Chapter 25: Training Camp IV
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Translations
A person who had completed special missions and was a high-ranking officer in the army. After some thoughts, Li Sui concluded that the only person who could fulfill all the criteria was Lu Shang’s father. This military badge belonged to Lu Shang’s father, but Lu Shang just gave it to him, to someone who wasn’t even a blood relative. No matter how much Li Sui tried thinking, he couldn’t grasp the reasoning behind it.
“Li Sui. It’s time for the assembly!”
“Coming.” Li Sui placed the military badge back under his shirt carefully. His thoughts began to calm down as he felt the chill from the badge at his chest.
Li Sui thought that once he returned home, he would ask Lu Shang and get to the bottom of this.
“Divide into teams of two people, each person will get a bag. Inside the bags are food, water, a tent, a lighter, a map, some emergency medicine, and a flare signal.” The trainer continued, “Besides all that, you will each get to choose a weapon.”
“The time limit is five pm tomorrow. Find the marked treasure chest, obtain the treasure inside, then bring it back here. You will pass the test once you bring it back.”
“Remember not to wander out of the protected zone. If you encounter any situation you cannot handle, use the flare to signal us, we will reach you within ten minutes.”
Just in case they injured others on accident, all the weapon options were small and easy to handle. Li Sui picked out a small dagger, he then put the dagger in the backpack. SiMa JingRong was lazy and didn’t want to carry extra weight, so he didn’t choose one.
The two of them walked into the woods for a while, then they ran into Wang Wei. Wang Wei knew that the trainer wasn’t going to allow attendees to bring extra things to the exam, so he packed up everything early in the day and left it here. He was waiting for Li Sui and SiMa JingRong there to give them the equipment.
“Isn’t it enough already? I think the trainer gave us a lot of supplies already,” Li Sui said.
“No. You must bring more. The food supplied are only enough for one day, so if you don’t want to starve, you have to bring these too. Lu Lao Ban said that it’s fine if you cannot complete the mission, but you must stay safe.”
The second Li Sui heard it was Lu Shang who prepared all this, he immediately cooperated, “Then I will pack them into our bags.”
SiMa JingRong listened in to their conversation with blank eyes, his brain couldn’t follow what they were talking about, “What are you guys saying? What about Lu Lao Ban?”
Li Sui ignored him, he tidied up the bags, as he searched through the supplies, he found a gun. He gasped, “There’s even a gun in here!?”
Wang Wei had an awkward expression, he scratched the back of his head and said, “I’m used to bringing it. I’d feel unsafe without it, so I prepared one for you too.”
SiMa JingRong had shock written all over his face as well, he exclaimed, “A real… real gun!?”
“Of course not, this is just an air gun. Ehh, be careful. Don’t point this at people, you’d might hurt someone.”
“Do… do you mean you had this thing with you for the whole month we are together?”
Wang Wei giggled grimly.
SiMa JingRong pounded his own chest a few times, looking extremely shocked.
“Thanks.” Li Sui packed up all the supplies, then nodded at Wang Wei to show his gratitude.
Wang Wei looked at Li Sui, it seemed like he had something to say. However, with SiMa JingRong present, he kind of felt that the words would be too mean to him. Wang Wei just waved his hand and went into the woods himself.
“Let’s go too.”
“Wait. Explain to me what’s happening first. What’s up with Wang Wei? Also, why is the sadist at your home giving you a gun?”
Li Sui took big strides forward as he said, “Lu Shang is not a sadist, the scars on me have nothing to do with him. He has always treated me well, that’s why he arranged Wang Wei into the camp. Do you understand when I put it like this?”
SiMa JingRong didn’t reply with anything, after a while he just went up to rummage through Li Sui’s backpack.
“What are you trying to find?”
“He’s prepared so much, so I’m wondering if there’s dog food in here.”
They did not discover anything worthwhile in the first day, all the teams were not dispersed yet—they ran into a few teams as they walked through the woods. SiMa JingRong found a treasure chest in an abandoned bird nest, unfortunately it was already opened. That meant this area had already been searched by others, so they had to go deeper in.
In the afternoon, the two of them rested beside a river. They opened a few packs of biscuits and refilled their water bottles. The fruits of a month of intense training were showing completely now, even after walking in the woods for the whole morning, they didn’t feel tired, just a little too hot. They were searching while enjoying the scenery; if the roads didn’t get rougher on the way and the woods thicker, they would be sure that they were just hiking for fun.
“We been searching for the whole day, but we’ve still found nothing. Seriously, where did they put those treasure chests?”
Li Sui had been observing the environment carefully all this time, after SiMa JingRong asked, he said, “This area hasn’t been searched by any teams yet, let’s try searching this area more carefully, there should be a chest here.”
“How do you know this area hasn’t been searched yet?”
“Footprints.” Li Sui pointed to his feet, “There are no human footprints in this area.”
“I see. Sounds reasonable.”
