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Shadow Slave
Chapter 146 Power

Chapter 146 Power

Several hundred Sleepers stared at the disfigured body, horrified. Jubei's scale armor disappeared in a rain of light, leaving him dressed only in torn, bloodied rags. A surprised, dazed expression was still frozen on his face.

Awash in blood and broken, the man who had been proud and defiant just a minute ago was now nothing but a pathetic corpse. He was sprawled on the floor in a glistening crimson puddle, reminding everyone of one simple truth.

Never, ever dare to disobey Gunlaug, the Bright Lord.

Or you'll end up just the same.

Sunny was probably one of the only two people in the grand hall who wasn't looking at the corpse. Instead, he was looking at Harus.

Harus himself was staring at the wall, absolutely disinterested in the gruesome fruit of his dark labor.

'What else was I hoping for? Stupid. Hope… hope is a poison. It will only get you killed.'

Sunny knew all the facts, but only now had he finally understood how hopeless it was to even think about challenging the Golden Serpent.

Everything in the Dark City was designed to make him and his army invincible. That was how the damn hunchback had managed to defeat the experienced hunter from the outer settlement so easily, using nothing but his raw strength. He hadn't even had to show his Aspect Ability. Why was the divide in their physical prowess so vast?

That was because with every human in the Dark City possessing the same dormant core, there were only two things that could make someone more powerful than the rest: Soul Essence and Memories.

And both were monopolized by Gunlaug.

Only he possessed the manpower and knowledge to freely hunt in the Dark City. This way, he had become the only person with a reliable source of both Soul Shards and Memories in his possession.

Whatever crumbs the independent hunters were able to acquire would inevitably end up in his hands, too, because Gunlaug also controlled the primitive economy in this cursed place. By providing food and safety in exchange for the so-called "tribute", he made sure that all the resources would flow in only one direction.

Into his hands.

With Soul Shards and a vast arsenal of Memories, he could make his army stronger, which in turn would bring him more Soul Shards and Memories, which in turn would make his army stronger… and so forth. It was a simple, perfect, and harrowing cycle that made his power more and more absolute with each revolution.

By the time Sunny, Nephis and Cassie had arrived in the Dark City, the divide between Gunlaug's forces and everyone else here was too wide to ever be bridged. Sunny had no doubt that most of the elite warriors of the Host had their cores saturated with Soul Essence to the brim.

There was a limit to how many Soul Shards a Nightmare Spell carrier could absorb before reaching the bottleneck of their rank… although few ever did. Advancing to the next rank removed that bottleneck and enhanced their bodies according to the saturation level of the core. But with no way to advance, people in the Dark City could only rely on the raw amount of Soul Essense to accumulate power.

This meant that within these ancient walls, sworn into servitude to a single man, there lived the most powerful group of Sleepers to ever exist in human history.

…And this was the man Nephis planned to kill.

With a shudder, Sunny remembered Effie's words: " Sleeper can defeat Gunlaug, ever. It's simply impossible."

He also remembered dozens of skulls swinging in the wind above the castle gates.

'Curse it all… what is she going to pull me into this time? I really have to persuade her to give up for once. My life might depend on it.'

But somehow, he doubted that Changing Star even knew how to give up. At least not when it came to her mysterious goal.


Sunny was so consumed by these dark thoughts that he even neglected to listen to Gunlaug's farewell speech. He had the general idea of what kind of bullcrap the bastard was proselytizing anyway.

Soon, the Bright Lord had left his white throne and disappeared into the darkness behind it. The lieutenants followed, with Harus being the last one to leave. As soon as they were gone, the body of Jubei was unceremoniously dragged away, and a group of Handmaidens silently wiped the puddle of blood off the pristine marble floor.

The tables were moved back to their places, and the crowd of Sleepers was invited to return to their breakfast. As if nothing had happened.

However, Sunny had completely lost his appetite. Leading Cassie away, he glanced at the plates full of food and thought without humor:

'I guess there's a first time for everything.'


For the remaining two days, Sunny had done nothing but frantically gather information. Knowing that he will be leaving the castle soon, he became a little bit bolder in where to send his shadow.

He spent a lot of time spying on the Hunters and Pathfinders, learning their tactics and secrets. He observed how Guards were trained. He learned which Artisans were important, and which were not. The only caste he tried to avoid was the Handmaidens.

He even studied various engravings and stone carvings that decorated the walls of the castle.

Finally, the week they had paid tribute for came to an end. On the dawn of the eighth day, Sunny and Cassie once again appeared in the large hall with beautiful stained glass windows and saw the gates of the castle.

Despite the fact that there was nothing outside these gates but a dirty slum, Sunny felt relieved. He couldn't wait to leave this damn place.

'Why do people even want to live here?'

As soon as he finished this thought, Sunny realized that he didn't actually know what life in the outer settlement was like. Perhaps the castle was actually a paradise in comparison.

'I doubt it… how bad can it actually be? I guess they just never lived in the outskirts.'

Shaking his head, he walked toward the gates, but then stopped when someone called his name.

Turning his head, Sunny noticed the familiar young man with a thin face and nervous eyes. Today, Harper seemed to be especially distressed. His clothes were a bit less tidy, and there were a few ugly blotches of ink on his parchment.

"Ah! Sun… Sunless and Cassia, right? Goodness, it has already been a week. Ah… where was I? Oh, yes. Are you guys here to pay tribute for the next one?"

Sunny stared at him for a few minutes, then forced out a smile and pretended to be sad:

"No. We haven't been able to… you know, earn shards. So, we're leaving. Maybe we will see each other again, someday."

Harper opened his eyes wide and stuttered:

"W—what? Why would I be… oh, sorry. I'm very sorry that you couldn't stay longer. But don't despair! Lord Gunlaug is truly kind, and life is unpredictable. I'm sure you'll be able to come back soon."

Sunny gave him a curt nod and turned away.

'I hope not. Not too soon, at least.'

With that, they passed through the gates and left the Bright Castle… the promised castle they had spent so much time seeking and dreaming of.

What a disappointment it all had been.

Standing under the grey skies of the Forgotten Shore once again, Sunny and Cassie breathed in the cold fresh air and both smiled. Cassie tugged on his sleeve.

"Sunny… what do we do now?"

He looked at the pitiful slum that lay beneath them and answered without having to think for too long:

"What else? We go find Nephis."


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Shadow Slave Chapter 146 Power