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Ch073-Buried Questions(2/2)

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“You’re upset,” Spring said. An entire hour of walking and they were yet to see a single challenge weapon.

“I am. But I’ll survive. I’m under no obligation to force people to do what they don’t want to do, or aren’t willing to do,” Sylver answered. There was absolutely no point in lying to a thing that almost knew what he was about to say, let alone if he tried to be dishonest.

“It is strange that she didn’t have any issue ambushing the people trying to pass through them to descend lower into the dungeon, but couldn’t bear the thought that you would torture someone,” Spring said. He directed a few more shades to check their path for traps and hidden doorways. As usual, they came back empty.

“Is it? If I’m being honest, I completely understand where she’s coming from. I don’t even remember the name or the face of the first person I killed, but I remember the first person I had to torture, clear as day. His name was Mortis, he was the student of a foreign necromancer and even when I fucked up and killed him, he didn’t stop screaming and crying. Torture is harder to justify, if I had to simplify it,” Sylver explained.

“You could justify anything, if you tried hard enough. She stayed with you when she thought you tortured that guy, the one you used to check what happened to the challenge losers. Why was this different?” Spring asked.

“Because I gave her a choice. The walls stopped her from doing anything back then, so she couldn’t have done anything even if she wanted to and didn’t feel responsible. And once she figured out I did it with a purpose in mind, it fell into the ‘necessary evil’ area of her mind. Or who knows, maybe she felt sympathy towards the warrior because they’re both women?” Sylver wondered out loud.

Spring thought about it for a few minutes in silence.

“I don’t think that’s it either. If we’re going that route maybe it’s because you’re a man that was about to torture a woman?” Spring offered.

“A woman who I had to spend nearly 20 minutes to bring down. I don’t think that was her problem either, but I could be wrong. I’ve been killed and overpowered by far too many women to ever underestimate them just because of that, so my opinion is biased. Cumulative guilt?” Sylver offered.

“She’s after the Eldar sapling, and was willing to get her hands dirty to a certain degree, but you torturing that warrior would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back? Something like that?”

“Could be a combination. Past trauma involving torture, some sort of promise she made to herself, maybe the fact that Basil and Flax would know that she didn’t stop me also played a part, who knows? Could have been an emotional reaction that she was too proud, or too in shock, to take back. Either way, it’s too late to do anything about it,” Sylver finished.

*

*

*

When the shades finally reported an opening on the right, Sylver nearly sprinted to get to it.

The weapon this time was a hammer at the end of a long staff. A warhammer as most people called them. Sylver touched the weapon, and was blinded by the light.

It’s not one of them, Spring reported, the moment Sylver finished being teleported to the arena. On the other side stood a man that was slightly taller than Sylver, and twice as muscular. The warhammer in Sylver’s hand looked small and funny, compared to the serious nature with which the giant man opposite him wielded his.

More than anything, Sylver was glad it wasn’t Rosa or the others. Sylver knew on a rational level he wouldn’t have stopped or hesitated if it was, but it always somehow caught him by surprise when he did as he said he would.

“You’re the one who killed Orlok,” the giant said with a thick finger pointed towards Sylver.

“Which one was Orlok?” Sylver asked. The relief made it sound like Sylver was laughing.

The giant man tightened his grip on his Warhammer and grimaced at that. Both of them only had armor on their forearms, shoulders, shins, knees, and sides. Their torsos were protected by a flat board-like armor, and a small helmet that was better described as hard had sat on top of both of their heads.

The man charged at Sylver, he kicked up clouds of dust as he pushed his way through the sand, and for a single moment, Sylver considered taking this giant head-on. To prove to himself that he could, if nothing else.

But Sylver was tired of these games, of this crypt, and wasn’t in the best of moods right now, to see if the skills and experience he’d gained centuries ago would be enough to defeat a man that looked like he had all of his points in strength and used a warhammer daily.

