The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Fiona and Gwyn walked down the beach's sandy shore. It was a clear and beautiful day, perfect weather for the location, and not one soul stood on the beach with them. Fiona took her bag to a changing booth while Gwyn stood outside and stared at the shining city on the other side of the channel.
He spotted a small island between the two landmasses, but otherwise, the sea was smooth and uninterrupted.
“The view would look nicer without the giant city across the water,” Gwyn commented as he took in the scene.
“I think plenty of people within the town would agree,” Mem said from atop Gwyn’s shoulder.
They stood for a moment longer and waited.
“She sure is taking a while,” Gwyn said.
“Our Aqueenian princess is probably applying deshine,” the blue wyvern-looking Needaimus explained.
“A sort of protective substance to keep skin safe from the sun, it dulls some of the Aqueenian's natural reflection, hence the name.”
“I see. So, she’ll probably be a while,” Gwyn said as he looked around the empty beach. He spotted what looked like a wooden building a short walk away. “Fiona! I’m going to see if that shack is selling anything!” he shouted to the changing booth before hiking down the beach.
Gwyn peered inside the small building. It became apparent quickly that the place was made to sell food. A sapphire blue Aqueenian behind the counter jumped at the sight of the human.
“What brings you here?” the shopkeeper asked.
“Swimming. Do you have anything to eat?” Gwyn quickly moved from his answer to a question.
“Swimming? Haven’t you heard the news?” the shopkeeper replied.
Gwyn and the shopkeeper stared at each other while waiting for the other to say something.
“Hey, buy some fried root noodles!” a shout came from down the sandy coast. Fiona had just poked her head out of the changing booth to shout to the Nonpareil.
“Um, I guess some of what she asked for,” Gwyn repeated to the shopkeeper.
The sapphire blue Aqueenian got to work. He shouted to the back and fired up the stove while an older Aqueenian came out with some ingredients. The Nonpareil pondered why they weren’t prepared in the middle of the day but let it go. At the same time, Fiona ran up to join Gwyn. She had changed into a white swimsuit.
The swimwear was a one-piece suit with an opening that showed much of her abdomen. Around the waist, some frills made up a short skirt. The swimsuit appeared to have a choker around the neck, and a large section of cloth covered the blue princess's back completely. Her bright yellow Needaimus hung on her shoulder.
“Does it look nice?” Fiona asked Gwyn as she questionably looked at the suit she wore.
Gwyn shrugged and replied:
“I’m not much of a fashion expert.”
“Did you two really come here to swim?” the shopkeeper asked while handing the fried noodles to them.
“Of course, who comes to a beach and doesn’t swim?” Fiona replied.
“So, you haven’t heard…. The waters not open right now on account of a Japhinth,” the shopkeeper told them.
“A what?” Gwyn asked. He got a confused look from the shopkeeper.
“A giant beast that roams the oceans. They usually stay in the open seas but sometimes come into the channels by mistake,” Mem explained.
The shopkeeper jumped from the Needaimus’ words but nodded to confirm.
“Yes, it only just roamed in the other day. We are waiting for the royal army to send a force to drive it out.”
“Don’t you go doing that! Levy did nothing to harm anyone!” the older Aqueenian who stood in the back of the shop suddenly shouted.
“Dad, I told you not to name the sea monster!” the shopkeeper shouted back. The old Aqueenian replied with grumbles and retreated into the store.
“Why Levy?” Gwyn whispered to the princess.
“Who can understand old people's thoughts,” Fiona whispered back.
“Ahem,” the shopkeeper made a cough to get the duo’s attention, “so that is why you can’t go in the water. If we provoke it too much, it might attack the town.”
Fiona snatched the fried food from the shopkeeper and began to slurp the noodles down.
“Fine, if I can’t swim, I’ll just eat,” she grumbled and walked off. Gwyn awkwardly took the remaining portion of food and paid the shopkeeper before chasing after the princess.
They settled in the middle of the sand and stared at the calm water while eating.
“I mean, we came all this way, and now we can’t swim,” Fiona grumbled, “I at least wanted to have a little fun before going into Nun!”
Gwyn just nodded along as Fiona complained. He stared out to the sea once again, where the small island sat in between the two cities. After a moment, what had looked like an island suddenly sunk beneath the waves. What appeared to be a giant shadow in the water seemed to stir before settling. The movement resembled someone turning over in bed.
Gwyn began to cough as he was in the middle of a bite of the noodles. Once he managed to choke his food down, he turned back to Fiona.
“How big are the Japh- things?” he asked.
The blue princess saw the movement in the water as well.
“They make that Unkillable you fought to look tiny, at least that’s what I’ve heard,” she said quietly.
They quickly ate their food in silence and then retreated from the beach.