Ch078-What A Lovely Day
Sylver could have been honest with the villagers, could have explained that blood magic wasn’t inherently evil, could have asked them if the lives of their 2 people were less important than remaining untainted by dark magic. That would have taken time, he would very likely need to convince them, and there would be a chance they really did care about their beliefs more than they cared about the woman and her kid.
Sylver could just distract everyone while Spring searched the kidnapped woman’s house and found old bandages from the woman’s hand injury, and brought them to Sylver once he left the village.
Suffice to say, Sylver chose the second option. He’d be honest with them when he wasn’t in a rush, and when he didn’t get the feeling these people were likely to lynch him if they ever found out he was a necromancer.
“What’s the point of having a hidden lair, if you’re going to surround it with guards? I mean, really? What’s going through his mind?” Sylver asked as he continued to walk towards the aforementioned ‘secret’ lair.
Instead of stepping over it, Sylver purposely kicked his way through the tripwire and activated the trap. Two giant wooden logs came from either side and shattered against one another as they met in the middle, right on Sylver’s torso.
Sylver’s legs continued to walk, unimpeded by the fact that his top half had turned into smoke. Sylver’s torso and arms reformed perfectly fine a moment later, and Sylver adjusted the mask on his face as poison-tipped darts flew through his body, and embedded themselves into the tree trunks on the other side.
“He probably didn’t think there was a chance anyone would be able to get a bird’s eye view of the area. The distortion field is relatively strong, and we only saw it on our third flyover. Plus, I’m fairly certain the golems activated after we landed,” Spring countered.
Sylver nodded as a giant piece of wood, riddled with metallic spikes, harmlessly swung through him.
“I do like that he’s stopping people from teleporting. It likely means he can’t teleport,” Sylver said, as a string released in the distance and a razor-sharp wire passed through Sylver’s torso as if he were made of soft cheese. The floor disappeared beneath Sylver’s feet and a deep dark hole threatened to swallow him up.
He continued to walk unimpeded as if it wasn’t there and didn’t even glance down at the snakes lying in wait below.
Sylver triggered two more traps at a leisurely pace before he replaced himself with a shade and turned into smoke. Sylver left Spring with the sacrificial shades and moved through the dense branches towards the entrance.
Sylver heard another crash behind him, and felt the same weak wave of mana move from the trap, towards the area he was going towards. Sylver slowed down slightly as he approached the area, and made a small hole in the earth below. He extended the hole towards the cave entrance and funneled himself through it.
Two large wooden golems were hidden in two holes in the cave’s ceiling. They were in the fetal position, their arms and legs folded up against their bodies to take up as little space as possible. Sylver checked how much mana he had left after digging a hole to get here, and decided he had enough for this.
The stone around the two golems compressed and kept compressing until their small hiding spot became too small to drop out of or move. Sylver materialized, and the two holes closed up entirely. Something dripped down from the ceiling, as Spring set off another trap, and another message was sent towards the person inside the cave.
The cave was wonderfully made, it was clean, the flooring was coarse and not slippery, and there was a strange smell of lavender in the air. The light that came from the entrance bounced off the shiny walls and illuminated the whole thing quite well.
Sylver’s boots didn’t make any sound as he silently walked through the cave. He felt another wave pass through him, as Spring set off another trap. Sylver continued to walk and smiled ever so slightly as he heard the sound of wood hitting wood, and someone muttering to himself in a panicked tone. Sylver waited for Spring to spring another trap.
As Sylver felt the wave pass over him, he smashed the door and ran inside the room. Sylver’s feet were already running towards the man in the process of enchanting an extra-large wooden golem when the man looked up at him. Sylver snapped his fingers, and the entire room was illuminated by a blinding white light.
The man screamed, and the giant golem swung at Sylver.
Sylver moved out of the way, and jumped into the air, as the golem swung again and missed. Sylver ignored it and jumped off its arm to close the distance. He reached the man and managed to place his hand onto his forehead.
The man’s robe tore open, as hundreds of barely visible metallic strings exploded out of it and wrapped themselves around Sylver. The man continued to scream, even as the strings tightened around Sylver’s body and cut deep into his robe.
Sylver stepped out from behind the broken-down door and ran past the tied-up Reg. He turned into smoke for a moment and appeared behind the still screaming man. Sylver kicked the back of the man’s knee and forced him to the ground in a tight chokehold. The strings that were wrapped around Reg starved to unravel, but before they could retract or curl away, more shades appeared next to Reg and were caught by the strings.
Sylver stabbed a finger into the screaming shaman’s eye and sent a pulse of mana through the man’s head. He stopped screaming and became completely limp almost instantly.
