Inside the healing ward, Nyx was watching the healer examine the just short of dead boy.

On either side of the large room were cabinets and boxes, full of assorted gems and materials, bubbling cauldrons on the floor, and beakers on tables. In the middle were small beds, separated by thin dark sheets, which were shimmering with enchantments. The floor, ceiling, and walls were made of a dark, but perfectly flat and sparkling stone.

“How bad is it?” Nyx asked, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Pretty significant malnourishment, his left femur is broken, both arms dislocated and shattered, cracked ribs, severe skull fractures, signs of blood poisoning, blinded in his left eye, missing teeth, both thumbs have been ripped off, and I’m fairly certain he was made to swallow broken glass. Then there’s the multiple infections, maggots in a few areas, and his left lung has fully collapsed. Other than that, not too bad. Where’d you get him?” Adema asked, slowly moving her glowing hands over the boy. She’d already stopped a few of the more life-threatening issues, but halted before going any further.

“Floating in the river. I thought he was already dead when I got him out. Can you fix him?” Nyx asked, nodding at one of her guards to go get her purse.

“I could. But I don’t see the point. He’ll be dead in a few days anyway, seems like a waste of mana and time.” Adema said, turning the boy’s arm and examining his hands.

“Why? Is the damage permanent?” Nyx asked, walking over to see.

“Some of it is. If I had a few days I could probably get everything in working order, but then there’s this.” Adena said. She turned the boy’s hand over and showed Nyx long faded scars that ran up and down his arm. All were exactly half a centimeter apart, and all ended and started at the exact same place.

“Oh? He must have been in that river for days.” Nyx commented. The scars all ended and started at exactly the same place.

“Did they have a flood up there? I don’t remember hearing anything.” Adema asked.

“Not a flood,” Nyx said, gesturing at a gangrenous wound on the boy’s side. A very large tear on the right side, starting from the belly button, and ending at the edge of the ribs.

“I thought they just fed them to the drakes?”

“They usually do. He must have escaped into the water somehow.” Nyx added. Her guard returned carrying a large chest in his arms.

“So what are we doing here? You want me to fix him up, so he survives the trip back? It’d be more humane to just kill him here in that case.” Adema asked, poking the infected wound with her finger and digging the ooze out. And less wasteful, she thought to herself.

“No. Heal everything and get rid of the scars. And don’t tell Stefan about this.” Nyx added.

“I think I've done more off the books work for you, than on the books, by this point.” Adema mused. She turned the boy over and poked the torn welts on his back. “What do you want him for anyway? I thought you didn’t use children?”

“I’m going to make him my apprentice,” Nyx said calmly.

A few of the beakers that were sensitive to mana, exploded and sprayed white-hot acid and poisons, all over the room, coating the floor and ceiling, and stopping just short of hitting either woman. With a brief wave of Nyx’s hand, the liquids returned to their respective beakers, and after getting fixed floated onto the table they came from.

“After rejecting Damian, you’re going to make this thing your successor? Have you finally lost it? What in Thoth’s name is wrong with you?!” Adema asked incredulously. She had to divert her mana into her head to calm herself down.

“Feel his core.” Nyx offered with a smug smile.

Placing her palm over the boy’s heart Adema sent an exploratory pulse into it.

“He’s a full dark,” Adema said, opening her eyes and almost whispering the words.

“A pure dark.” Nyx corrected with a hint of uncertainty.

“Then what’s the point? He’s worthless in that case.” Adema asked.

“Just fix him for me. And make sure Stefan doesn’t find out.” Nyx repeated.

“That’s going to be a problem,” Adema said. She got a long sigh out of Nyx and following that was the sound of platinum coins being stacked onto a nearby table.

“How much of a problem?” Nyx asked, watching her guard stack one coin, on top of the other.

“A very big problem.” An old man’s voice said as he pulled back one of the separating curtains.



