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Chapter 800 Facing The Music
A few days pa.s.sed in pleasant tranquility. Eventually, however, the time ran out. Nephis gathered her things and left for the Immortal Flame manor, leaving Sunny alone.
It was a bittersweet feeling.
Sweet because he finally had the house for himself once again. Bitter because… well… Sunny was not sure that he enjoyed his home being so empty anymore.
Nevertheless, he had chosen not to follow her to join the rest of the cohort yet. Sunny felt like the looming ball was going to change a lot of things, and had to prepare a few contingencies. If the worst happened, there was a big possibility that he would be gone for a very long time again.
There were several things he had to do, just in case.
His lecture course at the Academy had just started, but at this rate, it was under threat of ending prematurely. Sunny spent some time imparting his students with the best and most essential knowledge he could relay in such a short amount of time, but other than that, there was not much else he could do to prevent his academic reputation from potentially receiving a hit.
Luckily, all Masters led hectic lives. The administration was long accustomed to their star lecturers disappearing for months on end without much of a warning, so his case was not unique.
His second worry was the Brilliant Emporium. The Memory store was already in a difficult position because of the invisible blockade that had prevented Sunny from visiting the Dream Realm and hunting down Nightmare Creatures for half a year. Their inventory was running low.
In the past six months, Sunny had slowly shifted his business in the direction of selling Memory versions of mundane items that he weaved. That was not a straightforward endeavor, however. Sure, the idea of having a toothbrush Memory sounded pleasant… but he had to use a soul shard to create one. Considering how expensive soul shards were in the real world, the price of a simple toothbrush would have been simply unreasonable.
So, after thinking for a while, Sunny had come up with a strategy of shifting his focus from necessities and toiletries to luxury items. That way, he could price them high enough to earn more than the price of a soul shard. Rich clients already had access to mundane items in the Dream Realm due to their connections to Masters and Saints, but were willing to pay a lot for the convenience of having various luxuries readily at hand.
So, Sunny spent a few days painstakingly creating an especially large batch of these extravagant Memories and then met with Aiko to transfer them. After thinking for a while, he gave her a strange set of instructions.
Sunny wanted the Brilliant Emporium to stock up on as many Memories that provided either warmth or resistance against cold as possible. The second priority went to Memories that could serve as a source of light, which were usually cheap and plentiful. He also told Aiko to sell every soul shard they had left.
The reason behind this decision was simple… the approaching disaster in Antarctica. Once the government announced the voluntary mobilization, a lot of people were going to need to equip themselves for the harsh realities of polar night. The large amount of opening Gates would also flood the market with soul shards, probably crashing their price to a certain extent.
In any case, he hoped that the Brilliant Emporium would survive for a while thanks to these measures, should something happen at the ball.
Lastly… there was Rain.
His sister was going to turn sixteen in a few months, which meant that Sunny had very little time left to prepare her for the potential First Nightmare. On the other hand… there were not a lot of things left that he could teach her. Of course, Rain still had a lot of room to improve, but at that stage, Sunny's presence was only of marginal use.
What she really needed to do was to truly internalize and a.s.similate the skills and knowledge that he had already imparted to her. While Sunny could help his sister along, most of the work had to be done by Rain herself.
Still, he used the week before the ball to the fullest extent. The teenage girl might have been sour about how intense their lessons suddenly became, but it was for her own good. She was already better prepared to face the Nightmare than he had been, by far.
Whether or not that would be enough, he did not know.
Other than these three things, there was not a lot for Sunny to do.
He prepared his home to go into conservation mode in case he did not return from the ball. He restocked the Covetous Coffer with various supplies for a long expedition. He fought against Saint to clean the rust off his battle instincts. He tinkered with his Memories for a bit, trying to improve them.
All of these preparations might have been for nothing… but Sunny was more willing to be wrong than to be unprepared.
Finally, the fateful day came.
Wincing at the thought of how much money he had spent on that thing, Sunny donned a stylish black suit and briefly looked at himself in the mirror. The bespoke attire had been made by a luxury establishment that serviced many prominent Legacies and incorporated the most rare and durable materials, many of them coming from the Dream Realm.
The suit was made in the style that many Awakened preferred, existing somewhere between the modern fashion and the more antiquated aesthetic that Memories adhered to. It was elegant and fitting, including a stylish half cape and tall leather boots.
Even though Sunny had said a few strong words to Kai during the fittings, now that he looked at himself, he could not deny that he looked… rather good.
Sunny lingered for a few moments, then sighed.
"Let's face the music, I guess."
With that, he briefly circulated essence through the coils of Soul Serpent, wrapped three of the four shadows around his body, and walked outside.
His carriage — in the form of a luxury PTV — was already waiting.