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Ch091-Not That Kind Of Story

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Finding the mage wasn’t that hard.

He was almost certainly inside the large sphere of bright blue lightning, that fizzed so loudly that it was the only sound Sylver could hear while inside the barrier.

He was wearing a bright blue robe, with a yellow hood that had pieces of metal embedded into it, that sent sparks flying as lightning arced from one metal stud to the other.

[Elf (Mage+Mage+Mage+Thundering Nimbus) – 149]
[HP-6,951]
[MP-N/A]

The barrier is unstable, and I don’t even know how long it will hold… It could be here for months and the mage might eventually fall asleep or run out of mana, or it could fall in the next few minutes and he’ll be free to go.

Sylver very slowly and quietly walked around while holding his hand against the barrier, and plotted out a plan of attack. A few tiny embers continued to burn in the nearly airless town, appearing to be the tiniest of candles in the otherwise pitch-black area.

With [Eyes Of The Royal Tiger] Sylver saw everything around him as if it were the middle of a bright and sunny day. He watched the mage from the corner of his vision as he circled him, constantly hiding behind cover and being careful not to be seen just to be safe.

Only a 57 level difference… But he only has 4 classes, meaning they’re likely [Uncommon] or [Rare].

Should I just leave and cross my fingers the barrier holds out? Does it matter if I let him leave? What’s he going to do? Describe my mask and robe to the other outposts? Give them my fake name?

To say I could get fucked if I fight him is an understatement. Just getting near him is already enough for the shades to pop, they’re not going to be of much use…

Sylver spent a good five minutes observing the mage. The mage used his lightning to somehow alter the air around him to make it breathable, while almost automatically killing anything that dared get too close to him. On top of that, his sphere seemed to be as much of a shield, as it was a spear. A bomb fell directly onto it, and the mage just barely reacted to it.

Sylver stepped over a piece of Red-Eye’s mask and-

...

Sylver smacked himself on the forehead so hard that the lightning mage heard the sound and turned towards it.

“I’m such a fucking idiot,” Sylver cursed himself, as a bolt of lightning descended from the large cloud floating near the top of the pitch-black barrier, and melted a great sword one of the shades had embedded into the ground.

Sylver turned into smoke and stayed low to the ground as he slithered towards the middle of the town. Giant bolts of lightning rained down around him, turning all the swords Sylver had gathered out of habit into puddles of liquid metal.

Apart from that Sylver reached the middle of the town undisturbed and unharmed. He appeared inside the house that housed the barrier creation device, and very carefully removed his mask, and allowed the compressed air inside to escape.

“Will your thing still work if you’re in an anti-magic field?” Sylver asked, as Lorn shimmered into sight and was staring directly at Lawrence’s decapitated corpse. Red-Eye took a while to get out because he apparently wanted to have a snack first.

“Hmm? Oh, yeah, not a problem… I promise you, this isn’t as perfect as it first appears, I wouldn’t be working as a guild tester if there weren’t a ton of drawbacks and conditions attached to it. Why?” Lorn asked, as he looked away from Lawrence’s corpse and watched Sylver crouch down near the barrier creation device.

“I’m going to turn magic off, and then I’m going to try and stab that mage to death,” Sylver explained, as he found the framework he had been looking for and tried to figure out how to force it to activate. Shades wouldn’t be able to materialize inside an anti-magic field, so Sylver would be on his own.

“Alright,” Lorn said as Sylver reached out with his finger towards the blue quartz, but changed his mind and started over.

“You’re not going to try and talk me out of it?” Sylver asked after a while, as he reached out with his hand and very carefully started to alter the course of the mana flowing through the quartz.

“You sound like you know what you’re doing, and more honestly I kind of want to see the fight,” Lorn said, as Sylver felt the air around him become heavy. His robe stopped moving and draped over his body as if it were made out of scraps.

The extra 40 points in strength hadn’t done a whole lot. Saying the change was barely noticeable implied that there was a change.

There wasn’t one.

Or if there was, Sylver hadn’t noticed it. Walking might have become a bit easier, but it was hard to tell given that Sylver spent every moment he was awake enhancing his body with magic. Sylver quickly stored all his daggers and other weapons into his radius and ulna, and missed a couple that fell out of his robe, and had to bend down to pick them up.

The good news was that the anti-magic field that Sylver had erected didn’t affect the runes inside of him. He could summon his ax at will without any issue, and could even summon an explosive. Whether it was because runes are naturally unaffected by anti-magic fields, or just the result of Sylver’s indestructible ribcage insulating them, was something Sylver would check at a later date.

