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- Chapter 27: Furless Seal -


  Jansen swam away in the deep sea, Claire and the two whales were left behind again.
"Why did Master Cachalot talk like that?"
  Cherokee asked himself while twisting his neck repeatedly. Claire also thought that why Jansen tells the story of the terrible war of his race at this time and tried to explore his real intention of speaking the last line.
  Douglas did not say anything and calmly watched that two young whales desperately thought to find their own answers to the homework imposed by the lonesome cachalot whale. However, Cherokee repeatedly worried that "I'm not going to sleep tonight" many times, so he was concerned to give him hints a bit.
"You did not know about 'Furless Seal' until I gave a lecture on history, did you?"
"Yes."
  Claire, who was singing in thought, suddenly raised her face and saw Douglas.
"Though I talked about the relationship between 'Floating Rock' and 'Furless Seal' before, the discussion on the origin of 'Furless Seal' among our race at one time. A lot of hypotheses were made. Because there was no way to prove any of them after all, there is no choice but to be suspension of judgment as 'History Compiler' who deal with facts like me. Do you have any intention of asking for reference?"
"Oh, it seems to be interesting. It is not bad to intentionally pass the night listening Old male's story since I may not be able to sleep anyway. Is that OK with you, Sister?"
  Cherokee found that Claire had an unfavorable impression on 'Furless Seal' so he took confirmation with her just in case. She was ready to approve listening only. Though she thought that the theme of solving new puzzles is likely to add.
"Well then, let's talk about some of the hypotheses that are particularly interesting. Though I have no responsibility for the authenticity of each theory."
  Douglas started talking in a bright and gentle tone diligently since right after the story of a dark war. There was no wave sound hitting the shore in the midst of the ocean, only the sounds of blow of three whales echoed by turns in the silent night.

