Ch037-No Going Home
Total Level: 38
Health Regen: 3.75/M
Stamina Regen: 1.88/M
MP Regen: 75.00/M
Sylver seriously considered saving his points until he got to 25, to jump wisdom directly to 100. Because going from 95 to 100, was not the same as 75 to 100. And part of him really wanted to feel that rush of jumping fractions like that. Even though he didn’t quite understand why he cared, or why it mattered.
But sadly he had enough common sense to not give in to his lesser urges, and with a long groan, dropped all 20 points into wisdom.
Health Regen: 3.75/M
Stamina Regen: 1.88/M
MP Regen: 95.00/M
Sylver’s momentary displeasure was quite quickly replaced as he realized he was now producing enough extra mana to completely coat his body in darkness.
He gently started to produce solid darkness inside his stomach, and waited for a good amount to pile up before starting to sublimate it. He took a very long and deep breath and allowed the black smoke to very slowly start pouring out of his mouth and spread around his body.
It had been a very long while since he’d done this manually but everything seemed to be working perfectly fine. He had just enough to provide himself with a steady stream of mana. A smoke so black that it looked like it was an endless abyss, spiraled around Sylver’s body, changing the previously dark robe, to a shapeless blob of wispy black sludge. He let it sit and saturate the clothing and kept pouring more and more smoke and mana until he felt it was completely soaked through. He then let the smoke start working on his skin, forming a paper-thin layer all around his body.
As the thing finished covering his hands he checked them over and was content with the results. Finally, the smoke spread upwards to his face. Sylver actually felt overjoyed as he realized that he wouldn’t need to do anything to his eyes anymore.
He could just leave them as is, like Nyx used to. Using a mirror he made from ice Sylver checked how he looked, and couldn’t be happier. It was still nowhere near as good as his armor from before used to be, but it would at least give him a little more breathing room in the event of a surprise attack.
The next part took a little more time, but since he was just waiting for Will to finish flying to where he needed to go, he had plenty of it.
The first hurdle was that he still wasn’t completely used to this body. Height aside, the proportions were a big issue for Sylver. Ciege’s shoulders and arms were much bigger than Sylver’s ever were. And his posture was slightly curved from years spent hunched over at a forge. Even with Sylver making a consistent effort to always keep it straight, it would still take time for the appropriate muscles to strengthen to keep it naturally straight.
And it goes without saying all the centuries of muscle memory Sylver was missing. If it weren’t for the fact that he was well past physically directing his mana, Sylver would have had to spend years developing Ciege’s fingers to cast even the simplest spells. Not to mention it’s pure luck Ciege had taken the time to train with a sword and gave Sylver enough flexibility to move around how he wanted. Ideally, the boy could have spent more time on his footwork, but Sylver was already more than grateful that he at least wasn’t stumbling over his own feet.
Sylver took another deep breath and bit down on the escaping smoke, causing it to shudder around him and pierce his skin down to the bone. Sylver thankfully didn’t flinch or scream like he had when he had first done this, and simply waited for the burning pain to subside.
He started with his boots and worked his way up through his trousers, and left the long flowing black robe for last. He had to make several incisions on his braces so they could flex enough to be useful, and finally, he started to slowly move around.
If he was being honest, Sylver was expecting to get a skill or a perk from this. It wasn’t anywhere near the level of his near impenetrable armor he used to wear, but it was a fair imitation. It may not stop a dagger in the back, but it should at least deflect a few projectiles. Or help him move out of the way at least.
At first, Sylver simply walked around on Will’s back. Left foot, right foot, one after the other, each time the trousers tearing and breaking and having to be stitched back together with the smoke.
Sylver had to abandon the boots and trousers after a while, and focused solely on the robe and braces. The braces were comparatively easy. They held his daggers for him under his sleeves, even when he let go of them with his hand, and had no issue moving them around when he needed them. Sylver dropped some darts into his sleeve and organized them properly along his forearm. He used two archers as target practice, to make sure the braces responded quickly enough to be useful.
The braces were perfect. No complaints there. They passed him the darts, right into his hand without a second’s delay. Dipped the daggers into imaginary poison and moved them around without once cutting Sylver’s hands. They even solidified when he punched or stabbed something so his wrists weren’t under strain.