Sylver pretended to be frightened of the man, he even made his knees shake and caused the armor to clatter, but the man continued to just charge straight at him, in near silence. The man used one hand to move the hammer to the left, and prepared to hit Sylver with it, as he tripped over a crouching shade, and just barely managed to stop himself from falling over.

He rolled forward and stood up properly, as Sylver threw a handful of sand in his face. The man ignored it, and swung blindly, and very nearly managed to catch Sylver by surprise. Sylver jumped back, and the man tried to follow, but two shades piled onto him and caused him to stagger and fall onto his back.

8 more threw their weight and strength against him, and pinned him to the ground. Reg appeared behind him, and started to carefully tighten a garrote against the screaming man’s neck. Sylver kept his unused warhammer in his hand as he walked to the other side of the arena and tried to look through the black wall. Sylver could see through the wall on his side, clear as day, but the man’s side was completely black, as all the other impenetrable walls before were.

Sylver pressed his hand against the wall, but with his magic being limited the way it was, he couldn’t even send a pulse of mana through it. Not that it would have achieved anything even if he could use external magic.

Sylver walked all around the arena, constantly pressing his hand against the walls, and trying to find something. But after doing two laps around the arena, Sylver still didn’t find anything, he wasn’t even sure what he was looking for.

Given that these adventurers knew who he was, and had attempted to take revenge on him, Sylver didn’t feel as bad about this as he should have.

The man’s armor was removed, and Sylver had a wolf shade stand near the window to block their view.

Sylver used a dagger to shave away the thick hair on the man’s pectoral muscle, and took his time to carve the framework in properly. The blood did get in the way, and Sylver had to use the man’s shirt to wipe it away so he could see properly, but he carried on regardless.

Pushing mana into the man’s body was difficult, he was still alive and his natural resistance was in the way, but Sylver had severed the mana channels that were near his chest, so the resistance was reduced. When the muscles started to twitch and small bubbles appeared underneath the skin and carvings, Sylver waited until he was nearly done and let Spring twist the man’s head, and kill him.

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]
[Due to defeating an enemy in a fair duel, additional experience has been awarded!]

*

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Sylver blinked away the blindness and-

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 40 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[??? (???) Defeated!] old hammer
[Due to defeating an enemy 30 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[??? (???) Defeated!]

[Rolling Thunder - ??? – Exotic Quality]
[Striking the hammer against a surface will infuse it with power. When it strikes a creature, the built-up power will be released.]
[Uses Left: 9/9]

“So it’s a hammer with the properties of Bricksauge,” Sylver said. The hammer looked slightly primitive, a meter and a half long handle, and a head the size of a normal brick, and about as thick. Sylver spun it in his hand once, before hitting the wall with it.

The hammer absorbed every ounce of force, down to the point Sylver wasn’t entirely certain he had managed to hit the wall. He repeated this 4 more times, before he handed it to a shade swordsman to continue charging the thing.

With only 9 charges, Sylver wasn’t going to experiment to find out how exactly the built-up power would be released, but as long as it killed whatever he was hitting, it was good enough. The great thing about these kinds of closed system artifacts, was that even shades could use them.

*

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*

The shade that was hitting the hammer against the floor had been doing it for nearly 4 hours. A constant and consistent banging.

Sylver could feel something inside of the hammer, but was wary to try and insert his mana into it to figure it out. It almost felt like the hammer was making a noise, but at the same time not.

The spiral-shaped path had become small enough that Sylver could tell he was nearly at the end of it. He walked slower than usual, ready for a trap or a surprise attack, but none came.

Sylver reached the end of the spiral, a complete and total dead end. A triangle of walls closed up around him the moment he walked inside. He nearly fell as the floor started moving underneath him, and he descended lower into the crypt.

Sylver made the hammer-wielding shade stop, and very carefully wrapped the head of the hammer up in cloth and placed it on his back. The triangle of floor continued to go down, farther than Sylver had expected, and came to a slightly shaky halt after an unknown amount of time had passed.

