"I see. Hm." Aldrich put a hand to his chin as he looked down at Portal Girl's body. "Do you have any idea of how she might be able to use her energy? Her powers?"
"No. I am too unfamiliar with the humans and monsters of this world to determine their strengths and weaknesses to such degree of accuracy. All I can perceive so far is total strength, not the details of that strength," said Volantis.
"You can use [Consumption], can you not? That might let you figure things out better," said Aldrich. As a Living Armor, Volantis possessed a racial skill called [Consumption] that allowed him to open up and devour a creature. It also allowed him to steal their soul if they did not have a high vitality stat.
By [Consuming] a creature, Volantis could gain knowledge of them and restore his health.
It was this ability that he used to steal the soul of Velus and kill the Alter. On that note, it was a shame that Velus could not be raised as his body and soul were both thoroughly eviscerated. His barrier-based power seemed particularly powerful.
It also seemed that Volantis needed to consume more than just Velus to get a good grasp of how Alter powers worked. But even by absorbing just one Alter, he knew how to identify Alter energy signatures with incredible tracking accuracy.
"…" Volantis remained silent for an uncharacteristic moment, and Aldrich felt discontent from him in the same way that Volantis could sense Aldrich's own emotions.
"What's wrong?" said Aldrich.
"My [Consumption] is granted only to those with bones worthy enough to devour. It is my principle to not stain my stomach with those whose who do not pass a certain threshold of strength," said Volantis.
"I see," said Aldrich. "You've been more than useful enough for me so far. I can respect that wish."
"Many thanks," stated Volantis.
"And by the end of this night, I can assure you we will find a suitable foe for you to devour," said Aldrich.
"Devouring that one, the one at the center of this human settlement whose energy swirls and swells like a pillar of might would be a feast I would relish supremely," said Volantis. "But I sense that you do intend to add that one to your army."
"Yeah," said Aldrich. No doubt, Volantis was talking about the variant at the center of this attack. The immensely powerful variant that Valera had said was too strong even for Aldrich as he was now to put down.
With a monster like that in Aldrich's control, he would be nigh unstoppable. It was utterly imperative that he did so, and he had a strategy in mind to take it down while cultivating as much support as possible from the public.
It would be flashy. Climactic. And, in the end, the final catalyst to raise Aldrich from a nameless nobody to one of the premiere forces in this entire country.
But that was for later. For now, Aldrich looked down at the girl and decided to raise her. She was not fully dead yet, so Aldrich pushed his clawed fingers into her chest, piercing her heart with one quick and clean stab.
The girl's soul materialized above her corpse in a flickering green, wispy orb.
Aldrich flicked blood off his hand and then waved it up. "Serve."
The soul fed back into the girl's body in wispy streams while curls of green energy from Aldrich's necromancy traveled all around her body. She shivered for a moment before her eyes flew open. She gasped in a deep breath and sat up, immediately placing a hand on her bleeding chest.
"W-what happened?" said the girl, completely panicked. "Where am I?"
"Panopticon bunker. This should help-" said Aldrich.
He waved his hand towards the girl's head.
The girl's eyes glowed green for a moment as he influenced her mind, instilling calm and willing her to retrieve her memories.
By default, it seemed that risen undead had their memories wiped, retaining only their core personality traits. Of course, Aldrich could allow his undead to retrieve their memories, though there seemed to be differences in how effectively they could recall them.
Fler'Gan, for example, could recall all of his memories with expert accuracy.
Stella, on the other hand, struggled a little, feeling as if she had to try and remember a long-forgotten dream to get her memories back.
Aldrich had an idea of why this occurred. In Elden World lore, it was stated that the less experienced a Necromancer was, the harder it was for them to have arisen undead retain their old memories. Because Aldrich had resurrected Stella when he was comparatively at a lower level, she had more issues fishing for her memories than Fler'Gan did.
But now as a Lich and at a far higher level, Aldrich did not expect to face any difficulties in terms of memory retrieval. In the future, if lore related tales about Liches were true, he could even expect to start directly manipulating the memories of those he raised, allowing him to craft them into perfect followers if, say, they disagreed too strongly for his own liking.
"Sir-," The girl nodded to Aldrich in recognition even if she had never seen him before. All arisen undead, regardless of whether they retained their memories or not, viewed Aldrich as their 'master' and someone they were deeply familiar with. "Thank you for saving me."
"Sir, is it?" Aldrich figured that the girl addressed Aldrich like that because that was the term she was used to calling figures of authority with. Made sense, considering she was a hero academy trainee. "What's your name?"
"The name's Eileen Vex. Hero name Portal Girl," said Eileen. "Thank you for saving me." She turned to the other hero's corpse and then shook her head. She stepped to his corpse, knelt by it, and took his hand. A few tears welled up from her eyes as she looked at the corpse's half blown apart face.
"Was he close to you?" said Aldrich.
"I interned under him in my second year," said Eileen. "Sparkwire was his name. A good hero. One of the few out there that knew what it meant to be one." She sucked in a deep breath, calming herself. She wiped her tears and stood up, resolute determination on her face.
In just a manner of a few seconds, she had completely squashed her emotions and made herself ready to fight and protect. Her force of will was strong, especially considering her age. "But we've still got a city left to save."
"Yes, that we do," said Aldrich. "The fighting above is still going strong, but it's about time someone put an end to it. When all is said and done, I will make sure Sparkwire is buried properly and that people remember him as one of the few heroes that did not abandon this city."
Aldrich did not intend to raise Sparkwire. He had heard of Sparkwire, and his powers were solidly in the techno realm, focused on interfacing with and creating technology. Without a soul to raise Sparkwire with his mind intact, his powers were useless.
He would just be an ordinary zombie.
Not worth it.
"His family will appreciate it," said Eileen.
Aldrich nodded, letting Eileen have a moment of silence with Sparkwire, but then went back to combat details. "Tell me, what are your powers?"
"I can create portals from my current location to another as long as I have a clear memory of it. My range has about a two-hundred-meter radius, though…," Eileen looked at her pink gloved hands. They crackled with arcs of faint energy. "I feel much stronger. I think, maybe, I could even do a kilometer right now."
"I see." Aldrich noted that Portal Girl's powers had increased significantly upon becoming an undead.
Very likely, her power had some limitations based on the stamina of her body and mind, and as an undead with an infinite resource of both types of stamina, she had vastly improved herself.
A power like that had incredible tactical potential for Aldrich. One of the biggest weaknesses he had was that he could not easily move mass amounts of his units around without much notice. But Portal Girl could negate that.
Aldrich then received a signal from his mobile storm. From a high vantage point, his storm of jellyfish could look across the city and keep tabs on the battle happening at the city center. And there, the storm reported that the forcefield was dangerously close to falling.
There were siege type aquatic variants that acted like cannons, being rooted sea anemone that fired beams of powerful hydro-plasma highly effective at burning out the forcefield, and their last volley had gotten the forcefield flickering close to failure.
When the forcefield fell, Aldrich had to be there.
It was time to move.
Onwards to the finale to save this city.
"I was going to have you stay here, but you're far too useful for that. You're coming with me."
"Understood!" said Eileen.