Astrea floated above everyone but she can hear their comments. She felt bashful but proud at the same time.
For the simple Astrea, she's glad she gave her elder sisters a pleasant surprise.
Her white wings fluttered in the wind. Astrea slowly descended to the ground.
"That's my Pandora mode..."
Astrea said with her head held high.
Astrea isn't smug over the power of her Pandora mode. She dislikes fighting so strength is moot to her. However, she would like not to use it unless she has to do so.
She's showing off her Pandora mode like a kid showing off her new toy. To her, the Pandora mode is more like a cool parlor trick.
"Astrea's Pandora mode is so cool..."
Hinagiku didn't hold back on her praise. She scanned Astrea up and down with her brown eyes.
"Well? Where's level II? Why didn't you enter that mode?"
"Ah... about that..."
"That mode leaves me without defense. Master says it's too dangerous so he forbade me from using it under normal situations."
The other girls nodded whereas Shokuhou Misaki raised another point.
"Well, we aren't fighting anyone, we only want to see it so it should be fine, right? Everyone's here so I don't think there's going to be any danger?"
Wu Yan still shook his head.
"No, don't tempt fate. Prudence is always better than foolhardiness..."
"Then, what about her battle prowess?"
Kotori stepped forward while waving her Chupa candy. With an arm on her waist, she continued.
"I am guessing she got a major boost to her abilities?"
"Yeah, she improved greatly..."
Wu Yan didn't think there's any need to hide that.
"She's level 80, tier 9 by this world's standard. However, she's an Angeloid that excelled in combat. Ikaros and Astrea are far more powerful than other cultivators at their levels. When they enter Pandora mode, they can take on foes up to level 88. They can display powers rivaling high-level tier 9 cultivators."
Kinuhata Saiai tilted her head in confusion, with pursed lips.
"Jeez, so she can only boost her power by around 8 levels?"
"You think that's something to scoff at?!"
Wu Yan rolled his eyes.
"At tier 9, each level is wider than the gap between tier 7 and tier 8. I will have you know that 8 levels mean they can fight at several times their original power."
"You mean once Ikaros and Astrea use their Pandora mode they can instantly increase their powers several folds?"
"Yeah, I know it sounds like they are cheating..."
Wu Yan continued.
"But, it's the truth..."
The ladies were speechless...
Each and every girl here holds an advantage over average cultivators.
Mikoto, Shokuhou Misaki, Kinuhata Saiai, Frenda, and Takitsubou Rikou are Espers. They are stronger than cultivators at their levels. However, that variance is only about 3 levels in tier 8. At tier 9, these Espers would only be able to take on foes one level above them at best.
Kotori, Kurumi, Tohka, and Yoshino are fairies with Angels and Astral Dresses. At tier 8, they have an advantage of about 5 levels. At tier 9, the advantage would give them parity with foes 2 levels above them at best.
As for Hinagiku, she holds no advantage over other cultivators at her level.
The strength difference at tier 9 is huge.
Even so, Ikaros and Astrea can still rely on Pandora mode to evolve them, giving them an advantage over even foes 8 levels above them, magnifying their abilities several times at tier 9. They are certainly OP existences at this stage.
Only Yukari and Flan were relatively fine hearing that. Including them in the equation would only derail the focus of the topic.
Flandre is a vampire and she has the destruction of Eyes ability. She can literally squish someone on her level out of existence with relative ease.
Flandre's unique skills made her a terrifying foe to other practitioners at her level. She's even stronger than Ikaros and Astrea when they are using their Pandora mode.
Even the demigod tier Beast King got superficial wounds all over his body when struck by Flandre's ability.
At the time, the Beast King was a newly-minted demigod. Flandre also had all the time in the world to ready her attack. Ikaros also supported her so they managed to hurt the Beast King. Even so, Flandre hurt someone a tier above her.
A foe at her level would need some sort of OP ability or some counter for Flan's abilities to even the fight out. Bring more tier 9 practitioners into the fight with Flandre will just result in free EXP for Flan.
This includes peak tier 9 individuals too.
As for Yukari...
With the ability to manipulate boundaries, excluding the God tier and demigod tier, she's invincible against anyone in other tiers.
It's even possible for her to take on foes tiers above her at lower tiers.
Ikaros and Astrea are only average when using Yukari as a standard.
Wu Yan is only 3 levels above other cultivators his level when he cannot use the Red Jade mode or use his vassal beasts.
There are other factors in a real fight than just pure power. Armament, items, tactics, and probabilities can always skew the result. In any case, being stronger than your opponent is always more desirable.
Although they were stumped by the Angeloids' immense leap in battle prowess, they are still happy the two angels powered up. Who wouldn't wish their comrades the best?
"Well, it's awesome you got a huge power-up."
Mikoto crossed her arms. Then, she looked between Astrea and Ikaros.
"So who's stronger when both of you are in your Pandora mode?"
The others twitched a bit.
"Yeah, who is stronger?"
Wu Yan isn't too sure.
"That's hard to say. The Pandora System evolves not just the user but also the user's equipment and unique traits. The upgrades can't be quantified on a similar basis..."
"If I have to compare them then I guess, they both have their own advantages..."
"Ikaros-senpai is stronger!"
Astrea said without hesitation.
"Ikaros-senpai is the strongest Angeloid in Synapse, I am nothing in front of her!"
Ikaros garnered everyone's attention.
"It's as master said..."
Ikaros replied lightly.
"I am made for a different purpose compared to Astrea. I have a different specialization compared to Astrea. The Pandora bolsters our specializations. In close-quarters combat, I am not Astrea's match..."
Specialization, that's the key takeaway here.
This didn't dispel Mikoto's curiosity, this fueled her intrigue further.
"Why don't Astrea and Ikaros just duke it out here?!"
The girls' eyes lit up.
Ikaros was taken by surprise. Astrea yelped.
Astrea started shaking her head furiously, her blonde locks dancing behind her like rolling waves.
"No no no! I am not Ikaros' opponent!"
The ladies started grinning and that didn't make Astrea's unease go away...