Sylver waited while the old elf, Delvin, finished talking to a customer before he sat down in front of him.
“25 meters and you missed 9 out of 12 shots? I honestly didn’t think someone could be that bad,” Delvin said with a dry grin as he looked up at Sylver.
“Old family curse. I’m alright with throwing weapons, but everything else I’m not that great without magic helping me hit my mark,” Sylver explained. He pulled his satchel bag into his lap and fished around until he found the tablet with the slightly cracked screen.
“So what are you doing in a gun shop in that case? If you’re after a gun that does the aiming and firing for you, we’re all out,” Delvin explained, as Sylver searched through his Iris until he found the file he was looking for.
The technology was confusing but very useful once you got used to it.
“I would like to buy 3 maintenance kits. And I need about 200 brass casings, with primers, and something called black jelly?” Sylver asked as he read out from the tablet. Delvin leaned down to look at it.
“You’re going to make your own ammo? Why? Unless you’re planning on mass-producing, each round is going to cost you nearly 20 times what you would pay if you simply bought it,” Delvin asked, as Sylver pretended to reach into his pocket and created a conical shaped bullet tip out of highly condensed [Coat Of Carrion].
Delvin took it out of his hand and pulled his magnifying glass over his eye to look at it properly.
“Morry explained to me how the whole hollow point versus armor-piercing thing worked, and I had an idea,” Sylver said.
Morry was the [Marksman] that gave Sylver 5 hours’ worth of lessons and explanations regarding firearms and the like. Once it became clear that Sylver would get more use out of a gun as a melee weapon, Morry spent the remainder of the time answering Sylver’s questions.
“Poison?” Delvin asked as he placed the bright red bullet tip onto the table.
“In a certain sense. I’m uhh… my normal go to strategy when facing someone with a longer range than me, isn’t an option at the moment. It’s easier to show than it is to explain, do you have a broken gun nearby that you’re planning on throwing away?” Sylver asked as he picked the bullet tip up.
Delvin whistled loudly enough that the sharp note hurt Sylver’s ears.
“Grab me a few pistols from the scrap pile,” Delvin instructed the boy.
Delvin looked through the box the boy had carried the guns in, and picked the one that looked the least broken. He checked that it was unloaded and then held it out for Sylver.
“Aim it that way. But hold it lower, don’t lift your fingers away from the handle,” Sylver said, as he grabbed the bright red conical bullet tip and held it between his pointer and middle finger as if it was a very short cigarette.
A very faint pulse of light traveled through the bullet before Sylver pulled his hand back. He flicked the bullet towards the gun, and it splattered all over it.
Delvin was about to ask what was supposed to happen but instead kept quiet as the bright red liquid disappeared inside the gun, as if it had sucked it up.
“I see, you can’t use a gun, so you found a way to make sure whoever you’re against can’t use one either. Why do you want to load it into a gun though? Just throw that spear thing like you did last time,” Delvin asked, as Sylver reached out with his hand towards the gun and the [Coat Of Carrion] liquid oozed out of it and extended out towards Sylver’s hand and turned back into a solid conical bullet tip.
“It worked against Ilkes because he was standing still. And he’s quite big and slow. I’d like to be ready for someone faster than me, and armed with a gun,” Sylver explained.
“You couldn’t hit a still target; how do you plan on hitting a moving one? Especially one faster than you?” Delvin asked.
As an answer, Sylver flicked the bullet again, but this time missed Delvin’s hand and the gun. The bullet continued to move for a moment, before it turned midair, and hit the gun from the other side.
“The fight starts, I unload a full magazine in the general direction of my opponent, and in a second or two, all the guns they have are no longer usable,” Sylver explained.
He pointed with his finger towards the gun Delvin was holding, and a few small thread-like tendrils came out from the sides and wrapped themselves around Delvin’s hand.
“Huh… how do they work exactly?” Delvin asked.
Sylver allowed himself a smile as he reeled in his catch.
