2 Chapter Two

Jack found himself floating above a desolate plain. As far as his eye could see, bones of all kinds littered the earth. Jaws as big as a man and claws sharp enough to rend metal in half attested to the ferociousness of the beasts that once lived here. Rusted weapons adorned many such bones, as their previous owners' incomplete skeletons lay lifeless on the dirt.

'Well, no better place to have a First Nightmare than an ancient battlefield.' Jack thought with mirth. 

Although he knew what would come next, it was still an impressive sight. In an instant, hundreds of years flew by. The bones quickly reversed their shriveled states as the river of time flowed backward. In their place, soon stood giant creatures, in a standoff against a massive human army extending for kilometers on end.

Time slowed, stopped, and then resumed its usual pace.

[Aspirant! Welcome to the Nightmare Spell. Prepare for your first trial...]

Jack blinked, and he was no longer an observer. All around him, there were thousands of soldiers, all decked in heavy armor and holding their spears, with a shortsword as an auxiliary weapon on their hips. They were in the moments before the battle, and the tension was easy to see in the faces of his new compatriots. Their clenched jaws, wide eyes, and sweating faces left no room for doubt.

Ignoring the surrounding soldiers for the moment, Jack quickly focused on his runes.


Name: Jack Ripper.

True Name: -

Rank: Aspirant.

Soul Core: Dormant.

Memories: -

Echoes: -

Attributes: [Fateless], [Deathless], [Boundless]

Aspect: [Son of The Secret One]

Aspect description: [You are an abomination born of a malevolent entity from another world. Your existence is a sin.] 

Speechless, Jack stared at his runes and had to use all his willpower not to burst out laughing. 'Someone is definitely not happy I am here!' 

Of course, Jack had long known what kind of entity he was making a deal with. The kind with immeasurable power, and that hid deep under the seas. It didn't take a genius to figure it out.

And all that bullcrap about wanting him to save this world... Fat chance. 

He already suspected something was quite wrong with the whole ordeal from the beginning. But now that Jack saw his attribute [Deathless] and that he was dealing with The Secret One, he knew his exact reason for being here: He was supposed to be a fulcrum for a Great Old One. 

Cthylla, or the Secret One, was trying to accomplish her original goal- the one she had been born to do- and give birth to her Father, Cthulhu. The only change from the original plan is that now, the eldritch Entity saw an opportunity... to take over another world.

"Hahahahahaha..." He couldn't help it. His fellow soldiers looked at him with pity, thinking one more of their ranks had lost their minds to the pressure of the coming war. But they were mistaken. His mind couldn't have been sharper.

'Think you are so sleek, huh, Cthylla?' Jack thought as he cleared a tear from the corner of his eyes. 'The Secret One knew I would figure it out the moment I got to my first Nightmare, but assumed it wouldn't make a difference if the pawn discovered its role.'

'But what that monstrosity couldn't imagine is that this world has a plot - and I know it by heart.' His wide smile split his face.

Shadow Slave wasn't a story from his previous world... It wasn't even a story from the world before it. 

Jack had been escaping the cycle of reincarnation for hundreds of years now, having been born with a link between his memories and his soul. Such a thing allowed him to reincarnate with his memories intact.

It was not an unheard-of ability in his original world, where magic was prevalent and abundant. But what separated him from the rest and made him unique... was his ability to escape into the vast multiverse. Not only had he reincarnated, but he had lived through plenty of different Earths, each one more wondrous than the last.

And then, on his final world, he found an insurmountable foe. He fought and clawed the best he could, but in the end, it was not enough. He thought his adventure was over, having found a being capable of apprehending his very soul. That is until his Captor/Saviour came along...

As soon as Cthylla described to him the world he was to be sent to and the state it was in, trying to capitalize on his human tendency for compassion, there was only one thing going through his mind: 'Jackpot.'

The Secret One had come to him thinking It had found a delicacy. But he would show that grotesque octopus... he would become the vilest of poisons in its mouth and force it to spit him out!

'For now, though...' Jack looked ahead and saw over the line of soldiers that giant creatures were approaching. Now at ground level, he could better see that they resembled a mix between a T-Rex and a centipede. 

The creatures probably stood at 3 meters tall and had dense platted armor covering their whole upper bodies and tails. Standing on two muscular legs, with smallish eyes full of malice, they made fearsome predators.

Although they looked like behemoths, their steps made little noise other than the occasional chittering as they made their way to the phalanx - which unnerved the soldiers even more.

'It's not really a phalanx, as they have no shields... But I guess there's no use in shields when your enemies are the size of an elephant.' Jack thought lightly as he mulled over his situation.

'These things are Awakened Demons at the very least...' With a perfect memory due to his connection between mind and soul, Jack could recall the original story from beginning to end. And from their size and apparent strength, taking into account that this was his first nightmare, they were probably Awakened Demons or Devils - at least, he hoped they weren't Fallen.

As he devised his plan of action, the first creatures started a dash to cover the final meters and soon made contact with the line of soldiers. And it was a massacre. Moving with a speed that belied its size, the chittering monstrosity evaded every one of the lances thrown at it. With a quick swipe of its tail, two frontmost soldiers were bisected, one at the shoulder and the second at their midriff. It followed with a snake-like lunge, taking half of another fighter in a single bite. A brave soldier utilized that window to jump on its head, using his sword to slash at its eyes.

And then, it was pandemonium. 

The formation lines were broken and many of the creatures were walking among their ranks. Jack saw a soldier trampled to death, and further away one of the creatures with their leg tendons cut off as it fell to the ground. Dying screams and screeches abounded. 

'These guys are not accustomed to fighting these beasts... They wouldn't be in formation otherwise. Probably an invading force trying to tame this region.'

Jack patiently waited as he occasionally dodged attacks sent his way. He knew his current weapons probably wouldn't do much to the armored beasts, so he had to wait for an opportunity to lay a hit on a weak point. And soon, it came.

One of the creatures, with two soldiers hanging on its neck, came barreling through as it tried to shake them off. Jack saw the opportunity the now enraged creature presented. He quickly moved to its way and set the base of his spear firmly on the ground diagonally. He waited for a few more moments, and once the beast was almost upon him, rolled under it.

The usually intelligent creature, distracted by the soldiers on its body, ran straight at the set polearm, that through its own weight and speed, slightly penetrated the more slender armor of its underbelly. The already enraged beast chittered furiously as it looked for the culprit with its beady eyes.

Such an attack would obviously have no great effect on a beast of such a size, but it achieved its main goal: Slow it down and impede sudden movements.

Using that window, Jack soon moved to its legs. He slashed with his sword between the armored plates and quickly dodged to avoid the scythe-like claws of its foot. The beast tried to turn, now understanding his strategy, but it was too late.

A few more cuts at its leg tendons, and the creature soon found itself grounded, falling over one of the combatants hanging onto its body and crushing him. 

'Yikes. Sorry, brother.' Jack made a mental apology in his mind for his lost comrade. 'Thanks for the kill, though!' Getting over his "grief," Jack quickly unlodged his spear from the beast's underbelly and, finding a brief window between its threshing on the floor, thrust the polearm through its eye.

The creature soon stopped moving.

[You have slain an awakened demon, Armored Fiend.]

[You have received a Memory: Chitin Armour]

Jack couldn't help the smile that spread on his face. 'This will be the dawn of a long and fruitful friendship, Mr. Spell. I can already tell.'

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