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Ch126-(Do Fear) The Reaper

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Sylver closed the door behind himself and stepped into a small well lit room.

The ceiling was made out of wood and had glowing wires wrapped around the wooden beams. On Sylver’s left, there was a bookshelf that went from wall to wall, and floor to ceiling and was overfilled with books. Some with softcovers were folded or rolled and quite literally shoved into the space above a book that didn’t reach the bottom of the shelf above it.

On the right side, there was a blackboard, and Sylver noted that it had other blackboards behind it, most likely to be moved to the front via the pulley mechanism he somewhat recognized. Symbols that made Sylver feel unpleasant when he looked at them littered the bottom half of the blackboard, while the top half was pristinely clean.

At the end of the small room, there was a large wooden desk, with a small man sitting behind it with his fingers interlocked and under his chin, with his head resting on them.

His eyes were pitch black, he wore a dark robe that looked like shimmering ash, and his face was like Sylver was staring at a slightly more malnourished mirror.

“Are-”

Sylver’s head turned to the side as he felt something slap him across the face, and only the fact that something was holding his jaws and lips closed stopped him from asking a rhetorical question that would have likely gotten him killed.

“You will speak only when spoken to,” the mirror image said.

Sylver gave the stinging pain a second to mellow out before he very calmly walked over towards the man, and while completely nude, lunged at him.

Sylver could forgive the bolt of sizzling lightning that ripped the skin off half of his upper body. He could even forgive the fact that somehow his pain-blocking ability had been canceled out, and he felt every inch of raw flesh that was exposed to the chilly air.

What he couldn’t forgive was the dismissive way with which the lookalike had attacked him. It was hard to call it a glance, the bastard didn’t even try to meet Sylver’s eyes. Like he was swatting away an insect.

Sylver silently rolled around on the floor as his intestines slipped out and he had to be wary lest he roll onto them and accidentally rip them off.

“What are you doing?” a different, yet similar, voice asked from somewhere outside Sylver’s field of vision. It sounded perfectly calm, save for the fact that Sylver could hear an edge in it. With only one working ear it was hard to guess where the source of the sound was.

“He is a reincarnator, the Mage is making sure he knows his place. The Mage has been over this, the Mage-”

Sylver closed the door behind himself and stepped into a small well lit room.

He touched himself all over, expecting to feel raw muscle and exposed bone, but he was perfectly fine.

“Sit,” a voice said.

Sylver looked up and saw the same aged mirror image that had attacked him, only now it was actually looking at him.

A chair pushed itself underneath Sylver’s feet and he fell into it, as it moved towards the mirror image and the table.

“How stupid do you have to be to attack someone who you do not know the abilities of?” the man asked, as Sylver once again tried to open his mouth but it was like the muscles simply ignored his brain’s orders.

“The question was rhetorical. Do you know what that means? Rhetorical means the Mage does not expect it to be answered. Just now, the Mage asked you if you knew what rhetorical means when you were incapable of speaking. The question “do you know what rhetorical means” was a rhetorical question,” the man explained, as Sylver felt the muscles in his body turn as lax as his jaw and could only watch as his arms settled themselves on the armrests.

Going by the fact that he had called himself “the Mage” a few times already, Sylver had to assume this was the man’s title.

The Mage leaned back in his oversized chair and tapped his unnaturally long fingers on the wooden desk while he looked at Sylver. Although Sylver could tell he wasn’t looking at him, but rather through him.

“200 points in intelligence, and 110 in wisdom, not bad. Not good either, a proper mage would not have bothered with getting his dexterity up to 100. Or strength for that matter, only an idiot that is not confident in his magic would waste so many points into none mana related attributes,” the Mage said, chewing the words as he spoke them as if he was trying a new dish and was waiting to see if he liked it or not.

“Only 9 skills and 15 perks. Pathetic, utterly pathetic. There are literal children with more perks than that. What else? You don’t even have a casting skill, unbelievable. Are you actually a mage or just pretending?” the Mage asked, as Sylver felt the edge of a blade run along his soul again.

“How did you manage to get them split into two? Just how incompetent can one man be?” the Mage asked.

[Skill [Optical Illusion] has been removed!]

[Skill [Auditory Illusion] has been removed!]

