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A note from KingKennit

If you're interested in a little bit of a more "good" main character, try Beneath the Dragoneye Moons.

Strong points of the story include:
Great litrpg elements (and a system that doesn't hate the mc)
The author thinks in book terms, so there isn't any meandering like in certain other stories.
Its long but not overly long, I read the whole thing in about 2 weeks.
Just an overall fun series to read.

That's about it!

I hope you like the chapter!

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Ch140-Jet Fuel

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“Including you, there are 10 climbers left,” Rouge said.

She had a very odd tone this time around. It wasn’t cheerful, but it wasn’t exactly depressed either.

She sounded… confused?

“Are they getting killed off, or just quitting?” Sylver asked.

Texas, the giant 2 legged fire breathing lizard on whose head Sylver was currently sitting on, while he barreled his way through the forest, was already breaking apart. Sylver had severely overestimated his ability to animate such a large body, and if the monster wasn’t so tough from the get-go, it would have already been incapable of walking, much less running.

It was a reptile, which Sylver had an awful affinity with to begin with, and its body barely had trace amounts of negative energy. The only saving grace was that the monster’s soul was incredibly strong. Going by the sheer amount of willpower Sylver could feel coming from it, this monster was an apex predator.

And thankfully, it didn’t seem to be able to fully comprehend that Sylver was the one that had killed it. For now, Sylver was simply supplying it with mana to move, while it did the rest of the work for him. He more or less just pointed it in the right direction.

He sure as shit wouldn’t have been able to figure out how its muscle structure functioned, without cutting it open. Much less how the organs inside of it worked to produce the flammable gas it was currently slowly building up to use again.

Not that Sylver was complaining, he wanted something big and scary, and he got it. The details were irrelevant.

If anything, the blood leaking out from some of the scales actually worked in Sylver’s favor. The stomach acid that had melted the skin around its lower jaw made the monster look even more terrifying than it had been in perfect health. There were even some bones showing here and there.

A giant lizard with a mouth full of sharp-looking teeth was scary enough on its own.

A giant wounded lizard, with a mouth full of sharp-looking teeth, was a goddamn nightmare.

“Do you even know who Gold Giers was?” Rouge asked while Sylver continued to experiment on the lichen that had spread up his right arm and was glowing a pale yellow light.

“I know the basic story. He was the first warrior that conquered the Tower. Blond hair and shiny gold armor, hence the name,” Sylver answered, as he made a small incision near the crook of his elbow to let some blood leak out.

“That is a bit of an oversimplification,” Rouge complained, but Sylver simply shrugged his shoulders and continued to concentrate on the piece of plant matter slowly getting soaked in his blood.

“He was-”

“With all due respect, I need to keep my ears open in the event of someone trying to sneak up on me. I’ll read up on him later… Or you could tell me all about it over dinner?” Sylver asked, as he temporarily removed the cloth mask that covered his face, and looked at the floating illusion of Rouge.

He heard some faint wooing and cheering from all the drones flying around Texas, but maintained eye contact with Rouge and ignored them.

Sylver could almost feel the mask slip through the illusion, but Rouge was a professional and quickly recovered and smiled at him with a playful grin.

“Just dinner?” Rouge asked, as Sylver once again heard an “ohhh” coming from the various drones.

“Normally I would promise a great breakfast too, but I’m not all that familiar with the ingredients you have here. How does a giant fried egg sound?” Sylver offered and heard another round of cheering and wooing coming from above.

Rouge rubbed her chin with her hand while she looked Sylver up and down.

“Sounds tempting. But unless you’re in the top 3, don’t even think about it,” Rouge said, as there was yet another round of clapping and wooing, during which she disappeared.

Sylver didn’t particularly care either way, he just wanted to get her to stop talking.

Although for some reason that suit she was wearing was doing something to Sylver. He wasn't sure how much of it was genuine attraction, or if it was merely a symptom of great stress looking for whatever release it could obtain.

Sylver returned to attempting to make his [Morbid Mushroom] perk into a usable weapon.

Trying to control the spores while they were airborne was far more difficult and mentally taxing than he had expected, not to mention the perk burned through his mana as if he was attempting to move several tons of water.

Soaking it in blood did help, but the spells Sylver was attempting to recreate didn’t quite fit with what the perk was telling him he should be able to do.

Sadly, or more honestly, thankfully, Sylver had a more pressing matter to deal with. Bruno’s spell was one thing, Sylver was a master of the dark arts, but trying to work with magic you’ve never paid all that much attention to would be difficult regardless of talent.

Sylver stood up from Texas’ head, brushed invisible dust off his robe, and walked down the long monster’s neck and back to lean over and look at the small monsters chasing after them.

