Sylver reached for the knife sticking out of his chest and ripped his blanket in the process. He touched his scarred chest all over, searching for the blood-covered piece of metal and it took far longer than he cared to admit to realize he was perfectly fine and still in his bed.
He slumped back into his sweat-soaked pillow and closed his eye in a pointless attempt to glean something from his fragments of future memories.
As best as Sylver could tell…
He was going to be shot in the back of the head…
While something in his shoulder kept him pinned in place…
Sylver got out of bed and held his nose closed while he walked over to the bathroom and waved the blood off him and back up his nose.
Maybe a few more of these and I might puzzle out what’s going to happen.
By the time Sylver’s migraine had faded into a nuisance Grant had woken up and was now cooking himself breakfast.
The metal Sylver had embedded in his skull when he was a lich was enchanted in a very peculiar way, and while Sylver considered Lola a very talented enchanter, this involved skills she didn’t possess and didn’t have the right temperament to learn.
Yeva might be able to do it… Sylver realized as he stared at himself in the mirror.
I wonder how everyone is faring without me? The woman in white said she would help them out, but for all I know I’ll return to nothing but smoldering ruins and with everyone strung up on a-
Or everyone is safe and sound, Edmund hugs me the moment I step through the gate and is in his original body, and I’ll have a 10th tier pyromancer helping me find the rest of the Ibis, who are all miraculously in tip-top shape and simply decided to take a year or two to relax and unwind.
Sylver washed his face again, and spent a while blocking out the intrusive thoughts, while he replaced them with almost psychotically positive alternatives.
He didn’t know what he would find when he came back, so it was all equally possible. So why stand around crying over depressing possibilities? It didn’t help anyone, and Sylver didn’t like crying.
Sylver had a crystal clear goal, get invited into lady Demor’s house. But it wasn’t something he could rush, this wasn’t an issue of strength or ability, this was a social situation and those took time.
Sylver needed to build a track record.
And while he could climb all the way up the tower, there was little point to it. Even if he didn’t have a single loss, because of other climber’s schedules it would still take upwards of 5 months.
So that was out, it would take too long.
Tower climbers, when it came to the purebloods at least, were valued for 2 things.
The first was strength, either physical or magical, the more fights a climber won the more desirable they were. Sylver would obviously be increasing his standing in that department but wasn’t going to overdo it if he didn’t have to.
Because it was the second value that he felt he had a better chance with.
An unspoken value, that Ilkes spoke at length about, as did his soft climbing friends that he had introduced Sylver to.
Luckily for Sylver, he had the perfect blend of stereotypical blacksmith’s equipment, a youthful enthusiasm, and decades upon decades of experience. Granted, his new body wasn’t as tempered as his old one, but what’s life without a little challenge?
Not to mention Sylver was still missing a tongue, which he only now realized could be an even bigger hindrance than the lack of functional limbs.
Sylver walked down the stairs and wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Grant was already done with breakfast and was working on his laptop.
Everything that could be, had been packed away, and by the looks of things, had already been stored in Iris’s warehouse so they didn’t need to carry it with them. Sylver’s fish tank was still filled to the brim and according to the laptop nearby the little yellow tracker hadn’t moved in over 3 hours.
“You seem upset,” Sylver said, with as much casualness as he could manage, given that he could see that Grant’s leg was shaking up and down, and he pressed the laptop keys hard enough that the table dipped ever so slightly.
“Do you think life has meaning?” Grant asked after a slight pause.
“No,” Sylver answered honestly.
The silence stretched for an awkward, for Grant, Sylver was focused on getting the tracker out without breaking it, while.
“But don’t kill yourself over it… I mean… I just woke up, why are you asking me about the meaning of life anyway?” Sylver asked as he decided he would fish the cone out after he had had breakfast.
“I’ve spent my entire life trying to save enough to make it into the Trunk. And you waltz in and within not even a full month already have more than enough cuts to bring whoever you want up with you. It just doesn’t make sense,” Grant complained. He closed his laptop and lifted his head to look up at Sylver.
