Chapter 937: Natural Disaster

After fifteen days aboard the Kali Familia ship, even Vahn felt like he had integrated into the crew, at least a little. Though he wasn’t assisting with the actual process of sailing, his role as both a chef and a lookout had earned him even more popular than ‘normal’. Not only was he able to easily locate sea monsters and large prey long before they were an actual threat, but he was able to turn said prey into delicious meals that were a rare luxury out at sea. After the first ‘competition’, where Tiona had stolen the victory, it had even become a small game amongst the Amazonesses to see who would be able to get ‘pampered’ by Vahn during meal time.

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Currently, Vahn was somewhat awkwardly holding a piece of Deepsea Megalodon meat with a pair of red chopsticks as the victor of the last hunt nibbled at the offering with a little too much fervor in her eyes. This was none other than the Helmswoman of the Kali Familia ship, the hawk-eyed Amazoness, Khodiva. It was generally her duty to pilot the ship but that didn’t mean she was always at the helm as, unlike Vahn, others generally required sleep. During these times, another trainee would take up the helm though, on occasion, Kali would also take the wheel in order to ‘detour’ towards something she was interested in.

During the early morning hunt, when most of the Amazonesses were waking to prepare for another long day, Khodiva had joined the hunt after being egged on by a few other Amazons. Since Tiona, Tione, and Bache were ‘disqualified’ from the competition, this gave the Level 5 Helmswoman the edge to clinch the victory. She had wrangled in a twenty-two meter long Deepsea Megalodon, a monster near the peak of Level 4 that was covered in rough skin and white bone-like protrusions that it used to impale its prey before ripping it apart with its powerful jaws. Khodiva had managed to kill it by ripping out one of its eyes before breaking into its skull and destroying it from the inside…

Because of Khodiva’s victory, Vahn now had to suffer under the woman’s penetrating gaze from close proximity as she stared unblinkingly toward him. He had heard she had a ‘rare skill’ that was literally called [Hawk Eyes], an Innate that greatly enhanced every function of her eyesight. Not only could she see ‘very’ far away, eyeing targets upwards of 3km away with clarity, but her dynamic vision allowed her to track fast-moving objects much easier than normal. Though her peripheral vision suffered as a result, it was still a very useful ability to possess if she could develop it further.

The ‘downside’ to Khodiva’s Innate was that her gaze felt like it could pierce through flesh if she was looking directly at you. Her eyes would also twitch and ‘lock on’ to things that moved around in her periphery, even though she didn’t move her head around that much. It was a very peculiar sight and, being in such close proximity to her, even Vahn felt slightly unnerved as she nibbled away at the offered bits of food. Contrary to her rather fierce appearance, and how she was able to ‘command’ the entire crew skillfully, Khodiva had turned very quiet when he began feeding her. She just slowly ate the food offered to her with a heated look in her piercing eyes, causing Vahn to feel like each bite she took was taken out of his own body…

Fortunately, Khodiva couldn’t exactly put off her duties for too long so the tense moment came to an end after a relatively short period of time, contrary to how it felt. This left Vahn free once again as Khodiva took command of the ship and began directing the crew to perform their duties as she piloted the ship. As was often the case, Kali had used this opportunity to linger around Vahn, musing, “You really know how to make an Amazoness act like a maiden, don’t you, Vahn~?” Since she had known Khodiva for the latter’s entire life, Kali knew she wasn’t the ‘quiet’ and ‘demure’ girl that she appeared to be when Vahn was feeding her. In fact, many of the Amzonesses on board acted ‘strangely’ around Vahn, showing far more inhibitions than they normally would…

Vahn, still wearing only a minimal amount of clothing, had been wiping his hands clean after disposing of the excess waste into his Inventory. The Amazonesses would usually throw the remains overboard, letting the fish in the sea benefit from the easy meal, but Vahn could earn a few extra OP by exchanging some of the more valuable parts. In response to Kali’s words, he simply gave her a small smile as he said, “I imagine they don’t know how to treat me since this situation is rather abnormal…” Unlike a ‘normal’ strong male, which could kick their instincts into high gear, Vahn was very abnormal existence.

Though he was certainly strong, they had watched him stay away for literally fifteen days, never tiring, never showing signs of fatigue, and interacting with their goddess as if they were equals. At the same time, powerful existences like Tiona and Tione were very deferential to Vahn, making it hard for them to approach him since it felt like there was a large ‘distance’ that was almost impossible to overcome. Contrary to this, however, Vahn was also very amicable and had been blending in with their way of doing things very well, causing many Amazonesses to simply not know how to behave around him. Even Kali had been feeling this way over the last few days, to the point that she was now wearing an extra set of cloth bottoms since she was tired of Vahn not looking at her…

Kali squinted her eyes slightly upon hearing Vahn’s words before saying, “Come sit with me today. You can still keep a lookout, even with your eyes closed, right~?” Previously, under normal circumstances, sitting on Kali’s platform was something that could earn you the death sentence outright. Kali was willing to make an exception for Vahn since she had been watching him from a distance for more than two weeks and there were a few things she was curious about. It was awkward to talk during the meal times since she didn’t eat with everyone else as it would make it impossible for them to eat in peace.

