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Ch031-The Good, The Bad...

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*Adema

“Where is he!” Nyx bellowed, shoving her way through soldiers who were easily twice her height and many times more her width. They straightened their backs and got out of her way, almost tripping over their feet as they did so.

“Ah. Right on time.” The king said lazily, sitting up straighter on his throne. Out of everyone in the room, he was the only one even slightly relaxed.

“WHERE IS HE!” Nyx shouted, causing a few of the weaker elite guards to topple to the ground, carried off immediately by the shaking hands of the others.

“In the South Highlands. Near Adbark if I understood correctly.” The king answered, gesturing with his hand at one of the still-standing men near his throne.

“He’s… What?” Nyx asked, brushing her hair back and taking an extremely deep breath.

“Adbark. He got a report of a lich waking up and getting active and took Edmund with him to kill it. Gave me this to give to you when you eventually showed up.” The king answered, as a small chest was placed on the handle of his throne.

He propped the chest open and inside was a severed hand, with a slightly glowing tattoo at the wrist, and a strange-looking double-sided short staff.

“I… What?” Nyx asked, as Adema followed after her through the line of giant men and stood next to her.

“You two wanted to retire, and Syl got tired of waiting. So he convinced Ed to help him handle a demi-god level lich, after helping Ed kill the head cultist of the Amphitrite cult, who just so happens to be-”

“-a demi-god level threat.” Adema finished for him.

The two women stood there, staring at the young man in front of them and Nyx was the first to speak.

“And you just let him go?” Nyx asked, the tone of her voice an odd calm.

“Of course. He apologized for his behavior when he was younger, and I accepted his apology. I no longer have a qualm with him or you. He asked me to hold onto these for a few days until you showed up, and then pass them on to you. Which is what I am now doing.” The king explained, ever so lightly moving the box forwards towards the two women.

Nyx placed her hand on the box and it disappeared along with its contents.

“Are you telling me, that right now, Syl and Ed are fighting a fucking demi-god level lich?” Adema asked, looking the king right in the eye.

“After successfully killing a demi-god level priest. And roughly 30 temples before getting to him. Which in my personal opinion, is a whole lot harder considering this isn’t the first lich he’s gone after. I don’t understand why you’re so worried. It’s not like they’re going to fight it head-on. You know Syl. I know it’s easy to forget with his unbearably cheerful attitude, and boyish good looks, but he’s easily the trickiest bastard who’s ever lived. I mean, I’m a true immortal, and even I’m a little afraid of him. Between facing the two of you head-on, and genuinely pissing him off, I wouldn’t even think twice about it.” The king reasoned, standing up from his throne and turning the two women around by the shoulders.

“Now. I’ve got the entire month planned for you two. Syl said it’s going to take a while for you to learn to relax, so it’s my job to show you all the ways you can spend your time when you tire yourself out from devoting every waking moment to research.” The king explained, walking them down the corridor and past his legendary immortal army, that now had a very faint smell of urine coming off them.



*Sylver

Sylver had mixed feelings regarding the device he was using. On the one hand, he hated it because he couldn’t understand how it worked. He understood how to use it, without any issue, but he wasn’t sensing a drop of mana emanating from it, and it was killing him to break it open to see what was inside.

On the other hand, he had already crossed more distance using it in half an hour, than he had during all the hours he had spent climbing by himself. So the thing could stay a mystery. For now.

There was also the fact that he had fucked up one of the eyes and knew what he had to do, but didn’t want to do it. And the closer he got to the top, the more he worried about this stupid system getting in the way. He wasn’t sure if using the dead man’s soul as a cover over his would do anything, but he had his fingers crossed, and decided that he only needed a few seconds of confusion to get away.

Once he’s inside the prison, good fucking luck finding him. If what Novva said was true, all he needed was a good hat and he was golden. Just another prisoner harmlessly bumbling his way through the town.

He held the ball of blue fire in his hand and brought it closer and closer to his masked face, before closing his hand and putting it out and smacking himself on the head. A simple illusion on top of his eye blinded him in it, but didn’t require burning his fucking out eye like a moron.

The tunnel is making me crazy.

*

Light had never looked as enticing as it did right now. There was so few times in his life that Sylver was genuinely happy to see rays of light coming down on him.

But right now that’s exactly how he felt. The perk that granted him night vision, made everything greyish and dull, and even the boring tunnel walls looked a little better in daylight.

Or enhanced artificial light, if he was being precise.

Still, it was so great to finally be out of here.

Sylver was ready for almost everything. A giant group of guards, Nautis himself, even a betrayal from Novva.

