Ch060-If You Can’t Walk Then Crawl
Lola was handling the news that gods were real a whole lot better than Sylver had when he initially learned about it. She wasn’t flat out not thinking about it, as Sylver had suggested, but at least she wasn’t completely freaking as he did back then.
Granted, Nyx wasn’t as open or informative about the matter, other than that she fought a god and won. If anything, seeing how damaged Nyx was after winning, was very likely the cause for Sylver’s hesitation to dealing with anything god related from that point on.
Although Sylver later learned that there were in fact only 4 people who had ever managed to get a god to a stalemate, and only 2 who had managed to win against one. At least that the Ibis was aware of.
Nyx was one of them. Her husband, Cirin, was the second. And although only 3 people knew about it, Sylver was in some sense the third.
He did technically kill 3 gods, but considering the way he did it, Cirin argued that it didn’t count. Nyx was on Sylver’s side, that the results mattered more than the method, but ultimately did concede that this wasn’t enough for Sylver to ever give himself the title of ‘god slayer’.
And Sylver agreed with that since he technically never killed any god. He simply arranged it so they would die. Of relatively speaking natural causes. He killed the god’s apostles and demi-god high priests, but he never actually killed a god, or even faced one head-on.
Although by that logic an assassin who set up a trap to suffocate their target, didn’t kill anyone either. Sylver never actually fought a god, he simply methodically tracked down every single follower and worshiper and convinced, bribed, threatened, or killed them, up until the god he was after no longer had any fresh souls to supplement him, and withered away into nothing. He wasn’t even all that sure the gods in question knew what he was doing, just that their temples were being whittled away.
Very few people actually took him up on his nonviolent offers, but that was to be expected when it came to cults that had a special emphasis on killing and eating the innocent, worshiping and trying to summon demons, and being an unimaginably massive nuisance to the world at large.
Although they weren’t all bad. Sylver couldn’t exactly call any of the gods he killed evil. They did their best with what they had to work with, and acted according to their nature, so it was hard to blame them for their actions.
Gods were only as evil as wolves were when they were hunting something to eat. But in the same manner Sylver didn’t care how hungry the wolf that was attacking him was, he equally didn’t care about the reasoning the god he was hunting had to back up its ultimate plan of killing him and anyone else practicing the dark arts. Which by all three gods extremely loose definition categorized every second mage in the Ibis to be a dark arts practitioner.
If he was being honest with himself, up until today, Sylver didn’t even really think about what he had done back then. He did what he had to, to protect himself and his people, and even when he walked on a literal mountain of corpses, he didn’t feel any regret for it. If it was a question of us versus them, it wasn’t a question to begin with.
The second day’s auction went ahead without any incident. There was a surprising amount of pills and potions being sold, all completely useless to Sylver given how the things that would benefit someone of his constitution, would be literal poison to everyone else. Weapons and armor provided higher and higher benefits, hitting a soft ceiling at around 20%. It turned out, if one weapon had a 19% enhancement to dexterity, and another had a 20% enhancement to dexterity, the difference in price was almost 900,000 gold.
After the auction was finished, more people came inside their private booth to speak to Lola and hand her letters of intent, or just straight-up investment contracts, while just Sylver stood next to her and tried his best to seem polite but threatening.
The fact that he had to do this while holding a sleeping Wuss in his hands didn’t make it easy. Tamay was occupied with sorting and stamping documents, and the fat cat got tired from having to constantly move out of the way so people could sit down to talk to Lola.
But everything was going very well for the time being. Like Novva had said, his and his friends’ initial investments had got the ball rolling, and Lola’s reputation was already at a very respectable place.
All that was left was living up to the expectations people had put on her, but considering she was able to skip a massive amount of research and development, she was already leaps and bounds ahead of even the most optimistic investor’s predictions.
And going by the fact that a lot of the people seemed a little too enthusiastic about their investments, they knew that too.
