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Ch107-Eye For An Eye

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When faced with a life or death scenario, the most important thing is to remain calm.

And while Sylver had a slightly irrational fear of lead, it wasn’t enough to cause a full-blown panic.

Especially when he could tell by the slight curl of the lips and eyes, that the two men were enjoying his fear. Which was fantastic, as far as Sylver was concerned.

It’s the people who didn’t get a kick out of killing people that you had to watch out for.

They didn’t drag it out, they just killed you.

But these types would taunt, torment and-

“We would like to hear your offer,” the man on the left said with a grin. He moved his thumb over the gun and pulled a piece of it back until it made a click.

[Elf (Footman+Soldier) – 37]
[HP-4,711]
[MP-0]

[Elf (Marauder+Soldier) – 33]
[HP-2,995]
[MP-10]

So the system considers them elves…

“Why don’t we handle this like proper men and wrestle for it? Keep things fair and civil and all that?” Sylver offered with a slight hint of uncertainty in his voice.

I’m not going to risk trying to use illusions. I can’t rely on shades right now; I want to keep that trump card hidden for as long as possible. [Shadow’s Soma] is too dangerous, who knows what they could hit if they shot me while I was in smoke form. And if a piece of lead gets stuck inside somewhere I can’t carve out and rip off…

The two men glanced at each other and started to laugh so hard Sylver got ready to lunge at them, but they regained their composure before he could commit to it.

Sylver was fast.

With the reduced weight due to his lack of arm and leg, he was very fast.

But was he faster than a gun and the things that came out of it?

He wasn’t willing to find out right at this moment, it was something to check in the future.

But he had a feeling he wouldn’t like the answer.

“Chen is going to love you kid. Pass your Iris over and we can resolve things without anyone losing their teeth or knees. Or knee, in this case,” the man on the left offered.

There wasn’t anything about either of them that particularly stood out, save for the fact that the man on the left was a few centimeters taller than the man on the right. Both of their hair was cut so short that Sylver couldn’t tell the color, other than that it was dark.

No scars or visible tattoos, muscular but not “muscle-bound”, and quite honestly Sylver felt that he would struggle to recognize them if he ever saw them again.

It certainly didn’t help that as an undead he constantly had to fight against face blindness for the living. He liked it when people had memorable characteristics, like a nice scar across the eye, or a uniform with their name on it, or some sort of minor physical deformity. He had Spring keep track of these kinds of things now, but he wasn’t infallible either.

Sylver looked down at the mirror in his right hand, called an Iris apparently, and pulled 2 darts out of his [Bound Bones] storage, along with a few drops of [Coat Of Carrion] to cover the two darts. He did all of this under his shirt and behind his back, out of sight of the two men. He didn’t think there was anyone around other than the three of them, but Sylver didn’t want to take any chances.

Sylver lifted the mirror, the Iris, up to his chest for a moment, as if to get a better grip on it, as he made the two darts glue themselves onto it, and was very careful to make sure the side with the darts was always facing towards him.

“Do you want me to walk over to you or-”

“Just throw it,” the man on the left said, with the hand that wasn’t holding the gun gesturing for Sylver to throw the Iris. Sylver was careful to be as casual about it as he could manage, as he turned the Iris over so the dart side was facing the ground, as he pulled it back slightly and threw it like a disc.

The man on the left followed it with his eyes and got ready to catch it, but Sylver was staring the man on the right, right in the eye, and was waiting for him to shift his attention away from him.

He blinked.

The two darts glued to the Iris detached from it, and in a single fluid motion pierced both of the men’s gun holding hands, and immediately pulled them away from Sylver’s direction as hard as Sylver could manage. [Coat Of Carrion] spread out from the wound in their hand and wrapped around their fingers.

The men both managed to fire their guns 3 times before the tendrils had enough grip to stop their fingers from holding the gun. All 6 shots missed Sylver entirely, while he closed the distance between them in a single jump.

Sylver was pleasantly surprised by what he felt with his mana sense, as he changed his plan and very gently made both of his hands flat and sort of slapped the two men in the face. A tiny spark of yellow jumped around the surface of their faces before it disappeared under their skin.

“Well isn’t this nice,” Sylver said, as he dusted his shirt off and pulled the two darts out of their hands. He made [Coat Of Carrion] keep their wounds closed for the moment, but there was a visible hole through the palm of their hands.

Sylver picked up his mirror from the floor and hoped the small crack on it wouldn’t cause him any problems. He touched the small green square on the door and it swung open by itself.

The inside was surprisingly nice.

Lights embedded in the ceiling turned on by themselves and illuminated the large room. On the left, there was a table with several metallic chairs surrounding it, a kitchen with a metal basin embedded into the countertop, and what looked like a fridge on the very edge of it. There were cupboards above and below the countertop in the kitchen, and a cursory pulse of mana told Sylver there were things inside them.