Waking up Sylver felt like a giant had hit his head with a club. He was thirsty, exhausted, and his back hurt for some reason. He lay in bed for a while, just enjoying the many pains of being alive. It’s been a while, to say the least since he’d done something like this.

There was something satisfying at just laying in bed like this and enjoying the warmth of another person. Certainly, the activities done during the night were also very satisfying, but in a much simpler way.

“Do you mind not telling anyone?” Leke asked after waking up.

“I’ve got no one to tell. But I don’t think it’s me you should be worrying about.” Sylver answered, and gestured at a woman standing inside the open doorway. She had an incredibly smug look on her face, that Sylver couldn’t help but smile back on.

Before the woman could say anything, Leke threw a pillow at her, causing her to shut the door and leave.

“Fuck me!” Leke said, rolling out of the bed and quickly getting dressed.

“I take it that was one of your roommates?” Sylver asked, stretching and wincing at something stinging on his back.

“She’s Tera. Alchemist’s assistant, and a huge pain in the ass.” Leke said, throwing Sylver his few pieces of clothing.

“How is she a pain in the ass?” Sylver asked, his clothing moving onto his body as if alive, and buttoning themselves up. He was sad to see his brand-new shirt and trousers already had some ripped off buttons.

“Because I’m pretty sure she put aphrodisiacs in the candles,” Leke said, picking one of the cups full of melted wax, and being disappointed at not smelling anything but lavender.

“Then I’ll have to get her some wine or something. Does she have a preference?” Sylver asked, grinning and following after Leke downstairs.

“She has a soft spot for weird chocolate.” Leke half-whispered as they made it to the front door unseen.

“Leke! Don’t be rude! You weren’t planning on letting your friend leave without breakfast, were you?” Tera shouted from the kitchen.



Breakfast was not as awkward as Leke was expecting it to be. Tera seemed to like Sylver right from the get-go, for some reason, and mostly discussed her most recent project. She made them breakfast, and for once didn’t ask any weird or uncomfortable questions. It somehow felt worse that she was being so thoughtful and polite than if she had done her usual thing.

She’s been trying to make wild Mossycup grow in her underground garden, but even after replicating every conceivable factor, couldn’t get it to mature to a useful state.

Discussed may have been the wrong word to use, as it was mostly Tera doing all the talking, and Sylver just nodding along and answering a rhetorical question with a yes or a no, depending on how she worded it.

Tera was still mid-explained about how she had to use natural light, via a series of unenchanted mirrors, to get the petals to curl properly when Leka heard the front door being opened and saw her other roommate walk in.



Diarla, Diar for friends, walked in on Tera making breakfast, Leke sitting down with a pained expression on her red face, and a man that looked like he wrestled giants for a living sipping tea. This was especially strange, as her skill identified him as a magic-user of some sort. And a rare classed one at that.

“Diar, Sylver, Sylver, Diar. Great. Now everyone knows each other.” Leke said, raising her head and looking directly at her.

Diar noticed that on top of her red and hungover face, her neck seemed to be covered in hastily healed bruises.

Deciding it was too early for whatever this was, Diar nodded politely at the large man and went up to her room to sleep.



“Don’t mind her, she’s shy,” Tera said, sitting down at the table and starting to eat herself.

“It’s understandable,” Sylver said simply. He was now drinking some sort of fruity tea Tera had made, which apparently helped with rehydration and worked as a cure for hangovers.

“You’re staying at Ron’s Rest, right? What’s he like? Is he really a giant pile of tentacles?”

That would actually explain why he wears armor. To give himself a form…

“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him without the armor on, but I’ll ask him when I get back. And he’s nice. His voice is a little weird, but I’m already used to it. Speaking off, why has everyone I mentioned him to, acted so weird about him?” Sylver asked, getting the exact expression he was talking about from both Leka and Tera.

There was just silence for a few moments, as Tera slowly drank her tea.

