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Ch085-Lost And Found

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“What are you doing?” Misha asked. Sylver had spent the last hour wondering if the girl was going to say anything, given how she’d been watching him since the moment he stepped foot into his new workshop.

“Right now, I’m looking for another vein,” Sylver said, as the five shades helped him gently pull back the recently cut open piece of skin. A sixth one appeared to move the tubes sticking out of the dried-up corpse out of the way.

“How do you even know how to do this? I’ve looked through Deya’s memories, and according to her, necromancers are all but gone. The only one she knew about was a retired old man, who got the class by accident because he was guarding a cemetery for so long,” Misha said.

Sylver stayed quiet for a moment, while he slowly used his magic to inflate the barely visible deflated vein, and then inserted an equally small tube into it.

“If by this you mean how do I know how to rejuvenate a body; the answer is that I stole it from a cult. Cults always have the best magic. Especially the religious cults, those are gold mines. The things people are willing to do when they think their god is on their side and going to reward them is incredible,” Sylver said with a slight smile in his voice as he remembered the literal ton of notes he gathered after killing one such cult.

“The racist ones are even better; they don’t see the people they’re experimenting on as people. Which is just fantastic in terms of research, you can achieve just short of anything if you throw enough pain and suffering at it,” Sylver explained, still smiling as he tightened the suture and a shade helped cut the string.

“What kind of cult was it?” Misha asked. She materialized near the ceiling but kept out of the way to not block the floating light.

“Religious and racist. I think they were human, but they could have been dwarves. Their whole thing was immortality, and in their defense, they were on the right track. Maybe another… What? 10,000 trials and they would have found a sustainable solution? There’s this spell [Draining Touch]. It does as the name suggests and allows you to drain the life and mana out of someone when you’re touching them. Problem is, it’s incredibly inefficient. But this cult thought that if it was done slowly enough, you could transfer more than just a snippet of the person’s strength, but their years of life too,” Sylver explained, as the shades near the large glass tank worked together to get it to open.

They poured the mixture Sylver had prepared beforehand into it and mixed it up. It was annoying to put together the pieces of glass, but Sylver needed to see what was going on inside, and he had Spring to handle it for him.

“Why would they need that many trials? Where would they even find that many people?” Misha asked. She floated out of the way as Masha’s corpse floated into the air and was slowly caught and lowered into the liquid-filled tank.

“To their credit, they did go about it in a kind of smart way. They kidnapped women from outside their cult, kept them as slaves and bred them, and then experimented on the resulting children. Dark magic is a bit different from anything else, primarily because of how dangerous it is. For pyromancers, the worst they can do is make a spell that’s inefficient or one that blows up in their face. Which isn’t a huge problem for them because they’re naturally fireproof,” Sylver explained, as he walked over to the tank and walked up invisible steps to stand on top of it.

“And dark magic?” Misha asked as she floated over to look at the floating tube-filled dead body.

“It is very hard to defend against it. The same is true for the users. Even the rituals aren’t 100% safe, there’s always a great deal of room for error and mistakes, which will all result in either instant death or very slow death. Even small alterations to a spell can have catastrophic consequences, it’s a lot like trying to practice juggling daggers,” Sylver said, as he held his hand over the open hatch, and blood from his cut palm started to drip down into the water.

“Juggling daggers?” Misha asked. Sylver closed his hand and the small beads of blood floating on the surface began to glow a faint yellow light.

“Each mistake hurts and costs you. Dearly in most cases. If you fuck up particularly badly, you end up spending the rest of your life growing hair that’s permanently grey. Although it could be worse, I got off significantly easier than most of my peers. When you get past a certain level of strength you become arrogant and reckless, you already know anything, so of course, your ingenious spell is going to work, why wouldn’t it? You’ve checked it three times, surely you couldn’t be wrong? Then you wake up from a 3-year coma, with a grey head of hair and with such a hard punch to the face that you spend the next month finding bits of your teeth hidden beneath various furniture,” Sylver explained, as the glowing blood spiraled on the surface and then swan downwards onto the shriveled-up corpse.

A large number of tubes extended out of the front and back of its torso, as well as a few in the arms and legs. One side of it was unnaturally flat, on account of the body deteriorating while laying down. The blood entered through a hole in the crumbling skull, and the body twitched.

