Chapter 55:


Fantasy Life

Under the water, Jun clung to Dallas as the kelpie developed a tail and swam deeper and deeper. As they dove, Jun looked around for any signs of the treasure. Many fish were swimming about in Suruga Bay and Jun spotted a small shark lurking beneath. Jun kicked his legs, hoping to help Dallas swim faster. He glanced back up at the surface knowing that he didn't have much time left.

Dallas kept swimming and ultimately led the way to a school of wild mermen and mermaids swimming around with some swordfish. Jun wished he could ask them about the treasure but he was almost out out air. Dallas realized this and swam back to the surface for a brief moment before diving back down again.

Upon rejoining the merfolk, a young selkie girl swam over from further out at sea. She spotted Jun and signaled him to follow her. Had the girl been a siren, he would have refused the offer but with no other leads, he followed the selkie. "It's so strange to see a surface dweller." The selkie said. "I havn't seen one since my human passed several years ago."

The selkie continued to talk until Dallas brought Jun back to the surface. The girl followed them, curious as to where they were going. Jun took a deep breath before saying, "Exactly where are you leading us?"

"Are you not here to see the ruins?" She asked politely.

"Ruins? Is that where the treasure is?"

"Oh you're here for treasure? Well, whatever you are looking for will probably be there." The selkie dove back under the water and Dallas followed, with Jun clinging to his mane. The selkie continued to lead the way for Jun and Dallas. After a few minutes and another quick stop for air, the trio arrived at the ruins of an old town.

Jun looked around to see if he could spot any treasure. Nothing caught his eye out in the open but there were plenty of buildings that the treasure could be in. This had to be the place. From above, Jun could see the streets of an old town, and some broken down houses. A bakery sign dangled by a chain and floated around in the water. All the buildings were covered in algae, and some fish and crustaceans had made the entire town their home.

"It's not much, but it's home. Do you like it?" The selkie turned to ask Jun but Dallas had brought him to the surface once again for more air.

Once the selkie surfaced, Jun asked, "So what is this place?"

"I told you, silly. It's some old ruins. The merfolk and selkie folk that reside in Suruga Bay have made this place home."

"I can see that," he said impatiently. He took a deep breath before continuing. "Sorry, I'm in a bit of a hurry. Did any other human or creature place something out of the ordinary?"

The selkie thought about the question. "Well, everything that is down there is out of the ordinary, since it was all made by humans, of course. Hm, but there was a creature that arrived a few days ago. It scared some of the creatures and animals here, but it hasn't hurt anyone so far."

"Where is that creature now?"

"I'll show you," the girl said as she prepared to dive.

Below, the selkie took Dallas and Jun to what appeared to be the remains of a crumbling school building. Jun scanned the area but couldn't find anything out of place. Dallas on the other hand, became frantic and flailed around in the water. Jun released his grip on the slippery mane and swam over near the selkie who commented, "Your kelpie senses a great power coming from within that building. It's making him worried."

Jun stared at the school and a chill went through his spine. It was dark and algae covered all over. What Jun thought was the strangest thing was the absence of wildlife in the area. Not even another mythical creature besides Dallas and the selkie was in sight. He gingerly swam towards one of the side windows of the building to get a glance inside. Though it was dim, Jun made out the shape of a large chest in the room. Part of him was overjoyed at finding the treasure, but another part of him began to feel terrified at the other thing in the room.

A great water horse stood beside the chest, guarding it. Jun didn't recognize the creature but was able to sense it's enhanced strength in the water. He wondered for a moment if this creature was responsible for Dallas's strange behaviour, and for the lack of life around the school building. The beast shifted its head and stared at Jun, who backed away quickly and swam back towards the surface.

As Dallas and the selkie resurfaced, he asked, "What is that creature?"

"I believe it is a type of water spirit called a nokk. It's very powerful! Do you plan on facing it to get your treasure?"

"I think Dallas could take it. However, time is running low and I can't carry that big chest back myself. Tell me, what is your name?"

"My- my human called me Des."

"My name is Jun and my kelpie's name is Dallas. Thank you for bringing us here. You've helped us more than you know but I must ask you a favor."

"What is it?"

"My friends and I are on a mission to retrieve that chest but there are some bad people above who want to get their hands on it. First, please do not show any more humans this location. And secondly, would you mind staying here and keeping an eye on the town till I return with one of my friends?"

"It's a deal," Des cheered. "On one condition. I want you to promise me to come back and visit me, after you get the chest of course. I just miss having a human around. Your kind can be foolish but you aren't all bad. So come back and play with me!"

Jun smiled at her. "Dallas and I would be happy visit. We can become friends."

Des's smile widened at his words. "It's a deal!"