195 Depth Pressure
Drowning didn't really feel that bad Max thought to himself. It was actually quite comfortable now that it was all over.
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But... if he had drowned, how was he still conscious?
Max suddenly opened his eyes! Strangely, he was fine! It was odd, his lungs were filled with water, but it felt normal, natural even. It was as if the water was part of him!
Then he remembered, that was exactly what it was! A person's inner world was a connection between the realm of magic and the mind of the person in question, a world that was a part of him as much as he was a part of it!
He could never drown here even if he wanted to. It was only the initial panic and shock that had made him feel that way. Still, this was a little strange… Why was his inner world made entirely of ocean?
As an experiment he tried to move, and to his surprise he could actually move easily through the water as if he were flying through the sky! He tried for a bit, and shortly was streaking through the water at incredible speed!
It was actually a little fun, but then he remembered that he had things that he needed to do. Playing around could wait until Zoey and the Asurai clan were safe. For now, he had come here for answers, but had yet to receive any.
Then there was a rumble, thunder in the deep, a sound that made the waves quiver and tremble. Max felt it too, penetrating to his bones and resonating in his entire body and making his heart suddenly beat faster.
Something was there, far below in the depths of this ocean, something big was calling out to him. Max looked into the depths for a moment before slowly starting to descend, sinking into the darkness.
As he drifted down, Max became aware that the endless blue around him was not empty. He began to see countless tiny lights, like fireflies, twinkling in the darkness. The deeper he went, the more of them there were, making it seem like he was drifting among the stars in the sky.
Max also began to notice the pressure of the depths the further down he went. Barely noticeable at first, it eventually became stronger and stronger until Max felt like his entire body was going to be crushed by the force!
Then, the pressure suddenly disappeared. Max looked around and noticed he had passed through some sort of barrier, one that the millions of tiny lights could not pass through. They remained above him like a star-filled sky as he continued to sink deeper.
Though the pressure of the water was now gone, it was replaced by absolute darkness. Max was now deeper than light could penetrate, and the darkness had rapidly taken over, leaving him blind to the surroundings.
He still knew he was going deeper, that much he could sense, but everything else was gone from his senses.
He kept on sinking for what seemed like a long time, long enough for his mind to start playing tricks on him. He sometimes thought that he sensed or saw something in the dark water, shapes that drifted near, then darted away when he tried to look their way. He could not tell what they were, but he sensed they meant him no harm, so he kept sinking ever downward.
Just when Max started to wonder if he would ever reach the bottom, he felt both feet finally touch solid ground. It had taken a long time to get here, and he thought it was about time too. He was ready to find out what this gift was that his parents had left him. The gift that had cost his mother's life… It had better be worth it.
He couldn't see anything, so he spread out his senses, searching for anything that could give him a clue. He was almost certain that the voice he had been hearing was down here somewhere, he just had to find it.
At first, all he could sense was the oppressive darkness and the cool sensation of the water as he searched. But then he sensed the faintest hint of a presence further away in the darkness. Without any better options, he headed towards it through the water.
He followed the trail for some time, then finally he saw something ahead of him through the gloom. It was a deep purple haze, almost like a light, emitting from the ground. He drew closer, and realized he was looking at a massive chasm, a crack in the surface from which the purple light was spilling out of.
Max carefully reached the edge of the chasm and stopped, looking around in awe at the sight. The lights and colors here were like an aurora in the sky, with shades of deep blue, violet, and purple dancing on the current like curtains of light as they shone forth from below.
It was rather beautiful, but Max was not here to sightsee. He was here for answers.
"Well… I'm here."
His voice was rather clear when he spoke out, despite the fact that he was literally in the depths of an ocean inside his inner world.
As the echo of his voice faded, the purple lights dancing in the water suddenly stopped, then faded until only a glow from the abyss below remained.
Then Max felt the ground below his feet start to tremble. A rumbling sound came up from the chasm as the gap Max was standing before suddenly started to grow, the two edges drifting apart as if something was trying to come through from below.
Max suddenly felt a shock wave pass through the water, and everything seemed to freeze. To Max, it felt like all of existence had stopped, the currents in the water, the lights below, everything had frozen completely still.
Following that, a shadow appeared, coming up from the chasm below. It rose up before Max, and his eyes went wide when he realized how massive it truly was. It was like a mountain was coming through from the abyss, its shadowy shape slowly emerging as the purple and violet lights below barely even illuminated its form.
Massive was not even close to describing it, it was colossal. By the time it had stopped emerging, Max could not even sense how far it went left, right, or up! He was simply stupefied by the size of the shadow as he stood there feeling like an ant next to a mountain.
With a sudden rumble, the environment around Max unfroze, the currents resuming their flow and the lights from the chasm once again starting to glow.
Max realized he had been holding his 'breath' and exhaled, regaining his composure as he struggled to comprehend what he was looking at. He was not sure what it was as he could not see it in the darkness. The part he could see was further down, illuminated by the purple lights in the chasm.
Curious, Max peered down to see if he could discover anything about what this thing was. Wait… Max blinked and rubbed his eyes, not believing what he was seeing.
Were those... scales?