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Chapter 9: Atlantis

He walked into the small tavern of the town. Syl was sitting at the bar counter talking with other Naturas, laughing and joking. He sat down on the bar stool near to her and didn't say anything. He tapped the counter and the bartender turned his head and walked over.

"What can I get for you, human?"

"Vidian's the name, any sprite? Maybe lemon?"

"Not lemon, but we have sap sprite."

"How much is it?"

"I'll pay for him," Syl spoke up, "He doesn't have our money."

"You sure, Syl? I could ask him for something else than money."

"I owe him."

"Huh? Why would you owe something to the human?"

"He has a NAME! Use it," She said as her hair magic activated and a hand grabbed the man by the throat, "Okay?"

"I, I can't, can't, breathe," He said faintly. She let go of him and he gasped for air, "Why do you owe him something?"

"He saved me, from two Galyungu, I got caught, and he saved me."

"He did?" The entire room looked at him, "I thought humans were selfish."

"Yeah, only acting in their own interest, never in someone else's."

"That can't be true."

"We were wrong about all humans," Syl spoke, "He isn't cruel, he does his best to not be selfish."

"But, how can we be wrong they were like that to our ancestors."

"That was hundreds of years ago!" Syl shouted. Silvia walked in after her shout. Everyone stopped talking.

"Can I know what's going on here?"

"Nothing, Ma'am."

"Syl, what is going on? Since you screamed."

"Nothing, nothing at all."

"Don't lie, you know what we honor, the truth."

"They were doubting Vidian's trustworthiness, they still believe that all humans are selfish and cruel."

"And you think differently?"

"Yes, Ma'am, I do."

"Why? What did he do to change your mind, so that you even rebel against your own? To defy our ways? Tell me, now."

"He saved me, from the Galyungu, he killed two of them to protect me, he wouldn't have if he was selfish, he would have asked for something in return, he never did," Syl looked down as she explained, "That is why I defend him, I chose to, and I will."

"You certainly are something, aren't you?" Silvia said then scanned his amulet, "You completed the works, you have Lord Inventaariy's blessing, tomorrow, you leave this place, for wherever, but you leave, you need to promise to keep our city a secret, we aren't safe if the knowledge of our city is spread."

"Then I promise to keep your city safe, I will guard the secret and I will leave tomorrow, to continue my journey," He said before taking a drink, "However, I might return."

"Why?"

"I'll tell you if I ever return," He downed his drink and got up, "Thank you for letting me stay in your city for these past days, I am grateful for your hospitality."

"You can stay one more night, nothing else, I don't think I can be cruel to you, you haven't been cruel to us," Silvia explained, "But don't cause any more problems, and for the rest of you, your next break day is suspended, there is no need to argue, and you have to remember discipline, be mature."

"Yes, Ma'am," They said in unison. Silvia was the leader of the city, she watched to the safety and the organization of the people, she was like the mother of the people. Her magic depended on the terrain around her, Syl had explained to him, she healed the Golem that housed them and was the maximum authority in the city. She walked up the streets of the house. Vidian jogged up to her.

"Silvia, Silvia, wait."

"Yes, Vidian? What is wrong?" She turned around, she noticed people looking at them, "Actually, let's not talk here, follow me, and don't look at me like that."

"Okay, if you want," He followed her up the winding streets, to a house across from Inventaariy's Altar. She led him into her house. It was a cozier than Syl's, with a large couch hammock, a small table that acted as a dinner table, another table at the back with a bunch of scrolls that weren't paper, but compressed leaves, her bed wasn't a hammock but a frame like what him and Syl shared the nights before.

"So, what did you want to ask me, Vidian?"

"I just wanted to talk, to someone else than Syl."

"Okay," She sat down on the hammock that acted as a couch, "What do you want to talk about?"

"Why do you talk to me so differently than to your brothers and sisters?"

"I-I haven't realized that, do I?" She was blushing slightly, "I probably shouldn't."

He sat down on a chair by the table, "Do you have a partner?"

"No," She shook her head, "I don't have time for that, I need to keep this city alive, and love isn't something I have thought of."

"But for fun, you have."

"W-what?! W-w-what d-does that m-mean?" She turned her head, looking away from him, trying to hide her blushing. He got up and walked towards her, "Why are you this close, to, me?"

"You are interested in me, right?" He said as he sat down next to her, "I can tell you are."

"I can't say that I, haven't, thought, of, it," She hesitated as she spoke, "Why?"

"Maybe, I could," His hand slid behind her back, "We could, if you wanted, Syl is probably going to be in the tavern some more, she won't be looking for me anytime soon, so what do you think?"

