Cthulhu Gonfalon - Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Translator: Nyoi_Bo_Studio Editor: Nyoi_Bo_Studio
The sun was shining and the seawater was warm.
In the warm water, a gray monster moved quickly. It had a long oval body with two distinct ends: one sharp and angular, the other round. A thick gray outer skin covered its body, which culminated in a clump of many powerful tentacles.
It was chasing fish of all sizes, small or big, and killing everything it could possibly catch. Its prey eventually became lifeless bodies, floating on the sea in a trail of death behind the monster. Only a select few enjoyed the privilege of being carefully chewed by this gray monster; if they tasted good, the monster might even have enjoyed it. Even those that didn’t taste good were never spit out, seeing as this monster wouldn’t dare to waste valuable resources.
This powerful monster was the jellyfish’s body possessed by Sui Xiong.
Even turtles with their hard shells and seabirds flying overhead could not escape him. With each passing day, he grew bigger and bigger, and fiercer and fiercer as well. He seemed to have no natural enemy in this world: he could do anything he wanted and go anywhere he wanted. He was enjoying himself and thriving, like when a gamer’s character levels up and becomes unstoppable by defeating monsters and running up a high score.
“How long has it been since I was transported?” Sui Xiong thought, after having a nice meal and bathing in the sun. He had no clue: he hadn’t been recording the days, so he’d totally forgotten. He had gradually gotten used to his current life, his new identity—a fierce creature at the top of the food chain, a terrifying sea monster, an overlord moving through the shallows with nothing to fear.
Still, although he hadn’t found a way to leave this body yet, he didn’t really mind. This body was much better than that of a human being. For example, the tentacles (which he’d improved a few more times) were so much better than the hands and feet of a human being; the propeller brought him up to speeds that a human could never reach; and he had the firm, thick outer skin too, armor so strong that even the Golden Shield and the Iron Cloth from Chinese fairy tales couldn’t compare to it. In the water at least, this body was perfect.
Also, by hunting and devouring the souls of many weak creatures, his own soul had gotten much stronger. Now, he could swim deeper than before, and the area in which he could attack to extract his preys’ souls had become much larger. He thought himself almost invincible.
“Now it is time to challenge the more difficult dungeon!” Sui Xiong told himself, looking into the deeper, creepy water in the distance. He had a gut feeling that there was an extremely powerful enemy down there.
“What could it be? A big fish? Maybe not, and to be honest, a big fish is just a heavier pile of meat. Could it be a sea monster then? Maybe. Perhaps it might think I’m coming to occupy its territory. Or maybe…it could be a giant whale, the same breed as the one that almost killed me before?”
Sui Xiong felt his heart tingle when he considered this last possible scenario. He had never been a generous person. He believed the quote from Game of Thrones that “a Lannister always pays his debts”, and that was his guiding principle in life. As a powerful man himself now, he also wanted to fight a powerful rival.
In the endless sea, he had no concept of time or even where he was. Only one thing could revive his heart, a heart which was gradually becoming emotionless, and that thing was fighting! Yes, fighting! He had a gut feeling that this powerful rival would appear from a certain direction, so Sui Xiong turned that way and prepared to fight.
After a short while, from the deep sea, a big shadow gradually began to reveal itself. It had a huge body and a sharp horn: it was him, the same giant whale with a unicorn horn. Watching it approach, Sui Xiong started to sneer.
“You have come at the right moment! You and I will have a good fight and put this personal grudge behind us once for all! To be honest, I’m quite curious about how a big guy like you tastes…” It was quite clear that this whale was the one which had almost killed him before. Just like the saying that “a man who thinks too much gets old much easier”, Sui Xiong wanted to stop thinking and start fighting!
Looking at this imposing sea monster ready to fight, the whale became very cautious. This time, it didn’t swim straight toward Sui Xiong; instead, it slowly approached and then stopped. Sui Xiong carefully sized up the whale and found that it too had a streamlined body, with an upper half of pure black and a lower half of slight white. Its two big eyes kind of looked like a human’s, and the horn on its forehead made it look very dangerous. Somehow, Sui Xiong’s couldn’t take his eyes off that horn, and every time he saw it, it made him more alarmed.
It seems that horn is a powerful weapon! He silently thought about what tactics to use. “A head-on confrontation won’t work. I’d better wait until it begins to swim towards me. Then I’ll swim up to it, stop right beneath it, and attach myself to its stomach by winding my tentacles around it. At first it won’t suffer much, but then I’ll smash it so hard even its own mother won’t recognize it!”
Now that he’d decided his tactical approach, he became less anxious and began to wait at ease. But it seemed that the whale didn’t intend to initiate the attack either; it was just waiting. Two powerful creatures, both at the top of the food chain, had reached a quiet stalemate.
After a while, Sui Xiong was starting to get bored, when all of a sudden, he had a strange gut feeling, leaving him cold and unsettled. He soon found that it was the whale that caused this feeling.
“What are you?”
All of a sudden, he understood the meaning of this question, even though it wasn’t spoken in any recognizable language. “Holy sh*t! This whale’s got its own translation system!” He couldn’t help but laugh and give up on the idea of fighting.