Various theories on the origin of "Furless Seal"
"Many treatises on the origin of 'Furless Seal' have been published from 'Bio-observers', 'Philosophers', 'Metaphysicians', etc., but they can be roughly classified into three types. Three of them are i) Biological origin theory, ii) Inanimate origin theory, iii) Extraterrestrial origin theory. Well, iii) may be put in ii).
"Of course, i) Biological origin theory is that 'Furless Seal' has differentiated from one of the existing species or from an already extinct species. Some have argued that their ancestors are unknown to us, and some say that 'Furless Seal' has different family lines from any other species. Regardless, the theories included in this are consistent in that 'Furless Seal' is a type of organism, or at least derived from a group of creatures.
"In contrast, ii) the Inanimate origin theory considers 'Furless Seal' as belonging to the category of inanimate objects such as the stone on the water's edge, the sand on the beach, and the clay at the ocean floor. It is like 'Floating Rock'. Some 'scholars' think that they are born of something like water, air, or a mass of unknown energy. It is difficult to explain the process of occurrence unlike i), but many of them seek it for volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones or other weather and crust activities. Some one think that it has a hybrid character of inanimate and creature, but it seems a bit impossible to explain the origins of large organisms with a certain level of exercise performance rather any microorganism. In any case, few whales agree since it is meaningless to dwell on discussions on rigorous definitions. The school advocating the theory of ii) focus more on the heterogeneity of 'Furless Seal'.
"On the other fin, iii) Extraterrestrial origin theory is pushing the idea of ii) a step further. Those who insist on this theory said; 'Even soil and rocks basically follow the rules that Meta-Ceti created and they are interacting with living creatures, so heresy of "Furless Seal" can not be explain when we tried replacing living things with inanimate objects. They might be aliens that have gotten mixed in "Child of Meta-Ceti" from the empty space or another dimension where is the outside of the influential world by Meta-Ceti.' Some one also advocate ID (Intelligent Design) hypothesis that they were created by intelligent existence of other celestial bodies. However, deviations from the laws of nature are too strong in this theory, and it is completely in fancy area as regards the cause. And, there is a doubt that 'Furless Seal' would be the race not related to us any more.
"The contract between species created by Meta-Ceti is not necessarily an absolute constraint like the law of physics, and we can break it if we want it; creatures usually do not wish that so. That's exactly as it was in Jansen's story. Certainly, it is Meta-Ceti who advance the hands of time, gave birth this planet and decided the structure of the world, but she do not prohibits us from following our intention within the scope of our abilities, or apply pressure. It seems that she was only setting its "directionality" aiming at living in each style regarding our nature as a living thing. From the time of being unleashed in this world as a single life, every living thing is essentially freedom not received any restraint except 'being a living thing'.
"Besides, even though 'Furless Seal' seems to be unable to escape from the laws of nature in fact. Although not strictly verified, they even eat food and breathe. Appropriate temperature and other environmental conditions for survival of them are limited to a certain extent. They can not live long in the water. And they are probably not invulnerable. Preferably, their heterogeneity seems to be caused by swelling up small distortion which had occurred by some sort of trigger. For that reason, i) is the mainstream within the three schools for the time being. The thesis iii), the most minority among those theories, is quite ingenious and interesting, but many of 'Scholar' who is supposed to this theory are somehow stubborn obstinate.
"Let's suppose that 'Furless Seal' is biological origin. Then, what is its ancestor is the next proposition, but there is also a divergence of opinion. It is boundless if lining up candidates such as varieties of seals, slim polar bears, walrus, dugong, sea otter, skua, emperor penguin, leatherback turtle, marine iguana, coelacanth, crestfish, jellynose fish, bullhead shark, acorn worm, synaptidae, mimic octopus, clawed armhook squid, glassy nautilus, giant spider crab, lion's mane jellyfish, etc. To crown all, 'Scholar' who claiming to be small whales has appeared. As of now, there is no basis to justify the relationship of family line clearly in any theory. Though every race in the list wants to deny. The most influential theory is that it is a kind of terrestrial mammals that we whale do not know much about. If the gray whales of 'AHSWEP' can continue observation, some day there may be an end to the controversy."
  Claire shuddered when she heard that "Furless Seal" might be their relative. She was unpleasant that even they are being a member of the same creatures.
  Suddenly, she felt in her heart that she might have prejudice against "Furless Seal". She thought; "If they are given a life on the same 'Child of Meta-Ceti', I shall equally treat every race without discrimination." Claire pushed doubt away without putting out in expression not to be realized her unrest by the two whales and listen to Douglas's story again.
"The reason, what produced the gap between 'Furless Seal' and other races, and why they had became heterogeneous as called aliens, is still enigmatic, but there are some scenarios drawn. The theory written by 'Great Philosopher' Rosenblatt; 'Why "Furless Seal" began to catch whales?, changing a title: 'The reason "Furless Seal" had lost its fur' is famous among them. Rosenblatt wrote his own theory in a story format for the general public to understand, and one 'Vocalist' has sung it as an epic. Would you learn to tell your fellows, Cherokee?"
"Oh yeah. I shall know some day when I have a good physical condition, ha-ha."
  When Claire looked at the Cherokee by his side, he was smiling a forced smirk. By the way, he did not like long poems... Even though she wanted to know the continuation earlier, Claire made him a little bit ill glaring at his face.
"I want to hear the continuation now."
"Well, I'm OK if only listening."
  "Just because you bother the lessons of the weak subjects so, your friends are making fun of you."; Claire thought.
"Although I feel ashamed a little to talk in front of humpback expert 'Vocalist', let's try with it as well as being 'Narrator'. Please speak straightforwardly if you hesitate to hear raucous voice of elder. In fact the details change depending on which race 'Furless Seal' got branded from, but I will refer to a terrestrial beast here, since the outline is all together."
  "Historian" Douglas blew largely, then he quickly turned into "Narrator" and started a story.

