When a group of sea monsters began saying they were hungry… well, that could be listed under ‘the top ten most terrifying moments of the year’. But if the people were in any other predicament and heard that these sea monsters’ final solution was to rob humans, they may have laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. However, since the passengers were the very ‘humans’ that these monsters were discussing, they found zero humour in the statement.
Li Shao slipped and almost tumbled off the mountain. Na Lin bit her lips and kept silent, but her pale-as-a-sheet face betrayed her emotions.
There were only four people who could hear infrasonic waves, and An Li looked over at the final middle-aged man.
They’d technically been fending for their lives for the past few weeks but somehow had never managed to carry out proper introductions amongst themselves. Therefore, An Li didn’t know who this man was nor what he used to do. The only thing she knew was that he possessed a wind-related ability; she didn’t even know the extent of his power. Other than the time he’d helped propel their man-made sails, the man had barely talked. Nevertheless, given that he could hear the infrasonic waves, the man’s ability couldn’t be too weak.
When she’d first seen the man on the Thalassa Goddess, everyone was preparing to get on the lifeboats to escape. Back then, he seemed to have had a decently-branded suit draped over him, however, there were too many influential figures on the cruise ship and An Li’s memory only worked best in terms of clothing.
As for the man himself… he seemed to have been in some difficult situations, sporting stubble on his chin and darting eyes; he didn’t look like a man who had any willpower or strength.
Surprisingly, the man managed to survive after everything. Unlike many of the others, he even remained quite calm when facing danger. Overall, he wasn’t bad— at the very least, much better than Li Shao.
Though An Li figured that she didn’t have many skills, analysing people should be one of them.
While Na Lin had some capabilities and wasn’t an idiot, there was no way An Li could rely on her. When they were stranded at sea, there was nothing Na Lin could do, yet if they encountered dangers now… she wouldn’t go as far as pushing others to the front to die in her place, but this woman would definitely abandon everyone in favour of escaping first. Li Shao was a little better than her and would maybe hesitate for a moment before ‘closing his eyes and making a run for it’. What An Li was in desperate need of now was someone who could present good ideas and advice.
A whole layer of greenery and soil had been washed away by the tsunami. For those who didn’t make exercising a habit and were suffering from hunger and fatigue, they couldn’t help but slip every few steps. Still, the smell of wet earth brought joy to their hearts as this scent meant they now had hope. The ocean and those sea monsters… it’d be amazing for them to never meet again! Honestly, those who couldn’t hear infrasonic waves were the lucky ones!
The island wasn’t very small and its mountains weren’t too steep, standing at about a hundred metres tall. When the tsunami had arrived, these hills were what had saved the remaining islanders.
Now, they held some animosity towards An Li and her group of outsiders.
After all, the only food available was currently located on the mountains.
When the earthquake stopped, all the survivors ran madly to the highlands, bringing nothing with them. Having lived on this island for generations, the islanders knew far more than An Li on the subject of tsunamis. When the situation was that dire, a moment of hesitation could cost a man his life, so no one dared to worry about anything else.
There were no special ability-wielders on the island, whereas An Li’s group only had one normal person— the captain. It didn’t take much to imagine the result if a conflict broke out; the hundred-or-so islanders could only avoid them. Staring at the group, the islanders’ eyes were filled with hatred.
In a post-apocalyptic age, there couldn’t be any complaints once shelter and food were found.
This wasn’t the time to be bothered by whether camaraderie could be formed— what were they expecting? A proper diplomatic relationship? Well it was a shame that the island’s native language was English. When An Li and her group realised they were on an island around Indonesia, even the most worried person had relaxed. Everyone knew that the natives around here had an awful relationship with the Chinese, so nothing would’ve been accomplished anyway.
After getting whipped awake by the octopus’ tentacles, a certain crab was forced to crawl onto land.
Though it was excruciatingly slow, taking several hours to simply reach the shore.
However, the transmission of infrasonic waves wasn’t affected by physical distance. As the sea monsters continued chatting, the humans were forced to listen to the ‘Sea Monster Broadcastings’ while staring at the gently-tossing waves with complicated emotions.
