Chapter 173: Poseidon’s Sounds of Nature
Zhou Qianlin didn’t know when that small smile had first appeared on her face.
Lan Jue took the seat beside her, very serious of expression and mannerism. He looked straight ahead, looking neither right or left as though he didn’t know the people beside him, and didn’t care to. He was succeeding spectacularly at not attracting attention.
The Soulcaller Gem warmed.
Lan Jue: I put him a few rows ahead. He’ll be sleeping for a little while. Sleep’s important for those kinds of guys, with surplus hormones.
Zhou Qianlin: Mm. A qualified bodyguard.
Lan Jue: Of course!
Qianlin: So you seem rather comfortable with this position.
Lan Jue: Doesn’t matter if I’m comfortable. If you’re going to guard someone you take it seriously.
Zhou Qianlin said nothing further. By now all the teachers and students had filed in to the auditorium and found their seats. The twinkling lights began to dim.
Sweeping one’s eyes around the area you would find not an empty seat in the house. There were even people in the aisles, settled on stools.
Ever since the place had begun to fill up, the riotous din of people had grown louder. Now, though, as the lights darkened, a hush fell over the crowd. All eyes turned to the stage.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a world of endless ocean.” A warm, pleasant female voice washed across the occupants. It came from all directions at once, bringing with it the gentle sounds of crashing waves.
From all around appeared shimmering halos. They undulated and expanded outwards like ripples in a vast sea. The ears were full of the sounds of water as the rippling lights spread all around. The whole arena was awash in sapphire, as though they were indeed far beneath the waves.
The air was thick with moisture, and even the slightest hint of sea salt tickled the nostrils. As ten thousand eyes watched, the ripples crashed against the crystalline figures hanging from the rafters. They shone brilliantly, for all the world appearing alive with an inner light. The crashing waves grew gradually louder from small lapping waves to great crashing ones. As the raucous crescendo of a tsunami tore all around, every onlooker’s heart skipped a beat.
Lan Jue looked on with rapt attention. Silently he came to the realization the power of water element was thick in the air. This was by no means a product of special effects; clearly this was the power of a water Adept. What’s more, the power appeared evenly distributed even throughout the enormous auditorium. This wasn’t just the work of one person.
The audience collectively held their breath, all of their attention trying desperately to take it all in. They were, one and all, completely consumed by the spectacle.
“Myriad creatures exist within the deep blue depths. Here, there is only silence… and yet it is full of vibrance. This world is ruled by a handsome Monarch, who guards his people. At his command the waves recede, and in this way he protects us, too.”
Once more the moving female voice arose, and as though at her own command, the terrifying crash of tidal waves quieted.
A peaceful silence fell over the arena. Only the gentle slaps of water on sand remained, amid the lingering charm of that voice.
The ocean sounds were almost imperceptible, but there. As though they were under the water themselves. It lent a genuine air to the atmosphere.
From within and among the ambient sounds there came a singing. It was sweet, and melodious, and only just loud enough for you to know it was there.
It was soft, and pleasing to the ear. Mellow, like an undersea scene. In addition, there was a powerful gravity to it, a magnetism that put listeners on the edge of their seats. There was a sense of omniscience, as though it were narrating a tale. In fact, none could make out the words, but it was a sound that was soothing as it was mysterious. For all the world, they were there among the beasts of the sea, one of them, giving ear to the songs of the ocean.
An opera aria! That was precisely what this was. His voice was perfectly accompanied by the musical sounds of the sea and waves as though they were instruments. And that was it, a perfect trio.
A gentle blue light shone from on high, illuminating the stage. It was just enough light to see the curtain being pulled away. The stage was a staggering blue, that reflected and refracted the floodlights above in a dazzling crystalline display. This was because it was crystal, an aquarium fifty meters high and a hundred meters across. It was filled to the brim with sea water.
However, shocking as that was, ultimately the greatest surprise was what was in the aquarium.
The frothy water danced with a hundred thousand prisms borne from the crystal walls that confined it. They flashed and hung in the water, shimmering against the walls of an enormous palace of blue and gold. The building’s colors complemented each other, perfect like a dream. It was surrounded by walls of coral and a moat of swaying kelp. Fish of all sorts swam lazily among the eddies. In the space of an instant the audience went from among the ocean tides to the heart of this undersea world.
This was no holographic projection, no trick of light or shadows. This was a real scene, built in the middle of the arena. So much clearer than a hologram could ever be, and so lifelike.
That faintly singing voice swirled among the ways from within the golden palace. Fish did as they were wont to do, darting about aimlessly – and yet, as the voice strengthened the fish within the tank slowed, stopped, and faced the palace. As though they were listening.
Under the watchful gaze of its subjects, the palace doors slowly began to open. A figure was revealed, slowly coming in to focus as it floated out in to the light.
