Shadow Slave

Chapter 1280 Beauty and the Beast

Chapter 1280 Beauty and the Beast

Sunny was drowning in a sea of pain. His mind, what little of it was left, had become faint and fragile, ready to collapse at any moment. But it had not collapsed yet. Actually, there was a piece of good news, too. The fact that he was capable of feeling pain meant that he was still alive. The fact that he was still alive... meant that the Azure Serpent was dead. Otherwise, it would have finished Sunny off already.

'I... won...'

It was a small consolation. The pain was so unbearable that he almost wished for death. However, Sunny was too attached to life to throw it away - if there was the tiniest chance to survive, he was going to desperately cling to it with everything he had. Before, he would have done it simply out of spite... but now, there were things he cherished and goals he wished to achieve. He really wanted to live.

'What... the hell... is happening?'

It was hard to form legible thoughts, but he somehow managed to evaluate his current state. Overwhelming pain, the loss of all senses... he was in shock. He was in a pain shock due to his shadow incarnation receiving severe damage. His soul had been wounded terribly. Which meant... what? He didn't know. What was he supposed to do? Was there anything to do?

'Argh... it hurts...'

For now, Sunny decided to do his best to endure the pain and hold his crumbling mind together. It wasn't easy, or pleasant, or possible... but he persisted. He persisted with everything he had. And, after an eternity of torment, there was finally a change. Sunny seemed to regain his hearing. The first thing he heard was Neph's distorted cry:

"Sunny! Don't die! Please!"

He was strangely annoyed.

'Crap... that was an order, wasn't it?'

She broke her promise! Not that it could change anything... it would have been great if Nephis giving him an order to survive magically restored his body and healed his wounds. But Sunny had to be able to execute a command for Shadow Bond to compel him into action - or inaction. So, if Nephis suddenly decided to order him to go and bring her the moon one day, at most he would be forced to fruitlessly try his best.

...And he was already trying his best to survive!

'No really, who does she take me for?'

Nephis had been the one who called him a cockroach, in the first place. As a compliment. Of course, he would do everything in his power to remain alive. There was no need to shout...

Sunny slowly realized that his thoughts were becoming longer and more cohesive.

'Something is changing...'

Slowly, his senses returned, one after another. Hearing was first, followed by shadow sense, sense of touch, smell, taste, and finally sight. It was all a proper mess, though - his vision was blurry, and his other senses were going haywire.

There was more pain, too, this time of a physical nature.

'Why am I even feeling physical pain? I am a manifested shadow right now, technically...'

Perhaps it was a phantom pain. Even though Sunny did not possess a human body at the moment, his mind was still that of a human. And when his mind perceived the dreadful damage done to his shadow body, it reacted the only way it knew how - by panicking and drowning itself in pain.


Sunny gritted his teeth, and was startled by the fact that he had regained the ability to grit his teeth. Even more surprising was the fact that it was fangs and not teeth that he was grinding against each other. His shell seemed to have held together, somehow.

Finally, he became lucid enough to understand the situation.

The tumultuous waters of the Great River were suffused with a soft radiance, indicating that it was still night. More than that, he judged that less than a minute had passed since his final clash with the Azure Serpent... with Daeron of the Twilight Sea.

He knew that because the colossal corpse of the ferocious Great Beast could still be seen, barely, as it slowly sank into the depths of the river. The frightening silhouette of the ancient leviathan grew smaller as it fell into the unfathomable depths and dissolved in the beautiful glow.

A complicated mix of emotions rose in Sunny's heart when he saw his enemy dead. There was dark glee, a strange hint of sorrow, respect, contempt, hatred, curiosity, suspicion... There was also a strong feeling of regret. That was a Supreme soul shard disappearing into the depths, after all! He groaned.

Turning his attention away from the body of the slain leviathan, Sunny tried to understand what was happening around him. He perceived his long serpentine body, now mangled and savagely ripped apart. It felt weak - understandably so, but also weaker than that.

'The soul flame...'

The soul flame was gone. He was only augmented by the five shadows now. Finally, Sunny noticed Nephis. Her small figure was on top of him. She must have climbed onto his giant body while he was floating lifelessly in the water, paralyzed by pain and on the verge of losing consciousness. Both of her palms were pressed against broken onyx scales, and her skin was shining with soft white radiance.

'Ah... she must have retrieved her flames...'

Nephis was healing him.


...Suddenly, her radiant figure exploded with light, dispelling the darkness of the night like an actual star. Sunny felt the familiar warmth - now much more intense than it had ever been before - flowing into him like a flood. And, embraced by that warmth, his broken form started to restore itself. As he felt it, startled, his deeply wounded soul was healed. His half-destroyed shadow incarnation was restored to a pristine state. And, shockingly, even his serpentine shell knitted itself back together. The harrowing wounds closed, the shattered onyx scales glued themselves back together.

By the time Neph's radiance wavered and fell, Sunny was as good as new. The pain that had been tormenting him receded, then disappeared completely. He was alive again. Nephis fell powerlessly on his wide back. She remained motionless for a few moments, then dragged her body up and clutched to two of the horn-like spikes growing from the crown of his head, where the dorsal fin ended.


The Azure Serpent was dead, but they were still far from being safe. In fact, they were in mortal peril, much more so than when the Great Beast had been alive. It was because there was no one to stop the Dark Butterfly from conquering the carcass of the Black Turtle anymore. Worse than that, the abominable creature had surely noticed a blinding star suddenly igniting in the darkness of the night. It was bound to descend upon them at any moment.

So, it was time for the second part of the plan.

'We actually made it so far, huh?'

It was time to leave the dark island behind, and run.

'Let's go, Neph...'

Dismissing Saint, Sunny spent a split second to gather the strength permeating the vast expanse of his mighty, serpentine body. Then, with Nephis on his back, he lowered his head and dove into the endlessly flowing, radiant waters of the Great River.

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