Advertisement
Remove

-

-

Ch057-Friends Will Be Friends

-

-

As much as Sylver was starting to hate teleportation with a fierce passion, he couldn’t deny how unbelievably convenient it was.

Arda had become a trading center for 2 main reasons. The first was that the city had a massive dungeon underneath itself. Which brought with it adventurers, people who catered to adventurers, and gradually grew and spread out to the point of becoming a massive city.

The second reason was that the dungeon was something of a natural leyline. And thanks to the giant supply of mana, Arda was one of the few cities that had a teleportation node setup inside itself.

Sylver, Lola, and the hired B rank party were all teleported directly into a small town, a mere day away from Torg. From there Lola hired a carriage and drivers, had Sylver and his shades help the B rank adventurers move her boxes full of prototypes and proof of concepts onto the carriage, and met up with Wuss, who was somehow already waiting for them in the city.

Since he was Lola’s personal bodyguard, Sylver was stationed inside the carriage, along with Lola, Tamay, and Wuss, and spent the majority of the journey either playing cards, or sleeping. Given the high level of the party members guarding them, as well as the fact that they were recommended by Naut, there wasn’t a single issue during their trip.

There was a very short fight involving a pack of hobgoblins, but according to Spring, the leader of the party single-handedly took out all 80 of them, not even bothering to halt the carriage as he did so. The woman mage washed the bodies and blood out of the way, and they didn’t even bother telling anyone about it. Not to mention for the entire journey they didn’t speak a single word to one another, save for the leader asking the mage woman to light his cigarettes for him. The other four looked to be either rogues or some sort of mage specialization Spring couldn’t quite grasp properly. They just silently carried out their duties, taking shifts to scout ahead and never once uttering a word to one another.

Apart from that, the most interesting part of the journey was that Sylver managed to play over 50 hands of cards against Lola and won every single one of them. When it came to things as small and subtle as cheating with cards, the fact that Lola had over 3 times Sylver’s mana capacity didn’t mean anything. It was pure skill, wit, and that Sylver had an entire deck hidden up his sleeve and all the magic in the world couldn’t help Lola against something so simple and stupid.

*

*

*

Torg was a very large, 8 sided pyramid, made up primarily of yellow and white stones. Wuss explained that it used to be a dungeon a very long time ago, then some madman moved in, made it his home, and gradually developed it into being one of the most secure buildings on this side of the known world. Torg’s original purpose was to be something of a vault for the rich and powerful, a place they could safely store their belongings, but over time developed to become a large trading center, and somewhat more recently, an auction house.

There were several things that made Torg impossible to steal from, among them the fact that since it was a dungeon, its walls couldn’t be broken. Well, they could be, but as far as Wuss was aware they were more durable than mana treated platinum, and healed unbelievably quickly. As well as the fact that certain skills were locked away while inside of it, most of which to do with movement, such as teleportation. Which put a massive smile on Sylver’s face and made him seriously consider relocating to Torg permanently.

All around the yellow pyramid, was a perfectly flat and barren land, smooth scorched black stone, with 4 glistening yellow brick roads leading directly into one of the 4 entrances. The whole thing looked to be sitting inside an unbelievably large crater, however many centuries of wind and rain having only slightly flattened out the surrounding land.

Lola’s caravan wasn’t the only one traveling towards it, as various caravans of similar sizes all were funneling towards the narrow roads, speeding up slightly to get on the road first and get inside the city first.

Lola’s caravan was a little slow compared to a few of the smaller and quicker ones, and they ended up traveling behind 5 caravans that were occupied by either elves or humans.

A woman dressed in a bright yellow robe walked near the caravan at the very front, holding some sort of creature that looked like a giant eyeball with claws in her hands, and walked around it in a complete circle before moving on to the next one.

[??? (All-Seer) – 66]
[HP- 50]
[MP- 23,170]

The giant eyeball turned in the woman’s hands and stared directly at Sylver, it’s pupil contracting to the size of a grape, compared to its watermelon-sized eye, as Sylver felt the most violated he’d ever felt in his life since waking up here.

It wasn’t quite soul reading, but whatever it was doing to Sylver was close enough that he was getting physically sick from the thing interacting with him in such a way.

