Ch039-Blinded By The Dark



Limping his way through the forest Sylver had to pause several times to catch his breath, and ended up having to be essentially carried by Fen and Reg for the rest of the walk. The shades he sent out to scout the area around the prisoners had all relayed back that there was no change.

He had dropped 5 points into wisdom and 5 points into constitution and barely gave the system any thought as he had bigger things to worry about.

Total Level: 40

CON: 30
DEX: 10
STR: 1
INT: 100
WIS: 100
AP: 0

Health: 20/300
Stamina: 99/150
MP: 290/1000

Health Regen: 4.5/M
Stamina Regen: 2.25/M
MP Regen: 100.00/M

One possible scenario was that the guard hadn’t seen or heard the incredibly massive pillar of blue fire, or the deafening squeak from the explosion. The more likely scenario was that he either had some sort of plan that involved staying near the prisoners or he didn’t understand that explosion meant all his companions were dead.

The fingers crossed scenario was that he was told to stay and guard the prisoners and didn’t have enough common sense or self-preservation to run away, even if he understood exactly what the explosion meant.

The worst-case scenario was that the person left to guard was the actual boss, and Sylver was about to walk into a fight with a man who was potentially in the 60 to 70 level area, with only 22 out of 300 HP.

Sylver had held off from attacking the man, for now, deciding to keep the shades as a trump card, and only ordered them to observe the man for now. Their description was that he was a man around the 40-year range, had a single curved sword at his side, and hadn’t moved an inch the whole time they were observing him.

As for the prisoners, Sylver was pleasantly surprised that they were all apparently elven women. Which was upsetting in the sense he doubted that wherever they were stolen from still existed for them to return to, but heartening in that Lola wouldn’t be the only elf at her workshop. If he got really lucky, they were all experienced craftsmen, and would even know Lola’s name when he offered the job to them.

Sylver briefly considered having the shades write on the dirt floor they were all sitting on, but decided there was no reason to give the last guard any tips on his abilities. This hideout was destroyed using explosives, so Sylver would have to go with that. The next would be water-based, and the one after that earth-based.

Although the more Sylver thought about it, the more he fancied the idea of taking a body here. No one would notice 1 missing amidst a giant pile of incinerated flesh, would they? But as always Sylver knew now was not the time to start getting careless, just because he was almost killed and had very little to show for it. He was the one who decided to save people, and he would deal with the consequences of his actions.

The main gates to the town/hideout were wide open, as Sylver stepped inside and walked through the long empty street. He had recovered enough to walk on his own now, and sent all his shades to scout for him.

He looked around and saw that the debris and waste was placed strategically. If someone was trying to invade, even if they managed to get inside, running through these streets would be a massive deathtrap in it of itself.

Small strings were stretched in confined alleyways, beartraps were hidden in garbage piles, boulders and large beams of wood sat loosely against each other, one good hit away from toppling over and crushing whoever was too slow to get out of the way.

Sylver’s eyes locked onto a man standing at the other end of the street, with a small woman standing about a meter in front of him, and his sword tip resting on the woman’s shoulder.

[??? (???) – ??]

Sylver’s shades all returned with the same information. That the man hadn’t moved an inch, until he was already standing there. Sylver grimaced under his mask and felt the knots forming in his shoulders.

Fucking teleporters.

There was something off about his stance. Sylver exaggerated his limp but carried on walking towards the man.

“So you’ve finally come. I was wondering who the council would send, but to think they would use a child.” The man said, looking up slightly but still keeping his eyes on the back of the girl’s head in front of him.

“Everyone else was occupied with more important matters,” Sylver answered, switching to Ciege’s voice and speech pattern to play into whatever age the man thought he was.

“More important matters!” The man said, his hand almost vibrating from how hard he was holding onto the handle. “More important matter!” He repeated.

“Look. Don’t take it personally, but I’ve had a long day and would like to get this over with. You’ve already lost. So put your sword down and I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.” Sylver countered, only 9 steps away from the girl and 10 steps away from the man.

“More important matters! More important than me! The Whistling Wind! More important matters!” The man kept repeating, his tone gradually changing from utter bewilderment to seething anger.

6 steps.

Sylver stopped to look closely at the man.

“You’re blind,” Sylver said, accidentally talking in his normal voice.

“I can see more than you can ever imagine! Compared to me you’re the blind one. I can count your heartbeat from here, I can smell the blood on your shoes, I can hear the ants crawling on that ledge. I can ever hear those things sitting inside my shadow.” the man said, opening his eyes fully and looking directly at Sylver. They were both completely white.

