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B3 — 60. Beginning A Legend’s Quest

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POV:  Rachel Park (Our Lunar Hare!)

Recap:

We’re back with Rachel and everyone met up … well, except for Fiona (still getting things ready to move out of Ireland with her parents).  She met with our two new Legendkin and Mythickin.  Vasishtha seems a bit too drawn in by Maëlle >.> seems like a match made in heaven, though, and they’ve got a date.

Maria gets a bit annoyed with Rachel just dropping off a girl (Zoe; the Cat Beastkin at the start of the series) at her house, sleeping on her couch.  Now all the neighborhood gangsters are simping on her.  She’s chill with it but wants to be in the loop.

Alexa, Molly, and Scarlet have their minds out of the gutter for a bit and they all agree to go on Maria’s boat trip to commemorate Cahira’s addition to the Miami crew.

Cahira was a pretty interesting meet-up >.> she’s a bit too focused on Anthony for Rachel’s liking, but she seems okay.

So, yeah, Maria’s RICH, and they’re now looking up in the world.  She gave a super hotel room to each of the newcomers, including Zoe to get her off the Unicorn’s couch! 

Now, TO SEA!!!  Full speed ahead!!!  But wait … is there another reason they’re going on this trip >.> hmm?

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At first, Rachel thought they were going to head to the hotel, but Maria quickly changed directions, turning their course towards the ocean.  The drive was filled with her parents and sister-in-law questioning Anthony, Nam, Scarlet, and her about what it was like being changed into a Demi.

Rachel didn’t pay too much attention to the random and sometimes personal questions, more interested in scanning all the information surrounding Miami’s populace.  She learned more about Maria’s time in Seattle and California, including some news about her taking a fighter jet out of the northern State for some emergency reason.

News had leaked about Miami’s new additions, too; a few other State officials and celebrities were now complaining about Florida’s rapid Mythickin and Legendkin expansion since the State was receiving a lot more news coverage as of late, and since the economy had reopened, tourism was booming.

A lot of the news cycle was now turning toward the White House Press Conference that President Capell would be giving, and his political opponents across the aisle were already complaining about his team’s response to the crisis with propaganda being spread from the major news networks representing each side.

Rachel did her best to tune out most of the noise, searching for more relevant reports she could use.  Cuba was a major talking point, which was obvious since it played such a significant part in Florida and Miami’s population with so many immigrants.

The previous leadership had been killed, and much of the country’s public communications had been severed.  There were a lot of unknowns with a population that exceeded eleven million people, but from the last transmissions out, gangs and rival groups had turned the main island and its several minor archipelagos into a lawless zone dominated by Demi, small warlords, and a branch of the Cuban military.

The Cuban military had centralized north, around San Julián Air Base, after it had been forced to retreat from its capital city, Havana, losing it to a large band of rogue Demi that claimed to be revolutionaries.

The United States had held its dominance over the southern part of Cuba at Guantánamo Bay, taking in what refugees they could from the fleeing local residents nearby.  There’d been one attempt to seize control; the two terrorists from the northern Demi group that tried using force had been killed fairly quickly after separating from the influx of displaced Cubans they were using as cover.

Rachel suspected there were probably several more spies mixed in with the refugees, and they’d used the other two as sacrifices to see how the response would be taken.  Tom would likely have to make a move soon, which they would probably be roped into, and Rachel couldn’t wait for the chance to enter live combat again.

A few people talked about the crystals, but it had fallen into the conspiracy category, with many news sites and social media platforms labeling them as fake news or debunked myths.  However, Rachel felt like it was gaining traction from what she’d heard and figured the President would explain the subject to the public in the coming days.

Rediverting her hearing to the car in front of them, Rachel’s brow creased.

Maria’s excitement increased her Hispanic accent.  “… So, you got a map we need to follow?  What kind of adventure we takin’, chica?”

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Cahira hummed thoughtfully, unfurling something that seemed to appear in her hands.  “I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.  See how it’s blank?”

“Mmh … woah, but there’s that small part there?”

Reed, Clay, Selvaria, Ohan, and Maria leaned in or scooted over to study the scroll.

“Mhm,” the Pirate Queen replied, brushing her fingers across the page.  “That’s showing the port nearby … I think it knows we’re going to start our journey there, and so it’s set up the route from that location.”

Clay’s tone turned thoughtful.  “Is this kind of thing normal for Legendkin, Ohan?”

