We were exhausted after having fun during the day and slept very soundly. Of course we did have some wilderness survival knowledge and lit a fire outside the tents. We also split the nine guys into five groups and took shifts to keep watch. Ruan Zhan didn’t like socializing so he would stand watch by himself. We gave him the final shift of the night.
Everything was fine at first. However, it suddenly started raining around midnight. It wasn’t heavy rain so the guys on watch didn’t think it would be an issue. They just hid in the tent to avoid the rain. Perhaps they were too tired but the two actually ended up falling asleep.
The rain grew heavier and heavier. Since we were in the lowest valley of the mountain, the campsite got flooded before we were aware of the danger.
The men’s tent was in a higher area while the women’s were right by the water. Therefore, by the time we awakened to their screams, their tent had already been washed away by the floodwater. A few heads bobbed above the water and deathly pale arms waved for help!
We were completely terrified. Only Ruan Zhan was still clearheaded. He directed us to take out the powerful waterproof flashlights and climbing ropes. He split the men into two groups. One group would use the flashlights to illuminate the water’s surface and keep hold of one end of the ropes. The other group was made up of the better swimmers. They would tie the rope to their waists and go save the people in the water.
There was a boy called Zhao Jiang who was on the frail side. Ah Zhan had him help pull people out of the water whenever someone was rescued.
Ah Zhan normally didn’t like being in the spotlight, but whenever something happened he would naturally give off a leader’s aura, making others obey him without hesitation. Therefore, we didn’t argue and there wasn’t any time to argue anyway. We followed Ah Zhan’s arrangements.
Yet we only realized it wouldn’t be that easy when we got into the water. This was different from swimming in a pool or a peaceful river. The water flooded down along the waterfall and there was even a whirlpool. There seemed to be a powerful current underwater that pulled people down. This was why the girls desperately clung to rocks despite several knowing how to swim, instead of making their own way to shore.
We struggled to swim towards the girls and started rescuing the ones closest to shore. We held tightly to any arm we managed to grab before using the rope to get back and have Zhao Jiang pull us up.
It was too dark at the time and the water was flowing rapidly. It was impossible to see what was going on, and we could only use the dark shadows and cries for help to guide us. It was still raining heavily. The torchlight shining through the curtains of rain in the distance was very faint to begin with. Due to the rain and everyone’s anxiety, the light was also shaking back and forth, making it even harder to see.
None of us knew who we ended up rescuing or how many had been saved. We just pulled whenever we heard someone calling for help. After struggling for a long while, we realized there was still someone screaming for help. In my anxiety, I charged back into the water with Ah Zhan.
Zhao Jiang had been helping by the shore all this time and had taken a headcount. The moment we entered the water, he suddenly shouted: “Nana, it’s Nana. Nana hasn’t come up yet!”
I grew even more urgent. To be honest, I liked Nana quite a bit at the time. How could I allow the person I was fond of to die in this pool? Therefore, I swam outwards without caring about anything. Ah Zhan was the same way.
The lights on the shore had focused, but since they were weak, we couldn’t see Nana’s face clearly. We only saw her figure. The strange thing was that we couldn’t grab hold of her. Ah Zhan and I had even collided yet we weren’t able to touch Nana.
“To the left!”
“Grab her! Aiya!”
“That’s not it!”
The classmates on shore yelled out continuously and we could hear Nana crying and shouting. However, we could only see the figure but not grab hold of anything.
Ah Zhan was only twenty back then. You should know he had never cultivated his powers since he hated them. After his father died, he completely sealed them off. Therefore, he only possessed his Yinyang Eye at the time and could see clearly what others could not. He also wouldn’t be easily attacked by foul beings, yet he didn’t have any significant abilities.
His current powers stem from being unable to suppress his abilities as he matured, along with us forcing him to use them. At the time, he didn’t even possess a tiny portion of his current strength.
However, he still was no ordinary person and could sense something wasn’t right. He cried out loudly and told my exhausted self not to move around. Then, he rubbed the Yinyang Eye’s position between his brows and dove underwater.
He was gone for a very long time. You could say it was too long. Without sound or breath, as though he had been swept away. I was terrified and thought something had happened to him. Therefore, I forgot his instructions and dove down as well.
The water was cold and dark. I didn’t dive too deeply. The beam from the flashlight could penetrate the water’s surface, allowing me to blurrily see within a meter. I had dove down next to Nana’s untouchable body yet under the water, I didn’t see any part of her. This was to say that her head and shoulders were above water but there wasn’t anything underneath at all!
I was startled and choked on several mouthfuls of water. Looking carefully once again, there truly wasn’t anything. The “Nana” struggling on the surface was still crying out and the anxious students on the shore were responding. Ah Zhan had completely vanished.
Desperately, I pulled myself back to shore because it was impossible to see in the water. I wanted to grab one of the waterproof flashlights and put it in a plastic bag to go find the missing two people.
