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Ch026-Two For The Show

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*Adema

In the dark of the night, the rain fell heavy. Lighting jumped around, narrowly avoiding the incredibly fast-moving dark cloud. The downpour passed through the dark cloud harmlessly, freezing cold rain almost shattering against the ground below.

The dark cloud descended like the nearby bolts of lightning, the green grass it landed on instantly turning black and charred. Two people stood where the cloud used to be. One was a woman wearing a bright yellow robe, with glowing white eyes and a shiny wooden staff in her hand. The other was a man, at least 2 heads shorter than the woman, covered completely in darkness as if it were a robe, and glowing yellow eyes that were scanning the area.

The harsh rain avoided the two of them, choosing instead to split down the middle and go around them as if a giant sphere surrounded the two.

“You know I could have handled this alone.” The man said, staring at the giant castle in front of them.

“I know. But I also know you two would disappear for at least a week after this, so he had time to heal up. I’m the one who raised him, I feel I share a small piece of responsibility in his being an idiot.” The woman said, following after the man.

“In his defense, he’s got a 99.6% success rate. And he did save that village. Not to mention he had the foresight to call for help before even starting.” The man reasoned, smiling weakly.

“Which is why I’m only going to talk to him. Next time I’m going to see if Nyx’s method works.” The woman said, furrowing her brow.

“What method?” The man asked, knocking on large double doors.

“Don’t worry about it. Is he upstairs or downstairs?” The woman asked, leaning on her staff.

“Downstairs. But do you mind waiting here for a few minutes? Nyx would have my head if I put you in any danger.” The man asked, listening to the approaching footsteps.

“Please. Like anyone here could even touch me.” The woman answered, crossing her arms over her chest.

The man did his best impression of a puppy and got a loud groan from the woman. “Fine! But be careful not to kill him by accident. He’s still working out the kinks and it’s a massive pain in the ass to resurrect him myself.” The woman said.

“I’ll be careful.” The man answered, knocking harder on the door.

The door opened a tiny crack and a very pale head popped out.

“Is this the Amphitrite cult?” The man in black asked, raising his hand.

“What cult? I’ve never heard of a cult around here. Who are you? What do-”

The man inside stopped moving completely, frozen perfectly in place like a statue. The man wearing black opened the door further and walked in pulling the statue after him, and shutting it after himself.

The woman could immediately hear screams coming from the other side of the door. Bright lights flashed from underneath it, wisps of smoke and frost escaping, dark blades piercing it and dispersing immediately as dull thuds decreased the noise inside one by one.

A man jumped out through one of the windows of the second floor, and was promptly caught by a giant black hand, and yanked back inside. The pouring rain seemed to stop for a moment, before collecting into one giant ball of water, and flowing inside the castle. Lighting struck through the roof, sending chunks of melted stone flying everywhere. Explosions from the inside sent even more debris smashing into the wet ground, sending waves of mud and water everywhere.

And as quickly as the chaos had started, it stopped. The rain resumed it’s normal flow and the woman tapped her foot on the ground and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It was only when the door opened and she saw a small black figure, holding a hastily written letter in its hands, did she realize what had happened.

Ripping the letter out of the black and yellow shade’s hands, Adema tore it open and read the contents.

‘Dear Adema,
Everything is fine, we will be back in 6 weeks.
Lots of love, Sylver.’



*Sylver

“I see. So even if I have them stand here, and say out loud that I’m their proxy, you still wouldn’t let me take their food for them?” Sylver asked, leaning on the glass. There was a small opening underneath the window, through which a box moved in and out of, allowing the woman to give people things, without ever once being in direct contact with them.

“Nope.” The woman on the other side answered. She went back to reading her book, and ignored all the other questions Sylver attempted to ask. He adjusted his empty bag, so it looked fuller than before, and went outside.

“You’re the De’Leon boy, right? Bastard of count De’Leon?” the tall and muscular man asked, the moment Sylver had stepped outside. As his gang’s namesake, he had a small patch of white hair on his otherwise brown head.

“I am, yes. Mort De’Leon, to be exact. I would shake your hand, but as you can see…” Sylver answered, looking down at his limp limb. His other hand was occupied holding his makeshift bag.

“I’ll cut to the chase. Son’s of count’s, especially bastards, almost never get out of here. Unlike the rest of your friends, you’re in here for the long haul kid. So it’s a good idea to make friends as soon as possible.” The tall man explained.

“And I’m guessing you’re offering to be my friend, for the low low price of a portion of the food I get while having a ransom?” Sylver asked, reaching into his bag and being careful not to move it around too much.