“What can I say? Some people are just born lucky,” Sylver offered without much emotion in his tone.
“What are us unlucky ones supposed to do?” Grant asked with an accusatory huff.
“Deal with it? What do you want me to say? Did something happen?” Sylver asked, a little more awake as he walked over towards Grant.
He looked pissed off, but Sylver couldn’t figure out why.
“I’m grateful that you saved my life. But at the same time… Am I dirtying my hands because I’m willing to accept your help? Is working for a man that rips people’s eyes out and tortures them for speaking out of turn the same as doing it yourself?” Grant asked, waving with his hands as he tried to find the right words.
“Dirtying your hands…” Sylver repeated, in a much less accusatory tone than Grant.
“I didn’t mean it that way,” Grant corrected.
“You did. And that’s perfectly fine. My hands are dirty, as am I. But that’s the beauty of us being two different people. My decisions and choices aren’t yours. More importantly, and this is the reason you shouldn’t feel any shame regarding what I do and have done, you couldn’t stop me if you wanted to. I value you as a friend, and if you have reservations about something I’ve asked you to do, we can discuss it,” Sylver explained, while Grant started to gently flex his fingers over his laptop and lightly tapped it.
“What about the things you’re doing?” Grant asked.
“There is… How do I put this in the right words… I’m going to be doing fucked up shit regardless if you’re with me or not. I can’t even say I’m holding back because of you. The only difference is that I would have kept the jugs full of eyeballs out in the open somewhere, I wouldn’t bother hiding them. Maybe over there, next to the fridge. So keeping that in mind there’s nothing wrong with benefiting from what can loosely be described as a natural disaster,” Sylver explained, as he somewhat quickly walked over to Grant and with a hand on his shoulder pushed him down and away from the table.
The fridge exploded into fragments as the bullet obliterated the door. Sylver waved towards the screaming Grant with one hand and moved two shields sitting around in his room down towards Grant and used [Coat Of Carrion] to entomb him beneath them.
Sylver stayed on the floor and crawled towards the door. He didn’t need to look up, Spring was sitting in the man’s shadow and was using the shadows in his eyelashes to look through the scope to see where he was aiming.
Apparently, he could see Sylver through the solid brick wall and was about to-
Sylver sort of half-rolled left, the way someone would when reaching for a book while already comfortably in bed and rolled right back to where he had been a millisecond earlier. Sylver turned some of the [Coat Of Carrion] wrapped around his body into liquid, and clutched his right side, which was very quickly turning red.
Sylver found it a little difficult to crawl with only one arm, but he managed it somehow. He reached up towards the lock and with 9 quick taps opened the door.
You sadistic motherfucker, I only just got it!
Sylver’s left leg twitched hard from the impact, and going by the fact that the man had giggled, Sylver had timed it right and he hadn’t realized that the leg had twitched just a hair early and the bullet was embedded in the metallic floor.
Sylver released more [Coat Of Carrion] and as he crawled out through the door and down the steps, he left a long red trail behind him.
My head is right there, what’s he up to?
Sylver wondered, as he fell down the steps at just the right moment and made the bullet go underneath his armpit, which promptly exploded with blood. Sylver made his face as panicked as possible as he had to make the important decision of which fake hole to apply pressure on. He chose his side and moved his head around wildly for a while.
Sylver struggled to get up from the slowly growing puddle of blood but slumped down into it instead. He lay motionless for a while.
Why isn’t he coming over?
My fucking HP is completely full…
Sylver stirred awake and looked around confused. He waited for just the right moment and arched his back just enough that the bullet that was aimed at his ass passed along the aimed at cheek without ripping it open.
Sylver jumped up from the floor and clutched with both hands, completely fine, all while being extremely careful to keep his back to the shooter, and more importantly, his face. Sylver’s jacket had just enough slack that he could puff it up without raising suspicion and moved it back down into place when the bullet went through the empty fabric.
Sylver had made enough people bleed to death to be able to estimate how long it would take for these types of wounds to make him lose consciousness. He waited for a few seconds before his panicked dancing started to slow down, and before you know it, he was back on the floor again.
