Ch066-Demons, Deals, Dried Bread.



The coin stopped midair.

The faintest of cracks appeared on its glass face, so tiny that it could have easily been mistaken for a hair laying on top of the glass.

The swirl of powdered catalysts, all moved in a perfect vortex around the coin, started to steam and dropped down like ash onto the still moving metallic plates below. The coin was engulfed in a sphere of simmering fire so intense that it seared the edges of Sylver’s cloak with just the sheer intensity of light coming off them. Sylver lost feeling in the very tips of his fingers, as he forced the coin into submission, and limited the power into a usable amount.

Sylver let one exhausted arm drop down to his side, and formed a fist with his left hand.

As if it were an animal performing a trick, the stream flowed down onto the coin, forcing its way through the minuscule crack.

Nothing happened for a solid minute, only a grey smoke forcing its way deeper and deeper into a coin that was barely the width of a pencil. When Sylver opened his fist, it felt like the ground dropped down from underneath him.

A smell unlike any other permeated the air, bringing with it a chill that had no comparison, and a sound that was somehow both a laugh and a heartbreaking cry.

The coin forced itself down, as if the world itself was against it, and embedded itself deep into the topmost metallic plate. A pink colored smoke leaked out of the coin, flowing out endlessly as if it were a broken fountain. It filled the confines of the ring of catalysts, filling it up as if it were a pool of water, creating a perfectly smooth circular pool of smoke.

Another minute passed with nothing happening.

The smoke very suddenly started to rise and form, as if it were a sheet of silk and something was standing up and getting draped with it. Bright red lights appeared all over the forming shape, all locked onto Sylver’s emotionless mask and moving towards the middle of the figure, forming into one giant ball of light and fire.

The voice spoke as if every word would shred the listener into pieces, the low pitch very nearly hurting Sylver’s chest from the pressure.


The word was cut off at the source, as the sheet of smoke tightened and forced the speaker down into the floor, the faint gasp of surprise managing to put an ever so faint smile on Sylver’s face.

Sylver could see faint ripples in the sheet-like smoke, the color turning back into a boring grey, before changing into a spiral and once again forcing itself inside the coin.

The silky smooth smoke lurched upwards for a moment, a head covered in sharp looking spikes and constantly moving eyes, struggling against the ever-tightening force of the smoke, before once again getting shoved back down.

The demon kept trying to force its way through the veil between realms, and Sylver kept pushing it down and out with relative ease.

Sylver waited for it to tire itself out, which took nearly ten minutes of constant and unrelenting headbutting. When Sylver could see the pressure on the veil was constant, he cleared his throat and cleared it again. He kept clearing it again and again, coughing into his fist and straining his vocal cords.

Fucking idiot, how did you forget to check! Sylver thought, as he continued trying to make the sound, and felt a sharp pain in his throat.

“I need someone to find me a mirror, quickly,” Sylver said out loud. Nameless and company all looked confused, but Bear simply nodded and left the room. He returned barely a minute later, holding a hanging wall mirror in his hands. Spring appeared from Sylver’s shadow and took it from him, and brought it over to Sylver.

Sylver’s titanium edged scalpel appeared in his hand out of nowhere. Spring raised the mirror higher and adjusted the angle at Sylver’s silent command.

Sylver made a cross-shaped cut on his throat and opened his mouth in an attempt to see where the issue lay. He tried once again to make the sound and saw where the problem was. Ever so gently, and with a thankfully steady hand, Sylver made a small incision along the cartilage and gave it more room to bend. He tried once again and made a deeper incision. After only three more cuts, Sylver pulled the skin back into place and sealed it off with solidified darkness.

Sylver swallowed down the resulting blood and took a deep breath before trying.

The sound that came out of his mouth could not be called human. It couldn’t be called the sing-song language of the elves, the throaty and harsh speech of the dwarves, or even the guttural and bubbly language of the orcs. Sylver closed his eyes for a moment and opened his mouth to speak again.

“Bring someone stronger over, and I will pay you 50 gold coins,” Sylver said.

He felt the demon on the other side pause. Thankfully Sylver didn’t need to repeat himself, as he felt the pressure relieve itself, and could now only wait.

Spring walked over to the next room and counted out 50 gold coins, and brought them back in a small wooden bowl.

