Shadow Slave

Chapter 762 Negotiations

The young woman that exited the PTV looked sharp in a perfectly tailored, elegant business suit. It was entirely black, with buttons and cufflinks forged out of silver steel. Her hands were protected from the cold by leather gloves, and her raven black hair moved slightly in the wind.

With alabaster skin and a slender figure, the young woman looked both beautiful and daunting. She resembled a lethal blade, and that impression was only exacerbated by the cold gaze of her striking, strange, vermillion eyes…

Morgan of Valor had come to represent her clan herself.

Sunny silently cursed.

This was… more or less the worst-case scenario. Now that a direct descendant of Anvil of Valor appeared to conduct the negotiations in person, his chances of fooling anyone dropped significantly.

Not to mention that his heart suddenly ached, as if remembering the pain of being ripped out of his chest by Morgan’s slender hand. Even though that unfortunate incident had happened in the illusory Dreamscape, the memory of pain was very real.

…Much worse than that, Sunny couldn’t help but shiver when he realized how strongly Morgan resembled her older brother. The resemblance was almost uncanny. It was as though he was staring at a slightly younger, female version of Mordret.

That made him deeply uncomfortable.

Morgan looked up at the crushing mass of the Academy’s gates, then glanced at the sea of candles with curiosity, and walked forward. Stopping in front of Sunny and Cassie, she offered them a polite smile and said in her low, raspy voice:

“Master Sunless. You look… familiar. Have we met before?”

If Sunny was in a bad mood before, now it turned really vile. Of all the questions out there, why did she have to ask that one?!

He hesitated for a moment, then answered indifferently:

“Not face to face. I once saw you from afar, during one of the Dream Tournaments. I doubt you got a good look at me, though.”

…He also saw her up close, but she did not need to know that!

Morgan seemingly lost interest and turned to Cassie.

“Song of the Fallen. It’s an honor to meet you.”

Although her tone was not too deferential, she was treating the blind girl with a bit of respect. Anyone with a True Name deserved acknowledgment, even from a scion of a great clan.

Cassie nodded.

“Master Morgan.”

The daughter of Valor smiled.

“Ah. So I don’t need to introduce myself.”

With that, she turned away and looked at the red gates of the Academy again. By now, the massive drawbridge had already started to move, slowly lowering itself to allow them entry.

Morgan’s face became a little wistful.

“This is the Awakened Academy, then… I’ve always wanted to attend. Sadly, that was never in the cards for me.”

Sunny glanced at her with a bit of confusion.

“Why not?”

The young woman lingered for a moment, then looked at him with a disturbingly familiar pleasant smile.

“I’ve been trained by the best of the best since I was a child. There was nothing the Academy could offer me that I did not already have. Spending time here would have just been wasteful.”

She paused for a moment and sighed slightly.

“…Still. I used to love dramas and webtoons about the Academy. It’s a shame.”

Morgan watched as the heavy metal bridge fell into the special grooves in the ground and grew still after a series of loud clicks. Then, she looked at Sunny and asked:

“Would you mind giving me a small tour? I hear that you are a lecturer now.”

Of all the possible ways he had imagined the negotiations to start… this was not one of them.

Sunny hesitated, then shrugged.

“Yeah, sure. Why not? Follow me.”


The Academy was something of a city within a city. It was self-sufficient and well-protected. The whole complex was surrounded by a deep moat and a wall of armored alloy that was tall and durable enough to slow down an attacking titan. Here and there, automated turrets of the air protection dome could be seen, their large-caliber barrels aimed at the sky.

Sunny, Cassie, and Morgan of Valor walked for a few minutes before approaching a low, modern building with white walls. He pointed at it and said with little enthusiasm in his voice:

“This is the Sleeper Compound. Most of it is underground, of course. Usually, there is a lot of activity inside and around it, but this soon after the solstice, there are no Sleepers around. The first batch is going to be inducted in a week or two.”

When he was done talking, Cassie added:

“There are a few private academies here and there, but only one Awakened Academy. The government brings all willing Sleepers to this compound, no matter what Quadrant they are from. On an average year, around a thousand young men and women prepare for their first venture into the Dream Realm here.”

Morgan studied the Sleeper compound for a bit, then asked with a smile:

“So, is it as lively and boisterous as it is portrayed in the dramas? Do Sleepers really get to all kinds of shenanigans, develop lifelong friendships and bitter rivalries, and go on risky adventures?”

Her raspy voice sounded genuinely curious.

Sunny laughed dryly.

“…I don’t know. We are the last two people you should be asking that, honestly. Not only did we spend only a month here, we were also both at the absolute bottom of the rankings. Everyone treated us as walking corpses.”

Morgan looked at him, then said:

“And yet, here you are. Only three years later, both alive and Ascended.”

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He glanced at Cassie, then grinned.

“Yes. Life can be funny that way, sometimes.”

They proceeded to walk around the Academy for some time. Since Sunny knew it much better than Cassie due to his research assistant position, he did most of the talking. He showed Morgan around, explaining the purpose of various compounds and buildings, while she listened with interest and asked questions from time to time.

All in all, Morgan of Valor seemed really… friendly.

That was the danger of it, however.

Sunny did not miss the fact that the more he talked, the more information about himself he was giving away, and the harder it was to keep his guard up. Although the daughter of the great clan seemed pleasant and well-meaning, the truth of it was that every one of her words was calculated and served a purpose.

His worst fears were coming true. The emissary clan Valor sent was not some arrogant, cavalier fool. Instead, they sent a lethal princess with eyes so sharp that her gaze could almost cut skin.

Although Morgan had not made it apparent… the negotiations had already started.


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