[Swift Seizer (Rogue+Rogue+Rogue) – 77]
[HP-4,553]
[MP-710]

The monster looked up at Sylver and somehow managed to simultaneously stare right at him, without slowing down the slightest bit. In a certain way, it looked like a much smaller Texas, except the tail was as long as its body, and instead of those tiny arms Texas had, this one had useful-looking arms.

From this distance, Sylver estimated the monster was about his height, but it was moving around so much that it was hard to say for sure. Unlike Texas, it had feathers on its body, but only around the edges. A few came out from along its tail, and made it flat, that Sylver now noticed it used to steady itself, as it ran over extremely unstable terrain.

Along with about 20 other similar-looking monsters. A quick inspection with [Appraisal] revealed that the lowest level was 42, and the highest was 88, with all of them having either 2 rogue classes or 3 rogue classes.

Sylver cracked his neck as he locked eyes with the one that he assumed was the leader, and released the magic that glued his feet to Texas, and fell down into the midst of the fast-moving horde. As the first one attempted to tear into Sylver’s body, it chomped through a slightly cold fog, and then felt something even colder enter into the top portion of its spine.

[Swift Seizer (Rogue+Rogue+Rogue) Defeated!]

Sylver didn’t bother trying to pull his dagger out of the dead monster’s neck, as he used [Dead Dominion] and slammed the corpse into the densest group on his left. About 3 of them simultaneously went for Sylver’s throat, but they chomped down on ice cold fog, as Sylver appeared directly above them, and smashed the bottom of his foot on the nearest one’s head.

Sylver felt his heel crack, and quickly turned into fog again, and slithered down between all of the monster’s feet. With Spring’s help, Sylver counted out 24 monsters, not counting the already dead one, and materialized in an extremely uncomfortable hole in the ground.

Sylver felt the earth above him vibrate as Texas’ roar distracted the many feathered beasts, while Sylver brought his hands together, and felt the ground directly above him turn liquid.

Sylver waited until Texas had finished roaring, before he closed his fists, and solidified the ground above.

Sylver materialized in a spot without two holes in the rock hard ground, and felt something attempt to bite him through his robe, but couldn’t see anything.

Sylver could feel the rough shape of the monster by its soul and its mana and waited until it lunged to bite at him, and managed to grab it by the underside of its jaw.

Almost instantly the monster made a sound that sounded like it should have come from a chicken, and not a feathered lizard thing, at the same time as it attempted to tear Sylver’s arm apart with its slick-looking claws.

Sylver’s robe wrapped around the two sharp instruments and forced them up against the monster’s body, while Sylver tightened his grip on its jaw until it suddenly stopped being invisible.

The rest of the pack followed suit, and Sylver suddenly found himself surrounded by 24 monsters frozen in fear, on account of both of their feet being trapped in magically reinforced hardened earth.

Sylver went back to looking the monster in the eye, and could both see and feel a sort of intelligence in its beady little eyes.

With a sigh, Sylver started gathering darkness in his stomach, and a tendril of black smoke oozed out of his thumb and entered the frozen monster’s mouth.

As Sylver drained its health and felt one of his stitches get pushed out, he allowed it to fall to the floor. The black smoke escaped from the dead monster’s tooth-filled mouth, and spread out evenly in all directions, crawling up the struggling monsters’ legs.

[Swift Seizer (Rogue+Rogue+Rogue) Defeated!]

[Swift Seizer (Rogue+Rogue) Defeated!]

Sylver turned around as he felt more and more corpses appear near him and immediately put his excess MP to use, reviving the ones closest to him. The smoke on the ground turned into a loop, with fresh black smoke flowing to replace the glowing yellow smoke that was quickly slithering into Sylver’s legs and deposited the MP and HP it had stolen.

[Swift Seizer (Rogue+Rogue) Defeated!]

[Zombie (Lesser) Raised!]

[Undead Mastery (V) Proficiency increased to 24%!]

[Draining Blight (IV) Proficiency increased to 44%!]

[Appraisal (V) Proficiency increased to 91%!]

Despite having just raised 25 zombies, which all had bodies he wasn’t all that familiar with, Sylver felt beyond fantastic. He snapped his fingers and stopped flooding the ground with mana to maintain its solidity, and all 25 of Sylver’s weird feathered lizard zombies broke out of the brittle clay and got into a neat 5 by 5 square directly in front of Sylver.

Sylver walked among them and picked the biggest one he could find. Although considering they were all exceptionally lean, it was more honest to say he picked the one he least liked the look of.