“It’s best if you ask him yourself…” Tera said. Going by her dead-eyed face, Sylver decided not to pursue this line of questioning any further.


“Are you fucking insane!” Shera shouted, causing the nearest group of adventurers to turn to look at her. As well as her nearby coworkers, who shot her a glare, that Sylver was glad wasn’t directed at him. She sat back down into her chair and awkwardly coughed into her fist.

“It’s a small camp. Only 10 bandits. They’re not even level 20.” Sylver reasoned, tapping his finger on the E ranked quest.

“These aren’t mindless beasts, they’re people! They plan, prepare, and they have perks and skills, and many more years of experience over you!” She said, trying to pull the E ranked quest off the table, unable to overpower Sylver’s finger.

“Which brings the question, why is their level so low? I’m not getting the feeling they’re children, but how come they aren’t in the 50s at least? Or something higher?” Sylver asked. His understanding of the system came entirely from Ciege’s memories. So, while he knew the basics, as much as anyone, there was still a lot that he didn’t understand.

“What do you mean why? Because they never fight anything alone, or above their level. Unless you’re a craftsman or have a unique class, you have to fight things above or near your level to level up. Which considering that monsters increase in strength, exponentially, rather than linearly, means that after a certain point it becomes extremely dangerous to fight them. And for some impossible. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but as a whole people can get to 20 very very easily, but after that, it’s a struggle.” Shera explained.

Monsters get stronger exponentially? How is this not common knowledge? But it does explain why no one is a walking god by this point. If all you have to do to get strong is kill stuff, anyone could have done it. But if the danger increases, the higher level the creature you’re fighting increases, that means people are likely to hit a plateau at some point. Bandits just hit it too quickly and had to resort to banditry to earn money. I wonder where my limit is?

“Either way, if I’m such an idiot as to do something I’m incapable of doing, you aren’t losing anything valuable. And if I’m as capable as I think I am…”

“And if I am as capable as I think I am, you’re getting someone extremely competent, and reliable. It’s a win-win for you. Yes, I get it. I remember what you said.” Shera said, repeating Sylver’s reasoning from yesterday. She didn’t even get a chance to properly worry about him, he was done with the quest before she had even finished her shift.

“So…” Sylver asked, stretching the word out.

“Why this quest specifically? There are safer ones, much closer to the city. And ones with a higher reward. Why this one in particular?” Shera asked, letting go of the paper, and wiping the sweat off her forehead with the back of her sleeve.

“Corpses. I need human corpses. I can summon things to help me fight, but for anything permanent, I need bodies. And the closer they are to humans, the better. Hence bandit clearing quest.” Sylver explained. It was a small piece of information that he was treating as an investment into Shera. He was a necromancer, so it wasn’t exactly a huge secret that he used dead bodies. But with how little people know about classes and their requirements, this could potentially be valuable information. And he shared this with her because after a certain point in time adventurers choose someone to represent them.

Back home the man Nyx used, ended up becoming the guild master. If Shera proves to be trustworthy, and competent, getting a cute girl as his representative would be fantastic.

Shera searched through the convoluted pile of papers on her desk and finally found the one she was looking for.

“Do you need to kill them yourself, or would it work with corpses someone else killed?” She asked, reading through a paper.

“Doesn’t really matter. Condition is more important. And freshness to an extent. Anything too mangled, or missing body parts, is also worthless.” Sylver explained. Going by the pleased look on Shera’s face, she found a way to stop him from trying to solo 10 bandits.

“Would you say the reward is secondary, in this particular case?” Shera asked, getting more enthusiastic as she saw Sylver nod approvingly.

“There’s a party heading out on an escort quest, and there’s a very strong possibility they will be attacked by bandits. If you’re willing to put up with being paid only 6 gold for the week or so of work, I can organize it so you get to use any dead bodies they make.” Shera said, uncertainly.

