Uncle Three was taken aback. He could understand if one or two of the people behind him were missing—even everyone disappearing wouldn’t be too surprising—but the fact that there was one more person? It was just too unbelievable. He thought that maybe Chen Wen-Jin had counted wrong so he turned around and counted again. Going in order, he was first, Chen Wen-Jin was second, then there was the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh person. Li Sidi was the eighth, but then…
He suddenly gasped. There was definitely a ninth person hiding at the back of the group, but they were kind of blurry so he couldn’t see their figure clearly.
Uncle Three immediately broke out in a cold sweat as he realized that something was wrong. He wasn’t afraid of any demons or ghosts, but he had no experience underwater and didn’t know what kind of thing might be lurking behind their group. He didn’t think zombies could swim, but then again, he didn’t know what zombies in an undersea tomb were called. Sea zombies? Wet zombies?(1)
He shook his head while thinking to himself, that Li Sidi fucker is really slow. How could he not even notice such a thing following behind him? It seemed that no one could be counted on in this situation; he’d just have to go and take a look for himself. He secretly took out a knife, held it so that the blade was hidden behind his arm, and then swam towards the back of the group to where the ninth person was standing there motionless.
When Li Sidi saw Uncle Three swimming straight towards him, he also realized that something was wrong and turned to look behind him. But when he moved, that person suddenly moved as well, as if they were imitating him. Li Sidi jerked back in fright and swam a few feet away, but the person copied him and swam a few feet away as well. It seemed that this person was completely imitating Li Sidi’s movements, a situation which Uncle Three found not only strange but also a little funny. He moved his flashlight to get a look at the person’s face, but they startled at the bright light and hurriedly fled backwards. But as the person fled from view, Uncle Three still managed to get a look at their face—it was huge and covered in scales! He was so shocked that he almost dropped the knife in his hand.
The terrified Li Sidi made a move like he was about to swim forward, no longer daring to stay here and rest, but Uncle Three quickly grabbed him. Li Sidi shouted something at Uncle Three, which looked like “good kid, good kid” based on how his lips were moving. He already had an accent that made it difficult to understand him at the best of times, but now the words formed by his mouth were even more incomprehensible.
When Uncle Three saw that he was practically hysterical to the point that he wanted to take his helmet off, he quickly pressed Li Sidi up against the wall. The wall looked sturdy, but when Li Sidi’s body hit it, the seams in the bricks became loose at the same time and actually fell inward. Then, the water around them suddenly started flowing into the opening in a rapid torrent. Not good, Uncle Three thought to himself. But it was too late. In just a few seconds, they were swept into the hole in the wall like cockroaches in a toilet bowl.
Uncle Three didn’t know how many times he had spun around but he felt as if all of his internal organs had been thrown to the side. Then, his head suddenly slammed into something hard—it was a good thing his helmet was so sturdy. He kicked his legs a few times and abruptly raised his head, only to find that he was out of the water.
The others also surfaced at about the same time as him. Several of the girls were throwing up in their helmets, which made for a disgusting sight (how did that song go again? The most disgusting thing wasn’t seeing a rotting corpse but drowning in your own vomit…).(2) A few of the more resilient team members quickly held them up to prevent them from sinking back into the water.
Uncle Three also held Chen Wen-Jin in a tight embrace as he took a look around with his flashlight. It appeared they had already reached the tomb’s back hall. He pulled out a windproof lighter and flicked it on, the resulting flame proof that there was oxygen in the hall. He made an OK gesture to the others to indicate that the air was fine and then they all lifted their heavy helmets off and took a deep breath. “It’s so fragrant!” Several of them shouted at the same time.
Sure enough, there was a very pleasant fragrance in the tomb chamber that was very light but refreshing. Uncle Three had encountered countless tomb chambers with very strange smells before but this was the first time he had smelled something like this. He didn’t know what it was but he couldn’t help wondering.
As he swept his flashlight around the room, he realized that it wasn’t actually the main tomb chamber. Since it didn’t have a coffin in it, it was probably just an ear chamber. He could see rows of porcelain burial objects, which must have been used by the tomb owner before they died. There was also a circular pool of water in the middle of the ear chamber.
Uncle Three looked at the decorations again, feeling more and more puzzled the longer he looked at them. The walls were covered in murals, which had been so badly corroded by the water vapor that he could only vaguely make out the shadowy human figures that had been painted on them.
These shadow-like patterns were numerous and varied, from tall, short, and fat figures to those that were walking or dancing. But no matter how different they were, every single one of them was very lifelike, as if they were a photocopy of a real person. But all of the shadows had a very strange feature—their stomachs were very big as if they were pregnant.
