Shadow Slave - Chapter 793
Effie wisely chose that moment to disappear and join the dancing crowd below. Sunny ground his teeth for a few moments, then shook his head and walked to the table, landing on a luxurious lounge chair with a sigh.
Kai briefly glanced at him and smiled.
“Where are Effie and Lady Nephis?”
Sunny stared at him for a few moments, then looked away.
“Effie went to dance. Neph is in the bathroom. Also, will you cut it out with the “lady” stuff? The two of you spent months traversing the Forgotten Shore together, back when we were returning from the Hollow Mountains. She is also younger than you. That is more than enough to drop the formalities, don’t you think?”
The archer coughed.
“Oh. Well… I’ll try.”
He didn’t sound very convincing, forcing Sunny to roll his eyes.
“Anyway, what do we have here?”
At some point, a waiter had entered the lounge and placed a tray of various foods on the table… while trying very hard not to throw reverent looks at the distinguished guests. Knowing that there would be no chance for him to taste anything once Effie returned, Sunny used the opportunity to try a few.
As he chewed on a piece of cheese that had been dipped into a sweet, viscous amber liquid, Sunny smiled in delight and asked:
“Wow. What’s that sugary syrup?”
Cassie turned to him, then smelled the air.
“I… I think it’s honey.”
Sunny blinked a couple of times. The word was familiar, but he usually heard it used as a term of endearment. Who knew that it had actually come from something this delicious?
“What is honey, though?”
The blind girl tilted her head a little, then said with a bit of surprise in her voice:
“Well, it is… a sort of liquid that special insects produce by ingesting and regurgitating floral nectar. I guess.”
Sunny froze, grew a little pale, and slowly pushed the cheese plate away from himself.
“…I see. I see. Good to know.”
With that, he gulped a mouthful of champagne and tried to discreetly rinse his mouth.
Sunny was never picky about his food. He had even sustained himself on raw, rotting mimic meat for an entire month once.
But even he had his limits!
‘Damned rich people… what are they going to come up with next?!’
Soon, Nephis returned. She was acting as if nothing had happened, and her face was perfectly composed. However, there was a hint of confusion in her eyes.
As she sat down, Kai hesitated for a moment, and then said:
“You seem concerned. Did anything happen… uh… Nephis?
Changing Star paid no attention to the lack of “lady” and simply shook her head.
“Nothing. I just overheard a bit of a strange conversation on my way back. Apparently, there is a little snack here in the VIP lounge that those women would want to taste? Odd. Why wouldn’t they just order it themselves… well, maybe it is not on the common menu?”
Sunny glanced at the small bowl of honey with disgust and sneered.
“If they want it, they can have it. I have no objections. They are free to gobble it up, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ignoring a strange glance from Kai, Sunny took a sip of champagne and relaxed a little. That was the point of today’s outing, anyway. After days of serving as a punching bag for an untrained Master, he deserved some rest…
Soon enough, Effie returned. The huntress was practically beaming with delight. She quickly destroyed most of their food, poured herself a drink, and grinned.
“This is fun! We should go out more often!”
Sunny and Nephis looked at her in horror, while Kai nodded.
“Indeed. It’s just a shame that they don’t have live music…”
Effie, meanwhile, looked around with a bit of curious expression.
“…This is strange, though. I never imagined living like this. I mean, my goal was always to become a Master. But now that I did, everything seems a little surreal.”
The archer smiled wistfully.
“Yes… life is full of surprises, isn’t it? Before the Forgotten Shore, I had a clear picture of what my future would look like. Then, for years, I tried not to think about the future at all. And now that I reached that future, it’s not like what I thought it would be. Not even a little bit.”
Cassie let out a small sigh.
“Me too. When I look back on my younger self and think about what she expected from the future, I… I can’t believe how naive and shortsighted she was. She… feels like a stranger.”
A few gazes fell on Sunny. He raised his eyebrow, and then said:
“What? This is exactly how I imagined my life would go, actually. After I returned from the First Nightmare, I thought that I would soon be a full citizen, super rich, and have unlimited access to tasty food. So I don’t know what you’re talking about. For me, everything went according to plan!”
Effie rolled her eyes, and then glanced at Nephis.
“What about you, princess?”
Changing Star lingered for a moment, then shrugged.
“I am exactly where I expected to be, too. Of course, the details are different. But the result is the same. Legacies don’t really have a choice in these matters.”
Sunny suddenly became curious.
“I heard that all children of Legacy clans are inevitably infected by the Nightmare Spell. There is just no chance for them to remain mundane. Is this true? If so, why? What is so special about your kind?”
Nephis took a sip of champagne, thought for a moment, and the said calmly:
“There is nothing special about Legacies, as far as one’s chances of becoming infected go. We are not inherently predisposed to Awaken, unlike what many people believe. There are just certain measures that a clan can undertake to make sure that its heirs do.”
Sunny blinked a couple of times.
Neph looked at him evenly.
“It is simple, really. The parents of a Legacy child just have to implore for assistance from a Saint. That is why lesser clans always seek to ally themselves with more powerful ones. The child is brought to the Dream Realm, and then returned to the clan. This way, the seed is already planted in their soul. Once they come of age, it is inevitable for the seed to bloom, and bring them to the First Nightmare.”
Sunny frowned, feeling something strange about her phrasing.
“Seed? As in… the Seed of Nightmare?”
Changing Star calmly nodded.
“Of course. The First Nightmare is not different from all the rest. It is also born from a Seed. It is just that this Seed does not grow in the Dream Realm. Instead, it grows in a human’s soul. Have you never thought why there are no Gates of the First Category? Well… there are, of course. Every Aspirant that fails their First Nightmare becomes a miniature Gate, allowing a single Nightmare Creature to enter the waking world. That is why their corpses turn into monsters.”