Chapter 290 [Bonus chapter] Final Round Preparation
Aldrich returned in front of his emerald throne. There, he found himself warmly greeted by his entire legion. Or the monster side of it, at least. Roars and eager growls filled the cavern hall, and he managed out a smile as the cracks in his body healed up from the Nexus's auto healing function.
"Right on time, all of you," declared Aldrich.
"As always." Okeanos stood at the very forefront of the monster horde, posture straight and full of recognition in himself that he was the strongest. Though Volantis did stand next to Okeanos and, notably, the Geist did too.
"It is time, no? For us to conquer the world!" said Volantis with booming excitement.
The horde had been made well aware that it was soon time for them to join Aldrich again. Back out in the real world. For in just eight hours, Aldrich would get shipped on a plane out to the hearing.
"Soon," said Aldrich. "But how is progress? I hope everything I asked for has been wrapped up?"
"Gehgeh! (All the flowers are here! I got them all!)" The Geist hopped up to Aldrich and gave him a bough of eyeflowers. The eye shaped flowerheads blinked as they listlessly stared at Aldrich, a bough of deformity that would have been horrifying as a present were it not for the Geist's childlike earnestness.
"Thanks, I'll make good use of this," said Aldrich. He put the eyeflowers away into his inventory. This was the final ingredient for Fler'Gan to create his mind affecting potion. "Now then-,"
Aldrich directed his gaze over all the horde, looking down at them atop the upraised platform that held his crystal throne. "I told you that the one who collected the most flowers would become the leader of this horde. The Geist has all ten. Tell me, all of you in the back, why did you fail?"
Aldrich's words reached Crab, Merman, and the giant.
"I dunno." The giant muttered. "I thought I wait and just fight flower pickers."
Crab clicked his pincers in agreement.
Merman gruffly responded. "Gorok-Hara. Morlo-Rish. (I am unfit for such lowly labor. My fishmen failed me). He waved his many arms at the reanimated fishmen around him, and they hung their heads in shame.
"Precisely. Too much belief in your own strength. Or, in Merman's case, backseat leadership that basically amounts to laziness," said Aldrich.
"Gorok-Vimâ€¦(I do not move unless neededâ€¦)" said Merman.
"And I'm not here to force you to change your personality. But I am telling you that because of that, the Geist won. I want you all to acknowledge that despite being weaker than any of you, the Geist gets a seat as the leader of this horde along with Okeanos," said Aldrich.
The two miniboss variants and the giant nodded.
"Then it's settled. Geist, you're in the big leagues now," said Aldrich.
"Geh! Geh! (I got it! Yay)" the Geist jumped up and down in glee.
"Here, if you're going to be in the big leagues, you can't be weak either." Aldrich pointed a palm at the Geist. Dark swirls of green transferred from his hand to the Geist as he depleted his remaining Dark Wisdom.
[10 levels transferred to the Geist]
[Unit Geist Level: 35 > 45]
"Gehgeh! (I'm so much stronger!)" the Geist looked down at his hands, wiggling his bulky fingers in awe. His white skin rippled and the muscles underneath strained, visibly showing bulging veins, indicating that this was the maximum power he could absorb from Dark Wisdom for now. (Gehgehâ€¦(I need some time to get used to itâ€¦)
"That's fine. Try to see if you can use magic later on." Soon, Aldrich estimated, the Geist could train his body to get even stronger. Hopefully, the Geist could use the Dark Wisdom power to try and develop magic on top of his powers, though that was not guaranteed.
"Geh! (I will!)"
"What about me?" Okeanos looked to Aldrich expectantly.
"You're already way too strong. And you get stronger by yourself. You don't need me to give you power," explained Aldrich.
"I see." Okeanos hung his head down in disappointment.
"Raise your heard, hordeleader!" Volantis slapped Okeanos's back. "It means your might is already recognized. It is nothing to be ashamed of!"
Okeanos nodded, heartened by Volantis's words.
"What's the status on the second trial quest?" said Aldrich.
"The genie is trying her best to restore her wishes. She says it will take a hundred years at least. She complains a lot. I think we should get rid of her," said Okeanos.
"Let's give her a chance." Aldrich. "And the worms?""
"They follow the big one. You can unleash them when you want," said Okeanos.
"Good." Aldrich had raised the giant worm in the second trial quest, and as the biggest, it had dominion over all the smaller ones there. He could, in theory, withdraw all the worms and unleash them from the Nexus.
