Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 58: Dong Zhi, you bastard!
On the other end, Liu Qingbo was also going crazy! He clearly remembered that he walked into the cave, heading north with Dong Zhi, and ran into Xing Qiaosheng, who was already dead. Dong Zhi wanted to check on his breath, but he grabbed his collar and pulled him back and said angrily, “Be careful. What if he suddenly open his eyes and bites you?!”
After Liu Qingbo finished speaking, he took out a short dagger from his waist, cut off a piece of hair and threw it towards Xing Qiaosheng’s nose. If he was still alive, traces of his breath would blow the hair away.
The result was as expected. Xing Qiaosheng was indeed dead.
This fact made Liu Qingbo feel a little bit lost. He retracted his dagger, straightened himself up, sighed with a rare melancholy, and turned his head to say something when he found that Dong Zhi, who was standing right behind him, had suddenly disappeared!
Even if his opponent had wings, it was impossible for him to fly so fast. Liu Qingbo stood upright and shouted, “Surname Dong!”
It was not Dong Zhi that answered him, but Xing Qiaosheng, who suddenly opened his eyes and grabbed his calf. Liu Qingbo was dragged to the ground, but he reacted extremely quickly. Using the dagger in hand, he immediately slashed at his opponent.
The weapons he carried on his body were, naturally, all famous weapons. While the dagger was short, its sharpness was not inferior to that of his Feijing Sword. Xing Qiaosheng’s wrist was cut off immediately. With another quick slash that was fast and ruthless, Liu Qingbo’s opponent’s head landed on the ground. Taking advantage of the situation, he kicked his opponent away as he sat on the ground, still panting.
“Surname Dong? Dong Zhi?!”
In response to him, there were layers of oscillating echoes.
“Dong Zhi, you bastard!”
On the other side, just after killing the ghoul, Dong Zhi, who hadn’t calmed down, couldn’t hear Liu Qingbo’s scolding. He suddenly thought of something.
When they all came in, Ou-Yang Yin broke his ankle because he was grasped by a ghoul and was suffering from corpse poisoning. Song Zhicun said he would die if he didn’t treat it in time. Since everyone was in a hurry to find the Japanese and the bronze mirror, there was no time to delay and they couldn’t retreat, so he asked Ye Cheng to take him out to treat his injuries first. Now, he himself was strangled by the ghoul for a while. Could he have been poisoned too?
He involuntarily touched his neck and found that his skin wasn’t scratched. The pain was still there, but there was nothing strange about the touch, and he couldn’t see any traces that were left behind. Even if he was truly poisoned, in such a place, it would be impossible to turn around and seek help like Ou-Yang Yin did.
To make matters worse, he might not even be able to see Long Shen before he dies. What was even more tragic was he hadn’t paid homage to his master, and he hadn’t even let Long Shen know about his feelings.
Dong Zhi’s brain started going off on a tangent, imagining himself silently dying in a corner where no one could see. Thousands of years later, others would set foot here again and see “the tomb of the single dog Dong Zhi” that was carved into the stone wall by his sword and would sigh, “This person was still a single dog when he was dying!”
How miserable. Too miserable.
If he could at least maintain the corpse poison until he sees his male god again, he would act as he turn around poignantly and fall into Long Shen’s arms, looking at him affectionately, and say that he had one last wish before his death and that would be if Long Shen could satisfy him.
Since Long Shen loves the weak so much, he couldn’t possibly refuse. At this time, he would take the opportunity to confess his feelings and ask the male god to give him a French kiss.
No, no, no. What if Long Shen also gets infected with the corpse poison after this passionate kiss?
Forget it. Never mind the kiss. Rather, he would just confess passionately, and then close his eyes reluctantly after he had breathed his last breath. Long Shen’s tears would fall on his face as the camera did a close-up in slow motion.
Very good, perfect.
Dong Zhi squatted in place and fantasized for a long time. After a while, he assessed the situation and found that there were no side-effects from the corpse poison. Except being a little tired, when he touched his heart, he felt his heartbeat was normal and he seemed to be in good health. He patted the dust off his ass and stood up, continuing to walk forward.
About thirty meters away was the end of the cave. There was a bend, so he couldn’t see what was up ahead after the turn. He slowed down and clenched the hilt of his sword. The surroundings were extremely quiet. Even the sound of footsteps and breathing seemed to form layers of echoes, which inexplicably increased the pressure on his heart.