The fact that Ciege’s hand-eye coordination was utter shit, was a different story. Or it could be the fact that Sylver hadn’t thrown anything without multiple layers of targeting and homing enchantments, and remembered why he refrained from fighting anything at an extremely long distance.
Mages as a whole were mostly long-range specialists. Which very often meant that they were useless at mid to close range. And while Nyx was a close-range specialist, Sylver was more mid than close. His goto strategy was letting his shades or whatever undead he was using do most of the work, while he prepared something big to finish his opponent off. In those extremely rare moments where he had no choice but to fight something directly.
And it hadn’t changed much, now that he was using Ciege’s body. Minus the fact that he had to physically attack his opponents, due to how awfully low his mana capacity and conductivity were.
But if he was being completely honest with himself...
He was starting to understand why Nyx insisted on always fighting at close range, even though she could fight at a longer range with the same effectiveness.
It worked. It just straight up worked. Especially now that he was producing his own mana, it was a completely effective and viable method of fighting.
And if he was being even more honest with himself…
It was fun…
There was still the usual satisfaction of winning a life or death battle, but it felt amplified, if that made any sense. It was hard to put into words, but killing someone using his own two hands, was a whole lot more enjoyable than having a shade pop out of nowhere and kill them. It was about the same as when Sylver used to work with traps a lot, and smiled ear to ear as his target walked right into it.
Bringing his mind back to the task at hand, Sylver continued to work on the robe. He chose his back and shoulders as the points of connection, and left the rest hanging freely. The robe started to float, ripping apart in multiple places, before stitching itself back together, and the material fraying and spreading and expanding.
Sylver was now standing perfectly still in a floating mass of string and smoke, as it very slowly and gently pulled itself back together and lowered back down into the shape of a robe.
Sylver spent the rest of the journey walking around Will’s back, practicing manipulating the robe and braces, and being quite content with the results. He still didn’t have enough concentration for the trousers and boots, but the important thing was the robe.
He kept a constant eye on his mana regeneration, and even wasted some of it to see how much the robe was impacting it. Turns out without the boots and trousers, it only used up 40 mana per minute. But actively using it raised that up to 400 mana per minute.
But at this stage, this wasn’t meant for active use. At most, it was for one good block right when it’s needed most, or pushing Sylver back on his feet, or stopping his fall.
Either way, it was both useful and comforting to have it.
Sylver had just finished practicing falling on his back, and getting pushed back up by the robe, for the 500th time, as he saw Fen signaling that they had arrived at their destination.
He walked over to the edge of the wyvern, and looked down.
It was a town. Or it used to be a town to be more accurate. Burned to the ground during a bandit raid, or something of that nature, and abandoned after everyone living there had been killed or kidnapped, Sylver had trouble remembering the actual story and didn’t care enough to look at his notes. It was the framework of a town, with broken-down stone walls, and wood and thatch houses.
The new owners had modified it to serve their needs. It still looked like a dead and abandoned town but it, strangely enough, had fresh tracks all over the place, and a few of the houses looked too well kept to have been destroyed and left to rot. And the walls looked suspiciously filled up with random debris.
Not to mention the 3 obvious lookout spots where Sylver was certain people were hiding. At least they made an effort and used the surrounding trees to hide.
Looking around Sylver couldn’t find a good spot for Will to land without being seen. And while it was cloudy and looking like it might be raining soon, there was still too much sunlight for Will to go unnoticed.
Sylver ultimately left the chest and Tom on top of Will and told them both to wait for his signal to pick him up.
Sylver covered his body in a little illusion to make it as blue and white as the sky behind him would be, and jumped off the flying shade.
Falling down head first, he spread the robe around him ever so slightly and started to glide towards the thickly forested area. Ideally, he would be doing all of this during the night, but he needed to hit this hideout as quickly as possible. Originally it was so he could add further confusion, but now because they very likely had prisoners, and he wanted them as quickly, and as unharmed, as possible.
Sylver had completely misjudged his speed, the angle, or just how many trees there were.
His body was turned around by the first branch and he hit his head multiple times on the way down, smashing the front, the side, and the back, doing flips back and forth.