“Punch to the face? I don’t understand, you punched yourself in the face?” Misha asked. She floated down into the water and looked at the dead body that was beginning to move.

“No, my master punched me in the face. Outside of sparing she very rarely hit me, but knowing what I know now, she should have been much harsher on me. I was trying to permanently give myself mana sight, and it is pure luck I didn’t destroy my mana core in the process. But as far as paying a price for mistakes goes, having oddly colored hair isn’t that bad of a trade,” Sylver said. A wave of light slowly moved through the floating body and it began to inflate and straighten out.

“What were you trying to do when you made your eyes turn black?” Misha asked.

Sylver almost touched his eyes but realized his hands were covered in blood and stopped himself. The body in the tank leaked out of every joint as its back straightened and its claw-like fingers uncurled. The ring of keys that had become embedded into the corpse’s fingers fell to the bottom with a clang.

“No these are… something else. Arguably speaking my biggest fuckup of all time. But it’s fine, it’s the same as the hair, just looks weird, doesn’t do anything,” Sylver said.

He waited for the corpse to finish twitching itself into a standing shape, and then got down from the tank. The tubes sticking out of it were all connected to a large empty bowl, that was made entirely out of carved copper.

From the copper bowl, three large tube bundles connected to three unconscious bodies, that were all laying on their own operating table and covered with a black sheet. Sylver touched one of the carvings on the copper bowl, and a very faint whirring sound could be heard. The whirring sound became quieter as the tubes connected to the three unconscious people began to glow and pulse with life. The copper bowl seemed to smoke for a moment before a much less bright glow traveled up the tubes connected to the corpse.

The floating corpse’s skin began to bubble and peel away, as thin layers of bright red muscles began to appear underneath it. Sylver watched the body for a while before he connected Misha’s already floating and tube-filled corpse to the same copper bowl. The shades closed the hatches on the two tanks.

“And you’re halfway there to being alive again. All that’s left is for the bodies to finish repairing themselves, and you’ll be able to walk around the house with a physical form. And once my spell is finished processing your essences and separating them from the house and each other, you’ll be able to go wherever you want,” Sylver explained as he walked over to the three unconscious bodies and double-checked that all the equipment was properly fastened into them.

“This feels… too easy. I would have thought you would need a ton of specialized tools and crystals and such, but you’re effectively using a big fish tank and some tubes to bring someone back to life?” Misha asked. Her corpse had already regained color and now only looked deflated.

“Well, when your entire school of magic is looked down upon, if not outright illegal, in a large portion of the civilized world, you learn very quickly to work with less than ideal materials. I’ve done much more with much less than I have now, and technically speaking nothing I’m using here is essential. I could have manually transferred the life force from their bodies into yours, but it would have been exhausting and I wouldn’t be able to do anything else while I was at it. There’s also the fact that… not to pat myself too hard on the back here, but I’m very good at what I do. It’s a sort of swordmaster wielding a butter knife, against a novice wielding a holy sword situation,” Sylver explained.

The two bodies inside the tanks were completely invisible now, hidden behind a giant amount of bubbles. The only thing that suggested there was anything inside the large glass tanks, to begin with, was the faint yellow glow that created a distorted silhouette inside the bubbles.

“For all our sakes, I hope this works,” Misha said. Sylver cracked his neck as the shades started to clean everything up and covered the three unconscious Left Tooth members with a black sheet.

“The priestess is here. Sophia,” Misha said while Sylver washed his hands and rinsed his face.

“Is she alone?” Sylver asked.

“No. There are a few priests with her. She’s scared of coming inside, or at least most of the priests near her seem to be,” Misha said. Sylver furrowed his brows for a moment as he finished wiping his hands. He slowly wiped them on a clean towel and stopped as he spoke.

“Would you… no, never mind. It isn’t worth the risk, and it probably wouldn’t work on her,” Sylver said, as he tossed the towel into a shade's hands so it could start washing it to pack away.

“What? I know Masha was a bit intense with what our duties are, but if you need something-”

“I wanted for you to read her mind, but I decided against it. Best case scenario I find out why she wants the cave, but that wouldn’t change anything, and worst case, she catches you in the act, sees it as an attack against her, and then I have to either fight her or run away. Not worth it, please tell her to wait a moment and that I’ll be out shortly,” explained quickly. Misha nodded and disappeared.

