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- Chapter 41: Spirit of Death -


  Emergency call from Claire arrived when Cherokee and Jansen finished a small deep-sea trip and returning to the surface of the water.
"Will you come quickly?"
  The voice for long distance communication that Douglas gave her seemed tense a little.
"I wonder what happened for them?"
"We will see when we get there."
  The two whales lightly blew and immediately headed to the shore.
  Cherokee and Jansen arrived in less than two hours to the place where Claire is. As she and Douglas clearly appears in sonar at the distance, Jansen stopped his fins. Because, there was another shadow with a small whale's one besides the two whales.
"!?"
"Don't worry. But..."
  It was a killer whale hanging on the ceiling of the waves. It did not breathe yet.
"What happened to this killer whale?"
  Cherokee asked Claire and Douglas who were staring at the corpse of the killer whale with a stabbed face. He circled the corpse while looking at it timidly and arranged with the two whales.
"I don't know. When we came it was here."
  Claire could not bear to look at that strange dead body and turned her eyes. But Jansen fearlessly approached the large forehead and began autopsy.
"Hmmm..."
  That killer whale was completely eccentric. Although it was a male, the length of the dorsal fin was shorter than orca of females or children, and instead there was a large knob like a tumor in the part before. Perhaps, fat filled in it. The carcass was floating on the surface of the water with a knobby back on top. The black-and-white pattern that should be smooth and beautiful was terribly irregular and asymmetrical.
  It was way to his die even more abnormal than her appearance. The dead body has been wounded in the body, especially caudal fin and pectoral fin were bitten terribly. The corruption has not progressed yet, it seems that it has not passed many days since he died.
"Even though it's impossible that this fellow is 'Scale Faction', there is no one in the 'Fur Faction' such a strange body. Although the figure is big. I've never met such bastards since I was born. What do you think, Old male?"
"Whichever page of my history book turns over, no orca with such an irregular limb will appear. Even if you ask the other whale 'Historian', including the killer whale race, the answer will be the same."
"In any case, this seems to be a member of kidnappers which we are chasing. Probably there is a quarrel in the group."
  As Claire expected, it was clear with this that the killer whales accompanying Joey swam in this "Whale-Eater Islands". While Claire was impatient to wanted to see Joey, she thought that this corpse implied that they stepped into the area of sinister death.
  Unexpectedly, Douglas, who was watching the signs of the neighbor, asked the cachalot.
"Jansen, did you notice something?"
  Prompted by the elder blue, Jansen tried to illuminate the surrounding sea with sonar.
"Hmm... It is certainly strange. Inhabitant fish of this area seems different from elsewhere."
"Speaking of which, it seems that water here is somewhat warm."; Claire said.
  The sea area where the four whales are now is still under the influence of the cold Oyashio and the surface seawater temperature does not exceed twenty degrees in this autumn season, but only near this shore the water temperature is high one or two degrees. Fish are also sensitive to slight temperature differences, so the races that originally lived in this region hated the heat, and they moved and surrendered the house to the warm regional fish. Even so, the number of fish seems to be decreasing overall, except for some races who prefer warm water.
"Look. Seaweed also does not grow."
  Indeed, as Douglas pointed out, the living things who live on rocks at the ocean floor and algae that can not move to a cool place are getting less clear. Unlike regular seasonal changes, the sudden rising of the water temperature here was one of the reasons for depopulation of living creatures in the sea area. What exactly is causing this incident in the sea?
  Cherokee casually unveiled his face from the surface of the water came to notice and told everyone.
"Somewhat! There are something stinky on the land."
  On the choppy seashore, mysterious things like made chalks stood on line. Unlike nature objects that were created by waves, rain and winds cooperate with living things over a long time, the shaped objects that give bizarre impression lacking harmony are often observed in the land of the seaside, especially it was infested to fill the shore of "Whale-Eater Islands".
"That surely is the nest of 'Furless Seal'. But I don't like it."
  Jansen also done spy hop next to Cherokee and looked at a group of huge structures like a combination of cylinders and cubes.
"Hey you. I don't want to stay quiet enough here somehow."
  Claire expressed anxiety with a low voice.
"Yes. There is no doubt that the killer whaled went through here, but now it seems not to stay around here and there is no sign of coming back. This place is not extraordinary, but we can not find a remarkable clue to know Joey's residence. I agree with Claire."
