Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Anna waited outside the door for a long time before it opened.
“Anton, what are you doing in there? Why are you taking so long to open the door?”
There were a total of seven people on the Russian team, five of whom were from the special agencies under national security, which was somewhat similar to the Special Administration Bureau that Dong Zhi’s team worked for—such agencies were often unknown to outsiders, but they did exist. The other two, including Anton, were selected through civilian recruitment.
However, Anna and the others didn’t like Anton very much, not only because he was often taciturn and had barely a presence, but also because he seemed out of place on the team. He didn’t look like a well-trained practitioner at all. At best, he was thought to be mediocre.
Hearing Anna’s complaint, Anton blinked slowly, showed a naïve smile, and said embarrassedly, “I may have dozed off just now.”
“Come out quickly. It’s dinner time!”
Anna didn’t say much more before tossing her sentence and turning around to leave.
Naturally, she didn’t notice that Anton’s smile became weird at some point and the corner of his mouth seemed to slightly tilt upwards then curled down again. It was eerie to the degree of terrifying that could make people’s hearts tremble.
When the passenger ship arrived at its destination in the vast sea, many people were so energized to see dry land that their tiredness from the journey was forgotten. It also meant that the harmony between teams easily disappeared, and the mood became nothing short of a competitive relationship.
Although under normal circumstances, there would be no malicious killings, Dong Zhi knew that in this archipelago, there was no supervision or restraint by external forces. Even if there was a man-made accident, the murderer could easily get away with it. This was why Grace had been pursuing Dong Zhi and them, adamant that the Chinese had murdered her sister on purpose. However, the environment and conditions at that time showed no evidence of this, so in the end, it could only be dismissed, and she chose to take her revenge in her own way.
This logic was reasonable, but unfortunately, she chose the wrong target. Dong Zhi wasn’t interested in harming others, but no one was allowed to plot against his teammates.
The organizing committee would drop each team off at their designated location in turn, based on the pre-calculated latitude and longitude, and then let them take a speed boat to their island. The passenger ship traveled forward a bit, then started lowering other teams to their speedboat.
In this way, even if two teams had the same island, the two sides would have different settlements, which was equivalent to being in different locations on the island. That meant it would be difficult for them to encounter each other at first.
The organizers also equipped everyone with a watch that had a 20-day countdown. The time started from now and 20 days later would mark the end of the competition.
Before the separation, William found Dong Zhi privately and gave him a cellphone. There was no signal on the island, so texting wasn’t available, which was tantamount to being isolated from the world. However, the phone given by William was an exception. Although they were unable to communicate with the outside world, they could still get in touch with the one in William’s hand.
“I believe that the Japanese won’t be your opponents, so if there’s no golden apple on the island you’re staying on, just let me know so we don’t have to go there and search again. Likewise, I’ll tell you about the situation on my side as well,” William said.
Dong Zhi asked rhetorically, “What if you find the golden apple first? Will you also tell us?”
The rules of the competition stipulated that when one team got the key prop, the other teams weren’t allowed to snatch it unless they encountered unpredictable dangers. However, Dong Zhi was doubtful this rule would be effectively implemented. Once they arrived on the island, it was equivalent to losing the power of supervision. If a person were to take advantage of that and kill someone, as long as they didn’t leave any traces behind, no one would notice.
William gave a playful smile. “Yes, why not? When we leave the island by boat, I’ll definitely tell you so you won’t continue to sweat mercilessly!”
Dong Zhi looked indifferent. “Then we’ll do the same.”
William: “Don’t be like this, Dong. I worked hard to get these two phones. They are very useful. First, we can eliminate all the islands without the golden apple, which saves us a lot of time and avoid letting other teams take the lead. I believe we’ll be the strongest of all teams here, no? Also, trust is mutual. I swear I won’t lie to you, but everyone wants the golden apple. The deal is, if we get the golden apple, we’ll leave the silver coins to you, allowing you to get second place. Well?”
