Valera had sent many distress signals to him for in the realm of death, it was impossible to truly establish a connection with him.
The only thing she could do, even as a Chosen Undead close to him, was send out mental messages that he may or may not even receive. She did not worry about his safety, though.
She did not believe her master would fall, no, she never once believed that.
But at the same time, she was not a fanatic either, believing her master could do no wrong. He could err and make mistakes or miscalculate. For example, he likely had no idea an attack like this was coming.
That was where she, as his Chosen, as his most trusted Guardian Knight, would stand up tall with her shield and her might and her wits to cover for him. She did not just spend her time like a distressed princess, wringing her hands together and sending distress calls to her master.
No, Valera had assumed direct command of all the undead. In the first half hour of attack by these monsters, she had stayed in the Red Circle to try and defend it, but the base was already damaged, its gates breached and its shields destroyed, and its confines were small and unsuited for a long term siege.
So, after half an hour, Valera had gotten everyone to move to this mega complex. This building formed a natural tower of defense and was also large enough that the Geist's potent poison cloud would not affect any of the vulnerable flesh and blood mortals under Casimir.
All the while, she had sent the Alloywing Eagle, Evil Eyes, and Grave Wards on scouting trips to determine what was going on. The Evil Eyes and Grave Wards, unfortunately, were not the best spies in a battlefield like this were explosions and projectiles flew everywhere. They were too slow to react to attacks and got caught in crossfires before disintegrating.
The combined efforts of all the scouts, however, had accrued valuable information.
The main brunt of this monster attack was not targeted here. It was focused directly at the center of the city, and there, defending fortified walls, the humans known as 'heroes' with their many strange war machines mounted a consolidated defense.
The strongest monsters were located there, though some were scattered apart, leading small hosts of troops under them to suppress other locations in the city.
One such stronger monster had come to the Red Circle, in fact.
A Lionfish type fishman with enough strength to require Valera, Dynamite Girl, Fler'Gan, and the Red Circle higher ups to reliably defeat, and even then, it was at the cost of much of Casimir's weaker staff baiting it into constant ambushes by sacrificing their lives.
That attack had breached the Red Circle's defenses even more than it already had suffered, prompting Valera to make the move to this more defensible building.
That creature was approximately level 30.
But even that was no match compared to what seemed to be the general of this force. A huge, humanoid sea beast covered in colorful, iridescent shell that massacred all that it encountered with powerful punches that seemed to hold no equal.
That creature, Valera estimated was strong, truly, truly strong. Perhaps level 50, perhaps even higher, and it only seemed to grow stronger and stronger.
Eventually, if the humans did not deal with that creature, the undead would have to. Yet, even Valera could not think of a reliable way to put down such a mighty foe.
Valera paused for a moment, freezing up as she felt a strange sensation of power well up within her. She instinctively looked to the direction of the Red Circle.
"What is that!?" said Casimir.
A large pillar of green light had formed where the Red Circle would approximately be, reaching into the sky and temporarily parting the thick throng of dark storm clouds.
Valera smiled widely, her vampiric fangs extending in pure excitement. "He has returned."
Aldrich quickly dawned upon the mega complex, and from above, he saw that a strong defensive position had been set up courtesy of Valera. Undead fought at ground level with support from the Geist's neurotoxin. There was also ranged firepower from Fler'gan and Red Circle troops in higher floor windows and balconies where the human staff were safe from the neurotoxin.
It looked like a scene out of a zombie infection movie where hardy survivors would stake out in an abandoned building to fend against unending hordes of zombies. Though in this case, it was the zombies that were fighting for survival.
Aldrich was proud to see his undead work together like this, even without him. He was proud of Valera for managing this without him. He had full confidence now to trust Valera's decision making and his respect for her only grew.
But yet, proud as Aldrich was, he did not want his undead to suffer the threat of these pests any longer.
"Take care of all the vermin in the air," Aldrich said to Crow before He jumped off, taking a massive fall down into the middle of the courtyard. There, he landed his huge, armored, spiked and metaled bulk right on top of a giant crab variant that was angrily jabbing at his own mudcrabs.
The crab splattered under Aldrich's fall, its shell completely caving in as its white insides splashed everywhere. Seeing Aldrich, his two mudcrabs immediately waved their claws in the air in delight.
"Gehgeh!" The Geist clapped its hands in glee after caving in the skull of a nearby fishman.
The troll chieftain roared and pumped his cursed rock axe up and down, beating his chest at Aldrich's return. All the undead variants joined in on this roar, the alpha striker howling, the grizzly roaring, the Bloodspitter lizard hissing, and so and so forth until a medley of animalistic cries filled the night.
To any human observer, this would have been an utterly horrifying symphony to hear as all the creatures that joined in were predators that did not shy away from the flesh of men.
"About damn time!" Stella shouted as she punched into a fishman and set off an explosion in its stomach, blowing the variant apart at the middle. "And damn, look at you! Was there a gym in that dimension or something? Steroids, too? You're all bulked up!"
"I appreciate the welcome, but all of you should step back. Get back into the building," said Aldrich. "I'll deal with the vermin."
Aldrich's undead immediately obeyed, holing back up inside the mega complex, leaving Aldrich alone and surrounded by hostile fishmen and their variant mounts and companions.
The variants did not try to chase after Aldrich's undead. Instead, they warily stood around Aldrich, trying to glean a sense of his strength after his threatening entrance.
After a few seconds, they snarled and hissed, inching forwards, sensing no Ether energy from him. Aldrich had to admit that even though his lack of observable power was a benefit for the most part, it was annoying when small fry did not immediately run and had the delusional thought to even challenge him.
Aldrich punched into the ground, and a surge of ashen white energy billowed out from him. "[Call of the Impaler]."
With that chant, the ground rumbled, and the variants had just a moment to look down confusedly before huge bone spikes emerged everywhere, skewering through the fishmen and their mounts in towering stakes of barbed, serrated bone that displayed their flailing, impaled corpses proudly in the air.
Just like that, every single enemy in the courtyard had been killed. All those outside saw their brethren struggling, spitting and choking on their blood as their death throes only made the barbed bone stakes hook into their bodies deeper, and immediately turned away in fear.
Aldrich did not raise those he had killed. He let them stay on these stakes as a monument. As a warning to all other variants that would dare to trespass that this would be their fate.
Instead, Aldrich leaped into the air, above the stakes, and Crow came by, swooping down to pick Aldrich up with his talons. Several corpses of flying variants skewered by giant black feathers fell from the sky, crashing into the ground below.
"Good work," said Aldrich… "Now get me to the top floor."