"H-h-how can you b-b-be so calm, at-at a moment l-l-like this?"

"Why are you nervous? Or are you eager?"

"Don't say that, you are going make me sound desperate."

"Do you not think about this?"

"D-do I-I have t-to a-a-answer y-you?"

"No, your body already answered me."

He pushed the door of Syl's home, she was lying, head on her arms, on the table of her house, she was snoring softly. He sat down in front of her and watched her sleep, it was past noon, and Zenith was descending to let Diana take his place in the sky. She was sleeping deeply, smiling, reacting to her dreams. He leaned down on the table and looked at her sleeping face. He combed her hair with his hand and her eyes slowly opened. She blinked and looked at him.

"Hi Syl."

"Yawn, hi Vidian, how long have you been watching me?"

"A minute or so, not much."

"What have you been doing?"

"I was talking with Silvia."

"Really? About what?"

"About the city, her, and little about you, stuff like that," He smiled as she sat up, "How is your break day going?"

"Did you really only do that with her?"

"Pretty much, yeah," He said looking straight at her, "Nothing much."

"Would you lie to me?"

"No."

"Okay, I believe you."

"Why would I lie?"

"I don't know," She said standing up from the chair and wobbled on her unsteady knees, "I think I drank too much."

"Yeah, you did, your breath is pretty bad."

"I don't feel well," She stumbled around the room and lied down on the bed, "I will miss you so much, you know that, right?"

"Yeah, I do, you said that before, but I am only leaving tomorrow."

He walked through the Forest of the Lost, away from the now stationary Tree Golem, away from the town of Natura, who went back to being hidden and unknown. He walked quietly, Silvia had given him a map of the area, one of her leaf-paper maps, and it would lead him to the road he needed to follow to get to the human city, Bloodwater.

He soon arrived on a large path that was marked by lonely, short pillar. He walked under a beating sun, but its heat was regardless, he couldn't be harmed by it. The path left the forest and entered massive plains, there was nothing, it was plain, with tall grass and small groups or singular trees standing. Small herds of animals roamed the plains, but far from the path. The path was flat, and seemed to go on for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers ahead of him.

He didn't pay attention to much as he walked until someone behind him called him out, "Hello there, traveler, where are you going on your own?"

"To Bloodwater, where are you going?"

"To Bloodwater, climb on, it'll be less tiring, you still have a few days of travel," The man said as his horse continued to pull the cart as Vidian climbed on, "Roger Giill, nice to meet you."

"I am Vidian."

"Just Vidian?"

"Yeah, where are you from, Roger?"

"From Bloodwater."

"Are you a merchant? Why are you this far out?"

"This is the fastest path from the west of the Great Desert to Bloodwater, so that is why I am here," He smiled, "You want some water?"

"No, I am fine, but why are you around here?"

"I went to get my fiancée."

"I assume she is in the back?"

"Yes, she is from, from what was the city called? Ah yes, Kyyieshnomad, from a city that is border to the Great Desert, I met her a year back, and I stayed around for a month and fell in love with her, and when I returned this year, I had promised to marry her and so we are going to get married in Bloodwater, and live there."

"She is from Kyyieshnomad, what a coincidence."

"Why?"

"I am from there as well, I was born and raised there, but I left that town to travel the world, my next stop was Bloodwater, and then Atlantis."

"You are from Kyyieshnomad as well?" He tapped the wall of the house-like carriage, "Darling, this man is from Kyyieshnomad, like you, maybe you know him."

"What do you mean, from Kyyieshnomad? What is a Kyyieshnomadian doing here?" She pushed the curtain back and looked at Vidian, "Vidian? What are you doing here?"

"Oh, hi Maryleen, how are you?"

"I am good," She sat down behind then, a little higher than them, "What are you doing here? Kyyieshnomad get on your nerves?"

"No, I am just travelling."

"What is that necklace? New style?"

"No, it's Eternum's blessing."

"Eternum's blessing?"

"I have to gather blessings of the gods on earth, it is like my life quest."

"Your life quest?" Roger tilted his head, "Why do you need to do that?"

"Lord Eternum told me to, so I need to do it," He smiled, "Is it really fine if I travel with you? Like, I can walk, you don't need to do this."

"No, no, no, it's fine, I offered this to you, so, you can, and, I guess Maryleen is fine with it," He looked back and she nodded, "You see, and it would be crazy to walk the distance from wherever you left from to Bloodwater, it would take you ages, and you are a fellow Kyyieshnomadian, like my fiancée, it is fine."

