popped up.
[Bloodspitter Lizard defeated!]
[EXP Bar: 1200/1600 ] 1500/1600]
"Serve." Aldrich put a hand over the headless lizard corpse. Strands of green energy trickled into its body, making it shake and stand up. However, it immediately just collapsed back down again after the initial jolt of negative energy had reanimated it.
This was because its brain was destroyed, preventing it from processing any thoughts.
Unlike skeletons that did not need brains to move at all, it seemed that zombies and higher undead still required their heads to function.
Hence why Aldrich could get put down if his brain was blasted apart.
Aldrich could, however, manually manipulate the lizard to move, and this he did now until his passive [Anti-Life Shell] healed the creature back up over time.
[Mana: 99/183 ] 94/183]
[Bloodspitter Lizard Lvl 14 Raised]
[Units Controlled: 19/22 ] 20/22]
He checked the lizard's powers.
It possessed three powers like the Geist.
First, its scales were essentially completely immune to damage. They distorted space to prevent any harmful matter from breaching them, hence the heat wave like distortions.
This did not, however, apply to areas without scales such as their eyes, nose, or internal organs.
Secondly, it could fire highly acidic blood streams from its eyes. The blood was acidic enough that if it hit an average man, it would reduce said unlucky bag of flesh into nothing but a gooey puddle within a second.
Third, it possessed a heightened form of kinetic vision that allowed its eyes to track targets with extreme accuracy on top of zooming in across a distance of one mile (1.6 km).
Overall, the lizard was quite powerful. Very likely one of the strongest variants within this nest.
"Good work, everyone," said Aldrich. "But there's more. The Grave Ward has scouted another series of tunnels leading further down. Next, we'll be fighting ants."
"Bugs. I hate them," said Stella.
"I must agree with you on this," said Valera. "How their many legs skitter and scatter - it is truly grotesque."
"Bah, this is why it is not prudent to have women in a party," said Fler'Gan. "They are so dainty and clutch their skirts over such little things."
Valera and Stella both gave Fler'Gan a death stare that made him go quiet. Fler'Gan truly was like an old grandpa, complaining about his painful lower back, young people this, women that, and whatnot.
"Enough distractions," said Aldrich. "I want to clear most of this nest out fast. Enough to get as many levels as possible but without destroying it fully, otherwise it might attract attention."