Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Two military radios for a treasure location was a worthy deal. Li Du felt that way, at least, so he agreed.
Thus, he got a map, a detailed hand-drawn map of a spot in the Arctic Ocean.
“It won’t be easy to find the hidden cemetery. You’ll have to cross the ice caps and straits, and eventually dive into the water, and you’ll have to know that narwhals don’t die in the shallows,” said the old man with the plait.
Li Du tapped the map and said, “Are you sure this is useful?”
The old man took out an official map and compared the two. Both maps were almost the same, except that the hand-drawn version had a smaller scale and described some characteristic landmarks, which the official map did not include.
Veterans were masters at cartography, and in their era had to be able to hand-draw maps, which was an important job during the war.
The map showed that they should go north, right in the direction of the North Pole. The old man pointed to a red dot on an ice sheet and said, “This is the location of the invisible cemetery. You just dive down and you’ll find it.”
Li Du nodded. Brother Wolf took two radio transmitters and gave them to the veterans, who checked it as soon as they got it. When they made sure that the transmitters worked properly, the deal was completed.
The northern part of Severnaya Zemlya was deep in the Arctic Circle, but the invisible cemetery was even farther north, almost all the way to the North Pole.
If the weather was not predictable, they could not take a helicopter to the North Pole region. If they encountered an ice storm during a helicopter flight, it would be very dangerous.
The old man rubbed his hands and said, “You will have to go there by boat as we did. If there is a need, we can lend you a boat.”
“Really?” Li Du was surprised at his generosity.
The old man with the plait took them to the seaside by car. The tundra belt was only 20 kilometers away from the nearest coast, and the rangers would drive back and forth all year round. There was originally no road, but the frequently passing cars broke a track of sorts, so driving to the coast was a little easier.
There was a simple pier near the coast, made entirely of logs, where several weather-beaten boats were moored.
Looking at the rickety boats, Li Du asked, “Are these the boats you were talking about?”
The old man fondled the plait on his chin happily. “Yes, they are. How about them? If you are ready to do us a favor, you can choose any of them.”
“What kind of favor?”
“We got the information. The poacher ship is out at sea. They’ve been near the islands before, and the bastards we caught got off ships as well. So as you know, we want to fight against the poachers. We need your help.”
Listening to the old man’s words, Li Du thought of the transport ship that he observed from the car on the way here. The ship looked like it was heading for the ocean, and he did not see its appearance, but he guessed that it must be the poacher ship they were talking about.
Steve looked at Li Du and asked, “What do you think?”
Li Du shook his head. “This deal is impossible. First, it is the responsibility of the local police to catch the remaining poachers. Second, I dare not take the risk and use this boat to go out to sea.”
The old soldiers looked oblivious to the dangers of sailing a boat in such condition, but Li Du could not close his eyes to the danger.
The old man with the plait was not reconciled. “Can’t you do us this favor? There are no godd*amn cops on the island, no one from the mainland. We need your help, especially your helicopters.”
Steve touched his nose and said, “Li, come here a moment.”
Li Du followed him to the side, and Steve said, “You’re going to the North Pole? You are sure you are leaving soon, right?”
Steve said, “I don’t want to owe them. The rangers gave me meteorites that are worth a lot. I know that, so I want to help them out with those assholes.”
He paused, then added, “Of course, I also hate jerks like that, and that’s the more important reason I want to deal with them.”
“I’m going to the North Pole to look for treasure. You guys stay here and help the rangers. They just need helicopters anyway,” said Li Du.
Steve nodded. “That’s what I was thinking. Make your journey slow, and we will catch up with you.”
Li Du waved his hands and said, “There is no need of that, buddy. I can manage it myself. You stay back and look for meteorites.”
Steve was a little embarrassed. “This is a little awkward. Li, we all thank you for getting these meteorites. You’ve been a big help…”
“Then you do me one more favor. Bobby Blodwen has a good boat, one that is fit for sailing in these waters. Help me borrow it,” said Li Du.
Steve laughed. “That’s easy. All right, let’s do it this way. I’ll borrow the ship for you and help you prepare for your trip, but I’ll not follow along.”
According to the veterans’ information, the poacher ship was supposed to reach the shore for the first time in ten days.
Many people landed this time, not to confront the rangers, but mainly to poach. They wanted to trap the poachers before they started looting.
That was why the large group, consisting of more than three dozen men with guns, did not start an attack. They did not want to fight the rangers, they just wanted to keep them in camp.
Steve and the others had plenty of time. First, they took a helicopter ride with Li Du to the Blodwen family camp.
Bobby Blodwen was looking for meteorites on the island. When he saw the helicopter, he rushed towards his camp.
However, there were no roads on the island, and cars drove slowly, so there was an hour and a half between the moment he saw the helicopter and the time when he returned to camp.
On the way, he got a call from one of his men, shouting, “Boss, someone is trying to take our ship! They’re going to take away the Hammerhead Shark!”
“F**k them!” Bobby Blodwen roared in panic.
The voice on the other side of the line changed. Steve’s laughter sounded, “Hey, Bobby, pal, let me borrow your icebreaker. I have a friend who’s going to the North Pole.”
“Wait, I’ll talk to you when I get there, and we’ll discuss this in person,” Bobby Blodwen said, slamming the gas pedal.
“It’s not necessary to communicate face to face. Everyone is busy. Don’t worry, I’ll give the ship back to you when I’m done with it. There’s your crew on board, and it’s going to be taken care of. I’ll take the men back to you with the helicopter.”
Bobby Blodwen roared, “F**k you! You leave the helicopter with me! Give it back! Otherwise, you won’t be able to sail away! And my meteorites! Return my meteorites too!”
Steve said, “Two months at the most and I’ll give it back to you. Don’t worry, buddy. What’s a helicopter to people like us? Well, away goes the ship. Goodbye, brother!”