Aside from the fact that his life was in danger, sort of, Sylver couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that there was always something to do. Rouge, or whoever was in control of this thing, made sure there was never a dull moment.
They gave Sylver a couple of minutes to catch his breath, he drank some water, rinsed his face, fixed his robe, reapplied his [Necrotic Mutilation] armor, and got a chance to repair some of the damage Texas had acquired.
Then a giant worm burst out from the sandy ground.
[Dune Delver (???) – 190]
It looked like it was wearing plates of armor made out of sandstone. Except they were all in the shape of a fish’s scale, and perfectly flat against the body, almost like a carving. Only the way the plates slid on top of one another as the monster bent, indicated that they really weren’t just carved into its body.
Sylver wasn’t sure what was about to happen, so he simply watched the giant creature rise out of the sand, as it grew longer and longer and longer.
Unlike the bull-headed monster, this one had a soul. But for whatever reason Sylver struggled to get a proper read on it, either it was an extremely weird soul, or it had some kind of ability to limit what Sylver could feel with his soul sense.
Partially out of curiosity, and partially because there wasn’t a whole lot of point in trying to run, Sylver just stood where he was and watched it.
After it reached a certain height, it coiled midair, into the shape of a ridiculously massive spring, and then slammed to the ground so hard it blinded Sylver with the dust storm it created.
His eyes were protected by his [Necrotic Mutilation] armor, but Texas’ eyes weren’t, not that it made much difference considering how little the giant lizard used them.
But as the dust settled down, Sylver saw that he was standing inside a structure that was made entirely out of the sandstone-covered monster. It was roughly in the shape of a flat cone, almost like the inside of a snail’s shell.
Sand rained down on Sylver’s head from where the monster’s sandstone armor rubbed against each other, and harmlessly slid off Sylver’s armor-covered body.
Sylver felt movement behind him and turned to look.
A creature that looked like a human child made out of sand crawled its way out from the sand, and slowly walked towards Sylver and Texas, with a tiny spike in its left hand.
[Sandy Golem (Warrior) – 3]
Sylver jumped down from Texas’ head just stared at the odd-looking creature.
The sand that rained down from the ceiling stuck to its skin, and while Sylver couldn’t see it grow in size, he could see it grow in level.
[Sandy Golem (Warrior) – 5]
Sylver’s robe fluttered for a second, as two [Necrotic Mutilation] coated daggers fell out of it, and floated around Sylver’s head. With a faint flick of the hand, both daggers flew towards the crawling creature and passed through its head and chest.
It seemed surprised by the sudden holes that appeared in its body, and then the sand that was previously in the rough shape of a human, lost its strength and the small creature disappeared into a pile of slightly off-colored sand.
With a sigh, Sylver ordered Texas to charge his fire breath.
As he had expected, it wasn’t just one tiny growing monster he had to worry about.
Sylver didn’t bother counting, but there were at least a hundred of them crawling out from the sand, and slowly but surely making their way towards him. Sylver pinched the bridge of his nose as he took a deep breath and calmed himself down.
The reason Sylver enjoyed using sheer numbers to attack and overpower his opponents, was because it is hard to defend against numbers. Especially if you paired it with-
Sylver’s feet sank into the sand for a fraction of a second, as the sand turned soft, but his robe managed to flap hard enough that it had enough force to move him out of the way, as a giant grey colored tentacle exploded out of the liquid sand.
Sylver created a small explosion under his feet and flew towards the tentacle, as it started to reach and wrap around the nearly motionless Texas. Sylver landed on the slimy tentacle and started to shred it to pieces with his floating daggers, as he dug his fingers deep into it and tried to drain the main body.
The conical trap shuddered for several long seconds, as the sand fell in a single burst and landed onto Sylver’s head and back with enough force to knock him off the slimy tentacle, and sent Texas to the ground. Sylver turned into fog for a second and materialized above the thick layer of liquid-like sand.
He saw something move in his peripheral vision, and a fast-moving flying dagger passed through the sand golem’s head and caused it to lose form.
“Get up,” Sylver ordered the giant lizard zombie, as it struggled to use its two giant legs and feet to dig itself out from underneath the thick layer of sand.
“I said get up,” Sylver repeated, as the giant lizard couldn’t even find a good enough foothold to push itself off of, it was just splashing around in liquid-like sand, and gradually sinking into it.
Sylver gave the lizard 10 whole seconds to save itself, but it was useless.
The only reason Sylver wasn’t being buried alive while sand golems stabbed him in the face, was that he had two daggers floating around him and breaking them apart, while he used magic to solidify the sand underneath his feet.
And while the sand golems weren’t strong enough to penetrate Texas’ thick scales, his size made saving him impossible.