Finally, a giant red crab aggressively crawled onto the beach and immediately encountered a pile of coconut trees!
The crab didn’t know what to do. While it was big, the monster wasn’t very tall and instead had a flat body. Even when raising its legs, it only reached to about half a metre in height. The obstacle in front of the crab was at least three to four metres, with some places rising as high as five or six metres. It was a real challenge for the crab to cross over these fallen trees.
Thus, the crab turned its humongous body horizontally and then raised a spiked leg in an attempt to touch a coconut tree somewhere high up.
Very good, steady.
The creature then began performing an act that crabs were especially famous for… using it to escape from tanks and buckets in the seafood market =___=
Angling half its body at 90°, the crab was almost doing the human equivalent of a one-handed push-up. Umm, no, not really… Crabs have many legs, meaning many points of stabilization. As the crab continued its struggle, Li Shao quickly spotted something bizarre.
“Why does this huge crab only have six legs?”
The colour immediately drained from the captain’s face as he rushed forward to closely inspect the sea monster. After a while, he slowly released a breath of relief.
“It’s nothing, I thought it was a spider crab… Thank god it’s not, or else we might not be as lucky as we are.” The captain asked with a strange expression, “What is this big guy trying to do? Don’t tell me it’s trying to climb the mountain?”
Honestly, what were these sea monsters doing? Usually, scientists would study themselves mad and not meet a single one of these monsters, yet now they’re all gathered on the surface like a damn parade. It’s indeed the apocalypse, huh? These sea monsters are even climbing onto land! If they’d behaved like this just a month ago, there would immediately be breaking headlines and they’d be captured for aquariums and national research institutions!
Hmmm… speaking of which… are these sea monsters that smart?
A distance away, the crab was utilising all the acrobatic skills it could. Its pincers were stretched outwards for balancing; its body was sideways, almost perpendicular to the ground; its three legs were raised and poked around in search of the best place to land. Once the crab had found satisfactory spots, it shifted its weight onto its three legs then began to move the remaining legs still on the ground. Its body was close to the obstacle— perfect! All I need to do now is to move… One, two, three, and… go!
The crab flipped over with the tumbling pile of wood.
Nice skills, but you’ve completely ignored whether the obstacle in front of you could handle your weight! And great job showcasing the resilience, dedication, and courage of crabs— goddammit! Don’t you know how to take a turn and go around these fallen coconut trees?!
“Pft-hahahahahahahahaha!” Li Shao was laughing hysterically.
The others who’d witnessed the entire failure were sporting twisted expressions, clearly attempting to hold in their laughter.
【Help… help! I was slammed in the stomach! I can’t flip over! I can’t move!!】
The way the giant crab landed was quite problematic— shell first. A bunch of things then fell on top and completely covered it. Only a pincer was left outside, waving helplessly.
The islanders who went to the shore to search for food stared in horror at the pincer the size of an office table.
In the end, someone was brave enough to pick up a big rock and brought it down upon the pincer.
Though the crab hollered, its shell was very hard and the attacker’s strength was limited. The only thing the strike achieved was making the pincer wave and snap much more aggressively. The sharp, saw-like shape was terrifying; once, the pincer caught a tree and left a deep cut in the trunk. That warned most people to stay far away, leaving only a few who were unwilling to give up wandering around the beach.
【Thaumas, go and see!】
【No, wait! I’m not going! Never!】
What kind of joke is this?! Only female sea turtles go on land… and they were there to lay eggs.
“Let’s go and see whether there’s fruit or anything else and pile them together…”
Nobody was listening to the captain’s orders. They were all ability-wielders, and just now, they’d realised that they no longer needed to follow An Li. This island was big enough for them to go and search for resources on their own. As long as they weren’t dumb enough to go look for trouble with An Li and instead stayed away, they didn’t have to live under someone else anymore.
An Li didn’t stop them from leaving. Frankly speaking, what did she have to do with the life or death of these people?
