Ch096-Love Is The Answer
There was a lot of work to do.
Sylver had to fix his arm, raise his army of shades, make the fake demon worshiper detection device, finish Lola’s talisman, transfer the money for the assassin, go check up on Faust and Bruno, and lastly submit Lorn’s report so that Sylver could be registered as a D rank adventurer.
As Sylver approached his house he saw Tamay standing there, but there was something off about her. Her hair didn’t move with the wind, and her mana was naturally leaking out of her, but there was a rhythm to it when there shouldn’t be.
Sylver turned into smoke while Spring changed places with him and continued to walk towards Tamay without letting the robe move even an inch during the switch.
Sylver stayed as smoke and clinged to Spring beneath the robe, while the shade ordered the archers to spread out and surround them.
Tamay had a very faint smirk on her face, that didn’t look right on her. It was only when Sylver was close enough for his soul sense to be in range, did he realize where he’d seen that smirk before.
Fake Tamay touched the iron bracelet on her left hand and the illusion broke apart as if it were made of thin glass.
“You look horrible,” Lola said, as she shook her head and made the small remnants of illusion magic fade away.
“Thanks, I’ve been feeling a bit too good about myself lately, I needed to hear that,” Sylver said, as he swapped back into his robe and continued to walk towards Lola.
“I got the idea from Sophia. She dresses up as one of the lower-tiered priests and gets to walk around undisturbed. I actually do have a priest’s robe she lent me for that exact purpose, but uh…” Lola trailed off as Sylver glanced at her and saw that the tips of her ears were almost glowing with how red they were.
“Fair enough, I don’t need to know the details. But this actually reminds me… uh… Well, there’s no real delicate way of putting this, but you should be extra careful when doing… that… High elves in general have an abysmal fertility, no offense, but how should I put this… Your body is still malleable in a certain sense, so if you were thinking about having a child, there’s a rather strong possibility of it actually happening,” Sylver explained, as Lola’s ears gained more color, even as her face turned slightly pale.
“You say it like it’s a bad thing,” Lola said, as the two large gates swung open behind her.
“It’s not. A child is always a blessing… Assuming the parents are healthy, have the finances to support themselves and the child, are in a safe environment, and have the time necessary to properly raise a child,” Sylver explained.
“The keyword being “safe” I take it?” Lola asked, losing some of the color from her ears.
“You’re worried about me being used as a hostage against you. Do you honestly trust the Cord or the cats not to take the opportunity of a lifetime to get the world’s greatest crafter under their thumb? They manage to steal the child away, and you’re essentially enslaved to them,” Sylver continued, as his calm tone made the remainder of color drain out of Lola.
“So I’m supposed to just wait until you’re powerful enough that the Cord stops being a threat?” Lola asked, somehow without any venom in her words.
“No, you’re free to do as you wish. Our deal didn’t include anything aside from crafting and helping me financially. I’m just saying that it’s important to consider everything when making such an important decision. I like to think the cats and the Cord are so cooperative because they see the benefit of cooperation, but who’s to say that won’t change in the future? By that point in time, you need to be big enough that they can’t threaten you, and I need to be big enough that I can threaten them,” Sylver said, as walked down the sparkling white stone path and looked around at the recently trimmed grass surrounding it.
“If you do decide to have a child, do know that I will do everything in my power to keep it safe. But as I already said-”
“It’s not a whole lot of power… How long do you think it will take for you to be big enough for me to be “safe”?” Lola asked, as Sylver crouched down by a very odd-looking bush and poked the glowing tulip-shaped flower with his finger.
He felt a jolt when he touched it.
“Safe from who? The local nobles? The guards? The empire’s army? The high king? The point of us being separated is so that my enemies don’t come after you. But you’ve got your own enemies, and you’ll gain more as your workshop grows and your name becomes more widely known. You can’t spend your life waiting for something to happen, you need to live in the moment with what you have,” Sylver said as he further prodded the flower with his finger and saw a faint wisp of smoke come out of it as the flower increased the current.
“You just said I need to think about the future, safe environment, and all that,” Lola said as Sylver flicked the flower petals and saw the whole bush sparkle ominously with arcs of electricity.
“You need both. Live in the moment, while considering the future. What does an action you want to do right now ripple out into? Is it good or bad? You have a child, but because of who you are it's born with a target on its back. You could send it away, but then you’ll be miserable for it. Run away and hide with Olds and your child? Then what? You don’t need to have a 10,000-year plan, but at least think about where you’ll be in a month,” Sylver said, as he pulled his hand away from the bush and reached down to the floor to pick up a stick.
“How many months are you thinking ahead?” Lola asked. Sylver reached towards the now fizzling with energy flower petals and poked it with the stick.
The stick caught fire and shattered into pieces as Sylver directed the current away from his hand and didn’t let it run through him.
