Trending Searches

    Chapter 59: Shadow of the Crimson Spire

    Jumping off the dead scavenger, Sunny retrieved his sword and whistled, letting Cassie know that it was safe to come out. Soon, she crawled out of a small opening in the coral wall and carefully put her feet on the ground. Leaning on her staff, the blind girl stood up and slightly turned her head, listening to the light sound of his footsteps.

    Sunny approached Cassie and took her hand, gently placing it on his shoulder. Then, carefully avoiding puddles of blood, he guided the blind girl to the Echo. They talked on the way.

    "Did those centipedes show up?"

    During their journey through the labyrinth, they discovered that the scavengers were not the only creatures populating it. Different types of monsters lived in the crimson forest, hiding inside the reefs during the night and coming out to hunt once the sun was up.

    There were sentient colonies of carnivorous worms that attacked from beneath the black mud, flesh-eating flowers that strangled their prey with bloodsucking vines, and weird transparent tentacles that they had once seen dragging a desperately resisting scavenger into a dark, cavernous crevice.

    They still didn't know what type of creature had been hiding in the crevice. Sunny hoped that they would never find out.

    In short, the labyrinth was home to all kinds of horrors, every one of them at least of the Awakened rank. They were all carrion eaters, living off the remains left behind by the monsters of the dark sea. Given the opportunity, they were also more than willing to devour each other — not to mention the three juicy humans.

    Luckily, the carapace legion turned out to be extremely territorial and seemed to have the upper hand in this region of the crimson reef. While their armor, size and physical strength made the scavengers formidable opponents, dealing mostly with one type of creature was infinitely better than constantly facing unknown danger.

    The centipede monsters were the latest enemy of the carapace legion they had met. Some of these critters were more than three meters long, with glistening red chitin and hundreds of tiny, scurrying legs. They were abhorrently fast and agile, being able to move through mud, climb the coral walls and even drop on the unsuspecting victims from above with incredible speed.

    What's worse, their bodies were able to secret a corrosive black oil that melted through the strongest armor in seconds. The only redeeming quality of the centipede monsters was that their chitin shells weren't very tough and could be easily pierced by a sword.

    Sunny answered without turning back:

    "Yeah, six of them. And a few scavengers, too. We let them fight each other and then finished off the survivors."

    Cassie gulped.

    "Were you hurt?"

    "Nothing our armor couldn't handle."

    "What about the centurion?"

    He glanced at the half-devoured carcass and smiled.

    Visit ʟɪɢʜᴛɴᴏᴠᴇʟᴘᴜʙ.ᴄᴏᴍ, for the best no_vel_read_ing experience

    "It's not going to bother us again."

    This was the second awakened monster they had slain after entering the Dream Realm. Compared to the first encounter, this battle went much smoother. No one died, no one was seriously injured.

    The Echo even kept both of its pincers.

    "How many soul shards did we get?"

    Sunny counted.

    "Should be eleven."

    Now it was Cassie's turn to smile.

    "That's our biggest haul so far! By a lot!"

    He nodded.


    However, they had once again failed to receive a Memory. Sunny wasn't sure if his bad luck was to blame, but neither he nor Nephis had been able to acquire a single one for the past two weeks. It was almost as though the Spell had decided that they had already gotten enough.

    'There can never be enough!'

    He sighed.

    One of the games he and Cassie liked to play during camp was to discuss what they would buy after coming back to the real world and becoming rich. However, he had to collect a few Memories to auction off first. Otherwise, where would the money come from?

    Consumed by greed and avarice, Sunny approached the Echo and looked up at it with disapproval.

    "Hey, you! Stop chewing!"

    The scavenger obediently froze, a piece of meat still hanging from its mouth.

    Visit ʟɪɢʜᴛɴᴏᴠᴇʟᴘᴜʙ.ᴄᴏᴍ, for the best no_vel_read_ing experience

    "Spit it out!"

    Shaking his head, Sunny helped Cassie climb to her seat and handed her the reigns.

    "This weirdo actually gobbled up almost half of the centurion. What's up with that? Of all the Echoes in the world, why did I have to get stuck with a defective one?"