“And for our next item! Fresh from the shores of the Varsund and…”
Sylver stifled a yawn as the fourth days’ auction continued. The novelty of seeing random ingredients, potions, pills, and elixirs being sold for up to 12 million gold, wore off completely by now. Not that he was all that impressed, to begin with, he wasn’t a crafter, and he couldn’t drink most of the potions being sold here, so it was a struggle to pay attention to what the auctioneer was saying.
Even all the swords and armors were exactly the same now. Mass-produced and ‘safe’ copies that made Lola laugh when she bought one of the cheaper variants to examine. The frameworks being used were ‘simple’ for lack of a better word, so that they were utilizing barely 10% of the mana they had stored inside of them. The reason was that working with complex frameworks with such a massive amount of mana involved, tended to have very explosive and fatal consequences, if built incorrectly and very few craftsmen were willing to put their lives in danger to make something.
In contrast, the lowest of the low that Lola and her workshop produced was in the 35% efficiency area. The highest was currently at 68%, and was limited by the fact that Lola couldn’t use her mana at the volume and speed that she was used to. But both would be solved after a few years have passed.
The other limitation was the scarcity of proper materials, and that it took a very long time to get her workers to a high enough level of mastery that she could leave the majority of the easy work to them. At the moment, other than the basics of the basics, she had to do everything when it came to making a ring or a pendant or even a sword.
But she already had a few contracts for Silia’s army, so it wasn’t like everyone was sitting on their asses doing nothing while Lola got the mana well and other equipment sorted. And the army was more concerned with quantity, rather than quality, so it was the ideal situation to get everyone into the habit of doing everything properly. Or properly according to Lola’s definition, given that Sylver had seen some of the work she had thrown away and would have personally considered it more than adequate.
There was a minor incident with someone attempting to assassinate one of the VIPs, a woman and her husband about four booths to the left of Lola’s, but it was resolved instantly. The auctioneer only made a short pause while the guards took the would-be assassin away.
Sylver mostly kept himself occupied in his room, either reading one of the many books he always had stored with one shade or another, practicing moving his body and mana around and constantly finding new limitations he hadn’t thought of, and more often than not, sleeping.
Lola and Tamay were occupied with paperwork, demonstrations of Lola’s prototypes, negotiations, more paperwork, adjusting their 5 and 10 year plans as the amount of funding they received kept increasing, and consulting with Wuss as to whose offer to accept and whose to reject.
The reason was that the fat cat had some grudges, and thought not letting the people in question invest in Lola’s workshop was the best way to get back at them. It was a very odd thing to see a cat smugly grin as Lola politely declined every single attempt the merchant made to give Lola money and ingratiate himself with her.
To Sylver’s eyes and ears, it appeared that Wuss had a grudge against several noble families, that were all owners of in the southern areas. Sylver understood the need for revenge, but it rubbed him the wrong way that Wuss was so happy about one of the merchants breaking down into tears and begging to be allowed to invest.
“Don’t look at me like that. They nearly made me lose my apprenticeship when I was younger. They should all be thanking their lucky stars I was too busy to get Whiskers involved. And slowly whittling away their inheritances and suffocating their businesses into nothing was good practice,” Wuss explained, looking up at Sylver after the sobbing merchant was escorted out of the room by Marvin, the swordsman leader who was asked to come back.
His wife, Margo, was helping Lola with her demonstrations, given how despite Lola’s high MP capacity, the prototypes weren’t built with so many demonstrations in mind.
Sylver paid attention to some of the earlier demonstrations, but after a point tuned them out, given how there’s only so many times you can listen to a person explain how exactly a completely self-sufficient irrigation system functioned. A large portion of Lola’s prototypes were for agricultural purposes, with only a few being designed to help in war and combat.
The last merchant left just as the suns started to rise, and Lola pretty much fell asleep the moment the man left the room. Tamay held on a little better, packed away all the paperwork into their safe, and then fell asleep while attempting to finish the day’s accounting.
