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- Chapter 39: Disastrous Islands -


  A moment when "Furless Seal" tried to release "Tsukinbo" on Claire's back, a big water sound surprisingly roared nearby "Floating Rock". When that "Furless Seal" turned to the starboard side, a huge black and white pattern pillar rose from underwater about 50 feet away from "Floating Rock" and it struck the water surface swaying.
"Hey, tagger, Catch me if you can!"
  "Furless Seal" stopped doing and tilted a small head riding a little on the constricted neck.
  When the pectoral fin of the whale, who are one and a half times larger than the prey before its eyes, disappeared below the surface of the water, subsequently 15 feet of splendid water smoke was blown up at the portside of the "Rock".
. "I'm here blowing, ho! ho!"
  It saw a pale white back moving smoothly across the surface of the sea. It was well over twice the size of the humpback whale now. Until now, the individual of "Furless Seal" seemed to have never seen the biggest race in the whale races, and so stood on "Floating Rock" as it was confused.
  When the "Furless Seal" was flustered looking at the right and left, suddenly the sea level in front of its eyes broke and the black wall protruded out somewhat.
"What's happened!?"
  The huge head tooth whale bleached beside the tip of "Floating Rock" and glared at "Furless Seal" from a high place over twice the height of it.
  "Furless Seal" standing dangerously at the tip of "Floating Rock" turned over as "Rock" being greatly upset and being petrified with terror. "False Dolphin-Eater" that tried to catch a whale thoughtlessly left the waters where the bizarre whales appear.
"Serves you right! It ran away in a panic."
  The three whales rushed to Claire who was about to be killed.
"Well, I'm glad we were on time. Are you all right, Sister? We chased you after you left soon. We are beaten as you had skipped the speed excessively."
  Claire watched back behind the "Floating Rock" going away, then compared the three whales with a look like as out of her mind. But she suddenly became red with anger.
"Cherokee!!"
"Huh?"
  Claire argued vehemently Cherokee who is flapping his eyes.
"What's this all about as you are just coward!? Was it a test of courage? Did you think that you could get a bride if you do something ruthless? Or did you think that "Furless Seal" was harmless and wanted to watch it? Why you had laughing like an idiot and shaking pectoral fin? Did not you see that I was about to have severe consequences!?"
"Oops..."
  Cherokee backed staggeringly.
"Douglas!!"
  Subsequently, Claire surely turned to one of the respectable race who live nearly five times than her.
"What does it mean not only making everyone imbued with such performance but doing together yourself!? Are not you 'Historian'? Are not you alive for seventy years? You ought to know better at your age! Or have you gotten so senile as you can not understand such a thing anymore!? Do you want to ruin the history of your life and race as you would be killed by "Rock" in such a remote sea!?"
"Um... er... well..."
  Originally this Claire rescue mission was devised by Douglas, he thought that "False Dolphin-Eater" should have little experience with whales and even small minke but their three whales are too big as prey and can not tow, so it is safe first that he was planning carefully.
"Jansen!!"
  Claire turned on the lone cachalot as if challenging a battle.
"What's you!? What do you mean it a little while ago!? Did you want to show off your rugged limb to 'Rock'? Did you want to promote your bravery to 'Furless Seal'? Did you want to show your handsome look? Do you want to be killed easily in the end? You only have to charge against 'Rock'!? How much brain is contained in such a huge head?"
"What's wrong? What on ocean are you going on? Even we had to save you."
  Jansen leaked complaints in a subdued voice, but even the vagabond has been twisted by Claire with a threatening air.
illustration "Every one of you is a great fool! You're complete idiot whales! If you were killed by "Floating Rock"... If I lose not only Rex but also you caused me, I would not know what to do really... I don't care anymore!"
  Claire gave the three whales a fierce look like as a short fin mako shark since she cannot put it into words, turned towards back in a huff and swam away swiftly.
"Damn it! It doesn't make any sense to me. This is why I dislike females. I will never have harem any more!"
