Chapter 1 – Guaftop

– “Wake up!! You promised!” – Rya said while pushing Gyo’s arm.

He promised to teach her Fuyan, one of two techniques, mastered by members of Blue’s Planet.

– “Give me 2 minutes—” He said with a yawn, “I barely slept.”

Gyo was now 21 years old and lived in Guaftop, a cave hotel. This particular hotel was embedded into the walls of GuafMountain, behind a huge waterfall. For years, the hotel served as a vantage point for hundreds of Humans, who needed shelter, when scouting the land looking for the enemy but cold temperatures and water infiltration scared away most of its visitors.

At the bottom of the mountain, the waterfall formed a lake, separating Guaftop from Guafbottom, an underwater and long-forgotten segment of the hotel.

Nowadays, guests usually stay for one or two nights, as a last resort, eager to leave. However, Gyo and Rya, share a residence in this establishment since they met each other.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

He met her 4 years ago, when he was still a teenager, near the forests lake. She caught him stealing from an old lady and immediately blackmailed him for half of the stolen goods.

“I’ll scream thief!” she said with her finger pointed at Gyo.

“No, you won’t! I know what you are up to,” He said with a smile. Usually, he would just turn around and start running, but her glowing dark eyes caught his attention.

“What’s your name kid?” He asked.

“It’s—” she coughed twice, “None of your business!”

Without any resistance, he gave her the whole wallet and said, “You can have it if you pay for lunch! For some reason, he had to know more about this girl. So, he followed her into the woods as she was leaving.

“Why do you blackmail people? He asked after several minutes

“Probably for the same reason you stalk them,” the girl said, “Curiosity.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

“Ok,” Gyo said, “Just remember what I taught you.”

Rya already learned Hundan – the ability to stand on water. However, Fuyan, the ultimate liquid art, allows its user to control waters movement, in exchange for years of practice.

“I’m trying my best! Why isn’t this working?” she asked as tears started dripping from her dark eyes.

At the time, the only thought on Gyo’s mind was a bed and two hours of sleep but still…

He got close to Rya and gently touched her face, just before whispering, “You never cry. Don’t start now…”. Then he removed his hand with all of her tears stuck to it. “I’m keeping these.”

She kept watching Gyo’s palm as the tears jumped up and down, “Oh no— please don’t rob me, mister!” She said with both her arms raised.

“I know—, we can trade!” She added with a smile. Gyo had no idea what she had to offer, but he enjoyed surprises and played along. In a way, picking on each other was the foundation of their friendship.

“I found this in the box under your bed.” She said with the same blackmailing look from before.

The box, Rya was referring to, was all that was left from Gyo’s past. He woke up with it in the forests lake, close to Guaftop, with no memories from earlier days. He had browsed through the box countless times, trying to remember…. something, but in vain. However, there had never been a stone among the other artifacts in it.

“What is it?” Gyo asked. Rya shrug her shoulders

She was a holding a round, white stone bearing some strange symbols. Four lines, carved in a transparent material, described a “#”,

– “I know that look… Don’t forget you have to go hunting with Guam today!” – She said.

For Gyo, hunting was the worst part of the day. He recognized it was his job and he could not leave it up to Rya.

– “It’s on my next thing to do list! Don’t worry,” he said.

They switched ransoms and went home.

Guam was Gyo’s teacher. They met in Guaftop’s forest a couple of weeks after Gyo moved in with Rya. Guam taught him the liquid arts and, since then, they remained good friends and hunting partners.

They hunted as a team, Gyo was the tracker. He was highly skilled at following the creatures and, would usually do so until it was alone. He then signaled Guam who would swoop in and, with the help of his sword, kill it. This was how dinner was served for them week after week! Hunting any surface animals was illegal on Blue’s Planet, however, conditions on the surface were hard, especially at Guaftop, where poverty and hunger were kings.

Guam’s house was on top of a pine tree and, despite all the wind and rain, it does not tremble nor fall. From the top of the tree, he has the perfect vantage point for any hunter in the forest, living high above the lake where animals often go to quench their thirst. Though not today…

“Seems like we won’t be having a lot of action today!” – Guam said while laying on a tree branch. Three hours passed and no prey had presented itself.