Sylver turned into fog and materialized on top of Texas, near his somewhat soft chest.
“You did absolutely fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for a better giant fire-breathing zombie lizard, thank you,” Sylver said to the monster, as its neck started to bend too much from all the sand currently inside his mouth.
“Now go give that overgrown worm the worst indigestion of its entire life,” Sylver said, as he held his already torn open wrist above Texas’ chest, and splattered blood everywhere.
The falling sand hid the blood in mere seconds, as Sylver snapped his fingers and made it alight with sparks of yellow. The sand fell into Texas’ chest as the blood made a hole, as it liquefied his insides and infected the rest of the corpse.
Sylver released Texas’ soul and pushed it out of the way, as the infected blood became infected flesh, as Texas stopped struggling and started to sink even faster than before.
Sylver looked around at his surroundings and with hundreds of golems as a reference, he could see that a few were taller and bigger than others.
[Sandy Golem (Warrior) – 44]
Sylver considered how to approach this, as Texas completely disappeared from view and was now nearing the edge of Sylver’s [Dead Dominion] range.
Ideally Sylver would have used [Draining Blight] but despite these golems’ clearly magical nature, they didn’t have any mana channels for Sylver to latch onto and drain.
For a few moments, Sylver smiled at the thought of using his [Necrotic Mutilation] to give himself two giant fists, and then spend however much time he had left, punching his way through the large humanoid golems.
But, he quickly realized that there would be little point in doing something so strenuous, for next to no gain. It would have been incredibly entertaining to the people currently watching him through the hundreds of drones floating above him, but Sylver didn’t care about that.
So instead, he used [Fog Form] to fly to the very top of the cone, and attached himself onto one of the sandstone-like armor pieces.
Sylver watched the golems below bump into each other, and the smaller ones were absorbed into the larger ones, as they aimlessly wandered around and kept getting bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger.
Sylver felt the sandstone under his feet start moving, and was then very nearly crushed when the coil above and below him folded, but Sylver very easily got out of the way using [Fog Form].
The monster wasn’t at all subtle about the fact that it had started eating Texas, as a licked clean skull was shot out from underneath the liquid-like sand, and floated amongst the various golems, with more and more bones being added to the mix.
Sylver barely paid any attention to the tentacle reaching up towards him from the floor, as a dagger flew down towards it, and sliced it down the middle.
More tentacles came after him, and then they all stopped dead.
As did the sandstone-like armor Sylver was attached to. The silence lasted for a very short while, as Sylver heard, and felt, the worm-like monster begin to scream in a way only something so massive could manage. He could feel the sound in the soles of his feet, as well as in his chest and head.
It sounded as if it had been forced to scream slowly, due to how incredibly low-pitched the scream was. Sylver watched as the tentacles retracted, into the now pinkish sand, as the coil that had trapped Sylver inside a cone started to have gaps.
Which Sylver chose to ignore as he continued to watch the sand down below turn a darker shade of red, all while the various golems lost their form and were mixed up with the tentacle-filled and churning sand.
Truth be told, Sylver didn’t expect the poison to work so quickly. Considering the creature’s size, it should have taken at least several minutes for it to reach anything vital.
And yet, the giant worm had completely given up on keeping Sylver trapped within its prison and was now instead just shaking and shuddering, as bright red foam floated up from amongst the sand and bones, and Sylver could see pieces of severed tentacle in the mixture of sand, foam, blood and bone pieces.
[Dune Delver (???) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating an enemy 70 levels above you, additional experience will be awarded!]
[Swamp Lord] has reached level 16!
[Swamp Lord] has reached level 17!
The giant worm toppled down towards the ground and went from being a conical spiral to a flat coil of rope, leaking blood from just about everywhere that Sylver could see.
Sylver on the other hand had turned into a gas and floated through the small gaps as the monster’s trap folded in on itself, and he was now standing at the very top of it.
Sylver used his dagger to pry one of the sandstone scales off, and shoved his hand into the foamy blood. With a single pulse of mana, he could feel that the body he was currently seeing was not the bigger half. If the enormous dead ball down below was any indication, this wasn’t a worm, it was some weird octopus-like creature.
With a mouth at the end of its tentacles, and a mouth where the tentacles connected to the main body.
“Gold Giers fought the hydra for 5 days and 5 nights…” a voice mumbled from behind Sylver.
He turned around and found a distraught-looking Rouge staring down at the pile of dead flesh Sylver was currently triumphantly standing on.
“How? Did he try fighting the golems?” Sylver asked, as he felt Ria tighten around his arm again, and felt Spring ask her to stop, as she was seconds away from drawing blood.
