As always, the passage through the portal was near-instantaneous. It didn’t take long for Sol to feel himself leaving the cold void and entering a completely new zone.
The moment he set foot on the ground, the first thing Sol felt was how heavy he suddenly felt. He didn’t have clear numbers, but the current gravity seemed to be a few times higher than that of the mortal world or the Phoenix’s territory.
It seemed like he wasn’t the only one who felt a little uncomfortable since Isis was wobbling a little next to him.
The second thing he felt was the taste of salt omnipresent in the air. This was followed by the sound of rushing waves and the caws of birds flying in the sky.
“So much water! and the land! It’s floating.”
Finally opening his eyes, Sol could only smile wryly at the surprised shout of Scheherazade, not that he couldn’t understand her. After all, the sea was stretching as far as he could see. Furthermore, numerous floating islands could be seen in the surroundings.
Going from the desert to the sea was a little jarring, but there was nothing that Sol could do. Still, there was one thing that surprised him.
“It’s night? I thought that all the territories were synchronized time-wise?”
When they had left Gabriel’s territory, it was still the morning, or rather, there were still suns hanging high in the sky.
Nent, who had been observing them, shook her head, “This territory is called the Land of Eternal Night. More precisely, it’s the [Eternal Night under the Sea of Stars].”
Sol mulled and remembered that Tiamat’s personal dimension was called the Sea of Stars.
Looking up, his eyes widened and his heartbeat accelerated, all thoughts about the bothersome gravity completely vanishing.
If the sight of an endless sea and the floating islands had been surprising, then the beauty of the starry sky was something Sol could not even express correctly.
It was as if thousands upon thousands of fireflies were flying high in the sky and illuminating the world. Even the milky way could not be this beautiful. The stars were so numerous, that even though it was night, one could see as well as if they were in the morning.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
The fear of the endless depth and the endless space were two of the most primitive types of fear humanity ever felt. There were no humans who never thought about how small and helpless they were in this vast universe.
At the same time, those two worlds far from the reach of normal people were the source of thousands of fantasies…dreams and nightmares alike.
Sol was no exception to this rule. But, what he felt now wasn’t fear. In fact, far from it, he felt giddy, happy, and relaxed as if he had finally set foot where he belonged.
He could literally feel the entire world welcoming him and he knew that it wasn’t just a misconception.
“It seems like our ride came.”
Looking up at the direction Nent was pointing, Sol was surprised to see a flying ship slowly advancing toward them.
No matter how he looked at it, that ship was no different than those used to travel the sea. It was a large ship made out of wood with a black flag and white skulls drawn on it.
Sol couldn’t help but tilt his head.
“Are you sure it’s our ride? This seems more like a pirate ship.”
Nent’s smile cramped on her face and she coughed to hide her embarrassment.
Chuckling, Sol ignored her and focused on the flying ship.
‘Sigh. So now I am facing pirates? Don’t tell me that One Piece exists here?’
“Hum…I don’t mean to sound alarmed…But they are pointing their cannons at us, right?”
Sheherazade, who sat on Isis’ shoulder since flying was rather difficult, now asked meekly.
“Yep. They are.”
“Humm. Then shouldn’t we do something? You know, right? Some pow and boom and bam and caput. Pirates are finished.”
Sheherazade asked while looking at Nent. After all, she was the strongest currently and technically their chaperon.
“What do you think, Sol? Should we deal with them?”
Sol frowned a little unsure. After all, he didn’t really know what black flags and skulls meant in this place. For all he knew, those signs could be the insignia of the police or something of the like. Still…
“Since they pulled out their canons, let’s destroy the ship. We never know what kind of surprise it could bring.”
‘Underestimating an unknown enemy is the straight path toward death.’
Sol even wondered if it was some kind of test. But he hoped it wasn’t.
Otherwise, it would really irk him.
Thankfully, he was soon shown that it wasn’t a test.
On the ships, “Captain! The canons are ready!”
“Good. The prey seem to be high class. Perhaps the members of some aristocratic family had a shipwreck. I am sure they will sell for a large amount of Vira.”
The captain, a human-looking man wearing sailor clothes and a large hat on his head with the logo of his ship grinned hideously while encouraging the members of his crew to prepare the cannon.
For those who had little experience in sailing in the sky, shipwreck was a common conclusion and a way for pirates like them to get some coins.
It was even more necessary now since the governors of the sea were increasing the minimum protection fee small-time pirates like them had to pay.
“Anyways, be careful. You never know, perhaps one of them is a Duke.”
The crew laughed out loud,
“The captain is as careful as always!”
“Hahaha! A duke? Why not say that one of them is a King?”
“Pffft! Or perhaps a Dragon!?”
The laughs increased because of how ridiculous the worries of their captain were. This place was so far away from the central power that even seeing a Count level would be a miracle. Even more so since it was impossible for a ship with a Duke class in it to get wrecked.
The captain wasn’t angered by the laughter. He knew himself that what he said was completely ridiculous. It was just a habit. It was clear that he was worrying for nothing.
Furthermore, he had just equipped his ship with the latest shield edition. It was said that it was strong enough to take a few blows of a Duke head-on before breaking. At least this would give them enough time to flee in case things went astray.
The said shield had cost them all their savings and this was another reason why they needed more money urgently.
Putting his worries to rest, he focused on the three targets on the small floating island and was about to threaten them and make his demands clear.
A majestic roar shook the air as a twenty meters long blue dragon appeared and jumped out from the sea to the sky, casting a giant shadow by eclipsing the light of the stars.
“D-d-dragon!! A dragon!!”
“Pull back! Fucking damnit!”
The scene froze for a very short instant before the pirates woke up and shivered in fear while screaming.
They didn’t even hesitate one instant and turned their ships around in order to flee while praying that the dragon would spare them.
They had no thoughts about begging for their lives. They understood already that the ones they were about to attack were related to the dragons. It meant that negotiations was already out of the table.
Dragons did not negotiate with ants after all.
They managed to flee like this for four or so kilometers and since they were already quite far, the captain speculated that the dragon spared them because it couldn’t be bothered to deal with shrimps like them.
But, just as he was about to relax, he suddenly felt a chill as all his instincts began to scream death.
“Active the shield!! Full power!”
The instincts of the captain were spot on as, the moment a spherical energy shield formed around the ship, a laser beam made out of pure energy seemed to split the sea as it rushed toward them.
The captain had his heart in his throat, hoping that the shield would stop or at least diminish the power of the beam but sadly for him and his crew…
The shield did not even manage to last an instant before it was erased alongside the entire ship and all those on it.
Once the explosion abated, only dust was left.
This was how yet another pirate crew vanished on the unforgiving sea.
(AN: Welp, one of you already guessed, but the theme of Dragon’s territory is Sea and Islands as well as stars. Lol, imagine a mix between Albator 84 and One piece. If you don’t know Albator, then just think of it as the OP in space. That anime is fucking cult. Anyways let’s move on. Vol 8 might be pretty long since I will have a little fun with it. Perhaps some more adventuring and discovering more secrets.)