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Ch024-I’m Not Locked In Here With You

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The carriages ranged from white oak, gem-studded, and gold laid, to rackety shitboxes.

As the son of a mere count, Sylver was meant to be sitting way off in the distant back, along with the other sons and daughters of counts and first years. But due to his recent achievement, was now sitting at the very front, along with Katia Du’Rodier, and two of her attendants.

The awkwardness and silence in the carriage could be cut with a knife.

And this was due to three things specifically.

First, it was because the attendants despised Sylver. Whatever plans they had for Katia, or themselves, seemed to be extremely dependent on her marrying Matheo. As such, while they begrudgingly served tea and cakes, Sylver refrained from eating because he was certain there was spit in everything. He took a chance on the tea, because he was genuinely thirsty and he did not believe they spit in the same pot they themselves drank from and served their mistress from.

And second, because Sylver had burned just about every bridge there was to burn at the academy, after his atrocious disrespect of their rules, traditions, and everything they stood for. His only saving grace was that Matheo, the son of an extremely esteemed noble, accepted his defeat with grace, and even went as far as to threaten a few of the more impulsive students and teachers who thought to seek revenge in his place.

“I think-”

“Shut the fuck up Camilla. I don’t care what you think, I may have said it in jest, but Matheo lost fair and square, and I will be damned if I go back on my word just because you have a problem with it. And you can write to my father all you want, but we both know exactly what he will say.” Katia interrupted harshly, her tone one step away from slapping the old woman.

So their journey continued, as all three women stared at the bald and glasses-wearing man, who sat on one side of the carriage, and everyone else sat on the opposite side.

Oh, and the third reason was that the half-fae spat in his face when he tried to talk to her. She called his method dishonorable, cowardly, barbaric, suicidal, dangerous, and then she switched to a language Sylver didn’t know, but got the gist of what she was saying from all the plants trying to reach for him, and the spittle flying out of the screaming half fae’s mouth.

So not only did Katia make Sylver fight a teleporter. Not only did she use him to break up her own marriage that she was too much of a coward to do herself. Not only did she make Sylver fuck up his lungs for several hours from breathing in smoke, and without any method to heal himself. On top of all of that, it resulted in his being unable to talk to the rare equivalent of a dragon.

But about 100 times rarer, because he’d actually talked to dragons.

So now the two sat there, Sylver keeping his mind directly on all the money and information he’ll be getting out of this, and bottling up whatever non-greed related emotions he was feeling, to be used later. While Katia kept a polite half-smile on her face, grimacing whenever one of her attendants opened their mouths as if to speak, and actually hitting one of the women before the ride was over.

*

The tea would have normally gotten cold 10 times over during the several hours that passed since they initially entered the carriage. But lucky for them, they were traveling with an extremely talented fire mage. Or at least a person with the skills of one.

The carriage continued to move, seamlessly as all the enchantments on the wheels and axles absorbed every ounce of bounce the uneven road had to offer.

Sylver simply sat there and waited, his eyes resting closed and his fingers interlocked and lying comfortably in his lap. He was intensely curious how exactly the whole thing would go down.

There were level 100 guards around the carriage, and several more behind and ahead of them. Where exactly was there space to kidnap anybody? If all the guards were in on it, why the charade? They’ve been on the road for hours now, what are they waiting for?

*

Sylver landed on his ass, and was immediately cuffed and blindfolded, before so much as seeing what the fuck had happened.

One second he was sitting inside the carriage, in a dead silent staring match with Katia, and the next he was in the air, being pulled to the floor and someone restraining his arms, legs, and finally collaring him.

The lead collar dispelled the weak magic that was holding his left arm together, and it became a useless chunk of dead flesh again. He struggled for a few seconds as someone lifted him off the floor by the collar, and forced his mouth open shoving a wad of material into it.

He was discarded off to the side, along with several other weakly struggling people, as more and more were caught, cuffed, and thrown, only a few of them managing a yelp before being silenced.

With his external magic completely cut off, Sylver only had his soul sense to rely on. He counted at least 3 people who were a few around his level nearby, and one person at the very edge who was most certainly a tier 4 mage, at the very least. Or at least with the power of one. He could hear there were more people on the floor or moving around and shouting orders, but it was impossible to count amidst the disarray.