Sylver waited for a while, adjusting the coin’s relatively infinite power output to accommodate for the next demon. Sylver felt the same presence push itself against the veil of smoke and saw the outline of a hand pressing against it. Sylver floated the wooden bowl over to it and tipped the gold coins onto it. The smoke hand closed into a fist, and the gold coins disappeared as the fist was removed.

A smaller head than before attempted to force itself through the smokey veil. Sylver allowed it through and watched as the sheet of smoke formed the shape of an extremely muscular humanoid figure.

“WHAT INSOLENCE IS THIS! WHO DARES TO-” The demon was slammed down into its realm before it could finish its sentence. Sylver once again tightened the veil and waited for the demon to tire itself out.

Sylver coughed into his fist once again and sent Spring away to get 100 gold coins preemptively.

“Bring someone stronger over, and I will pay you 100 gold coins,” Sylver said.




“…YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS YOU-” Sylver didn’t bother waiting for it to finish before he shoved the demon back down into its realm. Going by the various presences he could feel, his portal had attracted quite a crowd.

Time and space were disgustingly lucid in the demon realm, so Sylver couldn’t imagine where exactly his portal had connected, and could only cross his fingers and hope something that at the very least didn’t threaten him, would arrive soon. Demons of such a low level were always irrationally violent.

Not that demons of a higher level were any better. But those at the very least could think ahead, long enough to recognize the value of trading. And wouldn’t bother asking him for ‘flesh of the innocent’, ‘the blood of 50 cats’, all for the honor of talking to them, let alone making a deal with them.

Sylver glanced behind himself and saw everyone but Bear looking bored. Only the brown-haired giant seemed to grasp the complexity of what Sylver had managed to achieve. And going by the ever so slight quiver on his neck, he also understood how close they all were to death right now.

To call the coin unstable was a massive under exaggeration. It wasn’t meant for this. It wasn’t built for this. It was meant for the exact opposite.

Quite honestly, it had about 10 countermeasures in place to prevent exactly the thing Sylver was currently using it for. Which were all very easily countered, considering Sylver was the one who had created them.

The coin was supposed to explode, killing everything nearby, and provide the semi-summoned demon with enough mana to fully materialize. It was also a good way to have anyone knowledgeable enough to summon and control a demon, die in the process. And to Sylver’s credit, it worked exactly as planned.

Although only 4 coins were used, the fact that the mages most likely to be able to stop a demon before it could fully materialize were killed in the process, made the whole thing too effective.

Sylver felt his left arm completely lose all feeling and had to activate the second and third metallic plates to compensate.

A small head pushed itself upwards through the portal, the silk-like smoke covering it entirely and turning a darkish purple as it did so. The demon stood at its full height of a little under 5 feet and opened its eyes. Two piercing blue orbs glowed so brightly that even the smoke couldn’t dampen the color.

Its head moved ever so slightly, as its gaze moved from Sylver, to Nameless, to Bear to Lion, to Wolf, and lastly looked down at the slowly moving metallic plates beneath it. Its eyes opened so widely, Sylver felt his heart stop, as he waited for the kick.

It didn’t come. Instead, the demon made a small gesture at itself, and the silk-like smoke tightened around it, making the demon’s body shape more visible.

“Fascinating. I do not think I have seen a proper summoning in… well, a very long while,” the demon said, bringing its gaze back to Sylver. Its face was too obscured for Sylver to be certain, but he felt like it was smiling at him.

“I would like to trade with you, Sylver said, holding his breath and being careful to sound confident, but not to the point he sounded arrogant.

“So, I have been told… I would like to hear what it is you wish to trade,” the demon said, as Sylver used his completely dead left hand to reach into his robe and pulled out the small droplet of blood trapped inside the glass Bear had given him.

“I want something to track down the owner of this blood,” Sylver said simply, holding up the piece of glass.

The demon leaned forward slightly and stared at the small dot of blood. Going by the body language, it was also somehow able to smell it.

“Hmm…” the demon answered, as he looked up and past Sylver, towards Nameless and the rest. Sylver kept staring at the demon, as it spoke in a language he didn’t recognize. But the range of sounds was human, so the best guess that it was something local.

Sylver finally looked back at the four men behind him, who were all looking at him instead of the demon.

“How peculiar. A proper summoning, and people who follow the advice of an expert… You do not know whose blood this is, do you?” The demon asked, looking back down at Sylver.