The fifth and final day of the auction came and went and Sylver just barely registered it. It was an offseason for the auction house, with only a few [Ancient] tier weapons showing up, and the vast majority of materials and ingredients being sold were all overpriced to the point of absurdity.
Not that it really mattered, considering Lola only came here to make contacts and connections, and Sylver came to see if Poppy Da’Batstoi was the woman who had killed him. There would always be next year, and if you had the money you could always have whatever you wanted to be found and delivered to you. The merchants guild was even more well connected than the adventurers guild was.
And now everything was settled, they could leave with a clear conscience. Lola had all the contracts she could ever want, all the funds she needed to finish setting up her workshop properly, and had a steady source of all the materials she would need. And although Sylver didn’t find a single thing that would help him against the woman in white, he was happy he at least reduced one unknown factor in his life.
In the sense that the Poppy situation was settled and Sylver would be ignoring it for the foreseeable future. In fact, he was ignoring it so hard, he gave an attendant 20 gold to go and buy chocolate and souvenirs for him, so he wouldn’t accidentally bump into Poppy or her sisters or Fredrick. They had originally planned to stay here for a few more days, but both Sylver and Lola very suddenly felt extremely homesick and couldn’t be persuaded by Wuss or Tamay to stay a single second longer than they absolutely had to.
Novva came over while they were packing up and gave Sylver another hug before leaving. Along with a few other nobles, who all gave him small letters of invitation to their homes and holdings. A few even offered him work.
The adventurers they hired for the return trip helped pack everything up. Not that there was a whole lot left to pack up, given that Lola had simply destroyed and thrown away most of her prototypes after she was done with them. She kept a couple as a memento, but otherwise her cargo was mostly the materials she had bought from the auction, and a few weapons and armors she got to dismantle and examine when she got back to the workshop.
The return trip was comically short. One of the weapons Lola bought was a staff that helped increase the effectiveness of wind magic, and reduce the cost of it. The carts weren’t exactly floating and weightless, but they were very close to it. Because of Lola’s many enchanted rings, she didn’t need to take any breaks, and they managed to return to Arda before the sun even reached its apex. She seemed extra motivated to get as far away from Torg as possible, and Sylver shared her sentiment.
Sylver left Lola and Tamay to deal with their carriages being inspected in Arda, and handed in his bodyguarding quest to Shera as complete. Sylver cashed out the 55 gold he had earned as a bodyguard, and made his way to Leke’s house.
No one was home. But after a quick conversation with Salgok, Sylver learned that most of the guard was busy with foreigners trying to enter the city, and Leke hadn’t been home for 2 days by this point. The small tournament to work for the soon to be Lady of Arda was a bigger deal than Sylver thought it to be.
People seemed to be hungry for live combat, and the majority sounded to not care what exactly they were fighting for. There was also the fact that with the war on the western territories, Arda was looking for fighters to help out, and the tournament was the perfect way of finding potential recruits.
As Sylver started to leave, Salgok coughed expectantly into his fist.
Sylver put very little effort into hiding the fact that he was ecstatic that Ciege had agreed to learn under Salgok, and move to Arda. Lola was just short of indifferent about the matter, she was polite but didn’t really care, but Salgok genuinely shared Sylver’s joy at the news. With all the demon summoning and auction nonsense, he had plain and simple forgot to tell the dwarf and regretted it immensely.
Sylver was tempted, very tempted, to sit down and drink to celebrate, but had other business to handle and couldn’t allow himself the time to drink himself into a stupor.
Among other things, meeting Poppy had been something of a wake-up call. Powerful allies weren’t enough. And in the absurdity of his situation, there wasn’t really a point where Sylver understood just exactly what had happened to him. He still saw and thought of himself as an unstoppable lich, that was only temporarily weakened.
