Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
“What kind of monsters live in the sea that require this much firepower?”
I asked Ariane that question while she was leaning back and enjoying the ocean breeze.
Given the power of the cannons they must have been rather large.
Chiome was the one that looked away from the sea and answered me.
“The southern sea is famous for its plethora of dangerous monsters that inhabit it, like kraken. I’ve never seen the real thing, but they’re said to be huge creatures larger than most ships. Moreover, they have countless tentacles extending from their bodies…… just what type of creatures are they?”
Chiome directed her blue eyes toward the sea and set her elbow against the ship’s railing as she contemplated the form of the strange monster.
Chiome usually hid her emotions quite well, but she couldn’t prevent her excitement from showing through her swaying tail.
While I watched Chiome, I imagined the kraken that she had spoken of while tilting my head.
“The size of a ship and possessing numerous tentacles……”
Hearing the name kraken brought up the image of a giant squid or octopus.
However, I’ve been repeatedly shown that the actual characteristic of certain monsters and what I thought they should look like differed greatly.
…… For all I knew she was talking about a giant cuttlefish with long, reaching tentacles connected to its face.
I had to clear my mind with furious head shaking when I started to imagine a creature like that attacking the Liebbelta.
If it was comparable to this ship’s size, it’d be a hundred meters long at the very least.
“Human ships aren’t well equipped to deal with them, so they’d probably fall victim to kraken attacks.”
Even if you had cannons, it was questionable if you could defeat a kraken. Humans have yet to begin developing cannon technology and without long-range weaponry, a ship would be as good as sunk if they stumbled upon a kraken.
Chiome slowly turned back to me when she heard my prediction.
“The name kraken has been famous since before the empire split into its current Eastern and Western halves. The formerly united empire once tried to send a massive fleet to subjugate the Southern Continent, but it was completely annihilated by a kraken.”
I remembered that the founder of the Blade Heart Clan had originally worked within the united empire before he fled to start his clan.
It was something Chiome had told me before we raided the Etsuato company on Rhoden’s capital.
It was said that the machinations of the original Hanzo caused the conflict between the various factions surrounding the emperor’s succession to intensify, which lead to its schism into East and West.
“Hmm… Chiome-dono, you said that the original Hanzo had been an imperial spy before forming your clan…… is it possible that the failed expedition was connected to the fall of the empire as well?”
Chiome climbed through her memories before she nodded at me.
“Yes, there were actually two large-scale expeditions that had been sent out, but after the second fleet had been destroyed, the emperor started to lose his authority.”
I didn’t know much about the size of the fleet, but even one ship wasn’t cheap.
A loss of authority was to be expected after failing twice to expand the empire’s control into the Southern Continent.
So the thing that made the schism of the empire possible was the kraken……
“To have both fleets destroyed by a kraken…… that emperor must have been very unlucky.”
I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of sympathy for that emperor, but Ariane spoke up and argued against it.
“Krakens come up to the surface when they’re hunting their prey, which congregates there. It’s only a matter of time before a large fleet crosses paths with one.”
“…… I see, so that why.”
Ariane shrugged as she spoke but Chiome seemed to be genuinely interested in new information.
I simply nodded along and agreed with her.
If the outline of a ship ran along the sea surface, it would come across as a large pod of fish to a hungry predatory kraken. Considering the size of this ship, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was attacked more frequently than human ships.
When I asked Ariane about it, she turned her head and looked out to the sea.
“I don’t know a lot about this, but maybe they can outrun it? Human ships are simply unprepared to deal with a surfacing kraken after all……”
In the middle of her explanation, Ponta suddenly stood up on my head and started to anxiously cry about something.
A loud alarm bell started ringing shortly after that.
An elven sailor that stood in the crow’s nest began shouting and making pointing gestures in a certain direction. Then the sound of a man’s voice can out of one of the speaking tubes that lined the ship.
《Kraken spotted on the starboard bow!! I repeat, kraken spotted on the starboard bow!!》
Instructions were given after the warning while the tension rose aboard the ship, yet the sailors, rather than acting in a frenzied manner, moved as it this was a routine occurrence.