“I do not,” Sylver answered. The demon’s face moved a little at this, but it was hard to tell what exactly its expression was underneath the sheet-like smoke.

“I am very glad to hear that,” the demon said, catching Sylver by surprise.

Tell them I have an artifact that will be able to find the owner of the blood. In exchange, I want the sight of the big one, the sense of taste of the gold haired one, and the hearing of the grey-haired one,” The demon said as it pointed with a surprisingly clawless finger towards Bear, Lion, and Wolf.

Sylver translated into regular Eirish and watched as Nameless’s face turned completely pale. Bear, Lion, and Wolf on the other hand looked like they had expected this.

“You said it would take gold, gems, jewelry, you said that it-”

“We can try summoning a different one if you want. But the chance that this one will sit back and let something else talk to us if we don’t take its deal is very slim. And once this gate is closed, unless you manage to find another coin, I won’t be able to summon another demon. Without the flesh, and the mana inside the coin, I don’t have anywhere near enough power,” Sylver interrupted, thankful for the mask on his face because they at least couldn’t see the slight frown and worry hidden behind it.

Just take the deal, and leave!

“Can you try haggling with it? Just one eye? Just one specific taste, spicy or sweet or something?” Nameless asked, as he looked around and was puzzled by the serene calmness on his companion's faces.

“In my experience, unless you have something better to offer, it will double down on its demands. Look… It’s a demon, what did you expect? You can always get everything back later, but you’ll need to find a different demon summoner for that,” Sylver explained, looking back at the motionless demon, and being once again surprised by it.

It was just standing there. It hadn’t even tried to check how strong the metal plates were. Like it wasn’t even interested in breaking out. And going by the way it cocked its head, it genuinely didn’t understand a word they were saying.

The group quietly argued amongst themselves, mostly Nameless nearly shouting at the three grown men, who repeatedly told him they were alright with it. They changed language barely a few words in and Sylver could only hang back and wait once again.

The quiet arguing devolved into tense words, and finally, Bear slapped Nameless across the face and made the now nearly crying boy look him in the eye. Sylver couldn’t see Nameless’s face because his back was turned to him but recognized the body language.

Nameless didn’t want to, but he had to. If it weren’t for the brainwashing attempt, Sylver might have felt a small amount of empathy for the boy.

“Tell it we accept the deal,” Nameless said, not bothering to hide the tears running down his reddening cheek.

“In exchange for the sight, but not the eyes, of the brown-haired man behind me, the taste, but not the tongue, of the gold haired man behind me, the hearing, but not the ears, of the grey-haired man behind me, we accept the artifact that you swear will be able to find the owner of the blood trapped in this piece of glass,” Sylver said, holding up the piece of glass with the pathetically small droplet of blood inside of it.

The demon smiled a grin that Sylver was certain was toothy, even if he couldn’t see it. “We have a deal,” it answered.

Sylver looked back and saw Nameless holding a dark red glass sphere of some sort. Bear was looking around the room with completely white eyes, while Lion appeared to be chewing on his tongue. Wolf looked as usual, albeit a little less full of fight and spirit.

[Rose of The Sparrow’s Winds – N/A - Unique Quality]
[The ship inside will always point towards [?????? ???????]]

Sylver looked down at his hand and saw that the piece of glass was now empty. And the small ship inside the sphere in Nameless’s hand was pointing directly at him.

Sylver took a step to the left, but the ship didn’t budge, it kept pointing in the same direction it had before.

Scared the shit out of me for a second. Sylver thought as he felt cold sweat soak into the back of his cloak. The idea that this lot was looking for him, was more frightening than simply summoning a demon was.

“With that, we’re done. I still need to make a deal myself, so come back in an hour or so to collect your gold, gems, and silver. Everything used for the summoning will be scrapped and destroyed,” Sylver said coldly, as Nameless just stared down at the small ship floating in blood inside the glass sphere.

Bear reached out with his hand and caught Nameless’s shoulder on his third try. “Keep it. A goodbye gift, for a job well done. May the world be as fair to you, as you’ve been to us,” Bear said, somehow managing to look directly at Sylver as he said it. Sylver couldn’t tell if that was meant to be an insult, or if Bear genuinely thought he had been fair with them.

