Above the Grey Jewel, John was sitting while sorting the items Bowler had shopped for him. The other players were either practicing martial arts, training game skills, or in the water grinding for exp.

The aquatic monsters in the water nearby the ship were around level 35 to 45 basic or elite grades. Though these monsters were at higher levels compared to the monster near Thepuergua's port, they were considered weak already by the current players. But they kept on spawning so they still supplied a decent number of exp points.

John formed a party with one of the groups grinding beside the ship, so he received exp points despite doing nothing on the ship. No one dared to complain about his abuse of authority. But he did send his avatar and summoned creatures to go down into the water to help the group, so people could not complain that he was entirely idle.

"I have been wondering, why do you need this item?" Bowler asked. He also stayed on the ship instead of going down into the water.

John was holding the item Bowler was asking about. It was called Underwater Communication Potion. It allowed the consumer to talk underwater as if they were talking on land. Bowler was asking because this potion seemed unneeded since players could just communicate underwater using their messaging systems.

"This is not for us to talk to each other," John replied.

"Huh? Who else would we be talking to down there? Or do you want to try talking with the Dragon Turtle? Excuse me, Mom turtle, can you please let us tame your offspring and take it away?"

"This is not something you need to worry about," John said and shooed Bowler away.

John then checked the next item. It was magic scrolls. All contained the same spell, Underwater Propeller. The spell gave the user high mobility over water just like its real-life counterpart. But upon using this scroll, the user would slightly lose maneuverability. They would continuously be pushed to travel in one direction at a fast speed. The best they could do is just changed direction a little bit while being propelled. These scrolls were to be used when they needed to reach a destination fast while underwater. The spell lasted for ten minutes.

For Underwater Vision Potions and Underwater Propeller Scrolls, he had more than enough for all one hundred members for several days' usage. As for the Underwater Communication Potions, he didn't stock many. Only five bottles for his personal use.

After finishing sorting the items, he went into meditation. A portion of his mind practiced mana sense and mana manipulation while the other portion paid attention to his minion's battle underwater.

It was almost night before Hideout came back to the ship. He informed John about the terrain he had seen and roughly drew the information on a large piece of paper that had been prepared by John.

He hadn't covered all the ground. The place was too large and he was not exactly free to roam around as he wished down there. Like Life Runner, he still had to avoid monsters otherwise his Hide skill would be deactivated. Unlike Life Runner, he didn't wear a God-eye monocle, so he moved more cautiously.

He got as close as possible to the Merfolk's territory but not too close. He could already see some of them swimming about, patrolling their territory. Their colony was composed of lots of giant shells scattered around complicated rock formations on the sea bed. He figured these giant shells were these merfolk's houses.

He didn't try to go into the colony because John warned him not to. Peniel had informed John that a minor race's settlement despite having no wall like the main race's cities, might still have enchantments that warned the dwellers of trespassers. The invisibility from Hideout's Hide skill might even get dispelled.

"Only such a small portion?" John asked.

"It's not exactly easy moving down there," Hideout explained.

"At this rate, we might need four to five days to plot out the full outline of Merfolk's border facing this rock," John said.

"I will try to hasten the pace tomorrow," Hideout said apologetically.

"No. Prioritize safety," John said. "It will push our timetable back even more if you get killed and we have to go back to fetch you again. We will start our operation once we have a clearer picture of what was down there."

An hour later, Life Runner also returned to the ship. He informed John about his findings. The most likely entrance into the Dragon Turtle's Lair was the huge cave he found, but he had not explored that cave yet. He decided to do that tomorrow. He continued circling all the caves around the underwater mountain, he didn't enter all of them though. After finishing making the round, only one cave with a large enough opening for the Dragon Turtle monster.

John commended both Life Runner and hideout for doing a good job. He asked them to take a rest and went back into the water again at first light tomorrow. He also gave each of them another bottle of Underwater Vision Potion.


The next day, everything proceeded the same as the day before.

Life Runner returned earlier than Hideout this time, and he informed John that he had laid eyes on the Dragon Turtle. He was lucky that he had the God-eye monocle. Otherwise, he might have gotten close to the creature without realizing it.

When he entered the giant cave, he noticed several red dots inside. But since the tunnel inside that cave was very large, he had no problem staying away from those monsters and maintained his Hide skill.

Once he went a bit deeper, a large dark red dot appeared on his radar. That's when he knew he was in the right direction. The cave split several times in different paths, but with the large red dot on his radar as a reference point, he had a general idea of which path to take. He didn't forget to carve a sign on the wall or the floor to mark his way back.

After a long venture into the bowel of the mountain, he finally came near the large red dot. He was at the entrance to an immensely large underwater cave hall. At the center of the hall was a large rock surrounded by a huge lava pool. He was amazed seeing that lava pool, no wonder the water felt much warmer inside here compared to outside. He was not even sure if such a phenomenon was possible in the real world.

Life Runner stayed at the entrance to the cave hall. He was afraid if he went inside, the Dragon Turtle might notice his presence. He looked at his radar and noticed that the position of the lava pool was where the large red dot was. He looked above at the ceiling, half expecting the dragon turtle to stick to the ceiling like a gecko, but there were only stalactites there. Nothing that looked remotely like a turtle.

He looked at the lava pool again. 'The turtle can't be swimming inside that lava pool, can it?' He thought.

As he paid attention to the lava pool, the large rock at the center of the lava pool fidgeted.

Life Runner's sight was glued to the rock, trying to make sure that it was not his imagination. But after taking a better look, he realized the rock at the center of the lava pool was not actually a rock. It was a shell! At first glance, the shell appeared to look like an irregular-shaped rock with many sharp protrusions. Now after knowing it was a shell, he could see that the sharp protrusions were large scales shaped into dorsal ridges. Nine such dorsal ridges lined the shell.

Life Runner stayed still and watched in fascination. He didn't know how long he stared at the shell. He was awake again when the shell rose from the lava pool. He then realized the shell he had seen was only half of the entire shell.

As the large shell rose, the large head of the creature came out of the lava pool. Its head resembled a cross between a turtle and a dragon. It had a flat curved-down beak like a common turtle. At the top of its head were four straight horns pointing backward, two large ones on top and two smaller ones on the sides.

It had a thick and long neck that it used to survey its surrounding.

'Did it sense me?' Life Runner thought anxiously. The distance between him and the dragon turtle was outside the normal monster's field of perception, but maybe this turtle had a larger area of perception. Life Runner was struggling with the decision of whether to bolt or continued staying still.

Even though Life Runner saw the turtle turn its head around to survey its surrounding, its sight never went in his direction, so he decided to continue staying still. After a while, the dragon turtle stopped inspecting its surroundings. It lifted one of its massive legs from the lava pool and then pulled its remaining body up.

After coming out of the lava pool, it started swimming around the cave hall. Its large webbed feet had four large claws. Its tail was thick and long and ended with fins. His swimming was rather fast for its large body.

After swimming for a bit, it finally landed at the opposite end from where Life Runner was. Once the dragon turtle stopped there, he noticed that there were other beings inside that hall aside from the large turtle.

It was a much smaller version of the dragon turtle. Its offspring, their target! But that was not the only thing there. Near the small dragon turtle, there were several orbs of gel-like liquid. Inside these orbs were merfolk who seemed to be unable to move freely.