On the right side was an empty space that had a small couch and Sylver saw a large mirror attached to the wall the couch was facing. Between the kitchen and couch area, spiral stairs were leading upwards, that Spring informed Sylver ended up in a small room with a bed and a bathroom.

Sylver walked inside and placed his Iris down on the kitchen table. He then went back outside and picked up the two fallen guns, and placed them near the Iris, but was careful to make sure the shooting end was facing away from him or the Iris.

Finally, he concentrated on the two men frozen in place and snapped his fingers.

Their motion was jagged and extremely shaky, given that Sylver hadn’t manually controlled people in a long while. Spring didn’t have the know-how to do it properly yet, so he would have to do it himself for the time being.

The two men took each step as if they were fighting against an extremely powerful gale, their faces locked in a tooth-shattering grimace, as they walked over to the couch and more or less fell onto it.

Sylver closed the door to his house, and didn’t quite understand how the lock functioned, but doubted anyone would be disturbing him anytime soon anyway. The sound the guns made very likely sent everyone scurrying.

Sylver snapped his fingers as he walked over to the fridge and opened it up.

The two men on the couch began to take long and haggard deep breaths, as they tried to stand up but found the muscles required for that weren’t responding to their desperate orders. The one on the left tried to speak but found that he couldn’t make any sounds form, as did the one on the right.

Sylver didn’t recognize most of the contents inside of the fridge and chose instead to see if there was anything in the cupboards instead. After a bit of digging, during which the two would-be killers had a chance to calm down, Sylver resigned himself to drinking several glasses of water before figuring out what all the cans and paper-wrapped objects inside his fridge were.

Sylver pulled one of the chairs from his kitchen and sat down on it in front of the two elf-looking men.

“I’m going to talk for a bit, so for your sake pay attention,” Sylver said.

The two men’s eyes moved around wildly until he snapped his fingers and their eyeballs turned to look at him and froze in place.

“You two tried to kill me. I’m sitting here right now because I just so happened to be faster and smarter than you. In short, what I’m trying to say is that your lives are forfeit. But I’m not going to kill you,” Sylver explained.

“I’m going to ask you some questions, and if you don’t answer me, I’m going to make your diaphragm freeze up, and you’ll sit here slowly feeling your brain shutting down, while I make myself some tea,” Sylver said. He didn’t smile as he said this, but he didn’t appear upset either, his face was a perfect mask of calm neutrality as if he were reading a boring book.

“Question one. How big is your group?” Sylver asked. He talked through [Auditory Illusion] because it was faster than telling Spring what to say. And he needed the practice.

He was looking at the man who had done all of the talking and released the muscles he needed to speak.

“A little over 500 people. Level wise we range anywhere from 20 to 190, the head boss, Chen, is level 194, but he isn’t the highest, his right-hand Mills is, at level 197. They all have perks to hide their classes, but I know Chen has 2 rares at the very least, and Mills has a unique class. The two of us work under Lokke, he has 52 soldiers under his command, and he’s in charge of controlling this part of the green district…”

*

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*

The man spoke for nearly 30 undisturbed minutes while Sylver had to wonder if it was just luck that he stumbled upon someone so terrified of getting hurt, or if he was just that intimidating.

He hoped for the latter, but his soul sense told him the former. He also hoped that this wasn’t the coinflip.

His soul sense wasn’t 100% perfect on new races, but since they were quite close to humans he was getting used to them faster than normal. His lie-sensing ability relied more on how a creature thought, rather than how its insides were arranged.

But there was definitely some bullshit mixed into what the man had said. But the only way to make sure he was telling the truth was torture. But if Sylver planned to negotiate with their boss, he couldn’t do that.

He needed to appear reasonable.

And Sylver didn’t want to torture them. If they had stayed silent and were a bit manlier about it, maybe he’d be able to do it, but not while both of them were acting like children.

Children with guns who were more than prepared to shoot Sylver’s knee to cripple him, but it wasn’t worth the mental fatigue it would cause Sylver. Not to mention it still wouldn’t make the information they gave 100% certain.

Sylver snapped his fingers and the man who was pleading for Sylver not to kill him closed his mouth and couldn’t make any more noise.

“I’ve placed a curse on you. After you leave you’re going to lose feeling in your left hand,” Sylver said as he lifted his own left hand to demonstrate.

It was pitch black and with barely visible yellow cracks embedded into it. The darkness that made up Sylver’s fingers gradually lost shape and turned into smoke and disappeared into the air, up until only Sylver’s palm remained and stumps where his fingers used to be. He put his hand back down and gave himself his fingers back.