His movement was slow, deliberate. It matched his melodious voice. The first thing the audience could make out was his garb. Armor, a deep cerulean blue that shone. He was the very heart of the ocean.
Silken threads of powder blue hair hung free, displaced by the ornate golden crown upon his head. A single drop-shaped gemstone was inlayed in the center.
His eyes were a sea blue that bore the spirit of the ocean, with fair skin and a high nose bridge 1. It all coalesced in to a face that stopped the breath in your lungs. Unblemished. Perfect. He was precisely what a king of the ocean should be.
As dazzling as he was, it didn’t go unnoticed that he was immersed in the sea. How, then, was he singing? It was a trick, they thought, and none suspected it was actually him singing.
Under the weight of the performance the auditorium had lapsed in to a stillness, a silence. No one made a sound. All there was, was that vivid and vivacious voice among the ambient noises of the sea. It grew stronger, louder amid the silence. Even the hardened media, far in the back, were struck agape at the display.
Poseidon’s face bore a small smile. He moved inexorably forward, until he crossed the coral walls. Strangely, the schools of fish at his gates did not flee at his approach. Instead, they flocked closer in his wake.
He stretched out a slender hand, long fingers opening one by one. A tiny orange fish drew close and settled there. His alluring voice continued as his eyes fixed upon the fish. And the fish appeared to look back. Louder still his singing became until, just as the crowd was ready to burst, the volume dropped. Poseidon looked on in surprise as a blue light filled his hand.
It wasn’t long until that dazzling light consumed the entire interior of the aquarium. The light burst out with the power of a tsunami, eliciting a startled gasp from the audience.
The crystalline blue shards of light twinkled and disappeared, revealing again the underwater paradise. The palace was as it had been, and there stood the king as before. But his palm no longer bore the small orange fish. In its place there stood at his side an adorable mermaid.
She looked perhaps seven, or eight. Young and smiling prettily from the reefs at him. Much like his audience Poseidon, too, was startled by this. Slowly his surprise gave way to a small smile, and he waved her forth with a gentle motion.
The little mermaid giggled. In her joy she swept her bright orange tail through the swirling waters. All the other fish hung around her now, and danced with her as they surrounded Poseidon. Even the most incredible dancers couldn’t compete.
Once again the singing increased in volume. Though this voice did not belong to Poseidon. It was hers, crystal clear and beautiful. Compared to Poseidon’s throaty vocalizing, her voice may be immature. But it was so sweet, full of naivety. It brought a smile to every face in attendance. It was cozy, sentimental.
She was almost like a spirit, a guardian of love. Her voice was bright and full of hope.
Poseidon extended his hand with a smile, whereupon the young mermaid crept closer. She allowed him to pat her hair.
It was his turn again, and as Poseidon’s voice rang out it bore notes of the little mermaid’s own hope and vitality. There was a fondness as well, like a brother instructing his little sister. And all throughout the gentle sounds of nature continued.
So beautiful! This was the thought flashing through everyone’s mind as they watched. Be it the sounds or the sights, all were so perfect so as to be impossible. A dream or illusion, perhaps.
The media scowled for they knew, no matter how fine their equipment or large the TV, nothing could capture what they were witnessing. But they rejoiced at their luck, at the honor of being here. To see the Sounds of Nature concert with their own eyes.
Lan Jue looked up to see Hua Li singing radiantly upon the stage. But he couldn’t help but be a little absent-minded. Could this really be his close friend from years ago? A-Li, really? He really did look like the King of the Oceans, Lan Jue thought. And too damn handsome for his own good.
Zhou Qianlin was also enchanted. She watched everything on the stage with a sharp, keen interest.
The undulating sounds of his voice echoed through every corner of the auditorium. It hovered, reverberated until it filled every inch of space.
Chu Cheng watched from the first row. At one point he learned sideways towards Tan Lingyun at his elbow. “Handsome right? You like how it sounds?”
Tan Lingyun’s eyes hadn’t once left the stage or the scene upon it since the show had begun. She nodded her head, and her voice was full of sincerity. “Oh, handsome. Probably the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. And his voice is amazing.”
Chu Cheng’s chest tightened, curses coming unbidden under his breath. Anyone hoping to score chicks with A-Li around was doomed to failure!
“That’s the sort you like eh?” He might as well go for broke.
Lingyun shook her head. “Nope.”
Chu Cheng was surprised at her reaction. “Why not?”
She turned her face to look at him. “You talk a lot of shit. Watch the show. And of course I don’t like him cuz he’s a queer.”
A queer?! At last Chu Cheng could hold it no longer and burst in to laughter.
Scores of eyes along the first row turned to scowl, but their interest was short lived. They didn’t want to miss a moment of the show.
“Well gorgeous, how about I show you a real man? Time to get on stage.” He smirked at her.
- Considered very important in China when determining someone’s attractiveness. ↩