Instead of answering Sylver simply tapped one of the freely hanging daggers at his side.

There wasn’t any noise from his tapping, and even if there was, it would be impossible to hear over the sound of the screaming blind man. He had fallen onto the floor and was clutching at his ears, blood covering his hands and soaking his sleeves. It spurted out of his ears and covered the dirt floor in red.

Sylver adjusted the frequency slightly as he walked towards the man, until he was no longer screaming and was just in a state of shock. He walked past the stunned elf girl, and had the shades turn the man over for him. Sylver took the man’s sword and handed it to Reg to hold for now, and made an incision on either of the man’s shoulders, adding several drops of rotting magic to the blade.

He saw the man’s shaking arms gradually stop, as the rot reached the nerves and muscles and severed them completely. He did the same thing to the man’s legs, just to be safe.

Sylver removed the vibrating dagger from its leather loop and placed it near the man’s ear, causing the dust on the floor to jump around.

Sylver looked inside the small pouch at the man’s side and pulled out a large ring with a bunch of keys on it. He carefully placed the ring of keys into the elf girl’s hands and crouched down so they were eye level.

“Everything will be fine now. Go unlock the doors and I will be with you shortly. You’re safe now, everyone is safe, everything is fine,” Sylver said, not getting a single reaction from the girl's face. But she nodded after a few seconds and went towards the building with all the other women. Sylver sent Fen along with her to keep watch, just in case.

Holding the man’s face in his hand Sylver started to absorb his health as slowly and carefully as he was capable of. He was surprised to feel that the man had a lot of health in him and was optimistic about fixing all his damage.

Starting with his legs and regrowing the toes and nails and going up to his back and spine, he spent a solid 10 minutes draining the man of the energy he needed to fix his body. Dead flesh dropped off Sylver as new bright pink skin replaced it and he ripped clumps of it off himself when it was too well stuck to him to fall by itself.

He was surprised to find that even after fully healing everything there was to heal, the man still had more than 25% of his full health left. Sylver considered letting him rest to interrogate later, but he decided against it.

He had to figure out what was up with the elves first, and even more honestly he didn’t think he had the patience to interrogate the man. Or want to for that matter.

Because Sylver knew from first-hand experience just what kind of pain the man was going through. Sylver couldn’t remember why he went to learn it, but he remembered the pain far too vividly. Enhanced hearing had a teeny tiny flaw of completely shutting you down if the correct high pitched frequency is used. Why exactly this happened, Sylver wasn’t all that sure, but it was too big of a glaring hole for him to ever attempt to train his hearing to that level ever again.

Lamia were a little better off since they used their stomach for the technique, but in Sylver’s human case, his ear was far too weak to handle it. Not to mention a loud sound would do just about the same thing, and the only reason he didn’t do that instead was that he didn’t want to deafen himself or the girl.

Sylver tightened his grip around the man’s head and gorged himself on his health and let it wastefully dissipate throughout his body.

[??? (Warrior) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 20 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

Sylver only noticed this now, but the man’s ears were a little too elongated and pointed to be human. Even the jaw was a little too narrow. And his back molars were too flat.

Sending a pulse of mana through the man, Sylve investigated his insides and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. There was just something off about it even if everything seemed fine. He was human. And only had one pair of lungs. And his liver and kidneys were normal-sized, and nothing was really amiss as far as Sylver could tell.

But he had a strange feeling about the man.

Sylver was just about to cut into his stomach when he felt people walk into his soul sense range behind him, and brought his attention back to the world at large.

Standing up from the shirtless man, Sylver looked out at the crowd in front of him.

8 women and 5 children. Or teenagers, age is a finicky subject regarding elves.

“If you have a place to return to, I will be happy to take you there,” Sylver said, doing a formal bow for an elf of unknown status.

He got a confused murmur in response and a woman with a shaved head came out of the small group.

“Thank you for rescuing us, but who are you? What do you want?” The woman asked. Sylver noted that she didn’t return the bow and was using a completely neutral tone when speaking to him.

“You can call me Pest. I want to destroy the Black Mane, and I don’t like needless death or violence. So I will bring you wherever you want, and that will be the end of that. Neither of us will owe the other anything and you can all forget about me and what happened here.” Sylver answered, feeling Fen return to his shadow.

Sylver watched as she walked back to the group and whispered something he couldn’t hear. They spoke to each other in a language Sylver didn’t know.

“We have nowhere to go.” The bald woman said, after walking back to face Sylver. Sylver smiled slightly under his mask as he saw the telltale scars of a craftsman on her hands. Luck really was on his side today.

