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    Chapter 89: Demon's Bones

    Sunny had a lot to do before the sunset.

    The parts of the plan spun in his head, making it ache. He had to constantly remain focused, straining his will to its limits, just to keep himself from forgetting everything. When it was not enough, he had to use pain to augment his concentration.

    His hands and arms were covered in ghastly bite marks. Without the Blood Weave, Sunny might have fainted from blood loss already. Still, with his pale face turning even whiter from exhaustion and feverish light burning in his eyes, he must have looked like a zombie.

    Luckily, Cassie couldn't see any of it.

    It didn't take much to convince her to join their strange endeavor. The blind girl's state was way worse than his or Neph's. She seemed to be barely holding on, her thoughts slow and meek. Sunny's heart was gripped with worry.

    'Why is she affected so much more than us? Is it because we have True Names, but she does not?'

    Names were anchors of one's sense of self, after all. Could it be that True Names served a similar role, only in matters having to do with the Spell?

    He didn't know.

    Sunny guided Cassie to the carcass of the Carapace Demon. Nephis was already busy stripping plates of armor from its back. Her silver sword was seemingly able to cut through the deteriorated metal, making the task not as hard as he had been afraid of.

    Gently sitting the blind girl down in a spot where Neph could see her, he climbed atop the dead demon and evaluated the progress of Changing Star's work.

    She looked at him with a frown:

    "Aren't you going to help? This was your idea, after all."

    Sunny shrugged.

    "Maybe later. You seem to be enjoying yourself, anyway. Some people might say that it's a fun little project to chase the boredom away, right?"

    She blinked a couple of times, then said:

    "I guess."

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    Sunny nodded a couple of times, looking down at the spots where, stripped of armor plates, the demon's flesh was laid bare. The azure blood had coagulated, turning it dark and as hard as stone. Here and there, though, white layers of fat remained in pristine condition.

    "Actually, I have another project in mind."

    Nephis raised an eyebrow.

    "Oh really?"

    Sunny summoned his sword and stepped closer to the gap in the creature's armor.

    "Yeah. I want to make a candle."

    Saying those words, he began to cut, separating the fat from the hardened muscle tissue.

    Neph blinked a few times and then looked at Cassie:

    "Hey, Cas. Has Sunny lost his mind?"

    The blind girl perked up at the sound of her name.

    "Huh? Uh… I'm not sure. I think he's just bored."

    Sunny concentrated on his task, not paying them any attention. For a moment, he entertained the idea of cutting himself with the Midnight Shard's razor-sharp blade, but then dismissed it. Cutting through the Puppeteer's Shroud would have been really hard, and he couldn't dismiss the armor in front of the girls.

    Well… to be more precise, he didn't want to.

    With a sizable chunk of the demon's fat in his hands, Sunny jumped down from the carcass and landed on a pile of fallen leaves.

    Making a candle out of animal fat was not very hard. He just needed fire, water, and time. The wick could be made out of seaweed fibers. It was not going to be pretty, but he didn't care about aesthetics.

    Leaving Nephis and Cassie behind, Sunny rushed back to their camp.

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    The sun was already high in the sky.

    He spent the rest of the day doing two things: watching over the process of making the candle and running around the island, gathering as much fallen leaves as he could.

    From time to time, he would catch a glimpse of Nephis working on the boat, sometimes instructing Cassie to help her with menial tasks. From what he could see, the boat was coming along nicely. Changing Star knew what she was doing.

    Of course, this was only possible because he had convinced her that this was just something he wanted to do for fun. In the girls knew that Sunny was planning to use the boat to escape the Ashen Barrow, the effects of enthrallment would have kept erasing their memories of the task, making finishing it impossible.

    As it stood, Sunny was the only one who knew the true purpose of the boat. That's why he was forced to bear the full weight of Soul Tree's mind corruption alone.

    He felt as though he was about to drop dead of exhaustion. His head felt like it was filled with molten iron. His vision was starting to become blurry.

    But, stubbornly, Sunny refused to give up. No matter how tired he was, how much he wanted to let go and ease this suffering, returning to the bliss of not knowing, he kept his thoughts on one goal, and one goal only.

    Escaping the clutches of the Soul Devourer.

    Finally, with the evening approaching, the boat was ready.

    Looking like a walking corpse, Sunny slowly approached the demon's carcass, which was now cut open and sliced apart. It was as though a mad vivisector had visited the island to perform an autopsy on the giant and forgot to sew the poor creature back up.

    Nephis looked at him with concern.

    "Sunny… are you alright?"

    Giving her a crooked smile, he shrugged.

    "I'm fine. Comparatively."

    He did not specify what exactly he was comparing his current condition to.

    Turning his head, Sunny looked at the boat with dark satisfaction.

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    It was… not how he had imagined it.

    The hull was made out of curved plates of polished metal, with sharp spikes protruding from them in all directions. The plates were held together by the golden rope that was tied tightly around them. Changing Star had managed to make the gaps between the different parts of the hull so thin that no water could sip through.

    The mast was made out of the demon's spine and ribs, with Cassie's enchanted cloak hanged on them to serve as the sail. There was even a steering oar, fashioned out of the tip of the giant's scythe.

    He had expected to see a makeshift raft, but what met him was an actual vessel. Yes, it looked crude… but also strong, eerily macabre, and strangely impressive.

    'Sailing upon the cursed sea on a boat made of demon bones… sound like the beginning of a legend,' he thought, temporarily mesmerized by the ghastly visage of the carapace vessel.

    Nephis looked at him with a hint of satisfaction.

    "Happy? Now what?"

    Sunny gathered his thoughts.


    As soon as he tried to think of what they had to do next, an invisible barrier appeared in his mind, blocking any attempt to continue that thought.

    'Now we… we…'

    No matter how hard he tried, Sunny couldn't quite remember what he wanted to do.

    With a scowl, he raised his hand and bit down on his mangled palm, feeling drops of blood flowing into his mouth.

    But even that pain did not help him destroy the barrier.

    Sunny smiled darkly and kneeled, placing his hand on the ground. Summoning the Midnight Shard, he raised his other hand and brought the pommel of the sword down without any hesitation.

    As the brittle bones of his ring finger shattered from the powerful strike, a wave of agony washed over his mind, obliterating the adamantine barrier.

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    'Now we get the hell out of here!'

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