102. Chapter 102 – Unwanted Visitor
Four days had passed since the ship departed, and the passengers, who worked hard to pollute the sea surface and were weakly hugging the bucket and groaning on the floor, had calmed down. Walm exchanged words with the passengers who had regained their composure, deepening their exchanges to the extent that he was enjoying unfamiliar board games with them.
“… I give up.”
Walm threw out the piece he was holding and looked up. Naturally, when looking up from the middle deck, there was only a wooden board on the ceiling. At least it looked better than the dirty floor.
“Well then, I will take this.”
The peddler took all the beans on the small plate and devoured them in front of Walm. The roasted beans had been cultivated by Walm preciously like his own daughter. To think that it was going to be a lover with a peddler…Walm’s face contorted at the failure of being a good father.
“You’re not bad. Well, it’s been a long time since I started playing this. So, too bad.”
The peddler proclaimed so as he happily hit the board. He was a trader who was good at talking. He lost yesterday and treated Walms to a bad meal on board. The aim of the peddler was simple. The aim was to shake his emotions and strike back in the next game.
“…I’m honored to receive your praise.”
“By the way, next, I’d like to drink cold water.”
“Say what you want. Tonight, I once again will make you treat me to that bad meal.”
Walm sneered back at the peddler who had a vulgar smile. The peddler was captivated by the cold waters made by Walm’s magic. For Walm, who possessed water attribute, it wasn’t that difficult for him to generate water. But he wasn’t so good-natured that he would do it for free. If he consumed his mana for a low-affinity attribute, he would become hungry as well as tired while only generating a small amount. Experienced water magicians who lived long on the sea seemed to be able to even separate salt and water from seawater efficiently, but it was a difficult feat for Walm, who was, in the first place, had a low affinity for water-attribute magic.
According to the ship’s regulations, it was forbidden to make more than one small silver coin per day from gambling, so the bet money and the actual thing were replaced with some cute things. Even if the amount and quality weren’t that good, there were no people who liked to lose, more so if efforts were put into it.
The gambling wasn’t limited to board games. There were various types of it, such as who would catch the first fish, who would catch the biggest fish, and so on. Somehow it looked like a casino ship, but Walm was throwing himself into it, thinking that it was natural for people to be bustling with gambling in a closed space with little entertainment.
With revenge in his heart, Walm began to rearrange his pieces, but then, he noticed that the movement on the deck had become hectic. Anyhow, it happened directly above. Even if he didn’t focus on his ear, the sound was leaking out.
“Did they catch a big fish or something?”
Walm gleefully raised his voice at the words of the peddler.
“Good if that’s true. At least, it’ll taste better than salted fish.”
Walm with the other passengers following behind, went up to the upper deck.
On the upper deck, sailors were leaning over the gunwale, pointing at the surface of the water.
“Oi, what happened?”
Walm called out to a sailor who was nearby.
“There’s driftwood on the port side (left of the ship). It’s pretty big.”
In order to actually see it with his own eyes, Walm put his hand on the gunwale and leaned forward. Though it was still far away, something was definitely floating on the surface of the water. Still, Walm’s cloudy eyes caught its true identity.
“A piece of wood?”
When Walm muttered so, the surrounding sailors added.
“Right, it’s part of the hull.”
“More so, it’s a keel, isn’t it? That thickness, must be a large ship.”
Even Walm, who had little knowledge of ships, knows about keel. It was an important part that was for supporting the ship, and to compare it to a human being, it was like the backbone.
“Is it shipwrecked?”
“You must be joking. Look, the sea here isn’t that rough.”
“Even so, no survivors?”
All the people on the deck, including Walm, stared at the surface of the sea, but not a single person was drifting. Just, countless pieces of wood scattered over a wide area.
“Deck Boss, what should we do, search?”
One of the sailors pointed his chin at the boat tied up to the deck. Probably, what he meant to say was, to lower the small boat and examine the wreckage of the ship.
In response to the proposal, the man who made a funny joke when Walm was boarding, the Deck Boss, his expression was grim.
“No, we won’t lower the boat down… Whether it’s an accident, or whatever, it’s better to be careful. Wake everyone who’s sleeping.”
The sailors, who were resting inside the ship, were woken up one after another.
Not long after, under Walm’s feet, swearing could be heard.
In such a noisy upper deck, the Captain, who was the owner of the ship and the leader of the crew, appeared.
“Old Man, it’s a wrecked ship. Just that, the way it wrecked, doesn’t seem normal.”
In response to the Deck Boss’ report, the Captain, who had his eyes on the surface of the sea, made a quick decision.
“Raise your alertness and be vigilant. Assign the passengers to the middle deck and assign the fourth team to guard them.”
Immediately, the sailors scattered all over the ship as if they were bursting.
“Move quickly! Open the armory as well.”
“If you don’t want to get hurt, go back to the middle deck.”
With momentum, the sailors pushed the passengers onto the middle deck by hitting their butts. Naturally, Walm, who didn’t have such a hobby, quickly descended the stairs and returned to the bed he left hanging. Slightly delayed, the other passengers also gathered in groups. They exchanged opinions about the drifting wreckage of the ship.
“So unlucky, that ship.”
