Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Although this mountain wasn’t high, this jump… Even the enemy may die, and the person surname Dong didn’t bring a parachute!
Is he crazy?!
Afterwards, Dong Zhi faced Liu Qingbo’s incessant scolding, saying that he didn’t think too much at the time, but since Ming Xian dared to jump, then he would definitely not die. He had already failed to catch him once in Yinchuan, so this time he mustn’t let him get away again.
Time returned to the present. Liu Qingbo blurted out, “Are you crazy?” Before he had time to think about it, he also raised his sword and jumped down.
But with this jump, he realized that the cliff wasn’t as steep as he thought.
Firstly, this is just the mountainside, not at the peak of the mountain. Secondly, the forest in the mountains was rich and lush. In the cold winter of the south, there was still no desolation, which gave the descending body a good buffer. After all, they were practitioners and had vigorous qi to protect their bodies. Although they may not be able to fly ten meters and directly ignore gravity like in martial arts novels, they were naturally still lighter and in better physical fitness.
From a glance, Ming Xian shot out silk strings from his hand and wrapped them around branches one by one, then swung quickly through the trees. He looked like a light swallow with his quick movements.
On the other hand, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, although their posture wasn’t as graceful as Ming Xian’s, still tightly followed behind. They grabbed onto branches to stabilize their figures and leaped forward. Dong Zhi used his Changshou Sword to open the way, and Ming Xian was unable to shake them off.
Seeing that he was about to reach the foot of the mountain, Ming Xian suddenly turned around and shot silk threads towards Dong Zhi. Dong Zhi thought he was going to attack and was about to dodge, but instead the branch at his feet was directly cut by the silk thread and it started to topple. Dong Zhi had no balance to stand on and he could only try to save himself. He reacted slightly slower for a few seconds, which gave Ming Xian the chance to run off.
Dong Zhi grabbed a tree next to him as a buffer and jumped off the tree again.
Liu Qingbo quickly caught up.
“Still lost him?”
Dong Zhi hummed. “But just before he left, he told me saying that the answer we seek is under Lake Wangyue.”
Liu Qingbo frowned. “You mean, he’s indeed not the murderer.”
Dong Zhi took out a band aid and affixed it to the small cut on his palm made by the branches.
“I don’t know. You can report to Boss Tang first. He’s still waiting for our news.”
Tang Jing didn’t expect their news to come so soon.
After learning that they had lost Ming Xian, Tang Jing didn’t react too unexpectedly, let alone blame them.
After listening to Liu Qingbo’s paraphrase of Yin Xiangxue’s insights, he was silent for a moment and said, “Okay, you go to Lake Wangyue and investigate first. I’ll ask Shu He and Huo Jie to bring diving equipment to assist you. I’ll take care of Ming Xian.”
Liu Qingbo: “He returned the tracker to us. Do you still need it?”
Tang Jing said, “No need.”
He ended the call and looked up at Long Shen on the opposite side.
The conversation was on speakerphone just now, so naturally, Long Shen heard everything.
Long Shen said, “Ming Xian knew you put a tracker on him a long time ago.”
This sentence wasn’t a doubt but an affirmation.
Tang Jing nodded. “So what we know is what he wanted us to know.”
Long Shen looked at him and suddenly smiled. “Do you feel like you’re playing chess with an opponent?”
Tang Jing didn’t know how Long Shen could still laugh. In the past, Long Shen was always the most serious one when encountering this kind of thing, but now the other party was cracking jokes. He suspected that he had become more relaxed because he was about to meet his apprentice, but now Tang Jing wasn’t in the mood for jokes.
“It was my fault. I misjudged my opponent. Right now, he doesn’t have enough time to leave Shencheng. I’ll contact the police and wait for them to make a full arrest. I hope to delay him before he leaves Shencheng.”
They met through a chance encounter and tested each other. Tang Jing boasted that he wouldn’t touch his body, but in the end, he still missed his move and lost this game of chess.
“Wait.” Long Shen stopped him from trying to pick up the phone.
Tang Jing didn’t know why.
Long Shen said, “You have lost your sense of proportion now, meaning you have lost your usual standard level.”
Tang Jing was silent, neither admitting nor denying.
Long Shen didn’t pursue the subject but asked, “Is the tracker remotely connected to the internet?”