I closely watched the sea on the starboard bow and remained on the lookout for the kraken that Chiome and I just had been discussing.
However, even when I strained my eyes the only thing that I saw was the vast open sea and the clear blue sky.
“I don’t see any krakens out there…… how about you Chiome-dono?”
Even as I lead over the railing a little I still couldn’t see anything, so I asked Chiome about it since she was looking out as well.
“No, I can’t see anything either.”
But she only shook her head and gave me a negative reply.
The ship suddenly took an abrupt left turn, causing the deck to slant heavily and the sail to noisily flail about.
I looked back on the deck, the elven sailors were staring off the starboard bow, while the beastmen sailors were looking all over the place for the kraken.
When turned to Ariane there was a full smile on her and she nodded before returning her eyes to the sea.
“Do you see, Arc? Krakens occasionally swim close to the surface, but since their bodies can blend in with their surroundings it’s difficult to find them. Without the ability to detect miasma, it’s nigh impossible to see a kraken until it’s too late.”
I glanced out at the sea as Ariane spoke.
Though I had similar abilities as the elves of this world, mine were comparatively weaker than those of the local dark elves.
Although my sight was impressive, I could only see the blue sea in the distance.
“If they blend into their surroundings you wouldn’t notice them until they attack……”
I was amazed at the abilities of krakens and voiced my impression.
“The krakens’ abilities……”
Chiome also openly reveal her surprise.
Blending into their surroundings, basically optical camouflage.
Squids and octopi could change their body coloration, but it must have seemed alien to the people of this world.
Well, monsters capable of using optical camouflage still seem to be detectable by their mana-signature, so it should be all right.
“Though the reason they surface isn’t known, elves are the only ones that can detect krakens beforehand. They’re rather large too, so it will seem as if a mountain rises from the sea……”
Ariane was speaking in her usual prideful manner whenever she talked about what elves could do and gesturing about the sizes of different krakens.
Though I was a little disappointed about not seeing the creature myself, I could do nothing but sigh and rest my chin on the railing since a safe voyage outweighed my curiosity.
The beastmen sailors also seemed somewhat disappointed by this as they returned to their stations.
“…… the kraken won’t follow us, will it?”
I brought up a possible problem as I absentmindedly looked out to the see.
However, Ariane sat up straight and patted the ship’s railing.
“Fully grown, adult kraken can’t keep up with this ship. Maybe younger small krakens could put up a decent chase, but it is rare for one of them t……”
Before Ariane could finish speaking Ponta began to tremble on top of my helmet. The next moment a major tremor ran through the ship and knocked Ponta off my head.
I caught Ponta and put her back on my head as I scanned the area.
Then someone began shouting.
“Juvenile kraken on the stern!!”
Everyone on the deck froze when they heard that.
Then…… something like a gleeful roar shook the ship.
“Kyaaaa!! Get to the stern, hurry!!!”
“Shiyaaa!! Last one there loses his share!!!”
“I’ve been waiting for a kraken to show up!!!”
The ones showing such unexpected reactions to the news were beastmen like Chiome. They grabbed a weapon and ran for the back of the ship at full speed.
The image of a department store opening on a bargain sale crossed my mind.
On the other hand…… the elven sailors seemed to be worried about the turn of events and couldn’t seem to understand the behavior of their crew mates.
Being attacked by sea monsters was something that should’ve been feared, yet there was no sense of tragedy here.
“It feels like I just walked into a festival!! You don’t mind if I join in do you?”
I drew the 『Holy Thunder Sword』 and ran towards the stern.
When I arrived, I was greeted with the hellish sight of a group of armed beastmen combating a ten-meter tall, colossal squid.
Some of them had been knocked aside by the kraken, but their naturally resilient bodies allowed them to wipe off the blood and go after the kraken again.
Meanwhile, a member of the wolf tribe had managed to cut off one of the kraken’s arms, making it roar to the heavens.
When I saw one of its tentacles approaching the wolf-eared man I quickly stepped in.
The wolf beastman was utterly surprised when I came up behind him and cut off the tentacle that had been coming after him.
