Shadow Slave - Chapter 368

Published at 19th of August 2022 04:31:09 PM

Chapter 368: Aster, Song, Vale

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Chapter 368 Aster, Song, Vale

Sunny spent several hours reading the book about the history of the Immortal Clan book, and now, finally, he was starting to feel sleepy. Not to the point of needing to use the stimulants provided to him by Master Jet, but enough to make it harder for him to concentrate.

Rubbing his face, he mentally repeated the names of Broken Sword's companions — the brilliant warriors who had become the first Saints of the human race.

'Asterion, Ki Song, Anvil of the Valor clan.'

Were they the Aster, Song, and Vale?

While not exactly the same, the names of the members of the legendary cohort were too similar to the three words that Nephis had once told him to never say out loud — among a couple of others — to be merely a coincidence.

'Let's see. What do I really know about all that stuff?'

Sunny knew that the three words held enough meaning to free Neph from the haze of the Soul Devourer's mind hex, at least partially. She had reacted to them very strongly… so much so that Sunne had actually been afraid for his life for a bit there.

She had also asked him a strange question…

He repeated it mentally, careful to not say anything out loud:

'Which Domain do you belong to?!'

Sunny had had no idea what a capital letter Domain was back then, and he didn't know now. But he was, indeed, sure that there was a capital letter there. He also suspected that people who had been trying to kill Nephis for most of her life were connected to these mysterious Domains.

Which meant that Caster had been, too. From that, it wasn't hard to conclude that Domains and Sovereigns — who apparently willed the destruction of the Immortal Flame clan — were tied together, or more likely the same.

And all of it had something to do with Lineage Memories and the Attributes they bestowed, like [The Fire] Attribute that was described as the lineage of the Sun God.

Or his own [Blood Weave], which was apparently both incomplete and forbidden.

Sunny massaged his temples and sighed.

For a long time, he had no clue about what Aster, Song, and Vale meant. But after meeting Seishan, an adopted daughter of the great clan Song, he began to suspect that they were the names of the three Legacy Clans responsible for the numerous attempts on Neph's life… and maybe even the deaths of her parents and the downfall of the Immortal Flame clan.

Not only because of his inherent dislike of Legacies, but also because of how peculiar Changing Star had described her relationship with the Handmaiden:

'Trusted? Not really… never, actually.'

Why would Nephis say that she would never, ever trust Seishan? Maybe it was because Seishan belonged to one of the clans responsible for the undoing of her family. That was a logical assumption.

…But now, Sunny saw that, maybe, he was wrong. Maybe Aster, Song, and Vale weren't the names of clans — maybe, these were the nicknames belonging to three people.

Asterion, Ki Song, and Anvil of clan Valor.

They were Broken Sword's companions, and as such, Nephis had to have met them a lot before her father died. Neither Broken Sword himself nor his daughter would have been addressing them by their full names, either. What would she call them?

Uncle Aster? Auntie Song?

Sunny looked down, a dark expression appearing on his face.

If these were really the people that had later sent numerous assassins to hunt down the little girl who trusted them… then the hatred Nephis had for them would be easy to explain.

…It would also be easy to explain how a Saint of Broken Sword's talent and might had died. Maybe... maybe he had been stabbed in the back by the people he trusted the most.

Even though there was no proof, it all made too much sense. Sunny felt that he was on the right track.

But how were Asterion, Ki Song, and Anvil of clan Valor connected to the mysterious Sovereigns? Did they serve them, or…

His eyes widened. A terrible suspicion entered his mind... not, not a suspicion.

A certainty.

'...It's them. They are the Sovereigns!'

The revelation hit him like a hurricane squall, too vast to comprehend all at once. And the key to it was a simple sentence that Nephis had once told him while overwhelmed by intense emotions.

How did he miss it?

Back when they had their falling out in a deserted alley of the outer settlement, Neph said:

'...You think Gunlaug can stop me? You think a Fallen Terror can stop me? Those three ghouls can stop me? No, Sunny. Nothing will stop me. Anyone who dares will die. I'll kill them all.'

She had listed her enemies! She listed them in the order of magnitude. First Gunlaug, then the Crimson Terror. And then, the Sovereigns.

Three ghouls.

Aster, Song, and Vale.

Just as he was trying to cope with that idea, another frightening realization appeared in Sunny's mind. He shuddered.

Recalling another thing that Nephis had said, he then mumbled quietly:

'...No, I won't be the first one to conquer the Fourth Nightmare. I will be the first one to conquer every Nightmare.'

Back then, he had understood her as wishing to be the first one to beat the Fourth Nightmare, as well as all the rest. But her words could have been interpreted in a different way…

Among the Awakened, there was a general agreement that the names of the Ranks were not coincidental. Many people thought that the words used by the Spell described the ascent toward godhood… or the descent into profanity, as far as Nightmare Creatures were concerned. In many ways, these two paths were reflections of each other.

A person of a third Rank was described as Ascended, since they were rising above their human nature. A creature of the same Rank was called Fallen. This step had to do with ascension, or the opposite of it.

A person of the fourth Rank was described as Transcendent, since they had transcended the mundane and assumed some qualities of the divine. A creature of the same Rank was called Corrupted. This step had to do with transformation… it was no coincidence that the Aspect Ability the Saints received was called a Transformation Ability, after all.

The next step also had a special meaning to it. It represented authority and reign. Be it Supreme or Great, beings of that level were meant to consolidate their power and exert it upon the world. The fifth step of the Class hierarchy was much the same, allowing Nightmare Creatures to create and control armies of lesser minions.

Such creatures were called Tyrants…

What would a human who had reached the Supreme Rank be called, then?

Sunny trembled.

'A Sovereign…'

Nephis had not meant that she would not only be the first human to conquer the Fourth Nightmare, but also all the rest. She had meant that she would be first to conquer the Fifth, the Sixth, and the Seventh.

Because the Fourth Nightmare had already been conquered!


Ki of the great clan Song, Anvil of the great clan Valor, and a person called Asterion had conquered it. And Broken Sword of the Immortal Flame... Broken Sword had been mysteriously killed in the process.

Aster, Song, and Vale had returned from the Fourth Nightmare wreathed in new authority, while Broken Sword perished. What was a Domain? Possibly the expression of the fifth Aspect Ability they had received, a special one, just like the special Transformation Ability the Saints possessed.

And, for some reason, they had chosen to keep their accomplishment a secret, instead exerting their influence on humanity from the shadows.

Wasn't it strange, that their names seemed to practically disappear from the pages of history after Broken Sword died? They, too, were the first to become Saints, after all.

Not if they had chosen to keep them hidden.

Wasn't it strange that Caster of Han Li clan seemed so loyal to the mysterious Sovereigns who had ordered him to kill the last daughter of the Immortal Flame clan?

Not if they were the real power behind the great Legacy clans, to which his own lesser clan was beholden.

Wasn't it hard to believe that there were words that could kill just by becoming known to a person?

…Not if those words were the names of the three Supreme rulers that preferred to remain nameless.

Sunny moaned slightly, then covered his face his hands.

'...Crap. Crap. Crap! Why did I have to go and get myself involved in all this crap?!'

He had a feeling that his life had just become much more complicated.

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