“They wrap around the firing pin and compress the spring so it can’t be uncompressed. Also, it sort of acts like ice and finds a space between moving parts and expands until the parts can no longer move. To get it out you either need to burn it, although that will make it expand very rapidly and will tear the gun apart, or filling the gun with enough mana to destroy the magic being used, but that’s not possible because-”
“Because the lead bullets wouldn’t let enough mana build up to do that… What about the guns that don’t use lead? You’re not the first person who came here asking to make custom ammunition,” Delvin asked. Sylver gestured at Delvin’s wrapped up hand and it turned into a liquid, before jumping back into Sylver’s hand.
“As long as it isn’t lead-coated, I have very little to fear from physical attacks,” Sylver answered honestly.
“Even if they blow a head-sized hole in your chest?”
“I would love to see them try. I have ways of dealing with those depleted something armor-piercing rounds, don’t worry about me so much,” Sylver said.
He saw the way Delvin was eyeing the bright red bullet as Sylver moved to place it back into his pocket.
“You have enough of those for 200 rounds?” Delvin asked. He managed to simultaneously sound curious, excited, nauseous, and tired, all at the same time.
“I can make a lot more than that. But I doubt I’ll have enough time to fire more than 10 of them in a single fight, 200 is just so I can find the correct amount of black jelly to use. My friend, Grant the engineer, is helping me out with that,” Sylver explained.
“The one in the lower east of the red district? He’s got the,” Delvin made a gesture under his nose.
“Yes, the one with the very nice mustache, that I consider something of a close friend,” Sylver said.
“Do they only work for you, or…”
“They’ll go towards the nearest gun, once they’re fired. They won’t attack the gun they were fired from, but I can give mine a second of delay so they don’t touch the guns of someone firing from a group,” Sylver explained.
“And how does a person go about getting a gun to work after it’s been gunked up?”
“You just say the magic word. It will ooze out and the gun will be completely unharmed. Can’t be used twice though, I have to be nearby to make it into a bullet. They’ll work for up to 2 months before they’ll need me to reenchant them,” Sylver explained.
Delvin didn’t say anything for a while and even went as far as to close his eyes to really think it over.
“Would you be interested in…”
“Did he go for it?” Grant asked before Sylver had even finished opening the door.
“I gave him 20 as a sample, the gunsmiths are having a meeting tomorrow morning. How did it go on your end?” Sylver asked. He shut the door behind himself and laid down on the couch.
“5,000 cuts, at 19% per week interest. If you lose this fight-”
“Grant, if by some unforeseen miracle the person I’m fighting gets one over on me, I’ll find a way to pay off your debt. I still have 18,000 cuts left over, I’ll add 18,000 to your 5,000 so we have a combined bet of 23,000. Not to mention the deadmen are going to start asking for work in a day or so,” Sylver explained, as he released the darkness that made up his leg and arm and allowed his muscles to relax.
His left leg had healed up very nicely, he was going to have a knee soon.
“The people whose eyeballs I’ve got floating around in a jug. I thought of calling them one-eyes, but for some reason, it felt like an insult. I figured it’s better that I give them a name than if someone picks one for them. The cripples, the half men, the cyclopes, that sort of shit. Being the leader of the deadmen on the other hand almost has a nice ring to it,” Sylver explained, as he stretched out and yawned a tongueless yawn.
Walking around in the sun exhausted him in a way he couldn’t really fix with magic. Grant went back to tinkering on his laptop, while Sylver closed his eye and relaxed.
“Not even a full week ladies and gentlemen! The man had been burned to a crisp, and walked it off the way one of us would walk off a stubbed toe!” the announcer announced, as Sylver waited for his cue in the dark hallway.
The woman was named, quite fittingly, Rouge.
Or at least that’s what the hologram she used was called.
