Chapter 18 Palace Hall Entrance (Part 2)

“What are you doing? Come down right now!” I shouted anxiously. Climbing up to the beam in such a situation… I didn’t know what was wrong with his brain.

But Fatty completely ignored me. He moved very fast and reached the beam in just a few steps. Then he turned to look at me and said, “Why are you panicking? I’m not a three-year-old child. If something goes wrong, I’ll obviously come down.” After saying this, he walked along the beam towards the nearest body.

I suddenly realized that Fatty was eyeing the Type-56 rifle. This whole time, he had clearly felt uncomfortable without a gun in his hand, so now that such a good one was right in front of him, he obviously felt excited. I knew that there wasn’t anything I could do considering how disorganized and undisciplined he was, but I still couldn’t help but feel angry.

Fatty took a few careful steps forward—he was so heavy that the whole roof shook with every step he took, and there was an unsettling creaking sound accompanied by a lot of sawdust falling from above. We instinctively took a few steps back, fearing that Fatty would bring the whole structure down on our heads.

Pan Zi brushed the falling debris from his body with a curse, “Fuck, take it easy. If you keep that up, we’ll all be crushed to death in no time.”

Fatty made an apologetic gesture and then took one last step to reach the corpse. The first thing he did was grab the Type-56 rifle from the corpse’s body and check the chamber to see how many bullets were left. Then he threw it down to Pan Zi and grabbed the ammo bag from the corpse’s body. After slinging it over his shoulder, he finally went to check the corpse.

I watched Fatty take off the corpse’s gas mask bit by bit, revealing the face of a middle-aged foreigner underneath. His whole face was blue, his expression was twisted, and his mouth was opened wide, as if he had been screaming before he died. His death should have been instantaneous, which was why his expression was frozen like that.

Seeing his blue face, I immediately shouted, “Don’t touch him! Look at his face; he must have been poisoned.”

Fatty nodded, put on his gloves, and then went to look at the “rope” that the corpse was hanging from. These people definitely didn’t hang themselves here, so what exactly was keeping them suspended in the air? We all wanted to know.

But when Fatty looked at it, his expression became very puzzled.

“What did you find?” I asked.

“It looks like fucking hair…” Fatty said.

I was surprised, “Hair?”

Fatty nodded, “It’s so damn long, too. Are all these people women?” Fatty lifted the body a little bit and said, “No… this hair is coming out of his neck, so it can’t be from his scalp. Shit, is this fucking armpit hair? This foreigner is amazing. I can’t believe his armpit hair is so long.”

As he spoke, he pulled out a knife and tried to cut off the dead man’s “hair” so that he could lower the body down for us to see. But after trying to cut it twice, he found that the “hair” was very tough and couldn’t be cut at all. Realizing that it wouldn’t work, he then took out his lighter to see if he could burn it.

I suddenly realized that I didn’t actually want to see this kind of corpse, so I shouted to him, “Forget it. We don’t need to examine the body. Stop messing around and come down quickly. If that thing’s poisonous, you’ll be in trouble.”

Fatty seemed to be thinking the same thing, because he put the lighter away and said, “Alright, alright! Just give me a minute!” Then he ran to another body—he obviously didn’t want to give up the chance to grab another gun.

I eyed the corpses, but there didn’t seem to be any danger so I didn’t bother trying to stop him. When he reached the other body, he did the same as before and grabbed the gun first. After throwing it down to me, he then moved to grab the ammo bag, but I suddenly saw the corpse’s hand move.

My mind started racing and I suddenly realized that something was wrong. Seeing that Fatty was about to take the person’s gas mask off, I immediately shouted at him, “Wait! This one seems to be alive! Don’t take off his mask!”

“Really?” Fatty said somewhat dubiously. But after pressing his fingers to the person’s neck to check their pulse, his expression suddenly changed and he quickly took out his lighter. After burning through the “hair”, the body immediately fell from the beam. Monk Hua and I caught him and laid him down on the ground. Monk Hua then put on his gloves and turned the person over so that we could see the back of his neck. As it turned out, the “hair” seemed to be growing from the man’s back.

