When Seth Solar reached the fifteenth floor, he found the entire place covered in pitch black darkness. He started to emit some solar energy from himself, lighting up the area to reveal a narrow hallway. The hallway's walls were decorated with stone carved into the shape of countless bones.
Skulls, ribs, femurs - any type of bone from the human body on top of bones from strange creatures Seth had no idea about.
He saw ahead that Valus and the Butcher had stopped in front of a large door comprised of thick white fog, forming a nearly solid veil which they were hesitant to pass through.
"Go!" shouted Seth. "You're our scouts, aren't you?"
"I do not have the greatest feeling about what lies past this wall," said Valus.
"Dangerous," agreed the Butcher.
"Yeah?" Seth's eyes shone. "Is It going to be any worse than me? Either you go through it, or you die."
Seth was almost bluffing at this point. His version of the Sunlight Overdrive power was less efficient than his father's. Where his father could famously fight for three days without rest and without even losing strength, Seth could only fight at high strength for six hours.
It had not been six hours yet, but solar beams drained the most energy, and he had to use them liberally because most of the monstrosities here did not stay down from powerful punches. They needed to burn to fully stay dead.
Seth had enough energy in him for a few more strong fights, but he could not afford to waste power burning down the Butcher.
Thankfully, Valus submitted to Seth and waved the Butcher forward.
"Come on, Butcher, show us the way," said Valus.
"Don't want to," said the Butcher.
"You must," said Valus.
Butcher shook his head.
"Here, how about this, you go ahead, and I'll give you as many people to carve up as you want," said Valus. "As many as you want!"
"Really? As many as I want?" said the Butcher as he smiled gleefully and hopped in delight, his rolls of stitched fat and flesh jiggling as he did so.
"Yes, as many as you want," said Valus.
"Ok then, I go!" The Butcher immediately powered his way through the door of white fog.
"If I get out of this alive," said Valus. "The Trident will hear of your mistreatment against me as well."
"Shut up and go," said Seth.
Valus sighed and moved forward, fading into the fog.
"My instincts are…telling me…not…to go," said Zayn. By now, he had morphed into the size of a large car, his arms completely morphed into giant, bushy feathered black wings. His eyes gleamed red while he tried his hardest to utter out words from his distorted vocal chords through this beak.
"Yeah, but what choice do we have? You of all people should know this," said Seth. He patted Zayn's back. If there was anyone in this world that Seth respected or even remotely cared about, it was Zayn. They were both born and bred for lives they had no choice to live.
Where Seth was born to be a villain, Zayn was genetically engineered to be a monstrosity, an obscene hidden corporate experiment in the middle east where Alterhuman wombs were inseminated with Variant seed. Zayn would have been bred to be a half human, half variant monster used like an attack dog, but he had escaped, becoming a mercenary from the age of ten to survive.
"True…," Zayn moved forwards, fading into the fog.
Seth followed shortly behind.
Beyond the fog gate was a circular space two hundred meters in radius and fifty meters high. The ceiling was domed and decorated with lines of spines and ribcages leading into a central point. Each of these spines ended with a huge lizard-like skull.
A total of twelve skulls stared at the center of the dome where a crimson red orb glowed.
The walls of this place were decorated with bone as well, and at the center, a towering throne composed of bones meshed together stood tall. Seated atop the throne was an enormous, armored man with his clawed guantlets drawn together.
It was hard to tell whether the thing was actually a man or not. It sat so perfectly still that it was debatable whether it just a piece of armor.
The armor was obsidian black and practically oozed threat. The armor jutted and curved into rough spikes around the shoulders and arms. Around the breastplate down to the torso, the metal seemed to be hewn into the shape of rough, jagged scales.
Dull white, almost gold bone outlined the armor's spikes and edges, padding particularly heavily around the gauntlet areas to form enormous, bladed spikes lined with glowing, fleshy crimson red that seemed almost alive in a raw, primal way.
The helmet of the armor curved up into three large horns, the middle of which formed the visage of a bone capped, bladed crown. There was no gap in the helmet to show any flesh or eyes beneath, there was only a single glowing red orb at the center of the helm.
"Stop looking and go!" said Seth after he stood in awe for a few seconds at the armor. A sense of dreadful power emanated from the obsidian construct that made it hard for anyone to approach.
Valus and the Butcher inched forwards, and when they got within thirty meters of the armor, an echoing voice projected form it. It was deep and guttural, utterly inhuman and sinister in its tenor.
"Where among you is the Necromancer that wishes to fulfill the Ritual of Eternity? I, Volantis, the Tyrant of Bone, seventh among the Deathguard, shall test you. Fell my health below half, and the Obelisk that you seek shall be yours."
