Shadow Slave - Chapter 794
The sudden revelation brought the mood down for a few minutes. Sunny silently drank his champagne, thinking about what Neph had just said. It made a lot of sense, in a dark and disturbing way. It also shed some light on how the Spell chose its victims.
He doubted that a Seed of Nightmare, no matter how small, could bloom in just any soul. It probably required fertile soil to take root… of course, in this ravaged world, there were plenty of broken and traumatized people whose souls could nurture a Nightmare Seed. It had been even more so fifty years ago, when the Spell first appeared.
Had the collective anguish and torment of those lucky few who had survived the Dark Times summoned it from whatever hell the Spell existed in, ushering the rise of the First Generation of the Awakened and everything that followed?
He did not know, and doubted that he would find out anytime soon, if ever. Nevertheless, there was another interesting hint in what Nephis had explained to them.
If Legacies wanted their children to inherit the mantle, and only Saints could ensure that the poor kids would be doomed to either Awaken or die… then Saints held even more power among the Legacy clans than he had thought.
And who were the first Saints of humanity?
Asterion, Ki Song, Anvil of Vale… and Broken Sword. They were the first, and at some point the only people who all Legacy clans had to befriend if they wanted to ensure that their bloodlines continued walking on the path of Ascension.
Was that, perhaps, the initial reason that had elevated the great clans above all the rest?
He was not in the mood to ponder the origins of power that the Sovereigns held, however. Thinking about the great clans made him feel sour. Since today was Sunny’s day off, he chased the weary thoughts away and tried to enjoy his drink instead.
Cassie, meanwhile, said with a deep frown:
“Isn’t it too cruel, to subject your children to such fate? And without even giving them a choice! Only one out of three Aspirants survives the First Nightmare. Of course, that strongly depends on how well-prepared they are, so the number should be less gruesome among the Legacies. But… still… what kind of parent would do something like that to their child?”
Nephis lingered for a while, then sighed.
“It all depends on your point of view. Sure, it might seem cruel to some. But some might see it as giving their child a chance to grow strong in a world that is not kind to the powerless. Legacies are a warrior caste, at their core. They were born from a ruthless war, one that almost destroyed all of humanity. I can understand why they value strength and duty above all else.”
All that talk about parents and children brought Sunny into a dark mood. He was twenty now… he was more or less an adult. In fact, he was already older than his mother had been when she had him.
This realization made him feel very strange.
Sunny stared into his glass for a few minutes with a grim expression, then sighed and stood up.
“I’ll be back in a few.”
With that, he left his friends and went away in search of a bathroom. In truth, he just wanted to be alone for a bit.
Soon, he was staring at his reflection as the water was running from an exquisite brass faucet. The young man staring at him from the mirror did not seem amused.
Sunny frowned, thinking about whether Mordret was hiding somewhere in the mirror. It had become a habit of his to consider such things from time to time.
Luckily, this time, the Prince of Nothing seemed to be nowhere to be found. Sunny sighed in relief, and then left the bathroom to return to the VIP lounge.
On his way, however, he encountered a small disturbance.
A group of young men and women were blocking his way, discussing something with one of the club’s employees in loud voices. Their clothes look extremely expensive, and their appearance was impeccably high-class. As he came closer, he heard the most extravagant-looking member of the group saying with outrage:
“…What do you mean, you can’t let us inside? This is our usual spot! I can see from here that there’s plenty of room left in the lounge! The beautiful ladies inside wouldn’t mind some company, I’m sure. Actually, I am willing to bet that my friend and I can show them far greater time than their present… companion.”
The hostess looked at him and said in an awkward tone:
“Sir… I am very sorry… but the whole VIP lounge was reserved by the esteemed guests…”
The young man scoffed.
“Esteemed guests? Do you even know who I am? I sincerely doubt that anyone in this ramshackle parlor of yours has more esteem than I!”
Sunny sighed, approached the group of young people, and patted the loudmouth on the shoulder. The young men looked down in confusion, then frowned.
“I suggest you unhand me, friend… what do you want?”
“Relax, buddy… I just want to give you a small piece of advice.”
He hugged the young man with one arm, turned him to face the VIP lounge, and pointed at Nephis, Cassie, Effie, and Kai, who could barely be seen from that spot.
“Do you see these people? Do you know who they are?”
The loudmouth scowled, then thought for a moment and ask with curiosity:
“Oh, you know these beauties? Who are they?”
Sunny’s grin grew wider.
“Well, let me tell you. They are all experienced murderers and killers. I once saw the tall one tear a Fallen Beast apart, devour its meat, and gnaw on its bones. The pretty guy next to her used to be nice, but after being burned alive and having his skin replaced with primitive grafts by an unlicensed medical practitioner, he developed some strange ideas. That delicate blonde girl is actually the most terrifying. There are fifty powerful Awakened that follow her around like lost puppies and eat from the palm of her hand, all willing to obey her commands. Every one of them is a maniac. That stunning, incredible beauty next to her… boy, I don’t even know where to start. She was contemplating killing everyone in this club just half an hour ago. Luckily, we managed to distract her…”
With each word, the young man grew paler and paler. His friends were suddenly silent, too. When Sunny was done speaking, the loudmouth nervously looked at the pale hand that was resting on his shoulder, and asked in a small voice:
“A—and… and who might you be?”
Sunny smiled brilliantly:
“Me? Oh, I live with two of these girls. I have a nice house, you know, with very special facilities… of the underground kind, if you know what I mean. The third, I had to spend almost a month locked in a cage with that one. Gods, that was rough. As for the skin-graft guy… he drives me around…”
The young man turned slightly green, then gently moved Sunny’s hand off his shoulder and backed away.
“I… I s—see. Thank you very much for the advice, fr… sir. On second thought, we should be going. My, oh my, look at the time!”
His group suddenly disappeared, as if they had never been there in the first place.
Sunny looked at the hostess and shrugged.
“Well, whatever. By the way, we’re out of snacks. Could you bring us some more? Just… no honey, please!”