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Ch105-Poor Alternatives

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The results of Sylver dissecting the half-elves were…

Concerning…

Because now he had to stop calling them half-elves.

Because they weren’t.

The similarities between them and real half-elves started and ended with their appearance.

If Sylver went by their insides, they were human.

But they weren’t human either.

They had the same bone and muscle structure, same heart shape, same digestive system, blood appeared normal, the brain was segmented properly, nothing weird in their vertebrae, they had the same weak points as a human did and their reproductive system was a perfect match.

Except their liver was far too large relative to their size, they had what appeared to be an extra big kidney on their left side, and instead of a second kidney, they had what looked like some sort of enlarged gallbladder on their right side.

That was connected to their cardiovascular system, in a way Sylver didn’t quite see the point of.

Forget inefficient, it almost looked like it wasn’t meant to be there. But there were no surgery scars or traces of magic of any kind. As far as Sylver could tell, they were born with this weird ball, supposedly filled with blood.

One of the corpses had needle marks that indicated he injected something into it, or removed something from it, but the others didn’t.

It certainly didn’t help that they’ve all had time to decay, and then froze solid, so it was possible Sylver was looking at a smashed apart chair and was trying to figure out how people sat down on a bundle of splinters.

It didn’t get in the way of raising them as zombies, so it wasn’t magical, or at least didn’t interact with their muscle or bone structure in a way that mattered. As for raising them as shades…

Dark magic restricting sunlight aside, there was something wrong with them. It wasn’t just the organ Sylver couldn’t figure out, there was something wrong with them as a whole.

And Sylver was surprised it took so long for him to figure it out. He felt it when he drained that white-furred creature, but he had assumed it was due to the sun.

All of these half elf like creatures were very close to being full lights.

Although that wasn’t it either, it was more like the area that would have been filled up with dark energy was empty, and had been filled with light energy instead.

It wasn’t so much an overabundance of light energy, as a lack of dark energy. Which opened up quite a few very interesting possibilities for Sylver’s magic.

When he searched their pockets he found most of them empty, save for an odd-looking mirror, and in one man’s pocket, he found a picture of a dark-haired woman with pointy ears. It was folded down the middle and had something handwritten on the back of it that Sylver couldn’t read.

The mirror had glass on one side, and shiny metal on the other with small etched in writing near the bottom. On the side of the mirror, there were very small buttons that didn’t do anything when Sylver pressed them.

When Sylver tried to feel inside of it using mana, the mirror made a loud noise, before a very strange-smelling white puff of smoke came out of it.

After he broke it open, Sylver discovered that it had a wrapped up pouch of something and a bunch of thin metallic wires attached to the mirror side. The pouch was leaking and had an incredibly unpleasant smell, so Sylver put it back into his storage before he broke it any further.

The books Spring and the shades had gathered had all been soaked in water, and then frozen, and then unfrozen. To say they weren’t in great condition was an understatement. There also were very few pictures inside of them, which made deciphering their meaning very difficult given that Sylver couldn’t read or understand the language.

After a bit of investigation, he was at least more or less certain the language only had 33 letters in it. Which was very doable, compared to some of the other languages Sylver knew.

There weren’t any maps, which was quite honestly what he had been hoping for.

Ships always had a map.

On Eira at least.

But going by the fact that most of the books Spring had found were possibly about repairing and maintaining large boxes full of flat boards and wires, like the kind inside the mirror, the people here did things a bit differently.

On the brighter side, Sylver had a compass now.

It was attached to a small red knife that also had a pair of scissors, a nail file, a small saw, and pliers if you turned it inside out. There were 4 letters on the compass, that Sylver assumed was shorthand for north, east, south, and west of this realm.

He was traveling east right now, and just a tiny bit south.

Moving the boat using the dagger was difficult at the start and required a fair bit of effort and concentration, but after what felt like a whole day of travel, Sylver barely paid it any mind.