“In that case, how would you like a job?”




“It still seems a little too convenient.” Sylver countered, leaning back in his chair.

“It does seem that way. Almost like someone had planned to do this eventually and was just waiting for a good moment. Like a single man managing to hit 2 areas that were inaccessible to us, and is still in a position to move around unencumbered and absolutely cripple them from the inside. You know, someone who is, no offense, a nobody, and would fall completely under everyone's radars.” The white cat answered, repeatedly rubbing its front paw on its face.

“None taken. Are they really that unstable though? Thomas said there’s over 600 members and that Faun is level 105.” Sylver asked, looking down at the piece of paper the cat had given him.

“They’re still working out the finer details, but losing those crystals they were getting from Nautis was a deep cut. The question remains who exactly they were selling them to, but that can be figured out later. But right now we are all in a unique position to not just run the Black Mane off the map, but completely wipe them out. Once they’re gone, there won’t be a single faction big enough to pose a threat to the Cord and you and your people will be the safest they can possibly be.” The white cat explained.

Sylver sat quietly and kept looking at the page in front of him. Essentially they wanted him to keep doing what he was doing, and they would handle the rest.

“Then why do you need me? I’m sure you have people just as capable as I am, and just as invisible. Hit them all at once, get everything over quickly.” Sylver asked after a while.

“Because the few people we have who are like you, are all busy with other things. The only remaining option is to fight them with a group or army, but they’re not so incompetent that they won’t see that coming and prepare and buckle down. You on the other hand are invisible to them. It’s the difference between a castle ready for battle with an army approaching its gate, and a drunk man breaking into a house and killing everyone inside with a rusty cleaver. No offense.” The cat explained.

“None taken. But why this one? They’re all barely level 20?” Sylver asked, tapping the hideout marked on the map.

“You’re collecting women, right? A whole village was burned to the ground a few days prior. There’s a very high chance the Black Mane are the ones responsible. The reports I got all say the same thing, the bodies are almost all male. So the women and children are being kept to be sold once they organize transport for them. And it’s in the very heart of Black Mane territory, and difficult for us to get to in time.”

“I’m not collecting women. It just so happens they’re all women. I’m collecting employees for my friend’s workshop.” Sylver answered, watching the cat start rubbing its face again.

“So you’re planning to have an entire building full of craftsmen, women, and probably filled to the brim with valuable equipment and products. You’ll probably need a good security force. Someone who couldn’t be bribed or threatened into revealing your secrets, or put your people in danger. Someone who has proven their competence and you already have a good working relationship with.” the cat said casually, smirking with its eyes.

Sylver waited for a breath before deciding he might as well get this over with.

“3%. And that’s being generous, considering the sheer number of never before seen products she’ll be making. And the fact that I’m going to make a very public example out of the first person to attempt to harm or steal anything.” Sylver said, sitting up properly and looking the cat in the eye.

“Because thieves are always smart and think of the consequences. 40%. And that’s us being generous considering how much work it will be to find you an area with enough land to build everything. Not to mention all the distributor contacts you’ll need. And you’ll need an introduction to merchants and the like, that would normally never speak to a brand new shop.” the cat countered, sitting up properly, for a cat, and looking Sylver right back in the eye.

“I’m sure Salgok would be more than happy to help with the contacts. And people will be bending over backward to work with her, once she proves herself. But the land part I admit, we might need some help with. 4%.” Sylver countered.

“And the workers? And their children? They’ll need housing and protection too right? Or do you plan on being around them 24/7? Or living all in one giant building, full of dangerous and volatile tools and weapons? And since as far as I understand it, you’ll be wanting to keep your connection secret, you’ll need some way to get the money without an obvious trail. We can help with all that too, for a measly 35%.” The cat countered, not blinking a single time since the start.

Sylver thought it over and tried to see how much he cared about this. Considering the main purpose was weaponry and tools, he really didn’t care too much about the money aspect. C rank quests and higher paid relatively well, so it wouldn’t be long before he was back to spending gold without even thinking about it.

“You know what? Fuck it. 10%, take it or leave it. I’d rather take the time to enchant every single house and shop and fill it up with armies of shades than spend another second arguing about this” Sylver said, extending his open hand out towards the cat.

“Who is this friend anyway? How certain are you that she'll be able to deliver on what you’re promising?” The cat asked, not moving to shake Sylver’s hand in return.