*

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*

“I would invite you inside, but I’m still in the middle of settling in, and not fit to see guests yet,” Sylver said, as he materialized outside of the closed gates that lead to his property.

And I haven’t fixed the door that leads down into my workshop.

“He’s dying,” Sophia said without so much as a hint of worry in her voice.

Sylver mentally ordered the shades inside the house to pack his bag for him and to bring it over.

“What did you do?” Sylver asked, equally calm but unlike Sophia, with a bit of panic inside. Nautis would be useless if he died.

“I asked an “expert” in dark magic for a second opinion,” Sophia said. She made the word expert sound like an insult.

“And what did the expert say?” Sylver asked. The gate behind him opened for a moment and a black and yellow hand passed a large bag over to Spring.

“He shit himself. Literally. And then ran away screaming that it was unwise to get involved with something so devious and ungodly,” Sophia answered. Sylver turned around to rummage through the bag Spring was holding while he waited for the faint smile to disappear from his face.

“So how does that translate to the man dying?” Sylver asked. He almost giggled as he said it, but hoped the grinning pride didn’t leak into his voice.

“He made notes while examining it, and I thought I found a weak spot. I asked a few priests for help and… well… he started to vomit… and then spat out one of his kidneys. We believe his stomach ruptured and his insides are now attempting to digest themselves,” Sophia explained, oddly more embarrassed than genuinely worried.

Oh… Right she isn’t getting the only thing she wants regardless of how this ends, why would she care?

“If this results in him dying and being unable to pay you, I’ll cover whatever he promised,” Sophia said, now with a slight downward tilt of her head.

She doesn’t care about Nautis dying, but cares about me getting paid…

Sylver glanced at Spring and the shade split into two, one disappeared into the shadows and went to tell Novva to hurry everything up, while the other remained with Sylver.

“Alright, let’s go. I work better under pressure anyway,” Sylver said, as he turned into smoke and started to fly towards the hotel Nautis was staying at. On the way there he got an idea and had the Spring that was with him split into two again, to tell Novva about the change of plans.

*

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*

There was blood.

A lot of blood.

Some shit too.

But mostly blood.

And what looked like a piece of half-digested lung.

But aside from that, today was turning into a massive confidence boost for Sylver.

First, the expert that was frightened to the extent that he shit himself.

Then Sylver got to see just how much damage one of his weakest curses could do, given enough time.

Sylver ran over to the barely alive Nautis, and he removed a small flask from his robe. Sylver tipped the distilled water into Nautis’s mouth and very gently worked on the curse that was eating Nautis from the inside out. As Nautis swallowed the water, Sylver briefly glanced at his mask-wearing guard and came to a decision. With the two A rank parties gone, Sylver only had one obstacle left.

“Get one of the priests in here, he needs to be healed,” Sylver said. Nautis stirred in his hands, and Sylver lowered him to lay down on the floor. He vomited on himself, and then cleared his throat before he spoke.

“I’m cured?” Nautis asked weakly.

“It’s temporary. This will only work once, I was saving it for just before the ritual, but we don’t have time now. I’ve got a place not far away from here with everything I need, a friend of mine is bringing the other person there. Your guard is going to have to stay behind, the other person insisted on it, and we don’t have time to negotiate,” Sylver explained. He had to be careful to sound concerned and nervous and spoke quickly so Nautis would feel rushed.

Nautis froze as his guard said something.

The guard spoke in a language Sylver didn’t know, probably Vorsy, Nautis’s native tongue, but Sylver heard his name. Nautis said something back to the guard, and the guard nodded, before teleporting away.

“Do what you have to, but if they don’t hear back from me, the entire combined weight of the Black Mane is going to be breathing down yours, and your family’s, neck,” Nautis said. His voice was raspy and gargled, but Sylver could hear the smile in it, even if Nautis’s face was contorted in pain.

Sylver very nearly ruined everything and spoke in his normal voice, but Spring’s hand on his shoulder kept him from snapping.

“You have no right threatening me like this,” Sylver said, his voice calm and altered by his mask. The priest that was in the process of healing Nautis looked up at Sylver and nodded at him.

It was one of Sophia’s personal guards, but it was hard to tell under the veil over the man’s head. It was oddly reassuring that despite the way things were with Sophia, she, or her priests at least, were still on Sylver’s side.

