Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The usefulness of those supplies was put to test that evening and they could tell that the things Steve purchased were very useful indeed.
Steve had brought along some lard, butter, and oil into the village and contacted a few villagers to arrange for a place to stay, bartering the supplies in exchange for housing.
The villagers agreed happily and helped to arrange some wooden houses for them. The facilities in the houses were familiar to Li Du. There were fireplaces that helped to keep them warm and comfortable.
The little animals liked the warmth and when Li Du opened the door to one house, the animals hopped to the fireplace and found a spot where they could rest. They curled up before the fireplace, snug and comfortable.
No matter what, someone had to supervise the little ones. Sophie pushed the animals to a corner and let the smaller ones lie on her in order to make the best of the space.
Ah Ow was unhappy about that and pushed Ah Bai away with its head. Ah Bai turned angry and pointed at Ah Ow with its eyes wide-open, calling out provocatively.
Sophie smiled gently and said, “Ah Ow, you’ve got to be more obedient. You are all a team. A team should get along together.”
Ah Ow showed her fangs and stood up in a menacing manner.
Li Du rushed over and pulled Ah Ow out. He pushed Ah Ow against the door and said, “If you don’t want to let the others have space in front of the fireplace, then you stay out and watch the door tonight!”
A gust of wind blew and the temperature was very cold. The difference in temperatures between inside and outside the house was dramatic. Ah Ow was so cold that she shivered.
That taught Ah Ow a lesson. She returned to the fireplace and squeezed in with Ah Bai. Ah Ow became the most obedient of all the animals for the rest of the time spent in the house.
Li Du clapped his hands and said to Sophie, “These animals are all very sneaky. They won’t become good without a sharp lesson.”
It was pretty comfortable sleeping by the fireplace. If it were not for the fact that he had to help Steve to search for meteorites, Li Du would have gladly stayed in the village for the rest of the summer.
It was too bad that he could not lead that comfortable life for long.
The next day, they were getting ready to leave the village. Seeing that Li Du was reluctant, Steve smiled. “In a few days, I’ll bring you to a nicer place. At that time, you will realize that this is nothing.”
The place where they had set foot was the second largest island in the Severnaya Zemlya and was called the Bolshevik Island. It spanned an area of over 10,000 square kilometers. Thirty percent of the area was covered by glaciers. The terrain was rugged and there were many mountains and hills.
After meeting up with the meteorite hunters in Vorkuta, the number of their party had increased to more than fifty.
The eight heavy-duty SUVs were packed full. In addition, there were some mountain bikes and ATVs that joined the team. In short, their party had become huge.
It was already May when they arrived at the Bolshevik Island. The temperature had increased slightly, and when they set off, they encountered a fog.
The fog had come from the sea, seemingly from nowhere. However, it was very strange because it was not like any fog they had formerly seen. It covered the sky and the land in a thick blanket, floating slightly above the ground.
The height of the fog above ground was about half a meter. One’s vision would not be affected if one squatted down. However, standing up, they could only see a few tens of meters ahead.
The worst part was, after the fog appeared, it turned very dense quickly. Initially, they could see a little further, but very soon, their field of vision narrowed down, and finally, they could only see a few meters ahead.
At that point, the fog had turned extremely dense. If the sky were darker, they would hardly have been able to see their own hands!
As the vision was poor, the car drove along very slowly. There were no highways on the island and they were in the wild. Hence, they had to lower their speed.
They were just about to leave the village when someone suddenly appeared at its border.
Driver, who was behind the wheel of the first car, slammed the brake and could not help but yell, “F*ck, you wanna die or what?”
The car was not going fast, but it was heavy and it took some effort to stop it. If they were traveling at a normal speed, Driver would not have been able to brake successfully in such a short distance.
Li Du got down from the car and asked, “Hi, old fellow, is there a problem?”
An old man without a shirt had appeared in front of the car. The old man was holding onto a walking stick and his armpit hair was long, almost reaching down to his chest.
The old man looked up and spoke in a language Li Du could not understand.
The cars behind them stopped and the guide that Steve had hired walked over. The guide was from a research institute on the island. Russia had a research institute formerly called Prim, nowadays known as Cape Baranov, on Bolshevik Island. Steve had also hired one of the locals as a security guard.
Their guide understood the local speech and walked over to talk to the old man.
Steve asked, “Andrey, what’s going on?”
Andrey was a big, strong Russian man. He turned his head around and said, “Mister Steve, this old man is the shaman of the village. He says that we cannot set off on a day like this.”
Li Du asked softly, “He can’t be serious, can he? What does a local shaman do?”
Hudi, who was beside him, answered, “It’s complicated to explain in detail. In simple terms, it’s someone old and wise who can talk to spirits.”
Steve asked again, “Why can’t we set off? Because it’s foggy and we might run into an accident? That’s fine. There are no other cars on the island. We can just drive slowly.”
Andrey continued to speak with the old man. Then he turned to them and said solemnly, “This man says that evil will come out on such a day. The evils from the deep Arctic Sea will come onshore. He suggests that we postpone our plans until the fog goes away.”
Hearing that, the bunch of them laughed. Needless to say, that was just superstition.
Andreyk said, “I’ve seen such weather. You know, I work in a research institute. I’m a scientist. However, science cannot explain why fog would float at a height above the land and the surface of the sea. It’s like something is blocking the fog.”
“Perhaps it has something to do with humidity, wind and the earth’s surface,” young Ford guessed.
Andrey shook his head. “I’ve heard about this man’s predictions in the past. Even our laboratory director spoke about that. The locals say that there are evil spirits coming onshore from the deep end of the Arctic. They bring the fog from the deep sea and hence, it is very cold.”
That point was true. The fog on the earth’s surface had appeared quickly and it was very, very cold. It was as though snow was floating above the earth’s surface. When it touched one’s skin, it felt freezing.
“Such an evil spirit releases the fog that is floating above the earth’s surface, and it looks for prey through the eyes on its legs. Its field of vision is not obstructed by fog, so it would be very dangerous to travel this day,” Andrey said seriously.
The laughter got louder and louder and Steve patted Andrey’s shoulder. Steve said, “This is just a spooky tale. If there is such a monster, we will catch it and bring it to the United States. If we do, we can earn more money that we can spend in ten lifetimes.”
Andrey felt somewhat unsettled and said, “How about if we wait for a while? The fog is gathering so quickly. It should be gone quickly too. Maybe we should wait for the fog to scatter before setting off?”
Steve shook his head and said, “We don’t have much time to waste. Help me thank this old man for his goodwill. Let’s continue our journey.”
The old man spoke again and Andrey went over to translate Steve’s words. Shaking his head, the man stood by the side and looked at the entourage as he mumbled to himself.
The car passed the old man and Li Du met his eyes through the window. Then he realized that the old man was blind.