“Go to all the healers you know, and when they tell you they can’t do a thing about it, come see me. If you don’t, the numbness will start moving up your arm and will eventually spread throughout your body. Blink twice if you understand,” Sylver said. Both of them blinked twice, almost in perfect sync.

“Good, alright… I honestly really hate that it turned out like this. Because I kind of feel sorry for you, but at the same time, if our positions were reversed I don’t have a single doubt in my mind you two would be laughing your heads off as you tortured me. I’m so used to people who would die before betraying their group, and genuinely mean it, that this half-assed betrayal just rubs me the wrong way. It’s unprofessional,” Sylver said, mostly to himself.

Sylver stood up from his seat and walked around the two men and put the chair back in its place in the small kitchen. He opened the cupboard in the top left and found 5 bowls stacked on top of one another, and carefully took 2 of them out.

Sylver walked back around to the two men and placed an empty bowl into their frozen solid laps.

“And the thing I really don’t like is that I end up looking like some sort of ruthless savage in comparison. Why the fuck are you going after people with the intent to kill, without being ready to for them to kill you in return?” Sylver asked, but neither of the men could move so much as a millimeter to try to explain themselves.

For a few seconds, Sylver blindly searched around for the surgery kit that he had taken from the sorcerer who had cursed the cats, but then he remembered he left it back in Eira.

Shit… How do I…

Oh, that might actually be better.

Sylver summoned a handful of [Coat Of Carrion] and made it wrap itself around his right hand’s forefinger.

Sylver thought it over.

“This probably isn’t the first time someone is going to try to kill me, so I guess I’ll go with the left as a calling card of sorts? You’re both right-handed, so it makes sense,” Sylver explained, although it was mostly to himself. He’d gotten so used to casting [Auditory Illusion] inside his mouth that he barely thought about it at this point.

Sylver’s finger was covered in tiny wriggling tendrils.

“You know what I think it is? The guns are the problem. Normally you have to stab someone with your own two hands, or break their skull open with a rock, or even strangle the life out of them. Guns make it too easy, and now wimps like you walk around hurting people without even realizing what you’re doing,” Sylver said, as he very slowly moved his tendril-covered finger towards one of the men’s eyes.

“I’m not trying to teach anyone any lessons, and I have no right to judge anyone, but I don’t know…” Sylver said, still mostly speaking to himself as the tendril pushed itself underneath the man’s eyelid and slid behind his eyeball.

“It all just feels kind of wrong,” Sylver explained, as he pulled his finger back, and the eyeball ever so slowly was pulled out of its socket.

It came out with a very quiet pop and sat on top of Sylver’s tendril-covered finger. The hole where the man’s eye used to be was squeaky clean, not so much as a drop of blood, since [Coat Of Carrion] and a bit of magic, had sealed up the artery that was wrapped around the optic nerve.

Sylver plopped the eyeball into the bowl on the man’s lap and moved onto the other one.

“At least with this curse I don’t have to listen to you whining about it. Or telling me about your wife and kids, as if that would change the fact that you tried to kill me. On the one hand, I do like how reasonable you were, but on the other, it makes doing this kind of thing a tad more difficult than it should be,” Sylver complained, as he slowly moved his finger towards the other man’s left eye.

He removed it a lot quicker than he had the first ones and plopped it down into the bowl on the frozen in place man’s lap. Sylver picked both bowls up and condensed a little bit of water out of the air to keep them submerged.

“Alright, and with that, we’re done,” Sylver said, as he walked over to the kitchen and placed both bowls onto the table, and walked back over to the two men. He placed his hand on their shoulders and they stood up like puppets being pulled up by strings. Sylver kept a hand on their shoulders as they stiffly walked towards the front door.

There were 3 steps between the road, and the door, and Sylver wasn’t confident he’d be able to keep them balanced as they stepped down.

“One last thing. Don’t tell anyone about me, and if I ever find out you tried to hurt someone from this point on, you’re going to lose all feeling in the one place all men fear. Best of luck gents,” Sylver said, as he snapped his fingers and closed the door as the two men crumpled like a puppet whose strings had been cut, and toppled down the stairs.

He heard them scream in pain and roll around on the floor clutching their missing eye for a while before Spring informed him that the two of them somehow gathered themselves together and with a whimper ran off.

Should I have kept one of them to test just how much I can do on someone without any negative energy in their system?

No, their boss might not be as willing to negotiate if I actually killed one of his underlings.

This was self-defense…

Self-defense, and a message not to fuck with me.

Sylver sat down at the kitchen table and continued to use the small amount of [Coat Of Carrion] wrapped around his finger to operate on the eyeball. He very gently made an incision in the back part of the eye using a small piece of sharpened bone.

He pushed tendrils inside of it to keep it in shape, as the warm fluid inside drained out of it and into the bowl it was previously floating in.

