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- Chapter 47: Reception -


  When the body recovered until without trouble to swim, Claire soon decided to start moving to the south. Cherokee and Douglas encouraged her to take a break for a while, but Claire who took care of Joey did not hesitate.
  The four whales came to a point beyond three miles deep. Joey's unconscious rescue signal has become more and more strengthened, with "bitterness" like tongue stiffening and a feeling of oppression as if the space around them itself is enemy.
  And this time, it is not only Claire who know the ominous incident. Jansen was quietly silent after starting the march to the south, as he was distracted by something.
"What's wrong, Jansen?"
"No. I just remembered a legend. The guy who tell others the story of 'Moby-Dick' will be befallen by any kind of misery as being slaughtered by 'Floating Rock' since cursed by Dick and 'Velella Rock'. I don't believe that kind of stupid story from the outset. But apparently, It is sure I forced to try my luck."
"Those who had heard the story don't get a curse, do they?"
  As Jansen's expression was serious unusual for him, Cherokee asked fearfully.
"There is no problem if cachalot, but humpback may be cursed unless to tell singing to more than hundred whales."
"Oh my Meta-Ceti! I can not remember all that long story!"
  It's so obvious that it's a joke; Claire was too fed up to say a word to Cherokee getting into a panic. She also felt uncomfortable with Jansen who instill him a strange lie.
  When they tried to depart again in the morning waiting during the night to take the utmost care, Cherokee noticed the strangeness of the sea surface.
"Look! What would be over there?"
  The surface of the sea in the south of the direction of travel is glowing brightly somehow. It looked like a reflection of the sunrise or sunset, but the shining up of the ascending sun is twinkling in the normal east direction without anxiety. Of course, it is not sea sparkle since the evening is also over.
  The four whales watched carefully at the precaution and advanced the fins to the white water area. When they swim in, there is a feeling that the molecule of water itself has a faint phosphorescence.
"Umm... it does not seem to be luminescent plankton or oil. I have never visited such a sea for a lifetime of seventy two years. It is a bit burdens to accept at elder's inflexible head that monster ray and shark, murderer orca's group, and this strange ocean."
  Douglas frankly stated the impression.
  As they progressed, the sea became increasingly white and unclear, it looked like dull milk. Jansen suddenly stopped swimming when Claire was progressing slowly. When the three fellows looking back at him, he stared firmly at the bottom without ever moving.
"I'm sorry, Claire. Apparently I am called as a guest. See you again at this sea if we both have luck. If we don't have luck, we will meet at the other sea."
  Jansen said sorry looking at Claire's face, so he suddenly rose to the surface of the water trembling with excitement. He breathed as hard as 60 times as if it is the last time to suck air and then he entered the big diving from fluking up.
"Wait a minute, Jansen! What's the matter?"
  Jansen descended straight to the depth of the unknown trench as if Claire's voice to stop was not heard. His black body quickly melted into the white darkness and disappeared.
  It was when the three baleen whales were staring vacantly at the sight of the reliable great whale disappear into the deep sea. A voice came as if waiting for the bouncer to be absent.
"How good of you to come all the way to see the hell up to the sea in this countryside rounding the Pacific around twenty million miles, the best of mother minke and the extra two. Do you have a lot of pluck, or are you a complete idiot? Well, I don't care whether or not. Anyway, preparations for welcome are in order. Welcome to 'Garden of Mono-Ceti'."
  When Claire gave a quick look, the group of killer whales was there. The three whales were totally surrounded by them before they know.
"!!"
  The three baleen whales drew close to each other while getting tout. The killer whales who surrounded Claire and her fellows had a bizarre appearance that is not in an ordinary orca, just like the corpses seen near the northeast coast of "Whale-Eater Islands". The ferocious killer whales who kidnapping Joey and they have been following after twenty thousand miles now met Clare on the contrary.
  One of the killer whales who came up with a strange welcome speech and seemed the leader of them came forward. The outstanding heterogeneous phase killer whale who has a big sticking out right eye and a buried left eye like dead whale spoke frankly towards the nervous guests.
