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Ch118-Snake Eyes

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Sylver woke up in a cold sweat and for a moment felt like his head was going to explode.

Most mages couldn’t dream.

There wasn’t enough untouched space in their heads for their consciousness to have enough room to work without their knowledge.

They would close their eyes, and when they opened them, several hours had passed. That was how Sylver slept, or that’s how he slept when he could let his guard down.

Since coming to this realm, Sylver hadn’t had a proper rest, due to the fact that Spring was constantly feeding him information about his surroundings.

Sylver could always tell him to stop and only wake him up in the event of an emergency, but the last time he attempted this was still fresh in his memory.

Nyx told him he was never quite the same after that, he’d developed a paranoia about his safety, which over time developed into Sylver deciding that what he wanted and needed was a portable army.

Like a porcupine, or a hedgehog, or a turtle.

It was the reason Sylver had never delved too deeply into his inability to use enchanted items. And the reason he very rarely bothered with potions.

Anything that someone could take away from him, Sylver considered already taken away and didn’t bother with it. Back when he was a lich, quite literally every single item and tool that Sylver carried around with him was bound to his soul.

Even if someone incinerated his body, his chain, rings, staff, dagger, and cloak would reform with him from his phylactery. Everything aside from that was treated with respect, but with the knowledge and understanding that it was temporary.

Even the shades, at least the 16 named, were all bound directly to Sylver’s soul.

The silver lich was as dangerous when he was butt naked and relaxing in a warm bath, as he was when he was outside of the Ibis and in the middle of a fight.

The same was true for all but one of Sylver’s apprentices, Sonya vehemently refused any and all surgical body medications. Although none of them had the stomach for the level of modification Sylver had and offered them, they all still followed in his footsteps and very rarely relied on something that wasn’t bound to their soul in one way or another.

Sylver rubbed his temple and tried to force the intrusive future memories from his head, as his grey-colored sheets soaked up the blood dripping out of his nose.

This wasn’t Kass.

Even if the fucker had his head pressed right against Sylver’s he didn’t have the raw amount of power needed to interfere with Sylver’s primal energy in such a way.

Someone, or something, with serious clairvoyance abilities, had just tried to observe the future, and Sylver’s presence had interfered with it. It was like someone was trying to read a book, and Sylver was the cup of tea someone had spilled all over it.

Sylver did his best to filter out the memories that he would have in the future from the ones he already had. But mind magic wasn’t his strong suit, if anything it was the exact opposite. Mind magic required a disconnect from reality, it didn’t follow the same logic as the real world.

Sylver didn’t have any talent for it, he’d checked more times than he cared to admit. Even after spending more lifetimes than most mages got to experience, he was at best a 3rd tier mind mage. This was in the realm of 4th or 5th tier or felt that way at least.

The headache and bleeding stopped after a few seconds, and the best Sylver could make out from the quickly fading memories was that he was going to get shot in the back of the head at some point in the near or far future.

Maybe.

Because the “future” had already been altered by Sylver getting a glance at it. Now that he was going to be on guard for getting shot from the back, the likelihood of it happening went down significantly. It might not even have been him that was going to be shot, and his mind had simply misinterpreted the information.

Sylver very dearly missed the metallic mesh he had embedded in his skull that made his mind completely inaccessible to all but the strongest mages.

And even then, Sylver didn’t need his brain to walk around and kill someone, something those mages figured out far too late.

Even though the pain wasn’t that severe, it was still strong enough to wake him up. And even though he could tolerate it, it still hurt.

Completely ruined his morning too.

Sylver had gone to bed smiling ear to ear and now he was covered in his own blood and had ruined some rather expensive sheets.

Still slightly hazy from the headache, it took Spring’s reminder for Sylver to wave his hand at the blood and pull it out of the sheet and back up his nose into the slowly healing burst blood vessels.

Aside from the potential of a very powerful clairvoyant pinpointing the interference and somehow figuring out that Sylver was the source of it, everything was going pretty well.

Sylver had managed to negotiate a deal with Delvin and a few other well-known gunsmiths and was now going to be making a nearly effortless 25,000 a week. Instead of simply getting paid per [Coat Of Carrion] gun jamming bullet, Sylver was going to be getting a portion of the profits.

Which was important, given that Sylver already had a rough draft of a machine that could do all the work for him.

