Volume III Chapter 103—The Mohist Forbidden Territory (Part 4)
Su Su just wanted to ask Mo Yuan what kind of bobby trap it was this time, she found out that she did not need to ask because her feet started sinking into the soft sand.
It was not only Su Su who found out the quicksand, Sang Nuan and Ao San also felt the odd feeling under their feet. Their bodies turned rigid and the surrounding area was eerily quiet that only the noise from the flowing quicksand can be heard and gradually even their voices will not be heard as the sand engulfed their whole body.
“Now, what should I do?” The gentle voice of Sang Nuan sounded low as if she was afraid of disturbing anything.
Su Su looked at the soft black sand under her feet, it had a fine and sticky texture, softly questioned, “It does not seems to be an ordinary quicksand?”
Mo Yuan’s vision had been on the black drawings on the stone wall, his deep black pupils were looking back and forth and his forehead was covered with beads of sweat. Su Su and Sang Nuan looked at each other stopped talking and waited quietly.
After a while, Mo Yuan slowly sighed a breath of relief and said, “According to this, there are six- level array (or six levels of booby traps) set up. This is just one of the traps on the setup and if it can’t be solved or the line is wrong, it will trigger the mechanism and release the rest of the array.”
So, that means the quicksand was part of the array and it was even the most insignificant level of the formation? “ Well, is it still too late to turn back now? “The door which they entered did not close as before, it remained open. Ao San who was the nearest was only three feet away from the entrance and the quicksand under their feet appeared to be more difficult to deal with.
Su Su was still thinking about the possibility of retreating, but Mo Yuan blocked all thoughts of backing out after declaring,” Once you entered this trap, you either solve it or you die,”
Su Su’s mouth gnashed in anger, no wonder it did not close the stone entrance, it turned out there was really no option of turning back. Looking at her feet that were being slowly nipped by the sand, Su Su sighed and smiled bitterly. “We three don’t have the ability to understand the law of divination; we can only rely on you. What did it say, what do we do next? What can I do to break the array and escape this trap?”
“There is a large black stone table on the right side of the stone wall. If you can pull the iron ring in the middle of the stone table, the array will be broken.”
After Mo Yuan finished speaking, the eyes of three people fell on the black stone table that he mentioned. The stone table was not big and on its right, there were about two square meters of black sand on the ground, it looked like very fine sand. The black fine sand camouflaged itself with the darkroom and black sand until Mo Yuan mentioned it they would not notice the dark stone table and the ring the size of a bowl in the middle it. The ring was as thick as two fingers and it looked extremely ordinary.
Just pull the iron ring down to break the array, it was that simple? Su Su looked at the black stone table which was only three or four feet away from her and looked at the location of other people. She said, “I will go…”
“Not so fast.” After Su Su volunteered to go, Mo Yuan immediately opposed her, “’before you reach the table, you will enter into a center of an array of traps and if you take a wrong step the mechanism will be triggered. Moreover, your foot is on the quicksand, your qinggong no matter how good is of no use.”
Su Su naturally understand that to be able to use her qinggong, she needed to place to “ borrow power” to jump and true enough with the quicksand, it will be vain. But Mo Yuan stood in the middle of the darkroom, very far from the entrance and it would be harder for him to go.
Su Su tried to move however her body immediately slid down, the quicksand swallowed her feet up to her knees. Su Su looked down, “if it cannot be done with qinggong, how about crawling over?”
“Crawl?” Mo Yuan obviously didn’t think about this method.
Su Su nodded and explained. “Yeah, I felt this quicksand is very similar to that of a swamp. In the swamp, it is easier to get out of it when you crawl. I am lighter and if I slowly crawl over, I will not sink. When I get there, you tell me what to do and I will do as you say.”
Su Su felt that she was sinking at a faster speed now. The quicksand had already passed her knees and Mo Yuan was still thinking. Su Su said, “Don’t think about it, I am closest to the table and if I don’t hurry the quicksand will pass my thigh and that would be more difficult for me to crawl.
Mo Yuan’s brows wrinkled, no one knew why he was hesitating. Su Su grew anxious and cried, “Mo Yuan, I believe in you, you must also believe in me.”