"I'm Dokugan, the commander of Neo Orca Schutzstaffel. I don't think it will be long for a relationship, but pleased to make your acquaintance. I will serve you as a guide from now on. Come with me."
  Claire gave out courage and force the words from her lips.
"You have carried Joey, my son off, haven't you? Where is my son !? Is he safe!?"
"Joey? Fmm, Joey... I wonder if such a kid was surviving? I feel bad. We have gathered about one hundred of minke's brat from the ocean from place to place, but almost everyone got dead after all."
  The head of a cold-heartless killer whale continued in a tone as if enjoy a reaction that pulls the mother whale hot on his tail to pale.
"By the way, do you know what favorite of killer whales are? There are many one but no matter what the most favorite dish is a kid of baleen whale. It is all order from above that we have abducted your kids, but we are venerable orcas anyhow. Some of them may have stay in the retainer's stomach since they can not endure. Or maybe some of them had broken up as misunderstanding with dolphins killed in distraction. I wonder if you can see if your buddies are mixed in now or not. Whether or not your son was mixed in them can not be ascertained now. Well, it is our orcas nature that tormenting and killing prey. Even if we killed your son, please bygones be bygones."
  Dokugan expected Claire to have a sad face, but her reaction was unexpected.
"Orca is not such a ferocious whale! True they are very noble whales. They don't torture and toy with prey uselessly!"
  Dokugan was surprised at the powerless baleen whale female who denied the remarks as if she was angry, revealing the noble nature of a legitimate orca towards a genuinely heinous killer whale.
"I'll be damned. I have never met a minke who take orca's side. Indeed, that brat grows funny. Well then let's tell you the fact. I will be just scolded even if I haze you too much. Your son is not dead. But he is not safe. To be honest, you will surely envy other parents whose children had died before arriving at the goal, thhee."
  The killer whale boss smiled a nasty smile to emphasize the bad perspective instead of sympathizing with her.
  Douglas watching Claire turning on the unfeeling big killer whale, cut in with questions including the meaning of diverting the topic.
"Are not you 'Fur Faction'?"
"Can you see us as those glum guys? As Mother whale diagnosed, we Neo Orca Schutzstaffel are completely different from ordinary fellows like 'Fur Faction' and 'Scale Faction'. In other words, we are the elite who stands at the top of the biological world. Compared to us, they are mediocrities who stands at the top of the biological world. However, I may pluck out those who has strong fins and ready to convert from Meta to Mono."
  The sea with further increased whiteness was quiet and not be found one shadow of living beings except for prisoners and jailers whale continuing the march.
"It seems that this ocean is not effective not only for sight but also for eco-location without very close range.   Douglas muttered so. In fact, it was due to the poor hearing as he pointed out that the three whales were caught shortly after Jansen missed.
"That's right, the humongo dotard. This 'Garden of Mono-Ceti' is isolated from the outside world by both sound and light due to the great power of 'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel'.
"'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel'? It is a very strange name."
  This time Cherokee asked with the eyes wrinkling.
"'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel' is our boss. 'The Highness' has a force that transcends biological. Anyway, he can control the physical power. Soon, every living thing will know the power of 'The Highness'. We are going to go from now where he is. Listen."
  Claire and the companions listened to the silence wrapped white mist. Then, from the bottom of the trench, they could hear a low groan that goes up and down drawing waves, neither crying nor anger.
"'The Highness' is calling us."
  The three whales became a feeling that the heart was immersed in the ice sea, in a voice like a cry of the creatures ingested by "Black Fat".
"He know that you arrived. 'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel' know exactly what is going on anywhere in the world even in 'Imperial'. Well, let's go."
illustration   Claire strongly felt that Joey is near, while being taken to the killer whales with a terrible appearance.
  Oh, I want to see my son soon; Claire thought.
  The other two whales felt depressed, thinking of the fate to be awaiting their way. Cherokee, who can not calm down when he is afraid, has brought in questions regardless of the opponent is the gang of killer whales.
