01 Feb

The fight above the water’s surface was chaotic and fast. The body Aku threw, while unable to be seen clearly, was not swimming back up, nor fighting for breath. Merely sinking to the bottom of the lake. A cloud of soot followed him down off of his feathers. 

My friends were in a bigger fight now with what appeared to be a body manipulator, who had them pinned between hard choices and even harder consequences. Not to mention Tokar who’d come back for round two. 

I needed to check on Leesa, but before I could, two more Pouli dove into the water.

One began to freeze the water around him to form a spear, and the other formed a sword from the mud. I dodged their attacks for a moment, still trying to get a better vantage point on the situation on the surface. The two seemed to be trained for long periods under water, as I couldn’t shake them. They didn’t move quite as well as I did through the water, but they’d clearly trained for this. 

Gathering up the water around me, I sent out a giant wave of water to push them back and buy myself time to head towards Leesa. She was knocked out under the foot of the body manipulator. 

Enraged at the disrespect of my comrade, I summoned a fist made of condensed water and punched the woman so hard her head hit the ground with a crack. Aku whizzed past me, dodging a blow from Tokar and blasting him in his stony face with fire that seemed to do little more than piss him off. 

I manipulated the water to form around the woman’s head. I watched her struggle and squirm, lifting her off the ground in the bubble and keeping her there until I watched her breath leave her body. Then and only then I released her, kicking her while she was down for my knocked out friend.

“You bird-brained idiots, you’ll never defeat us with your lackluster abilities!” I yelled at them, admittedly in a more-than-needed confident tone.

“Oh we’ll see about that, bottom-feeding fish!” Mud and Ice replied, almost in unison. They were on the beach now; the time my distraction had bought was now used up.

I charged at them, barely managing to duck in between them as the two Pouli lashed out with their weapons.

Diving back towards the lake and landing in the cold embrace of water, I blasted the most powerful torrent of water I could muster, sending the two flying far into the jungle. 

I pumped my fist in the air, proud of what I had just accomplished, but my elation was short-lived. In an instant I lost all feeling in my body. 

In front of me, a small Pouli man appeared, laughing at my predicament as I began to sink. He waved me goodbye before swimming off, leaving me to sink deep down into the darkness.

I struggled and squirmed, the small movements of my body slowly becoming smaller and and harder to control. As the effect continued to get worse, my chest grew heavy, and my gills no longer drew in fresh water. I thought it impossible, and yet here I was. The first psari to die from drowning.  As my vision began to fade, I wondered if this would truly be it. The end of my story.

But then,

I saw her. 

The woman who gave me my abilities so long ago.

She looked at me with brilliant blue eyes that held so much concern and compassion for a moment, then closed them. Suddenly my symbol began to glow more brightly than it ever had before, my body enveloped in warmth. I watched as the wave expanded to take up the center of my chest with water expanding on both sides of my body. 

I shot into the air, propelled by a tunnel of water behind my back. I found I had even greater control of the water than before, now using the tunnel of water to create a giant serpent taller than any building I had seen in Rao. 

Down below, Aku had burned the woman who attacked Leesa to a crisp, though now he faced the weird small pouli that locked up my body. Meanwhile, Leesa was barely keeping Tokar at bay, keeping him held down with a constant restraint of countless vines and plants. Each time he continued to break through, nothing holding for long.

The small Pouli managed to outspeed Aku, catching him in the ankle in his hands but not before getting blasted fire. The pouli was charred, yet still he ran at Leesa who was preoccupied, also getting smacked in the leg. Both my friends fell down like I did, unable to move. 

Enraged, I bolted towards the pair, ready to destroy them before they could think. But Tokar saw me coming, and as soon as Leesa’s powers lost their grip, he broke free and moved out of the way before striking me dead in the face. I flew down into the ground with a thud.

The last thing I saw was Tokar’s cracked face held in a smirk.

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