Chapter 37 Diary

The cave we were in was about to collapse, and rocks of varying sizes kept randomly falling on our heads. If we stayed here any longer, I knew we’d be in danger of being buried under the rubble. In such a situation, having a path open up in front of us was a good thing, so how could we possibly worry about anything else? I grabbed him and shouted, “Why can’t we go in? What, do you want us to stay here and die?”

“We don’t know what the situation inside is like,” Lao Yang said. “Take a look first and then we’ll decide!”

“We don’t have time to worry about that!” I argued. “Look at our situation right now! Even if it’s dangerous, we have no other choice but to go in!” With that said, I bent down and started dragging him into the cave.

Lao Yang grabbed my hand and refused to move. “Please, just listen to me!” He begged. “You really can’t go into this cave!”

Then he started pulling me back out. I immediately became furious and was just about to ask if he had a death wish, but at this time, a rock suddenly fell from above. I yanked myself free from his grip right as the rock landed between us with a loud boom, blocking the hole that had just been made minutes before.

I immediately panicked and shouted at him to see if he was ok. After a long moment of silence, I heard him moan and reply, “I’m fine. I just got hit on the fucking head. But it’s not caving in anymore over here. What about you? Are you ok?”

I told him that I was fine and then moved to the blocked entrance to try and push the rocks away—they didn’t move at all. Knowing that this path had been sealed off, I immediately turned and looked around. I had initially thought that this was just another cave in the cliff so there would be another exit, but now that I was looking, I found that it was a very narrow, enclosed space. It seemed to be a crevice that had formed naturally in the mountain rock here.

I climbed over the rubble and suddenly realized that this place was a cave that had already experienced a cave-in before. But that must have happened a few years ago, because everything that could have collapsed had already collapsed, and the ground was covered in rubble.

I had been wondering how that giant snake was powerful enough to smash the hard rocks with just a few blows, but now that I thought about it, there had already been a cave-in here. It must have done a great deal of damage to the surrounding rock strata, so even though the rock looked solid on the surface, there was actually a network of cracks already hidden below. After being hit by the giant snake, the rocks could no longer withstand the pressure and finally collapsed, exposing this crevice.

I looked up and found that the place where I was standing was just a gap between two collapsed rocks, but based on how snugly they were wedged into the surrounding walls, they should be very sturdy—even if the snake outside continued to ram into the cliff, the only thing falling down here would be dust.

The giant snake seemed to have used up almost all of its strength by this point, because its blows became weaker and weaker until it finally quieted down.

I was still in shock, but then I remembered how Lao Yang had been pulling on me just now—if I hadn’t let go in time, we’d both be minced meat right now. Feeling pissed, I shouted at him from behind the rock, “What kind of fucking stunt were you trying to pull just now? You almost got us both killed!”

The rock was blocking Lao Yang’s way, so he couldn’t get in even if he wanted to. “What the hell are you talking about?” He yelled back indignantly. “Look at the situation we’re in. What should we do now?”

I shoved some of the rocks out of the way and could finally see Lao Yang’s flashlight beam streaming in through the cracks. But the biggest rock was at least the size of an eight-person table, and there was hardly a gap between it and the wall—I could fit my hand through it, but I definitely couldn’t crawl through it.

I picked up a nearby stone and tried hitting the big rock a few times. White fragments went flying, but the two rocks were both very hard so I didn’t make much progress. Lao Yang, noticing that the rocks at the top of the rubble heap were beginning to shift, quickly told me to stop. “Take it easy. If you keep at it, you’ll cause another collapse.”

“It doesn’t matter what I do, the result will be the same,” I replied. “We can either be crushed to death or starve to death. There’s no point in worrying about it.”

“Still, you’d better stop,” he said. “Before we become too exhausted and lose all hope, you should look around first and see if you can find anything interesting. If you do, call me right away.”

I looked around, but this place was dark and all I could see was rubble, so I told him that there was nothing here.

He remained silent for a moment and then asked, “Is there really nothing there? Take a closer look.”

“What, do you think I’m lying to you?” I asked. “This place is barely big enough to fit a butt. If there was something here, I’m sure I would’ve seen it.”

“Ok, but look carefully anyway,” he insisted. “Meanwhile, I’ll head back towards the entrance to see if there’s a place where the cave-in wasn’t so bad. Maybe there will be a gap big enough for us to climb out.”

After he said this, the light from his flashlight disappeared. I leaned my back against the rock to rest for a while and then walked further into the crevice. But after looking around, I knew there wasn’t an exit here. There was no doubt about it, I was definitely trapped. The rocks above my head weighed several tons, so it would probably take me about a year to get out.

