Sylver had expected several things to come out through the door.
Except for those anti-magic drones.
5 of them surrounded Sylver and immediately started blasting him with their interfering signal. Thankfully Sylver now had 2 functional legs and didn’t topple over, but seeing his robe go limp was on a similar level of embarrassing.
And just as he was about to lose his temper and make the people sitting in a piece of metal surrounded by water regret it, a gift fell into Sylver’s lap.
He felt Ria stretch herself thin and imagined that he looked a little bit like those string-wrapped sausages, as she covered every inch of his skin in tight metal. He felt them pulse with heat for a second.
But almost immediately Sylver felt the interference from the drones relax to the point it was barely above a nuisance.
Sylver flexed his wire-wrapped fingers and with a flick of his pinkie caused 5 giant pillars of water to explode up into the air, and freeze the moment they made contact with the 5 floating drones. Sylver further solidified the ice, and then forced them down into the water, and out of his line of sight.
Sylver saw that the door, which had previously been almost open, start spinning the other way to close it. With a single jump, Sylver had his hands on the large wheel and started pushing it the other way.
To his surprise, the person on the other side was way stronger than Sylver, even with his [Necrotic Mutilation] armor helping him out. At best he slowed it down, but even then it felt more like the person simply chose to close the lock this slowly.
“I just want to talk!” Sylver shouted in Elvish and kicked at the door with one foot while he did his very best to keep the large wheel from turning. Tendrils came out from Sylver’s gauntleted hands and helped apply more stopping force to the wheel, but they all ripped to shreds with every turn.
Sylver felt his left shoulder strain too much and gasped as the joint popped out and dislocated his arm. He let go of the wheel and forced his limp arm back into place while the wheel kept turning.
“Let me in!” Sylver shouted in English and enhanced his voice with [Mirage] to make sure it carried. The door didn’t feel that thick, Sylver could even hear murmuring and grunting from the other side.
And thanks to [Advanced Water Manipulation] Sylver could also feel that there was a bucket full of water about 31 meters away from the door. Sylver made the bucket tip over and had the water quickly travel down the floor towards the door.
There was a great deal of guesswork, but thankfully the interior of this boat seemed to be identical to the one Sylver had exploded when he first came here. He pooled the water near the feet of the people on the other side, and froze it, and then pushed it away from the door as hard as he could.
By the way the water on the floor splashed around, and that the wheel had stopped turning, Sylver guessed that he managed to make the person fall over.
Sylver started turning the wheel the other way, as he collected the water and moved it up to the door. He made it cover the wheel on the inside with needle-thin spikes. But despite his efforts, the person on the other side wasn’t deterred by a bunch of needles and started trying to push the wheel the opposite way to fully close the door.
Sylver made the water splash all over the place and concentrated on the figure standing right next to the door. Under the assumption it was humanoid, Sylver gathered the bucket full of water behind the wheel-turning person, turned it into a rough sphere of extra hard ice, and crossed his fingers that this wouldn’t kill them.
Sylver yanked the ball of ice towards himself and felt the person get thrown against the door before they fell onto the floor. He continued trying to open the door and discovered that even with no one touching it on the other side, the mechanism simply had a limit to how fast the wheel would turn.
Sylver used the bucket’s worth of water to make touching the slowly turning wheel difficult and was so focused on keeping the whole thing covered in hooks and razor-sharp blades, that he nearly jumped when the door started whistling again.
The [Necrotic Mutilation] on Sylver’s hands and feet slithered off him and forced its way through the gaps in the door. It changed the sound from a whistle into a blubbering noise that sounded so similar to someone farting that Sylver couldn’t help but laugh.
The dark green liquid solidified and forced the door further open, and gave Sylver more room to add more [Necrotic Mutilation] into the gaps, to even further force it open.
The door swung open without making a peep. With his voice amplified, Sylver once again shouted down the empty, but well-lit, metallic corridor.
“I only want to talk!” Sylver shouted in Elvish. His voice echoed down the corridor and came back to him, but otherwise, there was no response.
Furthermore, he saw that the floor near the door was covered in blood, and Sylver was now worried he had bludgeoned whoever had been trying to close the door. He didn’t get a notification for killing them, so hopefully they were fine.
He was careful, the ice flew hard enough to dent, maybe crack, but not break.
“I’m coming in! If you try to hurt me, I will defend myself!” Sylver shouted, as the blood on the floor parted and disappeared into the quickly spreading layer of [Necrotic Mutilation]. Sylver walked down the cramped corridor while surrounded from all sides by a thin layer of dark green gunk.
