Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 102: I was bored so I dug a hole in it with my hands.
Earlier, Ming Xian said that Jian Lang’s death wasn’t his doing. Could it be that this monster did it? But what about the soul eaters?
At this time, the three of them didn’t know that Long Shen and Tang Jing were rushing to the suburbs and would be entangled in a dangerous match with Ming Xian and Cheng Yuan. During the few seconds of watching the battle unfold, Dong Zhi caught sight of something strange.
The iron chain was rusty, signaling it had been around for quite a long time. It definitely wasn’t something made in modern times, and this monster didn’t seem as if it had been locked up recently either. Last time Tang Jing said that a water monkey was exorcized under Lake Wangyue. This monster in front of him looked ferocious and had a heavy murderous aura, so it would be impossible for the Special Administration Bureau not to notice. Either it appeared in the waters of Lake Wangyue after Tang Jing had cleaned it up, or it wasn’t what killed Jiang Lang.
However, Dong Zhi quickly overturned the latter guess because as soon as the monster saw the three of them, its murderous aura was inherent in its face, treating Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie as its mortal prey. Its facial features were faintly dyed blue and black, and its entire body was covered with golden hair. He wasn’t sure if it was due to it soaking in the water for so long that it also began to turn black in large areas.
Was this… a sign of being corrupted by demonic energy?
The monster was extremely powerful. With one scratch, it left deep marks on stone, not to mention what would happen if it connected to the flesh of Liu Qingbo or Huo Jie. What was even more terrifying was that the monster had such strength, but its speed remained fast, leaving Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie stunned. They were overwhelmed, panting, and many wounds covered their bodies quickly.
He couldn’t tell whether it was sweat or water sliding down from his forehead, and his vision was starting to blur. Liu Qingbo wiped his face while the monster was in the air for half a second, but suddenly found that it had turned to Dong Zhi and was rushing towards him with a snarl!
“Dong Zhi, what the hell are you doing?!” His usual stoic face was broken as he immediately cursed.
Seeing Liu Qingbo suddenly acting abnormally and scolding him, and Huo Jie looking exhausted and having lost his fighting power, Dong Zhi felt something was wrong and immediately took out two talismans from the waterproof bag and held them in one hand. Using his other hand, he pulled Liu Qingbo’s ankle down as the monster pounced towards him and quickly sacrificed the two talismans.
One of them was the pure-heart talisman, which he directly stuffed into Liu Qingbo’s mouth while flicking the other towards the yingtang point between the monster’s brows.
The other was the sunlight talisman. The target was, naturally, the monster. He recited the mantra silently with his mouth. The monster’s brows suddenly burst into flames from the sunlight talisman, causing it to wail. It slammed its big hands towards Dong Zhi, who jumped away quickly.
In order to pull Liu Qingbo away, Dong Zhi had to take a hit. At that moment, he only felt pain coming from his arm. Most likely, it cracked his bone and caused a fracture. Dong Zhi grimaced with pain.
However, he didn’t care about anything else. He took out another pure-heart talisman and pinched it between his fingers, and then did the same thing to Huo Jie.
The two of them, whose mouths had been stuffed with talisman paper, had their cheeks bulging. Their expressions were like they were waking up from a dream.
At this time, the monster slammed into the stone wall. It still remembered that it was burned by the sacred fire from Dong Zhi and rushed over again. Its eyes were golden and fierce, and its only focus was aimed at Dong Zhi. If its anger could be turned into substance, Dong Zhi would’ve been torn to pieces by just that alone!
At that moment, Dong Zhi also discovered that the monster wasn’t without weaknesses. It was afraid of fire!
Without saying a word, he pinched one hand while holding a talisman in the other. The talisman turned into a fireball and swept towards the monster. The monster let out a scream and avoided it, looking as if it was full of fear and hatred.
Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie also recovered from their trance hallucinations. Seeing Dong Zhi’s situation, there was no need to say more as they already understood the situation and immediately split towards two ends, one left and one right, and rushed to attack the monster.
