Ch116-Skip To The Good Bit



A few days passed without much to show for it.

For the most part, Sylver ate, slept, and watched the cloudless sky while he waited for his leg to grow back.

He had a knee now.

And a quarter of a fibula and tibia.

But oddly enough it was the knee that he missed the most. It was just nice to have something he could bend, even if there was nothing on the other side of it.

Sylver had had another match in the tower, but it was very short and quite boring. He was armed with a metallic cudgel, while his opponent was armed with a short sword and a small shield. His opponent was extremely proficient with the weapon and even managed to disarm Sylver.

But when Sylver was completely unfazed by his lack of weapon and just lunged at him, the man surrendered the moment Sylver’s hand touched the man’s chest.

When you mixed in what Sylver had done to Ilkes with what ended up happening to Aciles the stretchy cannibal, people were very wary of letting Sylver touch them.

It wouldn’t be a problem if there was a clear track record, only hard climbers got crippled, while the soft climbers were at the very worst spooked. But so far Sylver was 2 for 2 in doing something fucked up to his opponents. He couldn’t even blame the swordsman for wussing out, in his shoes, Sylver would have likely done the same.

After a few minor expenses, Sylver was left with a very nice round 130,000 cuts.

He doubled his money from his fight against the swordsman, but then spent a big portion of it buying some tech Grant asked for, plus the tools his captives needed for the next part of the plan.

Truth be told Sylver almost didn’t want to bother with Chen or his lot anymore, but at the same time, he recognized that he was only 1 lost match away from being financially fucked.

He wasn’t planning to lose. Losing wasn’t an option.

And quite frankly the only way for Sylver to lose is if his HP went below 5%. He had too much control over his body to be knocked unconscious, there wasn’t anything someone could really do to make him surrender, so his HP was his only weakness. Even if they tore him limb from limb, the only thing that he would be willing to surrender over was safely locked inside an unbreakable vault.

Not to mention Sylver had his [Hare’s Great Escape] perk, which so far only activated less than a handful of times. And every time just prolonged the pain whatever had critically injured had caused him. Now though?

If someone got him below 20% of his HP, he would have 100 seconds with an extra 400 points in dexterity, during which he would likely decide to use one of the many many cards up his sleeve to win the fight at the cost of revealing one of his skills.

Sylver was considering making his axe known. With [Coat Of Carrion] it would be a perfect match.

[Bound Bones] and the shades were the only 2 Sylver would wait until there was no other choice. Because if he were to be captured, those two would be critical in escaping.

As a rule, Sylver did his very best not to underestimate anyone or anything.

Sylver learned from his mistakes.

Some he had to repeat a few times until the lesson had been understood and learned.

But there were some very rare, and very big, mistakes that Sylver learned on his first try.

Sylver felt someone was looking at him and sat up and made eye contact with the man.

“Is there a problem?” Sylver asked.

The one-eyed man appeared, as did the others, surprised that Sylver wasn’t asleep and was so quick to notice someone was looking at him.

“We’re finished,” the man said.

Sylver waited for a second while he got the report from Spring.

“So you are. And you even went as far as to scrub the rooftop. Did you have any problems with anyone?” Sylver asked, as he reformed his leg and got up from the floor, and cracked his neck.

“No sir,” the man answered.

Sylver hadn’t asked for any of their names, because quite frankly he wasn’t all that pleased at what he was doing, and the less memorable the people he did it to were, the easier it would be for him to forget about it.

Spring kept track of things, so Sylver didn’t need to worry about that side of things. They had figured out that Sylver had a tough time telling them apart, and tried to use that to their advantage.

But on the whole, his group of deadmen had been extremely compliant.

Sylver wanted to believe it was due to his natural leadership skills, his raw charisma, his excellent social skills, and that he wasn’t being unreasonable.

But in reality, the more likely reason everyone got in line so quickly was because Sylver could snap his fingers and make them all feel like they’re drowning for however long he wanted. It was a completely safe, simple, and easy method of torturing a large group of people.

In Sylver’s defense, if a defense could be made for what he was doing, none of them were willing to cooperate when he was polite and gentle with them. He explained things clearly and was straightforward in what he wanted and expected of them, and yet some of these geniuses thought that a revolver hidden up their sleeves would be enough to kill him.

To say they were “surprised” when they pointed their guns at Sylver’s head, but couldn’t for the life of them pull the trigger, was a huge understatement.

