Chapter 67 Forbidden Woman

Right in front of my eyes, less than a palm’s width away from me, was a huge pale face. Its skin was bloated and translucent like it had been soaking in the sea for an unknown number of years, but the creepiest thing was that its two eyes were completely black, without a hint of white around the edges at all. At first glance, it looked like a rotting corpse whose eyes had been gouged out.

I was so frightened that I shouted hysterically, pushed it away, and then desperately crawled forward with everything I had. There was only one word in my mind: escape. But it was difficult for two people to pass each other in this narrow tunnel so Poker-Face and I ended up getting stuck together and couldn’t move. Unable to squeeze through, I grabbed him and shouted, “Ghost! There’s a water ghost!”

He put his hand over my mouth and said softly, “Don’t yell! Where’s the water ghost?”

I turned around and wildly pointed behind me, “It’s right behind, right…”

I was halfway through the sentence when I froze. There was nothing behind me—no face, no hair, not even a single water stain. The only thing I saw was my outstretched finger, which had almost poked Fatty in the face. He gave me a puzzled look before saying, “Fuck you, you’re the water ghost!”

At a total loss, I hurriedly looked around but didn’t see it anywhere. It had really disappeared. But that couldn’t be right. It had felt so real just now that it couldn’t have been an illusion. Was I going crazy because of this ancient tomb? My heart was still pounding, my mind felt like it was in a fog, and I didn’t know what to do.

Fatty saw my green face and said in a comforting tone, “Don’t worry. Just take your time and tell us what happened.”

“I just saw a lot of hair, a naked woman, and a water ghost!” I stammered. “She wanted to kiss me!”

My mind was in such a mess that after I spent a long time trying to explain it, even I didn’t know what I was talking about anymore. Fatty finally got impatient and said, “Young Wu, you must have been dreaming. If there really was a water ghost, it would have to climb over me first, right?” He patted me on the shoulder and added, “But you’re in your twenties. It’s normal to dream of a naked woman. Why, when this fat master was young, I also dreamed of such things. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

I cursed, “Don’t fucking patronize me! I definitely wasn’t dreaming just now! You see? My neck is still wet from where it was rubbing against me just now!” When I showed them my neck, Poker-Face and Fatty touched it with their hands and both frowned. Fatty looked up at the tunnel’s brick ceiling, thinking that some water had leaked through and dripped down onto my neck, but I told him that it was impossible. White clay had been applied to all of the brick seams so the tomb was watertight.

Completely baffled, Fatty said, “This is strange. There’s only one passage here, so logically speaking, if something had crawled up to you, there’s no way I wouldn’t know.”

“Maybe you fell asleep?” I suggested. “If you were asleep, you wouldn’t know if someone crawled over you.”

Fatty immediately became angry, “Fuck you! Even if I fell asleep, how could I not feel someone crawling on me? Besides, could you sleep in this place? If you don’t believe me, see if there are footprints on my back!” He turned around and let us get a look at his back.

I had finally calmed down by this point, but when Fatty turned around, I was shocked to see that thing clinging to his back. That thing turned its head as Fatty moved and its lips ended up touching my nose. I was so scared that my throat seized up and all I could manage to get out was a squeak. I took a few hasty steps back, but before I could go far, I felt something tighten around my feet. I looked down and found that my calves had been covered in hair at some point. I tried hard to pull my foot out but I couldn’t break free at all. At the same time, even more hair began to wrap around me before going straight for my mouth. My greatest fear in life was having hair in my mouth so I hurriedly blocked it with my hands. In the midst of that chaos, Poker-Face grabbed me by the collar and pulled me towards him.

But he only managed to pull me a few steps before his own hand became tangled in the hair and he couldn’t pull any longer. I looked back and saw that the hair had wrapped around Fatty in such a way as to form a cocoon, and he was struggling inside of it. The creature itself was gone, but the whole tomb passage was full of hair, as if we had entered a black version of the Silk Cave from “Journey to the West”.(1)

Poker-Face yanked his hand out and hurriedly asked me, “Do you have anything to start a fire? This thing is afraid of fire!”

I felt around in my pockets and felt overjoyed when I found a windproof lighter. When we ate the fish head hotpot on the boat before, I had asked the captain for it so that I could light the kerosene stove. After I was done using it, I must have put it in my pocket without returning it. Who would have thought that this would end up saving our lives? I immediately started burning the hair that was wrapped around me and found that although it was wet, it burned very easily. After a few minutes, a lot of the hair had been burned away and I was able to break free. I rushed over to Fatty and moved to pull him out, but at this time, a huge face suddenly popped out of the pile of hair on the side and rushed towards my back.

I could tell right away that my situation wasn’t good. With no time to doge, I simply lowered my head and punched it. It was a purely reflexive punch borne from extreme fear. I didn’t know how much strength I put into the blow, but I heard a loud crack and saw that the creature’s nose was bent and black liquid was gushing from it. Luckily, the flame from the windproof lighter in my hand didn’t go out. I clenched my teeth and got ready to give it another punch but it suddenly trembled and shrank back.

I felt excited as soon as I saw this and thought to myself, hell yeah, there’s a way out of this! As it turned out, ghosts and gods were afraid of thugs, and this one in particular was afraid of fists! When I thought of this, the confusion in my mind cleared away and I immediately became excited. I lifted my foot and gave the thing an enthusiastic kick to the face, sending it straight back into the pile of hair. Afraid that I would become entangled in the hair again, I hurriedly took a few steps back, raised my lighter, and confronted it.

The face hidden in the hair had a very resentful expression but it was so afraid of the lighter’s flame that it didn’t dare rush forward again. At this time, Poker-Face pulled out a few wet fire sticks from God knows where and held them up to my lighter until they started to burn. Now that the fire had increased, the monster let out a fierce shriek and started to flee. In just a few moments, it had fled so far that we were finally able to pull Fatty out. I immediately took advantage of the opportunity and burned off the hair that was wrapped around Fatty’s head.

