Chapter 52 Desperate Situation

Zhang Haike poked through the vomited silt and found that there were countless tiny leeches. These pure black leeches were as thick as noodles and kept twisting in the filth like a bowl of noodles that had come alive.

Zhang Haike picked one up and found that it wasn’t a typical leech. It was covered in small lumps, and when he looked carefully under all that silt, he saw that the lumps were actually densely packed white eggs.

Zhang Haike clicked his tongue, carefully looked at his skin, and felt himself break out in a cold sweat.

He saw that there were countless tiny, faint protrusions under his skin, and there were many tiny bumps on top of those.

He didn’t feel anything and couldn’t see it without looking carefully.

The others were still pumping the kid’s stomach and joking with each other when Zhang Haike shouted, “Stop! We’re going to die!”

They all silently gathered around as Zhang Haike used a dagger to make a deep cut in his skin, exposing a black leech covered in eggs. Zhang Haike used the dagger to pick it up, ignoring his blood that overflowed and dripped to the ground. They watched as the leeches that were in the vomited filth started crawling towards the place where the blood had landed.

The leech kept twisting on the tip of the knife, and Zhang Haike’s expression twisted as he lit a fire stick and burned it. Looking at the rest of his body, Zhang Haike almost became desperate. There were faint black lines everywhere he looked, and almost all of them were under his skin.

“When did they get in?”

“It was when we were in the silt. Check yourselves.”

The others immediately took off their clothes and carefully looked at their bodies. With a single glance, everyone was devastated. They were all in the exact same condition as Zhang Haike. There was hardly any place on their bodies where the leeches hadn’t burrowed under their skin.

“They got in through our pores. They were dormant in the silt and were probably only as thick as a strand of hair before entering our bodies. They must have become bigger after absorbing our blood.”

“What should we do? Even if we dig them out ourselves, we’ll be minced meat.”

“Roast them with fire and force them out,” Zhang Haike answered.

“They’ve sucked our blood and become so big. I’m afraid they can’t get out.”

“It’s better for them to suffocate inside than eat us up.”

There wasn’t enough space and oxygen underground; otherwise, Zhang Haike would boil the water in the jar. They could only hold the torch close to their chests to burn the leeches out, and soon, a strong smell of roasting meat filled the air.

Zhang Haike felt that even if these leeches didn’t come out under the heat, they would still be roasted alive in their bodies. But after testing it out, he found that something was wrong.

The leeches were immediately alarmed by the temperature, and he could clearly feel all of them burrowing further into his body. He had only felt itching before, but he soon felt terrible pain.

They had no choice but to give up. Some of the others even went crazy and began to cut their bodies with knives.

Nevertheless, Zhang Haike remained calm. “Don’t panic, this isn’t a desperate situation just yet.” He looked around and continued, “These leeches must have existed when our people came here before, and they were all fine. When we looked at the corpses just now, we didn’t see that their pants legs were sealed off or anything, which shows that they had a solution. Let’s look.”

The group began to search through the small number of things in the temple, but there was so little left that they found nothing but the water jar.

Was it the water in this water jar?

They immediately scrubbed their bodies again with the water, taking extra care and effort this time in their eagerness for the water to soak through their skin.

But after they finished washing, they found that it was useless. They eventually managed to calm down and noticed that the leeches had also stopped moving.

“The kid said that we would definitely die. Did he know that this kind of thing was in the mud?”

“But he jumped in, too. If he knew, how did he overcome it?”

Zhang Haike gasped as he suddenly thought of the rumors he had heard before. Poker-face was a child with the strongest inheritance in the family. Although this kind of inheritance wasn’t a necessary ability, he could go to some special and dangerous tombs if he had it.

“His blood.” Zhang Haike suddenly understood. “It’s his blood. It keeps these bugs away from him. Fuck, the last time he was here, the Zhang family collected his blood to avoid these bugs.” He suddenly stood up, “Don’t rest. We have to find the kid before these eggs hatch in our bodies and kill us. He’s the only one who can save us.”

They immediately set off.

They didn’t know how long it took as they continued moving forward, but at least a day and a night had passed. They were deep in the ruins, but they never found any traces of Poker-face again. It seemed that he hadn’t taken this path at all. The next night, Zhang Haike and his group reached the exploration boundary of the ancient city.

This so-called boundary was simply where the Zhang family’s exploration had ended, which turned out to be an ancient ship sunk into the silt. Zhang Haike saw the mummified bodies of three children piled up in the corner of the ship’s hold. They were obviously orphans of the Zhang family who had died when too much blood was collected, as evidenced by the obvious wounds on their bodies.

