Chapter 122:

To Fight a Japhinth 3

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Captain Stone took off as fast as ‘Sea Spirit’ could move. They just cleared the area of the shadow as large teeth emerged from the water and shut with a loud snap.

In front of the ship, the beast's tail grew out of the sea like a giant tree. The captain spun the helm and the boat scrapped against the Japhinth’s smooth hide.

“She’s serious now!” the old captain said with a shout and a laugh. The beast's head could be seen behind the ship as it chased after. A large wake formed, which might have been confused for a tidal wave in any other situation. As soon as it got close enough, it would be able to swallow the entire ship, crew and all.

In the distance, the cities of Nun and Aqui began to shrink and go out of view.

“What do we do!” Fiona shouted.

“Should we throw the Bentulousian again?” Harlan asked. Rheba glared at her.

“I’ll try to shoot the other eye!” Gwyn shouted as he, with Hal’s assistance, rotated the heavy gun to aim at the chasing head.

“Steady boy!” She’ll be more dangerous if she’s blind! Just stick with the plan!” Captain stone yelled back.

As the good eye of the Japhinth trained on Gwyn, it dove beneath the waves.

“So, what do we do?” Gwyn shouted back to the captain. He was answered with a belly laugh.

“Captain, you’re having far too much fun!” Kako said with a sly smile.

“Your one to talk!” Odell shot back at the writer.

“Keep calm, young ones! I wouldn’t risk my precious ship with a reckless plan! Look ahead!”

The captain pointed out into the channel in front of them from the helm. All on the Sea Spirit turned to look.

In the distance, two ships were coasting in the water. They were large and blocky—Hobusian in design.

“Those ships…” Odell muttered as they came into view. He held a hand to his head like a visor and squinted his eyes.

“The cavalry is here!” the captain shouted. “Use that new-fangled gun to keep her head below the water for a moment!” Gwyn did as asked and laid down fire on the sea to keep the beast from coming up.

As the ‘Sea Spirit’ sped through the two ships, Odell let out a cry:

“Oh, no! It’s my Dad’s ship!”

Something was shot off like a cannonball from the larger of the two Hobusian vessels.

“Ease up on the fire!” Captain Stone shouted to Gwyn as he stopped the Sea Spirit. The Nonpareil stopped shooting.

The Japhinth immediately emerged from the water and opened its large mouth. The only thing the crew on the small ship could see looked like a jagged cave that was about to swallow them. Before it could consume the boat, a loud sound like an explosion echoed from atop the Japhinth’s head.

The beast’s eyes rolled back into its head, and it fell limp and began to float on the water. A light hiss as it fell unconscious was the last thing heard.

The group on the boat let out a sigh of relief while Captain Stone and Kako chuckled. On top of the Japhinth’s head stood Platon, the Hobusian guard who held the title of ‘world’s strongest.’ He slid his hand across his bony crown, which seemed to bend back across his head similarly to combing one's hair. A visible lump could be seen where he had struck the beast on the head.

Rheba looked at her own fist.

“I still have a long way to go,” she said silently as she tightened her grip.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” mused Captain Stone.

Platon leaped off the head of the Japhinth as the smaller ship began to make its way to the beast. The crew jumped out and quickly began to wrap ropes around it.

The world's strongest landed on the Sea Spirit. The whole vessel shook as his feet made contact. Platon stood straight and looked at the rag tag team. His shoulders were broad, and he was a hair taller than Gwyn, which was well above the average for his species. Notably, no Needaimus was bonded to any limb.

“Odell,” he spoke with a voice that sounded like a rumble.

“Hey, Platon…” Odell had tried to sneak from his chair into the confine of the Ali, but the giant Hobusian had arrived before he could hide.

“Where were you in that fight?” Platon asked with his arms crossed. The large Hobusian ship began to sail closer as the world's strongest gave the prince a disappointed look.

“Do they know each other?” Gwyn whispered after making his way from the Ali to Fiona.

“Platon teaches all the children of their noble families in combat… he likes to say Odell is his worst student,” Fiona explained.

“Hey!” Gwyn suddenly shouted to the Hobusian warrior, “Odell may not have been helpful here… but he took a face full of books so I could defeat a bandit leader!”

“Gwyn…” Odell whispered in a tone that indicated the Nonpareil should stop helping. Platon closed his eyes and shook his head.

“Captain Stone!” A shout came from the larger Hobusian vessel as it got closer. Odell’s father, King Fio, jumped off the larger ship and landed on the smaller Sea Spirit. “Shouldn’t Aqueenians solve their own problems?” he asked with a laugh. The captain chuckled in reply and made his way from the helm.

“You still owe me for the Leth Lake incident!” the captain shouted back. Neither of the two had any sort of malice in their voices. When they came close, they clasped hands together in an aggressive handshake.

With the funeral for King Whitlock taking several days after the regicide, Odell’s father had left Quenth as the team freed Horizon. His ships had to detour due to the Japhinth, and Captain Stone’s call would delay him further, but he was happy to take a bit more time before getting back.

“What’s the Leth Lake incident?” asked Gwyn.

“Just old men reminiscing; pay no mind to what they say,” Odell said while rolling his eyes.

As the old men got lost in their idle chat, the rest of the team began to relax. The second Hobusian ship began to haul away the Japhinth that they tied to their boat, and Kako happily was writing in a notebook.

“What are they going to do with Levy?” Gwyn asked as he sat down next to their vehakul. Fiona, Odell, and Rheba had chosen to sit and use the Ali as a support to lean back on, and the nonpareil followed suit.

“Levy?” Rheba asked.

“That’s what some old guy on the beach called the Japhinth,” Fiona explained as she shook her head. “Gwyn, we shouldn’t name the sea monsters,” she added.

“Hahaha, I like it,” Odell said with a laugh.

“They will pull the Japhinth out to the open sea, them they will release it,” Rheba told Gwyn.

“I see,” Gwyn replied. He turned back to listen to the old men.

“That is why I insist you must join us for a meal on my ship!” King Fio said though Gwyn had not heard what led up to his invitation.

Odell began to squirm.

“Ah, I suppose it won’t hurt. Hey kids, the hoity-toity king here wants to feed us!” The captain yelled to the team. King Fio laughed and smacked Stone on the back.

“I’m up for some free food!” Gwyn replied with a smile. The others did not share his enthusiasm but couldn’t say no to a king.