Chapter 62: Wild Attack
Triton Samudra stares intently into the dark abyss. He signals once, and he can feel something large slowly coming towards them. The entire pod has halted as he tries to decide what this strangely approaching phenomena coming to them. Arnaav holds onto Merrick’s hand as they waited for any update of this suspenseful foreboding.
“Samudra?” Vanora says, “Should we not hide?”
“…” Samudra signals again. The upcoming entity is… No longer large… It’s several, “We need move. Now.”
“Alright,” Vanora turned to the pod, “Keno-”
“Now! We must flee!” Samudra commanded. The Capricorn herded the pod like a running flock of sheep as they turned and began to swim as fast as they could.
Behind them came several devilish screams and roars.
Arnaav yelps as his paws tightens on Merrick’s hand as he was yanked harshly as they started to jet forth. Merrick whipped his head around, and sees a rushing Shachihoko wildly bucking for them.
A Shachihoko? That shouldn’t be such a big threat. They’re mostly related to the lions and tigers of the lands. Sure, they’re wild animals, and if you’re careless around them they can be a problem, but it’s unheard of for them to even attack prey at this time of day. But this one looks enraged, overwhelmed, even. It roars out as its large, thick flippers kick into the water, its diamond-like fangs shredding the sea as it flaps its powerful, bleeding tail-
“Oh Sea Mother!!!” Deilan exclaimed as a huge set of razor sharp fangs dove for the Shachihoko, narrowly missing it by mere inches before the injured beast howls ahead. A giant began to swim closer, or perhaps it’s three monsters? Three colossal, grotesque creatures hiss and grumble as some of their many eyes locate the Kenovani Pod.
‘Just as Father said,’ Nerissa thought, gasping, and quickly snatching up her baby brother from a hooking projectile – a strange, rock-solid hook seeping with a dark mist of poison, ‘I did not want to believe it… But as he said, the Capricorn cannot always protect us…’ She looked fearfully onto the trio of humongous Scyllas growling and looking over them, like three menacing dragon-like freaks about to disembowel them. Adra Hecalt cries uncontrollably as he clung onto Nerissa’s chest. “Hold tightly, Brother!” She said before she twirls and speeds away.
Scylla. One of the biggest dangers of the entire ocean – considered to be one of the ocean’s most malevolent creatures, almost as evil as the Nalcious Eels. Legend says that the Scyllas descend from a Holsien Noita who wanted to create a more suitable Guardian than the Kraken, so she warped and twisted an early animal before it could mature, and her magic destroyed the animal’s stability, and it turned into a monster. Nature and breeding took its course, and now the Scylla is a part of the ocean’s deepest, darkest secrets.
It has four muscular legs that can tuck onto its body to make it able to swim easily through the water like a shark, can produce poisonous barbs that is able to launch from its nostrils, and has ten eyes along either side of its body, for a very wide field of vision. When it tucks its four limbs into its body, it instead lets loose a small array sharp tendrils that propels and stirs in the water as it uses its tail to push and shoot through at high speeds, but only when its limbs are tucked away. Each tentacle has a half-arrow nail attached, looking almost identical to its head for the sake of confusion and intimidation when cornered, which contains the same venom as its projectile barbs.
The Shachihoko roars pitifully as it swims as fast as it can, but cries out as it can sense one of the large, cage-like claws about to descend upon it.
A sharp, three-pronged force raced through the air, and knocked the Scylla’s claw back as it sank into it, inducing a resonating roar of pain as Samudra goes to his weapon to fend off the monster. He grunts as he gives a loud array of signals and screeches to the half tiger/fish he had just rescued, before he allowed the Shachihoko to escape with its life.
“GO! NOW!!” He commanded. The second Scylla blurrs around the first, and opened up its jaws. The crab merman turns and screams in terror as a pair of buzzsaws snap him up, and crushed his hand-made flippers as it drove him up in the water.
“KARKOS!” Syrinx yells as she stretched out her arm as the Scylla ate him, “NO!” She gasps as a third set of teeth began to swim for her! She screams out before a forced knocked the third Scylla off-course. Deilan and an octopus mermaid, along with several other random octopi began to whirl about in a strategic formation, as a black cloud of ink began to form around the Scyllas.
The Capricorns circled the pod as they began to leave while the others fought them off. Another Scylla roars as it shoots for them.