“Maybe not, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. So fix this fucking curse, even if it costs you your life because otherwise, everyone you care for is going to disappear, never to be seen again,” Nautis swore. He started to struggle in Sylver’s hands, and Sylver gestured with his head towards the priest to stop.

In his repressed anger, Sylver got dangerously close to accidentally completely turning the curse off. Nautis’s insides were, if not completely solid, at least in good enough shape that Sylver wouldn’t need to worry about stomach acid burning through Nautis’s spine.

*

*

*

Even though his robe was covered in a mixture of blood and vomit, Sylver was having a very good day. The fact that Melo didn’t hesitate for even a second to drink what Sylver gave him, and didn’t say a single word as he laid down onto the operating table, warmed Sylver’s heart.

Sylver waited for Nautis to become completely unconscious and then took his mask off, and started the ritual.

Sylver removed the curse that permeated every inch of Nautis’s body, with a single tap of his magically charged finger.

Thus concluding their deal, the curse was lifted.

Sylver had done everything in his power to undo the curse someone devious and ungodly had put on him. He placed the small piece of amber between Nautis and Melo and cracked his neck.

*

*

*

[Xander’s Waystone - ??? - Common Quality]
[For every 2 creatures teleported inside Xander’s Hole, 1 may teleport out]
[Amount teleported in: 0]
[Amount that can be teleported out: 0]

Sylver wondered just how much the theory of the system being sentient was true. Aside from the [Common Quality], everything else was spot on. With the exception that Nautis had said his perk specified people, not creatures. Not that it mattered, Sylver was going to capture a few bandits so he would have room to spare when teleporting.

In the…

In the highly unlikely, not even worth considering, event Sylver wasn’t able to save Tuli, he would have a secret base of sorts that he could always escape to. Nautis explained that his perk teleported him and other people away into the same spot he teleported out of while inside Tuli. And when he teleported from inside Tuli to the outside, he always returned to the same spot.

But since Nautis hadn’t bothered to check if this could be changed, or what happens if the spot inside or outside suddenly has a boulder in the place he’s trying to return to, Sylver would be playing it safe and always teleporting midair while on the outside, and from somewhere safe and secluded while inside Tuli.

Melo stirred awake and Sylver walked over to stand next to him.

“Is it over?” Melo asked. Spring handed him his shirt back, as Sylver peeled back the bandage on his chest. It was nice to have access to high-class healing potions.

“You tell me. Any new skills? Perks? Class? Level? Anything?” Sylver asked as Melo’s eyes seemed to glaze over for a moment.

“Give me a second,” Melo said. Sylver waited for nearly a full minute as Melo read through his status and skills and perks and everything.

“Nothing. The ritual didn’t work?” Melo asked.

Sylver rubbed his chin while Melo drank the healing potion Spring gave him and started to pull his shirt on.

Is it possible that the only thing that the system recognizes as Nautis’s magic was the perk his master gave him? And the rest aren’t his, but the systems?

Then I wasted a ton of effort and materials trying to suck water out of a god damn rock…

“Do you feel anything? Pain, or a headache, maybe a small rush of power?” Sylver asked. Melo got off from the table and stretched. He made a gesture at one of the empty bowls on the other side of the room, and it appeared in his hand.

“No, I feel… Normal. I mean, my chest hurts a bit, but you did stick a bunch of needles through my heart,” Melo said, as he pointed at the large basin full of gold-tipped needles that had a wire on their tips that went all the way to Nautis, with needles still embedded in his chest.

Sylver stood quietly for a while longer and kept waiting for something to happen. After all the effort he went through, it seemed like a bit of a waste.

“Fuck it, it is what it is. I’ve got what I wanted, you’ve been paid for your help, and Nautis is about to be auctioned off, never to be seen again. Everyone got what they wanted,” Sylver said. He pushed down his disappointment and walked over to Nautis. Unlike with Melo, Sylver didn’t bother to be gentle or careful and yanked out the gold-tipped needles out of the man’s heart and lungs.

“Since you feel fine, do you mind?” Sylver asked.

“Not at all,” Melo said, as he walked over to Sylver and placed a hand on his shoulder, and Nautis’s chest.

All three of them disappeared.

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KingKennit

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