What he wasn’t ready for is there not being a single guard anywhere in sight. There weren’t even any standing at the top on all the bridges. In fact, Sylver couldn’t see or feel a single person around.

He walked carefully towards the town, when he felt the strangest sense of nausea. He pressed through it and it only got worse and worse as he neared Novva’s hideout. Standing at the doorway, only the faintest flicker in his soul sense, made him duck and roll to the side, as the fist that was aiming for his head, went into the metal doorway instead, shattering it as if it were made of glass.

He managed to get up, just in time to dodge again, and the fist passed through the area where his head was a fraction of a second earlier, and embedded itself into the floor.

Sylver jumped up high, and used a small burst of flame to maneuver himself onto a nearby roof, running away as fast as his magically enhanced legs would carry him.

Sylver continued to run, his heart thumping in his chest and in the closest thing to a state of panic as he’ll ever get. The man appeared behind him and very nearly grabbed him, as another burst of flame sent Sylver flying out of his reach.

The man tried to jump after him, but one of the shades held him by the ankles and tripped him up, slamming him into the ground.

Sylver ran faster and-

Was stopped completely in his tracks by a large hand grabbing him by the head. He tried to raise his hands to attack the source, but they were grabbed too.

He tucked his knees and simultaneously slid out of the flesh mask, and set off an explosion inside the hand holding his hands.

Someone screamed in pain from getting their palm burned, while another screamed of surprise, as Sylver used his shades as ledges and jumped down towards the floor.

He got 2 steps in, before being grabbed by the head again. As slippery as his bald skull might be from being covered in blood, the grip was perfectly placed, and with the perfect amount of force.

Well, no time to see if I can survive getting my neck snapped, like the present.

Preparing to lift his legs upwards to use them to pry his head out of the man’s grasp, Sylver spared a second’s glance at the man’s head.

He very nearly went through with the move that would have resulted in him making his spine bend at an angle it most likely couldn’t be bent, before relaxing his feet and torso, and hanging limply in the giant’s grip.

“What the fuck was that thing on your head,” Novva asked, bringing Sylver up to his eye level.

“Don’t worry about it. What’s going on? And let me down.” Sylver said, being placed down on the floor and waiting for the ringing from his ears to disappear.

“Revolution my boy! One of my men saw you fuck up Nautis, and I decided that another attempt wouldn’t hurt. We were actually on our way to rescue you from the hole, but here you are instead!” Novva said, picking up Sylver again and hugging him so tightly he half expected to lose health from this.

“So wait. In the few hours I was gone, you managed to completely take over the prisons?” Sylver asked, as Novva put him down and led him by the shoulder.

“Hours? You’ve been gone for 2 days!” Novva said with a barking laugh.

“I really need to find a better way of keeping track of time. Is Katia ok?” Sylver asked, pulling the heavy leather armor off himself and throwing it in a random box on the side.

“Of course she’s fine, I gave my word! She’s with the twins right now, back at the new base. I even got up to level 90 from all this!” Novva exclaimed, flexing his muscles and just short of skipping around.

“And Nautis?” Sylver asked, patting the ear wrapped around his forearm to make sure it was still there.

“Fucked off. But we’ve got enough food to last everyone for at least 5 months. I’ve got all the mages we could gather ready, and Melo has found a few staffs that might help us out!” Novva explained, gesturing at the large guard tower in the distance, that showed signs of being repeatedly cut and punched and had a massive hole on its side.

*

“Wait,” Novva said, before Sylver opened the door. He handed him a long scarf one of his men gave him.

“Katia said you wanted to keep your identity secret, so cover your face with this. I can’t do anything about your unique class standing out, but I doubt anyone present would be able to track you down using just your status,” Novva explained.

Sylver looked down at the scarf and reached with his other hand into a barrel, and took a mask he had one of the archer’s wearing.

It was a very simple completely white mask, with a long red line going across the eyes. Sylver put it on and adjusted it so he could see properly.

“Even better. Change your voice if you can too.” Novva suggested.

How’s this?” Sylver asked, using Ciege’s voice and speech pattern.

“You’re just full of surprises! I can’t believe I almost crushed your head when we first met!”

“When did you do that?” Sylver asked.

“When you stood up and shouted at me. You were this close, you can’t even imagine how little effort it would have taken.” Novva continued, holding his thumb and pointer so close together to demonstrate that they almost looked to be touching.

“Lucky for all of us you didn’t go through with it then. But can I get a few specifics on what exactly went down while I was gone?” Sylver asked, as Novva opened the door for him and he stepped inside.

He saw a bunch of people strewn around the floor, in various states of hurt and pain, some missing limbs, a few burned, and a lot of blood everywhere. And only two men walked among them, healing them.

