Chapter 189: [Bonus chapter] Worthy [Bonus chapter for getting me to top 20 golden tickets/powerstones!] _________________________________ "Volantis, do you remember me?" said Aldrich.
Volantis turned to Aldrich. "I do. I chose you as my Armored." "And have your feelings changed?" said Aldrich. "..." Volantis did not respond for a good minute. In that time, both Valera and
Okeanos were tensed up, ready to ght if needed. "No. The feelings I had in the past do not matter now.
My past life is just that: the past.
I cannot change who or what I am now, but I know that I did choose you. I will not go back on my word so easily." He turned to Wai'ki. She shrunk back in fear at his gaze. "Wai'ki...I remember you too. I apologize for my behavior. It was not right. I was confused, and I do not like when others touch me without my awareness." "It-it's okay," said Wai'ki. She put on a happy smile. "As long as you're happy now, I'm happy too!" "...Happy? Am I happy?" Volantis pondered over those words. "These memories that I have now are...painful. I remember my death.
On a molten mountain, surrounded by a eld of swords and demon corpses. I felt the pain of dying then.
Then I felt the pain of being forged into something I was not. Having my soul hammered over and over again. It felt like I was in a dream, watching my memories oat in front of me, seeing pieces of them get shattered and scattered.
I felt the desperation of trying to reach out for those memories regardless of whether they were sorrowful or joyful, because I knew that those memories were still me.
The pain of losing who you are and being helpless to stop it – it is the greatest pain I have ever felt.
It is worse than any battle wound that scarred or scorched me.
Remembering that pain – I almost feel as if I want to forget it all again."
Volantis closed his sts and stared at them. When he spoke again, he spoke with hearty strength in his voice. His eye dot was still white, but it was far more expressive than when it was red, undulating and changing shape and size like a normal eye to showcase his emotions.
He sounded much more like an orc, the people famous for never tiring, for never letting anything hold them down for very long. "But pain is temporary! It has never slowed me down, and it will not now! You-,"
Volantis turned and pointed to Aldrich. "I called you my Armored, no?" "You did," said Aldrich. He noticed that Volantis still spoke with a measure of articulation. Usually, orcs had simpler speech patterns.
Most likely, the habits from Volantis's new and old lives were merged together. "I did that because some part of me believed it was right to do," said Volantis. "I will stand by those words. But to be happy, truly happy-," Volantis clenched his sts again, but this time, in an expression of force.
His magical energy surged around him in a white aura distinct from the red of his past self. This was the type of aura that orcs gave o. Their 'warrior's spirit' as they called it. "I need to make sure you are truly worthy now that I am in full control of myself."
Aldrich had an idea of where this was going. His own magical energy started to surge, green waves emanating from his already half energy body.
Volantis was, after all, an orc, and there was nothing that orcs loved more than a good ght. "And how do you propose we do that?"
Volantis laughed. Something he had never done before. He could not physically smile as a living armor, but in the rising tone of his voice, it was easy to tell that had he a mouth, he would have grinned. "In the way of my people, of course.
Battle!" "I don't know whether I prefer you now or as you were before," said Valera. She grinned eagerly too. "But if it is battle you desire, it is battle you will have." "I will ght too," said Okeanos.
Valera and Okeanos stood on either side of Aldrich, two mighty warriors ready to ght with all they had. "I would like to ght you two as well, but this is between me and the Armored," said Volantis. "That is simply not fair," said Valera. "My master is powerful, but his might is in commanding others. You, on the other hand, are built for close combat." "I can help with that," said the Death Lord. She gestured towards Aldrich with her hand and chanted, "[Death Surge]. That should even the odds in terms of physical strength, and within the Necropolis, I can maintain that spell for practically an eternity."
An octagonal mesh of green energy lined Aldrich's bone body, greatly strengthening his physical stats. With the Death Lord's immense magic stat, the boost was enough that Aldrich could compete with a pure melee ghter of similar level like Volantis.
Though, Aldrich did note, [Death Surge] had a cap to the stats it could grant. As he was now, he would still fall short of Volantis's raw brute force, especially considering Shaping boosted Volantis's stats as well. "There. Now the duel is honorable," said Volantis. "I am sorry, but this is the only way I know to choose who is worthy. A ght where we clash blow for blow.
There is a saying among my people – the harder someone is willing to hit you, the better a friend they make." "Then I'll take this ght," said Aldrich. "And prove to you how good a 'friend' I can be." "Good!" said Volantis. "Any last preparations you would like to make,
Armored?" "Just one," said Aldrich. He manifested his Materius as if he was going to get into a close ranged ght, which he absolutely would be against the likes of
Volantis, then he wanted to be in prime condition for it.
For now, Aldrich was not as used to ghting hand to hand as he was with his esh and blood body.
Sinews spontaneously grew from Aldrich's bones, snung out the green energy that his body constantly let out. A set of organs, mostly for decoration at this point, lled in his ribcage before a covering of esh wrapped over them.
Skin grew around the raw muscle and the rest of Aldrich's features lled in right after. "That feels much better," said Aldrich as he cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders, his trained, sculpted muscles rippling with the movement. "M-master, are you going to ght like that!?" Valera squealed as she covered her eyes with hands that had more than enough space between the ngers to peer through. "W-wah! He's naked!" Wai'ki blushed as she closed her eyes. "Come now, this is too much for your innocence." Medula put her bandaged hand over Wai'ki's eyes and led her away. "Oh, right," said Aldrich. "My clothes disintegrate every time I switch in and out of my Materius." "I will have a solution for that later," said the Death Lord, to which Valera let out an annoyed 'tch!'. "This will do for now." Medula snapped her ngers, causing a small black void to open up in front of her. She withdrew a pair of black pants and tossed them to Aldrich.
Aldrich grabbed them, and when he willed himself to wear them, they dematerialized and materialized back around Aldrich's lower body. [1x Training Wear (Legs) equipped]. "Training Wear is indestructible and does not aect stats, so it should not yield you any advantage other than preventing you from assaulting our eyes," said
Medula. "Hah! I quite preferred when he was bare!" said Volantis. "Fighting without any covering is the truest form of battle! Man to man at its best! Except-,"
Volantis looked down at his metal body. "I cannot do that any longer." "Thanks." Aldrich nodded to Medula. "Everyone else, come with me," said Medula. "I will transport us to the stands as audience members." "Finally, a proper ght to enjoy! I will nally get my coin's worth out of this colosseum!" The Death Lord laughed in glee as she followed Medula. "Master, show that stubborn armor the might I respect so dearly," said Valera as she passed by Aldrich. "Master will win. I know it. He always knows what to do at the right time," said
Okeanos. "I'll make sure I live up to your expectations," said Aldrich. "Thanks."
Everyone then warped away to the stands via another black void from Medula, leaving Aldrich and Volantis the only ones in the sandy ghting pit. "Now then," said Aldrich as he cracked his knuckles. "About rules. Am I allowed to use weapons? Magic? Items in general?" "Do whatever you want," said Volantis. "I will be ghting in the Orc way: with nothing but my sts and Shaping. Until one of us can no longer ght or I recognize you as worthy." "Alright, then," said Aldrich. "This is a matter of getting you to consider me worthy, right? Then I'll play along by your rules. I won't use any equipment or items. Just my sts. I don't have Shaping, so I'll substitute that with my spells.
But I won't use summons.
I'll keep this as close to 'man to man' as I can." "Heh, I like you already," said Volantis. "Then let us ght now! To the death!
To lay bare the warrior's spirits within us!"