Chapter 4

I slept soundly that night. I thought I would suffer from insomnia, but I underestimated my exhaustion. Fatty’s snoring woke up half the people, but I didn’t hear it at all. When I got up in the morning, the thunderstorm had passed and the sun was especially bright. I went out of the tent and saw that a rainbow had appeared in the valley between the “ant nest” mountain and the nearby mountains. The search and rescue work had continued through the night, but I didn’t know if there had been any new developments.

When the villagers were dismissed, Fatty and I were taken to a medium-sized tent that had been set up next to the big tent (forgive me for describing it like this. These tents were all similar in size, so I just decided to call it Tent Number Two). This was an office tent that had printers and other things set up inside. We signed the non-disclosure agreement there.  After we were done with that, we were to wait in the big tent, which I’ll call Tent Number One.

We had a moment of silence before the meeting for those who were lost, and then Professor Wang introduced us. No one cared about us, probably because experiencing sudden drastic changes and witnessing such a huge disaster had stolen some of the momentum. Fatty told a few jokes when he introduced himself, but it was useless. Everyone laughed awkwardly and there was hardly any feedback.

I understood that people who had lived to this age had experienced losing people around them—which never felt good—so I got right down to business and looked at the detailed maps of their exploration from before.

The passage extended through a crevice in the mountain. If the mountain hadn’t collapsed like this, then there should’ve been a cave you could enter. If you went up, you could reach all the holes in the “ant nest” mountain; if you went down, you could enter this passage, which went about seven hundred meters down and was flooded. Based on common sense, the rest of the passage and the underground space that this passage led to should have also been submerged.

But last night, we all heard the sound of bells coming from underground. This seemed to indicate that there was air down there, so the flooded part of this section was probably similar to the structure of a toilet. The passage had a bend at that position that formed a kind of water seal, so the outside and inside air were separated by this section of waterway. This waterway wouldn’t be too long and would eventually slope upward.

I quickly finished my analysis, but some people had doubts: if there was so much water outside, then there was still a possibility that the inside would be flooded.

I knew that wasn’t the case. It’s been raining so heavily these days, I said to myself. If there’s no way to discharge the water, the place would’ve filled up by now, no matter how big the space may be. But it didn’t happen. This shows that at the end of the passage, there’s a drainage channel in the space where the bell sounds were coming from.

But I really didn’t want to explain the principle behind this structure’s water drainage system, so I just gave Professor Wang a thumbs up. He told me that diving equipment would arrive in the afternoon. This kind of diving could be classified as cave diving, so Fatty and I would have to find out what the situation was before they went down with us. If there wasn’t much water, they would probably drain it before going in.

I told Professor Wang that since it could rain at any time here, the best method was to dive in and use ropes to transport the equipment, supplies, and lights in so that we could set up a temporary base inside. When the conditions permitted it, we would then pull cables in.

To make a long story short, we drank some alcohol in the afternoon while the entrance was dug out again. During that time, the diving suits finally arrived. Fatty and I put them on and prepared to go in. Fatty wanted a gun, but was quickly turned down. He started protesting, “What if there are monsters inside?” But Professor Wang glared at the both of us, so we had to give up. Some guards did give us tactical daggers, though.

The gray stone passage wasn’t very tall—the Yang family members must’ve been short people—so we had to bend down as we moved forward. Many of the niches that had been dug out on both sides were now empty. The bodies that were in them must have been taken out already, so there weren’t any traces left. This was definitely a very crude man-made passage. Since Professor Wang was physically strong, he and an armed policeman came down with us. It didn’t take us long to reach the seven-hundred-meter point where we couldn’t move forward. The passage sloped down into the pool of water in front of us, so Fatty used a flashlight to illuminate it. The water was very murky and full of mud. “We won’t be able to see anything when we go down,” Fatty said. “Shit, we won’t be able to see anything at all. We can only feel our way through the water. Do you know how terrifying that is?”

“We’ll hook ourselves to a rope,” I said to him. That way, if something happened, the armed policeman could pull us back. Fatty looked at the young man behind him and said “If you get distracted, my ghost will haunt you.”

I looked at the muddy water, not knowing how deep the waterway behind it was. There was no denying that only people like us would dare to do this kind of exploration. Even professional expedition teams might not be willing to go down. I patted the rock wall and told Fatty to follow it. He absolutely could not stray from it. Otherwise, if there was a fork in the passage down there, it would be very, very dangerous.

The two of us grabbed our equipment and climbed into the muddy water. It was so cold that in the first few minutes, I felt all of my senses go numb. We set our waterproof flashlights on their highest beams, but the visibility was so poor that we could only feel our way forward. I couldn’t see anything, but I was a little relieved to hear Fatty’s oxygen regulator sending up bubbles behind me. At least I would be able to hear the oxygen tank’s alarm going off.

I touched the rock wall with one hand and slowly swam forward, touching the rope around my waist from time to time. I could hear Fatty following behind. I thought it would take ten or fifteen minutes at most to reach the end of the waterway, but it stretched on for much longer than I had been expecting.

I kept swimming forward until suddenly, my hand wasn’t touching anything. I found that the rock wall I had been feeling my way along was suddenly gone, and I had apparently swam into a big space. The passage had been cramped before, but when I felt around, I found that there was more space above and below me. I immediately backed up, trying to get back to the place where I had been just now, but I bumped into Fatty and was sent flying into the larger space in front of me.

I slid my feet in the water to stabilize myself and suddenly heard Fatty laughing behind me.

The sound in the water was very clear, so I could tell right away that someone was laughing underwater. I immediately became angry, what’s so funny? But at this time, I suddenly felt something pulling on my rope. As it pulled, it even managed to drag me back a little bit.

Thinking it was Fatty, I grabbed the rope and stretched my hand out to the place where he was making those noises. At this time, Fatty’s voice suddenly disappeared and my surroundings instantly fell into silence. I swam in Fatty’s direction and grabbed his rope. I didn’t know when it had happened, but Fatty’s rope went all the way down to the lower part of this space. It was just like bait on a fishing hook being dragged down towards the bottom of the water.

I pulled, but the force on the other end was very strong.

Just as I was wondering what to do, I suddenly heard someone laughing beside me and a hand landed on my shoulder.

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


Yooooo, sorry to leave you all on a cliffhanger. But I’m 11 episodes into “Beyond Evil” and I’m hooked. This man deserves a fucking award for his amazing acting:

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