Chapter 74 Escape

Poker-Face moved so fast that I only had time to shout. All of us were still standing in the middle of the room, completely exposed, so we would definitely suffer if the bomb actually went off.

But by the time I thought to warn him, it was already too late—I saw a white light suddenly flash before my eyes and then Fatty threw me to the ground. There was a loud noise that was quickly followed by the whole tomb shaking violently and then a wave of explosive hot air lifted us off our feet. I spun about six or seven times in the air before slamming into the wall ten meters away.

It was painful, but fortunately, Fatty had thrown me to the ground beforehand. Otherwise, my neck would have definitely snapped. I briefly lost consciousness the moment I hit the wall and thought I was dead because I couldn’t see anything and all I could hear was a buzzing in my ears. But after a while, a light suddenly appeared before my eyes. I tried to open them but was immediately greeted by the sight of the sky and the earth spinning dizzyingly and a cloud of yellow and gray dust filling my vision. I felt so disoriented that I wanted to vomit.

I could hear a lot of chaotic sounds as I struggled to get up, but I couldn’t tell them apart. All I knew was that there was a lot of noise and I now had a splitting headache. But in the midst of all this chaos, a coughing Poker-Face suddenly ran out of the smoke and asked, “Are you ok?”

I couldn’t seem to get the words out so I just waved my hand at him to indicate that I was fine. Then, the two of us covered our mouths and went to look for Fatty. I only had to take a few steps before I suddenly saw him sitting there on the ground, a small chunk of flesh missing from his shoulder. It must have been scraped off by a brick that was sent flying from the explosion. As soon as he saw Poker-Face, he immediately started cursing up a storm, “Shit, you move way too fucking fast! At least wait for us to take a few steps back first! If I had been standing just two centimeters to the side, I’d be missing a hand right now!”

Poker-Face extended his hand so that we could see the mirror leg he was still holding onto. “You’re mistaken, it wasn’t me just now.”

“Huh?! It wasn’t you?!” We were both shocked at the same time.

That strength just now, that accuracy…it had definitely come from a very skilled person. But if it wasn’t him, who else could it be? Fatty had been standing next to me just now, and I knew just by looking at him that his aim definitely wasn’t that good. I obviously wasn’t capable of doing such a thing, which meant that there was only one person left. I had a sudden flash of inspiration and hurriedly turned back to see where A Ning was.

Fatty was thinking the same thing I was, so the two of us ran to the corner to see if she was still there. But when we got there, we couldn’t find a single trace of her at all. Fatty cursed, “That bitch! She really was fucking faking it!”

Poker-Face’s expression was full of disbelief—it seemed that he was confident in his judgment just now and didn’t even imagine that he might have made a mistake. I silently told myself that I would have to reassess everything I knew about this woman. “She’s really amazing,” I said. “I’ve seen some crafty fellows in this business but I’ve never seen anyone who can pretend to be crazy like that.”

“I don’t think she’s just crafty,” Fatty said, “she deserves a fucking Oscar. Next time I catch her, I won’t believe anything she does.” With that said, he grabbed an object as a weapon and started to look for her, but Poker-Face immediately grabbed him and said, “There’s no time, forget it.”

I also tried to dissuade him, “Don’t get sidetracked. The most important thing for us right now is to see whether the ceiling has been blown up or not! If you can’t let go of your anger, then wait until we get out of here.” But before the words had even left my mouth, a very drawn-out, mournful sound suddenly came from above, as if something was slowly breaking. It wasn’t loud but it was enough to make my heart jump into my throat. No way, I thought to myself. You’re ready to collapse after just one blast? Way to give me some face.

Fatty was still unwilling to let it go at first, but when he heard this noise, his face turned pale and he asked me, “What the hell is that sound? Young Wu, looking at this situation, it seems like the blast hole is more serious than what you said.”

