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Sorry, no monologue here and my sincere apologies for the lateness. I've decided to switch between this author's note thingy and the monologue, anyway,

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Chapter 1

Jani-Ca felt somewhat seasick as the waves of the water lapped at the boat. The shore couldn't be seen anymore, and the only things that were visible were the dark sky with a few stray, barely visible clouds and the sea itself. Jani-Ca could practically smell the sea salt.

"Now I just need to get out the map..." Jani-Ca reached into her pack and pulled out rolled up sheet of paper. She showed it to Suzuna saying, "This and a compass should help us reach Downunda without too much trouble."

Suzuna stared at the map, absent-mindedly tracing a path to Downunda with her finger.

"It's a long ways, but we'll get there," Jani-Ca told her. "My stomach is not agreeing with the ocean, that's for sure!"

Suzuna tore her gaze away from the map and glanced at the sky. Why I do have a bad feeling about this? Nothing should go wrong, for sure...

Seagulls flew overhead, occasionally diving at the water in an attempt to snare a fish. Something lightly bumped the hull of the boat.

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Khione didn't know how long she had been running, but she didn't care. No matter where she went or where she hid, the Shadow Baryonyx would find her. Being separated from the Destructix and her physical condition, she was hindered. Why is this stupid lizard only coming after me?! She pondered. Khione continued to run, having no clue where she was going.

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Jani-Ca frowned as she felt the boat sway slightly from the object- or creature- bumping the boat. "What the deuce was that?"

Suzuna frowned considerably, risking quick glances at the water.

Jani-Ca drew her sword cautiously, watching the water closely.

Some of the daring seagulls landed on the side of the boat, but squawked when the boat shook again.

Jani-Ca stayed still, not paying attention to the birds.

The birds flew away when something's head rose out of the water next to the boat. It had a dragon-like face, dark green scales, a serpentine body shape, sky-blue eyes, and fins running down it's back and on the sides of it's face. The serpent looked at Jani-Ca, her being the first one for the monster to notice.

Jani-Ca smiled when she saw the creature. She had seen it a few times before. It wouldn't harm them. It simply was curious about the boat.

"What is that?" Suzuna asked, staring at the creature.

The sea serpent tilted his head towards Suzana, the fins on the side of his face twitching.

"Just one of Mobius's examples of beautiful marine life," Jani-Ca replied, sheathing her sword. "Our world on land may be devastated, but the world below is a whole other story. It flourishes more than ever."

Suzuna shyly waved at the sea serpent.

The monster swayed left and right, a purring noise escaping his throat.

Jani-Ca scratched the serpentine on the side of his head, behind the fin.

The mythic purred, his fins vibrating. "Ooohhh. Yessss. That's the spot..." His deep telepathic voice purred.

The sea serpent pulled away from Jani-Ca, blinking. Pardon my emotional side, visitors, he said. My name is Jamon'ishi. What brings you to my ocean?" He asked.

"We seek the sunken island of Downunda," Jani-Ca spoke in reply. "We need to get to an ancient city that lies beneath that's said to have the power to heal Mobius."

"I'll just look at the map..." Suzuna muttered.

Jamon'ishi pondered, "Ah. Downunda. My relatives and I were very surprised when Enerjak sunk the island," he said. "Downunda is still quite a ways away. If you mobians would like, I could escort you towards Downunda," the serpent offered.

The water rippled, and another sea serpent surfaced. He was larger than Jamon'ishi and had bright red scales, orange fin membranes, and large yellow eyes. "What's going on over here?" His gruff voice asked.

"Travelers," Jamon'ishi simply replied. Tsuyoi blinked, "Oh," was his only rely.

Suzuna stared at the map for a little while, frowning considerably.

"We can sail to the water above it just fine," Jani-Ca told them, "but we'll need help in getting directly to and from Downunda because it's underwater. And it's so deep that by the time we get there, we'll literally be as flat as paper because of the pressure." Jani-Ca frowned and said, "Of course, I didn't think about that until now. Typical."

Jamon'ishi's eyes lit up, "We can help with that. I know a special echidna who might be able to help you," he said.

"A special echidna? Who might that be?" Suzuna asked, looking up.

"Her name is Mira-Ca," Tsuyoi's voice rumbled, then let out a small chuckle, which sounded more like a growl. "Careful of her 'guardian.' He's, well, protective."

Mira-Ca? She has the same two-letter suffix as Jani-Ca. Suzuna thought, frowning.

Jamon'ishi's expression turned to a smug smirk, "Yea. I bet you'll find Kimönya has a scaly personality," he barked. Tsuyoi snickered, "he is quite a snake of an echidna."

"Mira-Ca, huh?" Jani-Ca spoke. "I wonder if she's related to my grandmother, Floren-Ca... but..." The female echidna shook her head and said, "Thanks for the info, guys."

"Your welcome. Good luck, travelers!" Jamon'ishi cried before diving into the water, soon followed by Tsuyoi.

"That was... interesting." said Suzuna.

"At the risk of sounding like a broken record," Jani-Ca replied a bit jokingly, "'I couldn't agree more.'"

Suzuna chuckled, gazing at the map and tracing the path to Downunda with her finger again.

"I just wonder how we're gonna find this Mira-Ca lady," Jani-Ca spoke, frowning slightly. "Or how the deuce she can help us get to Downunda, for that matter."

Suzuna frowned, looking at the map for the nearest continent or island.

"Something wrong?" Jani-Ca asked, noticing Suzuna's frown.

"I don't think we should stay out at sea for longer than necessary." said Suzuna.

"Agreed," Jani-Ca replied. "I'll see if I can adjust the sails a bit. Maybe we can get the boat moving faster..." The female echidna fiddled around with the sails, trying to loosen them as much as possible.

Suzuna gazed at the starless sky, fiddling with her necklace.

"Uh... we got a problem," Jani-Ca informed. She showed Suzuna a piece of cut rope. "Someone must've cut the rope for this sail. But why and who, I can't fathom."

"That's.... odd, for lack of a better word." said Suzuna, frowning.

"Yeah..." Jani-Ca looked at the rope a bit longer, then looked back at the sails. "Hopefully it won't take us too long to reach the nearest island."

"Yeah, hopefully." Suzuna gazed at the starless sky again.

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