Mo Yuan was stunned. He quickly raised his head and looked at the girl standing straight with bright and clear eyes. He secretly laughed at himself. How could he not believe her? When she saw her for the first time and looked her in the eyes, was it not because she was very alert at the time? Is it because he put this person as the most important treasure in his heart, was this time he became timid and fearful for her sake?
Su Su sunk in the quicksand a little bit more. Now she was so anxious now but did not dare to act rashly. She can only watch helplessly at Mo Yuan, fortunately, it was not long when she heard him say with slight heaviness in his tone, “Ok then.”
Sang Nuan was not that far away from Su Su and heard the voice of Mo Yuan agreeing and her heartfelt tight and said, “Su Su, your safety first and do not to try to be brave.”
Su Su chuckled and said cheerfully, “You all put down your worries.”
After saying that, Su Su put the torch she was holding in the sand and took Bajiao she was carrying in her hand and then pointed to the open stone entrance and said, “ Go wait for me over there.”
Bajaio looked at her with ‘pity me eyes’ looking straight at Su Su with the paws constantly grasping the air, looked like it want to run back inside Su Su’s bosom. Su Su patted its head and said,” I wanted to go to the table and I can’t take you with me. Go, wait for me at the gate entrance,” then pointed to the direction of the stone entrance, put down the little fox and pushed its butt.
The little fellow went out obediently, however, the direction was not toward the entrance but towards the direction of the black stone table. Su Su just saw a touch of a light shadow moving very fast on the sand leaving just a faint trace, jump at the black stone table. The little fox turned towards Su Su proudly prancing.
Su Su’s expression became fearful, afraid that it would trigger the array of traps and her heart was hanging for a moment of anticipation. After watching it jumping up and down on the table for a while and there was no change or movement happening, she relaxed a bit at the same time her heart was groaning. Oh, if she could only be as light and quick as Bajiao or wish this little fellow grew up bigger and pull the ring.
Knowing that those were just wishful thinking, Su Su sighed and started looking for the best route. She slowly leaned down, bent her knees until all her upper body was covered with the fine sand and she slowly pulled one leg. The moment she moved, her body sank deeper that she almost swallowed some sand.
Su Su slowed down her breathing and continued to pull out her feet little by little until she was able to pull out one leg and do the same with the other leg until it loosened. Now, it felt like the speed of the sand sinking seemed to be faster and just in a matter of time, they will be completely buried. She continued to squat and pushed like she was swimming and rush to the black stone table. Finally, she was able to climb and stood on top,
Su Su patted the sand on her body, spat out the black sand that went in her mouth, and asked, “I am here, what’s next?”
“Take five steps to the right.”
Mo Yuan’s voice was calm, but Su Su suddenly stopped. She was about to take a step with her foot hanging on the air but did not take the step and just held her feet up for a long time. She asked,” How big is the step? Like this?”. She was really nervous because Mo Yuan said earlier if she just made one step wrong it will trigger the mechanism. Who knew? This could be a powerful series of traps and all three of them were still buried in the black sand if there’s any change, there was no escaping. The feeling of having the lives of the people in her hand was really heavy.
Mo Yuan smiled, in his deep voice, smiled slightly and whispered, with unexpected tenderness, “Just do your usual walk.”
Sang Nuan find the display of affection to be excessive and she actually laughed out loud, they were nervous to death here, but they were still making what in the midst of it! Su Su stared at Ao San, took a deep breath before taking the five steps carefully.
She just stood in her place until she heard Mo Yuan said. “Step back two steps and then go four steps to the left.”
Su Su nodded and just followed his instruction.
“ Then go forward six steps.”
She took a steady six steps. The calm voice suddenly stopped. After waiting for a while, there was still no movement, Su Su “Well, what’s next? “
Mo Yuan was facing the torch, and Su Su can’t see his expression, she thought that he was just silent for a while and thinking, before he continued, ”then walk three steps to your right
It was going very smoothly earlier and she gained confidence and took the three steps to her right, but right after the final step, she heard a slight “clicking” sound. When she looked over where the sound came from, she saw a silver light came out from the black table, and the direction of the shining silver was going exactly to where Mo Yuan was.
Mo Yuan seemed to have known for a long time what will happen and his body quickly leaned to his side. When she gained her senses the silvery light has already vanished. Then a banging sound broke out from the empty black stone wall at the back, the air started to be permeated with a faint bloody smell.
