Chapter 197: Diving into the Chrysalis
Aldrich paused for a tense moment as he heard Rella's words of challenge.
Valera immediately followed suit, standing rmly beside him with a strong grip on her shield. His magical energy swirled around him in a rippling aura of green, simmering in a state right before it boiled up into full blown explosiveness.
He had never been this tense even with someone as powerful as the Death Lord because he understood the type of person she was. She might have joked about ghting Aldrich, but at the end of the day, it was just that: a joke. He could tell this in her mannerisms. In her non-committal body language and her barely concealed smile that made it obvious that most of her words were to be taken lightly.
But Rella was nearly the complete opposite. She had an easygoing and condent demeanor about her that made it seem as if most of her words were light hearted, but there was something a little more unhinged about her, in the way she smiled, in her voice, that made her far more unpredictable.
That, and her backstory. Rella was the daughter of Rathos, highest god of the
Eluman peoples that were the equivalent of humans in the game. Her mother was just some nameless priestess he had forced himself upon and promptly forgot about.
When Rella reached her teenage years, Fiola, goddess and wife to Rathos, saw
Rella as an abomination and a symbol of her husband's indelity. Thus, Fiola cast Rella down into the depths of a dungeon full of the vilest creatures capable of enacting the most torturous ends known to man.
There, Rella survived for forty years by herself, and when she emerged, she was nothing but an uncontrollable ball of violence and fury. Aldrich did not know how exactly the Death Lord managed to get Rella sane enough to work for her.
What he did know was that he did not trust in Rella's mental stability enough to hold herself back from suddenly unleashing the full brunt of her power against
Aldrich. And, as Aldrich was now, vastly underleveled compared to his game counterpart, Rella's endgame level strength would undeniably demolish him.
Evidently, Valera felt the same sense of threat too. Her battle instincts told her to be cautious of Rella because she was wildly unpredictable. "Hehehe, that is a nice aura ye have," said Rella. "It would be a wondrous feeling to shatter it with my own two hands." "There will be no shattering of anything tonight," said the Death Lord rmly, her voice resonating with authority.
Rella looked to the Death Lord and nodded without much resistance. "Course'. I was just bored was all, sitting in that pillar all day." "I'm surprised: I thought you would have had your ll of ghting after sparring with the Death Lord," said Aldrich. This was, of course, a pointed question meant to scope out reactions from both Rella and the Death Lord. Using those, he could try to determine how much of what the Death Lord said was true about her injuries. "Hah, her?" said Rella. "By this point, I've sparred her enough to be quite bored of what she can do. And she never goes all out with me, even when I beg her to." "If we both go all out," said the Death Lord. "This realm crumbles.
I already grant you much in sparring sessions to alleviate you from the boredom of this task of manually channeling the Bell of Absolution as its conduit.
To let you go all out on top of that is simply too much." "Rella wasn't even going all out and she managed to do that much damage to one side of you?" said Aldrich.
The Death Lord did not respond to this. It was Rella that took over the answering, and she was decidedly harder to read. Perhaps because of the many years she had spent in a dungeon, or maybe it was because she was half god, but her ability to make proper facial expressions was o in an almost eerie way. "I would be ashamed of meself if my void lightning could not do even that much," said Rella. "I have trained it all my life to slay gods, no matter how tough their skin, barriers, or wills are. And it has felled more than one. Mel is no dierent." "An unlucky hit, then?" Aldrich asked this directly to the Death Lord this time. "As unlucky as can be." The Death Lord shrugged the topic away. "We are not here to discuss my sparring injuries. Let us proceed with the awakening of your
Boundary." "Alright then," said Aldrich. For now, Rella had covered for the Death Lord.
Explanations were given for why Rella could have just left this post acting as a conduit for the bell.
The sparring sessions were temporary, probably made in short enough intervals that Rella's absence here was not felt. On top of that, it was actually plausible for Rella to have harmed the Death Lord to the degree of taking her arm even with a minor eort.
Rella's signature attack involved channeling lightning as her father did.
However, unlike her father's divine lightning which shone a brilliant hue of bright white, her lightning was pitch black and held the property of disintegrating whatever it struck.
The disintegration eect was true damage, ignoring any resistances and bypassing almost all barriers. On top of that, it had an incredibly potent anti healing eect as well.
Theoretically, it was possible that the Death Lord had gotten careless and taken a hit from it.
Aldrich still had more than his fair share of doubts, but the more tried to press the matter, the more suspicious it would get on his end. "Oh? A new Boundary, is it?" Rella looked Aldrich up and down. "This young lad of a lich has one already? Not bad. Maybe it will be worth allowing him to live and ripen into a proper challenge." "He is my Usurper, after all," said the Death Lord like a proud mother. "If he was even a shade less worthy of my powers, I would have put up far more of a struggle in allowing him to receive it." "Aren't I the only option you have?" said Aldrich. "Not like there are any others to choose from." "That is true," agreed the Death Lord. "But I shall say this. Were you weak willed any, I would have been content to allow my realm to fade into oblivion without ever passing it on to you.
After all, I am already dead. No, wait, I am dead twice over, come to think of it. I had my turn to do what I wished. Now it is yours." "Come on then," said Rella as she held out her hand to Aldrich. "If this will not lead into anything exciting, best to get it over with quickly." "Finally." Medula sighed. "Someone that speaks my language."
Aldrich stared at Rella's open hand with some level of hesitation. "Rest assured, Medula and I will both keep Rella's tendencies under control," said the Death Lord. "And she is not actually the one infusing you with energy.
It is the Bell of Absolution.
Rella is simply a conduit. Her God Core allows her to multiply mana that ows into her, making her the perfect channel for the bell, but she cannot actually change how much ow the bell grants. That is strictly under my domain.
And I will try to ensure not a unit more than is needed ows into you." "This had better work as you describe it, snake," said Valera. "Of course it will, my dear. After all, you are here as his contingency," said the
Death Lord. She raised a hand towards the bell. Sigils of green lighted upon her arm in a complex weave of patterns.
Power radiated out from these sigils, distorting the space around them. Unlike runes that gods used to manifest their powers, the Death Lord and other 'dark' entities used sigils instead. The only exception were demons, but that was because they were invaders to the Elduin realm that got their rst foothold through a god's runes, hence their preference for using runes. "O bell of mine, I call upon you to ring. To bring forth the death knell that has claimed both the lowliest and mightiest of soul."
In response to the Death Lord's voice, the enormous bell began to oscillate. The intricate patterns of dragons and lilies upon its frame lit up in bright purple, emanating a lavender hue that melded with the green sphere around it. "Around...this much should be enough," whispered the Death Lord as she snapped her ngers. The bell tolled once, its great bulk softly moving from side to side with a heavy and slow motion. As it did so, it let out a deep and eerie ring, like what one would expect a bell of its size to sound like in some dark, watery depths.
The sound traveled not by Aldrich, but through him, radiating in vibrations all across his body of bone.
The pillar of green energy underneath the bell that usually stood unchanging and stable now ickered chaotically with newly introduced energy. "Now take my hand," said Rella walked up to Aldrich, standing over him while holding out her open hand. "And walk into the pillar with me. When we step in, you ought to feel the power owing into you." "The moment you step in, you will enter your Boundary. Steel your mind as much as possible, Death Walker," said the Death Lord. "There are some Liches that meet their Boundary cores and lose their sanity, becoming little more than raving madmen." "That's another risk you didn't tell me about," said Aldrich. "Not a risk." The Death Lord smiled at Aldrich. "Did I not say? I would not have accepted you were you weak willed. You can handle this much. Now go."