The robust tentacle fell onto the ship’s deck.
“Don’t be so careless.”
“Thanks for the help brother.”
I shook off the blood and seawater as the wolf beastman called out to me. When I looked ahead I saw the other beastman cheering as they surrounded the dying kraken.
“That was surprisingly unfulfilling……”
I shelved my sword as I watch the scene play out and was about to leave when the wolf-eared man I saved called out to me.
“This piece is yours, brother! What do you want to do with it?”
He grabbed my shoulder and as he said that.
Everyone seemed pleased with what had happened, so was there anything else?
“Is kraken edible?”
Despite them being monsters krakens, were still squids. That was the only use that came to mind.
Apparently, I was right on the mark.
“Ouyo’! Do you want to sprinkle some salt on it now? We could also dry it! If you cook it over the fire, it will go well with liquor!”
As the wolf beastman told me the how the kraken could be prepared, Ariane and Chiome came up behind us.
The two of them had different reactions when they were asked about taking their own share.
Ariane aggressively shook her head and stepped back.
Chiome, on the other hand, stepped forwards with her tail standing up straight.
However, Ponta voiced a protest from atop my head.
“Don’t worry, I make sure you get your fair share, Ponta.”
After that exchange, Chiome and I hung around to see how the dying took place.
The people around us scrambled to start dismantling in the large creature.
Within a matter of minutes, the ten-meter long kraken was brought onto the Liebbelta, sliced into large pieces, and hung from a rack.
The squid should be dried out by tonight.
When the top layer was dried out it would be cut off and the exposed layer would be washed with seawater…… The method was incredibly simple, but watching made me want to swallow my saliva.
Soy sauce and sake would go along with some grilled squid, but I hadn’t seen either of these things in the village.
I couldn’t ask for that much…
The tails of both Ponta and Chiome were synchronized with one another as they watched the kraken being sliced up, in the meantime I opened my luggage sack.
Inside, along with a few other things, were a water canteen that contained the spring water I’d collected this morning, a makeshift straw to sip on it and the package I bought yesterday in Landfria, which contained the stack of papers and art supplies I was currently retrieving.
I might as well do something while the kraken was dried.
Thinking such, I sat down in a cross-legged position and took a page out of the paper bundle.
“Hmm, the helmet obstructs my vision after all……”
I took my helmet off after mumbling to myself, picked up my writing implements, which were basically charcoal sticks, and began drawing lines on the paper.
After making a rough sketch of the perimeter, I began adding details.
When I looked back and forth between the deck and the paper I reflected on how long it has been since I drew anything. While I was absorbed in my work, Ariane came up beside me and commented on my drawing.
“Arc, you can draw? This is pretty good.”
“Really? Hmm, it stills seems a little amateurish.”
What she said reminded me of something that happened in the past.
A long ago, one of my creations had been displayed in multiple exhibits.
When was that…… I remember that a certain girl in my art class praised me for one of my drawings, even though I thought her drawing was more atmospheric than mine had been.
However, my work had been selected for the exhibit over hers and I felt a bit sorry for that girl when I saw her again.
I wonder what that girl was doing right now?
Ariane suddenly got in my face while my mind had been occupied with thoughts of the past.
“Are you all right, Arc?”
Her golden dark elf eyes were focused entirely on me.
Whenever I regained my body, homesickness would creep into my thoughts if I let it.
I shook my head and took a deep breath of sea breeze.
Shifting my gaze to Ariane’s chest and changed the topic.
“Yes…… Ariane-dono I think the skin on your chest is starting to get a tan……”
The moment I said that Ariane’s cheeks turned a bright shade of vermillion and she slapped me in the face.
“Looks like I worried for nothing.”
Ariane folded her arms an attempt to hide her chest and looked away.
Tears appeared in the corner of her eyes as she brought her hand to her face.
I had to sigh after that because I doubted that would have happened had I been enjoying sake and grilled squid.
Nevertheless, the filleted kraken meat was still being hung out to dry and imagining the taste of it tonight was enough to keep me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
At least…… that’s what I told myself.