This chapter has been brought to you by me, and WanderingGummiOfDoom.
Last chapter recap: Lin made a giant body called the “Leviathan” and met a trilobite for the first time.
Chapter Twenty Three – The Abyss Rift
The enormous organism slowly floated forward through the peaceful and endless waters … …
The lifestyle at the base was peaceful and dull so Lin had focused its attention on the Leviathan.
From the departure of the Leviathan until now, it had experienced two days and nights. The Leviathan had swam past through vast grey patches of sand, seabeds made from rocks. This time, unlike before, Lin was swimming into the deep waters.
Leviathan reached a new place. There was sand here, but the sand grains were finer and pale colored. A kind of organism that Lin had never seen before covered the entire region.
They looked like upside-down jellyfish, their short round bodies stuck to the sand as they used large numbers of stinging tentacles to catch prey.
Lin knew a term for them … …”anemone.”
Anemones were simple organisms without any blood vessels or hearts. There was a digestive sac at the center of the body responsible for digesting the food that the tentacles brought in.
These organisms did not have any value in studying. Lin did not like to eat organisms like this. Usually, after the stinger parts were removed, there was not much left.
The Leviathan slowed down and floated above the sand. Lin called the tentacles with the mouth “biting tentacles.” Just like the devourers, they could only bite at things, but not digest them.
Leviathan usually didn’t use its own eyeballs. The eyeballs floating around it were responsible for observing.
Lin suddenly saw movement in the sand below.
Leviathan suddenly reached out with a tentacle to bite down on something in the sand before pulling it out.
Trilobite came in many kinds. This was the fifth kind Lin had encountered. This small one had a thin shell. The mouth on the biting tentacle could swallow it completely and crush the trilobite.
Lin would send out an unit called the “gatherer” to collect the shell and cells that fell out of the crushed trilobite. The gatherers, similar to the devourers, had worm-like structures, flexible bodies which could hold large amounts of food. They could expand into a ball. Their bodies were filled with powerful dissolving fluids responsible for dissolving the food and then sending the nutrients to the Leviathan.
The gatherers could spray out dissolving fluid to attack even though they were not designed for fighting.
After eating three small trilobite, the Leviathan continued to advance. It had sufficient fat stores. Lin planned to have a long-distance journey without stopping along the way.
Lin primarily desired to see some special environments, ones it had never seen before.
The water propulsion system moved rapidly, and the Leviathan swam rapidly over the white sand. But it quickly stopped as a never-seen before environment suddenly appeared in front of it.
The sand in front seemed to be cut into two parts. An enormous chasm appeared in front of Leviathan, stretching out past the breadth of Lin’s vision, so vast that it could hold hundreds of Leviathan.
Lin had never seen something like this … … was this a “sea trench?”
Lin found that this new term was relatively dull and lacked presence. Sea trench, there wasn’t any magnificence, it would be better to call it a rift… …
… … what was presence? Oh never mind.
The Leviathan swam above the sea trench and the floating eyeballs looked down. This rift stretched down until light could not reach the dark abyss.
Should it go down and explore?
Lin hesitated. But wasn’t its journey for exploring unknown lands?
Leviathan slowly descended. Many anemones were stuck to the walls on both sides, and some trilobites swam around them. many unicellular organisms floated in the water. This appeared to be a richly diverse region.
After descending for a while, the light around Leviathan grew increasingly dim. Lin released the swimming lantern. The unfixed light allowed Lin to see the situation in the surroundings.
As Lin went deeper into the trench, the organisms in the surroundings decreased. When the surroundings became as dark as night, Lin rarely saw any organisms other than single cells.
Lin did not stop and continued to advance into the darker and deeper parts. It sent out more lanterns. These moving dots of light found some organisms similar to anemones stuck on the rocky walls.
They had tentacles like the anemones, but their lower bodies were not thick and cylindrical, but a thin and long handle. They didn’t seem to be called anemones, but “sea lilies”.