Sylver waved his hand behind him and made water flow up the ship and in through the door. As he walked down the corridor, Sylver left behind him a trail of extremely dense ice, with a hole about the size of his head that allowed more water to enter, which floated directly behind him, and made more ice.
He stopped walking as he felt Spring start to move.
[Deadly Darkness] provided Sylver with a certain sense of where his shadow was and what it was doing or touching. He sent it ahead to check around the corner but found it empty.
It was quiet, aside from the sound of rushing and splattering water, and the small sounds that came from [Necrotic Mutilation] constantly churning itself.
But the silence was broken by a now-familiar screeching that made Sylver’s shoulders sag as he realized what was about to happen.
Why can’t things just be simple?
Sylver wondered as the screeching and screaming became louder and louder, the walls and floor shook as the creatures crawled, jumped, and bumped against each other, as they acted practically like a wave of water and flowed towards the path of least resistance.
Sylver sighed as he watched a little over 100 of those creatures he’d seen inside the Garden, spill over the corner and claw their way towards him, all mixed up to the point it was impossible to tell who was who or what was what, all Sylver saw were claws, teeth, and weird-looking hooked tentacles.
“Spring? Buddy, are you in there?” Sylver shouted towards the horde of glistening darkness.
He heard a single beat of silence from the creatures of darkness before the screeching turned around and they screamed away from Sylver, towards where he presumed his shade was.
Almost lazily, Sylver flicked his right hand down the corridor, and his shadow exploded out from his feet and pierced through some of the creatures. It split down the middle and opened up, and created a path while it pressed the struggling creatures up against the walls.
The Spring in Sylver’s shadow tore down the path, collided with the other Spring, and lost connection with Sylver for a split second, before the connection came back, and felt like it was ten times as strong.
Sylver’s shadow disappeared and the still screaming creature’s all tumbled down the floor, and returned to attempting to tear Sylver apart.
Sylver didn’t bother stifling a yawn as their claws, fangs, tentacles, and what have you, simply slid off or bounced off his impenetrable pitch-black robe and skin.
“Good to see you actually increased your strength this time. Walk left, then right, then 4th door on the left,” Spring silently tapped against Sylver’s shoulder, as Sylver slowly made his way down the corridor, while freezing everything behind him.
Sylver followed Spring’s instructions and walked completely unhampered by the hundreds upon hundreds of attacks that should have turned him into mincemeat, but instead couldn’t even scratch the walls, because Sylver was protecting them with his empowered [Necrotic Mutilation].
The door was the same as all the others, but as Spring had said, there was a movable piece on the left of it, that had the same number pad as the lock on Sylver’s door in the Garden did.
Sylver knocked on the door with three consistent knocks.
“I’m coming in,” Sylver said to the people cooped up inside.
Or warned, depending on how they were going to react.
He waited for a few seconds before he once again knocked on the door three times.
“I’m coming in,” Sylver repeated in English.
Spring only knew Eirish, technically speaking. Without Sylver nearby, he couldn’t understand other languages, but when he was within Sylver’s range, he could speak and read whatever Sylver could speak and read.
So while the Spring that had been here heard these people talking, it sounded like gibberish to him. And because of the way he perceived the world and sounds, he couldn’t even say if it sounded like Elf-like gibberish or English-like gibberish.
Sylver followed Spring’s directions and entered the code to the door, upper top left, middle button, bottom top right, bottom middle…
With only 2 number’s remaining, Sylver looked around or at least attempted to. With a wave of his hand, he made his shadow and his [Necrotic Mutilation] shove all the creature’s attempting to kill him out of the way, so he could open the door and not worry about them bursting inside and killing everyone.
Sylver gave his magic a second or two to solidify before he entered the final 2 numbers and watched as the small screen glowed green a few times. The lock disengaged with a well-oiled, but still loud, clunk, and Sylver grabbed and pushed the handle to open it.
With the door open Sylver’s attention was evenly split between several things.
The first that caught his eye was a pointy-eared dark blue skinned woman, cowering in fear while holding a pale pointy-eared white skinned child in her arms.
As the door further opened, Sylver saw that there was a mixture of them, men, women, children, with a seemingly random mixture of skin colors.
Right after that Sylver looked up slightly, and saw a creature that appeared to be very slowly burning to death from a pitch-black fire. It stood directly in the middle of the room, with its back towards the people sitting up against the walls, and Sylver on the other side standing in the open doorway.
