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Nasaton was the siren's city, which was hidden in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It had existed since the dawn of time and the city's glorious days were even before the Mythological Age on land. Aside from the sirens, no one knew how to get into the city. Not the technologically-advanced humans, or the omnipotent supernatural gods of yore. None had managed to locate Nasaton. Some had theorized that the city was located deep in one of the ocean's trenches and it was obscured by volcanic activities deep under water. Some had argued that a massive invisible barrier was erected to prevent unwanted guests from poking their heads in. However, all these guesses were quite far off the mark.
Nasaton was on Earth, but not exactly. It was sandwiched between a dimensional gap that was linked to the real world. The spatial distortion had caused the city to be invisible to all forms of detection methods, and also prevented anyone from actually reaching it. Only the sirens knew how to access the city, and over the last 10,000 years, only a handful of visitors had been allowed into the city. These included otherworldling scholars, and a few lucky humans. It was these visitors who left behind hearsay of the mysterious city's existence.
But their stories were pretty much taken as absurd fantasies. They soon devolved into mere myths and legends for the later generations.
"Inside a dimensional gap?" Vivian was very interested upon hearing what Shaqira had said. "How did you build it? It took the Athens Sanctuary many generations to come up with the Shadowy Divide and there was still a way to breach it. How did Nasaton come up with this complete invisiblity?"
"I don't know about that." Shaqira shrugged. "The azure water dome was already there when I was born. Apparently, the city's been resting in the gap since the beginning. No one actually talks about who created the city, and no one has actually bothered to ask as well."
Hao Ren turned his head slightly towards Shaqira as he drove. "Say... this may be a bit sensitive, but aren't sirens immortal? Don't tell me there's no one back home who's lived since the founding of the city? Surely they would know?"
"While sirens are indeed immortal, we will still choose a time to 'renew' ourself as we return to the water and come out as a new life," Shaqira roughly explained a siren's life cycle before she shook her head. "There are a few elders, not much, but they exist. Nonetheless, they've never spoken about the origin of the city. One of the rules in Nasaton is that we don't speak of the past. We simply stay out of conflict and live a peaceful life. We do not interfere with others and allow no interference. That's how we've lived for so long. It seems like the city's been eternal... until the Queen's orders to go to land."
"So, you'll ocassionally let outsiders visit your city?" Y'lisabet was lying on the seat behind Shaqira's as she poked her head out. "Are you well informed about the outside world?"
"Rarely. Like I said earlier, there are expections." Shaqira nodded. "We're also curious about the outside world and we have maintain some communication with those living on land. Long ago, we would send out sentries every few hundred years to learn about the situation on land. The sentries would use a Deepwater Orb to record what was going on to let the rest see... Back in the ancient days, or your Mythological Age, we were even shortly allied with some of the coastal otherworldling familes. However, they were soon wiped out."
Vivian smiled. "What do you think of the world on land?"
"It was rather dull at first and things were changing very, very slowly. Humans were still using bronze weapons for a good thousand odd years. It was only after two sentry cycles that we saw them moving on to iron. Otherworldlings were progressing even slower than humans. After a millennium, there were still times when our sentries would find them observing humans fighting each other, or fighting beasts to pass their time. Then things went into overdrive. The end of the Mythological Age was a surprise to everyone. The speed in which the demon hunters and humans grew far exceeded the pace of the Mythological Age's collapse. Every time a new batch of sentries came ashore, they saw new kingdoms and the ruler of the land changed from time to time. Then came machinery and the Industrial Age... While it's not as grand as Nasaton, the advancement that the humans have made in technology for the last 100 years has been nothing but impressive."
Vivian nodded. "Yes, I think so too. This world is progressing and advancing faster and faster. The first time I woke up, humans were using bronze. They did so for God knows how long, and when I woke up again, they had moved from windmills to steam engines. Another nap later, they had electricity. Frankly speaking, I don't dare to sleep nowadays. I'm really afraid that one day I'll oversleep and wake up to find that humans are all gone; only a few launch towers left standing, and all humans migrated into the stars."
Hao Ren guffawed. "Wow, seriously? Surely you jest."
Vivan snorted. "You won't understand how I feel. But what I said is true. Sleeping is really a waste of time. I knew a fellow vampire called Odrian, and he was one of the lucky few to live through the Mythological Age until recent times. He managed to obtain an ancient relic and was about to go into slumber to absorb its energies. However, he ended up dead in his sleep."
Lily was shocked. "How does one even do that?"
Vivian shrugged. "He went to Novaya Zemlya back in the 1950s to sleep. It's been over 40 years since the Soviets lobbed at least a few hundred nuclear warheads on that island. I'm not sure if he was killed in the initial blast or not, but my best guess is that he was probably annihilated on the spot. I've never seen him after that, so he's probably nothing but radioactive dust now.
Cold sweat was all over Hao Ren's forehead.
"That's to say, trying to go into a trance for a hundred years with a relic is not a good idea now." Vivian sighed. "During the peaceful and idyllic days, it was fine. Doing that now is a death sentence. Human advancement is on steriods and they've moved on from sending human waves into a gun line to intercontinental ballistic missiles. You'd probably get blown apart by humans if you try that. And given how maniacal humans can be, I won't be surprise if they blow Earth up one find day. So, the smartest thing an otherworldling can do now is to read the papers and get ready to run for their lives at the first warning... Why are you guys all quiet?"
Hao Ren patted Vivian on the shoulder. "I think we need to find a cure for your narcolepsy issue."
Shaqira only looked on in silence. As a siren who had only seen land for the first time 100 years ago, anything she said would have been awkward.
As dusk fell, the crew reached the designated point. It was a deserted coast, which was littered with shattered rocks. It was far away from the city and had no proper roads. As there were no signs of humans nearby, they did not need to worry about invoking a supernatural phenomenon there. Along the coast were some rock formations that formed a sloping cliffwall, and the signs of erosion on the cliffs were testament to the passing of time. Shaqira sighed as she saw the scene. "I still remember that there were plenty of coastlines like this a hundred years back... Places like this were in abundance when I first came to shore. To find a place like this is very difficult nowadays."
Hao Ren kept his car and turned to face the ocean as he stretched and took a deep breath. The ocean view was really relaxing and the slightly salty sea breeze was comforting too. Wuyue was also doing the same. She looked excited, but there was a visible shred of anxiousness in her as well."
Hao Ren immediately picked up on it. "Nervous?"
"That feeling you get when you go back to your hometown for the first time in years." Wuyue smiled. "Mother warned me to stay away from the deep sea since I was young. Perhaps she noticed the change in Nasaton back then. Now I'm about to go against her advice... I hope she won't be mad at me."
Hao Ren smiled. "I'm sure she was just worried. If we can ensure your safety, your mother won't be blaming anyone."
Rollie was nervous the moment she got down of the car and she stuck close to Vivian by squatting beside her. Her eyes were wide as she stared at the sea, letting out a soft, nervous purr in the process. This was her first time seeing the ocean.
"Let's get moving. We can probably rest at the first rest stop before nightfall. If you guys aren't tired, we can make it all the way to the center of the Pacific." Shaqira squinted as she deciphered the sea breeze. "This is a good day to set out to sea."
As she said that, a shimmering glow formed around her as she readied herself to bring the group into the ocean. At that very moment, the MDT suddenly darted out of Hao Ren's pocket. "Wait! A spatial distortion! Someone's teleporting in!"
Vivian immediately frowned as she sensed the familiar magical frequency from their surroundings.