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Ch004-Starting Somewhere

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The hit to the head brought Sylver down to the floor. Everything was spinning around and he could feel warm blood dripping down onto his face. He watched the wooden floor an inch or so from his face, and the droplets of red already being absorbed by the wood. The second hit was a little better placed and knocked him out cold.

*

“What have you done with Ciege?” Yeva asked calmly, sitting across from Sylver on a small wooden stool.

His consciousness returned slowly and a little hazily, and it took him a couple of seconds to understand what the fuck was going on here. His hands felt numb from how tight the bindings were, and the back of his head was pulsing with pain.

“Who are you? And where is Ciege?” Yeva asked. In the dark room, the only source of light was a small candle. With it, Sylver could barely make out Yeva, dressed from head to toe in leather armor, and holding a long curved blade of some kind.

“I…” Sylver paused to consider what he was about to do. He decided to go against his plan to pretend to be Ciege and instead told her the truth.

“Alright. The short version is, Ciege asked for my help to save you, and as payment, I got his body. And while I initially planned to just kill him, I changed my mind and am now going to make him a new body. Any questions?” Sylver said, speaking softly and making as much eye contact with Yeva as he could. It didn’t appear to have the desired effect on her. In fact she looked slightly more pissed off from it, instead.

Yeva sat still for a while. Just staring at Sylver and not saying or doing anything.

“You’re lying.” She said finally.

“Which part? Because I would love to hear what you think is actually going on.” Sylver answered, looking down at his bindings, and being somewhat impressed with the knotwork.

“He wouldn’t have given up his life for me. He’s not that kind of person.” Yeva said after thinking it over.

“Well… I may have pushed him towards it, ever so slightly. Nudged even, pushed is too strong a word for it. But it was his choice from start to finish. And it honestly hurts me to hear you say that about him. Ciege is the epitome of a man. If everyone acted with the certainty and bravery that he did, the world would be a much better place.” Sylver answered, leaning backwards and forwards and checking how much give the ropes had.

“What are you talking about?” Yeva asked, getting up from her stool and walking over to Sylver. The curved knife in her hand was now evident to be some sort of leatherworking tool. And going by the scratches near the edges, very recently sharpened.

“In his own words ‘A world without Yeva isn’t worth living in’,” Sylver said, mimicking Ciege’s tone and speech pattern perfectly. He scowled at himself for a moment for doing it but regained his composure before Yeva noticed. “It seemed like an easy choice from his perspective. His option was to let you die, in which case life isn’t worth living. Or to try and save you, with a very slim chance of both of you ending up alive. And I was option 3, where you get to live, but he doesn’t. He almost succeeded in rescuing you, if it changes anything. If not for that shaman, he would have succeeded.” Sylver explained.

“What are you?” Yeva asked, pressing the tip of the blade at Sylver’s chest. It was blunt enough that it didn’t pierce his skin, but was only a solid push away from slipping past his ribcage and into his heart. And possibly the needle, that Sylver didn’t know the durability of...

“I’m not too sure if I’m being honest. But I can tell you right now if you kill me, Ciege is never coming back. I had a whole fake story planned to tell you to be honest, but getting knocked out and tied up kind of made me forget what it was. Out of curiosity, what gave me away?” Sylver asked, pulling hard at his hand and getting enough space to move his index and thumb around.

“Your eyes,” Yeva answered coldly, taking the blade off Sylver’s chest.

“Ah. I thought that might be the case. Eyes are the mirror of the soul, so it makes sense they would change, once the soul changes. Do the words cold, calculating, and hungry come to mind when looking into them?” Sylver said, using the awful descriptors people tended to prefer when describing him in their letters. Finally he got the spell going and untied his left hand completely.

“No, I mean… They’re completely black. Like a bird.” Yeva said.

Fuck. Sylver thought, taking her word for it right now. Is it from the spell, or something else?

“Before I knocked you out, you said it’s important I take care of this hammer for you. Is… Is Ciege inside this hammer?” Yeva asked, holding up the hammer containing Ciege’s soul.

Clever. I’m starting to see why Ciege fell for her.

“He is. But I need to collect a few materials before I can make him a proper body. I could make him a temporary one, but it would deteriorate his soul, and ultimately kill him completely in about 3 or 4 weeks. But that’s all the information I’m willing to share. Now untie me, let me go, and make sure his house and workshop are still standing if he comes back.” Sylver said, his tone a lot more relaxed, now that his hand was completely free.

If he comes back?” Yeva asked, her voice cracking and shaking.

“Of course. The materials might be too difficult for me to obtain. I could die. The hammer could break, you could decide you don’t love him anymore, or you die before the year is over. In all of these cases, he’s not coming back.” Sylver said, flexing his hand, and undoing the bindings on his other hand.