SiMa JingRong held a pair of binoculars, the other hand held a broken tree branch, flicking the leaves on the ground around. Unfortunately, except for dried leaves and broken pieces of wood, he found nothing. After searching for a while, he began to lose his patience, he hummed while slacking off.
“The wind is picking up.” Li Sui said.
“It looks like it’s going to rain soon, we should find shelter.”
There was often a lot of rainfall in the summer season, but usually it would begin in a hurry and end just as quickly. SiMa JingRong chose a huge tree, then he pulled out a tarpaulin, hanging it up the branches. Li Sui raised his head to look at the cloudy sky, in the clouds were flickers of lightning, he stopped SiMa JingRong and said, “You’d become a lightning rod here, we need to find a cave.”
Before they came to this area, they saw a cave along the way, so they immediately turned back. Not long after they located the cave and hid in it, lightning and thunder roared in the woods. Heavy rainfall poured from the sky. In an instant, it was as if the sounds of rain hitting trees and leaves had engulfed the mountain, as if scores of drums were played, it was extremely ear-piercing.
It wasn’t night yet, but it was dark in the woods because of the clouds, along with the heavy rain, it was as if there were a layer of mist.
Li Sui gathered some dry woods and leaves in the cave, with the lighter, he started a fire.
“There isn’t enough wood, the fire won’t last through the night.” Li Sui controlled the fire into a smaller size, so that it was just enough for lighting. Li Sui continued, “When the rain stops, we have to go get some more wood. We should just stay here tonight”
They did not check how deep the cave was, but it was pitch black inside, as if things could jump out any second. SiMa JingRong’s face was as pale as paper, he absolutely hated the idea of staying here. Instead of facing the unknown darkness, he would much rather go to sleep with the spiders up a tree. However, the rain outside was too heavy, so he couldn’t think of any other places to stay in. He stared into the depths of the cave, not being able to make out anything in the darkness, he tried averting his attention by chatting with Li Sui.
“Come on. Tell me.”
Li Sui took out the canned meat Wang Wei gave him; after opening the can, he added some water and cooked it on the fire, “Tell you about what?”
SiMa JingRong squinted at Li Sui, “About you and Lu Shang of course.”
Li Sui glanced at him, then replied, “What’s there to talk about, you know about our relationship already.”
If Li Sui had been to school and talked with students his age, then he would have been familiar with the mixed expression of secretiveness, embarrassment, and excitement on SiMa JingRong’s face. This kind of expression is all too common in the normal male school dormitories, his question was basically a derivative of “What level are you at with your girlfriend?”.
“Tch. Why are you such a mood killer?” SiMa JingRong moved closer to Li Sui and asked awkwardly, “You guys… have you guys done it yet? How do two guys make love?”
Li Sui froze, the scene of Lu Shang’s naked upper half on the beach flashed across his mind. His face stiffened as he reminisced in the memory, then after two seconds he frowned while feeling guilty, “The meat is cooked, are you eating or not?”
“I’m eating, I’m eating. Don’t throw it away.”
After walking for the whole day, both of them were starving, they cleaned out all the meat in the can, not even leaving the stew behind. After eating, SiMa JingRong felt a bit sleepy, but he didn’t dare sleep. Facing the cave, he was afraid that something would jump out to eat him when he was asleep.
“You should sleep, I’ll stay awake through the night.” Li Sui took out the gun and the dagger from his backpack, he stored the weapon in the puttee at his lower leg.
“I can’t let you do all the work.” SiMa JingRong scratched his hair, “I’m really sleepy now, I will change places with you later in the night.”
Though he was sleepy, when he lay down on the floor, he found that he couldn’t sleep at all. After all, he was lying on the ground, nothing like the mattresses in the camp’s dormitory.
“Say, do you think the other teams finished the mission yet?”
Li Sui added a few pieces of wood to the fire, “Probably not.”
Li Sui didn’t reply, he just stared out at the heavy rain. Perhaps due to the dark environment, he had a bad feeling about all of this.
If Wang Wei found the treasure chest, then he would bring the contents to him for sure, but he didn’t, so that probably means he didn’t find it either. Wang Wei used to be in the military, so he should have an edge over others here. If he couldn’t find it either, then the chances of others finding it would be slim.
“Go to sleep already.”
The rain outside showed no signs of stopping; soft snoring soon echoed throughout the cave. Li Sui stood up and walked to the opening of the cave, hearing the mix of wind and rain in the forest. It was deep in the night now; he would miss Lu Shang the most every day at night, he missed his eyelashes, his voice, and his warmth. Especially since he knew that he would be able to see Lu Shang again tomorrow. He could hardly control his heavily jumping heart, as if it would just leave his chest at any moment.
He had stroked the military badge on his chest for thousands of times already. Li Sui felt like he was losing his mind, just a few questions about Lu Shang made Li Sui lose his restraint. As if a wall was suddenly cracked open, a wide shiny road appeared in front of him, luring him astray.
