The huge figure was almost as tall as the stele. She could vaguely make out a head and neck that seemed no different from any human, but the figure’s posture as it stood there was very strange. The way that it was hunched over at the waist was enough to make people’s hair stand on end.
Chen Wen-Jin immediately broke out in a cold sweat. The group of students was standing where the stone steps met the bottom of the pool, only five steps away from the giant. The distance was neither long nor short, which left them in an awkward situation. The fog continued to swirl around the bottom of the pool but all they had were a few lower-powered flashlights so it was impossible to see whether this thing was a human or a ghost. Plus, there were so many people in their group and they had searched all over the area just now. The bottom of the pool was only ten meters wide, and there was nothing else to be found other than the four Sea-Calming Monkeys in the center and the blank stele. When did this huge “man” appear here? Nobody knew.
And this damn Zhang Qiling seemed to be completely unaware of it as he continued staring at the stele in fascination. Chen Wen-Jin clenched her teeth in anger and annoyance. She didn’t know what he was studying, but as one of the people in charge, she knew couldn’t just leave him here. With no idea what to do in the present situation, she turned to the people behind her and told them not to move.
After five or six minutes, the giant “man” was still hiding within the fog, as if he had no intention of taking any action.
At this time, Huo Ling couldn’t bear it anymore and whispered, “Brother Zhang, what are you doing? Stop standing there like an idiot and come over here quickly.”
Chen Wen-Jin was so frightened that she immediately moved to shut her up. Zhang Qiling was too close to that thing. If the situation suddenly changed, it would be difficult to get away considering how that thing was only two steps away from him. The best course of action was to temporarily maintain the status quo.
Chen Wen-Jin quickly analyzed the figure. Although there were many dangerous things in ancient tombs, as long as you knew what you were up against, you would naturally have a way to deal with it. It was when you were in danger but still hadn’t figured out what you were up against that you would end up dying an unknown death.
After thinking about it, Chen Wen-Jin felt that there wouldn’t be any zombies in this place because the ancient tomb’s location was very good. The Xisha Islands had rarely been disturbed by humans for hundreds of years. Several ring-shaped islands and reefs dotted the sea’s surface but were actually connected underwater, forming a continuous underwater mountain range. These “mountains and rivers” hidden at the bottom of the sea gathered wind and nourished qi, just like a mountain range on land. With a dragon head in the east and a dragon tail in the west, it was a very rare underwater dragon vein.(1) It was said that dragons first lived in water before they flew into the sky, so water dragons were considered slightly more important than mountain dragons when it came to feng shui.
If there was a coffin in such an ideal place, then the owner must have been a really rich and powerful figure. And if this ancient tomb really was built by Wang Zanghai, then he must have been lacking water in his wuxing(2) so he sought to remedy that by being buried in an undersea tomb. This way, there would be ideal harmony between nature, man, and heaven.
So unless all the feng shui books were full of nonsense, there would never be any zombies here. Once Chen Wen-Jin thought of this, she immediately felt relieved. If it wasn’t a zombie, then it had to be a person or an animal. And as long as it was a living thing, they had enough people here to catch it, whether it was two meters tall or three meters tall.
At this time, one of the boys spoke up, “Chen Wen-Jin, I think something’s off. I remember that one of the stone monkeys should be in that spot. Maybe something is standing on it?”
Chen Wen-Jin thought it over and suddenly realized that Uncle Three might have woken up, found that they were gone, and came here to look for them. This man was rather shameless so he probably hid in the fog and climbed onto the stone monkey to scare them for disobeying his orders.
If that were the case, then his behavior was absolutely repulsive.
After thinking about it some more, Chen Wen-Jin believed that this was the most plausible explanation and shouted at the shadow, “Wu Sanxing! Stop messing around! Come down right now!”
If the other party really was Uncle Three, he would know as soon as he heard that shout that the jig was up and there was no need to continue messing around. Uncle Three was an open-minded person so he would just laugh the whole thing off and that would be the end of it.
But who would have expected that before she finished shouting, the shadow suddenly stretched its hand out and waved at them as if ordering them to keep quiet!
Chen Wen-Jin looked closer at the figure and saw that the length of its hand wasn’t proportional to its height. Sure enough, someone was standing on top of the stone monkey. Without giving it a second thought, she became even more certain that it was Uncle Three. She stomped her foot angrily, rushed to the stone monkey, leaped onto it, and then went to grab Uncle Three’s ear.