I had the students help me set it up while I ran to check on Ah Zhan’s rope. I wanted to pull him back, but when I pulled, I discovered there was no resistance at all. The rope had already snapped! The person responsible for Ah Zhan had been too panicked and didn’t notice it at all.
The situation was even more urgent. The guys were terrified and the girls were crying. I was afraid of something happening to the others so I didn’t ask them to help. I went back by myself. When I had swam halfway, I heard a splash. Looking back, I saw that the frail Zhao Jiang had jumped into the dark waters. I didn’t know what he was going to do, and merely heard the others shouting incoherently!
I couldn’t mind him. I wanted to find Ah Zhan and Nana. Although the situation beneath the water made my heart tremble, I knew I had to go regardless. Otherwise, I might lose my best friend and my first true crush.
I swam towards “Nana”, but was washed away several times by the current. Only when I used several protruding rocks did I manage to reach my goal. Yet at the same time, I realized something was wrong…
A bulky man like me had been swept away by the current. How could a delicate girl float in place without being carried away? It had been ten minutes and she was still there!
Realizing this, I was both scared and in disbelief. I hurriedly dove down to verify it and used the flashlight to check. I checked twice in succession…however, there was nothing under the water!
I felt we had encountered something weird. I hurriedly used the current to move away silently. Yet when I looked up, I saw “Nana” waving towards the shore, crying “Save me, don’t abandon me! Help, pull me up!” The pitiful cries drew several students to save her. When I looked back, two guys were about to jump in!
I couldn’t let more people get in the water. Otherwise, there would be more who couldn’t leave!
Those were my thoughts as I shone the beam of light onto “Nana’s” face!
Nana had shoulder-length hair but at this time, “her” hair reached the water and covered her face. It was like a dense thicket of grass. Furthermore, “her” withered arms and the long fingernails on her deathly pale hands proved that it wasn’t Nana at all. It was something pretending to be her, and it also had her voice!
I was scared stiff and the light remained on “her” face without moving. “She” reacted rather slowly to the light. It shone upon her for over ten seconds before “she” slowly turned to look at me.
Under the long hair, black as night, was a dazzlingly pale face. I desperately tried to make out “her” features under her long hair, but saw nothing at all.
“Her” face was pale and flat, with nothing upon it at all. There was only a mouth.
It was an infant’s mouth. Small, delicate, without any teeth. It was split open in a grin towards me.
I dropped the flashlight in shock. In the darkness, I actually felt “her” leaning over, coming to kiss me!
“She” swept over so fast. I still had the image of the infant’s mouth in my mind. I could even feel the dampness of that kiss, along with a putrid smell.
I didn’t have time to avoid it, but suddenly felt a hand pulling me under. I struggled instinctively but was still pulled underwater. I couldn’t see who it was in the chaos. Around ten seconds later, I was pushed back to the surface.
Looking back, I saw Ah Zhan standing before me, holding a tiny black stick in his hand. It sounds disrespectful putting it that way. The palm-sized little stick was actually the renowned bloodwood sword. However, based on Ah Zhan’s strength back then, he could only manifest five inches of the Daoist world’s treasure. It couldn’t revert to its original size or turn harder than steel like it does now.
However, you’ve witnessed the bloodwood sword’s powers before. Despite being so tiny, it was able to suppress ordinary spirits. Especially since the water ghost hadn’t expected it. Actually, even I didn’t think this fellow would have brought along his old dad’s heirloom.
There was a thump as though something had fallen heavily into the water. The resulting splash was several meters tall. Then, “Nana” vanished.
“Go, quickly!” Ah Zhan called to me. I didn’t have time to look back, and merely struggled forwards. The students on the shore also desperately pulled us in. We thus rolled and crawled back onto the shore. Before we could catch our breaths, the students started making another ruckus. It turns out that Zhao Jiang was back, and he had actually rescued Nana!
The normally frail, unremarkable and most shy Zhao Jiang had actually been the hero who saved the beauty! The others hadn’t been as calm and were fooled by the illusion. They had almost become corpses in the water.
In a daze, I looked over at the water. Strangely, I saw a piece of red clothing floating on the surface. Even in the darkness I could tell it was so beautiful, the embroidered flowers so vivid and lifelike, the glossy silk revealing an alluring glow beneath the waves. It floated on the surface as though it were alive, silently, unmoved by the current. It seemed to be watching us, unreconciled, releasing a soul-pulling charm!
“What is that?” The students had finally calmed down and had seen that thing. They couldn’t help but ask. Some of the girls even seemed possessed, insisting on finding something to fish it up.
“Hurry and leave. Don’t look back at it!” Ah Zhan cried loudly. He essentially forced everyone to leave, pushing them towards the forest and away from the weird pond!
It was still raining. We hurried away with only our personal belongings. Yet the moment we left the pond, we heard the crying of an infant!
Have you ever heard an infant’s cry that makes your hairs stand on end? I have, at that time!
Furthermore, we didn’t do a proper headcount, and didn’t realize we had an additional “person” in our group.