Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
However, these people were fearless. They were not cowards, and after they found that Li Du and his party had powerful weapons, they raised their own shotguns to confront them.
Li Du was wrong in his initial estimate. These men had not only shotguns in their hands but also rifles, which looked like the famous AK-47s.
The AK-47 and M16 used to be the most widely manufactured weapons in the world, but big Ivan’s M4A1 was more lethal than the M16.
There were six people, covered with dirt and grass, who looked as if they had just emerged from the ground.
The men pointed at Li Du and the others and continued to roar, but Li Du did not understand Russian. He called the four little ones back first because the other side was holding guns and he was unwilling to take risks.
The four little ones were very smart. They knew that guns were dangerous and immediately ran back when they were called, afraid that they would be shot.
Big Ivan, Madman, and Firecracker were also holding their guns, their faces unconcerned. They did not care what the men were shouting about, but moved their guns to aim at everyone.
The Caucasian dogs that were bullied before limped back upon seeing the arrival of their masters. They were covered with multiple wounds after the brief encounter.
The only dog that was not bleeding was the Caucasian that fought with Ali, but though it had no open wounds, one side of its head was so swollen that its eye could not be seen.
The man on the other side was still yelling. Li Du came forward and asked, “Do you speak English?”
A young blond man from the group said in English, “Where do you come from? Get out! Get out of our place!”
Li Du pointed to the ground and said, “Is this your territory?”
“Sure, this is our place. What are you doing here?” the blond young man shouted irascibly while he waved his hand.
Car engines roared and several heavy SUVs roared like steel giants, tearing through the taiga.
The car stopped, and Brother Wolf and the others jumped out.
Seeing that their opponents were numerous and fully equipped, the facial expression of the six-man group changed rapidly.
There were two people behind the motorcade who had been talking and laughing at the scene, but with the heavy SUV’s arrival, the two men fell into shocked silence and hurried over with their guns to back them up.
Nevertheless, the winning momentum and force were on Li Du’s side. Their opponents’ two pickup trucks were as pitiful as children’s toys compared to their heavy SUVs.
The blond young man’s attitude changed. He said with a stiff face, “Ha, what are you doing here? Are you grave diggers too? Then you have to know the rules. There’s always a first come, first served agreement, right?”
Li Du looked at the blond young man in surprise. “You are gravediggers?”
The man nodded. “Yes, aren’t you? What are you doing here?”
Grave digging was one of many eccentric pursuits in the vast Siberian region.
As the name implied, gravediggers would exhume bodies from the ground. They were not, however, tomb robbers; tomb robbing was illegal in all countries. The gravediggers would not excavate ordinary cemeteries. What they looked for were unmarked tombs.
There had been many wars in the course of Russian history, such as Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. Both sides fought a brutal war on Russian soil, with heavy casualties.
There were also the dynastic wars between tsarist Russia and the Bolsheviks in 1917, and the Soviet Union’s later wars to counter the rebellion of its various republics, as well as wars between many tribes and ethnic groups in Siberia.
In short, Russia was a war-riddled country, and the dead bodies of soldiers or civilians were often buried unmarked in the ground.
This was the kind of place that gravediggers would look for. They were most interested in the old battlefields and would often go looking for the graves of fallen soldiers.
Because of the rush to evacuate the battlefield, many soldiers still carried good things like old guns, watches, gold teeth, and various equipment. With some luck, the gravediggers might find a fallen soldier’s heirlooms.
Exhumers would make their money by digging up these things. It was a controversial enterprise, but because exhumers also look for bodies of red army soldiers and gave them more dignified burials, the government has left them alone, tacitly accepting that the business existed.
However, they were not allowed to dig up private graves, only communal war burial sites.
In order to protect the business, there were rules in the industry. If a group of exhumers arrived at an area, they had first right to that area’s graves.
Therefore, Li Du said, “That’s a mistake. We are not diggers. We’re ivory hunters, just here for a short stay…”
While he spoke, a big man opposite him started talking energetically to the young blonde man.
Li Du asked, “What did the fellow say?”
The young man said, “Nothing in particular, he asked what you were up to, and I tried to explain.”
Big Ivan whispered, “He’s lying. That son of a bitch told the young man to drive us away by any means possible.”
At this, Li Du’s brow furrowed as he looked at the muddy earth heaped up near the car in the distance and considered releasing the little bug.
The young blonde-haired man walked up and smiled. “Hey guys, where are you from? You aren’t Russian, judging from your accent, right?”
“We are from the United States, came here to look for mammoth tusks,” said Li Du.
The blonde youth nodded. “Oh, well, we’ve dug mammoth tusks too, but it’s too hard. There’s no way to trace them. It depends on mere luck, so it is better to dig up graves.”
Li Du smiled and said, “You need to be lucky to be a digger too, otherwise you would only find piles of rotten bones. What can you earn then?”
“We do it not only to make money but also to appease the dead. More importantly, we can find those elders who died for the freedom of our country, and we can gather their bones and find a place of rest for them,” said the young blond man strictly.
Li Du said with a solemn expression, “That’s a noble cause.”
The young man laughed again and said, “Of course, we need to make money from it too. Foreign stuff, especially, is worth a lot of money. Look, we dug out some good stuff this time.”
He took out a few rusty lighters, belt buckles, spurs, silver crosses, and other similar stuff from his pocket. According to the decoration, they were of German origin.
However, Li Du didn’t think they had just dug them up, because they were too clean.
The little bug has flown to the hole they dug beside the car. It went in and took a look. Li Du changed his vision, and then gave a furtive sigh of relief.
His hunch was right that these men were not really looking for war relics of the red army. They were digging out coffins there were buried here.
On the battlefield, the warring parties could not have time to put the bodies of their opponents or comrades into coffins to bury them. They would just bury them on the spot. The most they could do was place their comrades’ bodies as neatly as possible in the burial ground.