Volume II: Chapter 11

After replenishing my dwindling supply and munching a cookie Lord Valentine prepared for me, I resume my journey. 

“Alright Dolphin, let’s go and get Lord Valentine’s fruit.” 

Dolphin squirts some water at me and returns to its job. It seems like even Dolphin has had enough with this realm too. 

I am strutting along this muddy trek when I notice a shiny rock by the side of the road. I am not joking when I said shiny. It’s shining brightly. Really brightly. To the point that no one can ignore it. 

Now I am sure heroines in novels will go and take a look at the rock. Monsters or evil little men or evil little fairies will pop out. They will fight and the heroines will win. The rock turns out to be a special rock that can heal anything or make the best weapon in the world or a really precious rock. So all in all, you’ll not lose anything if a heroine approaches a very trap-like shining rock. But I am not a heroine! I am just the ladies’ maid of the heroine in this world! And this shining rock most surely scream ‘trap’ to me. One cannot be greedy as every little kid in the world has learned.

I ignore it and continue on this muddy road. But no matter how long I walk, the shining rock still sit on my right hand side. I cannot escape the rock. I cannot escape this road. It seems like I walk into a trap without noticing it. 

I pat Dolphin’s head to complain. “Dolphin… we’re in trouble.” Dolphin tilts its head adorably. 

“Dolphin, it’s no use pretending to be cute.” 

So it seems like to escape this trap, I have to go touch this shiny rock. Taking a deep breath, I walk towards the rock. The closer I get to the rock, the more suspicious it gets. I am already in front of the rock, but nothing pops out. Do I have to touch it? But who knows if it’s poisonous or not? Or maybe my hand will be glued to the rock permanently. With a sigh, my left hand reaches out. My dominant hand is right hand, I cannot risk having my right hand stuck to a rock. My hand is shaking. Finally just as my hand is close to the rock, a shrill voice appears.

“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?”

The shrill voice comes from a woman. She more or less looks human, except for her hands which are most certainly claws from crab. She snaps her claws at me. 

“Are you trying to steal my gold!” she shrieks again. 

Dolphin swims close to me and hides behind me. Dolphin, I am sorry, but I am scared too!

“No, madam,” I deny immediately. “I am just… admiring it. I have never seen something so… huge and shiny.”

Madam Crab seems dissatisfied with my answer. 

“Stop lying! You want to steal it! Young lady, let me teach you a lesson, one cannot be greedy!”

I do not know how to answer. 

“Now I am a very kind and lenient person. You just have to give me all your valuables then you’re free to go. If you refuse…” Madam Crab snaps her claws once again. “I’ll make sure you regret deeply.”

So… in the end I meet a scammer? A deep sea con artist? 

Heroines might fight with her, but… taking another look at her huge claws and the fact that she can trap me in with magic, I give in. I unclasp the pearls necklace around my neck and give it to her. I don’t even need to pay for pearls so let her get whatever she wants. That’s one upside of being a pearl oyster spirit. But I guess I have to be careful not to let her know. Otherwise, what if she traps me here to supply her with unlimited pearls?

Thinking of this, I pretend to be reluctant to separate from my pearls.

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“These pearls… I paid a lot for them,” I lie with a shaking voice. 

Her claw snatches the necklace from my hand. She admires the necklace for awhile. 

“The quality is alright, but nothing spectacular. Anything more?” she demands. 

So the pearls I have are not even of a high quality? What kind of pearl oyster am I?

I wrack my brain to find something to give to her. I notice Madam Crab narrowing her eyes on the pearl on the clasp of my bag. She clears her throat. With a sense of real reluctance I separate the pearl from the clasp with force. As soon as the pearl is on my hand, her greedy claw comes in again and snatches it away. 

“This is much better.”

I want to cry for myself. The pearls I formed myself are not of as good quality as the one Lord Valentine gave me.

“How about that? That watery thing hiding behind you. What is that? I sense some magic!” she demands with her shrill voice. Of course her threat is not complete without a snap of her gigantic claw. 

“Oh its nothing, just a water sculpture I made using my magic in my spare time. Just a silly plaything.” I cannot let Madam Crab takes away Dolphin as well. Dolphin is a gift from Lord Valentine.  Dolphin cannot be replaced, Dolphin has been with me from the start. Dolphin gives me a sense of warmth when I needed it the most. 

The bag is also a gift from Lord Valentine, of course I treasure it. But Madam Crab is just demanding the pearl, not the bag itself. Dolphin is another thing. I cannot give it to her.

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“A plaything?”

“Yes! Nothing spectacular, just a plaything.”

Madam Crab narrows her eyes and then waves her claw. “Alright, you may go. Don’t attempt to steal other’s properties again, young lady.”

“Of course!”

With a satisfactory nod, Madam Crab disappears without a trace, together with her golden rock. I am once again alone on a road surrounded by seaweed. No more muddy road. 

As I thought, her magic is above me. I walked into her trap without noticing. Not even Dolphin noticed it. Not fighting with her is correct. 

“Alright, Dolphin, she is gone. It’s alright now, Dolphin.” I try to comfort Dolphin, but Dolphin ignores me and swims forward.

Please don’t tell me Dolphin is angry because I said it was a plaything… 

“Dolphin! You misunderstand! I was lying…” I explain as I try to catch up with Dolphin. 

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