The reason "Furless Seal" had lost its fur
"Long ago, there were mammals named 'Polyphagous Seal' that keep nests to the flatland along the coast like flinging. it was medium in size as a land beast, the body was poor, and did not have any weapons like as powerful fangs and nails. At that time, 'Polyphagous Seal' had its whole body covered with dense pelage. Thanks to them, they were able to keep their temperature temporarily even in cold water. They had lived by diving in the shallow sea, taking seaweed and catching small animals such as sea urchin and shellfish with dexterous forelimbs. They were omnivorous as their name suggests and their curious were also strong. So they gathered up the fruits of the land plants, scavenged for the carcasses of distinct animals, and ate anything as much as they could enter the mouth. they killed even living animals who they could be beat and entered them in their mouths.
"They were such a weak and edacious animal, but other creature races did not disdain them particularly, and Meta-Ceti gave grace to them without prejudice. They also respected other races and worshiped Meta-Ceti properly in their own way. The communication line with her had been held.
"Eventually 'Polyphagous Seal' devised a way to capture live fish. Until then, the living and swimming fish were too quickly to be captured by them. However, they picked up the weak fish left by the tide pool accidentally and were encouraged by initial success. Then, they racked their brain desperately how to get a lot of fish successfully somehow, while giving wishes to Meta-Ceti. And finally they made magic named 'Extension of Forelimb'."
"Come again?"; Cherokee asked.
"I said 'Extension of Forelimb'. Well, Do you know the race called Sea Otter?"
"No."
  Neither Claire nor Cherokee knew the name of that animal not living in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the first time that Douglas mentioned it as an ancestor candidate of "Furless Seal".
"Sea otter is a beast just like as 'Polyphagous Seal' appears in this story. Though sea otters is pure carnivorous, good at swimming, and their ancestor is the race of mammals living in the river. They feed on abalone or sea urchins, their limbs are also dexterous, so they know how to eat the soft body inside by splitting the shell with the stone picked up at the ocean floor. This stone is one of 'Extension of Forelimb'.
"Stone or plant body is the most normal thing as 'Extension of Forelimb' used by animals. Although the nuances may be slightly different, we whales without forelimbs have a kind of 'Extension'. You use air bubbles on bubble net feeding, don't you? We use the bubble, which is different medium from our own body, to catch the bait. We call such things 'Extension'.
"'Extension of Forelimb' of 'Polyphagous Seal' was far superior to that of other animals. Their race was shrewd severely in finding food and devising to get it. Perhaps the reason Meta-Ceti gave such a talent to 'Polyphagous Seal' would have taken advantage of them physically inferior to other races to intend to balance.
"However, 'Extension' they invented invited the result of tilting the balance inversely. They created a number of 'Extension of Forelimb', and then they have undergone transformation with the lapse of time. Actually, 'Floating Rock' itself is one of the most advanced forms of 'Extension' that they made. They had been able to get more prey, more reliably and more efficiently with using them. However, the living beings to be fed could not increase the number or find means to escape according to it---"
  Claire became startled to hear Douglas's story. The bubbles that we spit when we eat are the same as "Floating Rock"!? And also same as harpoon which robbed Rex's life, "Ghost" which afflicts a lot of fish? Are we whale the same as "Furless Seal"!?
  Claire's thought swirled like a whirlpool caused by tides at the narrow strait in her mind. "Seal" is creatures with the same roots as her, and they used wisdom to satisfy their desires like the cachalot whale race invaded war. She had a glimpse about the identity of the distortion that brought such heterogeneity.
"In the beginning, they seem to have used primitive types of harpoon and 'ghost' to catch fish. Soon all animals began seeing 'Polyphagous Seal' with eyes that are different from other creature races. They were more aware of this fact than anyone themselves. Still, contact with Meta-Ceti was kept because 'Seals' still did not abandon faith.
"Why does evolve the inanimate 'Extension', Old male?"
  Cherokee asked with a face not making sense.
"Of course, 'Extension of Forelimb' itself had no ability to evolve. 'Polyphagous Seal' had made improvements or replaced more effective new types they invented. Improvement of adaptive ability by 'extension' brings the same effect as evolution which increases the survival rate when looking as set with 'Seal', so I used this word evolution figuratively. The problem is that the scale was greatly different from that of biological evolution, but it comes out from now.