“You catch on quick. What with your magic being sealed, and your one arm not working, you’ll be easy pickings for the others, once you’re no longer ransoming potential. And I only ask for food, unlike some of the… more extreme requests the others make.” The tall man said, looking away when explaining the ‘others’.

“I see... I didn’t catch your name.” Sylver said, placing his bag gently on the ground.

“Thomas. Thomas De’Losten.” Thomas said, walking a little closer to Sylver.

“In that case, thank you very much for the offer, Thomas, but I can take care of myself. And if the time comes when I need protection, I’ll let you know. But it is so nice to know there are such kind and caring people in such a terribly unfriendly place. Really warms my heart.” Sylver said, extending his hand out to shake with a warm and cheery smile.

“What if I said that unless you give me at least 3 cans, I’m going to beat the living shit out of you, and take everything instead?” Thomas asked, crossing his arms over his large chest, and rejecting Sylver’s handshake.

“Then I would say that I don’t take kindly to being threatened, and I will make an example out of you. So as to deter any future threats. It’s very important to nip things like this in the bud. Otherwise, someone who’s an actual danger to me might think I’m an easy target.” Sylver answered with his cheery smile.

Thomas laughed the kind of laugh that made all the other scavengers sitting near them get a little closer to beat the others in case Thomas was too distracted to notice a can rolling away.

“An example out of me? Do tell, how would you make an example out of me?” Thomas asked, chucking to himself.

“With a rock. I’ve got a few inside my bag right now. They’re all perfectly sized to sit comfortably in my hand, and blunt enough that the force from the blow will spread evenly, and you’ll have a few seconds to scream and regret your actions before pasing out from the pain. Most likely I'll go for your face, and either cave it in, or just bash your teeth out. I’m still on the fence which would be better.” Sylver explained, miming gesturing at his own face as he spoke.

Thomas’s cheery smile disappeared completely at this. And Sylver could almost see the cogs inside the man’s head turning, if this fight was worth the risk that the one-armed kid in front of him was a danger, or just simply bluffing and putting on a show.

“So you’re telling me if I look inside that bag I’ll only find rocks?” Thomas asked, reaching down for the bag.

“Who knows? Why don’t you open it up and see for yourself? The alternative is walking away and getting out of my fucking face like the little bitch you are,” Sylver suggested, kicking over the bag and causing it to deflate slightly.



*Thomas

Thomas crouched down and stopped just before his hand touched the bag. He considered what he knew about mages, how a few of them could use internal magic, or whatever they called it, to make themselves as strong as warriors. But every single one Thomas knew that had that particular skill was well into their 60s, level wise. And this one looked far too young to even know about it. He might look big, but Thomas could sense that the kid wasn’t anywhere near as strong as he appeared.

The De’Leon house is known for its fire magic, not body strengthening. Thomas thought, looking up at the boy from his crouched position.

And even if I’m wrong I can still take a one-armed amateur even if he’s as strong as me. Thomas concluded. He smiled to himself, as he pulled the heavy bag closer, and opened it up to look inside.



*Katia

Against Mort’s wishes, Katia decided to go out and explore. The guards following her wouldn’t allow anyone to do anything to her. She dearly missed the spatial perception her magic allowed her, but at least she wasn’t as neutered as Mort was. Her bard class meant she could still defend herself, or at least stall for a few seconds if push came to shove.

Poor guy, fire magic was exclusively external. Powerful, sure, but even with how poor quality the collars were, it was still enough lead to restrict their magic. Which meant that as far as magic was concerned Mort was only as strong as whatever he put into his strength attribute.

And considering how high his mana capacity was, a whooping 670, Katia had to assume he didn’t even have 20 in his strongest attribute. So he was limited to whatever strength his body had on its own. Which looked to be in the 10 range at best.

After conversing with a few more of the locals, Katia made her way towards the trade building, and was surprised to see Mort already there, and going inside. She waited outside, as she knew that there would be consequences if more than 1 person entered, and saw Mort being stopped immediately after exiting the place.

He was talking to a very tall man, easily 3 heads taller than him, and with arms as big as Mort’s head was.

Katia used appraisal on the man, out of habit more than anything.

[Human [Warrior (Common+Common)] - 26]
[HP-810]
[MP-20]
[Magic Resistance - 7%]
[Highest Attribute - STR]
[Lowest Attribute - INT]

Fuck… He’s a pure warrior, Mort is fucked if he tries fighting him. He must have at least 30 or 40 in his strength. And with his constitution so high, he’s got probably got enough stamina to one-shot him with a skill…

Katia wanted to run over and tell Mort not to fight him, but stopped as she thankfully saw him putting his bag down, and offering it to the man.

