There was a reason why I said the area was full of people. I would’ve been able to tell if I had touched a stone foot, because there weren’t a lot of details carved onto the feet of stone figures, especially those used in burials. Carved feet were generally round, and you could also tell it was a stone by the temperature, texture, and hardness.
But I knew I had touched a human foot, because the nails were very long, and the cracked skin I had touched was soft.
I might have ventured a guess that it was a leather figurine, but there was no way to explain the broken toenails. No one who carved a stone figurine would carve the toenails like this.
I wondered if I had felt wrong considering it had only been a momentary touch. But I wasn’t as confident as before, so after carefully recalling it, I decided I was right.
In the darkness around me, there were people standing in a line. Their skin was dry and their nails were still growing, just like Grandpa Si.
These people must be dead.
My heart was pounding as I retreated into the darkness.
It was very quiet all around, and my actions just now didn’t seem to trigger anything.
I could almost imagine that I was surrounded by rows of corpses that were probably wearing armor and covered in dust.
At this moment, I temporarily gave up the idea of meeting Fatty as my desire for light reached its limit. I stood up, my whole body numb, and my back drenched in cold sweat. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down as I thought about what I had done over the past ten years. The pressure around me gradually eased, and I was able to focus on the rotation of the key on my finger and move forward again.
It was pitch black. If I held onto the beliefs that had gotten me through the past ten years, then they would now act as a kind of guidance at my fingertips. Compared to ten years ago when I couldn’t touch anything, this little bit of traction was already a lot.
Light, I needed light.
I had a diving suit, a broken oxygen tank warning light, a copper key, and an iron dog tag. If I rubbed the dog tag on the ground fast enough, I could generate some sparks. But they may not be hot enough, and I didn’t have kindling to make a fire.
Patience, I told myself. The corpses next to me belonged to a nomadic people, so it was very likely that there would be burial objects like fire strikers on their bodies. As far as I knew, most nomadic people’s belts held fire strikers and flint.
If I kept going, I might run into some wood or something. I already had copper wire, so as long as there was wood, I could take the cord holding the dog tag around my neck, and use the cotton ends to start a fire.
In short, I was far from despair.
I continued walking in the darkness, but didn’t encounter anything. Fatty didn’t appear to save me and there wasn’t any wood. There was only the unending cold stone beneath my feet. Some sections suddenly turned into gravel, so I had to carefully climb over.
I got tired of walking and lay down. The old me would’ve gone crazy long ago, but now I curled up in the darkness and began to wonder when I first got carried away by a key.
It was the key I found when an incident occurred while we were moving my grandfather’s grave in my hometown. (1) This key helped me find Grandpa’s real coffin, and opened the locked urn where I found those arrows.
I didn’t know whether it was a good idea to carry the ghost seal with me, so I had left it outside. I was afraid things would be too dangerous when we came in and I’d lose it, so I left it with the big troops. If the huge bronze door was at the end of this road, then I really should have taken it with me.
Despite being really cold, I couldn’t control my exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep.
When I woke up, I saw light.
I was stunned for a moment when I found that the light was on my hands and feet. Then, I fully came awake and saw that it was the fluorescence from the centipedes. They were digging into the wounds on my hands and feet.
I stood up, got rid of the bugs, and looked around. The scent of my blood had attracted a lot of them.
My blood didn’t always work, but I had found the pattern. When my heart beat faster and my body temperature rose, my blood would become effective, but when my body temperature dropped, my blood became just like an ordinary person’s.
I got up and used all my physical strength to move my limbs and raise my body temperature.
I took off my diving suit, wrapped the legs around my hands as gloves, broke off the centipedes’ legs and teeth, then pulled the elastic band from the diving suit’s waist, and put it around the centipedes to form a string of lights. With my make-shift lantern in one hand and the key in the other, I looked around.
Under the fluorescent light, I finally saw the tall soldiers in armor standing neatly around me. Their faces were so long that they didn’t look human.
I knew them. Zhang Qiling had first entered the bronze door dressed in their armor.
Their eyes were pure white like Chen Pi Ah Si’s had been, but their eyelids had been cut off and their bodies were covered in dust.
I hadn’t been to this place before. It must be deep in the underground crevice, for when I looked up, all I saw was more darkness.
I deviated from the direction the key gave me and walked through the first row of armored soldiers. This was where Little Brother had set off for the Heavenly Palace, so I walked around, hoping to see some clues.
At this time, something fell on my head, and when I looked up, I saw a few tiny beams of light high above me.
I suddenly realized where I was. The last time I had entered the Heavenly Palace, we had passed through a huge mountain gap, where hundreds of millions of centipedes formed a galaxy-like landscape. Now, I was at the bottom of this mountain gap and someone up above was following the original path to the imperial tomb.
The light in my hand was too small for the people above me to see, so I had no other choice. I took a deep breath and shouted at them: “You are the wind, I am the sand!” (2)
The sound circulated upwards and soon lost its tone, but the melody was still there. It had been said that the human brain could understand this melody the best, and I couldn’t let them think my cry was the wind.
As I shouted as hard as I could, I paid attention to the ghost soldiers around me.
After four or five times, a clear whistle sounded from above.
I didn’t know if it was Xiao Hua or Fatty, but I was overjoyed. Then, gravel fell from above, and something rolled down the cliff. It was so high up that it took a long time for it to roll down and fall nearby.
It was a backpack.
<Chapter 32> <Table of Contents><Chapter 35>
(1) And you all thought it was stupid to do the extras ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). This is referring to “Extra 1: 2009 Chinese New Year Special” but we obviously only knew he found a key, not the other stuff lol
(2) The ending theme song of “My Fair Princess 2”. According to baidu, it’s a lingering love song that expresses the deep attachment and tenderness between two people in love lol. Here’s a youtube link
One thought on “Chapter 33 and 34 Ghost Soldiers”
The one time bugs come in handy. (^_^;) I really liked the extras. I’m glad they’re also coming in so handy now with their background information. Thank you again!
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