At this moment, he began to miss Liu Qingbo. Although that guy was a tsundere and awkward, at any rate, if there was someone he could bicker with, it’d provide a distraction, so he wouldn’t be too nervous. Now that there was no one talking, and his energy was fully concentrated, it seemed that even the wind in the air felt dangerous.
Nothing happened. Passing through the end of the passage, when he turned the corner, everything was quiet, as if the whole world seemed to be separated from where he came from.
Dong Zhi suddenly stopped. A weird feeling gradually permeated. With a thump, his little heart almost jumped out of his throat.
Something’s wrong. Isn’t this the place where they just left the tomb and came in?!
Just ahead was where Ou-Yang Yin was injured by a sneak attack from a ghoul’s hand and had to withdraw with Ye Cheng. Further ahead, they would see a hapless Japanese man.
Could it be that after walking around, he had gone in a circle and returned to the same place?!
Dong Zhi turned around and ran back, thinking that something was off. He found as he ran back to the cave that the ghoul whose head he had chopped off had disappeared. Let alone the corpse, there wasn’t the slightest trace of it left!
What the hell is going on? Could it be an illusion? But if so, when did it start? Has it been since he rescued Liu Qingbo in the water, or since he and Liu Qingbo entered the cave?
Or perhaps he never saved Liu Qingbo at all and the two were already buried at the bottom of the river, let alone what happened after.
He stood still as his mind became a mess. Time and space seemed to intertwine, and the scene was reversed, giving him a confusing vision, but he was even more afraid that this was all a hallucination that he had imagined.
What was even more terrifying was that he had no idea what was true and what was false. Where did the truth start and where did the falsity start?
Dong Zhi settled down and began to organize his thoughts. It should be fact that they encountered the giant python. Everyone who participated in the fight narrowly escaped death.
He and Liu Qingbo dived into the water to find the giant python’s weakness and finally came to the edge of that strange pool together. It should also be noted that what Liu Qingbo said was not something he could imagine out of thin air.
However, he was unsure of the events that happened after they walked into this cave. If it’s fake, while not beneficial, it would mean that Xing Qiaosheng is probably not dead. If it were true, then when did he get separated from Liu Qingbo? The two of them had stuck together and never separated.
Scratching his head, Dong Zhi decided not to worry about this difficult problem that even Archimedes* could not solve.
*Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, inventor, and philosopher.
He didn’t plan to go back to the pool, so he kept moving forward. When he reached the corner again, it was still the same place where they had just come in. The only difference along the way was that the faintly glowing “dandelions” could be seen everywhere.
Dong Zhi thought these things were weird at first, but now that he had watched them for a long time, he felt a bit soft towards them.
He still remembered that when they first came in, everyone made marks on the stones next to them. Recalling this, he turned on the flashlight on his phone and looked around to see if the marks were there. He didn’t know whether he was too careless or if this path was different than the previous one, as he couldn’t find any markings.
Passing by the place where Ou-Yang Yin was injured, Dong Zhi stopped deliberately, but did not find a crack in the ground nor the ghoul’s hand. Going forward, the Japanese guy was not there either.
As soon as this thought occurred, he saw a man leaning against the wall not far in front of him. Dong Zhi slowed down as he got closer. The other party seemed to hear his movements and moved, which startled Dong Zhi and made him want to jump a few steps away.
“…Dong Zhi?” A familiar voice came.
“Song-Boss Song?!” He could hardly believe his eyes as he hurriedly stepped forward to help Song Zhicun up.
Song Zhicun coughed as blood meandered down the corners of his mouth. His face was like gold paper and his voice was weak. He looked seriously injured.
Dong Zhi wanted to pat his back, but he felt it was sticky.
“What happened? What about the others?! Hold on, I also brought some emergency medicine in my bag!”
Song Zhicun pressed his hand and shook his head. “It’s useless, don’t waste it. I was injured by the giant python…”
Dong Zhi hurriedly said, “What about the others? I can help!”
Song Zhicun: “I’m separated from them. It’s very dangerous here. You immediately… Turn around and go back. You can still escape. Hurry up, go back. Once you do, don’t come back…”
In Dong Zhi’s impression, Deputy Director Song didn’t like to talk like Director Jiang, didn’t smile all day long like Director Wu, and wasn’t indifferent like Long Shen. He was down to earth and approachable. Compared with the other Deputy Directors, he was more like everyone’s political commissar and life coach, sentimental and meticulous.