“Mo Yuan!” He was hurt? Su Su looked him, but she still could not see his face in the dark, but the low deep voice remained calm as ever as if he had not been hurt by that silvery light just now, “You don’t move, if you move now, we will all die.”
“Continue, go forward two steps, then go three steps to the left.”
Su Su did not move and her eyes stared at Mo Yuan for a moment, refusing to take a step. Was she wrong just now? What happened why it triggered the array?
Mo Yuan shook his head and the low voice had an obvious tone of tenderness, “It’s not your fault, don’t think too much, there won’t be any more, let’s do. it”
Su Su eyes were red and blinded by her tears, but he had to keep going because, in order for Mo Yuan to avoid such incident, Mo Yuan writhed his body and the sand almost reached his waist. Sang Nuan was not so tall, so the sand was almost her chest. If she doesn’t move faster they will be swallowed by the quicksand.
Su Su turned back and focus on her feet movement. According to Mo Yuan’s instruction, she followed step by step. She stepped carefully but also with some heaviness.
Finally, she reached the ring of the size of the bowl. Su Su crouched down and held the ring at the palm of her hand. The cold ring made her shiver a little but she still held it tighter. She looked up at Mo Yuan and asked, ” Pull this ring right?”
Su Su nodded, with no hesitation, grabbed the ring and pulled it hard.
Under the ring, there seemed to a chain attached to it. After pulling the ring, friction between metals can be heard and the whole chamber began shaking again. After the shaking, there was nothing changed and nothing happened. Su Su did not dare to take things lightly and confirmed, “Was the array broken?”
“Yeah.” Mo Yuan also breathed to relaxed and answered her in a low whisper.
Ao San felt that the quicksand also doesn’t swallow them anymore. He immediately put his hand on the sand and took one buried foot out with difficulty and then the other until he was free.
The next moment, he had already run to the side of Sang Nuan looked at her half body that was buried under the sand. He was afraid of hurting her, dared not to pull her but rather kneel beside her and started digging the sand with his hand to free her.
Sang Nuan looked at the man who was casually digging and his face does not show anything obvious but his eyes cannot hide the touch of warmth.
Su Su remained standing in the same place and asked anxiously. “Can I move?” She wanted to go over him to see how he was but she didn’t dare to move. She was afraid that her movement would cause something to change.
Mo Yuan gave her a soothing and assuring smile, then nodded.
Su Su hurriedly ran down the black stone table and when Bajiao saw her moved, it immediately ran to her and slammed itself to her. The little fellow grabbed the hem of clothes of Su Su and quickly climbed up. Su Su grabbed the little fellow and put it under her clothes.
The black quicksand still felt soft under her feet but it did not sag or sink. She was more than relieved to go to Mo Yuan’s side. She immediately smelled the bloody scent, but his body was covered with a black cloak and she hurriedly asked, “ Where were you injured? Let me see your wound!”
Looking at her reddish eyes, Mo Yuan did not say anything, after gaining a little space out of the bondage of the black sand, Mo Yuan took out the black coat and Su Su immediately saw that on his right shoulder, the silver-gray robe was soaked in blood.
Su Su looked at the wound and it looked like to be caused by an arrow. It was just that the arrow had a lot of force with it that it completely passed through his body causing a penetrating wound. The wound was bleeding, but fortunately, the wound was small and the arrow did not stay in his body.
She gently ripped the fabric near the wound and took from her provision bag a bottle of hemostatic medicine. She sprinkled it on the front and back of the wound, then fold the gauze into a square shape, held it on both sides, then wrapped the wound and over the shoulder to hold the gauze in place.
After putting away the remaining medicine and the rest of the gauge, Su Su curiously asked, “Just now, what happened?”
Mo Yuan did not answer Su Su but instead asked, “You dress my wound skillfully are you often injured?”
Su Su looked at him coldly,, “No, I often help others to bandage their wounds, that’s why I became skilled. I answered your question, now it is your turn to answer my question. What happened just now? You know how many steps I took and will trigger a booby trap right, why you let me go?”
Mo Yuan put back his cloak, covered the wound, and faintly replied, “Because, it can only go that way.”