This was her ultimate move when dealing with Uncle Three. They had agreed never to quarrel, so as long as Chen Wen-Jin was extremely angry, she would pull Uncle Three’s ear and let him know just how angry she really was. When this usually happened, Uncle Three wouldn’t dare misbehave any further, even if he had the courage of a leopard.
But before she could even move her hand towards his ear, the man on the stone monkey suddenly grabbed her, covered her mouth with one hand, and said softly, “It’s Brother Zhang! Don’t talk! Look down there and see for yourself!”
Chen Wen-Jin was absolutely livid, but when she heard this voice, she couldn’t help but freeze in shock. It really was Zhang Qiling’s voice! But why was he standing on the stone monkey?
After thinking about it, she suddenly broke out in a cold sweat. Wait, that’s not right! If that’s the case, who’s crouching in front of the stele?
She immediately recalled the scene just now. At that time, she only saw a person crouching in front of the stele with a flashlight in his hand, and Zhang Qiling was the only one from their group who was missing. Based on that, she immediately made a judgment, but was this a mistake based on a preconceived notion?
Thinking of this, she immediately poked her head out to take a look and was stunned. The person squatting in front of the monument was wearing the same diving suit as them, and after looking at their figure, she realized that it was none other than Uncle Three!
But there was something a little off about him. Chen Wen-Jin didn’t understand what he was doing at first, but after taking a closer look, she found that he was combing his hair in front of the stele that was as smooth as a mirror. But the creepiest thing was that his movements were clearly those that only a woman would make.
Uncle Three combed his hair for a while and then turned his face and looked carefully at himself in the stone mirror, just like an unmarried girl checking the final result after putting on makeup and getting dressed up.
Uncle Three’s face in the stone mirror was half-smiling, which just made the atmosphere seem ghostly and indescribably strange. If it were a normal situation, this kind of picture would be very funny, but now, Chen Wen-Jin only felt a cold sensation spread to her hands and feet and she didn’t even dare to breathe.
When the people below saw that the two of them were hugging each other on the stone monkey and not moving, they immediately felt relieved, thinking that it really was Uncle Three pretending to be a ghost to scare them. At this time, Huo Ling, who was worried about Zhang Qiling, suddenly ran behind the man in front of the stele, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “Brother Zhang, what are you doing here?”
This act came as a surprise to all of them, including Zhang Qiling who secretly shouted, Not good!
But it was too late to stop her.
The man in front of the stele stood up so suddenly that Huo Ling screamed in fright, but then she immediately realized that it was Uncle Three standing in front of her and her fear turned to anger. “So it’s you, Wu Sanxing! Weren’t you sleeping? Why are you crouching here like a crazy person?!” She scolded him.
When Uncle Three saw Huo Ling, he suddenly covered his face with his hands, gave a strange shout, and pushed her so hard that she fell to the ground. Then, he turned and ran. Zhang Qiling realized that something was wrong and immediately jumped off the stone monkey and ran after him. He was very fast, but when he passed by Huo Ling, he paused to see if she was hurt. It was this action that ruined everything. Huo Ling, seeing that Zhang Qiling rushed over after she fell to the ground, thought that he was concerned about her and enthusiastically hugged him.
Zhang Qiling couldn’t help but sigh in his heart—these few seconds of delay were enough for him to miss his chance at catching the other man. He rolled out from under Huo Ling’s arms and looked for Uncle Three again, finally catching sight of him in the thick fog. Based on his shadow, it looked like he had almost reached the wall.
“Watch the stairs!” Zhang Qiling shouted. “Don’t let him go up!” Then he immediately gave chase. At this time, he vaguely saw Uncle Three suddenly turn sideways as if he were melting into the wall, but the fog was so thick that he couldn’t see clearly what had happened.
Zhang Qiling ran all the way to the wall but came to an abrupt stop when he realized that there was no one to chase. He didn’t believe that Uncle Three had walked through the wall. Although he wasn’t a staunch believer in materialism, such a scene was so bizarre that he knew there must be something strange about this wall.
He stood in front of it for a while, feeling the stone wall with his hands, but found that it was definitely real. Zhang Qiling didn’t believe that such a thing as walking through walls existed in this world. He stretched out two unusually long fingers and pressed them up against the stone wall. As soon as he did, his extremely sensitive fingers immediately picked up some faint vibrations—this stone wall was actually turning very slowly!
His mind started buzzing. That’s it! I didn’t realize it just now but this pool is a huge mechanism in and of itself!
He suddenly felt very emotional. This was a miracle of ancient engineering. When faced with the tomb owner’s skills, his so-called experience was like that of a naïve child.