Monk Hua lifted the man’s eyelids and then shook his head, “He’s not dead yet, but it won’t be long. His pupils are almost fully dilated.”(1)

I looked at the man and saw that he seemed to be Chinese. “Is there anything we can do to help him?” I asked.

Monk Hua shook his head, “There’s no point. First, anything we do can only let him live a little longer, which will only prolong his suffering. Second, it will be troublesome to take him with us.”

“But he’s not dead yet,” I argued. “It doesn’t seem right to just leave him here like this.”

Monk Hua smiled and shook his head, seemingly amused by my words. Then he pulled his knife from his belt and placed it against the man’s neck. I suddenly had a bad feeling and quickly grabbed him, “What are you doing?”

“Since he’s been poisoned, he’ll suffer a long, painful death. I’ll let him bleed out so that he can die more comfortably.”

I was dumbfounded—what kind of logic was this? But just as I was about to shake my head and keep arguing with him, the “corpse” suddenly convulsed and opened its eyes. Then, body trembling, it grabbed Monk Hua’s hand in a violent grip.

Startled, Monk Hua hurriedly yanked his hand free and took a few steps back.

The man looked at me and then at Monk Hua, apparently regaining consciousness. Then he suddenly sat up and screamed in pain. It sounded like he was shouting something, but I couldn’t make out what it was. I rushed over and tried to hold him down, but the man was so strong that he managed to throw both me and Monk Hua off. He rolled around on the ground, his heartbreaking screams becoming louder and louder as his mouth opened wider than humanly possible. Then his neck started to swell like it was about to explode, and a lot of foul-smelling liquid came pouring out of his mouth.

Pan Zi, unable to stand it any longer, pulled the bolt back on his rifle and fired a shot, sending the man off with a “bang”.

I immediately felt my ears hurt—the sound of the gunshot was much louder than I was expecting. I looked at the man and saw that Pan Zi had shot him directly in the heart. His body spasmed twice before going completely still, but a lot of blood continued to flow out.

“What was he shouting just now?” Monk Hua asked, his face covered in a cold sweat. “Did any of you understand it?”

“It was the Hakka dialect,” Ye Cheng said. “I didn’t understand most of what he was saying, but it sounded like he was screaming ‘On the back, on the back’.”

“On the back? Was there anything strange on his back?” Monk Hua turned the man’s body over, intending to cut open his clothes and see what was going on with his back.

I looked at the blood everywhere and suddenly felt dizzy, so I quickly turned my head away and told Fatty to come down quickly.

Fatty was squatting on the beam overhead, holding a lit cigarette in hand as he looked down at us. As soon as he saw me turn around, he immediately said, “Don’t rush me. God, you’re just like my mother. I swear to Chairman Mao that I’ll come down after I smoke this cigarette.”

How do you plan on smoking with a gas mask on? I thought to myself. But as I continued to watch him impatiently, I suddenly saw something appear behind him. I froze for a moment, my scalp tingling, and then I fell to the ground with a loud shout.

A strange white face had appeared behind his shoulder, and it was staring right at me. Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a strange person lying on his back, but Fatty didn’t seem to notice it at all.

<Chapter 17><Table of Contents><Chapter 19>


TN Notes:

(1) Medical fact of the day: The iris is a muscle, which means it completely relaxes after death and results in a fully dilated pupil with no visible iris at all.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 18 Palace Hall Entrance (Part 2)

  1. Really not looking forward to the birds.

    And why’s it always gotta be Fatty? We all know Wu Xie’s constitution…


  2. Thank you for the Iris fact. I didn’t know.

    And OMG I’m so nervous. Those birds (and monkeys) are my worst nightmare!!!! I didn’t remember about the hair thing either. I must check

    Off to read next chapter 😁


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