[Skill: Illicit Illusions [B]]
Skill level can-

[Skill [Illicit Illusions] has been removed!]

[Skill: Mirage [A]]
Skill level can be raised by using illusion magic.
I – Create visual and auditory illusions.
II – Create translucent illusions.
III – Cost of illusion magic decreased by 10%
*Quality of illusions dependent on caster’s ability and understanding.

“There, was that so hard? [Mirage] huh, strange choice. And at [A] rank too… They are all really high up for some reason… Weird… Oh, this is ridiculous!” the mage said, as he sat up in his seat, while his face was stuck in calm concentration.

[Skill [Magic Nullification] has been removed!]

[Skill: Draining Blight [B]]
Skill level can be increased by draining HP, MP, and Stamina. (Skill level will only increase if the creature being drained is killed.)
I – Create a cloud that will absorb Health, Mana, and Stamina from the target creature.
II – Absorb through solid materials. *Efficiency decreases by 50% for every centimeter of material.
III – Channel a drained attribute into a willing creature.
IV – Drained creatures can be chained together to increase range and efficiency.
V – Mana can be drained from a spell or object. *Type of magic being drained must be known.
*May not work on targets with a high enough resistance.
*May not work on targets without mana channels.

“See? That was not difficult. Now these two… Hmm… how can the Mage… oh, the Mage sees. Yes, this will work,” the Mage said.

[Skill [Coat Of Carrion] has been removed!]

[Skill [Biological Manipulation] has been removed!]

[Skill: Necrotic Mutilation [F]]
Skill level can be increased through use.
I – Manipulate biological matter.
II – Empower a creature or item using manipulated biological matter.
*Quality dependent on biological material being used.
*Quantity of [Flesh] increases power.
*Quantity of [Bones] increases durability.
*Quantity of [Blood] increases duration.

“Now then, how about-” Sylver heard a sound similar to thunder striking directly behind his head.

Sylver closed the door behind himself and stepped into a small well lit room.

A chair pushed itself underneath Sylver’s feet and he fell into it, as it moved towards the Mage and the table. Sylver was as before completely incapable of making a sound or moving a muscle.

He couldn’t even blink right now.

“If someone would not have gotten in the way, the Mage would have sorted out your perks too. They are ghastly, absolutely horrendous, as appetizing as freshly thrown up vomit,” the Mage said, as he leaned back in his seat with a disgusted grimace.

“At least you have the overinflated pride part down. The only thing worse than an incompetent mage is a mage that has no pride in being a mage… The Mage supposes you have wasted enough of the Mage’s time. The Mage offers a 10% increase in experience related to magical skills. In exchange the Mage wants 300,000MP to be transferred to the Mage every day until the total level of 200 is reached,” the Mage said.

There was no in-between, but Sylver’s chair was now sitting a level lower than the three men towering above him.

The one on the left had pitch-black eyes and was at least 2 times as tall as the other two. He wore armor that looked like it had been made from tinted glass, with a matching glass-like two-handed sword embedded into the floor next to him.

The one in the middle was the one who had burned Sylver’s face off, and had rearranged his skills.

The one on the right was hard to make out, even in the extremely well-lit room. Pitch black silk-like bandages covered every inch of his body, with a see-through cloak somehow bending the light in such a way that the man looked like a smudge.

“The Warrior offers [Eternal Health]. Any curse, damage, ailment, or anything that isn’t considered a positive, will be removed every morning when the first sun rises. In exchange the Warrior wants 10% of any experience gained until a total level of 200 is reached,” the Warrior said.

The Mage standing in the middle lost his composure and stared at the Warrior with his mouth literally open in shock.

“The Rogue offers [Improbable Luck]. Up to twice a month, an assassin with the perfect plan to kill you will choke to death while drinking a glass of water, a blade coming straight for your throat will touch your skin in such a way as to cause the blade to shatter, and any game of chance you play, you will always win. In exchange the Rogue wants 9% of any experience gained until a total level of 200 is reached,” the Rogue said.

“Do not say anything,” the Mage said, with a pointed finger at Sylver.

“The Warrior does not understand the purpose of this. The offers have been given, the-”

“The Mage does not accept this, the Warrior and the Rogue know something the Mage does not,” the Mage said with a finger outstretched and pointed at the Warrior and the Rogue.

