Ch067-Good News Everyone!
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Ch067-Good News Everyone!

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Will very nearly made it to the clouds. Maybe another 10 flaps of his wings and Sylver would have been in the clear. He would be flying high up above the clouds, and completely able to ignore the raging storm below.

Instead, one of Will’s wings was bent in a direction it was never meant to, and because he was a shade, his entire body burst into a puff of black smoke. Which blew away so quickly that Spring just barely managed to catch the shade’s shadow and shove it into Sylver’s.

Sylver averted his eyes from the bolt of lightning that struck the ground directly beneath him and cupped his hands over his ears as the roaring thunder threatened to deafen him. Sylver angled his body downwards and made Spring give him one of the extra longswords. Throwing the blade directly behind him, Sylver made it just in time as the piece of metal exploded into shards of liquid hot metal, and fell through the pouring rain right next to Sylver.

Sylver looked back a moment more, and for a split second thought, he saw an outline of a person inside one of the lightning flashing clouds. It was hard to see given that his eyeballs were vibrating from having lightning strike something so close to him, it was much more likely he was just seeing things. He returned his attention to the quickly approaching ground and used his robe to adjust his course.

Sylver’s body disintegrated as it touched the ground, the quickly formed cloud of darkness immediately pushed itself deep into the crack and forced its way lower and lower into it.

A cave would be ideal. Sylver thought as the crack became thinner and thinner, now barely the width of a toothpick. The water pouring down the sides of the crack started to interfere with his sight, and Sylver resolved himself to simply keep going as low as he could.

Sylver suddenly found himself stuck, unable to go any deeper, as the crack in the ground turned out to be just a crack in the ground. He turned around, or inside out in this particular case, and made his way upwards, constantly listening for the lightning storm going on up above. He waited with bated breath as a tree was reduced to smolders a short distance away from him, and had a shade appear on top of another tree, holding a sword high up into the air.

As the shade swordsman was decimated by the bolt of lightning, Sylver’s smoke slithered against the ground and pooled underneath a large boulder. Sylver waited there for a while, flinching as lightning struck nearby and mentally urged Spring to hurry up.

Spring returned a short while later, and Sylver followed the shade’s directions. He passed beneath roots and did his best to keep everything in a thin line, as grounded as possible. 

Sylver saw the place Spring had indicated, and passed through the spike riddle floor, and filled up the area inside. The goblins were not happy about Sylver’s presence, but their opinion was the absolute least of Sylver’s concerns at the current moment.

Sylver materialized inside the cave and had to crouch a fair amount to not hit his head against the ceiling. Sylver didn’t even look as several makeshift arrows passed directly through his head, and exploded into shards of stone and wood as they collided with the wall behind him. A hobgoblin managed to make it to him and slashed through his body before Spring sliced its head off. Sylver reformed his body properly, as the rest of the goblins were killed off.

Sylver’s robe steamed and formed a cloud of vapor inside the small cave, as the shades dragged the bodies to the entrance and threw them out into the pouring rain.

“It only now occurs to me; I could have just hired Tolga to teleport me right next to it. Even if he charges a million gold for the trip, it would be worth it for the time it would save. It’s not like I have a whole lot I can do with that money anyway,” Sylver said, as the steam condensed and fell into the blood and shit-covered ground.

With a wave of his hand, the water moved like a wave and pushed everything outside into the rain, onto the pile of goblin corpses, and left behind a nearly sparkling clean stone floor.

“Do you think it knew?” Spring asked, as he crouched nearby and joined Sylver in staring out of the small hole that led outside and flashed with light now and then.

“About the storm? Almost certainly. But I don’t think it caused it. More of a cherry on top kind of thing. I’m also guessing that the map it drew for me, is the longest and most dangerous possible route to get to the artifact. But because I don’t know its name, it loses absolutely nothing by doing this. If I knew its name, its reputation could be damaged at the very least. But like this? I’m just a random human, being screwed by a random demon,” Sylver said, as he stomped on the ground and made a stone stool for himself.

“So now what? We’re just going to sit here and wait out the storm?” Spring asked, sitting opposite Sylver on a chair [Tools of The Shade] provided for him.

Sylver turned into smoke again and cautiously peeked out of the hole.

“No, it should pass in an hour or two. But no more flying until the clouds are gone, that was too close a call. How far away are we?” Sylver asked as Spring was handed the notebook full of copied-over maps.

