Ch101-Leap Of Faith



Somehow Lola was preemptively aware of Ciege’s and Yeva’s arrival and was waiting for them right outside Arda’s gates. She had her guards help them with their luggage, practically waved them through the inspection process, and seemed completely unsurprised at the fact that they came here without Sylver in tow.

She took the letter from Ciege and read through it once before very calmly folding it back up and hiding it in her robe. Sylver watched as her hired teleportation expert appeared out of thin air and moved the whole group to right outside the house Sylver had bought, sold to a minor noble, renovated, and was now being rented to the young couple for a lofty price of 1 copper coin a year.

The image disappeared as Yeva handed Ben over to a grinning Ciege to wipe the tears out of her eyes, as Salgok approached them from the back.

“Are you satisfied?” the woman in white asked. Sylver could only nod.

Although considering she had amplified the effect surrounding her about two-fold, it was hard to describe her that way.

Before Sylver could sort of identify a white robe, but now even while looking right at her he wasn’t even certain if she was the same one that had spoken to him earlier.

Or if she even was a she for that matter.

For all he knew he was speaking to a tall cat wearing a neon green overcoat. Or some sort of snake creature or possibly even a small dragon. He couldn’t even hear her anymore, it was like she had removed the step where Sylver heard her and skipped straight to him understanding her.

There were ways to bypass the spell she was using.

But right now the fact was that even if Sylver did figure out a weakness in the spell, the sheer difference in mana meant there was very little he could do about it. A candle can evaporate a spoonful of water, but it couldn’t do shit against a bucket, or a bathtub, or in this case an ocean.

“If we’re being entirely honest with each other, a part of me still thinks this is all some grand and elaborate trap,” Sylver said.

He found the temple easily enough, found the hidden entrance, and thanks to [Shadow’s Soma] didn’t have to bother trying to get it to open. And considering how rusted and damaged the mechanism appeared to be, neither did whoever came here before him to set everything up.

The gate itself was about as simple and basic as gates went.

Then again, Sylver had only seen 2 other gates, not counting the gigantic one the Ibis had.

One was made by him and was made using random garbage he had found lying around, that he then forced about 50 demons to activate for him, killing all of them in the process, because of how poorly it was made. Calling it a gate felt improper, it was more akin to making a hole in a wall to walk through, rather than building a door.

The other was when Sylver had wiped out Aetheria and he found the gate the royal family had used to summon [Hero]s.

The one Sylver had activated a few minutes ago was much closer to the royal family’s one. Sylver knew about gates in theory, and how to build one, but in those extremely rare times that he needed to travel to another realm, the Ibis had an entire wing dedicated to gates and their research.

Why try to make your own sword when there was a team of waiting and willing blacksmiths available to make it for you?

Still, he knew enough to know this gate would work, even if there were certain parts he didn’t quite grasp. The gate at the Ibis looked like a well-polished mirror when active, it was smooth, calm, not so much as a ripple as someone stepped through it.

The one on the floor in front of Sylver looked like boiling mercury.

And it was about as safe as jumping into boiling mercury.

A death sentence for the average mage, even for the above-average mage, but at worst an inconvenience for an undead.

As long as the undead was very optimistic and was willing to stretch his definition of “inconvenient”.

Moving between realms wasn’t inherently difficult, it was simply very rarely worth the risk. Technology and research that was true in one realm, very often couldn’t function in another. Mana in particular had certain properties that went against a non-mana realm’s common sense.

Which made a large portion of another realm’s knowledge completely and utterly worthless to the mages at the Ibis. Either because it relied on a different periodic table and elements that didn’t exist in Eira. Or because they could only function in a perfect mana vacuum, and would explode the moment so much as a drop of mana came into contact with them.

Some had attempted to build a static gate, but from what Sylver last heard it failed and made them lose 4 very promising apprentices.

As for the realms that had “magic”…


As far as successfully reached realms went, Eira was to the rest of the realms, what the Ibis was to the rest of the Eira. Their other realm magic was… cute… but not worth the danger and effort required to open a gate to reach them.