“I’m doing this out of the kindness of my heart, because I want him to live. But at the same time, I’m not willing to kill myself over it. If I gave my word, sure, I’d die before breaking it. But there’s nothing he could offer me and nothing you could offer me, for me to do that. I’m not a selfish person by nature, but I do put my wellbeing and life above most peoples. And I’m sorry to say, as much as I like and respect Ciege, I’d kill him ten times over, if my life depended on it. And this is such a case. Giving him a new body is the only alternative I could think off.” Sylver answered. Yeva during this looked down at her blade and seemed lost in thought. Also, there’s the mystery of the mind-altering woman in white. So two reasons to come back here.

She walked over to Sylver and stared at his face for a long while.

Yeva’s face was a peculiar thing. Looking at it, Sylver could feel an emotion trying to force itself on him. Some left-over reaction in his brain that will be getting overwritten over time. But right now, Yeva looked like the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He wanted to get down on one knee, swear his life to her, promise her whatever she wished, and kill himself if only to make her happy.

But of course, these were just feelings, that he was with some difficulty, ignoring. A hormone riddled mind of a blacksmith was no match for the soul of an 11th tier necromancer. If she tried anything, he would kill her without hesitating.

Thankfully for both of them, Yeva simply undid his bindings. She didn’t comment on the fact that both of his hands were already unbound.

“Couldn't you use the new body, and return Ciege's back to him?” Yeva asked, surprisingly calm given the situation.

“No. There are a few things I can’t recreate, and it will take him a few years to develop them. Nothing major, he’ll just be unable to use magic for roughly 3 years. But considering he doesn’t know any to begin with, neither of you will notice it. Everything else will be fine. You could even have children if you so wished.” Sylver said, getting up from the chair and stretching the numbness from his limbs.

“But don’t tell anyone about me. If you do, you’ll put me in danger, which will put Ciege in danger. Got it?” Sylver asked.

Yeva nodded, but quite quickly started to sob and cry, holding the rune-covered hammer to her chest.

After washing the blood out of his hair, Sylver left Yeva’s house and walked back to the smithy.

*

[Reset accepted!]
[All skills, perks, traits and classes reset.]
[All attributes have been reset to 1.]

 

[Notice: Due to [???? ????] [Koschei (Unique)] class available!]
-Neither living nor undead. Your life is bound to a silver needle, your greatest strength, as well as your greatest weakness.
-???? ????
-???? ?? ??? ????
-????????? ?? ????
+10VIT
+10INT
+10WIS
+Perk: Living Undead
+Perk: Deathless

[Trait: Living Undead]
-Both the living and the undead will consider you to be one of their own.
-Unless provoked, mindless undead of a lower level than you, will not attack.
*Recover with negative energy.
*Harmed by positive energy.

[Trait: Deathless]
-Unless the needle is destroyed, you will not die.

[Koschei (Unique) class, added automatically.]

Huh. Since it was added automatically it must be a race class. And unique, on top of that. The highest possible tier a class can be. And it even came with 6 levels worth of attributes. Not to mention that Deathless thing sounds interesting. I’ll need to experiment with it at some point to figure out, what exactly, not dying means in this case. Same with the Living Undead part. It’s the same as when I moved my soul into my phylactery, except I’m a whole lot more alive somehow. Shame about all the support spells I’ll no longer get to use. But it’s a fair trade-off, and I never really used them all that much, anyway.

Did I get the class because of the needle, or did I already have the class, and the needle is the result of it? It’s linked to my soul. So a bloodline class? Soulline? I’ll need to look into it. Also the question marks are concerning me. Is it something I'll unlock as time goes on, or something already in effect that i don’t get to know until something triggers it?

Walking around the smithy and filling a small bag with some food and a few other tools he thought he would need, Sylver was ready to go in only a few minutes. Once she was done crying Yeva would be moving in here. Hopefully, there will still be a place for Ciege to come back to when he returns.

For armor, Sylver decided not to bother. It would slow him down too much, and if he understood right, the system would penalize him for wearing it eventually. Not right now of course, but once he got a level in a magic casting class, he would start getting debuffs from wearing anything other than fabric clothing. So he might as well get used to it. He took 3 gold coins from Ciege’s hiding spot and hid the remaining 21 a little better. If Yeva finds them, she finds them, it wasn’t his money to decide. He also made a mental note to pay them back to him, when he returned here.

