Chapter 190: Orcish Might
As Volantis's resounding declaration of battle boomed through the ghting pit,
Aldrich responded with a simple nod as he took up his stance, raising his sts up in a guard.
He got into a rhythm, hopping up and down in quick intervals. He geared himself mentally and physically to stay mobile, because he would need it.
If Volantis was ghting solely with orcish might, he was going to basically be a heavyweight tank with slow but heavy hits.
Aldrich, comparatively lighter, less durable, and weaker in sheer physicals, needed to abuse his mobility as much as possible.
Then again, this was the style that Aldrich was the most comfortable with. He had used it all his life in ghting Alters who were consistently naturally stronger than him.
It was in essence mixed martial arts, but it had a heavy focus on striking and throws. He trained considerably in boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, Taekwondo, and even some aspects of Chinese martial arts to maximize his footwork mobility and striking strength.
Aldrich was weakest when it came to grappling because usually, it was complete suicide to grapple with Alters when they were just at out stronger than him.
Granted, he did have a good grasp of Judo for its quick throws, but he rarely liked to go on the ground to grapple and wrestle unless he could go for a quick dislocation or if he was on even physical grounds with an enemy.
Against Volantis, Aldrich doubted he would ever get a chance to grapple. Even getting in a clinch would be dangerous.
It was better to stay mobile and throw out hits at maximal range. "Hoh, so that is your stance?" Volantis said. "It is trained, I can tell from a single glance. But will it be enough to take me on?" "We'll nd out, won't we?" said Aldrich simply. "Now let's get on with this." "Your spirit is commendable!" Volantis roared. "Then, let us begin! I shall make the rst move!"
Aldrich took in deep breath, then exhaled as he watched Volantis with an eagle eye, wary of every single move the once orc living armor made.
Volantis was around thirty meters away. Enough distance where any attack he made, Aldrich had ample time to react to. But what came next surprised
Volantis looked up to the skies, to the green crystal dotted ceiling of the colosseum, and roared. It was a roar that sounded like it belonged to some enormous monster ten times his size. "Eep!" In the stands, Wai'ki hunched over and put her hands over her opped down ears at the sudden explosion of noise.
Sound waves echoed from Volantis's helm, distorting his face. The sand all around Volantis gusted away as if blown apart by hurricane force winds, creating a natural smokescreen all around him. 'Looks like orcs aren't all brawn over brains,' thought Aldrich as he went on the immediate defensive, taking steps backwards. The Arena was huge, easily reaching the length of a football eld, so he was not worried about getting backed into a corner.
Aldrich kept his eyes closely trained on the huge cloud of sand. He heard a huge impact that sounded like stone shattering.
Then, he saw a icker of movement in the cloud, and not a moment later, a line of violently upturned rock from beneath the sand rapidly approached Aldrich.
Aldrich jumped to the side, easily dodging the line of rocks.
This was Volantis's Shaping.
Aldrich did not know which type of Shaping Volantis practiced, but this made it obvious: it was Earth Shaping.
Though, of course, Volantis might know more than one element.
Aldrich glanced to his right side, looking at the newly created wall of stone. The jagged raised stones would have smashed into Aldrich from below, dealing considerable damage, but that was just one thing that made them an issue.
They also formed a natural barrier that limited his movement.
Another icker of movement from the sand cloud. This time, Volantis emerged, charging forth like a mad bull. He came from the opposite side of the rock wall, aiming to try and limit Aldrich by corralling him against the wall.
Aldrich raised a hand into the air. "[Bone Wall]"
He did not need to chant spells, but it did help. It was easier to focus on them which let him direct them more accurately, and he needed that accuracy to know exactly where to place the wall.
A massive wall of interlocked skeletons rose up in a near instant to halt
Volantis's incoming charge. "You think this will stop me!" Volantis just smashed into the wall with no concern for harm done to his body.
