[You have received a Memory: Drop of Ichor.]
'Wait a moment… wait a moment…'
A Great Devil? He gulped.
Nightmare Creature with four soul cores was called a devil, just one class below the dreaded tyrant. From that detail alone, the evil ancient egg had been potentially more powerful than the Carapace Demon.
However, what shocked him the most was its rank, not class.
The quality of most things having to do with the Nightmare Spell followed a similar hierarchy, from Dormant to Awakened, Ascended, Transcendent, Supreme, Sacred and Divine.
Humans had only ever managed to reach the Transcendent rank. These heroes were known as Saints, each wielding an unimaginable amount of power and leading humanity in its war against the Nightmare Creatures.
The Nightmare Creatures, too, were different from each other in a similar fashion, with seven ranks of power. They were, in order of growing strength: Dormant, Awakened, Fallen, Corrupted, Great, Cursed and Unholy.
A Great Devil, therefore, was a Nightmare Creature with four soul cores, each one of the Great rank. Which were the same in terms of power as a Supreme soul core would have been if a human ever managed to pass the Fourth Nightmare and rise one step above the Saints.
…Sunny had just killed one of the most powerful Nightmare Creatures to ever fall by a human hand. At least as far as he knew. Victories against the Great Devils were rare enough to be of historic importance.
What a stroke of luck, to find one absolutely defenseless, yet to be fully born and weakened by thousands of years of neglect. Not to mention the fact that he was probably the only human alive to be partially immune to the egg's terrifying life-sucking powers.
'Wait… how many shadow fragments did I get?'
Sunny felt stronger… a lot stronger…
He was used to receiving two fragments for each awakened beast he killed. Thus, it was fair to assume that a Fallen beast would give him four, a Corrupted beast would give him eight, and a Great beast would give him sixteen — forgetting the ridiculousness of the notion that a Sleeper would ever be able to slay a great beast.
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However, the Vile Thieving Bird's Spawn was not a beast, it was a devil. It had four cores, so… sixty-four fragments?!
Dumbstruck, Sunny summoned the runes. In his excited state, he even disregarded the insistent forgetfulness that prevented him from doing so earlier.
Shadow Fragments: [196/1000].
After seeing the number, he was giddy with joy at first. But then, Sunny frowned.
'Wait, that doesn't make any sense. I had ninety-six fragments before coming to the Ashen Barrow. I received sixty-four just now, that makes it hundred and sixty. Where did the additional thirty-six fragments come from? From the fruits? No way… we've been eating them for less than a week, one fruit a day. To get that much… a whole month would have to pass…'
But how could so much time pass without him noticing? Yes, his memory was strange lately… but…
Sunny tried to concentrate on the discrepancy, but it was very hard, for some reason. The more he thought about it, the less clear he became on what exactly he was thinking about.
'Uh… what was I trying to remember? Something about the shadow fragments? Yeah…'
A few minutes later, he massaged his temples and sighed in frustration.
'I guess I was trying to calculate how many fragments I got from killing that vile egg. It's sixty-four. What is there to think about? That is great!'
He would spend more time celebrating the insane amount of shadow fragments he had received, but there was another amazing thing waiting for his attention.
A Memory. He had actually received a Memory from a Great Devil! A real, actual Supreme Memory of the fourth tier. That was… that was…
Sunny summoned the runes once more and looked at his Memories.
Memories: [Silver Bell], [Puppeteer's Shroud], [Midnight Shard], [Drop of Ichor].
Hurriedly, he concentrated on the new one.
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Memory: [Drop of Ichor].
Memory Rank: unknown
Memory Type: unknown
Memory Description: [The loathsome Thieving Bird was hated both by the gods and -unknown-. However, it only cared about shiny things. Enamored by Weaver's beautiful eyes, it stole one of them on a dark, starless night. Impatient, the vile creature looked at its bounty while still in flight. However, when it saw the reflection of -unknown- forever frozen in the depths of Weaver's pupil, it went mad and screamed, dropping the eye on the mortal realm below. All that was left in its greedy beak was one drop of pure, golden ichor.]
What the hell was that?
He had never heard of a Memory with an unknown rank and type. How was this even possible? Did the Spell really not know or was it simply refusing to let him know? Why would it do that?
And the description itself… what were these words that it failed to translate? He tried to forego the automatic translation and look at the runes themselves, but they were beyond his ability to translate. In fact, he had never seen runes of this type before. Weirdly, studying them caused him to feel dizzy and nauseated.
'That is… very, very weird.'
Also, to his shame, Sunny had to admit that he had no idea what the word "ichor" meant. It simply wasn't in his vocabulary. Maybe if he went to school and got an education like other Sleepers, he would know.
Sunny hesitated for a minute or two, then cautiously summoned the strange Memory. Instantly, golden sparks of light appeared in the air in front of him, coalescing into a spherical drop of radiant, golden liquid.
'What am I supposed to do with thi…'
Before he finished his thought, the Spell spoke again. Its voice sounded a bit strange. It was almost… excited?
[You have acquired a drop of ichor. Do you wish to consume it?]
Consume… a Memory?
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Things were getting weirder and weirder.
What was going to happen if he did consume it? Memories were rewards given by the Spell to the Awakened. As such, they were usually useful, very rarely useless, and never harmful. At least that was the common knowledge. However… this one was out of the ordinary. And it was the Spell he was talking about. The damn thing was nothing if not unpredictable… usually with catastrophic consequences.
The safest approach would be to put the golden liquid back into his Soul Sea and never touch it again.
But it was a Memory received from a Great Devil! Chances were he would never hold another one in his whole life, not even in his dreams.
Sunny was simply unwilling to let this opportunity go.
Trying to calm his rapidly beating heart, he licked his lips and said:
"Yes. I want to consume it."
[As you wish.]
The golden sphere separated into two streams of beautiful, radiant liquid. The streams flowed through the air, approaching Sunny's face. He felt a gentle touch caress his cheeks.
Then, the golden liquid reached his eyes and flowed through them, entering his soul through the pupils.
Soon, it was gone.
Sunny was frozen, not knowing what to expect.
A second passed, then another.
He raised his trembling hands to his face, finally feeling something.
In the next moment, Sunny opened his mouth and let out a terrible, wailing shriek as unimaginable, blinding pain tore through his entire being.
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