“This is a recreation, granted, but still…” Rouge continued to mumble to herself, as her body flickered out of existence, and Sylver waited for the giant horde of drones to stop flying around him to get every imaginable angle.
Sylver turned into fog and flowed down from the dead octopus worm hydra thing, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the blood-soaked sand had solidified and was strong enough to hold Sylver’s weight.
As he walked towards the tower in the distance, Sylver was further pleasantly surprised to see an outline of the thing hidden deep within the sand. And luckily for him the infected blood had floated to the surface and had created a shiny red path for Sylver to follow.
Sylver was mildly upset at Texas’ passing, but the lizard had defeated the mouse’s equivalent of an elephant. It had served Sylver well, and that was about the best an undead under Sylver’s command could hope for.
“So what’s next?” Sylver asked the dead silent desert.
The desert, and Rouge, chose to remain dead silent.
Seeing no point in walking when he had alternatives, Sylver used [Fog Form] and floated slightly above the ground as he traveled towards the distant tower.
The literal path of blood had ended a while ago. It didn’t particularly matter to Sylver, given that he currently wasn’t even touching the ground, but the sheer size of what he had just killed was a little worrying.
Given that it was already dead, Sylver chose not to dwell on the subject any longer and dispelled it from his mind.
Thankfully a worthy distraction presented itself, in the form of a man doing his very best not to make any noise as he ran on the loose sand towards the tower. To his credit, if Sylver hadn’t been able to sense his soul, he wouldn’t have noticed him.
Sylver started to gently float towards the man, being very careful to keep his fog as spread out as possible to make sure it was impossible to see it, but the man stopped running, turned on his heel, and unloaded a full magazine worth of lead bullets in Sylver’s general vicinity.
Luckily, Sylver managed to react quickly enough, and simultaneously created a defensive wall out of the sand, while he materialized directly behind it. The magically powered sand did poorly against the lead bullets, but even as the sand lost its shape, it was still able to absorb enough force that the bullet didn’t get through the shield
Sylver’s decision to dig down turned out to have saved his life, as the randomly moving bullets all turned at a right angle, and passed through where Sylver’s head had been a mere half-second ago.
He felt them turn again, but unlike the magically held-up wall of sand, the sand above Sylver was dense enough to stop the bullets.
As Sylver felt the man above silently running away from him, Sylver followed after him and used [Mirage] to attempt something only possible in these extremely specific conditions.
“Hey! I just wanted to let you know, I’m an extremely dangerous psychopath. I’m going to catch you and castrate you, and then I’m going to rip your arms and legs off, but I’m not going to kill you!” Sylver shouted through his illusion magic.
Understandably, the man gave up on being quiet and instead just started running faster.
Sylver struggled to keep up with him but managed to remain within hearing range.
“I’m the Silver Sliver! You’ve probably heard that all of my opponents are permanently crippled? I’m going to do that to you too, you’ll be an armless, legless, and cockless abomination for the rest of your unimaginably miserable life! All the healing magic in the world won’t save you!” Sylver explained, as the man somehow found a previously untouched burst of speed and forced Sylver to get out from the sand to float above it.
He was on guard for the man’s guns and bullets, but apparently, the night vision goggles wearing man simply wanted to get away for now.
“I’ll also blind you, deafen you, and I’ll slice up your vocal cords! You’ll spend the rest of your life trapped within a useless body!” Sylver explained as he thought for certain that he could see tears flying past him as he managed to just barely keep up with the man’s breakneck pace.
“I might also work on your spine to make every bowel movement unbearable agony. And I’ll also-”
Sylver didn’t hear what the man screamed while visibly shaking as he ran, but he all of a sudden disappeared through an extremely bright hole that had appeared for a split second.
Sylver materialized a short distance away from where the hole had been a moment prior and reached out towards it with his hand. He waved it around, but Sylver couldn’t feel anything there, no matter how hard he searched. On the ground, he could see the man’s textured footsteps stop dead.
Ria actually managed to draw blood this time around, from how tightly she had squeezed Sylver’s bicep.
“What?” Sylver tapped out innocently, as the metallic woman realized what she had done and pulled herself out of the flesh wound. She moved down to Sylver’s forearm, while he sealed the skin back into one piece.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s nothing,” Ria lied.
“If you don’t want to talk about it, I will respect your decision. But I always find that it’s best to correct misunderstandings as early as possible,” Sylver tapped out, as Ria moved back onto his bicep.
“What misunderstanding? You threatened the man to get him to forfeit and leave without having to fight,” Ria said.
“What’s the problem then?” Spring asked before Sylver could.