Ohan sat back with a short sigh.  “In a way.  There are certain tasks that I had to accomplish to enhance my weapons.”

Rachel’s brow furrowed upon hearing the news, and she turned to Anthony as Maria went down the same line of questioning with Ohan.  “… Hey…”

Alexa and her mother’s probing questions into Scarlet’s mysterious x-ray eyes ceased, refocusing on her, probably much to Scarlet’s relief.

“Hmm?”  Her mother asked, moving her seatbelt a bit while swapping the visor mirror to look at her.

“Anthony, do you have to do quests or tasks for your upgrades?”

He raised an eyebrow, shifting in his seat next to the window to look at her, which subsequently pressed his muscular left thigh against her right, and she wasn’t going to complain.  “Hmm, well … yeah, you don’t?”

Scarlet’s blue irises lit up, twisting in her seat ahead of them to see.  “Oh!  You have to do quests, like … like the legend you’re based on?”

Anthony shrugged nonchalantly.  “Nothing so grand so far, but it’s because I haven’t undertaken those steps.  In short, yes.  I can upgrade some of my weapons by competing in a sort of arena.”

“How does that work?”  Alexa asked, teeth flashing with excitement.

“… You don’t, Rachel, Scarlet?”  He asked with a soft hum.

She shook her head, but Scarlet was the one to respond.  “Nuh-uh!  We just level up and practice our skills … well, I mean, we need to get experience.  Do you need to do that?”

“Huh…”  Anthony pressed his tongue against the side of his teeth, creating a popping sound.  “Okay, I do gain experience, but if I want to increase the grade of my weapons or armor, then I need to go into these dimensional spaces and complete the given task.”

“That’s so cool!”  Scarlet groaned.  “Why don’t Mythickin get things like that?”

“… Maybe we do?”  Rachel mused.  “Perhaps we’ve been focusing on different areas.”

“You think?  That would be awesome!”  Scarlet grinned, but it soon fell.  “… Mmh … the System isn’t telling me anything about that kind of thing, though.  How do you do it, Anthony?”

“Uh … I don’t know what to tell you, Scarlet,” he replied with a forced chuckle.  “The arenas randomly show up, and I can choose to enter them or not … it’s just kind of a feeling.  The first one was pretty tough, getting my spear upgraded with a few Skills attached to it.”

“No way … why am I so lame?”  Scarlet moaned, running her fingers through her hair.

Alexa’s eyebrow shot up.  “Lame?  You’re a freakin’ super-powerful Vampire, girl!”

Scarlet’s vision shot to the window, underwhelmed at the response.  “Yeah, well … not all that great.  I’d rather have cool adventure upgrades than sucking people’s blood.”

“… Yeah, okay, I can see that,” Alexa conceded.

“Well, you might be able to join me?”  Anthony offered, making Rachel’s ears press against the car’s ceiling.

“Wait … huh?”

Everyone’s gaze shot to his weak shrug.  “I mean, it doesn’t say people can’t join me; in fact … no, it says it just makes it harder.  If I invite someone along, then the difficulty will be bumped up, but there might be other perks I can gain depending on the outcome.  Going in solo or in a party seems to have its advantages and disadvantages, from what I gather.”

“Hehe,” Rachel’s smile grew, drawing everyone’s eye.  “Well, it seems Cahira is inviting us on her first adventure.”

“The boat ride?”  Her mother asked, trying to keep up with the discussion.  “Is it dangerous?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” her brother mumbled.

Anthony’s lips drew in with a bit of concern.  “If that’s true … I can’t say how difficult it will be if she invites six Demi with several humans into her trial.  Do you know what it’s for?”  He asked, green eyes swimming with uncertainty.

Rachel shook her head.  “All I’ve heard is that Cahira has a map we’re supposed to follow, and it starts at the docks.”

“… Mine was pretty dangerous,” Anthony admitted, rubbing his hands against his fitted dark blue jeans.  “I had to face this random spear user in a tight alley … some alternate dimension or something, and I could only use my spear; if I caught it against the alley, then it would have left me open for a deadly blow, and the bricks were strong enough that I couldn’t break them.  The guy didn’t even bleed when I stabbed or cut him.”

“A precision and concentration-based trial?”  Rachel mused.  “No wonder you acted that way when we had a sparring match.  Still, I’m excited to give it a shot.  Mom, Dad…”

Her mother’s brow set.  “No, if you’re going, then we’re going!  Right, Sam?”

