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Shadow Slave: Diaries of a Stranger in even Stranger Lands

William finds himself inside one of his favorite novels. Unfortunately, that novel is Shadow Slave in which not even the gods were able to stave off their doom. Given continuous impossible challenges by the surreal nightmare trial. It is only his will that will determine whether he will succeed or break. Disclaimer: this fanfic has elements of romance and maybe multiple relationships in future chapters. You've been informed and warned, I want no belly aching in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy your reading stranger. Discord link for server: https://discord.com/invite/485CavWqnm Link for the Youtube Channel containing all of the available theme songs for the fanfic: https://www.youtube.com/@John_Doe_77726

John_Doe_777 · Book&Literature
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45 Chs

Chapter XL: From the Frying Pan and Into the Flame (3)

Hello, ladies and gentlemen! I am glad to announce that my exams are done and I passed into my 5th year!

Anyway, I have a few things I want to say before you start reading this chapter.

1- I edited some of the early chapters of the fic. Those edited chapters have [RW] before them. The edits were not anything major, I just changed the ranking of some of the nightmare creatures in the MC's first nightmare. The Bone Centipede was edited into an Awakened Devil, and in turn, the Osseous Exoarmor became an Awakened memory of the 4th tier. Also, the Fragment of the Lich King was demoted to a Fallen Titan, which in turn made the Teardrop amulet into an Ascended Memory of the 7th tier.

2- Well, I gotta say that I didn't expect G3 to use the concept of fateless in the OG Shadow Slave, especially with the various restrictions on it like not having access to Nightmare Spell or True Name. In regards to our MC, even though he is also Fateless, the reason why he has access to the Nightmare Spell or even a True Name will be explained much, much later in the fic. So... just don't make a fuss about it in the comments.

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Clang!

The sound of metal clashing with metal broke the stifling silence reigning over the fallen kingdom of Leonia.

"Guh!" Grunted William before being shot backward and smashing through the wall of a random building forming a gaping hole in the structure.

The young Sleeper pushed himself up from the building's rubble. He was holding Frostmourne in his right hand in its Tarnished Glory form while the other was busy nursing his head from which rivulets of crimson fluid were flowing down.

Yet, before he could even take a second to breath, he felt a tingling from the top of his head and was forced to roll to the side to avoid the blade that was about to come down upon his head like a guillotine.

He regarded his attacker with a serious look, his [Soul Sight] allowing him to determine its identity.

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Name: Darkspawn Knight

Rank: Fallen

Class: Beast

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Frostmourne flashed in a pale blue arc in the darkness in an attempt to injure the nightmare creature; unfortunately, the Darkspawn Knight, true to its nature as a Fallen ranked nightmare creature, was on another level in terms of strength and speed.

The wicked edge of the cursed mourneblade found naught but air as the black armored knight swiftly avoided the attack by jumping towards one of the wall of the building before propelling itself toward the unlucky Sleeper with its black sword brandished and thirsty for blood.

Blocking the attack was a fool's errand as shown before; thus, the young Lich King tried to dodge the attack to the best of his ability. Alas, the best of his ability was just not fast enough to evade the entire attack.

The edge of the knight's sword managed to make contact with his [Osseous Exoarmor], cutting through it like a hot knife through butter but thankfully not drawing any blood.

Luckily, William's reflexes saved him from the disastrous consequences of his clumsy dodge.

Unfortunately, the assault of the Darkspawn Knight didn't abate in intensity or speed.

The white-haired teen tried his best to weave through the nightmare creature's attacks. The enhancements from his various memories and his own attributes gave him physical abilities similar to those of an Awakened human. However, it was barely enough to keep himself from being critically injured.

It didn't help that he had to be on constant alert in case their fight brought unwanted attention.

It was his own damned fault that he was in this mess. During th last ten or so mansions he searched, he had only found Crawling Husks. What he didn't expect was to be ambushed by a fucking Darkspawn Knight as soon as he entered his next raid target. It had somehow managed to hide itself from his [Soul Sight].

He put too much trust in this new ability of his, which led him to become careless. Now, he paid the price.

William tilted his head backwards at the last second to dodge the upwards swing of the knight's blade. Alas, the attack was faster than the other ones he faced before resulting in the tip of the black blade to cut through the bone helmet around his head and make a vertical cut from his right cheek to his eyebrow while miraculously missing his eye.

"Grrrr!" he suppressed his shout of pain into a low growl as the nerves on his face and eye burned with the flames of a thousand suns. Alas, even if his eye was spared from the damage, the blood that got spilled on it made it hurt something fierce. It wasn't that he never had felt such pain before. Au contraire, the pain was as familiar to him as a lover's kiss from the countless times he got shot or stabbed in the eye or eyes in his first nightmare.

He could feel the crimson liquid of life flowing down his face and into his eye causing it to be too blurry to function properly. Yet, his other eye remained solely focused on the opponent before him. He had lost some of his field of vision thanks to that one attack, he was going to die very soon if he didn't find a way to defeat the foe before him.