  Jansen grumbled.
  The three whales shrugged pectoral fin as could not help it and followed after Claire wearily leaving a distance. Claire did not try to look back on to the companions, swimming quietly without loosing the fins, but she swam slowly and stopped after a while.
  When the three whales thought that as soon as they get scolded and took a stance timidly, she turned around slowly and said with a modest voice and downcast eyes in strong contrast to a while ago.
"Uh... I apologize for shouting earlier. Thank you for saving me. I was very nervous because I became alone and I didn't know what to do. I am very happy that you came."
  The three males looked at each other and smiled feeling awkward.
"There is nothing to worry about, Sister. Commonly said that good company on the road is the shortest cut. We have already decided to accompany you anywhere. There are no complaints, right?"
  Claire smiled gently. As soon as she had a dreadful experience, she felt deeply grateful the care of the three whale fellows.
"Well then, let me show off a song to celebrate the reunion of the search party for Joey."

      The boy is seeking help.
      Somewhere the boy is shouting.
      Minke! Humpback! Blue! Cachalot!
      Hurry up! We are the search party for the kid whale.
      A cheering song that inspires me.
      Swim and swim in the sea of battle with baleens.
      Swim in the sea of sorrow with love, Ah!
      We are not afraid of killer whales and "Floating Rock".
      To keep a little life, we blow the blow of love and courage.
      Claire! Cherokee! Douglas! Jansen!
      Oh! We are the search party for the kid whale.

      The boy is seeking salvation.
      Somewhere the boy is crying.
      Sister! Old male! Master! The young genius "Vocalist"!
      Go ahead! We are the search party for the kid whale.
      A fearless forehead is pitch black.
      Swim and swim in the sea of storm with fins.
      Swim in the sea of tear with love, Ah!
      We are not afraid of sharks and "Giant Floating Rock".
      To keep a young life, we wish for the future of dream and hope.
      Claire! Cherokee! Douglas! Jansen!
      Oh! We are the search party for the kid whale.

  Well, I feel relaxed even if it is out of tune. Oh, I should not think such a thing in front of himself, Claire thought.

"Whale-Eater Islands!?"
  After saying that name in front of Cherokee, Claire regretted that it might have been a mistake.   The four whales were swimming towards the south off the east of the largest one of the stigmatized islands which is the second one from the north, on the strong cold current named the Oyashio.
Oyashio flows along the same course as the Claire's passing through, in the east of the island chain with a momentum of half a knot. This ocean current contains plenty of nutrients as the name mean "current of parents", and it raises many plankton and fish who eat them. Towards the offshore where Claire is now, the Oyashio is forming a junction line that mixtures the Kuroshio, the strong warm current coming from the opposite south side. The junction line between two ocean currents that living creatures from northern and southern meet is also a great "Dining Area" for whales eating fish and also for "Floating Rock". For this reason, there were a lot of bays, which "Fish-Eater Rock" used as the base, lined with the east coast of "Whale-Eater Islands". Among them there was the nest of "Whale-Eater Rock" which made relatively recently.
  Cherokee turned pale and started hiccups, so Douglas told to make him calm down.
"Don't worry, Cherokee. I and your races have been removed from the menu of "Floating Rock" ago, and "Floating Rock" which was slaughtered Claire and Jansen also stopped to work a few years ago as I caught my ears at "Foison Sea" from my friend of the same business."
"But, are there still outsider "Rocks" like the fellow which was aiming for Sister?"
"Yes. But it is only Claire who is a bit dangerous. There's no need to worry about it for you. Even Claire will be relieved because we, who are identifiable for them as different races at a glance, are together."
  Actually Douglas had lied to Cherokee not to worry. The whale of "Front Side" passing around "Whale-Eater Islands" which is rich in "Fish-Eater" is not limited to theminke race, but the humpback race has often victimized being caught in "ghost". And occasionally "ghosts" were sneaked on purpose to catch whales.