"It seems that the story has diverted aside. Telling the story by 'Historian' is troublesome as this. One day, 'Polyphagous Seal' went the beach and found a big stranding object that they was not familiar as usual. It was a corpse of a whale launched by the waves. They decided to devote prayers to express gratitude to Meta-Ceti. Individuals who undertake a role equivalent to 'Narrator of the Future' in their 'District' executed the ritual of prophecy and told the members of the group Meta-Ceti's words. The content was like this.
"'Don't put your forelimb to that whale, Those who belong to "Polyphagous Seal". Whales are not your food originally.'
"'Polyphagous Seals' who was extremely delighted getting ridiculously big treats were surprised and buzzed by unexpected words of Meta-Ceti. An individual corresponding to 'Chief Governor' stood up and asked her.
"'Oh, the light that oversees the world, great power. Though, we surely thought that the mass of beauty meat make our mouth water was just a gift from you.'
"Meta-Ceti replied with mouth of 'Narrator of the Future'.
"'They are big creatures to swim the ocean out of reach of your forelimbs. They eat small shrimp and small fish, are eaten by killer whales and sharks, leave descendants, talk about songs and history, and then live a lifetime in the ocean all the time. You do not appear in their life history as incompetence. Even if you indulge in contemplation by watching their blow far away on the horizon from the cliff, there is no further relationship with their race. In any case, it is impossible for you to capture them. If you want to eat the whale meat by all means, promise not to taste except when they are lifted on the land with their lifetime exhausted, though it does not occur once in years.'
"'Oh, great power. Let's do exactly as you say.'
"In this way 'Polyphagous Seals' finished up the carcass of whale completely. Whale meat was greasy and was very favored by some one. It was hard to forget the taste of the whale that they ate once. They thought how good the whale meat would be gotten when they want. They don't know when a whale will be stranded, and they can not wait impatiently until then. But they had already made promises with Meta-Ceti.
"The head of 'Polyphagous Seal' gathered 'Assistant Governors' and secretly consulted the way to get a whale by dumping the pursuit of Meta-Ceti. Unnoticeably, they forgot that great power grant happiness to all creatures equally, and they thought that God should give grace only to themselves. So, it was unconvinced that they were prohibited from eating by the God despite they have ability to win the treat. They felt as if they was hurt dignity since they were said that their race cannot catch whales as disability. 'Polyphagous Seals' thought that God should be convenient for them. And they made up such a God called 'Mono-Ceti'.
"Under the announcement of Mono-Ceti by 'Prophet', they tried to produce a large special 'Extension of Forelimb' to catch whales. After all the boast of 'Seals' was a dexterous forelimbs that can create extraordinary 'Extension' processing various materials. It is said that the prototype of 'Floating Rock' of today was made in that way. There is no way to know how they had completed it. Some one say they had sealed the soul with rock by some kind of disgusting incantation. We whale with only pectoral fin can not imitate. However, we may be rather fortunate without having forelimbs...
"Then, they rowed with it and awaited a whale at the shallow coast as whale's path. As I said before, the target at this time would be gray whale or right whale. 'Polyphagous Seals' used 'Floating Rock' and 'Ghost' jointly to close off the path of the whale and driven into the cove. The whale climbed the shore, and went into the stomach of 'Polyphagous Seals' gathered at once.
"They worshiped Mono-Ceti ceremoniously and held a feast in front of the finest prey. At that time, the voice of Meta-Ceti echoed directly from the heavens, not from the mouth of 'Prophet'.
"'You broke the promise, didn't you?'
"'Polyphagous Seals' looked up at the sky with a pale face. At first, 'Chief Governor' was disappointed, but he answered unabashedly while pretending to be calm.
"'We are keeping promises properly, Great power. As you see, this whale rode on the beach.'
"'But it is because you driven the whale, isn't it?'
"Their chief who knew that tricks should not be valid to Meta-Ceti was more upset, but became defiant and talked fair as follows.
"'Oh, great power. However, we are not serving only you. We have a greater God than you. That God spoke us; "All creatures are sent for your race."'
"'I see...'
"Meta-Ceti said as be disappointed.
"'Then, I'm not wanted here...'
"Meta-Ceti's voice died away there. Their race never heard her voice since then. But, 'Prophet' didn't lost his job. Because Mono-Ceti: the virtual God has given them a job.
"Since that, the 'Polyphagous Seal' race no longer benefits from nature, at least they themselves felt so. Instead, they robbed the wealth of nature by sheer strength. They became more and more greedy, further developed 'Extension of Forelimb', bred actively and spread their forces. On the other fin, their body became poorer since depending on 'Extension' too much, body hair also became thinner, and eventually they could not hold their body temperature without wearing a fur of other animals. Since then, they came to be called 'Furless Seal' and to be looked askance from all other creatures as the heterosexual race.