Chen Wen-Jin was very knowledgeable when it came to ancient murals but even she couldn’t figure out what this meant. Li Sidi, on the other hand, saw these murals and turned blue with fright. “Sea ghosts!” He shouted. “There are sea ghosts here! This is a sea ghost tomb!”
Uncle Three thought of the monster he saw just now and wondered if it was actually a sea ghost. He wasn’t entirely sure, and bringing it up right now might cause the others to panic, so he decided to keep it a secret for the time being.
Li Sidi kept shouting, but because his accent was so heavy, all they kept hearing was “sea turtle” instead of “sea ghost”.(3) As the group burst into laughter, Li Sidi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Uncle Three glanced at his watch and then urged everyone to get out of the water. Some of the more daring people started to walk towards the door leading out of the ear chamber—it wasn’t very tall so it probably led to a corridor—but Uncle Three quickly stopped them. “We don’t have any of our archaeological equipment right now,” he said to them. “Moreover, we don’t have any first-aid equipment. You guys need to stay here and not wander around. I don’t know if there are any mechanisms in the tomb passage. We’re here to take refuge for an hour so everyone should be grateful and patient, understand?”
Although not happy, the group had no other choice but to stay in the ear chamber and study the porcelain. Uncle Three could tell with just one glance that it was all from the early Ming Dynasty. Feeling shocked, he started to wonder if this really was the tomb of Shen Wansan’s clan.
But he had seen too many antiques in his lifetime and had no interest in what was in front of him. Right now, he was more worried about whether there was enough air in this space to support them all. He did another headcount and was relieved to find that there were only eight people this time.
He was feeling exhausted after everything that had happened over the past few days—as well as his inability to get a good night’s sleep—so he decided to take a nap.
After he sat down with his back against the wall, Chen Wen-Jin leaned against his shoulder and gave him a kiss as a reward for his outstanding performance. Uncle Three’s mood immediately lifted. He had originally been fed up with the other team members but after seeing Chen Wen-Jin’s sweet smile, he couldn’t help but think that it was all worth it. Yeah, it was definitely fucking worth it. He was even willing to go through that whole ordeal again.
They rested there for a while. Anyone who has ever gone diving knows that it’s physically exhausting unless you have long-term experience doing it. Although Uncle Three was physically fit, he couldn’t be compared to those people whose bodies had adapted to such an activity. And now that he finally had a chance to relax, he found himself starting to yawn. Moreover, the fragrance filling the air seemed to have a calming effect, which was suddenly making him feel very, very sleepy. In a daze, he turned to Chen Wen-Jin and said, “I’m going to sleep for a bit. Wake me up in about an hour.”
That kind of sleepiness seemed abnormal but Uncle Three didn’t have time to think about it. He only dimly saw Chen Wen-Jin nod meekly. His nose was full of that faint fragrance and he briefly wondered whether it was coming from Chen Wen-Jin’s hair or if it was a smell unique to the ancient tomb. But before he could figure it out, he fell asleep almost instantly.
<Chapter 32><Table of Contents><Chapter 34>
(1) Sorry, I know “wet zombie” sounds stupid but I had to wing it. There’s some wordplay here. Since zombies are sometimes called “zongzi” (粽子)—a traditional Chinese rice dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves—he was wondering if it would be called “jiaozi” (饺子), which is a Chinese dumpling consisting of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together.
(2) I wasn’t finding anything.
(3) “Sea ghost” is “hǎiguǐ (海鬼) while “sea turtle” is “hǎiguī” (海龟). The latter is also a Chinese internet slang term for someone who has returned to China after a period of study or work overseas. Info here.
Wow, 3 days in a row? It’s like the old days. I must like you guys or something (/▽＼*)｡o○♡
5 thoughts on “Chapter 33 Sea Ghost”
(*^▽^*) Well aren’t we blessed then! I’m still not able to get over the details and content that was missing before that make the story flow that much smoother now. Your translations never get old!
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For real! I’ve turned it into a game to see how many paragraphs they ended up leaving out each chapter 🤣 So far, chapter 31 takes the cake
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Fiddlefire said what I wanted to say, you are a blessing to us. I am grateful to you for translating this version as well.
( ＾◡＾)っ ♡
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thank you for the chapter Merebear 🙏🏼
I guess the Sanshu called Sea Zombie Jiaozi because Jiaozi are boiled with water and sometimes we eat them with soup in a bowl😂. In contrast, Zongzi are steamed and always eaten straight like a cake.
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