Ch087-My Troubles Have Trouble With Me
After a change of robes, pants, and another shower to wash away the blood, Sylver almost wished he could simply set his bones on fire again, instead of being here right now. He knocked on the door with one hand, while holding the large bouquet in the other. The bouquet was from a sweet shop and was made up of edible imitation flowers.
Sylver had second, third, and fourth thoughts as he listened to the sound of footsteps getting louder and louder, but he’d already told Novva he’d handle this, and quite honestly the sooner this was done the better.
“Come in, come in, you wouldn’t believe the day I had!” Leke said, as she took the flowers out of Sylver’s hands and disappeared into the kitchen for a moment. She was dressed in a thin robe that she usually wore in the morning, despite it being the middle of the day. Sylver felt around with his soul sense but neither Diarla nor Tera were home.
“There are only like 7 rules for the tournament. And yet every second contestant thinks their magical enhancing drug is somehow allowed, just because it’s their culture’s tradition. Bastards the lot of them, and liars too! Especially the martial artists, they think that just because their drugs are in the form of pills they’re suddenly not against the simplest rules we could possibly have,” Leke complained as Sylver sat down in the living room. “Do you want anything to eat? Tea? Coffee? I’ve got a bottle of wine someone tried to bribe me with and had to call a gift when the guards came over,” Leke offered, holding a half-finished bottle of wine with a label Sylver couldn’t read.
“I’m fine, thank you. I actually came here to-”
“Was it Diarla or Tera? I want to know who I’m no longer talking to,” Leke interrupted. Sylver could tell by her tone but decided to see if playing dumb was an option.
“What?” Sylver asked, as Leke sat down next to him and kicked her feet up into Sylver’s lap.
“Was it Diarla, the mousy-looking girl with short brown hair, or Tera, the alchemist with long black hair that you took out on a date to catch would-be muggers when you only had one working arm?” Leke asked, with her eyes closed as she drank right from the bottle. It was admittedly a somewhat smaller than usual bottle, but Leke wasn’t that big to begin with.
“You’ll have to be specific,” Sylver said, as Leke made herself more comfortable on the couch and moved her legs in a somewhat unfortunate, for the situation, fashion.
“As much as I enjoy watching you squirm and try to lie without lying, I’ve got a two-day shift in a couple of hours, and I would like to move things along. Was it Diarla, or Tera, who told you to stop seeing me?” Leke asked. Sylver tried to sit up straighter but he found his legs pinned in place and remained as he was.
“I would prefer not to answer. But more importantly, I agree. Aside from the fact that I’m quite likely to end up dead, there’s also the fact-”
“And you think I’m such an idiot that I didn’t know that? Or am I an idiot for thinking that a person with the word “adventure” in their job description would be open to the idea of settling down and getting married? Or that someone who uses dark magic is even capable of having children? Be honest, is that really how little you think of me?” Leke asked, kicking Sylver in the thigh with each question.
Sylver turned to look her in the eye but couldn’t get a proper read on her. Even with how close she was, she was doing something that was messing with his soul sense. Sylver couldn’t even tell if she knew she was doing it.
“First of all, I’m capable of having children. I purposely made it so I can’t have them right now, but I wouldn’t even need an hour to turn everything back on. And I don’t think you’re stupid, I just thought that maybe you’re seeing things with rose-tinted glasses, and either you purposely ignored what you knew to be true, or thought you would be able to change things,” Sylver explained.
“…Look, cards on the table, what’s the big problem here?” Leke asked. She kicked her feet up onto Sylver’s lap and moved them in an unfortunate, given the topic of conversation, way.
“The problem is that I’m not in a position to give you what you want, and I very likely won’t be in such a position for a very long while. So although we both enjoy each other’s company, it’s ultimately unfair to you,” Sylver explained.
“What did she tell you? She told you about Klein, right?” Leke asked, with a gesture using the bottle in her hand.
“No, just that you wanted to start seeing someone else, but couldn’t do it because of me,” Sylver answered.
“See… The thing is that that isn’t entirely true. Klein is… He isn’t someone somebody in my position can just say “no” to. But if I were seeing a certain necromancer that Klein and a majority of the local nobility hold in high opinion, or are wary of for some reason, I get to say “no” without actually saying no. A sort of polite “no” that keeps similar would be suitors away,” Leke explained with a nervous smile on her face as she spoke. She looked towards the floor instead of Sylver’s eyes.
“Ah…” Sylver said as he realized Diarla might have misunderstood something, either by accident or on purpose.
