Ch074-Glitter And Gold
Creating a phylactery is an extremely intricate, difficult, time-consuming, and costly endeavor.
Using a combination of backwater blood magic to channel a dead spirit into a dead body, is not.
Forcing life into said possessed dead body, was a little more difficult, but well within Sylver’s abilities. Lola had everything Sylver would need to do it, so he only needed them to stay as zombies for a short while.
“How’s this?” Sylver asked, as he removed his hands from the corpse’s head.
“Can you make the ears a little smaller? And the eyes are too far apart, and I would prefer it if I had a bigger-”
“This is temporary, I’ll give you better bodies later. Your souls will naturally mold them into whatever you want over time. I just need you to be alive enough to pass through the checkpoints and enter the city,” Sylver interrupted.
“Alright. Then yes, this is fine,” Flesh answered. Bones nodded at his body, a carbon copy of the bone creature, but with actual skin. Sylver had to somewhat improvise with Flesh’s body, given how his current form looked like a child’s. Now that he had created a grown-up version of Flesh, he was starting to suspect that he was seeing things, when he thought that Flesh looked like a younger version of the traitor.
[Flesh Weaving (I) Proficiency Increased to 19%!]
[Skill [Flesh Weaving (I)] has been removed]
[Skill: Bone Weaving (I)]
Skill level can be increased by manipulating…
Sylver had to stop what he was doing as 8 other skills appeared and were removed, and only a single one remained.
[Skill: Biological Manipulation (I)]
Skill level can be increased by manipulating biological material. (If no effect occurs due to biological manipulation, skill level will not increase)
I – Manipulate biological matter.
*To manipulate foreign biological matter, the caster must overcome the natural resistance.
*Cost of manipulation increases with volume and density.
*New biological matter cannot be created without an external source of matter.
It took 12 corpses worth of skin, flesh, and bone for Sylver to have enough surface area to create the framework inside the two bodies, but he’d managed it. The new skill sped the process up considerably, it seemed to understand what Sylver was going for, and was very helpful. He found that he barely needed to use a scalpel anymore, as the flesh just parted when he reached for the bones beneath.
Trying it on his own flesh, proved that this was only because it was dead. Although Sylver could now stop bleeding almost instantly, broken bones were something to experiment on later.
[Biological Manipulation (I) Proficiency Increased to 8%!]
Both of the soon-to-be inhabited dead bodies had 3 ribcages, bone discs made from skulls and inserted into where their brains would be, and all of their internal organs were replaced by razor-thin tightly wrapped strips of skin. The framework was extremely delicate, but it was good enough for now. He only needed them to be able to sit on Will and fly back to Arda.
As far as zombies went, Nyx would have lost her mind laughing if she saw this. But the important thing was they could walk and talk. And that they didn’t look like the adventurers that these bodies originally belonged to. Sylver collected all the nameplates to hand over to the guild later, and was already thinking of how to explain everything away.
Wuss would help with identification and farmland and the like, and Lola would handle the capital side of things. Finding them a translator and someone to teach them Eirish would be another issue, but Sylver had enough money and connections to figure it out. At worst, he’d personally tutor them, Eirish was an easy language to learn it wouldn’t take that long.
Now that Sylver knew these two a little better, any fear he had of them completely disappeared. Sure both of them had enough pure soul strength and mana to completely obliterate him, but on the other hand, they were children. They might be older than Sylver, but they’ve never had to deal with the consequences of their actions, they simply died and started anew. Any life lessons they learned were gradually erased along with their memories as they were reborn over and over again.
Sylver could even feel it in the way Bones handled his mana. He was soul casting, but it was clumsy. Effective, and with the size of his soul, not an issue, but it was the kind of thing only time and practice would fix.
Sylver wanted to help these two for 3 reasons.
The first was that he could use them to figure out if his presence here was the result of a god. And if they were lucky, he may be able to help them turn this curse into a blessing. Or show them how to stop it so they don’t get reborn. They were a treasure trove of potential knowledge, in more ways than one.
