Aldrich headed back to the very beginning of the Trial Quest. He was now fully decked out in the [Grave Reaper] set. A dark green, almost brown hood with golden trim covered his masked face, granting him the ragged yet sinister appearance of the typical necromancer.
The set covered his body in a mantle and cloak of the same dark green, covering him in loose robes marked embroidery and insignia of gold shaped in streaks with a skull emblazoned at the chest. Tatters were a common sight around these robes, but instead of detracting from the look of the robes and the hood, making Aldrich look right in place among the broken and dead of the graveyard.
He looked like a malevolent spirit. A haunting presence that roamed the land of the dead. Fitting for him.
The only bright colors on him were on his arms. He wore golden bracers carved into the shape of various interlocking bones. The bracers shone with power, and within them was stored a spell called [Unleash Vengeful Souls].
By striking the bracers together, Aldrich could release several skull shaped vengeful souls that sought out his enemies and dealt damage to them with a 10% chance to inflict instant death. The attack was utterly unavoidable without some kind of magic barrier with the spirits tracking and homing onto enemies, and the neat thing was that each spirit rolled the 10% instant death effect.
The number of the released souls increased for how much of the set pieces Aldrich possessed. At its base, the spell released 3 souls, but with the full five-piece set, the spell unleashed 13 of them, and they could be targeted at a single unit.
The instant death effect could be resisted with a high enough level or magic stat, but if Aldrich rolled enough times, he could craft the [Eye of Azoth] into a weapon that could completely negate instant death resistances.
And with instant death, Aldrich could kill Seth Solar even if the man could face an attack that could blow up the entire fucking world.
"Cool new threads, boss," said Fisk as Aldrich and his undead approached the starting spot for the Trial Quest. "Really rocking that evil mage look."
"Comes with my class," said Aldrich, knowing well that most necromancer sets looked rather stereotypically evil.
Aldrich commanded the Ghast to stop its [Spirit Boundary] ability, releasing the dome of smoke that protected Fisk, Adam, and Elaine.
"And another thing, boss, the moat behind us, it made this big ass rumbling noise, and then-," Fisk stated to gesture wildly behind him.
Aldrich raised a hand. "I know."
Aldrich stepped over to what was previously impassable terrain. Specifically, the moat of water separating the Trial Quest from the giant mountains. The water in the moat was entirely drained, leaving soggy mud and rock and, most notably, a circular rock trapdoor with a symbol of three eyes inscribed into it.
"Hell yeah." Fisk looked at the trapdoor with a grin. "Some secret boss sh*t up in here, huh? I get why you wanted me here - you were savin' me. Now it's my time to shine-,"
"You stay here again," said Aldrich. "Now more than ever. You're right: this is a secret boss. And this secret boss is a serious challenge. Stay here, no questions asked."
"Aw, alright, boss," said Fisk with a shrug.
"You can use your phone now. I'm taking the Geist with me," said Aldrich.
"Well, I'll do well by myself so long as I got my phone," said Fisk. He saluted Aldrich. "Good luck down there boss. And you-," He pointed a gloved hand to the Ghast's skull head. "I ain't gonna' miss you, that's for sure."
The Ghast protested by chattering its teeth before floating over to Aldrich's side.
"Valera, get in front of me. You remember this guy, right?" said Aldrich.
Valera took position with her shield raised right in front of Aldrich, ready to defend him at a moment's notice. "Yes, master. The Mind Eater with the powerful flame magic."
"Good. Then our strategy is the same," said Aldrich. "The Ghast uses its [Spirit Boundary] and you combine it with [Bone Guard]. That way, we block the initial spell from the Mind Eater and then we can swarm him pretty easily."
"Alright, then, let's do this," said Dynamite Girl as rotated her arm to warm herself up.
"Geh." The Geist nodded.
"Valera, open the trapdoor," said Aldrich.