But what was the purpose of this mechanism? In the few minutes that they had been down here, it seemed as if the bottom of this pool hadn’t changed at all! It was highly unlikely that this damn Wang Zanghai simply wanted to make his own tomb into a carousel.
Zhang Qiling was no stranger to hidden mechanisms. In his own words, he knew more about the traps and mechanisms in ancient Chinese tombs than anyone else in the world (this is a direct quote). He was very knowledgeable when it came to how mechanisms worked, their origins, shortcomings, and even the names of the inventors.
Based on his experience, this mechanism operated using the simplest principle. He knew that there were usually problems with the so-called clever spring mechanisms such as wooden bows and hidden crossbows. No matter how many high-quality materials were used, after hundreds or even thousands of years, the trigger mechanisms would have rotted to the point that they couldn’t be used. So, the easiest and simplest way to stop grave robbers was often to place an anti-theft layer of sand outside the tomb wall (after the grave robbers dug into the layer of sand, a large amount of quicksand would fall into it, which would suffocate the grave robbers. But this was also a very passive method. Now, grave robbers would determine the actual location of the ancient tomb based on the sand dug out with a Luoyang shovel. They would be able to pass directly through the twelve layers of bricks at the top of the tomb and safely dig their way in).
In order for a mechanism to operate for hundreds and thousands of years, it was necessary to use materials that wouldn’t rot during that time, such as stones and running water that wouldn’t dry up. Not only were all of these things here, but the water could also provide a kind of driving force according to the ebb and flow of the tide, which would make it more convenient to use.
If the tomb owner really was Wang Zanghai, then this person had clearly reached the limits of human capabilities when it came to the degree of his obsession with creating ingenious traps and his ability to use them. There was probably no one in the world who could surpass him.
While he was thinking, Zhang Qiling tried feeling the stone wall in other places. In his mind, he already had a vague idea that there was an entrance on this wall, but since he had hesitated before, the entrance had already shifted position. He took a few steps forward as he continued feeling along the wall and found that, sure enough, there was a hidden door.
But it was impossible that he would be able to find it so easily. He shook his head, not daring to enter it, and then continued walking. But with each step, he became more and more confused. By the time he finally reached the end, he had found eight hidden doors in this small space. Now that he thought about it, it seemed as if he already knew what was going on here. Wasn’t this fucking Qimen Dunjia?
<Chapter 60><Table of Contents><Chapter 62>
TN Notes (courtesy of the Russian translation. Why mess with perfection?):
(1) In ancient China, mountain ranges and mountains were compared to dragons. It was believed that the mountains were the conductors of the dragon’s power (aka qi). The mountain ridge could have a “dragon’s head” (a tall beautiful peak), “dragon’s blood” (mountain streams), and “dragon veins” (long mountain ranges). In addition, there was also a “dragon’s lair”, the so-called ideal place in the mountain range where you can build a house, temple, or tomb.
(2) Wuxing is the five phases of Chinese philosophy: wood 木, fire 火, earth 土, metal 金, water 水. It is believed that the five elements determine the parameters of the universe. Everything in the world can be represented in the form of these elements (for example, autumn is metal, liver is wood).
The same can be done with numbers – each number from 1 to 9 has its own element. It is on this scheme that the Chinese horoscope calculation system called Ba Zi (eight characters) is based. For each of the four elements of the date of birth (year, month, day, and hour), a combination of two elements is selected and eight characters are obtained. For example, fire/tree + water/water + metal/earth + tree/water. And then this combination is interpreted – it is believed that this chain of 8 characters will determine the character and fate of a person.
A more complicated option is to add a surname to the calculation, which can also be represented as an element, since many Chinese characters also contain symbols of these elements (for example, in the character 海 (sea), the three dots on the left are water). But the Chinese went further – the character and fate of the child are formed by the date of birth and surname, but you can slightly correct all this a little – give the correct name written in the correct character in order to correct the shortcomings of the existing set.
FYI, next updates will all be Heihua. Is it because the next chapter of this is all about Qimen Dunjia and I’m putting it off? Mayyyybbbeeeeee (*￣▽￣)b
5 thoughts on “Chapter 61 Qimen Dunjia”
😂😂😂 No judgement here! You gotta do what’chu gotta do!
Beautiful translation and notes as always! o(^▽^)o
Thank you for the chapter.
I’m getting freaked out by how much access we’re getting to the inside of Xiaoge’s head! It’s so weird!
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Thank you for the chapter and the side info for reference. Helps understand oh so much more. 🙏🏼
God this hua ling girl is getting into my nerve such a troublesome 🙂let’s not wuxie because his different when getting into danger 😂