Adjusting the straps on his bag, he looked in the mirror and was surprised that Yeva hadn’t lied. His eyes were completely black, with not a single piece of white anywhere. He couldn’t even tell where his pupil ended and his iris started. It was just a completely solid black. But no matter how much mana he forced into them; he couldn’t do anything with them. Casting minor illusions over them could work, but it would make him blind, and anyone with the barest sense of mana would see right through it.

The same as Nyx… Most likely a side effect of using that spell. Is this further proof the spell is the reason I’m here? Or just a marking on my soul physically manifesting itself? A tiny reaction from Ciege’s body to my presence? Either way, it looks even better on me than it did on her.

Weapons wise he chose 4 daggers he liked and a short sword. None of them were all that impressive, but they had a good form for enchanting them. The sword Ciege used was simply far too big and clunky, and frankly, Sylver didn’t have a lot of experience fighting with two-handed swords.

He stood near the door and considered making it record if someone with a powerful mana signature ever walked through it. But decided that there would be no point to it, and he would hopefully be back in time to see the woman in white.

Walking up to Yeva’s door, he could still hear her sobbing, and just kicked the key underneath it. Trying to calm her down, would only make things worse, and more honestly he could feel his heart getting crushed from the sound.

*

His first destination would be Arda. That, according to Ciege’s memories, now one of the largest trading centers in the world. Built on top of a massive unexplored cave system, it is filled to the brim with adventurers and people profiting off them. And as such it was the perfect place for Sylver to make money while increasing his power, and finding everything he needs to make Ciege’s body. And his tools and weapons for that matter.

While it is possible to level up without killing anything, as Ciege and almost everyone else in the town had done, it was extremely slow. It could take a year of daily crafting for a skill or a class to increase by 1 level.

Killing things, on the other hand, especially alone, and higher level than you, gave insane amounts of experience. The only downside to this was that it was incredibly dangerous. Ciege died, facing a couple of goblins. Goblins. And he had the advantage of strength and speed over them. And a whole bunch of perks and skills that translated into more power behind his swings.

Still, with magic, things should be a whole lot easier. While the firepower may be low, Sylver had more than enough creativity and experience with it, to beat just about anyone or anything. The biggest issue right now was that his knowledge and understanding of the world was limited to that of a small-town blacksmith. An unknown amount of time had passed since Sylver died, who knows how much the world had changed.

But first, he would need to get a magic casting class.

[Trait: Mana Perception]
Through effort and perseverance, and a tiny amount of talent, you have become able to perceive the mana around you.

Damn… That was easier than i expected. At least the system recognizes my talent, despite being in this body. So going by that logic...

[Trait: Mana Manipulation]
Through great effort and unwavering will, you have managed to manipulate mana and bend it to your desires.

And now all that’s left is to fire off a spell to get access to a magic-based class. I’ll need to choose carefully.

There’s only one choice of course. And if Ciege’s memories are correct, it’s at the very least no longer illegal to be one. Not to mention, I won’t be able to hide it, with the eyes and all. So, the best thing to do is to take it head-on.

If people have a problem with me because of it, fuck ‘em. I can’t die apprently. What’s the worst they can do? Imprison me and torture me? Break the needle? Burn me alive like a witch?

Shit. I’m all alone now. No Nyx to come to bail me out, no Aether to wage war over me… If I slip up and get captured, I’m on my own…

What’s the alternative? Gouge out my eyes, and hope no one notices my skin burns whenever someone tries to heal me? Just not interact with people, in the hopes I’ll never be found?

What am I even doing this for?

An hour or so later, Sylver was tired and sleepy and set up camp for the night. Walking since sunrise was only possible since Ciege’s body was so well developed. But he was still human, or at least close enough, that now he was hungry and tired.

He made a small hole in the ground and covered it with stones by hand. Out of his bag, he got a large piece of spiced meat, and after washing a smooth flat rock as best as he could, placed the steak onto. Lowering the rock onto the small fire, he sat around and simply watched it cook. He was using a fallen tree as a seat and had stripped the bark of the area he was sitting on.

“I know you’re there. Come join me for dinner. I’ve got another steak, and I don’t mind sharing.” Sylver said to the silent forest.

For a few seconds, the only sound was the soft crackling of the fire and the gentle sizzling of the meat.

“Must be a pretty high-level reconnaissance skill.” A man’s voice said, stepping out of a large tree, to the left of Sylver.

“Something like that. I’ve got an extra knife; you can put yours away.” Sylver said, holding up the somewhat dull utensil.

The man with the dagger didn’t move an inch. There was enough of Ciege inside him right now, that he saw the situation only as a man standing a few meters away, with a dagger in his hand. Thankfully Sylver’s calmness subdued whatever fear Ciege may have felt.

“Let me guess. You’ve already been robbed, and now you aren’t worried because you think you have nothing that I could steal.” The man with the dagger said. Sylver looked up at him for the first time and noted his poor stance and how weak his soul felt.

