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His mind was in the void again and he could see nothing but black and those long blacker than black, gooey, gelatinous tendrils. They twisted around like worms, writhing in pain and they reached out. Stretching as they had before, to wrap around his tangible form. One of them reached him and he swatted it away with a single, powerful kick...

Deep down, Raithe knew that he was falling. To save himself he would have to wake up, but after hitting his head... wind whooshed passed his ears. He could feel it on his body, brushing him, pushing him up and slowing his fall.

There was a groan.

It was big and slow and lazy. It seemed to come from everywhere, a loud, echoing drum. His ears twitched, trying to discern where it might be coming from. Through all of this, Raithe could barely notice the small weight which had suddenly dropped on his back. He groaned and raised a hand to his forehead. There was a tender bump there.

“Wake up!”

He recognized that voice. Small, feminine and like a bird's lullaby. The loud groan became louder. Raithe shook his head and then he opened his eyes, immediately wishing that he hadn't. The black, whale thing was right below them, maw open wide. If he didn't do something soon, both he and his passenger would be whale chow.

“You awake?” Luna asked. She was leaning over his shoulder, so he could see her face if he glanced to the side.

“Y-yeah,” he replied.

“Got any skills that might... help us?”

He moved his hand in preparation to open the interface, but Luna put her hand on his, stalling him. But she was right. There was no time to look at the interface. They were falling and would fall into that creature's mouth, long before he could find the right skill.

“Well?” she asked with a voice growing more anxious.

“H-hold on,” Raithe said. “Let me think.” only... with their imminent doom right below them, there was no time to think. Down... down... down were the black innards, bowls of a terrifying beast. He had to do something, he had to...

Both ears perked up as he felt it. The cool air swirling around his feet, his tail, different from the air rushing up toward him as he fell. Somehow, he thought he could control it. If he concentrated, then just maybe... Raithe bent both knees and the air around them became more pronounced. Separate air currents and yes, he could control them! With one push of his legs, they shot forward.

“Not far enough!” Luna shouted over the rush of the wind in their ears.

“I know!” Raithe said in a gruff voice and gritting his teeth.

The huge maw of that beast was groaning, slowly closing over them. It's shadow engulfed them as they fell further in. Two more tries. Raithe wasn't entirely sure how he knew, but he did know he only had two more chances before this skill he was using, would fizzle out and cause them to fall to their deaths.

“C-can you...?”

“I can!” Raithe answered the unfinished question. “Hang on.” he felt the girl's grip tighten on his neck as he flipped himself into a vertical position. She wrapped her legs around his waist, stabilizing herself even more. Using the air still around his feet, Raithe shot them like a bullet upwards. He glanced down and... good. They had flown high enough to avoid the creature's maw. With his next kick, they were flung far away from it and then the air vanished.

“N-no more?” Luna asked.

Raithe shook his head. “No... I guess these skills have a limit.”

“That's okay,” she replied. “At least we won't get eaten.”

She did have a point, at least they wouldn't get eaten. As they fell, Raithe detached himself from her. The extra momentum her weight would create, could cause serious damage on impact... yes impact. Falling into water from as high as they were, was more like hitting concrete. It was possible to die, just from that. The more likely thing to happen to them though, was being knocked unconscious and maybe having a few broken bones on top of that. So by detaching himself from her, he would slow what was known as their terminal velocity, lessening the damage when they hit.

He chose to plunge in feet first, toes pointed toward the water, making himself like an arrow. It allowed him to go right through, carried him to the bottom where his feet touched sand and a small cloud formed. For just a brief moment, he did black out. Not because of how he came in contact with the water though. It was the sheer cold which knocked him unconscious.

Whatever material had been used to make their gowns, apparently had its limits. It wasn't just that it only covered his arms, torso and a good portion of his legs, but also that the thing wasn't waterproof. Water seeped into it, nulling the warming effects it had on his skin. The chill, frigid temperature seeped into his whole being. It was the pure shock from it which had caused his mind to go black. He shook his head, forcing himself to wake up and his mind to become alert. Raithe pushed off of the floor which surprisingly wasn't that deep and he moved his arms and legs. Climbing back to the surface.

His head broke through and Raithe took in a big, gasping breath of fresh, salty air. When he had recovered enough, he glanced around. The water had gone still, the wind nonexistent and the only sound came from the others he had been with, jumping off the ship.

When he had been on it, the vessel did seem huge. But from where he was now, there were just no words he could use to describe its size. Of course it would have to be of unreasonably large in order to avoid being crushed by those... creatures. Anyway, the others landed with tiny splashes and those who hadn't been killed immediately after landing, rose back to the surface and began a frantic swim toward the island in the distance.