No one had ever met “Rouge” in person, so it was hard to say if she looked anything like the woman who pranced around in a sparkling, form-fitting, bright red suit. There was also Verte, a woman in a bright green dress, Bleu, a woman in a bright blue showman’s outfit, Jaune, a man in a glowing yellow suit, and a few other various color-coded announcers.
There was some sort of weird ownership system, but the short of it was that Sylver was stuck with Rouge, for as long as she wanted him. Ilkes jumped between Rouge and Bleu for the most part, but Rouge tended to be in charge of the newbies.
“And not only that ladies and gentlemen! This man is so confident of his victory he was willing to bet twenty-three thousand cuts!” Rouge shouted, and received a collective gasp in return.
“I know, right? Who does that? He didn’t know who he was going to fight, doesn’t know what weapon he’ll be receiving, and yet he’s just that certain! A round of applause for…” Rouge paused as the sound of a drum started to slowly beat, and increased in speed as a faint green arrow appeared on the floor in front of Sylver, and he started to slowly walk forwards.
“The one! The only!” Rouge shouted.
Instead of his normal tracksuit, Rouge had “recommended” he dress slightly differently.
The mirror-like sparkly jumpsuit was hidden out of sight by a dark grey cloak Sylver wore on top of it.
“SLIVER!” Rouge yelled.
Sylver stepped out of the hallway and the lights lowered until only the spotlight on him remained. The crowd was dead silent.
An old mature part of Sylver scoffed at this whole thing.
Another part of him kind of loved it. He wasn’t the kind of man that constantly needed for his ego to be stroked, it was big enough as it was, but he would be lying to himself if this wasn’t a very old dream of his coming true.
Frankly speaking, Sylver had forgotten he even had a bucket list, to begin with. It was only after sleeping with a priestess, and not dying in the process, did he remember there were a couple of things he had always wanted to do but was unable to.
And being an underdog in a tournament, wasn’t possible when you were known the world over as the world’s most fearsome necromancer. Even now he wasn’t exactly really the underdog, but Sylver would enjoy it as long as it lasted anyway.
The grey cloak fell off Sylver’s back and revealed two things.
The first was the bright and shiny figure-hugging jumpsuit that did a perfect job of showing off Sylver’s muscular chest, arms, and back. He did as Rouge had “recommended” and flexed as the sound of men and women cheering threatened to destroy the glass enclosure he was in right now.
And as he did so, the second part slowly uncurled into view.
Two gigantic and perfectly symmetrical bright red wings came out of Sylver’s back and extended upwards and outwards. The bones hidden beneath the gently moving glowing red liquid didn’t make any noise as Sylver added various details to the wings, hooks at the tips, feather-like ends at the bottom area, and was careful to make it appear gruesome but not to the point that it was disgusting.
Sylver felt a headache grow as he concentrated on keeping such a large mass of [Coat Of Carrion] in shape, but he managed to hold it long enough in place that the crowd had had time to grow silent in awe, and then, as Rouge predicted, explode in even louder cheering.
He released it and made it sit in a puddle around him as the lights came off him and moved towards his opponent.
“I dare say, ladies and gentlemen, he’s managed to grab our hearts almost as well as he grabbed Ilkes’s!” Rouge said, as her hologram walked away from Sylver and towards his opponent, and waited for the laughter to die down.
“But I fear this may be the day we watch a legend get brutally murdered, ladies and gentlemen. I do not know if someone up above has it out for our Silvery fighter, or if his luck is simply that bad. In the opposing corner,” Rouge said as she waved her hand towards Sylver’s opponent.
He was dressed in nothing more than dark brown shorts, with a single leather sash around his chest that held a small metal plate right on top of where his heart would be.
The man very weakly lifted his hand upwards and lazily waved to his left and his right, without once breaking eye contact with Sylver.
“The animal and cannibal, the man you love to hate, the man who forced the White Swash to retire early, the man who hasn’t bathed even once since stepping foot inside the Garden, the man who spends nearly 2,000 cuts a week on nothing but raw meat, the hopefully soon to be myth…” Rouge explained, as the spotlight on the man slowly grew brighter and brighter.
