The moment Cui Zuojing hit the water, the sound of seawater filled his ears. It was bitingly cold, wrapping around his entire body and making him shiver. Due to the emergency, he hadn’t bothered stretching before jumping into the water. If he didn’t pay attention, he might easily get muscle cramps while swimming.
The headlight illuminated the sea, revealing the countless octopuses that lurked under the water surface. The seal on the inside of his wrist flashed, and the time in his vicinity paused.
The sea water stopped flowing, the octopuses’ tentacles froze in place, and all sounds faded away. Cui Zuojing passed through the dense school of octopuses, carefully avoiding the soft limbs that contained deadly toxins. Wang Que’s voice rang out in his mind, “The propeller is underneath the stern. It is held motionless by some octopuses.”
A small string of bubbles escaped Cui Zuojing’s lips. The place where he’d jumped ship was near the stern. He only needed to spend a short time looking for it before he found the obstructed propellers. A dozen octopuses were clinging onto the propellers, preventing them from moving even under the urging of the diesel engine. Cui Zuojing gripped the sword tightly and cut the octopuses away.
Blue blood leaked out into the sea, and the octopuses’ heads with their many eyes slowly sank into the deep sea alongside their fragmented bodies. Cui Zuojing’s knife work was very fast, and the propellers were cleared in a few strokes. He kicked the water hard and floated to the surface.
The people on the boat were quickly clearing out the octopuses on deck. The bodies were thrown into the water, making countless splashes. Cui Zuojing took a short rest, then sucked in a deep breath and sank under water once more.
Only one seal was lifted so he could not suspend time for long. Cui Zuojing swam around the vicinity. He wanted to find the reason why so many octopuses suddenly appeared, but ultimately found nothing.
The icy water intensified his physical exhaustion. This time he quickly surfaced again. Dong Zheng, who had received the news a long time ago, stood on the side of the ship and stretched out his hand to pull him up.
Suddenly, Cui Zuojing was so cold that he was shivering. Dong Zheng immediately helped him take off his drenched coat and wrapped him with a jacket. Cui Zuojing wiped the water off his face, and said through chattering teeth, “How are things?”
“It’s almost done.” There were only a few intruders left. Dong Zheng pushed Cui Zuojing toward the cabin, “Quick, change your clothes first.”
“With Uncle here, I don’t need to worry about getting sick.” Cui Zuojing didn’t care about it as much as Dong Zheng did. He picked up the Tang sword again and hurried to take action before the frozen time was up.
The minute hand of Dong Zheng’s wrist watch ticked again and again. Cui Zuojing shook his body and hurriedly reached out to support the bulkhead. His pale face was a bit unpleasant because of the cold, and Victor immediately grabbed his arm and tried his best to help relieve Cui Zuojing’s weakness.
The octopuses that had yet to be cleaned up were still trying to attack. Dong Linhai picked up the harpoon and time began to flow. The propellers quickly rotated to drive the ship forward, accelerating away from this dangerous sea. But those octopuses that were lurking under the surface of the sea or were just thrown down climbed onto the hull again, onto the railings and deck again, again bringing a steady stream of trouble.
Xia Qiongyun grabbed Wang Que and pulled her back. She stared at the distorted shadow in the fog for a moment, and suddenly said loudly, “They’re afraid of salt water! Use salt-filled water to drive them away!”
Wang Que was surprised. Looking at her, she immediately understood and agreed right away, “Yes! Use salt water!”
In fact, there were little points in these words. Their brain knew that it was impossible. As a marine lifeform, octopuses lived in water with various salt levels. In the sea, how could one be afraid of salt water? But this was what Xia Qiongyun said.
“I’m getting salt water!” Lin Hangzhi, the person nearest to the cabin, immediately turned back to the kitchen. He picked up a basin filled with water, found two large packets of salt from the cabinet, opened the bag, and directly dumped them in. The surface became cloudy and he stretched out his hand and stirred it a few times. Then Ling Hangzhi ran out of the cabin with the basin, and splashed the water onto the turbulent group of aquatic lifeforms on the deck.
Due to the effects of Truth Speak, the octopuses melted loudly in the high-concentration salt water like slugs! Lin Hangzhi, who had originally hypnotized himself with a strong belief in this, was not surprised. He went to the side of the ship and threw some at the creatures climbing out from the sea.
Both Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing suddenly turned their heads; they sensed a hidden danger in the fog at the same time. The speck of light that guided them from a distance was still present, and so was the lighting device on the fishing boat. But even the moving lights couldn’t dispel the influence of the thick fog, and within that fog was something that lurked in the darkness, trying to be the oriole that stalked the mantis catching the cicada.
Cui Zuojing threw a dagger, and the tip of the blade pierced through the mist without obstruction. It flew out a long way before finally falling into the sea.
The bell in Dong Zheng’s pocket was faintly hot. He immediately reacted and said in the communication channel, “There’s a spirit!”
Xia Qiongyun once again said loudly, “The fog on the ship is gone. It can’t obstruct our eyes.”
The moment her voice fell, it was as if two invisible hands had wiped across the ship, clearing a radius of 100 meters. The fog silently dissipated, so that this section at sea completely unfolded before their eyes.