“It was unsporting. You didn’t even give him a chance-”
Sylver only now heard it, as Spring cackled in his ear, but his laugh was almost a carbon copy of Sylver’s, as the two couldn’t help themselves and started laughing.
It was the wrong move, as Ria got even more pissed off, but refrained from slicing Sylver’s arm up again.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh. But it’s such a massive understatement to call him “unsporting.” I’m genuinely worried as to what you’re going to think when you see him actually make an effort to “cheat” at something,” Spring explained, as he recovered faster than Sylver and tapped out a response to Ria.
“Here’s my thought process. That man wouldn’t win against me. So what I did now was save the both of us time, effort, and in his case, a ton of pain. And I did all that with just a few bluffs!” Sylver explained, as he wiped tears out of his eyes, and composed himself.
“But you could do everything you said, it wasn’t a bluff,” Ria countered.
“I could commit atrocities on a scale you can’t comprehend, that doesn’t mean I’m going to. Knowing how to do something is a tool. A knife can be used to prepare breakfast, as much as it can be used to skin someone alive,” Sylver explained, in as much of a polite and casual tone as possible when speaking in taps against the thigh.
“You still should have given him a chance,” Ria said.
“A chance to do what? To kill me? Why would I give anyone the chance to cause myself or the people I care for harm? If nothing else, I respected that man enough to see him as a potential threat. If I didn’t think there wasn’t an impossibly small chance he could hurt me, I wouldn’t have bothered using words, and would have just killed him,” Sylver said.
“What if he didn’t quit? Would you have tortured him?” Ria asked, and thankfully Spring had been with Sylver long enough to answer for him.
“He would have done something exceptionally painful, but very easy to heal. I could see him killing the man for the experience, and to gain a zombie, but he has a thing for Rouge and is doing his best to stay on her good side,” Spring explained, as Sylver could only shake his head at the naïve shade.
“I don’t have a thing for Rouge, I have a thing for all the women who might be watching… Although Rouge does fall into that category, so you’re not entirely wrong,” Sylver added, as he blinked and found that he was no longer in a desert, and wasn’t walking on sand.
Instead, Sylver was surrounded by shiny glass-like crystals. They grew out of very odd-looking metal hexagons that came out of the perfectly smooth metallic ground as if they were a bunch of pipes.
Sylver struggled to find the black glass-like tower until he realized he was within walking distance of it. From this close, it looked more massive than it did from a distance, Sylver quite literally couldn’t see the top of it.
As Sylver continued looking around, he spotted 3 men approaching the tower from different directions, and they all made eye contact with him.
Sylver used [Appraisal] on all three until he found the one he was looking for.
[Elf/??? (???) – 199]
“Hey, asshole!” Sylver shouted towards the light armor-wearing man. The armor looked like it was made out of thin paper, but the way the man walked implied that it was exceptionally heavy.
The level 199 man looked around as if hoping Sylver wasn’t speaking to him.
Sylver made sure his face was clearly visible, so they could all see how low his level was.
“You’re the one who set the difficulty to 100, aren’t you? Fucking piece of fucking shit, you think you’re so clever, don’t you? You wanted to win so badly you had no problems ruining it for the rest of us?” Sylver shouted at the confused elf.
Sylver turned towards the other 2 elves, one was level 158, and the other was level 183, both warriors, and hoped they were too focused on the level 199 to ask how a level 122 managed to make it to this point.
“At this point, I don’t care who wins, but I’ll be dead before I let a scheming cunt like him get anywhere near the top 3, let alone actually win,” Sylver shouted towards the two men, and watched as they both reached behind their backs.
“I didn’t set it to 100, I swear,” the level 199 elf argued, as Sylver rolled his eyes, and started to walk towards him.
“Who else would set it to 100? You’re the person with the highest level, who else could it be?” Sylver asked as the level 158 warrior managed to get to his side in a single leap.
“I don’t know, but it wasn’t me!” the level 199 elf argued.
“Don’t give us that bullshit, at least be a man and admit it!” Sylver’s level 158 companion shouted, as he produced a strange-looking sword that had a wavy edge, like a bread knife.
“Fuck all of you! I’ll break your fucking legs, how about that!” the level 199 man screamed, as he flicked both hands, and now had an identical handgun in each hand.
“Admit you’re the bastard that set it to 100,” Sylver said, as he pulled out two daggers, and was joined by the level 183 warrior on his other side.
“Fuck you!” the man shouted, as he pointed his guns at the two warriors’ heads, but apparently didn’t consider Sylver a worthy threat.
Which in hindsight was as big of a mistake as allowing Sylver to speak.
Sylver wasn’t 100% sure the two warriors believed his bullshit, or simply pretended to so they could get rid of the level 199 competition, but the important part was that it worked.