The ability to communicate was a damn good feeling. Since he’d been transported to this world, all this time he’d simply been floating along with the stream, unhappy and alone. Now he felt immensely happy that he had finally met a creature that he could talk with and ask questions about this world. He concentrated as best he could and tried to send a message to the whale through his mind.
“I am just a passerby, where is this place?” He managed to send the message, but was surprised to find that sending even such a short message cost so much of his energy. He felt very dizzy and nearly blacked out.
Just at this moment, the giant whale initiated its attack. White ripples arose from its frightening white horn, while at the same time white lines appeared in the surrounding water, quickly creeping up on Sui Xiong. His huge, malformed jellyfish’s body suddenly shook perilously, and the white lines became a layer of thick ice that wrapped him up tightly.
“Sh*t! How shifty is this!” Sui Xiong felt very dizzy and couldn’t even fight back. Instead, he watched helplessly as the whale flashed a cunning smile. Suddenly, the whale gained speed, came straight at Sui Xiong, stopped right in front of him, and opened its big mouth, revealing its frightening and white teeth. In the blink of an eye, the whale bit off over a third of the front of his body, including the ice and frost covering him, and it began to swallow with all its strength.
For the whale, this was a successful sneak attack. It’d managed to trick Sui Xiong into depleting his energy by taking advantage of his inexperience. Then it’d launched an onslaught, essentially killing Sui Xiong while he was dizzy from the overconsumption of his energy. If Sui Xiong had really been a huge and malformed jellyfish, he’d now be dead.
But…he was never actually a jellyfish. For him, this huge sea monster’s body was just a shelter, a house of sorts where he was living temporarily. It wasn’t that big a deal if he lost half his house. Very soon, Sui Xiong recovered, furiously watching the giant whale eating next to him. He began to sneer in a sinister way.
“You are…bringing about your own destruction!” His soul reached out two invisible hands and penetrated deep into the whale’s body. The whale, proudly enjoying its delicious meal, shook severely. As Sui Xiong looked into its big eyes, he could easily see the whale’s shock and fear. Meanwhile, its horn was glittering like frosty snow, emitting copious amounts of cold air which immediately turned the surrounding water into hard ice.
This was the whale’s best defensive maneuver, which had helped it escape danger or even turn the tables in a fight more than once in the past. However, this time, the extreme cold and hard ice didn’t help. The whale had overexerted itself, so its soul temporarily blacked out and failed to counterattack.
At this exact moment, Sui Xiong had managed to cut off the connection between the whale’s body and soul. Now all he needed to do was pull the soul out, like pulling a radish out of the soil. He struggled to pull it out, but he was persistent; instead of giving up, he only worked harder. All the while, the whale was trembling, its sharp horn still emitting the extremely cold air, even though this made no difference now. With its soul, the whale could adapt itself to the changing environment, but Sui Xiong wasn’t going to give it a chance to do so.
After a while, Sui Xiong finally pulled the soul out. Although he couldn’t see what the soul really looked like, he knew clearly that this time he had plenty of food to eat. This was a big reward.
Actually, swallowing the soul proved quite difficult. After all, the whale was a powerful creature, stronger than the other souls he’d eaten from the fish, shrimp and jellyfish. As Sui Xiong was struggling to swallow it, the whale kept trying to run away. In fact, several times it even managed to break free. But as a large predator unaccustomed to fighting back, it was simply struggling to be free by instinct. Sui Xiong seized it tightly and continued to swallow.
After a long time, he managed to devour it and convert it to the energy that fueled his soul. The whale’s soul was enormous, and Sui Xiong felt he may have eaten too much, like a snake that might not feel too good after eating an elephant. But since a soul couldn’t die of overeating, he rested for awhile and regained his strength.
This fight had been very dangerous. Why was that? Well, the whale was not only mysteriously powerful, but also highly intelligent and cunning. It was indeed the dominant predator in the sea. Were it not for Sui Xiong’s built-in advantage—that he would survive even if his jellyfish’s body was disfigured—as well as the whale’s lack of experience with fighting between souls, then Sui Xiong likely would’ve been the one who was defeated.
As the saying goes, “he who risks nothing gains nothing”. Sui Xiong had learned a lot from this dangerous hunting experience. By devouring the giant whale’s soul, his soul had grown exponentially stronger. If this world were an online game, the LEVEL_UP icon over his character’s head would have popped up a few times.
In fact, “leveling up” was just a small part of the experience he’d gained. The most important part was the information stored in the whale’s soul, which was a bit disorganized. Mostly it was hunting experience that was useless to Sui Xiong, but there was still plenty of information that he could utilize. For example, now he knew how to use the ice magic that the whale summoned, and he was aware of his location in the surrounding area.
Sui Xiong was already sure that the whale he’d just killed was the same one that had almost eaten him when he first arrived in this world. He’d had a stroke of good luck by killing it and getting some retribution. According to the whale’s memory, he was actually quite close to the edge of the sea. If he swam in a certain direction for a day or two, he’d even reach land, as long as he swam at the speed of a giant whale.
Sui Xiong became very excited. He was anxious to swim to land, so he could go ashore and get to really know this world. Still, he withheld his excitement and decided to explore the deep sea instead of rushing towards land.
He needed to become more powerful.