“Is all of this necessary, Admiral Mavuto?” asked the vice-admiral from his position on the command ship next to the admiral. “Bombarding an island full of our men just to kill one enemy?”
Admiral Buhle Mavuto shook his head, “Of course it is. You weren’t briefed on this, but another admiral has gone missing. This entire attempt at a sea route has been slowly losing communication… though at first we didn’t even realize it. They managed to take over a half dozen islands before we even realized anything was wrong, but even after that nothing we did could stop them. You might wonder what one man can do this close to New Eclea itself but the real question is how one man managed to come the whole way here. We supposed there was an entire fleet but… all of the emergency messages that came from here mentioned only one man. Based on the description… it should be the Demon King himself. Now, there still might be a fleet we haven’t seen… but the Demon King is a perfect reason to go all out. Everyone on that island was already dead or soon to be dead anyway.”
Cannon fire rained down on the fortress, finally breaking through the barriers and turning half of the fortress to rubble in a matter of seconds.
“Admiral!” a messenger saluted, “The scouts report seeing a figure fleeing the island.”
“In what direction? How did he flee? We didn’t spot any boats that could be operated by a single person.”
“He ran toward the far end of the island then… well, sir, he was said to have stepped onto the water and continued running.”
“Is that so?” Admiral Mavuto tilted his head, “Is it magic? Ki? No matter. Cease the bombardment of the island. We shall maneuver around to catch him. We shall split into three groups, one going around each side of the island and the other remaining here to cut him off if it was a ruse. I will be with the northern detachment.”
Within moments the bombardment ceased and the fleet split apart. Though they were in three groups, the effective range of their cannons spanned the entire island, and they remained within eyeshot of each other.
Admiral Mavuto frowned as he looked into the distance. “Fog at a time like this? How inconvenient. Tell the men to be careful. Stay well away from the mines. He may attempt to lure us there.” It only took a few minutes to round the island, but by that point the fog was deepening. “Have the mages disperse the fog!” Admiral Mavuto started on that task himself. However, he soon found that nothing he did had any effect on the fog. It wasn’t like he was facing an opponent with a stronger control over magic, either. He didn’t see any mana competing with him. How could the fog remain? It wasn’t affected by breeze or heat… in which case it wasn’t real at all. He briefly considered that it might be an illusion, but determined that it was no trick of the light either. “Lay anchor! We can’t afford to chase a small target into this fog. Have the men stay on alert. Watch the other ships and the island. Don’t let down the ship’s defensive formations!”
He didn’t like having to stop, but if they couldn’t see they couldn’t properly navigate. With the fog only continuing to deepen, the ships might run into each other, run aground… or into the mine field. The Demon King couldn’t keep up his tricks forever, no matter how strong he was.
William sighed. Standing on water was a pain to keep up. He could do it for perhaps an hour, but that was it. With also spreading his ki out to fake fog, that time was even less… so he found himself floating in the water. Actually, while he could swim, if he did nothing he would sink. His robes weighed down with water didn’t help, but he was also quite heavy- dense muscles would do that. Fortunately Chris could pull him up and keep him afloat so he could concentrate.
Just keeping up the fog ki in an area wouldn’t be a problem. It only used a small amount of energy, relatively speaking. He wasn’t trying to break through any defenses or attack anyone, and it was an attribute his personal cultivation style excelled in. He just didn’t usually choose to make it take visible form… but he was always blanketing the area around him with trace amounts of ki for sensing.
It was possible he could out wait the energy stores the ships had, since there were far too many to rely on local mana to power them. In fact, he might even get lucky and have a dragon arrive… but he wasn’t going to bet on either of those things. He could be more active with his plans. Since the ships had stopped away from the minefield, he could only make the minefield go to them.
The only problem was they were anchored to the seafloor, and any large application of mana could very easily set them off on accident. Of course, sometimes the simplest solutions were easiest. “Chris… I’ll keep myself afloat here. Go down and break away the ground around their connections.” Chris glowed in acknowledgement before sinking into the sea.
William watched Chris’ actions with his ki senses… which was even easier because of the connection they had developed over many years. Chris went down to the seafloor and soon enough bashed the mines free. It was possible that hitting the mines or the chains linking them would set them off, but even if they went off Chris would be fine. Besides, Chris wasn’t touching the mines themselves in any way. It was entirely possible the chains were made out of something annoying and hard to break… but they couldn’t have afforded the time and energy to modify the entire ground. Thus, they just had to break that. Chris had a little bit of trouble swinging around underwater, but he was quite capable of changing his own friction and using ki to help move the water as he wished it to.
Mines started floating to the surface one at a time. William hoped they wouldn’t run into each other, but wasn’t going to do anything about it if they did. He was far back where he would be safe. A few dozen yards of water was enough to blunt any explosion.
Soon enough, Chris was back in his hand, and William was left with the task of delivering the mines to their new recipients without setting too many of them off first.