After walking further inside and seeing that there was nowhere else to go, I got ready to turn around and go back. But at this time, I suddenly noticed that something seemed to be painted on the wall. I quickly hurried over to take a look.

At first glance, I thought it was some primitive, graffiti-like cave painting that had been left by the ancient people who cast the bronze tree. But after taking a closer look, I found that this wasn’t the case at all—the picture was of an airplane with some English letters next to it. As it turned out, this was the work of modern people.

I couldn’t help but feel confused. Who would do this kind of thing in a place like this?

Half of the graffiti was covered by the pile of rubble beneath my feet, so I quickly moved the rocks out of the way to see what had been drawn. But after moving a particularly big rock, a black rag that looked like a piece of clothing suddenly appeared.

When I tugged on the rag, a withered human hand that had already decomposed suddenly fell out. The hand’s fingers were curled up like a claw, as if the person had tried to climb out of the rubble but ended up dying of exhaustion.

I was so startled that I almost yelled, but then I started to wonder why a dead person was buried in this place. Were they buried alive when the last cave-in occurred? Who was this person?

I kept moving the rocks away until soon, a dead body appeared. The corpse was completely decomposed, as if it had been buried here for several years. Not only were the clothes on its body torn to pieces, but they were so faded that I couldn’t tell what their original color had been. Judging by the amulet hanging around its neck, though, this person may have been a grave robber like us.

I remembered that the corpse I saw at the bottom of the waterfall had the same degree of decomposition. Were these two men in the same group? It seemed that old saying was true—people die for money; birds die for food. If things continued like this, I just might share their fate.

I kept digging until I had dug up the whole body, as well as a backpack that must have belonged to the person. The backpack had rotted so much that it was practically threadbare, and there was hardly anything inside of it except for some mysterious black residue. But when I flipped it upside down, a notebook slipped out of an inner pocket and fell to the ground.

The notebook was practically falling apart, but luckily, the paper was still in good condition and the words written in blue ballpoint pen were still legible. I picked it up and started looking through it. The front pages contained some geographical locations and telephone numbers, but when I flipped to the back, I suddenly froze—there were some diary entries. It seemed that the owner of this notebook made their first entry three years ago.

This person’s handwriting was somewhat childish, as if he wasn’t very good at writing. Plus, each entry only had about a hundred words. I quickly flipped through a few pages, skimming the text, and suddenly felt a chill run down my spine.

According to the diary entries, this person had come here about three years ago. The diary didn’t say anything about how they got here, but it did start from the time when they became trapped in this cave. The person did occasionally mention some of their previous experiences before they came here.

Based on one of the entries, there appeared to have been a total of eighteen people in their group: Out of the eighteen people who came here, I am the only one left. It also mentioned that they didn’t enter by our route, but from a huge hole hidden among a cluster of aerial roots in the banyan forest on top of the mountain.

This must’ve been the banyan forest that Lao Yang had mentioned before. We didn’t have a chance to take that route, so I didn’t expect that there would be such a strange thing there. If we had known about it earlier, we wouldn’t have needed to go through so much trouble.

But after reading through the diary entries, I couldn’t help but be glad that we didn’t take that route in the end—according to the writer, the path they took down here was extremely dangerous. Out of the eighteen people who started out on the journey, only six were left by the time they made it down here. All the others had died along the way.

I figured that huge hole was likely in one of the old banyan trees in the middle of the forest, the ones that Lao Yang said were so wide, it would take more than a dozen people holding hands just to encircle their trunks. It was unclear whether these banyan trees made up the forest, or whether they were part of a much bigger forest. After this group came down, they seemed to have done the exact opposite of us—we climbed straight up from the bottom of the bronze tree while they must have climbed down from the top.

As I kept reading, I was surprised to find that after they found nothing on the sacrificial altar, they went down to the plank boardwalk. But when they reached the lower levels, they saw that the boardwalk was submerged in water. It appeared to be a deep pool, but the water was green so they couldn’t see the bottom of it.

They dove into the pool and found that it was so deep, there was no hope of reaching the bottom without proper equipment. They had brought some diving equipment with them, but it wasn’t enough for a long dive like that. They still tried it nonetheless, but had to give up in the end.

Once the six people resurfaced, they were stunned by what they saw—the water level had dropped drastically while they were diving, and the plank boardwalk where they had put their equipment was now six or seven meters away. They didn’t expect such a thing to occur, so they had left all the rope in their bags and didn’t take any with them. Now, seeing their equipment so far away, they all immediately began to panic.