“First the earthquake, then the tsunami, and finally pouring rain… Even if there was fruit, it would’ve been knocked off or picked by the islanders already. After all…” It had been about half a month since the apocalypse began and those who could escape on fishing boats would’ve left by now. Those who remained had probably gone through a fight amongst themselves as well.
“If there’s no fruit, fresh vegetables would do too, but it’s too hard to find them now.” The captain worriedly looked around. Seeing that An Li had yet to understand him, he explained, “We’ve been stranded at sea for about twenty days. While we don’t know how long we’re staying on this island, there’s one thing we must solve first. If not, we might as well just wait for death to knock on our doors.”
“Wh-what?” Li Shao didn’t have much courage to begin with, and by now, he was as easy to frighten as a bird.
Na Lin didn’t leave, nor did the wind-user, and An Li didn’t assume that their choice meant they were ‘with’ her. They most likely stayed because of the sea monsters’ threats and a lack of better paths.
“It’s ‘vitamin C deficiency’.” The captain smiled bitterly. Li Shao’s eyes widened, but before he could say anything, the captain continued. “Back in the Age of Exploration— not sure if you’d heard, but all the sailors and even the military suffered from scurvy. At the time, people couldn’t understand why perfectly fine men suddenly collapsed, covered in red spots. Eventually, these men would contract various inflammations and fevers, which often resulted in death. Back then, communication wasn’t easy so no one knew that when Zheng He1Famous early Ming Dynasty admiral and explorer. sailed the world, none of the sailors turned up with scurvy.”
That was only natural; Zheng He wasn’t setting sail for battle, nor was he a criminal escaping his country. His voyage’s objective was to proclaim the greatness of the Ming Dynasty. As such, his vessels held many items that weren’t necessary for a common explorer’s ship. The Chinese were always meticulously exquisite when it came to food.
“We’ve only consumed water, fish, and some canned crackers. It’s been a long time since we’ve had any fruit or vegetables. During the early days of our escape, we drank some bottled juice that could barely count as vitamin C. If we do nothing about this, if we can’t find any fruit or vegetables in the next two to three months— and we don’t have supplements on hand— scurvy will be the end of us!”
A wave of silence washed over the group.
At sea, Xia Yi groggily cracked his eyes half open, his body without an ounce of strength. Despite there being no sun, he still felt spots dancing in his vision. Frankly, Xia Yi was woken by hunger— his stomach was, once again, aching, and strangely enough, his teeth were as well.
His throat was excruciatingly dry.
There was also the taste of blood in his mouth. After much struggling, Xia Yi managed to raise a hand in an attempt to wipe at it.
Suddenly, coldness enveloped his lips.
Xia Yi’s eyes widened in shock. Siren’s fully-dried hair was brushing against his forehead and neck, the merman’s locks soft like the finest velvet. Meanwhile, the tongue that pushed itself into his mouth was exploring around his teeth in a gentle and ambiguous way.
Siren lifted its head abruptly.
The taste of blood!
Xia Yi felt it too— half of his gums were swollen and likely bleeding, the pain enough to make him frown. A toothache was unbearable torture, and it sometimes developed into a migraine where victims would rather bang their heads against a wall.
My immune system is acting up? That’d be so unlucky…
Xia Yi’s thoughts drifted away again, not dwelling too much on Siren’s sudden actions. As weird as it was, the merman wasn’t human, so Xia Yi didn’t think too much about it. It was very possible that the merman was ignorant of the implications of its actions, or it might’ve mistaken him for one of its own kind.
Xia Yi figured that once Siren realised what he was, the merman would leave.
He would return to living alone.
Xia Yi concluded that his fatigue must’ve been from the excessive use of his ability. Although he wanted to sit up and eat, his dazed mind somehow lulled him back to sleep.
Author’s Note: This is the reason why Xia Yi can’t completely remove himself from humanity and survive solely underwater. Truth be told, I’ve always been curious about how people survived in apocalypse stories when there was no fresh fruit and vegetables. The protagonists were the only ones who had spatial inventories, right?
- 1Famous early Ming Dynasty admiral and explorer.