In his head, it looked a little like a very large meat grinder. Meat goes in from the top, perfectly formed bright red bullets come out from the other.

It would require a bit of experimentation and calibration to make the whole thing stable and functional, but there were only a few minor details that Sylver wasn’t certain of. He’d had bad luck with his other self-replicating spells, but he’d learned from his mistakes, and he knew what he was doing.

Grant was handling acquiring all the necessary parts, so all Sylver had to do was put them together. His worry that someone would attempt to steal a piece of his magic to study it was addressed using 2 methods.

The first was that Grant was using extremely tough metals for the whole device, according to him the only way it will ever get cracked open is if someone purposely tried to open it.

And once Sylver warned Delvin and the others that they shouldn’t tamper with it, it would be out of his hands if they tried to open it and were turned into bright red bullets as a result.

The Deadmen had been just short of domesticated. They were quiet, polite, and surprisingly enough seemed to enjoy doing actual work. How much of that was a ruse to lull Sylver into lowering his guard, he couldn’t say, but he liked to imagine that he’d actually managed to rehabilitate them.

Moneywise Sylver had transferred 200,000 cuts to Pecan, along with an extra 20,000 to “grease palms” as Pecan put it. Moving up into the trunk required jumping through several rather difficult hoops that Sylver decided he would rather not have to do. After giving Grant a budget for the [Coat Of Carrion] bullet-making device he was left with just under 90,000 cuts.

Which was enough money that he didn’t feel bad about spending 40,000 cuts at a chemist to get a sample of everything they had. Sylver hoped that there would be metals and other compounds that were similar enough to their Eirish counterparts that he could use them to speed up his healing process.

Between the bullets, the various jobs the Deadmen did, and the money Sylver would soon be getting from just associating with Pecan, Sylver’s financial issues were nonexistent.

Which left only a few other minor issues to deal with.

The first and foremost was getting Lady Demor’s attention so that Sylver would get invited into her home. She was a mid-ranking Flower, at least as far as Sylver understood, and she was the one Kass said he would trade “The Story Of The Seven Suns” for. Sylver had a plan, but he needed to prepare a little bit before that.

One of which was getting a fake eye installed. Sylver now had a light orange sphere in his left eye hole, that was made out of a metal that was quenched in mango juice and was more expensive than gold, platinum, or this realm’s metallic equivalent.

Sylver had gotten into the habit of keeping his left eye closed, and was struggling to remember to keep it open.

In Sylver’s honest opinion, he hated it. It was revoltingly pointless and didn’t look right with Sylver’s pale skin and his real pitch black eye.

But if that’s what was required, he would put up with it. All things considered, there were worse things that could have happened to him.

The other issue, the one Sylver was worried about more than the others was why the fuck Spring was outside and below the Garden. A question he would be trying to find an answer to tonight.

The issue of keeping Grant safe was resolved very simply.

Sylver hired a man Ilkes had recommended and was going to pay him 50,000 cuts a month. Now Sylver obviously didn’t trust the man 100%, even if Ilkes had recommended him, but the only real threat was Chen and his men, they had learned to keep their distance from Sylver, and by extension, anyone close to him.

The only threats that remained were barbaric hard climbers that sometimes ran out of money and walked around until they found someone they could threaten into paying them. Sometimes such attempts backfired on them, but according to Grant, they were half the reason for all the deaths in the Roots.

The last issue, that didn’t exist until a few minutes ago, was the presence of a powerful clairvoyant. Which was the type of issue that could develop in an extremely horrible way.

But it was also an issue Sylver was in no position to deal with, so therefore he would be ignoring it for the foreseeable future. If it bit him in the ass, he would deal with it then and there. All the spells that he could use to stop himself from being a walking future dead zone would leave him far too open for his comfort.

His stomach wasn’t complaining, so he all but forgot about it by the time he had finished having breakfast.

*

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*

Sylver scratched his nose from underneath the black fabric covering his face, and then he closed his eye again and searched around for Spring.

He was moving leftwards, in a very large circle around the Garden.

Sylver guessed that he was, for some reason, inside of an underwater ship. Or submarine, as Sylver had learned they were called. The one Sylver had filled with hydrogen and accidentally killed a monster with, was also a submarine, one of the older models if Iris were to be believed.

With everyone being too afraid to record any kind of video or audio, Sylver thought the mask might have been pointless, but wore it anyway.