Sylver closed his eyes for a moment and shut down a large portion of his pain receptors. A mage at that mage’s level would almost certainly know how to enhance his body using internal magic. Not to mention that it was unlikely that he managed to get to level 149 without knowing how to defend himself while out of mana.

Meaning that there was a very good chance this fight was going to hurt. Not as much as trying to fight him while he could use magic, but breaking your nose hurt no matter how many times it had happened.

Sylver made sure the stiletto hidden up his sleeve wouldn’t fall out, made sure the laces on his boots were tight, was careful to make sure he wouldn’t accidentally get tangled up in his robe, before making his way towards the lightning mage. Luckily Kitty’s [Eyes of The Royal Tiger] still worked perfectly fine, otherwise, Sylver would have been walking completely blind.

As he got closer and closer to the spot he had last seen the mage, Sylver suddenly got an idea. He could just throw a bomb at the mage. What was he going to do? How could he even stop it?

Granted, Sylver might get caught up in the explosion, and there was a danger of shrapnel, but, absolute worst-case scenario he’d simply need to use [Draining Touch] on the mage's corpse to grow back whatever he lost because of the explosion.

Sylver was careful to always have a good cover, in the even the mage had a ranged weapon of some sort. Crossbows could be made to be small enough to be hidden inside someone’s sleeve, Sylver didn’t want to take any chances and get killed in such a stupid way.

Again.

He finally found the spot where he was fairly certain the lightning mage should be, but couldn’t see him anywhere. Sylver crept around the sides and corners for a good five minutes, before he heard Lorn chuckle to himself. Sylver shot him a glare, as he tried to figure out what Lorn was looking at with such a shit-eating grin on his face.

Sylver saw the lightning mage.

Laying on the ground, breathing very quick and shallow breaths, like a fish that was suffocating. The only reason Sylver could tell the man was breathing was because he was sending a small cloud of ash into the air with each exhale.

“He’s barely awake, has been for the last couple of minutes. I know for a fact he isn’t faking it, if you’re willing to take my word for it,” Lorn offered.

Sylver stood up straight and walked towards the barely moving mage.

“Right… Without any magic, he can’t breathe the oxygen-deprived air… I’m uh… Well, it’s not like it would have ended any differently if we fought. I don’t see any point raising a mage as a shade, since I can’t make a shade that can use magic at the moment, so your soul is free to go,” Sylver said, as he leaned down towards the mage and lifted his chin up with one hand while he slit his throat.

Given the way the man’s eyes were bulging, he likely had no idea what was going on right now.

[Elf (Mage+Mage+Mage+Thundering Nimbus) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 50 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[Necromancer] has reached level 88!
+5AP

[1 perk available for [Necromancer]]

“I was kind of hoping this fight would unlock a new perk, but it is what it is,” Sylver said, mostly to himself before he saw Lorn move in front of him.

“So the skill you unlocked earlier, the dagger thing, that was from that book you read? Do you know how much skill books go for?” Lorn asked, as Sylver walked through him and took a straight path towards the town center.

“It’s extremely specialized. It isn’t worth anything unless you’re a necromancer that happens to know a bit of dark magic,” Sylver explained, as he saw Lorn in the corner of his eye appear to sulk for a moment.

“Since I’m revising most of the story anyway, I might as well make this out to be a big fight. It’s too anticlimactic otherwise,” Lorn explained, as Sylver entered the house housing the barrier creation device, and crouched down near it again.

“Life is anticlimactic sometimes. Keep it in there, use it as comedic relief after a very long stretch of brutal and gore-filled deaths,” Sylver offered, as he tapped it with his finger and watched the crystal lose its glow.

“No offense, but this isn’t that kind of story. I’m thinking of going for the anti-hero angle. Or maybe the necessary evil route. It was kind of tense when you were lying to Red-Eye, and when you were running away after killing him, so maybe I can make it into a thriller? It’s hard, you only get one chance to introduce a song to people, it’s important to get it right the first time. Not to mention the fight with Lamb-Chop, that’s a whole other story,” Lorn said, mostly to himself as Sylver walked out of the building and watched the pitch-black barrier slowly turn transparent.

“Not that it changes anything, but Bonny was lying about being pregnant… I was almost certain back when she said it, but I checked just to be sure,” Sylver explained quietly.

“Bonny Ann’s story isn’t about whether or not she was pregnant,” Lorn said casually as he strummed his lute.

“You specifically mentioned the fact that she was a pregnant woman. I just wanted to clear things up,” Sylver said, as Lorn nodded without looking at him, and made a very small note in his book.

Lorn was still trying to decide how to approach Sylver’s story by the time Sylver finished burning the bodies that didn’t have any use and was flying away on Will to the next outpost.

