As it turned out, the person on the other end of the line worked for a large-scale international marine resources development company. This so-called “marine resources development” was basically just determining the location of certain shipwrecks based on the analysis of various existing route information and historical records and salvaging the shipwrecked goods.
This kind of behavior was essentially undersea grave robbing, but it was more professional and legal since a considerable portion of the shipwrecked goods found on the high seas could legally be inherited by those who found them. Of course, this was because it was impossible to verify whether the goods were truly found on the high seas.
There were two kinds of enterprises like this. The first salvaged modern shipwrecks, dismantled them, and auctioned off the hulls that hadn’t completely decayed. Or they sold the resources they found. The second salvaged ancient shipwrecks and sold the antiques found on them to collectors or museums.
The company this man worked for belonged to the latter. In other words, their main target was ancient shipwrecks. They had many archaeological consultants, and every project required a large number of experts in both archaeology and oceanography who would spend two or three years working on the project in order to complete it. Their profits were also very high so they had a lot of high-tech instruments and ships at their disposal.
In order to find the undersea tomb as soon as possible, Uncle Three borrowed equipment and personnel from this company in the form of a guarantee and used this company’s name to dispatch a five-person investigation team. It was supposed to be a good deal, but the company’s logistics department lost contact with the investigation team’s ship only five days after they had set sail.
They waited for forty-eight hours before finally sending out a search party to comb the surrounding sea but nothing was found. The last confirmed information they had was sent three hours before the investigation team disappeared—Uncle Three and two of the other investigators had already entered the undersea tomb.
The reason why the company had contacted me was because Uncle Three had told them before leaving that if something happened to him, they could call me at this number for help.
“Right now, we can’t confirm the situation inside the ancient tomb nor do we know whether the three of them are alive or dead,” the man on the phone said. “So, we’re going to organize another team to go in and take a look. But since most of us here only deal with philosophical and theoretical matters, we’re hoping to have an experienced guide. At the very least, we need someone who can help us find the exact location of the tomb.”
When I heard him emphasize the word “guide”, as if to imply that he knew my true identity, I couldn’t help but have some reservations. But this matter was so important that I knew I had to go there myself. As a result, I had no choice but to set this issue aside for now. “I don’t know the exact situation on your end so how about we discuss it more when I get there?” I asked him.
“That’s fine,” the other party said. “The sooner the better.”
When I hung up the phone, I decided to leave immediately so I hurriedly packed up my things and asked the hotel clerk to help me book the earliest flight to Haikou. I had been to Xisha once before and knew that if I wanted to reach the real Xisha Islands, I needed at least three kinds of transportation: plane, car, and boat.
For the next ten hours, I moved non-stop without even having time to think. I just kept praying that the worst wouldn’t come to pass. When my plane finally arrived in Haikou at noon the next day, I was met by a car their company had sent to pick me up.
The person who came to pick me up was surnamed Liu. He told me that their company’s top management was taking the matter very seriously this time because not only was one of the people who disappeared with Uncle Three a top executive’s son, but this project was being implemented in the South China Sea. It couldn’t be made public so it was necessary to look for people without any ties to the government.(1)
I didn’t understand what he meant with that last sentence, but I was able to figure it out later. I tried to dig for more information but this Master Liu was just an ordinary driver and didn’t know any more details. I chatted with him for a while until I noticed that the car had actually driven to the docks.
I was just starting to feel confused when a middle-aged man came up and asked, “Are you Mr. Wu?”
I nodded, and he opened the door and said, “Please follow me. The boat is about to leave.”
I was very confused now. “Boat? What boat? Aren’t you taking me to a hotel?” I asked.
He shook his head and said, “Time is pressing. We must get to that place within seven hours and complete this operation within ten hours after that. Otherwise, we’ll be faced with a half-month period of typhoons. There won’t be any maritime support at that time, which will make the situation even more troublesome.”
I felt a little upset when I heard them making their own decisions, but it was Uncle Three’s life at stake so I had no choice but to keep my grumbling to myself as I grabbed my luggage and followed after him. When we arrived at the dock, he pointed to a very old seven-ton galvanized iron fishing boat and said, “This is it—our boat this time.”
I thought he was joking but he went on to explain a little helplessly, “There’s no other way. Our large-scale search in that area has already attracted the border patrol’s attention so we have to keep a low profile. But don’t worry, the equipment on board is state-of-the-art and there won’t be any problems setting sail.”
After he said this, someone on the boat took my luggage for me. He then said a few words to the fishermen on the boat in the local dialect, shook hands with me, and said, “Miss Ning is in charge of things on the boat. She’s right there behind you. Good luck!”
These people worked so efficiently that I still hadn’t caught up with everything that was going on before he had already left. I turned my head and saw a young, short-haired woman in a tight diving suit looking at me. When she saw me standing there looking flabbergasted, she couldn’t help laughing before beckoning me over and saying, “Come with me.”
<Chapter 35><Table of Contents><Chapter 37>
(1) The South China Sea is a highly contested body of water in the Western Pacific Ocean. China’s sweeping claims of sovereignty over the sea—and the sea’s estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—have antagonized competing claimants Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. More info here.
And the streak continues! Mwahahaha. I’d say we should do a drinking game every time a paragraph is left out of the licensed version but at the rate this book is going, we might die of alcohol poisoning after a few chapters~~~
3 thoughts on “Chapter 36 Woman”
This is only Volume one, think if this is repeated in all volumes, then we will surly die. 😇
Ning-jie…I miss you soooo sooooooooo much😭😭😭
Thank you for the chapter. 🙏🏼