I Was Once a Legend, Chapter 3: Saved in Time

“Brother?”

Hearing Dong Zheng’s voice, Dong Linhai, who was originally hiding with a shovel around the corner and was ready to bash the other person’s head in at any time, poked his head out.

Seeing that it was indeed Dong Zheng, he breathed out a sigh of relief and said, “I thought it was someone else. Has the zombie been solved?”

“Arabidopsis is over there.” Dong Zheng didn’t say much. He continued to squat down and check the ranger’s pockets. A box of matches and a pack of cigarettes were pulled out from the inside. There were only three cigarettes left in the cigarette case. The tobacco had become sticky with age and could not be smoked.

“Can rangers smoke?” Dong Linhai asked.

“It should be possible if it’s not a non-smoking area.” Dong Zheng put the cigarette back, tried to swipe a matchstick, and saw that it worked. As a result, he threw the matchbox into his bag.

Dong Linhai also started to search the cabin. He had heard a slight noise from the window as soon as he entered through the back door. He quickly rushed to prepare the shovel to hit the enemy, and he hadn’t had time to take a closer look.

Dong Zheng pulled out a pocket-sized work manual from the ranger’s chest pocket. The manual was a kind of hard-skin notebook, and the paper was a bit crisp and was written in Spanish. Dong Zheng had studied Spanish when he was at university, and he could understand some of it but could only guess at the rest.

It noted that the forest ranger found a unconscious man while he was out patrolling the forest. He kindly took the man back to take care of him. Before fainting, the young man claimed to be a troubadour who had lost his way in the forest, When he left, the young man gave the pendant on his flute to the caregiver out of gratitude and left with an unknown tune.

Since then, strange things began to happen in the forest one after another. During a forest tour, the ranger’s dog ran out to play and never came back. The captive chickens and ducks ran over the fence one night towards the southeast. Birds fled, while the sounds of the flute could be faintly heard.

Even more strange was that he found a cellar in the yard, and there seemed to be something under the bottomless stairs, the content of which was not mentioned.

The ranger did not dare to go down into the cellar and decided to go outside the forest to call others for help.

Dong Zheng turned over the next page. There should be the last log on it, but it was covered by a large blood stain.

The remaining half of the book was completely blank. The two pages at the back also recorded the expenditures for the purchase of daily necessities. The final outcome was obvious. The ranger was killed here before he could go out.

Dong Zheng put the notebook in his bag, turned his head but didn’t see Dong Linhai. He shouted, “Linhai?”

“Here!” Dong Linhai’s voice came from the direction of the backyard. “Brother, I found a cellar!”

Dong Zheng ran out immediately. The structure of the hut was very simple with a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. Dogs, chickens and ducks were raised in the front yard. The backyard was used to grow vegetables. It was already overgrown with grass, and there was a pressure pump well in the middle.

The cellar appeared suddenly in the southeast corner, with the door opened. Dong Linhai crouched beside it, holding a horse lantern and trying to look inside using the light.

“I saw it as soon as I entered the yard.” Ding Linhai raised his head and asked, “Do you want to go in and see?”

“I just retrieved the ranger’s log, which said that the cellar suddenly appeared in his yard, and the bottom of the stairs could not be seen. There seemed to be something continuously howling inside. He was strangled alive.” Dong Zheng summarized lightly and asked, “Do you still want to see it now?”

Dong Linhai: …………………….

Dong Linhai said, “No, this definitely requires us to look. The more you say this, the more proof there will be clues below.”

Dong Zheng said, “Yes, I’m just giving you some forewarning. Don’t react too much if you encounter something strange.”

Dong Linhai looked back at the cellar’s mouth, and the idea of turning back began to look enticing. He was just an 18-year-old boy. He came here with Dong Zheng and so it wasn’t difficult to pass the previous novice level. In fact, he indifferently passed through after Dong Zheng and didn’t get much exercise at all.

Though, to be honest, he now felt a little scared.

Dong Linhai sighed, “Brother, why didn’t I find you so bad before?”

