Chapter 255 Dawn Shard

Chapter 255 Dawn Shard

As the last spark of light disappeared, Nephis tilted her head to the side and remained silent for a few moments. Then, she lowered her gaze and said, addressing the First Lord:

"Thank you."

She hesitated, as though wishing to say more, but eventually just took a step back.

Kai, however, wasn't that reserved. Bowing deeply, he remained with his head down for a while, then straightened his back, looked at the skeleton, and voiced something that a few of them must have been thinking:

"Thank you. We will… we will finish what you started."

His words echoed above the cold water, eventually disappearing into the darkness. A heavy silence settled above the shore of the underground river.

A few seconds later, the charming archer turned to the rest of them and asked with uncertainty:

"I think… should we bury him?"

The members of the cohort looked at each other. Before anyone could voice their opinion, though, Sunny suddenly spoke:

"No. Just leave him as he is. He wanted to be closer to his friends when he died, so… just don't touch him."

With that, he turned his head and looked away.

Since the First Lord died outside of the terrible maze, his shadow was gone, too. Now it was just dumb and empty, like most shadows cast by inanimate objects. He had not shared in the harrowing fate of his companions, which meant that Sunny couldn't help him reunite with them… even slightly.

Neither could they bring the remains of the First Lord back outside, to bury him near the girl who had died in the quarry.

It was better to just leave him be.

'Forget about it. Think of something else.'

Sunny had other matters to consider, anyway.

That strange Memory that Nephis had absorbed… he had never even heard of a Memory that could exist outside of someone's soul. Had the First Lord somehow relinquished the ownership of it, or was this a quality that all Shard Memories possessed?

And it was, without a doubt, another Shard Memory — just like Effie's spear and his own stalwart blade. That Memory was the reason why Changing Star had ventured on this expedition, to begin with. The thing that was supposed to somehow give her a chance of defeating Gunlaug.

Sunny stared at Nephis, then said:

"That headband… what is it called? No, actually, let me guess. Dawn Shard? Dusk Shard?"

Neph looked at him and didn't answer. Her ivory face was calm and inexorable.

Sunny grinned.

"...Full of secrets, are we?"

A hint of some deep, sharp emotion appeared in her cold grey eyes. A few moments later, she said:

"Weren't you the one who made it clear that you don't want to be a true member of this cohort? You chose to be a hired blade yourself… did you not? Why should I share my secrets with you?"

Sunny remained silent for a bit, then sighed.

"Well… fair enough. I did, and you have no good reason to share anything with me."

Suddenly, Nephis smiled.

"You can change your mind, you know. If you do, I'll naturally tell you everything."

He stared at her for a while, then shook his head.

"No, no need. Answer me one question, though. How exactly is that thing supposed to help us defeat Gunlaug?"

Changing Star lingered for a bit, then simply shrugged.

"See for yourself."

A moment later, the headband left behind by the First Lord weaved itself from sparks of light on her forehead. The bright gemstone in its center softly gleamed.

And then, something about the world around Sunny changed.


He blinked a couple of times, then slowly lowered his gaze and looked at the fabric of the Puppeteer's Shroud.

Or, rather, on the spellweave beneath it.

What he saw left Sunny breathless.

The five glowing embers that served as nexuses for the complicated pattern of ethereal strings permeating the Memory suddenly shone brighter.

Much, much brighter.

In fact, their radiance was now almost as intense as of those inside the black onyx armor he had purchased at the Memory Market. Which was… which was…

An Ascended Memory.

'What the hell?'

Pulling on the thread tied around his neck, Sunny fished out the Blood Blossom from under his armor and stared at it, perplexed. The two embers inside the intricate pendant had become much brighter, too.

Not knowing that Sunny had the ability to peer into the inner weave of Memories, Nephis explained:

"The Dawn Shard possesses a single, but also singularly powerful enchantment. It empowers all Memories around it. The area of effect of the enchantment is very large… but the enhancement it provides is ever larger."

'...You don't say!'

Staring at his Memories, Sunny felt as though he was on the verge of being dumbstruck. Singular was the right word to describe the effect of the Dawn Shard. He had never heard of a Memory being capable of rising the power of another one by almost an entire rank…

'Wait, did she say… all Memories?'

All Memories… all of them… in a very large radius?


With that crown on her head, Nephis would not only be able to stand a chance in a fight against Gunlaug, but also make each one of her followers so much more dangerous. She would become a perfect general for a small army of Awakened.

… But wasn't there something wrong with that statement?

Sunny frowned.

'All Memories… hold on. All?'

Glancing at Changing Star, he asked:

"So that thing makes every Memory around you vastly more powerful?"

Nephis gave him a silent nod.

Sunny's frown deepened.

"Then do you not see a problem here? Won't it enhance that damn golden armor of Gunlaug's, too? How exactly does it give you a chance against him, then?"

She lingered for a few moments, then smiled slightly.

"It would not, would it? But, hey… do you want me to tell you another secret?"

Sunny glared at her without saying anything. He knew better than to get himself into such a clumsy trap.

Only, as it turned out, there was no trap. Nephis just waited for a bit and continued:

"It will help me because the golden armor Gunalug wears is not a Memory."

Before he could say anything, she added:

"In fact, it is an Echo."

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