This time with his face looking away from the shooter, and covered in enough blood that [Faceless] for sure started to work.
Sylver got lucky in the fact that the man aimed at his left hand next, and didn’t even have to do a whole lot other than making a small explosion of blood from the supposed wound.
With how much he’d already bled out, even an artery being ripped open wouldn’t bleed all that much.
The fucker spent a solid 5 minutes just watching Sylver bleed to death before he packed up his big ass rifle and slowly shuffled his way over to him.
In his defense, even if he were alive, this amount of blood loss wouldn’t be enough to kill him. He didn’t hit any vitals, and Sylver was pretty sure the bullet aimed for his hand would have just gone through the palm, not the wrist.
The street was deserted, as always. People that lived in the blue district either didn’t care, or didn’t want to get involved.
The man held a fairly large gun in his hands, a single barrel shotgun, with shells as wide as Sylver’s thumb was. He kept the gun aimed very carefully at Sylver’s head, but it was all over when he stepped onto the slightly too spread out puddle of blood.
It didn’t take that much force to move the barrel of the gun to the side, and away from Sylver, who was thrown towards the man by the [Coat Of Carrion] on the ground. Sylver slapped the barrel out of the way, reached for the man’s face and-
Sylver’s ears rang, and his eye hurt from the shards of bones that only through sheer luck didn’t pierce his remaining functional eye. He had some hair and a tooth up his nose, and a bunch of flesh had splattered all over his neck and chest and had somehow managed to fall down into his shirt.
Sylver spent a few seconds cleaning himself off before he crouched down and picked the remains of the man’s torn open head and found what he was looking for.
The piece of metal was barely the size of a thin pencil, but the insides of people’s heads didn’t need a whole lot to destroy them. Sylver was about to start opening him up some more when Spring informed him that people were peeking out of their windows to look.
Sylver used [Dead Dominion] to make the body stand up, and had all the bits and pieces float along with it. He closed the door behind himself and looked at the two shields glued to the floor with a shaking Grant underneath them.
“Everything is under control, I’m fine… I’m going to be upstairs for a bit… It would be for your own benefit if you didn’t come up. I’m leaving a thing on the table, please have a look at it and tell me as much as you can about it,” Sylver said, as he placed the remains of the explosive on the table and made the shooter float up the stairs.
Performing an autopsy put Sylver in a good mood.
Between how much of his abilities he was hiding, and the fact that he hadn’t killed anything since he came here, had made him miss the stench of death and freshly broken bone marrow.
He wasn’t entirely sure what he was looking for and was honest enough to admit to himself that he simply liked the process of cutting someone apart. The scalpel he bought from Iris wasn’t great, but it was good enough.
To clarify he didn’t like killing, but after how long he’s been doing it, this was almost his equivalent of baking to relieve stress.
Sylver wasn’t a blood-thirsty person, no more so than any other man who spent a very large portion of his life killing people, but it was just nice to sit down and unwind while checking to see what the tumor-like growth in the man’s torso was doing.
And the answer was that it was filled with a cloudy light green liquid, that smelt faintly of freshly cut grass. And when Sylver dipped his finger into it, he discovered that it was highly concentrated positive energy.
Sylver couldn’t sense it until he touched it. Which was odd, very odd.
Even the best mana storage crystals leaked some mana.
And yet this man, who wasn’t a mage in the slightest, was somehow able to produce such pure positive energy that if Sylver diluted a couple of drops in a bathtub and then sat down in it, it would be enough to eat through all of his skin and some of his muscle.
Fucking weird is what it was.
Grant called out from the bottom of the stairs that he was going to leave to ask someone about the bomb. He informed Sylver that the bodyguard was already here and left.
Natural evolution? But then why is it all only in the thing, and there isn’t so much as a trace of positive energy in the rest of his body? Can he get it out at will?
Where would it go through? It doesn’t have any mana channels connected to it? Just raw positive energy, spread via the blood?
Doesn’t work either…
Sylver went downstairs to grab a drink of water, and stared at the wall for a while, as he thought about the sliced open corpse laying on his cling film wrapped bed.