Eira was theorized to be the “apex” in terms of mana concentration, and as a result, had the highest amount of mages being naturally born, and ended up developing the most advanced and efficient magic.

It was also theorized that the first mages born on Eira had no control over their magic, and had far too much of it, and ended up opening a gate to all the realms, which ended up bringing a little bit of everything into Eira.

Of course, a lot of the information related to realms and worlds was theoretical.

It had been described to Sylver that if realms were pages in a book, a “world” was the whole book. The pages might not have the same text in them, but they were written in the same language. And they were theorized to be finite.

There was also something called “bleeding” between realms, a god born in one realm on page 10, could potentially create a similar god on pages 8, 9, 11, and 12.

Then there were creatures that lived “between” realms, but that was a whole other story.

Worlds on the other hand, in the sense of different books, theoretically were unimaginably different.

Realms shared at least some characteristics, there was usually a liquid, a solid, and a sun in the sky. In Eira the liquid was water, the solid was dirt, and it had multiple suns and moons.

The realm where dwarves came from was stone, molten liquid metal, and had a single very dim blue sun and a single yellow-colored moon.

Similar, but different.

Because of the way language had evolved, the word “world” tended to mean “realm.”

Except in the very rare cases where “world” meant “book”, or “collection of realms.”

It was confusing, annoying, far too theoretical for Sylver’s tastes, and the authority on the matter was the most boring woman Sylver had ever met in his life. Couldn’t make the thing she had spent over 500 years studying sound interesting if her life depended on it.

“Killing you wouldn’t be difficult. Neither would trapping you. The problem is that one in a trillion chance that you somehow come back to life and dedicate yourself to getting revenge. Even if we destroyed that little pot you have hidden away at your home, got rid of that dormant soul fragment you left inside of the boy, and even stole the coin you gave to the high elf, there are still ways you could hypothetically return,” the woman in white explained.

Only the fact that Sylver had assumed since the moment she gave him his ring that she already knew everything about him, stopped him from breaking out in a cold sweat as she listed Sylver’s backup plans.

He hadn’t even told Lola about them.

He even went out of his way not to ever so much as think about them, in case someone somehow had a way of reading his mind.

Sylver finished removing everything that wasn’t essential from his bones. He luckily had enough extra bones to store what he removed, so it would all be waiting for him here when he returned.

He’d just have to bury the box as deep as possible so no one touched it in the meantime. Not that anyone would have any real use for a bunch of bones, but it couldn’t hurt to be careful. All someone had to do was accidentally break one, and a pile of gold coins would suddenly appear around them.

The shades would all be likely turned inside out, but that was fine.

The problem was that Sylver would probably be turned inside out too, but thankfully his most important parts were safe and untouchable. How the ax burned into his back would react to this he wasn’t 100% sure, but quite honestly didn’t care too much.

Frankly speaking, the smart thing would be to cut his arms and legs off and throw them before Sylver went through the gate. Smaller volumes tended to be less corrupted, but in this case Sylver was worried his limbs would appear in a different continent from him and preferred to risk going through the gate whole.

Even the best gates still had a certain amount of corruption that sometimes turned a sword into a compressed cube of steel.

But this slapped-together nonsense?

Sylver would be lucky if he didn’t have to grow himself a brand new body. His mana would help, but with how little he had that was limited to his torso and head and even then there was a chance everything would still go pear-shaped.

Sylver had already moved as much blood as he could into his torso and kept all of his essentials in one single bone to decrease the chance of losing anything. The essentials were a few small bags of dried-up meat so he wouldn’t starve, his daggers and darts, and a small number of gold coins just in case. Gold was valuable in all realms, more in some than others.

His ring would be fine.

Even if it was destroyed, it was already bound to Sylver’s soul and didn’t need to have a physical presence to work. There were a couple of effects he’ll be able to meet the conditions for soon, but that was for later.

