Cthulhu Gonfalon - Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Translator: Nyoi_Bo_Studio Editor: Nyoi_Bo_Studio
Sui Xiong groaned and opened his eyes. His head was killing him!
“I am only hungover. Why on Earth does my head ache so much?” he groaned, trying to turn over and sit up. Then, he saw that the blue sky and the emerald green water merged into one color; the vast sea extended into the distance with no end in sight. In the sky above him, white seabirds were flying overhead; the sea breeze had a slightly salty taste and blew gently, making the water ripple.
What beautiful scenery.
However…why would he be lying by the sea? Sui Xiong began to recall what had happened. Last night, he was playing games online with his friends, and he’d even made it through the very difficult dungeon. Soon the special item he’d been hoping for finally appeared, and everyone was fighting for it. But in the end, Sui Xiong lost the game, at the point when everyone was trying to get the highest score.
He had been very annoyed by his, and had to refrain from throwing his mouse. Then, he no longer wanted to play the game, so he logged out, turned off the computer, went straight downstairs, and ordered some food and a bottle of beer.
Then what happened? Then…he did not remember, which seemed quite normal. Who can remember what happens after getting drunk? But he lived in a inland city, and there wasn’t even a pool nearby, let alone an ocean. He’d only gotten drunk last night. Why was he near the sea, and why was there no land around?
But wait! There was no land around…so what was he sitting on then? On the sea? Sui Xiong suddenly realized this, but somehow he didn’t sink like he would’ve if he were a character in a funny cartoon. Instead, he was still floating on the sea, and that helped him calm down a bit. So, it seemed that he didn’t need to worry about drowning to death, but he also knew he couldn’t swim.
Then, he suddenly felt that there was something wrong. Where were his legs! Where was his body! It was common sense that he could still see his legs and body if he lowered his head, but Sui Xiong could see nothing whatsoever. Well, technically speaking, he could see something vague, a transparent contour, kind of similar to a human figure. Underneath the transparent contour was the clear sea water, and in the water, he could see fish and shrimp milling about. But, what did this have to do with him? Where had his legs and body gone? Was the transparent contour all he had left?
Sui Xiong lifted his hand to his face. Unsurprisingly, he found that his hands had become part of this transparent contour too. Maybe, maybe, maybe…his whole body had become a transparent contour. Or maybe, the transparent contour was not his body at all but…his soul?
“Okay, at least two things are clear: first, I’m on the sea; second, my body is gone, which means I’m probably a soul.” He then realized that his awful headache from before was totally gone now, which also seemed normal. How could he have a headache without a body?
However, what was strange was that he could still see with his eyes, listen with his ears, smell the seawater with his nose, and taste the seawater when he put his tongue to it.
Then he thought that with his body gone, he no longer needed to worry about drowning to death. Yet his soul could still feel things, so there was no need to worry that he would become deaf or blind—thus, it seemed that things weren’t so bad after all…
“Sure enough, bad news always comes with good news. Just like they say in the movies: ‘What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?'” Sui Xiong told himself.
Despite undergoing such a big change in environment, he was incredibly calm, which was unexpected. He never thought he could contemplate such a strange situation so calmly, rather than freaking out under such circumstances.
“Maybe since I’ve lost my body, I’ve also stopped feeling things like pain and adrenaline, which can influence my thinking?” he said to himself, while trying to move around a bit. Then he stood up, looked around at the sea, and felt that his perspective had indeed changed.
He lay back down, and again felt the height of his perspective change. “Well, I am sure that a soul has a certain shape. It is neither a gas nor a ball, as I’ve read in fairy tales…and I will definitely get the Nobel prize for discovering this,” he murmured. He tried to take a couple steps to see if his body, or maybe his soul, could actually move or not. What a disaster it would be if he couldn’t.
Luckily, he could still move, even walk, run, or jump. In fact, his top speed was even faster than when he was alive! At least he didn’t need to worry about being imprisoned in this endless sea and becoming a wandering ghost or an Earthbound spirit for eternity.
“How merciful that I will not be imprisoned here!” Sui Xiong exclaimed. Then he stopped moving and began to think about what to do next.
As for the question of why on Earth things had turned out like this, he’d already given up on finding the answer. This was all beyond his imagination, and a common clerk like him could never figure it out. Spending time thinking this over would be as useless as those ancient scholars who spent their whole life trying to link the stars in the sky with the fortunes and misfortunes of the emperor. Studying the Confucian classics and ancient books until their hair turned white, they still stood by their duty, which was honorable but meaningless.
Sui Xiong first considered going ashore. Since he was a human being, or more precisely, the soul of a human being, that meant he was terrestrial, not aquatic. So his first move was to go ashore in order to find people and figure out where on Earth he was.