He had trouble keeping track of time, as did most undead, so the only thing he had as a reference was his stomach.

Primal energy, also sometimes called information energy, was difficult to explain. It relied on the soul, and it didn’t. It relied on mana, and it didn’t. It was based on the physical world, and it wasn’t.

The important thing was that it took a lot of energy to overwrite someone else’s primal energy. If you had all the right components and knew what you were doing you could shorten a process that would normally take months into just under a day, even if you only had a spark of mana to work with.

Sylver had done it when he was repairing his mana channels, but even with all of his current boosts, he didn’t have anywhere near enough mana to overwrite the fake half elves’ primal energy in their arms and legs. He might have some luck with an eye, but if he fucked it up, he would really fuck it up.

And although Sylver was confident in his abilities, it simply wasn’t worth the risk. He’d fucked up under better conditions than this, and with a whole lot more mana.

One way to change an object's primal energy was to physically change the object itself. Cooking was the simplest way to explain it. It’s possible to transplant one organ into another person, but not if the organ has been boiled or fried because its primal energy had been changed from “organ” to “food”.

Sylver could make a piece of meat fly around, but if it was heated up and turned into a “steak” he no longer could do anything to it.

It was why he couldn’t use [Dead Dominion] to rip someone’s dinner out of their stomach. Or why he couldn’t make people’s leather armor crush their torsos.

Hypothetically speaking Sylver could eat their flesh and his stomach acid would likely be enough to get rid of their primal energy.

It wouldn’t even really be cannibalism. And since they’ve all been frozen solid, the danger of some sort of bacteria surviving was minimal.

But quite honestly Sylver was apprehensive about eating an intelligent creature. Not for moral reasons, but because it wasn’t all that rare that the trace amount of primal energy left behind in his system from eating them would be enough for creatures of the same race to sense something.

Elves in particular could sense someone who ate elf flesh from miles away. And they could pretty much track you down if you ate one of their blood relatives.

A lesson Sylver learned the hard way.

For humans, sometimes Sylver got lucky and they couldn’t sense shit. Other times they looked him in the eye and knew immediately. There were very few cultures that didn’t care about their dead and even fewer that didn’t care enough that they practiced cannibalism on their own kind.

Plus, new body and all that, Sylver didn’t want to taint it with cannibalism if he didn’t need to.

He picked out a metallic can at random and pulled the ring attached to one side of it.

Appearance-wise it looked like vomit.

A sickly green color, with bits of some kind of brown meat embedded in it. Sylver heated it up using his right hand and used his mana to stir it around.

Not that it really mattered, without a tongue he couldn’t taste anything. The tiny piece of tongue that he did have was barely big enough for him to recognize if someone was sweet or salty, but even that felt like it could have been his imagination.

Given how similar the fake half elves’ digestive tract was, Sylver felt confident that there was enough compatibility that he wouldn’t die from eating their food. And if there was, his stomach would just reject it and he would have to find a different source of nourishment.

From what he remembered from travelling to different realms, as long as the food didn’t smell unpleasant in a very specific way, it was fine to eat. If you couldn’t smell it, don’t eat it, because you might be eating the equivalent of broken glass as far as your stomach is concerned.

But the green soup smelled fine and didn’t burn his finger when he touched it.

Lack of taste made it both very easy, and very unnerving to eat. Sylver swallowed the green soup as if he were drinking one of his component laced mixtures.

Roughly an hour passed, and Sylver felt fine. He even gained a few more grams of bone as a result of eating.

He drank 10 more cans of various foods and didn’t bother looking too much at what exactly he was eating. He decided that since he was fine with the food, he would be fine with the water, and turned fresh snow into water, and drank it.

His stomach didn’t so much as flinch from it.

There were several explanations for all of this.

The one that Sylver considered most likely, was that this realm was within a page or two of Eira. Following the book metaphor, it didn’t quite make sense, but realms weren’t actually 2 dimensional relative to each other, there were some above and some below other realms, some on the left, some on the right.