“Her mother could make phantasmal level tools and weapons. Her father was a smith who knew the secret of crafting sentient weaponry. And she knows how to do all that, on top of a brand new area of magical tools and weaponry that will be revolutionary once she fully figures them out. I’m willing to bet my life she’ll go above and beyond whatever expectations either of us have of her,” Sylver said, with such a calmness and certainness, that he felt Lola cup her hands over her mouth.

The cat cocked its head while staring at Sylver’s face. It raised its paw off the table, but didn’t move it forward.

“Do you want to know how much this will cost you if she doesn’t do as well as you’re promising?” The cat asked.

“I don’t. But I’m sure I can afford it. I almost never make mistakes this big. Do we have a deal?” Sylver asked, keeping his hand where it was and waiting for the cat.

The cat looked down at Sylver’s open palm and Sylver could almost see the heat rising from the creature's head as it did some sort of lightning-fast mental calculation. Whisker’s had said this one would be able to negotiate with him, but hadn’t said who the cat was, or what exactly he could negotiate with. Just that he was Whisker’s superior.

“You never asked who Naut is, did you?” The cat asked, its gaze fixed on Sylver’s hand.

“I didn’t. But I’m about 99% sure I could guess on my first try.” Sylver answered.

“She’s told me about you. Warned even. And that’s on top of what Kitty has told everyone. Can you answer me one question?” The cat asked, looking up at Sylver.

“Depending on what it is.”

“What’s your goal? Your motivation? What exactly is it you’re after?” The cat asked, cocking its head to the side.

“Are we talking with the shop specifically, or just in general?” Sylver asked, his face unchanging but his voice reaching a different note.

“In general. I want to know what kind of man I’m getting into business with.” The cat countered.

“My goal in life has remained the same since I can remember. Unassailable. Untouchable. Unbreakable. I want to go wherever I please, do whatever I want, and if anyone so much as thinks of picking a fight with my people, they’re dead before they even make a move at them. T. B. T. F. W. Too big to fuck with. I want my family back, I want them to be safe even when I’m not around, and I want to give them every single aid and benefit they could ever want. And I want them to stay that way, long after I’m dead, gone and forgotten,” Sylver said, his eyes seeming to light up and glint as he spoke.

“But that’s for later. That’s my end goal so to speak.” Sylver said, the smile in his eyes reaching his mouth and face. “With the shop, there are a few things I need made that I am incapable of making myself. And like I said, innovation and creations that this world had never seen before. How about this as collateral. If she can’t perform like I said she can, I’ll offer you 3 months’ worth of my time.” Sylver said, his hand still steady and motionless.

“You’re that certain?”

“I am. For my many faults and blunders, I know a dependable person when I see one.”

The cat’s paw moved a tiny bit. It sat there, looking up at Sylver’s face, his ever so slight smile, and appeared to be trying to find something hidden in his eyes.

Whatever it was looking for, it looked happy with whatever it found.

The cat moved it’s paw forward and Sylver very gently closed his hand around it and shook it.

“Looking forward to working with you.” The cat said.

“The feeling is mutual,” Sylver answered, letting the tiny paw go.

“My name is Wuss. I’m the head of commerce. I apologize for the late introduction, but I was originally planning on handing everything off to an underling. But now I kind of understand what Naut was talking about.”

Sylver smiled and nodded at the cat.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a notebook and flipped through it ripping out pages seemingly at random.

“This isn’t at all urgent, but she will 100% be needing these materials on a weekly basis. If you could start looking for suppliers now, I would appreciate it.” Sylver said placing the pages in front of the cat and seeing its eyes go wide at the volumes written on them.

“And while you’re at it…”




“Is this how you normally do things?” Lola asked, as she adjusted the height of the roof in her workshop designs.

“On handshakes and vague promises? On anything big, yes. It’s important to build solid relationships with people, especially if you’re likely to be working with their grandchildren eventually. Or grand kittens in this case. I trust him, and when I show him he can trust me, it’ll make things a million times smoother down the line.” Sylver explained, moving the new robe around and checking to see everything was secure and working fine.

“Plus I like him. Didn’t beat around the bush, spoke to me as if we were equal, and he reminds me of someone I used to know.” Sylver answered, falling down onto his face and the robe stopping his fall before he reached the ground.

Lola simply stood around for a while, as Sylver made sure this new darkness saturated robe was as good as the one that was destroyed.

“I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations.” She said softly.

“Good. That’s all I can ask for.” Sylver answered, looking in the mirror and checking to see if there were any spots he was missing. Everything was fine. This robe was a little thinner than the original, but he would be getting a brand new one when this was all over anyway.