In fact, he wasn’t sure if he was still on Earth or back at the turn of the century. Maybe he’d been transported back in time, but he had no idea where he had been transported to. If it was the ancient era, it wouldn’t be that bad, because a soul could neither die nor become ill. Maybe if he was patient enough to find a way, he could return to the contemporary world where he belonged; but if he if he’d been transported to some bizarre planet or foreign world, it would be a disaster, and he could never get back.
“No, actually, it’s not important where I’ve been transported to,” he told himself. For a man who was now most likely a soul, things like when and where or what kind of world he was in had become unimportant. For now, the most important thing was how to survive!
In fairy tales, souls are often described as something neither hard nor strong. In oriental fairy tales, a fragile soul can be destroyed by a beam of sunlight or a gust of wind. Although he was not afraid of the sunlight or the sea breeze now, Sui Xiong knew he’d be in great danger if he left his soul unguarded. In particular, as he realized this, he became aware of how cold he felt.
The cold wasn’t unbearable but rather a damp cold, similar to the sticky, gloomy cold of rainy days in winter, a feeling that filled every fiber of a man with disgust.
“So, what should I do?” Sui Xiong contemplated. The simplest thing to do was to find a shell for his soul, or in other words, a human body. He looked around, but he failed to find anything suitable.
Actually, taking the form of a human body wasn’t a smart idea, seeing as Sui Xiong grew up in an inland city and was unable to swim. Even if he found a human body, he’d most likely drown in this endless sea. If a human body wouldn’t work, he should at least find shelter.
He took a long look around him, left and right, then up and down. He cast his eyes around but didn’t manage to find anything worth hiding in, so he plunged into the water to see what was below.
As he dived down, suddenly an idea crossed his mind: he had a headache when he woke up, which meant at that time his body was still present. But after he woke up, and because he could not swim, his body must have sunk into the sea, leaving his soul floating.
Did this mean he could get his body back if he went to the bottom? This thought encouraged him as he headed to the depths of the sea. However, after just a few seconds, he became disheartened; he couldn’t swim any deeper than 2 meters below the surface.
Fortunately, now that he was a soul, he didn’t need to breathe, so he’d be fine underwater all the time. Alas, even though his body was in the sea, it would be impossible to find it…
It was still a mystery whether his body was even in the water, so there was no need to fret. The most important thing was figuring out how to be safe.
It may have been an illusion, but staying in the water felt much safer to Sui Xiong. He felt a surprising sense of security underwater, like a shirtless man who could wear a clothes at last, which were neither thick nor warm, but at least he didn’t need to fight against the cold by burning his subcutaneous fat.
“There are so many fairy tales about mountain trolls and water spirits. Perhaps it’s actually safer to stay in the water?” Sui Xiong murmured. From then on, he decided to live in the water and never surfaced, apart from looking for land.
“Among the four basic necessities of life, which are food, clothing, housing and transportation, ‘clothing’ is fine. As for transportation, the #11 bus will suffice, then from there it’s food and housing,” Sui Xiong muttered, while watching the aquatic animals around him.
In the distance, he saw some fish, while close to him, there were some white, semi-transparent jellyfish with thin tentacles. “I remember that most jellyfish are edible, although there are nematocysts on their tentacles. I guess those won’t harm a soul,” Sui Xiong said, “but it seems that a soul should not be able to eat food…” However, he did feel the need to eat something. This compulsion to “eat” gradually began to get intense, so he quickly became very hungry.
Without thinking, he stretched out his hand to catch the jellyfish that was closest to him. He easily caught it with his transparent contour of a hand. More accurately, his hand reached inside of the jellyfish and seized something.
Got ya! He pulled back his hand, and there was the jellyfish (in other words, something he could eat), so he put it into his mouth. He examined it carefully and found that it was only a fleck of light, not the transparent contour of a jellyfish that he’d thought it was. He observed it for a long time and was sure that it was only a tiny dot of light. He noticed that the jellyfish was still intact, without a tentacle missing, and the thing he’d caught was in fact something intangible.
Was it…the soul of the jellyfish? His hunger intensified, so he ate whatever he had caught. As he watched the jellyfish float away in the water, he realized that it had died.
“Indeed, I have eaten the jellyfish’s soul.” He thought for a moment, and decided to catch some more jellyfish. After a while, Sui Xiong was still not full yet, despite the dead jellyfish floating in front of him.
“Now, I can take pride in myself and say that I’m no longer an ordinary human being who would be at the bottom of the food chain if he lost his weapon. Instead, I am a dangerous predator, or in other words, a water spirit in the water.”
Abandoning the dead jellyfish, Sui Xiong laughed aloud three times and made his way towards some fish in the distance.
He was still hungry.