Whatever they were doing ended fairly quickly, as the captors started to work on their haul. In Sylver’s case, they flipped him on his back and cut his clothing off him, making his gem-encrusted dagger fall onto the floor with a clang. He wasn’t the only one with a hidden weapon by the sound of metal hitting the floor and coins and other jewelry being removed and thrown into a pile somewhere.

“Is this all of them?” A male voice asked, the one nearest to Sylver.

“This is. But where’s the Da’Dumont kid?” A different voice asked, moving around.

Sylver was kicked shoulder as the man spoke. “He’s here.”

A silence followed this statement. After which the sound of someone getting punched, very hard in the face was heard, followed by the sound of a person falling to the ground.

“You fucking moron! This isn’t Da’Dumont, this is the De’Leon kid! He beat the fucker in a fight and took his spot, did you not read the fucking report!?” The man half screamed, as more sounds of punching could be heard.

“What report?” A voice screamed from the ground. More punching followed.

The argument might have continue for a while, but Sylver couldn’t know since he was kicked in the head and lost consciousness.

*

*

*

Waking up Sylver hurt all over. He was clearly beaten while unconscious, because otherwise his ribs wouldn’t be trying to poke their way out of his torso. Thankfully he was still alive, so everything else was fixable.

He turned over and nearly screamed from the pain his left arm was giving him. In the darkness he sat perfectly still, willing the hurt and pain out of his mind, dulling his senses to the absolute maximum possible, and possibly breaking a tooth from clenching his jaw too hard.

After an unknown amount of time passed, he felt the pain recede just enough for him to get up. He looked around the dark room, and after a few seconds his vision cleared up.

He was in a small stone room, with metal bars making up one wall, a slightly lifted platform to the left of them, and behind him a small hole in the ground off in the corner. The metal cell door was slightly ajar, help open by a small rock.

Looking down at himself, he found that he was completely nude, the collar around his neck being the only item on him.

They’re holding us for ransom, so there wouldn’t be any benefit to killing us right now.

Further looking around he found a neatly folded jumpsuit, but immediately got a better idea.

He wanted to explain himself to Lola, but found that without his magic he wasn’t able to tell her anything. Her soul was still inside his so she was fine and wasn’t going anywhere, but he wouldn’t be able to talk to her.

For half a second he worried what she would think of him for doing this. But he decided there was no real point putting off showing this side of himself to her too.



*Salvador

“Where the fuck is De’Leon? Please tell me you fucking morons, didn’t accidentally leave his cell locked?” Mardo asked, looking down at the people below and counting them for the fifth time in a row.

“No sir, I checked it myself. I put the clothes near the bed, and even propped the door open just to be safe.” Salvador answered. He went over his actions in his head one more time, and was certain he did as he had said he had done.

“Go check on him. If he’s dead his ransom is coming out of your pay Sal.” Mardo said, gesturing at the guard with his pencil.

Salvador wanted to just shove the mage over the railing, down into the crowd, but kept his anger in check, and simply walked away to see what was taking that fucking kid so long.

He could hear crying and sobbing immediately as he opened the door. It was dark as the night in here, but Salvador already had a perk to circumvent that. He could see up to 5m away from himself, and had near-perfect perception for anything within half a meter of his body.

Carefully stepping over the dead bodies he had laid out, Salvador reached the source of the noise and saw the giant kid, rocking back and forth against the wall, still naked and clutching his arm.

“What the fuck are you doing? Get dressed, everyone is waiting for you.” Salvador shouted.

My eyes! What did you do to my eyes! You’ve made me a cripple, what did I ever do to you!?!?” De’Leon screamed. Salvador flinched hard when the kid looked up and he saw that his eyes were completely black.

“Fuck me!” Salvador cried, running off and nearly tripping over the dead bodies.

*

“The fuck are you talking about? You were there, other than you no one else laid a finger on him. Are you trying to tell me you kicked him so hard, you blinded him?” Mardo asked, his clipboard straining from his grip.