The children were only seven or eight years old, which had Zhang Haike feeling angry and powerless. The black lines on his body grew bigger and bigger and he could clearly feel the outline of the eggs under his skin.

“There’s nothing we can do. It’s too big here so we can’t find the other passageways. It’s impossible to find him. Maybe we should leave here right away and go home. Father and the others will find a way.”

“You also heard that kid. If the family knows we’ve been to this place, we’ll be killed,” Zhang Haike said. “Besides, it would take time to get out and reach home. Not to mention the leeches, even the eggs will have hatched by that point. We have only one chance of surviving.”

“What is it?”

“We’re going to do some damage here—some very serious damage—and make him stop us,” Zhang Haike said. “The structure here isn’t stable. We brought explosives so we just need to create enough tremors to make this place collapse. We’ll blow it up every two hours. No matter where he is in this ancient city, he’ll definitely stop us.”

“What if he not only doesn’t come but runs away?”

“Then we’re dead, so we don’t have to think about it,” Zhang Haike said. “But I believe he won’t give up so easily since he came back here after all kinds of hardships. Our odds are very good.”

<Chapter 51><Table of Contents><Chapter 53>


MWAHAHAHAHA I did it! A second chapter! It took me an embarrassingly long time to do this chapter because I CANNOT stand leeches. Ughhhhhhh, they’re so gross and should be wiped off the face of the earth. And then I had to google to double check the white egg lump things (to make sure I was translating it right) and let’s just say I almost spewed. SO. GROSS. And they’re all burrowed in the Zhang kid’s bodies, geh. I’d be chopping appendages off lol. Also, I already wasn’t liking the Zhang family and then they go and basically exsanguinate children and toss them in the corner like trash. Ah hell nah, these fuckers deserve what they got (excluding sweet, beautiful Poker-face).


Updated 12/27/2021

12 thoughts on “Chapter 52 Desperate Situation

  1. Ugh the leeches were so gross >_> And not to get all science-y on the Zhang family, but bringing children into the tomb to collect their blood as they went along is a terribly inefficient way to do it. Blood cells are regularly produced and replaced, so they could’ve used a safer way to collect the blood and stock up enough to bring down with them. And they could experiment to see if freezing the blood and thawing it back out will affect the bug repellent properties. If it doesn’t, they could totally freeze down loads over time and no child needs to die in the tomb #justsaying


    1. I totally agree! But I think it was a matter of the times. Remember, the corpse they found was dressed in early Republic clothes so it could be somewhere between 1912-1949 when all that went down. Still, you would think they’d want to keep the kids alive since they have super important blood, but maybe they thought Poker-face was enough since his blood is apparently the best????


      1. That is true XD but yeah, it makes way more sense to keep the children alive to have a continuous supply of bug repellent (if Xiao Ge wasn’t already charging extortionate prices for his services, he could totally turn a profit from selling his blood)
        Eh, I think I missed this, but roughly what time period is this again…? When 13-yr old Xiao Ge and 15-yr old Zhang Haike are entering this leech infested tomb?


        1. Hahaha could you imagine him trying to advertise that? He’d never have to go into a tomb again 😂
          I’ve honestly been trying to figure this timeline out for ages lol. Makes me wonder if the author is being intentionally vague… Based on Vol 8’s postscript, Poker-face entered the bronze door in autumn of 2005, I think they mentioned that this book is taking place 5 years after that so that’s 2010 (which makes Wu Xie 33 years old). We know Poker-face went into the mountain and met the “Old Lama” 50 years ago so that’s 1960, but he knew the Daren Lama before that so we can at least push it back to 1950 since he comes out every 10 years. Also, Wikipedia says the Early Republic was from 1912-1916 and we know that he was about 8 or 9 years old when he was taken to this tomb so I’m going to give a SUPER rough guess that he and Zhang Haike entered the tomb around 1920. Hopefully the author posts another timeline, though I’m not sure that would happen since it’s said this story was never completed…

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Oh man, now I’m just picturing the trio behind a roadside stall displaying a role of small vials, Fatty making enthusiastic sales pitches at a passerby, while behind the stall, Wu Xie is looking incredibly bored as he holds up an advert placard and Poker-face is just dozing in his seat.

