Chapter 56:


Fantasy Life

Up on the surface, Rei stood steadfast against the capricorn. As Kaida watched her friend fend off the creature, she realized that the American team had the same idea as she did. Now she was certain the treasure was somewhere deep in Suruga Bay. Kaida stood and dusted herself off before giving Rei a hand.

"I can handle this Kaida," Rei said. "See if you can help the others."

"But Rei," Kaida protested. "I know you're skilled at kendo but you're up against a strong creature."

"In the water, yes. But on land, this guy should be weak enough for me to deal with."

Reluctantly, Kaida nodded and said, "Shout if you need me." She ran over to see if Yami needed assistance.

Above, Alba was playing cat and mouse with Mary's thunderbird, Astor. His lightning bolts scattered throughout the area and made it increasingly difficult for the others to fight. On top of that, Yami and the giant continued to stir up a large amount of sand and dust. Kaida looked over at Kei. She was helping Matsume against the black dog. Then Kaida turned to Asa. With Rei going against the capricorn, Asa was left to deal with the wolpertinger. The little creature was running circles around the slow mummy. Kaida raced to give Asa a hand in catching the wolpertinger.

"Here Asa!" Kaida shouted. "Throw me a piece of your cloth." As instructed, Asa unraveled a strip of the cloth from her arm and tossed it over to Kaida who was running towards her. Kaida caught the cloth and quickly positioned herself in the wolpertinger's path. The creature was going too fast to avoid the cloth and slammed right into it. Hastily, Kaida and Asa wrapped the wolpertinger's wings and feet so it couldn't run anymore.

After a brief sigh of relief, the wolpertinger's human approached Kaida and asked, "Why do you help your creature?"

"Although Asa isn't mine, she needed help and that's all there is to it."

"But you and the others are just humans like us. Why are you fighting too?"

"Because we're a team!"

Before the boy could respond, there was coughing followed by a thud. Kaida, Rei, and Kei all looked over to see Yun on one knee clenching his chest. Kei gasped, "Yun!"

"Kaida!" Rei shouted, blocking a tackle from the capricorn. "Go check on him!"

Kaida rushed over to where Yun was in the dust cloud. Her eyes burned from the sand. She grabbed Yun with her arms and helped him out of the battle area where she could see better. Kaida sat him down on the beach near the water. "Are you ok, Yun?"

Yun coughed before answering. "I'll be alright."

Kaida raised a hand to his forehead. "You have a slight fever. Between all the traveling and the fighting, I think your body's at it's limit."

"But-" He coughed.

"No buts, you need to rest."

"If only my brother were here."

As if on cue, Dallas galloped out of the water with Jun riding on his back. Dallas saw the capricorn trying to attack Jun and bucked at it. The capricorn was hit by Dallas's hooves and flew a few feet back. "What did I miss?" Jun asked Rei.

"You're back?" Rei questioned.

"Yep, I need some help down there. There's a-"

"Let's talk later," Kei interrupted. "We need to get out of here and get Yun somewhere to safety."

"What's wrong with Yun?" Jun scanned the area and spotted Kaida and Yun further down the beach. Even from a distance, Jun could see how flushed his brother's face was. He turned to the others. "Let's retreat for now. Meet at the rock formation as planned."

Kaida looked up and saw Dallas galloping towards her with Jun. "Glad to see you both again."

"How is he?" Jun asked.

"I'll need to give him some medicine but he'll be fine."

Jun dismounted and helped Yun onto Dallas. "I'll take him. Get Yami and meet us at the rock formation down that way. Kei and Rei have already gone ahead."

Kaida gave a firm nod. "I'll meet you there." As Dallas galloped away, Kaida turned towards Yami and whistled. Yami glanced up and saw Kaida in the distance. With several flaps of his wings, Yami flew over and took Kaida to meet the others.

Kaida arrived at the rendezvous location just after Jun. Rei and Kei had already helped him make Yun comfortable on a bed of rocks. Without a word, Kaida hustled to make some medicine for Yun. "Sorry to be a bother," he said.

"Nonsense," Kaida protested. "Just focus on resting, ok?"

"Thank you for helping him Kaida," Jun said. "And thank you for helping too Rei and Kei."

"Anytime," Kei blushed.

"While we're waiting for Yun to recover," Rei began. "Tell us what happened in the water? Did you and Dallas find the treasure?"

"We- we did. However, there is a creature guarding it. A nokk I believe."

"What's a nokk?" Kaida asked.

"It's a shapeshifting horse from Scandinavian folklore, much like how the kelpie is in Celtic folklore," Kei replied. "Only, the nokk is a water spirit. It's whole body is made of water."

"Which gives it a huge advantage over Dallas in the water," Jun added. "I don't think I've ever seen Dallas so distressed."

"So you left the nokk with the treasure," Rei confirmed. "So now what?"

"Well actually," Jun proceeded to update the group on the dive with Des the selkie and how she was left to look after the treasure.

"Let me get this straight," Rei stated. "You left a selkie girl that you met five minutes ago with the treasure to winning the Fantasy Life League?"

"Basically, yeah."

"Don't say it so casually! What if she's someone's creature and was using you to get rid of the nokk?"

"Didn't you hear him say that Des's human died a few years ago, Rei?" Kaida asked.

"Yes but that could have been a lie."

"That thought did cross my mind, "Jun responded. "But what other choice did I have? Dallas will probably be able to handle the nokk but I can't carry the treasure myself."

"Jun's right," Yun coughed. "He did the right thing. We need to have faith that Des is truly on our side and will help us succeed."

"So who's going to go down with Jun to get the treasure?" Kei wondered.

"I've already decided," Jun stated. "It's going to be Kaida."

"Is there a reason you picked me?" Kaida asked.

"Yun's lungs won't be able to withstand the water pressure, plus Alba can't swim and neither can Asa so Rei is out. Kei and Matsume can both swim but Matsume's strongest element is fire which doesn't pair well with water. The two of them will be more useful up here. You and Yami can both swim, and Yami's the only creature that will still be powerful under the water. It has to be the two of you."

"I'm in agreement," Yun said. "You and Yami are the most suitable for water after Dallas and Jun. The rest of us will stay on the beach and buy some time for you guys to bring the treasure back to the surface."

"What about the capricorn?" Kei asked. "And other water based mythical creatures? I'm sure every team has sent one down by now."

"That's true," Jun said. "But Suruga Bay is vast, and it leads out to the Pacific Ocean. The other teams will be looking for a long time before finding the treasure."

"Sounds like a plan," Yun stated. "Just make sure you aren't followed."

"Don't worry," Kaida said. They got up and walked towards the water. "I guess the next time you see us, we'll be winners."

"Ready Jun?"

"Whenever you are." At that, the two dove into the water and swam towards the old ruins in search of the nokk and the treasure.