Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du did not know how so many fish ended up frozen in one ice sheet. Most of them were deep-sea fish, and it didn’t seem plausible that a single wave of frost did away with them all.
Blue-fin tuna, in particular, was a fish that commonly lived in very cold climates but rarely froze because it was in motion all its life.
That fish used percussive breathing to stay alive, which meant that it constantly swam, letting water through its gills and then absorbing oxygen as it passed through. They never stopped moving, so they wouldn’t freeze unless the ice traveled very abruptly.
The polar regions were the places where most of nature’s mysteries were buried. Li Du stopped thinking about it because he didn’t understand it. The space-time bug flew into the ice and when he found the blue-fin tuna, he started work.
Seven or eight meters long and four or five meters wide, the fish was a colossal mass, and it was not easy to carry it back.
Godzilla jumped down with a rope and drilled a hole in the ice floe so that the boat was able to pull it up.
And then there was the problem. They could not get this big piece of ice on board, and it was hard to break it apart. Therefore, they had to hang it over the side of the ship. As the boat pulled it along, the water friction and the sun made it melt, and when they finally pulled it up they discovered that it became smaller.
Fortunately, the remaining chunk of ice still had plenty of codfish in it, and it was a very tasty and nutritious fish. Big Quinn smelled it and said, “Hmm, no problem. This is edible.”
Though it was frozen, it was still fresh fish. The ice retained the delicious meat taste of cod. The group deep-fried, fried, grilled, and stewed the fish and had a good meal.
Late at night, it was time to go to bed.
By this time, the ship was at the edge of the arctic ice sheet, which was thick and as steady as land, and there was no fear that it would melt and float away.
Li Du took his tent and decided to camp on the ice cap. It was too bad to sleep on the boat. Although it was anchored, it would still float along with the waves, bobbing up and down and making it difficult to sleep.
Li Du almost burst into tears as he stepped onto the ice cap. “Damn, being on solid land feels good! What was I thinking when I decided to go looking for an invisible cemetery?”
Sophie said, “Maybe it was your adventurous spirit.”
Li Du shook his head. “No, no, no. I do not have an adventurous spirit in me!”
After the camp was set up, the sky was still bright. Although it was bright, they could not see the sun. The dim light made them feel uncomfortable after looking at it too long.
Li Du went into the tent and closed the door. It was dark. He imagined it was a gloomy night and gradually fell asleep.
He had a drowsy dream until some scratching on the tent door disturbed him.
Li Du opened the tent and crawled out in a daze, yawned and said, “What is the matter?”
He guessed it could only be one of his pets. Li Du stuck his hand outside and touched Ah Ow’s face. Ah Ow licked Li Du’s face and her rough tongue woke him up from his drowsiness.
After a few licks, Ah Ow looked over her shoulder, her tail between her legs as she huddled nearer to Li Du.
The other little ones saw him as well and gathered around him while looking around warily. Li Du immediately knew that the situation was not good. The animals were afraid! What did they see that could frighten these unruly little ones?
Li Du looked where they were looking, and when he saw it he couldn’t help but shudder: it was a bear, a polar bear!
The polar bear’s coat was yellowish-white and contrasted with the pristine white ice around it, so Li Du could see it at a glance.
Li Du did not move. He did not know how dangerous the bear was, but it was a big one and its intentions were unclear.
The polar bear spotted them, looked their way, then ran to the ship that was leaning against the ice. When it got to the side, it stood upon a block of ice, staring into the boat. Li Du estimated that the bear was two and a half meters high when standing on its hind legs.
The others emerged from the tent and saw the bear. Madman exclaimed, “F**k, what a big bear!”
The polar bear leaned over the ice and slapped it with his paw, and some of the ice was knocked down. Inside the ice was the big blue-fin tuna Li Du had coveted. Li Du understood that the polar bear, too, had his designs on the fish.
The bear slapped the ice hard to get the tuna out, but though it tried for a long time, it couldn’t break the ice completely.
The bear eventually lost its patience. It turned and growled in the direction of the camp.
The little ones were usually belligerent, but they were afraid now. They knew danger when they saw it and preferred to stick close to Li Du. Although they had never seen a polar bear before, instinct told them that this big guy was not easy to mess with. They couldn’t afford to play around with a bear!
Though they did not dare to provoke the polar bear, when it roared, some of the little ones were still angry at this unprovoked display of aggressiveness.
Immediately, Ah Meng jumped out, craned its neck, raised its head, and shouted, “Whoo-hoo!”
Sophie hurried up and dragged it back. “What are you doing? That bear could kill ten of you in a single slap!”
Ah Meng struggled, turned his head and continued to roar at the polar bear, showing his fierce fangs. The bear became more and more irritable, panting and looking at them. If there had not been so many of them, Li Du guessed it would have attacked.
Madman and Firecracker raised their rifles at the same time. Brother Wolf appeared at the bow and shouted, “Don’t shoot! Small caliber rifles are not enough to kill such beasts! Let me!”
As he spoke, he banged on the side of the boat. With the banging sound, the bear’s attention was drawn to him and it stared up at Brother Wolf.
Brother Wolf shook off what he was holding and then threw it towards the bear. It was a herring frozen in a chunk of ice.
The polar bear grabbed the ice and smashed it with its paws. The crowd gasped from afar.
The ice broke apart, and the herring inside was mashed almost to a pulp. The polar bear promptly grabbed the herring and ate it.
Before it was finished, Brother Wolf threw it another herring encased in ice. This time he threw a little farther, in the opposite direction from where Li Du and the others were.
The polar bear immediately ran over to get the treat. Encouraged by this success, Brother Wolf threw one more iced fish. That way, the polar bear was getting farther and farther away from them.