The beach was crowded with people that wished to see the two captains depart then go on their own ships to follow and view the fight. Ship-Battles were a rare sight and even rarer when it’s between those of the top dogs with flying warships. Bururiba walked beside the cage which was held on shoulders on 4 burly pirates. Their every step was synchronized and heavy, seemed to be a team used in carrying heavy stuff together.
Bururiba couldn’t bring himself to look at Shen so he was simply looking downward. Shen, while chained up, got sick by his downed face and said with an annoyed and dried voice.
“Stop looking so depressing. Are you going to win against that ass-face with such a character? If you can’t bring yourself to do something, then you better just give up and stop wasting time! I’ll be able to do something on my own.” → Shen
Shen said in a harsh tone, making Bururiba’s eyes open wide while annoying the other pirates.
“Oho~? Are you sure you understand what you’re saying? If Bururiba gives up then you’ll remain with us, you know~? You’re okay with me training my air-claws on you?”
The bear man said with a mocking smile.
“Quiet, fat-ass. Even crippled I can make you one with the ground if not for the chains and handcuffs.” → Shen
Shen rebuked then looked back at Bururiba who looked with tired eyes at Shen.
“What’s with those eyes? You think you’re fighting for me? Don’t kid yourself brat. You’re only fighting for yours and for your crew’s honor, I don’t need a weakling to save my skin. Look at you, all down and depressed, it makes me sick.” → Shen
Shen released his aura and hit Bururiba with it in full, making the others unaware of what was happening.
Bururiba stopped his steps while the bear-man reacted at Shen’s words in a violent manner.
“Brat! You have balls!”
The bear-man got infuriated and wanted to lash out but stopped a little bit confused. A thin killing intent hit him from the back. He glanced backward and saw Bururiba placing the muse of the gun at his head.
“Bastard! What do you think you’re doing?!” → Bururiba
“Bloody Seas! What got into you two?!”
The other 8 captains wished to stop them, but another thick killing intent weighted on them. This time it was Tian with Ashura who got closer.
“Are you brats going against the rules now?!” → Haidao
Haidao felt agitated but he could still use this opportunity to get rid of both Bururiba and Shen.
“Calm your guns, lads!” → Tyson
Tyson shouted out, making a shockwave only with his shout. Even though he was only a crew member, he couldn’t let his captain fall because of a fit of rage. He also tried to attract the attention of Ashura and Tian so they won’t do something foolish, but his shockwave also struck the other sea-dogs, annoying them at the sudden sonic-strike.
“A little Great Warrior dares to raise his voice toward me?!” → Haidao
Haidao tried to use his mana-imbued aura to crush Tyson but in front of him, a little wolf-woman stepped forward resisting the pressure.
Even though she was able to resist it, it was harder than it looked, Haidao was almost a great Saint while Aria was only a Great Master.
“Ah, ~By. Do you wish to come back to me? That’s why you appeared before me? I’ll make sure to make good use of your tongue just like the last time!” → Haidao
Haidao looked with lustful eyes at her then his pressure raised again.
Aria felt the weight of his aura even more and the shame she felt was beyond her, she couldn’t turn around to look at Tyson now. Then, a huge arm warped around her waist and hugged her in a protective way, shielding her from the pressure.
Tyson couldn’t have a woman protect him, and such a tiny one at that. He tried to resist the pressure but it was as if the earth itself tried to squeeze him like an ant.
“T-Tyson? Why! Quickly let me go! You’ll get crushed! You can’t resist the pressure!” → Aria
Aria tried to get out from the embrace but if she forced too hard she could harm him. She fidgeted but to no avail. She felt blood dripping on her and saw Tyson spitting blood, her body was shaking with emotion while her weak arms tried to free herself from his protective embrace.
“Please, let me go… Why are you protecting someone miserable like me? Do you even know what I’ve done before Shen saved me…? I’m… miserable…” → Aria
Tears fell down her cheeks while shame and anguish stabbed her heart. Her tail and ears were downed while her spirit was completely weakened.
“…The past… does not… define a person… The future choices do…” → Tyson
Tyson said and felt like he’ll collapse the next second.
Shen looked at them with admiration in his eyes. He then glanced at Bururiba and said in a stern tone.
“Look at them, Bururiba. They strive and try to protect each other. Even though one is weak, even though one is guilty. They try to resist mountains for the other, just because that’s how they feel. This is what I call ‘strength’; the will to do what you want and get past the past.” → Shen
Shen then starred at Bururiba and while pressuring him with his own aura he asked sternly.