"Thank you, I guess."

"Tell me, what blessings do you have?" Maryleen asked, "Your life must be more interesting now."

"Okay, I'll start when I left, this was like a week ago."

A group of men emerged from the tall grass, and blocked the path, bandits. Roger stopped the carriage and sighed. Maryleen stayed where she was and they waited for the men to speak.

"Your money or your lives, and quickly."

"Let me get-."

"No, Roger, stay here, I'll give them what they want," Vidian said as he hopped down from carriage and walked up to the bandits, standing in front of the carts, "Why would you attack us?"

"We aren't picky, so pay up," The apparent leader of the bandits laughed, "Unless you want to fight and then, we can kill you and take your money."

"I don't think so," Vidian said as his arms changed into to clawed beast hands that have scaled forearms that seemed armored, "So, how about you leave?"

"Are you threatening us?"

"Maybe," He said as he walked towards them, "But what are you going to do about it?" He slashed in the opposite direction, parrying the bandit's blade and cutting right through it. He jammed his other arm into the man's chest, crushing through his rib cage and out through his back. The man coughed blood onto the floor then went limp. He withdrew his arm and focused on the other men. He batted a blade out of one of their hands and close his fist as he punched the man's chin, snapping his head back, then slashed his throat. A blade bounced off of his shoulder, he turned and furiously slashed behind, slicing right through the man's stomach, cutting him in half. He parried another blade and snapped it like a twig between his new claws, shattering it then driving his heel into the man's head with a spinning kick and sending him crashing to the floor, stunned. He changed his arms back to normal and caught the blade of the man, using the Blessing of Stone to grab the blade and tear it from the man's hands. He hadn't tried Eternum's blessing before, but the blade simply crumbled in his hands and he used the Blessing of the Conqueror to deliver a punch that spun the man's head back, snapping his neck. He turned back to the fallen man, who was struggling to get up and created a blade from his finger and slashed his neck, blood spurt out and then trickled down onto the path. He turned to the carriage and saw Roger covering Maryleen's eyes, he dragged the bodies out of the way and into the tall grass, where beasts of the plains would be able to feed on them calmly and peacefully. He changed his arms back to their original state and walked back to the carriage. He sat down next to Roger, who looked at him a little uneasily and started his horses once more, leaving the bloodied section of the path. Maryleen uncovered her eyes a few moments later.

"Can you explain?"

"That is Eternum's Blessing, the amulet gives me that power, but it isn't very special, it is the supreme god's blessing and it is both a curse and a blessing, I can't use traditional weapons, but my arms are my weapons, morphing into anything."

"And why would he give you this blessing?"

"Long story."

"Tell us," Maryleen said, "What could be so bad?"

"Well, how do I start?"

After a few days of travelling, they arrived in the outskirts of Bloodwater, the shore city to Atlantis, the Seakin city. The smell of fish and salt lingered in the air, the air was humid and hot, making the smell worse. The cobblestone streets acted like a furnace as the sun shined over them. Maryleen looked around as they rode to town. Vidian climbed off of the carriage at the doorstep of the town.

"Not staying with us?"

"No, I am only passing through this city, I have to reach Atlantis as soon as I can," He explained then held out his hand, "Thank you for your kindness, I hope you have a good life with each other," Roger shook his hand and they parted ways, he felt a small pinch in his heart, he shook his head and headed into the city. He walked down the main street of the city, through the thick crowd. It seemed that a market was going on, a smell of blood and fish had mixed in the air and the repugnant smell made him wince. He zigzagged through the crowd of merchants, citizens and delivery men, moving fish from hand to hand and being bought and sold. He broke away from the crowd and walked towards the boats, docking in the ports. Boats were unloading goods and crates of fish they brought back from their trips. He sat on the side of the port, his feet hanging above the water. He noticed a tall island in the distance. Atlantis, the Seakin city. A man sat down next to him.

"Whatcha lookin at Atlantis for?" He asked, "I haven't heard of a man who has been and comeback."

"I need a way to get there," Vidian responded bluntly, "I have something to do there."

"Well, I guess if ya that passionate about going there, I could bring you halfway, the line before the Seakin attack, the rest, you'll have to swim it, I'll do it for free."

"Thank you, I am Vidian."

"Gabriel Lockjaw, former admiral captain, I retired a year back, so I've got plenty of time to spare," He got up and began walking down the wooden runway towards a decent sized sailboat, "Follow me, it's my ship, ain't she a beauty?"

"I don't know what beauty or ugliness is for ships, but if you say so."

"Not a sailor, aye?"

