RMN C112 Traces in the Sand

It didn’t take long for Yuan Lei to notice something. He signaled for Mei Chao Bing to come over and then motioned at a few traces that were left in the sand.

Mei Chao Bing raised his brows. “These should be rather fresh?”

Yuan Lei shook his head. “You might think so at first but look at where they are: The spot is protected from three sides and the top. It would take a long time to make them disappear completely. Judging from the slight fading at the edges, I’d say they have been here for at least a week.”

Mei Chao Bing pondered. “A week …” He turned to where Liu Bao Ru was working and waved for her to come over.

She lightly patted her junior martial sister’s arm and the two of them came over. Yuan Lei almost wanted to heave a sigh of relief. It seemed he also wouldn’t have to worry about this person.

Liu Bao Ru gave him a look as if she had noticed his gaze but she didn’t say anything and turned to Mei Chao Bing. “What might be the matter, senior martial brother Mei?”

“Yuan Lei and Yi Ju found traces that they assume to have been left behind at least a week ago. Can you remember when you came here?”

Liu Bao Ru pondered. The area was quite a bit away from the town so it should have taken them a while. Then again, they hadn’t acted like Gongsun Chen’s group that searched the area closest to the town completely before the moved forward. Instead, they had chosen a strip of the area, left the town for that part and then investigated it from the closest part to the one that was the furthest away. In the following days, they would move to another strip and do the same. As for this one … “We should have been here about one and a half weeks ago.”

Mei Chao Bing glanced at Yuan Lei who nodded in return.

“Yes, that could fit. Can you remember this spot?” He motioned at the place with the traces.

Liu Bao Ru tilted her head and took a moment to observe the spot. It looked a little like a bench or maybe a chest of some kind that was open on one side. “No, I don’t think so.” The truth was that their group leader hadn’t let her do much on account of the dangers despite her martial arts being the second-highest in their group so it was unlikely that she would have gotten into contact with anything suspicious.

Yuan Lei looked back at the thing, leaned down and reached in, trying to figure out what the person had been doing. It seemed like they had also just grabbed inside and randomly touched to see if there was anything inside.

Mei Chao Bing narrowed his eyes. “Try the upper side.”

Yuan Lei glanced at him but then turned his hand and touched the surface of the upper part. There were some faint lines engraved with some of them reaching deeper than others but he couldn’t make out if there was any deeper meaning to them.

He pulled back his hand and turned to Mei Chao Bing. “There is something. Some lines, maybe a pattern. I can’t say for sure.” He looked at the thing with furrowed brows. The opening was almost as big as a human head but only almost. There was no way he’d be able to take a look. At a place of demonic practitioners, that was likely intentional.

Mei Chao Bing also pondered. In the end, he crouched down and reached in himself, trying to feel the lines and see if he could figure something out. Unfortunately, he also came up with nothing.

“Maybe we could try to paint what we feel?” Yuan Lei didn’t look too convinced himself but it was the best he could come up with.

Mei Chao Bing nodded. “That seems to be the only way.” He got up and took out his map, turning it around so they could use the back when he noticed Yun Bei Fen’s gaze. “Is something the matter, Fen’er?”

“Uh …” Yun Bei Fen looked from Mei Chao Bing and the map to the thing on the ground and then back again. “Well, couldn’t we … use something shiny?”

Mei Chao Bing raised his brows. “Shiny? Like how?” He really couldn’t imagine what his little bunny was talking about.

Yun Bei Fen pursed his lips, looking a bit uncomfortable. “Well, you take anything shiny and then you hold it around the corner and tilt it. After that, when you look at the shiny thing, you can see what happens on the other side. I think it’s not really important what kind of thing it is but the shinier it is, the better.”

Mei Chao Bing stared at him in a daze. Just how had his little bunny come up with this?

Being subjected to that gaze, Yun Bei Fen felt that he hadn’t done a good job. He looked around and finally, his gaze lit up. He took out his sword, pulled it out of the sheath, and then poked it into the sand in the opening. “Just like this!” Then he proceeded to turn the sword a bit in all directions while leaning over it.

Mei Chao Bing shook himself out of his thoughts and also looked at the sword. Indeed. He could see the underside of the thing reflected in the blade. As for what it was … He furrowed his brows and then looked at Yuan Lei. “It could be a mural of sorts? Although that is strange in this kind of …” He looked at the bench-shaped thing with some doubt. Why would the demonic practitioners do something like this?

Yuan Lei nodded though. “It looks indeed a bit like one. Or maybe it’s a part of a bigger one since the surface is so small. May I?” He turned to Yun Bei Fen and held out his hand.

Yun Bei Fen tensed and hugged the sword to his chest.

Mei Chao Bing sighed. “The sword isn’t the best object to use considering the length. I suppose nobody brought a bronze mirror with them?”

Yi Ju sheepishly raised her hand. “I … I may have.”

Mei Chao Bing looked at her in a daze. This girl … She was almost on the same level as Yun Bei Fen in regard to the surprises she could bring.

« ToC »

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