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    Chapter 92: Journey into the Night

    In the absolute darkness, a small vessel was gliding on the black surface of a restless sea. Its mast, made of a demon's spine, was straining under the assault of the winds. In the eerie silence of this vast and lightless void, the swift boat cut through the waves like a blade.

    No sounds could be heard except for the creaking of bones and the crashing of water against its polished metal hull.

    Sunny sat at the oar, steering the carapace vessel. He was guiding them west. With no moon or stars to show them the path, it was hard to keep the boat on course. But there was a mark left in his mind by the cold and menacing shadow of the Crimson Spire — using it as a compass, he was able to navigate the treacherous waters without losing his way.

    Black skies above, dark sea beneath. With nothing but a thin layer of steel separating them from the tenebrous abyss, they sailed through the night.

    Below them, countless horrors were hiding in the cursed depths. Several times, Sunny felt gargantuan shadows moving close to the small boat, attracted by the sound of its passing. Powerless to do anything, he had no choice but to tremble in silence, praying that the terrible creatures would turn away.

    So far, luck was on their side. Perhaps they were too small and feeble to satiate the hunger of these ancient leviathans...

    A few hours after the start of the voyage, Sunny felt that the constant pull on his mind had begun to wane. His thoughts were slowly becoming clearer, the haze of forgetfulness weakening with each minute. Soon, a ghostly sound of shattering glass resounded in his head. Instantly, the last remnants of the fog that was clouding his consciousness disappeared.

    He was free from the enthrallment of the Soul Devourer.

    Relieved, Sunny couldn't help but smile. However, his smile was weak and hesitant.

    With the effects of the mind hex gone, his usual sharpness had returned. It felt as though an invisible weight had been lifted, allowing his thoughts to finally flow unobstructed once again. Everything became clearer, as though the whole world suddenly came into focus.

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    It was a wonderful feeling. But with it came a better understanding of how terrifying and precarious their current situation was.

    They were quite literally balancing on the edge of a hungry abyss, their lives relying on nothing but capricious fortune. The decision to venture into the dark expanse of the cursed sea on a makeshift boat was pure insanity.

    But then again, there was nothing sane about the Forgotten Shore to begin with. In this desolate hell, the craziest choice was sometimes the best one you had.

    Gritting his teeth, Sunny held the oar and stared into the darkness.

    A few minutes later, Cassie suddenly shifted, making the boat gently sway. She handed the magical staff to Nephis and cautiously moved closer to Sunny, feeling her way through the darkness with her hands.

    Before Sunny could guess what was it that she wanted from him, he was suddenly caught in a tight embrace. The blind girl hid her face in his chest, hot tears streaming down her face.

    Sunny froze, stunned and having no idea what to do. He could feel Cassie's body pressed against him and shaking from crying, her hands tightly wrapped around his neck. While he was trying to comprehend the situation, she quietly whispered:

    "Thank you… thank you…"

    Feeling extremely awkward, Sunny pretended to clear his throat.

    "Uh… no need to thank me. If it wasn't for your warning, we would still be stuck on that island. So, we're even."

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    Then, he raised his hand and awkwardly patted her on the back.

    Both of them were careful to keep their voices as quiet as possible, afraid that they will attract something from the black depths.

    Cassie silently cried for several minutes, then finally let go of him. Wiping her face, she pulled her body away and whispered:

    "I'm sorry."

    Her voice sounded a bit strange. Confused, Sunny raised his eyebrows.

    'What is she apologizing for?'

    "Uh, I'm sorry too. For, you know, grabbing you back then."

    She smiled and, wiping the last tear from her face, turned away to move back to the middle of the boat.

    Sunny was left alone once again.

    With nothing to do except for holding the steering oar, he let his thoughts wander. With his mind clear again, many things were worth revisiting. He had to distract himself from the eerie pressure of the endless dark emptiness somehow, anyway.

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    Despite the fact that their experience with the Soul Devourer was nothing short of harrowing, Sunny had somehow managed to end up considerably better off on the other end of it.

    His haul this time was truly unbelievable. He had received an amazing new weapon, no less than a hundred shadow fragments, and two new Attributes.

    Spark of Divinity was a real improvement over its previous version. The ability to perceive the inner structure of Memories alone opened a whole new horizon of possibilities. However, he was more interested in the mysterious Blood Weave. Somehow, Sunny felt that he had severely underestimated the uniqueness and importance of that Attribute.

    Its origins, too, were covered in a veil of secrets. Who was that Weaver whose ichor he had consumed? Who were the Unknown that even the Spell was reluctant to mention? What was their connection to the gods? Why were the type and rank of the initial Memory he had received from the Vile Thieving Bird's Spawn left empty?

    How was it even possible for a Memory to give an Awakened new Attributes?

    That last question guided him to think of something else.

    Glancing up, he stared at Nephis and tried to recollect their conversation.

    Looking back, she had revealed a lot of things that he had failed to notice in the moment.

    First of all, Sunny now knew that Cassie's enchanted armor, which had been given to her by Changing Star, was an awakened Memory of the sixth tier. That meant that it came from an Awakened Terror, a Nightmare Creature one class above Mountain King that he himself had killed in his First Nightmare.

    The secret of how Changing Star had managed to earn her True Name was now one step closer to being revealed.

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