Running would've been an option if he didn't personally witness the speed of the Darkspawn Knight first hand. Even with all his memory enchantments, he couldn't outrun the monster.

Overpowering it was out of the equation too for similar reasons.

Echoes would take time to summon - time he didn't have. Moreover, they would be immediately destroyed by a single attack of the damned creature.

His only hope lied in getting in one critical hit against it either killing it or at least crippling it for long enough for him to make his escape.

The only question was on how to do it. His dormant ability, [Mantle of Death] was useless as his foe was two whole ranks above him in the power heirarchy.

None of his spells could make a dent on the creature since they were all Dormant ranked spells - by the gods did he tried all viable spells at his disposal. In the end, he just decided to not waste any more of his essence.

In the end, he was only left to fight with his body alone. Then, a metaphorical lightbulb lit in his head.

"My... body...," his left eye hardened as he stared down at the corrupted creature before him. His new strategy - if it could be called that - was risky but t was better than waiting for death like a lamb in a slaughter house.

The Darkspawn Knight lunged at William but unlike previous times, he didn't try to move out of the way of the attack. No, that was wrong, he was moving; however, he was moving towards the knight!

Faster than a bullet, the knight's black sword reached the young Sleeper and immediately went pierced through his abdomen to the hilt though, thanks to William's previous attempt, it had missed his spine.

If the nightmare creature had anything resembling a sentience in its being it would question the toothy, bloody smile the human before it had on its face while a sword was piercing his gut.

"Gotcha... bitch!" he said with the macabre toothy grin still on his face as Frostmourne plunged into the Darkspawn knight.

The cursed mourneblade let out a eerie blue glow as its first rune shone brightly:

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[Soul Rune]

Enchantment Description: [Just as the blade cuts flesh, so does Frostmourne rend the soul and feeds on it.]

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For the first time since the fight started, William heard the Darkspawn Knight cry out in pain.

"What *bloody cough* a joyous sound! Let me hear some more!" he yelled, his mind entering a weird state of high from the lack of blood - probably - as he pushed Frostmoune deeper into the Darkspawn Knight's being.

Then, it came - the sickly familiar voice of the Nightmare Spell:

[You have slain a Fallen Beast, Darkspawn Knight.] (D100 = 1)

[Your soul grows stronger.]

After the announcement, the Darkspawn knight along with the sword that was currently busy rearranging his guts dissipated into black mist and fucked off towards the direction of the palace.

"*bloody cough* Fucking... hell... not even a memory. Such... *bloody cough* bullshit," he uttered through bouts of coughing. He could feel his mind getting hazy from the lack of blood in his body brought by his injuries. Thus, he using the last bits of his consciousness, he summoned one of his echoes - not that he had enough essence to summon a second one even if he wanted to.

A cloud of spinning stars appeared upon his command and coalesced into an armored soldier holding a spear and a shield.

The Darkspawn Soldier echo stared at its master's bleeding and broken form with emotionless eyes hidden behind its helmet.

"Take me... somewhere... safe," uttered William. The last thing he heard before lost consciousness was the sound of the Darkspawn Soldier's spear hitting its shield as a form of affirmation.

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Ever so slowly, he could feel his the sensory signals from his entire body flowing into his brain as it recovered its faculties one after another.

First was his sensation of touch, which told him that his body was lying on something hard, flat, and very uncomfortable.

Next, was his sense of smell; his nose got the first whiffs of dust and some other... earthy smell.

After that his hearing, which didn't convey anything of note other than the deathly silence of the environment around him.

Following that was the sense of taste. To think that the first thing he would taste after so long without any food or water would be the iron taste of his own blood. Couldn't say that he was a fan of the taste, honestly.

Finally, his vision return - or a portion of it anyways. His left eye opened and could see just fine but his right one was shut tight by a layer of thick black crust from all the blood that accumulated over it.

"Fucking hell," he muttered in annoyance as his hand reached towards the hardened crust and cautiously removed it from the top of his eyelid.

With the crusty barrier removed, he could opened his right eye but it was still blurry as all hell. He had to blink a few times for his vision to clear up.

with his vision fully functional again, he could now see the high ceiling of wherever his echo had brought him to.

'Speaking of echoes...," William looked around and immediately found his summoned echo standing a few feet from him in a guarded stance.

'Is it... guarding me?' he thought before remembering that it the echo was of an Awakened Demon, it had enough mental faculties to do simple things even if not ordered to explicitly.

The echo's surprising competence aside, the white haired teenager was surprised at how bright his surroundings were. Not a single speck of darkness could be seen in the air. The only question was how?

A quick look around from his lying position found the answer to his question. Torches and chandeliers burning with radiant flames were scattered around the walls around him. He surmised that they were the reason for the lack of darkness around.

"Gah!"

He immediately regreted that decision as a sudden lance of pain shot out of his abdomen when he tried using any of the muscles there causing him to fall back onto the hard surface he was lying on.