"By the way, what is Mono-Ceti? Is it parody of Meta-Ceti?"
"Mono-Ceti is the god who we worship. She is a new god completely different from Meta-Ceti. The era of Meta-Ceti is still over, and now the era of Mono-Ceti will come. We Neo Orca Schutzstaffel is crusaders of Mono-Ceti that spreads right teachings and overthrows the statue of idle. It's already old for creatures to keep fins in fin and to do harmoniously. It's crazy deed that killing and being killed pretending to be making friends with each other forcibly. If everyone can not be enjoyed in the world after all, it is necessary for only a strong one to taste authentic enjoyment. We may have to enjoy the killing ourselves dreadfully. Well, I should leave such a tedious talk to the priest who likes the sermon. In short, 'The Highness' becomes a ruler, we become governing classes, and use other waste creatures freely as we want. So 'Child of Meta-Ceti' as ostensible kindness get lost, and in lieu of that, the mass of unlimited resources will get into our bosom."
  It's wrong somewhere... Just as remember love in a young life, Claire immediately concluded that Dokugan's idea was wrong without pass through the complicated circuit in the head.
"Oh, by the way, Mono-Ceti came out in the story Old male told. Was not that 'Furless Seal' certainly believed?"
  Cherokee whispered to Douglas quietly. Douglas also replied in a low voice.
"Yes. It was the beginning that 'Furless Seals' began to misunderstand that the grace of Meta-Ceti is only given to their race. If the same mistake has penetrated even to the whale, this is a serious thing."
  Dokugan who has big ears said as catching the conversation.
"Humph, whether you believe it or not, that is selfish. I'm not particular about religious beliefs unlike someone who is somewhere. However, Meta-Ceti only appears in the story, but Mono-Ceti has more real existence. Though the trinket prophet is not let us easily worship."
  Cherokee asked Dokugan the next question.
"What race of whale is that 'Whale Oil Barrel'?"
  The head of the rowdy killer whales glared with big right eye at the humpback whale, the most timorous of the captives.
"Hey, you immature scrawny whale. If you want to live a second even longer, listen carefully the other's talking. I should have said that 'The Highness' is transcending living things earlier. 'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel' is no longer a messy imperfect creatures. He is not any race of whales. He is not a whale in the first place. He is 'Ultra-creature'. He must be tied to the yoke of life unlike us. He is the immaculate existence."
"No way he does not eat?"
  Claire was surprised and joined the row of questioners.
"Yes. 'The Highness' synthesizes protein and saccharide from naught within the body. It's as easy as a sardine. All he need is 'Spirit of Death'."
"Does he have races, companions and a family? He can not be alone all over the world, can he!?"
  Dokugan looked at Claire 's eyes and gave a meaningful smile.
  If she knows the truth she will be petrified. Well, as she can see soon; He thought.
"There is a rumor that 'The Highness' came down to this sea from the crack of the space-time with Mono-Ceti. Anyway, he has a title of a certain race. But even though there is no relation with it."
  Shortly there are many shadows behind the white haze. Vertical dorsal fins were still ones of killer whales. Dokugan put the three captor whale, and approached one of them here.
  The killer whale was a owner of a big frame above the common herd and even larger than Dokugun who is also large-sized. He who only exceeds 36 feet among Schutzstaffel seemed that he can eat not only three or four seals or four dolphins once but even eat a baleen whale fully.
The black and white pattern of the large killer whale was also disturbed, and there was a strange feature not found in other orca. The uncinate tip of his dorsal fin of 10 feet bent forward, like an ordinary orca with its back and forth direction. If some one look at the way he breaks water with the dorsal fin like a sickle, everyone will tremble up to the marrow. It seemed that resistance of water slightly increases with such dorsal fin, but it did not become a problem for this killer whale whose nature pushes forcibly by force.
"Thanks for all your trouble, the vice-commander. I will take this minke to 'The Highness' from now on. Take care of the remainder."