"When Claire is chased again, bleach in front of "Floating Rock" that time, Kid. So you may improve in your looks as a male."
  Jansen says while grinning.
"Are you kidding!?"
"No way! Stop the action like the moment ago. Even though It was planned carefully, I was not good for my heart after all. It's all right even if I'm not alone, isn't it, Douglas?"
"Well, if we always listen to the surroundings while avoiding solo actions and checking each other's safety, the risk will be reduced considerably."
  Claire listened to "Whale-Eater Islands". Sometimes an unpleasant sound of "Floating Rock" was hear, but It keep an eerie silence. In the right eye, the Rias type coast looks distant and hazy. She had no way of knowing that there was a nest of "Tsukinbo Rock" that preyed with a dolphin in a small cove hidden there.
"Listen everyone. As I said earlier, I think that here is the key to search for the killer whales who kidnapped my son. Because, even among my 'Front Side' clan living around 'Whale-Eater Islands', missing cases of infants were occurring. I cannot think that it is a coincidence that here is the home of 'Whale-Eater Rock'. After all the killer whales may have some connection with 'Rock' and 'Furless Seal'. Please tell me your knowledge of this islands as much as possible along with the story of your friend who live in 'Front Side', Douglas."
  Douglas protruded the spiracles into the water surface with a flowing movement and blown once, and said like as disclosing several books of historical records contained in his big head.
"OK, I’ll give it a try."

The history of the blue whale race - the short article of the chapter of modern times: Disastrous Islands
"Originally, this island chain consisting of four main islands, which occupies a corner of the northwest Pacific, began to bear the name of 'Whale-Eater Islands' about 400 years ago. 'Furless Seal' inhabited here has fed us whale, including dolphins since long before. It was more than a thousand years ago, but they used only whales who randed on beach, or at most they had caught up whale who strayed deep inside the bay with primitive "Floating Rock". It can be said that is a stage before 'Furless Seal' sudden transformation I mentioned before. However, the indigenous 'Furless Seal' have disappeared for some unknown reason. According to one theory, they had been invaded by a group of 'Furless Seal' who has advanced from the continental direction. It seems that 'District' of the prestigious 'Furless Seal' remains in Ainu mosir, the northern island, and was slightly hunting whales for a while. They are nature close to 'Brothers' who came out in Stella's story, in fact they had worshiped orcas as God, concerned not to deprive the god's bread, so that they had not hunted on a large scale until influence our "District". However, the indigenous 'Furless Seal' have also disappeared. At least it seems not have the same nature as before.
"'Furless Seal', who have newly introduced to these islands, seems to occasionally consume whales in the coast nest which they lived on. That aspect began to change from when the original ancestor of 'Tsukinbo Rock' appeared about four hundred years ago. Of course 'Floating Rock' was not the new high-speed type, so their captured race were limited. Well, let's review, Cherokee. Which race had been take aim at by 'Furless Seal' first?"
"Hmm... They were cheerful gray whales and laid-back right whales."
"Right! You remembered it properly. You surely will be able to sing epic splendidly. As I mentioned earlier, the gray whale race had each 'Large District' in the east and the west of the North Pacific. I heard that their West 'Large District' used inlands sea surrounded by the three islands of 'Whale-Eater Islands' as 'Embrace Sea' for long time ago. But since 'Tsukinbo Rock' appeared and had captured as many as a hundred whales a year, their population quickly declined and the prey for 'Furless Seal' had run out. 'Tsukinbo Rock' which originate from the bay near the center of the largest island in 'Whale-Eater Islands' had been extinct in this area later.
"'Whale-Eater Rock' then moved to another nest and began to grow around the western part of 'Whale-Eater Islands'. Next to 'Tsukinbo', 'Ghost' appeared in less than a century since its appearance. It was not as transparent as recent one which cannot be watched even with echo-location, but seems to have been as robust as we could hardly escape even though we are struggling with the power of whole body. Why 'Ghost' appeared on behalf of 'Tsukinbo'? That is related to that 'Furless Seal' changing taste because slow whales had decreased and it was difficult to get them. Which race was aimed at as prey next, Claire?"
