Amana breathed in the salty sea air around her as she stepped into the harbor town of Polpota, Pearl at her side. They had still yet to find Elazul, so the Jumi of Pearl continued to tag along with her friend.
"Do you really think Elazul's here, Amana?"Pearl questioned, just like she did each time they enterred a new place. Amana didn't mind, she knew Pearl was worried and wanted to find Elazul as quickly as possible. She did too, really. Not to get Pearl off her hands, but just to see him. A blush rose to her face as she realized the thought that had just crossed her mind. Why in the world did she want to see him of all people? He was so anti-social, mean to everyone except Pearl.
"Amana?"Pearl questioned the other woman's silence. Amana quickly shook her head to clear her thoughts before smiling down at her friend.
"Never know till we look, right?"
"Right."Pearl said with an uncertain nod, wandering why Amana has acting so strange.
Amana had been to Polpota before, and knew most of the people who lived here. She decided to pay a visit to the hotel. If anyone could tell her if Elazul had been through here, it was the hotel owner. With Pearl following behind her, Amana headed to large seashell shaped hotel in the center of town.
"Wow..."Pearl breathed as she followed Amana inside. "This place is so pretty."
"Yeah, it's amazing, huh?"Amana said with a smile over her shoulder as she approached the check in counter.
"Welcome to the Seaside Hotel."the owner said in his thick Jadd accent. "Ah, Amana, it's you! A pleasure to see you again, my dear! Is this a friend of yours?"
"Yes, this is Pearl."Amana smiled. "Pearl, this is Mr. Moti, the owner of the hotel."
"Please to meet you, young lady."the man smiled widely.
"Oh, the pleasure's all mine."Pearl smiled in return.
"Mr. Moti, has there been a guy named Elazul through town? He's got blue hair and wears weird clothes and has a short temper."
"Hm,"the man thought for a moment, stroking his chin. "No, I don't believe I've seen anyone of that description. I'm sorry."
"That's fine, thanks anyway."Amana nodded, noting that Pearl looked disappointed.
Suddenly, a transluscent figure appeared at the steps of the stairs, vanishing after only a few moments.
"Did you... just... see something?"Mr. Moti asked, his voice shaking in fear before letting out a yelp. "I can't take it anymore! Do you know anyone who's not scared of ghosts?"
Amana giggled softly at her friend's reaction before offering, "I can help."
"Please! I will reward you!"Mr. Moti exclaimed. Amana nodded her head and stepped from the hotel.
"Flameshe might have some idea about this."she speculated.
"Who's Flameshe?"Pearl asked.
"She's a mermai who lives in the sea nearby."Amana explained as they headed over to the town's market district. "She comes close to town sometimes, usually by the flower shop."
Amana headed straight toward the flower shop, greeting the male Flowerling running the stand.
"Ah, Amana! It's been a while!"the gossip-living Flowerling said. "Hey, listen to this. I hear that people don't feel safe at the Seaside Hotel anymore!"
"Because of the ghost?"Amana questioned.
"Yes, yes, exactly! How scary!"
As if on cue, a large bubble suddenly appeared at the edge of the harbor. Once it vanished, a young mermaid had appeared in its place. Her shoulder length hair was mostly the same color as sand, save for the tips which were the same seaweed green as her eyes. Her tail was a brilliant amber orange color.
"There's no ghost."she said in an almost bored tone.
"Nice to see you too, Flameshe."Amana chuckled, Pearl a little surprised at the mermaid's sudden appearance and airy attitude.
"Ghosts?"Flameshe scoffed. "Aw, someone's just pulling a prank."She turned seaweed green eyes to Amana. "Hey, Amana. It's been a while. And who's this."
"Um, my name is Pearl."Pearl introduced herself shyly.
"Pearl, huh? I'm Flameshe, a mermaid, as you can see. Pleased to meet you! So I guess you're a friend of Amana's?"
"That's right."Pearl nodded, finding herself fascinated by this creature she'd never seen the likes of before.