"The water here looks bad smell. It is no wonder that fish will disappear. There's no point in staying here any longer."
"Of course I follow suit."
  By leaving this place immediately, the opinions of the four whales have agreed.
  Suddenly Claire felt that certain ingredients disturbing one's heart were contained in the seawater in this area and she asked Cherokee.
"Hey, Cherokee, do you remember? When I was chased by the group of the killer whales along with you in front of coral reef islands in the South Pacific."
"I don't want to remember, but I remember it."
"I feel that sea here resembles somehow on the atolls where the killer whales jumped into like crazy at that time. I can't explain it well even if told why."
"Hmm... Well, we had better move earlier somehow."
  The four whales left the scene of the outrageous killer whales' infighting and steered towards the south. Claire once looked back the dead bodies with black and whit spots full of scratches floating on the water surface, and had a presentiment anxious for Joey.
  What Claire and the three whales saw there was a huge "Shellfish" built by "Furless Seal". This "Shellfish" strictly protected by solid shells is actually similar to a bivalve of the living thing. "Shellfish" firmly rooted on the shore like an oyster had an inlet pipe and a drain pipe. A water intake pipe that drinks a large amount of water of 600 tons per second sucks larva of real shellfish and other living creatures, fish fry and eggs at the same time. There is something like a gill at the back of a water intake pipe like a shellfish and it filters out a lot of microscopic creatures who sucked in, but What is decisively different from genuine shellfish is not to eat those creatures. It just kills them. And water which is about 7 degrees higher in temperature is spilled out from the water drain pipe. Poisons to prevent barnacles etc. and infinitesimal "Spirits of Death" were included among the excreted warm water.
  This "Death Shellfish" was to bring out energy from the spiritual power of "Spirit of Death". "Spirit of death" is sealed in the rocks deep inside the earth, so "Furless Seal" digs this rock and crosses the ocean far to the "Whale-Eater Islands", then they concentrate the element of "Spirit of Death" and heat it in the shell of "Shellfish". Then, "Spirit of Death" dance a dance of death that they hit each other in the shell and divide and proliferate. It is the role of "Death Shellfish" to boil a lot of hot water with that energy. What will they do with boiling water? "Furless Seal" seems to be using it a lot for purposes other than basically necessary to live.
  This "Death Shellfish" sometimes worsens the physical condition. In nearby offshore where urine of "Shellfish" is spitting out, thousands of fish occasionally float with white belly up. A kind of "Shellfish" with inland nature like a snail suddenly caused a spasm and died. At that time, "Spirit of Death" that was in the stomach pierced through the shell, ran away and began to work evil around the world. "Furless Seal" who are frightened by the fear of "Spirit of Death" are careful about the health of "Death Shellfish", but this "Shellfish" seems inherently possesses the possibility of getting sick. It is difficult to boil hot water too easily.
  For all creatures including the whale races, "Spirit of Death" was invisible to the eyes, not smell on the nose, only detectable by death. However, only Neo-Orca Schutzstaffel, the death child who was baptized by "Spirit", was an exception. When they touched the extract of that death which is full of their birthplace, they tasted an emptiness of euphoria; "Ecstasy of Death".
  For the Antarctic Ocean Expedition, their duties were meant to be isolated for a year from their ecstasy. When they fulfill the mission and return home, they will supposed to be immersed in happiness that shortens their life expectancy, but some one showed a condition similar to withdrawal symptoms. In front of the goal, they sniffed the existence of a slightly drifting "Spirit of Death". Several orcas who became impossible to endure the smell and taste that flowed from the banks of "Whale-Eater Islands" were attracted and left the formation.
  Dokugan, even though he himself was longing for taking "Spirit of Death" as much as possible, he punished those who disturb the rule against severe punishment. Kobutsuki who tried not to leave this place by all means was executed in a fellow's fin while immersing in a dreamy place, and expose miserable dead.

  As approaching "Whale-Eater Islands" and descending to the south, the four whales could not help feeling it. It is that the number of drifting objects has increased dramatically. It is still good if it is driftwood, palm fruit, algae etc., but "Black Fat" which gives off an unpleasant smell, "False Jellyfish" which sea turtles clog the intestines by accidentally eating it, "False Krill" which is the enemy of seabirds, the part of the "Ghost" and " Ghost ball " which stuck with it went through visibility all the while.