“Are you strong, brat? Do you have what it takes to get past your sorrows and fight for your own honor? To prove that you can’t be used by the others?!” → Shen
“Honor? Strength? Those two are just plebes beside the road. What can they do with just that rank of power?”
The bear-man said with a mocking smile while going toward Bururiba.
“Come on, brat. No need to mind the words of a dying man when you’re just our king’s substitute.”
Hearing such, Bururiba turned around and shot at the bear’s head without even looking.
Seeing the muse of the gun going for his head the bear got down in a hurry leaving 5 of his subordinates behind him with holes in their heads. The bullet penetrated their heads with no difficulty then flew in the distance inside a building, smashing the wall and cracking the stone.
He wanted to attack back but he stopped when he saw Bururiba’s eyes. He glanced at the bear-man with blood-shot eyes then looked at Shen, his rage subsiding.
“God damn it, Shen! You really know how to annoy someone!… Sigh~.” → Bururiba
He tried to calm down then talked with Haidao and the bear-man.
“One more time I see you guys raise your hands against my crew and I swear, I’ll be sure to burst your skulls with just one bullet.” → Bururiba
The killing intent was thick enough to make the weaker ones around lose consciousness with foam appearing around their mouths.
You already did!
The crew of Number 8 thought while looking at the dead bodies with sweat dripping down their necks.
Everyone quieted down and only Sofia, after slowly sighing she stepped forward and continued her steps.
“Shen!” → Sylvia
Suddenly, Sylvia’s voice was heard from around him.
“Sylvia…?” → Shen
Shen tried to get over his dizziness and look around because there were too many people he couldn’t find her. Even on buildings, there were pirates looking and glaring, sitting like crows and waiting for the slaughter.
Where? I can’t see where she is! → Shen
Shen looked around unable to identify her when again her voice resounded stronger.[Shen, I can finally see you.] → Sylvia
“Eh?” → Shen
Suddenly, in front of Shen, Sylvia under the form of a spirit appeared, touching Shen’s face with an affectionate touch.
Shen was dazed for a second then he woke up and a wave of uneasiness struck him.
“Quick! Leave! What in the world are you thinking, appearing right in front of all these people!?“ → Shen
Shen whispered with an urgent tone, looking around with unease.
“Eh?” → Shen
Even though a white spirit was levitating in front of him, nobody seemed to mind it. Everyone was still glancing at Bururiba for exuding a domineering and strong aura, not minding Sylvia levitating inside the cage.
What in the-? → Shen[Nobody can hear or see me except for you, Shen. I separated myself from the body and I’m presenting myself only to you… Ah, my Shen, why did you need to go through this Hell, can you tell me?] → Sylvia
Sylvia’s eyes were filled with sadness and confusion. She knew full well that Shen could’ve escaped from the very first day if not for some unknown reason. But something made him stay behind as if a voice was begging him to do so.
“Ah… You found out?” → Shen
Shen made a wry smile.
“I mostly did this for the few, I didn’t wish to drag you all in this, especially Theo. I will have to say my excuses to him later.” → Shen
Shen said with an apologetic face.[He is alright. Right, when he jumped from atop the lighthouse we hid in the shadows. I healed his injury, but his heart is still perturbed. When will you return?] → Sylvia
“After today. I will come with some more people though. I found what I was searching for.” → Shen[Shen, for what reason are you helping them? Do you benefit in any way?] → Sylvia
Sylvia knew Shen for doing something only if he also got something in return. For example, the reasons why he’ll help Bururiba and Tian is so he’ll get more manpower for the upcoming wars. He needs to strengthen the army of the Antara Kingdom with any price, even if that means using pirates or bandits. Even so, this time, Shen wouldn’t get anything by simply saving some slaves or people unwilling to stay on this peninsula. Maybe only more mouths to feed inside the kingdom, but most of them will leave for their own families.
“…It’s because I made a promise… I can’t go back on my words even if that means I must endure Hell or face death. I’ll ask you to understand this foolish act of mine, Sylvia.” → Shen
Shen bowed his head while being unable to give a logical answer yet.[Shen, I understand. I’m happy that you also have such an altruistic side on you, giving yourself for the others. I heard from Goddess Hamata that only by emptying yourself to others can you open the gates of the heavens and receive an unlimited amount of energy. One who’s selfish may never taste fulfillment while the one who’s selfless will become one with the universe. I never truly understood but I think I get it a little bit more now, thanks to you, Shen.] → Sylvia
Sylvia smiled beautifully and gave him a light kiss.[Please come fast, however many people you’d wish to help, for me you’re the only one. Please don’t sacrifice yourself again.] → Sylvia
Sylvia then disappeared, returning in her own body from beside Ashura and Freia who were sitting on top of a building, right beside the parade.