"So, Flameshe, what were you saying about the ghost?"Amana asked.
"That ghost is just somebody's trick."Flameshe shrugged. "I can't believe everyone is getting so worked up over it."
"But how would someone pull a trick like that?"Amana questioned.
"How would I know?"the mermaid said simply with a shrug. Amana sighed. She should've known she wouldn't get much information from Flameshe. She could be a chatterbox when she was interested in the subject, but for things she wasn't interested in, she never had much to say.
"Have you noticed anything else odd around, Flameshe?"
"Hm..."the mermaid thought for a few moments. "Oh, yeah! Some weird guy's been in town. Said he's looking for, like, a shipwreck or something like that."
"A shipwreck?"Amana murmured.
"Something like that. I dunno, I wasn't really paying attention. He was over on the cliff on the beach last I saw him."
Amana nodded, and she and Pearl headed past the dock to the beach. Amana walked up the sandy cliff overlooking the water, finding a man dressed in armor standing at the edge looking out over the sea.
"Excuse me."Amana called as they approached him. He turned to look at them.
"Ah, greetings. I am Thoma, imperial soldier. I am investigating the imperial ship that sank ten days ago."
"A ship?"Amana questioned.
"Yes. The ship was heading to this port by secret command of the emperor. The weather was fair that day. It truly is a mystery..."
"I see..."Amana murmured. "Um... would you happen to know anything about the ghost at the Seaside Hotel?"
"I wonder about the ghost myself."Thoma answered. "But unforunately, I have no information."
"I see... Well, thanks anyway. Sorry to bother you."she waved over her shoulder as she walked away.
"This is harder than I thought it would be, Amana."Pearl murmured to her friend.
"Yeah, it is."Amana agreed with a nod. "Let's go tell Mr. Moti. Maybe Flameshe's right, and it's just a prank."
The two headed back to the hotel, and outside Amana saw a creature she recognized all too well. He was a strange little creature, with a head resembling the entire body of a fish resting atop a basket-shaped body. And of course, he was appropriately named Basket Fish. Amana wasn't particularly fond of him, knowing how greedy and perverted he could be. Taking Pearl's hand, she tried to walk discreetly around him, but her arm accidentally brushed against him.
"Hey!"the fish creature exclaimed at the blond. "Don't get fresh with me! I'm not like you commoners!"
Amana let out an annoyed sigh, but decided if she had to deal with him, she may as well try to get some information from him.
"Hey, Basket. Seen the ghost?"
"Go away."the fish gave a dismissive wave of his fin, either not noticing or not caring that this only made the blond even more angry, her body literally shaking in anger. "I don't like beggars. Shoo! Shoo! Shoo!"
With that, he turned and walked into the hotel. Pearl noticed how upset Amana was, and tried to say something to pacify her, but the taller blond immediately stomped into the hotel, on the warpath. Pearl squeaked, following close behind her friend.
"Why, it's Mr. Fish!"Mr. Moti was saying to his guest.
"Is Revanshe performing today?"the Fish asked excitedly.
"Yes, she is!"the hotel owner assured him. "Her dancing is even sexier than before!"
"Alright, I'll rent the whole hall. Here's 50,000 Lucre."
"Thank you very much!"
The fish immediately rushed into the performance hall, and Amana approached the counter with a frown.
"Mr. Moti, you know Revanshe hates that lecherous fish!"
"What can I do?"the man gave a dejected sigh. "I've lost all my customers since the ghost came. I'm trying to squeeze that newly-rich fish for all he's worth!"
"I guess you're right."Amana conceded. "Speaking of which, I wasn't really able to find any information. In fact, Flameshe thinks someone is just pulling a prank."
"No, I'm certain it's not just a prank! Please, Amana, don't give up on me! Inspector Boyd has been investigating as well, maybe if you combined the information you have..."
"I'll see what I can do, but I really can't promise anything. Where is Inspector Boyd now?"
"I believe he is at the hotel's harbor."
