‘Calculating fellow… in record time he led them to elude me!’ Zax surveyed the mercury like water, but to no avail.
Soon after he followed the six into the Down Ocean, General Logan, the man at the forefront, exploited a daunting encounter with a passing Spirit to lose Zax, which succeeded only due to the latter’s inexperience…
‘Is this how it feels to be in the unrestrained presence of an Immortal?’ He verified again the direction the Spirit drifted toward, rather than swam, and every hair on his body was still like a prickly pin.
It long vanished but his memory of the event was as clear as his first recollection of the blue sky. It was dazzlingly bluish, semitransparent and in some aspects hazy. Since its aura was unchecked, to Zax the overall picture was akin to looking at the sun at dusk.
‘I have to be careful!’ He reminded himself and proceeded to dive in search for the third lock. ‘Both the Savage Caves and the Earthly Crater exuded effects on the soul and gravity as a derivative of the Three Locks formation. It should be the same in the Down Ocean. I just need to locate these forces and follow to their origin’.
An hour, two, three… getting to the bottom of the ocean proved to be an arduous task as Zax attempted to be most inconspicuous; a fear he nearly forgotten gradually creeped up on him at every sighting of a Spirit.
There were not many, five or six in total, but the manner in which they transpired and the sense of inferiority that was no different to when an ant and a boot meet placed insane amount of mental pressure on maintain the prospects of keeping cautious and not losing the life.
The closer Zax got to making contact with a Spirit, which by the way they all looked vaguely the same, was in the second encounter. The Star Scavenger size Spirit appeared like phantom. In one second there was nothing ahead and in the second it halted right before ramming Zax.
At the time, Zax failed to figure if the induction of imminent death was due to his imagination or the Spirit’s actual intent. Regardless, he did not dwell on it and slowly bent backwards and slid across the Spirit.
‘Solid ground’. Zax sighed inwardly and was alleviated from roughly third of his fatigue. ‘There are weak undulations in the water resembling suction… the pull of a gravitational force?’ It was difficult to perceive the things before one’s eyes in the Down Ocean, much less with Soul Sense.
He traced the source of the undulations.
‘No. It’s not the dark attribute’s Swallowing property or earthly attribute’s Gravity property… specks of icy attribute are mingled in the undulation. It is suction, possibly resulting from the combination of the icy attribute’s Heavy and Flow properties. But is it a natural occurring formation of the Down Ocean or the making of the Three Locks formation?’ Zax mused. ‘People? No! These are members of Blue Sea’.
He discovered them after an hour of walking.
Eight humanoid aquatic beasts, scaly, with fins and various colors, were situated beside the entrance of a coral small palace. They stood as if in wait, sometimes staring at the same direction, other times contemplating among themselves should they go inside the palace.
Zax observed them for a half an hour before he advanced. He was too far for their eyes to see him and the undulations were too distracting to detect the mild changes his arrival made in the under currents.
“Admiral-” The first to notice him mistook Zax for Admiral Hamumni, only to have his oceanic complexion pale like a dead fish, which his ugly head was similar to anyway. “Activate the-” Before he could finish speaking, a hand clenched his throat, cracking its yellow green scales.
“Rear Admiral Reverka!”
The seven other members of Blue Sea hastily retreated twenty some meters away, about to execute a formation.
“You will lose. Besides, I did not come here to fight. Answer my questions and I’ll let him go”.
Zax’s height endured constant but small changes for concentrating his main cultivation path on bodily refinement – before taking a step farther to the mysteries of the attributes. In the past five years his height was set at one hundred and ninety five centimeters, taller than the average human. Nevertheless, it was still a strange scene seeing him detaining the over four meters tall Blue Sea’s Rear Admiral Reverka while the shortest of those surrounding them was also at least a meter taller than him.
“That’s where the undulations are being drawn to. What’s over there that you kept looking?”
Rear Admiral Reverka opened his mouth, seemingly about to speak, but the gap between his parted, oily lips became wider and wider, exposing his large pointy teeth and split blue tongue.
An inaudible sound emerged from his throat, causing the water to sear.
“Rear Admiral Reverka, stop, you’ll attract Spirits!”
“Get away, go! Escape to find Admiral Hamumni!”
Just as the seven prepared to run, a big, shiny black hand sealed Rear Admiral Reverka’s mouth and an even larger one manifested as a mantle shrouding him and Zax, as well as the reverberating sound wave.
“For a third level Martial Mortal you’re quite gutsy”. Zax snickered. “And your temper sure is that of a beast… but”, his tone turned grave. “By commencing an attack against me, you just gave me pretext to kill you without owning your dear Admiral an explanation”.
The hand sealing Rear Admiral Reverka’s mouth nudged and his head exploded.
Witnessing their leader dying shook the seven to their core. As they sensed Zax tyrannical dark attribute energy executing a domain to prevent their escape, fear from the enemy caused their mindset to regress into a feral behavior. They were all about to transform to their animalistic forms when few words echoed next to their ears, bringing back from oblivion or rather intimidating from losing sanity.
“For centuries you lot treated my kith and kin like inmates in an underground prison. Is today akin for you to yesterday? Can you affront your five leaders?”
