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Ch045-Rise, My Glorious Creation! Rise!

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Sylver spent the entire day and night simply preparing and carving the rocks. What once took him mere seconds and a snap of his fingers, was now a long and arduous task that he had to take breaks in between.

His hands were cramping, his eyes were tired, and his back hurt from being crouched over for so long. But as the morning light from the rising sun illuminated the cave walls, Sylver was done.

8 giant stone discs, carved to perfection, lined with tiny diamonds, a few pieces of emeralds, and sprinkled with a mixture that was worth 100 times its weight in gold.

Sylver let his exhausted and blistered hands rest for a while, and simply sat back and admired his work.

The large cave was unrecognizable from how it had looked yesterday. It was clean, polished, and well lit. Small balls of light hung around the ceiling and floor, and a small fire near the very end kept the place warm.

Almost everything was ready. All that was left was creating the molds, and actually starting the whole thing.

Except Sylver was missing 1 critical ingredient. Ciege.

Or Ciege’s soul to be more exact.

Which was currently sealed inside his hammer.

Which was in his workshop.

Which was also his house.

Which is now Yeva’s house.

And if his shades were right, currently in Yeva’s hands, while she was on the bed, in the fetal position. Crying.

The problem was that Sylver didn’t have an apprentice he could leave the molds to if he left. He couldn’t make the molds, then go out to get the hammer and come back to them. They would both be destroyed in mere seconds if he wasn’t around to keep them in shape and stable.

So he needed to have everything already in hand before he started.

Which meant going to talk to Yeva.

Can I ask something?” Lola asked, as Sylver sat up and was glad to have a reason to stay here.

“Of course. Ask away, I’m an open book.” Sylver said, rubbing his hands together.

What will you do if there’s no one out there. That you’re truly and completely alone.” Lola asked, the tone of her voice leaving little to the imagination as to what she meant by this.

“I don’t know,” Sylver answered honestly.

No, but I mean what if you’re really-”

“Do you know who the first necromancer was?” Sylver interrupted, standing up off the floor with a scowl.

Lola thought about it for a while, before saying no.

“‘What a worthless struggle, these petty mortals lead.’” Sylver quoted.

I’ve heard that before… It’s from the book of Osiris, right?” Lola answered, getting the book in question to float into her hands.

“It is. One of the earliest texts anyone has ever discovered. At least as far as the Ibis was aware of.” Sylver explained, as the pages in Lola’s hands flipped until they reached the image of a man struggling with all his might to push a giant boulder up a mountain. His feet were chaffed, his hands were ground to the bone, and the boulder had a wet line of blood down the middle where the man was touching it. And yet he had a smile on his face.

“Everyone is at least vaguely familiar with this man. Or at least they are with his punishment. To spend eternity pushing a rock up a mountain, only for it to always fall back down before reaching the top. Such a cruel and unusual punishment is normally reserved for the very most damned. The worst of the worst,” Sylver explained, animating the picture for effect and letting Lola watch the man use his blistered and ruined hands to, inch by bloody inch, push the rock higher up the mountain. “But do you know what it was that he did, that he ended up like this?”

“He went against the gods?” Lola guessed correctly.

“He did. Almost everyone who goes against the gods ends up like that. Can you guess which god?” Sylver asked, flipping the page back until a giant robed figure with a curved scythe appeared.

“The god of death?” Lola guessed, watching the figure come to life and move through the pages. It gave her a thumbs up with its skeleton fingers.

“Necromancers, the undead, god of death, see the connection? From a purely philosophical point of view, he was the very first necromancer. The translations were always a little murky on what exactly he did that made the gods turn their eye on him, but at some point, they decided that he should die. So the god of death showed up at his home, ready to take him away, and through either luck, or wit, or skill, the man tricked the god of death and gained power over him.” Sylver said, flipping the pages forward, stopping at an image of a young man trying his best to close the lid on a chest, where a pair of skeleton feet were sticking out.

“And he succeeded. The god of death was trapped. Unable to do his work. The man had cheated death! Mortality was no more!” Sylver said with flair, the pages turning from a man having lunch while a sword is sticking out of his chest, another laughing as his split into two body is stitched back together, and the last one an old man, rotting from the inside but walking around with a smile plastered on his face.