Good. He said he would find a way to protect us, so he must be negotiating the terms right now.

She watched their exchange with a disappointed expression, worried about what would happen once this man started demanding more for their protection.

She audibly gasped, along with some of the other people watching it alongside her, as Mort raised his hand in the air, and brought down a rock onto the back of the man’s head. The man fell forwards onto his face, his arms and legs twitching violently, as a small pool of blood started to form under him.

[Human [Warrior (Common+Common)] - 26]
[HP-410]
[MP-20]

What the fuck?

Katia didn’t get a lot of time to think about how a one-armed, MP focused mage, managed to bring a warrior’s health down by half, as she saw him lift the heavy looking rock high in the air again, and bring it down with somehow even more force.

Blood exploded out of the warrior’s head, coating Mort completely, spraying all over the place. She watched Mort continue hitting the man in the back of the head, 3 more times, before physically turning away and running back to the house.



*Sylver

[Human (Warrior) Defeated!]

Sylver’s already fairly red jumpsuit, was now an even deeper shade of red.

The issue right now was that this wasn’t part of the plan. He wanted to hurt Thomas so he’d crawl back to his boss, but he had killed him instead. Sylver couldn’t even tell why he did it.

Was it because Thomas looked a lot like the traitor? That he spoke in the same tone of voice as him? That he looked down on him the same way the traitor had? That Sylver had been looking for an outlet for his anger for a while now, and the back of this man’s head just presented itself to him? That he didn’t even show him the respect of not giving him such an easy opening?

Whatever it was, this was a fuckup. But on the other hand, he did feel a lot better now. He felt bad for Thomas on some level. Sylver had specifically made himself look weak, from his stance, to the way he never looked the man in the eye, to the false bravado that he purposely muddled up. In a sense, Sylver was too good at pretending to be weak, and that was the reason Thomas was now dead.

But this was still within the confines of the plan, so his death wasn’t a huge issue. More of an inconvenience really.

The real problem was that he felt like his heart would jump out of his chest at any moment. Even when he was a wet eared apprentice, moving mana around was never this difficult. He had drained literally every drop with that first hit. He felt so weak, even standing felt difficult. On top of that Sylver learned a slightly worrying fact he had forgotten about, because it was never an issue until today.

He wasn’t regenerating any mana.

The thing his old body naturally didn’t care about, this one relied on. Which meant that right now he was on some level as defenseless as Katia thought him to be. Which in turn just made his plan a whole lot more dangerous. But after thinking about it for a few seconds, it really wasn’t that big of a problem. As with Thomas’s death, it was just a small inconvenience.

He wasn’t honestly all that thrilled with the plan he came up with. But within the confines of the 8 days until the full moon, he didn’t have a whole lot of options. Plus Sylver had seen enough torture victims to be able to tell apart when it was done as a job, and when it was done with a passion. And the boss of the White Lock gang, was very passionate about torture.

Picking up the man’s bag full of stolen cans of food, Sylver entered the building again and this time actually took the food the woman had initially offered. It came in small metallic cans, and had no labels or markings on it, making every single one a complete guess as to what was inside.

“I apologize for bombarding you with questions earlier, but may I enquire as to where one might find himself some clean water to wash?” Sylver asked, doing his absolute best to sound as polite as he possibly could right now.

Thankfully the woman seemed to take pity on the boy covered from head to toe in blood. “If you follow the river of shit upstream, there’s a waterfall kind of thing. There’s the well, but good luck with it. We also sell a [Decanter Of Endless Water], but it costs 9 reds so it’s going to take you a while to cobble them together.” The woman explained.

“Reds?” Sylver asked, searching around in his pocket.

“It’s the crystals you would trade for food or other materials. The prisoners use them as currency. Ultimately they all end up here, so we don’t really care if they swap hands a few times.” The woman explained.

Sylver put the crystals he took from the man on the table and looked at them.

“What can I get for 3 green ones, and a blue one?” Sylver asked.

The woman looked through the small window at the crystals. “I’ll give you a discount, since I’ll no longer need to listen to people whining about that asshole stealing their food. One [Decanter Of Endless Water] coming up.” The woman said. She disappeared from the window, and Sylver put all the crystals in the box below.

After a couple of seconds, the box disappeared, and reappeared with a small flask.

[Decanter Of Endless Water - 4G 9S - Poor Quality]
[Appraisal (I) Proficiency increased to 10%!]

Sylver inspected the strange flask, and got shouted at when he poured some water on the floor. He left the building to follow the river up the stream to get to the waterfall.