The woman flicked it in its exposed eye and it started blinking rapidly, completely forgetting about Sylver and not looking at him anymore.

“Sorry about that. Iris gets nervous when people try to appraise her. Please just bear with it, we’re just making sure there isn’t any contraband hidden away,” the woman explained, walking around the caravan, slowing down near the sealed boxes, and waiting for the creature to stop its wailing and blinking the pain out of its eye.

It managed to calm down after its handler repeatedly stroked the top of its head and focused on the boxes, it’s sharp eye bouncing all over the place, moving from one corner to another, scanning everything in sight.

The eyeball thing glanced a couple of times at Sylver, each time looking away before its caretaker could even say a word, and seemed to be grumbling something to itself. A short while later the thing, and the woman, finished with their inspection and handed Lola a small piece of card to show to the man at the gate. She moved on to the caravans behind them and didn’t say anything else.

*

The inside of Torg was as impressive as Sylver was expecting it to be. Given the open area in the very middle, Sylver could see the spiraling pattern the dungeon must have had in the past. Ridiculously wide bridges connected all the levels, blocking out most of the light coming in from above, but making up for it with artificial brightly glowing strings tied to the bottoms of the bridges.

After finding their guide the adventuring party split up, one half went with Lola and Tamay and Sylver, and the other went to meet some other adventurers to replace them. Since Wuss was handling everything related to them, Sylver didn’t pay much attention to it.

Getting all their belongings to their temporary housing was handled by a small team of dwarves, that carried boxes that were several times heavier than they were, and both Sylver and Lola were surprised by how many each dwarf could stack and carry without losing their balance and dropping everything.

After everyone had moved in and the living area was relatively sorted out, Wuss asked Sylver and Lola to come to see him in private. They were provided with a three-story house, although it was more like an exceptionally large room that was divided later on with wooden floors and walls. Going by the decorative chest in the middle of it, this used to be a trap room at some point in the distant past.

“So a few things first. You already know this place used to be a dungeon, but here’s something else you should know. The guards here are invincible. As in, one of them alone could stand toe to toe with a level 500 warrior or mage easily, so for the love of all gods don’t start anything with anyone. If anything looks like it’s about to happen, just shout “guards” three times in a row, and they will show up and sort things out for you,” Wuss explained, rubbing his ear for a moment as he normally did when nervous.

“And by ‘sort things out’ I mean they will detain everyone involved, have a mind reader confirm what they think happened, happened, and go from there. So in the highly unlikely event, you do somehow manage to get into a fight, please, please, please, please, don’t kill anyone. I have enough connections to sort just about anything out, but not if you kill someone. That is an instant lifelong ban, if you’re lucky, or a downright execution if the next of kin is particularly important. It all comes down to who you know when it comes to how things are handled, and you know Lola, and if everything goes well on our end, Lola will know enough people to get you off scot-free from just short of anything,” Wuss continued, his tail swishing behind him slightly.

“Don’t start any fights, got it,” Sylver answered.

“That’s not the part you should be getting. Your mind can’t be read, at least not enough that someone could check your memories, right? Not even if you wanted it to be?” Wuss asked, as Sylver nodded slightly.

“So here’s what would happen if you got into a fight and won. They would attempt to read your mind to check to see who started it, they would be unable to do so, and you would be killed just to be safe. Even if all evidence pointed to you being the one who was the victim, do you understand me?” Wuss repeated.

“I understand, you have my word I’ll be careful. But if I were to hypothetically get into a fight with someone, and they were still alive, their mind would be read to confirm, right?” Sylver asked, just to confirm.

“Yes. So do your best not to be alone with anyone if you can help it, call the guards at the first sign of trouble, and whatever you do, don’t kill anyone. The laws inside Torg are a little fuzzy, so usually you can sort things out with appropriate compensation. So if someone starts a fight with you, please just take the hit, and you’ll be richer for it. But if you fight back, you could win, but then get executed. Please promise me you won’t kill or start a fight with anyone,” Wuss said, now looking up and staring directly into Sylver’s eyes.

“You have my word I will not try to kill anyone, without witnesses to confirm I wasn’t the one who started the fight,” Sylver said, staring back at Wuss.

