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

Starless Void

Sunny was expecting to first look at the place where his arrival to the Dream Realm was going to take place from above, just like it had happened at the beginning of the First Nightmare. Back then, time had magically moved in reverse, giving him an opportunity to see hints of what he was going to face.

Instead, immediately after hearing the greetings of the Spell, Sunny found himself blind and drowning. As he instinctively tried to open his mouth to scream, salty water rushed inside, making him choke and twitch.

More than that, he couldn't see anything. No, it's not that he couldn't see — it's just there was no source of light around. Usually, darkness wasn't a problem for Sunny, but, for some reason, his sight wasn't working anymore. Maybe the seawater he was submerged in was blocking it.

If it wasn't for the special space perception that the affinity to shadows gave him, he would have been completely disoriented. With its help, though, he barely managed to understand which side was down, and which side was up.

Luckily, Teacher Julius's lessons had included swimming. Swearing to thank both the old man and Master Jet once he came back, Sunny forced himself to stay calm and began to swim upward.

In a few long and tense seconds, his head broke through the surface of the water. Sunny was finally able to draw in a deep, hoarse breath.

'Breathe, breathe. You're still alive!'

After sucking in enough air to soothe his burning lungs and compose himself to a certain degree, Sunny carefully spun in the water, trying to take in his surroundings.

What met him was an endless, jet-black expanse of undulating waves. Above them was an empty black sky. There was no moon, no stars, just a dark vastness of repressive nothingness. Sunny blinked a few times, cold dread taking hold of his heart.

'This is… a sea? An ocean? Was I dropped in the middle of an ocean?'

No, it couldn't be. There had to be solid ground somewhere nearby!

As he was gripped by a momentary panic, a remote sound suddenly drew his attention. Sunny turned around and saw a triangular dorsal fin moving in his direction. Luckily, it was still hundreds and hundreds of meters away.

'Wait… if it's so far away… then how come I can see it so clearly?'

Despite being submerged in water, Sunny still felt like there was suddenly cold sweat all other his body. By his estimation, that dorsal fin was at least five meters tall. It was rapidly approaching, growing visibly larger with each second.

'Damn you, Spell!'

With eyes full of horror, Sunny spun again, desperately trying to find something — anything! — to save him. And there, a short distance away, he finally noticed a black mass protruding slightly above the water.

Not wasting even a second on thinking, he started to swing his arms and legs, swimming in the direction of the black mass with a considerable speed. However, no matter how fast he swam, the giant shadow of the unknown creature was closing the distance between them much faster.

A small part of Sunny's mind managed to preserve its rationality even when faced with this boundless, primal fear. Not allowing himself to slip entirely into panic, Sunny tried to think, and then silently commanded his own shadow to wrap itself around his body. Instantly, his speed increased twofold.

Just seconds before the unknown colossus got to him, Sunny reached the black mass, stretched out his hands, and pulled himself out of the water. He rolled away from the edge, scratching his skin on the uneven rocks, and jumped in fright when the whole surface underneath him shuddered, as though something massive had collided with it.

As Sunny backed out, terrifying jaws appeared from the water, with rows and rows of giant teeth, each one as long as he was tall. He opened his eyes wide, understanding that the rock he had climbed on was not tall enough to save him from the monster.

'Why is it even trying to eat me?! I'm too small to be considered a filling snack for something this enormous!'

… However, before the monster had a chance to attack, a colossal tentacle suddenly broke through the water and rose into the air like some strange, black tower. Before too long, it fell down, entangling the owner of the giant maw and pulling it back under the water.

Sunny lost the feeling in his legs and plopped on the ground, his mouth opened. His whole body was shaking.

A few seconds later, the dark sea was calm again, as though nothing had happened. The indifferent waves continued to move silently under the lightless sky.

'So, it wasn't trying to eat me,' he realized, frozen.

'It was trying to run away.'


A few minutes later, Sunny was pretty sure that nothing was going to devour him, at least not immediately. With that certainty, he was finally in a state of mind to stop trembling and explore his surroundings a little.

The black mass he climbed onto turned out to be a single stone platform of around twelve meters in diameter. Its surface was mostly flat, covered with grooves, and somewhat dry. Due to the regular shape of its edges, it seemed more like something man-made than a natural formation. But then again, here in the Dream Realm, it was hard to be sure that something "man-made" was actually made by humans, as opposed to…

Better not to think about it.

The platform wasn't connected to anything, existing as a tiny island in the sea of darkness. There wasn't anything else above the water for as far as Sunny was able to see. After discovering that fact, he also realized something else.

It was that he was wet, cold, and completely naked.


In his defense, the clothing situation was the last thing one would think about when trying to save themselves from abyssal monsters. Also, it's not like someone was here to witness his stark paleness and private bits.

Still, it was sort of cold.

Sunny summoned the Puppeteer's Shroud and watched as dark-grey garments covered his body. It even came with a pair of high, soft-soled leather boots. Clad in grey fabric and lusterless leather, he suddenly felt much safer.

Not to mention, warm.

After that, Sunny sat down in the middle of the platform, as far away from water as he could, and tried to remember the unique characteristic of every explored region of the Dream Realm he could think of.

Unfortunately, none of them matched this starless, dark void.

'Of course not,' he thought with a bit of resentment. 'Even if some unlucky humans had ever come here, I doubt that they were able to return to the real world alive.'

Not with those things hiding underwater.

Not yet desperate enough to leave the platform and try to swim away in search of land, Sunny decided to wait and see. Maybe something was going to change as time went by.

With a soft sigh, he habitually looked for his shadow. However, due to the total darkness that surrounded him, it couldn't really be seen. He just barely felt its presence.

"This must be a paradise for you, right? All this gloom and not a star in sight!"

The shadow, of course, did not answer.

"Anyway... good job earlier."

With a nod, Sunny lay down, using his hands as a pillow. Not thinking about much, he stared into the black sky and waited. The sound of the undulating waves was, actually, quite relaxing.

After a while, he closed his eyes and listened. Minutes merged together, growing into hours.

… Suddenly, Sunny caught a slight change in the sound of the sea. It was as though something was shifting. He opened his eyes and noticed that one corner of the sky was slowly turning grey. Soon, a glimpse of a pale sun could be seen rising above the horizon.

A new day had come to the starless void.

And with it, the dark sea suddenly surged.