Chapter 63: Lighthouse
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The vial was small and clear; flickers of blue lights reflected off its surface.
Gu Ting Yu pulled out the cork and turned the vial upside down to let the tiny piece of rolled-up paper naturally slide out. Unexpectedly, the palm-sized paper was completely painted with bright colors.
There was a clear ice-blue sea on the paper; a large field of blood-red corals lay on the seabed. They were as bright as burning fire, countless orange and golden fish swam forward in fleets. The scene seemed to be alive, Gu Ting Yu felt as if he saw the fish swim and heard their tails move in water, forming splashes…
The special thing about the picture was the leader of the fleet of fish—at the front of the fleet, there was a red little fish with wings.
The pair of wings came oddly out of the fish, they were nothing like those of birds; instead, they structurally showed more resemblances to the wings of a bat.
Gu Ting Yu raised his head to look at the sky. Not a single cloud in sight, a perfectly blue sky, merging together with the sea at the horizon… After a while, Gu Ting Yu lowered his head and redirected his gaze to the picture.
Who made this?
What was the painter trying to express?
Gu Ting Yu carefully placed the picture back into the vial, then he began walking, bringing the vial along. He had arrived here half a day ago, but for the entire time, he only sat in the same place and daydreamed, he didn’t even realize that he was actually on a deserted island.
The island wasn’t big. When Gu Ting Yu completed circling the whole island, night had fallen. He did not find any animals on the island, let alone other humans; however, the sounds of waves made the island less lonely.
Gu Ting Yu kept picking up similar glass vials which got washed up onto the shore. He opened all of them, and found the same lively undersea world inside of each. The same shades and lightings which seemed almost illusionary, fish packed together heads to tails and a weird fish with wings, they all seemed to jump out of the paper, full of life.
When night fell again, Gu Ting Yu discovered a speck of light on the other side of the island.
It was a lighthouse on the horizon where the sky and sea met.
Lighthouse… lighthouse… Somehow, when Gu Ting Yu looked at the faraway light, he had a feeling that—it was the end of the night. He sat down and his six to seven glass vials made clinking sounds.
The night breeze, waves and lighthouse slowly calmed Gu Ting Yu’s heart.
He suddenly felt very content. He used to be very afraid of loneliness, but now he was grateful to it. Being alone, he could unwind and think about the past, he could then contemplate what to do next. Or he could just think about nothing at all.
Gazing at the dim lights in the night’s sky, Gu Ting Yu felt his vision blurring…
Eventually, he fell asleep, and in his dreams, there was the lighthouse’s fading light; he swam forward in the dark, not knowing when he would reach the goal… Even though he was insecure and felt immense fear, he forced himself to stay focused and be strong.
When Gu Ting Yu was still young, his mother once asked him, “If you can only use one word to describe yourself, what would you want that word to be?”
He remembered that he answered her; it wasn’t tenacious nor intelligent, nor was it strong…
“I want to be someone who’s…”
Gu Ting Yu opened his eyes.
It was finally daybreak; he sat on the beach, looking at the stars in a daze. A light blue layer forced the deep darkness to open bit by bit. Every time dawn came, he would feel like he was experiencing the awakening of the world.
His body was a little sore, last night was quite windy and his limbs were as cold as ice. If it weren’t for Ming Lei’s protection, he would have most likely caught some kind of illness already.
He stood up and stretched his stiff body a bit. That was when he noticed another glass vial sitting quietly on the beach a few steps from him. He bent down to pick up the vial, and he counted the vials he had with him to make sure that this was a new one.
As usual, he opened the vial, but when he looked at the contents, he was shocked. He looked around, turning his head frantically to take in his surroundings, but there was just the ground and the ocean, and nothing seemed different from before.
“… A coincidence, maybe…”
He had a doubtful tone himself, since for the first time something other than the sea was drawn on the scroll. It was a silent night and a man was looking at the faraway lighthouse. The man’s profile wasn’t depicted in detail, but the number of vials at the man’s feet and the colours of the man’s clothes were the same as Gu Ting Yu’s.
Who drew him onto this scroll last night?
What kind of power exactly made the vial float to Gu Ting Yu?
Gu Ting Yu searched the whole island in detail once again, but there were only sparse rainforest plants and a few pieces of rocks, and no signs of life.