What Aldrich intended to do with them was to reinforce Haven's defenses, especially its underground ones.
He had a lot of plans for Haven, actually. It would become a city unlike any other in the world, protected by variants and magical creatures, a piece of his own ambition realized, a utopia of his own power.
Much like what the other Sentinels did with their own city states.
But this was after he got done with the hearing.
"Listen, all of you." Aldrich spoke to the entire horde. "The time will come when you will all join me back in the Alter realm again. For now, though, I am only going to take a specific few of you with me."
Chrysa popped into existence on Aldrich's shoulder in a shower of white light. "Hello everyoneâ€¦" she said shyly, intimidated by the sheer number of creatures there.
The horde grunted and growled and clicks at low volume to her, giving her friendly greetings.
"Chrysa here will take those of you I choose. Crow, Okeanos, Merman, and the Geist, come with me. I'm keeping the crew small for now.
Inside of her space, or our Boundary, nobody should track your variant energy signatures, but it isn't big enough yet to fit the rest of you."
Crow and Merman came to the front of the horde.
"And Volantis, it's time," said Aldrich.
"Time we got back together, eh?" Volantis opened his armor form up.
"â€¦I wouldn't phrase it like that, but sure." Aldrich turned around as he stepped back into Volantis, and the living armor wrapped around him, oncemore fusing with his senses and body.
"Feels good to have my equipment back," said Aldrich as he clenched and unclenched his fists.
"I am more than mere equipment," protested Volantis.
"Of course. It's just how I phrase things." Aldrich turned to the rest of those at the horde's front. "All of you, gather in front of Chrysa. She'll transport you."
Chrysa closed her eyes and hovered her open palms toward them. In the past, she did not have the mana pool, confidence, and experience with her abilities to transport more than one thing at once. Now, though, with the aid of Dark Wisdom, battle experience, and some lessons from Medula, she could do just fine.
A white light washed over Crow, the Geist, Okeanos, and Merman, warping them into the Boundary.
'By the way, about Alan, the human I told you to take in-' began Aldrich telepathically, wondering if Alan would panic at the sudden influx of ultra deadly monsters.
'He's asleep in the bed! Whenever father wants me to bring a guest over, I put them to sleep for a long time,' said Chrysa.
'Good.' Aldrich nodded. She used the same Boundary function that kept the Editor Alter asleep on Alan. Soon, though, Aldrich would have to wake Alan up, but dealing with his emotional outburst was not something he wanted to handle now.
Not now, when there was so much to do. So much about to happen.
Very, very soon, Aldrich was going to step onto the world stage and become a world power.
Who knew how many allies he would make. Or, just as likely, how many enemies he would create?
There were just a few things, though, that Aldrich had to wrap up before he got to the hearing.
Some personal things, for one. Aldrich saw system messages flood in.
[Congratulations, Death Walker, for completing my quest. As promised, the rewards - ]
[1 x Hallowed Gravecloak permanently added to inventory]
[1 x Nether Idol obtained
[Dark Wisdom store raised to 50]
[1 x Choice of tome from Medula's library (Be careful of her anger) obtained]
[Level up (x5)]
[25 Stat Points available]
Aldrich distributed his stat points to Attunement and Magic.
[+15 Attunement, increased to +30 with affinity bonuses]
[Attunement: 221 > 251]
[+10 Magic, increased to +20 with affinity bonuses]
[Magic: 1Chapter 27 > 147]
Aldrich spent all of his attunement points this time on increasing his spell count. The maximum spell count one could reach was 25, fully accessible after level 50, and Aldrich was getting close to that threshold.
[6 AP spent]
[Spell Limit: 12 > 18]
With this, Aldrich could now fully slot in useful spells from his new [Tome of Greater Dark Arts] and his choice of selection from Medula's library.
Which, conveniently, was where Aldrich was headed. He tapped his crystal throne, accessing its teleportation function. He briefly checked on the third trial quest to see whether it could be visited again, but found it blacked out, deleted.
Aldrich selected an option to reach Medula's floor where he would get his new spell tome and hash out some final details with both the demon and the Death Lord.
First, there was his demonic loot. He needed to give Medula Barbos's demonheart to see if she could subjugate the greater demon. Then he needed to see how he could process Nilah's demonheart into an upgrade material.
Second, and more importantly, Aldrich needed to talk to the Death Lord about Chrysa and the system.
About that strange feeling of being watched. And about Chrysa's connection to the Voice.