Even under those circumstances Sylver remained polite and calm and asked one last time for everyone to listen to what he was saying.

He’d expected at least a couple of people to understand what situation they were in, but oddly enough, the few that had wanted to just pick up a shovel and get to work, stayed where they were out of fear of going against their peers.

Sylver couldn’t hate them for it.

He understood all too well how impossible it was to go against your own people. But it pissed him off that they wouldn’t think for themselves, as much as it made him feel sorry for them.

But Sylver had studied under at least 3 dictators, and at least 9 that explained that they weren’t dictators, but were basically dictators with a few extra steps in the mix.

So it wasn’t a question of “if” but a question of “when”.

And the answer was about 4 days.

It was hard to call these people loyal but they did what they were told, and that was all Sylver really cared about. He would have preferred to just kill all of them and raise them as zombies, but he was still hoping Chen would give enough of a shit to come and negotiate with him.

Sylver looked down at his small Iris and checked what time it was.

“3 hours until dark… Alright, tell everyone to pack up and go home. Meet me in the red district, southern block, near that small fountain with the giant stone mango, same time as usual,” Sylver instructed.

The idea of slavery didn’t sit right with him.

He preferred to think of this whole thing as paying off a debt. He gave people time to go home, recuperate and rest, and didn’t do anything to anyone if they just did their job.

He wasn’t under some illusion regarding as to what this was, but that didn’t mean he had to feel bad about it. On a rational level, Sylver was in the right.

But his unnecessarily overly emotional side didn’t care all too much about that, all it cared about was that if Edmund ever found out about this, he would look at him with an indescribable look of disappointment in his eyes.

If one of the people that tried to kill him, who by Sylver’s logic had forfeited their lives at that very moment, didn’t like what he was making them do, they always had the option of dying.

Sylver even explained that he could make it so painless they wouldn’t notice it had happened.

But so far not a single one-eyed-would-be-murder had taken him up on his offer.

Sylver stretched his leg as he walked, and watched everyone as they gathered their tools and silently walked around him and made their way to their homes.

At first, Sylver had planned to handle everyone individually, but after the most recent attack, that wasn’t really feasible. He had 122 eyeballs floating around in 2 separate jugs now, and a matching number of people.

Most of them went off to do work in other sections, but a few that Sylver thought looked competent, he gave tools and told them to fix and prepare a house to sell to the Garden.

The profit from selling the house was split extremely unevenly, but Sylver gave them enough cuts that they wouldn’t starve to death. Initially, they all complained it was impossible to live on so little, but that’s only when the number is being compared to the amount they earned by beating the shit out of defenseless shopkeepers and stealing from people.

And the rest Sylver wasn’t interested in hearing, and simply repeated his offer of a painless death when they tried to complain.




Sylver could tell Kass was nearby by a faint prickling at the back of his neck.

Mages could sometimes be grouped in very strange ways. Ice and fire, for example, could be considered opposites.

But if you consider that one is the absence of heat, while the other is the presence of heat, then they’re not that different. All magic had a connection to one another.

Including necromancy and clairvoyancy.

In this case, the connection was that both functioned off primal energy, in one way or another. The shades hiding in Sylver’s shadow are all connected to him through a primal energy based link.

To Sylver and the shade’s senses, Kass was like a hole in the primal energy field. There was a pull towards him, as his magic sucked up and digested raw primal energy, and shit out what it couldn’t process as unpleasant interference.

A strong enough clairvoyant can sever a person’s connection to their senses. They could blind someone, make them lose their hearing, their sense of touch, their sense of taste.

Oddly similar to how a dark mage would curse someone.

In Kass’s case, the most he could do was make Sylver feel slightly sick. And if Sylver wanted to, he could make Kass go insane just by dumping a metric ton of compressed primal energy towards him. His brain would cease to function and he would fall into insanity.

Or at least all the clairvoyants to whom Sylver had done that to have.

Sylver felt Grant tense up from where he was sitting in the kitchen, as Sylver opened the door and Kass was there.

“I need to have a word with Grant in private,” Kass said, before Sylver so much as opened his mouth. Sylver looked at the man for a while, before he nodded and let him inside.

Sylver walked out of his house and closed the door behind him. He chose to respect Grant’s privacy and didn’t listen in.

Sylver was going to take a walk around the area, but before he was out of earshot he heard the distinct sound of Grant yelling, followed by the unmistakable sound of a fist connecting with a face.