Dong Zhi thought for a while. “Okay, deal.”
William thought to himself, ‘Dong can vye for first place, but that’s pointless. They can rack their brains, but no one knows where the golden apple is. First place is destined to be ours.’
Dong Zhi thought to himself, ‘Who wants second place? That’s reserved for the Americans and will be like that for the next competition and the next one after that as well.’
The two shook hands, indicating their alliance had been reached, and they both smiled tacitly.
There were four big islands that made up the Senluo Islands and a few small islands and reefs that could be seen at a glance. Those weren’t part of the competition. Lisa had clearly told them that the competition would only be on the four main islands.
The island where Dong Zhi landed was called Diana Island. Diana* was the goddess of the moon in Roman mythology, but she had also a lesser-known counterpart. Diana was also the goddess of the forest, so as the name suggests, the island was densely wooded and full of tall trees. Coupled with the surrounding white mist on the canopy, it was enough to become the background of a horror movie.
*Goddess of the countryside, hunters, crossroads, and the Moon. She’s equated with the Greek Goddess Artemis.
All six people in Dong Zhi’s group weren’t scared, but they were vigilant. They found the island to be much larger than they thought, and the large forest that wasn’t far away made it easy to hide, making ambushes more deadly. Inside, anything could happen.
Liu Qingbo looked up. He originally wanted to see when it would get dark, but instead of the clouds and sun, he only saw white mist.
“Damn, this fog is endless. You can’t even see the sun!”
Dong Zhi looked at his watch. “It should be almost dusk. The light is darker than when we were on the boat. No matter what kind of creatures there are, they most likely attack in the dark. This island is definitely not as calm as it seems. Let’s find a relatively safe place to settle down and spend the night and make plans for tomorrow.”
Liu Si said, “Let me ask.”
As Liu Si walked towards the trees, Zhang Song felt inexplicable. “Who are you going to ask?”
Liu Si looked back and smiled. “Have you forgotten my original form?”
Only then did Zhang Song remember that Liu Si’s was originally a willow, so naturally he could communicate with trees.
Neither Yang Shouyi nor Li Han’er expected that Liu Si wasn’t actually human, but they didn’t want to pry too much into that kind of thing. They both chose to remain silent, but their faces showed interest.
Liu Si walked over, put one hand on the trunk of the tree, stood still for a moment, and then walked back.
“These trees are a bit strange.” When he came back, his expression was a little confused. “They have lived for a long time, but they can only communicate very little information. I’ve tried a few of them. They only know that the edge of the forest is safe, but there will be danger when we go in. As for what the danger is, they can’t tell. They can only convey vague messages.”
Liu Si suddenly paused. “Based on this information, it can only mean endless death.”
Everyone was silent for a while.
It was Dong Zhi who spoke first. “Then let’s spend the night outside the forest.”
Fire starting tools and drinking water were readily available. Practitioners like Dong Zhi hadn’t yet reached the realm of abstinence*, but they ate less than ordinary people and had longer endurance. Li Han’er took out some compressed biscuits and shared them. After eating two pieces, everyone was full. They started a fire and sat around it for warmth.
*Realm of Bigu. Abstinence from eating. In terms of cultivation, basically, if you reach this realm, you no longer need to eat.
Liu Qingbo frowned and said, “It’s strange that this is a competitive venue and a research base for Group 51. Even if it’s dangerous, it’s impossible for it to be linked with endless death. What the hell is the organizing committee thinking?”
Li Han’er said softly, “Maybe they’re not up to something, but something uncontrollable happened.”
Through the thick fog, the sky gradually darkened; the speed of which seemed to be faster than normal. After a while, everything sank into darkness.
With the bonfire at the center, the fire blazed within a radius of three to five meters, but after this range, it was only darkness, the woods, and the fog. The sea and the island seemed to merge as unpredictable dangers quietly bred in the darkness. It was as if, at any moment, something would jump out and swallow life itself.