“But the gods couldn’t just leave it like that. The mortals enjoyed their newfound immortality for all of 2 days. Every single one, one after the other, was suddenly losing any and all sense of care and urgency. Why have children, if you will never die and need to be replaced? Why eat if you will not starve? Why build a house, if nothing can harm you anyway? Why fight, if you cannot lose? What is there to even fight for? Immortality is seen as a massive curse in almost all literature, because for the most part, it is. Without death, everything is suddenly meaningless and pointless.” Sylver said, as the pages turned to an entire city bustling with life, and page by page slowing down until every single inhabitant was now laying on the floor staring up in the sky, bored out of their minds.

“So why does everyone strive for it then? If it’s such a curse?” Lola asked, as the page flipped further.

“Because most people see it as the end goal. Life is the start, death is the end. And that’s it. And by that logic, becoming immortal is winning. But do you know what that man figured out as he continued to struggle to push the boulder up the mountain?” Sylver asked, as the page reached the image of the smiling man, cursed to forever push a giant rock up a hill.

“What?” Lola asked, genuinely curious as to what a person in such a predicament could possibly smile about.

“It’s about the journey, not the destination. If that man was to ever managed to achieve his goal, if he managed to actually get the boulder up to the very peak and force it to stay there, he would drop it back down the mountain himself. I mean, think about it. How stupid it is to try to put off the inevitable. You’re going to die one day anyway, so why wait? What purpose does life hold, if it will eventually get snuffed out by death? Why bother with such a worthless struggle?” Sylver asked, changing the page as he spoke, each time the man became weaker and weaker, but his smile stretched more and more.

“I’m not following.”

“Because I’m not explaining it very well. And I haven’t had to put it into words before, it’s usually something necromancer apprentices learn themselves after years of study and discussions. But to sum it up in an extremely oversimplified sentence. ‘Try to have fun.’” Sylver said, as he made the book close and fly back up into the shelves.

“Are you fucking serious? That’s what all necromancers believe? Try to have fun?” Lola asked, speaking with a stilted and shocked tone.

“Well no, there’s obviously a bit more to it than that. And I can’t speak for all necromancers, just the proper ones. But that’s what I mean by ‘I don’t know’. I really don’t know what I will do if I’m really the only one who survived. I’ll do something. I know that much. Want to know something else?” Sylver asked.

He got a vague shrug from Lola in response. She was having a hard time understanding, let alone agreeing with immortality being a curse. Since she herself was, in a sense, immortal.

“I’m only alive as long as I want to be. As is every single necromancer who ever lived. At least any necromancer that has even a basic command over their own soul. If it ever gets to the point where I don’t want to live, I don’t need to fall on my sword, or hang myself, or slit my throat, or stab myself in the heart, I barely have to do anything.” Sylver said, as he stretched and cracked his neck and back.

“At any point in time, I can kill myself. In such a way that no amount of skill, knowledge, or power could bring me back. I could do it right now. It takes more effort for me to blink, then it would permanently destroy my very being. So every moment I am alive, I am alive by my own choice. And if there ever comes a time when life isn’t worth living anymore, I am blessed to never have to see it. Because I will be gone before that happens.” Sylver explained, dusting himself off and walking out of the cave.

“So you don’t know what you would do if you’re the only one left. And you’re fine with that, because you care more about the attempt of finding them, then actually finding them?” Lola asked, trying to wrap her head around the twisted logic.

“No, I’m not explaining myself very well. I still very much want to find them, if they are out there. And I honestly don’t know what I will do if they’re not. The point… The point isn’t to go towards an unachievable goal, the point is to enjoy going towards it. For all I know I am in the exact same position as that man. Pushing a boulder up a hill that doesn’t have an end. So what else can I do but try to enjoy it?” Sylver asked, holding his hand over his eyes to let them get used to the sun.

“You could let the boulder go,” Lola suggested.

“I could. I could do a lot of things. I could stop trying to find them. I could stop being a necromancer and hide away somewhere and try to live quietly and peacefully. I could seclude myself deep inside a mountain and spend the next 100 years just sitting and meditating, letting my powers return bit by bit. But where’s the fun in that? I would rather grind myself to a bloody pulp trying to get what I want, then comfortably scale up a mountain I neither want nor care for.” Sylver said quietly, walking down the path Ciege had once run-down, and approaching the front gates of Yeva’s village.

“I’m still not getting it,” Lola said with finality.