“No problem,” Gyo said, putting down his bow, “I wasn’t feeling like hunting today. I have something to show you!” He took the stone from his pocket. For a second, Guam’s face froze in shock, then he was completely calm.

– “I have never seen anything like it.” – the Hunter said. Gyo smiled.

“The drawings on it reminds me of the scratch you have on your blade. Where did you get it?”. Gyo asked. Guam remained silent with his eyes set on the horizon. Looking past the forest, towards the ocean.

The ocean was dangerous and unexplored. One would quickly be dragged underwater by crawlers. Very little was known about them except, compared to humans, Jihatu were masters in the art of Fuyan, could breathe underwater and were unable to learn Hundan.

The night covered the surface in darkness but, underneath, the glass in the sand reflected the moon’s light, amplifying it. It was day time in the Lower Plaine. Underneath the waters of Blue’s Planet lived, the so called: Jihatu. They once populated the whole planet but now, could only live on the ocean’s floor: The Lower Plaine.

“I can see the bottom of the lake from here,” Gyo said from another tree branch. Deep within the lake, there was a village, with five small uninhabited buildings. Their walls were filled with moss and kelp but they still remained on top of the sand, reminding its visitors of darker times…

Look.” – Guam said with a rustle. A deer, one of the easiest to hunt animals in the whole forest, was under them, drinking water.

“You know what to do come on!” – Gyo said. It was hunting time again.

– ” He didn’t even need my help. That’s discouraging!” – Guam thought as he leaned against the rock, with the deer laying at his feet. The animal was dead so he took the arrow from its leg.

“Gyo!” Guam waved his hand, “You made your first kill! Congratulations!”. Gyo was still on the tree branch as his friend was jumping and dancing in celebration.

“It was a leg shot, you idiot!”, Gyo should have said.

The hunter suddenly noticed blood on the animal’s neck. It had been slashed… “What?”

Suddenly, a huge tsunami hit Guam, throwing him against the rocks on the lake’s shore. His arm was broken. In front of him stood a crawler.

Gyo saw everything. The crawler came from inside the lake. The creature resembled a human except for its blue skin.

“I’ll kill you!” Guam yelled as Gyo reached for another arrow. But his arm was broken and his sword disappeared following the wave.

In an instant, the Jihatsu got to close to Guam and crushed his chest with one punch. The huge rock trembled and Guam, dying, fell to the ground.

Gyo was confused. He tried to hide but it was too late. He was now the Jihatu’s prey.

“Witnesses are bad.” the crawler said with both hands aimed at Gyo, who was climbing down from the tree.

Another wave rose from the lake destroying Guam’s house.

Rain and wood pelted on Gyo’s head as he was standing in front of the crawler.

As the Jihatsu ran towards him, the humans pocket started to shine and the crawler, surprised, stopped running. The stone’s lines were glowing tremendously and what was once a stone, was now a white dagger.

– “I can use this,” he thought as he aimed the blade at the enemy’s heart. This time Gyo knew what to do.

He quickly ran in the enemy’s direction, jumping over it and landing on the lake using Hundam. “Jihatu can’t use Hundam.” he thought, remembering Guam’s lessons.

The foe turned back and attacked him again.

Gyo was standing in the middle of the lake waiting for the crawler to dive in. When he did, the human focused on the knife. “Stand on the water and focus!” – another teaching from Guam.

The Jihatu dived in the water. But Gyo didn’t even flinch. He’s face screamed of hate.

He pointed the blade to the sky and a water geyser expelled the enemy from the lake. He kept following, the now, airborne crawler, with his blade and eyes, and all of the lake’s water rose according to the human’s instructions. The water formed a sphere and trapped the crawler inside, immobilizing it.

“Fuck you” – He said as he lowered his arm. The crawler was twisting in pain when, suddenly, the giant water mass crashed into the lake’s floor, destroying the crawler and all of the buildings in it.

Gyo rushed to his friend’s side. He turned him around knowing he should fear the worst. Guam’s chest was completely crushed and his eyes had almost no life left in them.

“Guam, Guam!!” – He kept shouting, as his teacher tried to say his last word. Gyo leaned in to listen. It was too low to understand but he was able to make out some words from the gibberish: “Keep my sword. Trust no one…”

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