The marketplace was crowded. With an assortment of vegetables, tofu, and potatoes, sellers sat by their produce with umbrellas barely shading them from the sun. Beckoning for passersby to make purchases, they spoke a language that Moon could not comprehend. With their foods supported with a hand on their heads, the local Ryukyuan women bargained their best with the seemingly upset sellers. She noticed they had tattoo motifs on their hands and wondered what they meant. Moon looked around for the Creature, but it was nowhere to be found to her surprise. She carried on walking and kept a lookout for it anxiously.
She walked through the streets of fishmongers and meat sellers until she reached a shallow harbor that had a few wooden boats bobbing along the ocean. She sat by the harbor for a rest when out came in the waters a sea giant.
The sea giant had an overly large head with gill slits on his body and webbed fingers and toes. He had a gentle smile, which made Moon naturally at ease with him. He walked towards Moon and asked, “Are you the Ming princess with the flaming pearl? The entire Eastern Sea knows of your escape from China to Ryukyu.”
“Oh! Yes, I am. I mean, I was.”
“I am no longer a princess, and I no longer have the flaming pearl.”
The sea giant was visibly surprised and disappointed. And so, Moon asked, “Why are you looking for me?”
“I was hoping you could help me bring my family back.”
“Don’t you know? By using the flaming pearl. It can bring back the dead.”
“Yes. At least, that’s what my brother told me before he was turned into an ocean stone.”
“I’m sorry about your brother.”
“Not to worry, it happened a hundred years ago. But I will keep trying to bring everyone back.”
“Everyone? You mean your family?”
“Yes. My family and the entire tribe actually. I am the only one left after the attack of the irabu.”
“The flaming pearl is with a Yuta now… Can the flaming pearl really resurrect the death?”
“I think so. Do you remember what the Yuta looks like?”
“Yes, I do.”
“I say we go find her and get the flaming pearl back. It is worth a try, at the very least.”
Moon hesitated, but she knew the sea giant was right. She did not want to see the sea giant going back to the ocean alone as well. If the flaming pearl could bring the dead, she was sure it could help her find the Creature too. And so, for the first time in a long while, Moon looked up at the sea giant, nodded her head in agreement, and smiled.