Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The fish swimming in the river was mainly salmon.
Salmon were anadromous fish. They would live in rivers and streams for one to five years before swimming out to the sea for the next two to four years. When it came to the spawning period, they would migrate back to their birthplace to lay eggs and complete their life cycle.
The Podkamennaya Tunguska River was one such source for salmon. Salmon usually lived in the river, but most of the salmon present at this time were not fully grown up. The salmon would be the fattest in August when they swam back.
Now the group of people did not care about how fat the salmon was. They had been eating dried meat every day and had not had fresh meat for a long time, so their main concern was about how they would catch the fish.
“Any nets?” Li Du asked.
Steve pulled out a crossbow-like weapon and shook his head. “Who would bring a net to a venture in Siberia? Here’s a fish gun, that’s more fun!”
In recent years, the United States has introduced many modern fish guns. The reason for this was that Asian carp invaded North American lakes and rivers. The local government constantly encouraged people to keep the invading carp population under control.
The main part of the gun was the optic function. The lens was divided into two parts. Because the water would cause the refraction of light, the gun’s optical mechanism automatically corrected the line of sight.
Li Du took a gun to shoot fish. He stood by the river and aimed at a big fish. He pulled the trigger and a fishing rod with an arrow flew out…
Too bad, he missed…
The arrow passed close to the fish’s head and almost hit the mark. The frightened fish dipped headlong into the water and disappeared.
The little ones, who were looking on, shook their heads. Ah Meow opened his mouth and let out a sigh.
Little Ford noticed that, and said in amazement, “Did I see what I think I saw? Did the little fellow sigh with regret that you missed the fish?”
Li Du smiled and said, “Well, you must have been mistaken.”
“Animals sigh a lot. However, it has nothing to do with their feelings. They sigh to clear their lungs, not to express feelings like humans,” said Steve.
“Of course, what emotions can animals have?” said Big Ford casually.
Steve shook his head. “No, of course, animals do have emotions. They have rich feelings just like we do.”
Li Du did not participate in discussing such topics, because he did not want to reveal that the five little ones were special.
He went to another place to shoot fish, and his pets followed him.
Standing on a small field by the river, Li Du raised his gun to aim at the fish. This time, he already had some experience. First, he followed the movement of the fish with his eyes and observed its behavior pattern. When he felt that it was time, he waited for the right moment when the salmon stopped and quickly shot it.
The sharp arrow went right through the water and hit the fish.
Li Du smiled and tried to pull the fish out, but as he stepped forward, he suddenly noticed something was wrong. His feet were stuck in the mud.
When walking in the taiga, getting bogged down was common. There was no need to be panic. The earth had low temperatures all year round, and the soil was very hard. Even if there was mud, it was usually a soft layer on the surface, and the frozen soil below was hard like stone.
Li Du did not panic at first. He wanted to pull out, but he could not move, and with the passing minutes, he felt his body gradually sinking. At first, the soil was just above his ankles, but now he was submerged deeper with each moment.
By this time, he could no longer pull his feet out, and the mud, like a black hole, threatened to swallow his legs.
Luckily, he was wearing high-top leather boots, which reached up to his knees to keep him warm. The mud could not get into them for now.
He struggled and struggled, but instead of succeeding in pulling his feet out, he sank deeper and deeper.
Ah Meow and the others did not understand what was happening. They looked down at their feet and found that they were fine.
Li Du knew he could do no more by himself, so he quickly shouted, “Hey, help me, I am trapped in the swamp!”
Brother Wolf and the others, who were smoking at some distance from him, threw away their cigarette butts to dash forward. Li Du motioned them not to get close too quickly. “Go back a little! If you all sink too, we are doomed!”
Steve came hurrying up with a fish in his hand and said, “What’s going on, what happened? How can there be a swamp?”
With a steady nod of his head, Hankway said, “Yes, swamps are common here, so don’t travel alone, in case there’s no one to help you when you sink in.”
He handed Li Du a coil of rope, and when Li Du grabbed it, Hank and several of the Nenets began pulling him out of the mud like a tug-of-war.
Little Ford laughed. “It’s like pulling a turnip out of the marsh, isn’t it?”
Li Du wanted to laugh too, but he could not.
Although the rope was tugging at him, he felt that he was still sinking and whether it was an illusion or not, he also felt something pulling at him underneath!
The Nenets were frustrated and a little worried.
Seeing Li Du had sunk up to his knees, they realized he would soon sink all the way to his upper thighs if he kept on like this, and that would be really troublesome.
“F**k, what’s the matter?” Luo Qun was worried too and uncharacteristically cursed aloud.
The five little ones finally understood what was happening. They ran up and bit on Li Du’s clothes to drag him out.
Li Du tried to calm down and said, “Don’t worry, there are so many people here, I’m sure it will be OK. It’s just that I felt something pulling my leg from below…”
Upon hearing this, Hankway shivered and said, “Could it be your imagination?”
Li Du felt it again and said, “It’s not my imagination, I’m sure.”
There was a look of panic on their guides’ faces. Hudi said, “Could it be Mud Grim? Did Li Du meet a Mud Grim? Go get the oil, now!”
“What is a Mud Grim?” asked Li Du.
Hankway explained hurriedly, “One of the most fearsome devils in Siberia. It is hiding in swamps and has dozens of tentacles. If someone, human or animal, enters its territory, it will use its tentacles to drag them into the swamp and eat them.”
Luo Qun waved her hand in disdain. “Superstition!”
“But it’s here now!” cried Hankway, pointing to the mud.
Sophie said, “What are you arguing for? Hurry up and pull Li out first!”
Hudi and the others went to the car and came back running with a canister of oil in their hands. When Li Du saw it was olive oil, he laughed and said, “Are you going to cook me in a stew and eat me?”
“You can still laugh?” Hankway said in a shaky voice. “You are brave, boss!”
Hudi threw the canister at him and said, “Pour it on your boots, quickly, so the tentacles of the Mud Grim won’t be able to hold on to you!”
Despite showing his brave face, Li Du was worried too. He quickly poured olive oil around his boots but doubted it would be useful.
Indeed, the olive oil could not seep so fast into the mud. The group continued to pull but still could not get Li Du out. It seemed to be true that something was pulling Li Du down from below.