When the creature’s left knee ever so slightly bent, Sylver lifted his hand toward it and showed that there were 3 identical bombs in the palm of his hand.
“If you attack me, they’ll all die,” Sylver threatened in a calm and polite tone.
He knew extremely well just how much damage an explosive could do in a small and enclosed space.
And given the way the black flame-clad creature stayed perfectly still, so did it.
“I’m here to talk. I would like it if you gave myself, and 5 more people, a ride back to the Garden,” Sylver said, with as friendly and as gentle of a tone as possible, when threatening the lives of defenseless looking men, women, and children.
The flame-clad creature remained perfectly still and didn’t make a sound.
“Nod if you can understand what I’m saying,” Sylver said.
One of the children on the right started to cry but the woman holding it placed her hand over the child’s mouth and muffled the screaming.
The creature nodded very slowly, and Sylver now realized its eyes were glued onto the three explosives in his hand.
“I do realize how this all looks. I broke into your boat, walked right through your defenses, and am now holding your noncombatants hostage. But in my defense, you tried to subdue me using the drones outside. Now, I’m hoping, the purpose of those drones was to weaken me so you could bring me inside to talk, and I am going to continue holding onto that hope until you give me a reason to think otherwise,” Sylver explained, as he took another step inside the room.
The creature didn’t react.
“I am almost certain we can come to an agreement. I have food, extremely valuable knowledge, and a cheerful can-do attitude you won’t find anywhere else,” Sylver offered with a smile.
If the creature moved to attack Sylver’s [Necrotic Mutilation] armor was the barest thought away from covering his head and face but was hidden around his neck underneath his robe at the moment.
“Stop whatever it is you’re doing with that black fire, and I’ll put my bombs away,” Sylver said.
The creature didn’t move and didn’t react.
“I would prefer not to have to kill anyone. If possible, I’d like not to hurt anyone either. But I will kill whoever I have to if I have to,” Sylver explained, with a glance towards the area on the right with the most children.
It was yet another upsetting truth that he had no choice but to accept about himself. He would regret it immensely, but when push came to shove, Sylver always chose himself over anyone else.
Sylver waited for nearly 30 seconds, but there was neither sound nor movement from the creature.
“I’m going to count to 10. If I don’t get some sort of response by the time I get to 10, I’m going to kill everyone inside this boat. I have a friend with me who will be able to figure out how to operate it, and I will make it take me home. One... Two… Three…” Sylver counted without breaking eye contact with the black flame clad creature.
Sylver got to 7 before the creature reached up with both hands and placed them on either side of its head. Its flame-clad fingers disappeared into the dark fire for a moment.
The fire disappeared all at once, as the man removed a hole-covered helmet from his head, and very carefully and gently placed it on the floor before he stood up to look Sylver in the eye again. His armor looked like someone had covered him in black leather and then poked it full of holes.
“Let’s start with names. I am called Tod, I am a necromancer, a mage that uses the power of the dead and undead,” Sylver offered, as he closed his right hand and made all 3 bombs disappear.
“Foma,” the man, Foma, responded.
He was a dark elf, but albeit with a lighter shade of blue than the others around him.
Dark elves, technically speaking, didn’t exist.
As with all the other types of elves, excluding High Elves, their appearance and abilities were due to their environment, not birth. Under the right circumstances, any elf could become a dark elf, a wood elf, a magma elf, Sylver even heard about elves that lived underwater and developed webs between their fingers and gills.
Humans were undisputed in their adaptability, but elves were a very close second. The difference being that humans altered their environment to fit them, while elves altered themselves to fit their environment.
“I wish we had met under better circumstances, but it is still very nice to meet you, Foma. You sound uncomfortable speaking in Elvish, what language are you most fluent in?” Sylver asked.
Foma’s eyes opened up a little, as he said a collection of words that sounded very faintly familiar to Sylver.
“He asked if you would be willing to let them close the latch, and remove the ice you clogged the corridor with,” Ria whispered into Sylver’s ear.
“What language was that?” Sylver whispered back to Ria, using [Mirage] so he didn’t need to move his lips.
He saw Foma’s left ear twitch and saw his face become even further confused.
“Russian. Same as doctor Semonova,” Ria whispered back.
Foma almost talked over her as he spoke in very odd-sounding English.
“Who are you?” Foma asked.