“If Ulvic can run at about a third the speed Will can fly, taking into account slowing down due to obstacles… Maybe about 2 days?” Spring said as he handed the notebook to Sylver.

Sylver looked at the page and thought it over. The lush forest that Arda was surrounded by was long gone by this point in the journey. The area here was less flat, large hilltops protruded out of the grassy and rock-covered ground and made traversing the area on foot annoying, to say the least.

And if not for the fact that as long as Sylver saw it coming he was immune to physical damage, dangerous. Getting buried in a landslide wasn’t a joke, let alone slipping and smashing your skull open on a surprisingly sharp rock.

“I mean, we’re still essentially going as the crow flies, there’s not a whole lot we can do to make the trip any shorter. Hypothetically speaking I could turn into smoke and go inside of an insulated container, and you could hold me down while on top of Will. Worst case scenario he is struck by lightning or breaks his wings again. Whatever I’m in falls to the ground and smashes into pieces, but I would still be fine… Probably…” Sylver said, as he moved towards the back of the cave in search of a chest or a box or something of that nature.

He only found the corpse of a woman who had been scalped and burned her body in a flash of blue smokeless flames. Other than that, the goblins mainly had chunks of meat loosely stored in blood-soaked hampers, and a few spears that were in the middle of being sharpened.

Sylver turned into smoke again so he didn’t have to continue crouching and spread out to look through the rest of the cave. Other than some cracked potion bottles that didn’t look like they held whatever they used to, he didn’t find anything 

Sylver returned to Spring and sat back down onto his stool.

“Alright, hollowed-out stone cube it is. Maybe the storm will pass by the time I’m done,” Sylver said, as the cube in question started to slowly rise out of the ground.

*

*

*

The map didn’t have a ravine here. I’m not lost, am I? Sylver thought, as his container continued to spin sickeningly fast, and exploded into a cloud of muted debris as it hit the water. Sylver’s smokey body resisted the pull of the rushing river, and he materialized on the wall above the water, gluing himself to it.

The lightning had reduced by a considerable amount, but the wind was still strong enough to kill Will. Something with smaller wings would have been able to handle it, but at the same time, it might have just been thrown around without enough weight.

Sylver was worried about how much he was getting used to being humiliated like this. In the past he could have ignored the wind and rain as if it didn’t exist, and redirected the lightning out of his way, all while half asleep and deeply engrossed in a book.

But now?

Now he was having to waste precious mana to keep his body warm and keep his robe from getting soaked. And what used to be barely a mild annoyance, was now such a massive threat that he was afraid of going above ground.

On the one hand, Ciege’s body had shit conductivity so he wasn’t as enticing of a target for lightning like he used to be.

On the other, he only needed to be struck once and didn’t like his odds at the moment. Things had been going too well for him, and this was exactly the kind of karma-balancing nonsense that usually occurred to him in such situations.

Sylver scaled the shear wall, or more honestly just walked up it, completely perpendicular to slick with water rock surfaces. Rain slid down his mana-coated cloak and mask, and Sylver made a platform underneath himself to get to the other side of the ravine. He walked a short distance on the nearly barren land and sat down with his back against a giant lone tree.

He pulled out his map and closed his eyes for a moment to remember what he had seen for that split second, while the stone cube was toppling to the ground.

“There’s a road an hour or so from here. Or there should be, at least,” Sylver said, turning the page to the rough area he was in. The ravine wasn’t on the map, but the hills and everything else were correct. The rain had calmed down to a drizzle, and now only a fierce but manageable wind remained. The clouds overhead continued to sparkle dangerously with hints of death, and in the distance reduced an overly tall tree to cinders.

“And the ravine?” Spring asked what Sylver himself was thinking.

“It does look somewhat recently made. Could be that there was a landslide or something and it formed completely naturally, filling up a tunnel or a cave below. Or less optimistically there’s something or someone nearby that can cleave solid rock into two with what I am assuming was a single swipe. But let’s stay blissfully optimistic and just ignore it for the time being,” Sylver said as he closed his notebook and handed it back to Spring.

