Chapter 40 Escape

That red eye, which was full of throbbing veins, looked abnormally strange. As soon as I looked at it, I suddenly felt as if my soul was being sucked out of my body. I was overcome with such a strong sense of nausea and dizziness that I immediately turned my face away.

Master Liang, however, almost seemed like he was possessed—his eyes remained fixated on that blood-red eye and he didn’t move an inch. I tried calling his name twice but he didn’t respond at all.

Remembering that Master Liang had said before that the Zhu Jiuyin’s yin eye was connected to hell, I knew right away that something was wrong. So, I hurriedly scooped up a handful of water and threw it at him.

I don’t know how—maybe the Zhu Jiuyin suddenly leaned forward to investigate or something—but the water ended up splashing the Zhu Jiuyin on the head instead of Master Liang.

The Zhu Jiuyin was so startled by the water that it closed its eye and reared back like it wanted to attack. I quickly hid behind the bronze tree right as the snake’s head crashed into the nearby branches, bending them all out of sorts. At this time, I suddenly remembered the backpack I had taken from the fake Lao Yang. Thinking there might be some weapons inside, I quickly pulled it in front of me and opened it.

There probably weren’t any guns in the bag, but I definitely remembered that there were still some explosives Boss Wang and his team were planning to use to blow up the tomb walls. Since I was unarmed now, it would be great if I had something powerful to deter that giant snake.

As the Zhu Jiuyin slithered around the other side of the bronze tree, trying to find me, I continued to move so that it wouldn’t catch sight of me. As I stumbled and climbed my way up the tree, I grabbed the backpack and started digging around inside.

It was full of all kinds of things. I took out all the food and threw it into the water until finally, I found what I thought were the explosives. But when I got a good look at them, I couldn’t help but freeze in shock—damn it! The bundle of things in my hand actually turned out to be black candles.

At this time, the snake’s head finally circled around the tree. When it caught sight of me, it quickly reared its head back and got into another attacking stance.

The average speed of an attacking snake was only a quarter of a second. Although this one was much larger than normal, I figured it wouldn’t be much slower. If I delayed even a second longer, I knew that I’d be finished, so I picked up the backpack and jumped into the water.

But the speed at which I fell was still too slow—a black shadow suddenly flashed before my eyes as the snake’s head shout out and caught me in the air. As I hung from its mouth, it tried to wrap its coils around me.

I desperately groped around in the bag until I suddenly felt my hand wrap around a flare gun. I was so frantic that I pulled the trigger without thinking, effectively blasting a huge hole in the backpack. Everything was so chaotic that I didn’t know if the flare exploded in the snake’s mouth or not, but my palm felt like it was burning and then everything started spinning before my eyes.

I fell into the water again with a loud splash. By the time I resurfaced and looked back, the signal flare in the Zhu Jiuyin’s mouth was emitting a fiery white light, the air was filled with the smell of burning wax, and for some reason, the Zhu Jiuyin’s whole body was emitting a bluish-green smoke.

I knew the oil that came from the snake would burn easily—otherwise, the ancients wouldn’t have hunted it to make candles—but I honestly didn’t expect it to burn like this. What exactly was flowing in this snake’s body?

The Zhu Jiuyin was in so much pain that it didn’t pay any more attention to us. It just kept twisting its body in agony, its huge tail constantly beating against the nearby rock wall. There was already a huge crack on that side, so as the snake continued beating its tail against it, several smaller cracks started spreading out from it. As more and more cracks appeared in the rock wall, it almost seemed as if the whole cave might collapse soon.

I didn’t know if the Zhu Jiuyin would die so easily, so I continued rifling through the backpack. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything useful so I threw it into the water. At this time, the water in the pool overflowed and rushed into the cracks that the Zhu Jiuyin had made.