“Tod. Necromancer and adven… Necromancer and master of the dark arts,” Sylver answered back, with a slight bow. Or as much of a bow as the extremely tense situation would allow, without Foma having enough room to lunge at Sylver and kill him in one hit.
[Elf (???) – 199]
Very carefully and equally slowly, Foma walked to the left, where Sylver saw a large screen with a keyboard underneath it. Sylver glanced at it and recognized a few of the characters on it.
They were the same as the ones on the boat he had blown up.
“I will call back the demons if you let us close the door,” Foma repeated in English.
He didn’t use the exact word “demon”, but that was the closest translation Sylver could think of. He’d heard the word “shaytan” before, but couldn’t remember the specifics, other than that it was essentially a demon.
“My friends are still out there,” Sylver explained.
Foma pressed a few buttons and gestured towards one of the screens. Sylver saw the silhouette of Estus, Runnel, Bigs, Bean, and Tulip, running. The angle was a little odd, but from what Sylver could gather, he was looking at them from underneath.
Sylver’s eyes wandered a little as he watched the screen and focused on a woman with dark hair holding a little boy’s mouth closed with her hand.
For whatever reason Sylver was almost certain he’d seen her before.
Sylver walked backward and touched the ice and water floating in the corridor outside, and stored a large portion of it away in his [Bound Bones].
It was just water after all, and Sylver had a metric ton of mana to use now.
He waved his hand towards the ice that wouldn’t fit and caused it to liquefy and flow out of the boat, through the front door. The [Necrotic Mutilation] that was still coating the corridor slithered into a large slug-shaped form and disappeared inside Sylver’s robe, some condensing into armor for his torso and legs, some being stored away in [Bound Bones].
“Who are you?” Foma asked, as Sylver continued to stare at the woman, and cocked his head to the side as he did his best to figure out if she just looked like someone, or if he’d met her before.
Sylver heard as the door that lead outside slammed shut, even though no one had walked over to close it.
“I already told you. Tod, necromancer,” Sylver answered, without breaking eye contact with the understandably frightened and freaked-out woman.
Some of the people in the room slowly stood up and huddled into a tighter group as far away from Sylver as possible.
“What are you-” Foma was about to ask something when he saw the piece of paper Sylver was holding in his hand. He moved it up to hold next to the woman’s face, and it was a perfect match.
Except her hair was a little longer in the picture.
Sylver felt Foma’s impulse to snatch it out of his hand, so he flicked it towards him, and Foma caught it.
“Where did you get this?” Foma asked as he looked at the picture. He turned it around and his mouth moved a little as he read the words to himself.
Sylver spent a few seconds thinking the question over and decided on an approach.
“Due to circumstances I am unwilling to discuss, I ended up on a boat very much like this one. I forced the door open, entered inside, found 12 dead bodies, and a few people dead and inside of a cage in the lower levels. 11 of the 12 died instantly, shot to the forehead, completely painless as far as I could tell. The one who seemed to have done the shooting died from hypothermia. He drank until he fell asleep, and then didn’t wake up,” Sylver explained.
Sylver felt a sharp pain in his lower abdomen as a man holding a small dark blue skinned boy in his arms exploded with sadness, as did a woman standing a few feet away from him.
“Did they have anything else?” Foma asked.
Sylver’s opinion of the man rose a little as he swallowed whatever feelings he had down to negotiate with the psycho who walked into his boat and threatened his people’s lives.
“They had a lot of things. What specifically are you looking for?” Sylver asked. He mentally rummaged around in his [Bound Bones] and tried to find something that would be considered important.
Foma said something in his language and pointed at one of the men in the corner. The man pulled something out of his pocket and tossed it to Foma.
He held the thing up so Sylver could see it, it was a very small necklace, an oddly carved rectangle.
Sylver was surprised that all 12 corpses did indeed have a nearly identical necklace. Sylver hadn’t noticed it because he had written it off as religious jewelry.
He reached into his robe and pulled his hand out with the one that the leader had worn hanging in his hand.
Sylver heard one of the men in the group say something, and then heard the others repeat it, whispering to themselves. Foma did the same as he reached out with his hand towards the rectangle hanging on a string.
“I…” Foma coughed into his fist and looked like he was about to burst into tears. He kept his eyes closed for a few seconds, and went back to being just short of emotionless.
“There is a better place we can talk. We will not attack you,” Foma offered with a gesture towards the door Sylver’s back was against.
“I’m very glad to hear that,” Sylver said.
I had to force it out of them but looks like I finally caught a break.