Aldrich saw nothing but blinding light as the fireball exploded. He stared at the bright white light of the flaming explosion with relief.
The fact that he could even see this light meant that his consciousness had not been totally incinerated away.
The light dimmed down from white to orange as the temperature of the fire dropped, and Aldrich found himself unconsciously not breathing as the oxygen in the smoky confines of the [Spirit Boundary] burned up.
Thankfully, he had no need to breathe, so he stood there tensely, waiting for the flames to fully die down.
Within a few seconds, the light dimmed substantially as the explosion died down.
Flickering flames now lit up the arena with a red and orange glow. In some areas, these flames concentrated and roared high, turning into pillars of fire type damage to avoid.
Aldrich looked up to see the Ghast's smoky skull form lined with many cracks, liable to disappear with just a light breeze.
The Ghast itself did not benefit from the barrier it created, making it an easy target to snipe.
However, its [Sturdy] passive had made it survive the powerful Pyro Bomb with a single hit point.
"Now! Swarm him!" Aldrich stepped out of the Spirit Boundary and saw Fler'Gan raise his lantern high in the air. Several red magic circles formed above his head as he gathered power for another [Pyro Bomb]. "Do not let him channel that attack again!"
"With me!" Valera rushed forwards with [Dash], turning into a black blur as she appeared right in front of Fler'Gan. She thrust her shield forward in a [Shield Bash] aimed to crush Fler'Gan's head.
Instead, Valera slammed straight into a forcefield projected all around Fler'Gan. The forcefield was tinted a dark orange, and by hitting it, flames gushed out and counter attacked Valera, forcing her back as her armor started to melt and smoke.
"Fler'Gan is a level 20 boss. Each of his spells are capable of dealing severe damage to any of you," said Aldrich. "But if you exhaust his pyrokinetic barrier, his main body is fragile."
Fler'Gan was a member of the Mind-Eater race that was known for consuming brains and mental energy to fuel themselves.
Their bodies were not physically strong and so they relied on their mental powers that involved telekinesis and mind control to attack. On top of this, they generated a forcefield around themselves for defense.
In Fler'Gan's case, he was unique in that he practiced pyrokinesis, changing his psychic attacks from dealing mental damage to fire type damage super effective against undead.
This made Fler'Gan an exceptionally difficult boss to clear for the first Trial Quest as a Necromancer with minions all weak to fire, not to mention that he was level 20.
"Alright, I'll blow that barrier up," said Dynamite Girl.
"No." Aldrich pointed his staff at Fler'Gan and casted a volley of [Chill Bolts].
They struck against Fler'Gan's barrier of pyrokinetic mental energy before sizzling and evaporating. "Any fire type damage against that barrier will do nothing. Save your attack for when the barrier is down."
"Accursed insolents!" Fler'Gan looked all around him. He was seconds away from getting dogpiled by a dozen plus undead. "Burn away!" He shook his lantern, and a red magic circle appeared in front of him.
"Retreat!" said Aldrich. Most of his undead managed to stop their attacks and move backwards, but the Big-arm Grizzly was too slow.
An omni-directional shockwave of flames emerged from Fler'Gan. This was an attack that he casted when he felt too many units were around him, and it had a long cooldown.
If it meant sacrificing the Big-arm Grizzly to bait this spell out, then Aldrich was fine with it.
"Geh!" the Geist stood in front of the Big-arm Grizzly and shoved it away.
Flames scorched the Geist's back, bubbling its skin before liquefying, revealing its bare spine and half-torched internal organs.
The Geist fell forwards, disabled. It was not dead, however, and it clenched its teeth and focused on its regeneration. Flesh bubbled up and grew again, starting to regrow the muscles and tissue around its bare and burned spine.
Aldrich commanded his units to attack again. He waved his Alloywing Eagle towards him and hopped on to get an aerial advantage.
"So what? I just gotta' sit on my ass until that thing's shield goes down?" complained Dynamite Girl.
"No, tank attacks for others when you can," said Aldrich. He looked briefly back at the Ghast. Inside of the smoke barrier was Fisk, Adam, and Elaine.