He opened up the hole a bit more and moved the tendrils around so they were out of the way. Holding the splayed open eyeball up to his eye, Sylver looked through it. He looked down at his portable mirror, Iris, and saw something moving on it that he couldn’t see when he looked at it without the eye.

Great, they’ve got something in their eye that I don’t, that they use to see the stuff on the mirrors.

*

*

*

Sylver was glad he took two eyes from them.

Because he completely ruined the first one as he tried to find exactly what it was they had that he didn’t. The answer turned out to be that there was something about their lens that allowed them to see the writing and images on the Iris. Sylver also found that the mirror his couch was facing towards also had the same writing as the Iris.

When Sylver was certain he knew exactly which part of the lens was responsible for this odd phenomenon, he had a decision to make.

Put the lens inside his eye, or have it outside like an actual lens.

If he put it inside him Sylver didn’t think there would be any problems. He would have to spend a few hours forcing his body to treat it like a foreign object, without destroying it, but then there wouldn’t be any issues with his primal energy getting affected.

And unlike wearing it as a lens on top of his eye, there wouldn’t be any chance for it to fall off, and reveal that he can’t see the mirrors without it.

On the other hand, Sylver wasn’t 100% certain he could operate on his own eyeball and not damage it somehow. If he had a second eye for visual confirmation, he would have done it without a moment's pause, but even with [Mana Perception] this was still very precise and delicate work. If he was back in Eira he could have inhabited Spring’s body again and operated on himself like that, but he didn’t have the components he needed for that spell.

Speaking of Spring…

Sylver had the shade look from his shadow and was delighted to find that Spring could see the writing on the mirror as long as he was looking through the lens.

If I lose it, I can have the shades carry spares.

But I’ll need more eyes for that…

Sylver had finished working on the second eye to turn it into a lens to wear over his eye and was now ever so carefully putting it on.

Sylver blinked a few times as the small glass-like film over his eye settled into place. He had to adjust his own lens inside his eye to accommodate for it, but it wasn’t difficult.

On his portable mirror, Sylver could now see a bunch of arrows showing a pattern. He remembered how the men on the flying carriage had touched the mirror and touched it with his right hand.

The Iris didn’t react.

But when Sylver touched the circle that indicated the start of the pattern, it turned bright green. Sylver took his finger away from it and it turned a dull red, before returning to how it was before.

He followed the pattern and moved his finger along the pattern.

Sylver almost dropped it as it made a noise.

“Welcome to the Garden! I am an intelligent responsive interface software, but you can call me Iris! Please stay still while I confirm your ID!” a cheery woman’s voice said, seemingly out of nowhere.

Sylver saw a small ball float out of the mirror in his hand, and the ball made a very soft whirring noise as it flew up to the thing on his chest. It made another sound and flew back into the mirror, somehow sitting so flush against the metal that even knowing it was there Sylver couldn’t see it.

“ID confirmed. Citizen number 36065, please state your name!” the voice said. In the mirror, Sylver saw a small woman with purple skin moving about and opening and closing her mouth at the same time as the voice spoke.

This is so fucking weird.

“Uh… Tod?” Sylver said after a short pause.

“Your name is Tod, is that correct?” the voice asked.

“Yes?”

“Thank you, Tod. Do you know how to read and write, Tod?” the voice asked.

It can understand me when I talk? I don’t feel a soul inside it, so what’s going on?

“What are you?” Sylver asked. There was a pause before the woman’s voice spoke.

“I am an intelligent responsive interface software, but you can call me Iris!” the voice said, in the exact same way it had a minute ago. “Do you know how to read and write, Tod?”

I’ll ask Will later, I don’t want to piss it off.

“I don’t,” Sylver answered.

“No worries, Tod! There will be a package delivered for you containing a notebook and several writing instruments! Please let me know when you have opened it and are ready!” the voice said, as Sylver jumped out of his seat as he heard the sound of air being sucked out behind him.

He saw that a hole had opened in his wall and a rectangular box sat inside the hole. Sylver carefully approached it and used his left hand to pick it up. As soon as his fingers were clear of the hole in the wall, it closed up and disappeared. Even though he knew it was there, Sylver couldn’t feel it with his mana, it felt like a solid wall.

Sylver walked back to the kitchen and picked his chair up and sat back down. He carefully opened the box and found a bundle of pages bound using a metallic spiral on the left side and a bunch of pens.

“Fantastic!” the female voice said before the purple-skinned woman disappeared and was replaced by a green-colored bird.

“I will now show you how to write your name,” the green bird said in a completely lifeless and monotone voice. “Please follow along, Tod,” the voice said.

Despite the lack of emotion, it somehow managed to make the request sound like a threat.

Weirdness aside, this is beyond convenient. Sylver thought as the green bird showed him how to write his name, and then somehow could see what he had written and asked him to correct his mistakes.

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KingKennit

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