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Shadow Slave

Growing up in poverty, Sunny never expected anything good from life. However, even he did not anticipate being chosen by the Nightmare Spell and becoming one of the Awakened - an elite group of people gifted with supernatural powers. Transported into a ruined magical world, he found himself facing against terrible monsters - and other Awakened - in a deadly battle of survival. What's worse, the divine power he received happened to possess a small, but potentially fatal side effect... Discord: https://discord.gg/NpDgaxRA6Y

Guiltythree · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
1761 Chs

A Shadow, a Star and an Oracle

Grey sky above, black mud below, an endless sea of crimson in between. On this dreamlike backdrop, two beautiful girls were walking across the labyrinth.

One was delicate and fragile, with blond hair and cerulean, aimless eyes. She was dressed in a simple tunic, with leather sandals on her feet and a cloak the color of sea waves draped around her shoulders.

The other was tall and lithe. She had silky silver hair and clear, grey eyes. Her revealing clothes were crudely made out of black seaweed, leaving her fair skin and athletic build exposed. She was poised, alert, and barefoot.

A golden rope connected two girls together.

'Wow. What a sight…' Sunny thought.

He suddenly regretted that he was not an artist. The picture just begged to be made into a painting.

'Wait… why am I thinking about that? People! I found people!'

His heart skipped a beat. If Nephis and Cassia were here, then the orange light from before, most likely, had something to do with them. Which meant that they knew how to get to the tall hill.

Which meant that Sunny didn't have to be crushed to death by the high tide!

'Uh… so what do I do now?'

He wasn't the best at ingratiating himself to other people. In fact, he was the polar opposite — people usually instinctively avoided him. And that was in normal circumstances. This time, however, he had spent a whole of four weeks making sure that everyone in the Academy hated his guts…

'Good job, Sunny!'

Still, he was at least useful. In this situation, an additional body was already a great boon when facing hungry monsters. And he wasn't just anyone: his ability to scout ahead alone was worth a lot. Surely they'll understand that… right?

With a heavy sigh, Sunny stepped into shadows and hurried to the clearing. He reached it in a minute or so, hiding and observing the two girls before making a final decision.

Helping herself with the wooden staff, blind Cassia slowly approached the middle of the clearing and extended her hand, finding Nephis and touching her on the shoulder.

"Why did you stop?"

Nephis supported the blind girl and glanced at the sky.

"It's getting late."

An awkward pause hung between two girls. After some time, Cassia asked:

"So you think we should turn back?"

Nephis blinked and cleared her throat.

"Yes."

Sunny was a bit amused by their exchange.

'What is she, a strong silent type?'

Then he returned to his dilemma and grimaced.

'How do I approach them? Damn, why is this so hard! It's not like I'm trying to ask them out on a date. I mean, one of them… both of them? What am I thinking about?! Just go and say hi!'

But then, if he suddenly appeared out of the shadows… not at all like a creep… how high was the probability of them getting spooked and attacking him before noticing that he was not a monster?

Wait, why would they… argh, to hell with this!

Deciding on the safest approach, Sunny commanded his shadow to abandon its hiding place and move to a spot where Nephis could clearly see it. He could clearly sense the shadow rolling its eyes as it obeyed the order.

As soon as the shadow started to move, Nephis suddenly snapped her hand sideways. Immediately, a long sword appeared in it, cutting the air as it assumed a defensive position. Before the shadow could even take two steps out of its hiding spot, it was already pierced by Changing Star's grey eyes.

The shadow froze. It seemed a bit startled.

Cassia took a step back.

"Neph? What is it?"

Nephis didn't answer immediately, carefully observing the shadow. Then she simply said:

"There's a shadow."

Cassia's doll-like face paled.

"A shadow? Scavengers?"

The tall girl tilted her head a little.

"No. It's a human shadow."

This was clearly not what Cassia expected to hear. With an expression of surprise, she asked:

"A human shadow? What… what is it doing?"

Nephis hesitated. After a while, she answered in a flat tone:

"...It's waving at us."

***

After a whole minute of silence, Cassia finally found the words to react.

"What?"

"I said: it's waving…"

"Yes, I know! I mean… why is it doing that?"

