Randidly was almost exasperated as the guards around him had looked up with fear towards the literal sea of energy that was shooting towards them. After he had used some leftover Erickson Steel and his personal hammer to make his squad tower shields, they just stood in the face of a projectile volley?!?
These fools were worse than he thought.
And the reinforcements he received weren’t any better! Just as he had finished the previous group’s shields, another 60 had arrived with Mana Potions and offering any assistance they could. So Randidly quickly hammered out another 20 shields while firing off Incinerating Bolts. But when the strange Wights began to sing, it had distracted him enough that he couldn’t handle it anymore.
Which is why he said what he said, and why he meant it.
Looking around at the guards around him, Randidly slapped the back of one’s head. “Raise your fucking shields! Don’t just stand there and die.”
Awkwardly, they did so. The Psychic Poison that everyone seemed to fear closely resembled the plasma shot out of pistols from Zone 1 in that it was a strangely amorphous gas-liquid. Luckily, it traveled much more slowly, so even the most stunned spear user was able to position the piece of metal between themselves and the projectiles.
Feeling rather bold, Randidly stayed outside the cover of the shields and depleted his Mana completely by firing off a vicious barrage of Incinerating Bolts into the floating crowd of Wights. Their skin caught the light in such a way that there seemed to be a floating swarm of fireflies that were alighting into the night sky. They rose and rose like a blanket that threatened to rival the sea of stars above. The whole while, those strange green blobs shot down towards the walls of Niergem but concentrated on Randidly’s position.
At the last second, Randidly waved a hand and used Gravity Affinity to shift the blobs descending straight towards him to the side. Right before the projectiles landed, Randidly wondered if he should have perhaps considered that the people of Tellus had already considered shields. He had seen buckler shields, so perhaps these projectiles ignored them.
He felt a sharp stab of guilt as there was an explosion of liquid goo-gas, that… bounced harmlessly off the front of his tower shields. There wasn’t even a sound of the substance eating into the metal with an acid tilt. It simply was reflected by the physical presence of something else.
A strange sense of incredulous frustration emerged deep from within Randidly’s chest. THIS was exactly why it was foolish to have the image of a world end up focused on the spear! An unusual and rather mundane threat left them stunned and vulnerable.
As if watching from a third perspective, Randidly felt the crown about his head begin to thrum with the intensity of his emotions. He sense of self dwindled away until he could see himself solely as a cog in a part of the larger battle. His eyes burned emerald and he downed three Mana potions in quick succession. Then he raised his hand and two dozen Incinerating Bolts shot outward.
The Witch King was screaming, but the noise felt incredibly distant due to the localized influence of his Silence portion of his Crown. Randidly drank more Mana potions and felt a throbbing headache beginning to build behind his eyes. It made him bare his teeth at the horde of screaming fireflies before him.
Want to reclaim your voices? Then spend your lives like dirty coins to reach me.
Around Randidly, the guards seemed rather stunned by the fact they had weathered the assault without any casualties. Those squads near Randidly, and without the shields, were writhing on the ground in agony, holding their heads. Some of the stronger ones were standing, but pale. It truly seemed like there was some sort of mental attack included in that slime the Wights threw.
And it couldn’t pass through a shield.
“Another wave is coming, don’t slack off,” Randidly barked, channeling his best Shal impression. This time, the people around him snapped back into focus with much more vigor. Their shields went up to block the projectiles fired directly at them by the flying Wights.
Some of the people towards the back weren’t even using their shields, so they spread down the walls to protect those who had survived the first volley. With an expression of deep excitement, the aging man who had brought the reinforcements popped up by his side.
“Astounding! The spear is unable to stop the Psychic Poison due to the inherent finesse of the weapon, but the Spearman was not bound by simply the spear! It was his greatest tool, but it was by no means the only one! Sir Ghosthound, do you have more of those large shields?”
Even while shooting out a dozen Incinerating Bolts, Randidly frowned. When his Mana reached dangerously low levels, he drank another potion. It was true that he did have more ingots of Erickson Steel inside his ring. Most of them were failed attempts at making his ultimate metal, which he dubbed Ghostblood Steel. Still, those failed attempts would be more than enough to block this strange poison attack.
