Chapter 248 - Samples
Aldrich manifested back in the dark depths of the Crypt. There, he saw Wai'ki's clone of Volantis lying down, tossing a book up and down in the air to keep himself entertained.
"Ah, it's you!" said the clone. It lowered its voice when Aldrich put a finger over his mouth. "Apologies. I was simply getting bored down here."
"A mere spirit construct can feel such things? Wai'ki truly is a master," remarked Valera.
"Are you bored, mister?" The Chrysalis hopped on over to Volantis. "If you want, you can come with us to explore."
"No, he can't" said Aldrich firmly but gently. "He needs to stay here."
"That, I do," said the construct with a sigh.
Aldrich looked around. The construct had done a good job sending supplies packs up and down. Even eating the supplies. The books from the colonel were scattered about haphazardly.
"Maybe reading will help," said Aldrich.
"I cannot read this script," said the construct in despair.
"Oh, right." Aldrich shrugged. There was not much else he could do to help. Not with 22 sitting atop the Crypt, probably watching on high alert for any disturbance.
"I can help!" The Chrysalis clapped her hands. A white portal emerged in front of her hands, and from it, a few volumes of graphic novels and manga from Aldrich's Boundary popped out. "Those all have pictures. No need to read them."
'You do have to read them to figure out the plot,' thought Aldrich, but aside from that, there was a more pressing issue. "I don't want to leave traces of us behind."
"But he's so bored," said the Chrysalis. She looked up at Aldrich with wide eyes. "We can't help him?"
Aldrich sighed. "No. Sometimes, you can help others, sometimes, you can't. This is one of those times you can't."
"I am fine," said the construct. "My existence is temporary as well. You need not worry about me. I thank you for your concern, however."
"Okay," said the Chrysalis. She reached down and tapped the books she spawned, materializing them back to the Boundary. She stared at Aldrich with quizzical expression. "How will I know when to help? And when not to?"
"Hm. It's hard to tell you with words. When the time comes, I'll show you through example," said Aldrich. "Now come on, we have to get going for exploration, don't we?"
"Okay!" the Chrysalis put her hand on Aldrich's and then disappeared, warping into the Phylactery that she had made her home.
"Valera." Aldrich held his hand out towards her.
"To think I can take a look at your inner world. It is quite exciting." Valera grasped Aldrich's hand. The Chrysalis used the power she could manage to draw Valera in.
Aldrich noted that instead of dark tendrils sucking Valera in, she instead faded away into white particles, absorbing into Aldrich's chest. Perhaps a result of the Chrysalis gaining greater control over her powers due to her training.
Hopefully, when this synchronization period was over and Aldrich could use the Chrysalis's magic with his own vastly greater mana pool, he could freely take large amounts of units in and out of himself.
Or, if Aldrich felt he was in particularly high risk, keep his Phylactery somewhere else with troops inside of it to guard it.
With that, Aldrich cast [Mist Phase], warping out of the Crypt with everyone he needed in tow.
Aldrich warped to Fler'gan's laboratory.
"A pleasure to meet you again, O Elder," said Fler'Gan, nodding at Aldrich's materialization from mist.
"Same here." Aldrich spied the Mind Eater watching over a boiling spherical glass container filled with light blue liquid. The container was easily the size of a basketball, and darker blue smoke wafted from the flask neck, clouding the room in a faint haze that smelled oddly sweet. "The potion, I assume?"
"Yes, though as of yet unrefined. I must incorporate the eyeflowers before I can fully refine it. And, ah, while you are here, one of your eyes, if you do not mind suffering the damage." Fler'gan's tendril like fingers stiffened into almost spike like structures. "Or, if you would like, my mucus membrane can naturally dull pain and bleeding, allowing me to easily dissect live specimen. I can perform the extraction if you so desire."
"No, I'll do it. Being undead does have its perks, after all." Aldrich gouged his own eye out with a casual motion. As an undead, he still felt sensations, but above a certain threshold, they were muted. Especially sensations like pain that could negatively impact him. He tossed the freshly plucked eyeball towards Fler'Gan.
Fler'Gan grasped it in his slithering fingers. "Many thanks, O Elder. This potion requires considerably more resources. I hope you will understand."
"I do." Aldrich's eye socket covered up with green mist, and when the mist faded away, his eye was completely regenerated. "Your work hasn't disappointed so far.
Which does remind me, you have the most magical potential out of all my legion so far. I have a [Finger of the Hierophant] that I can potentially grant to you. It should considerably increase your strength."
If Aldrich remembered correctly, the Hierophant's finger boosted a unit's levels in the same way that Dark Wisdom did. The lower their level, the greater the boost with a cap at level 40.
