Aldrich stood in front of the giant, yawning sinkhole that Seismic had created. He had to respect Seismic's decision making. The sinkhole move was not only useful to get Shrimp off balance to put into a hold, but it also created a huge rift that stopped the variants on the other side from easily approaching the humans.
Even in his last moments, Seismic had always thought about the people behind him.
Aldrich had lost visual of Seismic and Shrimp when they fell into the rift, but Volantis could track Shrimp's enormous energy signature even underground.
From how the energy signatures flared and moved, Aldrich determined that Seismic, in his last dying breath, had summoned up all of his possible strength and punched Shrimp deep into the earth with such enormous force that Shrimp's energy stopped moving, indicating that it was either immobilized or recovering.
Aldrich could not reach that deep down, but what he could do for now was deal with the army. He stared straight ahead.
Across the sinkhole, the entire variant army stood against him. A mass of monstrosities tens of thousands strong.
Behind Aldrich, there stood the human defenders numbering barely up to a thousand, if even that.
But even with that number disparity, even when it looked like if the variants just jumped over the hole and charged, they could swarm over all the humans, the variants paused.
All the tens of thousands of variants stopped in unison to stare at Aldrich. To bear witness to his presence.
Ordinarily, variants and heroes could not sense his power, but the way he had easily repelled Crab, easily the strongest individual frontline unit in the variant army, was worthy of note.
Silence reigned in the air as both armies of man and monster stopped to behold Aldrich's sudden appearance.
"What are you doing?" said Aldrich as he stood tall, his voice echoing outwards in calm tone but powerful projection. He addressed the humans behind him while facing forwards, showing only his broad, armored back. "I shouldn't be hearing quiet. I should be hearing gunfire. I should be hearing the sound of all of you fighting for your homes. For your lives."
"It's hopeless!" shouted a hero, a mutant with the tusks of a boar and bristles all over his body. Countless scars and bite marks littered his skin. "You-you're strong, way stronger than me, but look! Just look at all of them!"
The boar mutant waved his hand towards the sea of variant monsters. "You're all alone, and they-they have an army!"
Aldrich raised his arms to his sides, his claws splayed out. Swirls of green and red magical energy raged around him in a brilliant aura. "So do I."
Seven dots of purple appeared behind Aldrich in an even line. The dots expanded outwards as the space around them distorted into swirls of purple that grew into fully fledged portals, each of them ten meters in diameter.
From these portals, Aldrich's legion emerged. His undead variants and monsters emerged, forming a crowd of powerful beasts behind him, their feral eyes gleaming in various shades as they bared their claws, fangs, tusks - all their natural weapons.
The Deildeghasts stepped forth with their greatswords raised in the air. With each step, they slammed their bony fists against the flat of the sword, echoing out a ring that matched the beat of their ghostly march.
His fifty reanimated fishmen emerged from one portal, streaming out with hunched backs, flickers of green trailing around them as they hissed at what was once their brethren across the sinkhole.
Seeing this, the fishmen from across the sinkhole cocked their heads in pure confusion at seeing their kind turned against them.
The death knight legion marched out of a portal in neat formation, Chiros leading them in his flashy crimson armor with his saber unsheathed and pointed at the fishmen.
"Dear me, there is such an overwhelming amount of blood here for me to paint with. All I need is to extract it," said Chiros as bloody red energy shimmered around him in flickering rings. "How many among you shall I use for my newest art piece tonight, hm?"
Blackwater's ten strongest A-class stepped out of a portal in their sleek black uniforms. Though their faces were young, the way they carried themselves, the way they stared ahead at the fishmen with confidence in their faces, showed that they were all natural talents.
"Just fishmen? Aren't they what, an E rank threat? Hah, this'll be a breeze," said Simon Wells as he adjusted his visor.
"All of you are all so cocky. Keep it down a notch. They've got enough numbers to screw us over if we make a mistake," said Alexis as she and the Blackwater students that could fly floated in the air.
Electricity crackled form Alexis's hands, and her eyes turned bright white. Her dark grey hair started to flutter as if pushed by a breeze.
"Good!" Stella stepped out of a portal, her smile wide as she stared manically ahead at the fishmen, her fingers curled and wreathed with glowing orange lines. "The more there are, the more sh*t there is to blow up!"
Valera, Portal Girl, and the Geist emerged out from beside Stella.
"How about a friendly competition?" said Valera. She cracked her neck as she balled her clawed gauntlets tight into fists. From her knuckles, studded spikes emerged to make each of her already monstrous punches that much more deadly. "The one who brings forth the most spines tonight will be the victor."
