Chapter 19 – Passing By

Sea Monster Alliance
ZFX
52 Chapters

Editor: Bubbles

Proofreader: XavierForest


The sun blazed down on the humans below, sending out wave after wave of dizzying heat. The people now understood what the most valuable of all truly was: water. The blue ocean churned before them, despairingly undrinkable; this terrible realisation was akin to, or perhaps more than that of being stuck in a desert. Luckily, there was no wind, or else the direction of the lifeboats would’ve been even more difficult to control. On the other hand, it was also quite unfortunate as it made rowing a much more laborious task. No matter which way the people turned to, all they could see was the boundless expanse of seawater. 

Li Shao and An Li had some of the best physiques among the group. An Li, being a model, was required to maintain both a strict diet and plenty of cardio exercises. Li Shao’s vocation, instead, meant that he constantly needed to be on the balls of his feet, running all over the place regardless of the weather. Xia Yi was a nameless actor, so the company had no reason to provide him a car. As his assistant, Li Shao would’ve been immensely satisfied if the company’s financial affairs department didn’t make his life difficult whenever he applied for reimbursement for plane and other transportation tickets. 

When he’d first boarded the cruise ship, one of his regrets had been not bringing enough money. Now, he was thankful for his lack of foresight. 

He could report the loss of a credit card, but what could he do about physical money? 

Clearly, Li Shao didn’t reflect about the value of money in an apocalypse. 

“I’m never going to sail on a boat again!” Li Shao muttered to himself. 

The chief mate of the Thalassa Goddess was young, well-built, and short-tempered. He scowled upon hearing Li Shao’s words, but due to his nervousness about the group’s abilities, he didn’t dare say anything too nasty. Instead, he remarked sarcastically, “Really? Well, the engines are dead too… Maybe boats are the safest way of travel and people would only die quicker if they were in cars and planes!” 

Before Li Shao had a chance to retort, An Li felt a chill go down her spine. 

How many flights were there around the world? How many of them happened to be in the sky at that very moment? It would be a disaster even if a plane crashed into the runway right after take off, much less those Boeing passenger planes that were flying at an altitude of tens of thousands of meters. 

In the past few days, this very ocean had already buried countless souls. 

Yet it may have been better to sink into the sea. If those huge planes crashed into bustling cities… Fire trucks would’ve been useless, all rescue impossible, and with the intense radiation, there was little chance for the raging fires to be extinguished. On top of that, almost all families nowadays used either liquid or natural gases. Kerosene1Also known as “jet fuel” or “aviation turbine fuel” was colourless and performed its task well… There was no telling how many people would be killed in the following explosions. 

Maybe there was still tap water that could be accessed by faucets, but there was absolutely no electricity left. Those who were smart enough would find every container they had and fill it up with water since once the pipes ran dry, the utility companies wouldn’t be working again. The people would be forced to either fight over bottled water and drinks, or travel to the nearest lakes, ponds, and rivers. 

Gosh, I forgot that a large amount of radiation seeped into the outside water.

“Dammit!” An Li cursed. 

Countries with a functional military could barely maintain order in selective areas, however most Southeastern Asian countries were made up of island clusters. Now that planes and ships were all but useless lumps of metal, An Li dreaded to think how these people fared under such excruciating circumstances.

“…places with human civilisation would be in utter chaos, but uninhabited islands wouldn’t have any fresh water… If they did, people would’ve settled there already.”

“An-Jie, don’t be so down. We have superpowers now what’s there to be afraid of? Nobody would dare bully us!” 

An Li restrained her urge to kick Li Shao into the ocean. 

How could this guy be such a simpleton? No wonder his special ability was only great physical strength! 

“Idiot! Do you have any idea how many days it’d take for us to find an island? Three? Five? A week? If we run out of food and get washed ashore on the brink of death, forget abilities, could you even lift a finger by then?” An Li harshly tapped her temples— they hurt like hell. With her powers came migraines so painful she wanted to bang her head against a wall. Pressing down her anger as much as possible – which certainly hadn’t helped her headache – An Li continued, “Plus, did you forget how you so bravely hid behind me when you first saw a gun? It’s not China over there, with such strict gun regulations. You should be celebrating that we’re not in the desert and trying to make it to the Middle East. Even some of the kids know how to shoot a gun there!” 

Missiles couldn’t be launched because the entire controls system was down, but guns that only required a quick pull to the trigger weren’t affected at all! 