If anything, the fact that they were failed attempts would make the process even simpler. If it was actually the super dense and powerful steel Randidly had been aiming for, it would take so long to hammer out it was no longer useful assistance. But to do so would mean that he would need to cease attacking, or at least sacrifice some accuracy as he focused on other things…
“Fine,” Randidly said shortly. Honestly, even these flurry of attacks weren’t turning the tide. There were simply too many Wights in the air.
But there was one way that it had changed the course of the battle: the entirety of one of the Hosts was swarming towards Randidly’s position, drawn by the eye-catching Incinerating Bolts that were killing the Wight’s companions. Randidly spared them one last glance that was something like amusement before he crouched down and began to produce ingots and hammer out more tower shields. It would take more than this Psychic Poison to shake his men holding up shields. They would need-
The Witch King screamed loud enough to penetrate through Randidly’s aura of Silence, and Randidly grimaced. Yes, they would need to bring the fight to the wall. Above them, the Wights began to descend and held up their hands. Strange, elongated claws formed on their hands and they slashed threateningly as they fell from the side.
Randidly cursed just as a few of his men set aside their shields and the Wights pulled up at the last minute. The Wights behind them fired down Psychic Poison and the spear users went down groaning and swearing at whatever pain the poison inflicted.
“Shields up!” Randidly roared. “Shield one hand, spear the other! Only move to attack when they are close enough to be stabbed! They aren’t gonna fight fair, so don’t try to meet them.”
But then the Wights were all around, so many that they blotted out Randidly’s sense of the rest of the battle even with the Perception boost provided by the Crown of Yggdrasil; there were simply too many enemies to keep track of in the small area around him even for Randidly’s high Intelligence and Perception.
Half finished, Randidly handed off the shield he was working on and stood. The compelling reason for him to continue attacking the Wights he had missed by thinking strategically. On an individual basis, Randidly’s spells kept the Wights honest. They couldn’t just float above and bombard the spear users if they were being bombarded back.
With a light touch, Randidly leaped upwards amongst the Wights. Many pulled back, shocked by the abruptness of his rise. Soon, he was in the thick of them. Grinning, one Wight rushed forward and raised his Spectral Claws to rip at Randidly’s back.
Feeling slightly bored, Randidly lifted Acri and sliced the fool in half. Jesus, were the Wights just as bad as the spear users? Since he was up here, at least use your advantages to press-
And just as Randidly was thinking about it, several attacked him at once, flying at him from different directions. As he was simply sailing through the air, there wasn’t an easy way for him to dodge.
Not that he had to. Acri once again knocked the attacks of them all aside and wounded two of the attackers. That was when the group backed up and prepared to shoot Psychic Poison at him. Immediately, Randidly used Phantom Half Step several times and appeared near the largest group.
“Circle of Flame.”
As the explosion rocked the group and sent several Wights screaming from the sky, Randidly used Phantom Half Step on some of his men on the wall to pull himself back down to safety. It was a very Stamina intensive move that he had just used, but it would give the Wights something to think about and he wasn’t using the Stamina much anyway.
Humming to himself and considering the battle, Randidly drank another three Mana potions. The headache was growing worse. On the wall, at least in Randidly’s area, the fighting had moved into an awkward melee. Some Wights had descended and struck out with their Spectral Claws, but most still flew above and threw down Psychic Poison. The spear-users on the wall blocked as best as they could with the shields, but most were painfully awkward. They should be getting better, but-
Then Randidly froze. They wouldn’t get better. Without Aether, there would be no Skill development. Leaving them as actual amateurs, as opposed to the usual System empowered amateurs.
Growling, Randidly expelled an even larger cloud of Aether from his body. It was dissipating quickly, but it would hopefully give the fighters nearby a chance. That was all they needed to hold the lines until someone did-
A screech smashed against Randidly like a physical force, sending him stumbling. His crown trembled. At the last second, he activated Ashes to Ashes as a blur shot down at out the sky and hit the back of his neck.
The world froze slowly and grew cold. He became ash that dispersed and hissed as it ate into the diaphanous cloak around the large body that had attacked him. As he reformed, he considered his opponent gravely.
The Witch King. One of five in the Wight armies. Likely above even his own current Stats and Skills.
The smile grew like mold in darkness across Randidly’s face. It was about time he faced a challenge.