Lin felt this name was good.
Leviathan swam close to the wall and wanted to pluck one to eat. When Lin came close, the sea lilies would shrink back into the cracks in the wall.
The rocky walls of the sea trench were extremely hard. Lin wasn’t able to eat them this time.
The sea wall here had many sea lilies. Lin found they were not the same. Some of them wouldn’t shrink back.
Lin didn’t have a great interest in studying them. Leviathan continued to sink down. Lin desired to see if there were any more interesting things.
As Leviathan continued to sink, Lin discovered a problem, one called “pressure.”
The floating eyeballs and lanterns were the first to feel this. They had difficulty moving as though some great force squeezed them. Some even died as they couldn’t tolerate the pressure.
Where did this pressure come from? They seemed to be everywhere, was it … … because of the water?
Lin put them all away, and opened a hole at the border of Leviathan’s round body. This hole had Leviathan’s eyeball.
Protected by a transparent chitin substance, the eyeball couldn’t move as the shield limited its vision.
Lin also released a lantern covered in chitin to withstand the pressure of the water.
But the deeper Lin went, the more evident the effects of pressure became. Even the Leviathan was affected. It became more and more difficult to suck in water and eject it. Cracks even appeared in the Leviathan’s shell.
“Pressure” was terrifying.
It seemed that Lin couldn’t continue but Lin also didn’t want to give up. It had already learned how this pressure worked, and knew which kind of structures could resist this pressure.
Of course, Lin didn’t want to change the Leviathan’s structure. It created a new unit, the body was oval-shaped, and filled with water. It had a shell on the outside and no ability to swim. When the Leviathan released the unit, it sank into the water, and moved along gravity.
This structure should be able to resist pressure, but the basic tenet of resisting pressure was to fill the insides with the same substance as the substance outside which caused the pressure. This way, regardless of how great the pressure was, it couldn’t push in.
Leviathan began to swim back up. Lin had to repair its wounds. As to the exploration of the sea trench, it left it to that oval little thing.
Lin named it a “warhead.”
After a while, when Leviathan had almost swam out of the trench, the “warhead” sent the feeling of having touched a certain substance. It appeared the warhead had reached the deepest part.
At this time, the shells on both sides of the warhead opened and six segmented limbs stretched out. The legs wouldn’t be crushed as the interiors were filled with water. At the same time, two openings appeared at the warhead’s head. An eyeball and a lantern appeared within them.
Transparent shells covered the eyeball and the lantern. Lin had filled the shell with water. As expected, this method of resisting pressure worked. The “warhead” didn’t even have a crack.
It moved its surrounding limbs and started its journey into the dark abyss.
Because the warhead was filled with water, the water took up the space that originally belonged to the muscles or blood vessels. It could not move quickly. However, as its purpose was exploration, it didn’t have to be fast.
The bottom of the sea trench was made out of rocks. Under the illumination of the warhead’s lantern, some unicellular organisms entered Lin’s view first.
So they were everywhere? Other than on land.
Lin found that the cells in this sea trench were much bigger than the ones above. As expected, these had structures filled with water to resist pressure.
As Lin studied them, a light suddenly lit up far in the distance ahead. That brightness surpassed the light that the warhead gave off. It seemed to be produced from an enormous organism.
Editor’s note: Crinoid’s (the sea lilies) are pretty cool. They feed by using leafy-like or feather-like structures to filter currents for sustenance. Some of them get pretty colorful, but the deep sea ones are blanched and look kind of like a poor man’s dandelion ball. Still anything able to grow thousands of meters below sea level on the seafloor has evolved and adapted to an insanely extreme environment.
Translator Ramblings: We shall all ignore the fact crinoids seems to have first emerged in the Ordovician Period. In any case, this isn’t Earth so how cares when certain species show up?
For how short these chapters are, I spend way too much time reading interesting Wikipedia pages to research. Look at the pretty sea lily!