“No, you-”

“You handle Lola’s business side of things, and let me worry about me. I appreciate the concern, but this isn’t something you get a say in. I’m not stupid, I know what I’m doing. And I might be impulsive at times, but I’m not a child, I can handle myself. And if you’re worried I’m going to kill Poppy on sight, don’t be. I’ll try to talk to her first, and if I don’t like what I hear I will most likely mark her to track down later, and then I will kill her. Is there anything else you wanted to discuss?” Sylver asked, his voice teetering the very edge of being a threat. As if he were daring the cat to continue this conversation in this particular direction.

The fat white cat’s tail stopped moving, and Sylver for a moment thought it was about to rise into the air. It relaxed and went back to its more usual limp shape.

“Fine. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. The items you wanted to be sold were evaluated to be in the 40 to 75 thousand range. Until the auction is over, you’ll be unable to withdraw the money. You can use the money to buy things being sold at the auction, but the money stays with them until the whole thing is over. So I’ve taken the liberty of loaning you 40,000 until your items are done selling, to be paid back with a 0.25% interest. In case you find something you want to buy in the downstairs shops, before the auction is over,” Wuss explained, blinking down at the table he was sitting on and causing a short contract to appear on it.

Sylver looked down at the thing and checked for the fine print.

“What would happen if I spent the 40k, and the items didn’t sell anywhere near enough to cover that?” Sylver asked, reading through the contract again.

“Well, you were paid 100 gold a day for the previous job, considering you’ve leveled up since then, let’s say you’re now worth 200 a day, being generous, minus the 15,000 currently in your account in Arda, 125 days of work, so let’s round that down to 100 days of work. For me. Personally.” Wuss offered, placing a paw on the contract that Sylver had put back on the table.

Sylver looked down at the contract and thought about it for all of 5 seconds.

“You know what? I’m good, but thank you for the offer. I have enough money for everything I need, not to mention, I mostly already have everything I want. It’s not like I can use any kind of enchanted rings or anything, and unenchanted weapons and clothing are all relatively cheap.” Sylver explained, pushing the contract forward and back towards the cat.

He couldn’t read the white cat’s expression or soul well enough to tell if he was happy or disappointed.

“Suit yourself. Offer is still on the table if you change your mind,” Wuss said, jumping down from said table and leaving the contract where it was. Sylver folded it up and hid it inside one of his notebooks, before handing it over to Fen to keep safe in his backpack along with the others.

“The auction starts at sundown,” Wuss said as he disappeared around the corner.

“Tamay and I have some things to prepare. What are you going to do?” Lola asked, walking to the other side of the room and knocking on the bedroom door.

“I guess I’ll just wander around for a bit and see if I’ll get lucky and stumble into Poppy or Nautis. Maybe see if there’s a healer or something of the sort that he might be trying to employ to lift my curses,” Sylver said, walking over to his chest and hiding a few small bags of gold and silver in his robe.

“Sorry, curses? I thought you just did the one to stop his hands and eyes from growing back?” Lola asked, as Tamay entered the room and walked over to their pile of boxes full of prototypes, and started going through them.

“Oh no, they’re self-replicating to an extent. You have to get rid of all of them simultaneously, or they all return in a few minutes. And because of the sheer quantity of them, and the fact that I spread them out inside of his blood, I would be amazed if there’s someone who could heal him. Or even figure out what’s wrong with him,” Sylver said, seeing Tamay turn slightly pale at his words and deciding he had said enough.

“Be careful,” Lola said, as Sylver pulled his hood up and put his boots back on.

“I always am,” Sylver answered, leaving the house. He said goodbye to the two adventures standing guard by the entrance and got a very vague nod from them.

*

*

*

[Cloak Of Gyatsu - 199G - Rare Quality]

“How about now?” Sylver asked, doing a spin as the woman watched and tried to look at him from every angle.

“It looks weird when it’s moving around, but I think someone could misinterpret that to be wind,” The tailor said, watching as Sylver pulled a dagger out of nowhere and made a fast and wide sweeping motion. Everything moved as he wanted, and he let the dagger disappear back up into his sleeve.

The cloak was mostly a beige color, with gold thread inlays and a very light orange trim. The backside of it was segmented, normally used by people with wings, but in Sylver’s case, it gave what was left of his robe enough room to extend out of the cloak and catch him or move him around, without tearing through it.