      "Furless Seal", Seal lost fur,
      Are you missing a fur losing?
      It's cold in the northern seaside.

      Without fur? What's that to us?
      Such a thing is just an obstacle.
      We have "Fire", we have "House" as well.
      When it is really cold, we might only snatch from sea otters.

      "Furless Seal", Seal greedy too much,
      Are you going to the sea to eat a whale?
      You are bold in spite of runt.

      What's wrong with runt?
      We are not afraid of mere whales.
      We have "Ghost", we have "Rock" as well.
      Shellfish or seaweed are not enough.
      Our stomach is bottomless.

      "Furless Seal", Seal admire themselves,
      Did you fell out with Meta-Ceti?
      Will you intend to do without her grace?

      What's about Meta-Ceti?
      We don't want to accept charity.
      We have "Power", we have "Wisdom" as well.
      Let's make beasts and fish obey.
      Since we are rulers, we are God!

"That's all."
  Douglas said so and finished the story.
illustration "Hmm... What was it like 'Furless Seal' hair grew? Though those who riding 'Mini Rock' had really strange skin."
"This is just an imaginary story that our colleague thought. Because no whales had observed the real life of 'Polyphagous Seal'. As 'Great Philosopher' Rosenblatt, it seems that he had conceived with the conviction that it have actually happened including interaction between 'Seal' and Meta-Ceti, as a result of careful consideration. The truth drawn in the story is different from the truth written in history. But I will leave it to your own judgment for what make allowance from there, as well as history I told."
  Douglas narrowed his eyes and gazed gently at the two young whales.
"Why did not Meta-Ceti try to rectify 'Furless Seal' same as when she warned cachalot whale and giant squid?"
"You're kind of whale who feel bad if no doubt be had on anything, Sister."
  Claire let her mouth rise to Cherokee's jeering.
"Because I don't want to leave it unknown."
"Well, the war of cachalot continued with dozens of generations, but the tempo of the change caused by 'Furless Seal' is too fast, so there is no time Meta-Ceti might be aware of it. Or maybe they are beyond her capacity..."
  Claire compared again the plots of the two stories that Douglas and Jansen told. In the two sets; "cachalot whale - giant squid" and "'Furless Seal' - whale", there seems to be a definite difference somewhere, while these are same as relationship eat and be eaten.
  She thought; What was the last word of Jansen? Certainly, there is a race which do not signs a contract with another races and protect it.
  Looking at Claire thinking hard, Douglas added.
"'Furless Seals' are indeed adepts of dealing with 'Extension of Forelimb', but using 'Extension' is not a bad thing itself. We whale also use air and sound. There are many races that use 'Extension' in some sense. As mentioned in the 'Furless Seal' origin theory earlier, there are countless exchanges including both creatures and inanimate objects in our world. It is based upon the authorization of Meta-Ceti. Nonetheless, there are no other species other than 'Furless Seal' in the vast living world, which have 'Extension' comparable to 'Floating Rock', or even a bit like it. After all, there will be a decisive difference somewhere from that of other animals. It will be a matter of the making side in the final analysis.
"They distorted the character of Meta-Ceti's grace, made a false God that did not exist instead of her and believed earnestly in the end. Therefore, they did not notice that they left behind by Meta-Ceti and did not want to regain her trust unlike cachalot whales and giant squids. And at last they reached the point of creating the new type 'Whale-eater Rock' of today. 'Extensions' are still out of their forelimbs, and conversely they have become dominated by 'Extensions'. They depend excessively on 'Extension of Forelimb', deprive life of the other creatures more and more, and have been parasite that can not survive unless eating away 'Child of Meta-Ceti'... Oh, from when do I start trifling hypothesis? I am too old, ho! ho!"
  Claire learned a lot from the stories that two elderly whales told her and from the experiences of this journey about the things that she has not known and not thought deeply.
  She thought; If the rules of the world created by Meta-Ceti are not to bind us, can we always fall like "Furless Seal" depending on our will, like as the former cachalot race who committed a crime of war?
  She recalled the killer whales kidnapped Joey.
"Will Master come back..."
  Cherokee said in a murmur.
  looking at the profile of Cherokee, who has still a guilty conscience, Claire told him to encourage with a bright voice.
"You don't have to worry. It is certain that he will soon show up with nonchalant look."
"You are pretty confident."
  Suddenly the three whales found ahead a black figure swimming in the sea the dawn light coming through.
"Hey, I'm tired of waiting because you are so late. Are you slow than cachalot despite baleen whales?"
  Jansen grinned three baleen whales with a look that seemed to completely forget about Cherokee's "Watching".
"There you are, I told you so."
  Claire winked with a triumphant air.


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