It wasn’t uncommon for fish to grow to human length in the ocean, and there were definitely specimens fiercer and more violent than sharks.
What terrified Xia Yi was the thought that perhaps the organisms in this region didn’t die from radiation, but were instead—
When there was this much radiation, the appearance of strangely vicious monsters was no longer a surprise. Frankly, Xia Yi suspected the huge sea monster from earlier was created in such a way. If radiation turned an octopus into that, then what about the average fish species? How about the Great White Shark, which was already a natural predator?
Xia Yi grabbed the wet rocks and frantically tried to pull himself up. However, because he was in such a panic, he missed the handhold and fell back into the sea.
Despite Xia Yi’s best efforts to swim back up, it seemed as if he was tangled in seaweed— he couldn’t move at all.
Horrified, he snapped his head back, but didn’t see any silver tail. There was nothing around him, but that only made the entire situation feel eerier.
The sun was shining and the water was clear, however the refraction undersea hindered Xia Yi’s ability to see clearly. Theoretically, continuous swimming underwater without any eye drops or goggles was quite harmful to one’s eyes, but Xia Yi had never swam before, so he had no idea about this. The only discomfort he felt was from the light in front of his eyes.
The light wasn’t transparent of course, and it was instead very colourful. The radiance it emanated as it refracted was definitely enough to captivate a person.
Xia Yi froze as the water above him all of a sudden resembled a multi-coloured convex mirror that was even more brilliant than a kaleidoscope. Rays of purple, blue, yellow and green slid by as the ocean waves tossed.
His sight suddenly darkened, as if a drape was abruptly hung before him, cutting the water and shadows into pieces.
The feeling was visually sensational. There were spots in Xia Yi’s eyes and his limbs felt weak. His previously-fine chest suddenly began to prickle as he immediately broke out in a cold sweat.
He subconsciously wanted to take a breath, but only choked on several gulps of seawater instead.
It was at this moment that Xia Yi unexpectedly felt himself being pulled back. His head was already lolling in the water, and all he could see was an arm firmly positioned around his waist. It was slender and pale, with what seemed to be translucent, silvery chiffon on the wrist and elbow area. Could that be remains of clothing?
Xia Yi blacked out after that, so he didn’t realise the drape that had obscured his vision was actually countless tentacles.
In order to save him, the merfolk ripped off a row of tentacles covering the water above Xia Yi. Now detached, the seafloor-length tentacles floated in the water and caused the kaleidoscope-looking convex mirror to suddenly turn askew. It’s true identity was exposed after it rolled halfway over.
It was a jellyfish— a gigantic one.
The sea monster’s infrasonic waves echoed through the empty sea. Xia Yi’s body twitched as his subconscious felt a pang similar to thousands of needles piercing through his forehead. He began to hear a sound that wasn’t made by the water, and it gradually became louder and clearer.
Unfortunately, Xia Yi couldn’t understand the patterns and orders of the infrasonic language.
—AHHHHH! MY TENTACLES! MY BALANCE!!
This poor Lion’s Mane Jellyfish was stuck on its side in water about eight metres deep. It had a dome around six metres wide and its tentacles seemed to stretch on forever. It was okay when it drew back, though now that it had let all its tentacles run free, it resembled the train of a dress, dragging as if it was going to sweep the floor— well— seafloor in this case. It was difficult enough for it to swim all the way to such shallow seas, but now…
Sadly, the culprit of its suffering didn’t even spare it a glance.
The merfolk pushed Xia Yi onto the shore.
The purple in its eyes seemed to deepen as its hand with thin, silk-like fins on the palm gently graced Xia Yi’s face. It then stooped down a bit, as if sizing Xia Yi up. It was still submerged beneath the water from its chest down, and water drops rolled down its long, light silver hair and forehead, hitting its exquisitely defined collarbone. There was a small, cream-coloured conch that hung from its snowy white neck by an ebony thread.
Was it raining again?
Xia Yi tilted his head in a daze and subconsciously licked the water droplets that fell beside his lips.
The merfolk’s eyes darkened and it immediately dove underwater.
