Both Masha and Misha continued to sit right next to their respective corpses and watched the bubbles float off their peeling skin. At the very top of the large glass container, shades scooped away the layer of dead flesh and placed it in a large basin, to be burned at a later date. Sylver used the back of his sleeve to wipe away a small bead of sweat off his eyebrows and added yet another tube into the man’s body.
As of last night, the Left Tooth was down 4 more members.
Courtesy of Masha luring them in under the guise of whatever the woman’s name was.
The 4 men currently with multiple tubes coming out of their chests and sides had attempted a rescue operation in the middle of the night.
Sylver was dead asleep in a drunken stupor, and Misha made a soundproof sphere around him, while Masha and Spring handled the intruders.
She created an illusion of the woman crawling down the white stone path while leaving a trail of blood behind her, from her chopped-off legs, and the many many burn marks all over her screaming with unbearable agony on face.
Sadly, it didn’t work quite as intended, as the group of 4 left 1 person outside the gates just in case. A very gentle push from Spring made the man stumble through the gates and that was enough for Masha to dig her metaphorical claws into him.
After that, she overpowered all four of them and knocked them out, after which Spring and the other shades dragged the 4 bodies down into Sylver’s workshop, stripped them, shaved them, washed away the blood, and prepared all the tools Sylver would need to add them to the corpse repairing spell.
By the time Sylver woke up, it was the middle of the day, and he couldn’t recall a single thing that had happened after he finished off Lola’s bottle of black ale. According to Spring, he spent most of the night talking to Lola and consoling her when she started to cry.
Spring wasn’t able to understand what they were talking about since without Sylver’s input he was limited only to Eirish, and Sylver and Lola spoke exclusively in what Spring assumed was elvish. Spring guessed that the topic of Leke came up at one point or another since he heard both of them say her name several times.
Late into the night Tamay entered the office and dragged a sleeping Lola home, while Sylver rode home on Ulvic’s back, and then turned into smoke and lazily flowed into his bed.
Sylver tightened the stitch until it stopped bleeding, and connected the small tube up to the slightly glowing copper bowl. He watched it for a few seconds and double-checked that everything was working fine before he cracked his neck and spoke towards Misha and Masha.
“I might be gone for a while. I’m leaving 10 shades here to help you out with the house. Lola is handling finding staff and the like, as well as repairs, use the shades until then. They’ll handle feeding and keeping these guys alive for you, just make sure there’s always some kind of raw meat in that basin over there. I’m locking this room, just in case, but don’t let anyone Lola specifically doesn’t say inside. Nobody else is allowed in here,” Sylver explained, as he cracked his knuckles and walked towards the two large glass tanks.
“How long are you going to be gone for?” Misha asked from within the liquid and bubble-filled tank.
“I’m going to be doing a bit of surgery on myself tonight… and afterward I’m going to go straight on a quest. I left some gold in here, in the event you’re done healing before I return. But I’ll say it again, don’t try to leave the house until the spell that’s separating your souls is finished. I’m not used to using unprocessed mana straight from a leyline, so it’s best to be a bit more cautious than usual,” Sylver said, as he gestured towards the small chest sitting on the stairs that lead to the secret door that opened into the master bedroom.
He found that the proper way to open the aforementioned secret door was by solving a weird puzzle thing on the other side of the house, that Sylver dismantled along with all the other nonsense Misha and Masha knew about. All the secret passages have been trapped or cursed so no one but Sylver could use them, the hidden room behind the fireplace was sealed shut and cursed, and Sylver collected 17 different keys that were hidden behind portraits, inside statues, and one that required playing a specific sequence on the grand piano in the ballroom.
The keys were hung downstairs in Sylver’s workshop because he only found what 5 of them opened and decided to keep them around just in case he found 12 more keyholes.
“You’re sick?” Masha asked. Sylver was caught slightly off guard by the genuine worry in her voice.
“No. But I’m weak, and since I can’t do anything to fix my magical weakness, I decided to fix my physical weakness,” Sylver explained.
“So you know how to bring a body back to life, enchant a house with enough magic that even we feel restricted, but you can’t do anything to strengthen your magic?” Masha asked.
“Maybe can’t is the wrong word to use. It’s better to say I’m not strong enough to handle anything I could do. There’s also the issue of collecting materials, but more in the sense of the time it would take. Not to mention, I’m not entirely certain how exactly the system… how exactly it would affect my class and skills and the like,” Sylver said, as he turned into smoke and funneled through a tiny hole in the bookshelf that hid his workshop.
Rigged with enough curses that anything smaller than a cat would be instantly vaporized if it tried to force its way inside.
And anything bigger than a cat was going to wish it were vaporized.
“So when will you be back?” Misha asked.