Sylver rolled the man’s body off him and used his robe to help him stand up. The giant wooden golem, the strings, and according to Spring, the wooden golems that had gathered at the entrance, all went limp simultaneously. Spring took the destroyed shades with him and appeared inside the cave along with Sylver.
“You’ll have to replace that eye,” Spring said, as Sylver walked over to the mother and child, and rusted the lock before ripping it off.
“I’ll need to replace a lot, the man is missing his right leg, left shoulder, and his organs don’t feel all that healthy either,” Sylver said, as he inspected the two of them and was surprised to find they were largely unharmed. Although both of their heads were recently shaved.
Dai and Sho both helped Sylver gently pull them out of the cage, and carried them outside, while Sylver looked around the place. Half-finished wooden golems littered the walls and table space, along with various wooden body parts in various stages of completion.
Sylver picked up one of the half-finished heads to inspect and didn’t like what he felt when he sent a pulse of mana through it. Sylver put the head down gently and placed a hand on the giant wooden golem.
“Gather all the golems, and make a pile in that corner,” Sylver ordered, as he pointed towards one of the walls.
Sylver stabbed the giant wooden golem in the chest and wiggled the dagger back and forth until the wood cracked open. Sylver shoved his hands into the crack, and nearly pulled a muscle as he forced it open.
A lavender-scented liquid spilled out of the empty shell, followed along by stitched-up hearts, lungs, and intestines. The organs spread out on the coarse floor and floated away from the giant immobile golem. Sylver coated his hand in darkness and pulled more of the organs out, as he carefully placed his head inside the thing.
“Technically speaking, this is a very rudimentary form of necromancy,” Sylver said. His voice echoed as it bounced around the giant golem’s empty torso.
Spring silently carried on moving the surprisingly heavy wooden golems towards the corner. They sloshed as they were lifted and moved.
“I was wrong. He’s just a sorcerer, not a shaman. A shaman wouldn’t be this inefficient,” Sylver said.
Sylver walked over to the unconscious sorcerer and used [Identify] on him.
[Human (Dark Sorcerer + ??? ) – 61]
“Did you find any notes?” Sylver asked. Spring shook his head.
“Figures. What a classic sorcerer thing to do. I bet he built all of these on pure instinct… Find the most intact one you can, and move it outside,” Sylver said. Spring nodded and did just that.
“With mages, at least they keep a record of what they found and what they’re doing. Sorcerers are worthless in that regard, they know things they shouldn’t and use magic that shouldn’t work, it’s such a waste of time fighting them,” Sylver complained. Spring perked up at this.
“Is Bones going to be a sorcerer then?” Spring asked.
“What? No, why would he? He’s a mage, I checked. Sorcerers and mages are the same on a biological level, it’s their mana that’s different. Since Bones’s core will be his, he’ll be a mage, albeit a very weak one,” Sylver said.
“Why are we giving him a magically capable body? Wouldn’t we want him as defenseless as possible, in the event he tries something?” Spring asked.
“I trust him… And he’s an extra layer of defense for Lola once he gains a bit more power. Worst case scenario, I snap my fingers and his soul is disconnected from his body and snaps back to his real body trapped inside the crypt,” Sylver explained.
“And if he undoes whatever you do?” Spring asked. He found a wooden golem that was completely intact and sent it away to be moved to the entrance.
“I want to say he can’t, but I’ve lived long enough to know nothing is impossible. It would take him a long time to do it without me noticing. But I’m giving the two of them the benefit of the doubt right now. It’s worth the risk if I can figure out how the traitor managed to reincarnate so many times. Who knows? Maybe the two of them have the secret to time travel hidden somewhere inside their curse?” Sylver said.
Spring nodded and continued to pile up the wooden golems, while Sylver looked around the room and checked if there was anything worth taking from here. It was amazing how much a man could achieve using a woodworker’s tools and some specialized surgical equipment. Sylver threw everything onto the pile of golems and didn’t take a thing.
Sylver waited until the fire spread everywhere, before blocking up the cave and sealing it inside. The wooden golems were very flammable, as was the liquid the organs inside of them were suspended in. He normally would have waited for them to burn all the way through, but he didn’t have the time right now.
The sorcerer’s body was gently wrapped up and hidden inside a makeshift casket. Sylver performed very minor surgery on the back of the sorcerer’s head and ensured that there wouldn’t be any brain damage. The man was effectively in a coma and would remain so until Sylver replaced his soul with Bones’s. Despite very likely deserving some sort of torture and punishment for the methods through which he created his golems, Sylver didn’t see the point of it.
