Chapter 21 First Performance
His words hung in silence. The Sleepers looked at Sunny with a hilarious assortment of emotions, ranging from bewilderment to shock. The young man with humorous eyes just smiled politely.
To be honest, getting an Ascended Aspect during the First Nightmare was extremely rare. He was certainly someone special, maybe even outstanding. Actually, despite their apparent differences, the young man somehow reminded Sunny of Hero… Auro of the Nine.
There was a special type of calculating coldness hidden deep inside their eyes. He had encountered such people before, mostly among the veterans of various street gangs in the outskirts.
They simply called this type of coldness "murder math". Basically, it was a habit experienced fighters developed — no matter where they were and what mood they were in, there was always a sober part of their minds constantly calculating the most efficient way of killing the person in front of them, just in case such need arises.
'Ugh. Why do I have to antagonize someone like that, of all people?'
But Sunny really had no grounds to complain. After all, he brought this on himself.
After a few seconds, one of the young man's companions finally blinked and said:
"Uh… friend, you must not know a lot about the Spell. Caster's results are truly remarkable."
Then, with a furtive glance at the remarkable Caster, he added:
"He is a Legacy, after all."
An actual, living and breathing descendent of an Awakened clan? Sunny reevaluated his opinion of the humorous young man. Legacies were known to be trained for their eventual entrance into the Spell from the moment they could walk. For them, being infected was a certainty instead of a possibility.
They were extremely formidable people.
'Just great!' he thought bitterly and made his frown deepen.
"Are you trying to pull a prank on me? You call this remarkable?!"
The bewilderment in the eyes of these Sleepers was slowly being replaced by hostility.
"Listen, friend. If you don't think that an Ascended Aspect is remarkable, then please share with us your own amazing results! What, pray tell, was your Appraisal?"
Caster himself was still keeping quiet and smiling. However, his defenders were growing restless.
This was exactly what Sunny wanted to happen. He smiled with utter contempt.
"I would let you know… my Appraisal was, uh, it was "glorious"! Yes, glorious. And the Aspect I acquired was of the Divine rank."
After that, he received a number of strange looks. No one had ever received a Divine Aspect before; so, of course, they were starting to think that he was a lunatic. But there was still a sliver of doubt… maybe that strange guy was a descendant of a powerful clan? A peerless prodigy? Maybe his Appraisal was, indeed, glorious…
Sunny had to dispel that tiny bit of doubt.
"Mind you, I'm not some lofty Legacy. Pfft! I'm from the outskirts. I've never even received combat training. All that training and he only got an "excellent"? What did he do during the Nightmare, pick his nose the whole time?"
The expressions of all the Sleepers that were listening to his bragging instantly changed. An outskirt rat with no training… yeah, sure. Who was he trying to fool?
Finally, with the same polite smile, Caster spoke:
"Glorious? That is interesting. Would you mind telling us what were your achievements in the Nightmare?"
"Sure, no problem! First of all, I killed an… uh… an awakened tyrant."
Every "uh" cost him a couple of moments of intense pain, but he didn't let it show on his face. His expression was nothing but smug and confrontational.
The mere mention of a tyrant, let alone an awakened one, made a couple of Sleepers smile with ridicule.
"Oh, really? How did you kill it?"
An arrogant look appeared on Sunny's face.
"How? Let me tell you, I didn't even have to lift a finger. I just spat, and it was torn to pieces!"
Which was true. Sunny had spat a mouthful of blood on the altar, and as the result, Mountain King was ruthlessly dismembered by Shadow God.
Someone openly laughed.
"This guy is either insane or purposefully messing with us. Listen here, shorty. Have some decency, okay? Who would believe such a lie?"
Sunny was genuinely angry. He wanted to retort, saying that he wasn't short. But he couldn't. 𝒃𝒆𝙙𝙣𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒍.𝙘𝙤𝙢
Because that would be a lie, damn it!
So, instead, he just gritted his teeth and said with a voice full of outrage:
"I can't answer that, because it's not a lie!"
"Are you really insisting that you had killed an awakened tyrant — a tyrant! — and with a bit of spit no less?"
Sunny knitted his brows.
"That's the truth!"
More laughter followed.
"He actually believes in his own crap!"
"Insane, he's insane…"
Unexpectedly, Caster stopped his companions.
After the laughter quieted down, he asked in a friendly manner:
"What else did you achieve?"
What? That wasn't enough? Sunny raised his chin.
"Let me think… Oh! I also killed an awakened swordsman."
"Really? How did you do that?
Acting as though he was a little bit embarrassed, Sunny looked down.
"That… actually, that time I had to lift a finger. I even had to shake it a couple of times. That was enough to kill him, though."
He was holding the Silver Bell between his fingers, which led to Hero being attacked and eventually killed by the tyrant. So, technically, all his statements were true.
"What a crackpot!"
"Ha! Can you believe this idiot?!"
"Poor bastard. Not only is he weak, he's also lost it…"
Caster gave his companions a long look and then turned to Sunny.
Sunny blinked. Time for the finishing touch…
"Something else? Uh… Well. Oh, right! I communicated with a bunch of gods, even though they were all dead. I made one of them wake up. He gave me a blessing! I was blessed by a god, do you all understand?!"
The Sleepers were silently shaking their heads or looking at him with pity. Caster sighed.
"I see. Well, in comparison to your achievements, mine do look rather average. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you'll be as successful once we enter the Dream Realm."
Sunny smiled with a look of smug superiority on his face.
"You better believe it!"
With that, he turned around and walked away.
'Ah. That's a job well done.'
He was pretty sure that after this performance, no one would ever believe that he actually had some kind of a powerful Aspect or did anything worthy of notice during the Nightmare. He only told them the truth, and yet managed to make everyone believe in the opposite of the truth.
Such an incredible feeling.
What did they think of him now? They thought that he was weak, grew up without any education in the outskirts, and had no training. More than that, he was apparently either insane or incredibly stupid. His temper was terrible.
Truly pathetic and pitiful fellow.
Now, whenever he was asked about his Aspect, he could just honestly say that it was of the Divine rank, and be laughed at. People would rather believe that the Spell had ceased to exist than that he was someone noteworthy. He could even scream about his accomplishments from the roof, and no one would believe him.
Subsequently, no one would ever suspect that he had a True Name.
'Just you wait, fools. One day I'll be the one laughing.'
As Sunny was walking away, he heard one of the Sleepers talking to Caster:
"Why didn't you put that lunatic in his place? He has belittled you!"
After a short pause, Caster answered. His voice sounded low and mellow.
"Poor kid must have lost his mind in the Nightmare. It often happens. He'll most likely die soon, so being kind is the least I can do…"
The corner of Sunny's mouth twitched.
'What a nice guy.'
He knew that Caster's words were based on a false assumption, but, for some reason, still felt a cold chill running up his spine.