“The Rogue knows many things the Mage does not,” the Rogue said, with the wry smile more in his tone than his covered-up face or body language.

“The Warrior wishes to move onto the next part,” the Warrior said.

“The Mage cannot blame the Warrior or the Rogue for being unable to read between the lines,” the Rogue said while looking right at Sylver.

The Mage narrowed his eyes, in a way that didn’t look right on his, or rather Sylver’s face. It was too childish of an expression.

“The Mage thinks the Rogue and the Warrior know this one,” the Mage said.

“The Mage is allowed to think whatever the Mage wishes. The Warrior wishes to move onto the next part,” the Warrior repeated.

“The Rogue is willing to trade who the Rogue thinks this is, in exchange for 5 level 600s,” the Rogue offered.

The Warrior laughed hard enough that the sound reverberated through the room, while the Mage looked stuck between being enraged and in deep thought.

“The Mage wishes to have an assurance,” the Mage said.

“The Rogue has made his offer. If the Mage believes this is a trick by the Rogue and the Warrior as revenge for [ ] the Mage is free to call the Rogue’s bluff,” the Rogue said. Sylver heard that same odd note when Bruno tried to tell him about something he wasn’t supposed to hear.

The Mage stared at Sylver and rubbed his beardless chin with his thumb.

“The Mage accepts the Rogue’s offer,” the Mage said, all while staring deep into Sylver’s eyes. The Rogue did something akin to a small dance, as he spoke with a significantly more cheerful note in his voice.

“The Red Purge of Fleiran,” the Rogue said.

“A named Arch-Demon, of course! The Mage offers-”

“The Warrior does not believe this is a named Arch-Demon,” the Warrior said, as he leaned to the side to look at the Rogue.

“The Rogue asks that the Warrior mind their business,” the Rogue countered with a slight panic and anger, but still mostly happy.

The Mage just silently stared at Sylver for a long while, with his eyes moving ever so slowly up and down as if he were reading an invisible book.

“The Silver Lich…” the Mage whispered to himself, his eyes slowly going so wide that Sylver half expected for one of the pitch-black eyeballs to pop out.

“It’s actually Sylver the Lich,” Sylver corrected, with a grin he guessed was identical to the Rogue’s underneath his bandages.

Sylver could tell he wasn’t in the same realm anymore, the woman in white’s suggestion didn’t apply to this. Not to mention they already all figured out who he was.

The Mage’s eyes remained fully open. Sylver didn’t blink, but he was still caught off guard as the Mage appeared right in front of him, close enough that it looked like Sylver had placed his nose up to a mirror.

“The Mage sees… The Mage has misinterpreted… The Mage wishes to provide a different offer,” the Mage said, one moment standing right in Sylver’s face, and the next back on the stage and in-between the Warrior and the Rogue.

“I would like to have a few questions answered first,” Sylver said.

He was surprised at how meek his voice sounded as all three Sylver-like figures turned towards him and stared.

“No. At your current level, you may not ask any questions unrelated to our offers,” the Warrior said, with deadly certainty. Sylver quietly nodded and waited to see what would happen.

Sylver’s magic was…

Not missing, but similar to how his body was disconnected from him, Sylver could feel something similar was being done to his magic. It was still there, but it was like trying to grab something with a limb you couldn’t feel while blindfolded.

He could feel the disconnection being loosened as he worked on it, but he didn’t think it would amount to much, these things were far beyond even the best spell he could currently cast. Sylver wanted to say they were gods, but…

It didn’t feel like they were gods. He also didn’t get the feeling they were in charge of the system, even if the Mage could move and edit Sylver’s skills around. But apparently, his level was too low to ask them about that.

“The Mage offers [Arcane Growth]. Every level 1 attribute point will be added to intelligence, and 1 attribute point will be added to wisdom. The Mage offers a 50% increase in experience gained by magic-related skills. The Mage offers to exchange the perk [Reaper’s Reward] for a more powerful variant. In exchange, the Mage wants 5% of any experience gained until the total level of 200 is reached,” the Mage said, so slowly and carefully that Sylver couldn’t tell if he was changing his mind mid-sentence or if he was waiting to see if someone would stop him.

