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(Planet Caorn- Jasimin Island)

(Mariena Hotel- Private Beach)

"What... what was..." Ryan stuttered slightly as he tried his best to get his nerves back under control.

"Just a warning," Sophie coldly responded as she turned her attention back towards her book and began to flip through the pages.

She was done with this conversation.

Ryan opened his mouth to say something but the cold chill running down his spine convinced him that maybe... he shouldn't mess with this scary woman.

The young noble got up from his chair and walked away with quick steps.

He acted as though he was calm but judging from the speed of his escape...

Sophie had spooked him.

The hybrid girl glanced up from her book and saw the retreating figure of Ryan slowly disappear off into the distance.

Good.

Today was supposed to be relaxing but instead it was turning out to be anything but. Sophie let out a heavy sigh and tried to continue reading.

A few minutes passed and eventually she had to put the book down on the side of the chair.

She had been reading the same paragraph for several seconds.

Maybe a dip in the water would help to clear her mind.

Sophie got up from the chair and headed towards the edge of the shore where blue waves crashed gently down on the beach.

She always loved the ocean. Maybe in another life she would get the chance to be reincarnated as a mermaid and spend her days in the depths of the ocean.

There was just something captivating about the sea.

Vast bodies of water that contained mysterious lifeforms and colourful ecosystems.

Sophie dipped her toes in the water and a contented smile spread across her face. She loved feeling the cold water touch her skin.

The hybrid girl waded out further into the ocean until the water reached her waist.

Then with one sudden movement, Sophie ducked her head underwater and playfully tossed her hair around.

She could feel all the stress of the water slowly melt away. Sophie held her breath and dove downwards to the ocean floor.

Since she was a qi tide cultivator, there was no problem in holding her breath for hours or even days if she really needed to.

Tiny fish-like organisms could be seen swimming just above the white sand that made up the seabed.

Purple grass grew in patches on the ocean floor and tiny rock shaped creatures peeked out from between the foliage.

Sophie stretched out her hand but stopped just before she touched one of the animals.

It was probably a bad idea to touch the wildlife since she could accidentally hurt them.

Instead, she was content to float above the grass and observe the tiny creatures as they went about their lives.

What was she in their eyes?

A god? A mysterious entity? An incomprehensible threat?

Or maybe their simple minds were unable to even ask those questions. Sophie swam out even further and saw that the underwater vegetation changed.

The purple grass gave way to tall leafy tree-like plants with large stems that swayed slightly from side to side thanks to the strong ocean currents.

Much larger animals roamed these undersea forests and some of them turned to stare at Sophie with unblinking eyes.

The hybrid girl swam to the side and narrowly avoided a large barrel-shaped creature with tendrils that emerged from behind a rock.

Out here in the deeper parts of the ocean there were strong currents that tugged and tried to pull Sophie further out.

Fortunately, she could easily resist the tides thanks to her enhanced strength and unusual physiology.

All she had to do was stab her blade-like appendages in the sand in order to stabilise her body in place.

Time lost all meaning as Sophie swam and explored the ocean with child-like wonder and a smile on her face.

Not for the first time she imagined a life outside of cultivation.

Maybe once she hit the void stage and finished her years of military service, she should take a break and get an interplanetary zoology degree.

Spend a few years with Cleo visiting unexplored planets and documenting the local wildlife and flora.

Honestly that didn't sound like a bad way to live.

What was the point of having a long lifespan if you spent all of your time in a room meditating?

Sophie swam upwards towards the surface and broke through the water. She took in a deep breath and glanced up at the sky.

The sun was now beginning to set towards the horizon and warm orange rays of light illuminated the clear blue ocean.

The shore was now a distant speck in the horizon which made Sophie realise that she had swam further out than she had initially planned.

Sophie checked her wrist communicator and saw that it was now around five o'clock in the afternoon.

Yeah... she should probably make her way back.

It was dinner time soon and Sophie wanted to have a nice warm meal instead of nutrient vials.

The hybrid girl began to swim back to shore using the freestyle method.

Her blade-like appendages cut through the water awkwardly which made her pace a bit slow.

Finally, after around twenty minutes of swimming, Sophie eventually arrived back in the same spot where the chair she was using was placed.

Her towel and book were still on its surface and fortunately no one seemed to have disturbed her things.

Sophie picked up the towel and began to rub down her body to get rid of the excess moisture and salt on her skin.

She hummed a quiet tune under her breath and froze when she sensed that someone was approaching her.

"Good afternoon," a soft melodic spoke.

Who was it now? Couldn't she just dry off her skin in peace?

"Good afternoon to you as well," Sophie politely replied with a hint of reluctance in her tone.

She looked in the direction of the sound and saw the blind girl from Tantibus University staring at her with a small smile on her face.

Jessie was wearing a red two-piece bikini with a black string. Her lips were bright purple which meant that she had smeared something on them.

Her muddy and unfocused white eyes peacefully gazed in Sophie's direction as if she could somehow see the hybrid girl.

"Lovely day for a swim?" Jessie asked calmly.

"Yes... the water is fine... I just came back from a dip in the ocean myself," Sophie responded softly since she was affected by the peaceful mood.

"Well... that's good to hear," Jessie continued the conversation in a casual tone.

"I hope to see you around. Take care!"

The blind girl raised her hand at Sophie and then waved before turning around and walking away without hesitation.

That was it? No insults? No strange requests?

Just a normal conversation?

Sophie was so startled that she almost forgot to reply to Jessie who was now several hundred metres away.

"Enjoy the beach!" Sophie cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted.

Jessie's footsteps paused and then she continued to walk as if she hadn't heard Sophie's well wishes.

The hybrid girl resumed drying herself off but could not help but think back to the brief encounter that she just had.

Maybe she was being paranoid... out of all the representatives on the island aside from her blindness...

Jessie Ward was the most normal.