[??? (???) – ???]
[HP-???]
[MP-???]

The creature prowling through the alley down below looked up before Sylver had even had a moment to see all the question marks. It hesitated for the barest moment before it attempted to disappear into the shadows.

It made that odd screeching noise, as Spring and Fen warned it to stay out, and with the shadows no longer being an option, it started to run/crawl down the alleyway. Sylver landed right behind it, but it was already well out of his reach and range.

Under the weak light, one of the barely working lamps provided, not the positive energy charged kind, Sylver saw the ribbed muscles moving beneath the creature’s slimy and leathery skin.

This one was shaped differently from the one Sylver had taken a claw from a few days prior. It had a tail that it used as a third leg, to push itself forward. It was shaped more like an elongated pitch-black dog, than like a person, except it had a horse-like head and mouth. It opened the way an alligator’s did, all the way to the base of the jaws, and not just the very end like a normal horse’s did.

It moaned as if in warning as it sent a pile of garbage bags flying at Sylver, that a thin layer of floating [Coat Of Carrion] split down the middle so Sylver could continue to run unimpeded. Sylver missed his robe as he lost his footing and very nearly smashed his head on the ground. He made the layer of [Coat Of Carrion] wrapped around his feet shoot a tendril upwards, and ended up doing a very awkward front flip, being pulled by his foot like a doll.

Sylver’s fingers went into the brick wall as he gave his muscles a moment to build up enough tension, and his leg exploded with force and sent him flying towards the creature. It zig-zagged left and right and turned a corner as if it hadn’t been running at breakneck speed. Sylver lost sight of it a couple of times, but Spring kept him informed of its location so he kept chasing after it.

They were in the red district now.

Sylver had followed it over rooftops, through thickly branched trees, and up and down several walls, including the main one that surrounded the Garden.

The chase ended when the creature ran down a large open pipe, and Sylver could almost feel it hit itself on the forehead for not realizing it needed to get into the shadows to get through the metallic gate that blocked the cylindrical pipe.

It turned around, surprisingly slowly and gently, and stared at Sylver the way one would when faced with a predatory animal.

Which wasn’t that far from the truth, Sylver might as well be a giant pale bear as far as they were concerned. The creature stood on its hind legs and bent its neck and spine down so its head wasn’t pressed up against the top of the pipe.

“Can you understand me?” Sylver asked.

Even though he did his best not to be too loud, the sound echoed through the empty pipe but didn’t get a response from the creature.

“I’m a necromancer…” Sylver said.

The creature made no move, and no sound as Sylver said the words.

It opened its mouth wide enough that it could have likely swallowed Sylver whole. Could, being the key word here, given that Sylver couldn’t be harmed by a creature made entirely out of negative energy.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Sylver explained, as he took a step towards the creature.

Its shoulders shook as it appeared to grow larger and wider for a few seconds. Its mouth opened far past the point below its eyes, and continued traveling down its neck, and stopped near its chest. It made a faint cracking noise before it started to scream with the voice of a small child.

The screech increased in pitch, up to the point Sylver felt the metal pipe vibrating under his feet. He waited a moment, before he continued to walk towards the creature, with his hand stretched out towards it but with his open palm facing down.

The creature just screamed and screamed, its eyes glued on Sylver and arms and legs pressed tightly against the walls of the pipe, locking it into place. Sylver walked right up to it, and practically shoved his limp hand into its mouth, but it ignored him and continued screaming.

“Are you ready?” Sylver tapped out with his left hand.

“I’m ready,” Spring answered back without making a sound.

Sylver very calmly reached upwards towards the creature’s head and shoved his fingers into its left eye. He grabbed it by something solid that may have been a bone and pulled it down until its face was to the ground.

It didn’t react to him, not even a little, it just screamed. Sylver held it down, but it didn’t struggle, it was almost completely limp. He placed his second hand onto the crown area of the creature’s head.

His pitch-black hand glowed from the inside before the light gathered at his pointer and middle finger.

“The less you move, the sooner this will be over,” Sylver said, although he very much doubted the creature had heard a single word, over the sound of its screaming.

As Sylver pressed his glowing fingers up against its head, it stopped screaming with the same slow confusion that a baby would.

As if it were unsure if it should continue.