But the Deputy Director Song in front of him was so weak that he was about to die, and he no longer had the same voice as before.
Dong Zhi felt a little sad, and his eyes couldn’t help but moisten.
Song Zhicun held his hand and tried his best to talk, with great difficulty. “Remember. Don’t go forward. Leave quickly!”
“I remember!” Dong Zhi can only respond. He still recalled what Song Zhicun had said, hoping everyone would be courageous but not make unnecessary sacrifices.
He also remembered what he said at the mobilization meeting before this mission. The other party said that most likely there would be deaths on this mission, but it was normal because this had been the tradition of the Special Administration Bureau over the years. The Special Administration Bureau never cultivates flowers in a greenhouse for the sake of good data, because the enemies they will face in the future will be fierce and cunning. Only a grueling and cruel exam can make everyone alert and grow.
But even if he turns back, where can he go? He couldn’t find a way out back there, so his only option was to move forward, but Song Zhicun didn’t know this.
Could it be that his temperament had changed drastically because he had lost his sanity before he died?
Thinking of Xing Qiaosheng before, Dong Zhi broke free from Song Zhicun’s hand and slowly retreated.
Song Zhicun seemed a little puzzled. “What are you doing…”
Dong Zhi: “Boss Song, do you remember what you said to Ye Cheng and Ou-Yang Yin when you asked Ye Cheng to accompany Ou-Yang Yin to leave first?”
Song Zhicun nodded with difficulty. “I said, let’s not make unnecessary sacrifices.”
Dong Zhi: “What about the first day? What did you say to us the first day we entered the Special Administration Bureau?”
He stared at Song Zhicun closely, not letting go of any changes in the opponent’s face. Under his relenting gaze, the other party’s face changed a little.
Dong Zhi slowly took a few steps back as Song Zhicun’s face gradually became more angular. His eyebrow structure was raised, his chin was more bearded, and his hairstyle unknowingly became a crew cut.
Dong Zhi pointed his sword. “Who are you?!”
Although he turned into another person, the other party was still panting and looked weak. He said a word in Japanese and stretched out his hand to grab onto Dong Zhi’s sword, but Dong Zhi avoided him and kicked his hand away.
In pain, the opponent titled aside and finally spoke stiff Chinese.
“D-Don’t kill me!”
Dong Zhi: “Who are you?”
The other party coughed a few times. “I-My name is Takashima Kawa, a bodyguard for Mr. Otowa!”
Sure enough, it was the Japanese!
Dong Zhi immediately asked, “Where are they now? Where’s the bronze mirror!”
Takashima Kawa panted weakly. “I don’t know… I got separated from them. The bronze mirror is with Mr. Yu!”
Why did a Mr. Yu emerge?
Dong Zhi frowned and continued to ask, “Then why are you plotting against me here!”
Takashima Kawa: “It’s not me. It’s not me… Help me! I don’t want to die!” He burst into tears, and blood spat out of his mouth constantly.
The stone wall behind him suddenly stretched out a few ghost hands and pressed him tightly against the wall. Takashima River’s eyes widened as he struggled desperately.
“Help me! Help me!”
Dong Zhi couldn’t bear the sight, so he raised his sword to cut off a few of those ghost hands, but in the blink of an eye, more ghost hands emerged from the ground, some even trying to grab Dong Zhi. He drew out a Sunlight Talisman, recited a mantra, and then threw it to the ground.
Fire ignited, forming a ring of fire on the ground, burning several of the ghoulish hands. The hands bullied the soft but feared the hard. They retreated one after another, as if consciously turning to the “soft persimmon” Takashima kawa.
Takashima Kawa was pressed tightly against the wall and was slowly being consumed by it. Dong Zhi was wide-eyed as he didn’t know what to do. If he threw a talisman over, it would not spare Takashima River’s life.
After hesitating for a few seconds, Takashima Kawa’s body had mostly disappeared into the wall. His expression gradually became dull and desperate as blood continued to flow from the corners of his mouth.
Soon, his entire body was dragged in and disappeared without a trace, as if it had been swallowed by the mud. The ghoulish hands also shrank back, and everything returned to calmness, as if the existence of Takashima Kawa was just an illusion.