“If I don’t remind you, after going down without any mental preparation, if you encounter something, you will feel that I am even worse.” Dong Zheng swiped a match and reached in. Seeing that it could burn quietly, he made a preliminary determination that the oxygen content inside had no problem. Taking the lantern from Dong Linhai, he said, “Follow me.”

The two stepped down the stairs and walked deep into the cellar. It was not too dry here. There were traces of moss at the corners, and there were sticky substances at the soles of their feet but Dong Linhai did not want to know why. The horse lantern illuminated a small staircase in front, and the black shadow slanting below seemed to have no end. There was a peculiar smell in the air, which made him want to vomit.

The stairs were very narrow, almost dormitory room wide. Both sides of the wall gave people a sense of suffocation. Dong Linhai could only hide his tension with the words, “What’s that smell?”

“I don’t know.”

They fell into silence. Dong Linhai swallowed and couldn’t help but lean closer to Dong Zheng. Twenty-six-year-old Dong Zheng was taller than Dong Linhai, who was still developing. His back was solid and reliable, though with wounds wrapped in gauze. The bleeding was faint, and it looked painful but he didn’t seem to care.

Dong Zheng noticed his brother’s tension and looked back at him, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”

Dong Linhai quipped, “I’m not afraid.”

Dong Zheng hummed and stopped talking.

Dong Linhai wanted to cry without tears. Adults are really hateful. Why didn’t he say more? Didn’t he feel terrified?

Fortunately, the stairs had come to an end, and when he walked down to the last step, his view was immediately widened. They were located in a very large “room”. The room was not furnished very much. There was a chair in the center and one of the legs was broken. It was slightly skewed but could still stand firm.

There were two kerosene lamps on the wooden table and a roll of parchment books. Dong Zheng glanced at it for a few moments. He could recognize that it was in Latin, but he couldn’t understand it. A huge double-door cabinet leaned against the wall beside it, covered with lot of dust and cobwebs.

On the other wall, a small space was opened separately. There was nothing but a straw bed and a wooden barrel for excretion. Iron railing surrounded it, making it obviously a prison. However, several iron rods were deformed, revealing a large hole, as if the person inside had broken the cage apart from within.

The strange smell came from inside. Dong Zheng was not interested in finding the source of the odor and told Dong Linhai, “The door was opened when you first discovered the cellar, meaning that the thing that was caged inside had already run out. It might have been what killed the ranger.”

Dong Linhai said, “Ah?”

He added, “That means there will be no danger here for a while?”

“Not necessarily. Let’s search and see if there are any useful clues or props.” As Dong Zheng once again turned his eyes to the sheepskin roll on the table, his intuition told him that this thing might be a key prop.

Dong Zheng lit a lamp with a match and began to delve into the content above, trying to find something he could understand, while Dong Linhai carried the horse lantern and searched around.

He burrowed into the cell, dismantled the bed, and found a double-barrel hunting gun in the gap of the bed board. After removing the dung barrel, two boxes of large-caliber hunting ammunitions were found underneath. A box of medicines fixed with adhesive tape was found in a place difficult to see.

All in all, within five minutes, Dong Linhai didn’t even let go of the mouse hole and searched all the places that could be searched.

Sure enough, this was a key location. But, with so many supplies…it always gave him a bad feeling. Just like playing a horror game, there must be supplies before the war began.

As if, once they leave the cellar, they might encounter enemies or something.

As Dong Linhai thought this, he turned his eyes to the only wardrobe that had not been searched by him. He carried the lamp in one hand and opened the cabinet with the other hand.

Dust rose, and he subconsciously held his breath. The dust in the dim light disturbed his sight, but in the next second, he still clearly saw the bandaged body in the closet, which was as dry as if exposed to dozens of years of sun and cold wind. Its dark eyes were watching him, and its mouth was opened to the extreme, like a sinister smile.

Dong Linhai’s eyes widened in horror. He wanted to yell, but just before his voice exited, the corpse rushed up with lightning speed and gripped his neck with both hands like iron tongs, suppressing all the sounds in his chest.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Dong Linhai smelled the sweet odor coming from the dry corpse’s mouth. The bones wrapped in shriveled skin tightened over his trachea. The strong boy tried his best to break those hands, but he couldn’t loosen them. His face flushed.