"No, not at all," They climbed onto the ship and Gabriel untied the ship from the dock. He pushed back and they slowly moved away from the wooden dock. He paddled the ship and they were soon out of the port, sailing with the aid of the gentle sea breeze, towards Atlantis.

"Whatcha gonna do there? In Atlantis?"

"I am looking for the blessings of the gods, all 11 of them."

"What for?"

"A life journey, nothing more," He lied, "Got bored of living in one place and the monotony of that type of life, I guess being an admiral isn't monotone?"

"Not with pirates and all the trafficking to our ports and out, I have so many stories, my grandchildren haven't heard all of them yet, nor have my own children," He laughed, "You got a family?"

"Nope, that is why I can just roam the world."

"Ever thought of it?"

"No, if I had a girl I would."

"You have a point, you see that island?"

"Yeah."

"That's Atlantis, the city extends under the island, under water, and some over it, it is extremely defended and they are pretty hostile so, I'll have to leave you at the Seakin Line."

"I guess that is the border of their territory."

"Exactly, and once you're in, they will probably capture you and question you, if not kill you, I'd not resist."

"I think I won't, I don't want to go there and be seen as a threat, it would be illogical."

"I have to agree with you, well, I have to leave you here," He said turning the rudder of the ship, making it veer from its course, "Past here is the Seakin Territory, dive in, and I wish you good luck."

"Thank you, Gabriel," He dived off of the ship and began swimming away from the ship with the new knowledge Inventaariy had given him. He swam at the surface of the clear, blue water. He turned back and saw the ship already far from him, "Well, I should be meeting the Seakin soon."

After a minute of swimming, he noticed the water rippling around him as bubbles broke the surface of the water. Three massive eel creatures rose from the water, surrounding him, they were mounted by two Seakin each.

"Human, what are you doing here?"

"I come in peace, my goal is to reach Atlantis."

"Why would you want to get there?"

"To talk to Lord Aquariusinarium, and get his blessing."

"Are you making fun of us?"

"No."

"Then tell us why."

"To get his blessing, because Lord Eternum told me to gather a blessing from each of the gods on his earth."

"How can we trust you?"

"Ask your god."

"Follow us, you'll be kept under guard and searched, and you will have to hand over your possessions, for inspection."

"If I have nothing?"

"The amulet."

"I can't remove it."

"You'll have to hand it over."

"I can't."

"Yes, you can, it is an amulet."

"It is Eternum's Amulet, bound to my soul, I can't remove it."

"Just shut up already," The Seakin had human builds but had gills lining their sides, they had webbed hands and had fins on their forearms, their calves and down the middle of their back. The rode at the surface of the water, allowing him to breathe, his arms changed into arms with gills on his upper arm.

"We can go underwater, I can breathe there."

"Don't be silly," The female Seakin rolled her eyes then noticed his arms, "W-what are those? You have gills?"

"Well, with Eternum's blessing I do."

"We will still have to pass by land, the entrance to our city."

"I have a question."

"Questions later," Barked the male Seakin as they rode to the island.

Eternum sat at his throne overlooking the other gods. He leaned on his arm and sighed, tapping his fingers nervously on his throne.

"Lord Eternum," Draktha hissed, "What is wrong? You seem distracted, why?"

"Draktha, you need not know."

"Why are you hiding it from us?" Draktha said cracking a grin, a wicked grin, "Have you doomed the world?"

"Maybe, maybe not, it depends on the world."

"What does that mean?" Naturania asked, "What did you do to earth?"

"Well, I think I have to admit what I did," He stood up from his chair and walked down the few steps and, "I gave a human, a task, a task that our sub-gods weren't able to complete."

"What have you done?" Diana shook her head, "A mere mortal?"

"That is what makes him more fit for this job than your gods, do you remember the Death of the World?"

"Of course, the fight lasted several years."

"He has to kill it."

"But he is a mere mortal," Draktha snickered, "Maybe you are trying to favor me?"

"No, being mortal gives him the power that we cannot even dream of reaching, the power to execute the Death of the World, it is known that the killer must die with the beast after killing it 11 times, that is something your gods did but they couldn't die with it."

"And he accepted? With no reward?"

"I chose carefully."

"I hope you don't doom this world," Celenstia spoke up, "I hope you know what you are doing."

"Tell your gods that Vidian, of the Great Desert, the carrier of my amulet, isn't there to harm them, only to complete their works and collect their blessings, I sense that your Seakin, Naturania, aren't so trusting of him, tell Aquariusinarium that he is harmless."

"Of course, if I can help."


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