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Ch103-Made Them Equal

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With the blood and fat scrubbed away, and with the giant piece of skin cut down to about the size of a robe, Sylver had to admit he didn’t look half bad.

He didn’t look great. He made a mirror out of ice, and he wished he hadn’t.

But it was certainly an improvement to walking around completely nude, or covered in darkness and appearing to be a walking silhouette.

Sylver had once learned to make string from intestines, to make music with them. The man who taught him how to do this would have strangled him if he saw how many steps he skipped, and that he ended up using said strings to sew himself a robe, instead of stringing a lute.

Sylver could almost hear master Lorentino’s shrill voice screaming in his ear for daring to defile his teachings in such a way.

Sylver stored away the remainder of the creature’s pelt in his femur. As Sylver passed the ax it came out of the solid ice below and jumped into Sylver’s hand.

He made it disappear, and spread the leftover [Coat Of Carrion] around his right arm, hidden beneath his long-sleeved pale white furry robe. Given that the robe was mostly see-through, it made his arm look a dull red.

Sylver waited for his bowl of ice to stop moving before he stood up and placed his right foot on top of the snow. He pressed it down and it disappeared into the snow.

It took Sylver a few minutes of adjusting his mana until he was able to step onto the snow and force it to hold his weight. Because of the sun messing with his magic, it was more difficult to walk on the snow, than it would be to walk on moving water back in Eira.

Sylver walked slowly at first, one step at a time as if he were a child. The lack of two limbs threw his balance off, and simultaneously forming his darkness into a leg and making sure he didn’t break through the snow more or less took up the entirety of Sylver’s attention.

He wasn’t sure how long he was walking for, given that the sun didn’t move so much as an inch, but Sylver felt it before he saw it. A long deep moaning sound that made his ribcage shake. He looked up and saw a gigantic metallic structure buried inside the ice and snow.

Two cylindrical pillars went high into the air, while the base seemed large enough to hold at least 3 mansions. And going by the angle the front was sticking up, Sylver imagined there was even more hidden below the water and ice.

A very odd flat metallic pinwheel-like thing had been attached to the tallest point of the structure, and now and then sparkled as it caught the sun.

Sylver wanted to shout something, but the empty squeak that came out of his mouth reminded him about the yet to be repaired vocal cords and lack of tongue.

His spell slipped as he lost focus for a moment, and he fell into the snow, stopping only when it got to his chest and he caught himself with his outstretched hands. He climbed out of the hole while Spring split himself up and prepared himself and Reg.

Sylver got some of the creature’s flesh from his [Bound Bones] storage and turned it into more bright red gunk using [Coat Of Carrion]. He summoned his ax and covered it with it.

While Sylver manipulated [Coat Of Carrion] to create a single long tendril, he walked right up to the structure and hit it three times with his ax, being careful to make sure the knocks were consistent. If there was someone inside, he didn’t want them to think he was some wild beast. He waited for an answer, but none came.

The ax slowly floated up in the air, as a tendril remained attached to Sylver’s hand before the ax reached the top and fell onto the metallic structure. More tendrils came out from the ax and spread out. Spring and Reg traveled up the shadow created by the tendril from Sylver’s hand to the ax, and from the ax to the rest of the structure, and went about quickly exploring it.

Sylver waited for about a minute before one of the Spring splits returned.

“Good news, there’s food. It’s frozen solid so it’s unlikely it’s gone bad. Bad news, there are people inside, but they’re all dead,” Spring paused for a moment to allow Sylver to interject, but he kept quiet.

“More bad news, there are dead humans underwater, and they were in a cage. And along those lines, there are very strange-looking people near the top. You should check for yourself, we didn’t find any traps, but be on guard,” Spring finished. Sylver nodded mutely and made the tendril extending out to the ax compress and pull him up the metallic surface.

He heard the noise again as he was halfway up the thing, and through where his feet touched it. It was a very strange sound, something like a moan but not quite. Spring was the one who realized what the source of the noise was.

“It’s moving. Ice rubbing against metal. Sinking,” Spring said. Sylver nodded mutely.

Once he was on the surface of the structure and he got a chance to look around, Sylver realized what he was looking at.

It’s a ship… Made entirely out of metal…

When it came to technology Eira was in a very odd place.

Area’s with a high mana concentration, such as Arda and the towns and cities near it used magic for most of their needs. Dwarves on the other hand made their homes deep underground where the concentration of mana tended to be low and used their technology to compensate.

Dwarves had a lot of really strange technology, ranging from fuel-powered carriages, giant metallic trains on tracks, Lola even told him that they had a machine that could copy books without a mage manipulating ink being nearby.

Even some of their ships were very odd-looking, instead of sails they had mechanical moving fins hidden underwater.

But even the dwarves never made a ship out of metal.