The slash to the head the creature hit Sylver with cut through the metallic pipes surrounding them and sent a cascade of gravel falling onto both of them from the created holes.

Sylver was unharmed, and despite the body twisting and turning and bending at angles that would have snapped bones in something else, the creature’s head was perfectly still. The eye into which Sylver had shoved his fingers danced around wildly, but the head itself might as well have been frozen in solid ice.

Sylver’s glowing fingers illuminated some of the pipe, as he slowly but surely forced them into the creature’s struggling head.

The moment Sylver felt he broke through the surface, it made a different noise. Not quite the womanly cry of the one from which Sylver had taken a claw, but it wasn’t the child-like sound it had been screaming with earlier either.

This one was much deeper and sounded like an animal was making it, as opposed to a person. Sylver couldn’t say the sound was similar, but he felt the same emotion upon hearing it that he did when he found something trapped and terrified for its life.

Sylver got his two fingers inside its head up to the second knuckle. He spread them open and made a tiny hole.

Unsurprisingly, the raw mana getting released from the open wound burned Sylver’s hand and the mana channels inside of it, but he just clenched his jaw and continued to force it open.

Like an injection, Spring traveled down Sylver’s arm and into the hole he made and pushed his way inside.

If the creature had been struggling before, the sudden invasion sent it into a wild frenzy. Chunks of metal got cut out as it flailed around with its claws and tail. The level of noise inside the relatively small pipe was indescribable, down to the point Sylver’s concentration was starting to slip.

It wasn’t just random noise, the creature was clearly doing something and it was affecting Sylver. Sylver pushed down on its face, but it didn’t seem to notice or care, and just continued to scream incoherently.

Spring worked from the inside, and with his eye closed Sylver put every drop of focus he had into the spell.

Sylver forced his mana in through his fingers and gripped its eye socket so hard that he felt a crunch.

Sylver pushed against it with his soul and-

A small hand ever so gently reached up and touched Sylver’s shoulder.

Sylver opened his eye and saw a humanoid loose collection of slowly moving black fire standing behind him. It had two glowing white orbs for eyes and a crescent moon of a glowing white tooth-filled smile.

“Can you understand me?” Sylver asked ever so quietly. His ears were ringing so hard he hadn’t noticed that the creature underneath him had become silent again.

It didn’t speak a word, but in the same way Sylver could understand what the woman in white said without hearing her, Sylver understood that the black fire-like creature said “Yes”.

“I want to talk,” Sylver added with a shake of the head to get his ears back into working order.

The response wasn’t necessary, as Sylver could have guessed it, but he understood a very curt and definitive “No”, as the creature gripped Sylver by the shoulder and threw him so hard that either he let go of the creature and undid the spell gluing his feet to the pipe, or his shoulder blade was going to be ripped out of his body, along with his right arm.

As Sylver’s fingers left the hole they had made, like a baby bird breaking out of its shell, Spring forced his way out, breaking the head open into tiny pieces. Sylver landed on his back, and slid on the moist grass, but was stopped before his body had used up all of its momentum.

The black fire creature pressed down on his chest with one of its “feet” and pushed Sylver’s torso down into the grass and dirt. It grabbed Sylver’s whole face with a single hand, with far too many claws, and leaned down towards the side of his head.

Sylver screamed as pain from two different sources descended down onto his body.

The first pain was from the creature’s claws pulling away and dragging across Sylver’s skin, the way someone would cut a pattern into a watermelon, but with a lot more blood leaking out.

And the second pain was the same pain he felt when those Thorns found him in his boat and used their nauseating anti-magic drone, but amplified several times until Sylver’s whole stomach had condensed into a ball and only the narrowness of his gullet stopped it from pushing itself out through his mouth.

Sylver’s eye adjusted to the sudden presence of light, and he saw 3 men were standing over him, one with a gun he hadn’t seen before aimed directly at Sylver’s face, another held an inverted umbrella-like device, pointed at the black fire creature, and caught Sylver in its effect at the same time, while a third held a rectangular metal box, that created enough heat that Sylver could feel it on his skin, despite it being at least half a meter away from him.

The black fire creature hissed at the men before it disappeared into the dark pipe.

The man holding the giant flashlight turned it off, the man holding the magic disruption device shut it down, but the man aiming a gun at Sylver’s head didn’t move a muscle.

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KingKennit

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