Shao Xuan and the others all stood and watched Dian Dian beside the Flaming River. He Bian and the other Di people stayed close so they could jump down to rescue any time.
Dian Dian had already started swimming, and everyone on the shore could sense her movements already. Dian Dian’s totemic energy was still strong, so even if she couldn’t see what was under the river, she could feel her way through by using her special senses.
“She’s swimming,” Gui He said.
Indeed, the people on the shore could see that Dian Dian had started swimming in the river. This proved that her fishtail could be controlled and she could still swim.
Now, Dian Dian was like a baby learning to walk her first steps. At first, she wasn’t familiar with the tail and swam very slowly. She even came up to the surface a few times, but she didn’t seem to be in any danger. At the same time, this meant that she had not encountered any troubles in the river. Those piranhas did not attack her. In stark contrast, they were actually avoiding her. Wherever she was, the people on the shore could see piranhas swimming away near the surface of the river. They seemed like they were trying to run away from her.
Gradually, as Dian Dian mastered this skill, she swam faster and slowly increased her swimming speed.
Dian Dian’s clothes were made from the skin of special marine fish. The Di people’s clothing allowed them to dive into the water anytime, specially designed so that they could move comfortably underwater. However, Dian Dian was wearing a slightly oversized shirt due to her sickness, but this fabric clung to her body tightly, so it didn’t affect her swimming speed too much.
As Dian Dian swam, she experienced sudden changes in her movements.
And she was still accelerating!
When the piranhas noticed her swimming so fast and catching up to them, they hurriedly dodged to both sides to avoid crashing into her. If any other beasts or human dived into the river, they would’ve rushed over immediately and started biting wildly at their prey. But now, they chose to run away from her!
Shao Xuan remembered a time when the Drumming tribe’s crocodiles came. This situation was very much like that time. However, Dian Dian was just a child shorter than most adults, but the piranhas reacted no differently.
Her fishtail flicked vigorously and blasted the water in the middle of the river to both sides. White trails of air bubbles formed where she swam and disappeared as fast as they appeared.
The people who could sense the movement of the person who was swimming were all so shocked that their jaws dropped.
Dian Dian swam even faster now. Before, she couldn’t swim anywhere near this speed in her human form, but now, she was already swimming past her previous limit. No matter how fast any other Di people swam, none of them could match her current speed.
If He Bian and the others went into the water now, they would instantly be pushed to the side by Dian Dian’s speed.
“H-how can she swim so fast?!” He Bian could feel how fast Dian Dian was moving, and his eyes followed her as she swam past the river.
Dian Dian was like a swift arrow flying through the water. Even as she swam against the current or came up to the surface, her speed did not slow down. Wherever she swam, white traces on the water formed by air bubbles outlined her trail.
Water splashed to the shore, a fish as long as half a human was thrown out on land. Its mouth was still shut tightly as if it was biting onto something, but the next moment, a person slammed the side of his blade down onto the fish and knocked it unconscious.
He Bian threw the fish to the side and decided to later tend to it after Dian Dian came ashore.
Dian Dian only came up to catch her breath briefly. Every time she came up, water would splash upward, and they would be able to catch a glimpse of her tail before she dived in again. The scales of her tail reflected the sunlight.
Suddenly, sharp muffled sounds came from under the sea.
When He Bian and the others heard this sound, their expressions changed.
“What was that? Did Dian Dian make that noise?” Shao Xuan asked.
“Yes. We can’t speak underwater, so our tribesmen would use other sounds to communicate. It’s just like how you guys would blow different tunes on a whistle to deliver a message. From what we heard, Dian Dian said that she’s feeling great. She feels amazing.”
“I see,” Shao Xuan said.
He Bian thought Shao Xuan only understood that Dian Dian could make those sounds underwater, but actually, Shao Xuan also discovered why the Di people had such a unique accent.
Whenever Di people got excited, they would naturally have an accent that was sharp and muffled. They were already used to using this communication method in the water that they naturally spoke this way in their daily lives. After speaking like this for so long, they finally formed this special accent unique to their tribe. If they were to hear this accent in the future, they would know that it was a Di person. Their pronunciation was special, and most people wouldn’t be able to imitate them.
Dian Dian was still swimming fast in the river.
He Bian initially thought that she would swim slower due to her new form as a mermaid, but it seemed like this change allowed her to swim even faster. He Bian wouldn’t even be able to catch up to her speed now in his best condition.