‘We’ve lost Karkos,’ Razirah Ebba thinks as one of her shells lose a link, ‘At this rate, Triton Samudra must summon Guardian Kraken. If not, perhaps Merrick can call upon Guardian Leviathan!’ Ebba gasps before she dives down, just dodging a poison missile. The Scylla’s tail thrashes and strikes part of the pod, before they were scattered about. Mermen signaled for every direction for another Capricorn, or any other large animal that can fight. Mermaids whip and swim in many directions, trying to strike with their weapons and arrows just to keep themselves alive, while a few others try to swim for safety.
Arnaav screams before Merrick’s arms tighten around him and flies in a loop. Merrick screeches as he lets his harpoon shoot through the water, and into the Scylla’s throat, and saw a silver spear jut out of the beast’s neck. The demon bellows in pain, but it does not relent.
‘No time!’ Merrick took a deep breath, about to call the Leviathan, before he yelped instead as a claw flew out at him and Arnaav. The otter merman screams before Merrick’s arms tighten around him and flies in a loop. Merrick screeches as he lets his harpoon shoot through the water, and into the Scylla’s throat, and saw a silver spear jut out of the beast’s neck. The demon bellows in pain, but it does not relent, and now it surges for the two of them.
‘No!’ He whips around, and swims as fast as he can, easily sensing that the Scylla is now chasing him, ‘I must protect Arnaav!’ Merrick thought as he raced into a large trench, wincing as he can hear the Scylla roaring behind him, his keen intuition commanding him to ascend up, just before twin poison barbs could hit him.
‘Dammit!’ He thinks as he looks back, and sees his weapon glinting from the Scylla’s neck, ‘Not like my weapon can help anyway, if sending it into its mouth couldn’t stop it, it looks like I can’t kill it with just a well-thought strike.’ Merrick huffs as he became a flash of blue and silver along this cold, dark trap.
He growls as his eyes looked side-to-side at the barren walls of rock ‘It’s too cramped for Guardian Leviathan to appear here. Even if I did call it, it can’t help me if it can’t reach me here, let alone battle the Scylla.’ He snarls he holds tightly to Arnaav as he swims faster than ever before.
‘I can outrun it for now, but at this rate, it’s either going to catch me or strike me down with its poison barbs.’ He winces as he feels Arnaav crying and holding tightly, ‘There’s no where to hide…” He thinks as he takes in his blurring surroundings, ‘I think these are the Tower Trenches. It doesn’t matter, there is no where for me to hide here, not without being spotted anyway.’
Merrick dives into a tight spot, and then jets up at the last moment so the Scylla becomes momentarily stuck. He turns, and frowns as the crazy beast writhes in rage, breaking the narrow rock way before he swims faster.
‘Those rock fragments were too flimsy. Could I possibly…’ Merrick glances at the bedrock and structure of the trenches, ‘No. Those there thin enough for it to slow it down, but every where else is too hard to be knocked back with enough force to break and trap it.’
Merrick kicks his tail hard as he feels a force of water blow around him, just missing the Scylla’s head. ‘I’m running out of options here!’
Samudra growls as he can feel the thick barrage of sensation brewing deep in his gut. He’s almost ready to summon the Kraken. The Scylla he is fighting currently has him pinned down to the ocean floor. Luckily, his outer shell is heavily protective, so he can endure even the ravenous fangs that scrape from the Scylla’s jaws.
“Ennngghh!” ‘Vanora can mend the scrapes,’ He thought as he continues to gather his inner strength for the summoning. “Hhhgggg!” He glances to the others fighting. Two other merfolk have been eaten by the second Scylla, despite the large ink cloud. Most of the pod is gone, however. In a fit of panic, a few of the other mermen managed to gather four more Capricorns to hide the pod’s perception away from the Scyllas.
“Grrrrrrr,” Samudra growls, ‘It is true about the Guardians…’ He grunts as his trident snaps in half, while still holding himself in a defensive position, ‘The older you are… The longer the calling takes to come to you…’
“SAMUDRA!!” Vanora calls out, seeing her mate forced and mangled into the sea ground.
“I am fine, Vanora!!” Samudra roars back, “YOUR RIGHT!!” The Noita gasps as a sea of fangs and thorns came rushing to her, with the shreds of her fellow Coshitons still clinging to its mouth, “VANORAAA!!!”
Just as the jaws closed down on the lionfish mermaid, she turned about, as several ribbons of power whips around her. Spikes of yellow light jab at the Scylla’s jaws as she spun in a spiral. Her power appears as harsh spires of spotted light that inject a very bitter taste into the Scylla’s mouth until she turns into a whirlwind of illuminated spears, as if enveloped by a madly spinning urchin of irritable lightning.