He tried taking in a deep breath to make an attempt of controlling the pain. Alas, he got rewarded with another wave of pain.

"Shit," the wounded Sleeper muttered in agony.

William tried raising his head without moving anything below his neck. A quick look at his abdominal area showed the broken gash on his armor courtesy of his reckless kamikaze attack.

With a thought, the [Osseous Exoarmor] shifted and moved. His right arm, chest, and abdomen were left bare as the only remnants of it were on his lower body and prosthetic arm.

Without the armor blocking his view, he could see the source of his agony. Right on the right side of his abdomen was a diagonal gash, approximately twelve centimeters wide from which some sort of dark energy emanated from.

That was unexpected. William knew that his regeneration, a trait of his half-undead physique, should've fixed any and all damages from his fight. Yet, as he concentrated on the site of the wound, he could FEEL his body trying its best to heal the damage, yet the dark energy inside the wound acted as a sort of barrier to prevent his body from healing.

His right hand went to the wound he had previously received on the right side of his face.

"Ghh!"

Just as he expected, that wound was in a similar situation.

"I can't catch a break, can I?" he said to the summoned echo as he rested his head back onto the hard surface he was lying on. The echo simply stared at him with soulless eyes behind its helmet.

Suddenly, a dull glow emanated from the [Teardrop Amulet], which hanged around his neck along with the [Icon of War], and from it emerged the familiar form of Jaina Proudmoore. Yet, from a glance, William could see that there was something wrong with her.

Her previously pristine incoporeal form was riddled with spots of murky darkness that seemed to try its best to spread itself all over her. Moreover, her face seemed more... tired - if spirits can even get tired - as if she had aged a decade or two from before.

"J-Jaina!"

Seeing a familiar face after such a long period filled him with such joy that he attempted to move regardless the unimaginable pain surging from his wounds.

"William, please, I don't have much time!" the sorceress pleaded with urgency causing the joy the young boy to dissipate. With his joy simmered down, he finally noticed a few things that didn't add up.

"Jaina? Where's Arthas?"

"That's...," she looked troubled as she glanced over at the black spots all over her spirit body before looking back at him, "he... took the brunt of this... corruption that seeped into the Angel Tear. He... is no longer his former self."

The look of despair on Jaina's face made William feel somewhat guilty since he had been constantly using the memory since he got into this crazy kingdom.

"Don't feel guilty, William," she said as she looked at him with a soft expression, "We... then only I saw what you had been going through since getting into this place from inside the Angel Tear. It's not your fault that you got dropped into such a cruel place. I wish we could've been of more help to you but we would've been instant easy prey for the corruption in the air in our spirit forms."

"Then how...?"

Like a teacher who anticipated her student's question, she pointed at the air around them, "This place is somehow devoid of the corruption elsewhere in this kingdom, which allowed me to manifest my spirit form without endangering myself."

"Then," he uttered in excitement at the piece of information, "the memory can purify the corruption inside it if I stayed here?"

Jaina's expression turned conflicted as she went silent for a few seconds, "...If the corruption was of manageable level then that would've been possible. However, more than 70% of the Angel Tear has already been irreversibly corrupted and with one of the two spirit pillars, i.e. Arthas, succumbing to corruption, the corruption would continue to spread even if you were to spend a thousand years here."

A look of disbelief washed over William's face, "It... it can't be!? Please...!"

Jaina gently shook her head before looking at him straight in the eyes, "The reason I came out is to do my final act as your magic teacher. I hoped to guide you step by step onto your journey to fully master your magic. Alas, it seems fate has other plans."

William watched in confusion as Jaina pointed to her forehead with her index finger. Then, a brilliant ball of light, the size of a baseball manifested from it. She then proceeded to point said ball of light towards him - or more accurately, his forehead. The ball moved with astonishing speed, not leaving room for him to react as it smashed into his head and... merged into it.

Out of nowhere, the young Sleeper gripped his head wiith both hands as his mind got assaulted by years upon years of knowledge of magical theory and practice. If not for his mental fortitude, he felt that his mind would've broken from the sudden influx of information.

"What I just gave you is all of my experience and knowledge of magic that I had accumulated throughout my life," she said with a sad smile as her form began dissipating, "I hope that it would serve you well. It was a pleasure knowing you, William."

"N-No!" he cried with one hand stretched out as the other still held his head. "Wait!"

Unfortunately, by the time the words escaped his mouth, Jaina Proudmoore had already vanished into smotes of light. Leaving only a distraught William and a Soulless echo to watch as those motes faded into nothingness.

"Don't leave me alone too," the words involuntarily escaped his mouth as an unbidden tear ran down his left eye.

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Hey, hey, people, John here!

Is it just me or does William have abandonment issues?

Anyway, I'm glad to be back. Hopefully, we finish the Forgotten Shore arc by the end of the summer if not sooner.

Until next update, have a good one!