Release that Witch Chapter 1125
"Ah... finally," Simbady muttered in relief after they retreated to the pond.
He expressed his gratitude to Three God, the Son of the Earth and the Mother of the Ocean within himself. The cave was now completely lit up, which enabled them to successfully escape the attack of the scorpion. As the cave was narrower around the mouth, the Giant Armored Scorpion did not come after them all the way from the depth of its lair.
However, this did not mean they were completely out of danger.
Simbady still remembered the tidal waves of that gruesome clink and clunk, and believed that all the desert scorpions at the Endless Cape had probably gathered there, bidding their time to tear apart hunters who climbed over the tablet wall.
Fortunately, scorpions could not swim. Simbady sprinted up to the sea.
"Hurry up. Put on the helmet!" Simbady said as he snatched up the diving helmet on the ground and anchored it to his head.
But then he noticed Rex was not moving.
"Oi, what are you waiting for?"
"You... go first," Rex mumbled, turning his back to him.
Simbady stiffened for a second, wondering if Rex was still thinking about those damn illuminating relics.
Feeling a short surge of anger, he strode over to Rex, forced him to face him and bellowed, "Are you crazy? Do you know what our situation is — "
His growl stopped abruptly as he caught sight of Rex's bloodstained chest — The diving suit made of soft leather was broken.
"Your diving suit..."
"It's broken," Rex managed to summon a twisted smile which Simbady hoped he would rather not. "The last desert scorpion didn't get me, but its clamps scratched my clothes."
Simbady fell silent. If the diving suit was broken, seawater would seep through the crack of the suit and soak the helmet. Even though Rex just sustained a minor injury, he would have no chance to survive wearing a broken diving suit.
After a long silence, Simbady said, "If we abandon the suit and use the hoses only..."
Rex shook his head with a bitter smile and said, "That will only work when we're close to the surface of the water. Hoses won't help unless you can suck in air like a vacuum pump."
They needed two hoses to keep their balance.
Rex had told him at the beginning.
That was why he had been hesitant earlier.
Perhaps, he had already known it back in the cave.
Rex put down his bag, handed it to Simbady and said, "This is the tablet sample. Please give it to my assistant, telling him that I've discovered something that could possibly rival Sir Thunder's."
Simbady noticed that his fingers were trembling.
"Does your assistant... have a spare diving suit?"
"We've only got two. It took us half a year to select materials and make the suit," Rex said, trying to control his emotions. "I know what you are thinking. In fact, I've thought about every possible way to get out of here. It's impossible without a diving suit. Perhaps, that's my fate..."
"Members of the Society of Wondrous Crafts... could never be a real explorer," Rex said while biting his lip. "Go, before the scorpion gets here! Let people know that this is my discovery. In that case, even if I can't become an honorary explorer, my name will be permanently associated with this invention and be remembered by every Fjords citizen — "
Simbady turned away and stared at the pond. After a moment of silence, he answered slowly, "No, I can't do that."
"Huh?" Rex gaped at him, astounded.
"You still owe me 29 gold royals. If you're dead, who will pay me that 29 gold royals?" Simbady grunted. "Only Mulley and I know our deal, and I don't think your assistant would pay me. I can tell from what they wear. They're just as shabby as Sand Nationals."
"We're just in short of money now!" Rex protested indignantly. "We went a little beyond our budget when purchasing the steam engine from Graycastle. Once people know my diving suits, the Chambers of Commerce will line up to buy my product. By that time, we won't have any financial problem!"
"The problem is, I won't have anything to do with those money, and probably nor will you by then," Simbady said as he dumped the bag and helmet on the ground. "Do you really think people will believe you're the real inventor of the suit after you die here? A little bit retelling could make the whole story awry. They could take the credit from you while reaping profits from your invention. So, not only will I lose that 29 gold royals but your ambition will never come true either."
"What... are you going to do then?"
"Accept the unknown and overcome myself."
Simbady muttered within himself and breathed out a deep sigh. He said, "Mojins don't like being owed, and nor do they like owing. A deal is a deal, no matter it's with the King of Graycastle or a Fjords person. I promised to help you, right?"
Rex was momentarily stunned. "But how are you going to..."
"Look at the pond," Simbady said while taking off his diving suit. "Don't you see it's getting smaller?"
It wasn't until then that Rex noticed that a few wet, mossy rocks had revealed from the surface of the water, which indicated that the water was going down.
"Tides are now receding, which means the distance to the bank has shortened," Simbady said, laying a delicate stress on every syllable. "If everything goes well, we only need to swim around ten meters before the rescue team finds us. It's impossible to do that when wearing a diving suit, but we can take off all our clothes, and you ought to get rid of the stones you collected as well. Now, take your clothes off."
"Take, take off my clothes?"
"Yes, we must stop the desert scorpion before the water drops to the lowest level. The most effective method is to burn it," Simbady said with a nod. "However, it's humid here and it won't be easy to set flowers and grass on fire. So, we need something combustible." He then pointed at the oil lamp and said, "The oil and the leather would do."
Rex lapsed into a long silence and said, "... Forget it. It won't work."
"You don't really know when the tides will recede to the lowest point. The higher the water level is, the longer for us to cross the pond. If we act recklessly, we may lose our lives," Rex said painfully. "And most of all, I can't swim! It's ridiculous, isn't it? A Fjords person can't swim. That's even worse than getting seasick. That's why I'll never become a real explorer and roam the sea like others!"
"I knew it a long time ago when we were diving," Simbady replied placidly.
"You relied on the basket to move about undersea. You couldn't walk properly in the water. Without this diving suit, you probably couldn't even get into the water, right?"
"Why did you still suggest swimming when you knew that I can't swim?"
"You don't need to swim. You just have to hold your breath. I know it's hard and you may pass out halfway. However, as long as you hold tight on me, I'll be able to get us out," Simbady answered slowly.
"Just by yourself?" Rex asked in disbelief.
"I've told you that there was a deep pond in the oasis where I lived when I was a kid. My friends and I liked having a competition with each other to see who could stay underwater for the longest," Simbady said while holding his head a little higher. "I was never the best in the clan, because I never put all my effort into it. I was scared."
"Yes, I feared that the water would suck me in if I dived a little deeper, so I always came up a little earlier than I should. I pretended to be exhausted and out of breath. Slowly, I convinced myself that this was the best I could do," Simbady said while staring right into Rex's eyes. "You said I constantly look down on myself. Perhaps you were right. That's why I want to give it a shot and test my limit this time."
"Likewise, are you sure this is all you can do? Are you sure you can't swim?" Simbady shouted at him. "Are you not looking down on yourself as well?"
Rex balled his hand into a fist.
"At least you aren't afraid of the ocean. Compared to me, you're way much better," Simbady said as he curled up his lips. "What do you think? Are you willing to take a bet? You're an explorer. How can you be a real explorer if you don't take any risks?"
Two hours later, thick smoke almost filled the entire cave.
The water in the pond gradually went down and levelled the mouth of the cave.
They could hear the scorpions scuttle behind them.
Their clinks swept over the cave.
Rex and Simbady exchanged looks and knew this was their last chance.
"Let's go, Mr. Honorary Explorer," Simbady said after taking a deep breath, carried Rex under the crook of his arms and submerged himself in the water.
Instantly, he was fused with the ocean.
The memories of his childhood flooded into his mind.
However, this time, there was no Carlone or any other clansman.
He only needed to compete against himself.