"Spines? Hah!" Sparks sputtered from Stella's hands. "When I'm done with them, there won't be anything left of em', let alone spines."
"Kill count it is, then," said Valera.
"I'm down!" said Stella. She turned to Portal Girl. "You in, newbie?"
"Ah, uh, me?" stammered out Portal Girl. "Well, um, I think I should stay back here. Portal people in and out of important places, you know."
"Oh damn, right, that was your job," said Stella. "Well, that sounds boring as all hell. Feel kinda bad for you."
"I…I think I'm quite alright, actually," said Portal Girl.
"Geh! Geh! Geh! (Look! Look! So many more friends!)" The Geist jumped up and down as it pointed the cursed rock axe towards the fishmen.
"They'll be friends AFTER we kill em'," said Stella.
"Geh…(Oh right)" said the Geist. "Geheh! (Then I kill them, and then make friends!)"
"That's the spirit!" Stella slapped the Geist's muscular back in support, and the Geist nodded in glee.
From individual portals, Crow and the Zombie Giant, the two largest in Aldrich's Legion, emerged. Crow hopped out before spreading out his enormous wings, staring ahead at the variants across the sinkhole with his six gleaming yellow eyes.
His huge feathers of sleek black, metallic structure bristled, ready to unleash a storm of piercing death.
The Zombie Giant learned form its past clumsy portal experience and this time rolled out of it, standing in the air twelve meters tall, towering over everything else in the battlefield.
Seeing this sudden emergence of countless different types of monstrosities, variants, and people, the hordes of variants across the sinkhole took another step back, especially when they stared up at the enormous Zombie Giant whose mere steps looked like they could kill swathes of them. Crab, the leader of the crabmen, a five-meter-tall hulking monstrosity, did not even reach half the size of the giant.
But if the variants were this scared, then the humans -
"Variants! More variants!" came a panicked shout from among the humans.
"What is that!?" came a terrified shriek when the giant came out, and many of the humans aimed their guns instinctively at him.
"No." Aldrich's voice boomed out, reaching all the humans. Immediately, they froze up, sensing chills running down their spines. "This is my army. My Legion.
And tonight, we will be taking back this city.
To all of you that are unwilling to make the same sacrifice Seismic did, to lay down your lives to fight for your city, then stay here, where it will be safer.
But to all of you willing to fight to the death for what is precious to you, then come with me.
Fight with me."
Aldrich knelt down by Seismic's charred body, seeing the grave marker and soul hovering above him.
He laid a respectful hand on Seismic's shoulder and cast [Raise Undead]. Green and red strands of energy fluxed out of Aldrich's hand, tethering to Seismic's body for Seismic was a powerful enough individual that he was classified as a 'boss unit' that drained Aldrich's health and mana to raise.
"Fight until you die!"
Aldrich raised his hand in the air, and as he did so, Seismic's corpse floated upwards. The red and green energy tether flowed into his thoroughly burnt and damaged body, and as it did so, his blackened, charred flesh began to heal over. His burnt organs started to grow red again. The gaping hole in his stomach started to knit together with muscle and skin.
After several seconds, the tether broke off, making Seismic's body fall to the ground. But instead of crashing down, he landed on his two feet, raised and ready to fight once more. For now, Aldrich turned off Seismic's free will, making him a controllable unit basically.
"Fight even after you die! For with me, you shall never know death!"
With that, Aldrich powerfully thrust his fist out, aiming at the variants across the sinkhole. A gust of wind squalled out from the force of his punch. "Go, my Legion! Show me your strength!"
The heaviest hitters went out first to clear up as much space as possible.
The Zombie Giant bellowed out an immense roar, and this one completely drowned out all of the roars from the other undead in Aldrich's Legion.
It completely echoed out in booming peals that traveled across almost the entirety of the battlefield, and as its terrifying scream reached the fishmen and crabmen, they scrambled back, the fishmen shrieking in terror and the crabmen pulling in their eye stalks into their shells in a natural fear response.
This caused immediate mass chaos in the variant ranks, causing them to crash and stumble into each other. A stampede began where they started to crush the weakest and smallest among them underfoot and claw.
This was the [Giant's Bellow], a racial skill among giants that allowed them to cause tiny weaklings they directed their roar at to scatter.
And with that mighty roar, with the variants shrieking under fear and Aldrich's Legion eager for blood, the battle began.