Landing on the grassy land underneath he could not stop smiling at how well-timed it was that he saturated his robe. The thing had wrapped itself around his body, and most importantly his head, and had protected him from a majority of the damage. He only lost 20% of his health from hitting the ground as near terminal velocity, and wasn’t even dizzy after getting the equivalent of multiple clubs hitting him in the head.
Looking down Sylver saw that a few branches that had pierced the cloak and embedded themselves into his stomach and thigh, and pulled them out one by one, immediately plugging the hole up with darkness and giving himself a few seconds to allow the pain to subside.
Finally standing up, Sylver put his readjusted his mask, and fastened it using the hood to his face. He walked up the tree that had broken his fall and sat on the tallest branch as he sent his shades out to look through the hideout.
When they came back Sylver was both pleased and upset.
There were more noncombatants here. Locked in one area. But guarded by multiple people, and they were in what could be considered the very heart of the camp.
So poison was out. Suffocation was an option, but it was too big and open to be worth the effort. Distracting everyone with something far away from the captives, and rescuing them during the commotion? He could go really old school and-
“Are you lost?” A voice asked, causing Sylver to freeze in place and slowly turn around.
There was a woman behind him, floating in mid-air, and looking right at him. She was wearing some very pale strange-looking extra thin leather armor, with her midsection being completely exposed, and her hair tied into a short braid, ending in an iron ring.
“Sorry. Had a bear sneak up on me when using the loo once and made it a rule to never do it on the ground. If you don’t mind I’d like to get back to it,” Sylver explained casually reaching up with his hand to rub the back of his head and turning his body around to face her.
The woman cocked her head and the ghost of a smile tugged at her lips, before she pulled her fist back and Sylver saw the air around her fist condense into a javelin shape, aimed right at his head.
Sylver leaned backward hard, as the javelin passed right along his chest and chin, barely missing him, as he continued to fall and kicked himself off the large branch to get to the floor quicker.
The woman was already on the ground, preparing another air javelin, as Sylver was now midair and unable to do anything to dodge fast enough.
Extending a hand outward, he grimaced as the javelin fired, and it dissipated harmlessly into his hand.
Sylver saw the woman’s eyes open wide, as she prepared another attack, but disappeared as Reg missed grabbing her from behind, and Reg disappeared back into the shadows.
Sylver landed on the ground and did a sideways roll, standing with his back to the tree. He couldn’t see or feel the woman anywhere, and just barely managed to crouch in time, as the air javelin tore through the tree trunk and passed right over Sylver’s head.
Sylver saw at the edge of his vision, the woman appearing out of nowhere, and disappearing again looking around.
I hate teleportation so fucking much…
Running towards the hideout, Sylver narrowly dodged 3 more javelins, each time taking note of the angle and the timing of them. The woman didn’t seem to be following any kind of tactic, and didn’t need any time between teleporting or attacking. But she was tracking him visually, that was for certain.
“If you surrender now I promise you a quick death!” Sylver shouted, feeling a pause between her attacks right after he said this.
The woman laughed somewhere behind him, and appeared right in his path, with her arms crossed over her chest, still laughing.
“Is that supposed to be a-”
The stone spike that had appeared between her legs missed her completely as she disappeared mid-sentence and Sylver continued to run to it, punching the stone and pulverizing it into a cloud of fine dust, completely covering the entire area.
Sylver ran out of the cloud and continued to run towards the hideout, the woman shooting at him, and him dodging by the skin of his teeth. She finally got lucky and the air javelin hit Sylver square through the left thigh, causing his body to spin from the javelin's force, and his left leg flying off in the distance.
Blood splattered all over the trees and floor, as Sylver started to scream and within seconds his voice was hoarse and shuddering from how much pain he was in.
The woman appeared right next to him, and kicked him in the stomach, causing him to flip over onto his back, still holding onto the bleeding stump where his leg used to be.
The woman gasped as Sylver wrapped his arms around her neck and latched himself onto her using his legs for extra support. The bleeding and crying Sylver disappeared into the floor, as Reg went back into Sylver’s shadow, and the woman sucked in her breath and flew backward, smashing Sylver’s body against the trees with jagged branches.
Sylver remained where he was, tightening his grip and already sucking her health and mana out, his robe expanding and protecting him from the blunt force and doing it’s best to stop all the sharp branches entering his back. The woman grabbed at his hands, but couldn’t get them to budge even a little, and took another deep breath, as she rocketed into the sky.