Tang Jing: “Yes, the places he has been to are all synchronized here.”
Long Shen: “Then you don’t need to issue a warrant. Take a look at the place where he appeared on the tracker.”
Tang Jing had momentarily lost his judgement, but when he was reminded of this, he reacted immediately.
“Boss Long, do you mean he’s waiting for us on purpose?”
Long Shen nodded: “Since he discovered the tracker a long time ago, he didn’t tell us until now, indicating that there must be things we need to know in the places he has been before. Find them and investigate them one by one.”
Tang Jing didn’t talk nonsense. “I’ll do it right away.”
Shu He and Huo Jie moved quickly. Dong Zhi had just evacuated the crowd around Laken Wangyue with the police and barred the area when they arrived, bringing the diving equipment.
“This is a scuba. I know that practitioners can hold their breath underwater for a long time and while this is Lake Wangyue, an artificial lake, it draws water from Lake Dianshan. I heard Lake Dianshan is very deep, so I can’t guarantee there’s something under there, but you might stumble over it, so it’s more convenient to have a scuba.” Shu He handed them the equipment and taught them how to use it.
Dong Zhi said, “Let’s go directly from Lake Wangyue. The underwater situation is unknown, so let’s not try to be too far apart.”
The orders for Shu He and Huo Jie were to assist; that was to say, they were auxiliaries for Dong Zhi while he led. Technically, regardless of administration level or position, Shu He was above Dong Zhi, and he should’ve been humble and let him take the lead in this matter, but when things were urgent, he didn’t think much about it. Shu He felt a little uncomfortable, but he didn’t show it, so he only nodded.
Without any more delays, the four of them took off their down jackets and coats, put the scuba tank on their backs, and went directly into the water.
Although it was an artificial lake, the depth was still considerable, especially given that it was winter. When they got in the water, they felt a biting chill directly through their soaked clothes, pouring in from all directions. Dong Zhi shuddered involuntarily as Shu He swam in front of him. He had already been surpassed by everyone by a figure, so he had to speed up so as not to be dragged down so far.
Time was of the essence, so they didn’t have time to find an underwater searchlight. Only the most ordinary waterproof flashlight was used. The range was limited, and the water was muddy. Various algae floated in front of them from time to time, creating very low visibility. After looping a circle, they slowly moved closer to the center of the lake.
The closer they got to the center, the deeper and muddier the water became. It was almost impossible for the flashlight to illuminate too far away. There were occasionally aquatic plants swaying at the bottom of the lake, floating in the water, gently brushing their bodies, as if it was a gentle girl wanting her lover to stay.
Although Shu He and Huo Jie didn’t see Jiang Lang’s death with their own eyes, they had killed a water monkey here two years ago and knew that Lake Wangyue wasn’t a safe artificial lake.
Suddenly, Huo Jie’s figure sank, as if he was being pulled down by something, and his whole body dropped sharply.
Shu He was in front of him and didn’t notice, but Liu Qingbo and Dong Zhi were behind him and could clearly see. Liu Qingbo stretched out his hand and grabbed Huo Jie’s shoulder in time, but because the force was so strong, his whole body also sank with him.
Dong Zhi hurriedly grabbed the clothes on Liu Qingbo’s shoulders.
With this catch, he knew how strong the force holding Huo Jie was. It wasn’t a force that humans could resist at all. He refused to let go of Liu Qingbo and was also dragged down. The three of them were involuntarily swept down, and the lower they went, the more rapid the surrounding water flow became, eventually forming a whirlpool that sucked everything inwards. Not only them, but also passing fish and all aquatic creatures were sucked in without exception as soon as they entered the scope of the whirlpool.
It was only then that Dong Zhi suddenly realized that when they came to this area, the reason why all the surrounding fish had disappeared all at once was because they were instinctively avoiding danger.
But why did such a whirlpool appear in an artificial lake? Was it related to Jiang Lang’s death?
His eyes were cloudy due to the turbid water, and his flashlight had been swept away. His hand was still holding onto Liu Qingbo’s clothes tightly as they drifted with the current, circling in the water, unable to distinguish between north and south or east and west. Dong Zhi felt as if he had become dirty laundry that was loaded in a front-load washing machine that was kept running with no pause, spinning until all the clothes were completely dehydrated.
