Chapter 133:

Trouble Underwater (1)

Mad God


“You have really mastered your body’s energy output.” Ren smiled as she was flying next to Ariana who was surfing on her spear, flying through the air casually. They were traveling under the starry, clear, night sky, above the snow filled land.


“It is thanks to you, Master.” She answered.


“And thanks to your obsession.” Ren added.


“I can’t help it.” Ariana lowered her head, embarrassed. “It just doesn’t feel right otherwise.”


“I told you, I’m not angry. You are the only one in the sect who refuses to take the step forward when the opportunity first presents itself. Yet when you do so, it makes everyone tremble before you.” She chuckled. “How’s the technique we devised together? Do I need to correct it again or is it good enough by now?” She joked with her. When Ariana first came up with a new spell, she immediately asked for her Master’s opinion. In the end it went through 6 revisions before Ariana decided it was perfect enough to start mastering it.


“I can make it work now, without any problems. It acts like my subconsciousness. As an extra sense! Not to mention its effects on weaker willed individuals.”


“I heard about that. Some disciples began to call you a spawn of evil by now.” She shook her head with a grin. “You ruined some guys’ weekends at the Sect, that is for sure!”


“Only those who did not know the meaning of “no”, Master!” Ariana answered as she crossed her arms. She was wearing a sulking expression yet her voice sounded filled with pride. “It activated on its own when they started to pester me! I already told them I am not interested in their advances yet they kept at it!”


“Okay, okay, I know! They played with fire and got burnt!” Ren laughed. “Not that I would fault you~ It’s just Master is getting worried about you! You have a gloomy aura around you almost all the time! Especially when you are up all night for days and bags start to form under your lovely eyes~”


“Really?” Ariana asked with an uncertain voice. “I… did not notice it.” She was part embarrassed and part happy about her words, missing Ren’s main point totally.


“Yup. Didn’t you realize? The people who approach you get fewer and fewer by the years. Not to mention the number of guys who tried to pick you up. Now the only ones who left are Toobu, Wyland and sometimes Heldi. Even Kyu avoids you, not to mention Rem! Poor girl got scared to death by you the last time… Demons are more perceptive to your affinity and you are a walking nightmare for their senses.”


“It’s…” She mumbled as she thought back to the years that passed by. “I never paid close attention to it.”


“It’s one of the side effects. You tend to constantly refine your affinity. It’s reaching such a pure concentration that it affects everything around you. Humans pick up on it subconsciously but for demons, it's tangible. It starts affecting their emotions.”


“I never realized it. But… I’m not really bothered by it either. I like when it’s calm, silent… peaceful.” Ariana sighed, looking up at the bright, full moons.


“I can’t fault you with that. I am more worried about how you are going to get disciples when you graduate from under me!” She patted her head as they closed in on the Calm Blue


“I’ll let fate decide it. I am still far away from that point, Master! I have dozens and dozens of things I am still just learning about! I’ll be in your care for years to come!” She replied with a happy, innocent smile, enjoying Ren’s touch.


“Ahaha, true! Don’t worry, Master won’t kick you out! You are my disciple! I am going to take care of you, even after you reach Harmony! I’ll be here for you, always.”


Ren’s words immediately turned Ariana’s face as red as a tomato and her voice sped up her heartbeat. The previous years were the most wondrous times in her life. Ren was not just her Master but sometimes she felt like she got a new family member in her. A mix between a mother and an elder sister. Or… Sometimes she thought what else could have happened if they met earlier. Ariana quickly shook her head, dismissing her jumbled thoughts that were going in a strange direction and just smiled from the bottom of her heart. Looking at Ren with warm and moist eyes, she felt happy to be her disciple.


“Ahaha, what’s the matter, little crybaby!” Ren teased her. “You always get so emotional! And so easily~”


“I can’t help it!” She sniffed with a chuckle, rubbing her eyes. “It just… makes me feel warm…” Ariana whispered, placing her hand on her chest and she wasn’t lying.


Just as she could pick up on depressing, evil or dangerous feelings of others, by the tutoring of Ren, she learnt how to recognize any other feelings a human was capable of. A few years back, when some boys came to court her, she could tell who was there because he was really interested in her… or just captivated by her body. Usually, it turned out to be the latter. It slowly turned into a great skill to read their emotions, even if their body languages and expressions masterfully masked their real thoughts. That is why she felt embarrassed and happy now at the same time as she felt unconditional love emanating from Ren. It was washing through her.


“Master… this is why you are bringing me along?” She asked after a few minutes of silence with a curious tone.


“Yes but also no. Mainly because I want you to experience the world. It is going to be my first time going underwater so I am looking forward to it… and yes I want to study how they react to you.”


“You are mean, Master…” Ariana joked with a playful, ‘hurt’ voice.


“Ahaha, maybe~ I just like teasing you! We are getting close, I’ll take over from here!”