Amana nodded, walking with Pearl to the doorway leading out to the harbor on the Eastern side of the hotel. As Mr. Moti had surmised, Inspector Boyd was pacing along the harbor, looking lost in thought."
"Hello, Inspector."Pearl called kindly as they approached him.
"Good day, Miss Pearl."the Inspector said to the white-clad Jumi.
"Inspector, do you have any information about the ghost?"Amana asked.
"Ah, the one that haunts the Seaside Hotel? What nonsense!"
"So you don't have any information then? What about the ship Thoma's been investigating?"
"I heard it sank. If the weather was clear, maybe it was engine trouble! You sure are thurough! Quite impressive!"the Inspector chuckled. "Is there anything else?"
"Why are you here, Inspector?"
"Do you suspect me? You're right... I came here on assignment. The jewel hunter left a note here, and said she would take the Blue Eye. So if you see anyone with blue eyes, report to me immediately."
"The jewel hunter?"Pearl asked with wide eyes.
"Right."the Inspector nodded. "You should be extra careful as well." he then turned to Amana. "So have you seen anyone with blue eyes?"
"I wasn't really able to see his eyes, but what about that soldier, Thoma?"
"What, the imperial soldier? I see... I'll check it out."
The Inspector gave both women a nod of the head before heading back to the hotel.
"Hey, Amana, what's over there?"Pearl questioned, gesturing to the opposite end of the harbor.
"Oh, that's the Sea's Bounty. It's the hotel's cafe."
"A cafe? Oh, can we go see?"Pearl asked with bright eyes. Amana chuckled at her friend's enthusiasm.
"Sure, but we can't stay for long."
The two women walkd over to the cafe, and Amana was surprised to find Thoma there, talking to one of the two pirate penguins who were dining there.
"I am Thoma, imperial soldier. Do you have any information regarding the shipwreck?"
"Underestimate the sea at yer own risk!"the pirate said to the soldier.
"Right, right!"said his companion.
"That might be right."Thoma murmured. He gave a sigh and moved to leave the cafe.
"Wait a second!"the first penquin stopped him. "I don't know if it's true, but there's a guy called Basket Fish. He said he sees everything that happens under the sea."
"Basket...?"the knight murmured.
"He's at the Seaside Hotel, drooling over that dancer."
"Thanks! I'll go check it out!"Toma said before running out of the cafe and back toward the hotel.
"Amana, maybe we should follow him."Pearl suggested. Amana nodded, immediately chasing after the soldier and following him outside the hotel.
"Basket Fish, huh?"Thoma was saying to himself. "What a stupid name."
"You! You! Stop!"Inspector Boyd called, rushing over from the docks. He dug in his coat pocket before handing Thoma a card. "Here's my card."
"Ispector Boyd?"Thoma read the card.
"I've discovered a clue regarding the imperial ship and the hotel ghost!"the mouse man explained.
"The imperial ship and the ghost?"
"What do you think? Would you mind helping me out?"
"Why, thank you, Mr... What was your name?"
"Right, Mr. Thoma. Let's go. Miss Pearl, Miss Amana, I may need your help as well."
"Right."Amana nodded, and she and Pearl followed the two men into the hall Basket Fish had rented.
"I am Thoma, of the Imperial Army. Do you know anything about the shipwreck?"
"I don't know anything."the fished waved his fin in dismissal. "Leave me alone."
"Say..."Inspector Boyd said. "I heard you're very wealthy. That's pretty amazing!"
Thoma and the girls remained silent, wandering what sort of angle the Inspector was trying to work. The fish laughed at this.
"And you inherited an incredible jewel?"Boyd continued. "May I see it?"
"Hmmm, I don't know..."
"It's called the Blue Eye, and it show everything that happens in the ocean."
"Let me see it, please!"Thoma pleaded. "It might tell us how the ship-"
"No."the fish said bluntly.
"I want to see the Blue Eye, too!"the dancer on stage said emphatically. Amana gave Revanshe a grateful look, and the dancer smiled in her direction.