Novva slapped him on the back, “He’s here! Our ticket home!” he shouted, causing all the wounded to look up at him.

There was a painfully loud cheer, as all the people Sylver thought to be half-dead seemed more alive than Novva was a few days ago.

A few of the ones with less serious injuries, even hobbled over to him to shake his hand and preemptively thank him. But Sylver felt something strange as he accepted their praises and thank you’s.

They were treating him like he was a hero. When in reality he was going to be selling them all off to the Cord to do whatever it was they were going to do. And it puzzled him that he was feeling any kind of guilt for that.

He didn’t put them here. He wasn’t the one who’s going to be getting them home. He’s just the middleman between them being here, and getting home. It’s not like Melo had anywhere near enough mana to open a long-distance gate. He’d just make one big enough for Sylver and Katia to get outside through, and the Cord would be handling things from there.

And as quickly as the feeling had appeared, it was gone. And in its place remained the cold hard truth that Sylver never had a problem with before.

He didn’t care.

These people weren’t his family. They weren’t even his friends.

And it wasn’t like they were going to be sold into slavery to get out of here. Knowing how things like this usually go, they’d just have to owe the Cord favors. They’d lose some money, maybe have to betray their government a few times, but who cares really. A small price to pay to get out of this wretched prison and go back to their regular lives.

*

*

*

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Melo asked for the 10th time.

“I can go over all the maths again, if you want. If it makes you feel better, but it won’t change anything.” Sylver replied, lowering his hands away from the device.

“No, but… It’s too easy. It can’t be this easy, someone else would have thought of it.” Melo said, putting his hands on the device.

It was a very large piece of equipment, that was made from 15 staff fragments, about 3 books filled up completely by formulae, handwritten by Sylver, and contained the shared efforts of 10 level 70 mages, pouring their mana into it for an entire week.

It looked like a jumbled pile of sticks and paper that most people would think is just a fancy bonfire that hasn’t been lit, instead of an extremely advanced anti-anti-teleportation-magic device.

“It’s not. I just so happened to know exactly how an anti-teleportation spell would function, and my mana sense is sensitive enough for me to figure out the finer and important details.” Sylver explained.

And I’ve used almost this exact spell myself, and know all the ways to bypass it, since I’ve used it against dimensional mages significantly smarter and more capable than Nautis, or me.

“Why can’t you do it? I don’t believe you know how to counteract such a spell without knowing how to make a basic gate.” Melo complained again.

“Almost zero affinity. On top of the fact that I don’t have anywhere near enough mana to do this myself. Look… If you want we can stop here. Go tell Novva he’s not going home, and the 9 people that died, died for nothing. No one will see their wives or husbands ever again, I’ll be killed so Nautis comes back, and you can all go back to-”

“FINE! Fine, I’m doing it. But if something goes wrong, tell Sherry I love her.” Melo said, getting into the stance Sylver had shown him.

“No. Stop,” Sylver said, pulling his hands away. “Go tell her you love her, right now.” He said, leading the man by the arm.

Melo struggled, but was no match for Sylver’s magically enhanced strength. “I can’t! And-”

“Don’t want to hear it. Tell her you love her, right now. I’m not letting you die with that kind of shit hanging over your soul.” Sylver explained, pulling Melo along down the large corridor.

“We don’t have time!” Melo shouted, being dragged along and almost lifted off the ground by the arm.

“So we have time for you to doubt my magical knowledge, for almost 2 fucking weeks, but not the 5 minutes it takes for you to tell the girl you love, that you love her?” Sylver asked indignantly, pulling the short mage off the ground to make him look him in the eye.

“No, but that’s-” Melo whimpered as Sylver kept walking with the short man in tow.

Sylver opened the door to the room he was teleported inside when he first came here, and was now being used as their main living space.

“Is anyone named Sherry here?” Sylver shouted, amplifying his voice to counteract the mask muffling it.

Everyone silently looked at each other, before a woman in the very back stood up and walked over to them. She was taller than Sylver, which meant that Melo was literally the height of this woman’s belly button.

“Yes?” The woman asked uncertainly.

“Is this her?” Sylver asked Melo, putting him down.

“Yes but-”

“Could you come with us for a moment? We need your help with something.” Sylver lied, holding Melo by the shoulder to lead him out of the large room as Sherry followed after them.

Only a few steps later they were standing on one of the highest points in the guard’s tower, away from people, and prying eyes.

“You’re not leaving here, until you tell her. But do it properly. Don’t lie, don’t apologize for how you feel, tell her in one smooth sentence, and accept her answer, regardless of what it is.” Sylver explained, leading him towards where Sherry was waiting.

