Chapter 13 Yellow Springs Waterfall

The underground river’s current was swift and the water temperature was extremely high, so I figured there couldn’t be any living creatures in it. But before I could even finish this thought, a column of yellow water suddenly burst out of the water, soared straight to the cave’s ceiling, and swept everyone into the shallows.

In the confusion, I didn’t see what happened to Pockmark after he got swept away by the column of water. All I heard was Uncle Tai loudly asking Master Liang what was in the water as the latter remained silent, too scared to even speak. I turned my head to look, but all I could see was a large bubbling fountain of water—it was impossible to tell what exactly was hiding beneath the surface.

The column of water rushed to the top of the cave at a steady pace for a while, but instead of weakening, it actually seemed to become more and more intense. It kind of reminded me of whales at sea, but how could there be whales in a mountain dike? If I could really encounter such an outrageous thing in a place like this, then I didn’t want to live anymore. But apart from whales, what else could cause such a big phenomenon? On second thought, could it have been caused by the legendary adult Siberian Salmon that was said to be more than twenty meters long and had a head as large as a liberation truck? I couldn’t help but cry bitter tears in my heart. These days, it seemed like Bodhisattva had turned away from us, and all sorts of monsters and ghosts were coming out for a stroll. If things continued like this, I was afraid we’d never successfully rob this tomb.

At this time, I suddenly saw Pockmark floundering around in the water before he finally managed to get his feet under him. His whole body was red for some reason, and after taking a few steps, he suddenly fell back into the water, completely motionless. Uncle Tai, not knowing what was wrong with him, gave me a hard kick and ordered me to pull him out.

I secretly cursed the old bastard for being a good-for-nothing. But there was nothing I could do with a gun pointed at the back of my head, so I clenched my teeth and rushed into the spray. As the water that collided with the ceiling poured down like rain and drenched me, I finally realized what was wrong—the water was so ridiculously hot that it left blisters wherever it touched my skin. I hurriedly pulled my clothes over my exposed skin and then moved to grab Pockmark.

But as soon as my hand touched his body, I quickly pulled it away—I had been scalded. This fucker was already cooked; there was no way to save him now.

At this time, there came another loud noise and then yellow steam started coming out of the water column. As soon as I saw it, I knew that my previous theory was completely wrong. This thing definitely wasn’t the result of a fucking fish. Any creature that tried to live in such hot water would have been boiled in seconds.

“Why the hell are you standing there frozen?” Lao Yang shouted at me. “Just dive into the water! It’s an intermittent hot geyser. If you don’t move fast enough, you’ll get scalded to death!”

The water column was getting bigger and bigger, and the scalding water was starting to pour down like torrential rain, so I quickly dove underwater. The others had been squealing like pigs as the scalding hot water rained down on them, but when they saw me diving into the river, they also moved to follow.

The hot water from the geyser had mixed with the cold underground river water so the temperature of the overall river was very high. As soon as I plunged down, it felt like I was swimming in a boiling pot with the way my whole body felt like it was on fire. I swam a few meters out before sticking my head out of the water and looking back—the water around the geyser was boiling and rapidly spreading out while almost the entire surface of the river was covered in steam. I knew that if I didn’t find a place to get out of the water, I would soon end up like Pockmark.

At this time, it was impossible to return to the passage we had come from since the water over there was the hottest and practically boiling. Our only other option was to keep moving downstream, but when I looked at the direction the current was flowing in, I immediately regretted it. I should have chosen to go further upstream when I plunged into the water just now so that the current would take the hot water in the opposite direction. But now we were all going in the same direction as the hot water, and it was practically impossible for us to try and move faster than the speed of water while we were still in the water ourselves.

I couldn’t see any other way out of this predicament, but was I really willing to just wait here and die? I shouted at Lao Yang to catch up and then swam until I was in the lead, leaving everyone else to follow behind me.

Thanks to the current’s fast speed, I was able to swim a few hundred meters away in an instant. Noticing that the water temperature was no longer rising, I breathed a sigh of relief and looked back with my flashlight, only to see Lao Yang desperately waving at me and shouting, “Stop! Stop! In front—”

But before he could finish speaking, he was suddenly hit by a wave and his mouth was shoved underwater. I didn’t hear the rest of what he was trying to say, but by this time, I suddenly heard the roaring sound of water coming from behind me. I turned to look and saw a massive wave of yellow water rushing over a big cliff up ahead. A roaring sound like thunder could be heard at the bottom of the cliff, a clear indicator that this must’ve been a huge waterfall.

I was confused at first, but then I realized how terrible the situation was—if I got swept down that, there would be nothing left of my body. At this time, Lao Yang’s head suddenly resurfaced and he shouted at me, “To the side! To the side!” It was only at this time that I finally reacted. I quickly swam to the edge of the river and tried to grab onto the cave wall, but I was dragged by the current for another three or four meters before I was finally able to bring myself to a stop. I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief when I heard Master Liang suddenly call for help and then bump into me from behind. The force of the impact caused me to lose my grip and the two of us plunged back into the water.

When I finally managed to surface again, I found that the current had already carried me to the edge of the waterfall. There was no time to react or come up with a plan so I subconsciously reached out and scrambled to grab onto something, anything. I felt my hand suddenly come into contact with a chain, so I clenched my teeth and immediately latched onto it. With my body finally stopped at the edge of the waterfall, I couldn’t help but look down—my feet were dangling over the edge of the cliff and I could hear the sound of water rumbling somewhere in the darkness below. There was no telling how high up I was.