Knowing he wasn’t going to convince her otherwise, her father slowly nodded.  “I … suppose we are.  Is there a lower cabin in case things become too hectic?”

Rachel shook her head, feeling a bit worried about her parents now.  “No … umm, I don’t know if it’d be good for you guys to come.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine!”  Her mother quickly replied, and Rachel half wondered if she was insisting on coming to force her to play it safe.  “Your friend is bringing your other friend along, too, right?”

Rachel had utterly forgotten about Zoe.  “… Right,” she mumbled, glancing over at Anthony as he gave her a tight-lipped response with his gaze, and a new piece of news dampened her cheer further; Elena came with Zoe and Felix.

“I’ll make sure nothing bad happens to you!”  Scarlet determined, giving her mother a confident smile.

“Yeah, this’ll be fun!”  Alexa laughed, nudging her husband.  “We’re going on a real adventure!”

Rachel’s mind retreated as everyone questioned Anthony on details he couldn’t answer since it would be Cahira’s trial and her very first.

It’s probably going to be a sea-based challenge involving ships.  Selvaria seems like she’ll be an extremely powerful support, but if it increases in difficulty by person … does it only count Demi?

Ohan seems more of a close-range fighter, but with Scarlet’s teleportation, it might be possible for us to be useful on the ocean.  Anthony and Scarlet could defend everyone, but that leaves a ton of firepower that should be added to the opposition, yet Cahira’s open for it, and there’s no way she doesn’t know the risks … maybe she doesn’t?

Making it to the wharf, everyone filed out to join each other; Selvaria’s aquamarine eyes were literally glowing with anticipation as she stared at the lapping waves, tail increasing its back and forth motions while holding her baby seal.

Zoe, Felix, and Elena were already on the pier, the two Demi glancing over upon noticing their entrance.  The group followed Maria down, Rachel jogging to Cahira’s side.

“Hey, Cahira,” Rachel initiated with a pleasant smile, pulling back her glowing hair as the overhead moon filled her with energy and the ocean breeze fanned out her locks.

The Pirate Queen adjusted her own fiery hair with a curious smile, flaring blue irises appraising her.  “Mmh?”

“Did you know your trial will increase its difficulty with the more people that enter?”

Cahira’s eyes widened with surprise, causing Rachel’s stomach to tighten.  “Aye, ye don’t say?  News to me, but give mi a moment, this whole askin’ questions to some invisible fella is all still new.  Hmm … now that ye mention it … seems that way!  Sounds fun, huh?”

“Yes,” Rachel slowly admitted, glancing back at the party, each engaged in their own little discussions, but Anthony was soon by her side.  “I can’t say I’m not excited to see how this goes, but…”

“How safe is your boat?”  Anthony pressed, nudging his head toward her family.

“Ah,” Cahira snickered, Irish accent surprisingly a bit stronger than Fiona’s.  “I see where yer headin’!  Mmh, I can’t be prominsin’ anythin’ fancy, but if things be blowin’ the wrong direction, then there be space below fer cover.  You’ll see soon enough!”

Their conversation broke as Zoe’s bright voice called out to her.  “Rachel!  Hey, Rachel!”

The smirking confidence Elena produced faltered as she noticed her, becoming somewhat shy as if meeting her favorite actor.  The Honey Badger was surprisingly cute with her folded down ears and tight fists pressed against her ripped shorts.  “Umm, hey…”  She mumbled, unsure if she should address Maria or her.

“Yo, what’s up, chica!”  Maria laughed, eyeing the teenage girl suspiciously.  “I heard you’ve been holdin’ down the neighborhood, and this is the cat chica?”

“Oh, hey,” Zoe mumbled, becoming much more reserved as Maria approached.

“Hey, she’s got a name, hermana!”  Felix huffed.

Rachel smiled; it seemed the little cat-girl had made an impression on Maria’s little brother.

“Yeah, yeah,” Maria waved dismissively.  “Yo, I got her a place to stay so she can get off the couch.  Cool, huh?”

Zoe’s eyes widened with shock.  “W-Where?”

Felix didn’t seem as thrilled as his sister, but his hum was drowned out by Cahira, further up the docks.  She walked backward with a bright grin.  “Some posh hotel room the gurl owns now.  I’m excited to explore the ritzy digs!  We’ll be neighbors, lass!”

“Huh?”  Zoe’s confusion continued to increase as more information was thrown at her.