Fisk looked at Aldrich staring at him and raised his arms in surrender, all his previous bravado gone at the sight of Fler'Gan's might. "S-sorry boss, but if you want me fight that, well, I don't think I can do much-,"
"I know. Just stay put. Defend Adam and Elaine with your life, even if it means taking a hit for them," said Aldrich. He flew ahead to survey the battle better.
"Burn! Burn! Burn!" Fler'Gan madly shook his lantern and waved it at the units approaching closest to him. He fired [Fire Bolts], and though it was a basic cantrip, it easily had the power to two or three shot his units.
Valera led the offensive charge and blocked the [Fire Bolts] with her shield. Behind her, the Alpha Striker and the Big-arm Grizzly leaped ahead, closing the distance to Fler'Gan. They bit and swiped and tackled at his flame barrier, but each time they did, flames retaliated from his pryokinetic barrier, damaging them.
The damage was not light, either.
Each attack the Variant undead made cost them a limb in terms of damage, torching their skin and flesh into blackened liquid messes.
"Quick attacks and quick retreats!" said Aldrich. "Do not take too much damage from attacking, it simply isn't worth it! Protect the Mud Crabs instead!
"Gah!" Fler'Gan flew backwards as the Troll Chieftain smashed into his barrier with its broad shoulder, tackling him backwards.
Using this moment of distraction, the Mud-Crabs pointed their pincers at Fler'Gan and fired off two streams of pressurized water. The water sizzled against Fler'Gan's barrier and dealt super effective damage.
"Water!? You dare!?" Fler'Gan immediately aimed at the Mud-Crabs that stood a dozen meters away and threw out a [Fire Bolt Barrage]. Six balls of flame spiraled out towards them.
"Protect the crabs!" said Aldrich.
"I'll take the left crab!" Valera stood in front of a crab with her shield and blocked three fire bolts.
"And I'll take the right!" Dynamite Girl defended the other crab and punched away the fire bolts, letting them explode on her body without dealing any damage due to her fireproof skin.
"I swear I will incinerate these accursed crabs!" Fler'Gan ignored the undead swarming around him and just fired more Fire Bolts at the crabs. Once again, Valera and Dynamite Girl defended against these,
Aldrich commanded the Troll Chieftain and Great Centipede to attack. The Chieftain punched Fler'Gan's barrier while the centipede unborrowed its tail from the ground and whipped at the Mind-Eater.
"Pests. Take your time burning yourselves upon my barrier. I will deal with you later." Fler'Gan ignored them and started to charge a swirl of orange energy into his lantern, ready to cast a [Flamethrower] to throw out an unbroken stream of fire that was much harder to block than individual fire bolts.
Aldrich raised a brow of concern.
Fler'Gan was smarter than in the game.
He had some recognizable behaviors from his game A.I. such as casting [Flame Wave] when there were more than five units around him, but usually other than that, he was pretty dumb.
Anything that hit his barrier would draw his aggro, so Aldrich's strategy was to just have his undead perform hit and run attacks to draw Fler'Gan's attention until the crabs recharged their [Water Gun] attacks.
This way, he estimated he would lose maybe one or two units at max until Fler'Gan's barrier was down from [Water Guns].
When the flame barrier ended, Fler'Gan would become much stronger offensively with more intense flame spells and more aggression to boot, but at this point, Dynamite Girl could just rush him and one shot him.
Fler'Gan, like other Mind-Eaters of his kind, had a weakness to fire.
He covered this weakness with his lantern that granted fire resistance, but it only made him take neutral damage to fire.
A full-force attack from Dynamite Girl, especially now that she knew how to go all out beyond her body's limits, would blow up Fler'Gan instantly as his barrier was 70% of his maximum health.
But Fler'Gan was not acting like his A.I. He was not taking easy bait from short hit and run attacks.
"And once those crabs are done with, I will burn you, accursed summoner of the dead," said Fler'Gan as he eyed Aldrich above.
Fler'Gan was conscious. Aldrich could see it in the Mind-Eater's three bulbous eyes. There was thought in them.
Deranged, insane thought, but thought nonetheless.
This made Fler'Gan much more dangerous.