Chapter 191: [Bonus chapter] A Hard Headed Counter
Bonus chapter for getting me into golden ticket and powerstone rank 20! ________________________________
Volantis lay helm rst on the ground, completely still. "What?" said Aldrich. "Is that all?" "I was merely admiring how wonderfully struck that blow was," said Volantis as he pushed himself up, not much worse for wear. There was a small dent on the side of his head where Aldrich's foot had made impact. "Marvelous! Let us go again!" "Alright then-" Aldrich made the rst move this time, setting o on a sprint towards the Living Armor.
From that last blow, one thing Aldrich could conrm was this: Volantis could not use his Truesight when using his Orcish powers or else he would have seen
Aldrich's hit coming from the sand smokescreen. "Come!" Volantis gleefully welcomed Aldrich's attack. He smashed his foot into the ground, causing another row of jagged rocks to rush against Aldrich.
Aldrich did not want to break his momentum by swerving to the side.
Also, if he dodged to the side, there was a good possibility that Volantis would just slam out another row of rocks on the other side of Aldrich to basically corral him in a pen of rock walls.
That would limit Aldrich either to retreat or an oense that would force him on a narrow and predictable path to Volantis.
Instead, Aldrich jumped into the air, avoiding the skywards reaching rock spikes. Without losing almost any momentum, he ipped in the air and landed midway across the wall of upturned stone.
Instead of getting skewered on the jagged edges, he instead gracefully grasped two rock spikes in either of his hands, using them as a surface to push o of.
Like that, Aldrich closed the distance to Volantis without losing almost any time.
Volantis stared up at him with his sts clenched and white eye burning with eager battle lust.
In midair, Aldrich clapped his hands together and withdrew twin [Death Bolts].
He red them one after the other, minimizing the time Volantis had to react to
Volantis grunted as he blocked one [Death Bolt]. Volantis prepped himself to block the second [Death Bolt], but it narrowly missed him. However, this was by design.
The [Death Bolt] instead exploded in front of Volantis and drove up another cloud of sand.
By the time Volantis could react to what had happened, Aldrich was right in front of him.
Aldrich took in a breath, staring at Volantis. The Living Armor had turned his head around to look behind him, where he had expected Aldrich to appear. After all, what was the point of a smokescreen otherwise?
But Aldrich had predicted that. Now, with Volantis briey distracted looking backwards, Aldrich had free reign to get hits in. But he needed to think about how to maximize his DPS.
The Living Armor stood about two heads taller than Aldrich and looked considerably bulkier. Not only that, but his body was pure metal and bone.
There were no places to hit like the liver or solar plexus that would knock down a bigger enemy made of esh and blood.
But that also meant Aldrich did not have to focus much on where to hit. So long as he did damage, any attack worked.
First, Aldrich unleashed a front kick aimed at the stomach to bend Volantis's upper body forward.
Then, an uppercut to knock Volantis's now forward leaning head up. "Gah!" Volantis let out a grunt of pain as his head whipped upwards from the echoing impact of the uppercut. This bared his entire body to further attacks.
Aldrich exhaled as he unleashed what could only be described as a hurricane of punches and kicks.
With how much his stats had been amplied, he looked like a raging mass of attacks, his blows blurring and meshing with each other into one giant, deadly, seamless combination.
The sound of strong force ringing against metal rang through the air again and again and again in gunre-rapid rhythm. Now that Aldrich was undead with innite stamina, if he got in the rhythm of attacking someone, he could chain hit after hit together in an innite combo akin to a permanent stunlock.
Aldrich drove Volantis back dozens of meters with this storm of strikes, but as he did so, he realized one thing: Volantis was not even trying to guard them.
Volantis suered under the attacks, that was for sure - his eye dot was scrunched up in pain. But he just stood there like an unbreakable wall, his arms hanging by his sides, his sts clenched not to ready a punch, but to endure.
Suddenly, Volantis reached out and grabbed Aldrich's arm before it hit his chest. The grip was like a vice, nigh unbreakable in its rmness. Like a dam lowered against a raging river, this stopped the ow of Aldrich's endless attacks.
