After approaching the wooden door, I took a special look at the ancient building’s floor and found that many sections had rotted away and the whole floor was pretty much just that—nonexistent. There were, however, some rotten wooden planks that were stuck to the floor joists.(1)
The space under these joists was dark and empty. I couldn’t see the bottom, but there did indeed appear to be an open space under this ancient building.
The only reason that copper censer didn’t fall was because it got caught in the joists, which seemed to be made from a special material. It didn’t look like metal or wood, but something more along the lines of ivory. There were more than a dozen of these joists, all crisscrossed together. I couldn’t tell how many ivory mortise and tenon joints—all as thick as the mouth of a bowl—had been used to hold them all together.
The ivory was so old that it was all yellow and black now. Fatty and I slowly pushed the door open, trying to get a closer look, but the door ended up falling directly onto the joists. As it turned out, these joists were exceptionally strong. Although the door was riddled with holes, it still weighed a lot, but these joists remained motionless even as the door was smashed to pieces and fell to the level below.
Fatty and I stayed huddled outside the door. In general terms, we were screwed. If there was something down below, even a deaf person would have been awakened by all that noise. So, we hid by the door for a while and got ready to fight. But in the end, there wasn’t any movement down below.
“Is that thing gone?” Fatty asked me.
I tapped on my headset and heard Xiuxiu say, “No, the signal is still very strong. It’s right below you.”
We carefully crawled in and stepped onto the ivory joists. I couldn’t help but give a thumbs up upon finding that they were very strong and didn’t shake at all. This structure must have been built with long-term preservation in mind, so the ivory must have been processed and soaked in some kind of anti-corrosion medicine.
But the joists were only the width of a palm after all, so it was still inconvenient for us to walk on them. We could only half-squat and use our hands to keep our balance as we slowly moved forward bit by bit.
The level below was pitch black, but it seemed to be a huge hole. The ancient building had apparently been built over a vertical pit.
At this time, we could clearly see the huge copper censer. The way those thousands of layers of bronze rust on it were flaking layer by layer was very spectacular and almost made it look like the pages of a book.
The place with the worst rust had almost completely rusted through, revealing a dark interior. Fatty shined his flashlight inside but still couldn’t see clearly. He was just about to make a joke when he suddenly sniffed the air and made a face, “Mr. Naïve, a gun’s been fired here.”
“How can you tell?”
“Your nose doesn’t always work properly so don’t ask me how I can tell these things,” Fatty said in a low voice. “If Fat Master says that a gun’s been fired here, how can it be wrong?” He then looked down at our feet and back up at the damaged spots on the copper censer and added, “Would you believe me if I said I think the floor was here originally? Did Black Glasses have a fight here and cause the dried-up floor to collapse?”
“Then in your opinion, was the hole in this copper censer also made by a gun?”
“This censer is already brittle, so while a bullet wouldn’t necessarily make a hole, it could cause a breach. These holes may indeed be from a gun,” Fatty said. “Do you think Black Glasses won or lost?”
I didn’t know if he lost, but he most certainly didn’t win. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be in this situation.
If there really had been a fight here and the whole floor collapsed, then everything, including Black Glasses himself, the satellite phone, and the crown and costume, might have all fallen into the deep pit below.
I lifted my head up and looked towards the ceiling—the upper portion of this building was empty so I could directly see the roof beams. They were very old and all made of yellow ivory. That was why this building hadn’t collapsed until now.
“If this is a building set up by the Zhang family, then it must have been used to seal the hole below. This hole may be where the sacrificial altar is located. In other words, Black Glasses was up to something here! It seems like he fell for the trick. If so, did Little Brother and Xiao Hua also go down into this hole?”
If they got here before us, they’d definitely go down to rescue him.
“There’s no rope on these joists and the hole looks dozens of meters deep. How did they get down?” Fatty looked at me and asked.
Those two people didn’t need ropes, right? They were simply the difference between monkeys and baboons.
“Let’s go down,” I said.
“Why do you sound so determined?”
“I’m telling you, there’s bound to be an adventure down there,” I said to him. “But we need to slow down a bit. Otherwise, they won’t let us go when they return. It’s a bit frustrating, isn’t it?”
<Chapter 3><Table of Contents><Chapter 5>
(1) The raw had “keel” but that’s for ships so I went with joist. A joist is a horizontal structural member used in framing to span an open space, often between beams that subsequently transfer loads to vertical members. When incorporated into a floor framing system, joists serve to provide stiffness to the subfloor sheathing, allowing it to function as a horizontal diaphragm. Le visual:
3 thoughts on “Chapter 4 Monkeys and Baboons”
Could we finally see Black Glasses? I’m dying to know what happened to him. I also miss Poker Face and Xiao Hua, though I’m sure they’re alright (not so sure about Black Glasses, I’m really worried about him)
Anyway I’m game for Fatty and Wuxie to the rescue, I want them to be the heroes
Thank you for the chapter 🤗
I’m curious to know, between the monkey and baboon, which one does Wu Xie consider as Xiao Ge and which one as Xiao Hua. 😅
😭😭😭 I’m so happy the adventure continues. Thank you for the visual, it really helps. 😊