Ulvic came out of Sylver’s shadow, and Sylver patted the wolf’s fur for a few minutes, covering it in an enchantment to reduce the effect the wind had on him as much as possible. Sylver jumped up onto the wolf shade’s back and lay down flat against it. His robe stretched out a little and secured his body firmly onto the wolf. Sylver almost gave the go-ahead to start moving before getting a better idea.

Turning into a pitch-black smoke, Sylver entered the shades mouth and made himself comfortable. He’d never had tried this with something like a zombie, but shades were perfectly sterile when they materialized, especially on the insides.

It did feel a little stupid, but Sylver was safe from the wind, could keep Ulvic coated in mana to stop him from being thrown away by the wind, and it was a lot more relaxing than having to physically ride the wolf.

Without any insides or the need to breathe, the wolf shade had no issue with this arrangement, even if Sylver could feel the slight confusion from having something inside of itself in such a manner. Frankly, Sylver himself wasn’t all that thrilled about the idea but if it worked, it worked.

Sylver took it a step further and had a shade assassin sit on top of Ulvic, to act as a decoy rider. It didn’t feel exactly like being wrapped up in a constantly moving blanket, but Sylver couldn’t with good conscience say it didn’t feel like that either. He made a mental note to make the next animal shade he makes as hollow as possible, in case traveling like this is ever needed again.

*

*

*

Thankfully ignoring the ravine was the right call, considering the road was found without any issues.

While Ulvic did have a hard time getting a grip on the slightly muddy road, he eventually gained enough speed that he only briefly made contact with the ground. His flexible anatomy made running in the way a cat would relatively simple, although very unusual and strange looking. With Sylver providing the shade with extra mana to increase the strength in his hind legs, Ulvic ended up running almost as fast as Will could fly.

He was no match for Will’s top speed, but in cases where Sylver happened to fuck up and didn’t manage to make it above the clouds in time, at least he had a way to travel with speed, if not in style.

They had to stop several times, entirely because Sylver was unwilling to kill himself and had to adhere to his body's numerous demands. 

He enjoyed the eating food, having sex, and the rush of adrenaline when in a fight aspect of being alive, but since he didn’t have the tools or the mana to circumvent the annoying parts of it, like needing to use the toilet, or having to drink water or sleeping, he was on the fence about it as a whole right now.

Sleeping was great! …When you did it because you felt like it, and not because your mind started slowly shutting down if you didn’t. It turned from what was a treat, to a massive pain in the ass chore. Thankfully Sylver was mostly used to being alive from when he was teaching Helca, Oska, and Sonya since they were still children and their bodies couldn’t handle the kind of neglect Sylver’s magically saturated flesh could brush off.

Granted, there was a bit more to being alive than just sleeping and eating, and pretending to breathe, than Sylver was used to, but there was something pleasant about all the small rituals a person had to do to stay alive.

Sylver was largely undisturbed during those two days of travel. Partially because he always had Ulvic standing guard while he ate to scare away any monsters, but mostly because the area as a whole was largely deserted. There just wasn’t a whole lot here for people or monsters. The land wasn’t exactly barren, but nothing that was a serious threat lived here.

Not to mention, there was a massive storm happening around him. Sylver slept like he usually did when traveling and not in a caravan, or flying on Will. Buried underground, in a relatively spacious hole. He was safe, hidden, and didn’t have to worry about getting attacked. Or at the very least he had a few extra seconds to react to getting attacked.

*

*

*

Sylver missed the crypt.

Ulvic ran past the area they were supposed to turn right and kept on running. Trying to navigate while your surroundings were just short of a blur and limited to what you could see from the inside of a giant wolf’s mouth wasn’t easy.

Even more so when you weren’t 100% certain of what you were looking for. The location of the crypt was vague and very well hidden. And with the ever-present threat of being struck by lightning, as well as the harsh wind, Sylver spent an entire day wandering the area and found it only because Spring found wheel tracks.

Ulvic followed after them, and Sylver stayed inside since the wolf was significantly faster with a fake weightless rider that could be almost entirely ignored, than with a real one that constantly shifted his weight and would have an issue with being smacked in the face by low hanging branches.

They continued like this for a while, up to the point Sylver saw dried blood sprayed on one of the nearby tree trunks. He was plain lucky the light from the sunrise made it glitter bright enough for him to notice it.

After that, Sylver stayed inside of Ulvic, while Spring got dressed in one of Sylver’s spare robes and put a mask on.