Poker-Face kept pushing the creature back, refusing to lower his hands until it had completely disappeared into the darkness. By this point, the fire sticks had almost burned his hands. I looked down at Fatty and saw that his nose and mouth were clogged with hair and his face had turned blue. When I hurriedly pounded him on the chest as hard as I could, he started breathing again and a black mass came spewing out of his nostrils.

I let out the long breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. Fortunately, Fatty had a large lung capacity and was able to clear his windpipe on his own. Otherwise, he would’ve needed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but I would rather let him die than do that.

Half-dead after that ordeal, Fatty lay there gasping for a while and only managed to speak after coughing up what was left in his throat, “Fuck me, what the hell was that thing?”

I flicked off the lighter that I had been holding in my hand, but I refused to put it away even though it was boiling hot and felt like it was burning my skin off. I glanced at Poker-Face and saw that he wasn’t much better off than I was. He shook his hands out and said to Fatty, “That was probably a Forbidden Woman.”

I had heard Lao Hai from Yingxiongshan Market mention this thing before but I didn’t believe it at that time. “Is there really such a thing as a Forbidden Woman?” I asked.

Poker-Face nodded and said, “I don’t know how this thing came into being, but there are currently many legends about it. My guess shouldn’t be wrong.”

Surprised, I immediately asked him for details but he just shook his head and said, “The Forbidden Woman is born in water. I know that she’s afraid of fire but I don’t really know anything else. In this way, she’s just like a zombie—since ancient times, we’ve known that zombies are afraid of black donkey hooves but it’s not clear why. I just didn’t expect this thing to be cognizant. It’s probably still hiding behind us so we have to be careful.”

Fatty still had lingering fears after what just happened and crept a little closer to us before saying, “It’s strange. This tomb has really good feng shui so why are there so many strange things in it?”

I honestly wasn’t sure whether the feng shui of this tomb was good or not, but I had dug up some information about the Forbidden Woman before. In the mountainous regions, the Forbidden Woman actually represented the shamans and mediums among the ethnic minorities, but in the old seaside legends, she was the most evil ghost in the whole world. I didn’t know why there was such a difference between the two regions, but the Forbidden Woman generally had a terrible fate compared to other ghosts—if she was caught, her hands and feet were usually cut off and then she was buried alive. Some versions of the legend said that the Forbidden Woman’s origins were generally related to pregnant women so there was probably a correlation between it and the ear chamber where the corpse incubator coffin was. There was also that mural with the big-bellied figures that Uncle Three had mentioned before. It seemed that the Forbidden Woman’s appearance here was no mere coincidence. In fact, maybe the tomb owner had placed it here deliberately.

While I was lost in my thoughts, Poker-Face was worried that it would follow us again and motioned for us to move on. I listened for any sounds coming from above the tunnel but didn’t hear anything this time. I didn’t know who had been walking past just now, but we were making so much noise down here that they might have heard us. Not only would it be bad for us to linger here, but it was better for us to move on anyways.

I checked to see how Fatty was doing but he acted like everything was fine. I figured he just didn’t want to stay here either. I asked him to turn on his flashlight and hang it on his belt so that we could keep an eye on things at all times. Then, I tightened my grip on my lighter and started crawling forward again.

We crawled a little further and found that the tunnel suddenly started zigzagging upward again. I looked to the side and saw that Xie Lianhuan must have dug all this way but ended up encountering the tomb wall. Knowing that there was seawater on the outside, he probably had no other choice but to change direction and find his way upward. Maybe he had the same thought as us and wanted to escape from the top of the tomb.

It had taken about half an hour for us to get this far since first entering the grave robbers’ tunnel, which meant that this undersea tomb probably wasn’t that big. After making my way through this tomb, I had a general impression that its length and width weren’t actually that long. The main problem, though, was its height. Based on my current assumptions, this tomb was nearly thirty meters in height. If we used modern standards and said that the height of one floor was equal to three meters, then that meant that the tomb should be ten stories below the seabed. Although it was impressive, it couldn’t be called a miracle.

With no way to turn back now, we had no other choice but to keep crawling up. But after crawling for the amount of time it would take to smoke a cigarette, Poker-Face suddenly stopped moving. When I gave him a push, he turned around and said softly, “It’s a dead end.”

I froze, completely stunned. That’s impossible. I quickly squeezed my way past him and saw that we really were facing a dead end—the path above us was blocked by a large blue granite slab. I pushed it with my hand and found that although it was very heavy, it wasn’t impossible to move. Poker-Face and I tried to lift it up and eventually managed to shift it so that a small gap was created. We immediately noticed that there was a small bit of light coming in through the gap from the tomb chamber above. But just as we were wondering what the light was, the weight disappeared from our hands and the granite slab above our heads suddenly disappeared.

<Chapter 66><Table of Contents><Chapter 68>


TN Notes:

(1) It’s chapters 72 and 73 of the novel. Silk Cave is at Silk Ridge and it’s a place where 7 spider demon sisters reside. They end up trapping Tang Sanzang after he stumbles upon them while begging for alms but the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) comes to his rescue. Tiny bit of info here. Here’s a random pdf of the novel I found.


6 thoughts on “Chapter 67 Forbidden Woman

  1. I’m still wondering where did Xie Lianhuan put all the dirt from the grave robbers tunnel? How did he have time to dig it without getting wall squished in the first place?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wu xie seems like your enjoying squeezing your self on Zhang huh so how’s does it feel?🤣guard Wu xie at all cost this forbidden women likes your man Zhang 🤣🤣🤣

    Liked by 2 people

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