The second was that if his fear that the traitor had somehow managed to survive was true, he might be able to come up with a way to stop him from being reborn, for good.
And the third was… that if it turned out that either Flesh or Bones were the traitor at some point in their past lives, Sylver would spend the remainder of his extremely long life getting revenge. He would wait until they settled in, built a family, ‘fell in love’ as Flesh put it, and then would take everything away.
Until he died, or their unkillable god did and broke the curse. If he had to, Sylver would become a follower of this god, so the traitor continued to be reborn and suffer. Sylver hoped for their own sake they weren’t.
Trying to gauge how long it’s been since Flesh heard about Sylver’s death and the Ibis’s disappearance was pointless. He was, despite appearances, almost 30 years old right now. And since he lived for another 10 years after hearing about the Ibis, it meant a minimum of 40 years had passed since then.
With a maximum ranging anywhere to 100, 1000, or 10,000 years. Not to mention, with how fragmented all of their memories of their past lives were, it was impossible to tell exactly what happened to the Ibis. Flesh didn’t pay too much attention to it, other than hearing about it from time to time, and was busy getting revenge for his father, via killing whatever Bones called himself at that point in time.
The connection between them and the Ibis was paper-thin, but at least Sylver had something. He would still cross the Asberg and go see it himself, but he wouldn’t survive a day there as he was right now. He couldn’t even blame the people, or cats, Kitty had sent to scout the area, given how dangerous it was. But now he was regretting not telling her about the Ibis and simply sticking to names.
But he didn’t trust her enough for that, not yet at least. He didn’t trust Flesh or Bones either, but they were necessary, and he didn’t have a whole lot of alternatives. On top of that, he always had a fondness for people who pissed gods off.
The magic Sylver used to move the specters into their temporary bodies was complicated. The spell that Bones had used to lock the two of them down didn’t affect their souls, which gave them plenty of room to move around. Putting either of their entire souls into the temporary bodies was out of the question, but using a tiny piece as a reference, and mirroring their souls, for lack of a better word, was relatively easy. But it did take a while.
Distance was an issue with something like this, but Sylver was confident there was enough range for them to make it to Arda. Worst case scenario, their souls would snap back here and he would gather everything he needed and go through the crypt again. Why exactly the crypt had chosen to move Sylver from the 2nd zone to the last room, skipping 5 levels, was something Bones didn’t know.
He guessed that Sylver had triggered a safeguard or something of that nature, and the crypt’s defense system moved him to the end to kill him or as a way of keeping him away from the artifacts hidden on levels 3 through 7. The 30 dead people here came here in a similar fashion, but Bones said it was because they knew how to bypass the crypts system. They were simply unlucky they weren’t prepared for the unimaginably powerful miasma Bones’s body had flooded the room with.
Sylver also learned that Bones was the one responsible for creating the shadow-bound creatures, if inadvertently. It was his spell, but the crypt copied it and used it without his input. The sword whip, Sabo, the spearman, the harpies, and all the proto zombies littered around the place were the works of the crypt, not Bones. Which meant it was highly likely this was a crypt made by one of Igri’s students.
Bones said he didn’t find any notes or anything here, but he did have to fight the bone creature that was now frozen in time and in the middle of being decapitated by Flesh. Once he killed it, it became a kind of armor, with the real Bones inside. How he managed to become powerful enough to have such a massive soul was a mystery to Sylver and Bones alike, but he was certain he was barely in his 40s right now.
Sylver added finding a way to deal with their memory erasure and fragmentation to his mental to-do list. Bones would show him how the magic that formed the shadow-bound creatures worked, but that would be later.
“It can’t be this simple,” Bones said, as Sylver finished stitching the skin on the torso closed and did his best to hide the stitches.