"I know this one! It was humpback."
"Oh no..."
"That is correct. They chased a whale first with "Floating Rock" and let prey destined themselves to "Ghost". They could easily catch whales who swim fast for this. 'Furless Seal' of 'Whale-Eater Islands' came to be able to slaughter not only humpback but even fin and us blue faster than 'Furless Seal' living on any land in the world. By doing so, they ceased to be retiring in the inner bay and reached out to other whale races. In the heyday there are more than forty 'Floating Rock' nests in various parts of 'Whale-Eater Islands', and it is said that a total of over eight hundred of whales a year have become prey in total. It was when one century and a half since the emergence of 'Ghost'.
"But the Golden Age for them has not lasted long. The population of the right whale race who were most captured gradually declined and the number of victims of the fin whale familia mainly in humpback whale race increased rapidly to compensate for it. This is not only due to 'Furless Seal' of 'Whale-Eater Islands'. 'Velella Giant Rock', which routed around the world chasing the cachalot race, came near here as well. They preyed cachalot whales mainly, but occasionally they had also attacked right whales when there was no prey. While 'Velella Rock' was the offensive 'Whale-Eater' actively pushing out to the ocean, Pre-modern 'Ghost Rock' of 'Whale-Eater Islands' had not come out of the vicinity of their own nest. In another sense, it can be said that they were very efficient 'Whale-Eater'. Because they had merely stuck 'Ghost' in the migratory path that we had decided thousands of years ago.
"As for the way they killed us, one 'Furless Seal' clung to the back of a whale who was hit the harpoon, drilled a hole in the spiracles and dorsal fin, and fastened them through the rope to 'Floating Rock'. The whale became prey was unfortunate, but 'Furless Seal' would have also struggled a lot. Well, I will stop describing it in detail for Claire."
  It is quite ferocious though such a small and weak land beast. I'm horrified to open a hole in nose... Claire recalled with the appearance of "Furless Seal" looking up on "Floating Rock" and trembled.
"However, they liked the one usual mean. It is a way to use the bond between mother and child. Their aim was an adult whale with plenty of meat, but calf whale was more easily detainable. Therefore, a mother whale with a child was a good target for "Whale-Eater Islands", so they hurt a child first as the mother can not escape. Although it seems that there was some direction to think it was safe not to take them because a mother whale who is trying to protect her child was dangerous."
"What's all that!?"
  Claire was outraged and said. When they saw her appearance, the two audience males thought in their mind that it is no wonder "Furless Seal" was afraid females."
"Well, if you thought that the old type 'Whale-Eater' was quickly getting rid of it, it was a terrible mistake. Concurrently with those extinctions, the new type of 'Floating Rock' that first discovered in the North Atlantic; 'Rock' with strong killing capability beyond killer whales, appeared even at this 'Whale-Eater Islands'. It was before about one hundred years ago. They proliferate by sending their descendants in a blink of an eye to the back side of 'Child of Meta-Ceti' across the oceans and the continents. Well, we should not use such a metaphor for inanimate objects.
"I do not know what relationship exists between the old 'Floating Rock' and the new 'Rock', but the contents are quite different. It seems there was a reorganization also in the nest of 'Rock'. The nest infiltrated the northern part of 'Whale-Eater Rock' which was supposed to have never been before. Moreover, they disregarded the conventional rule not to advance into the high sea. Or perhaps they were not simply the ability to go out, and that rule was not respected as a tradition of race in the first place. They steadily expanded their feeding stations and most baleen whale races around 'Whale-Eater Islands' suffered great damage. The gray whale race of the western side of the Pacific Ocean 'Large District' got hit by a storm. It can be said that the race of me and Cherokee who live in the North Pacific Ocean saw the danger of extinction by 'Whale-Eater' mainly during this period. Claire's fellows were also attacked here earlier than in 'Fertile Sea'. The number of new type 'Floating Rock' was less than 30, but it was still enough to bury us. As a result, sudden depression occurred and 'Floating Rock' itself also reduced the number.