He’d had to remove a large portion of the robe, leaving only about a quarter wrapped around his torso, and hidden underneath the cloak, as if it were a shirt. There was still plenty of material for him to retain all the functionality he was used to, and enough room in the sleeves of the cloak for all the daggers and darts to remain constantly at hand, but now he at least looked a little less feral.

What exactly had triggered Sylver to go into the nearest tailors and have a cloak custom fit for him on the spot? He returned back to the house a little earlier than usual and saw how both Lola and Tamay had dressed up, and didn’t want to look like some sort of barbarian standing next to them. He’d even had his hair cut into a more proper shape, and changed his extremely dark winter boots, into somewhat light walking shoes.

Not that he was expecting to have to fight here at all, but it put him on edge to walk around unprepared and unarmed. He’d seen the guards Wuss had warned him about, flying around the place just watching, and felt his heart start to race in a way very few things did.

His appraisal skill might be incapable of telling him anything about them, but he knew dangerous when he saw it. And even if Sylver didn’t know about their special classes that only worked inside Torg, he would have figured it out, given he could see all their souls joined to one another, and to something even bigger up above. If he had to compare it, the thing at the very top felt about the same level of power as the thing he felt hiding under the ant colony.

Sylver might have avoided saying he wasn’t going to fight anyone here, but after seeing the guards he completely lost any desire to fight. Even if he did find Poppy, he wouldn’t do anything to her. Not when these things were flying around, three quick words away from teleporting directly to him and shutting him down.

Quite sadly Sylver’s hopes of finding something rare being sold for a cheap price didn’t work out. Everything he saw being sold here, was sold back in Arda for cheaper. He understood that he was comparing what was essentially a bank and an auction house, to one of the largest trading centers in the world, but was still for some reason thinking he might find something useful here.

*

*

*

“Wow… You look…” Lola said, starting a sentence but not finishing it.

“Dashing? Handsome? Charming?” Sylver offered, spreading his arms out in show and not getting any reaction out of either of the two women.

“All of those. I almost want to go and change so I don’t look like I’m the one guarding you,” Lola said, causing Sylver to grin at the wordy compliment.

“Please don’t. Because seeing how great you looked is the reason I went and got this. Tamay, thoughts?” Sylver asked, doing a quick formal courtesy towards the human woman.

“I like it. Really brings out your eyes,” Tamay said with a tone that Sylver couldn’t quite place into either mockery, or genuine compliment. He decided he would take it as a compliment, and moved on.

“In that case, are you ready? Anything you need me to carry?” Sylver asked, looking around the now empty room and trying to spot a box or something he was supposed to take with him.

“No, the presentation is going to be in a different room after the auction,” Lola explained, adjusting one of her necklaces and taking a deep breath.

“Why are you so nervous? It’s just an auction, what’s there to be nervous about?” Sylver asked, as a familiar white ball of fur appeared from behind the chest and jumped up on top of it.

“Appearances matter with things like this. Until she makes a name for herself, people will judge her on what they see, and if she seems like an easy target, only the low tier scammers will come after her. We need the big fish, and for the big fish, we need her to look like she’s already a big fish,” Wuss said, already knowing what Sylver was about to say given the smile tugging at his lips.

“I love the bowtie,” Sylver said, with Wuss moving his head in a ‘yeah, yeah, I know, get it over with’ manner.

“But with appearances being important and all that, shouldn’t she have someone other than me accompanying her?” Sylver asked, as he helped Lola into her fur coat.

“No actually. Because there’s a certain big fish out there that will recognize you and will help us out. And once we have him, the rest will be easy,” Wuss said, jumping up into Tamay’s arms and making himself comfortable.

“What big fish?” Sylver asked, linking arms with Lola and opening the door with a snap of his fingers.

“You know what? I think it will be more fun if I don’t tell you,” Wuss answered, the guards at the door appearing completely unfazed by the cat being able to talk.

Or wearing a bowtie.

*

*

*

Walking past the line of people standing in wait to be allowed inside, Sylver, Lola, Tamay, and Wuss were waved in and directed up the stairs on the left, earning a great deal of pissed off and envious glares. Some people were jealous that they got to skip waiting in line, and some understandably misunderstood the situation after seeing Sylver accompanying two extremely beautiful women, with a smug grin on his face. What they didn’t know, was that he was grinning like that because seeing Wuss in a bowtie amused him beyond words and he couldn’t help himself.