“Why are you doing this to me?” Melo whispered, holding onto the frame of the door.

“Because I’ve told too many people that the person who just died loved them. And then I watched them cry so hard it broke my heart in a way I can’t describe you. And I refuse to do that again. So for my sake, as well as yours, go tell that woman how you feel about her.” Sylver said, turning him around so he was facing her through the doorway.

Melo opened his mouth as if to speak several times, before adjusting his shirt and walking towards her.

Sylver closed the door to give them privacy, but was too close not to feel their souls.

Melo’s felt like he was about to die from a heart attack. And as he spoke, it got worse and worse, genuinely making Sylver afraid the guy was going to drop dead right there and then.

And then his soul calmed down so much, Sylver thought he had died. He opened the door quickly and slammed it shut when he saw what was happening. Melo was being held in the woman’s arms, and kissing her with such a ferocity it almost made Sylver blush. The momentary calm completely reversed and went right back to heart attack territory, but considering his current situation, it was far more understandable.

He walked away back to the room with the anti-anti-teleportation device, and went over everything one last time, while Melo did what he needed to.

*

“I want you to be the best man at my wedding,” Melo said calmly, as he walked through the door. Almost 4 hours had passed since he had confessed to Sherry. And then did something that required them both to take a shower afterward to be presentable.

“Can’t. We’ve never met, and I was never here. But I am glad everything worked out for you.” Sylver said, walking to his spot as Melo went to his.

“I still can’t believe it. I could have been doing this years ago! My god, she was so soft and-”

“I understand this is all brand new to you, but please keep it to yourself. I’m happy you’re happy, but it’s bad manners to brag like that. Do you trust my math now?” Sylver asked, adjusting the device slightly.

“I still think you’re a crazy bastard, and this will either fail or kill us, but I trust you with my life,” Melo said, as he started pouring his mana into the machine.

Good enough for me.

Sylver started working on his side of the spell too, and was pleasantly surprised how well Melo was handling it. Even his mana felt different now. It looks like he’d been really holding it in for Sherry.

And there was something extra pleasant about just working on a spell like this. No one was trying to hit him in the head, or kill, or eat him, there was no rush, nobody about to die, just two men working together for a common goal.

The spell took an hour to cast. And to Sylver, it felt like only a few minutes had passed. His arms were tired and aching, his hands were burning up and very lightly smoking, and he had a headache that would be bothering for the next 24 hours, but he was filled with contentment, that can only come from fucking someone over using nothing but his knowledge.

There wasn’t any lying or trickery or deceit involved. Just straightforward and honest, metaphorical sodomization of everything Nautis had spent years creating. His magic was held down, very gently undressed, and violated with a ferocity that only comes from holding a grudge for having to swim in goblin shit, and eat food that had about the same consistency.

Or at least that was the plan.

Sylver felt the backlash start in his chest, as it tore through his core and almost crumpled it inside him. He dropped to the floor and threw up blood, his lungs already filled to the brim with the liquid of life, and his eyes and ears bleeding out the same.

It took every drop of control and willpower, for him to crawl over to the almost dead Melo and suck up his rampaging mana out of him. The effect on Sylver’s core worsened, as the newly added mana acted as fuel on the fire, and caused his previously red blood to come out as a smoking black ooze.

Sylver curled into a ball and exerted his will on his mana, in the way only a true master could.

*

3 hours passed before Sylver had enough spare energy to speak. Melo was back to full health and was now doing the same thing as everyone else in the room was. Standing watch over him, staring at his shivering and bleeding form.

“Give me your hand,” Sylver said hoarsely, grabbing onto the giant man’s arm and sucking out health the way a parasite would.

The pain receded, as the wound ever so slowly closed up, and he had enough in him to open his eyes again. With his face covered in blood, and his teeth as red as a demon’s, Sylver did not look his best right now.

But his smile was so genuine, it almost made Novva relax along with him. It even made Sylver stop caring about people seeing his face.

“He’s still here. Nautis is inside the cave. And I know exactly where.” Sylver said, spitting out chunks of his lung as he slowly got up.

Novva wasn’t the only person with an expression that matched Sylver’s.

It was mirrored by just about every single person inside the room.

Sylver switched arms for another of Novva’s men, and the wound on his chest closed up completely. He finished spitting out chunks of dead flesh, drank and spat some water to get the blood out, and spoke with a dangerously calm tone.

“What are you all standing around for? We’ve got a sorcerer to catch.” Sylver said, wiping his shirt off and walking towards the exit.

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KingKennit

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