Fading away, the land was slowly becoming a distant existence. Walm didn’t oversleep to miss the departure. Just that, Walm and the other passengers could only modesty stay on the middle deck as sailors were moving around on the upper deck, manipulating the sails to catch the wind.

Catching the wind, as the port couldn’t be seen, the passengers finally crawled out onto the upper deck and could kill time wherever they wanted. Walm was among them, enjoying the surface of the sea and the wind, but that didn’t mean he could enjoy it for long.

Although he couldn’t help but complain, Walm was still blessed. A sailing ship that was caught in the wind was always tilting and swaying. Some of the passengers, who were accustomed to the land until recently, continued to pollute the sea by spilling the contents of their stomachs over the gunwale. Muffled by the sound of the waves, the sound of clogged sewage could be heard.

“My condolences…”

Some managed to endure, but some were already on the verge of collapse, and some were spending a lovely time with the bucket. This would probably continue until they reached the destination port. Walm took pity on them, thinking that at this kind of time, even atheists would definitely want to pray to God.

From the time the ship left the port until it caught the wind, the sailors were diligently adjusting the sails on the moving ropes and running up the shrouds that supported the hull and masts. Now that they had calmed down, except for the customers who were busy dating with the buckets, it was quite a peaceful deck. The observation tower on top of the mast was manned by a sailor for surveillance.

Decided to learn from the veterans how to pass the time on board, Walm then began observing the crew members who escaped duty.

There were various people, such as those who were caught in the cracks of barrels indulging themselves in a nap, and those who scarping something with knives. Under such circumstances, it was the sailors who stretched the fishing net from the upper deck and the poop deck that attracted Walm’s interest. After all, among the sailors who were enjoying trawling, a familiar man was having a blast.

“Saachef, did you catch a fish?”

“Ooo-, won’t say it’s a big game, but probably, a satisfying swordfish.”

Saachef, with sweat dripping from his forehead, responded with a wide smile. A migratory fish caught by several people had a sharp upper jaw like a sword. The swordfish was like a marlin fish that Walm knew, but its upper jaw was quite ominous compared to it.

“Looks delicious. But, it sure has a sharp jaw.”

“This guy’s jaw cuts well. Sometimes, it would tear people’s throats and arteries in their limbs, leaving the human dead. So, make sure you have finished them off properly.”

As Saachef said so, the swordfish, which was deeply stabbed on the gills with a harpoon, was bleeding profusely and was exhausted with no resistance.

“Walm, would you like to eat too? It’s not the food brought on land beforehand, so, can sell it cheaply, if you’re interested.”

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“If you could make it cheaper, I’ll gladly take the offer.”

For Walm, who had lived far from the sea, a fresh marlin was the best he had ever eaten. Even if there might be a possibility to get bitten, definitely wanted to keep some of it in the stomach.

“I’ll wash it once. If the floor gets too dirty, we’ll get yelled at by Deck Boss.”

“Let’s take it to the head chef.”

“I’ll remove the hook.”

The other sailors who were helping to catch it expertly washed the blood off the upper deck and removed the hook from the swordfish.

Walm had expected that the whole thing was made of metal, but only the hook that was removed was metal, most of it didn’t have the luster peculiar to metal.

“Pseudo bait huh? Is it… bones?”

A sailor answered Walm’s question.

“Not quite. The body is made from a cow horn. And used seabird feathers on top of it. Well, some people used bones.”

Walm was convinced after staring at the pseudo bait. As part of killing time on board, making pseudo bait by hand seemed to be popular.

“This swordfish’s upper jaw can also be used as the body. It’s truly a fish with no waste.”

The crew boastfully told Walm. When such a swordfish was tied up with a rough rope, it was carried to the lowest deck by a hoist.

“The kitchen is not on the top but on the lowest?”

“It’s too shaky on top, you won’t be able to cook. The kitchen is called “galley” and is on the lowest deck. It’s a furnace and the surroundings were made of stone. Even if the hull catches fire, there’s no problem putting it out. As for the smoke, it’s coming out of an opened hatch or special ventilation.”

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After receiving Saachef’s explanation, Walm turned his attention to hatch again. It was mixed with traces of rope and starch from the barrel, and soot stains were also mixed in. Evidence that it played a role as ventilation.

“Saachef, you’re really good at explaining.”

Saachef answered with a straight face to Walm’s leaked thought.

“Even if you praise me, only Swordfish will come out.”

“More than enough”

Walm murmured while his eyes were captivated by the swordfish hanging down to the lowest deck.

The surface of the sea swayed while being illuminated by twin moons. The man who was ordered to watch over the observation tower let out a sigh at the unremarkable spectacle.

The man was a member of the crew of a merchant ship belonging to the Liberitoa Trade Federation called, the Major. Unlike the dangerous waters on the outer parts of the Archipelago, the sea routes where the man currently sailing, had a long history and were considered safe.

Large monsters were either subjugated or driven out by warships or the Sea Dragon that the Archipelago was proud of. if there was, it would be nothing more than “Sahuagin”, also known as “Sea Goblin”, or a miscellaneous carnivorous fish with no name.

The man put the rum into his mouth and swallowed it vigorously. Hot alcohol flowed from the esophagus into the stomach. He then let out his breath, and as the man resumed his watch, he suddenly felt a shadow run across the water.

“What……?”

The man leaned out of the observation tower to observe, but there were no shadows and the sea remained calm.

“Did I drink too much?”

It was when the man stared intently at the bottle filled with rum and was about to put it away. An impact ran through the hull, throwing his body to the floor.

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“Stranding!? No, it’s impossible.”

The ship was in the open ocean, not the coast. It was a route where ships were passing frequently, and there were no reefs to collide. However, in reality, the ship shook violently, and the impact became stronger and stronger.

At that moment, the man’s nostrils inhaled an unbearable stench. It smelled like fish that had been left in the hot sun for days ―― the smell was familiar to the man. Every sailor knew it.

“No way, don’t you say…”

Deepening suspicions were confirmed by screams from the deck. Mixed in with the roar, the alarm bell on the poop deck rang.

“Let me goooOOO, ah, aaaaaAHHHH, aaAHH!?”

“It’s an attack, get up, GET UUPPP!!”

The screams of familiar companions stuck in the man’s ears. The man who finally stood up finally grasped the whole picture of the assailant.

“Damn it, of anything why it must be ‘that’―― “

The man pulled out the crossbow that had been set up and tried to load it, but his body quickly leaned over. The shrouds supporting the mainmast were broken one after another. The rough rope got caught in the recoil and the crew danced like crazy on the deck. His companions were killed without being able to resist.

More than half of the shrouds had been lost, and the mast was tilting. The crossbow and a bottle of sake were thrown into the air, and the man who couldn’t hold his ground followed.

“a, AH, AAHHHH, aaaAAAHHH!!”

The man fluttered his limbs and slid down, but he got caught in the scaffolding to the observation tower and slowed down. Still, he couldn’t escape the fall.

The limbs that were caught halfway were twisted. Being slammed into the deck, the ribs were extensively crushed and pulverized. The wreckage of the shattered deck gnawed into the flank, and the man who couldn’t breathe properly managed to at least breathe repeatedly, but it didn’t last long.

“Hick, ah, d-don’t, don’t COME…!”

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The source of the putrid smell was there. Seeing it, the man was frightened and tried to move his body away, but he was seriously injured, no way he could do it with just movements that were inferior to those of caterpillars. All the man could do now, was to scratch the deck and scream.

One by one, with a short interruption, the death cries ceased, and the sea regained its calm without incident. And so, all the sailors of the Major vanished from the sea.

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