Fler'Gan should at the very least go from level 20+ to level 30+, netting him a sizable boost in strength that kept him competitive with units like Merman and Crab.
Not just that, though, but the finger boosted the magic that the unit already knew, granting them access to much stronger spells depending on what their magic specialization was.
For example, Fler'Gan who specialized as a Pyromancer would learn a host of new fire based spells. He would probably even gain insight into additional alchemy skills and the like.
Notably, however, it was useless for Aldrich because Necromancy did not count as a type of magic that the finger boosted. Thus, in the game, the finger was meant to be given to a trusted magic specialized unit.
In this case, Aldrich figured his would be Fler'Gan.
"Ah, the corpse parts of the great Hierophant, last heir to the Arcane Emperor's legacy. It is said that by devouring his parts, one obtains the infinite knowledge of the emperor that shaped magic as we know it," said Fler'Gan. "Knowledge is always the golden light I strive for. If you need not the finger for your own purposes, I would be honored to partake of it."
"I'd be hard pressed to find anyone else to trust," said Aldrich.
"I am truly honored, O Elder," said Fler'Gan with a deep bow. He then reached into a cabinet and excitedly retrieved an eye-phone. He tapped it, causing the screen to light up. "And look at this, O Elder, I am beginning to understand and use the technology of the mortals in this realm use.
The one you known as Casimir granted this to me, describing it as a personalized repository of infinite information.
I must agree.
It is a manner of contraption I could not have ever fathomed. It holds so many functions. Recording events, capturing images, taking notes, and the like.
But most important of all, it holds access to an infinite store of information on a space known as the 'Net' that I have thrown myself into.
Truly, to think that the humans of this realm have managed to centralize all their accomplishments, all their thoughts and innovations, into one shared space - it does explain the frightening ubiquity and advancement of their technology.
Magic - the study of the few - cannot compare to it."
"Just make sure you don't get sucked up in the Net. It's easy to get lost in misinformation or what amounts to tons of garbage," said Aldrich. "And wait, you said you take notes on it? Doesn't that mean you know the language?"
"It is one of my Arcane spells, yes," said Fler'Gan. "One necessary as a scholar of the citadel where peoples of every corner of the realm joined."
"You said you could record your spells into tomes, right? Try to make that one a priority," said Aldrich.
The units from Elden World could speak English and other languages here, but they could not read anything, as evidenced by Volantis's construct. That was because according to lore, the Arcane Emperor unified most races so that they spoke with their souls, thus allowing everyone to communicate with each other.
However, each race had already developed their own writing systems before the Arcane Emperor's rise, and many of them kept them, thus, there was no concerted effort to unify the language. And the emperor had not or could not devise a spell to universalize writing the same way he had done with language.
"I will try," said Fler'Gan. "But I require materials from our realm. There are trees in that swamp around my study, no? Those can be processed for parchment. That will do for lower circle spells, but the [Eye of All Writ] that allows me to read and write in any system permanently is of a considerably high circle tier.
I can modify a version that allows for temporary effects, or perhaps I can mass produce items like glasses that could allow for it."
"Either or works," said Aldrich. "The item solution actually sounds better."
"I will require glass capable of enchantment of some kind," said Fler'Gan.
"I'll have that ready for you in a few days," said Aldrich. The third Trial Quest held such glass in abundance. But he would only access that until after he had built his bond up with the Chrysalis. "If that's all, Fler'Gan, I'll take my leave."
"Ah, one more thing, O Elder." Fler'Gan showed Aldrich his phone screen with surprising aptitude. Aldrich had thought Fler'Gan would have fumbled about with the phone like old people do, but he had adapted very quickly.
Aldrich saw pictures of two statues held inside large metal cargo crates. One made of blood red crystal housing a humanoid shark within. Another a statue of stone depicting a man reaching desperately upwards, as if drowning and clawing out to air.
The shark variant from the battle against the fishmen and Fletcher from Blackwater respectively.
"What will you do with these?" said Fler'Gan.
"I can't raise Shark anymore. Chiros's crystal venom damages the corpse at the cellular level so the corpse isn't stable enough for undeath.
But the crystal construct can be detonated as a powerful bomb, so I'll keep the Shark statue around for later." Aldrich narrowed his eyes at the picture of Fletcher. "As for him, his consciousness is still inside there, trapped in what must be eternal agony. I'll keep him suffering for a little while longer. Until I really need him."
Which might be surprisingly soon, considering Aldrich planned on using Fletcher when he took over Blackwater. But at minimum, that would take a week. A week trapped inside a prison of rocky nothingness must have felt almost insanity inducing already considering what a few days of solitary confinement could do to the average man.
"Understood, O Elder," said Fler'Gan.
"One more thing," said Aldrich. "I have your editor sample ready."