Ohan and Selvaria silently followed the Pirate Queen, but Clay paused, taking out his phone.  “Zoe, correct?”

“Yes?”

“Good.  Could you tell me your parents’ names, phone numbers, and home address?  I’ll see if I can figure out what’s happening.”

“Umm, yeah…”  She hesitantly replied, giving it.

The conversation barely dropped when Molly moved to take the girl’s attention next while the rest of her family hesitantly eyed the two splitting groups.

“Hi, I’m Molly, Rachel’s mom!  You’re Zoe, right?”

“Uh-huh…”

“It’s so nice to meet you!  How did you two meet?”

Maria ushered everyone further down to join Cahira, Ohan, and Selvaria, waiting for everyone to arrive at the end of the pier; Selvaria and her were practically glowing with positivity.

Elena appeared to be fairly tempered compared to the first time she met the sixteen-year-old Honey Badger, and she seemed a bit out of place while glancing between each new face.  She stayed close to Felix, probably more comfortable with someone she knew by her side.

Zoe showed her cute shy side that had her mother and Alexa fawning over her; her father and Nam silently followed the social girls.  Felix and Elena had been zoned out by her family’s pincer attack on the cat-girl.

Clay was already busy putting someone on Zoe’s case with Reed by his side, silently observing the groups.

The dock wasn’t as crowded as it would have been during the day, but a few lingering eyes followed their party, and judging by the hushed words that passed between pairs, they’d identified different members of their group, mainly Maria.

Rachel walked to the right of the wharf, and everyone turned to face Cahira as she waited for their attention.  “Aye, so, a few things to be heard,” her blue irises darted to her, “Rachel let me in on a little news.  Seems there may be some rough waters ahead of us.”

“Eh?”  Maria’s gaze shifted to her with a lifted eyebrow.

Anthony took the spotlight.  “Basically, we’re heading into a trial to upgrade something of Cahira’s, and they are built to be challenging to the individual.  Do you know what to expect?  The more people that join will increase the difficulty.”

“Ah, fascinatin’ stuff,” Cahira mumbled with a small grin.  “Afraid I be in the dark, miselff; this be mi first adventure usin’ mi map, but aye, Selv, ye may get a good meal after all!”

“Let’s hope,” Selvaria returned, irises still centered on the ocean waters, “I’m starving.”

“Okay,” Cahira snapped her fingers, and everyone’s attention instantly moved to the large sailing vessel that birthed out of roaring red flames, making the people around the pier’s mouths drop open and a few people to jump back out of alarm.

The vessel was at least 135 feet long with a lower level for sure by its size; its four sleek black cannons with gold trim showed it had a bit of combat potential, and Rachel was sure it didn’t use normal cannonballs.  The Pirate Queen’s sailboat was fairly impressed looking with crimson sails imprinted with some kind of coat of arms.

“I welcome ye aboard!”  Cahira cheerily stated as a ramp formed.  “If it be gettin’ bad, then there be a lower deck for shelter, but we’ve got quite the crew.  I’m sure the experience will nigh be unforgettable!  Anyone up for the journey?”

Rachel leaned in, whispering, “Anthony, how long do these things usually take?”

Anthony shook his head.  “Time seems to function differently, as best I can tell.  Slower in my experience, but that could change.”

“Hmm … we’ll have to keep that in mind with Scarlet in case we come back during the day.”

Scarlet scooted closer, listening in as Maria, Felix, Zoe, and Elena were the first to jump aboard.  “No, I can just go below the deck before we return.  It should be fine; I’ve got an escape option!”  She encouraged, vanishing in shadows to appear on the ship, rushing to the front to stare into the water with a wide grin.  “A real adventure!”  She screamed.

Rachel watched Cahira lean in to whisper to Selvaria.  “Aye, seems we might be gettin’ into a bit of a rough.  Keep an eye on the waters, eh?”

Selvaria’s sharp, toothy grin appeared, and Ohan boarded the vessel.  “I’m looking forward to finding anything bigger than Orca.”

“Hehe, I’m not all that worried with ye watchin’ the waters, mi monstrous friend.”

“Count on me,” Selvaria replied, handing the Pirate Queen her pet seal.  “Just keep Galatea safe; maybe we can get her a nice bed.”

“We’ll see, but I can’t promise anythin’,” she snickered.  “Although, I’ll promise she’ll be safe with me,” she vowed, taking the small creature.