This was truly shocking!
Plus, when he saw Dian Dian’s change, He Bian noticed that her lower body resembled the Di fish. Other people might not have noticed, but this swimming style belonged to the Di fish!
If they merely saw the lower half of her body, He Bian and the others would’ve thought that it was a Di fish.
It was too similar!
Dian Dian was swimming upstream, and in her path was the stone bridge that stopped their rafts.
The Flaming Horn warriors who were stationed at the bridge heard Shao Xuan’s whistle from the headquarters and suddenly became alert.
Something was approaching them at high speed. Shao Xuan’s whistle warned them not to attack. That was why those people on the bridge only watched the river without making any moves.
It was getting close.
The water bubbled twenty to thirty meters away from them, and suddenly, a figure surged upward. It jumped up with the waves and dived into the river on the other side of the bridge.
The water that the figure splashed upward reflected the sunlight to their eyes. Some of this water fell on the bridge, creating a loud splashing sound.
“What was that?!”
“Was that a human? I saw a human head!”
“No, that’s a fish! I saw a fishtail!”
“It’s a human! I even saw her hair!”
“It’s a fish! Definitely a fish! You saw it wrong! You probably saw the fish’s whiskers!”
The Flaming Horn soldiers were still discussing this while the person who dived into the river swam back to the other side from underneath the stone bridge.
Dian Dian was very excited. Even though swimming in the ocean was better than the river, she felt a lot happier now. She hadn’t swum so freely ever since she became ill.
She didn’t want to return to shore so instead of swimming back, she dived deeper into the Flaming River. She wanted to play longer.
He Bian and the others were also much happier and relaxed now. So what if Dian Dian looks weird? As long as she can live and swim quickly in the water, they could accept this change.
This was the first time He Bian smiled since he left the Di tribe but when he thought about the problems that awaited him at home, he was suddenly stressed again. He turned around and asked Shao Xuan about the merging process.
Shao Xuan explained briefly, and he knew that there were some specific terms that He Bian wouldn’t understand, but he would tell Dian Dian about the specifics later because the shaman was involved in that process.
“However, there’s something I must remind you,” Shao Xuan said.
“What is it?” He Bian asked.
“Are you guys planning on merging your tribe’s fire seed or slowly using up the Di fish’s energy first?”
“That’s right! Since they took away a huge portion of our fire seed’s power, we would, of course, want to take it back!” He Bian, who already knew the truth, responded through gritted teeth. The look in his eyes was full of hate.
“If your plan succeeds and you successfully reclaim what was initially yours, then you guys would face a similar situation Dian Dian is now facing,” Shao Xuan said.
The two totemic energies in Dian Dian’s body had merged as one. If all the Di tribesmen did what she did and reclaimed what the Di fish took away from them, those two energies would merge too. Then, they would encounter a similar situation as Dian Dian.
After He Bian gave this some thought, his eyes widened. “You mean, we will become half-fish like Dian Dian?!”
“I’m saying it’s a possibility.”
“No, no, no. I think we’ll really become mermaids!” He Bian couldn’t maintain his composure the more he thought about it. It was very likely that this was going to happen to them.
Even though Dian Dian could swim much faster and could dive for a longer time in her current form, it would be too shocking if everyone in the Di tribe became mermaids. That would be too frightening a scene. He Bian didn’t dare imagine it. However, he did not have a say in the tribe’s final decision. He had to listen to Dian Dian and the shaman to decide.
Shao Xuan’s expression suddenly changed as he looked out at the river.
The others could also feel the energy that was approaching. However, besides Dian Dian, there was another….
The waves splashed upward, and a figure the size of an average human was thrown up to the shore.
Shao Xuan watched in terror as the figure flew up to the air and landed on the ground.
The figure had two giant pincers and a spotted, rigid shell. It looked similar to a shrimp.
As that figure landed on the ground, Dian Dian came up to the shore. It was inconvenient for her to walk in her current form, so He Bian carried her back to the stone fish tank.
“Dian Dian, what’s that in your hand?” He Bian asked.
“It belongs to that guy.” Dian Dian played with a long and thick tentacle with one hand as her other hand pointed to the figure that landed on the shore. “I found him at the bottom of the river. When I pulled him up, I accidentally broke off one of his whiskers.”