The quiet mountain forest, full of birdsong and fragrant flowers, the mountain creek’s cool air were very comfortable.
A group of people was busily frolicking and setting up tents to build the campsite here.
This was a private camping trip organized by the co-workers in the company. Of course, all of the people participating were young men. As the older men were not up to the task of carrying gear for camping and hiking.
Originally, everyone had hoped that the company would organize a camping trip, but the company only organized group tours every year with the tour guides driving the bus. So this year, instead of joining the company organized tour, many of the co-workers decided to organize their own camping trip, with the people that have the experience of the outdoors leading the group.
It has only been two years since Ji Yuan joined the software company, his head was still black, so he belonged to the category of young men. Currently, he’s playing an online mobile game with another colleague after setting up the tent.
“Hey! Hey! Ji Yuan, Ji Yuan, hurried up and used ult to save me!!! Aghh!! I’m dead now!”
“What’s the point of using it for you? You would still die in two seconds, I might as well escape. Now let’s get a double kill in the bot lane…”
“How about you play marksman next then, I’ll support you!”
“No, no, no…I rather find someone else to play support”
Don’t look at the fact that this place was in the middle of mountain. A base station could be spotted at the top in the distance. So the two of them were able to play with their phones, with no worried about the Internet speed.
Naturally, there are places in China where the signals are extremely poor or even absent, but most people have long been used to having signals everywhere. This was brought by the improvement of infrastructure and equipment, which makes people unconsciously forget about signals.
They set up their tent on a relatively flat hill with a clear creek, the perfect spot for camping.
There were more than a dozen of people who came. A large crowd was now gathered outside taking photos, and a few were left adjusting their tents. Those who seem to be idle were Wang Gang, Ji Yuan, and Li Jun.
Wang Gang was ready to build a stone stove for barbecue. He looked around the camp. Ji Yuan and Li Jun were getting work to do.
“Ji Yuan, Li Jun, stop playing games and get some firewood. The fire is going to be ready soon, if not, you guys can eat cold canned food for lunch!”
A little further away, a colleague called out to the two people sitting at the entrance of the tent.
“Got it!!!” “OK!”
Li Jun and Ji Yuan both replied, and then looked at each other. Anyway, they were sprayed like dogs by their teammates, so they directly withdrew from the game.
The two men stood up and walked toward the edge of the forest, into a more denser shaded area.
There was no shortage of firewood in the forest, and fallen branches were everywhere. Li Jun dragged a large branch around, tossing it to and fro, from time to time, shouting “Drink, drink, ha, hey,” making him a fool in Ji Yuan’s eyes.
In order to avoid being infected by Li Juan’s craziness and being injured by his “crazy devil” stick technique, Ji Yuan hurriedly distances himself from the fellow.
Like many of today’s generation, Ji Yuan’s grandpa had a lot of brothers and sisters. When it came to his father’s generation, Ji Yuan’s father only had a child, so were Ji Yuan’s aunts.
Perhaps due to the descendants becoming fewer and more precious. Some simple and crude naming patterns from Ji’s older generation like “Jinhua, Yinhua, Guoxing, Cuifen” have suddenly become poetic in the grandchildren’s generation. His grandpa consulted his uncle who has been a geomancer for more than a decade to decide his name. He finally decided the name “Yuan”, which made the whole family very satisfied.
“Aah! The air in the mountain is refreshing!! This is why a trip should be held in a place with beautiful mountains and flowing rivers!”
Ji Yuan sighed. He was not in a hurry to pick up firewood. Instead, he strolled the woods first, and it would be easier to bring the firewood back on the return trip.
After walking around for a minute or so, Ji Yuan suddenly discovered that there were several ancient, majestic trees in front of him, larger than any surrounding trees by many diameters.
“Li Jun, come and see this, Li Jun!”
Ji Yuan cried. Yet he found Li Jun was busily playing with the stick, so he ignored him for the time being. He decided to take a look first and bring everyone later.
At a closer look, Ji Yuan has a more intuitive feeling about these trees.
Just the outer surface alone has many exposed roots, intertwined with the ground, with some are estimated to be a thigh thick.
‘Wow…Was there such a place of ancient trees here?’
Bullhead Mountain was not a well known tourist attraction, but it’s quite a popular barbecue and outing spot. Surely someone would have posted this place on the internet, right?
Ji Yuan casually thought, and then he spotted something on the other side of the ancient tree.
“Huh?!” A confused voice came out.
On the other side, in addition to several tall primeval trees, there’s a chessboard in the middle, specifically, on top of a tree stump.
Ji Yuan subconsciously walked a few steps forward to the edge of the tree stump where the chessboard was located.
