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Next to a reef by the sea, an overwater pergola made up of coconut leaves was the site for the temporary royal palace of the Octopus Empire. At the moment, a kingdom conference was being held.
After listening to the reports and suggestions from the two scout octopuses, Twelve Arms turned silent for a while.
“My King, I concur. The humans are incredibly foolish. It is time for us to lead the world!” One of the ministers exclaimed, waving around its eight arms.
The other octopuses also began engaging in a lively discussion. For the time, under the pergola, everyone was exhilarated.
“In order to rule humanity, we must solve the problem of breathing above the shore,” Some of the octopus ministers have begun to plan for the next step. “This world appears to be a low-magic world, and many octopuses have lost the ability to breathe onshore. We need to alter our genes and evolve respiratory organs that allow us to breathe onshore.”
“Silence, silence,” Twelve Arms waved around his thick arms, “What have I told you before? What is the 12-word motto of the Octopus Empire?”
The room of octopuses simmered down, and an old octopus tentatively said, “To speak honestly, be an honest octopus, and work honestly?”
“That’s right. The Elder is correct. Even if the world is different now, we cannot deviate from this policy. Now, what you’ve just said, do you think they were in line with the twelve-word motto?” Twelve Arms asked seriously.
At that moment, Octopus A from the two scout octopuses immediately tried to defend itself.
“My King, what we’re saying is the truth. We’ve seen the extent of the stupidity of those humans. They don’t even know basic science or courtesy.”
“Oh, according to the Heavenly Book Master’s teachings, you have made a mistake of partiality. You have not met a sufficient number of humans, you’ve only come across a few fishermen in remote places, and you’ve defined the entire human race with just that. That is clearly the wrong thing to do; and do you know what our current situation is like?” Twelve Arms said calmly.
“No.” Octopus A’s eight arms had already slumped to the ground as it answered weakly.
“We have only solved the problem of survival by building a large fish farm, but we’ve lost the mysterious powers of the past. We are just a group of octopuses with ordinary powers. Enough to deal with the larger sea monsters, but to launch a conquest on the humans above the shore, that is impossible. How many octopuses were still able to stay on shore for long periods of time? There is not even one in a thousand.” Twelve Arms dished out all the information.
The octopus minister who first proposed for ‘octopuses to grow lungs’, however, took the opportunity and said, “Then, does His Majesty mean that once we have solved these problems, we can launch a conquest against humanity?”
Twelve Arms turned silent. He finally began to question if he was truly capable of having complete control over his kingdom. The him right now missed his Heavenly Book Master more so than ever, and he was sure that the other would be able to give him an answer.
“Why do you insist on conquering the humans?” He decided that he would first hear them out.
“Once we conquer the humans, we won’t have to spend money to buy jars anymore…” One octopus said as a matter of factly.
“But the humans will resist, they will refuse to cooperate unless the circumstances are non-violent.” Twelve Arms retorted.
“Then we’ll give them violence.” That same octopus asserted.
“…” Twelve Arms felt his head hurt, he was just an octopus who wanted to live peacefully, now that such a subject was involved, things were getting out of hand, “These humans occupy the lands, and we occupy the sea; it would appear that everybody should be able to get along.”
“My King, you are too upright,” a forceful octopus shook its head and said, “Once the humans start to develop, they’ll become the same as those humans from Earth. They’ll pollute the sea, leaving us with nowhere to live; our future generations will have to eat fish filled with plastic…That’s why even if we don’t compete with them for land, we will inevitably be affected sooner or later. It’s better for us to take preemptive actions. The human sage has said so before, strike first to get the upper hand, strike later and you stand to be seized by
“That’s right, my King, you mustn’t cling on to old ties and give up on this great opportunity.”
“Yes, the humans on Earth and those in this world are different. This is a golden opportunity not to be missed.
The crowds voiced their respective opinions, and it made Twelve Arms’ head spin. It was the first time that he had come to realize just how ambitious his clanmates were? Did they not enjoy burrowing inside jars the most?
“Since you don’t wish to spend money to buy jars, why don’t we make them ourselves? We have eight arms, we can make it better.” Twelve Arms tried to placate them.
“Alright, we can make the jars ourselves; but we cannot afford to trust humans. They will harm us sooner or later.”
