Chapter 205: Sea Creatures
Su He said, “I’ve already bought myself a luxury cross-alliance tour. Once our business has been concluded here, I plan to take Ya Xiu here out for a vacation. We’re gunna start with a three-month tour of all the planets in the East. Like you said, it’s important to get out and see the galaxy. In the future I plan to take a few months off every year to travel. This time it’s the East, then I’ll visit the West, and finally the Northern Alliance. After that, who knows where the wanderlust will take us.”
Lan Jue chuckled happily. “You adapt quick, mentor! Truly your powers of comprehension and deduction are mesmerizing.”
Su He smirked. “Last night, after leaving your room, I had an epiphany. Somewhere in my thirty years of life I’d forgotten how to appreciate all the beauty around me. I’ve failed to appreciate the people around me. But I found this out while there was still time. That’s why, yesterday, I decided it was time to make some changes. So I proposed to Ya Xiu – this is to be our honeymoon.”
Ya Xiu’s face reddened as she smiled prettily. His friend’s proposal methodology was unorthodox, he thought.
Of course Lan Jue would not delve too deeply in to the young couple’s secrets. He just smiled and congratulated them heartily.
“Lan Jue,” Su He continued, “today’s auction begins in the afternoon, the biggest one of the year. It’s called the Tear of Neptune Auction. Unfortunately, the showing for the items on auction concluded already. They’d been going on the last few days. So we figured we’d take you on a stroll through Dwarka first. In the afternoon we’ll participate in the sale.”
“Sounds good! Thank you very much, mentor.” Lan Jue of course couldn’t refuse such a warm-hearted offer.
As one might anticipate, Lir’s entertainment revolved largely around water. Su He rented them a catamaran, large enough to comfortably house all five of them.
These sorts of boats were more stable than your average single-hull boat. While it was at the whim of the waves in bobbing up and down, it was absent the pitch and roll more traditional boats suffered from.
The sea breeze was calmer today, and the sun shone brilliantly overhead. The sky-blue ocean was supremely clear, to the point where they could see various sea creatures leisurely floating about on either sides of their boat at varying depths. Sometimes it seemed like the whole ocean around them would shift and change color as particularly large shoals of fish swam by. It was a beautiful sight.
The oceans that planet Lir were famous for where famous for good reason. They were full of ‘anima’, of life and vitality. As the small crew bounced along the waves there was no scent of mold or fish. There was only a fresh, moist wind that caressed their faces.
Lan Jue stood on the upper level of the boat. He stared in to the distance, steadying himself with a grip on a nearby handrail. It was a feeling he couldn’t express in words.
Su He walked to Lan Jue’s side, and stared out over the ocean with him. His face bore an easy smile. “So those two girls, which one’s your girlfriend? Don’t tell me they both are! You’ve got some skill, to have them live in harmony!”
Lan Jue broke in to laughter. “Neither. They’re like my little sisters. They help me look after my store.”
“Can there even really be a purely platonic relationship between a man and a woman.” Su He pondered aloud.
Lan Jue’s response was genuine. “Of course.”
“In this respect I’m certainly not qualified to contradict you,” Su He replied. “I don’t have a lot of experience there. I trust in your abilities, they’ve proven to consistently be more effective than mine.”
Lan Jue’s features twisted in to a wry smile. Like I was never the beta male?
Lin Guoguo’s called up from below, interrupting their exchange. “Hey boss, look at this huge fish coming our way.”
“Huge fish?” Lan Jue narrowed his eyes and searched.
The Psychic Tide nimbly climbed up the ladder to the floor her employer occupied. “It’s at least forty meters long. So big. It’s coming right this way. Professor Su, are there any dangers from the sea life here?”
“There are always predators, in every ocean. The circle of life, after all. But for us, we’re very unlikely to run in to something dangerous. Worst case we scare them off,” he answered.
As he spoke, Su He launched himself over the railing. He landed on the bottom level of the boat as naturally as though he’d floated down. He looked out over the horizon, a dim red light surrounding him.
Lin Guoguo’s eyes flashed a brilliant gold, but only for a moment. She spoke softly to Lan Jue at his shoulder. “Professor Su’s Discipline is kind of like Ke’er’s.”
Lan Jue nodded. “That’s right, it is similar. His explosiveness is more severe than Ke’er’s, but he doesn’t have the sustain she does. His Discipline is Energy Detonation. Hers is energy tempest.”
Lin Guoguo nodded her head in understanding.
In the distance, the waves split. In that instant they spied the massive girth of a sea creature. It floated with the waves, rising and falling as the waters broke around it.
From the boat they could see it, a massive marine animal with a body entirely covered in spindles. They were largely concentrated along it’s spine, making it look like it had a saw sheathed on its back. It was swimming quickly their way.
Su He lifted his hands. Soon after the two appendages shone with a bright red light. The powers crackling around his hands congealed, until they formed two balls of energy. He didn’t seem to move, but nonetheless the two orbs of light raced off. They didn’t find their target, instead falling in to the ocean and exploding a few meters in front of it.