A dozen or more spirits floated behind them. The ghosts were dressed like fishermen or mariners who often went out to sea. These ghosts had been buried in the Endless Sea for many years, so their grievances naturally allowed them to cultivate a form, waiting to drag people to replace them.
After the encounter with Midnight during the Blood Night, Dong Zheng spent huge sums of money to equip everyone in the team with spiritual weapons with offensive capabilities. Lin Hangzhi replaced the bullets in his gun with red bullets, raised the shotgun, and fired.
Gunpowder exploded. Hundreds of tiny shards were ejected from the muzzle, which could be considered a “spray.” The spiritual entities that were hit let out a painful howl, realized that they were discovered, and no longer lurked. All at once, they pounced on everyone!
The metal wristband wrapped around Dong Linhai’s arms fell off, and the metal ring changed its shape. It flowed to his five fingers and became a knuckle ring. Dong Linhai clenched his fist and directly punched the ghost face nearest to him. The ghost flew out like it had been hit by a hammer!
This was the material left over from Dong Zheng’s crossbow, given to Dong Linhai to be customized as a weapon. Although this weapon looked like simple wristbands, with Dong Linhai’s ability to manipulate metal, he could transform the weapon into any shape or form at any time.
Wang Que continued to constantly monitor the movements of the lower-lifeforms under the sea. As the fishing boat rushed forward at full speed, they gradually moved away from the area where the mutant octopuses gathered.
Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng didn’t even have to take actions before all the ghosts were resolved. After the fishing boat outraced the ambush, in order to save fuel, they reduced it to normal speed. The effect of Truth Speak soon disappeared and the fog once again filled every inch of empty space.
After the thrilling battle, everyone was exhausted. Victor checked them one by one to ensure that they weren’t injured. Cui Zuojing wrapped Dong Zheng’s jacket tightly around himself, still shivering. Although Uncle had purified him to prevent him from catching a cold, he was still very cold.
“We shouldn’t encounter any unexpected situations again, right?” Lin Hangzhi asked, looking around vigilantly. He held a gun in one hand and a basin of salt water in the other. The several shots that he’d fired had consumed a lot of accumulated luck. Now, he felt worried.
After seeing that there was no danger, Lin Hangzhi relaxed. He put the basin back in the kitchen. But the wet deck was extremely slippery. Lin Hangzhi’s feet slipped and, with a crack, he landed on his face.
Wang Que’s face twitched. The corners of her lips moved up and down, up and down again. Finally, she laughed and stretched out her hand to pull Lin Hangzhi up.
“I’ll go back to the cabin first.” Cui Zuojing was so cold that he wanted to go back and change clothes.
Dong Zheng said, “I’ll boil hot water for you so you can take a bath.”
Cui Zuojing was relieved. He allowed Dong Zheng to arrange it, because he knew that he could always trust Dong Zheng.
Xia Quongyun released a breath. She’d spoken two Truth Speaks one right after another, and she was extremely tired. She believed Zweig’s words when describing the French Queen, Marie Antoinette—all gifts bestowed by fate always come with a secret price. The usage of Truth Speak may not appear to have any negative consequences at the moment, but just because it hadn’t appeared right now didn’t mean she wouldn’t eventually suffer from its backlash. Therefore, unless the situation was extremely urgent, she wouldn’t use it lightly.
But this time, there really was no other way. The team lacked a large-scale offensive method, and the large number of mutant octopuses far outweigh the probability that they could successfully fight back on strength alone, given their paltry number. The thick fog was also creating too many obstacles; therefore, her action was the best solution.
She returned to the cabin and was about to continue to rest. Suddenly, she heard Dong Linhai exclaim, “What is that?!”
Xia Qiongyun stopped and looked back. In the dense fog, the outline of a ship was like a behemoth, moving straight toward them!
“Turn around! Hurry! Uncle, turn around!” Dong Linhai shouted, and Victor immediately turned the rudder. If this medium-sized fishing boat directly collided with a ship of that size, it would shatter into pieces. But the ship on the other side didn’t try to evade them in the slightest. It continued to run straight at them.
The outline of the ship was completely revealed in the fog, right before it knocked into the fishing boat.
The fishing boat tilted at a 30 degree angle and issued an overwhelming cracking sound. It was pushed backward for some distance before Victor managed to steer the boat away and put a little bit of distance between them.
Cui Zuojing was in the middle of changing his clothes. He lost his balance and had to hurriedly grab the hammock to stabilize himself. He quickly threw on his jacket, stepped into his shoes, and ran out again.
Everyone who had just returned to their positions ran out one after another. They looked at the huge ship in horror. The ship was 30 to 40 meters high, and they had to crane their head back in order to see the highest point of its entire outline.
There were no lights on the ship, leaving it completely dark. It was also undetected by radar. If it hadn’t been in front of them, they wouldn’t know that such a massive ship was wandering nearby.
“A ghost ship,” Dong Zheng whispered.
Cui Zuojing said, “I guess this ship once met the Master of Oblivion floating on the sea.”
Dong Zheng couldn’t deny it. He grabbed Cui Zuojing’s still cold hands and warmed him with his palms.
Tonight was destined to be a sleepless night.