“We’re both consenting adults. Free to make our own decisions and choices. And should the time come in the future that either one of us finds someone else, we stop seeing each other there and then. I know who you are, and I’m not under any illusions as to what this is, so there aren’t any misunderstandings here, apart from that you think that I’m too stupid to make my own decisions,” Leke explained with a bitter tone.
Sylver sat quietly for a while and mulled things over in his mind. Leke drank another quarter of her bottle of wine during that time.
“I mean… As long as we both understand what we’re doing, and we’re both fine with it, there isn’t a problem. But I’m not thrilled about you putting me up against the nobility like this, not directly at least. I work for Lola Aeyri, next time use her name if you have to,” Sylver said, partially stunned at how easily everything had been resolved.
“Great. I have about 3 hours until I need to put on my uniform and spend the next 2 days listening to people who can barely speak Eirish explain why their cursed sword that does all the work for them should be allowed into the arena. So do you want to have a drink and try to make small talk, or can we just go upstairs and you do that thing you did last time you came here. You know, when you-”
“Oh, I uh… I’ve had a bit of surgery done. I’m fine, it’s nothing serious, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to be doing anything too physically demanding until everything fully settled down,” Sylver explained as he got up from the couch and took a few steps away.
“What if I said I’m cross with you for listening to Tera and deciding something for me that you had no right deciding?” Leke asked, as she got up from the couch and her robe all but fell down.
“I have nothing to apologize for. I worked with the information I was provided, and did what I thought was best,” Sylver countered, as Leke didn’t bother to close her robe up, and took another step towards him.
“Well, I still feel kind of angry about it anyway. If only there was something that you could do to calm me down,” Leke offered, letting the robe fall off completely at this point.
“I am going to be gone for a while…” Sylver said, partially to himself, as Leke made a gesture towards the front door and the lock turned and clicked shut.
“As you said, you’re an adventurer, you might die out there. The least you can do is leave me with a nice memory before you go,” Leke said. She stood on the tips of her toes and wrapped her arms around Sylver’s neck. Sylver didn’t react as she pulled herself up.
“It’s bad luck to say that kind of thing,” Sylver said, as he lifted Leke off the ground and started to carry her towards the stairs.
“I thought you didn’t believe in luck?”
“I don’t. You said we’ve got 3 hours?” Sylver asked and sighed as he felt Leke’s hand move down his stomach.
“Don’t worry about the time, let me worry about the time. Just do what you did last time, and maybe this time don’t stop if I start to scream,” Leke explained, as the door to her bedroom opened on its own.
Sylver had a smile on his face as watched the clouds quickly pass him by while Will flapped his wings and slowly but surely gained altitude. His back hurt like a bitch, and he didn’t know if he had pulled a muscle due to the added weight in his chest, or if the nail scratches still hadn’t fully healed.
[Golden Egg], [Hare’s Great Escape], [Iron Chest], and [Duck And Dive]…
I got [Golden Egg] when I got to level 2 in [Koschei]...
[Hare’s Great Escape] when I got to level 4 in [Koschei]…
[Duck And Dive] I got just now when it reached level 5.
I didn’t get anything for level 3, and do I count [Iron Chest] as part of the [Koschei] perks? It mentions the needle, so probably yes.
An egg, a hare, a chest, a duck… Is there a connection I’m not seeing? If we were to go by size it would be egg, hare, duck, chest.
Ducks lay eggs… Egg, duck, hare, chest?
If the chest wasn’t there, all the perks would revolve around living things…
An egg is kind of a chest…
A box without hinges, key or lid. Yet golden treasure inside is hid.
So what would be next? Egg, hare, duck, chest and… An egg can be unfertilized, especially if it’s made of gold.
A hare is alive, a duck is alive, a chest is dead. So the pattern could be one dead thing, 2 living things.
What’s next then? What’s a creature bigger than a chest? A mammal, then a bird bigger than the previous mammal.
Pig? Horse? Then what? Ostrich? It might not even be a mammal; it could be an insect. Or a fish. Or an arachnid. Or another inanimate object. Size might not even be important; it could easily be-
“We’re being followed,” Spring whispered into Sylver’s ear as Will began to move a little faster.
“Can you tell by who?” Sylver asked via tapping his foot without looking away from the clouds.
“No they have masks, and something else, we’re having trouble seeing them. A group of 3 and 5, the 3 just passed us, and the other is approaching from the back. They’re still on the ground, but they’re likely going to teleport up here,” Spring said.
Sylver turned over onto his stomach and yawned loudly as the umbrella hidden inside of his robe slid out of it and disappeared.