Dong Zhi shuddered. He didn’t believe that this was a hallucination, but he had no better explanation. After waiting for a while, the surroundings became quiet, and the appearance and disappearance of Takashima Kawa felt like a dream.
He didn’t want to stay in the same spot for too long, so he continued to walk forward. In front of him was the river where they encountered the giant python before. If he wanted to pass the river, he had to walk along the cliff.
Last time, they encountered a giant python as they moved along the cliff, but this time, Dong Zhi safely moved along the cliff sideways. The river was turbulent and spacious, just like the countless rivers he had seen before, but its calmness made him feel inexplicably weird.
What will happen when he re-walks the path that everyone has just walked through again?
A strange thought suddenly appeared. Since they came here through the tomb, have they entered an infinite loop, passing through the same place over and over again, never ending? Everyone was scattered and walked in different time and space, where they would occasionally meet or would never meet.
Suddenly, he felt lonely and terrified like never before.
If he was Long Shen, what would he do now? He would of course continue to move forward without hesitation, killing gods when he encounters gods, killing demons when he encounters demons.
Although he wasn’t as strong as Long Shen, he still possessed the same courage. Otherwise, how can he realize his desire to worship him as his master and continue pursuing him?
Dong Zhi clenched his fists and slowly let go. He was about to reach the end of the cliff, and there was another corner in front of him.
To go or not?
After hesitating for a while, Dong Zhi took a step forward. Suddenly, there was a sound of conversation in front of him. Although the movement was very small, he could hear that it was human language.
Dong Zhi was overcome with joy at first, but he suddenly stopped moving and jumped behind a rock around the corner. The sounds of footsteps and conversations were getting closer. The other party was speaking Chinese, but the tone of his voice was stiff, which was not the manner of Li Ying and the others.
He was grateful for his caution. Holding his breath, he waited for the person to approach.
“Why haven’t we seen the altar yet?” the person with the strange and stiff tone said.
“The terrain here is too complicated, and illusions and reality are constantly intertwined. Even for me, it’s inevitable that I will be led astray.” This tone was so weird that Dong Zhi couldn’t tell the difference if it was a man or a woman, and it sounded a bit hoarse.
“The news of the bronze mirror leaked out, and the people of the Special Administration Bureau will definitely catch up soon. I hope to kill Long Shen personally.” Another person spoke.
Hearing this man’s voice, Dong Zhi was slightly shocked. He recognized it as belonging to Fujikawa Aoi.
At that time, on Changbai Mountain, he didn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth, so he wasn’t aware of anything. He dared to help He Yu confront this master and his apprentice. Later, from He Yu’s own mouth, he learned that the Japanese clergy is separated from the Onmyouji, but the master and apprentice not only served as the priest and witch of the shrines but also as an Onmyouji. It can be seen that they were indeed capable, with extraordinary abilities in Japan. However, due to the events on Changbai Mountain, they returned to Japan and weren’t reconciled.
The Special Administration Bureau also knew this, but it was more important to let the tigers return home so they could find the real mastermind behind them. Now the truth seems to be surfacing little by little.
A younger voice responded to Fujikawa Aoi and said, “Yes, I want to avenge Eiko! “
Fujikawa Aoi scolded, “You don’t have the right to speak here!”
The other party that was reprimanded did not speak again.
The group of people continue to walk away from Dong Zhi’s sight, with their backs facing him. Dong Zhi suddenly opened his eyes wide.
The cloaked person!
It was the same figure he saw through his clairvoyance that sat face-to-face with Otowa Hatsuhiko! With that cloak on, there’s no mistake about his identity!
The other party’s Chinese was very fluent, without an accent.
Mr. Yu… Does it have anything to do with Xu Wan? Or is this cloaked person the Archfiend Xu Wan?
Dong Zhi’s breathing stagnated.
The other party’s footsteps seemed to notice as the figure immediately turned around. It was pitch black under the cloak, and the faint light from the “dandelions” in the corner was not enough for Dong Zhi to see his opponent’s face.
Suddenly, his opponent stretched out his hand and grabbed it towards Dong Zhi! There was no skin or flesh on his hands, just white bones!
Dong Zhi retreated subconsciously as he hugged his body against the stone wall. Taking advantage of the situation, he drew out his Changshou Sword and slashed at the hand.