“A month maybe. Possibly two, I’m on a schedule so I’m not leaving the continent or going too far away from the teleportation network. In the meantime, as I said, if you have problems call for Lola, she knows what to do,” Sylver said, as he walked down the large staircase and opened the door outside into the garden.
“What happens if you die? Hypothetically speaking, I mean,” Masha asked, adding the second part after she realized how bad it sounded.
“If you mean what happens if I don’t come back, nothing. Our deal still holds. Guard the house, and when your bodies are healed, and your souls have been separated from this space, you’re free to do as you wish. Stay here and work as guards, get access to my knowledge and connections and become very capable and powerful mages. Or take however much gold you can carry and live your near-immortal lives wherever and however you wish,” Sylver said, as he reached the gates and waited for the barrier to make a hole for him to walk through.
Masha and Misha were both eerily quiet while Sylver waited, and Sylver just barely heard Misha as the gates swung closed behind him.
“Good luck!” Misha shouted. Sylver smiled and nodded at them and turned into smoke and funneled down into the rain gutters.
Sylver held the helmet down with his left hand and pressed the trigger with his right. The small metallic cylinder shot out of his hand and bounced off the wooden wall, before falling to the ground.
“The tips are a treated titanium alloy. They’ll snap before they’ll bend, but without enchanting them, anything thicker than 2 centimeters is out of the question. Unless you have enough raw strength to use them as a plain old dagger, but that defeats the point. They’ll work against chainmail, but you need to get the angle right. Also, the wounds they make aren’t that severe, unless you hit a vital spot. My advice would be to go for the head and eyes, you have a better chance of getting lucky with those than trying to shatter their joints or pierce their heart or something,” Salgok said, as the small cylinder floated back into his hand and he put it back into the large box full of identical cylinders.
“It’s alright, they’re perfect, thank you. And the other thing I asked you to look into?” Sylver asked.
Salgok smiled and pulled down his left glove to show a scar in the shape of a nail on his wrist. It was darker than Salgok’s other scars, down to the point it almost looked like a tattoo as opposed to a scar.
“So, the bad news is that it’s just like you thought and it doesn’t work on that hammer you gave me. And it doesn’t work as a storage chest either, you can summon a small box, but when you unsummon it the things inside just fall to the floor. But here’s the good news,” Salgok said, as a small grey nail appeared in his hand. He grabbed it with both hands and grunted as he snapped the small nail into two.
An identical one appeared in his hand, at the same time as the two broken half nails disappeared.
“Huh…” Sylver said as Salgok charged the nail and made it fly out of his hand and through the helmet that was still on the table. The nail disappeared while embedded in the helmet and appeared in his hand.
“The only downside is that getting the scar really hurts. Like sticking your hand into a white-hot furnace, and I say that from personal experience. It feels like being branded, but even ice doesn’t help with the pain. And it doesn’t even increase your physical endurance. The scar doesn’t itch, but I have no idea how it will work for something bigger. My personal opinion is to just forget about this rune and sell it off or something,” Salgok offered, as he held one hand over the scar and pulled it back to reveal a rune laying on top of a glowing nail.
“Is that going to heal?” Sylver asked, with a finger pointed at the nail-shaped scar that hadn’t gone anywhere.
“Of course. Although I have a bunch of racial perks that I’m going to go on a limb and guess you don’t have. So I don’t know if it will heal if you use it. You could try what the temples sometimes do to deal with scars, cut the chunk of scarred flesh away and use healing magic to grow back fresh skin without a scar, but your guess is as good as mine if it will work with this. It’s a [Legendary Quality] rune, it doesn’t exactly play by the normal rules,” Salgok said, as he walked over to the next table and pulled back the cloth.
The whole thing had been polished to the point that it would have had a mirror finish, if not for the fact that Salgok coated it with the same material all of Sylver’s darts were, which made them very dark and hard to see even under good light. Sylver picked it and ran his hand down its handle.
“I followed the blueprint down to the letter. Although I don’t understand why you want a hollow head for an ax,” Salgok explained, as he turned the ax over in Sylver’s hand and Sylver saw that the head of the ax was mostly empty.
With just enough room for Sylver to stick one of his infinite bombs into it.
“How many hits until it breaks?” Sylver asked, as he experimentally spun the ax around in his hand. The balance was perfect.
“Depends on the hits. But if we’re talking monster carapace or good enchanted armor, about three, if you’re lucky. Although if you pour some mana into it, you could probably make it last a while. But I’ll say it again, it’s going to hurt like nothing you’ve experienced,” Salgok warned, as the [Rune Of The Defiant Armsmaster] started to glow in his hand. Sylver put the large ax down and watched as Salgok hit it 9 times with the rune until he got it right and an identical rune appeared on the ax. The rock in his hand turned into grey dust and flowed into the now glowing red rune on the ax.