*

*

*

Sylver chose the outpost labeled #2 because it was the closest. He’d expected it to be in the process of being reinforced, given how the guards mentioned waiting for all the others to finish setting up their defenses.

Instead what he saw was a giant pile of burning corpses, near which four guards stood around and stared at with unmistakable pride in their eyes.

All four wore identical studded leather armor, with matching identical spears in their hands, and identical bows on their backs. When one of them turned, Sylver saw that they all had a small round shield strapped over their back, as if it were a turtle shell. There was something off about their armor like it had been made to look simple on purpose.

The four men turned as one and looked directly at Sylver, smiling so hard that their black beards parted to reveal their yellow teeth.

Sylver moved his smoke form behind a large tree and had Spring materialize and walk out from behind the tree wearing Sylver’s robes and mask.

“Everything alright here?” Spring asked as he approached the burning pile and oddly relaxed men.

“That all depends. Are you here to cause trouble?” the man standing closest to Spring asked. None of them so much as reached for their weapons.

“Quite the opposite. There’s a group of rebels that are planning on taking this town over,” Spring said, as he stopped walking and stood close enough that he could feel the heat coming off the burning pile.

“Oh dear! Rebels? In our neck of the woods? What do they look like?” the man on the very left asked with false surprise, as the other three men chuckled. He sounded younger, but it was more tonal than anything to do with his actual voice.

“Leather armor, mostly warriors, and some of them might have the symbol of two fish kissing somewhere on their bodies,” Spring explained. The man who had spoken last rummaged in the burning pile of corpses with the tip of his spear and dragged out an armor piece with the symbol of two fish kissing visible on the shoulder pad.

“Is this the symbol?” the man asked.

“Yeah…” Spring said awkwardly as he waited for Sylver to tell him what to say next. Sylver was just about to talk when Lorn materialized directly in front of Spring.

“Holy shit. You’re-”

“Don’t finish that sentence,” the man standing at the very back interrupted as Lorn shimmered for a moment and almost disappeared. The man spoke with such calm authority that Sylver was reminded of a tribe leader.

Lorn turned around and waved towards Sylver. “We can leave! This town is safe, there’s no point being here,” Lorn shouted towards the tree line where Sylver was hiding. Sylver almost felt embarrassed as he stepped out from behind cover and Spring disappeared into the shadows.

He kept his mask on as he walked towards the men and the burning pile of corpses.

“I’d like to clarify something first. Kurska was attacked and taken over about 2 months ago. And from what I heard them say, I was under the impression this town was too,” Sylver asked. All four men shared a look before two of them disappeared into thin air.

“Two months? These fish kissing guys have been coming here for nearly half a year now. But now that you mention it, they did start hitting harder recently. Dima nearly lost his foot to one of them,” the man said, gesturing at his mirror image, called Dima apparently.

“I didn’t lose my foot to one of them, we’ve been over this! That python wasn’t with them, it was just plain bad luck,” Dima reprimanded, to which the nameless man just smiled.

“Well maybe if you paid more attention to your surroundings you-”

“I really hate to interrupt but there’s a third town possibly in the middle of getting attacked right now. If you’re really fine, I’m going to leave,” Sylver said, as both Dima and the other guard looked behind them.

“Which town? Where?” Dima asked.

Sylver reached into his robe and pulled out the map he had looted from Red-Eye. Dima took the map from Sylver’s hands and looked it over.

“That’s Hars’s territory…” Dima said to his twin as he handed Sylver the folded-up map back.

“Where’s the rest of your party?” the man without a name asked.

“He’s alone. But he killed Lamb-Chop, Kold-Kap, and Zet the Zealot all by himself on the way here,” Lorn blurted out. Dima and his twin exchange another odd look.

“Lamb and Zet are dead? Seriously?” Dima asked, as he nearly gestured towards Sylver before he changed his mind and kept his hand down.

“Again, I apologize, but every second that passed might be another person being brutally murdered,” Sylver reminded, as the two guard’s brows furrowed in a near-perfect synchronization.

“That town is safe, don’t worry about it… But there is something you could do to help if you’re interested,” Dima said.

“I’m interested in the sense I have a quest to clear bandits out,” Sylver explained, while Lorn glanced at him with frightened eyes.

Oh, I see what this is…

“Pyos will show you where the “bandits” are coming from. Or where they’re gathered at least, trying to find their heads and leaders is a waste of time, but you’ll give everyone a ton of breathing room if you can handle that group for us,” Dima explained. Sylver looked up towards Lorn.

“You would be well within your rights to stop here and go home. And with all due respect to these two “guards”, this is far beyond what constitutes a C rank quest. This is closer to B rank, maybe even A rank, depending on how you choose to look at it,” Lorn said.