Contrary to the scene before, of being chased and beaten as if they were a punching bag, with the containment of the sunlight talisman, Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie immediately turned against the monster and started chasing it around the cave. They learned from their experience and specifically targeted the key points of the monster.
While Liu Qingbo had the magic Yinxiu Sword and Huo Jie’s fleshy palms weren’t inferior either, the monster’s body was as hard as steel. It was hit repeatedly by strikes on its chest, stomach, lower body, and back, causing it to howl in despair.
The light and shadow in the cave became chaotic as three figures flashed around like wind. Seeing that the sunlight talismans were growing fewer, Dong Zhi urged the other two to hurry things up.
The monster seemed to understand sporadic human words. Just when Dong Zhi threw the last sunlight talisman, it broke through Liu Qingbo’s sword aura and Huo Jie’s attacks. The body that was like Mount Tai fell from the sky and was crashing straight towards Dong Zhi. Unexpectedly, the enemy that it thought could only “throw fire” suddenly pulled out a long sword from behind him. His body leaped through the raised edges and corners of the stone beside him and flashed towards it. The light from the sword was so dazzling that the monster had to close its eyes, giving Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie the opportunity to fly behind it. The Yinxiu Sword pierced the monster’s ear while Huo Jie slammed his palm directly on the other side of the monster’s head.
The monster avoided Dong Zhi’s sword but couldn’t dodge Liu Qingbo’s and Huo Jie’s attack. Blood spurted out as the monster rolled frantically around the cave, setting off a monstrous wave in the deep pool.
Dong Zhi shouted “go” and then ran into the cave with Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie.
The three of them ran at full speed in the cave for half an hour before gradually leaving behind the roars of the monster.
Out of breath, they couldn’t run any longer and leaned against the wall and bent over, gasping for air.
Liu Qingbo spit out the talisman in his mouth and breathlessly said, “That thing looks like an ape. Is it a water monkey?”
Huo Jie shook his head and panted, “No. We killed a water monkey, and it didn’t look like that!”
Dong Zhi said, “I heard that the girl who witnessed Jiang Lang’s death said that she saw Jiang Lang talking and smiling into the air, calling the name of the girl he had a crush on, and holding the monster’s hand in the water. When you fought against that monster just now, you were almost hypnotized by its illusion. It seems that the murderer of Jiang Lang should be it.”
Huo Jie was puzzled. “But it doesn’t make sense. Look at this iron chain. This monster has been underwater for a long time. Why were there no accidents two years ago? Did it kill people in other waters before?”
Liu Qingbo said, “If you can’t figure it out, don’t think about it. Anyway, we have to find a way forward. Let’s see where this iron chain is connected. That thing has a special grudge. We just hurt it, so it’ll certainly bear a grudge against us. Maybe it’ll try to catch up later.”
He then asked Dong Zhi, “How many talismans are left?”
In order to make it easy to get into the water, Dong Zhi brought a portable waterproof small bag wrapped around his waist. There weren’t many things he could carry. He reached in and all he took out were a few heat pads.
Liu Qingbo, Huo Jie: ……
“You didn’t make room for a few more talismans but instead brought useless things!”
The veins in Liu Qingbo’s head were pulsating, and he couldn’t restrain his temper. He really couldn’t give his boss face in front of outsiders.
Dong Zhi said innocently, “I brought all the talismans with me. They were all used up just now. Do you want a heat pad? One for each person, just to lighten my burden.”
The corners of Huo Jie’s mouth twitched, but he still shamelessly asked for one and put it on the clothes outside his stomach. Liu Qingbo watched on in disgust.
Dong Zhi said, “That monster is extremely afraid of fire, but this is under a lake, so the environment is very humid. Even if my sunlight talismans weren’t used up, it’s pointless to rely on a little talisman fire alone. Let’s find a way while walking.”
The three of them took a break, then continued to follow the source of the chain and moved forward.
However, the longer they walked, the more they became frightened. Huo Jie was silently calculating the time and distance while they were walking. A practitioner’s feet were fast and they had walked for more than an hour, yet there was no end to the cave in sight and the iron chain was always there.
If the cave was formed naturally, such a long iron chain was completely beyond their imagination. Every step forward only led to more questions.