“No sir! I didn’t even kick him that hard. But you’ve got to see it, he’s got the eyes of a demon!” Salvador swore, cold sweat running down his back.

“You’re over-exaggerating you fool. If he was a demon, you wouldn’t be standing here, breathing my precious oxygen. Go get the healer, so she can check him out.” Mardo suggested, rubbing the bridge of his nose from the frustration of having to do everything around here.



*Sylver

“Son. I need to check your eyes, look up for me please.” The healer asked, gently lifting Sylver’s head up.

Sylver kept his eyes as unfocused as he could, but given that even he couldn’t see where his iris were, there wasn’t really any point. The woman had long dark hair that appeared to be a little wet, and covered a portion of her face from either side.

Behind the healer there was another guard, that was at least 10 levels above Sylver, but only felt to be in the level 30 to 40 area.

The woman stared deeply into his eyes, and even tried to cast a diagnostic spell on him. The spell fizzled out due to the collar’s interference.

“Salvador, can you go call Mardo over. I need to remove his collar to check him properly.” Elyda asked.

“I uh… He’s… It’s fine, he’s only level 20, if anything goes wrong I can handle it. Kid if you try anything funny, I’ll break your fucking legs.” Salvador threatened placing his hand on his sword.

Please don’t hurt me!” Sylver cried, curling into a tighter ball and trying to make himself seem as small as possible.

“It’s alright lad. This won’t hurt a bit. I’ll fix whatever is wrong, and once your daddy pays the ransom, you’ll be back home safe and sound. Look at me please.” The healer explained.

“Listen to Elyda kid. She’s been with us for over 10 years, she’s had more practice healing than half the master priests in Arda.” The man explained.

“And I’ve done twice as much research as them!” the woman said proudly. “ You wouldn’t believe what one person can achieve with enough experimental material. I could even fix your arm, if you make me a good enough offer.” The woman said.

Just take the fucking collar off.

“Please! It’s been like this for years, no one had been able to do a thing! If you fix it you can have whatever you want” Sylver said, mixing a hint of hope into his otherwise terrified wail.

“It’s an incredibly potent curse. Whoever did this to you must have been a master of the dark arts.” The healer explained. Sylver didn’t need to see her face to hear the smug smile in her voice. “I’ve only ever seen dark magic this potent, once in my life. And you’re in luck, because I’m most likely the only person in the world who knows how to cure and fix it.”

She spent a few seconds rummaging in her pocket, pulling out a long thin piece of metal, and then did something with it to Sylver’s collar to unlock it.

The feeling of losing that awful device from his neck was so good Sylver was concerned he was about to have a completely natural reaction to such a great feeling. Thankfully the woman in front of him was ugly enough, and his general stress of being in an unknown area and completely nude, canceled out that reaction.

“Alright now stay still.” The healer said, putting her hands on either side of Sylver’s head.

He let the woman cast magic on him, as he very carefully created an illusion on top of them. When he had an illusion of the woman’s back, that was blocking the man’s view of Sylver, finished and a few centimeters behind her, he used his left hand coated in darkness to force her mouth closed, and used that, with the added torque of his right hand grabbing her hair, to twist her head sideways, snapping her neck.

He pretended to be in scream pain to mask the noise of the snap, and was relieved to have gotten the timing perfectly.

[Human (Mage) Defeated!]

[Due to defeating an enemy 20 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

He kept her body up to where it was, and as quick as he could absorbed every last drop of mana and health from her body. He sat there motionless, holding the dead body in his hands, and waited for the guard to look away.

The man looked away at the sound of something on his right, and Sylver used that moment to throw the woman’s body at the man. The man was forced back, and fell onto the railing behind him. Before he could draw the sword at his side, Sylver was already on him, grabbing the man by the neck, and squeezing it shut.

The guard suddenly found himself both mute, and unable to breathe. He attempted to pull his sword out again, but Sylver’s hand on the hilt kept it sheaved.

For a couple of seconds, there was a strange staring match, as Sylver kept his hand on the man’s broken neck, sucking out every drop of health and mana out of him, and using said mana to give himself enough strength to keep the man’s sword where it was.

[Human (Warrior) Defeated!]