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Vahn contemplated Kali’s offer for a brief moment, allowing his thoughts to show on his face for a bit and successfully annoying the diminutive goddess in the process. She wasn’t the only one who had been observing others over the last two weeks as Vahn had also been paying close attention to her. He had noticed that Kali, though capable of showing wisdom and keen insight, genuinely seemed to dislike ‘thinking’ too much. She wasn’t fond of when other people showed hesitation and thought too seriously over a matter, preferring the people she interacted with to be more decisive and forthright. Since almost everyone around her was relatively ‘simple’, Kali showed an almost childish intolerance for people that were excessively considerate of matters.

As he had expected, Kali furrowed her brows after a while, rebuking Vahn by saying, “A goddess allows you to sit in a place reserved for gods and you have to think about it? If you’re a man, you should be more decisive and stop fretting over small matters…!” In response to this, Vahn gave a small smile and said, “Well, things are already a little complex between me and the crew. If I sat with you, wouldn’t that just make things even more complicated later on? Besides, I can’t simply sit around while even Tiona and Tione are hard at work, can I…?” Vahn had just finished wiping his hands completely so he threw his towel into his Inventory before leaving behind a frowning Kali as he climbed to the edge of the bowsprit and began his lookout duty.

Kali wasn’t stupid so she knew that Vahn was messing with her yet, at the same time, she knew his words were also true and there wasn’t any way to actually ‘make’ him do what she wanted. She was fully aware that this was his intention, demonstrating that it didn’t matter if she was a goddess and he was a mortal. He wasn’t someone she could simply bend to her will and force him to act as she pleased, quite literally placing himself on the same level as her by the stance he had taken. This was something that annoyed her greatly as she had already made several compromises for him and, even though he was supposed to be getting to know her better, Vahn spent more time with Amazonesses he would never have a relationship with than a goddess that would bear his child in the future…

Feeling vexed, Kali took her seat and leaned against her armrest, staring at Vahn’s back with an annoyed glint in her blood-red eyes. She knew he was aware of her gaze so Kali was boring a hole into the back of Vahn’s head and sending out a bit of her own Divine Power to annoy him. Though he pretended to be unperturbed, Kali could see the hairs on Vahn’s arms rise slightly, causing her to cackle lightly as she lounged on her platform. If he was going out of his way to annoy her, she could do the same to him and, just as she couldn’t do anything about the way he acted, he couldn’t really do anything to her either…

Feeling like a grim reaper had a blade to his throat, Vahn ignored the urge to rub his neck as he resisted the cold chill that made the sea breeze seem warm by comparison. Since Kali actually had two Major Divinities, related to Death and Time, even his domain couldn’t completely resist her power unless they were directly competing against each other. Vahn wasn’t trying to be actively hostile to Kali and, considering it would ruin the atmosphere on the ship, he decided to let her act out a bit in order to avoid a larger conflict. If she got carried away, there were plenty of ways he could ‘punish’ her later on so this wasn’t something intolerable…

Unaware of the somewhat petty squabble between Kali and Vahn, the crew of the ship went about their duties with an unwavering intensity that seemed to persist, irrespective of the passage of time. Even after more than two weeks on the sea, none of the Amzonesses showed any signs of fatigue and complacency, fully focused on their individual tasks. It was almost as if they were determined to reach their destination in record time, showing an inspiring amount of motivation that, to Vahn, was genuinely awe-inspiring. He had grown progressively fonder of this crew as time passed and couldn’t help marveling at how easily both Tiona and Tione had blended in, almost as if they had known each other Amazoness for years…

Like this, several hours passed uneventfully as even Kali seemed to become bored with glaring at Vahn, allowing him a reprieve as he gazed out over the horizon. It was around 2 PM that Vahn’s senses detected what he could only describe as an ‘abnormality’, causing his brows to furrow as he rose to his feet and activated his [Eyes of Truth]. Since he would generally remain unmoving during the day, Vahn’s actions drew the attention of the entire Amazoness crew as even Khodiva issued orders that would free up a few members to deal with any potential attack from a sea monster. However, this time it was Kali who had the biggest reaction as her bored expression turned into one of extreme seriousness as she also rose up, shouting, “Furl the sails! Turn the ship around and get a rowing crew ready, now…!”