The auction room, or house depending on how you chose to look at it, was a lot like a giant theatre. The VIP seats and areas were all on the second level, hanging directly above the heads of the people below, guards standing around scanning the room near both staircases leading upstairs. All the seats were in a large semi-circle around a slightly extended stage, with a small table and mallet standing at the edge of it.

Walking past the guards, Sylver was tempted to touch one of them, to get a more solid understanding of their level of power, but decided against it at the last minute, since the danger wasn’t worth sating his curiosity.

The three, Wuss was pretending to be Lola’s or Tamay’s pet, were led to their seats and shown how the bidding system worked. There were a few small polished buttons that could be pressed to let the announcer know how much the person was bidding, by what increment they wanted to increase the bid, and all the regular functions that would normally just be people shouting out numbers.

A man walked into the room shortly after, placing a tray of several bottles of champagnes and glasses, and lifted Sylver off the ground in a bear hug, so strong and tight that Sylver could feel his ribs bend under the pressure.

“Wait, what was the name? Sinclair?” Novva asked, putting Sylver down and looking towards Wuss.

“Sylver,” Wuss answered, sitting in Tamay’s lap and looking up at both of them.

“Damn that’s going to be hard to remember. And this must be the lady of the hour herself, Lola Aeyri, head and owner of the up and coming Aeyri Company. It is a pleasure to meet you,” Novva said, pulling Lola’s hand up towards his mouth and pretending to kiss it.

“Would you lovely ladies mind if I borrow your bodyguard for a moment? I can’t imagine anything happening during the few short minutes I need to have him meet some friends of mine,” Novva said, already out of the door and practically having lifted Sylver off the ground and just dragging him behind.

Sylver watched as Wuss raised a paw at him and waved, before laying on his side in Tamay’s lap and starting most likely smugly purr.

Unsurprisingly it was an extremely short walk from Lola’s VIP box to Novva’s. Almost as if someone had organized it to be so.

The box was just barely big enough to contain all the people standing inside of it, many missing limbs, a few with extremely visible scars on their faces, but all unmistakably delighted that Sylver was here. It was coming back from the hole all over again, everyone shaking his hand, patting him on the back, completely disregarding the anonymity he had put quite a bit of effort into maintaining.

But considering this was a very small and tight circle, Sylver didn’t see the harm in it and greeted the people he had once saved and sold out with handshakes and hugs and kisses.

*

“You wouldn’t believe it. Overnight! Literally, overnight! They fixed everything. And for nothing! Well, no, they did make me…” Novva’s tone changed from an overjoyed child’s to a deep in thought adult’s, in less than a single sentence.

“But everything is fine now!” Novva snapped back, bringing the mood of the room back to where it was a few seconds ago. “Come with me, I’ll introduce you to my wife and kids!”

“What about Melo? How’s he doing?” Sylver asked, his feet just barely touching the floor by this point as he was being dragged off to yet another room by Nova.

“Melo? He’s doing great! Sherry is pregnant right now, so he’s guarding the house, so to speak. I’ll let him know you asked about him, he’ll be glad to hear you’re doing fine. Still, you don’t really look like a Sylver. Mort really fits for some reason. Maybe a Jhon, or an Adam. Charles? Yeah, I could see you being a Charles, but Sylver? Oh wait, is that also a fake name? But why something so obvious?” Novva asked, still essentially carrying Sylver without noticing it.

“It’s my real name. Could I ask something?” Sylver asked, causing Novva to slow down his walk but not stop entirely.

“I would very much rather you didn’t,” Novva said, his slightly hurt and deeper tone returning.

“I want you to know that it wasn’t personal. The Cord was the one who organized everything, I was just at the right place at the right time, and I just happen to-”

“Enough. I don’t want to speak of this, ever again. Like you said it’s just money, incomparable to getting to see my family again. I would have done 100 times more and worse if it meant seeing them, and compared to what I’ve already done while inside that cursed cave, it was nothing. You did what you had to for your family, I did what I had to for mine, and that is all that we will ever say about what happened in there. Melo was the hero who saved us all, and that’s the story everyone has been telling and will tell,” Novva said, having stopped walking and just looking off towards a VIP box a short distance away.

