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    Chapter 74: Midnight Shard

    Sunny's heart skipped a bit.

    Instantly, he forgot all about the Azure Blade. Yes, that sword held a certain sentimental value… but who the hell cares about sentimentality?! It came from a carapace scavenger, which wasn't bad at all for his current rank. Few Sleepers got to wield Awakened weapons.

    But this new Memory came from an actual awakened demon! A demon!

    That made it an Awakened Memory of the third tier, two whole tiers above the Azure Blade. There were seven tiers in total, corresponding to the seven classes of Nightmare Creatures, from beasts to titans. Strictly speaking, a higher tier did not always mean that a Memory will be more powerful, but generally, the more advanced a creature was, the more unique and formidable Memories it left behind.

    That's why the Puppeteer's Shroud, which came from an awakened tyrant and was thus considered to be a Tier Five Awakened armor, was so precious.

    'Please, be awesome!'

    Sunny tried very hard to not let his excitement show on his face. Pretending to be nonchalant, he kept his voice even and said:

    "Really? That's good."

    Nephis took his hand, ruining all Sunny's attempts to appear calm, and closed her eyes. Hiding the startled expression on his face, Sunny felt a spark of energy travel from her body to his. It was just like that time he transferred the Starlight Legion Armor to her, only in reverse.

    [You have received a Memory: Midnight Shard.]

    'Huh. Cool name.'

    He summoned the runes and impatiently searched for the description of his new weapon.

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    Memory: [Midnight Shard].

    Memory Rank: Awakened.

    Memory Type: Weapon.

    Memory Description: [Forged from the shard of a fallen star, this stalwart blade is firm and unyielding. It favors those who are willing to fight to the last drop of blood and knows no surrender.]


    Not wasting any time, Sunny summoned the Midnight Shard. Immediately, an elegant sword appeared in his hand.

    The sword looked a bit like the Azure Blade, but only in the sense that it was single-edged and had a long hilt suitable for two hands. However, this was where the similarities ended. For starters, its blade was much longer, somewhere between seventy and eighty centimeters, and slightly curved. It was forged out of the same bright, lustrous metal as the Carapace Demon's armor.

    It was incredibly sharp.

    The hilt was made out of polished black wood, quite similar in appearance to the onyx branches of the great tree. The crossguard was round in shape and more pronounced than that of the Azure Blade, offering better support and protection to the wielder's hand.

    The sword had no decorations, no ornaments, no embellishments. It was simple and austere, like a true weapon designed for battle and battle alone. It seemed to radiate a cold, fearsome aura.

    As soon as his hand touched the Midnight Shard, Sunny felt that this sword possessed an unbreakable will. Its blade was strong enough to withstand devastating blows without suffering any damage. With this sword in his hand, nothing would be able to leave Sunny unarmed again.

    More than that, there was a strange new sensation somewhere deep in his heart. When Sunny held the Midnight Shard, he could feel a subtle presence, as though there was a deep well of power hiding inside of him, just beyond reach. He couldn't quite understand how to access that power yet, but it was certainly real.

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    'I guess I'll have to win its "favor" first. But how do I do it? Hmm. I'll have to experiment later.'

    Admiring his new weapon, Sunny looked at Nephis and said:

    "Even I know what type of sword this is. It's a… a katana, right?"

    She studied the Midnight Shard and then answered:

    "Technically, it's a tachi. It's longer than a traditional katana and has a slightly different blade shape. But they're quite similar."

    A tachi… well, it sounded nice anyway. And most of the principles he had learned with the Azure Blade could be applied to a sword of this type as well, since they shared the same foundation.

    The new acquisition wasn't quite enough to make Sunny forget about the loss of the Echo, but his mood did improve significantly. He liked the Midnight Shard... a lot. There was beauty in its simple, resolute design.

    It was understated and deadly. Kind of like Sunny himself.

    It was a significant upgrade.

    Suddenly, a dark thought appeared in Sunny's mind. Glancing at Nephis, he cleared his throat and said after a bit of hesitation:

    "Uh… it's a very nice weapon. Tier three, no less. Are you sure that you don't want to keep it for yourself?"

    Changing Star was the one to deal the final blow to the Carapace Demon, after all. By right, the Memory belonged to her. But Sunny really, really hoped that she would refuse.

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    Nephis shook her head.

    "I already have a sword. It suits me."

    Inwardly, Sunny sighed with relief.

    'Good,' he thought. 'Makes you wonder, though — if she's unwilling to exchange her longsword for a tier-three weapon… then what is the tier of that silver sword of hers?'

    He didn't buy the idea that it simply suited Changing Star better even for a second. She had told him herself that the principle of using these types of swords was basically the same. Upgrading to the Midnight Shard and giving the old weapon to Sunny would not have caused her any problem. The only reason she would refuse it was that it would have been a downgrade, instead.

    Once again, he became curious about the exact circumstances of how Neph had gotten her True Name. To receive his own, Sunny had to kill an awakened tyrant. Could it be possible that she had done the same? Or even… something more incredible?

    But he was too tired to try and fish for information.

    They all were.

    Afraid that the strange winged creature they had seen devouring a dead centurion would appear again, this time to claim the remains of the Carapace Demon, the three Sleepers relocated to a far side of the island and hid behind the trunk of the great tree.

    Only when they were sure that nothing would be able to notice them from above did they finally allow the exhaustion to prevail and went to sleep. Sunny fell into dreamless darkness almost instantly, happy to finally be able to rest.

    However, this time something strange happened.

    He actually saw a dream.

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    'Strange,' Sunny thought. 'This isn't supposed to happen in the Dream Realm… right?'

    Then, there was no more time to think…

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