He remembered that Dong Zheng had said that the ranger was strangled to death.

Brother!

Dong Zheng, who was looking at the roll of sheepskin with his back to him, was unaware of all this. He frowned, his fingers tracing a pattern on the table.

The strong sense of suffocation made Dong Linhai’s vision turn black, leaving only the corpse’s strange and evil smile in front of him. His hands no longer had any strength, and his cervical vertebrae made a dangerous click, sounding as if it would break in the next second.

……Brother!!

Was he really going to die?

The pressure behind the eyeballs made it difficult for Dong Linhai to see. He suddenly felt lighter, just as relaxed as he’d been with the whole family on the island of Maldives, taking in the sea breeze and sipping coconut juice—Yeah, why did he come to this monstrous place when he could run on the beach?

It was all a dream. Wake up.

“Bang—!”

A loud noise burst through the horizon and in front of his ears. The skeleton-like hands that gripped him finally released. The burning sensation of air flowing back into his lungs made Dong Linhai burst into tears from the pain. His throat was like a spitting lung; he couldn’t stop coughing. He stepped back and hit the wall, his eyes dizzy, and vaguely heard Dong Zheng shouting.

“Go up!”

Dong Linhai barely pinpointed the direction of the stairs. He stumbled to his feet and ran up, just as Dong Zheng picked up the kerosene lamp and struck the corpse’s back with it. He drew his dagger from his waist and thrust it into the gaping mouth!

The dagger penetrated the corpse’s entire brain stem, but it was still able to move and wanted to grab Dong Zheng’s neck.

Dong Zheng slammed the handle of the dagger with a punch, and while the corpse was forced to tilt his head back, he kicked his foot into its abdomen before taking the opportunity to turn his head and run.

Dong Linhai almost collapsed when he climbed through the cellar. He staggered and took another two steps before finally lying down on the wild grass. He had never felt that breathing was such a painful and blissful thing, causing severe pain, but really and truly telling him that he was still alive.

Dong Zheng ran out immediately afterwards. But the corpse behind him seemed to be chasing up too. He laboriously lifted the cellar door, trying to close it. However, the cellar door was much heavier than he thought. Dong Zheng was wounded, and he ran up all the way. His shoulders were already oozing blood, making his physical strength completely inferior to how it would have been at his peak state. It was difficult for him to move it at all.

On the windless night, the crow lamented shrilly, and he could hear the scream of the corpse at the bottom of his feet. Dong Linhai had fallen to the side outside, barely able to move. As the elder one, should he try to run or stay and fight hard?

Dong Zheng made a decision almost without thinking. He drew out the double-barreled hunting gun that his brother had given him and that he’d tucked under his back. He aimed at the cellar.

He didn’t know if there were any bullets in the gun.

This was life or death.

At this very moment, a small stone flew from behind Dong Zheng, traversed a parabola in the air, and fell into the mouth of the pit without any errors.

That gruesome howl stopped abruptly.

“It seems that I came at the right time,” came the teenager’s careless voice. He tossed a handful of stones in his hand and walked to Dong Zheng, leaning his toes against the heavy cellar door. With a slight effort, he kicked it and completely blocked the cellar mouth.

Dong Zheng’s blood-stained bandages made Cui Zuojing frown. He sighed helplessly and raised his hand to press down the muzzle of the unloaded hunting gun.

—They’d only been separated for a short while and this person was already like this. Does this person really have the abilities he needs?

 

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Dreamer
Dreamer
3 years ago

DZ seems to be the “intellectual” type of person in the group. As for DL it seems he will have some personal growth in the future. As of now he’s reliant on his older brother and I’m looking forward to him gaining his own strengths.

Ketkai
Ketkai
2 years ago

Good good, all of them has the potential for character development in the future

Haruki Natsuyu
Haruki Natsuyu
2 years ago

DLH is your usual idiot, stupidly seeking for death character. I hope be grows up in the future. Everything he does is idiocy. They are in a dangerous world yet he always opens danger danger danger so irritating. He deserves that punch and kick of MC in the prev chaps

Maria
Maria
2 months ago

I like that we get to see different angles of the story and not just one set pov.