Sylver kept his thoughts to himself as he followed Spring’s mental map and walked up to an allegedly extremely thick metallic door, that was frozen solid from the inside and the outside. Sylver placed his hand on the wheel and closed his eye to concentrate better on what he was doing.

The door was filled with gears, which were to Sylver’s surprise in perfect shape and completely untouched by the ice surrounding the door. Sylver applied some mana on the liquid inside the door, and very gently made it heat up.

He felt the liquid move in an odd way for a moment, before the heated portion of the liquid got sucked up upwards, and was replaced by the same cold liquid coming in from the bottom.

Sylver searched around and found that tubes were coming out of the door, that very likely were linked to something that was supposed to keep this door too warm to prevent it from freezing up.

I could force it open. I could just use a bomb too, but then I wouldn’t be able to close it. If I enter via [Shadow’s Soma] I could die if I’m too slow when leaving it.

It would take more time to build something to make a shadow than it would to simply do this properly. It would need to be solid, so it didn’t just fall away and trap me inside.

In the end, Sylver realized there was no real rush right now, he was warm, and there was food waiting for him inside. He focused on the edges of the door that he felt were too frozen over to open and heated them to melt the ice.

It was hard to tell how long it took, but Sylver learned something new while he waited for the door to melt open.

The sun was moving.

At such an absurdly slow rate that if Sylver hadn’t drawn a line in the snow and made a very basic sundial, he never would have noticed. He decided not to dwell on the possibility that this was some sort of weird realm where the atmosphere bent the incoming sunlight in such a way that it was always daytime, no matter where you went, and instead remained optimistic at the thought of it having an extra-long day, followed by an extra-long night.

It wasn’t exactly ideal, but Sylver already had enough problems on his mind, without adding the possibility of never being able to use his shades outdoors to the mix.

Obviously he wasn’t defenseless without them, but it would certainly help to have shades around to take care of miscellaneous chores. Plus, Spring was getting depressed at the thought of being helpless, and since he was connected directly to Sylver, Sylver was getting depressed because of him.

Sylver had his own feelings to deal with, he didn’t need Springs on top of that.

“There are ways to counteract the sun, don’t worry so much,” Sylver tapped out while he continued to warm the door open.

Spring didn’t say anything, but Sylver could feel it eased his mind, in part at least.

The ship made the same moaning noise a few more times while Sylver was onboard and melting the door open. And while it was incredibly slow and subtle, it was sinking.

Meaning Sylver had to get in, get what he needed, and get out.

Or risk succumbing to one out of 9 things every single undead was beyond terrified of.

Trapped at the bottom of the ocean.

True immortals didn’t cross oceans precisely because of this fear, Sylver wasn’t actively pissing himself at the fact that only a few inches of ice and snow were separating him and the water below, because he was a master of not thinking about things.

As Sylver slowly turned the wheel to get the door open, he felt a great deal of resistance. When he pulled it open, the air rushed in so quickly that Sylver didn’t have enough strength and the door slammed shut again. When he forced it open a second time, he placed his ax in the gap and let it close over the ax.

The door whistled so loudly that Sylver wondered just how far the sound had traveled. It was enough to almost deafen him.

With the door finally opened, Sylver stepped inside.

It was a lot like walking around with a large mass of weights hanging on your shoulders, and finally pulling them off. Sylver’s leg and darkness made arm crackled lazily with yellow sparks as they became harder and more solid, all while Sylver just stood still and took long deep breaths.

“I was right, it’s the sun that’s the problem, the ambient mana is fine,” Sylver said, via [Auditory Illusion]. He didn’t need it to talk to Spring, but he only had one hand and wanted it free to hold things.

And he liked the sound of his voice and had missed it.

“We can go gather all the food up while you inspect the bodies. There are bags there, and the path is open,” Spring offered.

“Gather anything you can find, clothing, weapons, any books, literally anything that isn’t bolted down, grab it and bring it to me,” Sylver ordered, as Spring nodded and disappeared to meet up with his split-off copies. Sylver left a shade to stand near the door and ax to make sure it didn’t close from the wind.

Unsurprisingly the interior was made entirely out of metal.

A very ugly shade of white paint had been used for every visible inch, save for some words and arrows that had been painted on top. Sylver looked around as he walked and he almost recognized the writing system being used.

It used individual letters, and given that Sylver saw a couple of them being used in different words, had to hope that it wasn’t logographic. Those kinds of languages took forever to learn, and Sylver wasn’t sure if he had it in him.

He’d obviously put his head down and learn if he felt it was needed, but he wouldn’t be happy about it.

And he would complain to Edmund about it until his ears fell off.

In a slightly better mood, Sylver followed Spring’s directions and arrived at his first glimpse into this realm’s civilization.

The floor was a dark red from spilled blood that had frozen over. Small red icicles hung from the ceiling, along with a dozen dark red splashes all over the walls.

