Chapter 91 Trap

“Hey, there are still tortoises.” Fatty was delighted. “That’s an even better supplement. Would you say God is to blame for putting the three of us here to cleanse our kidneys?”

“It’s not a real tortoise,” Short Feng said. I looked up and found that it was something that should be called a decoration.

This thing may be something practical or it may just be a decoration but it was too hard to tell in the dim lighting.

I took it from Short Feng and looked it over. Even though I felt that the sculpture hadn’t actually been finished, I already knew that it wasn’t a tortoise but a kind of Bixi, a mythical animal decoration originating from the Hans.(1) The person who carved it was quite meticulous and clearly a very skilled craftsman, but the carving technique was very unrestrained and free. This obviously wasn’t for a job but rather an act of artistic creation or something done for fun.

“This is something made by Han craftsmen.” I glanced at Short Feng and he nodded. I remembered that the jars I had seen just now were also made by Han Chinese.

The state of this place was also different from that of the local ethnic groups. All of the details were obviously similar to those of the Central Plains, including the decorative pattern on the bronze door outside and the custom of using fighting corpses.

Fatty picked up the tortoise I had just put down, saying that it might be worth some money. I quickly walked further into the pool and went more than ten meters before I found even more steps leading downward.

The water reached my waist, and the light of the torch began to dim again. Fatty and I twisted it to cut off the flame, which caused the surrounding area to darken, but the fire could last longer this way.

As the water stretched out in front of me, I continued to move forward until I saw a huge shadow at the bottom. At first, I thought it was a stone and temporarily lit the torch again, but then I saw a decayed purple bronze plate under the water.

There were layers upon layers of them, covered in rust that had turned completely purple.

“Was the bronze door also made here?” When I climbed onto one of the bronze plates, my knees were exposed above the water. I took out all the remaining torches, lit them, and then held them up in the air. I could see right away that there was a large number of bronze materials piled up in this part of the stone chamber, along with some bigger shadows under the water.

It was giant smelting equipment.

“The copper must have been locally sourced. The rocks here contain a large amount of copper and maybe tin ore, enabling them to smelt the bronze locally and cast it into these bronze plates.” I blew out some of the torches so as not to waste them and then continued, “So the bronze door we saw before is actually hollow and has a very complex mechanical structure inside that keeps it from collapsing.”

I had studied architecture in school so I quickly recalled all the details I had seen before. The huge bronze door I saw at the bottom of Changbai Mountain was so ancient and large that it wouldn’t be able to support its own weight with a hollow frame. According to the logic of physics, in reality, that bronze door couldn’t be opened. Moreover, its details were so much more complex than the one I had seen here before we blew it up.

“The bronze door here is only a replica.” I sighed, “It’s a replica that was made here locally by Han craftsmen using the very finest craftsmanship at that time. They were here to simulate the process of building the bronze door.”

“There must be something wrong with them if they have nothing better to do. Who would do that in such a dark environment?”

“This is a trap,” I said faintly. There weren’t that many stone sleeping platforms outside but building the bronze door and bronze cave must have taken quite a long time to complete, even beyond the limits of a human’s lifespan. This kind of patience and perseverance—and extremely long life—basically told me which family these craftsmen had come from.

And they had made a bronze door here that could basically pass as genuine. If this was a trap, then there were several possibilities floating in my mind for who it had been set for.

<Chapter 90><Table of Contents><Chapter 92>


TN Notes:

(1) A Bixi is one of the nine sons of the Dragon King. He’s depicted as a dragon with the shell of a tortoise. More info here.


Updated 2/14/2022


2 thoughts on “Chapter 91 Trap

  1. I was a little nervous at first given the chapter name, but if the trap is already behind them then I feel so much better. 😌

    I like the parts where they’re figuring stuff out and Wu Xie’s vast knowledge can finally be used.


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