There were many caves in the mountain here. I assumed that the cracks in the rock reached one of these caves, because the water started flowing into them without stopping. I took one last look at the ancient bronze tree and looked around for Master Liang, but I didn’t see any sign of him at all. Seeing that the gushing water was tearing out large chunks of the rocks around the cracks and the Zhu Jiuyin was still writhing in pain close by, I hurriedly threw myself into the water, letting the current sweep me into the ever-widening crevice.

The inside of the crevice was very deep and dark. Since it was a passage that had formed from a cave-in, the rocks inside were shaped very irregularly, which caused small whirlpools to form around them. As the current spun me around and slammed me into the rocks, I had the vague impression that I was drifting downstream.

After spinning around these whirlpools for about ten minutes, I was suddenly free-falling, and then I plunged into the water again. I struggled back to the surface and found that the current had carried me to the underground river we saw when we first came here, but the water here was far more turbulent than it was before. It seemed that what Master Liang had said earlier was right—there had been a heavy downpour outside.

Although the current here was very fast, there weren’t as many whirlpools as there were in the rock crevice and the water was also a little warmer. As a result, I could finally control my limbs and start thinking about the situation up ahead.

This underground river ran from the top of the mountain to the bottom, but I didn’t know where exactly it led to. If it went dozens of meters deeper underground somewhere further downstream, then I had nothing to say. But based on the route we had taken to come here, if this river didn’t change direction halfway through, then there was a chance it would connect to the river we had crossed before.

Of course, that was only if the journey went smoothly. I nervously looked ahead, afraid that there might be a fork in the river, but at this time, I suddenly saw something out of the corner of my eye—something was engraved on the walls of this underground river.

Based on how eroded the rocks were, this underground river should be as old as the mountain. This meant that whatever was on the walls shouldn’t have been carved in modern times. Seeing an opportunity, I grabbed a stone column hanging from above, stopped my body, and turned on my flashlight. What I saw left me completely stunned.

On the walls on both sides of the river, there were relief sculptures that looked similar to the ones we saw in the coffin at the top of the bronze tree. They all appeared to be part of a continuous series. Some of them had collapsed over the years, but most of them were still well-preserved. The lines were vibrant and smooth while the patterns depicting the people’s clothes were elegant. Each carving was different from the last, but all the images were vivid and very life-like.

I could tell with just one glance that these relief sculptures portrayed how the ancient ethnic minority groups offered up sacrifices to the bronze tree. The scenes were all extremely vivid, and one in particular showed the huge bronze tree covered in a bunch of slaves’ corpses, their blood flowing down to the ground through the grooves and patterns on the bronze tree. Another scene depicted more slaves’ bodies being thrown inside the bronze tree.

A large portion of the relief sculptures was submerged in water, so everything towards the bottom had eroded away. It seemed that there hadn’t been any water here when they carved these relief sculptures back then.

Based on what I could see from the relief sculptures here, the scale of these sacrificial offerings to the bronze tree was quite large. I continued to examine them carefully, but the more I looked, the more confused I became—some of the scenes depicted in the relief sculptures didn’t look like sacrificial offerings, but I couldn’t figure out what they were.

Among them was a relief sculpture showing the ancient people pouring some kind of liquid into the bronze tree. Then, in the next picture, a Zhu Jiuyin that looked exactly like the one I just saw was coming out of the bronze tree. A bunch of people dressed like soldiers who were armed with bows and spears surrounded it—this was obviously a hunting scene.

Based on what I understood so far, in ancient times, this bronze tree appeared to be a special symbol of theocracy. The Zhu Jiuyin in the bronze tree was considered a kind of dragon in ancient times, and in some records, it was even considered to be on the same level as Pangu. If that were the case, then it should’ve been worshipped as a divine beast. But why were the people in these relief sculptures hunting it?

I looked further down the river, hoping to see the answer on one of the relief sculptures in the distance. I could see a few more images further down that depicted more of the ceremony. The ancient people were all wearing masks that had dull, lifeless features, but in every relief sculpture, there was always one person who was especially burly. Judging by this man’s clothes and demeanor, I was basically certain that he was their leader. And after looking more closely, I felt that he was the original model the statue I saw on the cliff at Narrow Ravine was based off of.

