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    Chapter 86: Final Clue

    Sunny's thought process was very simple. Honestly, in the state he was in, complex ideas that went against Soul Tree's indoctrination were almost impossible to hold on to. He was already at his limits just trying to remember what had happened in the giant nest.

    On his way down, Sunny had to bite himself several times, leaving bloody marks on his hands. Sharp pain cleared his mind for a few moments and gave him temporary relief from the constant pull of forgetfulness.

    Coincidentally, he was already noticing the effect [Blood Weave] was exerting on him. The bites only bled for a short while, quickly turning into scabs. The speed of coagulation of his blood was clearly enhanced. He also felt more energetic, his endurance substantially better than it had been before.

    Which made sense. The human body was a system where every part affected the other. A comprehensive improvement of one of these parts, especially one as important as blood, had to lead to a chain reaction of lesser improvements throughout the system.

    It seemed that he had severely underestimated the importance of his new Attribute.

    'Focus, idiot! No tangents!'

    Gritting his teeth, Sunny concentrated on the task.

    He wanted to use Cassie's Aspect Ability to learn the truth of the hidden Atrribute. Her sight was different from his. Sunny could only see the information provided by the runes because it was a default function of the Spell. He simply accessed that information with his mind.

    Cassie's sight, however, came from her Aspect. Thus, even if their minds were compromised, it should not have affected her ability to see other people's Attributes. She also had a high affinity to revelations and fate.

    So, there was a high chance that Cassie would be able to succeed where he had failed.

    Finally reaching the ground, Sunny woke the blind girl up and, after a short conversation, mentioned the Attributes. Then, he carefully asked:

    "Can you take a look at mine?"

    Cassie was visibly confused by this question.

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    "Can't you do it yourself?"

    Sunny smiled.

    "I can, but I think you'll be surprised when you see them."

    The blind girl hesitated, then shrugged.

    "Alright. But if it turns out that you woke me up for nothing, I'll be pretty upset. That was not very nice of you…"

    She turned to face him and froze for a moment, as though staring into his eyes.

    "Fated, Child of Shadows, Spark of Divinity… wait, wasn't it "mark" of divinity? Huh, I must have remembered wrong."

    Stopping for a second, Cassie shyly covered her mouth with her small hand and yawned.

    "Uh. My memory has not been too good lately. Too much rest, I guess. Where was I? Oh, yes. Blood Weave… huh? Where did this come from?"

    Sunny forced a chuckle.

    "This thing? From an egg. Anyway, is there something else?"

    Cassie blinked a couple of times.

    "An… egg? Well, if you say so…"

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    Usually, an appearance of a new Attribute was not something one would gloss over. But in the state she was in, Cassie's attention span was severely reduced, and her mental capacity was clouded. She just frowned for a second, then forgot all about the discrepancy.

    Sunny's heart, meanwhile, was beating like it was going to explode. With a fake smile frozen on his face, he waited for the blind girl's next words. They were going to decide whether or not he would be able to get to the bottom of things.

    And, therefore, find a way to rise from that bottom.

    With an absentminded smile, Cassie said:

    "My mom makes the best eggs… uh… what were we talking about? Right, your Attributes. The last one is Enthralled. Wait… where did this…"

    Knowing that there was very little time, Sunny hurriedly asked:

    "The description! What does the description say?"

    A bit of tension sipped into his voice. Startled by this intensity, Cassie didn't ask the same question again and simply said:

    "You've been mesmerized by the ancient fiend, Soul Devouring Tree, and are being turned into its thrall. Once the process is complete, there will be no escape."

    As soon as Sunny heard these words, it was as though heavy chains fell from his mind. Suddenly, his memories returned in an avalanche, making him stagger. His eyes opened wide.

    Only now that he had fully recovered his memory did Sunny realize the extent to which his mental state was warped, how much of his true self was gone, how close he came to being completely obliterated without even knowing that a terrible monster was slowly devouring his mind.

    An extreme feeling of terror filled his heart. For a few moments, Sunny lost the ability to speak, covered in cold sweat and shaking.

    'C—calm down. Calm down. It didn't happen, you stopped it. You're back, it didn't eat you.'

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    Slowly, he was able to get a grip on his feelings and achieve some semblance of composure. He came very close to the edge, but did not take the last step. He was still himself.

    It wasn't over yet. They still had a chance.

    Looking at Cassie, Sunny slowly exhaled and said.

    "Thank you."

    The blind girl smiled and raised her eyebrows.

    "For what?"

    She had already forgotten all about their conversation.

    Sunny was free from being mesmerized by the Soul Devourer, by Cassie was not. Her memory, mind and thinking were still compromised. Turning worse as they spoke.

    A pained smile appeared on Sunny's face. Struggling to keep his tone light and cheerful, he said:

    "For helping me out just now. Sorry about waking you up so early… go back to sleep. I'll take it from here."

    Cassie hesitated for a few moments, then got distracted and forgot that he was there at all. Yawning, the blind girl lay down and covered herself with her cloak. Soon, she was asleep again, happy and blissfully ignorant of the fact that her days were numbered.

    Sunny watched her for a while, a grim expression on his face. Finally, he turned and walked away, thinking:

    'Over my dead body.'

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