Sylver barely paid it any mind, as he continued to drain the life out of her, and was having a hard time understanding why the fuck he was barely getting anything. It was only when she grabbed his wrist as they were ascending, and he felt it blister and burn from her mana, did he realize she had too high of a light affinity for him to effectively drain her.
Sylver let her pull his wrist off, and flicked it, causing a small thin dagger to appear in it. The woman gripped Sylver’s wrist tighter, trying to break it and partially succeeding, as Sylver removed his other hand from around her neck, holding onto her with only his legs.
He tightened his grip with his legs causing her to gasp, as he pushed the dagger hand towards her with more force, causing the woman to have to use her other hand to stop Sylver’s.
He shoved his other hand’s finger into her neck, breaking through the skin and feeling the warm air inside her throat, before curling it into a hook, and yanking it out, ripping through her carotid artery and causing blood to explode out of it, turning immediately into a fine mist as the woman’s ascent didn’t slow down.
She took one hand off Sylver’s dagger hand, and tried to press it down against her neck wound, getting her wrist caught by Sylver’s hand instead. They struggled like this for a number of seconds, the woman holding Sylver’s wrist to stop him from stabbing her in the face, as Sylver held her wrist to stop her from applying pressure onto the giant hole in the side of her neck.
Sylver almost smiled, before seeing the woman’s cheek scrunch from smiling, and started looking around to see what the cause was.
She was bleeding to death, with a dagger about to stab her in the face the moment she lost enough strength, what was there to smile about?
Sylver kept waiting for the next trick or attack as they got higher and higher.
Right up until he got the notification.
[??? (Mage) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]
[Magic Nullification (I) Proficiency increased to 5%!]
[Optical Illusion (I) Proficiency Increased to 97%!]
[Auditory Illusion (I) Proficiency Increased to 22%!]
[Draining Touch (II) Proficiency increased to 2%!]
Sylver looked around, and saw that he was now glued to the woman from her blood freezing his legs to her body, and their hands to each other’s wrist. He tried to think of why she would be smiling, before wiping some of the blood out of the eyehole of his mask.
Ohhhh… She thought I would pass out from the lack of air...
Sylver laughed underneath his mask, and patiently waited as he and the frozen corpse reached the apex of their flight and fell back down towards the ground. He could just about see Will off in the distance, gracefully gliding above the clouds.
Sylver waited for a few seconds for his mana to return, before heating up himself and his hands, to unstick from the woman. He kept a hand on her corpse as he watched the ground slowly become bigger, and looked at the brass ring she was wearing. He had to break her finger off to remove it, and looked closer at it. It was hard to tell but there was a number scratched into the inside of the ring, and a small creatures’ head with a black mane.
Sylver pocketed it to be examined later, and searched the rest of the body. One thing was certain, the woman had a very high light affinity. Light and air Sylver would guess, given the flying. The teleportation was strange though, until he remembered that Matheos could do it too. It really pissed Sylver off that people were teleporting around the place so easily. Or that it took him so long to realize why he wasn’t getting anything out of her. Or make the connection between the flying and the high light affinity.
Sylver pulled her along with him as he spread his robe out and used it to glide himself towards the same patch of trees he had originally fallen onto.
He landed much more softly than his original fall, with the exception of the woman’s body exploding upon impact on one of the branches. Her body was torn into two, her intestines and other internal organs landing with wet muted thuds around Sylver.
But Sylver was too busy watching the blood harmlessly slide off his robe and him remaining perfectly clean, despite the literal rain of gore he was standing under.
He looked up at the multiple presences he felt, as the upper half of the woman’s now underdressed torso dropped right down next to him.
There was another woman there, that looked almost identical to the one Sylver had just killed. And a group of men standing behind her, all wearing the same brass ring as the dead woman.
Their eyes were all glued to the dead woman’s corpse, and Sylver looked down at it.
There wasn’t any need to ask who they were, or why they were here, since Sylver couldn’t imagine anyone other than the Black Mane members being in this area.
Sylver reached down and placed his foot on the woman’s back, and pulled her head up by her hair, causing the frozen and thawed skin at her neck to tear, as the head came off. He used the braid and iron ring like a sling and swung it around once, before tossing it towards the group.
