Chapter 195: Top of the Necropolis 1 "The depths of my being, is it?" said Aldrich. "As in, something like my greatest fear?" "Potentially. A great fear is not an uncommon core for a Boundary form around, for there are precious few emotions that shape the soul to greater extent than fear." The Death Lord paused. "Or it can be that your core holds warmth. It may well be that it is a reminder of something you cherish dearly, for that too molds the soul well.
Yet, I will say this. I have never met one with a Boundary core that is anywhere in between. Either it is warm, or it is cold.
You, Death Walker, I sense are the type that does not hold much warmth within you. You have the marks of one that has suered, of one whose feelings and actions have chipped and worn away with abuse." "And which of those were you? Warm or cold?" "Warm. Very warm." The faint suggestion of a smile tugged at the edges of the
Death Lord's lips. It was hard to read, almost imperceptible, but it did not escape Aldrich's sharp sight.
The smile, if it had fully formed, would have been a nostalgic one. The type one got when looking back at old times. Good, happy old times. But times old enough that they would never come back. "Does the answer surprise you?" said the Death Lord. "A little. I would have expected otherwise from a warmongering lord of death whose ultimate goal was to turn all life undead." "Just because I hold warmth in the deepest depths of my soul does not mean I am not capable of cruelty," said the Death Lord. "No, sometimes, those with
Boundary cores that are warmest are the most brutal in their ways.
For often, the warmth they hold dear is something they have lost. Something that was taken from them. An endless reminder of pain of what once was but now is lost." "Was that the case for you?"
The Death Lord nodded. "Yes," she said, her voice soft. "But that is enough about me. It is your evolution that is near. Do you accept my oer, then? To infuse your Chrysalis with energy to force its hatching?" "When you rst brought this topic up, I sensed some hesitation on your end."
Aldrich had picked this up from body and vocal cues from the Death Lord.
Pauses and tenseness. "I'm assuming there's more of a risk than you're letting on?" "My, quite sharp, are we not?" The Death Lord raised a brow at Aldrich. "There is one more risk. And that is the sheer quantity of magical energy that will funnel into you. I would be forcing you to develop a Boundary that Arch Liches nearly twenty levels your superior form.
Granted, that Chrysalis creature will likely handle most of the energy processing, but in the case that it cannot, there is a risk that the excess power may wildly surge within and tear you apart from the inside out.
That is not damage that you can easily recover from, for it is damage that sunders the foundations of the soul. Wai'ki can perhaps piece together your broken pieces, but you may not ever be the same." "Is that the only extra risk you foresee?" said Aldrich. "That is not a considerable risk to you? Brave." The Death Lord mulled over
Aldrich's question for a bit, then shrugged. "But yes, I believe so." "Then I have a contingency for it," said Aldrich. "I'll need to take Valera, though." "Ah, your Guardian Knight," said the Death Lord. "Good, I encourage it. It is often better to have someone close to you by your side when you encounter your core for the rst time. The closer they are, the better. They can serve as an emotional anchor to lean against."
The Death Lord waved towards Valera. "You there! Knight! Come to your master's side."
Valera responded near instantly, leaping into the air with her superhuman strength to reach Aldrich's side in a single bound. "What is it?" said Valera. She snuck a suspicious glance to the Death Lord. "Has this snake been whispering strange ideas into your ear, master?" "I was simply discussing when he would change this knight-master relationship into something more," said the Death Lord. "W-what? Is this true?" said Valera, her composure instantly broken. She stared between Aldrich and the Death Lord rapidly. "Too easy." The Death Lord shook her head as she strutted away towards
Volantis and Wai'ki with a laugh. "I will have Wai'ki start on her illusion of
Volantis. In the meanwhile, discuss with your knight what I have told you and your intentions." "Master, was she speaking the truth?" said Valera. "No. She was just teasing you," said Aldrich. "Probably to get you o her back.
And I have to admit, it is an easy way to do that."
Valera sighed. "Yes. Of course. That troublesome snake...in any case, what do you need of me, master?"
Aldrich lled her in about what the Death Lord had told him. "Are you certain you will be ne?" said Valera. "Diving into the shaded corners of your soul like that? I cannot say I know all of this reincarnated life you have led here, but I am not clueless either. As your Chosen, I receive snippets of your being. When my mind wanders, sometimes, parts of your life ash before me. I know you have suered greatly, and the spawn of suering is never a pretty or comforting sight." "I'll be okay," said Aldrich, rmly believing in his resolve. Whatever he faced down there, he was sure he could overcome it. He had seen his parents slowly butchered before his very own eyes. There was very little he felt that could shake him anymore. "What I do need you for, Valera, is the energy overload.
Before I receive the energy, I'm going to wrap myself in my Materius.
By doing that, I'll be susceptible to certain attacks that require a esh and blood body to work. Like your vampiric blood sucking. If the amount of magical energy in my body hits an overloading point for too long, I want you to drain the excess as much as possible.
I know you don't like tasting undead blood, but this is important." "That, I can do easily, my master," said Valera. "The honor of tasting your blood is one I will never forego, regardless of whether you are undead or not.
That you are my master alone makes your essence the sweetest there is for me." "Good." Aldrich nodded to Valera. "I'll be counting on you." "As always, I am happy to serve." Valera smiled as she put a hand to her heart. "We're ready." Aldrich called out to the Death Lord. "Excellent." The Death Lord patted Wai'ki on the hand, and her ears twitched in comfort. "I will be taking Medula, but do not worry, Wai'ki, for you will not be alone. This will be a wonderful chance for you to catch up with Volantis. Do tell me if there is anything he nds unsatisfactory about his Armored. I will factor that into my evaluation of him." "There is no aw with my Armored!" boomed Volantis.
Wai'ki cringed and put her hands over her ears. "You know, I actually think I liked how you were before. When you were quieter. It-it was more comfortable for me. B-but I'm not criticizing you or anything! You are happy like this, so I am happy for you as well!" "..." Volantis nodded. The hole in his chest was nearly patched up by now with
Wai'ki's magic. "No, you are right. An orc's voice is ever loud, never faltering.
But I had forgotten about your preference for the quiet - the memories from my several lives are still taking time to adjust.
I know how much the solitude of quiet means for you. I apologize again,
Wai'ki." "N-no! Don't apologize, not for someone like me!" said Wai'ki as she put her head down. "Come now, little one, raise your head. You are worth that apology and much more," said Volantis. "R-really?" "Of course." Volantis's white eye dot narrowed in a smiling emote. "Hm. Maybe...maybe I do like you better as you are now." Wai'ki smiled too.
As Aldrich watched that interaction, Okeanos blitzed his way to his side in a shower of crackling green and blue. "Master, I am going too."