I looked up to see the hole left by the explosion and was rendered speechless. The bomb in that mummy’s stomach was so powerful that it far exceeded my expectations—the iron bars on the ceiling had been blown away, creating a hole that was less than half a meter in diameter, and the tightly sealed waterproof layer above it had been breached, which meant that seawater was now pouring into the tomb like a small waterfall. The strange sound I had heard just now was the sound of the waterfall getting bigger and bigger. I figured that it was only a short amount of time before the hole completely collapsed.

The golden nanmu pillar on the side also suffered from the blast—a huge crack now ran all the way from the top of it to the bottom, and there were signs that it was about to collapse. This valuable pillar was nothing but scrap wood now.

One of the crossbeams supported by this pillar also seemed to have been affected by the blast and looked ready to collapse. Based on the sounds coming from it, there must have been cracks running all up and down it. Even if it didn’t collapse right now, it would definitely do so after a while.

“It’s ok,” I comforted Fatty, “Don’t worry. This tomb is much stronger than ordinary tombs. As long as there’s not an earthquake, it definitely won’t collapse.”

But before I had finished speaking, the ground beneath our feet suddenly began to shake. I had long anticipated that the airtight structure of this underwater tomb would be destroyed by the blast and the seawater from below would start rising up, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I was so nervous that I couldn’t help but feel a little dizzy.

The increasing intensity of the tremors was terrifying, but I was more focused on another real, conscious fear—if the situation continued to develop at this speed, the floor we were standing on might collapse before the ceiling did. Fatty was so scared that he began shouting, “What’s happening?! Why is the ground shaking so much? Is it really an earthquake? I say, Young Wu, what exactly did we blow up just now?”

I explained what was happening and then said, “It’s alright, it’s perfectly normal. But get ready. Water might come rushing out of all the cracks here shortly. You have to watch out for it because the pressure is so intense that it’ll feel like you got punched and it might even knock you down.” As soon as I said this, we all suddenly heard a strange noise, and then the rock slab that had been covering the grave robbers’ tunnel suddenly shot into the air by a rapid current, the seawater soaring about seven or eight meters high like a fountain. But before I could react, I saw another thing come flying out of the tunnel, hit the ceiling, and then fall back onto the stone platform in the middle of the room. I couldn’t see what it was since it all happened so fast, but there was nothing else in the tunnel besides the Forbidden Woman.

It would be a minor problem if it really was her, but then again, it might be a major problem since there was no way to set her on fire in the water. Plus, we’d really be screwed if we became entangled in her hair again.

But unfortunately, I didn’t have time to think about her right now. The entire floor around the grave robbers’ tunnel was bulging like a volcanic eruption as the water continued surging up, filling the room at a very fast pace. The water level was rising so fast, in fact, that we were floating about five or six meters above the ground almost instantly.

I looked around for A Ning since the smoke from the explosion had almost dissipated by this point, but I still didn’t see her. I assumed she was hiding behind one of the pillars. Fatty wasn’t a very good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat so he didn’t have time to bother with her anymore, but there was only one exit here. No matter what happened, we would definitely run into each other in a few minutes. Fatty winked at me—probably still wanting to cause her trouble—but I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to hit a woman so I simply ignored him.

We floated for a few more minutes until our heads finally reached the ceiling and then Fatty suddenly swam to the side. I didn’t know what he was trying to do so I shouted at him, “It’ll all be over if you don’t hurry up and get back over here! What are you doing? Do you not want to live anymore?”

He swam right up to one of the luminous pearls, knocked it down with the object he was still holding, and then stuffed it into his underwear before swimming back towards us. “I just wanted a little something to compensate me for the mental damage I’ve suffered,” he said. “Who knows, I might earn a good profit from it.”

I almost decided to strangle him since I couldn’t think up enough words to curse him out, but there wasn’t enough time—the water had suddenly reached my eyes. I tilted my nose up and greedily breathed in the last few mouthfuls of air. After a few seconds, my ears felt cold and my whole body was immersed in the water.