The head of that statue had been blown up, which I always thought was kind of strange, but we didn’t see it anywhere along the way. Now I could finally get a close look at it.

Still clinging to the stone column, I moved close to the wall, wiped the grime off of it, and then leaned in to take a look.

The image of the leader in the relief sculpture was almost twice as big as the others, just like a giant. If, according to my previous observations, the carvings here were all quite proportional, then this leader may have actually been that tall.

But the strange thing was, on all of these relief sculptures, there was a snake’s head attached to the leader’s neck, not a human head. It didn’t look like he was wearing a mask or anything either.

Although I had some archaeological knowledge, I still didn’t have a clue about the kinds of things that required a lot of reading and accumulated knowledge. All I knew was that based on what I had seen from these relief sculptures so far, I felt that Master Liang’s previous theory probably wasn’t entirely correct. This bronze tree may not have been used simply for sacrifice, but also for some kind of hunting ritual. All those sacrificed slaves may have simply been bait to lure the Zhu Jiuyin out of the ground.

I didn’t know how deep the bronze tree went underground, but the Zhu Jiuyin probably lived somewhere very deep. How it was able to live in that kind of place wasn’t something I cared to think about, but I was definitely curious about one thing—why did the ancients go to such lengths to hunt the Zhu Jiuyin?

Unfortunately, the relief sculptures didn’t give me any answers. All I saw at the end were several scenes of a celebration. There weren’t any carvings showing how the Zhu Jiuyin had been successfully dealt with at all.

I already knew the gist of the story now, so I focused my attention on the water level. It was continuing to rise, so I released my grip on the stone column and continued to drift along with the current.

After being on for such a long time, my flashlight was starting to dim until it finally reached the point where it wasn’t effective at all. I simply turned it off and let the current carry me further into the darkness.

This part of my journey was very difficult because I got swept down some small waterfalls a few times. Although it wasn’t fatal, my whole body still ended up bruised and battered. Several hours passed, but I didn’t know what was around me or where I was going.

A feeling of hopelessness gradually started to set in. I had no way of knowing if I had taken a wrong turn, entered a fork in the river just now, or maybe my initial judgment was wrong and I was being taken into the endless depths of the underground river right now. After all, I didn’t know where this river led to. Maybe it led deep underground to where the Zhu Jiuyin lived?

What would that place even look like? Speaking of which, I guess it was possible that some imperial tombs might have been built in the depths of the underground river. After all, it would be a pretty ingenious idea.

Just as my thoughts were starting to spiral, I suddenly saw a ray of light appear in front of me. My whole body trembled in excitement as soon as I saw it, and then I heard the rumbling sound of water. I immediately became overjoyed when I realized that there was an exit right in front of me. I hadn’t seen natural light for more than ten hours, so I quickly threw my flashlight away and swam forward.

I moved very fast, and in just a few minutes, my eyes were suddenly blinded by a bright flash of white light. I couldn’t see anything at all, but I knew that it was just because I had spent too much time in the dark. I cried joyfully in my heart, but in the next moment, a familiar feeling suddenly came over me.

I’m free-falling again! It’s another waterfall!

But judging by the strength of the water rushing past and the rumbling sound coming from below, this waterfall definitely wasn’t small. I didn’t know what was below, but if the water was too shallow, then I’d definitely die a pitiful death.

My vision still hadn’t fully recovered, but I could hear the whistling sound of the wind in my ears. Then, I suddenly plunged into the water below.

I immediately stretched out my hands and felt a rock—it was too shallow! By the time I realized this, my head slammed into something hard, my vision went completely dark, and I knew nothing more.