[Due to defeating an enemy 20 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[Draining Touch (I) Proficiency increased to 39%!]

Sylver’s ribs fixed themselves, crunching back into place, the small bruises all over his body disappearing next, and finally, a small portion of his left arm regained color and life, starting from the shoulder.

Sylver moved the guard’s and the healer’s corpse back inside the cell.

He ripped apart the woman's robe, and used the fabric to lift the collar up to his eyes to inspect it without directly touching it.

My fucking god… It’s not even pure lead. How fucking cheap and stupid do you have to be to use something like this? Anyway, sit tight, I’ve got everything under control.

“This isn’t your first time being a prisoner, isn’t it?” Lola asked.

Nope. The best part of making mistakes, is how much you learn from them.

After a few seconds of reading the framework on the collar, Sylver found what he was looking for, and used the dagger Fen handed him, to ever so slightly alter it. Just a few tiny marks, and he was done. He double-checked that he had done it right, before putting the collar on.

There was an effect, it was lead after all, but it was more akin to dampening than actually restricting him. He could now use magic, albeit a little slower and more expensive than he was used to. It couldn’t restrict his internal magic, body strengthening, draining touch, those kinds of things, but casting a fireball or anything outside his own body, was still out of the question. The only thing he changed was the enchantment that would have restricted the use of his internal magic.

He stood perfectly still as he thought he heard a sound in the distance, but after a full 30 seconds of dead silence, and his shades reporting no one was there, he returned to what he was doing.

He looked around and found the key the woman had used down on the floor, and picked it up. Wiping it on her robe he inspected the key. It was as thin as a toothpick, and about twice as long. He now had a way to unlock himself if he ever needed and hoped that if they’re stupid enough to use cheap lead, they might be stupid enough to have the exact same lock and key on every collar. Sylver handed the key to Fen, who quickly put it in one of his pockets, and gave the thumbs up that it had assimilated properly.

He had Fen and Reg lift the man’s body up in the air, and Will’s head protruded partially out of the wall, taking a massive bite out of the man’s torso, and completely covering Sylver in blood. Will chewed the mixture of leather armor and flesh and bone for a few seconds, before letting the gunk drop to the floor. Next Will broke the man's head open, hiding the damage on the neck, by tearing it to pieces and creating a new kind of damage.

This was repeated with the healer, once again drenching Sylver completely in blood. He had Will chew on her head and neck, to hide the cause of death as well.

Sylver lay on the floor for a moment, letting the blood pick up the dust and dirt, and rolled around in it a little. When he finally had the effect he wanted, he coughed into his fist to clear his throat. He breathed heavily to start panting and forced himself into a panic.

“NO! GET AWAY! HELP! SOMEBODY, PLEASE HELP ME! THERE’S A MONSTER SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!” Sylver screamed, as loud as he possibly could, and ran towards the door he had seen the man and woman come from. He burst through the half-open door and was instantly blinded by the giant artificial light a small distance away.

In the half a second between him being blinded, and gaining a tiny sense of the area around him, Sylver was pressed down to the floor with some kind of magic, and promptly lost consciousness.



*Mardo

“Keep fucking looking! You saw the size of the bite, how could something that fucking big possibly disappear! You fucking pieces of fucking shit, you fucking worthless…” Mardo screamed, adding obscenity onto obscenity, mixing and matching as only a man who considered swearing to be a separate language could.

“Sir, even Nautis hasn’t found anything. There’s nothing more we can do.” The guard repeated, a look of serene peace on his face, as spittle flew on it from the mouth of his superior.

“...and if your mother were alive… Is the kid awake yet?” Mardo asked, brushing the creases out of his robe, and handing his subordinate a handkerchief to wipe his face off.

“No sir. Without Elyda around, we don’t have anyone who could wake him up.” The subordinate answered, carefully wiping his beard and mustache and making a mental note to shave as soon as he could.

“Have you tried punching him until he woke up?” Mardo asked, pacing around his office, and physically restraining his left hand with his right, to keep himself from biting his nails.

“We did sir. And we think it only put him further to sleep.” The subordinate answered.

“Piece of fucking shit,” Mardo swore, looking down at the people below from his open window. “Hey! Do any of you have healing skills?” Mardo asked.