They disappeared while Sylver’s eye was closed from blinking. Leaving only the piles of gold and jewels in the adjacent room to remember them by, and the now empty piece of glass. Sylver turned around to face the slightly shuddering demon.

Its eyes were half-closed, and it was making a very faint motion with its hips that Sylver didn’t want to think too much about.

It finally calmed down a few seconds later and ran its hands down its face before speaking.

“I have not been able to do that in centuries. I would like to caution you to separate yourself from those four, but I am glad to see you have already done so. I would like to hear what it is that you want,” the demon said, as it straightened its back a little and seemed to cause the silk-like smoke to become even tighter around its body.

“There is a person I will meet soon, who is very likely significantly more powerful than I am. I need something to take them down with it without killing them,” Sylver said, looking the demon right in the eye through the tiny eyeholes in his mask.

“Interesting… But I am sad to say that there is nothing you could offer me for a direct item or perk… However, I am willing to trade information, for information. Not regarding skill requirements or whatnot, we are not allowed to speak of those, but something even better,” the demon said, with a strange tone of having just told a very rude but polite joke.

“What kind of information?” Sylver asked, deciding not to ask why exactly he had nothing to offer. This demon seemed skittish, now that it had had its ‘main course’ and didn’t seem all that interested in Sylver’s ‘desert’.

“There is an item not too far away from here, that would very nearly guarantee your victory against a single opponent,” the demon said, as it rubbed its stomach. Sylver noted at the back of his mind that this one only had 4 fingers on each hand, including the ‘thumb’.

“And what kind of information do you want in exchange?” Sylver asked, deciding to at least see what this demon could offer. Killing it and getting its core was still on the table. Although it came with a massive risk of accidentally damaging the equipment and releasing it in the process.

But Sylver wasn’t about to walk away from this with nothing to show for it. Not counting the gold and gems.

“I want something you could never take back… Tell me a secret… One you’ve never told anybody,” the demon offered.

It’s a Shil’Vati. Sylver suddenly realized. The color was wrong, but it was most certainly in the same racial group. They were sometimes called ‘sex demons’ as they very often choose female hosts and sucked out the souls of their partners. The difference between them and succubi was that they did it for kicks, and were actual demons, as opposed to devils.

It made a whole lot more sense why the demon had chosen to take their senses. Bear was very likely an avid reader, Lion enjoyed eating and tasting things, and Wolf… liked listening to music? Not counting the last one, the first two made perfect sense.

[Dead Man’s Last Stand – N/A - Unique Quality]
[Reduce the stats, HP, Stamina, and MP of the target to 1 for 30 minutes.]
[Upon use, user’s stats, HP, Stamina, and MP will be reduced to 1 for 24 hours.]
[Amount of uses remaining: 1]

Sylver’s eyes widened as he read the description.

That is better than I could have hoped. With the cats around, not to mention Yeva, I can use it on the woman in white, and then either lock her in lead so she can’t run away, or let her go if she’s not responsible. It’s perfect…

“Define not too far away,” Sylver asked, feeling more than seeing a grin in the demon’s eyes.

“About 300 kilometers, give or take? Less than 500 of that I am certain. That is all the explanation I am willing to provide for it. It doesn’t belong to anyone, and you have my word it is not in a place you would not be able to reach. There is a direct and physical path to this item, at least at the moment,” the demon explained, staring Sylver down as it talked.

“Will you tell anyone about what I would tell you?” Sylver asked, trying to see what he stood to lose.

“I may,” the demon answered with a satisfied grin in its tone.

Sylver thought it over. And thought about what exactly would be good enough for such useful information. Considering the demon was a Shil’Vati, Sylver needed a memory that hurt. And there was only one that he could think of, that wasn’t the one he was constantly thinking about and would all but scream ‘I’m from the Ibis’.

There were only a handful of secrets that Sylver had never shared with anyone, and this one was the one he decided he could sacrifice. All the others would be too much of a weapon in the hands of an enemy. This one couldn’t hurt him, it could only upset him.

“There… There’s something in my mind that I haven’t touched since the day I found it there. When I opened it and peaked inside, I saw something. I’m standing in a small room, and I’m completely drenched in blood. I know I’m not alone in the room, but I have no idea who else was there with me. But that single moment from my locked up memory filled me with so much mind-shattering dread that I haven’t so much as looked at it since. I’m terrified that I did something I wouldn’t be able to ever forgive myself for, and I am too much of a coward to open it to check,” and I was relieved when I died and wouldn’t have to ever find out what was in it, Sylver said in a cold and monotone voice. The throbbing in his hands and fingers paled in comparison to the pain in his heart and the lump in his throat.