He stood up and stretched for a while, before walking to the back of the wyvern and pulling his pants down slightly. Sylver stood there with his piece in his hand and casually leaned forward for a moment. As the teleporter appeared behind him, Sylver leaned back and smashed the back of his head against his attacker’s face and nose.
The woman gasped at the sudden contact, but even with that, she managed to pull the trigger on her crossbow. Sylver’s breath caught in his throat as the silver-tipped crossbow bolt bounced off the back of his indestructible chainmail-covered ribcage. He felt his skin crawl as the umbrella activated and caught him in the effect along with the woman.
The woman dropped the crossbow and it was now falling towards the ground, as Sylver spun around and caught the woman’s silver dagger-wielding wrist with one hand. She made another dagger appear in her other hand, and a shade caught her wrist, but couldn’t disarm her. The dagger shook in her hand, as it somewhat slowly made its way towards Sylver’s face.
Sylver stopped his feet from being glued to Will, and let the woman pull him towards her. He barely caught a glimpse of her terrified eyes through her black cloth mask, as he head-butted her in the teeth and felt the skin on his forehead get scraped off. The woman made another sound and lost strength for a split second.
Sylver’s robe wrapped around what it could reach, and he forced her down onto Will’s back, draining as much health and mana as he could, gaining strength as she lost hers. The woman kicked at him, and Sylver just barely managed to lean sideways to avoid a direct kick to his already abused unmentionables. The woman’s bloodshot eyes stared at him, as Sylver sucked out every drop of mana and stamina that he could reach, pinning the woman down with each passing second.
Spring flung the umbrella towards Sylver, and a shade caught it, before it stabbed the woman in the shoulder, and twisted the ring near the handle, and pressed down as hard as possible. The woman barely grunted as the umbrella’s tip entered her shoulder and went inside.
“You have one chance to tell me who sent you, and what you want, before I disembowel you and turn you into the inverse of a kite,” Sylver said, looking the woman right in the eye as Spring ripped her mask off her face and threw it away.
[Human (Assassin+Assassin+Archer+Rogue) – 103]
The would-be assassin smiled through her bloodied and chipped teeth and tried to spit in Sylver’s face, but the wind blew the red liquid away before it could hit its mark.
“Bad choice, but I respect it,” Sylver said, as Reg grabbed the woman by the side of her head, and turned it sideways with a hard spin until he heard a crunch.
[Human (Assassin+Assassin+Archer+Rogue) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 20 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!
[Necromancer] has reached level 70!
[1 perk available for [Necromancer]]
Sylver stayed where he was, and turned into smoke at the same time as a shade wearing a robe and mask replaced him. The shade created a hammer in one hand using [Tools Of The Shade] and bashed the dead woman’s face in while Sylver put an identical mask on.
In less than three hits the woman’s face was no longer recognizable, it looked like a bowl of bright red chili, more than a human being’s face. Sylver’s smoke forced itself into every crook and crevice he could find in her form-hugging armor, and the shade that was dressed as Sylver stood up and kicked her off Will.
Staying inside his tight confines Sylver only had small gaps in the woman’s armor to see what was going on. Her corpse spun as it fell through the air, and Sylver saw a similarly dressed man appear directly beneath her, with his arms stretched out to catch her.
Sylver cursed that this female assassin didn’t have a cloak or anything, and almost mistimed exiting her armor and reforming behind her, using her spinning corpse to block the man’s line of sight. The man caught the woman a split second before Sylver’s ax passed through his helmet and split his head into two.
[Human (Warrior+Bladesman+Warrior+Rogue) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 30 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!
Sylver turned into smoke and funneled into the rocky ground underneath the two corpses, and waited. He felt the moment Will was killed, although the wyvern was too far away for [Dying Breath] to work.
While still in his smoke form, Sylver opened the umbrella but didn’t activate it. He used some of the woman’s stolen mana to quickly make enough room for himself to materialize and used the extra HP to heal his back and further adjust his insides.
Sylver sat perfectly still for several tense minutes, as he felt two more shades get killed in quick succession.
Sylver heard a noise above him.
“What the fuck!” A young man’s voice said in a tense whisper as he and two more men appeared near the two corpses above Sylver.
“I told you we shouldn’t have taken this job! I fucking told you!” a different voice said, with a forcefully composed tone. It sounded older than the first one. “Fucking necromancer! Defenseless researcher my ass. Can you do anything?”
Sylver’s skin crawled as the healing magic permeated through the dirt below the corpses.
“He killed Thet and Gamm, what do we do now?” a third voice asked. High pitched, possibly a gnome.
