Chapter 193: [Bonus chapter] A Worthy Rage 3
Bonus chapter for getting me into golden ticket and powerstone rank 20! ________________________________
Aldrich roared in exertion as he unloaded a barrage of attacks. They were sloppier in execution than before. Thrown out more wildly. The punches and kicks did not chain together with as much uid motion, but did that even matter when Aldrich threw out attacks that were several times stronger and several times the speed?
Technique mattered to a point, but overwhelming power achieved just the same, if not more. At the end of the day, technique was an optimizer. It made you use what you had eciency.
But if what you had was not enough, you would always lose.
That was a lesson that Aldrich knew deeply well in his ghts against stronger
It was Aldrich this time, though, that was on the side of overwhelming force.
Each of his attacks sounded like high ordnance bombs going o. Bursts of ame accompanied all of his hits, and because of how quickly they were thrown out, it looked like Aldrich was just completely covered in a pillar of red re that roared up and down to the chaotic rhythm of his hits, like a snake charmed to the tune of a horrendous beating.
The booming echoes of impact as Aldrich punched Volantis over and over again thundered through the Arena. The wall shook with each hit as Aldrich drove
Volantis in deeper and deeper into it.
Hit after hit after hit. Aldrich kept going on and on. Every single punch he threw out, more and more of his body melted. Chunks of his esh literally blew apart from bursting, aming blood vessels.
His eyes were bleeding, starting to melt out of their sockets.
Each time he breathed in and breathed out, aming blood poured out of his mouth. His tongue spilled out of his mouth in a chunk of eshy blood, burning up before it even hit the ground.
Aldrich's Materius still felt pain and normal sensation as otherwise, he would be unused to operating it optimally. As a result, he had felt the intense pain of [Burning Agony].
Pain, however, was an old friend, and if it was just pain, he could handle it.
But now, the pain had faded away, turning into something akin to pure bloodlust. A side eect of [Burning Agony]: it rendered aected units Berserk, but Aldrich had been condent he could control it.
And yet, this was an intoxicating sensation that he felt himself slipping into, slowly but surely losing control, giving him the unstoppable urge to hit harder and again and again.
The urge to destroy. The urge to tear. The urge to kill.
This was not an urge his normally calculated mind had ever faced. It overwhelmed him, grasping at the heels of his mind and dragging it under a lake of brimstone and re and aggression. The world around him blurred under a thick veil of bright red.
He did not know what he was hitting anymore. He did not care. So long as he got to hit something. "Never hit a man when they're down." A voice rang in Aldrich's mind, in the depths of his consciousness. He thought he could feel a familiar, cool touch on his back. That was father's voice. His father's hand.
He felt another hand on his back. A softer one. Warmer. Not burning hot like the rage, but a gentle, accepting warmth. "When they're down, you help them up." His mother's voice.
That instantly drove him out of his punch drunk stupor, sobering him up in a cold instant. The red in his vision sapped away.
Aldrich's st was frozen midway in the air. He looked down. He and Volantis were in a deep, molten red crater. Volantis was knocked out, his white eye dot turned o.
The metal of his chest had completely melted o, baring a webwork of vein- like red magical energy channels that formed a 'body' that Volantis used to operate himself.
Volantis had probably sustained too much damage to go on some time ago.
Aldrich's [Burning Agony] turned o, all of his esh burned o by now. He felt his head clear. He reached down and slung Volantis over the bare skeleton of his shoulder. "Sorry, Volantis," whispered Aldrich as he carried the armor out of the tunnel he had punched out. Outside, everyone was waiting. "Congratulations on your victory, Death Walker!" proclaimed the Death Lord in glee. "I always knew there was a beast festering within you, locked up and gorging on all that negative energy of yours, but I did not expect that it had such...ferocity to it.
I do wonder how much stronger you will be when you tame it."
The Death Lord licked her lips, causing their faintly purple hue to glisten. "Healing." Aldrich ignored the Death Lord and gently placed Volantis down. "On it!" said Wai'ki as she shifted her way over to Volantis's side. "Oh, why did you take all those hits, Vol? It was cool, but Med is right - it was also dumb." "Not at all!" Volantis suddenly roared, his white eye dot coming back to life. "Eep!" Wai'ki yelped as she scrambled backwards at Volantis's sudden reanimation.
Volantis got himself to a standing position with shaky arms and legs. But still, he managed to stand, even with a gaping melted hole in his chest.
Everyone stared at Volantis with surprise. By all rights, Volantis should have been completely near death. And yet, he managed to stand just like that. "What?" Volantis looked around. "None of you have seen the spirit of an orc, I see! That is our way - we stand down to only three things: time, death, and a worthy leader! And there is no rust on my armor nor is death ready to reap my soul."