“You’re the first person I’ve met here. I’m having a hard time coming to a decision and could use someone to talk to if I’m being honest. I mean, my life used to be so well planned out, I always knew where I was going, what I was doing, standing at the precipice of a potentially life-altering decision, is entirely new for me.” Sylver said, his voice calm and relaxed.

“Runaway from home I’m guessing? I kind of feel bad that I’m going to be your first interaction with the real world, in that case. But if you just give me all the money you have, and that sword over there, I’ll let you leave unharmed.” The man said. In the dim light of the campfire, it was hard to see what his expression was. But from the tone of his voice, he did feel bad for doing this.

“Oh no. I didn’t run away from home, my home was taken from me. But that’s not the issue I want to talk about. I’m having trouble deciding which class to take. As far as I understand it, once you pick one, you don’t ever get to change it. After that, you can take a second, and a third, but if they don’t all… uhh-”

“Harmonize?” the man with the dagger suggested.

“Yeah. Blanked on the word for a second. If they don’t harmonize, you get stuck at a certain level, since you don’t get enough buffs to let you take on higher level monsters. It almost seems idiotic that people have to make such an important decision so early on in their life.” Sylver explained, reaching out and flipping the steak over. The man with the dagger didn’t even move at this.

“Is this some strange tactic to get me to leave? You’re hoping I’ll feel pity for you for not knowing the basics and just walk away?” the man asked, scratching his chin.

“Not really. Are you from Arda by any chance?” Sylver asked, lowering the hand away from the man’s sight and twitching his fingers quickly.

The man raised an eyebrow at this but answered anyway. “Not recently, but I grew up there. Why?”

“What’s the law and opinion regarding necromancy? In my town, they refused to sell a passing necromancer anything. She even ended up not being able to find a place to rest, and had to leave in the middle of the night.” Sylver explained. While Ciege was surprisingly accepting of the woman, his father was not.

“All those stories you hear about them is bullshit. My grandfather was a necromancer. It’s just a class like any other. But if that’s what you’re planning to go for, I’d recommend getting to a higher level with a different class first. Because while Arda as a city, won’t do anything to you, followers of Ra are rumored to hunt down and kill anyone who uses ‘dark magic’,” The man explained, doing air quotes over the words.

“But not in broad daylight, right? And what about merchants and the like?” Sylver questioned. He rummaged in his bag for a plate while the man answered.

“I don’t think so. If any of them get caught, they all say that they aren’t doing it under anyone’s orders, and every single one of them has a trait that makes it impossible to torture a confession out of them. As for merchants they only care about money. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them have direct ties and contracts to the Cord. Now answer me, are you going to give me all of your money or not?” The man asked, getting back into his poor fighting stance, and gripping his dagger a little tighter.

“You’ve been a great help. How do you know all this?” Sylver asked, dodging the question, and casting a small spell around himself.

“I used to be a guard. And now I’m not. You look like you’re a good kid. So, don’t make me hurt you.” The man said. He took a tentative step towards Sylver and drew a scowl on his face.

“Because you killed that woman, right?” Sylver asked, placing his steak onto a flat stone he made to be a plate. “The one with short brown hair. You stabbed her in the stomach, and gutted her like a fish? Cut her ears off, and broke all her fingers while she was alive?” Sylver said offhandedly.

Even in the dim campfire light, Sylver could see the man’s face turn pale. “How… How do you know that?”

“Her spirit is lingering around you. I can’t see her, but I can feel her quite well. It’s one of the first things I was taught.” Sylver said. He leaned down to the rock plate and bit into the overcooked steak.

The man with the dagger appeared to light up for a second, as his skills came to life, before swiping with his knife, fast enough to leave an afterimage. The knife went through the back of Sylver’s neck, who didn’t even get a chance to react to it. The man then stabbed him in the back, going for his heart, his face now a mixture of relief and fear.

The man’s smile lasted for a millisecond, as he saw Sylver’s body disappear into a grey mist. His realization came far too late, as he felt a hand from behind, wrapping around and crushing his throat. He tried to stab at the figure behind him, but another hand caught the knife and broke his wrist to make him drop it.

In only a few seconds, the nameless attacker was dead.

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A note from KingKennit

I feel I should address a few things, for future reference. It's going to feel like the MC is pulling spells and magic out of his ass for a few chapters, but it's all in line with a planned out magic system.
Also, people worried this is going to devolve into the MC getting 100 skills and perks for breathing very well, don't be. Without spoiling anything, there's a good in-universe reason for him getting some of these quickly.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading! 

 


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KingKennit

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