Time had become a useless foil. Dong Zhi didn’t know how long he had been rolling in this “washing machine”. When he realized that he had surfaced, his whole body was still light, and his head was spinning frantically like a disco ball. He had to close his eyes and wait for the dizziness to completely pass.
“This is… Where?” Huo Jie’s voice also seemed like he had been floating in outer space and hadn’t returned to earth yet.
“Didn’t you go under the water two years ago? You didn’t find it here at that time?” Liu Qingbo covered his head and groaned.
Huo Jie leaned back on the stone and panted. “No, where’s Shu He?”
When he said this, the others discovered that Shu He was gone.
Dong Zhi said, “He was in front just now, and I guess he didn’t see us being dragged in by the whirlpool.”
Liu Qingbo took a look at it with his flashlight and found that it was a concave cave. It seemed this was formed a long time ago when water was used to fill it, but when the water level dropped, a hollow area was created. There was also a small place to rest on the side, and you could breathe even if you took off the scuba equipment.
The three of them were drenched. Although they were practitioners, no one liked the feeling of being sticky, wet, and cold and unable to change clothes.
Dong Zhi opened a small waterproof bag, reached in and took out a few things for a while, then threw them away separately.
“What are you doing bringing a heat pad* when we’re going into water?!”
*It’s a heat pad that becomes warm through a chemical reaction in the pad (no electricity or other things required).
Liu Qingbo took a look at his hand, showing an expression of whether he was crazy.
Dong Zhi said innocently, “Such a bag can’t fit in a pocket. I just bought it when I bought water in the school store. It only takes a moment to stick to my stomach and it’s better than nothing.”
The corners of Liu Qingbo’s mouth twitched. He wanted to smear this heat pad all over Dong Zhi’s face, but in the end, he resignedly tore off the package and stuck it on himself.
Huo Jie could barely contain his praise. “Man, it feels really nice, like qi is being delivered to your dantian except it’s on your stomach!”
Dong Zhi happily said, “Right? Next time you need to go into the water, take it with you!”
Liu Qingbo: …Why are you taking it so seriously when people are casually complimenting you?
He felt that his cultivation was really getting better. In order to save some face for his leader, Dong Zhi, he actually had to endure and hold back this sentence abruptly.
The three of them breathed a sigh of relief and began to discuss countermeasures.
The oxygen in this cave was very thin, so it was impossible to stay for a long time, and they would eventually have to go back into the water.
Liu Qingbo thought it was odd. “Lake Wangyue is an artificial lake, and you can see the opposite side from a glance. Where did this kind of cave come from?”
Huo Jie said, “The water from Lake Wangyue is drawn from Lake Dianshan, but the pipeline shouldn’t be here.”
It was most definitely not here. This cave wasn’t artificially carved out.
“It’s said that there was a big puddle at the time and it would get muddy everywhere when it rained. The water in the puddle wouldn’t dry all year round, which had a great impact on the surrounding residents. Later, the pit was simply transformed into the current artificial lake. Now it has become part of the landscape, but I’ve never heard of whirlpools in puddles before.”
Liu Qingbo: “Where did you catch the water monkey?”
Huo Jie: “I saw it soon after I went into the water. It was easy to find it, but it took some effort to catch it. Later, we looked at the lake again, but we didn’t find any.”
Liu Qingbo shrugged. “It looks like we’re going to return in vain today.”
Dong Zhi suddenly shh.
He lowered his voice. “Look… On the opposite side.”
Liu Huo and Huo Jie looked in the direction he was saying.
The cave wasn’t big, so the flashlight could barely reach the opposite side. In the faint light, only wet stones being slapped by the lake water and the slightly rippling water surface were visible.
“Yes—” Liu Qingbo wanted to say something, until he saw it. A hoop was hooked on a rock with sharp edges and corners protruding forward from the lake. On a closer look, it seemed to be a link from a chain.
The three of them were silent, but many questions popped up in their hearts. This chain link looked very thick, and they didn’t know what it was connected to, but Huo Jie could be sure that there was no such thing in Lake Wangyue.
Since it wasn’t from Lake Wangyue, where did it come from?
Dong Zhi said, “I’ll go and have a look.”
Before anyone else could speak, his body sank and he had already entered the water again. He swam over with both hands, grabbed the chain, and plunged his head in again.
Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie also got back into the water. They quickly found that the iron chain was very long; so long that it was dragged down for several meters. They tried pulling it for a few meters before they gave up.
Dong Zhi proposed, “How about Lao Liu and I follow the iron chain and have a look. Huo Ge, will you go back and report this first?”
Of course, Huo Jie vetoed it: “I’ll join you.”
The three of them reached an agreement and decided to swim along one end of the chain to find out what it was attached to.
The chain was almost as thick as an adult man’s arm. It was freezing cold to the touch, but at least with this chain as a guide, they would have a sense of direction when they swam, and they wouldn’t get lost again. It was about half an hour later when the doubts in all three of them not only didn’t diminish but grew stronger.
Huo Jie suspected that they had already passed through the bottom of Lake Wangyue and came to another lake because there was no iron chain in Lake Wangyue and it was impossible for them to swim for so long without losing sight of their heads.
The chain gradually extended upward, as if directly connected to the surface of the lake. A faint light slowly swayed across the lake.
The oxygen in their scuba tank was getting low, so the three of them immediately accelerated upwards.
Water splashed everywhere when Dong Zhi surfaced. He wiped the water away from his face and opened his eyes and looked around. He was dumbfounded.
Not only him, but Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie were also a little dazed.
Why was it another hole?
The iron chain was connected from underwater to the water, and then extended deep into a cave in front, with no end in sight.
The luminous object they originally saw underwater that they originally thought might be a light emitted by a fishing boat or something similar, was actually a light source that was on a stone in the cave, blue and faint. It wasn’t the same as the flowers that Dong Zhi saw in the underground cave of Yinchuan.
“It seems to be phosphorescent.” Huo Jie said after taking a look.
Dong Zhi said, “We just went into the water at Lake Wangyue. Will we have reached Lake Dianshan by now?”
Huo Jie said, “It’s possible, but it’s not clear where Lake Dianshan is. Let’s go ahead and have a look.”
As soon as his voice fell, the chain moved. None of the three of them touched the iron chain, but it suddenly slid down, like…
Like something on the other end was pulling it.
Liu Qingbo had a strange feeling in his heart. He bent over and grabbed the iron chain in his hand and began to drag it in the opposite direction. Huo Jie and Dong Zhi saw and helped. They quickly found that there was also a force in the opposite direction to contend with them. The force was so great that the three of them were caught off guard and almost all of them were dragged back into the water.
They glanced at each other. Their hearts became more horrified, and they accelerated their speed and pulled the chain to their side.
One meter, ten meters, twenty meters; more and more of the iron chain pile under their feet. The force that was pulling against them was also increasing in strength. The three of them had to use dark force*. Huo Jie shouted and sat down crossed-legged while holding the iron chain firmly in his hand, like a fixed mountain stone. Dong Zhi suddenly found that the pressure was a lot less.
*I don’t really get it, but apparently, it’s a training method for kung fu and stuff (like boxing), but like an extreme method when releasing a type of force.
“Are you practicing a 1,000-pound drop?” Liu Qingbo glanced at him curiously.
Huo Jie shrugged. “I don’t know if it’s true. I’ve been practicing with Master in the mountains since I was a child, and Master didn’t give it a name. After going down the mountain, for the sake of prestige, I gave it a name myself. It’s called Dinghai Shenzhen.”
While speaking, the power on the other end of the chain seemed to have suddenly disappeared, causing Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo to lose their balance and stagger forward.
At this moment, Huo Jie suddenly frowned and said loudly, “There is something underwater; step back!”
Before the words were finished, a behemoth jumped out of the water, and its sturdy body rushed straight towards Dong Zhi’s head.
Tang Jing looked up at the surrounding environment and the rusty tin house that had been abandoned for a long time and couldn’t help frowning.
Ming Xian’s tracker showed the three places he had been to during this time, Yasheng High School, Garden Community, and here.
Yasheng High School was where he worked, and Garden Community was the teacher’s dorm. Only here, far from the city, wasn’t like a place that a high school teacher would go. It was the most conspicuous.
In his impression, Ming Xian wasn’t a person who would come to such a place. Even if he was hiding from eyes and ears, he would definitely choose a clean and beautiful setting.