Selvaria shed her clothes to reveal a tight plated scale bikini before handing her clothes to Cahira for safekeeping.

Rachel and Anthony watched Selvaria dive into the ocean out of curiosity; they were the only ones beside the captain left on the dock, and she soon realized why the Pirate Queen was so confident with the girl’s support.

The dock must not have been as deep as Rachel imagined because a large expansion lifted the waves, and a massive tail exited the surface before sliding back under, and the gigantic, monstrous form of the Leviathan Mythickin came to the surface, almost as if showing off.

Rachel’s mind accelerated, watching the slow-moving explosion of water cascading down the Leviathan’s glistening dark azurite plated scales, fanning out to display a rugged defense, and her strong webbed hands showed razor-sharp talons at their ends.

Selvaria was as long as Cahira’s boat, and her tail was equipped with a sharp fin at the end that could more than likely be used as a slashing, stabbing, or bludgeoning weapon.  Her extended neck had curved spikes running down its length to her tail.

Her head hung around Cahira’s sails, aquamarine irises shimming with a glowing inner light while examining the stunned boat occupants.

A very low rumble vibrated the air like a subwoofer as Rachel figured the woman laughed, showing her monstrous sapphire fangs and slick black tongue while the red spikes and horns were illuminated with a fierce light, and the blue glow was even more highlighted than in her human form.

The girl’s scales soon shifted colors, turning from deep blue to night black, seeming to swap to a more combat-oriented stealth mode.

The seal made a few weak cries, seeming to want to join Selvaria, but Cahira softly soothed the baby while walking aboard her vessel.  “Comin’?”  She asked, turning to give them a small smirk.

Anthony chuckled sheepishly, following Rachel up the ramp, both still studying the sea monster.  “I gotta say … I wasn’t expecting her to literally turn into something like that.  Uh, you don’t turn into a big hare creature.  Right, Rachel?”

Rachel gave him a dubious smile.  “Would it matter if I could?”

“Mmh … I’m just sayin’ your ears only recently started growing on me.”

“Humph,” Rachel frowned, glaring at him, ears shifting to the left and tail flicking with irritation.  “They’re adorable.”

“I concur,” Cahira snickered.  “Still, gotta admire a man that’ll speak ‘is mind!”

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“To a point,” Rachel mumbled, leaving Anthony with a forced smile.  “… No, I don’t turn into a big furry creature … at least, not yet.”

The image of all the different colors of the moon suddenly made her doubt the possibility.  She could very well transform into some kind of hare creature under certain conditions, and Selvaria’s metamorphosis lodged a few other questions into her mind that would need to be explored.

With a few more jokes and introductions, Cahira took her ship out to sea.

The dockmaster ran across the concrete wharf, seemingly only recently noticing the ship.  Only Rachel could hear his shouts, leaving a smile on her lips while leaning against the afterdeck railing at the tail end of the boat with the Pirate Queen at the wheel behind her.

“Y-You need to pay and give … where in the world did it come from?”

Rachel adjusted her hair with the increasing wind.  “I suppose you don’t need to pay any storage fees.”

“Hmm?  Oh, nope,” Cahira giggled, watching the groups clustering around her ship.  

Ohan and Anthony were getting acquainted while Maria broke off to speak to her brother and Elena.  Zoe had been kidnapped by Molly, standing around the front with her family.  Reed stood off to the side by his lonesome, taking in the sea scent while smiling at the lapping waves below.

Clay had gone below, on the phone with Tom as he discussed the new information regarding Legendkin.  Galatea was with him, safely away from any danger that might befall her.

Rachel’s gaze moved to the map that appeared out of red flames in Cahira’s hands; it seemed she didn’t even need to have her hands on the wheel to steer the ship as she examined the content.

Ink bled into existence on the parchment as they moved out to sea, and Rachel’s focus lifted to see a mass of fog that quickly appeared out of nowhere, swallowing the vessel.  When they exited, Miami had vanished, leaving gasps across the ship as dark clouds thundered ahead across an endless sea.

A new world opened up before them, and behind was the nighttime sky, filled with unrecognizable stars and spheres in the heavens.  Rachel actually felt a different form of energy from the orbs, making her skin tingle, and the pink hue of her hair enhanced its color.

Sadly, it would soon vanish as they entered the storm, but the calm waves that swept through her were vastly different, showing the pink, and orange heavenly bodies could provide her unique advantages.

They’d certainly landed in some alternate world.

