Chapter 41 Uncle Three’s Lies

When I saw these words, I was so surprised that I almost fainted. Wu Sanxing and Chen Wen-Jin…wasn’t this Uncle Three and his girlfriend? Could they have left this notebook here back then? But how did such a thing end up on a ghost ship?

Let’s assume that before this ghost ship sank, there happened to be two people on board who were also called Wu Sanxing and Chen Wen-Jin. And suppose these two people also happened to come to the Xisha Bowl Reef to do archaeological work. The chance of such a coincidence happening was so slim that I’d probably have better luck winning five million yuan at the lottery.

I pondered over it for a while but decided that there wasn’t a need to think too much about it. There was no other explanation for this notebook—it was something Uncle Three and the others must have left behind. Moreover, based on the inscription on the title page, Uncle Three must have given this notebook to Chen Wen-Jin back then. Chen Wen-Jin probably used it as a log to record the daily progress of their Bowl Reef expedition, which meant that the owner of this notebook was Chen Wen-Jin.

It appeared this ghost ship was related to Uncle Three and the others’ archaeological activities back then and may have even been the big fishing boat that didn’t come back on time.

After thinking for a moment, countless questions popped into my head and I began to feel a splitting headache.

It appeared that only the parties involved would know the truth behind these mysteries. Everything I knew only scratched the surface and seemed to lack a core theme to connect them all. If Uncle Three, that old fox, had honestly told me everything from the beginning, I probably would’ve had the key to figure out the whole mystery by now.

Or maybe the contents of this notebook could give me some clues? I originally wanted to hide it and look at it when no one else was around, but I couldn’t stand my burning curiosity any longer. Plus, I figured that woman would know about it sooner or later anyways so there was no need to be so mysterious. Instead of trying to hide it from her, I simply flipped the notebook to the next page and started reading.

Chen Wen-Jin was a very meticulous person—each day’s notes were listed in the same clear and organized format. The first page recorded the first day of their departure, which was July fifteenth. A list of the team members was also included, and I saw that the leader was Wu Sanxing. What was that Poker-Face’s name again? I remembered Uncle Three mentioning that his surname was Zhang so I started reading down the list to see if it was there. As it turned out, there was a person named Zhang Qiling. Was it really him?(1)

I flipped to the next page and found some key information regarding the process they used to find and determine the specific location of the undersea tomb, but it was way more detailed than what Uncle Three had told me before. Even the types of ropes used and the theories and conclusions about the course of the expedition had all been recorded. It was completely different from Uncle Three’s crude style of doing things, and I couldn’t figure out how the two of them got together in the first place. But I didn’t need to look at this information again since I had already heard it before so I flipped to the end and stared at it with a dumbfounded expression on my face.

In fact, I didn’t have to read the last entries in detail; just looking at their titles was enough to leave me feeling shocked and angry enough to curse that bastard Uncle Three a hundred times over.

This is what Chen Wen-Jin wrote:

July 21st—Entered the undersea tomb for the first time.

Personnel: Wu Sanxing

Progress: Cleared the left and right ear chambers and corridor. Preparing to clear the rear chamber.

Work: Used an air pump to ventilate the tomb chamber and prepared for long-term cleanup.

Salvaged cultural relic: Golden yellow wood coffin engraved with two phoenixes (infant coffin).

Remarks: Emergency situation, detailed records to be filled in later.

Then there was only one record below it:

July 23rd—Entered the undersea tomb for the second time.

Personnel: All members

Progress: None

Work: Take shelter from summer storm       

Salvaged cultural relics: None

Remarks: None

As it turned out, Uncle Three had already entered the tomb once before taking the whole team in. And with his greedy nature, he must have already taken a lot of things out. Chen Wen-Jin only wrote down that he had cleared the two ear chambers and corridor, but who knew if he had actually entered the back room or not? Maybe he had already taken everything out of the coffin. What the hell did this old fox do when he went in the first time?

I gnashed my teeth in anger before skimming through the rest of the contents. There were many useful bits of information, but they weren’t significant enough for me to carefully read them now. I put the notebook back in the waterproof bag and looked back to see what the woman’s reaction was. To my surprise, she didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me at all and was instead desperately scraping at the rust on the partition in the captain’s quarters.

She moved so quickly that it almost seemed like she was trying to smash it to pieces instead of scraping it off. She had already cleared off half of the partition, and I could see that it was actually steel under all those layers of sea rust. She had scraped it all the way down to where the partition joined the hull, and I could see that it was welded to the hull around it. Not only did it seem very strong, but the door on the partition was also made of steel, with a rotary security lock that looked similar to a car’s steering wheel.(2)

The woman was talking to herself as she scraped away at the rust, and seemed to be saying, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. I’ll let you out now.”

It was only when I heard these strange words that I realized something was wrong with her. I saw that she had neatly cleaned all the rust from around the steel door’s edges, revealing a layer of rubber between the door and the frame. It seemed the compartment behind the door was tightly sealed. After the woman had cleared away the rust, she frantically moved to turn the handwheel but her strength wasn’t enough. Not only was the lock itself very heavy, but the inside was probably covered in a layer of sea rust. It wasn’t like she was a strong sailor so there was no way she could open it. She tried several more times to forcefully turn it but it didn’t budge at all.

I suddenly had a bad feeling and said to her, “The contents inside might be submerged in water so it’s best not to open it. And if there’s a monster inside, we don’t have any weapons, which means that we’ll definitely die here.”

She continued to tug hard on the handwheel, completely ignoring me. I shook my head. This woman’s unreasonableness had me changing my initial favorable impression of her.

For the next few minutes, as I stood there with my hands on my hips and watched her wasting her strength, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was just her way of venting her anger. But at this time, she suddenly turned around and looked at me. I thought she had finally seen how pointless it was and given up, but then she suddenly cried out and leaned backward. As I watched, two withered hands stretched out from her hair like lightning, grabbed onto the handwheel, and began exerting their strength. The strange hands were so strong that I immediately heard the sounds of sea rust cracking coming from inside the locking mechanism.

I was so terrified that my scalp felt numb and I almost fell to the ground. This kind of scene was the freakiest thing I had seen so far. No wonder the strange hands had disappeared. As it turned out, they were hiding in her hair! So who exactly had I been talking to just now? Was it a ghost or a human?

At this time, the handwheel had finally loosened enough to move. Those hands turned it several times and were about to open the steel door, but a loud noise suddenly came from inside and a wave of water came gushing out. The door flew open from the impact and slammed into the woman’s back, which sent her flying straight into me. As the both of us fell to the ground, I knew that things had taken a bad turn, but just as I was trying to push her off and save myself, the seawater rushed over and pushed us back about twenty meters. I struggled to raise my head and saw a huge, scaly face peeking out from behind the door and staring straight at me.

<Chapter 40><Table of Contents><Chapter 42> 


TN Notes:

(1) Qiling (起灵 Qǐlíng) sounds very similar to “Qilin” (麒麟 qílín), which is the tattoo that showed up on Poker-Face’s body.

(2) It’s basically a handwheel but the author wouldn’t come out and say it.

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