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Shadow Slave
Chapter 122 Four Months Ago

Chapter 122 Four Months Ago

Nephis changed a lot since the last time Sunny had seen her.

Outwardly, she looked almost the same — tall, firm, and strangely distant, as though existing slightly apart from the rest of the world. She was still wearing the Starlight Legion Armor, which accentuated the graceful lines of her slender, lithe body. Only now, there was also a white cloak draped over her shoulders, close in color to the pristine metal of the elegant plate armor.

Changing Star's silver hair was much longer now, almost reaching her shoulders. Without the short tomboyish cut, she looked strangely mature and feminine, making Sunny's heart beat a little faster. Her calm grey eyes were as striking as ever.

The true changes, however, hid much deeper. Perhaps only a person who knew her as well as Sunny did could notice them, or perhaps it was precisely because he had come to know her so well that the veil of detached indifference shrouding her true self cracked, revealing the deeper feelings beneath.

Nephis seemed to be much more alive now, much more present. Her eyes shined with resolve and determination, radiating an almost infectious feeling of temperate confidence.

…This was her power. The power of conviction.

Sunny shivered under that gaze.

Neph was the person he longed to see the most and, at the same time, hoped to never see again. She was the true reason why he had to leave the castle.

Stirred awake by this fated meeting, a torrent of memories rose to the surface of his mind.

If only he had known at the time…

Well, it would not have changed anything, really.


Four months ago, on the night that they had ventured into the cursed sea on a boat made of demon's bones, Sunny was shivering in the wind.

…After an eternity spent in the cold embrace of darkness, the endless night of their escape was finally drawing its last breaths. He shifted and turned to the east, where a ghostly line of pale lilac appeared over the horizon.

Trembling, he licked his lips and said in a raspy voice:

"Cas. Cassie. It's morning."

After he uttered these words, the last remnant of strength that had kept Sunny going disappeared, and he slumped on the stones, his chest rising heavily and then falling.

A new dawn was ready to bathe the desolate hell of the Forgotten Shore in warm sunlight. They had survived.

The three Sleepers were perched on a giant stone hand that protruded from the black waves, as if held above the lightless abyss by a goddess. Sunny and Cassie were holding each other for warmth, while Nephis was lying in the center of the stone palm, still unconscious. Visible through the gaps in the shattered armor, her ivory skin was pale and listless.

'We did it.'

They had escaped the clutches of Soul Devourer, sailed through the cursed darkness, and even lived through a battle with the horrifying dweller of the depths… by some miracle.

Sunny couldn't quite believe that they had actually managed to pull their daring escape off. From the moment he had learned about the enthrallment hex put onto their minds by the ancient fiend, he felt that the chances of ever saving themselves from the gluttonous evil tree were more than slim. Perhaps because it had taken away his most dangerous and tested weapon... his mind.

And yet, somehow, they had succeeded.

Utterly exhausted, Sunny closed his eyes and listened to the dark sea as it retreated to hide from the coming sun. Without even noticing it, he slipped into the embrace of sleep.

When he awoke, the sun was already high in the sky. Sunny expected to feel crippled now that adrenalin had left his battered body, but, to his surprise, he wasn't in even half as much pain as he had anticipated. Blood Weave was truly a miraculous Attribute to have for someone as prone to disasters as he was.

Even his broken finger wasn't hurting that much anymore.

Sunny still had to groan while sitting up, though.

Cassie was sleeping by his side, as drained by the events of the previous night as he was… perhaps even more so. Her delicate face seemed vulnerable and pale, twisted in an anxious frown. Sunny sighed.

Nephis had yet to regain her senses. At some time while he slept, the blind girl had used her cloak to cover Changing Star, helping her to preserve some warmth. Neph lay still and motionless, her face drained of all color. Only the quiet sound of her breathing told Sunny that she was still alive.

He trembled, remembering the harrowing sight of her mangled flesh restoring itself in the crucible of purifying flame. Unleashing that flame always took a heavy toll on Nephis, bringing her unimaginable pain and suffering. Who knew what price she had paid to pull herself away from the doors of oblivion? He had not even realized before that she could use it to heal herself.

Perhaps there was a reason why she had never done so in the past. Only time could tell.

'It's time to assess the situation.'

Turning away from Changing Star, Sunny looked around, trying to discern their current circumstances. His heart was heavy.

If they had survived the attack of the tentacle monster and the ensuing shipwreck only to find themselves stranded in the middle of the cursed sea, with no way to continue forward, that would be a truly macabre twist of fate.

To the east of them, there was nothing but the empty expanse of the colossal crater. Same thing for the…

Sunny froze, noticing a dark line in the distance. That was… that was the western edge of the crater. They had almost crossed it!

Feeling a strange excitement grasping his heart, Sunny quickly turned around and looked west. His eyes widened.

For a few moments, his head was silent and empty. Then, a single thought appeared in it:

'We were so close…'

He sat quietly for a long time, forgetting about everything else. A few hours later, Cassie finally woke up. Feeling that he wasn't next to her anymore, she called in a frightened voice:


He licked his lips.

"I'm here."

Cassie sat up and stretched her hand out, finding his shoulder.

"Why… why do you sound so strange?"

Sunny blinked, then slowly turned his head to look at the blind girl. A tentative smile found its way onto his face.

"Cassie… we found it. We have found that city you saw."


In the end, Nephis had remained unconscious for two whole days.

Sunny was really starting to worry about her, but then, on the third day, Changing Star had finally come back to her sense. At the time, he was sitting on top of the giant hand's index finger, staring west with a warm, excited feeling in his heart.

They did it! They were finally going to go home!

Sunny couldn't wait to return to the real world. He didn't even care about becoming an Awakened and the corresponding leap in power and status that much anymore.

All he cared about was his soft bed, mountains of delicious food, and limitless hot showers.

Sunny lowered his head and glanced at Nephis, trying to determine if there was anything wrong with her. In the webtoons, one of the characters was bound to suffer from something like amnesia right before things were about to take a turn for the better.

But Changing Star seemed to be fine. She was still the same Neph he had known — tall, firm, and strangely distant, as though there was an invisible barrier separating her from the rest of the world. When the gaze of her striking grey eyes fell on him, Sunny felt his heart beating a little faster.

He smiled.

'Thank gods!'

Nephis frowned, lowered her head, and then asked in a flat tone:

"Why are you smiling?"

Realizing that he was grinning from ear to ear like a fool, Sunny blinked, then tried to shrug with false indifference.

'Abort, abort! Divert her attention!'

"Look behind you."

The sight of what lay in the west was one of the reasons for his good mood, so it wasn't that much of a stretch.

Neph stared at him for a few moments, then sighed and turned around.

Behind her, a tall city wall built of grey polished stone towered above the slopes of the colossal crater.

That wall was a sign that all their suffering was not in vain, and that all their dreams were about to come true.

It was hope.


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Shadow Slave Chapter 122 Four Months Ago