They were all dead and now burned, any torture inflicted on him wouldn’t change anything. It would just be a waste of time and effort and would run the risk of the man doing something that ended up with him escaping. Keeping him in a coma and blissfully unaware of his fate was better, and easier.
The woman was named Nika. And her daughter was called Tesa. There was a great deal of crying on their parts, that Sylver understood but wasn’t prepared to deal with. When they asked about the ‘others’ Sylver lied and said they were the only ones there. He told the same lie to the village chief, and only later told Shera what he’d actually found. He kept the details brief and short, but Shera’s face turned pale regardless.
Apparently, the number of golems the sorcerer had in his lair that Sylver burned matched closely to the 39 women and children that had been kidnapped in that area over the several months. Sylver accepted 400 gold for the quest, given that the sorcerer was caught in an explosion and Sylver hadn’t managed to touch his body with his tag to confirm his death.
The weather was beautiful for flying thought.
With the level being unknown, the bounty was a gamble. The warrior apparently entered the store by punching his way through the reinforced door and was able to outrun the guards and disappear into the sewer systems. Sylver spoke to the merchant and was given two metallic rods with the numbers N177 on one, and H013 on the other.
Placing the two on a string, Sylver watched them pull ever so slightly towards one direction. He took the two rods and said he would be back with the stolen gauntlets and boots. When Sylver asked if they needed the thief’s body, he got a very strange look from the merchant, until Sylver explained that his magic didn’t leave traces if he had to fight seriously.
The merchant answered that as long as the items were returned, he didn’t particularly care about the thief.
Sylver found the main entrance into the sewers easily enough. He’d been here before when Nameless’s group had originally kidnapped him. Although they showed him a deserted area he could enter and exit from, Sylver decided there wasn’t any point in being covert about this. With Ron’s ability to create a door directly into Sylver’s workshop, Sylver left the sorcerer's body inside and would do the same once he found the thief and incapacitated him.
Apparently, Ron had a very large number of “doors” hidden all over Arda, and it somewhat explained why he was affiliated with the Cord and the cats and just about everyone and everything. Sneaking contraband inside with this ability was probably so easy, it felt like cheating.
Sylver had planned to sneak up on the thief, he was prepared to chase after him, but what he wasn’t prepared for was a half-naked man wearing nothing but steel gauntlets and steel boots waiting for him. Other than that, he had a loincloth that was tied far too tightly around the things it was meant to hide
[??? (Warrior + Warrior + Warrior) – 44]
There was something strange about the man, that Sylver couldn’t put his finger on. The man just stood there, as Sylver calmly approached him. It was only when Sylver looked at him with his [Mana Perception] did he realize what he was seeing.
“Ah… You know, I sometimes have a hard time not believing in fate,” Sylver said, as he continued to walk towards the half-naked man.
“Why?” The man asked. Boy by the pitch of his voice. Sylver approached the half-naked boy.
“Because I was hoping to meet a cultivator, but I didn’t plan on it. You being here makes my life about 10 times easier,” Sylver answered. Sylver stopped walking.
“I think you’re going to find your life is about to get a whole lot more difficult with me being a cultivator. For one, I can hurt you even mid teleportation. For two, I’m immune to magic. For three, I’m faster, stronger, and smarter than you. And for four, I’m-”
“You’re not immune to magic,” Sylver corrected. The boy laughed slightly, but it sounded more like a giggle with his voice.
“I am. I walked right through their barrier, and it didn’t so much as touch me,” the boy argued.
“Fair enough, let me rephrase. You’re not immune to dark magic,” Sylver said. The boy raised an eyebrow as he puffed out his chest.
“How about a wager? If you can’t take me down with one hit, you hand over those two plates, and let me go? And if you do, then you may do with me as you wish,” the boy offered.
Sylver cautiously raised an eyebrow at this but realized that with the temple of Ra around, the chances this kid had ever met anyone who could use enough dark magic to harm him was close to zero. Just because people call something dark magic, doesn’t necessarily mean it was dark magic.
A better man might have spared the kid and listened to his story and the reason as to why he decided to steal armor when he very likely could have easily earned the amount the two pieces cost. Sylver could have told him that this isn’t how a martial artist, or a cultivator, should act and offered him guidance and the like.
But Sylver hadn’t had a chance to sleep on something that wasn’t flying at a breakneck speed for over a week and wasn’t as good of a man as people sometimes considered him to be.
And more honestly, this type of arrogant bullshit gave cultivators a bad name, and Sylver didn’t like that.
“Sure,” Sylver said. He reached to his left and pitch-black smoke escaped from his sleeve. It floated aimlessly around his hand and snapped into a familiar shape in a single motion.