  The migration route connecting the "Embrace Sea" and "Fertile Sea" which is the living area of Claire's "Back side" clan of minke whale was far away from the land where a lot of "Furless Seal", so that babies were curious and came close to approaching when there was unusual drift. However, to pass thorough avoiding them had difficulty in this "Whale-Eater Islands" ocean. It is tough to not swallow it carelessly, besides whales can not remove items that have entered the body of a meal fish or squid. More bad "Spirit of Disease" is also prevalent in the waters around this area, it was quietly progressing that stillbirth and miscarriage have occurred and strange epidemics have prevalent among whales. "Indeed, this is not 'Whale-Eater' but 'Ocean-Eater Islands'. They eat whales, eat fish, eat other creatures, swig seawater, crush the shore, squash dirty shit and urine in the end. I don't like it anymore."
  The four whales passed the peninsula which is the southeast corner of the folded "Whale-Eater Islands" and turned the course to the west. "Floating Rock" aiming for Baird's Beaked Whale has settled down there, and in the summer it was hanging around seeking them in the waters of the north beyond half a mile. In the area around that "Beaked whale-Eater Peninsula", an elongated bay opened its mouth southward.
"It's just like a ass hole of 'Whale-Eater Islands'"
  Jansen said with a grin.
"Don't say vulgar things!"
  However, his metaphor was not a mistake. Especially a lot of drifting and oil flow out from this bay. The color of the water is cloudy and dull to the blue-green, and the difference from the indigo color of the offshore appearance is clear at a glance. On the surface of the sea, large and small "False Jellyfish" drifts in swarms, and sludge covers a whole surface of the sea floor. The far side of the bay was full of "False Shellfish" built by "Furless Seal", and there were few natural coasts worth watching. Nevertheless, as the voices of tough creatures that survive the frequent occurrence of oxygen deficiency are heard a little, this bay has not yet stopped heart rate.
  On the other fin, inside this bay was crowded with "Floating Rock" like a breeding ground of penguins or seals. From the huge "Oil-Eater Giant Rock" as much as accident in "Foison Sea" to the "Mini Rock" which size is not half of Claire, the variety was quite varied. While those "Floating Rocks" frequently came and go, a number of "Floating Giant Rocks" floated as if they were sunbathing. It was unexpected to Claire that one of those "Floating Giant Rock" would be rested to slaughter her race to "Fertile Sea" two months later.
"What will you do? Do you look at the ass hole inside?"
  Claire could not hide hesitancy to get inside it. If I swam there I will get sick in a couple of days, Claire thought.
  Claire emitted a voice calling and an echo for location towards the bay. But there are only "Floating Rocks" that are spinning inside, and not any big creatures like whales in the end. Although the finless porpoise race was free to enter and leave here ago.
"In my opinion, probably there is a large colony of "Furless Seal" here that will enter the top class even at 'Whale-Eater Islands'."
"I wonder why they can live in peace often in such places."
"Let's examine other places first and consider if Joey still can not be found."
  Claire has not made up her mind to move forward, and made a choice to turn buck.
"Will you postpone the ass?"
"Act properly!"
"The fact that the anal and the central nerve are adjacent is almost like a cephalopod."
"And you too, Douglas!"
"Ho ho, I'm sorry."
  It was when Claire and the companions tried to leave behind the crowning bay of "Floating Rock". Someone from the back launched sonar sounds for the four whales.
  Claire was surprised for a moment thinking that there was some other whale in the waters where the eyes could not be opened as well. However, the sound that pierced through their body is not of any whale races. The abominable sound that was emitted to confirm her whereabouts as a prey was instantly evoked from Claire's memory. She turned away and emitted a caution sound towards her friends.
"Everyone, 'Floating Rock' comes! Be careful!"
  When sending a sonar from here to try to verify the identity of the opponent, the shadow that seemed like a group of "Floating Rock" bounced back. There were "Floating Giant Rock" which were asymmetrical shapes exceeding twice of "Whale-Eater Giant Rock" and four "Floating Rocks" which are large and unknown type surrounding it. No, there are still others. Two "Sunken Rocks" completely submerged in the sea also proceeded with a creepy grove so that they follow perfectly the five "Floating Rocks". It was probably "Sunken Rock" that emitted sonar on the four whales discretely.