Writing appeared on one wall, a language Sylver didn’t know, but recognized as the one native to this crypt. The writing moved upwards, with more writing appearing to replace it. Spring was writing it down as it appeared, and in the end, filled up 5 pages’ worth of words.

The walls came down all at once, and Sylver spun around with ice-cold sweat soaking the back of his robe.

As he turned, Sylver noted nearly 30 corpses laying neatly off to the side, all dead without a single sign of a struggle. One wall had a perfect two-dimensional model of the path Sylver had traveled to get here, with sigils pointing to certain spots, that Sylver understood intuitively to be the other people inside of the crypt. They were tracking him and everyone around him, and Sylver hadn’t noticed.

Sylver finished his turn and gasped at what he saw.

The skeleton, if it could even be called that, sat on a very simple black brick throne. Its body was covered up in a pitch-black robe, almost identical to Sylver’s with only its face and hands showing.

Its hands almost looked like they were covered in white flesh, before Sylver looked closer and realized they were made out of hundreds of tiny bones, all mixed and matched and compacted together so tightly that only the tiniest lines between them gave away what the material was.

The face was identical, bones as thin as toothpicks, lined together to form cheeks, bright white hair, even slightly smiling lips. It was as if someone had simply painted a normal man in white paint, as if beneath the bones there was flesh and a person.

Sylver was so focused on it, that he very nearly didn’t see the human boy standing to the left of it, holding a sword as tall as he was, and in the process decapitating the motionless bone-covered creature. Sylver wasn’t even sure whose soul he was feeling that was testing the capabilities of his bladder, it felt like being trapped between two massive waves.

Sylver turned as he felt motion behind himself, and came face to face with two specters. Both a faint blue color and completely see-through.

One was an old man, his appearance identical to the bone constructs, except he was glowing and appeared as human as Sylver was. The other was a young boy, a perfect copy of the untarnished by time boy in the process of decapitating the bony copy of the old man.

They both just stared at him, as Sylver stared back at them.

The boy started to speak, the language completely foreign to Sylver, but he could tell instinctually the child wasn’t speaking in the way someone of his age should. The old man spoke after the child, again in the same language, but with the odd pauses, a lot of undead tended to develop over time. The ones Sylver had thought he had managed to train out of himself.

They changed the language they were speaking, and changed again, and again, and again.

Sylver understood what was happening and started going through the list of languages he knew, pausing to give the other two room to speak. When he got to the end of the list, Sylver had one last idea and slapped himself on the throat. He coughed up blood as his magic did what he’d done with a scalpel before and spoke.

“Who are you?” Sylver asked. His voice made a sound that couldn’t be described, and sent a faint shiver down Sylver’s spine, even though he was the one making the sound.

The two specters smiled so hard that Sylver thought the skin that made their lips would tear.

“Demon tongue. As unchanging as the suns themselves,” The old man answered. His lips didn’t match the sound that he made.

“How is he still alive? The other’s barely lasted ten seconds?” The young boy asked, also speaking in demon tongue, albeit with a very odd accent.

The old man reached out with his hand towards Sylver, and Sylver took a step back out of reflex. Sylver felt something wash over his soul, and shoved back at it. The old man lost his form for a couple of seconds, before he forced it back to how he was.

“A pure dark… Very strange, I’ve never seen one that managed to live this long. And going by the fact that he managed to bring Daggers under his control, he’s a necromancer too… Very strange…” The old man explained. He rubbed his chin and his hand ever so slightly went through it.

“That would certainly explain why he triggered every single trap on his way…” The young boy added. The two just stared at Sylver, and got closer and closer to him, without actually moving their feet.

“Does the name Igri mean anything to you?” Sylver asked, looking at the old man.

The old man seemed more confused than ever by the question. He looked like he was angered by it, but not quite.

“Who are you?” The old man asked, after a brief pause.

Sylver did a proper bow and pulled his hood back, “Sylver Sezari. Necromancer and adventure-”

“Sezari, as in, the silver lich?” The young boy interrupted.

Sylver felt his heart stop.

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KingKennit

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