“You’re going to get a helpful nudge in the right direction. But only one, you’re on your own for the most part,” the woman in white said, as Sylver finished peeling the robe off his body and was very careful folding it up as tightly as he could manage.

“How big of a nudge are we talking about?” Sylver asked as Spring helped him close the lid on the wooden box, and started to wrap a chain around it.

“About as big as a coin flip,” the woman in white answered.

“Fantastic,” Sylver said sarcastically. He had a tough time telling but he got the feeling the woman in white might have giggled.

“From where I’m standing you’re the equivalent of a coin flip. But you would be surprised by how much of a difference the right coin in the right place can make,” the woman in white said.

Sylver disappeared into the ground for a moment and the chest full of bones followed him down into the hole.

Sylver emerged from the hole as a cloud of smoke and materialized completely naked right next to the gate. The hole in the dirt ground closed up and moved around a little until it no longer looked recently dug.

He was only going to take 15 human shades with him, not counting Spring, Fen, Reg, Dai, Sho, Will, and Ulvic. They were the strongest and had the highest chance of surviving. Anything that wasn’t immediately useful to them was removed.

It would be better to find clothes in the other realm to try and not stand out too much…

Assuming he wasn’t going to be the only tall human in a realm full of dwarves, or insect creatures.

Sylver stood right over the gate and watched the swishing metallic liquid below.

He’d been to a large number of realms in his past life. Considering the woman in white said he was familiar with the area, that meant it would be a realm he’d already been in.


Unless she meant it in the sense of “a realm full of violence” or something of that nature.

As far as Sylver could remember there were only 12 realms that could have a book in them, but trying to prepare for a specific one wouldn’t be wise, considering he needed to have as little as possible when going through the gate, and he didn’t believe he would be lucky enough to prepare for the right one anyway.

If [Xander’s Waystone] didn’t work, Sylver had alternatives. They weren’t very good alternatives, but alternatives very rarely were.

“One last thing before you go,” the woman in white said. Sylver turned around and looked at her.

“This is merely a suggestion, but don’t use your real name,” the woman in white said.

“There’s someone there that knows me?” Sylver asked, without any success in hiding his excitement.

“It is merely a suggestion,” the woman in white repeated. It was difficult to tell, but she sounded… upset?

“Out of curiosity. And purely hypothetically, but if I fail to destroy the book, will the world end?” Sylver asked. The woman in white spoke in such a way that Sylver couldn’t tell if she was about to laugh or cry.

“Are you asking if you’re about to indirectly save the world?” the woman in white answered.

There was a definite note of pity in her voice. She leaned towards Sylver and spoke a little quieter than before. “If I told you that destroying that book would mean the end for every single creature living in that realm, would that stop you?” the woman in white asked.

The downside of living for a long time was that you eventually learned who you really were at the core of it all.

Which was why there wasn’t any hesitation in Sylver’s answer.

“No. For Edmund I would end them myself, if I had to,” Sylver said.

“Then it doesn’t really matter, does it? The odds are against you. But I have personally seen you beat much worse odds time and time again, so I have every confidence you’ll succeed… one way or another,” the woman in white said.

“Will you tell Edmund about this?” Sylver asked. He felt the woman in white straighten up a bit.

“Ah… That’s what you were worried about… No. Or at least we have no intentions or reasons to tell anyone about this. Given that neither of us is bound by contract, you’re free to do as you will, and tell whoever you want, or not tell in this case,” the woman in white said. Sylver laughed slightly at this as he turned around and stared down at the swirling mass of liquid quicksilver.

With a snap of his fingers, all the hair on his body burned away in a puff of bright blue fire. Not that the extra 10 grams of hair follicles would make a big difference, but every little advantage he could get would help.

And who knows?

Edmund did start fighting dirty when he realized Aether was dead, maybe he’s finally grown out of all that honor and fighting fair nonsense.

He always was a bit of a slow learner.