*

*

*

[Elf (Spell Sword + ???) – 82 ]
[HP-3,671]
[MP-766]

The elf leaning against the wall instantly locked eyes with Spring.

“Lovely weather we’re having!” Spring shouted as Sylver boosted his voice a small amount to help overcome the whistling wind.

The elf rolled his shoulders and stood properly, still staring directly at Spring.

“Who are you?” The elf shouted back, his body language relaxing the faintest amount.

“Sorcha! Mage and adventurer extraordinaire!” Spring shouted, and did a slight bow, being careful to keep his hands near where he supposedly kept his weapons.

“Where are you from Sorcha?” The elf asked, as Spring jumped down from Ulvic’s back but kept a hand on the giant wolf.

“People usually respond to someone introducing themselves with an introduction. It’s the polite thing to do,” Spring said as he walked closer towards the elf. The elf in turn didn’t seem to react to this all that much so Spring got as close as possible.

The elf wore a dark green tunic that was flush against his skin, with strange-looking chainmail poking out from underneath it. It looked like it should jangle like crazy, but didn’t. The man had a single sword on his back, the handle sticking out over his left shoulder and several pairs of throwing daggers spread out on the sides of his torso.

The elf’s eyes narrowed at Spring's response, but Sylver didn’t feel any malice coming from him. Going by his stance as well as Sylver’s experience with elves, this one was in the low 50s age-wise. Maybe a little older, but less than 100, that was for certain. A kid.

“Apologies. You can call me Darragh. Or Darr for short. Are you alone Sorcha?” Darr asked, causing even Spring to roll his eyes at the question.

“What kind of ominous question is that? No, I’m not alone, I’ve got a whole army in my back pocket,” Spring shouted, earning a small smile from Darr. “What about you? Are you alone? Or are those three women in the bushes just too busy to introduce themselves?” Spring added.

All three elves teleported to Darr’s side and stood behind him, each armed with a very nice-looking, and dangerous-looking, bow.

“Who are you with!” one of the woman elves shouted, as Spring stopped walking and stood where he was.

[Elf (Mage + ???) – 89]
[HP-2,099]
[MP-1,430]

“Me, myself, and I. Is there a particular reason you four are guarding this crypt?” Spring asked, leaning on Ulvic and letting the wolf pretend to nuzzle him, providing Sylver enough cover to funnel himself down into the hole he made in the ground. 

Using magic while in the shape of smoke was difficult, but not impossible. Thankfully Sylver didn’t need a physical body to cast magic, but without a point of reference, it wasn’t as accurate or as precise. Not to mention, it didn’t regenerate.

“Are you with the council?” Darr asked. Sylver could feel everyone tense up even from the hole he was hiding in.

“No. I don’t even know which council you’re talking about,” Spring replied, as the elf on the very right stared at him even harder. They were all wearing hoods and otherwise identical clothing, which made it impossible to tell the women apart. All four wore the same form-hugging green tunic with silent chainmail.

One of the elves whispered something to Darr, whose brows furrowed.

Spring just stood there, pretending to pet Ulvic, while Sylver dug his way towards the crypt entrance. His mana was very well contained, so he shouldn’t be spotted by anyone up above, but it was hard to tell what kind of skills the four elves had.

The four argued amongst themselves for a moment, before the elf woman who hadn’t spoken before shushed everyone and said something very quickly while pointing at Spring.

“Where are you from Sorcha?” Darr repeated. The tone was different, but Sylver still didn’t sense any malice coming from him.

“Arda. Born and raised,” Spring lied. Although technically Ciege’s village wasn’t that far from Arda that it was completely a lie. And “Spring” was born and raised, by Sylver. In Arda. Technically.

“Why are you here Sorcha?” Darr asked, grabbing one of the women by the wrist and forcing her hand to stay down.

“There’s a thing I’m looking for that I’m nearly certain is inside this crypt,” Spring answered, now standing completely straight and directly in front of Ulvic as if to shield him.

Both parties held their breath. Sylver on account of erasing his presence as much as possible, Spring because he didn’t breathe, and Darr because he was in the middle of coming to a decision.

“Sorcha… I’m really sorry about this,” Darr said.

Spring just barely managed to shrug before the arrow went directly through his eye. Spring fell on the ground, clutching at the thin piece of wood and not paying attention to his shattered mask falling onto the floor.