“The Warrior wishes to know if it was worth it?” the Warrior asked while looking at the Rogue, who seemed to be completely disinterested in what was going on and was instead trying to see what was underneath all of his bandages.

“You will see the wisdom in the Rogue’s exchange in a moment,” the Rogue said.

“All three offers have been made. The Warrior wishes to move onto the class selection,” the Warrior said.

[Lesser Death Knight (Rare) [Warrior]] class available!
Requirement: Undead
Requirement: Negative Energy Affinity
-A prerequisite to becoming a true knight of death. Your weapon will be imbued with strength far surpassing that of any living creature.
-Your defeated foes will rise from the dead to serve you as you lead them to victory.
-All current points in INT and WIS will be converted to free AP.
-No points can be placed in INT.
-No points can be placed in WIS.
+50 STR
+50 DEX
+Trait: Slain Army
+Trait: Advanced Regeneration
+Trait: Death Bound Armor.
+Trait: Death Bound Weapon.

Now that’s just ridiculous.

[Swamp Lord (Rare) [Mage]] class available!]
Requirement: Undead
Requirement: Earth affinity.
Requirement: Water Affinity
Requirement: Negative Energy Affinity
-The meeting of life-giving water, and death swallowing earth, a fitting place for a being that is neither alive nor dead.
-Harness the power of the wetlands.
+25 CONS
+25 INT
+50 WIS
+Trait: Advanced Water Manipulation
+Trait: Advanced Earth Manipulation
+Trait: Poison Immunity
+Trait: Chloromancy

“The Warrior now understands the wisdom of the Rogue’s exchange,” the Warrior said with a quiet voice.

[Shadow Fiend (Rare) [Rogue]] class available!]
Requirement: Undead
Requirement: Shade Touched
Requirement: Negative Energy Affinity
-A creature born in the darkness, that can only live in the darkness.
-Where there is light, there will always be dark.
-All current points in INT and WIS will be converted to free AP.
-No points can be placed in INT.
-No points can be placed in WIS.
+25 CONS
+75 DEX
+Trait: Advanced Shadow Mastery
+Trait: Advanced Shade Empowerment
+Trait: Intangible Body

“I can ask questions about the offers and classes, right?” Sylver asked, to no one in particular as he was still reading and rereading through all 3 possible classes.

“The Warrior, Mage, and Rogue will answer any question you may have regarding the offers and the offered classes,” the Warrior answered.

“Would [Lesser Death Knight] stop me from using magic if I were to choose it?” Sylver asked while looking at the Warrior.

“You will gain access to the magic of others. Undead under your command will retain their abilities from when they were alive,” the Warrior answered.

“Sure, but would I personally be able to cast spells?” Sylver repeated the question.

Sylver watched as the Warrior ever so slightly opened his mouth as if to speak, but closed it instead. Sylver looked to the side and saw what could only be described as a shit-eating grin on his Mage counterpart.

Sylver had figured it out a bit earlier, but all 3 men seemed to be the potential road Sylver could end up at. He would be extremely tall and buff if he became a [Warrior], short and pale if he became a [Mage], and apparently would get into the habit of keeping every inch of skin in wraps if he became a [Rogue].

Is this what Lion was trying to ask about that time? When I couldn’t hear what he was saying? Did he want to know what my alternative forms looked like?

“No. You would lead an army of undead, but the same way that a leader should never draw his sword, neither will you be able to use your magic,” the Warrior explained, while the Mage just continued staring at him and smiling like an imbecile.

“What’s the purpose of this? This illusion of choice? Why bother?” Sylver asked while looking from one man to the other.

“Your [Koschei] class has done what it can to force you to choose a [Mage] class. The Rogue has always hated dealing with unique classes for this very reason,” the Rogue explained.

“Are there other classes for me to choose from? What happens if I don’t choose?” Sylver asked.

“You will be unable to leave here until you choose a class. These 3 classes are the only ones available to you at this moment. The offers are optional, but to accept the Warrior’s offer, you must have at least 1 [Warrior] class,” the Rogue answered

“So my “choice” is effectively [Swamp Lord] or a class that will make me, a lifelong mage, incapable of using magic?” Sylver asked, in an attempt to wrap his head around the absurdity and the huge waste of time.

This time around, yes. The next time we see each other, things will be different,” the Rogue said.

“Next time?” Sylver asked.