“So many things change on a daily basis that I have to start from scratch every other week. Aether was always good at the big picture type plans, I was more day to day detail-oriented. Nyx too actually, it’s a bit like being in a fight. You have to pay attention to what’s going on around you, but you also need to be on a path to victory. You can’t win a fight if you’re always on the defensive, and you’ll be dead in a second if you don’t put any thought towards defending yourself,” Sylver explained as he let go of the smoldering stick and stood up straight.
“If… If I found you a replacement, could I leave?” Lola asked as she tried her very best to make the question sound as neutral as possible.
“If you’re not happy where you are, I’m more than willing to-”
“I am, I am, I phrased it weirdly, I meant if I found someone to handle the business side of things, could I just be left alone to craft things?” Lola interrupted and waved the question away with her hands.
“I hit a sore spot with the child thing, didn’t I? Don’t tell me you were infertile before this, and I cured it without asking you?” Sylver asked, suddenly a lot more awake and now with a sinking feeling in his chest.
“I’m not, I wasn’t. It’s just… Olds’s mother isn’t doing well and I wanted to come with him to help him through the whole thing, but I realized I can’t do that right now. What am I supposed to do in the future when it’s something even more important?” Lola asked as Sylver continued to walk towards the mansion.
“Assuming everything is going well with Nate-”
“Then do whatever you want. I’m sure Tamay will be able to handle things for a few weeks, and I’ve already got everything I need. Faust and Bruno can take care of themselves, or at the very least it isn’t the end of the world if one of them dies. I’ll just go through the dungeon again and rebind their souls. Misha and Masha have the people whose souls I can feel inside, so they’re more or less fine,” Sylver explained, as he gestured towards the closed doors, and felt Lola’s soul do a small flip inside her chest.
“Well, there goes the surprise. I’m not going with him this time, lower elves have a whole thing about bringing outsiders to their familial home,” Lola explained as Sylver just nodded.
“I keep meaning to introduce you to him, but he seems to have a sixth sense for when you’re about to show up. He’s nice, you’d like him. I can’t get enough of the way he purrs when he’s speaking elvish like he’s about to burst into song with every word,” Lola explained, as Sylver knocked on the door.
“I’m happy you’re happy,” Sylver said simply as a thin grin appeared on Lola’s face.
“How are things with Sophia?” Lola asked. Sylver straightened up slightly.
“I’d rather not talk about it. I’m still on the fence whether to tell her upfront that one of the “demon worshipers” isn’t a demon worshiper or if I should just mix his blood in there without saying anything. With the whole Nautis thing I’m fairly certain that if it weren’t for the potential threat of demons she would have told me to go fuck myself,” Sylver explained, as he could feel one of the souls inside arguing with one of the others.
They started to very quickly move around and ended up standing in a single file line.
“Believe it or not but I’ve actually hit something of a breakthrough with granting undead immunity against holy energy,” Lola said, as Sylver turned and stared at her wide-eyed.
“How? When? It isn’t possible, I’ve spent multiple lifetimes looking for a solution,” Sylver asked, completely oblivious to the double doors opening and revealing the butlers and maids bowing towards him.
Lola glanced at them before she switched to high elvish.
“Sophia talked about a marriage ceremony she performed for a human and a snow woman and gave me an idea. After a bit of experimentation, I found a solution that isn’t really useful in a fight, but would make… Well, it only works when the undead is the male,” Lola said, the tips of her ears turning bright scarlet as Sylver tried to process what he was hearing.
“Is it Ki related? I tried that, it’s a dead-end, undead don’t have Ki and can’t be affected by it,” Sylver said in high elvish, and barely noticed the switch.
“No, it’s uh… The issue with the human and snow woman was the danger of frost burn, especially whenever they had too much physical contact. When Sophia married them her class allowed her to give them immunity to each other. And when she showed me the magic she used, I could sort of see a rough outline of a framework in it. I ran a few tests and I got a working prototype,” Lola explained, as Sylver just nodded along and the people waiting for him to look up just continued to stay in a bowed position.
“But the problem is that I couldn’t get the immunity to be general, it’s extremely person-specific. And for lack of a better word requires their consent and cooperation. And lastly, because I had to make the enchantment concentrate on the most vulnerable part, I based it around that without thinking about it,” Lola continued.
Sylver cocked his head at her as she reached into her robe’s pocket and pulled out a ring too big to go on Sylver’s finger, and too small to go on his wrist. It was made out of copper with gems embedded into it that went all the way through the brownish band of metal.
It took him a second to catch up before he took it from her hand and inspected it.
[Prototype Ring Of Unholy Immunity- ??? - Unique Quality]
[The wearer of the ring will be immune to the holy energy of any willing creature.]
Sylver’s face was completely blank as he turned the large ring over in his hand and several questions popped up in his head.
