Chapter 196: [Bonus chapter] Top of the Necropolis 2
Aldrich stared at Okeanos for a blank moment. "I am not going?" Okeanos's antennae dropped in disappointment, already knowing the answer to this question. "You can if you want," said Aldrich. "There's nothing stopping you." "Nothing except me." Medula spoke as she neared Aldrich, the Death Lord beside her. "It may not look like it, but with the vastly reduced manpower in the
Necropolis, many of its functions are held together with the bare minimum of stability.
And that stability comes from a generous subsidy of my own magical energy.
A warp to the top of the Necropolis is the most costly. I can understand spending that cost rationally for those absolutely needed. Irrational spending, though, I cannot accept."
Aldrich remembered that the Death Lord had mentioned almost in passing that the Necropolis had lost over half of its troops. That explained why the
Immortalis Legions, an army of over a hundred thousand, seemed to be absent.
Why Chiros only commanded fteen death knights where as a captain, he would have easily been the head of a force a hundred plus strong.
It made sense that if one considered the Necropolis a complex mechanism of many moving magical parts, that the loss of manpower would aect its capacity to run.
It was also a testament to the sheer ability of Medula that she could manage a territory as vast as the Necropolis. From what Aldrich knew, Medula was basically like a dungeon master. She was the direct overseer of every trap, every warp point, every unit placement throughout the entire 100 oors of the
Necropolis. "I am sad," said Okeanos. He spoke bluntly and without inhibition like a child would. "But I understand." "I'll make it up to you later," said Aldrich. "Promise?" said Okeanos. "Promise." Aldrich nodded. He was interested in Okeanos and his origins. Why his mannerisms were so childlike and how they could be so human in the rst place considering his status as a variant. That, he would dive into later. "Then all is in order," said the Death Lord. "Medula, prepare the warp." "Yes." Medula clasped her bandaged hands together, and when she withdrew them, dark strands of energy threaded between her palms. "All of you, stay near me. I calculate that there will be no issues with the warp, but physical proximity eliminates any confounding variables."
Those coming to the top of the Necropolis drew closer to Medula. "[Advanced Gate]" chanted Medula. She tossed out the dark strands between her hands, and they quickly expanded outwards into a spherical void that engulfed everyone.
The warp, unlike the type that Aldrich accessed through Sign Stones to get to the Nexus, took several uncomfortable seconds of feeling weightless and stranded in complete and utter darkness.
Then, the darkness faded, leaving everyone at the top of the Necropolis.
Aldrich had never actually been to the top of the Necropolis. He had not even actually cleared the entire tower. Just up to the seventieth oor.
At that point, the Necropolis was weakened enough for the goddess Amara to isolate the Death Lord in a Trial Quest even through the natural barrier the
Where the player faced the Death Lord in that quest, the strongest troops of
Amara cleared the rest of the oors. It was not a dicult thing to do, granted, with the Deathguard and the Death Lord eliminated at that point, leaving strong but still regular mobs left behind.
But Aldrich realized that Elden World had missed out on a massive opportunity in not sending the player to the top. The sight that Aldrich saw around him was nothing short of a grand spectacle.
He stood atop an enormous oating circular platform of stone. Green, circuit patterned light streaked across the stone, congregating into a large dot at the center. "Is this fog?" Valera looked around, seeing a misty white veil all around them. "No. These are clouds," said Aldrich. That was how high up they were.
He looked up to see an enormous bell hovering above the platform they stood upon. The structure was massive enough that it utterly dwarfed Aldrich. It was as big as the higher end mansions that stood tall in Sky Cities.
Decorative patterns of lilies and bones and dragons etched their way across the bell's dark metal body in an artistic tapestry. A faint, nearly translucent spherical orb of green covered the bell, and it pulsated in a rhythmic pattern like the beating of a heart.
Directly beneath the bell, a comparatively tiny pillar of green light shone down, linking with the dot at the center of the oating stone platform. "Welcome, Death Walker, to the Solarium." The Death Lord pointed to the enormous bell above. Looking up into it, Aldrich saw darkness, but within that darkness, he could also make out the ickering movement of green wisps.
Souls. "That is the Bell of Eternity," said the Death Lord. "An artifact of the Divine grade, the highest there is. No, that does not do it enough justice. It stands at the top even among Divine grade artifacts. That little suckling bottle that the goddess Amara grants you heroes is worth as much as manure compared to this.
All that lazy goddess did was shape shards from her heavenly domain. Compare that to this artifact of mine. Its metal is abyssal iron harvested from the deepest, most dangerous dungeons of the realm. To nd enough took me three centuries of diving into dungeons.
It was shaped in the ery forge of Corinthisus, the Dragonsmith whose lowliest artifacts are of the Mythic grade. Quenched in waters harvested from the Soul
Stream itself - that was a journey that took me another two centuries.
The sacrice of two Millennial Dragon souls went into enchanting it. The battle needed to slay those two and take their souls cost me another century and nearly my life." "An artifact ve hundred years in the making," commented Valera in awe. "I had heard of this bell in texts and tales in the libraries and study halls of
Nokros, but nothing my instructors taught nor what those dusty tomes depicted ever compares to this." "Do not get swept up by it," said Medula, still as bored as ever. "Despite my lord's grandiose words, in the end, it is simply a power source that allows this massive realm to be as stable as it is.
Nothing more than a battery, really." "Battery? Aye, that does sound right." Another voice, not one from the current group, spoke out. It came from the pillar of green light tethering the center of the platform to the bell's spherical aura.
A woman stepped out of it. A woman that positively screamed with the word 'power'. She was easily three meters tall, towering over everyone there. Further exacerbating the weight of her physical presence was her build. She was noticeably muscular, and she did not hesitate to show it o.
Her outt consisted of black leggings and bra that tightly clung to her curvy gure. All her developed muscles were visible regardless of whether they were clothed or not, and they looked solid enough to shatter bricks on.
Other than that, she wore a single large pauldron on her left shoulder, and behind it, a short, tattered red cloak uttered behind her. Her hair stretched down to her waist in wild red waves while her eyes shone with a gleaming white.
What made her power most evident, though, was her aura of magical energy that raged around her in ame orange red. It was practically just as strong as the Death Lord's when she got serious. "Cause' that is what methinks I am these days. A gloried battery holding up another battery," said the woman with a disgruntled expression. Her glowing white eyes did not have pupils in them, but instead a single elaborate golden letter in each.
Runes. A symbol of power from a god. Or, in this case, a sign that one had inherited the blood of a god.
This was Rella. First among the Deathguard and the undisputed strongest, likely being even stronger than the Death Lord herself in terms of sheer damage output. "I understand it is not work that you may nd betting your status as First
Deathguard, Rella," said the Death Lord. "But it is one of necessity. Without your vast magical energy reserves, reserves that far outstrip even mine with that divine blood of yours, maintaining the Necropolis's stability would be dicult.
In that regard, consider the duty you perform now to be of the highest importance." "I suppose," said Rella as she crossed her arms and stared at Aldrich and
Valera. "So, what do we have here? This the usurper you were telling us all about? He seems awfully small and skinny to me.
If I fought him now, he would die in just a minute, tops.
Still-" Rella liked her lips like she was looking at a piece of meat. "I do want to try."