Sylver did his best not to smile too much as he very carefully stitched Kass’s forehead closed, but he failed miserably. Grant had a sprained wrist from not punching properly, but otherwise, he was fine. He went to take a walk, while Sylver and Kass spoke.

“That’s a very interesting choice of knot,” Kass said, as Sylver pulled the needle out and gently pulled the thread through.

“So did you come here just to get your ass kicked, or was there something you wanted?” Sylver asked.

“I come bearing good news,” Kass said, as Sylver tied the last knot and burned the excess thread off.

“I do love good news. You decided you no longer need me but since you already found it you’re going to just give it to me?” Sylver asked, while he looked through the kit and found the balm they used for swelling.

“The moment I find it I’ll let you know. But no, it’s about your sponsor,” Kass said, while Sylver patted the swollen shut eye with a mango-scented healing balm.

“Going by the look on your face it’s good news with an asterisk at the end,” Sylver said.

“Not exactly… But there’s been a change of plans… Quite severe and quite drastic,” Kass explained.

“Damn, that sucks. Good thing our deal only includes me winning a few fights and then bringing someone along into a specific person’s house,” Sylver said without a hint of concern in his voice. He placed a hand on Kass’s neck to use the balm on the bruises from when Grant had tried to strangle him.

“That deal still holds. No changes there. But I’d like to offer you a second one, unrelated to the first…” Kass offered, as Sylver let go of his neck and leaned back in his stool to look at him.

Grant really fucked him up.

But if the snippets of shouting Sylver had heard while he rushed back to stop him from killing him were to be believed, Kass more than deserved it. It was classic clairvoyant shit that Sylver absolutely despised.

“What would you like me to do? And what are you planning on offering me?” Sylver asked.

“You can walk around during the night, can you not?” Kass asked.

“Given that you said that out loud, while Iris can hear us, I assume everyone is aware of that,” Sylver asked.

“No. We aren’t completely safe to talk, but we’re safe enough. No one knows what you were up to during your walk, but you were out for a while and came back completely unscathed,” Kass explained.

Sylver cocked his head to the side slightly at this.

“What do you mean?” Sylver asked.

“They turn all the camera’s off during the “night”. Otherwise the you know what’s can get them through the screen. When the lights turn off, they don’t even let the tablets use a camera unless it’s certain it isn’t going to look out the window,” Kass explained, as Sylver started to put the first aid kit away.

“I see…” Sylver said.

Assuming Kass wasn’t lying, this made things a little easier.

“Do the microphones work during the night?” Sylver asked. He hoped he had used the right word.

“They do, but they can’t hear anything said outside a living area. Even if you hold them next to an open window and scream while standing a foot away from it, it won’t pick up the sound,” Kass explained.

“Huh…” Sylver said to himself.

I can just grab one of them and try to speak to it…

Assuming Kass is telling the truth.

Kass leaned towards his jacket and reached into one of the pockets. He pulled out a small box and inside was a small metallic thing. Going by the way one side of it had shinny lines it was one of those data storage devices.

“What do my nightly walks have to do with a sponsor?” Sylver asked.

Kass reached up to scratch his head but flinched as he touched one of the bumps.

“There’s a certain place we would like for you to go. And once you’re there you’ll need to find a fuse box and attach this to the bottom of it. If you can do that, then tomorrow morning you’ll be offered a fight against a level 150 climber. And once you win that, you’ll have a sponsor and will be more or less done with boring one on one fights,” Kass explained, as he held out the little piece of metal towards Sylver.

“Why? What will happen if I do this?” Sylver asked, while he just looked at the thing.

“It will trip a very important alarm and will get a certain Leaf in deep shit. This will give us room to do what we need to. The Branch that will end up being your sponsor will benefit from this, and in return will help you, and whoever else you want, up into the Trunk,” Kass explained.

Sylver crossed his arms over his chest.

“Just like that? That’s all it will take? I’ve got this whole plan with Chen and Burts and Lokke and the other one, and now you’re telling me all that was a waste of time?” Sylver asked.

“Truth be told, the main reason this offer is possible is that you earned yourself a ton of good publicity. Even with the ripping people’s eyes out stuff, you’ve done wonders for your image. Some of the men you’ve got shoveling shit and sweeping the streets… safe to say you’ve already got more fans and people cheering for you than some climbers that have been at it for over 10 years,” Kass explained, oddly uncomfortable by his words for some reason.