“Look… I won’t lie and say it’s been easy, but I’m back home. That’s the important part. Everything else, worthless details. Now cheer the fuck up, and say hello to my wife. She’s been up mine and Melo’s collective asses to find you and bring you over so she could thank you for bringing me back.” Novva said, gradually returning to his infectious cheeriness as they approached the box.

Novva’s wife was a lovely woman. She was almost as tall as he was, and had to ask her daughter to go for a walk while she sat there crying for a while, trying to mumble out a thank you.

It was either the grim reminder that Tuli was still out there, all alone, infested with hundreds of thousands of those things inside of her, or that Sylver hadn’t been hugged quite like this in a very long while, or that the physical contact transferred her raw emotions too strong for him to resist, but he ended up just sitting there crying on her shoulder for a while in response.

Thankfully the woman was a mage and cleaned herself up as well as him before letting him leave. She made Sylver promise to come over at some point, and he said he would if he was ever in the area.

*

After everyone once again said their goodbyes to Sylver, they each, one by one, went over to see Lola in her VIP booth and handed her a small envelope.

When Sylver questioned why they were doing this Novva answered.

“Came out of nowhere, leveled up like crazy, and is being guarded by you? She’s got whatever it is you’ve got, that’s for certain. There’s more coming soon, but this should be enough to get the ball rolling. Not all of our names have exactly remained pristine, but she’ll have a steady base on which to build her reputation now. Da’Batstoi particularly is known for his predictions always coming true. The man hasn’t been wrong even once in his life when it came to funding ventures,” Novva said, as he led Sylver back to his booth.

“He wasn’t with you though?” Sylver asked, standing just outside the door now, seeing Lola and Tamay inside through the thin glass window.

“Oh, he wasn’t. I was kidnapped while on a train, he was supposed to be on it with me, but his wife had an accident at the very last second and he had to stay. He’s actually part of the reason my family has remained as stable as it did. He took care of them because he felt guilty for what happened. But I’m back now, so everything is fine. Great guy.” Novva said, to the side at the auction that was about to begin.

“You know, there’s actually a personal project I could use some help on. But it’s not something I’m comfortable involving you in, but if I could get some of his luck on it, it would help out a ton. Would it be possible to organize a meeting for me?” Sylver asked, looking in the same direction as Novva to watch the man on stage start asking everyone to return to their seats.

“Ah, still trying to keep everything neatly separated and anonymous. I don’t know why you bother, even the high king has heard of you by this point. Well kind of, not by name but by what you’ve done. Melo is the hero to the public eye, but in private you’d be surprised how many people know about you. But sure, I don’t mind making the introduction. But I say this just to make sure we’re on the same page, I can’t pressure him if he declines, he’s been too much of a friend to my family for me to ever do that to him, even for you,” Novva explained, gently tapping himself over the heart.

“It’s ok, I wouldn’t want to put you in that position anyway. You know what, do you think he wouldn’t mind if it was an informal meeting just so we get to meet face to face? He can bring his wife over, keep things casual, just so I can see what kind of man he is,” Sylver offered, putting on his most polite and friendly smile.

“That would be great actually. I’ll let you know the time and place before the day’s end. Where are you staying?” Novva said, as Sylver reached into his cloak and pulled out a sheet of paper to write the address on.

Novva opened the door and Sylver stepped inside.

“Some advice before I go, don’t bid on anything the guys in that booth bid on, that man is an animal and isn’t someone you ever want to get involved with,” Novva said, pointing at a booth near the very edge of the top level.

It was only thanks to Sylver’s advanced telescopic vision that he could see them. But even if he couldn’t he would have felt that stare from miles away. It felt the same way as if his namesake were staring at him. Hungry, vicious, cruel, and unrelenting.

Wolf waved at Sylver from all the way across the room, and Sylver’s heart stopped beating for a moment. And Lion’s worried look wasn’t giving Sylver a whole lot of confidence either.

Advertisement

Support "Sylver Seeker"

About the author

KingKennit

Bio:

Achievements
Comments(79)
Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In