The first was how the fuck was Lola able to do something Sylver hadn’t even come close to when he was a lich.
The second was how the fuck was this even possible.
The third was how the fuck did she know Sylver’s exact diameter to make this.
The rest of Sylver’s ever-growing list of questions was interrupted as Lola snatched the ring out of his hand and hid it away.
Sylver just stood frozen in place and looked at Lola in a brand new light.
She figured out magic that shouldn’t be possible and enchanted it on a goddamned cock ring.
Forget being as good as an Aeyri, Lola had just surpassed her mother, her father, her grandmother, and every single craftsman who had ever lived or died in that gigantic tree they called a city.
“I want to see every single scrap of paper you used to make notes, and we are going to have a long talk about how you made it. I’m just… Do you realize what you’ve done? I-I-I think I’m going to be sick. I mean, Nyx wasn’t even close, I barely scratched the surface, and you built a prototype out of a bunch of garbage,” Sylver stammered as Lola seemed to turn redder and redder, despite the ever-growing grin on her lowered face.
Sylver lost concentration and let his chest full of bones drop to the floor as he picked Lola up and hugged her and spun her around. He could feel the mixture of confused souls standing still in the distance but didn’t pay them any mind as Lola struggled to make him put her down and kept becoming redder and redder.
Sylver’s magic holding his hand together unraveled for a second and his fingertips came out of his darkness coated bone hand and fell down to the marble floor with a clatter. The sound and reminder brought him out of his near euphoric trance as Sylver put Lola down and made his fingertips float back into place.
He turned to the people standing inside of his home and saw several rabbit ears nervously twitch as he made eye contact with each of them in turn. He understood Lola’s idea before she even said it.
She was practically beaming with pride as she looked at the group of rabbit-eared persons.
“Olds found them for me. The girl and boy on the left are brother and sister, internal injuries but they’re very competent pages, the woman with the crooked ear and the missing eye is a head chef, the woman with the prosthetic leg is a gardener, the man missing an arm is a head butler, and rest are very willing to learn,” Lola said, as Sylver kept quiet and observed the small group.
“They were being held against their will at… well it would be better if you ask them,” Lola added.
There were 8 of them in total, each either missing something or clearly in at least a small level of pain. Sylver walked up to the man on the very right, who had a hat on his head and seemed to be completely out of it.
“May I?” Sylver asked with a gesture towards the hat. The man lazily pulled it off to reveal odd-shaped stumps that might have one day been where two fluffy white ears sprung from. Sylver touched the very edge of the stump with his right hand’s pinky and felt an odd aftertaste in his mouth.
The man was cursed.
And if Sylver’s [Mana Perception] was correct, so were the other 7.
Sylver placed his hand completely on top of the man’s head and for a moment appeared to ruffle the short man’s hair, before a very sickly white steam escaped from the place Sylver was touching. It floated above the man’s head and Sylver’s hand, up until Sylver reached up with his hand and grabbed it.
The steam-like substance began to shriek loudly enough to make the windows shake before Sylver closed his fist and squashed it into silence. The remaining 7 rabbit-eared people just stared at him with the same wide eyes that Sylver had stared at Lola with a few minutes prior.
The earless man fell down onto his knees and breathed out such a deep sigh of relief that for a moment Sylver worried he was about to pass out. He had tears in his eyes, as did all the rest of Sylver's future staff.
“Apologies for the late introduction, it has been a very eventful day for me. I am Sylver Sezari, necromancer and adventurer extraordinaire,” Sylver mumbled, as he walked over to the next rabbit-eared man and started working on his curse too.
Sylver continued reading through Lola’s notes as his left arm bubbled away in Misha’s growth solution. He turned the page as his ring finger slowly gained another layer of skin, and Spring gently laid out yet another corpse.
Sylver had read through the framework over 300 times at this point.
He read it while he adjusted Misha’s vat to heal him as well as her.
He read it while he gave Benny the page boy a list of what to buy him from Tera’s shop.
He even read it while he was holding the ring in his hand and inspecting it with so much concentration that Sylver barely noticed the moment his left hand had become fully healed.
And even with all that…
Lola assured him it worked.
Even when Sylver put it on his thumb and then asked the priest permission to touch him, while he healed Chloe’s missing lung, Sylver himself confirmed that it worked.
And yet he couldn’t understand it.
If this were any other type of magic, Sylver wouldn’t have been embarrassed about struggling to understand it. But this was holy magic, mixed with dark magic.
This was both “know thy enemy” and “know thy self” mixed into one single spell.
Yet despite being the authority on dark magic, Sylver felt like he was a child trying to read one of the books Nyx accidentally left on her desk.
Except there was no Nyx around to explain the highly complicated frameworks to him and assure him he’ll one day be able to read them with a single glance.
He was on his own, and never before in his life had he felt so impossibly stupid.
If he broke it down into parts he understood it.