He couldn't quite place it, but something didn't feel right. It was in the air, how still it was and how still the water was. Like glass. The best word to describe the surface now, was glass. Not even a single ripple formed around him where his arms weren't disturbing it. Everything was a little... too quiet... too still. Stagnant.

Raithe spun around, glancing in every direction. In water as clear as this, he should be able to see those whales, shouldn't he? Surely they weren't that fast. That is to say, fast enough to swim completely out of their view. A ripple formed near him and it was like a small wave. He froze. Well... not entirely. His legs still needed to work in order to keep himself afloat. But Raithe didn't move from his spot and his eyes never once, left that single ripple. Because the thing that was causing it, was most likely a predator as well.

It was perhaps about as long as he was and about as wide. A serpentine form which swam with all the grace of an exotic fish. Beautiful and elegant. The serpent had four fins it could use to either speed up or turn. Its head was armored with some kind of carapace helmet and appeared oddly like that of a large reptile, not snake like though. More like that of a giant lizard. The serpent's body was also black and its eyes crimson.

As it swam by him, Raithe held in his breath. He knew that holding himself still like this, probably wouldn't help much. He felt it was the thing he needed to do however. As it swam slow and gracefully around, Raithe never once dropped his eyes from the creature.

Water splashed behind him and he whirled around. His eyes narrowed.

“You are still alive,” Gin said with sarcastic enthusiasm. A wide, maniacal, evil, stupid grin formed on his face.

“Yes. I am... alive,” Raithe replied. There was anger, bubbling up to the surface and he was sure that Gin could hear it in his voice. Good. He wanted Gin to know he was angry. This was the guy after all, who had knocked him off the ship, causing him to bump his head in the process. “No thanks to you.”

“To me?” Gin said, feigning innocents. Then he shrugged. “You seemed nervous. I was just... helping you along.”

“Helping me al –”

“Better watch out,” Gin pointed toward where the serpent had been.

Raithe immediately glanced over in that direction, to find that it was gone. Just like the enormous whale, the creature had completely vanished without a trace. What was... going on here? He blinked and then almost went into panic mode – which is never good when trying to swim for your life. The enormous serpent appeared right before his eyes from what seemed like nothing.

No wait... it wasn't nothing. It formed from shadows like the ones he had seen in his dream. Thin, sticky, black tendrils which came together to form this creature. Had that been what happened to the giant whale? There was no time to ponder that question as the serpent swam straight for him.

Raithe ducked under the surface and kicked in order to push himself out of the creature's path. He bent his knees and its maw of jagged, sharp teeth, just narrowly missed him. When he rose for air again, he could see Gin swimming away. Using him as a distraction huh? Raithe shook his head and was about to follow when something occurred to him. He had been so preoccupied with everything else, Luna just kind of slipped out of his mind. He glowered at Gin who was steadily increasing his distance between himself and Raithe and then Raithe dived.

Later he would catch up. There was no way he would allow that... jerk to reach the island before him. But first he needed to find that girl. So he dived and glanced around, looking for any sign that she might still be around. He could see no sign of her, but that serpent was still swimming near him, waiting for any opportunity to strike.

Raithe eyed it cautiously as it seemingly turned away and started to swim in that direction. As soon as he made a move to follow the other people, the serpent whirled around and like some kind of underwater bullet, shot in his direction. He manage to dodge it just barely, by pulling up another skill. Jet. It didn't push him that far, just enough to avoid the creature's maw if he timed it right. Jet also seemed to have a limit of three, so he knew he would have to use it sparingly.

Again, the creature spun around and came at him. This time, Raithe somersaulted just before the creature's teeth could sink in and he hit it hard with the heel of his foot. Its jaw snapped shut with the force and blood trickled away from its mouth. Stunned, it shook its head frantically in an attempt to recover.

Good, Raithe thought as he kicked away. That was the third skill he had managed to use. Aqua Rise which was – according to its description – for underwater fighting. The only limit it had, was based on his current stats and his overall stamina.

He frog paddled up and when his head broke through the glassy veil, Raithe began a front crawl. As he swam, he made sure to keep his eyes open. If something had happened to her, he wouldn't forgive himself. He regretted the decision to detach from her completely and felt like such an idiot for not staying close.

Several shrill screams from ahead, immediately stalled him. His swimming and his train of thought. Raithe squinted his eyes, watching some of the other survivors who had jumped off the ship with him. Many of them were grouped up close, watching the water for... something. He held his breath when someone went under. They didn't dive, nor had they sank from fatigue, they went under in a rough, quick motion. Jerked under the water, as if they had been pulled.

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A note from Maiz

If any of you are enjoying my story and would like to support me, then please visit my Patreon

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About the author

Maiz

Bio: An amateur writer who hopes to entertain you all, with my wondrous works of fantasy!

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