Sylver used the already open wound on his elbow and made it float into the mouth of the sacrificial zombie. It drank the floating ball of blood, and very quickly its chest caved in. The rest of its torso and limbs followed after, and in under a minute Sylver had a large floating ball of bubbling bright red poison.

He split it up into 24 similar sized spheres, and coated the inside of the zombies’ mouths, claws, tail tip, claws on their feet, and made them drink the rest of it. Sylver rubbed the numbness out of his right arm, as he walked to stand at the front of the group.

“Alright lads and lasses, listen up. Pick a direction vaguely that way, and bite and scratch anything alive that you find. Do your best not to get caught, the most important thing is that you draw blood. If you are too damaged to move, try to get something big to eat you,” Sylver explained to the zombies, as he pointed towards the center.

They didn’t nod, didn’t ask questions, they simply began to sprint in perfect synchronization, and before Sylver was done putting his dagger away, he was left all alone.

If you didn’t count Texas standing watch over him.

Once again the tall zombie lowered its head, and Sylver jumped up on it.

*

*

*

[??? (???) Defeated!]

[??? (???) Defeated!]

[Swamp Lord] has reached level 14!
+5AP

I should have dragged that fight out.

It was over too quickly, looked too easy.

Should I pretend to struggle in the next one?

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 30 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

On the other hand, the faster this is over, the faster I can get the book and get Edmund. Being flashy and entertaining would be a tiny marginal increase, I’ll be famous enough from winning this thing.

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

[??? (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 10 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

Sylver watched as the messages of something 10 levels above him getting killed just kept rolling in.

[Swamp Lord] has reached level 15!
+5AP

Sylver saw the “sky” flicker for a half-second and then sat up to look around. Instead of a lush green forest, he was now in the middle of a desert.

It was still pitch black, but now the black glass-like tower in the distance was glowing with a faint amber color.

“Congratulations. You passed the first trial,” Rouge said, with a sarcastic slow clap, and not a single ounce of joy in her voice.

“Really?” Sylver asked, as he stood up from laying on Texas’ back, and turned to face the floating Rouge.

“Poisonous snakes, treacherous terrain, deadly fauna, traps, starving dinosaurs, and let’s not forget having to deal with all that in complete and total darkness,” Rouge explained, while Sylver grinned to himself as he brushed off invisible dust off his robe.

“Or you could just brute force your way through everything,” Sylver said, as Rouge put her cheerful mask back on and floated down to stand next to him.

“Or that, yes. There are 10 climbers left. Meaning the ones that are still competing are the best of the best, the strongest and smartest and most capable,” Rouge shouted into the void of the desert. Her voice not only didn’t carry, but Sylver didn’t even get the feeling that anyone apart from him heard her talking.

“What would this have been like if I picked a difficulty level of 25?” Sylver asked as Texas leaned down so he could jump down to get a feel for the ground.

Rouge appeared next to him and gestured at Texas.

“That wouldn’t be here. You would have natural light to help you see. The snakes would all be paralytic, and only a few would be deadly. Fewer [Swift Seizer]s, definitely not enough that they could form a pack of 25. And… it doesn’t matter,” Rouge said and disappeared with a huff.

Sylver picked up some sand from the ground and was disappointed to discover that [Advanced Earth Manipulation] understandably didn’t consider sand to be “earth.” Sylver could move it around manually, using a spell, but it was significantly more mana intensive, and wouldn’t be as fast or accurate.

Amidst endless waves of sand, Sylver saw a couple of small cacti off in the distance.

As Sylver stood around and considered how to proceed, his environment decided for him.

The ground rumbled, and rivers of sand flowed as the creature took its sweat time dramatically rising out of the sand.

Two enormous bone-white horns protruded from its skull, followed by two shoulders that were big enough for Sylver to comfortably stand on, followed by a chest marred with shallow scars, and finally ending with a dark brown fur skirt, that transitioned into two long hairy dark brown cow legs.

[Bull Of Minos (Warrior+Warrior) – 175]
[HP-40,000]
[MP-2,000]

Sylver leaned his head to the side, as he cracked his neck, and felt a rumbling in his chest as the monster spoke.

“Feed me and I will live, give me a drink and I will die. What am I?” the bull-headed creature asked.

“This is your one and only warning to get out of my way,” Sylver offered.

“Feed me and I will live, give me a drink and I will die. What am I?” the bull-headed creature repeated.

“How many guesses do I get?” Sylver shouted. The creature swung its empty arm to the side, and an ax appeared out of nowhere.

“Fire,” Ria whispered.

“Fire?” Sylver asked.

The bull-headed creature breathed out a long puff of steam, one from each nostril.

“What is alive but grows, does not breathe, but needs air?” the bull-headed creature asked.

“I answered your riddle, don’t I get to pass through?” Sylver shouted at the creature.