Even if they didn’t know each other well enough, he had an inadvertent attention to Ming Xian that he himself didn’t notice but would unexpectedly pop up from the corner of his heart.
Tang Jing still remembered the two of them were kissing in the park, and Ming Xian was pressed against the tree trunk as he muttered dissatisfiedly. Tang Jing didn’t care at that time, but in hindsight, the other party said that his clothes were going to be soiled.
This person was a bit of a neat freak.
So if Ming Xian deliberately exposed this location to them, what was his intention?
Half an hour ago, Long Shen and Tang Jing had already gotten out of the car, and they walked this section on foot.
Song Zhicun also came to Shencheng with Long Shen this time. The summit of various countries was approaching. They didn’t come here specifically for this case, but since they happened to hit it, they couldn’t stay out of it. With Song Zhicun sitting in the branch office, Long Shen and Tang Jing could do whatever they wanted.
It was getting late, and few people passed by this section of the road. The front has been closed due to the renovation, but the sparse streetlights were still on. A lonely tin house stood there, which made the scene look even more desolated.
“Someone’s coming,” Tang Jing whispered.
They stood in the weeds on the side of the road and saw a car driving to the side and parked in front of the tin house.
The lights went out and a person stepped out.
It was Ming Xian.
The weeds were only half a person tall and not enough to cover their stature. What’s more, Ming Xian was also a practitioner, and he soon saw Long Shen and Tang Jing.
“Tangtang,” he greeted Tang Jing as usual, with a relaxed tone, as if they were still in that café next to the park.
Tang Jing’s eyes narrowed as he stared at him.
Mingxian laughed out loud. “Do you need to look at me like this? Anyway, I have provided you with a lot of clues.”
Tang Jing said, “Then do you want to abandon the dark and turn to the light? Care to trade a name?”
Ming Xian shrugged. “Even if I say yes, you won’t believe it.”
“If…” As soon as Tang Jing said those words, Ming Xian raised his hand to stop him.
“I think with Boss Long out here in person, even if I didn’t take the initiative to provide you with clues, you will be able to find it here soon. Why don’t we just be straightforward so as not to waste each other’s time.”
Ming Xian stretched out his hand and knocked on the door a few times.
The sound came far away in the quiet night.
A vigilant voice came from the room. “Who did you bring here?!”
Tang Jing’s response was to kick the door open directly.
Behind the door, a man covered with black cloth all over his body seemed to be choking himself. Looking at Ming Xian, Tang Jing, and Long Shen behind him, he suddenly turned around and ran, but Tang Jing was faster. He jumped in with a sweep of his figure, grabbed the opponent’s black robe and tore it off.
In the dim light, the man turned around and tried to grab back the black robe, but failed, and his panicked face caught everyone’s eyes.
Long Shen’s calm expression moved slightly.
The man staggered and fell, holding himself with his hands around his shoulders, as if it was very cold, but he kept backing away. He stared at Long Shen, showing a look of fear and terror.
Long Shen’s face showed coldness.
“You have fallen so far.”
Cheng Yuan, a person who had also applied to the Special Administrative Bureau, also participated in Hui Yiguang’s case with Dong Zhi, Liu Qingbo, and the others, but later didn’t stay to the end. At that time, Dong Zhi had a good friendship with him and asked Long Shen about him. Long Shen didn’t say much, and only said succinctly that Cheng Yuan didn’t meet the standard.
In fact, Cheng Yuan’s unqualified performance wasn’t because of his lack of ability or poor grades, but because Long Shen and others saw, based on the questions he answered in the interview, that this person’s personality was too utilitarian and planned to observe him for a while, so he was unexpectedly rejected.
It was just that Long Shen didn’t expect that Cheng Yuan would appear here after failing his application.
He was covered with green and black veins, which seemed to be poisoned at first glance, but Long Shen knew that this was the manifestation of the long-term corruption of demonic energy. Ordinary people who were courted by demonic energy would over time become demonic corpses that were neither human nor ghosts, just like those ordinary people who were eroded by demonic energy on the train to Changchun. However, practitioners like Cheng Yuan could still retain their own sanity, and even their abilities would become stronger and more difficult to deal with because of the fusion between their qi and the demonic energy.
For those who forgot, Cheng Yuan is the psychic during the Special Administration test arc.