Remarkably, despite [Bone Wall] being a 4th circle spell meant to be casted by level 40 magic users, Volantis barreled through the wall with ease. The wall exploded apart like a bomb had gone o in it, a shower of broken apart bone scattering around Volantis as he made his way through. "Huh?" Volantis stopped his charge as he realized Aldrich was not in front of him. "Gah!" Volantis jerked to the side as the helix shaped energy of a [Death Bolt] slammed into his ribs with explosive impact. Another [Death Bolt] then hit his back, causing him to stagger forwards.
Aldrich had circled around the [Bone Wall] the moment Volantis crashed into it, using the brief moment Volantis would not have sight to take Volantis's blind spot and make more distance from the rock wall. "You think I am helpless at range!?" Volantis turned and crossed his arms in front of his face to block another [Death Bolt]. His armor glowed with streaks of bright hot green from where the bolts struck. "Do you know how many whose skulls I have taken that thought the very same!?"
Volantis, to make good on his word, smashed his hand into the earth.
With a roar, Volantis raised his arm up, dredging up an enormous boulder easily the size of a large car over his head. The shadow the boulder cast completely covered Volantis, speaking to its bulk.
The thing must have weighed several tons, and Volantis carried it like it a piece of paper.
Though, Aldrich noted, Volantis was not lifting the boulder entirely with his own strength. He was using Shaping to not only sculpt the boulder from the ground, but also to make it easier to hold. "RAH!" Volantis threw the boulder at extreme speed using a Shaping skill known as [Boulder Toss].
The actual weight of the boulder, though, was just as heavy as it looked, and that made this projectile attack an immense danger that had the threat of chunking Aldrich for probably over 30% of his max health, maybe more considering his weakness to crushing damage.
Aldrich did not bother casting [Bone Wall]. That would do nothing against a projectile that big and fast. "[Death Bolt]" Aldrich chanted. He chanted because he needed more focus to manipulate the spell beyond a simple linear trajectory. He threw out the [Death
Bolt] with a curve ball path that swerved to hit the boulder from the side.
That threw the boulder o its intended path to crush Aldrich enough that he could dodge it relatively easily.
The boulder slammed into the earth behind Aldrich with a rumbling impact, crashing up a geyser of sand. "Is that it?" goaded Aldrich as he stayed at a respectable distance, wanting to bait Volantis out in using another ranged attack.
It was true that Volantis was not helpless at range, but he was no expert either.
Orc Shaping, derived from their anity to nature, did give them ranged combat options, but they usually had slow wind-up times and telegraphed moves compared to spammable projectiles from mages.
Even Wind Shapers, the most suited to ght at range among the orcs, had this weakness. Their ranged attacks were incredibly powerful, but they were slow. "Not at all! If you want to stay all the way over there, then ne! Try to dodge this!" Volantis knelt on one knee and buried his arms into the ground.
He roared again, shockwaves of sound echoing from his helm as he stared into the ceiling. His entire body shook with tremors, rattling out metal echoes in exertion as if he was trying to lift up some massive weight.
The ground around Volantis in a massive area started to glow a faint orange.
This area covered where Aldrich was standing and more, stretching far behind him.
Aldrich stood still, remaining patient. He knew what was coming. He just needed to get the timing right.
After exactly a second, Aldrich put power into his legs and leaped into the air.
Volantis's roar reached a high point as he stood up, ripping his arms violently out of the ground. It was as if Volantis had started an earthquake.
The entirety of the orange-lit area around him blew apart in a massive seismic shockwave, casting up a mass amount of sand. Deep cracks littered every inch of the ground, and had Aldrich remained there, his legs would have turned into complete mush from that hit.
Instead, Aldrich used the blown up sand as a smokescreen of his own. He reached Volantis from the air and threw out a spinning kick right at the side of his head.
Volantis took the hit, blinded by the sand dredged up from his own attack.
The impact rang out clear and loud. The sound of reinforced esh impacting against pure metal.
Volantis slammed into the ground from that unexpected hit, skidding across the cracked earth in a shower of sparks.