That strange sound that lured us here had suddenly appeared behind me. Although it wasn’t loud, it sounded like thunder in this deathly quiet coffin. The clear sound was enough to make me tremble, tense up, and break out in a cold sweat all at once.
This coffin was about six or seven meters long, which was neither long nor short. Judging by the sound, it appeared to be coming from a distance of no more than one meter away from me. That was practically right on my back, close enough to simply reach out and tap me on the shoulder. That rhythmic clicking sound had me feeling like I was leaning against a door while someone knocked on the other side. I could feel a chill on the back of my neck all the way down to my toes.
All of the muscles in my body stiffened to the point that I couldn’t move, and I started to debate on whether I should look back or pretend that I didn’t hear it. But I had already reacted. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I bit my tongue and reminded myself to calm down. At this time, I had no other choice but to turn around and face it. After all, being afraid and making excuses in this kind of situation was simply asking for death.
After a short stalemate, the ghostly sound neither sped up nor slowed down. It didn’t sound like it got closer or farther away, either. I took a deep breath and gritted my teeth before gripping the knife in my hand a little tighter and slowly turning around to see what was behind me.
But as soon as I turned around, the strange noise suddenly stopped. I stared intently at the gray fog behind me, but didn’t see anything at all—the direction where the strange sound had been coming from was still covered in that gray fog. The only signs of disturbance were the airflow fluctuations caused by my movements just now, but they soon calmed down and returned back to normal.
I swallowed, feeling like something bad was about to happen, but after looking around with Boss Wang’s flashlight, I still didn’t see anything unusual. It was almost like the sound had never appeared.
But it had been so close to me just now that I could hear it clearly, which meant that it definitely wasn’t a hallucination. It only took me about a second to turn around, so if the sound had been made by something moving, it couldn’t have disappeared that quickly. Could it have come from somewhere else? Was my judgment wrong?
I subconsciously took a step forward, trying to find the source of the sound, when a figure suddenly rushed out of the fog beside me. My eyes were sharp, so as soon as I saw what was happening, I hurriedly ducked down. Although the figure didn’t catch me, it still managed to knock me to the ground. I rolled a few steps and looked back, only to see that the person who had hit me was fat—it was Boss Wang, the man who had dragged me down here.
With a curse, I brought my hunting knife up in front of me, trying to end this thing once and for all. But to my surprise, he suddenly stepped back into the fog again, hiding his presence once more.
I couldn’t help but spit in contempt. His knife should have fallen on the ground when we were fighting up top just now, so he didn’t dare confront me now that I had my own knife in my hand. He was probably hiding in the fog, waiting for me to approach so that he could carry out a sneak attack. This was completely different from the arrogance he had shown before. He really was a crafty bastard.
But now that I thought about it, this guy was acting abnormally brave considering how strange the situation here was. If I had neither flashlight nor weapon, I would’ve sat shivering in a corner long ago instead of launching a sneak attack on others. Fortunately, the fog here was as thick as water, so as soon as something moved, it was obvious to see where it was coming from. If he wanted to sneak up on me, it certainly wasn’t going to be an easy task. Otherwise, he would’ve already had me pinned to the ground by now.
When I thought of this, I suddenly had another strange feeling—if the culprit behind that strange sound was moving around in this coffin, then there should be signs of their movement in the fog. But when I looked just now, the fog was completely undisturbed. It didn’t look like anything had moved at all. Did that thing not have a corporeal form? Was it a ghost?
I stood up, carefully guarding against a potential sneak attack from Boss Wang. There wasn’t a lot of space inside this coffin, but after I was sent rolling just now, I didn’t know where I ended up. I had to quickly return back to the wall and try to climb up again.
Overall, the place really wasn’t that big, and after looking around, I realized that I was probably close to the center of the coffin. Through the fog, I saw some kind of shadow hanging there in the center, as if a bunch of ropes were hanging down from the top of the coffin all the way to the ground. I initially thought that they were the aerial roots from the branches above, but when I took a step closer and shined the flashlight on them, I found that this wasn’t the case. As it turned out, those things were bronze chains as thick as a wrist. They were covered from top to bottom in both fungi and the fibrous roots of the banyan trees. As far as I could tell, these chains seemed to only stretch between the coffin lid and the bottom of the coffin, but they weren’t tied to anything below.
Technically, this stone coffin could be considered huge. In fact, there were coffins of this size that had been found in several noblemen’s tombs from the Western Han Dynasty and the Five Dynasties era. Although this kind of thing was called a coffin, it should actually be called the outer coffin or coffin chamber. According to the burial customs at the time, the official inner coffin should be placed in the center of this coffin chamber. For those with abundant financial resources, there would be more than a dozen layers of outer coffins surrounding the inner coffin inside of the stone coffin chamber.
Based on the size of this coffin chamber, I should’ve at least seen the vague outline of the inner coffin now that I had taken a few steps closer, but all I could see were a few chains. There didn’t appear to be anything lying on the ground at all, so did that mean that this outer coffin chamber was empty? But where did that sound come from just now? And where did that strange radio interference come from?