“The national flag was on the surface of the sea. Seems like, from one of the northern countries. Must be a merchant ship belonging to the Liberitoa Trade Federation.”
“Hah, I’m sure, it’s because they packed too much luggage.”
Walm frowned after hearing the name of the country that destroyed his homeland a long time ago. Although they were part of the hated enemies, they didn’t directly put Walm in a predicament. Thus, he didn’t want to go so far as to despise the poor sailors.
Of course, in a way, that merchant ship was also the blood and blood vessel that supported the economy of the Liberitoa Trade Federation.
If I get an order here, will I burn them happily while cursing?
Walm thought about it, but the bitter and sour aftertaste of disgust welled up.
Then, he mocked himself.
What the f*ck am I thinking, we’ve lost the war, I’m no longer a soldier.
The urge to take a rum rushed, but Walm tried his best to restrain himself. He had spent a whole year immersed in alcohol, and was finally cleared his alcohol-stained body. He had decided to not drink unless necessary. He wanted to distract himself with a cigarette, but decided not to. Since, any fire was looked at carefully here.
The sight of the passengers and crew huddled together in a cramped place, smoking cigarettes and exhaling purple smoke, was so stupid and nostalgic.
Seeing it, Walm diverted his thoughts, with a once-distant memory.
Walm, who was drifting in a nostalgic memory, immediately got pulled back to reality by the sudden stench and the nauseous look of the passengers. As he had ever been attacked by vomiting feelings several times in this life, his reflex was really fast. Fortunately, nothing had been thrown up yet.
“UeeeEEE, Uuuh, URGHH”
Most passengers were used to ships, but as expected, there were exceptions to everything. A man who was still unfamiliar with ships had his face pale. And the cause of nausea might be foul odors.
“Not yet huh? Then, what is that smell?”
The man somehow managed to stop his urge to vomit.
Unable to find the cause of the foul odor, Walm was perplexed.
“Did the dirty water from the bottom of the ship overflow?”
The peddler’s words had a certain level of persuasion. Seawater and all liquids that seeped into the ship, flowed into the bottom of the ship. Walm didn’t smell it directly, but Saachef said it smelled like boiled-down excrement and urine.
“It certainly smells terrible, but please don’t vomit here!”
“Hold it in. Can’t you go up to the upper deck? Then, exhale through the ventilation hole!”
Passengers shouted in unison. Even Walm, who had been accustomed to all stench on the battlefield, thought that it smelled really bad. To compare, it would be similar to the rotting smell of a corpse left unattended for several days.
As he was told, the man headed for the ventilation on the side of the hull. Walm, who somehow escaped the damage, felt a relief.
When the man put his hand on the ventilation. The hull shook violently, stirring the inside of the ship. Walm immediately held on with both feet and endured it, but some of them rolled around together.
“Oi, what did you do?!!”
“I-I’m not doing anything.”
The man repeated that he was doing nothing and shook his head.
Of course, right…
Walm thought that it was natural. It would be unbearable to have the middle deck soiled by vomit.
“Then, what? Did the ship just hit something?”
That question resulted in an undesirable result, with a loud voice emerging from the lowest deck.
“Water’s coming in from the right bottom of the ship!”
As the sailors’ screams rose from the bottom deck, the crew begins to move like crazy.
“Hurry up and drain the water with the bilge pump!!”
“Move, get out of the way. Hurry up. We need to hurry.”
“Bring any plank you see! And the hammock! Press it against the hole!”
Sailors with supplies for emergency repairs slid down the stairs on each deck. The passengers’ faces got cramped. Of course, that would be so. It was a nightmare for a ship to sink in the middle of the sea like this. That said, there was nothing to do for Walm, who was unprofessional in this field.
Walm could only watch the progress of the work. In the middle of observing it, he caught the sound of something crawling on the side of the ship, especially over the outer side. At first, Walm was impressed, wondering if someone was doing work from outside the ship, but gradually the unpleasant feeling of discomfort overwhelmed him.
Judging from the screams and sound of work, the damaged area was the bottom of the ship on the rear side of the starboard side. On the other hand, the unidentifiable sound heard over the outer side was in the center of the port side.
Considering all of that, it just didn’t make sense.
“Did you hear it? There’s another sound.”
“Hm? Oh, right. What is it? This sound, is disgusting.”
Walm, who was listening carefully and searching for the direction of the sound, noticed it. In a number of more than five fingers, one of them was approaching the ventilation.
“Move away now! Slowly, don’t panic.”
“Eh, what is it….. a, AAA, no way!”
The man had a dubious expression on his face, but when he heard the crawling sound approaching him and saw Walm taking out his longsword., his already pale face was even paler.
About a step or two away from the ventilation, it happened.
“I, cawn’t, mov’, AA―― “
The man’s body, which was about to leave the spot, slid on the deck while bending his body. Unlike the passengers who were lured by the man’s scream, Walm stared at the hole where the culprit hid.
While scattering wood chips, huge tentacles spread, forcefully opened the ventilation, and entered the ship. Starting with that, screams and angry roars were mixed everywhere on the deck. The tentacle, which scattered abundant mucus, naturally wiggled as it approached to embrace Walm.
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