            That’s a pretty reasonable estimate, hmmm~
            (I’ve got sooo many questions about the Zhang family and the timelines (even more so after having binged the Sand Sea drama), but I’m just holding it in and waiting to see what the novels will eventually reveal HAHAHA)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Are you a writer?! Because I can totally imagine that scene and I love it lol.
              Yeah, I feel like Sand Sea raised a lot of questions without answering them (shocker lol). I feel like the snake thing came outta left field and I am SO curious about it. I know there’s an extra that covers something about it (which we’ll get to whenever lol) but I know the author is super famous for his plot holes that he never fills so it may just remain a mystery~~~~


              1. I don’t suppose I’ll make a very good writer if I can mistake “rows of vials” for “roles of vials” 🤣
                The whole Wang clan thing answered a bunch of other questions though, to be fair XD Am I right in assuming that the Wang clan is supposed to be that “mysterious force, IT” or whatever the hell it was that Wen-Jin referred to some books back? 🤔


      2. Commenting here almost a whole year later, but I was re-reading this translation of Tibetan Sea Flower recently (thanks Ultimate Note drama for inspiring me to come back to the novel translations!) and after trying to puzzle together all the vague clues the author littered throughout the different novels, I think I have a better idea of what “IT” was, and how it factored into the history of the Old Nine Gates leading up to the events of the main DMBJ novels…Prepare yourselves for a mini essay, haha. Lore is my weakness, and the author does such a frustratingly delightful job of leaving clues here and there without giving a complete and straightforward explanation. I have done the detective work and tried to put together a complete novel-canon history, along with some of my hypotheses, for your reading pleasure. Also, it probably goes without saying, but … *** MAJOR SPOILER ALERT below***

        The main 8 books mentions that Wu Sanxing and Xie Lianhuan worked together to carry out Xie Jiuye’s plan to destroy IT, which the novels make really clear is the ‘bad guy’ in the story, and which Wu Xie explicitly claimed (in book 8) was Zhang Fo Ye and his family. However, later novels/specials refer to the Wang family as the enemy, but don’t mention “IT” at all. So how do we reconcile this apparent contradiction? Who was the real ‘bad guy’?

        The books and drama both mention that IT was a consuming force that was trying to get at the secret of immortality (which I think is the secret the Zhang family is guarding, but one that only people in the “Inner family” of the main branch are allowed to know). We know that Zhang Fo Ye knew very little about the Zhang family secrets, since his parents left/fled the main branch early on and established their own branch in Changsha, taking none of the family secrets or knowledge with them. Similarly, Zhang Rishan is from the main branch, but is part of the “outer family” so he also doesn’t know the Zhang family’s core secrets. Fo Ye was later told about the Zhang family longevity by an outsider (I think it was Qiu Dekao or something? In retrospect, it was probably the Wang family acting through proxies, given their MO), and (in my opinion) manipulated into developing an obsession with learning about the Zhang family’s secret of immortality, leading him to mobilize the Nine Gates and launch the Zhang Qiling project to locate the ancient Zhang family building. We know that he failed miserably and caused a schism between the families of the Nine Gates as a result, not to mention the drastic loss in power of the organization as a whole due to the many deaths that occurred during the failed expedition.

        According to the Sand Sea novel and some extras (can be on found on, not yet translated on this site), around the same time, the Nine Gates also apparently discovered some secrets related to the Wang family that the Wangs very much wanted to keep secret. Fo Ye sensed that the Wang family was about to act and completely eradicate the entire Nine Gates organization and anyone related to it to protect their secret, so he and Xie Jiuye hatched a ruthless plot to try and preempt the Wang family in order to save some lives. Basically, Xie Jiuye and Fo Ye pretended to have an internal power struggle (with the failure of the Zhang Qiling project being one of the supposed reasons for Xie Jiuye deciding to oppose Fo Ye), and in the process, they killed off a lot of people in the Nine Gates under the guise of the power struggle, when in reality they were killing off the people who had learned the secrets related to the Wang family, plus some extra collateral to make the real objective/targets of the killings less obvious to the Wang family. This basically calmed the Wang family down so that the Wang family decided to not do anything and to instead continue monitoring and subtly manipulating the Nine Gates from the background (remember, their MO is to stay hidden and never intervene directly if possible, but to control things indirectly by manipulating people and events). This allowed some of the Nine Gates members to survive, instead of none if the Wang family had intervened directly.

