Chapter 14 Epiphany

I thought Poker-Face would step on the bamboo like Li Mu Bai (1) to grab the bag, but he just broke the tree instead.

The bamboo—which was as thick as a calf—fell to the ground, bringing the bag along with it. I secretly glanced at Fatty, who nodded. We had reached a tacit understanding that although the two of us were already very strong, Poker-Face could still kill us with one hand if he wanted to.

He doesn’t even need to use his hand, my heart said. I might just die if he spits on me.

The bag turned out to be a shoulder bag made of non-woven fabric that contained cigarettes, a lighter, and a bunch of girly stuff. I rifled through it but didn’t see a suicide note or anything, so I took out the cell phone and put the bag on my back.

The phone was dead.

“Fatty, what’s your opinion on all of this?” I asked him. This was a really weird situation, so I needed Fatty to give me some inspiration.

Fatty looked at the bamboo around him and said, “There’s no doubt that the girl wanted to climb the bamboo to figure out what direction to go in, but after she climbed up, she weighed too much and the bamboo bent. She hung onto the tip of the bamboo until it touched the ground, but when she got off, her bag caught on the tip of the bamboo. The moment she climbed off and let go, she didn’t realize that the bag was still on and that bamboo is very elastic. So, when the bamboo bounced back up, the bag flew through the air, fell on this bamboo, and was stuck hanging on the tip.”

I looked at Fatty, feeling like his theory was awesome and perfect. He had come up with an extremely reasonable explanation for this strange and seemingly ghostly situation.

“Fuck, when did your IQ start to pick up?”

“Hey, who hasn’t done such a stupid thing before?”

Oh. When I looked at Fatty, it suddenly occurred to me that he had taken my Nike bag once but never brought it back. He said that it was stolen, but his eyes kept looking to the sky when he said this.

A bamboo tree had sent it to the heavens, right?

“So where might the girl be now?”

“When we saw the bag just now, it was hanging on the south side of the bamboo, indicating that the bag came from that direction. So, the girl should be towards the south, probably more than a hundred meters away.”

The three of us walked south for a while before Poker-Face suddenly grabbed us.

The forest floor was covered in fallen leaves. In fact, there were many bamboo roots hidden below which made it difficult to walk, but all three of us were already experienced. We just relied on the feeling underfoot to know what the distribution of the bamboo roots below was like. As a result, we didn’t really look at the road when we were walking.

At this time, I saw that there was a crack in the bamboo forest floor, which I had almost slipped down.

The crack was very deep and quite wide, and when I pointed my flashlight at it, I found that there were a lot of bamboo roots in there. The girl was stuck among these bamboo roots at a very deep position. She was still wearing those traditional Han Chinese clothes, so it gave the whole atmosphere a strange feeling.

The most amazing discovery, however, was that the space under this crack appeared to be hollow, as if there had been a rift in the karst landform. I figured there was a cave below.

I shined my flashlight on the girl and found that she was awake and covering her eyes from the flashlight’s bright glow.

“Are you hurt?” I asked her.

She opened her mouth and said something in a voice so weak that I could hardly hear her. It appeared she had been crying for help for a long time and lost her voice.

These bamboo roots were actually very sturdy, so she should have been able to climb up if her arm muscles were strong enough. Although girls nowadays were quite unpredictable, they ate less and didn’t develop their arm muscles enough.

Poker-Face grabbed my hand and lowered me down. As I gripped his hand, I reached down with my other hand and just barely reached the bamboo roots below. I managed to climb down to the girl, but at this time, I made a fatal mistake.

I miscalculated the girl’s weight.

Any clothes that can conceal one’s weight should never be worn when taking risks. I pulled the girl onto my back and prepared to climb back up, but the bamboo root I had been holding onto suddenly broke.

I immediately fell down, but I was able to remain calm and quickly grab another bamboo root on the side.

But this one also broke as soon as I grabbed it. I caught three more but all three broke as well, and my whole body started to slip into the abyss.

At this time, Poker-Face jumped down, kicked off of the edge of the gap, and rushed to my side. He grabbed my collar and then used the fingers of his other hand to latch onto the soil on the side in order to stop his descent.

I grabbed the bamboo roots again, wondering why they were so brittle here.

At this time, a very terrible thought suddenly popped into my head.

Fuck, am I getting fat?

<Chapter 13><Table of Contents><Chapter 15>


TN Notes:

(1) One of the main guys in the famous 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Plot info here.


I had a good laugh imagining Fatty like a koala on a bamboo tree.

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