This story is the continuation of “Hunt for the Red Megalari Pt. 4”.

Bwiki’s body shook with terror as he dove for the nearest ice block. The creature bore down on him, shrieking and trailing a long ribbon of blood behind it. Bwiki planted his fins firmly on block after block as he swam away from the creature, rapidly leaping and diving behind chunks of ice to lose the beast’s gaze.

Several jumps later Bwiki suddenly found himself at the end of the ice cloud. He floated there, between the open ocean and the ascending cloud of ice behind him, and felt Wiboom’s song ripple quietly across his melon. He shook his head; Wiboom was gone, swallowed by the beast. He shot a glance back into the ice field and saw the creature thrashing toward him. He thought its energy would have waned with the amount of blood it had lost. But the beast seemed to be sustaining itself on predatory menace alone.

Wiboom’s song sprang into Bwiki’s mind again, haunting him. He wondered if he’d hear it for the rest of his life - if his life lasted much longer than the next few minutes. Bwiki leapt out into the ocean and pumped his fins, putting some distance between himself and the beast that swallowed his podmate. If he was going to fall to the creature he’d do it during battle - not while being chased down like a minnow.

Bwiki drew his horn and spun around adeptly, orienting himself toward the eel-like creature that was barreling toward him. The beast came crashing out of the ice field, a tangled mass of red plates, purple blood, and rage. The open ocean surprised it as much as it had surprised Bwiki.

The beast locked onto Bwiki and froze for a brief moment, regarding him in silence. Then the creature’s body cracked like a whip as it dove for him with its jaw agape. Bwiki screamed and charged toward the creature. He grieved for Wiboom. He thought of all the podmates he’d lost to this terrible beast. He converted all his grief into rage and spun toward the creature, carving a path through the ocean with his horn-sword as the drill-bit.

The creature’s jaw popped downward and darted forward. Bwiki changed directions suddenly, dodging the snap of the creature’s mouth. He swam along its huge head and slashed at its plates with his horn-sword. The weapon rebounded painfully in his hands, leaving nothing but a scratch on the beast’s face. The creature reared back and pumped its jaw forward with alien speed. Bwiki saw row upon row of serrated teeth hurdling toward his side. He closed his eyes, awaiting the pain that was sure to follow.

The loudest bass drop Bwiki had ever heard suddenly exploded from inside the creature. Bwiki opened his eyes and watched as the beast’s eel-like body bubbled outward and shredded itself like a popping balloon. Purple blood spewed into the ocean as the creature’s body broke apart and sank.

Bwiki excitedly searched the carnage for Wiboom. As the purple cloud cleared he saw her, floating in the open ocean, looking dazed. He quickly swam to her side and passed his fins along hers. The ocean was quiet, and Bwiki didn’t quite know what to say. He watched as the vacant expression faded from her face.

“So… blessing or curse?” He asked, a mote of humor edging out the distress in his voice.

She looked at him with a tired, amused expression. “Blurse. Definitely a blurse.”

The call of the Skywhale crashed over the two Polari. They shuddered in unison and began their swim to the surface, eager for a breath of fresh air.