“Aciles the blood starved!” Rouge finished, as the man flashed a very small smile at Sylver.
Yep, that’s a cannibal alright. Even went as far as to sharpen his teeth… Sylver thought, as the wheel slowly came into existence on his left.
Appearance-wise the blood-starved man made Sylver seem chubby in comparison. When he put his hand down from waving at the booing crowd, he went back to his normal stance, which turned out to be being hunched out.
Sylver saw from the way the leather and metal plate moved that the metal plate was attached to him.
[Elf (Heart Eater+Blood Druid+Flaccid Monk) – 104]
Sylver barely noticed that his wheel had stopped spinning as he tried to puzzle out what the fuck this man’s magic was going to be.
Flaccid monk? The fuck does that even mean?
Sylver was so engrossed in his thoughts that he nearly jumped as his weapon fell down in front of him.
It was a long stick made out of metal, with a semi-circle on one end of it. The semi-circle was covered in blunt metallic barbs that were spread out quite a bit.
Sylver very vaguely remembered seeing it somewhere before. It was normally used to subdue people or animals, by catching their necks in the semi-circle and pushing them up against the floor or ground.
“A sleeve pole versus a pair of bladed knuckles! Quite a matchup ladies and gentlemen!” Rouge said as the wheel disappeared, and she appeared next to Sylver instead.
“You’ve got 2 to 1 odds. Not a lot of people bet on newbies, no matter how promising they are. So if you win you’ll earn 46,000 cuts,” Rouge said, some speaking in such a way that Sylver was the only one who heard her.
Sylver shrugged his shoulders and leaned down to pick up his weapon. It felt light in his hand, but at the same time, it was surprisingly solid. He saw Aciles had already put his bladed knuckles on.
They were exactly what the name implied, simply a knife attached to four rings that a person put their fingers through and made a fist. When Aciles punched, he was effectively cutting with a sword.
A very short sword, that didn’t look like it could cut that deeply, but a sword nonetheless.
While Sylver effectively had a big stick, that couldn’t even cut anything.
Not that it really mattered, all he needed to do was pin the man in place and then he could just force [Coat Of Carrion] up his nose and knock him out through suffocation.
“Everyone ready?” Rouge asked, as Sylver lowered the semi-circle part of his weapon down into the puddle of blood around him and watched as it crawled up the pole and covered it entirely.
“Three!” Rouge shouted. Sylver felt the magic attempt to solidify into a natural and comfortable shape but instead forced it to change. The semi-circle closed up into a full circle, and the circle gained a film of red in the middle, like a bubble. It started to inflate as more mass gathered around the weapon.
“Two!” Rouge shouted, as Sylver sped everything up and made the growing mass become a large sphere instead and now had an oversized bright red lollipop in his hand. He turned the weapon over in his hands and was a little more confident with it.
“One! Fight!” Rouge shouted.
Sylver expertly spun his lollipop and was glad his heart was on autopilot, as it would have otherwise stopped, as Aciles open mouth was right in front of his face. Sylver could see that the man still had his tonsils, and if he had enough time, could even count all the yellow teeth.
Instead, Sylver released the compressed air he had built in his left arm and forced Aciles to back away.
Or so Sylver thought.
Because as he jumped out and away from the man’s head, he saw that his body was still on the opposite corner of the arena. Aciles’s neck extended like a snake’s, although to such a horribly long length that Sylver felt a revulsion to the sight.
He didn’t get a lot of time to be disgusted, as he heard a strange noise, that was quickly followed by Aciles’s knife-coated fist coming straight for Sylver’s head. Sylver turned the lollipop in his hands and used it to catch Aciles’s fist, but the knifed hand went around the sphere.
Sylver once again released compressed air and blew the attack away from himself.
Is he growing or simply extending?