His eyes dodged to look at her and she knew he was lying. Her heart was a bit annoyed, but she already knew that this man, if he doesn’t want to tell, she can’t force him to tell.
Mo Yuan, on the other hand, did not feel that he lied. Naturally, there were other solutions, but in that case, she will be put in a dangerous position, she will be the one standing in the middle of the arrow’s shot and he can’t let her take that risk so it can only go the way it was.
Finally, Sang Nuan was able to break free from the black sand, just wanted to ask how Mo Yuan where he was hurt when she suddenly smell a strange scent and she murmured, “What is that smell?”
The room had always smell dirt and after Mo Yuan’s injury, it was mixed with bloody scent. After hearing Sang Nuan, they could indeed smell the strange fragrance that was not there before, the flavor was ethereal but it was very fragrant that other people would want to smell of it
Sang Nuan was manufacturing drugs and poisons all year round and she was very sensitive to flavors and fragrances, although she could not determine the source of the fragrance but for a scent to come out for no reason? Of course, it can’t be overlooked and absolutely they should be cautioned. She quickly warned, “ Don’t breath, it could be poisonous!”
Su Su smelled the fragrance and but after Sang Nuan’s warning, the group quickly held their breath.
“Let’s get out of here and talk later.” Su Su held Mo Yuan and Ao San held Sang Nuan and they moved towards the stone entrance to leave.
Unexpectedly, the four just took a step, the sand under their feet suddenly flowed down and this time it was more violent than the first and their feet were suddenly taken down. Su Su felt that her body was being swallowed down and she can’t control her own body being engulfed by the sand. It was like drowning, her mouth and nose was now covered with sand and struggling against it was just futility.
Just when Su Su felt that she will suffocate to death, her body hit the ground. There was a burning pain behind her but she can’t take care of it now. She quickly grasped some air through her mouth for her nostrils were filled with sand. She sucked in a lot of sand and she coughed up fiercely.
“Cough, cough!”It was hard to hold back especially when she had no idea where she was. Looking up, she saw a long passage in front of her and there were bowls of luminous stone lighting the path. The faint halo light was tempting people to follow the light and go deep inside the passage.
The passage looked exactly the same passage when they first entered the sacred zone. No, it was exactly the same passage before the round boulder stone rolled in. Su Su couldn’t help but loudly cry out. “Mo Yuan? Ah Nuan? Ao San?”
“Can you hear me?!” Her voice echoed in the passage as she cried out. No one responded and the silence felt like she was the only person left in the world.
Su Su took a deep breath to calm herself and think. Although it was the same as the previous passage, it was definitely not the previous one. There was no trace or evidence that a stone boulder just rolled on the ground because the luminous stone was still there intact. So now, she must decide which way to go.
Su Su looked down and suddenly she felt that something suddenly pounced from behind her. She quickly dodged sideways and flashed out a kick at the same time.
“Ah!” The man was kicked by her, but it did not get out of the way but instead grab her wrist. Su Su was about to follow the kick with a punch when she heard the familiar voice, “It’s me.”
“Mo Yuan!” Su Su swayed away from the hand towards the faint light from the luminous stones so she could see the person. Finally, she could see clearly, it was indeed Mo Yuan.
“Is it really you?” Su Su was ecstatic. She appeared calm and strong but her heart actually panicking. Finally, she was able to truly calm herself for a moment however when she felt a warm sticky hand holding her, also the scent of blood permeating the place her happiness was short lived. When she smelled the blood, she can’t continue being happy, “How are you? Did your wound opened again
Su Su wanted to check his wound but he was clutching her wrist very tightly. “It’s all right, let us go out from here first.”
The last time they were in a similar passage, a boulder rolled down and to be caught in the situation was just frightening. Su Su was very uncomfortable. She wanted to take back her hand but Mo Yuan refused to let go.
Su Su was puzzled, “What’s wrong?”
Mo Yuan did not say anything but continued holding her hand tightly.
Su Su gave a teasing smile and said, “You are afraid, right?”
The strength of his hand suddenly tightened and now it started to hurt.
“Well, yeah, I am afraid.” Before and after each incident with the array, it scared him.
“I dare not let go of your hand because I am afraid that I might lose you.”