Just as I was basking in the glory of being alive, I suddenly felt someone push my legs from below. I took a look with my flashlight and was surprised to find that Master Liang was hanging on another chain down below, my legs resting on his head. I gave him a hard kick, stretched one of my hands out to the side, and found that there were a large number of iron chains hidden under the water all around us. They were woven together like a fence to prevent things from rushing down from upstream, but now there were some gaps where some of the chains had broken and were dangling down the waterfall.

Lao Yang floated to my side, so I quickly grabbed his hand and pulled him over to me. At the same time, I saw Uncle Tai and the fat boss grab a chain and pull themselves to a stop on the other side. Pockmark’s body floated past us, spun around after hitting the chains, and then got stuck between two of them. Lao Yang reached out and pulled a pistol and the gun we had found earlier from Pockmark’s belt.

I simply watched as he took the weapons, but when he tried to lean out of the water and shoot Uncle Tai, I hurriedly grabbed him. “What the fuck are you thinking?” I asked him. “There’s water in the barrel! Do you want it to backfire?!”

“If we don’t kill them now, there won’t be a second chance,” Lao Yang shouted.

I yanked him back and shouted, “You still have time to think about that?! Look behind you!”

He turned his head and saw that a wave of steam and boiling water had arrived in front of us. Although it had passed through a few hundred meters of cooler water, the temperature didn’t seem to have dropped at all. I was still dozens of meters away from it but I could already feel the heat wave rushing right towards us. After Lao Yang saw this, he cried out, “Shit, I’ve eaten instant-boiled mutton(1) for so long but I never thought that I’d end up cooked like it!”

I didn’t want to die like this. I anxiously clenched my teeth as I wondered what to do. Our only chance of survival now was to go down the waterfall, but I didn’t know what the situation was like down there. If the bottom was too far away, it would be no different from jumping off of a building.

Master Liang, who was still hanging onto the chain below me, suddenly shouted at me, “I have an idea!”

“What is it?” I asked him. “Say it quickly!”

“Pull me up first!” Master Liang shouted. “Pull me up and I’ll tell you. Otherwise, we’ll all die together!”

I quickly reached down, pulled him up, and grabbed him by the collar, “Say it!”

Hugging the iron chain tightly, he glanced at the surging wave of boiling water and involuntarily gulped, “Hot water floats on top of cold water. Let’s dive down and wait for the hot water above to float away. If we can hold our breath that long, there’s still a chance of survival!”

There was no time to think about whether it was feasible or not, so I pushed him back down, dove underwater, and pulled myself along the chain, going deeper into the river.

This underground river was actually very deep so I was able to dive about two meters below the surface. It felt like the temperature around me had dropped a lot so I held my breath and prepared to wait for the heat above to flow past.

At this time, my hand suddenly touched something solid. Thinking that an object was hanging on the chain, I turned on my flashlight to take a look and found that an extremely sinister face was right in front of me. I was so shocked that I almost let out all the breath I was holding and inhaled a bunch of water.

A decomposed corpse was wrapped around the iron chain. Its flesh was bloated after soaking in the water for an indeterminate amount of time and its two eyes were looking particularly sinister as they stared right at me. I took a closer look and found that the corpse was wearing winter hiking clothes and had a backpack on its back.

The person looked like a mountaineer, but how did they get here? I put my flashlight in my mouth (tactical flashlights had a special part on the back that you could grab with just about any part of your body) and started searching the corpse. I found a few paint brushes in the corpse’s pockets, along with a sketchbook and some paint in the backpack that had fallen beside the chain. After seeing all of this, I knew right away that this person must have been one of the art students the sketchy tour guide had said went missing in the mountains last year.

The body must have been carried down from upstream and got stuck here, which meant that the upper reaches of this underground river were probably aboveground. This person was really unlucky to have died and then ended up in a place like this.

I rummaged through the backpack’s contents, but even though there wasn’t anything particularly useful inside, the backpack itself was still useful. It was better to have something than nothing—especially considering how my own backpack was gone—so I put my new discovery onto my back.

At this time, the surrounding water suddenly became hot, a clear indicator that the boiling water had arrived. I immediately felt a tingling pain all over my body, so I clenched my teeth and continued to dive further down.

As the scalding hot water surrounded me, it only took a few seconds for me to realize that Master Liang’s method wasn’t going to work—the sheer volume of boiling water was too large. Diving down any further would just equate to a difference between being fully cooked and half-cooked. Lao Yang, who was swimming next to me, got scalded by the hot water and went wild. Then he suddenly gave me a hard kick and pointed to the waterfall. I knew right away what he was trying to say: diving was useless. We were going to burn to death at this rate, so it would be better to just jump down the waterfall!

I glanced at the corpse and thought to myself, Brother, looks like I might be joining you soon. Then, an even hotter stream of water suddenly rushed in to surround us. I clenched my teeth, released my hold on the iron chain, and let the current carry me over the edge of the cliff.

<Chapter 12><Table of Contents><Chapter 14>


TN Notes:

(1) Instant-boiled mutton, also known as Mongolian Fire Pot or dip-boil mutton, is a Chinese hot pot dish. Mutton slices often use different cuts from the back and rear legs of a fully grown sheep. The sheep’s tail is used to prepare the soup base. Info here.


So uh…the raws for the next chapter are 12 pages (this was 3.5 pages)

I also have plans to actually go and be social this weekend so the next update is probably going to be next week. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding~~


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