<Chapter 39><Table of Contents><Part II Chapter 41>


*sobs* At last, we’re finally done (kind of). I was planning on doing the next chapter to wrap this up more neatly and move on to NPSS’s more recent stuff (those “What Are They Doing chapters I never finished and then “Notes in Rain Village Part 3”) but I can just stop here and go to the recent stuff if you all are dying to read that instead. Or I can keep going with the licensed stuff like we’ve been doing, though I kind of want to do the newer stuff lol. Just lemme know what you wanna do. I’m open to anything (⌒▽⌒)


22 thoughts on “Chapter 40 Escape

  1. New stuff please! Notes from rain village!!!
    So there’s just one episode left? And so, we don’t know what really happened to Master Liang? ( Or did I miss something?)

    Thank you thank you thank you for your hard work!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I aim to please lol. Chapter 3 of Notes in Rain Village Part 3 is officially up

      And yeah, NPSS left the book on a cliffhanger. Guess we never find out what happened to Master Liang. For all we know, he could’ve been a figment of Wu Xie’s imagination *dun dun dunnnnnnnn*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for the Notes from Rain village chapter. You really made my day ( or must I say night?) Will I be able to sleep? I’m so excited.
        About master Liang being Wuxie’s imagination that’s a possibility, I’m seriously curious about the letter Lao Yang sends to Wuxie. But I’m sure NPSS will leave us with more questions than answers like always.


  2. First of all, thank you so so so much for your hard work in translating dmbj, its very much appreciated. I’ve been reading for quite a while now, and I’m so thankful for your effort. Translating isn’t easy, but you’re doing a fantastic job!

    Personally, I’d like to see the new stuff, both ‘What are they doing’ and especially ‘Notes in the rain village 3’ for more Iron Triangle goodness. Whichever you choose to do first, thank you so much. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thankya 😘

      I was super intrigued with the murder plot of “What are they doing” but it seems like everyone wanted “Notes in Rain Village” so I went ahead and got chapter 3 out.


      1. How much has he continued with What Are They Doing? I also found the murder plot super super intriguing, but I’m scared to get invested in it in case he just abandons it (“in case” lol, as if that’s not exactly what he is going to do and it’s just a question of when))


  3. Iʼm pretty okay with anything too, sure the recent stuffs are enticing, but I also wanna continue the old books, huhu… Whelp, I guess the new updates it is then for me. Thanks as always for the translations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well we know he lives, sooo ending on a cliffhanger is no biggie for me. I vote you take a break and do some of the shorter newer stuff. 😊 And thank you for always being so concientious of the readers. 🥰😘 You’re the best! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂 Very true, and that was quite the cliffhanger. The newer stuff may be shorter but dear god did it require some research 😭 I’m not sure which is worse at this point 😂

      We’re all in the same boat so figured it would be good to get everyone’s opinions before jumping around 😊. The order might be kind of weird but we’ll definitely get everything translated…eventually 😤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Catching up, this chapter is so long! Just adding my thanks to the chorus, super grateful as always for all your work ☺️

    Also I have to laugh at WX who is escaping this terrible situation and is lost in this underground river, and is still like “I’m going to just pause my escape and float here for a bit and try and figure out what’s happening with these weird relief sculptures”….ah Wu Xie never change buddy 😍


    1. Thank you for these translations. We’re so grateful to you for that.

      I wanted to ask if you’re ever going to translate part two of Heavenly Palace on the Clouds (V.2)? I’ve only ever read the synopsis of the volumes, but ever since UN came out, I’ve been dying to read all the books.

      I hope to hear from you soon.


      1. I will, just have to finish everything else first 😅. Work’s been super crazy over the past few months (year now? lol) so I haven’t had as much time to get chapters out as I would like. But we’re getting there…slowly.


  6. As always I am late to the party. Finally caught up to this portion of your oh-thank-the-gods translation to fill in all of those beautiful holes in the official books.

    I will also add my many thanks for the hard work you put in to keep us Grave Robber addicts in the loop since the source material leaves one perplexed. 🙏🏼

    As for which way you decide to translate what comes next is cool either way. By the time I catch up to where you are at, you will probably be back to translating the next book in the series. 🤭


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