“That whole unassailable thing you said. What did you mean by that?” Lola asked, as she went back to her table full of designs.

“I meant what I said. I want to grow so big and powerful that no one can ever threaten me or my people. Because what’s the alternative? Settle down and try my hand at being a farmer? Always at the mercy of those above me? I’ve tried that. Several times. It never worked out well. If through some unimaginable miracle Aether or anyone is still alive, I never want to lose them again. And even if they’re all dead…” Sylver stopped talking and seemed to force down a gasp for a second before continuing.

“I honestly don’t know what else to do. I’ve outlived people I cared about before. And I’ve moved on. Because I didn’t have a choice, it would be the end of me if I didn’t. And you’d think after the number reached quadruple digits I’d stop caring so much, but I never did. It’s a fresh just short of unbearable pain every single time. And you cannot even begin to imagine how much losing the Ibis has crushed me. So I’ll do what I can. Get as many powerful allies as I can. Move as if they’re out there somewhere, like I am, weakened and with a new face, and hope that eventually they hear about me and make their way over.” Sylver said, reaching out with the cloak towards all the daggers and darts spread out on the table and absorbing into the robe and hiding them along his body.

“But even if they’re not, I know too much to ever be left alone. With this system in place, I’m almost certain there’s someone with a skill or a perk to find out who I really am. Or used to be. So I’ll need power and allies no matter what the circumstances are. And the more I think about it, the more I think there’s a chance they’re out there. It can’t be pure coincidence the thing that housed my soul ended up in the house of the one man out of millions that I’m fully compatible with. Over my entire life before dying, I've only met 3 people I was this compatible with. It’s an astronomically improbable coincidence.” Sylver explained, making different daggers appear and disappear in his hands, switching them out for darts and vice versa.

“So you’re doing all this because that’s all you know?” Lola asked, looking through Sylver’s eyes as he placed a dagger over his shoulder to act as a guard.

“I’m a necromancer. First and foremost. I’m not a healer, nor a builder nor a crafter. I command and work with death. The only reason I know how to cure a disease or break a curse, is because I learned how to inflict it on someone first. This isn’t just all I know, this is all I can do. A pyromancer uses fire to burn his way to his goals, and a necromancer uses death,” Sylver answered, lifting himself off the floor using the robe and attaching himself to the ceiling using it.

“So you’re just going to kill anything in your way to get what you want?”

“If someone is standing between me and what I want, I’ll try to talk, and barter, and negotiate. Because mindless killing leads to even more mindless killing, which turns what could have been solved with a few kind words and a handful of coins, into a life and death struggle. Not to mention the time and collateral damage that evolves from that, can sometimes make the whole thing not worth it.” Sylver answered, switching out his dinged and scratched mask for a brand new one.

“So no. I’m not just going to kill anything in my way to get what I want. But if someone makes the decision to stand in my way, and isn’t open to negotiation, then I will kill them. Because as much as I may justify it, I am a selfish and greedy man, and I care too much about myself and my people, and too little about others, to let something like their hopes and dreams get in the way of mine.” Sylver concluded, tightening the mask to his face and walking out of the room.




After making sure everyone was settled in properly, Sylver left once again. The elves were confused and frightened but accepted the rooms and food and clothing without question, and a few were even looking forward to working for a high elf. Sylver allowed himself a few hours of sleep while he was here, and woke up with the morning sun, and left.

He had wanted to check in on Yeva, but wasn’t sure he could manage it without being seen by her. So he decided against it and simply kept to himself.

The cat was quite clear on where he should go next. Sylver would only have to hit 3 more hideouts until he was effectively done. All the others would be optional after that. Quite honestly he wasn’t getting as much experience as he was hoping for, for killing so many people. Even more surprisingly, all the bodies and souls were lackluster for the effort required to kill them. Not to mention that the last one was too close for comfort.

He’d gotten too greedy and nearly paid the price for it. For almost nothing.

The blind swordsman’s strange mixed-up body was a little interesting, but not enough that he would be taking the time to fly to it to dissect it.

Sylver ultimately decided that he would do as the cat had suggested and take out those 3 hideouts and stop there. His original goal of making them afraid was pointless, if they were all going to be dead anyway. The black mane turned out not to be quite as big and unkillable, as he had initially thought. In fact, it was even surprising how much area they managed to get, with how few people they had.

The ones left after Sylver’s 3 were all inside cities, and would be a massive pain in the ass to try to attack.

So just 3 more, and he was done. Then he would bring Ciege and Lola back, and go from there.

But first, he needed to go see Arty and get the skill to hide his status.


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