It took about twenty hours to drive from Hangzhou to Inner Mongolia. We went from Yulin to Ordos and then all the way to Baotou, where we switched vehicles and left for Mandula Town.
Alxa League was next to us, and after passing several landforms, I seemed to recall the sand sea incident. My whole body was breaking out in goosebumps and I had to keep looking back to see if Poker-Face was really asleep in the back seat. I was afraid that I was still in the middle of the sand sea incident, just rushing to the next location to set up the next trap. Maybe the memories of those years were all just a dream and I’d wake up once the car stopped to find that the back seat was empty and it wasn’t over yet.
I smoked a cigarette silently on the balcony of our hotel in the middle of the night. Although I was afraid when I saw the cigarettes, I had to have one as I tried to calm myself down in Baotou’s dry air. At this time, there was only emotion left in my heart but I wasn’t in the mood to yell at the night.
The Jinbei got smoother and smoother as we drove since it was the kind of vehicle meant for long distances. If you drove well, it would even get faster. Fatty’s body was also doing better and better, which was quite gratifying, but we still changed to a jeep in Baotou.
Poker-Face went to the hotel’s rooftop where we were staying and stood on the abyss at the edge of the rooftop to watch the sunset. The city here wasn’t developed, but it was beautiful. I didn’t know what Poker-Face was thinking as he stood under the setting sun, but his long shadow seemed particularly lonely, which made me uneasy.
In Baotou, we had a meeting with the experts from the relevant departments and talked about some policy issues. I felt that they were thinking this would only be an experimental investigation this time and that it would be impossible to find the world’s second most valuable tomb. In other words, I keenly felt that they actually knew where the world’s second most valuable tomb was and that we were going in the wrong direction.
But based on Poker-Face’s attitude, I figured he obviously knew more, and I definitely believed him over them.
The experts repeatedly stressed that it was very dangerous to cross the border into Mongolia because of the illegal armed forces there, but Fatty didn’t care and just kept asking if he could have a gun.
Of course the answer was no.
As we continued our journey, we did several things. First, we looked at the list of forty-three teams.
The number one team was Xiao Hua and Black Glasses. When I saw Black Glasses’ name, I honestly felt a little relieved. These two people together really made a good team, but Xiao Hua had turned off his GPS. This obviously meant that there were opponents among the forty-three teams that he recognized.
This whole thing was essentially a grave-robbing battle royale on the grasslands, so he definitely wouldn’t reveal his location.
I didn’t know many of the other teams. There were eleven that went through intermediaries, so we didn’t even have any basic information on them. I was familiar with a team belonging to Liuli Sun and another team made up of Chen Pi Ah Si’s old group, but the older generation had basically retired so they were all young people.
It was almost pure how this group of gangsters was running around rampant. There were many rising stars in the business and our experience had clearly begun to fail.
The second thing we did was make Poker-Face tell us about the tomb.
First of all, Poker-Face hadn’t been down himself, but this tomb was in the area monitored by the Zhang family and also appeared in their records.
The Zhang family had set up a special organization to monitor certain special areas, including a cave in the Daxing’anling prefecture area and a jungle at the border of Yunnan and Myanmar. There were others. In some of these places, it was very obvious that there was something underground. Some places simply had nothing at all and the areas were very small. I remembered that when I was doing my research, I noticed that they were monitoring an old house from the Qing Dynasty that was even under a provincial-level cultural relics protection unit. There was nothing unusual about it, but it was still under surveillance.
If the Zhang family attached so much importance to it, then something must have obviously happened at these geographical locations. It was either that, or something strange was going to happen there soon. But I couldn’t take the initiative to explore because I’d definitely die quickly if I tried.
The Zhang family had some clues about the relationship between Guotang Feng and this tomb. They had previously contacted him and stopped him from going down, but he secretly snuck down after the Zhang family fell apart. It was only now that Poker-Face had figured out what became of him.
But since the tomb was monitored by the Zhang family, the degree of danger really couldn’t be expressed in words—even those with the Zhangs’ abilities couldn’t make it out alive. As a result, the Zhang family could only monitor it instead of robbing it.
Fatty became very angry after he heard this and spit betel nuts at Jin Wantang, asking him why he thought even the intermediaries ranked higher than us. He wanted to know why Old Jin thought us three legends only ranked forty-fourth and whether he thought we were old now.
Jin Wantang said that it was rumored that Wu Xie was the embodiment of continental plates, which would cause geological disasters everywhere. You wouldn’t get anything if you cooperated with him. Moreover, if people knew that Little Brother was participating in the competition, they’d all quit and I’d end up winning in the end. The end result would be a wasted effort.
I became very angry when I heard that. Jin Wantang wanted to get out of the vehicle multiple times the whole journey, but I pressed him down hard to keep him from moving. First, I needed him to meet the teams and announce that the event was canceled. Otherwise, who would believe it when a team ranked forty-fourth said such a thing? Secondly, I just wanted to torture him.
We drove from Baotou to Mandula Town. When Jin Wantang was driving, he took us directly along the border for more than a hundred kilometers without any hesitation. Then the barbed wire fences disappeared and we entered no man’s land. My instincts were telling me that we had illegally entered Mongolia, but I couldn’t be sure since there wasn’t a boundary marker. The only thing I was sure of was that tall grass half a man’s height was starting to appear in the no man’s land. It looked very primitive.
We camped out on the grassland that night, the setting sun an absolutely beautiful sight to behold. The wind was blowing and pressing the grass down, which made me realize what it meant when people said that you’d only see the cattle and sheep when the wind blew. This was the moment I finally knew what the grass in no man’s land looked like.
That night, the three of us looked up at the bright Milky Way. Little Brother was lying on the roof of the jeep, Fatty was stomping out the campfire, and I was sitting in front of the jeep. The three of us were very quiet.
“If only Old Jin wasn’t here,” Fatty said to me. “This moment belongs to the three of us.”
“Don’t be so harsh. It’s perfect as long as we get to have this. In this world, you can’t have everything exactly as you want it.”
“Can’t I have it just this once?”
“It’s often impossible for it to happen like you want. Sometimes it doesn’t even happen once.” I sighed with emotion and watched a meteor passing through the sky overhead.
What more do you want? I said to myself. Is this moment not enough?
<Chapter 5><Table of Contents><Chapter 7>
Sorry not sorry for going MIA for a few days. Mama needed a break (which probably seems dumb since I’ll be going on vacay next week and won’t be lugging my laptop with me but oh well). You know Wu Xie has his constitution with tomb-related disasters and I have my cliff-hanger constitution, so you all might wanna pick this chapter to stop and wait til I come back. Updates might be sporadic this week as well because they’ve got me on a mentally exhausting project at work and I’ve got to get all my stuff together for my trip (and get Yvette’s chapters out….sometime soon). So yeah, happy Monday darlings
7 thoughts on “Chapter 6 Mandula Town’s No Man’s Land”
😄 That picture is perfect! I was a little worried! But I’m happy to hear you are of sound body and mind, albeit a tad overstressed and definitely deserving of a vacation. Thanks for the update! For the story AND for life! 😉
Take whatever break you need! Hope you enjoy your holiday 🙂 can someone remind me, what point in the story for reboot is this? I have gotten a bit lost, is Wu Xie still sick? Better?
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Still ill,but getting better,no longer in dangerous situation like near death
Thank you! ☺️
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Cannot wait to read more……
They are getting a bit emotional…aawww
I don’t like where all this is going… it feels like a good bye 😖
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