Chapter 58 Stone Tablet

Those bubbles appeared one right after the other at a very high frequency. Moreover, the water below the bubbles appeared to expand outward, as if there was some kind of huge creature under the water’s surface that was breathing heavily. All three of us immediately became alert, lifted our spearguns up, and pressed our backs up against the wall. I was so anxious anticipating what was about to happen that I felt weak and my palms were sweating. Those bubbles continued appearing for about five minutes before we suddenly heard a mysterious muffled sound come from the bottom of the pool.

At the same time, the water level actually began to drop and about a dozen whirlpools gradually appeared on the water’s surface. The churning water looked like more than a dozen toilets had been flushed at the same time. As we watched, the coffin basin rapidly spun with the current like a spinning top and the water level dropped two or three meters. Completely baffled, I quickly pointed my flashlight towards the water and saw that there were stone steps on the pool’s inner wall. They spiraled downward and seemed to lead straight to the bottom of the pool.

The water below moved very quickly and disappeared into the dark recesses of the pool before I had time to take a closer look, leaving only the sound of the roaring whirlpools behind. I swept my flashlight around and found that the pool was actually shaped like a bowl—wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. With a depth of more than ten meters, my flashlight’s beam wasn’t powerful enough to penetrate through the lingering water vapor in the air. Plus, the bottom of the pool was hidden in a misty darkness so nothing could be seen clearly.

I remembered that we still had powerful deep-sea lanterns with us but I didn’t know if they would be effective against this water vapor. I quickly called the other two over and we all turned our lanterns to their highest settings so that the beams of light were simultaneously shining down from three different directions.

Although we couldn’t see everything clearly, we could at least see a vague outline now. The bottom of the pool was a circular area with a diameter of ten meters, on which relief sculptures had been carved. I couldn’t make out the specific patterns of these carvings, but I could see that there were several large holes at the bottom, which looked like drainage holes.

At the center of this area was a dense cloud of water vapor that was obscuring what appeared to be a dark silhouette. Fatty’s eyes were very sharp, so after staring at the flickering shadows for a long time, he eventually said, “Do you see that in the middle there? It seems to be a stone tablet at the bottom of the pool.”

I looked down in the direction he was pointing at but all I could see was a vague outline. “I don’t know where this stone staircase leads,” Fatty said, “but maybe there are other passages down there. Let’s go down and take a look!” With that said, he jumped onto the first stone step.

This ancient tomb was strange and unusual so I didn’t approve of rushing down like that. “Don’t be in such a rush!” I shouted at him. “It’s too dangerous to go down like this. At least wait until the mist below dissipates.”

Fatty had already walked down several steps and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll go down and take a quick look. If it’s too difficult to make our way down, then I’ll come back.”

I was already familiar with his character so I didn’t bother stopping him. But after watching him go down about two levels, he seemed to see something and squatted down to study it. After a few seconds, he looked up and shouted at us, “Shit, there’s something written here in a foreign language!”

When I heard him say that, I was completely stunned. How was it possible for a foreign language to be in an ancient tomb of the Ming Dynasty? What was going on? “What the hell are you talking about?” I shouted back at him. “How can there be foreign language inscriptions in an ancient tomb? Are you sure you didn’t confuse it with a decorative pattern?”

Fatty swore angrily, “Although I may not be good with foreign languages, I fucking know my ABCs! You think too little of me! If you don’t believe me, you can just come down and look for yourself!”

“Read it to me,” I said to him.

Fatty exploded in anger, “If I fucking understood it, then I wouldn’t need to tell you to come down here!”

I didn’t intend to go down, but based on our current situation, I knew that I didn’t have any other choice. I let out a sigh before jumping onto the first stone step like Fatty did. The steps were only half a meter long and seemed to be made out of solid pieces of granite that had been inserted into the wall at one end. I stomped my foot on it a few times and found that it was very stable and didn’t seem to be in danger of collapsing. At this time, Poker-Face also jumped down, and the two of us made our way towards Fatty.

He looked just like a wall as he stood there on that step. When we approached, he pointed to the nearby wall of the pool and said, “Look at this! If this shit isn’t a foreign language, then I’m an idiot!”

I leaned in for a closer look and saw that some letters really had been chiseled onto the wall. The marks were neither new nor old, which made me think that maybe they had been carved by someone from Uncle Three’s group twenty years ago. I was a little surprised. Did those people come to this place when Uncle Three was sleeping? Could their disappearance have something to do with this strange pool?

Fatty saw me standing there in a daze and gave me a hard slap on the back, “Am I right? Hurry up and tell me!”

I quickly nodded and said, “Yes, yes, I apologize. This really is fucking English.”

Pleased with himself, he slapped his thigh and said, “I knew this was strange! We’ve been looking around this tomb for so long but haven’t seen anything good yet. I’m afraid our foreign brothers beat us to it. Remember when the Eight-Nation Alliance(1) came and didn’t leave anything for us? Needless to say, this time is the same. I bet there’s nothing left.”

I thought about it for a moment before saying, “It might not necessarily have been left by foreigners. Chinese people can also write foreign letters. When it comes to engraving, it takes a lot less time to carve foreign letters than it does to carve Chinese characters. These letters are some kind of abbreviation so I think they may be a message. Do you see? They look like they were engraved in a hurry. I’m afraid something urgent happened when this person was walking down or someone was urging them to hurry up. This person wanted to leave a mark for the people who came later.”

“What you said sounds plausible,” Fatty agreed, “but what do you think they were doing down here? Is there some kind of treasure?”

I knew where his thoughts were headed so I ignored him, but he chased after me and said, “Anyway, we still have time. Why don’t we go down and take a look? Maybe we can find some bronze pieces to use as tools. Isn’t it killing two birds with one stone?”

I looked down. I didn’t really care about finding any treasure—especially if it came at the expense of my own life—but if I could learn about Chen Wen-Jin and the others’ whereabouts by going down there, then it was worth taking a look. As I stood there hesitating on whether to continue down or not, I suddenly heard Poker-Face say from the side, “I think I’ve been in this place before!”

<Chapter 57><Table of Contents><Chapter 59>


TN Notes:

(1) The Eight-Nation Alliance was a multinational military coalition that invaded northern China in 1900 with the stated aim of relieving the foreign legations in Beijing, suppressing the Boxer Rebellion, and safeguarding the privileges of foreign nationals and Chinese Christians. They were then besieged by the popular Boxer militia, who were determined to expunge foreign influence from China. The allied forces were: German Empire, Japanese Empire, Russia Empire, British Empire, France, the United States, Kingdom of Italy, and Austria-Hungary. More info here.


I totally checked the raw when I saw that exclamation point there at the end. There’s no doubt, it’s canon baby (¬‿¬ ) Our lil Poker-Face is so OOC. Look at him being expressive and showing emotions ♡ ~(‘▽^人)

4 thoughts on “Chapter 58 Stone Tablet

  1. I like him like this. Now that Wu Xie doesn’t pay attention to him, he speaks himself, but when they want him to speak, he doesn’t. 😄


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