A few dozen meters above Merman and his entourage, he stopped, stretching out his draconic wings and anchoring himself in the air.
In response, Merman's four glowing red eyes widened. His many sharp teeth bared from large gums as he snarled and pointed up at Aldrich, and in immediate response, the many mermen dedicated to throwing out projectiles shot at Aldrich, unleashing a huge volley of water spikes and blades.
Aldrich tanked the initial volley, his [Death Essence] barrier causing the projectiles to ping and pong off of it.
Up close, Aldrich noted that the water constructs were actually crystalline in structure, having been completely solidified.
Every projectile flew at speeds rivaling subsonic velocity, and it was no wonder that an entire army of mermen throwing these out could easily overwhelm masses of E and D rank heroes so quickly, even with their barriers.
In response, Aldrich clasped his hands together, generating a ghostly orb of green energy between his palms. He then thrust his hands forth, shooting a [Death Bolt] right down at the water shield phalanx.
The death bolt surged forwards, breaking apart any crystallized water projectile in it sway, the helical pattern of bright green reaching sonic speeds as it crashed into a group of fishmen.
"Very impressive," remarked Aldrich.
The [Death Bolt] actually did not manage to pierce through the water shield phalanx. It had created large cracks in several shields, but the overlapping layers of shield constructs acted like thick scales that distributed the damage of the [Death Bolt] well over a large surface area.
On top of that, the shields very quickly regenerated, the cracks smoothing over.
To crack this mass of shields, this shell, one needed a single powerful attack to smash through it entirely.
"Thanks for giving us cover!" The voice of the leader of the flying heroes crackled in Aldrich's ear. "I'll use this chance to order my men to make a retreat! We'll be out of your way in a minute, maybe even less-"
"No," said Aldrich firmly. "Stay behind your cover."
"What!? Why!?" came the confused reply. "You're up there taking all those hits - we can't waste any more time, and that barrier of yours, it can't hold forever!"
"Why, you ask?" Aldrich paused. He looked into the sky and pointed at it with a clawed black finger. "Because you'll miss the show.
Trust me, it isn't a good idea to get out of your cover now."
Storm clouds started to gather above where Aldrich was pointing. Not any ordinary storm cloud. Green, eerie, ghostly clouds that formed a football stadium sized mass.
Within the clouds, the bright glows of over a hundred jellyfish shone in intervals, sending a wave of visible energy through them. That energy looked like a pulse that rippled across the network of jellyfish, moving from its outer edges down towards the center.
At the center, the Anglerfish took in all that energy emitted from the hundred plus jellyfish into its bright white lure, concentrating and amplifying that mass amount of energy before cascading it outwards again for the jellyfish to take in once more.
Like this, with each passing pulse of energy that traveled through this web of jellyfish, the energy gathered within it grew stronger and stronger in an unending positive feedback loop.
Fueled by more and more energy, the storm clouds grew thicker and started to crackle and rumble, arcs of green energy starting to violently clap out of them. Very soon, the clouds concealed the jellyfish and Anglerfish entirely.
Rain started to pour down.
The air below grew heavy and filled with static. The hairs on all the Alters huddled behind rubble raised up, and they instinctively looked up, their eyes widening in fear as they recognized the storm.
But they remained still, as even through they looked up with fear, there was a tinge of curiosity in their eyes. A sense of dreadful anticipation.
It was like watching an enormous weapon of mass destruction gearing up to fire, knowing that when it did unleash its wrath, nothing beneath it had the tiniest shred of ever surviving. But there was some awing about the sheer destructiveness, the sheer power, behind that weapon that made it strangely alluring.
When Merman and the mermen looked up at those clouds in recognition, seeing their very own living storm turned against them, they felt mounting dread, their fins rising up in sheer instinctual terror as they saw their death gather and crackle right above them.
Merman thrust his hand towards the sky, and the mermen around him fired their projectiles, but of them reached high enough to hit the actual clouds themselves.
Aldrich floated higher into the air, also moving out of the range of the projectiles.
"It's time," said Aldrich with anticipation. He felt the very same type of excitement he did whenever he used an extremely strong weapon for the first time in a game.
That feeling of knowing you were about to unleash pure carnage with the hard earned weapon or summon or spell you had grinded for - there was truly nothing quite like it.
Just how much damage was he going to do?
Just how many was he going to kill?
He was very, very eager to find out.
The energy pulses from the clouds started to ripple back and forth from the center in much more rapid waves, each ripple echoing out a threatening, deep bass rumble that grew increasingly higher and higher pitched, signaling the buildup of power on a colossal scale.
Aldrich put down his hand.
The skies lit up completely bright green, almost white.
The brightness from the all that energy built up in a single point before being released down unleashed light at such a scale that for a moment, among the many flyers who held their injured bodies behind rubble, they thought that the night had turned into day for a split second.
A mass of lightning gathered into a branch so thick that it looked like one massive, unending pillar crashed down against mermen variants like the hand of god. When old superstitious texts spoke about punishment from the heavens raining down like lightning, THIS must have been what they meant.
The pillar smashed through the huge water phalanx like a sledgehammer driving through thin glass, completely engulfing the variants beneath in searing light.
The sound followed right after. It was the sound of lightning cracking, but at a scale dramatically higher than any naturally born lightning. The lightning did not merely clap, no, it roared. The roar of an unbound force of nature.
A green shockwave blasted outwards, completely disintegrating rubble all around the blast zone. As the shockwave gusted out, it rocked the giant chunks of rubble, some comprising of several stories of high rise buildings, that littered the battle site.
Relatively speaking, though, the area of destruction from the thunderbolt was rather localized. After all, lightning did not really spread out in any real explosive impact, it concentrated at a single point for the most part.
And for good reason. Aldrich wanted to preserve most of the sea anemone in the area to raise for his own.
When the light of the lightning died down, Aldrich nodded to himself in pure satisfaction. He gazed down upon a deep, smoking crater that shone bright white and red from sheer heat energy melting concrete and rock.
That said, Aldrich had not let his excitement for causing carnage to get a hold of his head. He had aimed the thunderbolt slightly ahead of the mermen, aiming to try and preserve Merman's corpse and the anemone behind him.
To that end, Aldrich was successful. All the weaker mermen were dead, completely disintegrated or broken down into splatters of scales and blood, but Merman's larger body parts remained in the form of the charred skeleton of his upper body.
But there was no mistake about it either: if Aldrich aimed down that thunderbolt directly at anyone, even if they were a proper A class hero, no, maybe even if they were in the S class, that was going to be a fatal blow.