"As you command, master," said Valera. She stepped down to the bottom of the drained moat and dug her hands into the stone door. She heaved and lifted the heavy slab of rock upwards before tossing it away.
"Let's go," said Aldrich.
Aldrich and his undead moved through the tunnel unearthed from the trapdoor. The tunnel got wider and wider as they progressed until finally, they reached a large door made entirely of thick fog.
This was known as a [Boss Gate] and, as the title indicated, held a boss level monster behind it.
Boss monsters were different from ordinary monsters in that their stats, health, and mana pool were generally higher than ordinary monsters of the same level. In addition, they possessed immunities to mind control, instant death, and other status effects that could 'cheese' a boss fight into a one shot.
This was partly why as a player; Aldrich did not see much of a reason for using instant death magic.
There were just too many monsters that bosses that had resistances or outright immunity to it. But now, he had to think about specializing in it much more.
He also had to think about how this would impact his ability to work through future Trial Quests where unlike in the real world, he would have to face creatures with these instant death resistances.
For now, he could easily make up for power he had lost with variants and Alters he reanimated in the real world.
"Once we pass through the Boss Gate, you'll find the Mind Eater immediately charging up a massive Pyro Bomb. That will one shot us all except Dynamite Girl with her heat resistance. That's why we have the Geist. It will use [Spirit Boundary] and this combined with Valera's [Bone Guard] will protect us," said Aldrich. "Afterwards, it is absolutely imperative that we do not let it channel a Pyro Bomb again. Understood?"
"Understood, master," said Valera.
"Yeah, got it captain," said Dynamite Girl.
"Gehgeh." The Geist chattered its teeth as its muscles flexed, ready to fight.
"Here we go," said Aldrich. His cold undead heart did not beat much anymore, but he felt excitement rush through him as he felt the thrill of facing a boss fight once more.
He stepped into the fog of the Boss Gate. At first, he saw nothing but dense white fog, and then a few more steps in, everything cleared up, revealing the boss room.
It was a circular room of black rock lit up with lanterns and bunches of mashed candles jutting from the walls like they were tumorous growths.
At the end of the room, hunched over a large desk of roughly crafted rock littered with papers and tomes and vials and strange glowing crystals was a black robed figure.
From behind, the figure looked to be a hunched human, but when it slowly turned around, it revealed a face that was purple and octopus-like with wriggling tentacles for a mouth and three red eyes.
Its hands were long and spindly.
In one hand it held a black lantern holding a ghostly red fire within it.
In the other hand, it grasped a gleaming red orb inscribed with unreadable sigils.
"Oh life…oh life…oh my eternal life. I knew you would be here for it. But you will not have it!" said the tentacled Mind-Eater, his voice raspy and undulating like it was underwater.
Fler'Gan the Zealot was this boss's name. He raised his lantern up, and an enormous fireball in the shape of a burning sun formed almost instantly above its head.
Just by the sheer size, heat, and magical power surging from the fireball, it was obvious that once this hit Aldrich, it would explode into a nova that would leave everyone as a melted smudge, especially with their fire weaknesses.
The Geist shivered, knowing with its instincts that if it was melted away wholesale, it could not regenerate.
"I can fuckin' take this tentacle freak!" said Dynamite Girl. "Blow that fire ball back with my own explosion!"
"Hold position and remember what I said!" shouted Aldrich. "Wait and save your firepower for later!"
"Behind me!" Valera slammed her shield down as she took defensive stance in front of everyone. She used [Bone Guard], creating a wall of bones in front of her.
Then, the Ghast floated in the air and remained still while it casted [Spirit Boundary]. A thick dome of smoke covered Aldrich and his undead, encasing them in a barrier resistant to elemental energy. This was the entire reason that Aldrich had summoned the Ghast in the first place.
"Perish in flames, unholy usurpers!" said Fler'Gan. He waved his lantern in front of him, and the miniature sun-fireball flew downwards before crashing against Valera's bone wall and the Ghast's smoke barrier.