Before anything else could happen that would make his plan go awry like Liu Cheng returning from whatever he was doing right now, Shun Tao hurriedly drafted Zhong Jing Yi’s fate. He kept the brush in hand just to make sure that he could react in time should something unexpected happen as well. After all, he just couldn’t feel safe with this specific fate. Too much had gone wrong already. For now, things seemed to stay on track though.
Back in the mortal world, Zhong Jing Yi had just found out that he was trapped in that hole in the ground and stared up into the darkness in misery, feeling hopeless. Great. Just great. He should have known that something like this could happen! Now what was he supposed to do?
He paced from one side of the hole to the other, feeling frantic. He had no idea where exactly he was and after falling down, he also didn’t know which direction was which anymore. He could only hope that the light he had seen before would still be there so he could continue further toward it. First of all, he needed to get out of here though.
Jing Yi patted the wall in front of him and then reached up, trying to get a feeling for how high this hole was. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach the rim. It seemed that wherever it ended, it was somewhere above his head. He jumped up, making the water that had gathered at the bottom of the hole splash. But even like this, he wasn’t able to touch the rim of the hole.
Jing Yi sighed but he was far from giving up. Groping around in the darkness again, he finally found the roots he had noticed before. If he was lucky, he might be able to climb up using them. He held onto them tightly and tugged lightly to make sure that they wouldn’t rip out of the earth just like the stones before. When they held fast, he put a foot against the earth and then tried moving upward.
For a moment, things were looking good. His expression lit up and he once again grabbed upward, feeling for the roots again to climb higher. When he pulled his foot after him, the earth crumbled below it though and he tumbled down with a yelp though.
His robe was stained with water, making him wince. Thankfully, he had gotten a little better with dealing with this kind of thing or he would really freak out right now. Still, he couldn’t help but wish to get out of there and hopefully find a way to rid himself of this dirt soon. For now, he had to focus on the task at hand though.
He grabbed the roots again and repeated the process. One step up, then another … This time, the root ripped in half, once again making him fall and land on the ground with a splash.
Jing Yi gritted his teeth. How was he so unlucky? He tried to pick himself up but just then, the rain that had been incessantly falling intensified, the original patter turning into a whooshing sound while the big droplets seemed to become thousands of sharp little weapons when hitting his skin.
Jing Yi closed his eyes and held back from sighing. There was nothing he could do about this. He just had to see that he managed to get out soon. He took a deep breath and then got up, once again patting at the wall to find one of the roots. While it hadn’t worked out the first two times, he might have more luck the next time around. After all, some of these roots might be more stable than others.
He finally grabbed onto one of them, tugged at it, and then tried to climb. He made it two steps up before the ground once again collapsed under his feet. This time, he held onto the root though and managed to stabilize his footing at another spot.
Jing Yi smiled to himself, feeling like his chances weren’t so poor after all. He reached up and wanted to pull himself up but slipped. He fell down, once again tumbling to the bottom of the pit.
Jing Yi cursed and slapped the ground, making the water around him splash. “This stupid rain!” He looked up but only managed to get a spray of cold water into his face. He shook his head, making the droplets fly, and then got up again.
This time around, the water had made the root too slippery to hold onto it. Otherwise, he really might have made it out this time. Well, since he had gotten closer to his goal, he might have more luck next time. At the very least, he knew to also look out for that now.
He went over, rubbed his hands at his robe in the hope that they could dry at least a little, and make this easier. It hardly helped though. By now, his whole robe was wet. Well, some spots were worse than others. By now, the water in the hole had risen up to his ankles, completely soaking his boots. Compared to that, the rest of his robe was still quite dry.
Jing Yi grabbed the same root as before and once again made another attempt. But just like the last few, luck wasn’t with him. Over and over again he fell down, either because the earth beneath his feet crumbled or because the roots ripped apart or because he somehow lost his balance one way or another. It was as if this place was cursed!
The worst of all was that the constant pouring of the rain hadn’t stopped for even a single moment and with how small the hole was, the water level was rising, making it even harder to climb up. It certainly didn’t help that water from the ground above poured down as well, turning the originally brittle ground into mud that made him slip more easily.
And Jing Yi soon realized another problem: If he didn’t get out of here soon, he might never get out. After all, despite learning a lot while traveling both with Jing Yi and with the merchants afterward, he had never learned to swim. He would drown wretchedly if no miracle happened.