“You’re an immortal high elf, and I was but a mortal man. Our views on life are as far apart as anyone could be. But the point I’m trying to make is, don’t worry about it. Do your best, and deal with whatever happens, as it happens. You’re worried that your tribe is dead. But don’t be. Neither of us can cross the Asberg at the moment, so why worry about it? I asked the cats to look for your mother anyway, so who knows? Just enjoy the moment, and don’t worry about the things you can’t control.” Sylver finished, as the old man let him through the gates, and with heavy steps, he walked over to Yeva’s home.

“So I should just try to have fun?” Lola concluded.

“Yes. Try to have fun.”

*

Throughout his extremely long life, Sylver had had more than his fair share of awkward and uncomfortable moments. It was unavoidable considering how often he’d had to talk to people he didn’t want to talk to. And how often he came with bad news. And how uncomfortable some people were whenever he was anywhere near them, let alone inside their home/castle. Not to mention his reputation had caused quite a number to walk around with trembling hands from the sheer anxiety.

Much like Yeva’s currently are. Sylver was very gently keeping the tea kettle from falling out of her hands as she was carrying it, and had a shade appear for a second to turn the heating stone off since she forgot to do it herself. She served an assortment of confectionaries that Sylver guessed came from her stocking up on them from the traveling merchants she sold whatever she made to.

Her eyes were still red, and even now she was trying hard not to start/continue crying.

“I’m sure you have questions. And things you want to say to me. Probably some shouting, swearing, and throwing things. But can we put that on hold until later? Because time is of the essence at the moment.” Sylver said.

He watched Yeva look down at her lap where the small unpolish hammer was. And for a moment Sylver was worried she was going to try to beat him to death with it. Despite the fact that she had slightly sunken eyes, she otherwise looked stronger. And if the fact that he couldn’t see her level was anything to go by, she was at least in the 50s area.

And there was something else that was rubbing Sylver the wrong way about her. He couldn’t put his finger on it. She just felt off somehow.

It was only when she reached out with the hammer, and his fingers briefly brushed hers, did he see it.

“YOU STUPID CHILD!” Sylver shouted, jumping out of his seat and walking towards her. He walked all of two steps before she waved her hand at him and he fell limp down to the floor.

By the time Yeva had finished screaming and cowering and calmed down slightly, Sylver only managed to get his right arm and torso reconnected. He’d never before in either life experienced someone overpowering his soul like this. Even if he was completely off guard it had never before happened.

Never.

Even masters with more skill than him never managed to dislodge it like this.

Even men who called themselves the greatest soul mages to ever live, and were probably right, couldn’t so much as get a grip on him. Because no one with even a shred of understanding would ever attack with their entire soul like this.

He had to get two shades to lift him off the floor and sit him back down into the previously fallen chair.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” Sylver asked, not really expecting an answer from the woman who was hiding her face behind her hands.

“How many do you have left? 10 years? 5? What the fuck is the point of bringing Ciege back? You stupid fucking idiot.” Sylver complained. He got his right arm working and tested to see if all the fingers would move. There was a delay. If she did this to him with intent to kill, he would have been dead 10 times over.

Even half of Sylver’s shades were in tatters. And that was just the aftershock.

“What was I supposed to do? Sit on my ass and hope you came back? Hope the black-eyed monster who stole my husband would return to waste his time doing something ‘out of the kindness of his heart’?” Yeva asked between sobs and wiping tears out of her eyes.

Sylver almost shouted ‘yes’ before catching himself. He finally managed to get his legs mostly working, and stood up again. Understandably Yeva flinched when he did so, but he just stood there. Trying to suppress his shock, anger, disappointment, and doing his very best to not start shouting again.

After a few seconds, during which Yeva managed to calm down enough to stop sobbing, Sylver coughed to catch his voice and spoke with a little less aggression.

“What were you thinking? Just… Why would you do this?” Sylver asked, doing his very best to keep his tone light and calm. He couldn’t do anything about the hurt in it, because this hurt him on multiple levels.

“I don’t know! I thought I could do something. I got the skill and then the class and I thought if I just got it high enough I could…”

“Could what? Force his soul into someone else’s body? Or were you planning on keeping him around as a specter? Just how fucking-” Sylver caught himself, and pulled back from raising his voice. “What skill and class are you talking about?” he asked calmly.