Boom, boom! The two rumbling explosions filled their ears. Plumes of frothy water shot in to the skies. Clearly Su He had employed his Discipline to scare the beast away.
Lan Jue smirked. “A kind soul. He doesn’t have the heart to kill a fish.”
“Ey? No way.” Lin Guoguo called out. Her eyes were fixed on the pillar of water, and the blue halo that extricated itself from it. It formed itself in a shard of crystalline water, that grew thicker and longer with each passing second then raced towards the boat.
Lan Jue was also surprised. “An element-controlling sea monster?”
In no time, the water shard had reached them. This was its territory, borne from the energies of the sea. From the time Lin Guoguo had seen that something was amiss, to when Lan Jue noticed it, the blade had already found them.
Su He was just as confused as they. He clasped his hands in front of him, and soon thereafter another orb of sizzling red shot outward. It stretched until it became a shield, protecting the front of the boat.
But something strange occurred. It was as though the sword had grown eyes, for as the shield appeared the spectral weapon changed course. It swept sideways, then viciously took a swipe at the side of the boat. It was a move designed specifically to avoid Su He’s defenses.
Su He, not to mention Lan Jue and Lin Guoguo, were stunned at what they saw. However, Lan Jue’s reaction was swift. He stretched out a hand, and pressed it in a downward motion. A crash of thunder, a flash of lightning, and the blade was intercepted by a charged bolt of electricity.
The impact elicited an ear-splitting blast. The shard of sharpened water shattered. The force of their collision nearly lifted the boat out of the water. It was pushed back, and bobbed furiously atop the waves.
Su He staggered, perched as he was at the bow of the ship. The red energies exuded out from him helped to keep his feet glued to the deck.
Two yelps from Xiuxiu and Ya Xiu bubbled up from somewhere below.
“Nasty critter!” Su He fixed the creature with angry eyes at it quickly sped away from them.
Just as he was preparing for another attack – this one likely to end the beast – he spied a golden light slowly wafted down in front of his face.
Dozens of indistinct golden halos separated themselves from the strange light. They raced outwards, surrounding the sea creature.
A second sword had been sent after them by the creature, but as the golden lights encompassed its creator the sword changed. It swung to the side, no longer set for a collision course with their boat.
Su He raised his head toward the light, and was surprised to discover Lin Guoguo suspended in the air within. Her whole body released a dim golden light, and it was from her that those strange bubbles had come. She looked like a mystical faerie come to earth.
Su He swallowed, then laughed at the circumstances.
Her abilities weren’t about flying, and yet here she was. That meant, he knew, that this young woman was at least a ninth level talent. But she still called Lan Jue boss? With such powerful companions under his command, Su He wondered just how powerful Lan Jue really was at this point.
Little by little, a calm overcame the fervent beast. Its head had risen above water, and as they looked on its two dark red eyes changed to a shimmering gold. It remained in place, slowly sweeping its tail this way and that through the churning waters. The waves of energy released from it felt weaker.
“Su He, it looks like our rudder was damaged. What’s going on!” Ya Xiu cried out to him, concern evident in her voice.
The captain they’d hired to sail the craft also made an appearance, his face a mask of confusion and anger. They stepped out to watch the amazing scene unfurl before them. Ya Xiu seemed to take it in stride, but the things happening on his boat were more than the captain could grasp. He was just a sailor, after all.
Lan Jue made his way down to the bottom deck, where he met Su He. The younger man looked at him apologetically. “I’m sorry. I had no idea we’d run in to something like this. Captain, call in for some assistance. I guess there’s nothing for it but to wait for a rescue boat to pull us back in to port.”
Lan Jue disregarded his friend’s apologies with a smile and a shake of his head. “No need. As we saw, Lin Guoguo has her ways.” By this time Lin Guoguo was making her way back towards the other on the boat. Strangely, the massive sea creature looked like it was following loyally in her wake.
“Ah! That’s a Nethermaw, and a big one too! Who’d have thought we’d run in to a fisherman’s nightmare today.” The captain watched with eyes wide and jaw slack.
Lin Guoguo finally arrived back on the ship, and settled on the deck. “I just had a nice chat with it. Actually this thing isn’t so violent. It just isn’t as perceptive as other fish. It heard out motor from far away and thought it had to protect itself.”
“Well, it broke our rudder,” Lan Jue announced. “Have it pull us back to shore. Save us the trouble of waiting for a rescue boat.”
A few minutes later, and the Nethermaw was towing them in with mooring ropes tied to its spines. The catamaran bobbed in the beast’s wake as they made it back towards town.
Su He grinned at Lan Jue. “I’m sorry. We charge out on a whim and come back with our tail between our legs. This is actually the first time I’ve ever actually seen a Nethermaw. It was interesting, I just wish it was under different circumstances.”