Chapter 120:

To Fight a Japhinth 1

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The following day came quickly. The first of Resh's suns was only just beginning to peek over the horizon as the six team members walked down the coastal town's street.

"So, what happened again?" Fiona asked as she rubbed her temples.

"We decided to go fight the Japhinth...." Harlan muttered to her.

"Yes, yes, I got that. How did we get back to the room, though?" Fiona clarified.

"I carried you; Rheba carried Odell," Gwyn explained.

"I'm never drinking again," Odell muttered for the seventh time that morning. He more stumbled than walked with the group.

"I wasn't too heavy or anything, was I?" Fiona asked.

"Light as a feather," Gwyn replied.

Fiona frowned as she considered the idiom. She wasn't too sure she liked it.

"Please do regale us with how fighting a beast became our job!" Hal muttered in a snide tone. He had woken from a relatively peaceful slumber to the news.

Rheba sighed.

"We are capable and have the necessary expertise to take care of the beast. Why should we not seek to drive it out?" the Bentulousian warrior said. Harlan shook her scaly head in disagreement but said nothing.

"We were not asked, nor does it serve us," Hal replied. Harlan nodded in agreement.

"It is obstructing our goal in sight," Rheba added.

"I don't see what the issue is," Gwyn said," It can't be any harder than taking down those bandits. We got this!" he confidently declared.

"You're right partner!" Mem said from atop Gwyn's shoulder. The Needaimus that rode along with the other team members desired to shut Mem up but settled for just shaking their heads.

Captain Stone was throwing some rope onto his ship, which had previously tied the vessel to the pier. The author, Kako, was eagerly waiting on the boat. She leaned against the team's Ali-442 vehakul that had brought them all the way to the coastal town.

"Ah," Odell broke from his stumbled state for a moment to address the sight. "What's the Ali doing here? Who's that?" he exclaimed.

"After defeating the beast, we intend to sail over to Nun; Harlan brought the vehakul to the shore last night," Gwyn explained.

"You... drove it without me!" Odell stammered at the Zenotote girl. She shyly nodded and took a step back.

"You didn't push any weird buttons, did you? Did it handle okay? How's the steering?" Odell began to throw many questions at Harlan, and she calmly answered each.

"Hurry up, lads and lasses, the daylights about to start burning!" Captain Stone shouted to the group. They made their way onto the ship.

The captain's boat resembled something like a flat bed truck. The front was made up of two sections stacked on top of each other. The top housed the helm, while the bottom had a kitchen and restroom. The rest of the ship was a flat space where cargo could be loaded for moving across the channel or seats could be set out for fishing. The captain used it for both. On the ship's side, the name "Sea Spirit" was written.

The ship began to shudder as the captain started it. The vessel floated to hover just above the water and set off into the channel.

At the early hour, the water was still calm. The City of Nun shined brightly in the distance and looked as if it had never gone to sleep. The coastal town shrunk behind the vessel without ever noticing the Sea Spirit leave.

The Needaimus of all members bonded to their limbs. Odell found himself sitting in a chair set up next to the Ali. Next to the chair was a small circular table and another chair to which Kako had decided to move. She shuffled and flipped some cards on the table while Odell held his six-fingered hand to his grey forehead.

The hovering technology the ship had on its base reduced the swaying of the waves, but Odell still didn't feel well enough to do much.

"We will have good fortune in this battle," Kako said after a moment of card flipping.

"Who are you anyway?" Odell asked. He did not recall meeting her the previous night.

"Kako, my dear. I'm a writer. And a semicolon."

Odell blinked several times as he wondered how the newcomer predicted the question he would ask.

Rheba stood on the edge of the flatbed portion of the ship. She had a hand over her forehead and stared out into the sea.

"There's nothing out there yet," she said.

"I don't think you need to be that focused to search... when it shows up, we'll know...." Gwyn said as he recalled seeing a portion of the beast on the previous day.

"We must remain on guard otherwise," Rheba replied.

They sailed across the water for several hours until the captain finally stopped in the middle of the channel. The ship was turned so that its front faced the channel, with both cities running along either side.

The old Aqueenian sailor then ran from the helm to the room just underneath. He emerged with a sizeable cannon-looking object.

The team watched as the old sailor positioned the cannon and fired it into the open sea. A ball of what could only be described as goo sailed across the early morning sky and plunked into the sea.

"What was that?" Gwyn asked cautiously.

"Some fantastic bait!" Captain Stone replied.

"Be at the ready!" Rheba shouted.

Her words came too late. The water began to churn and stir moments before she could shout. The calm sea instantly became rough as just under where the bait had been shot; the beast started to emerge.

Its body resembled that of a snake as it climbed up into the sky. In mere moments, it rivaled the height of the skyscrapers in the distant City of Nun. The Japhinth looked down from the sky as it turned its giant head.

The body was red and looked more smooth than scaly. Its head was long with a snout like a wolf. The eyes were black and beady and stared daggers at the group below. Small fins, relative to the beast's size, sat by its head in a similar manner to some eels.

Gwyn gulped and clenched his good hand tightly.

The beast bared sharp fangs at the boat as they stared at one another.