Yeva continued to hold the hammer in her left hand, and opened up her right. Sylver couldn’t see it, but he could feel what she was doing. Razor-thin tendrils rose up from her palm and floated around in the air.

I hate this fucking system so fucking much. Sylver thought as he felt an anger induced tremor ran up his left arm.

“I’m a [Soul Weaver]. I can imbue pieces of souls into objects and create unique enchantments.” Yeva explained, closing her hand as the thin strands disappeared back into it.

“Just tell me one thing. Did you ever find that whatever you were doing somehow was more powerful than you were expecting? Not every time, but sometimes it was just 1 or 2 percent better?” Sylver asked, holding his hands together to keep them from shaking.

Yeva was about to answer, before she gasped and put one hand over her mouth and the other over her stomach. It seemed so obvious, now that he pointed it out, she couldn’t believe she didn’t realize it sooner.

“Tell me exactly what you did. And I mean exactly. Because I refuse to bring Ciege back, if all he will get is a year or two with his soulless child, and his soon to be breathing husk of a wife,” Sylver said, feeling the muscles in his jaw straining from the pressure. If she wasn’t pregnant, he would have hit her for this.

Yeva didn’t say anything and ran off upstairs. Sylver heard a loud thudding noise, followed by a muffled metallic screech. He was about to follow after her, when she came back holding a pile of books in her hands.

Sylver didn’t say anything and simply took them out of her hands and spread them out on the table. There were 5 books here, 4 absolutely saturated with mana, and one with some sort of enchantment over it.

Sylver started with the largest one and flipped through it. It was all pure theory, absolutely nothing practical that could have allowed Yeva to do anything. So was the second, third, and fourth book. Just explanation after explanation why no one should ever practice soul magic without a master around.

Opening the last one, the one that had an enchantment over it, Sylver couldn’t believe his eyes.

“This is mine…” He said to himself, as he flipped the pages and knew off by heart what he would see next. The names were changed, it’s been translated, but the frameworks were unmistakably his. It was his handwriting. It had been copied directly from the tome Sylver the lich had written. Flipping through to the end Sylver looked carefully at the name.

Carr Da’Nerto… Head of defense against the dark art at the Silian Academy…

Wait… The half-fae is the current head of defense against the dark arts, so this must be the previous one…

“Is this all you used? Nothing else?” Sylver asked, looking up at Yeva and spreading out a page that would have been the first thing she would be capable of. She appeared to be more confused than scared right now. Which was an improvement. And Sylver himself had calmed down quite a bit from the shock of seeing his own work.

She nodded mutely.

“Are you sure?” Sylver asked, focusing on her soul to be certain.

She nodded again and he was almost certain she was telling the truth.

He walked over to her and placed his hand over her stomach.

“Congratulations, it’s a boy,” Sylver said with muted and sarcastic enthusiasm. “And you nearly killed him.” He added.

Yeva shook her head in disbelief as she started to cry. “-but I can fix this.” Sylver finished. There was damage. But the child’s soul was still malleable enough that even if Sylver didn’t do anything he would most likely heal by himself.

“You and Ciege are either the luckiest, or the unluckiest, people who have ever lived. Any other method would have left permanent damage. Any other book would have made you do the one thing no one could ever recover from. Any other book would have left you and the child crippled for life, if it didn’t kill you first. Where did you get this?” Sylver said, removing his hand from her stomach, and holding up the copy cat’s tome.

“I saw a sigil that looked like the one on the hammer and bought it. I read through it and then it gave me the skill to feel souls. Then I got another skill to manipulate souls and after a little experimentation, I woke up one day and I got the [Soul Weaver] class. It had synthesized with my [Tailor] class, but I don’t even know what the other class was. I got it all the way up to level 64…” Yeva said, with a mixture of confusion, pride, and trying hard not to cry.

“You managed to get to the point where you could manipulate the souls of others and imbued tools and clothing with them… Even attack people with your own soul… All from one book and in only a few months…” Sylver summarized, his voice having a slight shake, that even he was uncertain if it was from anger, or disbelief.

She’d managed to achieve almost by accident what had taken Sylver literal centuries to develop.

“You said you can fix it?” Yeva asked, wiping away the remainder of her tears.

“Yes. I just need to… Look, don’t use any of the skills or anything to do with souls, until I come back. Give me the hammer and wait here. I will be back in a few hours.” Sylver said, putting the tome onto a nearby table, and placing his hands on Yeva’s shoulders.