“Here we go!”  Cahira yelled, increasing the ship’s speed as the sails bowed.  “Into the black; it’s gonna get rough, so either get below deck or prepare fer the winds and waves!”

Rachel’s ears stood on end while listening to the sloshing waves around them, rolling thunder in the distance, and dozens upon dozens of large creatures below the boat.

Selvaria rocketed out of the waves beside them with a three-meter long armored fish in her jaws, crushing its slick red and orange scales as she severed it in half with most of its size entering her stomach before diving back below the surface.

Her mother and father watched the dead half of its head and tail be swiftly beset by more of the same fish, rocketing out to scavenge the remains.  Her parents’ faces were ashen upon seeing the otherworldly creatures and sky behind them.

Rachel sighed as her brother soon helped them below the deck as Clay came back up, probably losing signal on his call.

I knew they wouldn’t be able to handle the shock.

Reed waved him over; by his muscle twitches, Rachel figured he was fighting his fear, thrilled to arguably be off-planet.

To be fair, Felix and Zoe seemed to be just as unsure, while Alexa and Elena’s expressions brightened at the prospect of the new adventure.

Scarlet appeared beside them from shadows, vampiric eyes scanning the ocean.  “Oh, wow!  There’s so many crazy fish, and … I don’t even know if those are fish … they look like an octopus mixed with a Christmas tree?  Weird … Selvaria is having a field day, though.  She’s in a way bigger weight class, and … it’s just not fair!  She’s faster, bigger, stronger…”

“That be a good thing in mi humble opinion,” Cahira chuckled, gazing right at a veil of water that was moving by them at least ten miles out.  It almost seemed to be forcefully moved across a single impenetrable line.

Ohan and Anthony soon joined them.

Anthony seemed to be doing his own examination of what was happening below.  “I suspect some of those might even have attacked us if she wasn’t scaring them away.”

“Most likely,” Ohan concurred, glancing beyond the ship’s port to scan the horizon.  “… Look at that.”

Everyone turned left to see fifteen-foot long Manta ray-like fish with sharp spikes on their fin-like bodies; they were a lot more fearsome than any fish Rachel had seen with square mouths showing rows of jagged teeth.  They leaped over the waves, heading their way.

Time slowed, Ohan and Rachel’s focus moved to Anthony; the Legend pulled back his muscular left arm, magical golden spear appearing from blinding light, and within a split second, launched it at the center creature, creating a small shockwave as it radiated yellow light.

The weapon burrowed through the center of the creature’s mass on a vertical angle, leaving a charred path that practically cut half the creature’s entire body down the middle.

It limply fell to the waves, tumbled across the water, and caused the remaining two to maneuver around their fallen comrade.

Anthony’s spear vanished before touching the ocean, appearing in his left hand again.

“Quick reaction and execution,” Ohan praised with a lifted eyebrow.

Selvaria’s fin-like ax soon stole Anthony’s thunder, cutting through the surface of the water without warning, parting the choppy expanse, and cleaving the remaining two creatures in half.  Ink-like blood sprayed from the executed fish, carcasses sending sprays of black water across the waves as they slowed; they hadn’t even made it a hundred meters from the vessel.

Everyone was more than a little impressed by the show of speed and power, but their brows soon furrowed as the fish Anthony speared was dragged underwater.  Not long after, the Leviathan appeared on the starboard-side, releasing a rumbling chuckle while tossing the carcass on an empty section of the deck.

Alexa and Clay rushed to the side, throwing up at the grotesque smell it released as black blood and water crept off the ship from holes in the railing.  It was missing a notable amount of spikes on its thick fins.

Ohan and Anthony moved to examine it as Cahira groaned.  “C’mon, Selv, don’t be tossin’ the smelly things on mi ship!”

Rachel kept her distance, not enjoying the smell either with her enhanced senses.

Elena moved back to join her, with Zoe and Felix having enough, going below deck.

Maria was right next to the Legends, though.  “Freak!  Crap smells like a public bathroom, yo!”  Maria complained.

“Worse,” Anthony groaned, poking one of the spikes on its back with the point of his spear.

Rachel’s ears stood on end as a miniature explosion sounded within the creature’s skin, and she saw a faint outline of the spike shoot up with the Legends’ movements a second before they reacted.

Ohan darted back, pulling a stunned Maria with him as Anthony’s spear blurred into a circular motion, staying in the air on its own, repelling a bronze-colored liquid that sprayed out, launching the sharp barb thirty feet into the sky.