Every syllable and vowel battered their sea of consciousness as heavily as strikes from a sledgehammer. Their souls and spirits could not retaliate. Their inner nature was utterly dominated.
It felt like forever but actually not ten seconds gone by.
“I- I- I’ll speak”. A first level Martial Mortal with four arms, white and blue skin, and a three eyed shark head surrendered.
“Quiet!” Zax glared at the others so they will not interrupt and in a stride appeared before the three eyed shark. “Answer my previous question”.
“There, is the nearest Heavy Water Pool. The Spirit inhabiting it already left so we debated whether to inspect it or wait for the Admiral”.
‘Heavy Water Pool…’ Zax knew a little about them from reading reports of Sinister Chain’s members who attempted to explore the Down Ocean. ‘So the undulations originated from it’.
“Why do you need to inspect it? Did all the Spirits come from these pools?” Zax pressed, though he had an idea.
“It’s assumed that the Spirits were birthed by the great concentration of icy attribute’s essence in the Heavy Water Pool… I’m- We… are all under an oath not to divulge any information regarding our purpose to outsiders”. The three eyed shark head hoped that by answering two of his questions, Zax will not take his anger on him for his inability to answer the third.
Luckily for him and the remaining six, Zax was not bloodthirsty and was versed with the difficulties oaths can pose.
‘They probably contacted Hamumni and told her I found this post’. Zax thought unconcernedly. ‘So they are trying to gain clues for the Godly Law Template from the Heavy Water Pools. I wonder, do all pools comprise the third lock or just one?’ Pondering, he moved for the Heavy Water Pool, leaving the seven panting from stress but very much appreciating their new lease on life.
The Heavy Water Pool was in close proximity to the coral palace post and so in less than a minute Zax was standing on its rim.
‘Unlike what’s written in the reports, there isn’t foam on the pool’s surface. Then again, the suction too strong for anything to rise; everything is being sucked to the bottom’. The more he learned the more he considered the lack of foam and other abnormalities as products to either the second lock breaking or the overall Three Locks formation’s decline.
Getting down on one knee, Zax rested his palms on the rim. ‘Let’s see…’ Dark element energy surged through his arms, amplifying his Soul Sense so it could probe the pool, however briefly and as thoroughly as possible.
‘Oh… a hint of the scent from the Earthly Crater but not the soothing, enchanting sensation. Well, that could be because the lock is still intact’. He presumed and stood up. ‘The Earthly Crater’s lock was comprised of eighty one rocks and they were all flanking the same location in a small radius. Like a single rock, this pool is just an extension of the third lock. The questions now are how long it can take to calculate the exact amount and place of all pools, to finalize the equation of finding the nucleus of the third lock, and how to deal with the five powers upon their completion of this task?’
One scenario he disparaged was the breaking of the third lock by simply destroying a portion of the pools. In the Earthly Crater it was feasible because the Horned Eel was the mightiest existence in the Gentic Belt’s encompassing oceans and it died. The Down Ocean did not need Overlord Deformed Beings to dissuade the impatient, it had Spirits which no mortal would dare to antagonize and who knows how they will react to the destruction of their birthing places…
‘The Down Ocean is too big and currently dangerous for me to take this same endeavor alone. It’s also harder here to restore attribute energy and virtually impossible dark element energy’. He could muster the manpower if he wanted, but then he will put others in risk, which he did not want. ‘I need to talk with Sheldon…’
Done with his business he left, gingerly, the Down Ocean.
“Vice Admiral Nurchin was killed by a Spirit and now her replacement, Rear Admiral Reverka, is dead”. Hours after Zax departed, Admiral Hamumni, the other leaders of the five powers and Cardinal Northstar arrived to the coral place post.
“Appoint a new replacement and let us leave, Hamumni”. General Beking said. “We have been to most Heavy Water Pools. The cooperation is over”.
“Alright, elder sister Beking”.
“We don’t have to go together. We bid you farewell”. Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar said their goodbye. With them also left Horn Kikon and General Logan.
“These schemers know not to waste time”. General Beking murmured.
“Line up”. Admiral Hamumni ordered the remaining seven members of her Blue Sea.
They gathered in order of rank, which also corresponded to their strength, and displayed a downcast manner.
The impression Zax left on them had not faded, yet, and their bodies reflected how frail their minds became.
“Line up!” Finding their sorry state horrid, Admiral Hamumni shouted. Her aura lashed the seven, but instead of harming, it assisted them in regaining their clarity.
“Admiral!” The seven called simultaneously with vigor.
“Captain Ga’s seniority is a little higher than Captain Seashore’s. Therefore, until I’ll appoint a new Vice Admiral to the Down Ocean’s post with details of the new operation, Captain Ga, you will temporarily manage the Blue Coral Station”.
“Yes, Admiral!” Captain Ga saluted, his scaly green head with human’s facial feature exuded an emerald luster.
“Excellent”. Admiral Hamumni smiled in satisfaction. She swept her subordinates with her eyeless child size head and her expression darkened as she got to the deceased Rear Admiral Reverka. “It’s not good to be subjugated to an enemy’s”. She said and returned to the livings. “And it’s not good to provoke death when it’s avoidable”. She gestured General Beking that she is ready to go.
‘It’s also not good to skimp a reprisal!’