“It isn’t, but we would be here all day if I tried to explain the intricacies of what I’m doing. I’ve also done this spell about a thousand times in the past so I know what I’m doing. It’s a variation of astral projection, I could sit down in one place, and stand up in a different body hundreds of thousands of miles away. Faster than teleportation, zero risks to me if the body is destroyed, and I could mold it to appeal to whoever it is I’m negotiating with. You’d be surprised how many cultures have an issue with a man as pale as I was,” Sylver explained. He placed a hand on both of the heads of the two bodies, and forced mana into them.
Their arms and legs twitched, as if they were having a seizure, but all the stitches held, and the spell framework inside remained intact. The two nude bodies glowed a bright yellow as Sylver connected all the muscles and the nerves together, and finally prepared the base of the skull and the spine for possession.
“The Soleus isn’t connected,” Bones said absentmindedly.
Sylver checked and was genuinely surprised the specter was right.
Am I that distracted? How did I miss it?
“It is so nice to have a fellow necromancer around. Do you have a specialty? I know you can use time-related magic, but what else?” Sylver asked. He connected the nerves to the muscles in question while Bones talked.
“I don’t have a specialty. My knowledge is fragmented; I know for a fact I’m missing a great deal of the basics of magic. A lot of what I can do is done off muscle memory, in the metaphorical sense. I know what works, and what doesn’t, but even I don’t always understand why. I’m also sorry to say, but I’m not a devoted necromancer. It was a means to an end, nothing more, no offense,” Bones explained. He floated down to watch as Sylver gently cut the leg open and corrected his mistake.
“None taken. I’ll admit I’m not as… unfaithful to the title as you are, but I won’t hold it against you. Magic is a tool, nothing more, nothing less… This is a strange question, but when did you start seeing the system?” Sylver asked. He felt the trace of a buzz behind his head, but decided this would be worth it.
“Oh, I’m sorry to say but our unique classes kind of make sharing skill or perk requirements useless. Not to mention, in this lifetime everything was handed to us. Flesh got all his power from his holy sword, and I got mine from ritual sacrifice. That’s actually how it started this time, I’m fairly certain my cult killed and ate the head of his temple, or something like that,” Bones explained.
“In the future, you should keep those kinds of things to yourself. I do understand you were a different person back then, to an extent, but it would be hard to explain to other people, not everyone can understand doing what you have to for power… But cannibalism aside, I meant, when did it start existing?” Sylver asked. He felt the buzz intensify, but it was oddly muted.
“My unique class, or what do you mean?” Bones asked.
“Everything. Panels, numbers, perks, traits, skills, how long has it been since you’ve had it?” Sylver asked calmly. The bodies were nearly ready now.
“I don’t understand the question,” Bones said. He floated out of the way so Sylver could stand up without touching him.
“I mean, when did it start? It didn’t exist in the past, when I was alive, but it’s here now,” Sylver said. He realized only now that apart from Lola, he’d never discussed this with anyone.
“I mean, it changed slightly over the years, I think, but it’s still the same. I think I’ve heard somewhere that it changes as the people who use it do, custom classes and custom skills and the like. But I don’t know or remember enough to say that with certainty,” Bones answered.
“Was there ever a point where you didn’t have a class and didn’t have a level or have the ability to increase your strength or dexterity?” Sylver asked.
Both Bones and Flesh looked at him as if he had just shat himself. There was a look of worry and pity in their eyes.
“No… At least not that I can remember. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say,” Bones said carefully. Flesh nodded along, and looked as confused as Bones did.
Sylver silently started to prepare the two vessels while he mentally added an extremely worrying possibility to his long list of potential explanations as to how he ended up inside of a tiny silver needle.
I’ve been transported to an alternate Eira. I’m not just a continent away from my home, I’m an entire world away.
“Alright, relax as much as you can, and I’ll try to do this as gently as possible,” Sylver muttered, as he started to apply the spell to Bones’s and Flesh’s souls.