Star Eater

Part of the Golden Fog Academy series.

Some Touhou-esque hunt in the Sea of Time. Still the same creature as for the first two stories in this series.

Zerua examined my face for a few seconds, before silently nodding. I felt my aureole shift, bathed in her magic, and noticed a huge increment in my mana reserves, as well as a slight, purple gleam at my skin’s surface. I somehow had a feeling I had no idea how powerful she’d just made me.

“Be careful out there,” she shouted while I left her office.

“I will!” I answered her before exiting the academy’s world through a newly-created portal.

Navigating the Sea of Time, the space between the worlds, was proving to be harder than I’d imagined, but Zerua’s reinforcements meant I didn’t have to worry about running out of mana. I had set a few highly powerful protection enchantments up around me to keep myself from being pulled into the big, luminous masses – worlds – that were on my way. All in all, it actually felt a lot like flying in a hot, oddly silent luminous sand cloud. Of course, a major difference was each of the minuscule grains I collided with was a young universe… but I had more important things to take care of right now.

Namely, locating Star Eater, the Sea of Time creature that had apparently spawned a few days ago near my home world. I wasn’t letting it destroy the world I’d once lived in.

I eventually found it, lazily swimming in the middle of a large world clutter. It looked like an incomprehensibly enormous whale. Upon approaching it, I saw it nonchalantly open its mouth and swallow a handful of worlds. I quietly cursed myself for not arriving in time to save them, and promised not to let it swallow another world.

I doubted a sniper shot would work against such a huge organism; I had to take its attention away from its meal first. I flung a volley of light balls to it, hoping it’d notice the disturbance.

Luckily, the creature slowly turned toward me, and started coming my way, visibly interested in how tasty I’d be. I started pelting it with literal hundreds of light balls, trying to weaken it as much as possible before it managed to get close. Zerua’s nigh infinite mana reserve sure was helping me maintain my attack spells, but Star Eater didn’t look like it actually minded the projectiles.

It suddenly opened its mouth, and accelerated forward to try and catch me in its teeth-less mouth, prompting me to stop attacking and perform a quick side-dodge. This maneuver allowed me to get to its left flank, and I soon resumed my light ball pummeling from a closer distance. This time, it actually reacted, by emitting a incredibly grave noise that even my reinforced aureole didn’t manage to entirely muffle.

Problem was, it wasn’t showing any sign of growing weaker. I’d have to use larger caliber spells if I was to actually beat it.

Zerua’s reinforcement really was something. I’d started spamming Star Eater with dozens of building-sized light balls at a time, and I still couldn’t feel my mana reserve start to deplete. The creature was definitely starting to feel threatened by now, but I was managing to stay a few moves ahead of it thanks to my advanced flight techniques. Its huge size was proving to be a major disadvantage against me.

It had stopped moving. I’d finally managed to knock it out.

“Excellent work, Rebecca,” Zerua’s voice startled me, echoing through my mind.

I was standing on top of Star Eater’s head, pondering what to do with it.

“Now,” she carried on, “I want you to bring it back. Use the spell I’m transferring you, it’ll help you move it around.”

“Bring it to the academy? But… it’s pretty dangerous, shouldn’t we kill it off instead?”

“No,” came a very firm answer. “I’ll keep it locked up in a safe room, but there’s no point in killing it. More importantly, I’d like to study its body’s properties.”

I sighed, as Zerua’s spell formed in my mind. I wasn’t sure, but it looked like an overly complicated variation of a shrinking spell I knew. “Are you sure about this?”

“I am. Now, please do your job and bring it back to the academy with you.”

I looked at the black human silhouette on the bed. This strange, vaguely feminine form was what Star Eater had become when I’d blasted it.

“You’ve been excellent, as usual,” Zerua calmly praised me. “I’ll take care of it from now on. You can go.”

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Posted on: 2012-05-09

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