“When I come back…” Sylver tried to find a way to phrase the words in a way that wasn’t a direct threat, but the woman in white spoke first.

“If you don’t trust me, you’re free to leave. I can’t coerce or bribe you into doing this, it has to be done entirely of your own free will,” the woman in white said.

Trust the woman who won’t even show me her face…

Sylver moved the shades around in his shadow and pushed them as close together as possible.

Worst case scenario I’ll just need to hunt down an organization with at least 1 person that has 10 times more levels than me.

Or I’ll die.

Best case scenario... I get Edmund back.

Sylver took a very deep breath and used a bit of magic to pull all the air out of his lungs as he breathed out. He gave his mana a second to return and gathered as much as he could in his head and torso.

With a slightly shaking foot, and about 3 seconds' worth of hesitation, he stepped forward and plunged down into the liquid silver.




The prickling on Sylver’s skin informed him that he still had skin to prickle.

Exposed flesh burned, it didn’t prickle.

Sylver stayed still for a few seconds while he let his soul settle back into his body, and waited for his mana to calm down enough to start using it.

He was laying on his stomach, which had skin, as did his back and his torso’s sides.

The heart was fine, lungs were fine, kidneys, liver, intestines, everything important appeared to have been completely untouched.

It was hard to tell because the cold had made it shrivel up and hide, but Sylver didn’t think he was a eunuch just yet.

Then again, he had so much to lose that it would have been difficult to notice if a few inches were missing.

Sylver moved his attention up to his head.

Left eye was gone, right eye seemed fine. He hadn’t been scalped, and his skull appeared to be in one piece.

The nose was intact, as were the jaw and teeth.

Sylver’s silver tongue was just gone, and his vocal cords had been sliced up into mince. Left ear was missing, right ear was torn up but more or less whole.

As for the arms and legs…

Right arm was perfectly fine, not so much as a bruise, while the left was gone.

Right leg was perfectly fine, not so much as a scratch, while the left was gone.

In both cases, it appeared that something had twisted them both before severing them from Sylver’s body. Thankfully he had been prepared for this, so there weren’t any open arteries to bleed out from at the moment.

Sylver turned over onto his back and fell several inches into the ground. He took a deep and shuddering breath that burned his lungs with how cold it was. The air felt breathable, so Sylver crossed out 2 potential realms.

He kept his empty left eye tightly closed while he opened his right one.

There was snow everywhere.

Or at least something that looked and felt like snow. From the Sylver-shaped hole in which Sylver was currently laying inside, he could see individual snowflakes glittering against the bright overbearing sun.

Sylver wasn’t an expert, but he was fairly certain snowflakes weren’t supposed to have curves.

Or 5 sides for that matter.

Sylver closed his eye again and focused on his body.

He first started near his heart and raised his internal temperature to a healthy 50 degrees Celsius. His metallic ribcage acted as a perfect insulator and made it easier to circulate the hot blood around his cooling internal organs.

A bit of steam escaped Sylver’s nose as he got to his lungs, and some water fell down onto his forehead as the steam melted the crystals above him. He felt the ring appear on his right hand and sped the process up a little.

Thankfully his body was well past that of a human being’s and didn’t complain too much when the hot blood started to move its way through his clamped shut arteries and capillaries.

Considering how poorly the gate had been put together, Sylver had expected worse.

Much worse.

He would have brought more shades over if he knew it would be this relatively smooth.

But maybe it was so smooth because he only brought so few shades?

And, granted, his eye, ear, tongue, left arm, and left leg were missing, but the important things were intact.

It didn’t matter at this point, he made a choice, and would now live with it.

The hole deepened as Sylver’s body warmed up and started to melt the snow beneath him. He adjusted the temperature until he found an acceptable equilibrium before he began to crawl out of the miniature ice bath.

The wind was weak but stung as it brushed over Sylver’s wet body. The steam that came out of his mouth and nose covered his head in a cloud of fog that made it hard to see. He lowered the temperature slightly to stop it, but in the end, simply had to pick and choose when to breathe out to be able to see.