“Aww, not on mi ship,” Cahira groaned, watching the goo splatter across the helm.  “Ye best be cleanin’ it off!”

Anthony gave a weak chuckle, snatching his spinning spear out of the air while studying the dead fish with apprehension.  “These things might actually be pretty deadly.”

“I’d say,” Ohan mumbled, pulling out his sword from thin-air as Maria collected herself.  “If a swarm of these appear, we might have some issues.”

Rachel hummed while glancing up at the advancing storm.

My Mental Acceleration is enhanced under this moon?

She licked her lips with fascination as the answer came.

Cerridwen Branch (Lunar Based):  A moon deity that seems to embody or represent this section.

Mental Acceleration I(Cooldown: N/A; Cost: N/A; Duration: N/A; Range: N/A) Reactive, Lunar-Type, Level Eight, Rookie Grade, Rank Nine.  Accelerates Rachel’s thinking process to give her the time to react while running and in conflicts.  Linked to her Constitution Pool.

  • Active EnhancementFlush Moon:  Increases Skill Grade and Level by a Stage.  Current Status – Mental Acceleration II – Versed Grade – Rank Nine.  Increases the speed by which perception of time slows.

Rapid Mental Acceleration I: (Cooldown: 3 Minutes; Cost: N/A; Duration: 3 Seconds; Range: N/A) Active Link Skill, Lunar-Type, Level Five, Rookie Grade, Rank Two.  Accelerates Rachel’s thinking process to an even higher degree.  This is likely the advanced form of Mental Acceleration, allowing her to temporarily boost to a higher skill stage for a limited time.  Linked to her Constitution Pool.

  • Active Enhancement – Flush Moon:  Increases Skill Grade and Level by a Stage.  Current Status – Rapid Mental Acceleration II – Versed Grade – Rank Two.  Allows a short instance of predicted events with the heightened perception of time.

Does Flush Moon affect all of my Skills?  It does.  No wonder it feels different, but it makes me calmer … interesting.  Too bad it won’t last much longer, but at least it topped me off with this tranquil energy.

Her gaze moved to the veil as they drew closer to it and the storm.  “I’d be more concerned about what strange weather conditions we might find in there than monsters.  We can fight these things … nature, we aren’t at that level yet.”

Scarlet gave her a wink, likely silently saying speak for yourself with her level 100 Achievement Skills.  “Yeah, that might be a problem, but looking at the insides of these things … I’m pretty sure they got a crazy venom sack on their tail … or that’s another thing,” she mumbled with red cheeks.  “I’m going to imagine it’s poison.”

“Poison, either way, am I right?”  Cahira giggled.  “By the way, is it just me, or did Rachel’s whole glowing thing suddenly change a bit?”

They all chuckled at her joke, but her afterthought seemed to be bypassed as everyone turned their sights to the challenge ahead and beside them; Selvaria appeared to have handled anything around them because she was weaving just below the surface in front of the ship, scanning for more danger.

“Huh, is this all ye got?”  Cahira yelled at the heavens, causing Scarlet to wince.

“Famous last words … I’m just sayin’.”

Anthony moved his spear to his shoulders, draping his arms across them while balancing against the waves rocking the ship.  “We’ll see, but actually, this is beginning to get my blood pumping.  What about you, Rachel?”

“Heh, was Cahira the only one that realized my glow swapped to pink?”

“You weren’t really making a big deal out of it, so I decided to leave it be,” Anthony returned with a grin.

“Yo, I didn’t even notice, chica!”  Maria mumbled, eyeing her for a moment.  “What’s up with that?”

She pointed at the celestial objects behind them, soon to be hidden behind the clouds overshadowing the sky.  “Seems one of those moons back there can increase my skill’s Ranks, Grades, and Levels, by an entire grade.  Probably really powerful when I start hitting the later levels.”

“Dang,” Maria and Scarlet mumbled in unison.

“Anyways, storms appear to be a weakness of mine, too,” she groaned, but a smile lifted her lips.  “I’ll be a lot happier when I can beat something to death, though.”

“There’s the chica I know!”  Maria snickered.

Her smile softened her full lips as she heard Elena mumble, “This is so hard!”

A lump dropped down the girl’s throat while examining the dead creature at the front of the ship and glancing between all the Legend and Mythickin surrounding her, waiting for the next exciting event, but the girl jumped as Cahira barked.  “Aye, Ohan, get that pile o’ blubber off mi ship!  Will ya?”