“I hereby challenge you to a one on one duel!” Sylver shouted, looking slightly upwards, as if he were sneering at them.
He saw the group look at the rolling head and could almost feel their combined anger aimed towards him. A man that was as tall as Sylver but significantly thinner made a step forward, as the woman standing at the very front placed a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back.
“I accept your challenge!” The woman yelled, her voice filled with icy calmness, as she walked ahead of the group and the men walked backward.
“So who was she to you? Sister? Daughter? Lover?” Sylver asked with a slight chuckle, walking towards the approaching woman.
He got the reaction he wanted, as the woman’s closed fists began to shake and the mana coating her body, jumped around wildly and wastefully.
“My name is Esel Luder. Who are you and where are you from, so I know who to send your corpse to!” the woman asked, stopping exactly 20 meters away from Sylver and walking around the rim of an invisible circle the same as he did.
“Oh! That makes more sense! I thought it was weird that she was calling me a weasel. I get it now, she was crying out for you when she was dying. Esel! Esel! With her throat being torn open, it was really hard to hear.” Sylver answered, mimicking the dead woman’s voice as best as he could.
He could actually see her mana bubbling and bursting away, as she continued to use more and more to maintain whatever magic she was using.
Esel was the first to move, and appeared right in front of Sylver, punching his square in the face, smashing through his mask.
Sylver’s body flipped backward and landed against a tree a few meters away, splattering it with blood.
Esel looked at her hand and couldn’t understand where it had gone. It was missing, and the newly made stump was bleeding heavily.
“I’m going to guess sister,” Sylver whispered, as he grabbed her by the chin from the back, and shoved a dagger through her left eye.
Esel disappeared out of his grasp, and appeared a short distance away, rolling on the floor and screaming as the dagger touched the ground and moved around inside her face. She pulled it out with her remaining hand as she continued to scream, just as Sylver landed on top of her, and she disappeared again.
“You scream just like her too!” Sylver shouted with false joy, running towards Esel and laughing. She continued to disappear and reappear, still remaining within the imaginary 20m circle they had agreed on, as the entire area was covered in her blood, partially from her face, partially from the stump where her left hand used to be, and partially from said severed hand, that Sylver was currently holding.
He followed after her, not giving the woman a second to catch her breath, waiting for her to slip up.
Where she was getting the mana to teleport so much, he could only guess. Or how she was still conscious despite losing so much blood.
Sylver kept his mana use to a minimum, constantly keeping an eye on the crowd of people watching the fight, and trying to guess who the next most annoying to deal with would be.
It barely registered in his mind, as the woman tried to teleport, but couldn’t and Sylver successfully grabbed her by the leg, and yanked at it, causing her to fall to the ground. She screamed even louder than before, with significantly more desperation as Sylver proceeded to stab a dagger through the back of her neck, and twist it.
[??? (Mage) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]
[Optical Illusion (I) Proficiency Increased to 98%!]
[Auditory Illusion (I) Proficiency Increased to 28%!]
Blood exploded out of the wound as Sylver pulled his dagger out and stood up from the floor.
“Who's next!” Sylver shouted, holding out his arms as the blood slid off his sleek black cloak.
“Or are you going to let the killing of your two mascots go unpunished! What kind of men are you? Sending feeble women to fight in your place! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!” Sylver asked, feeling a shiver go down his spine at the mere thought of Nyx hearing what he was saying.
Sending them into a righteous rage had worked wonderfully so far. But it was starting to make him sick to be spouting such nonsense, just for the sake of keeping everyone angry and off-balance.
But if it worked, he wasn’t going to complain.
But he was curious how many of them would have to die in one on one duels with him, before they realized he was just waiting for his shades to finish securing the prisoners?
“My name Otto Luder!” The lanky man who tried to fight Sylver first screamed. He pulled out two daggers from behind his back and spread his arms out while hunched and breathing heavily.
“You killed my wife! Prepare to die!” He shouted, approaching Sylver and entering into the 20-meter circle of blood.
Sylver noted that he’d heard that somewhere before, but simply shrugged as he walked towards the man, and decided to see how long he could keep him alive to buy his shades more time.