In order to save energy on their way, they didn’t speak. Except for footsteps and breathing, there were only occasional water droplets that sounded in the cave, so when the sound of the iron chain pulling on the ground came, everyone’s nerves became tense.
“The monster is catching up!” Liu Qingbo said.
Huo Jie’s tone was even more rushed. “Go, go!”
Needless to say, everyone accelerated their steps. As the movement of the chain became louder, they all started to run.
The strength of that monster was too great. A pair of sharp claws was enough to cut off any hard thing in the world, so it would be a cinch to kill them. Although they were lucky enough to hurt it just now, they weren’t sure if they would succeed a second time.
The monster’s figure was extremely fast. They had been advancing for more than an hour, but it had caught up to them within a few minutes. A strong wind came from behind, and with it a pungent smell and a murderous aura. It swept towards them and made a huge sound of wailing that echoed through the cave!
They were forced to turn around to meet the enemy. The three faced the monster head-on.
When Hua Jie was studying martial arts under his teacher, his palms were tempered in ice, snow, and iron sand so that they could even shatter stones, but under the fury of the monster, he actually felt great pain when his hand came into contact with the monster. He fell back and hit his head on a stone, causing it to break out and bleed. With this new injury combined with his old, he could no longer get up.
The monster roared. Its right paw grabbed the sword in Liu Qingbo’s hand directly. The sword’s light wrapped around its hairy fist, but the monster’s eyes were focused on Dong Zhi. Its left paw swiped indiscriminately while it bared its thick fangs as if it couldn’t wait to bite off Dong Zhi’s head.
It was obvious its hatred was directed towards Dong Zhi. Except for the vitals of the monster’s body, nothing could penetrate it. The Yinxiu Sword and the Changshou Sword were ineffective. The Changshou Sword was grappled by the monster’s paw, and he couldn’t escape. Dong Zhi could only watch as the other side’s huge head rushed towards him like a flash of lightning, breathing out a fishy smell and eager to swallow its prey.
At a critical moment, inspiration struck Dong Zhi. He took out a handful of things from his pocket and threw them into the monster’s wide-open mouth. The monster let out a roar and backed away. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo took the opportunity to grab Huo Jie on either side and ran.
The monster covered its mouth and wailed, then turned around and ran in the opposite direction.
The three of them were finally able to catch their breath.
Liu Qingbo couldn’t help but ask, “What did you throw into its mouth?”
Dong Zhi: “Heating pads!”
Liu Qingbo: ???
He thought Dong Zhi was pulling his leg but Dong Zhi took the initiative to solve his puzzlement.
“Aren’t the heating pads packed with materials such as iron and activated carbon? It’ll automatically oxidize when it encounters air to produce heat energy. The monster is probably afraid of fire and heat. Since you didn’t want a heat pad just now, I was bored, so I dug a hole in it with my hands. What a lucky mistake!”
When Liu Qingbo heard him say, “I was bored and dug a hole in it with my hands”, his eyes were about to roll towards the sky.
But if Dong Zhi hadn’t been bored, most likely they would’ve lost their lives just now.
“Who the hell locked this shit underwater? If they have the ability to lock it here in the first place, why not just kill it!” Liu Qingbo shouted, annoyed. “I don’t think this Ming Xian has a good heart. Otherwise, why would he speak half truths and not directly tell us how dangerous it is underwater!”
They were all injured just now. Although it wasn’t serious, they had been swimming for a long time, then they fought and ran, so their physical strength had been mostly exhausted. At that moment, they were still holding Huo Jie. Dong Zhi didn’t have the strength to talk,. He wasn’t sure where Liu Qingbo, who was scolding Ming Xian and the person who locked this monster down here, found his strength right now.
They didn’t know how long they walked. Their legs gradually became numb. Huo Jie had recovered a bit and insisted on walking on his own, but his physical strength had reached its limits, so they had to stop their advance. Even their poor phones had used up almost the last of their power and were about to declare a strike. Liu Qingbo looked at the flickering flashlight in his hand that was starting to become uncooperative. He didn’t even have the strength to complain now.
