The submersible dives down, deeper and deeper. The color of the surrounding water fades from blue-green to rich blue and finally to gray-black. Suddenly, out of the blackness, a jellyfish covered with dancing lights appears.
It’s a lovely sight. But the people inside the bright yellow Triton submersible are not looking for small creatures, no matter how flashy. They have come to the Ogasawara islands of Japan on this summer day in 2012 to search for a massive beast.
Its eyes are each the same size as a human head. It grabs prey using eight long arms and two even longer feeding tentacles. With these tentacles stretched out, it can reach the height of a four-story building. On each of its arms and tentacles, hundreds of suction cups with sharp, serrated edges cut into whatever it grabs. It devours each meal with a sharp beak and toothed tongue.
Inside its body, three hearts beat, pushing blue blood through the creature’s veins. And its skin changes color, shimmering through hues of metallic silver and bronze. Should any other creature try to attack it, the beast sprays out a cloud of jet-black ink. This cloaks its escape. On this dive, the group fails to find what they’re looking for. But they will keep trying. What is this monster they seek? Could it possibly be real?
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