“A week as in, 3 and a bit day’s one way, 3 days back?” Sylver asked, removing his finger from his bandit clearing quest, and letting the relieved Shera take it away from him. To hide in her pile of quests and paperwork.

“It’s about 3 days on foot, but the caravan moves a bit slower than that. Plus, they have to take long breaks, which further adds to the travel time. So roughly a week, to get to their destination, and then you’re done. I can ask the party to wait for you before they come back here, so you don’t have to come back alone. They’re usually hired by this particular company, so your job would mostly be keeping a lookout, and helping take care of attackers. None of them are followers of Ra, so they won’t have an issue with you being a necromancer,” Shera explained.

“They’re all level 30 or higher, so you should be safe. And the monsters and bandits on that particular path, are usually below level 30.” Shera said, finally finding the paper she was looking for and placing it on the desk. She had to get off her chair to be able to point properly at it.

There was a slightly tense moment of silence, as Sylver read through the quest on the paper. Tense for Shera, of course, since she was more concerned with Sylver’s survival than he seemed to be.

“Sure. It’s leaving tomorrow morning, right?” Sylver asked.

Shera breathed a sigh of relief and took the copper plate out of Sylver’s hand. Pressing it against the paper, caused it to make a noise and glow green for a moment.

“Yes! I’ll tell the other party you’ll be joining them. Normally you’d have to be E rank for something like this, but since you’re essentially acting as a backup for them, it’s fine. There would also be the issue of combat experience, but given that you managed to kill 5 giants, in only a few hours, that should be enough proof of competence, for them.” Shera said, tapping Sylver’s copper badge on the paper.

“Great. Thank you for your help.” Sylver said, folding up the paper and hiding it in his pocket.


“You do know they’re going to feed you? I’ve never heard of a caravan, not giving their guards food.” Ron said, forcing the rations back into the bag, and trying to make them sit as snuggly as possible.

“I know. And it’s not for that, it’s for the trip back. I don’t want to get to the town and find that there’s nobody selling good food there. And on top of that, my understanding is that most of the people in Medera are followers of Ra. So, while being poisoned is only a small possibility, I’d rather not give them the temptation, and save us both a lot of violence.” Sylver explained, looking at himself in the mirror, while Tom silently packed the tent and tools into his new bag away.

“I really want to say, you think too poorly of them, but that is how the last necromancer I knew died. But in everyone’s defense, that was almost 200 years ago. People have really opened up to the idea of dark magic lately. Or at least stopped killing people over it. Stopped killing them openly, at least. Stopped killing them openly, with guards nearby.” Ron said, stuffing the last piece of wax paper covered food into the bag, and tightly closing it.

“What’s Medera known for? I haven’t heard of the place until now.” Sylver asked, hiding two daggers on his back into the cheap leather sheaths he bought. The smith was a little confused at the design he had given him but said he would have something in a few days. Sylver felt more naked without a proper stiletto in his sleeve than he did without the army in his shadow.

“They make pretty decent wine. Their cheese is good, but the local stuff here is still better. I don’t actually know to be honest. I know they have a really large temple there, and all the guards are required to have a druid class, but other than that it’s just a regular town. Oh! There’s a lake with a tiny island in the middle. I think,” Ron said, trying to remember as much as he could.

“I’ll check it out in that case. Alright then. I’m going to go now. There are going to be some deliveries coming in over the week or so while I’m gone, so just put them all on my bed.” Sylver said, gesturing for Tom to get moving and grabbed the bag Ron had prepared.

“Sure thing,” Ron said, getting up from his seat. “One last thing.” He said, reaching inside his armor plate and pulling something out.

“You’ll be amazed at how boring it gets during guard duty,” Ron said, holding the pack of cards out in front of Sylver.

Sylver in turn pulled out his own pack of cards from one of his pockets. “I’m very well aware. But I appreciate the gesture.”

Ron laughed quite loudly, as Sylver made his way out of his room.


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