The prisoners were silent for a while, before one of the newly captured ones raised her hand.

“Come on up here sweetheart,” Mardo said. The guards let her through, and she quickly jogged up the stairs.

“You’re the Du’Rodier girl, right? Come with me, I need you to heal someone. I’ll take your collar off, but if you try anything, I’m going to forgo ransoming you and make an example out of you. Do we understand each other?” Mardo asked, the placement of his hand as he walked alongside Katia, leaving very little space for misunderstanding what he meant by ‘an example’.

Katia kept quiet and walked a little fast down the dark corridor. Mardo grabbed her by the shoulder, and directed her into a room on the left, closing the door behind him.



*Sylver

Sylver woke up from potential brain damage for the second time today. Thankfully he wasn’t all that dependent on his brain, so it wasn’t anything fatal.

What was new was somebody’s hand on his head, and a beautiful and gentle humming directly in his ear. He almost felt like he was waking up in a warm bath, and yawned before opening his eyes.

He saw Katia standing over him with a dead stare in her eyes, and tear marks on her dust-covered cheeks. Standing right behind her was a man easily 3 heads taller than her, too engrossed in whatever he was doing to notice Sylver was awake.

“He’s awake,” Katia said dully.

This seemed to wake him up from a trance as he stepped away and walked around the table Sylver was laying on and helped him to sit up.

“What happened in there? Did you see what killed Salvador and Elyda?” The man asked, with concern and softness in his voice. As if he were asking his child about the monster hiding in the closet.

Sylver reached up with his functioning right arm and wiped tears out of his eyes, before speaking with a sniffle and a pathetic voice.

“It was a snake.” He said, shuddering. “It’s at least 200 levels higher than me, it killed the nice lady and then tried to disappear,” Sylver explained, using Ciege’s voice to sound as child-like as possible.

He felt the man’s grip on his shoulder increase. “A snake? Are you sure?” The man asked, staring into Sylver’s eyes.

I’m not. She fixed my eyes, but I still couldn’t see properly. One second she was there, and the next there’s blood in my eyes, and I’m running towards the light.” Sylver explained, “Can I go home. Please?” Sylver asked.

“Are you sure it was a snake? Not a lizard, or a drake or a tentacle maybe?” the man asked, putting more pressure on Sylver’s shoulder.

“I don’t know!” Sylver shouted, lowering his head and starting to cry into his hand.

He sat there sobbing as the man looked around and finally decided he wasn’t getting anything else out of the kid.

He gestured at the kid with his head, and left the girl to take care of it. He left the room and locked the door behind himself.

Katia sat down next to Sylver and wrapped her arms around him, covering herself with dried and sticky blood. “Shhhh. It’ll be alright, everything is fine.” She whispered.

“This is nice and all, but I’m fine. How many students did they get?” Sylver asked, his tone switching back to his normal one instantly.

Katia moved him away from herself, and held him at an arm's length. “You were faking it? Why?” She asked, her dead eyes regaining a semblance of life.

“Because they’re all at least 50 levels higher than me, and I need time to set things up. Are you alright? They didn’t…”

“They didn’t do anything. To anyone. Except you. They’re going to keep us here until our parents pay the ransom, and then we will go home.” Katia explained, letting go of Sylver. “If our parents refuse to pay… Then they start… being less careful.” She said, unable to put a word to what the people who have been living here for years have told her.

When the ransom wasn’t paid, they simply stopped being careful not to damage the prisoners too much.

“Well, that’s good. Gives us some time to work with. Stick close to me, and you’ll be fine.” Sylver explained. He got up off the table, and looked around the empty room for something to wear. He covered himself up with the clothing he was originally given, which was now completely soaked in blood.

The bright orange uniform was now a very deep shade of red.

“You’ve got one fucking arm, and can’t use magic. What the fuck are you going to do?” Katia asked, momentarily forgetting her confusion.

“We’re fine. I’ve gotten out of worse situations, with less.” Sylver said, pulling the sticky jumpsuit on.

“Now clean up your face and tell me what happened while I was unconscious,” Sylver said, sitting down back on the table.

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KingKennit

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