They came out of a cave and saw a raised stone platform, upon which was a tomb gate with cornices and dougong.(1) It looked similar to three very compact memorial arches that were stacked together like dominoes.
Further on, there were two three-story pavilions on both sides. These things were not made of wood but were carved out of bricks so they appeared kind of gray. Chen Pi Ah Si speculated that one was a stele pavilion and the other was a furnace pavilion. In other words, one pavilion was full of steles, which recorded the life of the tomb owner, and the other was full of furnaces, which were used to burn various offerings.
Although the gate leading to the pavilions was said to be multi-storied, it actually wasn’t very big, and even the pavilions were only as tall as two people.
Behind the gate was a spirit path.(2) The gate was carved out of stone and looked very gorgeous, but even though it was a gate, there weren’t any walls on the side, so it was actually more like a spirit screen.
There were countless complicated patterns carved on the stone gate. The lintel was engraved with a three-legged golden crow standing in the sun, and the sun itself was resting on a sacred tree. Countless immortals were carved on the gate’s frame, their small figures climbing up the tree one by one. The gate was very colorful, with inlaid glass, lacquer paintings, and a pattern on top with two upside-down phoenixes.
The phoenixes on the gate were completely upside down, which seemed very deliberate, but it was hard to tell what the intention was.
There was a multi-storied tomb structure behind the gate that was about three people high, and then the spirit path which led to the bronze bridge.
The two teams looked at each other. Jiwei’s team didn’t step forward, and instead looked at the bridge with very depressed and fearful expressions on their faces. They had obviously gone on the bridge before and encountered something strange.
“Our people didn’t come back after going up. We’ve checked all these buildings and found that the steles in the stele pavilion don’t have any words carved on them, and there are three wooden coffins in that tomb structure, which are also empty—” Jiwei was still in the middle of explaining when Chen Pi Ah Si suddenly crossed through the tomb gate, passed by the stele pavilion, and walked towards the multi-storied tomb structure.
Everyone tacitly followed behind him, spreading out and re-examining the area while Chen Pi Ah Si walked directly past the tomb structure and arrived at the bridge’s starting point.
Jiwei also followed after him. Chen Pi Ah Si took out his fire stick and used his martial arts skill of shooting iron pellets to send it soaring into the darkness like a meteor.
The distance at which that thing flew went beyond everyone’s expectations, but that was just a fraction of Chen Pi Ah Si’s skills.
The far end of the bridge lit up in an instant, but there was nothing there; it was still just the bridge deck. He originally thought that there was something standing there, but now it was empty.
“If you want to see, merely throwing the fire stick isn’t enough,” Jiwei said, seemingly able to see the same thing as him. Chen Pi Ah Si shook his hand, and a nine-clawed hook came flying out. As he stood in the same spot, he caught the fire stick with the hook and pulled it back towards him.
Once it was back in hand, he made the fire stick brighter(3) and then made a move that no one expected—he stepped onto the bridge, flipped over the side, and hung directly under it.
The bridge was made of stone slabs and reinforced with bronze, so once his body was hanging below it, Chen Pi Ah Si used both hands to quickly swing himself forward. After making it about ten meters, he seemed to discover something, because he pulled his legs up and then put his feet on the bottom of the bridge.
Then, he released both hands and, while upside down, stood on the bottom of the bridge.
In the eyes of Jiwei’s people, Chen Pi Ah Si was not only hanging upside down, but he was even beginning to walk on the bottom of the bridge. He turned back and said to Jiwei, “This is the correct way to walk this bridge. The phoenixes on the gate are upside down.”
Jiwei didn’t know what was going on, but as the people beside her started whispering amongst themselves, she showed a surprised expression.
Chen Pi Ah Si hung upside down below the bridge, “looking up” at the abyss. At this time, heaven and earth were reversed, and his senses immediately became confused. He released the fire stick and watched as it seemed to fly away from his hand and into the dark, endless sky, just like a spirit.
Chen Pi Ah Si had a hunch that something amazing would happen soon.
Jiwei followed him in an instant and quickly learned the trick. As it turned out, there were many protrusions under the bridge, which one could hook with their toes in order to walk upside down. That was why it looked like they were walking on the ground.
As the others quickly followed suit, one of Jiwei’s brothers asked, “Is it possible that there’s a trap on that bridge, but it’s safe to walk to the other side by going below?”
<Chapter 65><Table of Contents><Chapter 67>
(1) Dougong are interlocking wooden brackets between the top of a column and crossbeams used in traditional Chinese architecture. The memorial arches are also known as “paifang” and can look like this:
(2) A spirit path (aka spirit way, spirit road, or sacred way) is the ornate road leading to a Chinese tomb of a major dignitary. The spirit path is lined on both sides by a succession of statues, pillars, and stele. The statues along the spirit path depict real and mythical animals, as well as civilian and military officials.
(3) Per Seph: The magical thing about these is that they’re basically continuously burning embers. And like most embers, hitting it a few times or blowing on it will cause them to burn brighter. There’s 0 science behind how they can work; they’re just a wuxia version of a lighter.
Might not be an update tomorrow, I have a dr’s appointment after work.
4 thoughts on “Chapter 66 Strange Bridge”
Good luck at the doctor’s!
I’m quite proud of Chen Pi for figuring that out so quickly. Reminds me why he’s so high up in the Mystic 9. He doesn’t just have skills, but his experiences and shared knowledge with the others really gives him an advantage.
Hmm. Do the phoenixes imply this is a Wang tomb?
(Also, Jinwei is really cool and I’m terrified of finding out something bad happened to her.)
Thank you for the chapter and good luck with the doctor
Chen Pi can be really smart! Sadly he’s so ruthless
And I thought the upside down phoenix was to mock grave robbers.😅