The minds of everyone were already much stronger than ordinary people, but in this atmosphere, only by seeing the faces of their companions around the burning bonfire could they feel a trace of their own breath in the world rather than being swallowed by the overwhelming fog.
Sitting idly without anything to do, Yang Shouyi pondered the riddle Lisa had told them that was related to the whereabouts of the prop.
“The beauty shrouded in the clouds will eventually take off her mysterious veil… Isn’t Diana a goddess? Does the riddle refer to our current island?”
Li Han’er shook her head. “I don’t think it’s that simple. Beauty could refer to something specific, such as a mountain peak or a specific place. If the meaning of the riddle is so broad and general, then we have to search every corner of the island. This possibility feels unlikely.”
Dong Zhi asked Liu Si, “Lao Liu, what do you think?”
Liu Si didn’t say much, but generally the things he said were quite informative.
Liu Si thought for a while, then said, “Could it be that the riddle is just deliberately confusing and misleading us?”
Zhang Song frowned and said, “But this isn’t in line with the rules, right? Is there precedent for the organizing committee deliberately spreading false information?”
Liu Qingbo smiled. “Haven’t you taken a closer look at the information distributed in past competitions? Of course they have! When the last session was in the Valley of the Emperor, the organizing committee announced five clues, but in the end, it was confirmed that three of them were fake. Many people mistakenly took the fake clues as real clues and were misled from the start. One team also suffered two deaths and four were injured as a result. I really doubt what you’ve been doing when the information was handed to you.”
His tone was particularly flat, which made Zhang Song’s hand itchy. He couldn’t help but want to stage a wonderful beating of the deputy captain.
Before the infighting started, Dong Zhi forcibly rounded things up and changed the subject. “Anyway, we’re here now. Tomorrow, we’ll go into the woods and investigate. Tonight, make sure to get enough energy. I’ll stand watch for the first half of the night. Lao Liu will guard the second half, and Xiao Zhang tomorrow—”
Seeing Zhang Song roll his eyes, Dong Zhi quickly changed his words. “Lao Zhang and Lao Liu will be on duty.”
Yang Shouyi took the initiative to say, “Let me stand watch tonight. I’m in a good state, and I’m not tired. You’ll definitely be exhausted tomorrow, Dong Zhi, so don’t keep vigil tonight.”
Li Han’er said, “Then I’ll do the second half of the night. The others can discuss it tomorrow.”
On Rose Island, Anton, the Russian, was walking in a valley with his companions.
Rose Island, as the name would suggest, should be romantic, but in fact, there wasn’t a single rose on the island. Rather, it was full of mountains and valleys. Unfortunately, the height of these mountains was quite inadequate, and added to that were the silent inhabitants, which only gave the contestants a headache.
The Russians went to the same island as the British and Southern Europe, but the three parties had different landing points. The island was also quite large, so at present, the teams hadn’t yet met.
Anton didn’t actually want to participate. His profession was called a psychic in Russia, but he only did this job purely to make a living. There were no ideals of exploring the unknown and advancing to a higher realm. Signing up this time was also because he would get a generous bonus.
After the ship sailed into the fog, he felt groggy all over. Sometimes it seemed that he didn’t speak and would do things beyond his will, and even his memories were becoming foggy.
However, as a psychic, his physique was far more sensitive than others. He could easily perceive magnetic field fluctuations that others couldn’t detect, which allowed him to sense the aura of death in the mist. This aura was many times stronger than what he had experienced before, and it surrounded him overwhelmingly from all sides, which frightened him to the point where he couldn’t wait to turn around and run. Before disembarking, he even told the team leader that he was unwell and hoped to withdraw from the competition and go home.
Naturally, he was denied. They had come all the way here, so how could they give up halfway? The leader, Alexander, taught him a hard lesson and told him not to affect other people’s emotions. Anton had no choice but to keep his muttering and dissatisfaction to himself. The fear in his heart grew stronger as the team traveled deeper into the island. As a psychic, such a premonition was extremely abnormal.
