Chapter 4

The girl was squatting on the ground and crying, while the big Nanjing guy sat on the ground with an expressionless face. The ground was covered in beer foam and broken glass, but he didn’t seem to notice it. Both of them were badly battered.

The whole room had been rifled through and almost no corner was left untouched. Black Glasses sat on the edge of the table, opened a bottle of beer, and started drinking. “Don’t cry,” he said. “It’s already happened. We have to face reality.”

“All of our materials and equipment have been taken away. We’ve been shooting here for three months, but now everything is gone.” The big Nanjing guy looked at the door, still expressionless.

Black Glasses pointed to his neck, “Look on the bright side, we’ve still got our heads.”

“We got approval from the Myanmar government to shoot here. They have no right to take away my materials,” the big Nanjing guy said.

“Can’t you see that they’ll shoot you? They’re not just trying to scare you,” Black Glasses said. “If you’re thrown into the minefield, you’ll be killed.”

“I know it’s a possibility.” The big Nanjing guy turned his head and looked at Black Glasses. “You didn’t have to help them beat us.” He started sobbing as soon as he spoke.

Black Glasses looked at the mute girl, who was staring at him with eyes full of extreme hatred. Black Glasses laughed, “Your sister’s quite the character. How was she raised, to go up and grab someone’s AK47 like that?”

“So you mean to say we have to thank you? What about our project? My sister’s been waiting for the money to treat her throat.”

Black Glasses looked at the door and saw that all of the armed villagers had left. He turned and moved to leave, but the girl suddenly got up and grabbed his hair from behind. Black Glasses reached behind, grabbed the girl’s hand, and threw her over his shoulder. She flew through the door and landed on her stomach.

The big Nanjing guy immediately got up and rushed over, “Sister!” Black Glasses smoothly followed the guy’s movements and threw him out as well. The two people landed on top of each other, unable to get up because of the hard fall.

Black Glasses squatted by the door and looked at them, “I am not a good person. But we’re all fellow citizens here, so I saved your lives. You shouldn’t be so ungrateful.” The big Nanjing guy protected his sister as they both huddled there in despair. Black Glasses stepped over them.

Just now, he thought that he wouldn’t be able to stay in the village, but he was relieved to see that things had been resolved. He wanted to go find a villager who would be willing to let him stay with them, but he suddenly thought of something and turned to look at the two siblings.

When the big Nanjing guy was begging for mercy as Black Glasses hit him earlier, he said that they were filming a documentary on a few disorders related to dysphonia (1) for National Geographic. There was a total of three people in their team—one assistant in another house and the two of them in this house.

It suddenly occurred to him that the sign language here wasn’t standard international sign language, so he couldn’t communicate with the villagers. But that girl seemed to know the sign language here. He went back over to the girl and squatted down next to her with a smile on his face, “The materials are very important to you, yes?”

The big Nanjing guy nodded like he was pounding garlic, while the girl looked at Black Glasses with red-rimmed eyes, as if she wanted to eat him. Black Glasses said, “Let’s make a deal. One, add another bed in the assistant’s room so that I can stay here with you guys. Two, I’ll help you get the materials back so long as you help me with day-to-day translations until I leave here.”

“Can you really get it back?” The big Nanjing guy didn’t believe him.

“You must have filmed something at the funeral that they don’t want revealed,” Black Glasses said. “I’ll talk it over with them and delete that segment. Everyone will still be good friends. Plus, I’m good at fighting and I have a lot of money.”

“Then how long will you be staying? We can’t live here for a year.”

“Rest assured. One month at most. And you won’t be working for nothing. I’ll give you a hundred thousand yuan.”

The big Nanjing guy’s eyes lit up and he looked at the girl, who was still very angry. “Sister, since this elder brother wants to make up for it, it’s better to—”

The girl was very stubborn and didn’t answer. Black Glasses sighed, with this character, she probably wouldn’t live long in turbulent times since her brother spoils her too much.

The big Nanjing guy saw that his sister didn’t respond and immediately said, “I can persuade her, I can persuade her.”

Black Glasses sat down on the threshold and said, “Ok, now tell me what you know about this village.”

The big Nanjing guy sat on the ground and told Black Glasses a lot of things. During that time, his sister got up and went upstairs. The stairs creaked as she stomped her way up, but he didn’t know what she was protesting.

Mute Village was surrounded by minefields, with only one dirt road leading in or out. Luckily, the road had already been demined. The villagers made a living by hunting and fishing, and hardly left here because they were mute. Since their sign language was so unique, they couldn’t communicate with the outside world, and it was extremely difficult to marry outside of the village.

However, some villagers could understand Chinese, because Mute Village was very close to the Chinese border. But the Chinese they could understand was a native language unique to the border region.

The surrounding area was all primitive jungle, so it made sense that they relied on hunting. But fishing was very strange. Black Glasses remembered that when he first entered the village, he really did see a lot of fish drying outside. The big Nanjing guy told him that the fish here came from an underground river.

The people here had the ability to fish in underground rivers. It was said that there was a huge cave under Mute Village that had a big river full of fish running through it. All of the fish were caught in this underground river. Moreover, it was said that this underground river flowed from China and was very long. But the cave entrance to this underground river was a secret hidden deep in the village, and outsiders weren’t allowed to know about it.

After listening, Black Glasses fell deep in thought. According to the data Wu Erbai had sent, the South Sea country he was looking for was in an underground river. But the underground river here was too far away from Wu Xie’s location. Were the underground river systems all over China connected?

After that, Black Glasses really gave the two siblings a hundred thousand yuan. When Xiao Hua got to this part, he fell silent again and glanced at me.

This look was enough to make my back tingle. I looked at Fatty, who said, “Master Hua, you didn’t lend this hundred thousand yuan to him, did you? You’re a living bodhisattva, a real blessing to this world. We’re all your children.”

Xiao Hua ignored him and continued, “Wu Xie, do you still remember the map your Uncle Three mentioned in that listening-to-thunder incident?”

<Chapter 3><Table of Contents><Chapter 5>


TN Notes:

(1) Dysphonia is any impairment in the ability to speak normally, like from a spasm or strain of the vocal cords.


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