That he managed to deal with Poppy back inside the cave was lucky. If he didn’t have a giant amount of corpses at his disposal, he might not have been able to scare her off. If the warrior who became Spring didn't believe him and didn’t fall for his trick, Sylver would have been killed. If Poppy didn’t see him as a bigger threat than he really was, he would have been dead instead of negotiating for money and essentially his 1000 kilometer radius territory.
The short of it was, Sylver abhorred the reality of the situation but he was weak. He wasn’t a rich man who was down on hard times, he was genuinely poor as dirt.
There were two things he could do to resolve that.
The first was to augment his body and go through a variety of rituals to increase his conductivity and MP capacity. But for that, he first needed to run a few experiments to see if it would be safe for him to do so. He was pretty sure it was safe, but dark magic wasn’t something that accepted pretty sure as an answer. Sylver had seen plenty of mages significantly smarter and better than him, die from being pretty sure.
Not to mention, he didn’t have anywhere near enough power for anything worth doing. There was one thing he was going to do that was purely physical, but he needed Lola to gather the materials for him first.
Buying gear to increase his power also wasn’t an option, given how he was yet to see a single tool or weapon that he could use without deep frying whatever part of him was in contact with it. There were a couple of completely neutral weapons, but they were so weak they would just get in the way instead of actually helping.
The second was to increase his level. Which went against his common sense, but at the time, was the best way to handle his lack of power.
Which was exactly why Sylver took a very long shower, got Ron to pack some food for him, and slept until he was as rested as he could possibly get.
Nameless and his pawns would find him when they were ready, Sofia and the sacrificial demon worshipers could wait, the woman in white was months away, Poppy and Nautis were no longer Sylver’s concern, and he’d already said he was going to do this for a very long while now. Not to mention, with a demon even loosely involved, more power couldn’t hurt.
And who knows, maybe he’ll get lucky and find something useful?
The entrance to the dungeon was hidden deep inside the mountain. Sylver had never been to this area of the city before, but found that he liked it here. Artificial lights were on even during the day, given how natural sunlight didn’t reach past a certain point, and Sylver found the slightly yellow light to be very calming for some reason.
He was tempted to go to see Ciege to collect the other half of his army, but decided against it. Mostly because he didn’t want to interact with him any more than necessary, in case the woman in white was watching him before showing up. He already had a plan for getting inside the house without being seen, but it would take a while, and not something he wanted to do more than once.
Being an E rank adventurer Sylver didn’t have any problems entering the tunnels alone. He just showed the guard his adventurer’s tags and bought a small book for 50 silver listing the known creatures and traps inside the tunnels. The guard also put a small black bracelet around his wrist, that would inform them if he was at any point killed, or attacked by someone wearing one of the bracelets. Adventurers killing adventurers was shockingly common, and deep inside the tunnels, it was impossible for the guards to keep watch over anyone or anything.
Which was why it was impossible to disprove the killer saying they were threatened and attacked in self-defense. Especially for people whose minds naturally couldn’t be read, either due to their class, skills, or natural ability. It was a danger adventurers had to accept whenever they went down into the tunnels.
Trying to examine the bracelet proved fruitless, as the thing didn’t seem to work off mana in any way, shape, or form. If anything, Sylver was slightly worried the guards were fucking with him. If not for the fact that there wouldn’t be any purpose to doing so. Sylver wasn’t entirely certain how the bracelet was achieving this, but he had a vague feeling towards the exit. And if what the guard said was true, even if he got totally lost, the bracelet would always let him find a way back outside.
Sylver made a mental map as he walked, but it never hurt to have a backup method.
The inside of the tunnel was pitch black, and Sylver was once again beyond grateful that Kitty gave him this perk. Having to walk around with a ball of light above your head or with a torch in your hand, was just asking for trouble. For a short while, Sylver could see remnants of this area being a mine, but the beams of support and traces of tracks very quickly became scarce, and by the time the tunnel started to angle down and widen, couldn’t see a single trace of a person having built this.