They watched in fascination as Ohan unsheathed his weapon, the scabbard vanishing upon dropping it.  Holding his Samurai Sword with both hands, Rachel watched him get into a stance, and in slow-motion, followed three cuts, but was shocked to see the creature split into nine pieces.

Her ears could be lied to, though; with each slash, two more branched from either side.  It was likely a skill he had, but that didn’t stop several of the touch-sensitive spikes from shooting out of its back.

The Samurai countered, repelling them over the edge; his two invisible strikes seemed maneuverable to a certain degree, and once the creature’s arsenal was empty, he swirled his blade into a small circle, generating a visible cyclone around his sword.  With one slash, a small whirlwind was created; the gale swept the remaining chunks off the boat.

Anthony’s spear vanished, hands dropping to his front to clap at the display.  “Impressive skills, Ohan!  How long have you used a sword?”

“Since I was six,” Ohan replied, frowning down at the remaining globs of amber ooze.  “I’m afraid that’s the best I can do, Cahira.”

The Pirate Queen pointed at a bucket with a rope attached and a bristly mop that appeared beside him with a bright smile.  “I’ve got ye covered, mi lad!”

Ohan released a short sigh, glancing at the approaching storm before taking it up and getting to work.

Anthony chuckled, asking, “Got another pair?”

“Ain’t ye sweet!”  Cahira giggled, generating another.  “A clean ship be eh lucky ship!”

“Won’t the storm get most of it off?”  Elena curiously asked.

“Tis’ the ethic, mi lass,” Cahira replied with a wink.  “Can’t be assumin’ things we don’t need ta; maybe one o’ ye slips on the gunk before it’s off.”

“Oh…”

Maria walked back to join them with a bright grin.  “Yo, this is epic, chica!”

Her gaze was fixed on the dark horizon as the wind swiftly increased its speed, throwing back their long hair as Alexa, Reed, and Clay composed themselves at the starboard railing.  

“How bad do ya think it’s gonna get?”  Reed asked with apprehension.

Rachel’s ears twitched, glancing toward the right to see the wall of rain falling toward them at an increasing pace.  Her skin prickled as she left the two moon’s gaze, and her stomach tightened with anticipation.  A storm of sinister squawking sounds was hidden within the heavy veil, causing her puffy tail to stiffen with excitement.

“… Hey, guys, I think we have some company … a lot of things.  Most of you should get below deck, quick.”

Anthony and Ohan picked up their pace, the spear user throwing the bucket over to gather water and dump it on the spots while the swordsman shoved them off the side of the deck.  Elena jumped into action as Cahira’s toothy smile grew, creating another bucket for her to help.  “Get ready for a fight, mi lads and gents!  It’s gonna get rough.”

Rachel jumped up the mast, swiftly reaching the top while staring at the wall.  “Scarlet, can you see anything inside?”

“Uh … not yet, it’s too far away,” she mumbled, knowing she could hear her.

Nam’s brow set, body shimmering with red light; four static-like energy constructs with sharp claws and eight jagged teeth formed out of him, and he left them on the deck while guiding a reluctant Alexa below with Reed and Clay behind them.

It was the first time she’d seen her brother’s ability, but she didn’t have much time to reflect on the four summons as Cahira glanced down at her map, unfolding it again.

“Huh,” the Pirate Queen’s elated voice shouted over the rising wind and thunder.  “It shows we’re reachin’ Sky Reaver’s Way.”  A bright grin lit her full lips.  “Ready fer combat!  Watch those ears by the cannons!  Oh, by the way, I just got notice; we’ve upgraded to a Legend’s Quest, mi rag-tag crew.  Our journey begins just beyond the veil; we’re goin’ to Kokoa!”

She spun the wheel to a hard right, taking them into the worst visible area of the storm and giving Rachel’s stomach butterflies as they came upon the veil.

Upgraded to a Legend’s Quest … this might get ugly.


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Title: World of Expertsd | Tags: Cultivation, Second Chance
Synopsis: The online game <> entered the whole world. It's a game about territorial construction and war to reconstruct alternate history. Although it's virtual, it'll change the world. Shi Hao, an ordinary freshman, decided to bravely enter <> in order to gain the approval of his beloved goddess's elder brother. He, however, accidentally got a super skill at the beginning because of a strange game-helmet.

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