Sylver watched as the man’s head and arm were limp on the floor, and both were being reeled in as if a fish had been caught. Sylver remained where he was and just watched for a while.
“Is that all you can do, or are you just happy to see me?” Sylver shouted as Rouge had “suggested”. Granted, it wasn’t his best, but he was just confused by the weird tactic, more than anything else.
He saw Aciles turn on his heel and start spinning before his head and arm had had a chance to come back. The limb and neck wrapped around his body like a ribbon, as he added his second arm into the mix.
Sylver kept his distance while he watched the man somehow add his left foot, and then his right foot, into the mix. It was a tornado of limbs.
Sylver didn’t understand the purpose of it, up until he saw the Aciles start to move upwards. Through the many stretchy ribbon-like limbs Sylver just barely managed to see something that made him want to throw up.
Aciles wasn’t floating because of some innate magic, but because he had somehow blown up his torso like a fucking balloon.
Sylver also noticed that little by little his limbs were getting longer and longer, and were slowly taking up more space inside the extremely limited arena. Aciles was spinning clockwise, and yet, he somehow managed to use his fist to hit Sylver from the right.
Sylver blocked the blade with his weapon and saw that it had been compressed like a spring, to shoot outwards and ignore the main body spinning.
Sylver saw that in a single fluid motion Aciles was able to grab at his staff, and then somehow pulled everything towards Sylver. It was impossible to keep track of what was where.
The head bounced around with its silent and open mouth, full of sharp and infectious teeth, while two feet bounced around off the floor and ceiling, while the other hand was hidden away with the blade attached to it.
Sylver dearly wished he could have a few shades pop out and just cut this man’s limbs off, but that wasn’t an option right now. He didn’t think Aciles could actually kill him, but he didn’t want someone chewing through his remaining limbs either.
Sylver leaned back and as he threw the lollipop-shaped staff towards the enlarged stomach, he clapped his hands and popped his own eardrums from the sound. Even with his eye closed Sylver could tell he was going to have trouble seeing, as the flash of light between his hands caused Aciles to start screaming.
At least Sylver assumed that’s what he was doing, given that his eyes were closed shut, and his mouth was wide open, with his elongated neck vibrating like a struck string on a lute.
Sylver watched as his [Coat Of Carrion] came off the blunt weapon and exploded in every direction with clinging and spiraling tendrils that grabbed hold of Aciles’s extended limbs and crawled up and down them, towards the source.
Sylver walked amidst the chaos and something like a cage formed around his body so that the stretched thin skin didn’t touch him, as he walked towards the man. On his way there Sylver found the head and grabbed it.
His eyes were bright red, and there was a cut on the side of his face, and some of his teeth were missing. Sylver grabbed the man by his short blond hair and was very gentle as he sent a shockwave of mana through his brain.
All at once the wiggling mass of fleshy limbs settled down and became as limp as the class implied.
[Coat Of Carrion (I) Proficiency increased to 86%!]
[Biological Manipulation (I) Proficiency increased to 70%!]
Sylver turned the head around and looked at the back of the man’s neck. He focused on the brain stem and was very gentle, as he slightly severed the connection between the man’s head and his body. He didn’t want to fight him again, and Ilkes did ask him to cripple as many hard climbers as possible.
Sylver tossed the head away and raised both hands in victory.
There was complete and total silence before Rouge appeared in front of Sylver and snapped her fingers in front of his face. Sylver leaned down and was very careful not to kill Aciles, as he used [Draining Touch] to steal a little bit of HP to heal his ears. When he realized Aciles had HP to spare, Sylver took a little more. He could feel the cartilage forming in his leg, by the time his hearing came back.
“And this is why we seal the arena air-tight ladies and gentlemen!” Rouge shouted, or tried to, as the sound of people clapping and cheering drowned out just about every word she was saying.
Sylver gathered the [Coat Of Carrion] spread all over the place around him, and made another pair of wings, as he walked out of the arena.