Time passed quickly with Gu Ting Yu searching anxiously throughout the whole day. In the evening, a dim light lit up on the top of the lighthouse. Gu Ting Yu had a strange feeling that the answer was right under his nose, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it—that was, until he saw the lighthouse again and all of a sudden everything became clear—
During the day, the lighthouse would turn off its lights; at night, the lighthouse had lights on again…
That meant someone had to be in that lighthouse!
T/N: Can’t believe it took him that long to figure that out…
A layer of morning mist formed above the ocean; the faraway dim light shone the way to the lighthouse.
Gu Ting Yu hadn’t swimmed such a long distance for quite a long time. However, a warm power inside continued to support him for the whole journey. He couldn’t stop midway, he could only swim straight to the lighthouse in one go.
Ming Lei’s powers were nourishing and protecting. Gu Ting Yu still didn’t know what Ming Lei’s exact use was; it had assimilated into his bone marrows and blood and it was almost as though Ming Lei was his protector bound to him by blood.
The lighthouse was a building of a conical shape; a cube-shaped column supported the tower. When Gu Ting Yu finally reached the lighthouse, he mustered all his strength to get onto the square platform of the tower, he then lay down on it, exhausted and panting.
After a long time, the soaked Gu Ting Yu got up. He had mentally prepared himself to be facing off against ferocious dragons and beasts, and yet what appeared in front of his eyes was nothing but another one of those glass vials.
Gu Ting Yu looked at the top of the tower once more and then picked the vial up. This time, there were no pictures in the vial; instead, there was an oxidised copper key.
Gu Ting Yu circled the bottom of the lighthouse once, and with much effort, he was able to find a keyhole. The white door merged perfectly with the white walls, so finding the entrance was quite hard. Gu Ting Yu inserted the key into the keyhole and turned the key—
“Creak” — The door opened.
Upon entering the tower, the first thing which caught the eye was a melancholic blue color; the narrow insides were all painted with images of the undersea world. The spiral staircase on the wall had no end when looked upon with the naked eye—it went all the way to the top of the tower. The scenery depicted in the paintings changed as Gu Ting Yu reached a higher level.
Gu Ting Yu suddenly had a strange feeling.
This person’s paintings, he had seen them somewhere before—not from the vials he recently found, but much longer ago…
Suddenly, Gu Ting Yu stopped advancing. A group of playful mermaids appeared on the paintings, they had beautiful flowy hair, clear eyes and happy smiles…
The image of the mermaids pulled Gu Ting Yu’s memories backwards, back to the fateful night when he was transported to this alternate world—
When he was in the ancient fable museum, he saw a relic scroll with paintings. It depicted a man surrounded by twelve sacred beasts… Among the twelve beasts, there was a mermaid—a being with the body of a human being, but with a tail like that of a fish. The style of the paintings here was exactly the same as of that in the museum.
“Ba-dump… Ba-dump…” Gu Ting Yu could hear his own heartbeat—he finally connected the dots.
He ran up the stairs quickly; different shades of blue came straight at him in high speed, it was like running under the sea.
The higher he reached, the narrower the tower became, and at long last, Gu Ting Yu reached the top of the tower, where a small white door quietly awaited him.
The door handle had a glass vial hanging on it. The vial looked the same as the previous ones which got washed up onto the shore. Gu Ting Yu took some time catching his breath, then he contemplated for a brief moment whether to take the vial down. Eventually, he decided to take it and open the scroll inside.
There was a painting of him going into the room blindfolded.
… What did that mean?
Gu Ting Yu tried turning the doorknob; the small white door was silent and did not budge. A while later, a long piece of black cloth was pushed out of the room through the gap under the door.
“So if I want to come in, I will have to blindfold myself, am I right?”
A long period of silence had gone by until a soft reply, “Um…” came from behind the door.
Gu Ting Yu used the black cloth to cover his eyes, “I’m done.”
The door still wouldn’t budge, so Gu Ting Yu started knocking the door, “I already blindfolded myself, please open the door, I have something important to ask you.”
“Swear that you won’t look at me.”
Gu Ting Yu nodded his head even though the other person wouldn’t be able to see him doing that through the door.
The door opened slowly; a huge wave of ocean smell came crashing towards Gu Ting Yu. It wasn’t the stench of fish, but more that of being in a field of fine white salt, the kind of soft salt smell. A clean and comforting smell.
Gu Ting Yu’s mouth was dry. He wanted to ask about himself, about his own identity, he wanted to ask why he came here, he wanted to ask what the person knew…
However, before Gu Ting Yu could ask about the things on his mind, a painful scream came from inside the room, followed by the sound of something crashing down.