The woman in white knew where she was sending me, is it possible one of the reasons she picked me was because she knew I was compatible with this realm? I arrived almost completely unharmed, the arm, leg, and eye were removed quite cleanly all things considered.

Sylver's train of thought was interrupted as he heard a noise directly above him. A small grey sphere was floating right on top of him and his blood-covered boat and was going at the exact same speed as him.

It almost looked motionless, from where Sylver was sitting.

He saw a flicker of light, followed by the same noise he had heard initially. Sylver just continued to sit where he was and stared upwards at the thing.

He lifted his right arm and waved at it.

It moved around quickly, and Sylver couldn’t predict which direction it was going to go as it did so. When he put his hand down, it went back to just floating above him and following along.

Do I say something and risk letting it know I don’t know what the local language is? I don’t sense any mana coming out of it, and I can’t sense a soul either, but it can clearly see me and is reacting to my movements.

Some sort of tech-based golem? The dwarves have those fuel-powered suits, this one could be something like that but without a dwarf inside of it.

Sylver felt the wind change and stood up from his fast-moving boat to look around. The flying sphere disappeared out of sight the moment he did, and returned a couple of seconds later, to continue floating above him.

Just when Sylver was considering shooting it down, he heard a noise off in the distance and turned to look towards it. Similar to the white-furred creature, this thing was very difficult to see or to follow.

It was polished to the point it was basically made entirely out of mirrors. Sylver wasn’t sure how it was doing it, but it was only reflecting the sky around it and didn’t have even a speck of white, from the snow below it. It was the size of several carriages stacked together, with something very strange happening on top of it.

It was making a lot of noise and was sending a ton of wind all around it, causing the loose snow to fly away in small clouds.

A door opened on the side of the thing, and Sylver saw a humanoid figure covered from head to toe in white amour stick its helmeted head out.

Despite the loud noise the shiny carriage thing was making, the white armored persons’ voice came to Sylver’s ears as if it were right next to him.

Good thing I kept my mouth shut.

The language was harsh and had long words, but short sentences. At least as far as Sylver could tell.

It took him a moment to realize the noise wasn’t coming from the armored person, but from the metal sphere floating above him. Sylver made the 4 daggers stop flying ahead and made them fly over to him and let them go up his left arm’s sleeve.

He kept them hidden in his darkness-created arm and didn’t store them away.

[Dojd (???) – 68]
[HP-6,700]
[MP-100]

The person wearing white armor seemed alarmed, and whatever he was saying through the metal sphere started to sound slightly panicked, he was repeating himself over and over again.

Sylver heard the floating carriage make a series of clicking noises, during which the person talking to him through the floating sphere became more and more agitated.

He lifted his arm up and pointed towards it with his other arm.

Sylver lifted both of his into the air and heard the voice sigh in relief. The floating carriage made a different series of clicks before it appeared to start moving downwards. When Sylver tried to put his hands down, the voice coming from the sphere practically screamed at him.

I’m not sensing any powerful magic from them… Even if they all have lead shooting guns with them, I could probably get inside and kill them all before they realized what was going on.

Then what?

I keep one alive and try to get them to explain where the nearest city is?

Then I get back in my boat and hope there isn’t some kind of impassable obstacle in the way? I can’t turn to smoke, so I can’t fly over anything. If there are any more of those tentacle things swimming around, I don’t know if I could take one while under the sun.

Could I fly whatever the thing they’re inside of is?

That’s assuming it doesn’t have a dead man’s switch or something.

If they wanted to kill me, they would have shot me already. So they want me alive?

Why?

He saw flat indents appear on the snow beneath where the flying carriage was, and then saw the person whose head was sticking out jump out from it. Some kind of weird liquid net thing extended out from his boot the moment he made contact with the ground, and he walked on top of the snow completely unimpeded.