Volantis stared at Valus and the Butcher with the glowing red eye in his helmet. Then he stared at Seth Solar and Zayn. "The Necromancer is not here. I see. He brings forth his minions to do his bidding. Such is the way of those that follow the Occultation of Legion."
Volantis stood up, the metal of his armor groaning threateningly, and he utterly towered over Velus and even the butcher, standing at four meters tall. Bloody crimson strands of energy started to emanate from edges and gaps in his armor.
"No matter. I will sunder your flesh and take your bones into my collection. I will show the Legion the might of the Shattered Bone."
Volantis took a step forward, and as he left his throne, it faded and disappeared.
Velus immediately shrieked.
"Butcher! Kill him!" said Velus as he floated backwards.
"Go away, monster!" said the Butcher as he shoulder charged into Volantis.
Volantis clenched his clawed gauntlets into a fist and cocked it back. The large spikes on his forearms, constructs of metal, crimson flesh, and bone, glowed with bloody power, and he slammed his fist inteo the Butcher's shoulder.
The punch generated a shockwave of staggering force that made Volantis skid back while sending the Butcher, his entire near one ton of weight, hurtling through the air.
"Respectable power for one who seemingly holds no magic within them," said Volantis as he stared at his fist. "But I was warned by the Lord that there are those that need not devote themselves to the mystic arts to gain strength. Curious. This will make your bones ever the more worth harvesting."
Seth Solar flew in the air and launched twin solar beams while Zayn circled above, unleashing volleys of giant bladed feathers at speeds easily outstripping the speed of sound.
"Hmph." Volantis raised his arm up, and walls of bone emerged all around him, blocking the heat beams and mass volley of feathers. "So all of you possess powers that do not depend upon the Swirl of Mana."
Volantis smashed his fist into the ground, causing the bone wall to blast apart omni-directionally.
The Butcher took the attack head on, the huge bone shards gouging into his flesh like oversized buckshot.
Velus blocked the bones with his disintegration field.
Zayn let the attacks hit him, but they bounced off his thick coat of durable feathers that formed a powerful armor.
Seth Solar guarded his face as the bones shattered against his invincible flesh, though this time, he felt cuts and nicks where the bones smashed against him.
This thing was strong.
Way stronger than any of the other odd creatures that Seth had seen so far in this dimension. If he had to put a variant ranking to this, it would be a B ranked disaster variant at the minimum.
"[Bone Lance Volley]!" shouted Volantis as he pointed his claws at Seth Solar. A red magic circle formed in front of his hand and from it, a mass number of giant ribs shot forth like spears.
Seth maneuvered around the bones. Meanwhile, the Butcher charged again on the ground.
"[Giant's Bone Hold]" Volantis slammed his spiked, greaved foot into the ground.
Two enormous skeletal hands erupted form beneath the Butcher, grasping him completely in a tight hold.
A volley of black feathers crashed into Volantis's back, etching out sparks and clangs of impact. The feathers jutted out of gaps in the armor, but seemingly did no real damage.
"Hmph. This type of damage is nigh meaningless against me," said Volantis as he crouched, generating power before shooting up like a meteor towards Zayn.
Seth Solar zipped in front of Zayn and blocked Volantis's giant fist with his own. Another shockwave of impact permeated outwards.
"Impressive," said Volantis.
"Fuck off!" Seth Solar fired a beam of solar energy that smashed directly into Volantis's face. The beam of gold instantly drove Volantis down in diagonal descent into the ground, smashing out a sizable crater on impact.
"Hmph." Volantis knelt as he put his hand out, blocking the beam. Heat waves shimmered around his gauntlets as the black metal turned red hot, then white hot. "This is considerable damage, yes. But I will not stand here and take it."
Volantis opened his other hand, and a chakram of linked and sharped bones formed. He tossed the chakram towards Seth Solar, away from the beam of solar energy, and it curved its trajectory to meet Seth Solar's head.
An expertly aimed feather struck the chakram and sent it off course, evading Seth's head by a hair.
"Good teamwork. Commendable." Volantis rolled to the side, causing Seth's beam to strike ground. He then stood up and chanted. "[Morph: Boneguard Asura]"
Six large skeletal arms spread out from Volantis's back, and in each of them, bone chakrams formed. He began to throw out these chakrams at supersonic velocity, replacing them as soon as they were sent out. Within ten seconds, there were over fifty chakrams flying all across the circular arena, pinging off the walls and each other to create a mass game of pinball where evading hits became a nigh impossibility.
Seth Solar and Zayn dodged like mad, but even then, they suffered attacks here and there. Seth looked down at Velus who cowered in the back, completely fine because his disintegration field destroyed the chakrams as soon as they came in range.
"Velus! You useless fuck! Go up there and touch him! Disintegrate him!" said Seth. "While he's throwing these boomerangs around, he can't move!"