"It is very difficult to investigate for us 'Historian' as it was a issue at the both of 'Front and Back Side', but this 'Whale-Eater Islands' seemed to be one of the 'District' of 'Furless Seal' who was sending 'Floating Rock' to 'Fertile Sea'. Though it was behind other 'District', it seemed to have played the role of depriving the richness of 'Fertile Sea' by sending seven 'Floating Rock' to come out on the top of the raging 'Whale-Eater' competition. I cannot say for certain but it seems that 'Floating Giant Rock' which was the last one in the world and aiming for Claire's race now is also based here.
"In parallel with sending 'Floating Giant Rock' to 'Fertile Sea', mainly Clair and Janssen races continued to be killed in the coastal waters of 'Whale-Eater Islands'. And then, Dall's porpoise and other dolphins, pilot whales and Baird's beaked whales were included in the menu. Although it is a story that we wants to frown, it is said that there are several 'Bloody Cove' on the coast that kill pods of dolphins and pilot whales into the bay and slaughter one by one without regard to age and sex. As I said earlier and believe in information purchased from my friend, 'Floating Rock' that gets minke and cachalot have been inactive for a few years ago. In fact, it seems that the same 'Floating Rocks' capture Baird's beaked whales and pilot whales on behalf of you, and are alive forever having an opportunity to expand my stomach again. It's almost like this. As Jansen knows about 'Floating Rock' aiming for the cachalot race, I will change with him."
  Douglas said so and passed the baton of lecture to Jansen.
"Well, I don't know the details as I'm not 'Historian', but I can tell you about what I heard from my race here. You heard from Old male that 'Velella Rock' tried to kill us cachalot race in the ocean all over the world. It was the era when Dick was alive. However, the new type of 'Floating Rock' was a more downy bird. When we finally come to recover from the blow of 'Velella Rock' they ran away fangs and attacked us. Just one of the two 'District' which were just migrating to here was crushed by 'Floating Rock'. So, even they had to move the place of slaughter to the south. They preferred to kill males. They aimed mainly the 'male' school and killed only big ones. Because of that, the body length of our race has become smaller, so now it is equivalent to heavyweight even the length like as me. If in the past I would belonged to middleweight. Therefore I have difficulties finding staunch opponent."
"Why did they attack only males?"
  Claire asked.
"That's what I wanna ask. But, as I said before, they do not have difficulties if they try to capture only males, because our pods are separated in male and female. But don't think they showed mercy to females and children. The number of males in our race was extremely less than females. What do you think happened? Because masters and the males who becomes the candidate were killed, the female can not be given the child. The population of cachalot whale has been decreasing. As we think about the time to grow up for us, we will not be able to transcend this situation for the time being. Do you think that a female who robbed of loved ones and could not get the next generation feel not sad? Do you think that they did not cry!?"
  Jansen struck the surface of the water with a tail so that he got angry.
"Uh-oh, the more I listened to your story, it is a scary place. Are all our race members OK? Ryukyu and Bonin are near here, aren't they?"
  Cherokee asked Douglas with an uneasy look. "It seems that both of them had 'Floating Rock' to catch up humpback until about 30 years ago. Now your fellows are supposed to be safe at any rate. Although in Bonin Bryde's whale race was slaughtered until recently and in "Ryukyu" the "Pachinko Rock" is killing Short-finned pilot whale."
"Hmm..."
  Claire thought with wrinkles on her forehead like Bryde's whale with three streaks in the nose bridge.
"Why are 'Furless Seals' of this 'Whale-Eater Islands' sticking to so much to kill us? Are there any obsession ideas like 'tradition' such as occupations and rules which we have inherited carefully in 'District'?"