*

The previously blood red, literally, jumpsuit was now a light peach color. This was mostly due to how hard Sylver scrubbed it against the sandy stones, and that the material had soaked up too much blood to ever be fully clean again. And the salt in the water wasn’t doing it any favors either.

In contrast, however, Sylver’s body was washed clean of the blood in seconds. Without any hair on his head, his bald scalp was back to being clean and shiny in just a few swipes of the hand. It almost made him consider staying permanently bald, with how convenient it was to wash blood away.

He made his way back to the house where Katia and the twins were, almost whistling a tune from how great he felt right now. This next part was going to be a little dangerous, but it was an acceptable and calculated risk so it was fine. He had other methods, and other plans, but this was the fastest and most likely to succeed in his current state. Plus, absolute worst-case scenario, he had Will as a trump card.

*

As Sylver approached the house, he was greeted by 3 men sitting on the front steps. Going by the worn table legs they were holding in their hands they were here to talk. Thankfully they all had a piece of white in their hair, and weren’t holding any knives or daggers instead.

“KATIA! You alright in there?” Sylver shouted, a few steps away from the house and the men. Katia peaked out from the large hole in the roof of the house.

“We’re fine!” Katia responded with a slight shake in her voice. Going by the way she looked absolutely terrified looking at Sylver he concluded that they had said something to her to try and get her to come out.

“Step back!” Sylver shouted at her. The three men stood up and were walking towards him now.

Sylver swung the sack of food twice, before letting it go and just barely making it through the hole in the roof. Most of the food was in cans so it should be fine. And luckily it was still light enough that his body could handle it by itself.

“Don’t come looking for me! Stay inside the house!” Sylver shouted, before looking down at the approaching men.

“Are you finished?” The man on the right asked. He had the same orange jumpsuit on as everyone else, but had the sleeves ripped off and there were multiple sewed closed holes on it. It looked old and withered. And he had the characteristic piece of white in his hair. Sylver had to stifle a smile as he used appraise and saw that all 3 of them were below level 30.

“I am. I take it you gentlemen are from the White Lock gang? Now, how about we all just-”

Sylver didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as the table leg connected with his face, and instantly the world went black.

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A note from KingKennit

And the following is a massive spoiler, only read it if you are going to complain about the way the chapter ended. Please don't if you have trust in the MC, or caught on to what he's thinking. I'm not going to judge you if you do, but it will make the next chapter a little less interesting. 

You've been warned.

Are you sure?

Kind of ruins the suspense and ultimate surprise.

Extract from a future chapter

“How… How are you alive?” Katia asked, stuttering and getting up from her seat.

“I make an effort to always have a positive attitude. And I top that off with a great deal of faith in myself and my abilities.” Sylver answered with a smile. He chose a can of high-quality food at random and opened it.

It looked absolutely identical to the thing everyone else was eating.

“But… They said they’d bring you back in a bag…” Katia said, frozen as if in fear.

“I know. Torture me for information and for doing something else. All in a hidden and secret area, away from prying eyes.” Sylver explained, trying some of the stuff inside the can and grimacing at it.

“Are you trying to say-”

“That I let myself get knocked out and captured, yes. I needed money and information, and this was the fastest way to get both. I talked to some of the locals, and they said the White Locks do this to just about everyone they can. I’m a mage, so I’m the weakest in this situation due to the collar, and I did something to piss them to speed things up. So it was only a matter of time before they found me and brought me to their secret hideout.” Sylver explained,

 

Possible question you may have:

Why did he let himself get knocked out?
Read the above part.

Why didn't he fight them and make them take him to their hideout?
He's got no mana and only has one arm, and is relatively weak compared to them.

Why did he let himself get knocked out, they could kill him.
He spoke to other people who've been victims and he knows for certain that their boss loves torturing people. And after seeing some of the wounds the boss left, MC could tell the boss loves torturing and won't just kill him.

What if they just killed him?
He's got Will (the feathered wyvern) at the ready to kill them if they try. He'd be wasting a great hidden card, but he'd be alive and could play it off as a random monster attack.

Wouldn't the guards stop them? Why didn't they?
The guards are under orders to make sure no one dies. They know the gang, and know their boss will torture/hurt him, but not kill him. Also bribed.

Why is he in a rush to get out? He gets paid 100 gold per day? Shouldn't he wait for as long as possible?
The money is secondary, the ingredients are 1000 times more valuable. He doesn't know how fast they will be rescued, so it's dangerous to wait too long. He asked for money out of principle, more than any actual need of it.

 

 

 

 


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