“This, it’s not that bad. I remember there many good people among humans as well.” Twelve Arms insisted.
“My King, you will regret it sooner or later.” An old octopus shook its head.
Clearly, after having lost his extraordinary powers, Twelve Arms’ power and authority as King had fallen significantly. In the past, there were definitely few that dared questioned him to his face.
The Twelve Arms from before would have been able to escape if not win the battle; but now, send a hundred octopuses, and he would surely be caught.
At this moment, three octopuses swam up to the pergola.
“My King, something terrible has happened. The batch of pearls that we had painstakingly gathered has been swindled away by the humans!” The three octopuses cried woefully.
“What’s going on, tell me exactly what happened?” Twelve Arms quickly asked.
“It’s like this…” One of the octopuses began narrating what had happened.
The story was simple. In order to purchase the wood and ropes needed to build ships and
fish farms, they had promised a group of fishermen that they would pay them in pearls.
However, these fishermen had claimed that they were too poor and could not afford to purchase the wood and could only deliver the goods if they first paid the deposit.
Thus, these young octopuses that had been edified by Twelve Arms into honest little octopuses thought that they had been sincere and believed them…
Finally, they waited and waited; a month had passed after the agreed date for the exchange of goods, yet not a single one came.
Until they came across another group of fishermen and overheard their discussions full of envy, only then did they realize that the other group of fishermen had stolen their pearls and headed off to the big cities to enjoy life. They were not hustling around to gather stocks for them.
In fact, even the 21st-century humans often fell for these sorts of seemingly easy scams, let alone them.
Therefore it could not be said that these octopuses were simply gullible.
“I knew it. These wretched humans are all a bunch of scammers; unlike us, smart and honest, Heavens damn these humans…” An octopus said, outraged.
Twelve Arms looked at it with a contemptuous gaze, were there a lot of honest octopuses?
Definitely not, he had originally been the only one.
He said in a serious voice, “Don’t take a part for the whole, there are bad guys among humans, and there are evil ones among octopuses too. We must be able to identify the ones that are reputable and trustworthy. The Heavenly Book Master had said so before; this is how trade works. Find 10 trade partners, and from them choose 1-2 that are credible, engage in long-term cooperation, and slowly build trust. This is our attempt at working with them; it’s normal for something like this to happen. Next time, split it up into smaller transactions, give them only one pearl at a time, that way, losses can be minimized.”
Hearing this, the three octopuses sheepishly admitted, “Yes, His Majesty is right. This time, we have been negligent and gave them a large sum of deposit. This will not happen a second time. We will split up and trade with those humans.”
“My King, you must make a decision, what are we to do now?” Urged one of the octopus
“Alright. We should still focus on developing ourselves first, and engage in trade with humans in moderation, while at the same time search for lands that can be developed rather than hastily going into war.” Twelve Arms said decisively.
“His Majesty is most wise.” The group of octopuses looked at one another. This decision sounded acceptable for the time being.
After all, as long as the issue of boarding land remained unsolved, then they would just be the same as the navy, unable to occupy land and controlled only the sea.
After the kingdom conference had ended, the octopus ministers consecutively left.
Among them, a red octopus and a blue octopus walked together. An octopus was incredibly adept at camouflage; no one knew what their original colors were.
After leaving the overwater pergola in the distance, the two octopuses began to discuss.
“Our King is no longer suited for this world. We need a new King.” The Red Octopus said first.
“Yes, he’s lost his former powers and lacks a heart. That’s not beneficial for the development
of our Octopus Clan.” The Blue Octopus gestured with one of its limbs.
“He’s still useful for the time being; after all, he is strong. Let him hold the position of King, for now, once we’ve passed the early phase of development, we’ll replace him.” The Red Octopus carried on.
“Well, he was not originally from the Giant Octopus clan. He was only a wandering octopus. He used to be a strong one on Earth, so he gets to talk. Now, this world is different. It needs brainpower and ruthlessness, and we need a cunning, hard-hearted octopus to be king, only then will we, the Octopus Clan become the ruler of the world.” The Blue Octopus suggested.
“Yes. We’ll split up and look for the former clan leaders. I remember a guy who was quite suitable.” Red Octopus agreed.
A conspiracy that would change the entire political scene of the Octopus Kingdom thus began to brew.
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