Chapter 328 Etal Reversion
Aldrich watched the fight take place from high above, away from the thick of the mass destruction.
"She's going through all THAT?" said Mollusk, dumbfounded.
Valera flew against the tide of rainbow light, getting within a hundred meters of the boss geist now.
The hill she once stood on eviscerated under the endless barrage, each bolt carving out huge, molten chunks in the rocks until they had eaten the entire hill up into nothing but a steaming crater.
The entire landscape suffered similarly, gouged out with countless deep holes.
"Where was all this when she fought me?" said Mollusk.
"She's a defender, but deep down, she's far more suited to offense," explained Aldrich. "When she really lets loose, she's undeniably a force to be reckoned with."
The more hits Valera took, scorching heat from the explosions billowing past her shield and burning her body, the more her rage deepened, and the more she reverted.
Her black claws grew out from her fingers, through her armor. They extended from her feet as well, claws she normally kept hidden as she thought them unseemly to be seen on a lady.
Her wings grew. Dark spikes emerged from her elbows. Her overall muscle mass swelled. Her bones snapped and reconfigured into a bigger frame.
A raging red aura whirled around her before solidifying into gleaming red, plate-like flesh that wrapped tight around her body, turning into natural armor that covered her from head to toe. From her back and shoulders, spines of red began to jut out, now fully erasing her knightly stature and replacing it with primal, vampiric, monstrous brawn.
This was her [Crimson Exoskeleton], an upgrade of her [Crimson Furnace] ability that generated a spherical barrier of blood around her. It not only granted her an incredibly durable natural layer of armor, but it also boosted her physical abilities.
On top of that, the spines and spikes gave her access to slashing damage. Like her [Crimson Furnace], the exoskeleton could also drink in blood to regenerate and, when needed, detonate itself in an explosive burst that scaled with how much damage it had taken.
Considering her build was meant for tanking and draining through as much damage as possible, the output of her exoskeleton's self-destruction could reach so high that Aldrich classed it as the strongest attack he ever had access to barring 12th tier spells.
"ORA!" Valera, now within a hundred meters, tossed her shield at the boss geist.
The shield broke through the sound barrier with ease, a shockwave tail of force trailing behind it as it smashed into the boss geist's chest with powerful impact.
The shield embedded right into the boss geist's wooden carapace.
Valera's body melted down into bloody mist that traveled forth at near teleportation levels of speed. She reformed right as she neared her shield and used her insane momentum to deliver a powerful shield bash.
An explosion of bloody energy blasted outwards, sending the boss geist's towering bulk flying backwards in devastating impact.
That was [Bloodburst].
It was the signature ability of her vampiric bloodline that allowed them to wreath their blows in bloody energy. Upon impact, the energy accelerated outwards in all directions rapidly, creating an explosion of kinetic force.
'She's getting stronger and stronger. At this point, there's no question that in a pure 1 vs. 1, I'd simply be out of her league,' thought Aldrich. 'Unlike me, she's had the luxury of investing all of her power into direct combat stats like strength, agility, and vitality. And she has an affinity in all of them on top of building around it.'
The difference between a mage type like Aldrich that had to invest most stats in magic and attunement and a pure warrior like Valera was starkly evident.
"What do you think, Frac? What would you rate her as a threat?" said Mollusk.
"I would not take an assignment on her," said Refraction simply. "But if I had to offer an estimate, she would be an A ranked disaster at the minimum."
Or, in other words, Aldrich noted, it would take an S class hero to reliably put someone like Valera down solo. Beforehand, Okeanos had been the only one to reach that level, but Valera, having broken past level 50 - when she fully unlocked her Reversion - had bridged that gap.
Now, Aldrich had two threats that needed S rankers to deal with. On top of that, he had an entire legion's worth of units elsewhere.
Steadily, he was climbing up the ladder of power in this world. The highest of ladders at the highest of peaks.
Chiros watched with his arms crossed. His reverted form was gone as he did not like being in it for extended periods of time. "It is true, that the Old Blood grants tremendous power. But it is maddening. Inelegant.
Yet, for her, it does seem fitting."
"It's what she knows best. The rage," said Aldrich. But a question gnawed at him from within. Was that how it should be?
Should Valera be someone who made rage like this part of her being?
Wasn't it better for her to move past it, to bury it? For her sake?
Aldrich pushed that question aside for now. It circled back to the conversation in the elevator. He needed her to be strong for this war. After it was all done, she could rest.
He could rest with her.
But what if it never ended?
Aldrich was not in the mood to get into deep self-reflection. He was here to acquire a tremendous resource for his new state.
Nothing more, nothing less.
"RAH!" Valera slammed Bloodburst punches over and over against the boss geist's body, flying at rapid speeds so that the bombardment of explosive blows never landed in the same place twice.
The boss geist buffeted about in mid-air, huge holes cracking into its carapace.
Valera soared above the boss geist's skull and then went down rapidly, her red wrapped fists held together overhead to slam down like a hammer.
The boss geist reacted, twisting its head a full three hundred sixty degrees to clamp down on her with its black pincers.
Valera could not really think clearly anymore, but her battle instincts were sharper than ever. She knew when danger was coming, she could feel it, and those pincers were deadly sharp, even against her exoskeleton.
But she did not care. She went straight down, smashing her fists down on the geist's head. Meanwhile, the pincers clamped shut, severing her in half from the midsection.