‘I hope you know what you’re doing, Don Hernan,’ says the chronomage Eidos Crydias as the Airship Aurora flies them farther to Petravia Ocean. ‘Lord Adler will be very angry if you do things without consulting him first.’
Don Hernan y Parvaez Trinidad Besso sounds impatient, ‘I know, I know. But time doesn’t allow me to hesitate, to wait until Adler is conscious again. the great Petra called me, and I must meet him to see what he has to offer.’
‘Petra? You mean, the Ancient Blue Dragon, Petra the Leviathan? Sovereign of the Seas? Oh, come on, Don. An intelligent man like you wouldn’t give up your target just to follow a whisper, right? Oh, I know, this is Robert’s trick. He twisted your mind when he was losing to your skill, Symphony of the Seven Seas. ‘Twas a cowardly trick Vordac’s Heir and minions usually do.’
‘Is that what your scientific mind can produce? You were not down there, so you don’t know what I went through or whether Robert DID meddle with my mind. But the thing YOU must know – if you noticed it – is when I was disrupted and vulnerable, Robert let me and Adler go. If he’s Vordac’s Heir, he would CERTAINLY use that opportunity and slay us.’
‘And I would open fire and sink that ship.’
‘No. You will likely flee and search for a new benefactor.’
‘How dare you...!’ Eidos is about to get angry, but regains his composure by saying, ‘It’s only in your mind. Anyway, let’s just wait until Lord Adler wakes up and see his view upon this matter.’
‘What matter?’ Suddenly a voice comes.
Eidos becomes flustered and says, ‘Well, Lord Adler, Don Hernan has ordered...’
Adler von Bachmann flares up, ‘WHAT? Don Hernan? He can’t...’
‘I can,’ says Hernan. ‘Remember, I’m your partner, not your subordinate. So I am in charge in your absence.’
‘And still, I want to know what happened DURING my absence.’
‘Lord Adler, he...’ Before Eidos can finish, Hernan cuts in.
‘I need this ship to go to Petravia Ocean. The Leviathan Petra is waiting for me there with something to offer. We are now flying on the right course, just as he directed.’
‘HE? Since when we take directions from a dragon? A beast? You are being absurd here, Don Hernan. Now how about our hunt? Did we capture Robert, Sheena and the Le Partizane?’
‘We have lost the duels, Viscount. You lost to Robert, I defeated Sheena and Robert beat me.’
Eidos cuts in, ‘... Unless he was not distracted by this Petra fellow. I’d say Robert has meddled with his mind, but he didn’t believe me and followed Petra instead.’
Hernan snaps, ‘How many times must I tell you? If Robert really can control my mind, why can Petra talk with me now, in such a far place? Only the ancients, dios, demigods and guardian spirits can do this! Now you better believe me. With Petra by our side, our team will be stronger, no, the strongest!
Kyflynn’s team has Jokulion, Robert’s team has Eshmyria, Aegis and Algaban. Just face it! We need Petra’s help so the next time we meet Robert, he will have no choice but surrender!’
‘So, we’ve lost the fair fight to get the ship in one piece, huh,’ says Adler, trying to use his logic on this matter. ‘But this Petra is really dubious. How come he didn’t speak to me? How can I be convinced that he is for real?’
‘Well, here he is now,’ says Hernan coolly.
Suddenly, the far-seer shouts, ‘WHIRLPOOL ON PORT SIDE!’
Adler, Hernan, Eidos and Quazar the centaur, captain of the Aurora rush to the port to see the gigantic mass of whirlpool below them.
And then, a jet of water shoots up! The men moves back to avoid this attack, but that water doesn’t reach the airship! Instead, a gigantic, snake-like creature jumps up from the port, over the main mast and then dives down on the starboard side into the sea with a splash.
An old man’s voice echoes on the ship.
‘What’s the meaning of this? How dare you bring Algaban before me? Are you in league with my arch-rival? Then you must DIE!’
Hernan yells, ‘W-wait, Great Petra! Listen to us first!’
