It took six days for the supposed short visit to the clan's ground of the Waterwave Marine clan to finally come to a close. In tow behind Hana was a myriad of freshwater creatures of all shapes and sizes. At the moment, at least there were 150 trailing behind her pink dolphin mount. The aunty waved merrily towards the Grand Elders, and five other Guardian Elders from afar.
All six elders raised up either their whiskers, fins, or limbs and waved back with mixed feelings.
"Grand Elder, this collaboration is quite risky. We aren't even sure how many of the selected ones will be able to advance. Are we really going to use Spirit Crystals that wantonly?" Elder Waterspring spoke while scrunching her brow.
"Additionally, it looks like this Breakthrough Specialist isn't that reliable. She always did things randomly. What happens if she backs out from our deal? Is she reliable? What if she enslaved all of our younger generations?" Elder Watervenom added worriedly.
"Silence. Trust in my judgment. The Mistress has made an agreement with me that she won't touch any of the hopefuls. In exchange, all the servants shall be given to her as part of the deal. The servants could either stayed with her, or return to the clan, but they will be her people from now onwards. That is a very cheap deal. Only, nobody can hurt them after this. Inform the young ones. Hurting them is equal to turning hostile with the Mistress' faction, and the Princess is the head of this faction in our clan. We must acknowledge this."
"Humph. Are we even ready for the upcoming turmoil? We should be distancing ourselves and leave them be! We're not strong enough! We need to bid our time and wait for the Lord to emerge!" Elder Waterfall added.
The Grand Elder looked deeply at Elder Waterfall for a fraction of a second longer. In his heart, he was very satisfied with this young lad. Unexpectedly, he understood.
Mistress Hana was an anomaly in this realm. Grand Elder Watershade could feel it. He had never seen a creature of similar species as the Mistress. With her uncommon knowledge and intelligence, coupled with the tyrannical nature of the Lightning serpent, he knew that great turmoil will befall the land soon, very soon. Even if they did not plan to be aggressive, when the real experts came to know of her existence, many will come with the intention to snatch her away. At that time, they will definitely defend themselves. The Waterwave clan, with its close proximity to the Lightning Serpent's Lair, will surely be dragged in. They needed to increase their overall strength as soon as possible! In fact, seeing how rapid the Mistress' faction grows, he could identify that the Lightning Serpent was already in the preparation phase.
Either joined together to repel incoming unknown enemies or perish.
This was an unspoken strategic alliance for the sake of survival.
Nevertheless, the young lad wasn't wrong either. There were two ways to survive the incoming turmoil. Either one hid their heads under the sand and stay quiet, or ride the waves of change. The Grand Elder planned to stake it all and performed this leap of faith, for the sake of the clan's prosperity another thousand years from now.
"Row, row, row your boat! Gently down the stream!" The jovial aunty was singing merrily while she was riding the cute river dolphin along the Crystal-veined river. Their home was still very far and the aunty was bored, so she taught the freshwater creatures a simple nursery rhyme to entertain herself. Although she couldn't hear anything at all from the 150 plus freshwater creatures, Shiro told her that they were singing to the beat too, albeit in Bubble Language.
"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,"
"Life is but a dream."
The ones that were already used to Hana's random actions enjoyed themselves immensely. They laughed and joked around, while being at ease. However, the new high potentials of the clan, the Young Masters and Young Misses, were very stoic, somewhat tensed, and felt disgusted with the servants' antics. They kept to themselves and did not mingle around. As a result, a clear demarcation between the two groups was seen from the procession. Even Hana noticed this, but she pretended not to see anything. Let the young ones sort themselves out, she won't interfere. What made her in such a good mood was the large sums of baseball-sized clams she got as a farewell gift from the clan's Grand Elder. They were bundled up nicely in the stretchy black 'cloth' that she tied up on her original orange Elemental Fiend mount.
Occasionally, she would look up to check on the little baby gold-banded eagle flying high up in between the clouds. She could only make out a shadowy dot above her head, but that was good enough for her. She knew her little Piko-piko wasn't just any bird. It could definitely defend itself if something happens. What she worries about was it losing its way home.
Once a while, they stopped by beside the stream for a rest. Since there wasn't a time-sensitive agenda after this, Hana took her own sweet time enjoying the few little picnics along the way, especially when the location was breathtaking. The places were so beautiful, Hana had been taking a couple of OOTD shots and wefies with her pets gleefully as she enjoyed to her fullest. It was very rare for her to venture out that far from her cave-dwelling. Hence, she admitted that she was a tad bit too excited, just like an overeager tourist.