In honesty, Li Sui had a vague idea of how two males make love. When he was working in the bar, he had accidentally walked in on a pair of male lovers making love. Ever since he noticed the little thoughts he had for Lu Shang, he had packed up all these obscene memories into a little box, throwing it into a locked room. He couldn’t help but think that having such dirty thoughts would sully all of Lu Shang’s teachings. However, now, he wanted nothing more but to open that door again, peering inside. He even began imagining, what would it be like if the two in the room were Lu Shang and him.
The darkness provided Li Sui with limitless courage; it also heightened his desires. He allowed his brain to paint the lewd picture in his mind, while feeling the guilt of tainting a God. Li Sui never knew that just letting his imagination run wild could give him so much satisfaction and excitement. The rain outside was even heavier than before, it was almost frightening how heavy the rain was. Chilling wind blew into the cave, making the small flame waver. Li Sui wasn’t the only one that found this odd, even SiMa JingRong woke up from the noise.
“Why is the rain even heavier than before?” SiMa JingRong woke up drowsily, “What time is it now?”
“It’s two now.”
“It rained for seven hours?”
Li Sui affirmed with a light “Hmn”, then he used his hands to protect the little bit of fire left.
Seeing that the wood was almost burned completely, SiMa JingRong grabbed some more dry leaves to throw into the fire. Though they had torches in their bags, having the warmth of a fire was still more comforting, especially with the bad weather outside.
As SiMa JingRong bowed down to pick up leaves, he suddenly froze. Quickly, he jumped backwards, petrified. Then he screamed, “Ahhh!”
Li Sui looked over, even he felt numb seeing the thing that was buried under the leaves. It was a set of white bones.
“Don’t scream.” Li Sui walked over feeling scared himself, but he forced himself to calm down. Holding the dagger, he pushed the skeleton around.
“It’s fine. It belongs to an animal.” Li Sui was relieved, “See. There are claws.”
SiMa JingRong’s spirit had floated away, it took some time for his mind to return. Even so, the two were still anxious. Seeing a set of bones in a cave was definitely not a good sign, as they were now certain that some kind of danger lurked in the cave.
“What… what is that sound? Did you hear that?” SiMa JingRong’s face was white, he asked Li Sui in a panic.
Li Sui thought he was overreacting from the scare just now, but slowly he felt something odd as well. A weird sound surrounded them; the sound was like a crowd mumbling at the same time. More importantly, the sound seemed to be growing louder and nearer, as if they were right next to their ears.
“It… it’s coming from inside the cave.” SiMa JingRong backed away from the cave a bit instinctively.
Li Sui suddenly reacted to the situation, he grabbed SiMa JingRong’s arm and began running, “Run!”
“Bag! The bag!”
“No time! Hurry!”
The two of them rushed out the cave in a hurry, that unknown sound had already became a clear rumble. As if hundreds of trucks were dumping rocks and mud down at the same time.
“There’s a rock platform, jump!”
Li Sui had never run so quickly in his entire life before; his survival instincts must have pushed his body to the limit. After running out of the cave, they jumped to a rock platform on the other side. During the ordeal, Li Sui glanced back for a second and he saw the cave they rested in were already buried under the rubble. If they were even a second later, they would be dead under the rocks and sand.
Being so close to death for the first time, SiMa JingRong was scared. The rock platform was not enough, he climbed up a tree just in case.
The rolling mud and rocks slid pass their eyes, flattening the forest in an instant. The terrifying scene was far enough to make them admire the strength of nature. Luckily, they were at a safe zone, the protruding rock platform diverted the flow of mud and rocks. Ten meters away from them, the mud rolled down the mountain, clearing everything in its path. The two who survived out of shear luck stared at each other, both wore an expression as scared as the other.
The rain was still going strong, raindrops fell on their faces, blurring their vision. After what they had just been through, this little bit of rain was nothing. Li Sui wiped his face dry, then he heard SiMa JingRong sobbing.
“What should we do now? Our bags are buried. I want to go home……”
Li Sui was thinking about something completely opposite though. When he first walked up the mountain, he noticed that the soil was loose, he knew that loose soil meant this place was susceptible to landslides. It was night right now, if he wasn’t alert enough, they would have been buried under all the mud already.
The funny thing was, they were only alive now because they chose to rest in the cave. The skeletons they found in the cave heightened their alertness. Landslides occur in mere seconds, so normally human ears won’t be able to keep up and still have time to flee. However, movements of the soil from above were especially detectable underground, as the tiny soundwaves would be amplified by the closed environment, transmitting through the cave and then detected by their ears, allowing them to hear something like mumbling. That was a warning, garnering a few seconds of precious escape time for them.
“I’m worried about how SiMa Yan is doing right now…”
Li Sui’s heart sank, he bowed down to pull the dagger out. He held the dagger tight in his hand, turning around to SiMa JingRong, he said, “We shouldn’t stay here, let’s go.”