Suddenly, at that moment, the iron chain sounded again. This meant that the monster stopped for a while and began to follow their breaths again.
The three of them looked at each other in the dark. The first thought that came to their heads was that they couldn’t run away again. If they were to be bitten to death, then so be it.
However, in the end, it was still the desire for survival that prevailed. Liu Qingbo reluctantly lifted his sore arm. The Yinxiu Sword became a thousand pounds heavier in his arm, as if he had just learned how to hold a sword when he was a child. It also meant that his physical strength was like the flashlight; it had started to sound the final alarm.
The sound of the iron chain became more rapid. It was endless, which foreshadowed that the enemy was getting closer to them. The most difficult thing was the endless darkness enveloping their surroundings. They didn’t know where the danger would come from.
The hearts of the three of them were stuck in their throats.
Since joining the Special Administration Bureau, they had encountered countless dangerous situations. Fujikawa Aoi, the three-headed giant python, the Archfiend, Yamamoto Kiyoshi, and the likes. Many of them were more cunning and treacherous than this monster, but the monster in front of them now had exerted their speed and strength to the extreme. If they were at the peak of their physical strength, they may still have had the power to fight, but now they were exhausted and injured. It was difficult to compete with this monster.
Dong Zhi even suspected that this monster was of great origin. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so difficult to deal with; that and it was chained down here.
The iron chain suddenly trembled violently, as if there was an unexpected change at the end.
However, the figure of the enemy didn’t appear. Huo Jie held his breath for a long time and couldn’t help but leak it out and coughed.
“Could it be that Shu Gou has come down?” He said in a low voice.
Liu Qingbo’s heart pounded. “Isn’t there that fire-breathing beast with Shu Gou? It fought us last time. If that thing is there, we can destroy that monster!”
Huo Jie frowned. “Then shall we go meet him? I’m afraid he’s alone and isn’t a match for that monster.”
Dong Zhi scowled and silenced them. “Listen. Stop!”
He was referring to the iron chain. The movement that had originally echoed from a distance slowly subsided and soon became calm again.
At this time, the flashlight had used up the last trace of its power and was tremblingly extinguished. The last traces of light disappeared and the world returned to darkness.
Although Liu Qingbo prided himself on not being afraid of heaven and earth, he found that he still liked light better than darkness. Perhaps it was imprinted in his human genetic code, or maybe it was a habit inherited from ancient times. In the depths of every human subconscious, darkness and danger usually go hand in hand.
More importantly, the dark environment could easily lead to feelings of fear, helplessness, and dependence.
For practitioners, these emotions were precisely taboo. Sometimes it could lead them to lose their judgement and, inevitably, death.
The Special Administration Bureau wasn’t only a job but also a spiritual practice. There would never be a shortage of accidents and danger here. Those who treaded between humans and demons and survived countless difficulties were like the gold panned beneath the waves after blowing away the yellow sand; they must be the elites of the Special Administration Bureau and would grow rapidly and move towards the peak of practitioners.
Realizing all this in an instant, Liu Qingbo calmed down. He couldn’t sense the state of mind of Dong Zhi and Huo Jie, but he felt that those two should be similar to himself. Huo Jie entered the Special Administration Bureau earlier than he and Dong Zhi did. Perhaps his psychological aspect is even better.
Then he saw a light slowly illuminated, like a flower blooming in the dark.
Liu Qingbo: ……
“Where did you get a flashlight? Didn’t it fall into the water?” Huo Jie sounded surprised.
Naturally, it was impossible for the light to illuminate the entire cave, but it was better than nothing. The most important thing was to be able to see the path under one’s feet clearly.
Dong Zhi lowered his voice. “Spare. I just saw that yours could still be used, so I didn’t take it out yet. Now it is finally useful, right? Aren’t you surprised?”
Surprise? Liu Qingbo wanted to hit something.
Why didn’t you take it out earlier!
He resisted the urge to curse and listened to the movements in the distance instead. The iron chain was no longer dragging, but with his practitioner’s keen institution, he felt that something was approaching them.