Noita Vanora keeps herself spinning faster and faster, extending her body of power into a spiky tornado that juts out into cage-like branches of energy that shoots out randomly at any incoming poison barbs or for any of the Scyllas’ limbs can attempt at the other Coshitons.
Merrick continues to flee as fast as he can, ‘Dammit, why is it only chasing me?? Aren’t I proving to be more trouble than I’m worth??’
“Getting closer!!” Merrick yells as he races through. The Scylla behind him has stopped clawing around at the Tower Trenches, and tucked its limbs into its body to make itself a very agile torpedo. Poor Arnaav simply whimpers harshly as he pushes his face into Merrick’s chest, completely unaware of his surroundings, and solely relying on Merrick through these blinding speeds.
‘I’m losing ground!’ He clenched his teeth as he dips and swirls to avoid another poison launch from the monster. Arnaav’s paws dig onto him as Merrick carries the both of them through spectacular maneuvers.
‘Anywhere!’ He thinks as his tail is burning with exhaustion, ‘I can’t think of any counter-measure!’ He glances back, and growls as he sees his weapon is still sticking out of the monster’s neck, ‘Is that REALLY not hurting it?!’ Merrick seethed as he kicks his tail onward, ‘I threw it into its throat, and it’s stuck on it’s neck! It’s not even going to slow it down for me?!’
His eyes lock forward, spotting something that appears to be a large foundation of giant spiral shells “THERE!!” He zooms forward.
‘If I can hide there…’ Merrick quickly thinks, ‘Agghh… It probably won’t do me any good,’ He glances back at the smooth-sailing Scylla, still on his tail, ‘Scyllas have a total of 20 eyes, they can see ANYTHING! It’s almost like that Dragonology book Adam has, something about a dragon having 9 optic nerves, or the Byakugan from – RRRRGH! Stop thinking about that!’ He huffs and zips over a few rocks, before hearing the sea-behemoth clash with them from behind. ‘If it sees me hide into those shells, it will keep attacking until it finds me… But what if…’
Merrick grimaces as he feels himself beginning to tire out. As hard as he’s swimming, it’s only a matter of time before the Scylla catches him.
‘No, even in human form, that thing will still eat me and Arnaav. My best bet is to pick a shell and escape quietly from there!’
‘…’ The bugle inside of Samudra is just about ready. He watches as his amazing mate turns herself into a fury of spiking tendrils, flinching as one such strike of light hits the claw pinning him, but doing nothing to remove it. His eyes look over the sight of everything.
‘… One… Two… Wait…’ He continues to gather strength as he takes several signals, ‘There were three Scyllas… One of them would not have simply went away…’ He growls as his eyes narrow, ‘Has it chased the other escaping members??’ He grunts as his throat begins to stiffen as his eyes dilate, ‘Then I must end this. Vanora cannot keep this going, or else she might strike one of the others…’
Letting his head out, Samudra unleashed a loud, long, ravenous roar. The Scyllas screech back at him in retaliation.
Merrick gasps silently as he feels a sudden pulse far on the lower right direction. He yelps as another poison barb just BARELY skims his arm, before racing forward, just reaching out of the Tower Trenches and into the open!
“Eaaahh!” He turns fully around and screams as a large shape looms over him. The Scylla opens his jaws of infinite teeth, about to dive down upon the boys. “NOO, PLEASE!” Merrick shrieks as he huddles on Arnaav, who is beyond petrified now.
“GEEHHHEENNN!” The Scylla roars after two other loud clashes and shouts. Merrick opened his eyes, and gasps in awe as a pair of large, healthy Shachihokos sink their crystalline fangs into the Scylla’s body!
The monster seethes and snarls as it thrashes the sea felines away as they pound their tailflippers harshly, before a third Shachihoko bore down on the beast from the top, this one with a large wound on its body, the one that was commanded by Samudra.
A fourth Shachihoko bravely attacks the tail as the Scylla stretches out its limbs and crashed into the large piles of huge conch shells. Merrick swims out, filled with terror and surprise as he feels the sea around him wave and become insane as a huge, massive mound of slime came up out of nowhere! Merrick hangs tightly onto Arnaav, before his back slams into something solid! He whips around, and then quickly swims up!
“KHaaaahhh!” Samudra cries out in pain as the armor of his body finally cracks under the Scylla’s grip, inducing a hard, sharp pain on his abdomin!