Looking around, there were no warning signs to alert campers to pay attention, and certainly there were no chess players.
On the chessboard, the black stones and white stones were intertwined; black stones were like a formation; white stones were like a dragon; this was a textbook case of Chinese Go and the game was unfinished.
This made Ji Yuan a little curious. Does Bullhead Mountain want to develop a scenic spot?
But the chess board and its surroundings were already full of fallen leaves and dead branches, with bird droppings and rotten fruits scattered intermittently. It’s obvious that the board had been here for a long time, yet it was uncertain whether the game of go was real or just a decoration.
Then Ji Yuan spotted a special object next to the tree stump. It was a piece of rusty object, which had long been deformed and bulged due to the excess rust.
Ji Yuan took a few steps closer and examined the object, he felt the object resembled a rusted ax.
‘Wait! Is this the fable game of Go of Lan Ke Mountain!?’
The idea made Ji Yuan laughs. The decoration was quite similar to the legend and it drew Ji Yuan’s interest.
He returned to the game and took a closer look at the black and white stones on the board. Ji Yuan who was not familiar with Go, suddenly felt that the white stones became more and more odd. It was clear that the white stones could be linked to gain a stronger advantage, yet the white stones were being threaten by the surrounding, seemingly-chaotic placed black stones.
The point was that somehow, the white dragon missing its horn which made Ji Yuan’s hand itchy. He glanced at two wooden chess boxes beside the board a few times from the corner of his eyes, and unconsciously reached in and took out a white stone.
The white stone was so heavy that he felt like holding an iron weight, yet the stone also feels ceramic smooth. Ji Yuan guiltily look around for any person and decisively placed the white stone at the very center of the board, which was “Tian Yuan” in Go terminology.
“Pretty good!! I feel much more comfortable now!”
Ji Yuan clapped and took out his phone from his pocket to take a few pictures and record some videos, and then invite everyone to take a look.
He pressed the button to unlock several times, yet the unlock prompt never pop up.
“Holy cow! What’s going on? Why is there no power!?”
The phone was really out of power, Ji Yuan tried the power button, the phone started to vibrate but it’s then automatically shut down.
The phone still had at least 80% of the battery last he checked, but it’s suddenly shut down before he knew it.
He turned to look outside, and didn’t see Li Jun who was playing with the stick.
‘Forget it, let’s go grab the charger! ‘
With the idea in mind, Ji Yuan walked toward the camp, and in a few steps, he realized that it was getting a little dark.
And after a few minutes of walking, Ji Yuan was confused. He saw the trickling creek and the flat hill. But where was the campsite?
What was this situation? Not only did everyone in the company were not there, even the campsite was gone.
This was not a April Fool’s Day, so it would be foolish to dismantle the camp just for a prank after the camp was set up with difficulty.
As Ji Yuan look around, he saw two men in some kind of uniform resting by the creek in the distance, so he quickly approached them and asked.
“Excuse me buddy, have you seen where the campers here have gone? We just set up a camp not too long ago!”
The pair visibly shook and were startled by the sudden sound.
And then they looked at Ji Yuan in surprise. Although they were just resting, they were also paying attention to the surrounding people. So it was surprising to saw Ji Yuan who seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
One of them subconsciously answered the question.
“Camping? Just now? No one has been camping in Bullhead Mountain in the past two days. They are busy looking for the missing person.”
Ji Yuan was even more confused at the answer.
“Someone disappeared in the mountains?”
He checked before they organized the trip, there has been nothing happening here, even the weather would be good.
“Yeah, Someone has been missing for more than half a month. A young man named Ji Yuan went camping with his colleagues. By the way, who did you come here with? Where were your companions? Didn’t you know about the missing person?”
While the rescuer talked, the other carefully examined the person in front of them, thinking that he had similar characteristics to the missing person. While Ji Yuan on the side was stunned when he heard their remark.
‘Missing? Myself? Half a month?’
First, he felt absurd, and the second he felt that there was something wrong.
Before he had time to say more, a strong sense of dizziness came.
At present, Ji Yuan seems to lose all of his physical strength, followed by an intense wave of dizziness and weakness causing him to fall.
In the process, Ji Yuan’s body lost weight at the speed visible to the naked eye, and his lips became extremely dry and cracked as if they were rapidly weathered.
“Sir? Sir, what’s the matter with you? Watch out!”
“Hold him, hold him!!”
“Not good!!! Call for back-up!!!”
The last sound he heard was the startling scream of the two rescuers which sounded like it was coming from the sky.
A dried up mushroom currently addicted to translating novels. Totally not on caffeine!
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