Aisha couldn’t believe it, but it was almost a month now that she and Jarmo had built the camp on that beach. The beach was a true treasure trove. Not only had they found a stone tablet with a map, but other artifacts as well. Jarmo wondered why they hadn’t found them sooner, but Aisha explained that it was definitely due to the Mag’a cult. To the Mag’a cult, anything not written in their holy book was evil sorcery and blasphemy. Since the Temple of the Wind Harp supposedly held the key to much wisdom in the universe, but according to the cultists only the holy book held the key to wisdom, all references to the temple were also blasphemy.
That morning, as always, the two had woken up together. Jarmo smiled. He had never felt such a close connection as with Aisha. The two had clearly sought and found each other. Aisha got up and looked around. She always did, every morning. Perhaps their experiences had made them overly cautious. But in this area, especially on Mars, you couldn’t be too careful. And like every morning, she went to her backpack and pulled out her sword to have it ready.
When Aisha had shown him the sword for the first time, he had been very surprised, but Jarmo had to admit that she was very skilled with it. At least what he had seen from their exercises. In fact, there were some areas on the planets of the solar system that still used such or similar weapons. There was definitely an advantage in melee combat.
Now that everything was prepared, Aisha went to Jarmo and kissed him tenderly. “Morning swim?” she asked.
He nodded. This had become their daily routine. Wake up. Prepare. Swim. Breakfast.
After breakfast, Aisha and Jarmo examined the tablet further, trying to decipher the clues that would lead them to the Temple of the Windharp. As they worked, they heard a strange noise coming from the water.
Jarmo looked up, his eyes widening in alarm. “Aisha, look!” he said, pointing towards the ocean.
Aisha turned to look, and her heart sank as she saw several dark figures emerging from the water. “Shark Men,” she whispered, her voice filled with fear.
The Shark Men were a vicious species that lived in the depths of the ocean, known for their deadly attacks on unsuspecting prey. They were tall, muscular creatures with razor-sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Jarmo and Aisha knew they had to act fast. They quickly gathered their weapons and prepared for battle. The Shark Men charged towards them, their powerful legs propelling them forward with incredible speed. Jarmo fired his laser gun, hitting one of the creatures in the chest, but it barely flinched.
Aisha swung her sword, slicing through the air with deadly precision. She managed to cut off the arm of one of the Shark Men, but it kept coming, its eyes blazing with fury. The battle raged on, with Aisha and Jarmo fighting for their lives. They managed to fend off several attacks, but the Shark Men were relentless, their strength and speed proving to be a formidable challenge.
Suddenly, one of the Shark Men grabbed Aisha by the arm, pulling her towards the water. Jarmo tried to intervene, but he was quickly overpowered by the other creatures. Aisha struggled against her captor, kicking and screaming, but it was no use. The Shark Men were too strong.
They dragged Aisha and Jarmo into the water, pulling them towards a waiting submarine. Aisha and Jarmo continued to fight, their hearts pounding with fear and adrenaline. As they were dragged into the submarine, Aisha and Jarmo felt a sudden rush of panic. They were being pulled towards an airlock on the side of the submarine.
But just as they were about to be thrown into the airlock, Aisha and Jarmo managed to break free. They fought their way back to the surface, gasping for air as they emerged from the water.
The Shark Men swam away, their angry eyes fixed on Aisha and Jarmo as they disappeared into the depths of the ocean. Aisha and Jarmo looked at each other, their bodies shaking with fear and exhaustion. But they were alive.
A day had passed since the first attack, and Aisha and Jarmo were still hard at work, determined to find the Temple of the Windharp. But as they were searching the beach, they heard a familiar sound – the Shark Men were back.
Before they could react, the creatures charged towards them, their massive bodies cutting through the water with incredible speed. Aisha and Jarmo fought back with all their might, but there were too many of them. Within minutes, they were overpowered and dragged down into the depths of the ocean.
Underwater, the fight continued, with Aisha and Jarmo struggling against the Shark Men. Aisha swung her sword, slashing through the water with deadly accuracy, while Jarmo fired his laser gun, hitting several of the creatures in the chest.
But this time the Shark Men were too powerful, and soon Aisha and Jarmo found themselves being dragged towards the waiting submarine. They fought back with all their might, but it was no use – they were thrown into the submarine and locked in a small, dark cell.
Hours passed, and Aisha and Jarmo sat in their cell, their minds racing with fear and uncertainty. Suddenly, the door to their cell opened, and a group of Shark Men entered.
“We have orders to take you to the Kingdom of the Chardadon,” said one of the creatures, its voice deep and guttural.
Aisha and Jarmo exchanged a worried glance, unsure of what lay ahead. But they knew that they had to stay strong, no matter what. Their journey took about one hour, then the submarine arrived at a cave. The cave was sealed with a gate that slowly opened as they approached it. Aisha and Jarmo were led out of their cell and out of the sub. Now they saw for the first time where they had arrived: In a large cave with a kind of harbor where the submarine had docked. The Shark Men led them and down a long, winding corridor. As they walked, Aisha and Jarmo could feel the weight of their situation bearing down on them.
Finally, they reached the throne room of the Shark Men’s King. The room was vast, with high ceilings and ornate decorations. On the throne sat the King of the Shark Men, a towering figure with piercing eyes and a sharp-toothed grin.
“We have captured these two humans, Your Majesty,” said one of the Shark Men, bowing before the King.
The King nodded, his eyes fixed on Aisha and Jarmo. “So, you are the ones who have been causing us so much trouble,” he said, his voice deep and menacing.
Aisha and Jarmo exchanged a worried glance, unsure of what to do next. They knew that they had to stay strong, no matter what lay ahead. But as they looked around the throne room, they couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread creeping over them.
They were officially prisoners of the Kingdom of these people, and they had no idea how they were going to escape. Aisha had heard stories about these creatures, and “shark people” was an attempt to somehow name their appearance and habitat. They were amphibians. They lived in one of the few seas on Mars. They called themselves Chardadon and wanted nothing to do with the “ground people”, as they called the non-amphibious life forms. This had to do with their history, they had been oppressed for a long time by an emperor who belonged to the “ground people”. But what did they want from Aisha and Jarmo? Did they want to prevent the two from looking further? Or was the beach some kind of sacred ground that the two had desecrated?
The Chardadon king was apparently unwilling to answer the question. “Take them away!” he ordered. Guards grabbed Jarmo and Aisha and took them to another cell. Jarmo had tried to memorize as many details of the environment as possible for a possible escape on the way there. But it was just too much. The city was very impressive. The passages were carved into the rock. The walls were decorated with reliefs. Now and then there were doors.
The cell they were taken to, on the other hand, was pretty bare. Four walls. A solid metal door. And a porthole that looked out at the ocean.
“We have to be relatively deep under water,” Jarmo stated.
“How do you know that?” Aisha asked.
“See the surroundings glowing that weird blue hue out there? The light from the sun is made up of many colors of different wavelengths. When it’s sent through water, it loses one color at a time, depending on how deep the water is . In the end, all that’s left is blue. So we’re pretty deep.”
Aisha looked at him in shock. “But that means,” she stated, “even if we got out of this cell, we wouldn’t have a chance of escaping the city! We can’t hold our breath that long.”
“No,” confirmed Jarmo. “We’ll have to wait and see what the Chardadon intend for us.”
The only hope they had was that when regular reports stopped coming in, STAR COMMAND would be looking for them. But how long would that take?