He stopped a fair distance away from Sylver and his boat and was directly in front of the flying carriage. The armored person made a gesture of pulling off his helmet and pointed at Sylver.

Sylver considered his options.

I’m not sensing hostility from him, but I could be reading his soul wrong. I can almost certainly feel that he has lead somewhere on him, and I’m getting a weird feeling from his armor as a whole.

Should I flip a coin? Heads I go with them; tails I kill them all?

The man repeated the gesture of taking his helmet off.

Maybe they’re friendly and I’m misinterpreting things? From where they’re standing I’m suspicious as fuck, alone in the middle of nowhere and on a blood-covered boat.

Sylver very slowly pulled his hood back and used his right hand to pull the fabric covering most of his face off. He couldn’t tell by the man’s soul, but he could see by the body language he was happy. Or at least that’s how Sylver interpreted it.

Sylver was careful that his smile didn’t show any teeth or look aggressive, as he kept his hands in the air and watched the man walk towards him. Behind him, more people dressed up in white armor jumped out of their carriage and followed him. Their armor looked like it was made out of plates, covered in fabric, and sewed into a skintight suit.

Sylver felt the skin on the back of his neck crawl, as his left arm deflated and he toppled over to the left as his left leg disappeared. The little sphere floating above him was doing something, and Sylver’s magic was going haywire. He tried to form himself a leg again, but it was as if he were standing under the open sun.

He very quickly came to a decision.

I’ll go with them.

I don’t like my chances right now, and once I’m inside their carriage and they let their guards down, I can just summon bombs to kill them all.

Sylver pretended to attempt to get up, while he summoned an explosive, and instantly unsummoned it, just to confirm his [Rune Of Infinite Summoning] still worked. And just like under the sun, his internal magic was still perfectly fine.

The man placed his hand on Sylver’s boat and jumped up and into it. Sylver didn’t have to fake feeling nauseous and disoriented, because he genuinely didn’t feel good. The man said something that sounded like it was supposed to be a joke before he made a gesture at Sylver’s neck and made a dart appear in it. Sylver tried to get it out of him, but the sudden loss of magic had disoriented him too much.

Relief flooded Sylver’s system at the exact same time as the poison inside the dart did. His neck and head was going numb, and the feeling was very quickly spreading.

Considering he’d had his pain perception turned off since the moment he stepped foot in this realm, the poison wasn’t doing a whole lot. Sylver could still move as usual, but he pretended to struggle to resist the effects, before ultimately toppling over and not moving.

They’re slave traders.

Have to be.

I’ll play along and let them imprison me, gather a few allies from among the slaves, and break us all out.

Easy.

I’ll get some local currency during the breakout, and I’ll have guides to help me adjust to this realm. It worked perfectly the last 4 times I did this when in another realm.

Sylver’s theory was partially confirmed when he felt a lead-lined collar get placed around his neck and locked in place.

They patted him down and pulled his 4 daggers out of his now empty left sleeve. Sylver was further relieved when the man who had placed the collar on his neck seemed overjoyed when he found the daggers, and almost immediately hid them away underneath his armor.

At least they recognize good-quality weapons.

Sylver was very unceremoniously lifted by the back of his jacket and thrown out of his boat. He kept his body relaxed and limp, and luckily landed on his left side and didn’t break anything. With his face buried in the snow, Sylver didn’t see who was dragging by his right foot, but he felt it was a different person.

But the important thing was that Sylver had confirmed his theory.

Their armor had lead in it. If he tried to fight them, it wouldn’t have gone well for him. But since it was made of lead, it meant it wasn’t enchanted. Sylver would just need to stab them through the neck or the heart, and that would be that.

But if experience taught him anything, they likely had other anti-mage tricks up their sleeves.

Doesn’t matter, they want me alive, as long as I don’t do anything they won’t try to damage the merchandise.

Frankly speaking, despite Sylver’s gut telling him otherwise, he wasn’t thrilled about this plan.