After a long pause, I took another step forward, intending to reach the center of those bronze chains and see if they were tied to any mechanisms at the bottom. But as soon as I put my foot down, I felt nothing but emptiness. As my whole body pitched forward and I started to fall, I quickly reached out and grabbed onto the bronze chain in front of me, sliding down several meters before finally coming to a stop. I was so startled that my whole body broke out in a cold sweat.
What’s going on? I wondered. Where did the fucking ground go? Heart still hammering in my chest, I shined the flashlight down but couldn’t see the ground at all—the fog was too thick. I reached down with my foot and tried to find something solid to stand on, but I couldn’t feel anything at all. It was almost like there was some kind of deep depression or hole here.
Sure enough, there was something strange about this place. Based on what I knew so far, this coffin chamber was embedded about two meters below the sacrificial altar on top of the bronze tree, but there was nothing in the center of it. It was possible that there were multiple layers of embedded outer coffins here, much like the methods used during the Warring States Period. There was probably a depression in the middle of this coffin chamber, which was called the “coffin well”. That should be the place where the inner coffin was really located. I didn’t know how deep this coffin well was, but I was very fortunate. If I had fallen into it just now, there was a chance I would have died.
The bronze chains here were probably part of a hoisting mechanism that had been used to lower the inner coffin down into the coffin well. This meant that the coffin holding the corpse should be directly below me.
Just as I was thinking this, I suddenly noticed another disturbance in the fog beside me. Then, Boss Wang came hurtling towards me again, this time with a weapon in hand. The fog here was very thick, so he had probably figured out my position from my flashlight’s glow. When I saw what was about to happen, I subconsciously shouted at him, “Wait! Stop!”
But it was too late. Boss Wang let out a cry as he stepped on nothing but air and started falling down. Then, I felt the chain below me jerk violently—he had probably grabbed it to stop his fall. At the same time, my hand gripping the chain made a squelching sound and my whole body began to slide further down.
I turned to look and saw that the mushroom-like fungi on the chain beneath my hand were exuding a creamy, wax-like liquid after I had accidentally squeezed the chain too hard. This liquid made the bronze chain so slippery that it almost seemed like it was coated in oil. Knowing how bad my situation was, I quickly tried to insert my hunting knife into the holes between the chain links, but the damned thing wouldn’t fit. Luckily, I managed to lodge it in one of the nearby tree roots to stop my descent. By this point, I had already slid down about ten meters and was now inside the coffin well inside the bronze tree’s trunk.
Boss Wang, whose head was covered in blood, was hanging on a chain about a foot below me. I saw that he also had trouble holding onto the chain and had passed his belt through a hole between the links to stop his descent. When I pointed my flashlight at him, he cursed and turned his head away to avoid the bright light.
Seeing that he didn’t pose a threat to me for the time being, I turned my attention to the coffin well. Like the outside, the inside of the bronze tree’s trunk was engraved with double-bodied snake patterns that went deep into the hole. Even the tree roots snaked down from above and followed these patterns all the way down. The fog inside was much thinner than it was above, so I looked around, eager to see just how big this coffin well in the center of the coffin chamber was. If it was too big, I knew I’d probably have a lot of trouble trying to climb out.
The coffin well was rectangular in shape, about four meters long and two meters wide, just big enough to accommodate a coffin. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the fog, but when I put my hand up against the wall, I found that the tree roots here weren’t covered in a lot of fungi and I could actually see their true color. I also noticed a peculiar smell permeating the air. It might have been because there was so much fog outside, but the insulation inside the gas mask began to dampen and its effectiveness began to decline. As a result, I could feel the peculiar smell getting stronger and stronger, practically clogging my nose. If I was suffering like this, then I knew that Boss Wang probably wasn’t feeling well, either.
I glanced down, only to be surprised by what I saw—the chains hung far down into the darkness below, where my flashlight couldn’t reach. Looking down from here, it almost seemed like the whole coffin well was bottomless, as if it went all the way down without end.
No way, I thought to myself. Is this whole bronze tree hollow? I knew that we had climbed at least three hundred meters to get to the top, but there was no telling how deep this bronze tree went underground. If it really was hollow, then where was the bottom? Was it at the center of the earth? Hell? What was the point of inserting such a huge hollow cylinder here?
Boss Wang also looked surprised. As we both looked straight down into the abyss, neither one of us speaking, we suddenly heard that creepy clicking sound again. But this time, it sounded like it was coming from all around us!
Boss Wang and I exchanged a glance before turning to look at the darkness below—the sound was actually coming from the abyss.
<Chapter 31><Table of Contents><Chapter 33>
Wu Xie, make up your damn mind. Is the coffin big or not? My God.
2 thoughts on “Chapter 32 Sneak Attack”
Wu Xie may have mistaken the correct dimensions of the coffin due to the thick fog.😅
thank you for the chapter 🙏🏼