Ulvic dropped to the ground, dead, as the arrow disappeared into his skull, and Spring turned around to tend to his companion.

“Please! I’m sorry, I’ll leave! Please don’t do this!” Spring screamed as another arrow hit him in the back. His body was laying on top of the dead giant wolf, arms wrapped around the large head as if that would change something.

All four elves teleported directly next to him, and Darr pulled him off the animal and onto the floor on his back.

“Please just let me go, I have a wife and family, I can’t die out here!” Spring cried, tears rolling down his black and yellow face. The elves paused, but Spring could tell it was only because they couldn’t tell what the fuck he was.

Darr placed both hands over his face and ran them down it. He turned in a circle twice, all while Spring repeatedly begged for his life and told them all about his 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, his bedridden mother, and his sick father.

One of the elf women placed a dagger into Darr’s hand and gestured at Spring, first saying something harsh and short, and then explaining it in a much softer tone. Spring continued to cry all the while and guessed correctly that at first, the woman was trying to order Darr to kill him, and then explained that they couldn’t just let him go after killing his wolf and injuring him.

Sylver continued to supply both Spring and Ulvic with mana to make sure they didn’t pop and had nearly run out by the time Spring was stabbed in the heart. Darr said something in his non-elven language while maintaining eye contact with Spring.

Sylver found a tiny crack between the bricks that made up the floor of the crypt and funneled himself through them, while Spring continued pleading for his life, grabbing Darr by the collar as if there was something that could be done.

Ulvic was already fully healed and just playing dead, but continued to do so. Spring pretended to very slowly lose strength, and finally leaned back in Darr’s crying arms, completely lifeless.

*

*

*

I think this is far enough.

Black as tar smoke leaked out of the ceiling of the crypt, falling like dripping water and into the rough shape of a man. It solidified as the final drop of smoke fell, and Sylver brushed his cloak off.

“They killed us,” Spring said, as he appeared next to Sylver and looked around.

They were in a tunnel, inside the crypt, and Sylver was overjoyed to feel the faint mana signature coming out every single surface. The dark miasma felt like a breath of fresh air after the biting chill outside.

“And then?” Sylver asked, as he leaned down to the floor and ran his hand over the carved stone. It was faint, but Sylver was almost certain this stone prevented people from teleporting through it. Which was nice, since it didn’t seem to affect his smoke-shaping perk.

“Darr continued to hold me and cry. One of the women took her hood off, short blond hair, a mole to the left of her nose, and green eyes. She shouted something at him and then slapped him across the face when he didn’t respond. Then they just threw us into a hole the elf with no hood made and closed it up. I replaced Ulvic with one of the other wolves so they didn’t notice the lack of volume underneath, and one of Reg’s replaced me,” Spring reported, sending shades out to scout ahead.

“I always loved that about elves. They bury the dead, they don’t burn them. Dwarves on the other hand cut off one of your fingers and wear them as a necklace. They cut up and burn the rest, usually in a forge,” Sylver said, as Spring started drawing a map as the shades returned and told him what they had seen.

 Spring held up the map the demon had given them and compared the two.

“Well, we could go this way. Short, straightforward, and there isn’t something weird in the floor or the walls. Or we could go the route the demon told you to go, which is longer, full of enemies, and there’s a couple of traps on the way,” Spring said, as he handed Sylver the two notebooks to compare.

“What’s here?” Sylver asked, tapping the area Spring had simply drawn an empty square in.

“Oh, that? That’s where there’s enough interference that I nearly lost connection with the shades. It’s odd, it feels like the interference back inside the dungeon, but different. It feels like there’s more purpose behind it, I don’t know how else to describe it,” Spring explained, gesturing vaguely with his hands as he tried to convey a feeling Sylver wasn’t able to fully comprehend.

Sylver understood what he meant, but he couldn’t put a word to the feeling.

It felt fuzzy.

And odd.

And oddly specific.

“Alright, I’ll figure it out when we get there. Enemies?” Sylver asked, handing Spring the notebooks to put away.

“They’re hiding in the walls. Illusion magic, maybe, but it might be they’re just standing behind loose bricks. See that over there?” Spring asked as he pointed at a perfectly flat wall.

“Sure,” Sylver said, trying his best to see if there was any mana signature coming from the walls, and being surprised by the bricks obstructing him enough that he couldn’t tell the difference.