“Yeva. Listen. If you keep fucking around with your soul, you’ll damage it beyond any chance of repair. I’ll teach you how to do it safely, but for now stay inside and wait. Ciege and I should be back soon.” Sylver said, adding the probably to himself at the end.

He couldn’t read Yeva’s expression, and frankly had too much floating around in his head to really focus on it.

Where did Carr Da’Nerto get Sylver’s book to steal from? But more importantly, this was the first real connection Sylver had found.

“Yeva. Do you understand me?” Sylver asked, adding just a drop of Ciege’s voice into his.

“I have some order’s lined up… But I’ll wait for you to come back before I do anything.” She said, not looking Sylver in the eye.

“Thank you.”

*

“Alright. Is everyone ready? Fen?” Sylver asked, removing his shirt and holding out the scalpel.

He got a nod from all the shades, and used the scalpel to very gently cut the tips of his fingers. The incisions were small and shallow, just barely enough for a drop of blood to form at the tips of his fingers.

Rubbing his hands together, Sylver covered them in his own blood, and then lifted them up to his face and drew one line right down the middle, and two lines going down from his eyes to his chin.

“Alright. Number 1, 2, and 3 go.” Sylver ordered, as Fen walked to each marked bandit and stabbed them through the heart one by one.

Each time the blood that should have exploded out of the wound and dribbled down their torso, instead floated into a ball and wobbled in place. Sylver moved his glowing red hands around and the bubbles of blood stretched out towards one of the stones and formed into one large floating blob of blood.

“Reg, the first box, go,” Sylver ordered, as Reg picked up the small wooden box with a 1 carved onto it, and turned it upside down onto the floating blob of blood. The ball expanded to 3 times its previous size and then squealed as it condensed back into its original size.

“Fen, number 4, go,” Sylver ordered as the next bandit was stabbed through the heart and his blood bubbled out of his chest and poured towards the glowing red floating blob.

Sylver never once stopped moving his hands or powering the spell as Fen and Reg continued to stab and kill the bandits, each time causing their blood to flow out of the wound and into the giant floating blob of blood.

Ever so slowly the giant ball started to smoke and boil, pieces of dark red chunks falling out of it onto the glowing stone below, only to be replaced by more and more blood from the killed bandits.

As the completely dried up bodies were taken away and removed, Sylver glanced at the two remaining ones. Clapping his hands together, the giant floating blob of blood split into two. Sylver kept an eye at his MP bar and slowed even further down so it could keep up. His arms were already starting to burn, but he couldn’t stop halfway.

The last two half-elf bandits were cut through the heart at the exact same time. Reg turned over the last box full of ingredients into the blob of blood on the right, just as the blood of the half-elf bandits finished flowing into it. The blob on the right seemed to scream for a moment, before dark blue spikes exploded out of it, one almost impaling Sylver through the face, before he got control over it and pushed everything back into place.

Another half an hour later the two blobs were almost stable.

The one on the left was positively pulsing with life. Below it was a pile of dark burned chunks, completely covering the giant carved stone below.

The one on the right was pale grey, moving around as slowly as a gel would. It looked like wet ash and only the faintest glow coming out of it, made it stand out from the grey cave walls.

Sylver was laying down on the floor and waiting for the ringing in his ears and the aching in his shoulders to subside. He kept an eye on both blobs, and every now and then twitched his finger to put the one that was trying to break apart back into one solid piece.

“The molds are ready. Now for the hard part,” Sylver said to himself, closing his eyes for a second and reaching deep inside for his soul. Extending it out of his body burned ever so slightly, but it was faint enough that he could tolerate it.

He got up off the floor and pointed at Fen, as the shade started to hit Ciege’s hammer against the edge of a rock. Fen did his best, but the hammer ended up breaking through the rock, before so much as denting.

“Ciege you talented piece of shit.” Sylver cursed, as he had to get two shades to hit the cheap-looking piece of metal with [Tools Of The Shade] made sledgehammers. To Sylver’s surprise, they broke before Ciege’s hammer.

Only after a solid 5 minutes of constantly hitting it with sledgehammers about 50 times bigger and heavier than itself, did the small hammer finally crack. A very faint and thin yellow glowing smoke escaped out of the crack, and spiraled towards the blob of red, before getting absorbed into it.