It suddenly got dark before his eyes, and his feet were empty, and he felt dizzily. Whether it was the cloak figure or Fujikawa Aoi, they all disappeared.
Where is this? True or false? Real or fake? What is fact and what is fiction?
Holding his forehead, Dong Zhi felt tired and exasperated*.
*Tired and unloved (累觉不爱) Internet buzzword referring to feeling tired and having no strength to love anymore.
The faintly glowing “dandelions” were also gone, and he couldn’t even see his fingers anymore. He groped at the stone wall and stood up. The Changshou Sword was still in his hand all this time, giving him great comfort. He could still rely on this sword no matter what environment he was in, and it gave him a sense that he wasn’t alone.
Dong Zhi was about to calm down as he started to take out his phone to turn on the flashlight so he could survey his surroundings. Suddenly, at that moment, he saw a red light.
One, two, three… five in total.
The lightbulbs from afar were glowing red and flickering in the dark.
Dong Zhi was taken aback, thinking to himself. ‘Aren’t these the eyes of the giant python?!’
One eye was blinded by Lin Xuan before, so with three heads, there should only be five remaining.
The “lightbulbs” kept getting bigger, which showed that the python was approaching him at a fast speed. In the dark, all movements became clearer. Dong Zhi didn’t dare turn on his phone. He held his breath against the wall and waited for the opponent to approach.
He suddenly had an idea. Since he didn’t know where to go, instead of walking aimlessly, he might as well follow this giant python and see where it was going. Perhaps he can find a companion along the way.
The fishy smell wafted into his nose as the huge body slowly slid past him. When the tail passed by, Dong Zhi’s heart tightened as he touched the slimy scales and grabbed onto them. He used his strength to pull himself up and laid on the tail of the giant python as it carried him forward.
Perhaps due to the small space that it wasn’t used to, or maybe because of its injuries that paralyzed its senses, the python didn’t notice that a small human was lying on its tail as it kept slithering forward.
Dong Zhi found that its movement was pretty fast, but because of its huge size, it looked a little clumsy.
Although the scales of the giant python exuded a fishy smell that can make people vomit, and the mucus on its body also made his clothes slimy and uncomfortable, the feeling of lying on it without exerting any effort still felt pretty good. Compared to walking on his own two legs, he felt like he was riding shotgun on a land rover.
This “hitchhiking” was very comfortable. Ignoring the smell, Dong Zhi hardly wanted to move. Not far away, a faint light reappeared in sight. He lazily raised his neck but found his body suddenly becoming stiff.
The cave in front of it suddenly became taller and wider, and there were many ghouls on both sides. Some stretched out their hands from the stone wall, while others had half their bodies embedded in it. Others sat or leaned against the wall, while others raised their heads. Some of them opened their mouths to scream in horror, with different gestures, as if they were all reliving the moment right before they died.
Why are there so many corpses in this place?
Seeing the numbers, how could it be that so many people have died here yet there are no records in history for such a big event?
Could it be that this matter is related to Liang Weiqi that Zhou Yue talked about? Otherwise, how could one explain that such a place is connected to the back of his tomb? But what about the three-headed giant python? Could it be possible that Liang Weiqi brought the giant python here himself?
Thoughts flashed through his mind. There were too many mysteries. Dong Zhi shifted his sitting posture to firmly hold onto the tail of the giant python so as not to fall off accidentally.
The body of the giant python slid through the mass of corpses, which remained motionless, but Dong Zhi had seen their power. He didn’t know what would trigger them to attack, so he stiffened his body and didn’t dare move.
He looked up inadvertently and was taken aback. On the cliff ahead, a figure was walking slowly. In the looming reflection of the faint light, Dong Zhi saw that it was an extremely familiar figure.
Through innumerable twists and turns, his heart was moved.
The familiar name churned in his throat several times, but he still couldn’t help but blurt it out.
“Boss Long! Long Shen!”
His voice wasn’t loud, but it echoed clearly in the silent environment. At that moment, the ghouls that had been motionless slowly turned their heads and looked towards him.
The giant python seemed to be aware too. It suddenly became restless and accelerated forward. Dong Zhi was unprepared for this and lost his hold, falling off the python. The giant python had moved so fast that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t catch up.
Dong Zhi: …
The author has something to say:
Through all the twists and turns, you’re the most moving in his heart.