On the right side of the room were 11 people of various shapes and sizes laying on their backs with a small hole somewhere on their foreheads. Going by the lack of marks in the blood, they had all died within minutes of each other, and if Sylver was right, they had all been executed.

And going by the lack of bindings, they died willingly.

From a cursory glance, he guessed that 2 of them were women, while the other 9 were men. Thankfully they were all quite large, one man in the very middle was fatter and taller than Sylver, so at the very least that wouldn’t be an issue.

On the left side of the room sat a man with a very short beard that had been rubbed with wax or something, as it was far too shiny for normal hair. The man was sitting in a simple metallic chair, with an empty glass on the table near him, and an empty bottle that looked like it held some kind of liquor. There weren’t any holes in his head or any blood around or behind him.

In his other hand, he had an odd-looking metallic device that lay on his lap.

It took Sylver a few moments to realize what he was looking at, as he approached the corpse and very carefully attempted to take it out of the man’s frozen solid hand.

It was a gun.

The kind the dwarves had wasted countless centuries trying to build back on Eira, and each time discovered that anything smaller than a cannon wasn’t worth the effort.

[Hero]s that came from Earth always at some point attempted to create a functional gun, and every single time found that most things on Eira couldn’t be harmed by something small enough to be carried around.

Sylver allowed himself to be shot point-blank in the face when a young female [Hero] tried to argue with him about it.

For something allegedly able to “kill a building” the something material gun didn’t even penetrate the first layer of Sylver’s defensive spells. The woman ran out of ammo and patience before Sylver had so much as a scratch on him.

The woman ended up abandoning the idea and instead focused on refining her magical abilities.

Nyx kept a few guns as a curiosity, but Sylver had simply packed them up and never touched them again when he moved into her workshop.

The man’s frozen solid finger snapped off before it bent, so Sylver stopped trying to be careful and just yanked at the gun until he managed to pull it out. Sylver dropped it to the floor when he tried to inspect it with mana, and with slightly shaky legs walked over to the other 11 corpses and turned one of the men’s heads over.

There was a hole on the back of their heads, and a very small shard of metal lodged in the metallic floor. It was covered by a layer of frozen blood, but Sylver just punched it and made it shatter and get out of the way. He held his breath as he reached out with one finger towards the tiny projectile and touched it.

Fuck this realm.

Sylver thought, as he quickly pulled his hand away and walked back to look at the gun. He was about to start hitting it against the wall to get it to open when he accidentally pulled one of the small levers on it and made something fall out of it.

Sylver picked up the small metallic rectangle and saw a tiny cylindrical thing inside of it. Most of it was a bright yellowish color, while the very tip was an incredibly worrying shiny grey. Sylver touched it with his thumb.

Fuck this realm.

Spring came into the room carrying a large bag on his back, and his cheery smile turned into a frightened frown as he saw the expression on Sylver’s face.

“These lunatics are firing lead at each other,” Sylver’s auditory illusion calmly, but so loudly that it echoed throughout the whole ship.

Spring was just about to ask “are you sure,” when Sylver forced the metallic rectangle back into the gun and pointed it at the man sitting in the chair, and pulled the trigger.

It made a click, but nothing happened.

It made more clicks as Sylver kept pressing the button, before he got too irritated and threw it against the wall, causing it to smash into pieces, all while mutely screaming.

“SHE THREW ME IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, IN A REALM WHERE I CAN’T PROPERLY USE MAGIC DURING THE DAY, AND WHERE THEY’RE USING FUCKING LEAD FOR THEIR GUNS!” Sylver’s [Auditory Illusion] bellowed, so loudly that the icicles from the ceiling fell down and shattered against the floor.

One of the men lying dead on the floor moved due to Sylver’s mana leaking out and animating a part of him, and Sylver calmed down slightly as he saw solid frozen pointy ears appear when the man’s hat remained glued to the floor while his head came up.

“STAY THE FUCK DOWN!” Sylver ordered at the man, who somewhat lazily complied and went back to laying dead on the floor.

Spring remained completely calm throughout the whole ordeal and simply had the shades bring everything he deemed useful to just outside the room Sylver was currently pacing around and losing his temper.

It took a lot to make a dent in Sylver.

Hanging his lifelong friend as a reward for some sort of fucked up realm traveling book destroying quest was one way to make him lose his cool.

Ripping his arm and leg off, making him mute and partially blind, with no access to the components he needed to heal himself, was another.

And presenting him arguably an undead’s worst nightmare, in a compact and easy-to-use package, was the feather that broke the camel’s back.

Lead was rare in Eira.

Because the world functioned on magic and mana, and the only way to dig it up was to force slaves to do it, and then force them to process it and smelt it. And surprisingly enough those slaves very rarely lived long enough to master the process, or even become good at it.