Even though factories could no longer produce ammunition and firearms, survival was still of the utmost importance in the apocalypse. People who were stingy with these life-saving tools would probably die even quicker. 

“Fish!” The captain’s sudden cry startled the groggy people on the boats. 

Li Shao quickly stretched out to see. Right there, on the ocean surface miles away, were several beautiful white lines extending towards their direction. 

Those were waves, but there wasn’t any wind in the air. 

“Amazing!” With hoarse voices, the people excitedly searched for something to fish with. 

“Is it a school?” An Li asked anxiously. Of her share, anything prone to spoiling had already been consumed, leaving only sealed bottled water and canned food. Having fish meant that she could save these products, which would be of great value no matter where they went, further raising their chances of survival.

When the group was dividing up the food earlier, An Li didn’t use her ability to take extra; at most, she’d picked out some of the better items. It wasn’t because she was altruistic or had a good sense of morality, but the fact that she knew her own limitations. An Li only had one pair of hands, and while Li Shao was strong, it wasn’t as if the lifeboat had an unlimited weight capacity.

So after the group of more or less a hundred people took their share, what little was left was given to those who’d stayed onboard to wait for the rescue team. 

An Li didn’t believe they’d ever see it come.  

“Given the waves, it could be a school of fish. Not… sardines, no… Although small fish do like to gather into schools, this appears to be a big fish attacking fish schools from underneath the sea…” 

“Ahhh!” 

A scream interrupted the captain. 

It was a woman dressed as a waitress. She was on the same lifeboat as Li Shao’s group and also possessed special abilities, which was the reason An Li had brought her along not because said ability was particularly powerful or anything, but due to its uniqueness.  

The woman had very good eyesight and could see minute details from far away. 

“What is it, A-Min?” 

“S-sharks! I can see their f-fins breaking the surface!” 

An uproar rippled through the crowd as the trembling people hastily pulled their oars back into the boats. 

The streamline of waves grew closer. 

The chief mate saw the fins and glared at A-Min. “Only call it after you’ve seen them clearly! Those aren’t sharks! Can’t you even tell the difference between triangles and curves?” 

“She wasn’t wrong for being alarmed! Though these aren’t sharks, they’re going to give us even more trouble than sharks!” The captain had experienced many things throughout his life. Li Shao couldn’t help but grow nervous too as he watched the colour drain out of the man’s face.  

“It’s marlins!” 

Excluding the sailors, no one here had more than common knowledge about the sea. Several people were still wondering what in the world ‘marlins’ were while others further up ahead could see the big, dark brown fins and sharp tails cutting through the water. They were extremely fast, arriving in proximity within seconds. The people didn’t even have time to pick up something to protect themselves with. 

“Are those torpedoes?! So damn fast!” 

“Can you eat these fish?” 

“Dumbass, it’d be a miracle if they don’t knock our boats over! Eat them? Can you even catch them?!” 

“Tsk, we could if there were sturdy nets. But we didn’t bring them!” 

It wasn’t that they didn’t bring the nets; the Thalassa Goddess didn’t even have them. Why would a luxury cruise ship be stocked with fishing nets that required heavy machines to operate? 

Though the captain trembled, he didn’t move. 

The big, dark brown fins were coming straight at them. There was no place to hide. 

When the waves drew closer, the ones who lacked special abilities cowered, attempting to reduce their contact with the radiation-infested waters, or at the very least, not choke on it. 

Still, soon enough, screams were heard on one lifeboat.

Li Shao whipped around, only to see all eight people on that lifeboat crouching down as if they’d turned mad. Water was spurting out from a large hole on the bottom. 

Another scream— this time, the victim wasn’t just a lifeboat. A man wailed as fresh blood flowed from his leg and mixed together with the seawater. The man did have an ability; he could also control fire, just to a much weaker extent. 

But everyone had seen the almost-six-meters-long, strange-looking fish, with their long and curved fins, extremely sharp mouths, their upper jaws half a fin’s length, like a sword. It was clear how the lifeboat was destroyed. 

Water soon surged in, the hole impossible to plug. The people withdrew from the sinking boat and desperately swam to other lifeboats. 