  This big killer whale, who is felt rough and sluggish against the Dokugan who seems to be clever, was Sakahire in the position of the number two of Schutzstaffel. Sakahire, who does not have a delicate nerve not to put emotions on the face, showed white sore throat to the superior by indicating compliance based on the rule of law while exchanging the eyes with hostility. Dokugan always had his right side facing him.
  Since the killer whales tried separating the three whales, Claire was dismayed looking up at the head of Schutzstaffel.
"Are we not treated together!?"
"Who 'The Highness' require interview is you only one. The other guys are not called."
"Don't resort to violence to the two whales! They just came for me!"
"Don't worry, he-he. Because they will be treat with hospitality."
  Claire shouted to the two friends across the fin, while the tail was poked by Dokugan.
"I am all right! I will return soon with Joey!"
  Cherokee and Douglas' faces looked helpless disappeared beyond the water wall, and Claire became alone together with the head of a horrible slayer killer whale. She felt that Dokugan's right eye has been set for herself wistful so much.
"What are you getting me?"
  Claire asked in a low voice while holding down the fear forcibly.
"I still told you. You will have an audience with 'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel' from now."
"Cherokee and Douglas are really safe, are not they?"
  Dokugan answered with a frosty smile.
"Well, they will not be worse than you."
  Eventually the place where the two whales are swimming was become pure white like milk, which makes it invisible only a few feet ahead.
"Well then, go alone by yourself from here. If you proceed straight ahead there will be 'Imperial' of 'The Highness' beyond the white wall. Originally, a common whale who does not receive 'Baptism of Death' like us should be dead in a moment only just entering 'Imperial' and approaching 'The Highness', but he shall take protective measures with special treatment for you. I will return to the corps again, but it is better for you not to think about turning back. If you get lost in this white ocean, you will never be able to go out any more. Even if you go forward, you can go to where you should arrive. If you do not want to continue to wander forever after becoming a skeleton, and if you want to save your son, don't hesitate to advance."
  I do not guarantee that your son will be saved.
  Dokugan added without making a voice. He lifted one eyes and listen with strained ears, then he urged Claire which does not disappear the uneasy expression.
"Go. Minke the Grate: 'The Highness of Whale Oil Barrel' is here."
  When Dokugan went back through the inverted waterway and his triangle caudal fin has disappeared, Claire became more distressed. No matter how bad the boss of Neo Orca is, it is still better than Ultra-creature. When Claire is boggling, the white light filling the sea increased sharply, and it became dense as if it is enough to make the tip invisible if she expanded the pectoral fin. And a low voice that she can not stop hosting that shiver invited her.
"Come in."
  It can not help it. After all it is a procedure to make me get bargaining table before bringing me to the hostage. Neither Jansen, Douglas nor Cherokee are there anymore. I have to meet a masterminded abductor by myself and have Joey return.
  Claire has determined to go ahead. She was tight with fear but speculated desperately. The last word of Dokugan bothered her mind.
  What does Minke the Grate mean?
  Claire seemed suspicious as to whether she was really moving forward since the sense of direction is not reliable at all, but the white haze faded rapidly as she went a little ahead. She felt someone's signs there and stopped the movement of the fin. As mist went sunny, the figure of the opponent came up. The blurred shadow slowly revealed its enormous fullness. This pattern was familiar to Claire.
"!!!"
  It appeared from the back of the white haze was a whale whom she saw in a dream many times. The huge body, which is one hundred feet total larger than Douglas, was full of monochrome pox and warts, and the skin was occasionally broken. Barnacles and seaweeds covered the whole body tightly, but those colonists seemed to be already dead. That ugly swollen creature, who was not resemble the smartness like blue whale at all, was found to be barely a whale from ridges of the lower jaw and a pair of pectoral fin. And, a white spot, which is a characteristic of the minke whale, was recognized on the pectoral fin.
"Welcome, Claire."
Shark-like white teeth between the baleen in the big mouth opening was found.


To be continued...


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