"What did you say? 'Tradition'!?"
  Jansen lifted one eye and ringed the spiracles with the feeling that it is detestable.
"Hey, Claire. Don't talk rot! Listen up! There are small islands lined where is down south from here over the equator a bit. One of our 'District' is migrating there. I have visited there once and then I heard the story at that time, one of the islands also has 'Furless Seal' nest. They are hunting four or five cachalot whales a year with primitive, tiny 'Rock' and hand throwing harpoon. They have caught whales and lived in the same way all the time. They are close to 'Brothers' who came out in the story of Stella and 'Furless Seal' of Ainu mosir. In one year, that 'Furless Seal' used a new type 'Floating Rock' only once. Many cachalot whales were caught. Then, they reminded themselves, they never had a new type 'Floating Rock' again.
"Don't lump the fellows of 'Whale-Eater Islands' with the southern island or indigenous 'Furless Seal' who lived here from the former. If these guys would have something that could be called a tradition at the very least, why did they switch the target species to kill next to next from the gray whale or the right whale to humpback, blue, fin, sei, me and Claire's race, and pilot whale or beaked whale? Why did not they give us a chance to recover even when our number has fallen, to satisfy their appetite? Why did not they stay on the coast, but steadily going off shore, to 'Fertile Sea' on the back side of this planet, thousands of miles away? Why did they increase the number of 'Floating Rock' more and more and let the stomach inflate? Why did they change the items one after another when 'Tsukinbo' collapse, to 'Ghost', it also collapse to the new 'Floating Rock' or 'Giant Rock', sonar and 'Flying Rock' in the end? Why do they let 'False Fish-Eater' act as one pleases?
"Habits and customs like the way of migration and the 'District' mechanism that we have set for thousands of years are worthy to call 'tradition' certainly. It can be said tradition and also food culture definitely and proudly that you eat krill and I eat squid. It is evidence that we coexisted with those races for thousands years and have not broken the pledge with Meta-Ceti for seven thousands of generations. But what they have not change for only a few hundred years is just to continue killing whales, have they!? If they had thought how it would be involved with their race's pride and way of living, there would not be such a bogus history. They can not have protected the rule of life as living things, so they should not qualify to talk about tradition!"
"Yes. Indeed, it is certain that whales for 'Furless Seal' of 'Whale-Eater Islands' are not necessary for supporting life and are not closely linked to cultures of the race unlike basic food like krill for us. Otherwise, such flexibility will not be beneficial. Even if they have what they call tradition, they seem not to consider as their life style itself including disadvantageous aspects and how their race is unlike all our creatures wishing to inherit the world created by Meta-Ceti as it is."
  Douglas also added so.
"Anyway, 'Furless Seal' here are such fellows! They are the worst among 'Furless Seal'! They are ones I dislike the most!!"
  Jansen has gone ahead while repeating "Damn it!" "That sucks!". Claire and the two males scratched their head, but obeyed him after him anyway. They knew that he hate 'Furless Seal' from before, but today he was in a bad mood especially.
  Then Jansen was swimming quietly looking straight ahead whether the curse for 'Furless Seal' had bottomed out. Then, suddenly he stopped and confidently confirmed it to the three companions.
"My best friend was killed here in old days."
  The three whales silently looked at his profile.
"He was a male who love freedom and loneliness, living on a trip not staying still in one place like me. He was fearless and a guy like a kid in spite of being more than thirty years old. He was really nice. We were willing to quarrel. He was also strong, but I was winning one match more."
"'Hey, Jansen! When I meet you next time, I will break that cheeky lower jaw!'
"'Come at any time! I'm always prepared and welcome you!'
"That was the last time I met him. He was not a guy easily fagged. But against 'Floating Rock'---"
  Unlike the usual deep diving, Jansen entered the dive attitude just by blowing a few times, aiming to the depth. Claire has always gotten into a fuss every time he leaves alone, but she felt wanting to leave him alone without saying anything just today.


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