As the water level continued to drop rapidly, they all scattered—some of them climbed the bronze tree while others ran into the caves that dotted the cliff. At that time, the owner of this diary entered the cave I was currently in, but unfortunately, he hadn’t been in the cave for long when a giant, dragon-like python suddenly sprang out of the pool of water and slithered its way up the bronze tree. He could hear his companions’ terrified shouts and the sounds of gunfire off in the distance, but he was too scared to leave the cave and just hid deeper in its depths.

The disaster caught them all off guard, but his companions were all desperadoes—while fighting the giant python, one of them set off a round of explosives before he died. They had originally been prepared to blow up the mountain to reach the tomb, so the explosives had a lot of firepower. As a result, once they detonated, the shock wave caused even the cave where he was hiding to collapse.

The owner of the diary was caught up in the blast and ended up passing out for a while. When he woke up, he found that he was trapped and all alone. With such a violent explosion, he didn’t expect any of those outside to have survived. Plus, he didn’t have any real goal in mind when he decided to become a grave robber, so he had no knowledge or skills to get himself out of this situation. It was also impossible to expect someone to come here and rescue him. When he came to this realization, he immediately became depressed.

The content after that became a little boring.

He was trapped in the crevice for seven days. He didn’t have much food with him, but what he did have, he ate it all almost immediately. Not long after, he was plagued by thirst and hunger, and then the battery on his flashlight died. As he sat there in the darkness, knowing that his death was fast approaching, he couldn’t help but think of his mother. An insurmountable wave of grief suddenly hit him when he realized that no one would be there to take care of her.

It was a few days later when he started to become delirious with hunger. Then, one day he woke up and felt an unbearable thirst. He didn’t know how much time had passed, but he was so thirsty that he dazedly picked up his long-dried canteen and took a few sips. It was at this time that a miracle happened—sweet, fresh water suddenly came out of the canteen. He didn’t know what was going on, but he drank greedily for more than ten minutes without the water running out.

He thought that he was dreaming, or maybe he was so close to dying that he was hallucinating, but that wasn’t a bad way to go. Then he thought that since he was dreaming, there might still be food in his bag. He reached his hand into his bag and started rummaging around, only to find that the bag where he had put his food was completely full. Overjoyed, he ate so desperately that he almost choked to death.

Gradually, it dawned on him that this whole thing wasn’t a dream. At first, he thought that God had appeared and come to rescue him, but later, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. After a while, he finally realized that all of these things had something to do with his thoughts, but they didn’t work every time. For example, when he wanted to eat something in particular, it didn’t appear, but when he reached for the food in his bag, he often found food that he liked even though there had been nothing in the bag before.

He began to consciously analyze and do thought experiments until he gradually discovered that he had the ability to materialize things. He described the complicated experimental process in great detail, but in the end, he didn’t come to a logical conclusion that he could materialize things. Instead, he thought that he had become like a god.

The doodles on the rock wall were drawn during this time, so I figured he had done it out of pure boredom.

At the end of his diary, he wrote that he would use this ability to try and get out of here. If he succeeded, he could go out and be like Superman; if he failed, he would die here. I didn’t know what kind of experiment he did in the end, but based on what I had found, it seemed that he had ultimately failed.

I wasn’t sure whether having someone with such an ability out in the real world was a good or a bad thing, but seeing this body and thinking of my own situation, I suddenly felt a chill go down my spine. I didn’t have any food on me, so I probably wouldn’t even be able to last seven days. Besides, even if there was food, I’d still be stuck here endlessly. It would be better to just die a quick and painless death.

I put down the diary, rummaged through the corpse’s pockets, and found a cell phone with a dead battery. After tossing it aside, I dug out a wallet that still had some money in it. Everything in the world rots except for RMB, I thought to myself. What is the meaning of life?

The person’s ID card was still in the wallet, so I pulled it out to see what this unfortunate guy’s name was. When I turned on my flashlight, I saw that the person’s photo was blurry, but the name was still clear: Xie Ziyang.

This surname was really uncommon, but that Xie Lianhuan who died in the undersea tomb also had this surname. I looked at the man’s birthday but saw that he was still quite young. Ah, such a pity.

At this time, a flashlight beam suddenly appeared from behind me—Lao Yang had returned. “Old Wu!” I heard his voice say from behind the rock. “What are you looking at?”

<Chapter 36><Table of Contents><Chapter 38>

4 thoughts on “Chapter 37 Diary

  1. I was thinking that Wu Xie was going to investigate about Xiao Ge, but distracted by the Snake-eyebrow copper fish, uncle three then end up in Lao Yang trap. I wonder what would have happened if Wu Xie had found out about Xiao Ge’s life in this part of the story.


  2. I still doubt that Wu Xie has the ability to materialize, so far there is no proof. We can’t check whether Lao Yang’s mother appears or not, and the giant snake also appeared 3 years ago…


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