The blue-eyed demon moaned and wrapped its arms around itself in a long-armed hug. It just stood there, rocking back and forth inside the ever-tightening veil of smoke, and Sylver was disgusted at the smell the thing was producing. It broke the silence and laughed with such a shrill sound that Sylver’s skin crawled and turned as cold as ice.

Sylver seriously considered attempting to kill it, here and now, and taking its core for himself. It was distracted, but would that be enough? It was still a demon, after all, the difference in strength was too big to be overcome only by Sylver’s floating metal plates, and it being distracted.

“That was delicious! That kid is lucky beyond words that you went after him because I am so stuffed right now I feel like I am about to burst. There’s a crypt north east from here, it was recently uncovered, but hasn’t been conquered. The [Dead Man’s Last Stand] is hidden inside a chest, behind a locked door, behind a false wall. The door has a handle and an intricate-looking lock underneath the handle. If you touch either, it will seal itself shut. But if you simply push the door open without touching them, it will open,” the demon said, as it playfully twiddling its fingers towards Sylver and caused the dust on the floor to form into the shape of the map of the local area, with a big X marking an area in the northeast.

It's the fucking crypt Ron tried to send me on… Sylver thought with a touch of annoyance.

“How do you know this?” Sylver asked, although he already half knew the answer. Demons always knew something no one else did, but it was so inconsistent that it felt like a fluke every single time. But they never lied when it came to deals, so this item both existed, and the way it had said to open the door was correct.

“I think I am going to keep your secret to myself, for now. I am surprised you can resist opening the memory inside of you. It would have driven me insane, knowing there is a piece of me that I did not want to know. To live every day, betraying yourself by ignoring a piece of yourself, a horror I would not wish on my enemies,” the demon taunted, as it stretched its short body and brushed against the limitation of the smoke sheet that allowed it to talk.

“You get used to it… I would like to know if there is a place I could go to if I wanted to summon a demon again. You have my word I won’t tell anyone, but something like an established cult in a faraway city, a demon masquerading as a person, a way for me to make contact,” Sylver asked.

“Hmm… Normally I would ask for something in return, but consider this a gift. Because I would love to have another taste of such a deep fear again in the future. Have you heard of Varsund?” the demon asked, as it licked its lips, while Sylver pulled out a notebook from his robe to make notes.

I have.”

“A family is living there, minor nobles, as far as I am aware. Erikson. Tell them you saw a three-eyed goat eat a white rose on the way to their home, and they will know you can be trusted,” the demon said. Either it didn’t care to put the threat of what would happen should Sylver tell this to anyone else, or the threat didn’t need to be said out loud. Not that Sylver was going to do either, Varsund was well beyond the 1000 kilometers he cared about.

Sylver waited for a few moments, thinking and trying to find a way to ask something, without asking it. The risk of outing himself as a member of Ibis was too large. Even if the demon knew something about the surviving members, it would either ask for a price Sylver wouldn’t be able to pay just to spite him, or it would purposely pretend to not know anything.

But now that he knew there’s a family out there that could help him summon a demon should he ever need it, there was no need to rush. Sylver started this to find something to help him against the woman in white, and he found it.

All he needed to do now was go and get it.

The demon winked at him as it wordlessly disappeared back into the floor. Sylver started working to shut everything down. Anything past this point was being greedy. It would have been better if Sylver managed to summon a demon that would trade for gold and gems and the boxes full of materials that had been gathered for that exact purpose, but Sylver was exhausted, and the demons only needed one mistake on his part to escape.

The last one was worrisome too, but for a different reason. It didn’t even try to escape. Why? Was it satisfied with just feasting on Bear’s, Lion’s, and Wolf’s senses? Did it recognize the self destruct frameworks on the last metal plate?

And the biggest question was why did it tell Sylver to separate himself from Nameless? Did it know something about them? Was Poppy somehow involved in all of this? It wasn’t impossible, Sylver had warned demons about what would be happening in Fleiran, Poppy could have easily done the same.

Fuck, the demon could have been pretending the whole time, everything could have been a setup from the beginning.

