06 Mar


Right as the moon was beginning to set over the horizon I fell asleep. It felt like only a second later however that Rak-li was waking me up.

“What,” I said, not hiding my irritation.

“Aku, you need to awaken. I can see land ahead.” 

“Wait- really?!” I jolted up awake, looking around me to confirm what he said.

Right before my eyes was a land so large it spanned the entire horizon as far as the eye could see. Lush green jungles filled its entirety, except for one spot.

Dead ahead there was a gap in the trees. It appeared that the colossal beast was headed straight for it, whatever was there. 

“That must be the place she said we were heading towards,” I muttered to myself, unintentionally loud enough for Rak to hear.

“A woman? The siren? Is she not dead?” Rak-li looked at me, puzzled.

I signed, then explained the situation to him. 

“No, the rainbow haired woman who gave us our powers. She found me while you were asleep and told me that the Cete-whatever is taking us exactly where we need to go, along with some vague information about her origins.”

Rak looked at me, a rather dumbfounded look on his face. 

“Er… It was something about there once being a near endless amount of worlds and her being the sole survivor of them all, having been erased by some monster. She also apparently created us and everything we know, including King Goltri.” 

“And… you couldn't take a few moments to shake me away or anything?” Rak looked even more confused.

I shrugged. 

“You seemed tired, her appearing in a giant flash of light wasn't enough so I thought ‘eh, just let him sleep.’” 

“EH?! You met the creator of our world and creator of all our problems, yet didn’t care to wake me up!” He yelled.

“I apologize! You had been through a lot and I thought you could use some time to heal! You know everything I do!” I shouted back, annoyed at the tone he took.

“Fine, whatever, I understand. We need to focus on preparing to enter whatever it is dead ahead of us. Let us destroy the camp and hide in the jungle next to the creature's head. When we’re close enough to it, we will swim to the shore and figure out where we are from there.” 

I nodded in approval, and we started on the execution of the plan. 

We first ate the remains of dinner and our fresh water. Then we dismantled camp, throwing most of it into the ocean and making it look unoccupied. 

We stopped by the charred remains of the harpy, still littering the viny beach on the south end of the island beast. 

“What do we do with her?” I asked. 

Rak scratched his head. 

“Better to be safe than sorry,” he said as the tattoo across his chest lit up and he directed a wave to sweep her away. Her corpse disintegrated into ash, leaving nothing but a soiled spot of soot in the waters that quickly dissipated with the movement of the waves.

We then hid within the protection of the jungle until we arrived within swimming distance. Birds the size of humans- or rather, people who were birds, the pouli, filled the skies up ahead. 

Even from this distance, the giant tribe they buzzed about occupied the size of what felt like our entire island. Massive towers and buildings made of wood and mud lined either side of the mouth of a massive river, which the sentient island seemed to be headed towards.

I was stunned, the muscles of my jaw no longer working to keep it shut against my lips.

“There is no way. How can one place be so massive?” I said, my thoughts verbalized. 

How many people were in a single group of these pouli?

“This place has changed a lot since I was here last. It’s been at least a sun cycle,” he said softly. Clearly, he was just as amazed by it as I was. 

We didn’t have time to keep oogling, for the longer we waited, the closer to getting spotted by the airborne pouli we came. 

“I don’t know if our plan is such a good idea with them up there,” I said quietly. “Remember I can’t be underwater long, but we’ll be seen if I just tread the surface. We can’t just go straight to the shore either.” 

“Oh krill,” he said under his breath. I watched him as he thought for a moment, his eyes darting about. “I’ll have to carry you on my back when we dive. I can get you there quicker than you can take yourself.”

“Going faster will only push salt water into my lungs faster,” I reminded. I hit him on the shoulder as the shore grew nearer and nearer. “You bend water to your will. Think of something!”

Rak’s face lit up for a moment, and then steeled again. He grabbed me by the arm and we snuck to the edge of the jungle over the creature’s left flipper. I didn’t have any time to think before he jumped in, his emblem lighting up as he dragged me into the water. I quickly squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath as I waited to crash into the water.

From my feet up to my chest, I felt the cool ocean water surround me, but that wetness didn’t come anywhere near my face. 

Why didn’t he pull me all the way in? We’ll be noticed for sure!

I opened my eyes and fought to pull myself under the water’s surface, but the sight astounded me.  

The light of dawn so beautifully illuminated the reef below us, teeming with life. Fish of vibrant colors I’d never seen before drifted effortlessly about the coral reefs as far as the eye could see. Huge looming sea monsters drifted about in the distance. 

It was simply breathtaking.

Not only that, but I could breathe. Rak still had me by the hand, dragging me along in the water. I could see his chest from here; the symbol was still illuminated. This life-giving bubble of air was his creation! I silently thanked him.

Once we finally arrived at the shore towards the edge of the tribe dwelling, we surfaced and saw it in a different light. The sun had left the horizon and now blazed down on us, painting the city of mud and wood in beige and gold. Dyed cloths draped over poles bellowed in the wind.

Any fear or doubt of coming here had faded, if just for a moment. Both of us were excited.

Here lies an adventure.


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