“When you reach a total level of 200, you will once again be brought here,” the Rogue explained.

“Can I ask why my [Koschei] class doesn’t count towards the total?” Sylver asked.

“No,” all three said in perfect unison.

“Why did you bring me here?” Sylver asked.

“At your current level, you may not ask any questions unrelated to our offers. You are but on the first step of discovering the truth,” the Warrior said in a voice that didn’t sound like the way he had spoken earlier.

Discovering the truth…

I hate this so much.

But does this mean the system really is alive? Are they the ones who made it?

Or are these three like the monsters inside a dungeon? Lured in by the core and then given intelligence and personality?

Sylver clasped his hands behind himself and dug into his wrist with his fingernails as he considered his options. He bit down on his teeth to stop himself from crying out in pain as he used his not all that sharp nails to carve a sigil into his skin.

If I can leave a marker here, I should be able to-

The Mage appeared directly in front of Sylver, while the Rogue held his left hand’s wrist, and the Warrior leaned down to hold Sylver’s right hand’s wrist.

“You have 60 seconds to decide on a class, or you will be erased,” the Mage said, in a voice that wasn’t anything remotely close to what it was a minute ago.

It was ice cold, there was neither pride nor life in it like a golem was talking.

“Why? What happened?” Sylver asked as he faked ignorance and attempted to tug his arm out of their grasp but not one of them so much as shook from his effort.

“51 seconds. 50 seconds. 49 seconds…” the Mage counted down, right into Sylver’s face.

“Please let me go. I apologize, I did it without thinking,” Sylver offered with a bit of false panic in his voice.

“43 seconds. 42 seconds. 41 seconds…” the Mage continued without even pausing to hear Sylver speak.

“You will come to regret this. Fuck you, fuck the system, fuck whoever made you assholes speak about yourself in the third person, and fuck me for being so fucking weak,” Sylver swore as he attempted to pull himself out of their grips one more time, but instead just snapped the bones in both of his forearms.

“19 seconds. 18 second. 17 seconds. 16 sec-”

“I pick the [Swamp Lord] class and I’ll accept the Mage’s offer,” Sylver said.

Sylver’s robe stopped his head from being smashed on the floor, as the neck his legs were wrapped around pulled him down.

“What’s going on? Are you alright, what just-”

Sylver crawled away from the dead bodies and lay flat against the cool metallic floor as he waited for his heart to leave his throat and get back inside his chest. His whole body started to glow with a painfully bright yellow light, as Sylver pulled his knees up against himself and wrapped his arms around them.

Any attempt to take a deep breath was met with an impossible amount of burning bile, all while Spring kept yammering in his shadow and Sylver couldn’t gather enough of his mind to answer him.

I’ll prepare for when I reach level 200, and then I’ll find out what the fuck all of this is.

Total Level: 106
[Koschei-5]
[Necromancer-100]
[Swamp Lord-1]

CON: 125
DEX: 100
STR: 41
INT: 226
WIS: 161
AP: 55

Health: 1,011/1,228
Stamina: 615/615
MP: 4,119/9,040

Health Regen: 14.33/M
Stamina Regen: 9.23/M
MP Regen: 3274.74/M

[Skills:]
[Appraisal [F] (V) 22%]
[Physical Endurance [E] (III) 52%]
[Undead Mastery [S] (V) 6%]
[Mirage [A] (III) 1%]
[Draining Blight [B] (IV) 6%]
[Necrotic Mutilation [F] (II) 1%]

[Perks:]
[Golden Egg]
[Dead’s Dogma]
[Eyes Of The Royal Tiger]
[Tools Of The Shade]
[Dying Breath]
[Hare’s Great Escape]
[Kindred Spirit Mitigation]
[Unholy Blessing]
[Shadow’s Soma]
[Shadow’s Agent]
[Iron Chest]
[Duck And Dive]
[Bound Bones]
[Dead Dominion]
[Genocider’s Gift]

[Traits:]
[Living Undead]
[Deathless]
[Mana Perception]
[Mana Manipulation]
[Undead Domination]
[Deathly Aura]
[Faceless]
[Arcane Growth]
[Advanced Water Manipulation]
[Advanced Earth Manipulation]
[Poison Immunity]
[Chloromancy]

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KingKennit

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