Volantis turned to Aldrich and fell down to a knee. "But there is a worthy leader before me." "I appreciate it, Volantis," said Aldrich. "But you shaking like that while you say all this isn't very convincing. Wai'ki, can you treat him?" "Heh, I always made it a point to stay standing in battle. Even in the end, upon that hill of swords, I died standing. I am not proud of the monster I became by that point, but I am proud of that." Volantis collapsed down to his knees and sighed. "But I suppose it is time for a rest.
That was well fought, Armored. Such ferocity of strength I have seen hardly the likes of! It rivals the likes of the Archdemons of Carnasus, the demon god of war himself!
I only wish I could show you the full range of my moves. I can shape re, too, but alas, I was taken by surprise and struck down before I even realized!" "..." Aldrich did not know whether to take that as a compliment. He did not like losing control like that. Whenever he fought, it was not with crazed bloodlust.
Vengeance, yes, but not berserk rage. Every time he struck a hit, it was always with purpose.
This felt senseless. "Master, are you alright?" said Valera as she came close to Aldrich's side. She alone among everyone here had sensed something was o. "I am," said Aldrich. He glanced at her red eyes. He wondered how she was able to keep such a rm handle on her berserk rage. Was it training? Or something else.
He wanted to learn, because there was no doubt about it that [Burning Agony] was an extremely powerful trump card for Aldrich.
But if Aldrich could not wield it with a cool head, it became considerably less useful. "When I'm done, you will be as good as new! So just sit still!" said Wai'ki as she sat on her knees and guided her sta over the hole in Volantis's chest. She closed her eyes, her deer ears uttering as she channeled magical energy. An aura of blue swirled around her in leafy patterns. "[- - - ,- - - , - - - - -]" Wai'ki chanted the Ancestral Tongue, and as she did so, her magical energy coalesced into a small cloud of blue butteries that landed on Volantis's wound. The butteries melted, turning into a salve that started to seal the damage up. "Ahh, I feel as good as new already!" said Volantis. "The healing has barely started. You still have a massive hole in your chest," remarked Medula in matter-of-fact tone. "A hole that serves as a reminder of the might of my Armored. What better reminder could there be?" said Volantis. "I-" Medula stopped herself and shrugged. "Yes. Whatever works for you. I should not try to understand all this warrior spirit nonsense." "You must consider it sometime!" said Volantis. "There is nothing that makes the heart beat and the soul thunder so. Your demonic brethren under Carnasus knew this well." "The spawn of Carnasus are a barbaric, brutish horde of abominations that I want nothing to do with. The amount of mindless blood shed and time wasted on their end sickens me," said Medula as she walked away, brooding away o to the side. "Hm, she is as prickly as I remember," said Volantis. "But no matter. This is a cause for celebration!
When a warmaster like myself accepts a warfather, custom dictates merry drink and feasting and ghting for three days." "I would like to, Volantis," said Aldrich. "But there isn't enough time. I need you to stay out of the Nexus and act as me now that you're fully operational again. That way, nobody will suspect my disappearance even if they somehow check on me." "Of course," said Volantis. "Yes, of course. Ah, I forget that there is always something to do. Will I be alone out in that pit?" "Unfortunately, yes," said Aldrich. "Unfortunately? Do not use that term," said Volantis. "Under a capable warfather, there is no such thing as 'un-fortune'. Solitude is something I am used to. I will keep watch, Armored." "You do not have to," said the Death Lord. "Once Wai'ki is done channeling her healing, she can cast potent illusion magic to craft a copy of you. I doubt any mortal eye unused to the ow of magic will ever see through it.
As for this feast of yours, I nd it an interesting idea. I shall arrange for it." "I have to clear the Trial Quests-," began Aldrich. "Death Walker, you have an eternity to spend. Do try to enjoy it some, or else you will nd yourself quite bored. That is, if you do not get yourself killed rst.
Come, walk with me a little," said the Death Lord.
Aldrich peered over to Valera. She stared at the Death Lord with suspicious eyes. "It'll be just for a moment. And thank you, Valera, for understanding what I was feeling." "Then I will allow it. And you do not have to thank me, master. Always, I will try my best for you. To understand you," said Valera.
Aldrich nodded and walked over to the Death Lord. As he trailed behind her, he asked, "So, what is it?" "You are harboring something within your soul, are you not? Within your
Phylactery?" said the Death Lord. She drew a breath from her pipe, purple smoke gently ickering around her lips. "I sensed it the moment you stepped foot in this realm."
The Chrysalis. "Yes. What about it? said Aldrich.
The Death Lord cocked her head, her brows furrowing in thought. She mulled over something in her head for a few seconds before nodding to herself. "I can help you hatch it."