        In this struggle, Wu Xie’s grandpa apparently sided with Xie Jiuye (but didn’t know that the power struggle was premeditated between Xie Jiuye and Fo Ye). As a result, and because Wu Xie only saw the aftereffects of the supposed power struggle from an outsider’s perspective, Wu Xie thought that Fo Ye and his branch of the Zhang family were the bad guys (i.e. IT) and that Xie Jiuye was waging a war in secret (through the replacement of the archeological team; killing off of Fo Ye’s family and descendants etc.) to stop Fo Ye/IT. In reality, the controlling force that was so obsessed with the secret of immortality (i.e. IT) was the Wang family, and Xie Jiuye and Fo Ye made the heart-wrenching decision together to sacrifice a lot of their men (and in Fo Ye’s case, it seems he sacrificed almost his entire branch of the Zhang family, including all of his descendants; the extras says he died of old age *alone* in a veteran’s home q_q) to be able to save a small portion of the people in the Nine Gates. This makes Zhang Rishan’s response to Liang Wan at the end of the Sand Sea drama regarding his participation in the raid on the Wang family compound (“I have to do this. For Fo Ye. For the Zhang family. For the (implied) Nine Gates”) all the more poignant. When I first watched the drama without having read the novels/specials, it seemed like the Wang family was just a nuisance interfering in the affairs of the Nine Gates. However, now that I’ve read and pieced together this history, I realize Rishan was referring to the fact that both the Nine Gates and the Zhang family suffered extremely heavy losses (in Fo Ye’s case, it was nearly his entire family, including all of his descendants) because of the Wang family, and that he had to personally be part of that physical fight with the Wang family at their compound in order to vindicate the sacrifices of his family (referring both to his Zhang biological family and his Nine Gates spiritual family).

        Later on in the Sand Sea novel and related extras/New Year specials, we learn that many of the Wang members also have very similar characteristics to Zhang family members (the qilin blood that allows them to repel insects, youthfulness (and longevity?), and the extra-long two fingers). We also learn that one of the Wang family’s preferred strategies is to infiltrate their enemies and also to recruit disenchanted but talented people from among enemy organizations. I now wonder if some of the Wang family members are actually Zhang by blood. It wouldn’t be too surprising for unhappy members of the Zhang “outer family” (from the main branch) or from the branch families to defect to the Wang family, since they had very little power and were treated as a servant class for the “inner family”, as described by Zhang Haike in the Tibetan Sea Flower novel. I’m sure the Wang family promised to share the secrets of the Zhang “inner family” with them once the Wang family succeeded in destroying the Zhang family and stealing their secrets! Therefore, it’s also entirely possible that some of the Zhangs in Fo Ye’s household (possibly including his own descendants) had switched sides to the Wang family, and were helping the Wang family to manipulate Fo Ye and drive his obsession with the Zhang Qiling project (which we see catalyzed the downfall of the old Nine Gates organization, which was also one of the Wang family’s goals). In this case, Wu Xie’s assertion that IT was the Zhang family may not be entirely wrong!

        …Man, the history of the Nine Gates (after the events of the Mystic Nine novel/drama) and the interplay with the Zhang/Wang family struggle seems so fascinating but messed up. I’d actually really like if the author was willing to tackle a novel and/or drama focusing on the period between 1940 – 2000 to show how the Zhang family and old Nine Gates organization fell apart, and how these events set the groundwork for the conspiracies that Wu Xie found himself entangled in (and having to fix) during the events of the main novel/drama series. I’d also love some novel-canon confirmation of Zhang Rishan’s survival to the modern day, haha (he isn’t mentioned in the novels after the events of the Mystic Nine and South Sea Archives novels), as well as an explanation of how he survived that purge, to bridge to his appearance in the drama adaptations of Book 7 and Sand Sea. The novels/specials explicitly state that Xie Jiuye almost completely eradicated Fo Ye’s branch of the Zhang clan, and that Fo Ye spent his last days alone in a veteran’s home. If Zhang Rishan was alive, I feel he would have been at Fo Ye’s side, wouldn’t he? Unless he was in hiding (almost certainly under Fo Ye’s command) to escape the purge and/or the Wang family’s scrutiny…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Честно, мне тоже кажется, что тут действовали три силы… НО с вашими объяснениями – это выглядит ещё логичнее. Спасибо огромное за проделанный труд! Конечно же я тоже постараюсь вникнуть еще раз во все детали и подтвердить эту теорию. И мне также хотелось бы узнать, как жил Ришань и почему он единственный выжил?


  2. Ahahaha I didn’t even notice that.
    Yeah, the Wang clan thing actually did clear some things up. I didn’t even think about the fact that they might be that other force, but that would make sense. I should probably pay more attention to all the details but I think you and taomubiji have me covered 😂😂😂😂


  3. Благодарю за огромную проделанную работу! Понемногу все встает на свои места… и я не люблю главную семью Чжан… которая возомнила себя пупом Земли. Да, у вас есть секреты, но даже храня их вы должны оставаться людьми, а не убивать невинных детей, как расходный материал!


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