Sylver stared at the empty wall for an entire 5 minutes, but couldn’t for the life of him see anything even slightly wrong with it.

Spring walked ahead of him and swung at the wall he had indicated at with a [Tools of The Shade] sledgehammer. The bricks caved in, and Spring pulled the hammer back to swing again. As the creature inside attempted to walk out of the created hole, it was hit directly in the head by Spring’s sledgehammer.

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

The other shades all appeared near the empty spots Sylver couldn’t see and did the same thing as Spring.

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

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

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

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

[Necromancer] has reached level 53!
+5AP

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

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

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

Sylver had a shade drag one of the creatures to him and looked at it.

“Ron did say most of the creatures in here were undead… But what the fuck is this?” Sylver asked, grabbing the caved-in skull by the chin and turning it left and right. He shoved a finger through the crack and forced it open. A grey-black putty dribbled out of the cracked open skull and leaked down onto the floor.

Sylver scooped out the gunk and felt around with his fingers inside the skull.

“Since when are natural undead… this weak? What the fuck? You bring that one over here,” Sylver ordered, pointing at a shade and getting it to drag the creature he had killed over to him.

Sylver repeated his excavation, but couldn’t find what he was looking for. He stomped on the creature’s abdomen and had Spring help him tear it open. It was the same thing, even the chest was empty.

Sylver stood up from his crouch and wiped the decayed flesh and blood on the creature’s tattered tunic.

“Alright, show me where the next one is, but don’t do anything,” Sylver ordered, as Spring silently complied and appeared a fair distance away, standing near a perfectly flat wall.

Sylver walked past the many creatures laying on the floor with crushed skulls and was slightly surprised by the fact that the area they were standing in was made of the same bricks as the surrounding wall.

Someone built this with these things in mind…

Sylver closed his eyes and opened up his soul sense as much as he would allow himself. It was faint, and there was too much miasma in the air getting in the way, but Sylver was all but certain.

This was the work of a necromancer.

Sylver walked up to Spring and had the shade break the wall down.

[Restless Zombie (Warrior + Warrior) – 59]
[HP-1500]
[MP-0]

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Sylver asked, slowly backing up as the creature struggled to get out of its stony confines.

Its skin was a disgusting yellow grey. It was covered in bandages at some point, but however long it had been in there had resulted in the fabric melting into skin, forming a sickly grey layer that left patches of dull skull showing from the areas where the fabric had unwrapped.

The creature moved a hand to its side, and through a magic Sylver didn’t understand an ancient-looking rusted sword appeared there. It swung the blade at Sylver from the side, and Sylver took a step backward. The creature missed him completely but seemed so exhausted from that one movement that Sylver could have killed it ten times over by the time it looked back up at him to swing again.

Sylver remained where he was, and his robe effortlessly caught the rusted and dull blade and held it in place. The creature struggled and somehow managed to overpower Sylver’s robe, and yanked the blade back, stumbling and falling into the rubble it had created when exiting the hole.

Sylver watched it get back up, and kicked it in the chest, shoving it back down to the ground.

It tried to get up again, and Sylver kicked it in the same manner and caused it to topple back down to the ground.

“The fuck is this?” Sylver asked as he kicked the thing again. He pressed a boot onto its chest and grabbed it by the wrist holding the sword. Sylver tried to crush its wrist but found that he didn’t have enough strength. Similarly, trying to force its fingers open to take its sword also didn’t do anything.

Finally, he just stomped on the wrist and twisted it until he managed to rip it off. The bone was completely hollow, the marrow had long since disappeared, but the bones were too strong for how old the flesh appeared to be.

The creature attempted to grab Sylver’s leg, but instead, Spring pushed the hand down with his foot and forced it to stay down.

Sylver watched as the sword started to rust right in front of him, turning into a pile of orange metal on the floor in barely 10 seconds. The hand continued to move as if it could somehow lunge at him.

Sylver handed Spring the hand and leaned down to look the creature in the eye.

The spark inside was so faint Sylver wasn’t even certain he could see it. Sylver placed a hand onto the creature’s forehead and sent a pulse of mana through it. His eyes widened.

“Do you know what this is?” Sylver asked, completely rhetorically as both fear and excitement were mixed in his voice.