Ariana only nodded as she put away her spear, now floating in the air, thanks to Ren’s powers. Her Master enveloped her from head to toe as they blasted off, way faster than before, arriving above the endless ocean. Below them the air pressure, coming from their acceleration, was pressing down on the giant body of water, churning it, creating giant waves while they went past the speed of sound easily, accelerating even further.


….

…..


Although it was a dark night over the ocean, underwater, between the reefs and the homes of the mermaid tribe, bioluminescent jellyfishes and fishes swam around in groups. On the houses’ walls small jars were hung up, filled with bioluminescent algae, providing blue illumination throughout the night. Lulu was still sitting in her cell when a small smile formed on her lips, opening her eyes slowly. Her guards quickly sensed something, grabbing onto their tridents, but before they could act, a flash of violet light passed above them, shaking up the whole city. It scared the hundreds of fishes, dispersing them towards every direction, waking up every sleeping soul in the region.


“Yo.” Ren grinned, appearing before Lulu as Ariana also landed on the ground, a bit dizzy from the sudden change of speed and direction. For the past few minutes what she saw was only blurred images passing by her.


“Master!” Lulu said excitedly, cupping her hands. “Junior Sister~”


“Senior Sister!” Ariana returned the greeting with a forced smile, still wobbling a little. “Where is Senior Brother?”


“In the main temple.” Lulu answered and by then the guards finally recovered their faculties.


“Who are you?! Don’t dare to move!” They shouted at Ren as they moved the water with their powers. Around the cell, the air bubble was quickly shrinking and they were getting threatened to be flooded.


“Are you going to be okay?” Ren asked as she looked at her disciples.


“Sure. I’ll take care of Ariana.” Lulu smiled, placing her hand on Ariana’s shoulder, enveloping her in a soft, creamy light.


“Good.” She smiled, turning towards the guards and her voice echoed out, rippling through the water. “I am here for my disciples. The leaders of this tribe should come and meet me so we can talk.”


Her voice easily destroyed the prison whole building, cracking the walls and opening it up like a can of tuna. Water rushed inside immediately while the guards were rolling backwards, dozens of meters by the shockwave of her voice. Ren was surrounded with purple energy and she could move around freely, just as if she was flying high in the air. She was not wasting any time and was going towards the temple, while Lulu brought Ariana with her..


“Master.” Yanda came forward as soon as they landed. The temple itself was empty inside, only the gently glowing altars gave out any light, creepily lighting up the statues placed on them.


“Lulu informed me about your thoughts. Ariana?” Ren asked as she looked at her. She was also watching the mermaids as the whole village was thrown into turmoil by her thunderous arrival.


“It is weird.” Ariana spoke up after a few seconds of silence. “Senior Brother… your hand.” She stretched out hers and Yanda gently held it with a nod. Black, smoke-like tentacles crept out from Ariana’s wrist, sneaking up on Yanda’s arm while she closed her eyes.


Meanwhile warriors from the mermaid tribe finally arrived, ready to fight. Yet as soon as they laid their eyes on Ariana and felt her aura, one of them even dropped his trident.


“The Abyss, the Abyss is here! We are all doomed!” He screamed, spreading chaos pretty effectively around himself.


“Abyss?” Lulu asked as he tilted her head but Ren just shook hers.


“Ignore them. Wait until their leader shows itself. Imprisoning one of my own and asking the other to do a ritual suicide? I’ll make him do it himself or make him wish he could do it, yet unable to!” Ren snorted with an angry expression, prompting Lulu to chuckle.


“Master!” Ariana exclaimed as the tentacles sneaked back under her skin. “This is… this unbelievable!” She gasped for air, completely stunned and excited.


“What is…?” Yanda asked who now felt a bit confused. It was as if a fog just rose up from his mind. His junior sister’s skill cleared his thoughts and while previously he felt like his mother’s death was not the tribe’s fault… Now everything he thought before finding them, was flooding back, all at once. What he felt now was a quickly rising anger and unbridled rage, aimed at the mermaids. For everything they did to his mother he wanted to roast one of them over an open fire..


“It’s not a spell or a formation… it’s the bloodline! It resonates… or… or acts accordingly to a stronger will… like, like a curse!” Ariana explained.


“Curse?” Lulu murmured, furrowing her brows.


“Figuratively speaking!” Ariana nodded. “Senior Brother was affected because of his blood! Its connection to this place! Not as strongly as others of the tribe I assume, but still… there is a strong entity who affects their minds through the bloodline connection!”


“They are being mind controlled?” Ren asked, crossing her arms, not liking what she was hearing.


“It is more like… suggestions. By a feeling, being imprinted into them, constantly affecting their subconscious. It is herding them to the ‘correct’ way and altering their thinking! It must have been going on for a long time because its strength could influence even Senior Brother, who is already a mixed blood! I-I mean I didn’t mean it that way!” She panicked as she turned quickly towards Yanda. He just smiled, patting her head while replying.