Or just Sylver being paranoid because of Poppy and making connections where there were none. Sylver decided that it was best to just close the portal and call this chapter of his life over. Whatever Poppy was doing, didn’t matter as long as it didn’t affect him. The woman in white, Tuli and, the book plagiarist, and the two people following him were center stage now.

The ring of catalysts closed in, making the portal smaller and smaller until it was barely the size of a bracelet. Sylver closed his hands into fists, and they shook with the effort. The small pool of smoke sputtered and burst out of the hole, sending sparks of power out in every direction. With a swing of his hands, Sylver forced the portal to close all the way, and slumped into the chair Spring had shoved under him as he started to fall.

All four limbs were completely numb, as well as his face.

He just sat there for a while and watched the dissipating smoke, and the giant pile of smoldering ashes.

Sylver was an expert when it came to not thinking about something. But by merely speaking about it, he had ruined the mental wall he had built around the thing. There was a crack in the wall. And Sylver was tempted to break it open, to finally put his worries and curiosity to rest, to find out what it was that he did that was so horrible that he very nearly went insane just seeing a piece of the memory.

But thankfully Sylver had enough sense to leave it alone.

He got up from the chair and stretched his limbs out while the nerves reconnected and made him tear up from the physical pain. The shades got to work dismantling everything, while Sylver waited for his body to recover.




The gold and platinum were melted and made inert and worthless using a bunch of lead dust Sylver had prepared for this exact purpose. All the excess materials were separated and properly packed up to be given to Lola’s workshop. The diamond dust had turned inert during the process anyway, so Sylver simply threw it into the box with the ruined platinum and gold.

They were thoroughly mixed up, so even the most talented mage wouldn’t be able to put them back together to reverse engineer Sylver’s demon summoning method.

The demon flesh had turned into ashes the moment the summoning had finished. The glass on the coin held everything in stasis, along with the mana trapped inside, which Sylver had used to destroy the platinum.

There was no resealing the coin, it wasn’t made to be used twice.

It wasn’t meant to survive at all, the explosion of mana usually destroyed all traces of it. Which was part of the reason no one had known it was Sylver who was responsible for the giant craters that had a demon portal at the very bottom of them.

Sylve placed it into a small pouch, next to the now empty piece of glass and hid it inside his robe. A memento and reminder, if nothing else.

There were thankfully enough shades in his shadow that Sylver could haul all the boxes in one go.

The suns had just started to fall by the time everyone was ready to go, so Sylver waited for the crowds of people walking home to die down, before heading out with his conga line of box-carrying shades.




“I’ve decided to take your advice,” Lola said, as Sylver looked up at her. He didn’t need to say he could feel her soul standing outside of the door leading down into the warehouse.

“I’m going to ask you two things, and then we aren’t going to talk about this ever again. Were you responsible for the hollowing of the Babel, and the fall of the apostles of Amphitrite?” Lola asked, walking down the stairs, while Sylver thought it over.

“For the hollowing of Babel, no. I wasn’t anywhere near it when it happened, and I only found out about it years later. As for the apostles of Amphitrite, partially. A close friend of mine picked a fight with them, and I helped him. But in our defense, what you read about them in the history books was a fabrication by their sister temples,” Sylver answered, as Lola stared him right in the eye.

She kept looking directly into his eyes. Sylver was surprised to find that her soul was already as stable as usual, which meant she had already made a decision.

“Then the matter is settled. I won’t pretend to understand you, but I don’t need to. I know you’re a good man at heart, and that’s enough for me,” Lola answered.

Sylver wanted to correct her, explain that the whole ‘good at heart’ was true for every single person in the world if you could see their point of view properly, but decided against it.

“I’m glad to hear that. It… I was worried this would become an issue between the two of us,” Sylver said, finding a small lump in his recently healed up throat.

“What’s a genocide or two between friends?” Lola said with a chuckle.

On some level, it worried Sylver that Lola had diminished what he had done into a joke.

On the other hand, as long as she didn’t leave because of it, Sylver didn’t care what her opinion was regarding an event so far in the past, that even Sylver considered it ancient history.


After Lola helped Sylver put the boxes of assorted materials into the proper spots, and showed him where the materials meant to be destroyed went, Sylver told her he would be leaving for a while.

The crypt was several days away, even flying on Will, and Sylver couldn’t guess how long it would take for him to get into the secret room the demon had told him about.