I gestured at Fatty to go up first since he was the worst swimmer, but he shook his head and pointed at his stomach, indicating that he was too fat. If he got stuck in the hole, then everyone would die down here together. I nodded and swam into the hole first, finding that it was wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. As soon as I reached the top, I was met by a loose layer of sand that was as thick as seventeen or eighteen palms. It kept collapsing down into the hole, forming a white mist in the water that made it impossible to open my eyes. I kicked my feet furiously and eventually swam up and out of the hole.

We had calculated the time perfectly so the water level was low, but I had reached my limit and couldn’t hold my breath anymore. I felt like I was going to pass out as I frantically swam up, but my head soon breached the surface and I immediately gulped in a big mouthful of air.

After a few seconds had passed, Fatty and Poker-Face also surfaced almost simultaneously. Fatty started choking, coughing, and laughing at the same time, “Fuck! I never thought it would work! Fatty Wang finally made it out! Haha!”

I calmed down and looked at our surroundings, finding that it was already sunset. The crimson clouds on the horizon were reflected off of the water’s surface, making for a particularly enchanting sight, and the sun itself was a deep red, its dim light wrapping everything in a soft, hazy glow. The whole scene was exceptionally beautiful and serene.

I had seen several sunsets on our way here, but I had never seen one as beautiful as this. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion, but then I got distracted when my leg started to cramp. I hurriedly turned to look for our boat and breathed a sigh of relief when I found it anchored by a reef not far away. With the boat here, I could get out of this sea of suffering and have a good night’s rest.

After Fatty came back to his senses, he seemed to remember something and suddenly dove down into the water again. I followed after him, only to see that A Ning was stuck in the hole. She was struggling desperately but couldn’t seem to get out.

That’s odd. This woman is way skinnier than Fatty, and he managed to get out just fine. It doesn’t make any sense for her to get stuck like this.

It was clear to see that A Ning was almost out of air. Then, her throat suddenly tightened, a large stream of bubbles came out of her mouth, and her eyes started to roll into the back of her head. Fatty and I dove down and each grabbed one of her arms and started to pull her up.

It was only at this moment that I realized that there was a force pulling her back down into the hole, but our combined strength prevailed in the end. After only one round of tug-of-war, A Ning was finally pulled out of the hole. There was a large clump of hair wrapped around her, and I immediately knew what was going on.

The hole was now covered in black hair, which meant that the Forbidden Woman would probably crawl out soon. It was best not to stay in the water any longer. Once we surfaced, Fatty checked to see if A Ning was still alive. Her whole body was limp as if she had lost all of her strength but she was still breathing. The three of us swam back to the boat and pulled her up, but we immediately knew that things weren’t good because she kept spitting up water non-stop and her eyes were rolling into the back of her head.

I didn’t know much about resuscitating a drowned person so I shouted, “Captain! Someone’s choking on water! Come over here and help!”

I shouted twice but was surprised when I didn’t get any response at all. I told Fatty to keep an eye on A Ning and then walked into the ship’s cabin to look around. After making a full circle, I couldn’t help but wonder why no one was there. I suddenly had a strange feeling and thought to myself, that’s impossible. We’re far out at sea so how could everyone on the boat disappear? If they went swimming, they should’ve left at least a few people behind to watch the boat.

I shouted a few more times but Fatty was the only one who responded. When he ran in and asked me what I was doing, I gestured to the empty cabin and said, “We have a problem. No one’s on board!”

Fatty froze for a second and then also looked around. When he realized that I wasn’t joking, he scratched his head and said, “There’s really no one here. But the fish in the hold are still alive, which means that they were still fishing half an hour ago. Where could they have gone in such a short amount of time?”

<Chapter 73><Table of Contents><Chapter 75>

5 thoughts on “Chapter 74 Escape

  1. “but I had never seen one as beautiful as this. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion, but then I got distracted when my leg started to cramp”

    That’s just. That’s just a very Wu Xie thing to write.

    (That was very exciting! Thanks for working on this.)

    Liked by 1 person

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