At times, she grilled some of the clams with the help of 'F1', while at other times, she even grilled some freshwater fishes caught by some of the servants. F1 had been Hana's personal 'fire-starter' and 'lamp' since the very beginning, and it had accustomed itself to maintain its fire-attribute all the time now.
During such stop-overs, with the assertive Chomper as the role model, the servants took the initiatives to clean up the surroundings and prepare a proper spot for Hana to laze around without asking. This has delighted the aunty and made her dote the extremely helpful wet helpers a lot more. She even cooked extras to give to the ones who helped the most.
At first, the Young Masters and Young Misses thought they were being served and were quite satisfied with the servants' actions. However, they soon noticed that they were being ignored totally while the servants busily trying to curry favor with the landbeast Lord. It turned out all the preparations made weren't for them at all, but for the landbeast Lord.
"You! Come and serve me! My tail is dry and I need some buck seaweed. Get some for me." A blue-colored one-meter fish with razor-sharp spiky dorsal fin pulled a servant nearby and spoke harshly. He was the star of the clan; one of the top ten. He was used to being served by everyone all the time. It was his first time venturing out of the clan's main ground. The harsh sun had made his tail and fins felt a little drier than usual.
The servant stopped and stared deeply at the blue fish for a few seconds longer.
"Fetch it yourself, Young Master." It glided away nonchalantly towards where the landbeast Lord was located.
"!!!" All of the talented ones were shocked with the revelation, feeling extremely indignant!
"Stop right there and come here! This is a command!" The blue fish barked angrily. He felt that he had lost face in front of his colleagues. His voice was so loud, even Shiro, Chomper and Ara turned to look at the commotion. Shiro turned to the aunty and whispered in her ear. As the mellow and lovable aunty heard was what being reported to her, her smiling face was all but gone; being replaced by a deep frown.
Anyone who knew Hana well would know that the presence of the frown was an indication of Hana getting angry.
I dislike this kind of thing happening in my presence. It gives a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Shi-chan, inform the others. Everyone in this group is of similar standing. Nobody is high and mighty over here! You want someone to do work for you, you pay! Officially, the currency going around in our group will be spirit crystals. Better make sure they have enough if they want to instruct people here and there. Humph! Additionally, the servants they hate so much are ours!
It was very rare for the aunty to get ticked off with something. But the Young Masters and Misses had crossed her line. She was planning to make them compete so that a healthy rivalry will go on. But if the status quo was still the same as before, no progress will happen either in the servants' group or the talented group.
"Little shits! Starting from now, everyone need to work your a*s off to please the Mistress! Look at how unhappy she is at the moment! She had never been unhappy all this while. Who displeases the Mistress will be eaten and their spirit crystals confiscated! I don't care what breed you are. All looks delicious to me." Shiro bared his fangs, and with saliva dripping, purposely licked his lips. "Nobody would know whether you died from a failed experiment, or from being shredded to pieces." Shiro grinned diabolically.
All freshwater creatures regardless of being from a high caste or from the servants' circle were horrified and made such a face, "(O)____________(O)|||||"
However, the servants recovered the fastest and doubled up their efforts in flattering the Mistress! They efficiently prepared some drinks for her and Shiro, passing a soft hollow tube made from plants, and even some took a large-sized taro leaf to fan the Mistress at the side. Both Hana and Shiro were stunned with the sudden change, and tried their hardest not to laugh a few seconds afterwards.
The Young Masters and Misses looked at each other with desperation in their eyes. Slowly they too took a few taro leaves each and started flapping them at the Mistress with gusto from all sides.
Suddenly they became so hardworking!
Trying hard not to laugh, Hana berated them for once, "Not too near, that taro leaves will make me itchy lah!"
Naughty kids should be taught a lesson.
Little Pi-chan soar high above the clouds, enjoying itself by feeling the sunshine and the breeze combined. Once a while, it glanced at the procession from above to make sure it didn't lose sight of it. At times, the procession stopped moving, and that was when it would dive down. It knew there must be something delicious being prepared for it by dearest Mistress.
This time, as it dove down, a group of wet creature enthusiastically came over and offered it with a variety of food!
Delighted, it gobbled them all happily and gave these hardworking wet helpers a thumbs up!
Even Piko-chan knew how to make a thumbs up now.