The blob of red groaned as it froze and melted, and boiled and bubbled, and finally settled back down into a slow-moving bright red liquid state. Sylver used one hand to keep the blob of red stable and moving, and used the other to pinch towards his heart and pulled Lola’s soul out of his own.

The tiny grey looking smoke almost moved by itself towards the grey blob and it too started to crystalize, melt then and then glow brightly.

The two blobs hung in the air, churning and moving around by themselves, as every now and then lightning seemed to go off inside of them. The shades worked together and in perfect sync, placed the next carved rock on top of the previous one, crushing the dark red debris and causing it to ooze out from underneath it. Only 2 more stones left for both of them.

The two bubbles of liquid both ever so gently came lower and lower, until they were touching the carved stone below. Their respective liquids spread out into the crooks and carvings of the stone, and they formed into a half-sphere on top of them.

Sylver walked over to the red blob on the left, and inserted his arms into it, up to his elbows. The lightning inside intensified, as Sylver pulled both hands out and looked down at what he was holding.

The heart was formed beautifully, the aorta was smooth and consistent, the valves felt tight and flexible, and the shape was perfect. Sylver placed the heart back inside, as the lighting started to flash even quicker, a vague silhouette becoming visible every now and then.

Sylver walked over to the dark ashy looking blob, and reached his hands inside of it. He pulled it out, with veins and arteries still inside and connected to the already beating heart in Sylver’s hands. Sylver had very few chances to see a high elf’s heart and was still amused beyond words at the shape and size. It was as thin as Sylver’s thumb was, and as long as his arm, twisted like a spring. He checked to see that it was as flexible as it should be, and stretched it out for a second to see it snap back into shape.

Lola didn’t seem to need all that much help.

Turning back to Ciege, Sylver pulled out a piece of the boy’s body and checked to see it was forming fine. Ciege’s soul focused on his hands first. Which was understandable given how much pride he took in them and his smithing. Bit by bit, piece by piece, Ciege’s soul worked the floating pieces together, and had now connected everything via bones, veins, arteries, and nerves.

Sylver looked at the floating skeleton, loaded with organs, and only the hands completely finished, and nodded at the 50 shades standing at the ready, as they, one by one, snapped the neck of the one in front of them, and Sylver used the created mana to further speed up Ciege’s blob.

[Dying Breath] was unexpectedly helpful in the whole process. The previously bright red blob had shrunk in size and was now completely see-through. Ciege’s head was half-formed, the brain almost ready, but the skull was still paper-thin.

Lola on the other hand was almost done. Part of the reason was that she didn’t look like she weighed more than 50 kilograms and had less volume to work with, unlike Ciege’s overly large 130. But the other reason was that she was doing almost all of the work. Sylver only had to step in to correct her spine and second pair of lungs, everything else was perfect.

The remaining 50 shades all repeated the chain of suicide and Sylver split the generated mana evenly between Ciege and Lola. Even Will came out and was killed by Fen’s rapier

“And now! For the moment of truth!”

*

*

*

*Ciege

“Anyway. What I’m getting at, is you shouldn’t worry too much. I’m careful, experienced, and I’ve got magic on my side. Not to mention, I don’t want to die a second time.” Sylver concluded.

“Good luck,” Ciege said, as everything around him went dark.

His eyes burned, his skin felt like it was frozen solid, and he couldn’t take a single breath or move a single muscle.

As if on cue something escaped from his mouth, and kept escaping, more and more liquid getting expelled from his mouth and nose, far more than he thought he could ever possibly hold inside. A sharp pain on his back caused even more to force its way out, this one as viscous as gelatin and coming out in pieces and chunks.

A final hit right on his back caused his whole body to seize up and for the first time in who knows how long Ciege took a deep and shaky breath.

His ears rang like nothing he had ever experienced, he felt both freezing cold and boiling hot, and every attempt to open his eyes resulted in the worst pain in his entire life.

He finally managed to get his eyes open and although it was blurry beyond belief, he saw a naked woman lying on her side, staring at him. He was once again blinded as the palest man he had ever seen in his life placed his face in his line of sight and started to say something.

The ringing subsided just the tiniest of bits, but it was enough for Ciege to hear what the pale grey-haired stranger was saying.

“Welcome back to the land of the living!” The man with lines of red on his face shouted, slapping Ciege on the back again, and causing another wave of liquid to explode out of Ciege’s mouth.

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