These marlins were gone as quickly as they came. Other than the one that was counterattacked by someone who wielded an ability and was now vainly flopping around in the ocean, half-cooked, the remaining streamlines had disappeared into the distance. Marlins were aggressive creatures by nature and accustomed to living over ten meters below the surface. Judging by their panicked movements, it didn’t look like they were determined to attack the lifeboats. Instead, it was as if they were being chased by something even more terrifying. 

“Hurry up!” The captain realised how futile his shouting was the moment the words left his mouth. They were stranded at sea with nothing but crudely-made oars. What could they defend against?

Everyone, including the injured, crawled aboard other boats. Since the food was almost all consumed, it was just possible for every lifeboat to carry eleven people. It wasn’t that the groups suddenly awoke some sort of epiphany about ‘sharing is caring’ no, it was the fact that the two sunken boats just so happened to have carried ability wielders. The normal people didn’t want to nor could refuse them. 

“Everyone shut up! Don’t make a sound!” The captain shouted one last time before motioning for Li Shao to stop rowing. 

Nobody was an idiot; they all mimicked the captain, not even daring to breathe too loudly. 

The atmosphere was gravely still. 

The first to react was still A-Min. She opened her mouth but her hand quickly flew up to stifle whatever noise she was about to make. Her eyes bugged as if she was witnessing something horrifying. The dark blue ocean wasn’t clear, so the others on the same boat could only follow A-Min’s line of sight, staring into the deep, bottomless water. 

It seemed like that terrifying thing went right past their boat. 

An Li saw that A-Min’s trembling settled down a bit. After a few more moments of silence, she quietly asked, “Is it gone?” 

A-Min nodded and was about to say something when a gigantic spout of water erupted from the ocean. An enormous shadow followed, splattering water everywhere. There was no need for A-Min so say anything more— everyone saw the terrifying creature. It was thick and long, its silver and bright red fins shaped like jagged teeth. The half-cooked marlin was now in its mouth, and the creature dove back under almost immediately. Amidst the splashing waves, An Li could only glimpse at the creature’s tall and intricate bristle crown, and its two bright red feelers. 

Li Shao almost fell over. 

What was this? A dragon? 

The looks were somewhat similar, but this creature was too ugly to be a dragon! 

Anyone that looked towards their direction could clearly see the ginormous and horrifying shadow gliding below the lifeboats. Its head and tail extended out a long way and it was as wide as their boats. Everyone who managed to catch a look at it shook uncontrollably. 

What do you mean, Plesiosaur? Loch Ness Monster, who? This?! This!! 

The captain would rather have fainted. After all these years of sailing, few stories remained unheard; however, even those who didn’t sail often knew that those whispered mysterious shadows tens of metres long could simply be clusters of algae. Floating shadows were always something that scared people easily, but seeing this firsthanded… 

According to legends, there were many types of sea monsters. One was octopuses with many tentacles, like the kraken, and others were giant sea snakes that were related to dinosaurs. 

Sailors always laughed at the absurdity of these stories because no sea snake could possibly grow that big. It would more likely be an eel or oarfish! 

Wait, that’s right! 

The captain suddenly jolted up. “Don’t worry! This is a giant oarfish! They only appear at the surface of the sea when they’re about to die!” 

Everyone stared at the captain in disbelief, their teeth chattering; not even the chief mate believed what was just said. 

Look at how aggressive this sea monster was. Does it look like it was dying? 

Beneath the surface, infrasonic waves were being transmitted. 

“…Ceto? Are you lost again? Did you see the marlin that disappeared?”  

The extremely long shadow quickly swayed back and forth. From above the water, it looked quite impressive as its S-shaped body changed from waving back and forth to left and right, giving the impression of a dragon about to fly into the sky. 

But in reality… “Quiet, I’m figuring out which direction to head towards~” It then shot out, hot after the marlins’ trail. 

When the shadow finally disappeared, no one on the lifeboats had any colour on their faces. They all collapsed where they were, unable to move a muscle.  

“Ceto, should I remind you that you’re not poisonous either?! If you don’t go fast, Siren will eat you…” 

“It’s because a group of humans robbed the marlins that we’re chasing, Abyss!” 

“What?!” 

“Don’t worry, I snatched the fish back~” 

The octopus’s eight tentacles continuously poked at the marlins that were trying to escape, forcing them to swim to even shallower water. When it saw the ridiculously long oarfish, its eyes, followed by its head, looked downwards. “Wait, where’s the fish?” 

“…I ate it.”

  • 1
    Also known as “jet fuel” or “aviation turbine fuel”

zfx

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