“Since you’re putting your life on the line, I’ll answer you in kind. This is called the Forbidden Unholy Scythe of Life, Loss, and Love. I can only use it once every 20 years, and you should consider yourself fortunate to meet your end by such a legendary weapon only available to those who have mastered the art of death,” Sylver said with a shuddering voice.
Sylver didn’t know what irked him more. That the boy looked slightly scared, or that he looked slightly excited.
“Ready?” Sylver asked. A stupid question, but then again this worked better if the opponent was ready for it and focused on the scythe. Sylver’s other hand held a dagger that was hidden inside his sleeve.
The boy took a deep breath before he nodded.
A small piece of Sylver was skeptical. The kid was too sure, there was something he was missing. As a precaution, Sylver spread his shades around the place to check for anything suspicious.
Sylver took the proper stance when attacking with a scythe, and took a deep breath before he started to run. The bricks crackled beneath Sylver’s feet as he ran, right up until the point that the wall to his left exploded and sent Sylver’s body flying to the other side.
Sylver heard a shrill laugh, followed by a gargled scream as Spring’s garrote tightened around the kid’s neck and he was punched in the chest and stomach until he passed out.
Sylver lay beneath the smoldering rubble, while he reflected on himself.
I really need a break, a god damn child outsmarted me.
Sylver turned into smoke and limped over towards the blue-faced boy. He had Spring flip him over, and used the hand that wasn’t bent the wrong way to gently stop the brain from functioning, without causing irreversible brain damage.
[Human (Rogue + Rogue) – 31]
“How much of what he said do you think was a bluff?” Sylver asked. He had been too far away to feel the boy’s soul and felt embarrassed more than anything.
“I don’t know… Half? Maybe?” Spring offered. He was about to say something when Sylver nearly fell down and had to be propped up to stay upright.
“I think my pelvis is broken,” Sylver said. He made the robe part to see the damage and saw a chunk of metal sticking out of his side. He ripped it out and used his hand to inspect further down and breathed a sigh of relief when everything important was still in one piece.
Sylver sent a pulse of mana through his own body, and just about every bone on his left side was either fractured or broken.
“So he pretended to be a warrior to lure people down here? Trap-based class? He didn’t use so much as a drop of magic, and I don’t see a trigger or anything on him. Timed or motion sensor?” Sylver hypothesized.
“Does it really matter? You won, he lost,” Spring said.
Sylver ran his tongue over his teeth and found several missing.
“Doesn’t feel like a victory. But you’re right, any fight you can walk away from is a victory… There are undead in Ron’s place, one of them is bound to have an undead healing skill or something,” Sylver said.
“Think of it like this. You were overconfident and paid the price. Now you’ll be more careful in the future,” Spring offered.
Sylver tightened his robe around himself to stop the bone fragments from moving around too much. Several had pierced through the skin, but Sylver had already numbed his entire body.
“This wasn’t an overconfidence issue; this was plain stupid. The system said he was a [Warrior] and I didn’t even consider the possibility he wasn’t. I fucked up, it is what it is. You would think there would come a point in life when I’m past learning anything, and yet here we are,” Sylver said. He reached up to scratch his left ear and found it hanging on by a very thin thread. Sylver used some darkness to force it back in place.
“What did you learn?” Sprint asked. The question was genuine, but Sylver couldn’t help but hear it as mocking.
“That I make stupid mistakes when I’m in a rush and I shouldn’t trust the system so much. Look, I’m fine, pack him up, give me a second to fix my leg, and we’ll go hand in this stupid quest. Then I’ll either get healed, or I’ll need to wait until I can walk without having to move my feet like a puppet. And then I’ll go check if the army would be willing to tell me where there’s a camp of enemy soldiers and would let me deal with them completely alone,” Sylver said.
Spring did as he was told and wrapped up the comatose boy into an easy-to-carry bundle. Dai carried him in his hands, and Sylver considered adding spending a day asleep into his schedule.
But there would be time for that later. It was anyone’s guess as to how long Flesh’s and Bones’ temporary bodies would hold, and the sooner they were in permanent physical vessels, the better.
“What about Ron’s Shuba quest?” Spring asked.
“Fuck me, I forgot about it!” Sylver said.
“And you still haven’t chosen a perk for reaching level 60,” Spring reminded in a quiet voice.
Sylver glared at the shade while he looked through the list one more time. There were 2 new ones that weren’t there before. 1 would help immensely with preventing the kind of mistake Sylver had just made.
And the other was exactly what Sylver had been hoping for.
Injuries, mistakes and other nonsense aside, today was a good day.