When Xia Yi opened his eyes, he only saw the white ocean spray and a faintly discernible silver fishtail.
His face felt strangely hot, like he was suffering from a fever. He had absolutely no strength in his limbs, to say nothing of him trying to get up and see what was going on. He was frightened, not because of his proximity to the sea which would definitely allow fish to reach him, but instead due to the fact that he’d experienced these symptoms before. He remembered it well and could bet that if he was injured right now, the blood wouldn’t even be dark crimson. Rather, it would appear a bright cherry red. Xia Yi gasped for breath and marveled at how ridiculous the whole situation was.
One could suffocate while swimming, but who had ever heard of a swim that resulted in carbon monoxide poisoning?
Technically, if one evaluated by using an apocalyptic sea monster’s logic, this would be totally possible.
For example, if someone was swimming below a sinking jellyfish and they didn’t need to breathe from their nose or mouth— instead, they extracted oxygen directly from the water in some strange way…
The waves continued to toss as the merfolk agilely travelled underwater, barely making a splash. Behind it, however, the poor jellyfish was stuck spinning circles as it attempted to shuffle forward.
Sometimes, when one had too many “legs”, they wouldn’t know how to “walk”.
Xia Yi laid there for a long time before he regained some strength.
The sun wasn’t as blinding now, yet the ocean remained the ocean and Xia Yi was still tightly clutching onto the handful of purple laver. It felt as if he’d hallucinated the entire event that had occurred earlier, but Xia Yi knew better. In this seemingly empty region lurked terrifying dangers: the huge unnamed fish and the organism that was semi-transparent but gave off a rainbow-coloured brilliance— if it really was a living creature.
Had he accidentally swum into a monster’s mouth? Or inside its body?
This piece of shoal rock was only several square metres wide and didn’t leave much room after he laid down. As the sun was setting, the tides began to rise.
It was a difficult decision: should he wait for death or escape to live?
Xia Yi slowly loosened his hand, his fingers awfully stiff because his fist had been balled up for too long. He swallowed all that he could eat before jumping into the ostensibly normal ocean and starting to quickly swim away.
His escape was very successful, the only downfall being that he didn’t dare to gather any more purple laver when he passed by them.
At this moment, Xia Yi was only focused on one thought— he needed to leave this creepy region as soon as possible.
There were many islands around the borders of the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. As long as he changed direction and continued to swim near areas that had a lot of shoal rocks, he could definitely find a habitable island. Maybe he could discover even more edibles and freshwater as well.
Since he’d decided to live, he had to take responsibility and live well.
After Xia Yi left, the tides swallowed the shoal rock that he’d been laying on. Upon the merfolk’s return, it couldn’t find the treasure that it had gone through so much trouble to retrieve. It swam around the area, paying close attention to the places where purple laver grew, but it couldn’t find any clues. It was quite upset. One could even say that it was angry.
“Human, you will not escape!”
Far away, Xia Yi was suddenly hit by a surge of dizziness, as if a wave had slammed into and over him from behind. He almost lost balance and dove headfirst into the fine sand on the seafloor. Simultaneously, a cold and strangely-intonated voice appeared in his mind.
Xia Yi pressed hard against his throbbing temples. He didn’t know where the voice came from, but he was beginning to hear strange noises from the ocean. He didn’t know if it was because the sound was too far away, or that he just didn’t understand the language, but he couldn’t figure out what it was at all; it sounded more like glitching electric currents.
Meanwhile, the cold and angry voice continued to appear.
“All of you, shut up and stay here.”
Xia Yi was baffled.
“Get lost! You all have been infected by humans’ stupidity!”
In an area that was a hundred metres below the surface, several enormous sea monsters sullenly crouched together. Were they stupid? No. They’d just forgotten they weren’t like those Lion’s Mane Jellyfishes that had the ability to contract their bodies enough to reach shallow waters only eight metres deep. Even so, that idiot Nereus came floating back sideways!
T/N: LOOK! FANART!!
I’ve also added fanarts to ch. 8-10 so feel free to go back and check them out! (It’s definitely uwu material)