“There’s three… somethings coming up. I’m getting weird reports, just that there’s three fuzzy things,” Spring said, materializing behind Sylver and pointing to one of the many tunnels on the left. The whole thing could be very accurately described as a giant three-dimensional maze. There were multiple paths to go down, but no one has yet been able to reach the very bottom.
Monsters had a tendency to trade equipment they got from dead adventurers, the higher quality stuff going down, and the lower quality stuff going up. The reason for this was that a large number of them could feed off the mana stored inside the weapons, with a few of the more intelligent ones actively utilizing said equipment to become stronger. But weaker monsters couldn’t handle the density of the mana in high tier equipment, and had no choice but to trade it down for something they could use or feed on.
Because it was a naturally occurring dungeon, trying to dig through the rock was impossible. A few meters was doable, but given that the whole thing was in layers, digging straight down would always end in failure. Teleportation was also not an option, with all the distortion that came from the constantly moving mana that made it impossible to do with any degree of precision. Short distances were possible, but anything above 15 to 20 meters would result in skin being turned inside out.
[Taloned Rat (Rogue) – 6]
A small creature with a mangy grey fur hopped out of one of the tunnels and locked eyes on Sylver. It looked like a rabbit was bred with a rat. Then the resulting creation was grabbed by the tail and smashed against the floor, multiple times, resulting in a weirdly flat but curved body. It stood on its hind legs, holding its front paws and curved claws up against its chest, in the way a praying mantis would.
All three of them were staring at Sylver, who was leaning back slightly and looking down at them with very mild curiosity.
They all lunged at him.
Sylver stopped where he was and held out a hand towards one of the creatures, as the two on either side were riddled with arrows, courtesy of the six archer shades that had materialized behind Sylver.
The remaining creature started to try and spin, its claws somehow extending and becoming even longer, but they were no match for Sylver’s darkness coated hand. He caught the thing by one paw and held it just out of reach of slashing him in the face.
Sylver gently grabbed it by its other clawed hand and pulled it until it stopped being able to move. Sylver inspected its muscles and bones with pulses of his own mana, and very gently kept pulling and causing it pain to try and get a better grasp of its nervous system.
Not wanting to cause the thing any more pain than necessary, Sylver snapped its neck and laid it down onto the floor along with the other two arrow-hole-riddled creatures.
He started with the one that had died first, cutting its torso open and checking to see if there was anything unexpected in there. Other than the fact that it had a venom sack right above its heart, the creature was almost identical to a rabbit on the inside. Sylver opened its skull up to look, but didn’t find anything out of place there either.
Cutting along one of its front paws, Sylver was surprised to find that the claws were completely retractable. They were almost 50 centimeters long at their full length, almost half of the small rats’ height. Sylver pulled one out completely, and cut open the base of the paw to see how it connected to it.
“Look at this. It is held in place entirely by muscle. It travels along the bone, but isn’t actually connected to it. And there’s poison leaking out of the tips too…” Sylver said out loud, putting the sharp claw back in place and sliding it all the way inside.
“So it’s for piercing, not slashing or cutting. That’s actually better for us, we only need to keep an eye on the tips,” Spring continued, holding the creature’s hand down for Sylver so he could adjust the inserted claw.
“Don’t forget the teeth. Look how thin these are, like a scalpel. It could probably chew its way through plate armor, given enough time,” Sylver cautioned, pulling the creature’s cheek back to reveal the two long and razor-sharp incisors.
Sylver placed a hand on the two rats that were killed by arrows, and their skin tightened around their bodies, as the holes were closed shut. The one Sylver had cut open had so much tension on its skin as a result, that he had to let most of its back become exposed to let it move without ripping itself to shreds.
[Flesh Weaving (I) Proficiency increased to 8%!]