For Kali to take command, it meant the situation was incredibly dire so the entire crew understood something was wrong as they quickly set into motion. Against all expectations, a calm voice broke through the chaos, countermanding Kali’s orders as Vahn simply stated, “It is fine, leave this one to me…” Though they would normally never ignore Kali’s orders, Vahn’s words seemed to pass through the entire crew, carrying with them calm and compelling energy that caused Kali to look toward him, asking, “Are you certain? That isn’t something even you should be able to fight…”

Hearing Kali’s words, Vahn turned around, eyes blazing like blue flames with a calm smile on his face as he said, “You may be right, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to deal with the situation. Besides, you should know me well enough at this point…do you think I will endanger the lives of everyone here on a whim?” Even as he was speaking, Vahn had restrained his domain and enclosed it around the ship, bringing the mana in the surroundings under his control in the process. The mana was so dense that it glistened under the light of the sun, causing the crew of Amazonesses to show extreme confusion as they reached out, tracing their fingers through the air.

As he had stated, Kali knew that Vahn wasn’t the type to put others at risk, almost to the point of it being a major weakness of his. Thus, though reason told her it was an extremely foolish decision to make, Kali took a deep breath through her nose before sitting back on her platform, stating, “Khodiva, full speed ahead…!” Even as these words left her mouth, Kali felt somewhat foolish but convinced herself that it would only be a small setback if she ended up dying as a result of Vahn’s hubris. Since he would probably survive, she could use it as leverage against him and force him to be more amenable in the future…

Following Kali’s order, the crew stopped furling the sails as Khodiva continued to steer the ship forward, the atmosphere growing progressively more tense with the passage of time. They had yet to see what had alerted both Vahn and Kali, causing them to feel giddy and excited as their anticipation continued to rise. It wasn’t until large serrated points began to rise out of the sea that the generally fearless Amazonesses realized what it was they were facing. In an instant, even Bache and Khodiva paled greatly at some of the crewmembers, for the first time, became idle in their movements with expressions of sheer disbelief and terror on their faces…

Suddenly, the sea level began to rapidly drop as a black void appeared beneath the ship, causing the jagged points nearly a kilometer in the distance to feel as though they were ascended into the sky. However, instead of descending with the water, the ship continued forward on its trajectory, flying through the air under the guidance of Vahn. The water level continued to descend several hundred meters in only a few seconds, revealing the serrated spines to actually be the teeth of a massive funnel-like creature. For nearly 2km, the sea itself was being sucked in by the impossibly large monstrosity before the gaping circular maw began to slowly close, it’s thousands of rows of serrated teeth coiling inward as the sea turned incredibly tumultuous below.

As if unaffected by the terrifying event playing out below, the Kali Familia ship continued through the sky, bypassing the periphery of spire-like teeth that were more than 20m tall with ease. Vahn had been using telekinesis to propel the 40-ton vessel through the air, causing a dull ache in his mind but no outwardly discernable signs of stress or fatigue. He also knew his action was more than a little foolish but, after seeing the impossible large monster rising up from the sea’s depths, Vahn felt like he ‘needed’ to press forward. As for the creature itself, it was something that all sailors feared and was considered to be on the level of a natural disaster that had plagued the Poseidon Sea since before more than a hundred thousand years…the Charybdis.

Though it was a ‘legendary’ creature, there were tens of sights of the monstrous entity each year, depicting it as a titanic monster whose maw alone was nearly 3km across. It was impossible to know when and where it would appear but, if any ship was unfortunate enough to be even remotely close, death was almost inevitable. Even if they had turned around and rowed with maximum speed, Vahn had determined the ship wouldn’t have been able to completely avoid the Charybdis. After all, the creature seemed to be ‘targetting’ them, something he intended to confront Kali about later on. He was relatively certain it was her aura that had drawn the attention of the massive creature and, based on her reaction after realizing what they were facing, Vahn was equally as certain that she was aware of it…

For nearly a half hour, there wasn’t much movement on the ship as Vahn continued to focus on propelling it through the air, waiting for the sea below to stabilize. The Charybdis had displaced such a massive amount of seawater that waves more than 25m high continued to rage about for a while afterward. This was the combined result of the sea’s displacement, followed by the massive funnel that had been created as the Charybdis dove back into the sea’s depths. Vahn had no idea how large it’s actual body was but, even with his domain able to sense well over 3km, he wasn’t able to determine it’s length. All he knew for certain was, much like Kali had attested, there were no practical means he could use to fight against something so monstrous that it made even the existence of a Level 10 seem inconsequential…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘*Jiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-*<—onomatopeia for intense staring’,’There is always something stronger…’,’Kali f***** up…’)

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