"Alright!"Basket said at that. He pulled out a blue gem and held it up. Amana and Pearl both gasped as they realized it was a sapphire Jumi core, which Pulsed once in the fish's fin.
Pearl's own core Pulsed as she took a step closer. "It's a Jumi core!"
Suddenly, a blue glow emenated from the sapphire core, reaching out to envelop them all. The room seemed to fade around them, giving way to a transluscent image of a ship.
"Wow..."Pearl breathed, looking around at their surroundings. "It looks so real. Is this the power of the Blue Eye?"
"Look over there."Amana pointed down the deck, where several soldiers stood recieving orders from their captain.
"This is..."Thoma said in a surprised voice.
"We have been ordered to obtain the ultimate firearm by our lord."the captain was saying to the soldiers. "Polpota may have important clues about it. Our lord has given us permission to use force, if necesarry. We must succeed, men!"
"Yes, sir!"the soldiers all unisoned.
"Back to your posts!"
Another soldier rushed over suddenly. "Captain Thona!"
"What is the matter?"
"A sea hag is coming towards us!"
"A sea hag! Do not listen to its voice, men!"
No sooner had the words escaped the captain's lips than a hauntingly beautiful song filled the air. The soldiers seemed visibly affected by it, suddenly beginning to stagger. The vision slowly faded away, and everyone once again found themselves in the Seaside Hotel's performance hall.
"I see..."Thoma murmured. "So a sea hag sank it."
"How pitiful."Revanshe murmured.
Suddenly, the ghost they had been pursuing appeared beside Basket, who screamed in horror. Amana reflexively drew her spear, and noticed that the ghost suddenly became awfully solid.
"The truth of our death..."the 'ghost' rasped. "Hand me the Blue Eye!"
"Ah!"Pearl exclaimed, hiding behind Amana.
"The Blue Eye...!"
"Alright!"Basket exclaimed, trembling in fear. "I'll give you the eye! Don't curse me!"
The ghost snatched the core from Basket's fin and immediately ran from the room.
"I was so scared! I didn't know ghosts ran!"
A moment later, Inspector Boyd, who Amana hadn't even realized left the room, came rushing back inside.
"I have a question regarding your large inheritance."
"My inheritance is gone!"
"Huh? What about the Blue Eye?"
"Didn't you see, Inspector?"Thoma questioned. "The ghost came and took it away!"
"Huh! Ghosts aren't real! Wake up!"
"What? You were here, weren't you?"
"Here? Me?"Boyd cursed loudly. "Blast it! It was the jewel hunter! I bet that ghost was, too!"
"Nooo!"Basket moaned before passing out.
"Dammit, she got away again."Amana cursed. After taking a few minutes to calm herself, she lead Pearl out of the performance hall back to the hotel's main lobby.
"Oh, Amana!"Mr. Moti exclaimed. "Thank you so much for solving the ghost mystery! This is the reward I promised!"
The man handed Amana a money pouch, filled with 1000 Lucre.
"Thanks, Mr. Moti."Amana nodded before turning to Pearl. "I can't believe I let her get away again. I'm so sorry, Pearl."
"It's not your fault, Amana."Pearl assured her with a smile. "I'm sure you'll get her next time."
"You're right."Amana smiled softly. "Well now that this is settled, let's look somewhere else for Elazul."
Author Notes:Yet another chapter finished! Actually, to be honest I finished this chapter back in September... I'd THOUGHT I'd already uploaded it, and didn't realize I hadn't yet until I recieved a review earlier wandering if this would be the next one... Gomen! T_T
Also a quick note:Most of you have probably noticed that the chapters are named after the Jumi Core prevelent to the chapter, whether that's the name of the mission the chapter is based on or not. That being the case, most of you probably assumed this chapter would be called Blue Eye, right? Wrong! Even though the Sapphire Core is called the Blue Eye during this mission, if you talk to Alex in Geo about Jumi Cores, he tells you that the Sapphire Core is actually called Drowned Dreams.