Sylver rubbed his hands together, and held them over the two rats he hadn’t cut open. Out of his palms and sleeves dark smoke laced with flashes of yellow, fell down onto the two creatures, and entered their bodies through their mouths.
Once they started to gently vibrate, the smoke moved to the left and merged into one big stream, that was entering the mouth of the third rat, who also quickly started to shake.
[Zombie (Petty) Raised!]
[Zombie (Petty) Raised!]
[Zombie (Petty) Raised!]
All three rats made a very faint noise, similar to a balloon being deflated, before all three of them stood up from the floor and sat in place staring at Sylver. Their skin was barely visible because of the blood-soaked fur, but their eyes were glowing an unmistakable yellow, with some of the thinner areas of skin and fur letting faint waves of yellow be seen underneath.
“Alright lads, stick close to me, and do your best,” Sylver said enthusiastically, getting up from his crouch.
The rats followed behind Sylver, jumping to keep up with him but staying about a meter back.
Spring warned him that there were five more approaching, but Sylver told the shade to hold everyone back for now.
[Taloned Rat (Warrior) – 7]
As far as Sylver could tell, there was absolutely no difference between his zombie with a [Rogue] class, and the [Warrior] class rat in front of him.
The five split, one jumped left, another jumped right, and the three in the middle lunged directly at Sylver. Sylver held his hands out towards the two on the side, and shot both of them full of darts. The ones in the middle all started to do that weird spinning attack, and surprised Sylver by managing to deflect his darts by doing so.
Sylver kicked his foot forward slightly and a thin wall of earth shot out from the ground directly in front of him. He heard the soft hollow sound of the rats’ claws hitting the rock, and with another stomp of his foot, heard all three squeal in pain.
He kicked his foot again, and the wall of earth, along with the thin earth spikes, retreated back into the ground.
“What was the point of that?” Spring asked, while the corpses were moved to be closer together.
“I was just checking to see if I could handle them by myself. I’m going to run ahead, please gather all the corpses as I run, I’ll raise them when I get tired,” Sylver said, cracking his neck and stretching.
His spine crackled lightly as he twisted himself left and right, and his shoulders crunched with a wet noise as he moved his arms around. He undid the straps on his bag and threw it to Spring. The shade put it on, and tightened it in place.
Ulvic appeared at the back and Spring made the other shades throw the dead rats on the giant wolf’s back.
Sylver nodded approvingly and started to run down the tunnel, yelling loudly to attract as many as possible.
Barely a minute later Sylver could hear something moving on his left, and changed his direction and ran towards the noise. Three rat things were getting ready to jump, as Sylver kicked one in the ribcage, shattering it, stabbed another through the eye with a dagger, and threw a dart through the last one’s neck.
Instead of stopping, Sylver carried on with his momentum, a fresh dagger appearing in his hand, and a thin dart sticking out of the sleeve of the other.
Zig zagging down the tunnels, running towards wherever he felt a soul, or heard a noise, Sylver gradually felt the ambient mana in the air becoming denser.
With some of the tunnels becoming too narrow for Ulvic to fit through, Spring made the decision to just have each shade carry 4 corpses, and Sylver now had a line of black and yellow shades, carrying dead and bleeding rats behind him, as he ran yelling through the dark tunnels.
He stopped as the tiny tunnel led him into a very large and open area, the ceiling being high enough for even Will to comfortably materialize.
In the very center, there was a slightly raised area, on which a rat thing the size of a large horse was standing on its hind legs and staring directly at Sylver. Its eyes were small and beady, it’s fur was darker than all the others he had seen before, and it was surrounded by what Sylver could safely describe as a horde of rats.
“Is that… Is that a chest behind it?” Sylver asked, pointing with his dripping with blood dagger at the small box behind the giant rat.
“Why does it have a chest?” Spring asked, his thoughts mirroring Sylver’s.