A Water Blast shoots up as answer.
‘Lift up! Lift up!’ Adler shouts. Quazar just makes a gesture and the helmsman lifts the ship as far up as possible to avoid the blast. The water only reaches the lower part of the airship, dealing minimum damage to the hull. Quazar then instructs, ‘Battle stations ready! All men to your posts! Ready the plasma cannons!’
Hernan tries to communicate with Petra.
‘Ancient One! Please listen to us! Algaban is not here! This is our ship Aurora, which figurehead resembles Algaban’s head! Please, we are here only to fulfill your wishes.’
There’s no answer. The people on the airship are looking at each other, confused upon this unexpected response. Suddenly, the gigantic sea wyrm (sea serpent-dragon) comes out about three hundred meters away from the bow. Looks like he’s observing the Algaban-like vessel in front of him, moving his head here and there and nothing else.
‘Prepare the Grand Cannon!’ Adler’s shout comes.
Hernan is shocked. He quickly interrupts Adler.
‘What the hell are you doing, Viscount? Are you going to blow him up?’
‘Yes. He seems preparing an attack – a big one! We must shoot him before he does!’
‘No, Viscount! Don’t! He just mistakes our ship as his rival! I know this is a bit strange for an ancient like him, but at least we should be patient. Maybe he’s just testing us.’
‘Testing? He blasted water at us, and you only call it a test? I’ve had enough of you and your idiotic Petra! He’s going down!’
‘Grand Cannon is ready!’ the gunner shouts.
Adler instructs, ‘Fir...’ and something stops him midway. It’s the thin blade of Hernan’s Albatross Rapier next to his throat!
‘Say “fire” and you can say goodbye to your life,’ says Hernan threateningly.
‘How dare you, Don. Pointing your sword at me, questioning my authority. I’d like to fire you as a partner, and this act of mutiny is punishable by death.’
‘In that case, I’ll fight you and see whether you can execute me or not. I cannot let your ego mislead you into acting without regards for other people. If you disregard the convention of heroes by firing me or killing me out of that reason, you will live in dishonor for the rest of your life!’
‘I’m being dishonored now, and you shall pay for this, Don Hernan.’
Suddenly, Petra’s voice comes, ‘Thank you, Hernan for standing up for me to the very end, defending me from that egomaniac who misunderstands me as a blithering idiot.’
‘So, O’ Ancient One, it was just a test?’ Hernan asks, feeling relieved now.
‘WHAT?’ Hernan is surprised.
‘See? Doubts, doubts, doubts. Men always doubt anything that doesn’t agree with their logic. Are you still on my side?’
‘I’ve come this far,’ says Hernan. ‘I’ll be the blithering idiot if I’m not. I’ve been attached to you since the first time you whispered to me. I feel you’re as close as my family.’
‘Well, I’m glad to hear that. You see, I didn’t test you but I tricked you, to see your reaction. I pretended not to recognize this Algaban-like ship, and you used non-violence ways to solve this problem.
My soul partner, Mahfoud al Dazeeri was known as the “Old Man of the Sea”. He was a legend because of his unpredictable actions. He has no care for this world. He only did whatever he liked, disregarding what people might say to him, disregarding honor and scorn. It was because he has given up living a harsh worldly life and lived in solitude instead.
You can call him crazy, idiot, or whatever. But all he needed was a bit of sympathy, appreciation and motivation. I gave those three to him, and we became the closest of friends. When he passed away, his soul merged with mine. Now he is me and I am him.
Me as a friend, a family. That’s what I wanted to hear from you. As you are my family now, I promise I won’t trick you again. Now we are partners, Don Hernan, and you can summon me anytime you need me by chanting: An Petra’me Aschi. I’ll help you and guard you from harm, even from a man’s selfish ambition.’
‘From the bottom of my heart, I thank you,’ says Hernan in response.
End of Exclusive Sub-Chapter
Redemption Song by Craig Schaefer (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo) - *Official Author Website* *Order Redemption Song HERE* *Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down* *Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The W...
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