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Hermit, Claudia and Mikheal were the only three that knew how to pilot the ship. They were the three capable of steering this ship away from disaster.

{Zephyr Sensing}

Claudia was walking down the corridor towards the exit, Hermit remained stationary in the elevated cockpit.

A step before Curtis entered the cabin, Hermit came falling from above. He landed in front of him with an almost perfect score, trench coat fluttered from the gust of momentum. Did this guy just jump from that height?

“So noticed it too?” Hermit smiled.

“Yeah. You aren’t going to turn the ship?”

“It’s fine, I’ve already informed Mikheal to head over to the cockpit. He will execute emergency manoeuvres if our plan fails. He’s currently rushing.”

Curtis felt odd with the way he emphasized his last sentence. Directing his line of sight towards Mikheal’s direction, Curtis saw him still chasing after his fishing rod. Well, it wasn’t wrong to say that he was rushing...

Hermit turned to Seth and Dominic whose battle had long turned into a cat and mouse chase, “Seth! Dominic! We’re going to take on a swarm head-on, get ready!”

The two froze on the spot.

“With Claudia?” Curtis felt Claudia coming closer.

“Yes. Seth and Dominic will serve as her vanguard just in case anything passes through her defence.”

“I’ve arrived, where’s the swarm?” Claudia wore a delightful magic robe. In her hand was that magic staff. Ignoring the other aesthetical details, the ash-coloured shaft was made from compressed onyx rock, the tip of it curved into a C with an iridescent orb floating in the centre bound by magic.

It actually functioned the same as a Spellbook. The main difference was the fact that this magic staff could somehow store notes through magic. In a sense, it was a magic-staff shaped Spellbook. Papers that contained all the repertoires recorded in the instrument would manifest into existence when it was switched to ‘recording’ mode. The paper was part of the staff itself, thus notes could be written in it like any ordinary Spellbook. Once done, the paper would dissolve to become part of the staff. The repertoire will be stored inside its unexplainable archive.

“Directly in front,” Hermit directed his sight at the black mass.

Claudia made a sprint towards the bowsprit. Like a pirate, she held the dangling rope while leaning her entire body into the air, her legs tittering on the thin footing. With one hand over her eyebrows, she narrowed her eyes.

“That does look like a swarm. Hermit, how big do you think it is?” Claudia yelled through the wind.

“No bigger than the one we’ve faced before, it should be a little smaller,” Curtis wondered who Hermit was saying that too, with a soft voice.

“I understand. We’ll enter formation,” Claudia came back down.

When Mikhael’s shout came to a stop, he finally headed towards the cockpit. His fishing rod was never retrieved.

Hermit, Claudia, Seth, Dominic and Curtis stood on guard at the forecastle of the ship.

“Good luck Claudia, my best wishes to you. Don’t fail ok, bring back some for dinner, I don’t want to say my condolences to you, I’ll save it for the fishes,” Dominic cheered, his eyes had a weird glint when he directed his eyes at the black mass.

Seth showed a thumbs up, her face indifferent as ever.

Hermit, with a gentle smile, clasped his hands on Claudia’s shoulder.

Claudia took in a deep breath.

The swarm was growing bigger by the second. Now at 100 meters in front, it was identified as a spiked salmon swarm. The biggest fish was larger than Curtis himself.

The large quantity of ‘food’ created a swarm that was twice the size of the ship. Unfortunately, this size wasn’t even enough to be classified as the lowest ranking, tyrant-class swarm.

“What’s going to happen..” Curtis’s query was interjected the moment Claudia raised her staff into the air, the orb was wrapped in a tenuous green light.

{Elemental Magic: Wind: Compressed Wind Barrel}

The double sail attached to the foremast fluttered turbulently with everyone around Claudia staggered back due to the shocking air current. The wind tore apart to form a spinning cyclone around Claudia.

The tempest shifted to the front, a temporary vortex created by the sudden change in air pressure pulled them forward, Dominic stumbled with a comical splat.

The wind shot forth in a straight line, directed at the centre of the swarm.

Through Curtis’ limited visibility, he saw the magic puncture the fishies in the forefront, turning into a lump of flesh. When it hit the centre, a shockwave blew the fishes out of formation. They scattered, the unlucky ones spurting blood, falling to the caustic barrier below.

Claudia dropped to the ground with her body supported by the magic staff.

“That is— incredibly powerful,” Curtis whose gaze had yet to leave the impact site commented. The salmon fanned outwards to create a doughnut with the centre empty. After that, the fishies swam back into formation, this time, forming into a tightly pack swarm. A dispersion quickly followed by a blitzkrieg retaliation tactic— salmons were smart. The Omega-3 jam-packed in the salmons weren’t good for nothing. No, perhaps, these salmon were dumb enough to attack again.