If I could use positive magic, the few drops inside that guy's thing would be what? Lower end of tier 2 magic? Could be enough for one of the specialized high-end tier 2s.
Wait, no, if it was part of them, none of my curses would have worked.
So it’s a foreign internal organ?
It’s bigger than Grant’s, but Grant actually has mana…
What did he want anyway? To cripple me? Why?
Why did he kill himself the moment I was going to catch him? Or did someone else kill him?
Someone who wants me crippled and frightened, but is terrified of me finding out who they are…
Sylver had checked the man’s equipment a few times, but all he had was the gun, sniper rifle as Grant had called it, and the shotgun, which Sylver was probably going to keep from now on. It was quite small and used iron shards instead of lead for the ammunition.
And didn’t require a whole lot of precise aiming, more of a point and hope for the best kind of gun.
[Accursed Shard Spewer – N/A – Uncommon Quality]
Was he planning on threatening me into something? This looks quite intimidating, and sort of doesn’t make sense for a man with such good aim.
It’s not like they ran out of handguns.
Is this Chen?
Kass wouldn’t be this stupid…
Unless he knew I would think that, and therefore hired this guy on the off chance he would succeed with no danger that I would think it was him…
I would have felt it if he had tried to predict my actions, so either he hoped the man would get lucky or it wasn’t him…
Pecan? Did I do anything to piss him off yet? I was kind of pushy about those 5 guys, but surely not enough to warrant being crippled.
One of the gunsmiths?
Sure, why not.
Might as well add any of the hard fighters that were friends with the two I paralyzed from the neck down.
Come to think of it, Grant is about the only person who wouldn’t want me dead.
In the end, Sylver had the same problem he always did whenever someone came after his life.
He simply had too many people hungry for his blood to guess who sent what and when.
The fact that he had a suicide bomb ruled out a few people, but not entirely. And there was still the question of whether it had been triggered by the man, or by someone else. Was their worry that if Sylver got his hands on him, he’d be able to find and deactivate the bomb and torture the information out of the man?
With his autopsy finished, Sylver cleaned up the body by turning it into fresh and bright [Coat Of Carrion].
There was glass and mirror as far as the eye could see.
And Sylver hated it.
Even if he wasn’t being physically harmed by the light, it was revolting how bright it was here.
Sylver had been in a city made entirely out of diamond once, and even that wasn’t as brightly lit as the Trunk.
Everything from the slippery mirrored floor to the guards wearing mirrored armor, to the houses being made of either glass or mirror, created a nauseous feeling in Sylver’s stomach, that had nothing to do with the prickling on his skin from so much direct sunlight bouncing around and becoming concentrated.
Sylver didn’t even have a shadow under his feet, Spring and the others were hiding inside the shadow of his clothes, it was fucking awful.
“And here it is. Number 131, 4 bedrooms living room, kitchen, private bathrooms as well as a big one with a Jacuzzi and-”
“Is there a restaurant nearby?” Sylver interrupted, as the man sort of huffed importantly before he waved his armband over the lock and opened the door.
With their 3 bags of items, mostly Grant’s electronics, Sylver and his engineer had moved in, and Sylver walked around his new place of living with squinted eyes.
It was vulgar how much light there was in here.
Grant looked like he was going to piss himself from joy, and the man who had shown them the way looked insulted by the look on Sylver’s face. Sylver closed the door, but because the bloody thing was made of slightly frosted glass, it did fuck all in hiding Sylver from the man’s disgruntled glare.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Sylver said, as he walked around and tried to find a good spot to put the fish tank on. He’d gained some good information from Grant’s cameras, but he needed more time for it to work properly.
“Me too. Isn’t this incredible?” Grant asked, awestruck and spinning in place while looking up through the ceiling at the bottom of their fucking clear and water filled beds.
Even the fridge was made of glass!
Although Sylver did admit that was kind of cool, it still didn’t make up for everything else being crystal clear.
He was fairly certain that if he took a shit he could watch it travel through the walls.
Aside from that, Sylver couldn’t complain.