“Captain, let’s not go further!” He couldn’t help shouting.
“What are you spouting off again!” Alexander was annoyed. “I warned you. We’re here to compete, so of course there’s danger. Since you chose to sign up, you should have expected this!”
The others laughed.
“Come on, Anton. Your mouth has been complaining since we landed. Are you really a psychic? How did you pass the screening?”
“Look at this coward. Are you an ordinary person who snuck in?”
Anton roared, “Enough! Can’t I regret it now? I want to leave. I don’t want to stay in this shithole anymore!”
Alexander suddenly stopped and turned around abruptly. He grabbed Anton by the collar and slammed him against the mountain wall.
“Do you not understand my warning? No one can leave before the game is over! Either you stay well and do things honestly, or just leave by yourself. If you want to die, no one will stop you!”
Alexander felt that this kind of competition shouldn’t have recruited practitioners from the private sector to participate. Looking at their quality, they had no team spirit. How could they expect to find the golden apple?
Anton collapsed and yelled, “But I sense the aura of death! It’s all death! We’re all going to die here—”
His voice abruptly stopped. The back of his neck was pinched by Anna, and he rolled his eyes and fell softly to the ground.
Anna said calmly, “His mood isn’t right. Let’s take a break right now. It’s dark now anyway. Let’s see if Anton will get better when he wakes up.”
There happened to be a cave nearby, which could keep them from the cold and rain. Anna proposed to spend the night in it, and everyone agreed.
Alexander took the initiative to explore the cave and found it wasn’t very deep and there weren’t any animals, such as bats. It was dry and clean, as if it were a natural habitat provided to passersby on a special trip.
They lit a fire in the cave and looked at Anton, who had fallen unconscious. It was inevitable that they would pick up the topic and tease him again.
Another practitioner who was selected from the private sector felt embarrassed. Everyone was wondering where they would find the golden apple while Anton kept dragging his legs, so he proposed they wait for Anton to wake up and send him to the beach so he could leave by himself.
“No!” Anna instantly rejected this proposal. “Did you forget the rules? If someone leaves first during the competition, the entire team will be disqualified. Not only can we not leave Anton behind, we have to keep an eye on him lest he find a chance to escape. Then this trip will all be in vain!”
Alexander tossed the lighter to the ground carelessly. “This bastard ruined all our plans!”
Anna said, “When he wakes up, let me have a good talk with him. As long as he doesn’t do anything bad, he can do what he wants.”
It seemed that this was the only way. Alexander couldn’t help but glare at Anton again and begin to arrange for his teammates to take turns resting.
It was Anna’s turn to take vigil for the second half of the night. When she woke up, the mist in the sky was blown away by the wind, revealing a crescent moon. The bright moonlight spread down, making the island look peaceful. Compared to a competitive game, it was more like a romantic place for a date.
She even wondered if there were any so-called obstacles on this island, but if not, where would they go to find the golden apple? Did they have to dig into every piece of suspicious land they found?
The campfire was still burning, but it was much weaker. Several people were sleeping on their sides, except for Anton.
Anna was startled and quickly walked outside, only to secretly breathe a sigh of relief when she saw Anton sitting outside with the night watch.
“Hey, Lev, go get some rest. I’ll stay here!” She greeted her companion, who was at the vigil.
Her companion got up and patted her, yawned, and walked into the cave.
During this process, Anton was silent before Anna sat down.
“Anton, it seems I haven’t asked you. Where are you from?”
“…A rural area in Siberia. You haven’t heard of it,” Anton said weakly.
Anna tried to soften her voice. “Listen to me Anton, if you go back now, that means we all will fail before the competition even starts. This is a cowardly act that will ruin your reputation if you go back. Everyone will know that you’re a coward who wanted to escape because he got cold feet. No one will believe you anymore, and your career will be greatly affected.”