“Why does that matter?” Sylver asked.

“In this case it means more people betting you’ll win, for no reason other than that they want to support you and see you succeed and keep winning. With a sponsor involved, you can earn cuts from people betting on you, as opposed to betting with your own cuts. This sponsor also just so happens to be in just the right circles, and has all the right connections,” Kass said, as he placed the small piece of metal down onto the kitchen table, while Sylver just looked at him.

“I just stick this inside a fuse box, and then I come home and absolutely nothing happens to me?” Sylver asked.

“There will be a huge glitch in all the Iris’s in this area. Even if someone somehow figured out what we’ve done, and they won’t, they would need to question a little over 500 people as to their whereabouts tonight. Which would make a mistake that shouldn’t be possible, extremely public. Which is the last thing any of the Leafs want. It’s all handled, is what I’m trying to say,” Kass explained.

“It can’t take this much effort just to get revenge on a single person,” Sylver said, as he picked up the small metallic device.

“It can if it’s a very important, and very well-protected person. If you’re interested in the whole story, I could arrange a meeting with the person in charge,” Kass offered.

Sylver looked at the small metallic device and turned it over in his hands as he thought about it.

The main concern was that everything was a little too easy.

But maybe that’s just how this realm works?

Or maybe the woman in white is orchestrating this entire thing, trying to nudge Sylver along.

“Does anyone get hurt from this alarm getting tripped?” Sylver asked, almost as an afterthought.

“A man who should have been shot in the face many years ago will lose his job. But even that’s a maybe, more likely than not, absolutely nothing will happen to him. The purpose of this is more as a demonstration than anything else,” Kass explained.

Sylver checked with his stomach and wasn’t getting a response.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.

“Fuck it. Explain what I have to do and I’ll get it done,” Sylver said.




As he jumped from rooftop to rooftop, Sylver consulted his hand-drawn map and moved towards the large metallic tower on his left. He climbed on top of it and was close enough to the glass ceiling that he could touch it if he wanted to.

At Kass’s suggestion, Sylver wore a dark bed sheet like a cloak, just to be on the safe side.

He tried to spot the partition in the wall that Kass had described to him, but Spring found it first.

As Sylver jumped off the tower and landed right next to the wall that separated the Garden from the outside world, he felt like something in his chest tightened.

“Fuck,” Spring swore in Sylver’s shadow.

Sylver ignored him and closed his eye for a moment.

Even if he had wished it were different, the direction the feeling came from was unmistakable and undeniable.

Spring, or the other half of Spring, was outside the Garden. An area allegedly occupied by hundreds upon thousands of monsters.

Allegedly because the glass covering the Root area didn’t allow anyone to look over the wall, to see what was up against it. It could have a swarm of monsters, or there could be nothing there, Sylver didn’t know for sure.

But what was more worrying, significantly more worrying, was that Sylver could feel that he was moving, and was unharmed.

Meaning either someone had somehow managed to turn him against Sylver…

Or that Spring was disobeying a direct order and was doing something outside the wall willingly…

“Or he’s stuck there and can’t get back in,” Spring offered.

“Or that, yes… You couldn’t get through the glass ceiling, meaning he can’t either… I’ve seen and felt those shade things moving around tonight, so what does that mean? That the ones he followed live outside, and these live inside? Or that they swapped places… Why wouldn’t he come back the moment he felt he’d be stuck outside?” Sylver tapped out against his leg.

Just because he was alone in pitch blackness and allegedly all video and audio recording devices weren’t functioning, didn’t mean no one wasn’t listening. Although his soul sense said otherwise, you couldn’t be too careful.

As Sylver approached the wall and could see the panel that would open to reveal the fuse box, he felt something even more worrying.

The Spring outside wasn’t just outside.

He was outside and lower than Sylver.

Meaning there was a strong chance that for some reason half of Spring is trapped outside and underwater.

“One problem at a time,” Sylver said as he very gently pulled open the rusty box and took the device out of his pocket.

Sylver had a huge smile on his face as he found the place to insert the device and it fit perfectly on his first try.

Sylver waited for something to happen.

That somehow everything would go to shit.

He was ready for anything as he very carefully but quickly ran to his home.

By the time Sylver was inside his house and was in the process of locking the door, he didn’t know if he should be happy or beyond concerned.

Because considering how much he’s going to be benefiting from this, that was too easy.


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