Sylver moved his palm out of the way and used a dagger to slice away the skin on the creature’s forehead. A tiny collection of sigils in a single line were carved on the very front of its skull.

“That’s Igri’s handwriting,” Sylver said, completely under his breath.

“Igri?” Spring asked, trying to see into Sylver’s memories to figure out who or what he was talking about. Amongst the chaos in Sylver’s mind, this was currently impossible.

“Igri! Immortal Igri! Igri the dead father, the lost mage, the wise ghoul, the hollow carver, the grave keeper! Igri!” Sylver shouted, getting off the creature and looking at it with a brand-new light.

Spring dropped the hand back to it and reappeared near Sylver.

Sylver watched the creature attempt to get up again, and this time let it.

“I can’t believe it. Half a world over, but here it is. Look at it!” Sylver said, gesturing at the slow-moving creature, which forced its hand to reconnect with its crushed wrist and created a brand-new rusted sword out of nothing. It limped forward and swung at Sylver again, who took another step backward to keep out of reach.

“It’s a zombie,” Spring said flatly, Sylver’s mind still too frazzled and overexcited to allow him any form of connection.

“It’s not a zombie! This my friend, is the father of all zombies! Igri was the first real necromancer. He’s the one who started everything! The mad priest that decided the dead shall serve!” Sylver quoted, as he stepped back again as the creature swung its sword and missed by a single inch.

“I can’t fucking believe it. This crypt must have belonged to one of his students! Look at those joints, the poor thing can barely walk!” Sylver said, deftly dodging another exhausted swing.

“Unless you calm down, I have no idea why you are this excited,” Spring said, now getting annoyed at the lack of explanation.

“This thing must be tens of thousands of years old! And it can still move!” Sylver flicked his hand and made a dagger appear in it. As the creature swung at him, he used the heel of his foot to kick the sword down, and leaned forward and hugged it. Sticking the dagger into the back of its spine, Sylver twisted it until the spiral discs disconnected and pulled the head off.

Sylver slowly calmed down enough as he stared at the minuscule carving.

“Nyx spent over 200 years looking for one of these…” Sylver said, running his thumb over the carved sigils. “And I just found one on my way to retrieve a trinket,” Sylver said, as he dropped the head back on the ground and let it try to put it back onto its body.

Sylver continued to walk forward, as the walls on either side broke open to reveal the creatures trapped inside.

“What if one of Igri’s artifacts is in here? He gave everything away to his students, it stands to reason one of them might have ended up here,” Sylver said, more to himself than anyone else, as the creatures started to slowly limp towards him.

“Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. This might have just been a crypt he or his students worked on, we’ll need to reach the end to be certain,” Sylver explained, as he calmed down further.

“We’re going to the end? I thought we were just getting the [Dead Man’s Last Stand]?” Spring asked as Sylver handed him the memories related to Igri.

“We are. But there is no way I’m letting anyone else get their grubby hands on something that belonged to Igri. And this won’t be as hard as you think, you saw that thing, it barely had enough mana to swing a sword around. Granted, it will be a bit of a struggle the further down we go, but I am in an incredibly unique position,” Sylver said, shades appeared from the floor and started killing the proto zombies with sledgehammers.

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

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

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

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

“Fight fire with fire, and fight a necromancer, with a necromancer!” Sylver said with a laugh, as more and more zombies dropped doubly dead to the floor.

As Spring processed the memories Sylver gave him, he joined in on the laugh.

“Not to jinx it, but if this is one of his or one of his students, I might be able to handle monsters and people over 50 levels higher than me. Maybe 200, if we’re really lucky. And if his staff is here, I could probably-” Sylver took a very slow and deep breath as his shades continued killing proto zombies in the background.

 [??? (???) Defeated!]

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

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

[Necromancer] has reached level 54!
+5AP

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

“Alright, I’ve calmed down. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that everything else is as barely functional as these guys. But if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see something truly spectacular,” Sylver said with an optimistic glee.

He very nearly skipped down the tunnel, before some semblance of seriousness forced itself inside, and he resolved to handle this with the proper care and attention that something made by Igri of his students deserved.

This wasn’t going to be easy.

This might be the hardest thing Sylver had done since taking over Ciege’s body.

But if he’s lucky, it will also be the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Hopefully whatever luck had rubbed off on Sylver from Poppy’s meddling was still working.

 

Announcement

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