Shadow Slave -
Chapter 136 Reflection
Chapter 136 Reflection
On the other side of the sturdy door, there was a tiny room with stone walls and a single, narrow window that was closed with wooden shutters and draped in thick cloth. Harper had warned them not to open the windows during the night, but out here in the Tower of Dusk, no one would want to stare at the view anyway.
Allowing any amount of light to seep out of the castle at night was considered to be a severe crime, so he had been pretty emphatic on that point. Of course, the gaunt young man didn't know that neither Sunny nor Cassie required light to move in the dark. They could open the windows as wide as they wanted… not that they had any reason to.
Inside the room, there was a bed with a straw mattress, a flimsy chest, and a tiny desk. On the desk, there was a basin filled with water, a few strips of clean cloth and an oil lamp.
There was even a small round mirror made of polished bronze.
Sunny caught a glimpse of his reflection and flinched, as though seeing a stranger.
In these past two months, he had seen himself through the eyes of the shadow plenty of times, but it wasn't the same.
He had changed a lot.
His face was much sharper and angular now, the last remnants of youthful roundness chased away from it by the harsh gauntlet of the Labyrinth… although Sunny never had a lot of that, to begin with. It was thin and pale, with dark circles under his eyes and other signs of extreme exhaustion. His black hair was longer, falling over his eyes in a dirty mess.
What changed the most, however, were the eyes themselves. Deep in their dark depths, there was a glint of calm, heavy, bleak coldness that had not been there before.
With a startling realization, Sunny understood that he, too, now possessed the look of a seasoned fighter. The type of calculating coldness hiding in the eyes of such men was known as the "murder math" in the outskirts.
Hero and Nephis had that quality, too. Only in their case, it made them seem like true warriors.
Sunny, on the other hand… Sunny had the eyes of a killer.
And even deeper than that, visible only to him, golden threads of Weaver's inhuman legacy glowed mysteriously in the darkness.
Staring at his reflection, Sunny grinned darkly and said in a strange, hoarse voice:
"...Looking good, Sunless."
Leaving his shadow to guard the door to Cassie's room, Sunny fell on the soft mattress, wrapped himself in a blanket, and tried to get himself to sleep.
Here in the safety of the mighty castle, surrounded by hundreds of people, lying on a real bed, it was hard to believe that just a few days ago he was traveling through the cursed darkness of the deadly sea on a rickety boat, fighting terrifying monsters in the bizarre landscape of the coral labyrinth, and losing his mind piece by piece to the gluttonous hunger of an ancient soul-devouring tree.
It all seemed like a feverish dream.
'This… isn't bad.'
With that thought, he fell asleep.
In the morning, washed and refreshed, he waited for Cassie in the hallway. Even the Puppeteer's Shroud, which finally got a chance to return to the Soul Sea for a decently long period of time and restore itself, looked clean and tidy once again.
That poor armor had gone through enough abuse to kill a dozen Sleepers, yet it still held fast, saving his life on numerous occasions. Sunny was reminded of how lucky he had been to receive it.
The blind girl did not make him wait for long. Soon, she came out of her room, practically glowing with loveliness and freshness. It seemed as though Cassie had done the same things as Sunny,
After months spent crawling through blood and dirt in the wilderness, they finally looked and felt like humans again.
He had almost forgotten how stunning Cassie was. With her delicate features, bright blue eyes and pale blond hair, she looked like a beautiful porcelain doll. The blind girl had dismissed the enchanted cloak, leaving her dressed only in a light tunic, with leather sandals on her feet. She was nothing short of breathtaking.
He closed his eyes and sighed.
'This… smells like trouble.'
"Good morning, Cassie."
She turned her head to him and wrinkled her nose. Sunny frowned:
The blind girl knitted her brow.
"I don't know. You smell different."
He stared at her for a few moments, and then laughed.
"If this is your way of saying that I used to reek, then thank you, I guess."
Giggling, Cassie came closer and put her hand on his shoulder.
"That's not what I meant! Anyway, let's go eat!"
The two of them were in a strangely good mood.
Sunny guided Cassie to the main keep of the castle, following the route that Harper had explained to them the previous evening. On the way, he was careful to avoid any doors and corridors marked with the symbol of the golden serpent coiled around a white tower.
His shadow was going to take a look at the forbidden areas of the fortress later, most likely. But for now, they had to keep a low profile and avoid trouble.
Finding the Keep was not hard, as many other Sleepers were going there to partake in the breakfast too. Meals were served twice a day in the castle, once in the morning and once right before sunset. If you missed one and had no other way to procure food, you would have to remain hungry for the rest of the day.
Sunny observed the Sleepers with curiosity, sometimes describing them to Cassie in a low voice. The inhabitants of the castle were very different from the desperate dwellers of the outer settlement. They generally seemed healthy, or at least well-fed. The amount of armor-type Memories here was also much higher, although many still wore clothes made of mundane fabrics.
Almost all of them were young and beautiful, with only a couple of the people he had seen looking like they were past their early twenties. Despite that, few could compare to Cassie in terms of looks.
Finally, they entered the main hall of the Keep, where long wooden tables were placed to accommodate the morning crowd of hungry Sleepers.
Suddenly, hundreds of eyes turned to stare at Cassie and Sunny.
Feeling cold shivers running down his spine, he gulped.
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