    His shadow solemnly nodded, expressing that it completely understood his sentiment. Sunny squinted at it. What a rare show of solidarity. The shadow didn't have any Echoes, though…

    What defective individual was it stuck with?

    'Cheeky bastard…'

    Cassie laughed.

    "Don't badmouth my steed. He is a great Echo! I like him very much."

    'It's a "he" now, huh?'

    Sunny shook his head again and got to stripping the remaining meat off the centurion's carcass. Then, he placed the meat into the seaweed saddlebags attached to the scavenger. He had made these bags himself to increase the group's carrying capacity. After all, the scavenger was supposed to be extremely strong — not using it to their advantage would have been an oversight.

    After that, Sunny sighed and got to the least pleasant task — harvesting the oil sacks from the centipede monsters' corpses. Each had two of them, connected to a special gland. The whole process was more disgusting than dangerous, since the corrosive effect was only achieved after the liquids from the two sacks were mixed.

    They had not come up with a way to utilize the centipede oil yet, but Nephis insisted on collecting as much of it as possible. She was sure that it was going to be of use one day.

    At the very least, the oil was highly flammable.

    Speaking of Nephis, by the time Sunny was done collecting the sacks, she had already gathered all the soul shards and was standing in front of the Echo. He showed her his trophies and carefully placed them in a separate saddlebag.

    "All done?"

    She nodded.

    Sunny looked at the sky, trying to determine the time. The sun was right above them, high in the grey sky. There was still plenty of daytime left.

    Visit ʟɪɢʜᴛɴᴏᴠᴇʟᴘᴜʙ.ᴄᴏᴍ for a better_user experience

    "What do you think? We're right inbetween the Flat Hill and the Bone Ridge. Should we return or try to reach the Ridge today?"

    The ground level of the labyrinth was not uniform. Some parts of it were situated higher than the others. Currently, they were in one such area. The dark sea was much more shallow here, which meant that there were more natural features that remained above water during the night. That made for shorter distance between them.

    Nephis thought for a bit, then said:

    "Let's push to the Bone Ridge."

    They had already scouted most of the way to it yesterday, so there wasn't much danger of getting lost in the labyrinth and not making it on time. With the carapace centurion dead, the unpredictable element that had been making their lives harder for these past few days was also gone. Considering this, Changing Star's decision seemed proper.

    Sunny nodded.


    With that, he sent his shadow forward.


    Some time later, they were approaching the Bone Ridge. The sun was preparing to set, but there was still enough time to get to safety. Sunny, however, felt alarmed and uncomfortable.

    This feeling began to pursue him soon after they had left the cliffs. It always appeared close to the evening and persisted until the last minutes of the sunset, then disappeared, leaving him puzzled and uneasy. The further west they traveled, the stronger the feeling became.

    It was as though something was not quite right with the world during that time. But no matter how hard Sunny tried to understand what that wrongness was, he couldn't.

    In the end, he decided to share his uneasiness with the group. After listening to him, the girls were surprised. It seemed that they did not notice anything strange. Even Cassie, whose affinity to revelations provided her with an incredible intuition, didn't experience the strange feeling.

    However, she did suggest a theory. Since Sunny was the only one susceptive to the feeling, it was logical to assume that there was something unique about him that made it possible. And the only difference he had from the girls in terms of perception was his shadow sense.

    Which meant that the source of the wrongness, most likely, had something to do with the behavior of shadows.

    Guided by her advice, Sunny was finally able to understand the reason for his discomfort. As it turns out, Cassie was right — in the hours closest to sunset, when the sun was hanging low in the western skies, a vast shadow moved through the labyrinth, affecting his senses and making his skin crawl.

    The shadow was too distant and colossal to be seen, but he could still feel its presence.

    Visit ʟɪɢʜᴛɴᴏᴠᴇʟᴘᴜʙ.ᴄᴏᴍ for a better_user experience

    When he told Cassie about the immense shadow, she nodded, as though it explained everything.

    Then, she said:

    "That is the shadow of the Crimson Spire."

    read-content read-mode read-font