“Do you feel anything?” He couldn’t help asking.
“Did the monster break free from the chain?” Huo Jie said.
If it wasn’t the monster, it was a more powerful character than the monster. He didn’t dare imagine such things.
Just now, that joke relieved some tension. Dong Zhi turned off the flashlight and the three of them stopped talking. They were on guard. Dong Zhi held his breath, clenched his Changshou Sword, and mobilized all his remaining physical strength, ready to launch a surprise attack at any moment.
“Wait for it to come over. No matter what it is, Lao Liu and I will go first. Huo Ge, you don’t have to support us. It doesn’t matter if you see an opportunity.”
Huo Jie nodded, then realized that the other party might not be able to see him nodding in this environment, and hurriedly said, “I understand!”
He was the first to hit the ground when they fought against the monster previous and suffered the heaviest injuries. Now, if any of them suffered more, it would only drag the other two down. Dong Zhi knew he didn’t have the strength, so he said it just now. Huo Jie didn’t feel offended.
The new visitor was getting closer to them.
Dong Zhi felt that its movement wasn’t close to a monster but more like—
Walking forward quickly?
If it was a person…
“Shu Gou? Shu Ge?” He stated cautiously.
The sound hovered and echoed in the inner layers of the cave, spreading far into the distance. At this time, making any sound would undoubtedly reveal their position, but if they didn’t call out, they could easily hurt their teammate by mistake.
It wasn’t Shu Gou but another familiar voice.
Dong Zhi was stunned for a moment.
Liu Qingbo was overjoyed. “Boss Long!”
Seeing that there had been no movement for a while, Dong Zhi couldn’t help but grab the flashlight, turn it on, and shine it towards the figure.
The range of the light exposure was limited, and it took a long time for the figure to be faintly illuminated.
Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie weren’t sure yet, but Dong Zhi instantly recognized the figure.
It was indeed Long Shen.
He never expected that master and apprentice would meet again at such a time and place. His mind became blank. He had forgotten many things he had planned and prepared before this moment, until he was pushed by Liu Qingbo.
The other party whispered, “Is that really Boss Long? Why don’t you say something? This is weird.”
When Dong Zhi came back to his senses, he found that Liu Qingbo suspected that Long Shen was a fake due to his silence, and he couldn’t laugh or cry.
“It should be.”
The other party’s footsteps weren’t slow. The faint light of the flashlight that shone on him made him feel warm. Long Shen’s outline gradually became clear as both Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie breathed a sigh of relief.
Even if their will was already firm and strong among many, it was inevitable that they would still be surprised, and they were glad that surprise didn’t lead to death.
“Boss Long, why are you here?”
“Have you encountered the monster?”
Huo Jie and Liu Qingbo asked questions almost at the same time.
Long Shen, like them, was drenched all over. His clothes stuck tightly against his skin, revealing his well-proportioned figure. He probably came from underwater just now, but due to the darkness, it wasn’t obviously. It could only be seen when he approached.
“We had just solved the issue with Ming Xian and a demon. Tang Jing is cleaning up the aftermath while I rushed over. The Wuzhiqi* was injured by me and won’t be able to catch up for a while. Let’s find the source at the other end of the chain before resting.”
*Supernatural being in Chinese mythology, popularly depicted as a monkey-like aquatic demon.
Long Shen’s eyes swept across them and fell on Dong Zhi, where they lingered for a moment.
He spoke few words, and they were concise and to the point, but Liu Qingbo and the others could sense a turbulent storm from these words.
Supernatural being in Chinese mythology, popularly depicted as a monkey-like aquatic demon.The earliest description of Wuzhiqi can be found in the early 9th century collection of stories from the Tang dynasty, Guoshi bu (國史補) by Li Zhao, which briefly tells of a fisherman in Chuzhou (楚州) who encounters a monkey demon with a black body and a white head in the Huai River. Wuzhiqi is also described in the Song dynasty anthology Taiping guangji as a “monkey-like demon” residing in the Huai River; it is defeated by Yu the Great and imprisoned under Turtle Mountain (龜山) as part of his effort to control the Great Flood.