Not to mention a very large majority of religions considered it an affront to their god or gods, or whatever it is they believed in. In elvish the name for lead literally translated to “abandoned metal,” in context the abandoning being done by a god.

There were people who adorned full sets of lead armor and could hypothetically walk up to and kill even an 8th rank mage, but one of the first things Nyx taught Sylver was how to defend against lead. And as he later learned when he had the ingenious idea to kill someone using a lead spear, so did every single other mage that had an apprentice.

It was worth somewhere around 300 times its weight in gold, and that’s not even talking about pure lead.

Pure lead didn’t exist in Eira.

It theoretically would react with the mana in the air and would burn away in mere seconds.

So when most people called something “pure” lead, they meant it was a lead alloy. They mixed lead with gold or silver, or some other metal, even a whole suit of lead armor had maybe 40g of actual lead. Even that door Sylver couldn’t break through back when he was hunting down the Black Mane had maybe 5 kilograms of lead, at best, the rest was just filler metal.

The only redeeming feature of this day was that at least Sylver confirmed that he wasn’t on Earth. Where those insane lunatics mixed lead into their drinking water.

Sylver shuddered as the memory resurfaced and almost instantly cooled him down. Nyx nearly killed the mage that was acting as a guide when he didn’t say a word about it. It was one of the ways a [Hero] could be recognized, the fuckers were immune to lead’s anti-magic effect.

Because they drank lead-laced water from infancy and developed a fucking immunity to it.

But this wasn’t Earth, Earth didn’t have half-elves.

Sylver ran his sweaty hand through his bald scalp and pulled his fur hood back on.

“Feeling better?” Spring asked, as a shade behind him carefully placed down another sack of something, without making any noise.

“No. If this wasn’t for Edmund, I would be trying to activate [Xander’s Waystone]. Look at this,” Sylver explained through his magic, as he leaned down and picked up two of the bright yellow projectiles that had rolled around on the floor from the gun breaking up.

“It’s lead, I get it,” Spring said, being very careful to keep Sylver calm and relaxed.

“No, look carefully. I’ll save you the trouble, these have been machined,” Sylver explained, adding emphasis on the word.

“…” Spring didn’t say a word as he did his best to keep his eyes and face calm and relaxed. He wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

“As in, this is mass-produced, one of many. On Earth, I’ve been told they sell these by the bucket. And this looks too perfect and too identical to have been handmade, so there’s a bucket of these somewhere here,” Sylver explained, while a yellow spark danced around the back of Spring’s neck.

“We found a ton of food. And there’s clothing, not to mention their clothing too. And uh… books, we found books. And a book with maps,” Spring explained, at this point desperate to change the subject.

Frankly speaking, Sylver genuinely didn’t want to talk about this either.

Silver was one thing; lead was entirely another. If he got one of these lead projectiles stuck inside of him… And it got into his blood and spread out…

The thought sent another shudder through Sylver as he let the two yellow-colored projectiles in his hand fall to the ground, and kicked them away from him and Spring.

As Spring waved the shades patiently standing outside to come in and start placing the cans of food and other miscellaneous items on the floor, Sylver walked over to the now completely dead corpse and crouched down to examine it.

On a complete hunch, he pulled at the pointy ear until it snapped off, and inspected the cross-section.

They’re not half-elves… The ears always have a muscle in them, this guy doesn’t.

After snapping off 10 more ears, Sylver was convinced.

These weren’t elves.

Or half-elves.

They might have had an elf in their ancestry somewhere down the line, but going by the proportions of their body, and the shape of their skull, and the way their teeth were set, all these people were at best in their 50s and were already fully grown adults.

A human with even a drop of elf blood in them wouldn’t look anything like this. Especially not a human with enough elf blood to have such pointed ears.

There was something seriously fucked up with this realm, and Sylver wasn’t sure what worried him more.

The lead firing guns.

Or that he couldn’t for the unlife of him figure out which realm this was. His memory was bad, but he would have remembered meeting something like this.

Sylver absent-mindedly stored away whatever Spring handed him and spread it out amongst his bones, storing the frozen solid corpses with him to dissect at a later date.

He was just about to say something when the floor disappeared from underneath his feet, and all the shades carrying stuff fell down and dropped everything. Sylver heard that same moaning noise, but now it was constant and consistent.

He focused on taking the books with him as he ran past the shades holding them up, and they ran after him carrying boxes and bags full of stuff. At the back of his mind, Sylver noted the water running down the floor and making it slippery, but he couldn’t risk turning into smoke using [Shadow’s Soma] and getting hit by a stray ray of sunlight.

When he heard a very loud bang, followed by a small influx of mana, he knew what had happened before he even saw it.

The only exit out of this ship had just slammed shut.

And if the water leaking out through the dent the ax had made was any indication, the ship was already partially underwater.

Fuck this realm.

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KingKennit

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