“Fix them, use a 90%,” the old man said.
“They’re dead Bet. We’d just end up wasting potions. Eps, status?” the maybe gnome asked. There was a moment of silence as the man with healing magic stopped using it and stood back up.
“Zet, Alph, and Eta said there were two of him that disappeared when they killed the flying thing, but they didn’t get a confirmation, their guess is they were decoys. Bet, it’s your call, what do we do?” the first voice asked.
Sylver wondered if the umbrella would work through the dirt, but decided against it. He used magic to dig directly underneath the two corpses and positioned himself.
“Fall back. We cut our losses, something is going on here, if he killed Gamm we don’t stand a chance one on one, and ambushing him isn’t possible if he’s hiding and on guard…” Bet said, as Sylver heard the faint sound of a sword’s blade catching on its sheath. “Unless of course, he was hiding right HERE!”
Sylver was pinned down against the bottom of his hole as the silver-coated sword passed through his shoulder blade and was stopped by the top of his ribcage, instead of piercing his heart. Sylver heard a shout above him, as the archer shades shot arrows from the trees at the people above.
Sylver grit his teeth as the skin on his hands burned away from touching the silver-coated weapon. He managed to lift the blade for a second before he turned into smoke to avoid contact with it.
Sylver waited in silence for 30 whole seconds, before he peeked out from beneath the two corpses.
He used another one of the decoy shades that looked identical to him and had it materialize near the two corpses and pretended to look around.
They seemed to be gone.
The shades Sylver sent to scout the surrounding area confirmed it.
Sylver kept hiding while the decoy undressed the corpses and looted them. But even after Sylver replaced one decoy with another, no one showed up. Spring returned with Will and the other shades in tow and told Sylver what had happened.
Will was shot with a large arrow, and then a volley of arrows riddled the two decoys that fell from the deceased wyvern with silver-tipped arrows.
Sylver materialized among a crowd of identical-looking shades, black robes that hid everything, along with a plain white mask with a single black line going down the left eye. Sylver crouched down near the two nude corpses and examined them.
“Both had similar training, but not from birth… Right-handed, both of them. The armor is high quality, but nothing enchanted. Either they couldn’t afford it, or they’re used to hunting mages… Probably the latter. Hair is clean, washed recently, they weren’t waiting for me in the middle of the woods, they knew I would be here, they knew when I left Arda…” Sylver said, as he ran his hand through the man’s short hair and let his head drop back on the ground.
“So either the Cord, the Cats, one of the nobles that doesn’t want to pay you, the Black Mane, the temple of Ra, or someone else who doesn’t want you around,” Spring counted out. Sylver used a stick to turn one of the woman’s silver-coated daggers over to see if there were any identifying markings on it.
“First of all, half that list wouldn’t want me dead. Aside from the fact that I don’t believe the Cord, Cats, or the temple of Ra, have any problems with me, they also wouldn’t try to kill me, they’d try to kidnap me. She tried to shoot me in the back and was aiming for my heart. Second of all, even if they did, they know who I am, and what I am capable of, they wouldn’t send people only 30 levels higher than me. So someone who has a grudge against me, but doesn’t consider me dangerous enough to hire someone expensive…” Sylver said, mostly to himself as he tried to narrow down the potential source.
“So what are we doing here?” Spring asked. Sylver stood up and walked around the area, looking for a stick that had the correct shape. He found one that was close enough, and Spring handed him a piece of leather string.
“Leaving. I’m not going to be able to chase anyone down,” Sylver said, as he summoned four explosives using the [Rune Of Infinite Summoning] and removed the triggers from all four. Sylver molded the clay-like material into a flat disc and placed it gently onto a flat rock.
He laid one of the woman’s daggers down onto the rock and clay explosive and used a piece of leather string, a piece of flint, and a bendy stick to create a tension trigger.
“What if a monster or something gets to them first?” Spring asked as he helped Sylver place the two corpses directly on top of each other and on top of the bomb.
“You know, as someone who works with corpses for a living, I know far too well how much people hate leaving their friend's bodies out to rot. I’ve lost count of how many times I thought I could take my time slowly raising an undead, only to find myself surrounded by the deceased person’s friends,” Sylver mumbled, as he used his magic to pull the string tight and armed the flint and steel.
“Fair point. I’ll keep a lookout while you work on getting Will back into shape,” Spring said, as he and several other shades spread out into the surrounding forest area.
Sylver swung his arms around for a while and continued to adjust his insides as he gathered enough mana to bring Will back.