“Ah well, sorry to say this Claudia, my condolences,” Dominic sighed, he raised his claymore.

“Although the swarm was certainly smaller, they seem to have higher intelligence,” Hermit commented.

“One more time,” Claudia got up on her feet.

“Wow, wow, wow, you sure? Last time you did that you literally passed out,“ Dominic said as he noticed the swarm now accelerating past 50 meters.

“They’re tightly packed together conveniently, I should take this chance,” Claudia lifted her staff into the air again.

Without another word.

{Elemental Magic: Wind: Compressed Wind Barrel}

‘Don’t..’

{Mana Transfer}

{Auxiliary Note}

{Casting Aid}

The air tore through space. The cyclone raging with a force stronger than the one before. Claudia was wrapped in a strong green-golden light.

A mana crystal on Curtis necklace blew up.

‘She’s pushing herself,’

Curtis wasn’t stupid enough to not know the consequences of over-exertion— death.

‘Death?’

“Release! Now!” Curtis shouted, ignoring the voice in his head.

Claudia released her wind spell subconsciously at his command.

“Wait no! It isn’t complete!” Claudia dropped to the ground, resisting the thrashing of the cyclone.

Two more mana crystals dangling on Curtis’ necklace blew up.

The wind overflowing with mana now transferred under Curtis’ control. Compressed to a single point, a distorted could be seen formed into the shape of a ball.

Fire.

The compressed wind tore through the centre of the salmon formation. Lucky ones divulged, leaving a hole in the centre to have the spell pass right through, just like before, a duo that formation. It was said that more intelligent species could sense mana, thus their reactions were all within Curtis’ calculations.

‘Re-lease.’

The salmons exploded.

The shockwave tilted the ship upwards, the sail suddenly arced in the reversed direction.

Curtis felt his head float and his body fell backwards.

‘Ah, it’s raining blood,’

The fatigue swallowed him whole, he was unable to move.

‘Why did I do that though.. over-exertions causes death?’

Hermit rushed over to support him from behind just before falling to the ground. Some blood splattered on Curtis’ face.

Claudia, being held in Dominic’s arm was brought back to her room under Hermit’s command. The golden light still remained around her. She was fine, just confused.

“What did you do?” Hermit asked in surprise.

Curtis was laid to the ground, it took a while for him to reply, “I took over the command of her spell mid-way, it wasn’t possible to have her hold it in that state.”

Hermit raised an eyebrow, a suspicious look on his face.

Curtis himself couldn’t understand why, but he felt from {Zephyr Sensing} that Claudia’s mana was reaching a negative point. Moreover, she attempted to force more mana into her second attempt. He, for some reason felt that she would’ve suffered severe repercussions if she completed the spell. Though, death was a little exaggerating?

Seth tugged at Hermit’s trench coat. “Salmon.”

Hermit looked around, Curtis tried to raise his body.

And truly, it was a glorious sight. With blood splattered on deck, many large salmons could be seen partying on board. Some half-dead, others squirming around, unable to fly away due to the possible internal injury caused. Then— there were also the half-fishes, their lower body totally missing. Seth kicked that off the ship.

“Don’t do that Seth, we shouldn’t waste good food.”

Seth nodded to her own mistake. Luckily, Bidon the orca secretly snatched it up before it fell into the abyss. Looking at their disappointment, Curtis though Dailies and Wade were hoping Seth would waste more food.

“How are you feeling at the moment.” Hermit turned to Curtis, wearing an expression of worry. “Do you need me to bring you to your room?”

Curtis didn’t respond.

‘I see.. the reason why I did that was because of my past memories. Something to do with always telling myself not to break past my limit.’

Hermit’s expression turned into a wryly smile. Curtis was dazed, just like Claudia, totally zoned out.

Seth and Hermit glanced at each other tacitly, despite being 10 meters apart from each other. “Can you move? Or do you need Seth to carry you?”

“What? Oh, no, I can stand,” Curtis blinked a few times. He felt a cracking sensation in his mind.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” Curtis rubbed his temples a few times.

By the way, Seth, being 10 meters apart from Hermit was busy picking up the fishies sprawled all around the ship— looked like Mikhael was going to join in the fun too.

“If you don’t mind me asking again, what exactly did you do?”

“I blew up the salmon didn’t I?”

“No, no. I mean what you said just now about changing the ownership of the spell to you.”

“That.. I took Claudia’s spell under my command and then altered it. I compressed the air into a tiny space before shooting it out as usual.”

Hermit scratched his cheeks, “I’m surprised you could do something like that...are you sure you don’t need me to support you back to your room?”

“No, I’m good,” Curtis looked around the bloody ship. “So..It’s time to rally the fishes?”

Hermit exhaled in relief. His gaze directed at the dimmed mana crystals on Curtis’s necklace.

‘So, he really only uses mana from a mana crystal?’

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