So, the silver-haired girl, Nephis, also received a True Name in her First Nightmare. To get his own, Sunny had to deal with Hero and Mountain King while possessing a completely useless Aspect — an impossible feat that seemed to have pleased the Spell very much.
"I wonder how she had gotten hers."
Sleepers in the cafeteria were struck dumb by the revelation of this achievement. They were staring at the screen with astonishment, fear and admiration. Listening to their excited whispers, Sunny felt a childish desire to scream "Me too! I have one too!".
But, of course, he kept quiet.
Looking around, he noticed Caster"s gaze fixed on the screen. There was a strange, somber expression on the humorous young man"s face. But the weird thing about it was that, as far as Sunny could tell, Caster wasn"t looking at the line of text containing the True Name.
Instead, he was staring at the line of text that read "Nephis", as though the girl"s actual name held more meaning to him than the one given by the Spell.
"Interesting. Do they know each other?"
Why would a lofty Legacy know someone who came to the Academy in a police-issued tracksuit? And speaking of Nephis… where was she?
Sunny glanced around the cafeteria and quickly noticed the silver-haired girl, who was sitting quietly in a corner with a cup of coffee in her hands. She wasn"t paying a lot of attention to the commotion, seemingly immersed in her thoughts. Her grey eyes were serious and distant.
"A Sleeper with a True Name? That"s impossible!"
"It"s technically possible. Smile of Heaven received her True Name in the First Nightmare, I think. But yeah, I"m doubtful…"
"Maybe she lied in the interview?"
"Are you stupid? If it was that easy to deceive the administrators, the crazy pervert from yesterday would have been in the first place instead!"
Sunny"s face twitched. Crazy pervert, huh…
"Well, why don"t we just ask her?"
Suddenly, there was a deafening silence in the cafeteria. Following the suggestion, Sleepers stopped talking and turned around, staring at Nephis. However, no one seemed to have the courage to approach her first.
Finally sensing something, she raised her eyes and looked at them with surprise.
Even the blind girl, Cassia, turned in the direction of her voice.
After a couple of moments, Caster suddenly walked over and made a small bow.
"Lady Nephis. I am Caster from the Han Li clan. I see that your trial went well?"
Lady? Why is he addressing her that way? And he had to introduce himself… so, they don"t know each other? Interesting.
Nephis seemed to be a little bit perplexed by the question. After thinking for a while, she smiled brightly and shrugged.
"It is what it is."
Caster awkwardly returned the smile.
"I see. I am very glad that you returned unharmed. Uh… not that I doubted your abilities."
After that, she returned to her coffee, indicating that the conversation was over or simply oblivious to everyone"s attention.
There were a lot of thoughts on his mind. However, none of them could distract him from the most important thing… breakfast. A few seconds later, he had forgotten all about the awkward dynamic between Caster and Nephis and was happily shoveling down his food.
The Wilderness Survival classroom was spacious, tastefully decorated… and completely empty. Sunny even thought that he was mistaken, but then spotted a gloomy instructor sitting behind a wide wooden desk. Noticing him, the instructor perked up.
"Come in, young man!"
He was a lively old man with messy grey hair, absentminded eyes and a pair of bushy eyebrows that seemed to jump around on their own.
"I"m Awakened Julius. You can call me Teacher Julius. Sit down, sit down! What"s your name?
Sunny obediently sat down.
Julius raised his eyebrows.
"Ah! What an ominous name. But that is good, very good. After all, we have to deal with a lot of ominous things!"
Sunny carefully looked around.
"Uh… I"m sorry, Teacher. Did I come too early?"
"No, no… you"re right on time."
"Are other students late?"
The instructor grunted with incredible contempt.
"No one else is coming. Those brutes are only interested in swinging their fists and swords around. Very few are smart like you and know the true value of knowledge…"
Oh. So it was that unpopular. Sunny inwardly sighed, hoping that he won"t regret the decision to abandon combat training in favor of this course.
"Say, young man… why did you choose Wilderness Survival, of all things?"
There was no point in hiding the true reason. Not that Sunny would have been able to anyway…
"The Awakened that monitored me during the First Nightmare, Master Jet, had advised me to study it above all things."
"A very wise advice! That Master truly knows what"s important… wait. Did you say Jet?"
His eyes widened.
"Soul Reaper Jet? That murderous savage?! Hm. Who would have thought that a barbarian like her would know the value of intricate knowledge."
Soul Reaper? Sunny"s curiosity was picked.
"Teacher, do you know Master Jet?"
Julius carefully looked behind his back before answering:
"Who doesn"t know the Soul Reaper? She might not be the most powerful Awakened out there, but she is certainly one of the most feared. That"s because her Aspect Abilities disregard flesh and target soul cores directly. Which means that no amount of armor, damage resistance and physical protection can stop them."
He leaned forward.
"The only good thing is that she"s young and not likely to become a Saint anytime soon, or even ever. Yes, luckily, there"s a very low probability that she"ll ever advance."
Julius looked at him as though trying to comprehend how someone could be so ignorant.
"Because of her problematic personality, of course! Who would want to help a psychopathic killer become a Saint? You need a team of outstanding companions and a lot of support to attempt conquering the Third Nightmare. Soul Reaper Jet isn"t… wait!"
Suddenly, Julius frowned and leaned back.
"Why am I gossiping with you? You"re too young to know such things! More than that, it"s not in my character to badmouth others behind their backs!
"I would beg to differ," Sunny thought sarcastically, but didn"t say anything out loud.
He already got a lot of juicy information out of Teacher Julius.
"Maybe choosing Wilderness Survival was the right choice after all."
"Let"s get back to your curriculum. What other courses are you taking?"
"None. For the next four weeks, I"ll be fully concentrated on Wilderness Survival."
Julius stared at him for a whole minute, an expression of utter astonishment written clearly on his face. Then, slowly, an excited gleam appeared in his eyes. Finally, he grinned.
"Wonderful! This is wonderful! You"re such an astute young man! Don"t you worry. In four whole weeks, I will make you immortal…
Sunny"s lessons with Teacher Julius started pleasantly and without much tension, but just an hour later, he felt like his head was ready to explode. There was so much new information, and all of it was so strange and counterintuitive for someone who had never left the walled-off, sheltered confines of the city.
From time to time, Julius gaped at Sunny"s lack of knowledge and relevant experience. However, he had a good attitude and an endless enthusiasm for teaching. Whenever Sunny stumbled, he would patiently slow down and allow his student to catch up.
The curriculum that Julius planned out was practically insane. There was an endless amount of theoretical knowledge to learn, practical lessons both in virtual reality and the real world, numerous subjects and weird things to study. There were even several lessons dedicated exclusively to learning the basics of several dead languages of the Dream Realm!
"Why would I need to learn new languages?" Sunny thought with self-pity. "The Spell automatically translates everything!"
But Julius was uncompromising.
"The Spell is not a translator! Do you think it has the time to express the intricacies of human speech? Let"s say you"re seeking shelter in a ruin and find an inscription that reads "certain death ahead". There are thirty words for death in the rune language! Just by knowing the runes, you"ll be able to deduce what kind of danger there is!"
On the first day, they studied until the sun was about to set. Only then did Julius decide to let Sunny go. Mentally exhausted and lamenting the fact that he had to miss lunch and dinner, Sunny decided to gently remind his teacher about the importance of food for maintaining high levels of concentration tomorrow.
After returning to his room, he fell on a chair and stared blankly into the distance for a while. Then, as though remembering something, Sunny turned to his shadow.
Right. He had a lot to accomplish before supper.
He observed the shadow for a few seconds and then grinned.
"Let"s see what you can really do…"
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