“Go open it, see what’s inside,” Sylver said, as the shade disappeared back into the shadows and materialized directly behind the giant rat. The giant rat, along with all the smaller ones next to it, turned and squeaked in unison, as they lunged at Spring, who was using a dagger to try and force the chest open.
The chest warped and gave in, and opened to reveal a giant tongue inside of it, lined with triangle-shaped teeth, layer upon layer of teeth, all somehow almost spinning, as the giant slick tongue wrapped around Spring and tried to pull him inside.
Spring disappeared back into the shadows, but left his dagger so the chest shaped creature would cut itself. Its tongue was too tough, and it managed to engulf the dagger and swallow it. Its body morphed back into its original shape and looked exactly like a normal chest before Spring even managed to return to Sylver’s side.
With too much momentum behind them, the giant rat, along with the smaller ones, all stumbled and fell onto the chest thing which didn’t react to them, and continued pretending to be a chest. They didn’t get that long to recover, before Fen and his shades appeared behind them, and started stabbing them with their rapiers.
The giant one started spinning absurdly quickly in place, shredding a few of the small rats nearby in the process, and destroying 10 shades with it’s extended claws before they had a chance to react.
Sylver looked up, or down in this case, from the ceiling where he was standing, and waited to see what the rat thing would do.
[Taloned Rat King (Warrior) – 24]
“The level increase is too high. All the ones before were only level 15, max. I think I skipped a few areas... But this is better. Do you have the route memorized?” Sylver asked, as Spring appeared alongside him.
“I do. I’ve even sent a few out to scout the other tunnels out, but it’s kind of pointless since they have trouble seeing anything,” Spring said, as Sylver stepped to the left and dodged a small venom slathered rock from hitting him. The venom sprinkled everywhere and harmlessly slid off Sylver’s mana coated and thereby waterproof cloak.
“Do you feel like something will happen once I kill it?” Sylver asked, continuing to walk in a circle as the number of stones increased.
“I think that hidden door will likely open up,” Spring said, gesturing towards the wall on the left that didn’t have a single crack or scratch on it, making it stick out like a sore thumb.
“Is there anything behind the door?” Sylver asked.
“I can’t tell. We aren’t able to go through the cracks between the door and wall for some reason. It almost feels like a barrier is in the way.”
“Dungeons are weird like that. Or it could be some sort of concentrated distortion, I honestly don’t know. And I can already feel a buzz when I try to think about all of this, so we’re going to have to stop the conversation here. Can you handle the small ones, I want to try something with the big one,” Sylver said, as Spring nodded and disappeared back into the shadows.
Sylver waited for a beat before releasing the mana holding him up on the ceiling and started to drop down. Thanks to the cloak opening like a set of wings for a moment he flipped around so he was falling feet first, and Fen and his remaining shades were done cutting up all the rats that were directly below Sylver.
Arrows rained down from above at the small ones running towards Sylver, and fell dead before they could even start spinning around.
In the time it took Sylver to take 10 steps, all the small rats were dead on the floor, leaving only Sylver and the giant rat king.
And the living chest thing behind it.
Sylver continued to walk forward, as the rat king fell down on all fours and started to run right at him. It did something similar to a frontflip, and was now a ball of teeth and claws, rolling towards Sylver and leaving deep jagged scratches on the floor behind it. It squealed with a very loud and sharp squeak as it reached him and…
Passed right through him...
Sylver continued to walk forward, completely unaware that something had so much as come near him.
“It can’t see past illusions,” A voice coming from nowhere said, causing the rat king to look all over the place, before rolling into a ball once again and colliding with one of the walls where Sylver’s illusion was standing a moment ago.
“I don’t have a scent, and it doesn’t seem to be able to follow my voice either,” the voice continued, as the rat king started to roll towards the next Sylver illusion, before seeing another one show up on it’s left and changing direction.
“With the mana distortion I can’t see shit, but apparently neither can it. If this continues, it’s going to be the easiest dungeon I’ve ever been in,” Sylver said, as the rat king looked around, its eyes darting from one Sylver to the other, and completely unaware of what was happening beneath it.