They had an extremely early breakfast together. Mostly small talk with Lola updating Sylver on what was going on in the workshop, and complaining about the people working for her. Sylver gave her the red bead of blood to hold on to for a while, after which Sylver would use it to talk to the mages who had helped him summon a demon.

Things weren’t back to normal between the two of them, whatever small amount of familiarity Sylver had managed to achieve was completely wiped away by his ‘slip up.’ But it was a start.

And would have to be good enough for now. These kinds of things couldn’t be rushed, or at the very least Sylver didn’t know how to rush them without making everything much much worse.




“The closest teleportation gate is in Rushka, but it's further away from the crypt than Arda is. But as I said, there’s another expedition being prepared for it, so if you wait you could go with them,” Ron explained, as Sylver continued to pack away clothes while Spring did his best with the sleeping bag and splitting other unenchanted items amongst the shades.

“It’s fine, I just wanted to make sure that little village nearby wasn’t part of the teleportation network,” Sylver answered.

“They don’t tend to bother with cities that are less than a month of travel apart,” Ron explained, looking over his shoulder to check to see if the rations were done.

“Anything I should know about it?” Sylver asked as he adjusted the bag hidden beneath his robe and cloak.

“It’s dangerous? About 50 people died in it? Most of the monsters inside are darkness based, and most are undead? But that’s all anyone knows, it is a brand new crypt after all,” Ron repeated, as he had when Sylver initially asked him to prepare a month's worth of rations and told him he was going to go into the recently opened crypt.

“Before I forget… What exactly is the rule with raising dead adventurers as undead minions?” Sylver asked, possibly the only person in Arda who would answer him honestly and without any judgment.

“That’s a bit of a tough question… Ideally, you would take their tags, confirm their deaths, and burn their bodies. There’s also the issue of family-owned swords and jewelry, signet rings, which you sometimes get a fee for retrieving. But that clashes directly with the reality of a place where your life is on the line, no one is going to blame you for using a dead man’s body as a shield if it’s the difference between life and death. Same for using their equipment to ensure yourself a higher chance of survival…” Ron said, looking over his shoulder and taking out the freshly pressure dried sticks of highly concentrated bread and meat out of thin air.

“I can see why you couldn’t ask the guild about this… Your undead are technically speaking equipment, aren’t they? In the same way, a druid’s summon would be,” Ron said, pointing at Spring, who was currently adjusting his backpack.

“Sure, that’s one way to look at them,” Sylver answered.

“Then, in my personal opinion at least, there’s no issue. But speaking in a more general sense, I would advise making sure you change their armor so no one recognizes them, and have them wear a mask just to be safe. Maybe burn a couple of bodies so if anyone ever asks, you can say you burned them all, and the ones with you are bandits or whatnot,” Ron explained, gesturing with his hand in the air as he spoke.

“I see… Alright, in that case, I’ll burn a few bodies on the way down,” Sylver said, flaring his mana and organizing all his daggers, darts, and caltrops. He’d bought a few extra swords and bows for his future shades, in case their equipment was damaged, but those were all spread out amongst the currently existing shades.

“You know what? I have a really good feeling about this crypt,” Sylver said, surprised at the strange smile on Ron’s smoke face.


“Nothing. Are you sure you want to keep everything here?” Ron asked, gesturing at the empty wall.

“I do. I can’t think of a safer spot to hide my illegally earned money and gems,” Sylver said, with a half-serious tone.

Ron simply smiled as Sylver left the room and made his way outside.




It cost nearly 500 gold because of how long it took Salgok to work with it, but at the end of the day, Sylver had a beautifully made pure blessed silver dagger. Even taking an inch of the blade out of its sheath gave Sylver an awful burn on his face, but it was worth it considering what he was going to be facing.

Sylver had hoped to talk to Leke before he left, but she was fast asleep when he came to visit, and after Tera told him she’d been awake for nearly a week straight, Sylver decided to see her after he returned.

After moving through the thick trees as formless smoke, Sylver moved high into the sky. He turned solid once again, as Will came out of his shadow, and with a single flap of his massive wings, started to fly towards the crypt Sylver had traded the secret not even Aether knew about for.

Find the [Dead Man’s Last Stand], maybe level up on my way down, see the woman in white, and go from there.


What could possibly go wrong?


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