“FATHER!” Adra Nerissa cries out as she swims out to him. Vanora gasps as she sees Samudra’s torso fractured.
“RrrrhhhhhHHHH!” The Scylla opens its large maw, before an invisible force pried its jaws open. Its head is pulled back as one claw lifts from Samudra’s body, while the other one flails about. Nerissa stares as one leg of the beast ceases to move, and somehow glues itself onto its side in a jagged position. It twitches as it seems to become paralyzed as it starts to float up on its own.
“It comes…” Samudra grunts weakly.
“Samudra!!” Vanora calls out as the storm of spikes subsided so she can tend to her mate. A threatening roar shouts at her as the Scylla dives for her too! Just as she started to scream, an unseen entity forces the gigantic monster against a large structure of rock!
Adra Hecalt gasps on the sand as he watches a very complicated system of thick tubes start to manifest out of nothing! The Scylla that was fighting Samudra is now entangled with a mass of rubbery tethers, binding it extremely tight while it still struggled in the strange grip.
The second Scylla snarls loudly as it thrashed under its own ties, before it launched a pair of poison barbs at the new creature.
Before the barbs could hit their target, two swift tendrils knock the barbs into an instant halt, spinning them in mid-water, split into pieces, before racing to force the Scylla’s head down into the sand, burying its maw into the seafloor. The Scylla writhed wildly as it clawed into the sand, unable to free itself.
Noita Vanora’s healing hands immediately place onto Samudra’s ruptured stomach, pulling him away as the tentacles tightly constricted the giant monster.
Guardian Kraken wraps its many tentacles around the beast, forcing its body to straighten, and-
“AAAARRRRRNNNNNGGG!” The Scylla cries out in pain as the Kraken’s hidden beak drilled into its back, cracking into the armored shell and digging into its insides to let a dark red mist seep into the water. The beast couldn’t move, both by the constriction, and the immense damage being dealt to its backside. It persistently snarled in defeat, even as the Kraken further dug the hidden barbs in its tentacles into the remainder of the Scylla.
As the Shachihokos ripped and bit down onto the butchered Scylla, it still would not give up its quarry, even as it’s being attacked by a total of six aquatic tigers.
Even with the numerous predators preying upon it, now there is a huge mass of groaning gunk rising up from one of the enormous shells! A cloud of sea-dirt and grime kicks up as the shapeless blob rose up to address the struggling horde of beasts.
The Scylla looks up, and sees what appears to be a naked human scale the giant shells. It roars feeblely as it pushes forcefully towards the humanoid, as if it’s downright determined to end this elusive, small creature.
Merrick huffs as Arnaav clings to him. He’s just about of energy, no doubt from all the swimming he’s had to do. At this time, to look back is to give himself to death, even if the Scylla is being slowed down significantly. He wears his necklace to nullify himself of water in order to climb on the shells, just like when he and Yuri, and some of her friends went rock-climbing once.
Three of the Shachihokos immediately swim away from the impending cloud of old poison, as well as the groaning slime coming their way. Upon release, the Scylla charges at the shells, and aims for that small foot leaving the surface. The monster was instantly grabbed by the dying amorphous blob just as it crashes into the mountain of conches.
“Whoa!” Merrick wobbled as he felt the entire mound of hard, jagged spiral and conch shells shift and rise. He quickly dries off on the hot sun as he climbs with utmost haste up the many empty shells, trotting and running when he can along them as they shoot up, rumble, rise and fall.
He clasps his hand onto one such broken shell as it suddenly juts up into the sky, still holding the shaking bundle of fur in his arm as he protectively carries him.
Merrick pants as he pulls himself and Arnaav up onto the large, broken, old conch, taking off his necklace and stashing it in his pouch, and plants his hand onto the hot shell he sits on.
“Hhh… Hhh… Hhh… Are… Are we safe…?” He asks quietly, hearing only the sound of the ocean around him, as well as the resonating rumbles and waning quakes from beneath.
The other remaining Shachihokos let go of the bleeding Scylla as it burrows into the wall of empty shells, while a shiny spear is forced out of its neck, and drifts onto the sandy bottom.
They retreat as parts of the monster is currently being consumed by the living slime, pulling it in slowly as it thrashes and digs into the massive white objects, crashing, juggling, and rearranging them as it refuses to lose, even as it’s being buried alive by its own avarice, while also delirious from the poisonous cloud kicked up by the moving wall of gunk.