Both of the “guards” had a small grin on their faces, but there wasn’t any judgment in their expressions or body language.

“Is Dermit still working at the adventurer’s guild?” Dima asked Lorn while Sylver quietly thought it over.

“Dermit? Dermit… Dermit… I don’t think so,” Lorn answered as Dima scratched his chin.

“Short guy. Long blond hair that covers half his face to hide how scarred up it is? Walks with a limp, always smells like fresh pine for absolutely no reason?” Dima explained as Lorn’s eyes widened.

“The guild master’s name is Dermit? Dermit Gesley?” Lorn clarified.

“Baby Ges, that’s him. If you handle the bandits for us, my brothers and I will write you a recommendation. I’m not sure how much good it will do, but it might come in handy in the future,” Dima offered.

Three men appeared behind them, two identical to Dima, and one that was so hunched over that the top of his head barely reached Sylver’s waist. Sylver felt his skin crawl and the hair on the back of his neck stand up like heckles as the hunched-over man looked up at him.

“Ah, good, you found him. Pyos I need you to show… I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name,” the guard that wasn’t Dima said.

“Sylver,” Sylver answered.

“Fyodor. I need you to show Sylver to the bandit encampment in the south,” Fyodor explained.

“I’m tired,” Pyos said, with a noticeable slur in his words.

“I’ll lend you Katya for 3 days,” Fyodor offered.

“A month,” Pyos countered.

“3 days.”

“3 weeks.”

“3 days.”

“2 weeks.”

“2 days,” Fyodor said, at which point Pyos stuck his hand out towards the tall man.

“Fine, 3 days, but I get your spot at the next champagne fair,” Pyos countered eagerly.

“I’ll give you Ivan’s spot,” Fyodor offered, which caused one of the newly arrived brothers to say “Hey!”

“Deal,” Pyos said, as he and Fyodor shook hands.

The brother in the back that had said “hey” started to say something but Fyodor shot him a glare that shut him up. Sylver heard a very quiet “we’ll talk later” before Fyodor turned around to face him.

“This is one of those villages where by pure coincidence every other person is a retired master swordsman, or a legendary mage, or something along those lines, right?” Sylver asked.

Pyos didn’t say anything as he placed his hands on his backside and with a groan stood up straight. At his full height, he was almost as tall as Sylver was. Everyone, including Lorn, pretended Sylver hadn’t said that as Fyodor started to speak.

“Pyos will show you where the bandit camp is, but you’ll have to handle everything else by yourself. When you’re done, I would appreciate it if you brought us some of their maps. The ones we have here are old, and these bandits really know their cartography,” Fyodor explained. His brothers nodded along behind him.

“Alright. I’m going to guess I shouldn’t tell anyone I’ve seen you here, and if I ever hear a story about a group of 4 identical looking men, I shouldn’t try to say I’ve met them?” Sylver asked.

To their credit, all the people standing near the pile of burning corpses managed to smile with the perfect mixture of threatening and politely asking him to play along.

Pyos leaned down to the left and the right and stretched his limbs out, as Lorn whispered something in one of the yet-to-be-named brother’s ears. Sylver saw recognition in the brother’s eye, but couldn’t hear what he whispered back to Lorn.

An old woman wearing an amulet that was powerful enough to suppress the magic of a mage up to the 5th tier appeared a few moments later and gave Pyos a small backpack filled with food and kissed him on the cheek.

“Just once I’d like to have a normal quest,” Sylver muttered as he and the old man with scars covering almost every inch of skin on the back of his hands walked in the direction of the rebel camp.

“People who go on normal quests don’t end up having a whole city named after them,” Lorn added quietly but with a grin aimed towards Pyos.

“I’m leaving the moment we’re close enough that you can see them,” Pyos said while he shot Lorn a glare that made the man completely disappear.

“Sure thing. Out of curiosity, who’s Katya?” Sylver asked.

“Fyodor’s granddaughter, she’s a carpenter. She’s barely level 40, but the things she can make out of wood are better than anyone else I’ve met so far. I’m going to get my kitchen remodeled,” Pyos explained, speaking without a grimace in his voice for the first time since Sylver met him.

“Is 3 days enough for that?” Sylver asked.

“It is the exact amount of days she told me she would need. Fyodor is a good man, but he’s a mean motherfucker when it comes to his granddaughter,” Pyos explained, as Sylver nodded along.

They talked about the most mundane of things as Sylver felt Lorn appear behind them and could feel that he desperately wanted to ask something.

When Lorn ended up blurting the question out, something about Logan the Lucky, Pyos huffed and ignored him, and continued to talk about his idea to make scented soap using flower petals.

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KingKennit

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