Chapter 1216: A Chain Reaction
Not only Neverwinter citizens saw the Bloody Moon.
Margaret was standing at the bow of the "Snow Wind" early this morning while gazing at the distant ocean. It had been 66 days since they had crossed the Sealine. Ocean waves rushed toward them, high at one time and low at another. Their movements were almost the same as the waves at the Shadow Waters thousands of miles away as if the two types of waves shared the same origin.
If the Swirling Sea did have a source, it must be the greatest discovery in the history of time.
Margaret was confident that the ocean waves would lead her to her final destination, and she also put great faith in the "Snow Wind".
The "Snow wind" did not require a sail to proceed against gusts of wind and rushes of rain. Since the ship was colossal, they could put plenty of food and water on it. Thanks to this robust and sturdy iron ship, not a single ship fell behind in this expedition.
She believed that Thunder would definitely make some spectacular discovery during this journey.
"Any luck?" a familiar voice said to her from behind.
Margaret turned around and said smilingly, "If I did find something, I would have informed the lookouts perched on the mast. So, you should have asked them first."
The person who was speaking to her was none other than the captain of the fleet, Thunder.
"I don't think so," he said brightly. "Perhaps they've found something already but are too shocked to say anything."
Magaret stifled her laughter. She knew Thunder was referring to what had happened when they had crossed the Sealine. When the horizon became vertical, even the most experienced sailor had failed to react promptly. Everyone had fallen off the watchtower as the world had turned upside down, their legs too shaky to support them.
Seasoned sailors would normally cling to cables and masts in the event of a storm to prevent themselves from falling off the ship. However, the Sealine rendered all the common senses they had useless.
Thunder said while shrugging, "According to my intelligence, the Chambers of Commerce would later change their lookouts. They'll have the boldest person on their ship to serve as a lookout. Shame on them."
"Really?" Margaret said while shaking her head. "But I believe after the experience at the Sealine, nothing could really perturb them anymore."
"Who knows?" Thunder said while patting Margaret on the shoulder. His voice suddenly lowered. "Don't worry. Joan will be fine."
Margaret's smile faltered. She nodded resolutely and said, "Yes, she was born to live in the ocean. I'm sure we'll meet her again somewhere soon."
Being optimistic was an important ability for explorers. Margaret knew worrying would not help with anything. What she should do was to pull herself together and move on.
"By the way, the meeting is about to start," Thunder said after a moment of silence. "The other captains are already there. Come to the cabin with me."
"Okay, got it."
All the captains gathered to discuss the route, the status of their ships, and resources. They held this meeting every three or four days to make sure the whole fleet was on the right track.
Just at that time, Thunder and Margaret noticed that the seawater was suddenly awash with a sheet of a strange red color.
The sailors on the deck were all frozen to the spot, gaping at the far distance as if seeing something incredible.
A little farther on, several people fell off the mast and to the deck, as though they had seen the Sealine again. It really surprised Magaret.
Weren't they the boldest people on the ship?
Margaret turned around slowly, and the next moment, all her blood froze.
A gigantic, crimson round celestial object hung low over the horizon, far larger than the sun. It just came out of nowhere!
"In the name of Three God," Margaret mumbled. "Is this what His Majesty called the Bloody Moon?"
But Thunder did not speak. It was such a terrifying scene that even Thunder failed to formulate a proper answer.
A long whistle pierced the air.
It was the "Snow Wind".
The shriek of the ship shattered the dead silence and jerked everyone out of the trance.
The whistle indicated there were enemies!
Margaret and Thunder exchanged dark looks and ran toward the bridge.
"What happened?" Thunder yelled as he darted into the command room.
"There are... ships," his first mate stammered, "coming from the southeast... toward us...
"What?" Thunder said. He quickly snatched the telescope from the first mate and looked in the direction the latter had pointed out.
Margaret's heart sank to the bottom. They were now thousands of miles away from the Shadow Waters. They hardly saw any birds around this area, let alone ships.
This was a new sea never intruded by human beings!
She thus got a pair of telescope from another sailor and looked in the same direction.
Margaret gasped. Two shadows were floating on the surface of the water. They had no sail but were proceeding against the water. What was more horrific was that the seawater around them was boiling, as though numerous fishes were coming with them.
However, Margaret soon noticed that what seemed to be fishes were actually the last thing explorers wanted to see.
They were sea ghosts.
Their fins slid in and out of their views. Sometimes, they leaped out of the water, throwing a splatter of water that reflected off the sinister red sheen of the Bloody Moon, which reminded Margaret of a pack of sharks vying for food.
"On my order, all the ships turn about!" Thunder yelled. "Full sail! Advance in full sail! Everyone, ready for the war!"
"We've got trouble..." the captain of the "Tuna" swallowed hard.
"May the God of Ocean bless us," the other captains all prayed.
Fjords people knew that no ship could outstrip a sea ghost, which meant their enemies would soon catch up with them.
Their situation worsened every minute.
As the two shadows got closer, Margaret saw what they looked like. They were half in the shape of a ship and half a skeleton of a monster, something that would have only appeared in one's nightmare. Their ribs exhaled clouds of dark green objects, and they were now only a dozen miles away from them!
When the dark green object fell into the water, the ocean stirred. Apparently, nobody wanted to be hit by such an ominous thing.
Thunder remained unflappable and issued another order. "Abandon all the food and supplies. Keep half of the drinking water only... No, just keep 30% of them and accelerate!"
Astonished, Margaret said, "Then we won't be able to explore."
"And it's probably not going to be enough for us to return to Neverwinter..." the first mate said hesitantly.
"We could fish and collect rain." Thunder took a sharp intake of breath and said, "However, if we could not outrun those sea ghosts and monsters, we'll all end up dying here. The exploration is over. Now, our goal is... to survive!"