“…Yeah. I’ll be back soon.” → Shen
Shen looked forward, his eyes firmly on his conviction.
So she understood the true meaning behind [One with the Universe]? I have the skill and yet I can’t open all the chapters. Only the last, the first and a little the second. Maybe she’ll be able to teach me what she understood when I get back. → Shen
Shen smiled a little bit conflicted. He had the skill, yet Sylvia knew the deeper meaning. He was pretty speechless at this play of fate.
Everyone started to board their own ships, the two main characters of the day boarding their own ships where their crews were already waiting. Shen was placed on the King’s ship while Sofia guarded him, not letting even a shadow get closer to him.
After everyone boarded their ships, they started sailing toward the Lunar Bay Island with the strong wind behind them. So nothing would happen, besides the two warships sailed the King with his huge Warship and right behind them, the other 7 top sea-dogs of the peninsula together with their crew inside their own warships. Even further behind, hundreds of ships of all sizes sailed after them and wishing to see for themselves how a Ship-Battle between flying warships took place.
On Bururiba’s side sailed alongside his the cruise ship and one of Shen’s war-ships on which there were boarded not just Sylvia’s group but also what was left of Bururiba’s and Tian’s crew, having on board more than 700 people, eager to watch their captain fight against the demon Haidao. Aria was also on the cruise ship, not being part of Bururiba’s crew.
“Tian. Are the cannons prepared?” → Bururiba
Bururiba asked with a serious face.
“Yes. Kavala and I will take command over the cannons on both sides. Tyson took lead in keeping the engines cool and alimenting them with energy-stones. The outer engines will prove to be a problem, seeing how they were able to upgrade them only halfway.” → Tian
Tian answered with a composed face while pointing at the four huge cylinders, two at the end and two at the beginning of the ship.
“Even if halfway, they’re still stronger than before. How about controlling the ship? Has someone been assigned for this?” → Bururiba
“Aren’t you the captain of this ship? Who else can be more adequate for this role if not you?” → Tian
Tian asked with a small grin. He knew that Bururiba felt pressured, having the entire Rising Sea against him and Shen’s life depending on him, his shoulders would inevitably feel the pressuring weight.
“That’s damn right!” → Bururiba
Bururiba crossed his arms with a proud air while stepping on top of the deck.
He seems alright to me. → Tian
Tian made a wry smile then got on his positions, waiting for commands.
“Hmm. What about the air and ground bombardiers? And about our chained harpoon?” → Bururiba
Bururiba remembered then asked again.
“…Will we really use those?” → Tian
Tian asked, a little surprised.
“Of damn course! This is a FLYING war-ship! Not a simple warship! We will need to evade the damn rocks and water-whirls, you know?” → Bururiba
Bururiba said in a matter-of-fact voice.
“Also, we’ll need someone with good sniping abilities for that harpoon.” → Bururiba
“Right… I’ll find you someone who can do it.” → Tian
Tian’s eyes turned serious then left to talk with the others to prepare the cannons.
While they were talking, an island appeared in the distance, looking like a crescent moon.
Sigh~ let’s wish everything will go as planned. → Bururiba
Bururiba felt more nervous while entering inside the Crescent-shaped island. The two ships entered the bay, trying to dodge the rocks and water-whirls. Making any mistakes now even after starting the battle would make them the biggest laughingstock on the peninsula.
In the sky, lightning was flashing while thunder boomed now and then. Strong winds were blowing while the waves shook the ships back and forward. Shortly right after, rain started to pour from the sky as if the heavens split open.
“A storm, aye?”
The pirate king looked with amusement. When there was a storm, inside the bay a huge water-whirl will appear, engulfing all and everything to the bottom of the sea.
This will be fun~. → Shen
After they got on their positions, the Pirate King who had his ship stop right at the entrance together with the other 7 sea-dogs, shouted in a loud voice to be heard by the entire island.[Ladies and Gentlemen! I welcome everyone for today’s battleship!]
The shout was strong enough to make waves appear, shaking the already swinging ships.
“As expected for the King, his voice is audible even from here.”
There were a lot of people who anchored their ships beside the island and took off toward the beach, to have a better view of the fight.
“Aye! That’s our king for ya!”[Let’s put behind the fancy speech and get straight to business shall we?!]
The island and the other ships resounded with cheers, making even the wind to blow stronger from their high spirit.