Aldrich…felt like he was in a dream. He was conscious, but not entirely there. Floating around in this sea of infinite darkness with only the gleaming golden letters of Elden World to focus on. Even then, it was so difficult to focus on those letters, as if at any moment, he would lose focus and his mind would slip away permanently into the void.
Aldrich did not so much consciously think as he did react on instinct. When he saw that familiar prompt from Elden World, he did what he had done when he had first started the game years ago.
He chose his class.
[Class: Necromancer Selected]
[As a Necromancer, death has always been by your side. It has creeped by your shadow. It has lurked in the depths of your being. It has shaped who you are. But unlike many who face death and break under its abyssal gaze, you stared back and took control over the darkness.
Wielding negative energy toxic to life but nourishing to undead, you commit yourself to a path of dark magics where under your masterful touch, death is never the end. Or perhaps, to you, death is merely a beginning.
Raising undead armies, summoning rotted and bare boned monstrosities, and spreading necrotic misery and the cold of the grave all fall under your domain.
Is this the class you wish to choose?]
"Yes," said Aldrich, though in the darkness, his voice did not project. Only his thoughts.
This was the class he was most familiar with. The one he gravitated towards even in this dream-like state.
[Class: Necromancer Chosen]
[Necromancy is a broad art, as all encompassing as the dark is when the sun sets and restless spirits rise. Choose your Occultation. This will determine the type of necromancy you will practice:]
[-Occultation of the Shattered Bone
You let negative energies surge through your own body, harnessing them to strengthen it. Where others who practice necromancy have let their forms grow pale, sickly, and weakly, you have maintained a body and bones of iron.
You do not herald death with bolts and curses or undead minions, but through weapons of bone swung with your own two hands. You do not raise minions, but you modify your own body through ghastly experiments, stitching together a monstrous yet battle-ready form that will strike fear and lethal blows equally across the battlefield
Stat Affinities: Strength/Vitality/Magic]
[-Occultation of the Cold Rot
Death is cold. Death is merciless. And after death, there is always rot.
With this Occultation, you hold great mastery to inflict death. With a single bolt of death magic, you will cull unworthy lives. With a wave of your hand, you will cast fog that numbs and drains life from those that are still yet warm and living. With a mere touch, you will impart diseases and curses of rot that will cause untold pain and suffering.
Stat Affinities: Magic/Agility/Attunement]
[-Occultation of Legion
Death is never the end. With this occultation, you ensure that those that have fallen will always have a second chance. A second chance to serve under your thrall.
You take empty, lifeless corpses and breathe negative energy into them, granting them eternal undeath by your side. You may strengthen the undead, repairing their rotting flesh or strengthening their bleached bones. You may even call into the Nether and summon mighty undead who have ascended from mere nameless animated corpses to beings akin to high spirits or even gods.
You are never alone. Any battle you take, you shall have the might of countless graves supporting you.
You are Legion.
Stat Affinities: Magic/Attunement/Vitality]
Aldrich chose the [Occultation of Legion], confirming the selection without a hint of hesitation. This was the class of his Necromancer in the game, and so in his dream-like state, this was what he defaulted to.
[All selections have been finalized…]
[Necromancer of the Legion Occult, your adventure will now begin. May the ---------]
The message cut off at the end, but Aldrich had barely a hazy moment to get confused by it before the darkness around him dispelled. Instead, he found himself lying down on a bed of leaves, staring up at a shadowy tree canopy above.
Beyond the trees, Aldrich could make out a few stars and the large, looming full moon.
Aldrich sat up, still feeling groggy, still feeling like he was in that dream-like state, but that soon passed, and with it, came the memories.
Memories of his death. Memories of Seth Solar murdering the only two friends he had.
Somehow, Aldrich was alive. And as long as he drew breath, he would never let that vile waste of oxygen live. Not ever. Nor his scum friends too.
Aldrich balled his fists up tightly, dead leaves cracking in his grip as his deathly pale knuckles whitened even further.
Aldrich held his hands up to himself and saw that they were indeed a shade of ghostly pale white that belonged only to corpses. His skin felt cold and almost clammy. He touched his stomach and felt a fist-sized hole in it from Seth Solar's punch.
Where his spine and organs were supposed to be, there was just gaping, empty space.
Yet, he was still alive.
Aldrich blinked several times, processing what had happened. He remembered his time in the dark space where he had gone through the Elden World character selection process. He had almost thought that a dream, but…but had it all been real?
As if to confirm Aldrich's thoughts, a status screen flashed in front of him.
Current Status: Unburdened [+5 to agility]
Name: Aldrich Yang
Class: Necromancer (Occultation of Legion)
Agility: 8 (13)
The host has become an undead. They do not require sustenance, sleep, or rest to function. Their stamina is virtually limitless. Any wound aside from a critical head injury will not compromise the host's mobility or bodily functions, but damage will still be registered to the host's total HP pool. However, the host will not receive any bonus damage from being struck in locations other than the head.
-Necrotic/Negative energy damage is converted to healing
-Healing is converted to damage
-Immunity to disease and sickness
-Immunity to psychic damage
-Immunity to poison damage
-50% resistance to cold damage
-50% resistance to curse damage
-90% resistance to piercing damage unless struck in the head
-50% resistance to slashing damage unless struck in the head
-Double damage taken from crushing/bludgeoning damage
-Double damage taken from fire type attacks
Aldrich looked at this status in wonder at first, but then calm quickly after. He started to analyze it, and something within him, some natural instinct, perhaps, made him understand that he was not dreaming, that this was very, very real.
Aldrich did not need to rely on the Frame initiative anymore. That was a program for powerless students like him to get reminded of how utterly weak and worthless they were, a program where they were given hope only to have it crushed and ground under a merciless Alter boot.
Aldrich finally, finally, had the power he had only ever dreamed of. Power that was his and ONLY his.
Power that Aldrich would use for his vengeance.
First, on Seth Solar, then on the Trident.
Aldrich heard rustling around him, and he tensed up, knowing he was in danger. He knew that Seth Solar had dumped him in the forests surrounding Blackwater, which meant that this rustling could come from just one threat.
Aldrich saw two pairs of gleaming yellow eyes with eerie, squared black pupils staring at him from the dark of the forest.
Then, a low, grumbling growling.
Before, Aldrich would have ran at first sight of this threat, not in fear, but because he knew there was absolutely no way he would ever threaten a Variant with his basic human strength.
Not even the Variants in this forest, weak Variants that did not go past D rank in terms of threat, were ever enemies he could hope to beat.
But that was when Aldrich was powerless.
Before he was a Necromancer. He might have been level 1, but he knew the ins and outs of his class to the level of almost artistic mastery. He knew what spells to get, how to level, and how to fight.
Meanwhile, nobody in this world knew what Aldrich could do. He was the only player in a game where the world would soon come to dance in his palm whether or not they would dance willingly or as undead minions.
Aldrich took in a breath, feeling how light and fast his body was, and he felt confident. He stared straight back at those monstrous yellow eyes and did not see a life ending disaster, but instead the first undead for his new Legion.