Nephis opened her mouth, then closed it again.

"I don't know. Maybe it's a distraction to lure us into a trap."

At this point, Sunny decided that it was time to talk. He inhaled deeply, then said in a friendly tone:

"Actually, I just sent it ahead to make sure that you don't stab me with that sword before realizing that I'm human."

Immediately, Nephis turned her head, pinpointing the exact location where Sunny was hiding in a blotch of shadows. Her sword slightly shifted, aiming at the new threat.

"If you're human, why are hiding in the shadows like a creep?"

'Goddamit! I'm not a creep!'

Sunny сhoked. But his Flaw was merciless: he had to provide an answer, and a truthful one at that.

"I mean, you're Changing Star Nephis. To be honest, I'm a little afraid."

Nephis did not answer. Because of her hard-to-read face, it was almost impossible to determine whether she believed him or not. However, he included her True Name in his answer for a reason: if he was some monster pretending to be human, he wouldn't have known it.

Luckily, Cassia was more expressive.

"Are you the boy who sat with me in the cafeteria?"

Sunny smiled. Meanwhile, Nephis glanced at the blind girl.

"Do you know him?"

Cassia nodded.

"I recognize his voice. His name is Sunless. He was in second-to-last place in the rankings, right above me."

The tall girl frowned, as if trying to remember. Then she asked:

"The pervert?"

The smile disappeared from Sunny's face, replaced by exasperation.

'Oh, come on!'

Cassia hesitated and didn't answer.

"Hey! I'm not really a pervert, you know! I just… uhm… said a few things. To a few girls. It was all a misunderstanding."

Nephis was silent for a few seconds, and then, finally, dismissed her sword.

"Okay. You can come out."

Sunny limped out of the shadows, summoning his own back. It flowed to his feet and reattached itself, visibly shaking. The bastard was laughing at him...

Stopping a few meters away from Nephis, he raised his hands, showing that he didn't mean the girls any harm. Changing Star gave him an inquisitive look.

"What happened to you?"

She was referring to his limp, bruises, and overall banged-up look. Sunny sighed.

"Carapace Scavenger."

Nephis raised an eyebrow:

"You managed to get away alive?"

'You bet I did!'

Sunny subconsciously straightened his back.

"I didn't get away. I killed it."

To prove his point, he gestured at his rucksack, full of delicious monster meat. Nephis looked him over again, reevaluating her opinion of him. Now, there were hints of approval in her eyes

Carapace Scavengers were only beasts, but they were still awakened. With the addition of their mighty physique and natural armor, defeating one was not an easy feat for any Sleeper, who all had a dormant core. Let alone someone from the very bottom of the ranking list.

Come to think of it, it was even a bit too outstanding.

Sunny lowered his eyes.

"Eh… it was already wounded."

Nephis shrugged.

"A kill is a kill. You did well."

After that, she fell silent, as though not planning to say anything else. Sunny also wasn't sure what to say. Luckily, Cassia came to the rescue.

"Are you seriously injured?"

He shook his head.

"No, it's just that my ribs and leg are bruised — I'll be fine in a day or two. My armor is pretty resilient."

He wasn't worried that they might be tempted to kill him to get the Puppeteer's Shroud. That was because Memories were destroyed at the moment of their owner's death. So they only could be transferred voluntarily by a living person.

Well, there was always torture and blackmail. But he doubted that any one of the two beautiful girls would stoop to that.

Sunny cleared his throat.

"Before stumbling on the Scavenger, I was heading for the tall hill with the massive coral pillar on top. But after the fight, my speed decreased. Now I'm worried about not making it in time. Do you perhaps know the way?"

Cassia smiled.

"Actually, we spend the last days on that hill. We were just about to go back."

Nephis didn't say anything, looking at the sky.

Sunny licked his lips.

"Well… can I come with you?"

'They're not going to say "no"… right?'

The blind girl turned he head to her companion, a clear question written on her face.

"Neph?"

Nephis lowered her eyes, staring at Sunny. After a while, she said:

"No…"

'What?!'

"...problem."

No problem.

'What's wrong with you, princess?! Can't you speak faster?!'

Feeling his heart beating wildly in his chest, Sunny smiled.

"Well. Alright…"