An arrow came from nowhere and entered the rat king's eye, causing it to start to curl into a ball, before a thin stone spike directly underneath its chin impaled it through the head. Sylver tapped his foot one more time, and the stone spike extended further, completely skewering the rat king’s brain, exiting through the top of its skull.
[Taloned Rat King (Warrior) Defeated!]
[Due to defeating a layer boss, additional experience has been awarded!]
[Due to defeating a layer boss solo, additional experience has been awarded!]
[Optical Illusion (II) Proficiency Increased to 19%!]
Sylver waited for a few seconds, expecting… more. But quickly understood that considering he hadn’t done all that much, he was in the wrong for expecting to have gained a level from this.
He placed a hand on the dead rat king and absorbed its lifeforce, using it to heal the shades that were destroyed by it. Sylver stopped exactly 5 steps away from the chest and just looked at it.
“If you have any loot, spit it out right now,” Sylver said, staring directly at the thing, ready to dodge out of the way of anything it might do.
“Don’t be stupid, spit it out,” Sylver repeated, holding a dart in his hand and charging it.
“It’s a mimic,” Spring said, as Sylver turned to the left to see the shade reading from the book he had bought.
“A mimic? Oh right, because it mimics being a chest. Who named it?” Sylver asked, turning his attention back to the mimic and continuing to charge the dart, that was now starting to glow a faint yellow color.
“Doesn’t say. But see that keyhole over there? Aim about two hand widths right of it,” Spring explained, pointing to the chest.
“Is there anything inside?” Sylver asked, changing his stance and getting ready to throw.
“If it ate someone before we came here, the armor and weapons and other miscellaneous items should be fine,” Spring explained, as Sylver flicked the dart forwards and it exploded out of his hand, hitting the mimic directly where Sylver was aiming. The glowing dart went through the wood like skin, and disappeared inside the mimic.
The top of the chest opened up and a giant blood covered tongue shot out of it, limply falling to the floor. It screeched for a few seconds, shaking and rattling, before the noise devolved into a weak whimper. Blood bled out from the bottom of the chest, flowing down from the slightly raised stone platform it was standing on, and mixing with the blood of some of the other dead rats around it.
“I’m well aware the chance of finding something useful is slim to none, but I’m weirdly excited to see what's inside,” Sylver said, approaching the dead mimic and looking down into its open mouth.
Sylver reached inside, his hands both coated in darkness, and searched through the blood and chunks of flesh, pulling things out and placing them down beside himself.
“A few destroyed swords, a ruined and rotted book, a crushed steel helmet, a broken iron ring, and 4 almost completely dissolved iron adventurers tags. And going by the chew marks on the helmet, they were killed and eaten by the rats, and whatever was left was swallowed and digested by the mimic,” Sylver said, putting the items back inside the chest and closing the lid over them. He pocketed the iron adventurer tags to hand back to the guild when he returned.
“You know what, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just go find something higher level than me, and kill enough of it to increase my level,” Sylver said after a very long sigh, snapping his fingers and causing the mimic's corpse to become engulfed in bright blue flames.
Sylver cracked his neck and flexed his fingers as the shades continued to stack the bodies they gathered from when Sylver was running here, and laid them on top of the freshly killed rats.
I didn't want to put this at the top to spoil people's moods, but this will be the last chapter for February. I have some stuff happening in March and wanted to finish filling up the Patreon tiers. I thought I could do it while posting chapters here, but I write far too slowly for that as it turns out.
And instead of doing something like reducing it to a chapter a week or every 6 days or something, I decided to just take this week and a bit left and get it over with. I'll still be writing, but all the chapters will be on Patreon until the first of March, after which normal chapter posting will resume. Sorry for the inconvenience.
TLDR: Next chapter will be on the first of March.