“Relax, no offense taken. Master, what do you think?” Yanda asked with a heavy sigh, calming himself down a little.


“That it must lose its effects, the farther one gets from the source. That is why you were born.” She looked into his eyes with a warm and caring expression.


“It was not enough to return and disturb the peace of our village, endangering all of our lives, now two more land dwellers appear at our holy land?” A raspy voice traveled to their ears. It was echoing inside the temple as an old mermaid arrived, wearing a green robe, made out of moss and kelps. He was holding onto a trident that was made out of something that looked like tinted glass.


He was almost 3 meters long, aged yet brimming with vitality and strength. He was wearing clams in his long, graying hair, while other, smaller, thinner, young mermaid girls followed him along. The group of them were only wearing shells that covered their privates, looking at him with zealous devotion in their eyes.


“I assume that he is the head priest.” Ren asked Yanda as she turned towards the newcomer.


“What is this?” The priest swam closer to them, eyeing Ariana. “What vile creature! Are you here for the sacrifice? Coming from the Abyss? I thought you may make up the mistake of your existence and the sin of your mother, boy! Yet I see, you are completely tainted by the Abyss and collude with demons!”


“What the actual fuck…?” Lulu groaned, not believing what she was hearing as she held onto Ariana. Her Junior Sister was a bit intimidated by the giant mermaid’s aura and by the power of his voice.


“Hey!” Ren raised her own voice. “Sushi boy! Shut your trap right now or I’ll shut it for you!”


“Silence, taint from the surface! You are in the presence of the Apostle of a God!” He shouted as he looked down at Ren, pointing at her with his trident. “Your sin of barging here is going to be punished! Just wait for your turn patiently!”


“Don’t. Point. That. At. Me.” Ren said, word by word, looking into his eyes with a cold expression.


“I said; Silence!” He shouted once again but the next moment he felt an overwhelming force travel through his hand that was holding the trident. Ren was wielding an electric spear, stabbing right into the tip of Trident's middle prong. His weapon quickly shattered while Ren’s weapon followed suit, exploding, turning into dozens of bolts. They were traveling far and wide in the water, striking multiple other mermaid warriors, making them scream out in agony.


“I told you.” Ren’s calm voice echoed around them. “Also, stop praying to gods, sushi boy.” She shook her head. “They don’t even know that you exist.”


“Lord Arkhan!” The girls screamed, catching the priest as he tumbled backwards in the water. He now coughed up some blueish, glowing blood, finally stabilizing his body.


“I’m fine!” Arkhan growled, shaking them off. He was watching the shards of his trident drifting in the water, clearly shocked by what just happened. “You dare to strike at me?” He wiped down his mouth, looking majestic once again, raising the morale of the other mermaids around him.


“Sure. Want me to repeat it?” Ren asked, cracking her knuckles. “I can even use more force if you want to be turned into a roasted delicacy.”


“M-master…” Ariana moaned with a painful voice. She was surprising not just her but Lulu and Yanda too. “Something… is coming… and it is… dreadful!” She gasped for air, holding her chest, squirming strongly. “And… hungry!”


“A creature of the Abyss!” Screamed some mermaids as Arkhan, the Head Priest watched Ariana, forming an evil smile. He quickly produced a horn, made out of a seashell, blowing into it. Next a loud and deep roar swept forward, scattering the fishes and any living creatures, making them rush to find hiding places inside coral reefs.


“God’s Punishment approaches to devour the heathens! Retreat my children before you are also consumed by the Abyss!” Arkhan shouted, swimming away the fastest and soon the city became deadly silent.


“I don’t like this Master…” Lulu whispered, trying to ease Ariana’s visible pain, while Yanda held his own hand that started to tremble.


“Me neither, Master… something is coming and my body wants to run.” Yanda commented, trying to suppress his own instincts.


“Heh.” Ren smiled, swimming upwards, followed by them. She was watching the dark waters towards the south. “Stay here and protect my back against those zealots. Leave this Abyss whatever to me.”


It became eerily silent as they floated in the water, watching towards the south, only seeing darkness. Yet a feeling of dread and danger was slowly creeping up onto them. Ren quickly shook it off as purple electricity danced around her body, lighting up the world like a lamp. As her light traveled far and wide they finally realized that a cloud of black ink was heading towards them. Its size was enormous, hundreds of meters and from deep inside, hidden in the murky mass of it, two, chilly, otherworldly red eyes were watching them. It was slowly swimming closer and closer, eyeing Ren as its prey.


“Mmm…” Ren chuckled, fearlessly flying forward, surprising the entity that was coming for them. This was the first time that he was approached by something. And that thing came at him without any visible fear in her eyes. “I need to bring a piece of you back.” Ren whispered under her breath. “Kyu is going to be elated to taste something new…”