“Fire,” Ria whispered.

“Fire,” Sylver repeated.

The bull-headed creature breathed out a long puff of steam, one from each nostril.

“What do poor people have, rich people need, and if you eat it, you will die?” the bull-headed creature asked.

“Alright, best of three, but that’s it, I’m done after this,” Sylver shouted and started to walk towards Texas.

“Nothing,” Ria whispered, with a slightly excited giggle.

“Nothing,” Sylver repeated with a tired sigh.

The bull-headed creature breathed out a long puff of steam, one from each nostril.

“I have no life, but I can die,” the bull-headed creature asked.

“No, you only get 3 riddles, and I already answered them,” Sylver argued.

He couldn’t feel a soul, whatever this thing was it wasn’t “alive” by Sylver’s standards.

“Battery,” Ria whispered.

Sylver patted Texas on the leg and the monster started to slowly gather breath within its lungs.

“Let me think about it! No life, but can die! Oh dear, what could it possibly be?” Sylver shouted towards the bull-headed creature, as Texas compressed the air and did whatever he did to prepare to breathe fire.

“It’s a battery, I’m sure of it,” Ria repeated. Sylver gently patted her for the effort but didn’t say anything.

“No life, but can die?” Sylver repeated, as his [Necrotic Mutilation] armor covered his face, and spread out to completely encase him.

“I have no life, but I can die,” the bull-headed creature repeated, without moving a muscle.

“Let me think, it’s at the tip of my tongue,” Sylver shouted, as the creature just stared at him.

“Battery! It’s a battery! I’m right, I know I’m right,” Ria argued and squeezed around Sylver’s bicep.

Texas leaned forward and pointed his head towards the bull-headed creature.

“I know! Is it, by any chance, “go fuck yourself, I already told you, you only get 3 riddles?” I have a strong feeling that’s the answer. I was generous enough to play along, but I’m done,” Sylver explained, as Texas started to glow a pale red color.

“I have no life, but I can die,” the bull-headed creature repeated.

“Could you repeat that? It’s hard to hear you over the sound of”-

Texas opened his mouth and nearly blinded Sylver from how bright the flames were. He heard the sound of either something screaming or something being boiled alive. Texas closed his mouth the slightest amount and made the fire more concentrated.

To Sylver’s surprise, the bull-headed creature was using his ax as a sort of shield.

But then Sylver flung a bunch of sand into Texas’ pillar of fire, and the bull-headed creature was riddled with a mixture of molten glass and small rocks that got mixed up in there. It remained standing on its feet and-

[Bull Of Minos (Warrior+Warrior) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 50 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]

-what little bit of it remained, toppled over and mixed into the pile of glass shards and ash.

“For the sake of curiosity, was the answer battery?” Sylver shouted at the dead creature, mostly because Ria felt like she was about to slice his arm off from how tightly she was wrapped around it.

“It was battery, yes,” a voice confirmed from seemingly nowhere. It wasn’t Rouge, it was a man’s voice, and one Sylver hadn’t heard before.

“So is this the second trial I just passed?” Sylver asked.

There wasn’t an answer this time.

“Alright. Well, if it’s all the same to you, I’m just going to keep killing, until I get to the center. Worked pretty well so far,” Sylver said, as he walked over to the dead headless creature and inspected the remains with his mana.

For the most part, it was made out of metal. Although going by the way everything inside had melted, it wasn’t a strong enough metal to withstand a full shot from Texas.

Sylver continued to walk towards the giant tower in the distance, while Texas followed closely behind him.

“How much more is there?” Sylver shouted into the empty darkness.

Rouge appeared a short distance ahead of him and was floating a few centimeters off the ground.

“3 more trials are remaining. And as of this moment, 7 climbers are remaining, including you,” Rouge answered quietly without appearing anywhere.

“How many riddles was that thing going to ask me?” Sylver asked, just so Ria wouldn’t feel bad, and wouldn’t consider him overly impatient.

He couldn’t exactly explain that he had a very bad history with riddles, and wasn’t in the right mental space to tolerate a talking cow telling him what to do.

In Sylver’s defense, he did offer the creature a chance to just leave him alone.

“21 riddles, the exact number Gold Giers-”

“Rouge, where’s the rush? We’ll have all the time in the world to talk about Gold Giers over dinner,” Sylver said with a gesture towards the equal parts confused, excited, worried, and tired woman.

“There are still 3 trials left, and 6 climbers,” Rouge reminded.

“If these two were this easy, how hard can they possibly be?” Sylver asked, and was surprised by the sound of several people in the distance gasping in unison.

“What?” Sylver asked.

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KingKennit

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