With a roar, Volantis unleashed a mighty headbutt down on Aldrich. The blow connected with a concussive shockwave, blasting Aldrich several meters away like he had been hit with an artillery shell. "Those strikes were ne and mighty. Like a storm they were, yes, as beautiful as that unleashed by any master I have seen!" said Volantis. "But there is nothing that trumps the unbreakable will of an orc!
In duels like these, we take all blows head on. We learn by feeling these blows engrave their lessons into our very skin, and we return that lesson with power tenfold!" =
In the stands, Okeanos stood up, alarmed. His iridescent rainbow eyes were trained on Aldrich's prone body. "Is...the master defeated?" "Sure looks like it," said Medula. "Oh, will he need healing? I'm always ready to heal!" said Wai'ki with a worried tremble on her lips.
The Death Lord simply watched silently. "No," said Valera. She watched the battle below with crossed arms and a condent smile. "You should know this better than anyone, youngling. Our master never falls so easily." =
Aldrich stood up as he put a hand on his head, right where Volantis had hit him with a high speed headbutt delivered from a skull of pure metal. The skin around his forehead was completely torn open, blood dripping liberally from the wound, but beneath, the visible bone of his skull was a dark, almost black metallic shine. "I had a contingency in case you managed to counter me," said Aldrich as he stared at Volantis, streams of blood dripping around his green eyes, rimming them a menacing red. "But I didn't expect to use it so soon."
Aldrich had used [Rite of Bone Binding] on himself before the head butt, greatly strengthening his skeleton. But even then, Volantis's attack had dealt a considerable amount of damage.
The [Death Essence Barrier] was not suited to dealing with strong physical blows. It could not mitigate damage from physical hits that crossed a certain threshold, so Aldrich had taken that head butt counter, well, head on.
Thankfully, the [Rite of Bone Binding] prevented Aldrich from dealing with a huge hole in his skull, reducing 50% of incoming physical damage, though that value would decrease dramatically with each successive strong hit endured. "You still manage to stand? After that?" Volantis paused before breaking out into a hearty laugh, his white dot eye squinting jovially. "Marvelous! "You're not bad yourself," said Aldrich. "You managed to read my moves and catch me o guard. That's not easy to do when our stats are almost equalized." "Hah, after taking that many blows, even a gork would would learn!" said
If Aldrich remembered correctly, a gork was an insult used among orcs for those that were particularly dumb among them. He shook his head and smiled, a part of him feeling good that Volantis could enjoy himself truly as himself.
And, Aldrich had to admit, he enjoyed this too. It was an extremely rare thing for him to ever spar with someone around his level. Almost every single time he fought, it was with his life or death in mind. Or it was against someone superior to him in every way. He had never been in a fair ght, only struggles for survival.
But this was a good old fashioned fair ght. Something he had practically never experienced before. He enjoyed it, that was for sure. But at the same time, he also was not the type to let his ghts drag out, even in lower stakes situations like this. "You know, you said something interesting before." Aldrich started to walk towards Volantis, staring at the Living Armor with a piercing gaze. "You said that in duels like this, orcs always take their enemy's hits head on, right? No guarding?" "That is right!" Volantis proclaimed proudly as he beat his chest with his st, letting out a metallic ring. "You are free to guard as you wish - you are no orc.
But in a ght like this, I would never forego the chance to carve your blows into my memory!"
Volantis said this, but it was clear he was not unharmed. Taking all those hits straight on had damaged him signicantly. There were countless dents all over his body, and even as he tried to stand tall and proud, he hobbled a bit. "I see. Alright then," said Aldrich. He took a deep breath, then let it out slowly through his teeth.
His body started to distort, heat waves rippling from all around his skin. The blood pouring out from his open forehead started to steam rst, then burst into ames.
All of his veins began to pop out grotesquely. His eyes grew intensely bloodshot, turning their color into a shade of dark, almost black green.
The veins on his chest where his heart was became the most visible and engorged with blood.
The sound of his heartbeat became highly audible, loosing a rapid rhythm of deep beats that sounded like war drums. Every single time his heart beat, its engorged, enlarged form visibly pushed against the esh of his chest, overclocked far past its physical limits. "Then try to keep up with this."