He could piece the parts together and form circuits that he understood and recognized.
He even watched Lola enchant him a second ring, Sylver didn’t blink once while she did it.
“Maul asked if you’ll be having dinner,” a young boy’s voice said. The words bounced around the cave-like room, before Sylver’s mind recognized the meaning behind them.
Sylver looked up at him and realized he couldn’t get his eyes to focus on something far away from him. After spending nearly 2 days glued to a small collection of pages, anyone would become shortsighted.
Thankfully this wasn’t Sylver’s first time obsessing over something, so he applied pressure on his eyes and got the lenses inside back into proper shape.
Benny looked at most mildly interested at the small army of corpses spread out along the floor and cut open with carved rocks and crystals in place of where their internal organs were supposed to be.
Sylver had learned a few things about his recently uncursed and healed servants.
They, as a culture, had no respect for the dead.
Once a person had died, their body wasn’t a body, it was a lump of meat. From what Sylver had understood they believed they came from the moon and upon death returned to it, but the important thing was the lack of care for the dead.
Which translated directly to lack of care for those that “abused” the dead, which translated to being completely unafraid of Sylver. They treated him the way someone would treat a butcher. Like a normal mage, who just happens to work with meat.
Meaning the 12-year-old boy who only recently regained the use of his liver, stomach, and kidneys, saw absolutely nothing wrong with Sylver sitting with his skinless hand submerged in a giant glass vat with a floating dead girl’s body inside of it.
It also helped that they were unbelievably racist. Or speciesist, technically speaking.
In the sense that every creature that wasn’t the rough shape of a human with large rabbit ears was inferior to them. Not physically or mentally, but spiritually, in a way Sylver would never understand because he didn’t have rabbit ears on his head, or a fluffy tail above his rear end.
Which translated to the 12-year-old boy who was calling Sylver for dinner, being completely unconcerned about the unconscious bodies of the Left Tooth, being used as a source of energy to bring Misha and Masha back to life.
Sylver made several mental notes to meet with Olds and make sure he understood just how perfect of a staff he had provided him with. Whether he was brilliant or lucky, was to be seen, but Sylver had a good feeling about Olds.
Sylver looked down at the notebook Lola had left, alongside Sylver’s notebook filled with comments and theories, and came to a decision.
I’m just looking at the whole thing from an entirely wrong perspective.
It was a recurring problem with mages of a certain skill level.
Something like standing on top of a skyscraper and trying to see what was going on the ground. Normally you could just walk down to the ground to look properly, but sometimes a mage would find their blind spot and wouldn’t be able to take so much as a single step down towards what they were trying to see. They’d just be stuck up there.
It seemed… cruel, that Sylver’s blind spot was the one thing that was a serious threat to him.
But then again, he had the whole thing memorized front and back, left and right, Sylver could see the framework when he closed his eyes.
He just couldn’t understand it.
Or use it.
Or apply it to his shades.
What he could do was sleep with Sophia without worrying about his mana running out and his member getting deep-fried and falling off.
So Lola’s research wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Fuck it, it’ll either click or it won’t, sitting in the dark doing the same thing over and over again isn’t going to do me any good.
Sylver stood up from where he had been crouching above Misha’s vat and dead body and flexed his left hand. There were still traces of lingering damage, but physically it looked fine. If you ignored the pitch-black fingernails, that is.
“I’ll be there in a minute, thank you,” Sylver answered the boy, who waited a moment before disappearing in a faint puff of smoke.
Which was yet another thing Sylver liked about his rabbit-eared companions.
They couldn’t teleport. Or wouldn’t rather, something about their souls getting replaced.
They just moved so fast that it looked like teleportation. Which was absolutely perfect as far as Sylver was concerned, given that if they were ever in trouble all they had to do was run home and they would be safe.
Sylver jumped down and walked over the very carefully laid out corpses that Spring had meticulously prepped using Sylver’s notes and memories.
They were divided into categories, according to the specialization with which Sylver would be raising them. With every single one of them soaked in raw mana, all Sylver had to do was give them just a little push, and he would have extremely powerful and fast shades under his control and command.
“Lola’s ring really tripped me up, but I’m about to step into some really serious firepower. I realized it a while ago, but if I use [Shadow’s Agent] to spread out my mana through my shades, I can hypothetically use 2nd tier magic without any backlash. I’ll essentially be able to perform group spellcasting, all by myself,” Sylver said, as he walked over to the sink near the door and spent a few minutes washing away all the gore off his hands. He yawned loudly as Spring split into 4 and left 3 of himself down in the workshop while the 4th stayed with Sylver.
Sylver hadn’t had a chance to sleep, because he just plain and simple, lost his mind over Lola’s enchantment, but now he would have dinner, a long warm bath, a couple of days of sleep, and then he would raise enough undead to bring a city to its knees.