“That’s better than losing your life,” Anton murmured. “If you stay here any longer, it’s not only me and you, but everyone will die!”
Anna said solemnly, “What did you see? Tell me!”
Anton said in a daze, “I can’t say it, but I can feel the sickle of death hanging above our heads.”
Ordinary people would be fooled by such exaggerated words, but Anna, as a practitioner, couldn’t help but become enraged and wanted to reprimand him.
However, at this moment, a scream suddenly came from inside the cave!
Anna didn’t even think. She turned around and ran towards the cave.
Lev, who had just changed shifts with Anna, was leaning against the stone wall and was immersed in his sleep, was being choked tightly by claws sticking out of the stones. He rolled his eyes and couldn’t break free. The sharp claws pierced his neck, splattering blood instantly. Lev subconsciously wanted to scream, but the next moment, his trachea was cut off, and the last sound of his life disappeared.
Everyone was instantly awakened. Alexander immediately drew out his gun and fired about five rounds at the unknown creature attacking them within two seconds. The shots all hit, and the screams of those creatures echoed in the cave. They fluttered their wings and attacked all the humans more frantically, filling the entire cave with a strong smell of blood.
Although the Russians were at odds with the Americans, there were always many coincidences in their lives. For example, the bullets they used were specially made materials that could not only kill people but were also lethal to strange beasts and demons. This was a finished product that had been tested many times, but the unknown creatures in front of them were too big. Not only did they have limbs similar to humans’, but they also had a pair of huge wings on their backs. A closer look showed that the ends of those limbs weren’t normal human fingers but were similar to an eagle’s claws. The monster was covered with long hair that covered its head, revealing only its face. The green and faint eyes were particularly creepy in the dark.
The practitioners, who were far more agile than ordinary people, flew all over the walls of the cave, but these monsters were quicker than them. In just ten minutes, everyone had wounds on their bodies.
“God, what the hell are these things? What monsters did the damn Americans put in!” During the struggle, someone couldn’t help but curse.
“Run! Run!” Alexander roared as he threw the guns that were empty of bullets away. He pulled out a katana and slashed at the incoming monsters head on!
The monster wailed, and most of its wings were cut off by him, but Alexander also recoiled from shock.
At this time, several of his companions had already escaped, but they didn’t notice that in the midst of the chaos, Anton wasn’t there.
At this time, Dong Zhi was taking a break during the long night.
The winter night was bitingly cold. As the wind blew through the forest, it brought not only the rustling of the branches and leaves, but also a trembling chill.
Dong Zhi’s team had all brought sleeping bags and found a relatively clean place. They lit a campfire and spread out the sleeping bags around it before burrowing into it, which made things much warmer.
Yang Shouyi was responsible for the first half of the night, while Li Han’er would take the second shift. Seeing that the time had passed the agreed 2 o’clock, Yang Shouyi felt that he wasn’t sleepy yet and decided to let his companion sleep a little longer, so he didn’t wake up Li Han’er.
Although he didn’t really understand why Dong Zhi was captain at first, Yang Shouyi now knew why the top had appointed him as leader of their team. On their team, they weren’t weak in terms of combat ability, but when they were abroad, they couldn’t convince the public by just fighting. Whether they were being pranked when they first arrived at the hotel or when they fought with the French, with Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo around, they wouldn’t suffer any losses and instead would just piss off their opponents.
Dong Zhi used his own unique humor to reconcile and resolve everyone’s discomfort in an unfamiliar environment. Facing the barriers of different cultures and people, he gradually brought a few arrogant people together. This was indeed quite remarkable. Yang Shouyi thought he couldn’t do it if it was himself.
As he looked at the six of them, the younger practitioners certainly couldn’t do it. After figuring this out, Yang Shouyi’s dissatisfaction towards Dong Zhi gradually dissipated.
He could see that Li Han’er and Zhang Song’s views had also changed, similar to his own.
<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>
One thought on “Bu Tian Gang Ch127”
thank you for the update