“Do I need to grab it with the hand I intend to summon it into, or does the location of the scar not matter?” Sylver asked.
“Doesn’t matter. You can wrap it up in a blanket and take it home if you want. But my workshop is soundproofed if you want to do it here. And I’m not going to judge you if you have trouble tolerating the pain… Unless you shit yourself, in which case you’re cleaning it up, and I’m never going to let you forget it. But other than that, be my guest,” Salgok said with a slightly insulting smile, as he took a step away from the ax.
Sylver’s robe parted into two and revealed his pale chest. He cracked his neck and turned around, and while smiling at Salgok laid down on top of the glowing ax with his back.
Sylver was about to stand up when he gasped and a tear rolled down from his eye. He gritted his teeth so hard there was a crunching sound. Sylver lay there for a full minute, all the while holding his breath and sweating without blinking or moving, only shivering. Finally, he stood up from the table and swung his arms around to stretch his significantly tighter back muscles.
“You barely flinched? What the fuck, I was drunk when I did the nail and I screamed like a newborn babe!” Salgok argued, as Sylver summoned the ax into his hand and spun it around. It was a thing of beauty.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I barely felt anything,” Sylver said, as he tossed the ax into the air and made it disappear before he caught it. He made it appear and disappear in one hand then the other in quick succession. He briefly glanced at his back’s reflection on a polished shield, and saw that he now had a large dark scar of an ax hanging across his back.
“No, come on, you’re fucking with me, there’s no way-”
“I’m fucking with you, it hurt like a bitch, but I’ve been through worse. My pain tolerance is considerably higher than yours. Despite nearly pissing myself, I wouldn’t even put this in my top 100,” Sylver said, as his robe pulled itself back together and covered him. He tossed the ax into the air and made it disappear.
“Fucks sake. It’s shit like this that makes me glad I never went through with becoming an adventurer. This is 3rd place in terms of pain for me. 2nd place is when I got my arm twisted off in a woodturner. And 1st place involves a freshly sharpened bear trap and walking around the workshop in a pants-less robe,” Salgok said, as Sylver started to laugh.
Sylver spent a while catching up with Salgok before he left to find a quest to test his new weapons on.
“No, read it again, 3 parties minimum,” Shera said while stabbing the piece of paper with her finger.
“You read it again! Recommended 3 parties minimum. Keyword being recommended! And with all of my shades, I have the equivalent of 20 parties with me. Shera, come on. The king of bandits has claimed a town for herself. Presumably with an army of bandits. It’s within spitting distance of a teleportation node, and it’s only 2 days old, they probably don’t even have a proper defense set up!” Sylver said, as he pushed the page towards Shera and for a moment reconsidered having her as his guild representative.
“Their average level is 110, they’re all from a retired mercenary band, and they were strong enough to overpower the army outpost stationed near the town!” Shera countered, although that all sounded like all the more reason to go to Sylver’s ear. Shera must understand that too, as she snatched the page off the table and began reading through it again.
“No…It’s a C class quest? Wait is it… ye-yes! You can’t take this, your rank is too low!” Shera said, practically shoving the page into Sylver's face to prove him wrong, as he calmly lowered it to look at her with a smug smile. “What? Oh fuck, right…” Shera said as she remembered.
“So I guess all that’s left is finding someone to observe me, and I’m free to go on whichever C rank quest I want?” Sylver asked, as Shera just stared at the page and thought through all the rules the guild had ever had.
On the one hand, Sylver liked the care she was showing by attempting to stop him from going on this quest.
On the other, he wondered what exactly he would need to do for her to stop underestimating him. Maybe if he came back from single handedly clearing out an army-sized amount of experienced bandits?
Shera stood up from her desk and walked through the door to go to the back of the guild.
She came back a few moments later with a sealed dark red envelope in her hand and signed the back of it. She scribbled something down on another sheet of paper and handed both to Sylver.
“There’s a man named Lorn somewhere in this military camp. Give this to him, and he’ll be your observer for the bandit clearing quest. If you manage to complete it, he’ll give you a similar dark red envelope to give to us. If you try to tamper with this one or the one Lorn gives you, you’ll receive an automatic failure, and there’s a chance you’ll be banned from working at the adventurer’s guild,” Shera said, with such a serious tone of voice that Sylver almost turned around to look to see if she was speaking to someone else.
“I’ll keep that in mind… Well, in that case, I guess I’ll see you soon. Thanks for all the hard work,” Sylver said, as he gently put the envelope in between one of his notebook’s pages and absorbed it into his robe.
“Good luck!” Shera shouted.