With the ring and perks, Sylver had just enough mana to cover himself up with a thin layer of darkness. He made himself an arm and a leg out of darkness, but it was too light and made the rest of his body very unbalanced.

Just when I got used to it too.

Sylver checked the bone where he had stashed everything and breathed out a dense sigh of relief as he found it untouched.

Was this the coin flip? That I arrived mostly intact?

Sylver focused on his right hand and nearly fell over when the ax appeared in it. He caught himself and let it drop into the snow, before making it disappear again. He made a bomb appear in his hand, and made it disappear as well.

As for [Xander’s Waystone]

It felt sluggish for lack of a better word, but it certainly didn’t feel like it wasn’t working. The problem with testing it out right now was that Sylver wasn’t certain if he would be able to come back here if it actually worked.

It was a problem to be tackled after he destroyed the book.

But first, he needed to find someone or something to point him towards a place that had books.

Sylver turned into smoke to try and fly up and look around, but materialized barely a meter off the ground and fell down into the deep snow. His skin burned as if he just took a dip in holy water, and it was now pink, as opposed to its normal nearly translucent pale white.

Sylver lay panting in the melting snow, while he waited for the burning to subside.

With little to do but wait he started healing Spring so he wasn’t alone. The shades had been stripped of their clothing, and now only had armor, that wouldn’t be of any help to Sylver at the moment. If anything, cold metal against the skin would do more harm than good. The darkness might cost mana, but at least it would help keep his flesh alive.

Sylver popped his head out of his steaming snow bath as he thought he heard a noise in the distance and saw a black dot bobbing up and down as it grew bigger and bigger.

[Ursa Polaris (Rogue+Warrior) – 172]

Sylver climbed out of his hole and waved towards the bobbing dot.

Sylver made a puff of steam come out of his mouth as he tried to shout and remembered he was currently missing too many pieces for that.

The dot moved strangely for a moment before it carried on growing bigger and bigger.

With his missing eye and the general shock to the system, it took Sylver’s mind a couple of seconds to realize he wasn’t watching a dot grow larger, but instead, he was seeing something get closer to him.

A mixture of other factors led Sylver to believe the dot was farther away than it turned out to be.

The first was that it didn’t make any noise as it moved on the fluffy and loose snow.

The second was that Sylver just barely had enough mana to cover himself, and wasn’t using it to sense his surroundings.

The third was that half of his attention was on Spring, and making sure the twisted into a metaphorical pretzel shade was still in one piece.

So when the black dot suddenly opened its two pitch-black eyes, as it opened its bright red mouth full of yellow teeth and lunged at Sylver’s face, he was confused at the sudden appearance of colors, and it was pure stupid luck that he blocked it with his left hand and not his right.

The creature clamped down on Sylver’s solidified darkness hand and seemed as confused as he was at the lack of blood and resistance. It appeared to be unused to being confused and became enraged instead, as it moved its right paw to the left, and attempted to slash Sylver’s chest open.

Instead it just barely managed to bruise the skin around his ribs as it sent him flying to the side away from itself.

Sylver bounced a few times as he fell to the ground, and then slid away for a while before he was slow enough to fall into the snow.

Was this the coin flip? That it went for my chest and not my legs?

He got up and saw a very large white-furred creature bounding towards him, completely silent as its giant white-clawed paws barely left a dent in the snow Sylver was currently knee-deep inside.

It opened its mouth far wider than Sylver would have guessed possible by the shape of its head, and roared so loudly that Sylver felt his chest vibrate from the low pitched noise.

Sylver rolled his head to the side and cracked his neck as his ax appeared in his right hand.

Been a while since I wore a fur coat.

The glossy white-furred creature didn’t seem the least bit bothered, as it continued to run towards him. In the distance, Sylver heard several very similar roars but ignored them for the time being.

With no shades, no [Shadow’s Soma], and not enough mana for illusions, this fight was going to get messy.


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