He still had time to rip the collar off and disappear under the ice, but he felt a sharp sting in his stomach when he thought that.

That floating sphere thing… That man spoke to me through it, it isn’t impossible they have the technology for long-range communication. In which case, even if I kill all of them here and now, reinforcements will arrive, and they’ll be ready for me.

And what’s my alternative? Wandering aimlessly until I stumbled into something? If nothing else, this is faster, even if I end up arriving there as a slave.

If they brand me I can heal it away. Given that there isn’t so much as a speck of mana in any of their equipment, I can’t imagine they have advanced slave curses.

Although I could be wrong. This could be a very specialized anti-mage division.

Even if they try to curse me, I’ll just transfer it to someone else, or dismantle it. I’m a highly trained mage from Eira, I’ve got more magical knowledge in my pinkie than they have in their whole realm!

Sylver arrived at the floating carriage and several people pulled him up by the arm, leg, and jacket. He was thrown into a padded seat, and several flat belts were pulled tight around his torso. With his eye only partially open it was hard to see what was going on, but Spring was acting as his eyes for the moment.

The interior was made completely out of metal, with only a single doorway out into the snow outside, and a small door on Sylver’s left, that Spring went into and found two people sitting side by side and looking out of a window.

Sylver had expected them to do a bit more to him, but they just left him alone. With a lead collar around his neck, and with numbing poison running through his veins.

Are the mages they’re used to hunting so shit that they can be so careless with a level 100 mage, or are they that confident in their equipment?

Or they’re underestimating me because I went down without a fight.

As the last person got inside the carriage, they hit the metal wall three times with their hand, and the two people in the locked room started moving. Spring watched them and did his best to remember what they were doing, but there were far too many buttons and levers to keep track of, and he quickly realized that they were seeing something in the large mirror between them, that Spring wasn’t.

So using this thing after killing them is out of the question…

The carriage very quickly flew upwards, before leaning towards the direction it was going, and then it flew so quickly it felt like it covered the ground that would have taken Sylver several hours in his boat in just a few minutes.

Leave the drivers alive and force them to take me to the nearest city? Make them land just outside and walk the rest of the way?

They’re an organized group, the drivers might prefer trying to take me out with them as revenge.

Ah, fuck it.

I’ll try to resolve everything peacefully and see how far that takes me. I’ve got gold, and the armor the shades are wearing are all high quality. I’ve got magical knowledge they don’t, I can trade my way out of this.

And if not…

Well…

There’s always explosions, dark magic, and savagery on a level this realm has never seen before.

But fingers crossed this is all just a big misunderstanding.

With nothing to do but pretend to be unconscious, Sylver looked through his status and dropped 5 points into wisdom. Even with the sun and lead acting on him, he could still use [Dead Dominion] so he was counting on that to be his main weapon until he got better acquainted with this realm.

His back and chest was slick with [Coat Of Carrion], Sylver could summon a dagger and kill them all before they so much as realized what was going on.

CON: 100
DEX: 100
STR: 41
INT: 200
WIS: 110
AP: 0

Health: 793/793
Stamina: 344/500
MP: 4,112/5,000

Health Regen: 9.25/M
Stamina Regen: 7.5/M
MP Regen: 962.50/M

Only a bit more until I’ve got 1,000 MP per minute.

As for [Physical Endurance].

[Physical Endurance (II) rank up available!]
Choose 1 from the following:

Physical Endurance (III)
-Decrease the pain from physical attacks by 20%.
-Increase resistance against [Light] energy by 5%.
-[Requirements not met]
-[Requirements not met]
-[Requirements not met]

Oh damn… Something good for once.

[Skill: Physical Endurance (III)]
Skill level can be increased by enduring pain.
I - Decrease the pain from physical attacks by 2%.
II - Decrease the pain from physical attacks by 10%.
III - Increase resistance against [Light] energy by 5%.

And I haven’t even flipped any coins yet.

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KingKennit

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