“By the Sea Mother…” Samudra moans as he feels his stomach mend itself under the hands of his mate and daughter, lying against a reef wall as the two Noitas tend to his severe injury.
“Do not speak, Father,” Adra Nerissa said, “You were close to death because of that thing. You must save your strength.”
Triton Samudra glances around the aftermath of this battle. Guardian Kraken pulls the Scylla carcasses away from the area, entangled by its many, many tentacles into the depths below. The atmosphere is still sore with a lingering dark mist in the water from the summoned squid and octopi, mixed with a tinge of blood from both the Scyllas and merfolk.
Deilan groans as he picks up the remains of the broken weapons, along with a few other merfolk who stayed to fight. Several Capricorns have escorted the rest of the small pod away from the struggle, hopefully still intact.
Once dealt with, the enormous, mythical squid Kraken looms away, ordered to hunt down the third Scylla that has strayed from the pod.
“Four of our own have been lost on this sun…” Ebba reports sadly, “Karkos, Myles, Ehecatl, and Inciro have perished in the fight…” She sighs, “Everyone else is still alive, and connected.”
“We must regroup as soon as possible,” Noita Vanora says, “We must be sure that we are all together.”
“Yes. We still do not know where the last Scylla has vanished. If we do not know, it might-”
“That is not my concern at this moment.” Vanora said, “If the third Scylla was still in the midst of battle, we would still be hearing it right now.”
“It is fine…” Samudra moaned, “I am sure the others will be safe.”
“No. You do not understand,” Vanora said, “At this time, we must hope upon hope that no one must go above the surface. We must recount everyone as soon as possible!”
“Mother, what are you saying??” Nerissa asked, becoming quite bewildered.
Merrick gently sits down and tries to situate Arnaav as well, “Arnaav… Are you ok?” He asked drearily. He feels so tired.
“Hhhnnnn…” Arnaav groans as he sways a little on the spot, opening his mouth for a yawn, and whipping his head a little afterwards, “Hmm?” He looks up with half-lidded eyes.
“We escaped… We’re alive…” Merrick mumbles. He grunts as he rubs his eyes a little, “God, that chase really wiped me out.”
“Cha… Chase?” Arnaav swerved, before catching himself, and groans as he stretched out, “Wh-What chase again?”
“The Scylla… It came after us, and we were barely able to outrun it.”
“Ok… I cannot really think right now…” Arnaav yawned as the warmth of the sun comforted his wet fur, yet quickly drying him, “Can we take a nap though? I feel like I have not slept in so long…”
“No. We need to get back to the pod…” Merrick yawned too, “Errff, why am I so drowsy?”
“You just swam so fast for a long time,” Arnaav lays down and starts to curl up, “You’re probably tired and…”
“Yes, but I can… Keep going…” He mumbled, slapping his own face lightly to wake himself up, “We can’t stay, we need to get back, find out what happened to the others.”
“Mmmnnnn…” Arnaav succumbs and falls asleep. Merrick sighed as he sits against one of the large shells, crossing his arms as he decides to let the young Amnien sleep.
“Damn…” Merrick’s eyelids are so heavy, he takes a moment to rub his palms on his face, “Where are we anyway…” The air smells really weird here. And these shells feel strange – they don’t have a smooth or natural feel on their surface, besides the fact that they’re 100 to 1000 times as big as any other shell.
“God, it’s so hot…” He silently whines, feeling his arms on his bright peach skin. He looks at his legs, just barely noticing that he’s dried up completely now. His tired eyes look over his pseudo little brother before him, keeping a watchful eye over him as he slept.
Merrick groans as he closes his eyes. Oh, an entire world of temptation pulls and sings to him as those lids cover his sapphires, before they very reluctantly open up again. Merrick looks ahead out to sea, and sighed in content as he sees a small bit of shade up ahead.
“Thank God… Looks like a cloud’s coming.” He smiled weakly in his drowsy state for a moment, before letting his lips settle back down, as the effort of smiling seems so bothersome. The merman takes another long, exhausting, agonizing blink, and smirks a little to see a smooth belly quickly appearing on Arnaav’s front side.
Merrick tilts his head up a little to look up to the sky. He groaned as he sees no such cloud to mask the blazing sun, but still, he spots a small spot of darkness over the water.
His eyes squint as he peers up to the sun; to a slightly incomplete sun, with an invisible depletion on the lower side of the brightness of the sky.