  The strange "Floating Rock" formation has crippled waves arrogantly without changing the speed. After Claire rose cry of dismay, they have no longer paid any attention to the whales. Does the flock of "Floating Rock", which is too big for just "Whale-Eater", will possibly go to destroy whale's "Large District" altogether?
illustration   Jansen murmured with a low voice while watching 'Floating Giant Rock' and its group passing by as to intimidate the whale's side by side.
"They are not 'Whale-Eater', but 'Rock-Eater'."
"'Rock-Eater'? If you say, do they eat rocks at the ocean floor? Or maybe..."
  Following Cherokee's question, Janssen answered.
"Of course, they eat not rock but 'Floating Rock'. So in other words, they are 'Furless Seal-Eater Rock'."
"You mean their cannibalism?"
  Next time Clare inquires with surprises.
"No, They don't eat them. They just kill them. It is like that they always do against many creatures."
  When she was watching "Floating Rock" swimming pushing seawater, she could understand even if explained as "Floating Rock-Eater Rock" indeed.
"'Furless Seal' repeats the war, that one our race had done only once before 7000 generations seems to be a quarrel between the baby whale, many times for this one hundred years. When they start a war, all kinds of races get involved, so they can not handle it. As an example, let's tell you about the damage we cachalot race received. A while ago they started war in islands near the peninsula of the 'white continent'. The same kind of 'Sunken Rock' which is swimming over there now killed our innocent fellows. Perhaps they made a mistake as an enemy 'Sunken Rock'. Their killing is more destructive and creepier than the 'Whale-Eater' harpoon. They kill us remotely. The victims are transformed into unrelated mutilate corpses that can not keep the prototype. Well, it would not be able to destroy 'Floating Rock' without such a power."
"Heaven forbid! There is even more scary 'Floating Rock' than 'Whale-Eater'"
  Claire also agreed with Cherokee's impressions.
"Just before and after the time I was born, there were great wars of 'Floating Rock' each one. When talking about the history of my race earlier, I said that 'Whale-Eater Rock' had stopped appearing in a bust in 'Fertile Sea' for a few years. Just about the time there was the second world war of 'Floating Rock', probably it is why 'Whale-Eater' ceased to visit. I heard that 'Rock-Eater Rock' were fighting fiercely like being crazy all over the North Pacific. Especially it seems to have been furious in the vicinity of 'Whale-Eater Islands'. Although I do not know the details since I was evacuating to the hemisphere of 'Back Side'. 'Rock-Eater' is said to have liked 'Whale-Eater', but there is a more eerie story that 'Whale-Eater' will turn into 'Rock-Eater' during wartime."
  Claire turned her eyes again to 'Rock-Eater Rock'. While listening to the story of the two elderly whales, the feeling of tension when sonar was passed through Claire first was revived, and she shuddered.
"Anyway, why do 'Floating Rock' kill each other at all?"; Cherokee asked.
"I don't know. 'Floating Rock' has neither sex nor blood, and I do not think that they has a territory same as other creatures as far as I see 'Civilian Rock' that goes in and out all over the year. It is certain that they have no decent 'Chief Governor'. But... Are you smelling blood and fat?"
  When listening to Jansen's words, the three whales alternately looked him and 'Floating Rock'.
"We don't have a keen nose, Master."
  Cherokee asked him wondering.
"You can understand it even if you don't have it. Smells of blood and fat of 'Child of Meta-Ceti' are soaked into their cold skin of minerals. Blood is the blood that every living thing flows. The fat is 'black fat' that calls death and we were encountered off Alaska. They're thirsty for their blood and fat... Hey, Look at there!"
  Jansen who was sending a cold gaze to 'Rock-Eater Rock' gradually getting away from the party shouted suddenly.
Two small shadows were stuck just behind "Sunken Rocks". Even though it was small, there was a body length of 27 feet.
"That's Killer whales!"
  The two killer whales danced round as if they were drunk while approaching or getting away from "Sunken Rocks". That behavior reminded the three killer whales that jumped into their ominous atoll in the South Pacific. "Sunken Rocks", which depend on "Spirit of Death", were completely indifferent to the heretical creatures who love them enthusiastically.
"I don't like it..."
  The four whales kept silent and saw behind the bizarre group of a combination of the strongest inanimate objects and the strongest creatures unwelcome in the ocean. The herd of "Envoy of Death Rock" without life, loaded a lot of "Death Cylinders" to inform the living beings with their strengths, left for the sea in a different area while accompanying the creatures worshiping the deity of death. Looking for blood and fat.


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