Once or twice, it might be a coincidence, but every time‽ The fisher thought that something was amiss.
"But can you be sure that they are King Fishes? Is the dam enough to support two large fish?" From Chen Ge's perspective, it was already the dam's limit to keep one large fish.
"The water system in Jiujiang is complicated, and upstream of this dam is connected to many large rivers. When they were building this dam, people even discovered an underground stream, so there shouldn't be a lack of food." The man hesitated before adding, "This place used to be a very famous mass grave. Those without money would send the dead down the river, so this place not only had many big fishes, but they were also feral, and records of injury were fairly often."
"They feed on people..."
"That was a very long time ago, and things have improved a lot." The man picked up the fishing rod and silently closed the cover of the large red bucket that was next to it.
"What's inside that?"
"Fish bait, my own recipe. It's the reason that the King Fish take my bait." The man stood beside the bucket and shone the flashlight on the water surface. "The King Fish is very clever. After the scare today, it probably won't show up for several weeks. Such a shame."
When the man spoke, Chen Ge kept staring at the water bucket. The man did not use store bought bait, and it was radiating a very strange smell. Locking the bucket, the man picked up everything and started to walk toward a small hut next to the dam.
"What are you doing?" Chen Ge followed behind him. He felt that he could get more valuable clues from this man.
"You see those shiny dots on the water? The King Fish did not drag the luminous bobber down into the water, so I plan to haul them back. The bobbers are quite expensive." Knocking on the door, after some time, an honest-looking man pulled the door open. This was the man who had been standing behind the fisher earlier. He was not tall, only 1.6 meters. His skin was dark probably because he worked under the sun.
"Going back already? You're so early today. Don't you normally fish until 2 or 3 am?" The man's name was written on his name tag, Zhang Dabo, a worker at the dam.
The fisher took the opportunity to gloat, and he purposely lowered his voice and even gestured. "You're unlucky. Once you left, the King Fish took the bait. If you don't believe me, ask this young man. I almost caught the King Fish."
"The King Fish took the bait‽" The man was surprised.
"It did. I was also there." Chen Ge vouched for the fisher.
"If it took the bait, why did you let it go?" Zhang Dabo looked at the fisher. "What was the problem this time?"
"The fishing line was cut. Just now I discussed it with this young man, and we believed there's more than one big fish in the dam."
"More than one? I'll need to report this to my superior." Zhang Dabo was even more surprised. It was his job to look after the dam. If there was trash on the water, he would use his boat to fish it out, so when he first heard about the King Fish in the dam, he had been first worried about his personal safety. Eastern Jiujiang Dam was incredibly isolated, and he often would not even see another person's shadow for quite some time. He looked after this place alone, and it was normal for him to feel afraid.
"What's the point of that? They won't drain the whole dam unless there's actual proof that the King Fish has killed someone." The fisher shrugged. "I'm not going to waste time talking. Lend me your boat, I want to get back my bobbers."
"Why don't you wait until daylight? You just angered the King Fish, and if you go into the lake now, it will definitely come for you." Zhang Dabo looked at the dark water surface and felt like the King Fish was just waiting for them.
"Wear the life jacket and prepare the fish spear. If the King Fish dares show up, we'll resolve this issue once and for all. I've fished it three times, but I've never once seen what it looks like. Then again, there are few species of fish that can grow so big in Jiujiang."
"You sure you want to go?"
"I've already told you, the longer the life of a fish, the more it will value its life. It has probably sunk to the bottom of the water." The fisher narrowed his eyes at the key that was around Zhang Dabo's waist. "The King Fish is clever, but it is ultimately a fish. We cannot underestimate it, but there's no need to overestimate it either, or else what's the difference between us and the people from the past who prayed to the river god?"
"I know you're familiar with King Fish, but there's no need to risk your life on a theory." Zhang Dabo was very afraid.
"My luminous bobbers are custom-made; they're not cheap. They're also painted with bait that was used to attract the King Fish. If I wait until daylight, they will have disappeared already. Furthermore, they are just eight meters away from the bank; it won't take more than several minutes."
"If you want to go, go on your own. I'm not going." Zhang Dabo removed the keys and handed them to the fisher. After getting the key, the fisher hesitated.
His hesitation made Chen Ge suspicious. A bobber, no matter how expensive it was, would not be more expensive than a human life, right? Did the fisherman really not care about the King Fish's threat? Or was there some secret about that bobber? Was he worried that they would be hauled away by others the next day?
The sky was darkening, and it would only get more dangerous. The fisher looked at the bobbers and decided to get them in the end. He walked to the back of the hut with the key alone and took out the paddle, fish spear, and rope.
"This man sure has lost his mind." Zhang Dabo talked to himself. He prepared to stop the man. After all, if anything happened to the fisher on his watch, he would be responsible.
"Brother, I see that you two have quite a good relationship..."
Chen Ge reached out to grab Zhang Dabo's shoulders, but before he could finish, the man countered. "Who has a good relationship with him? The man is hard to deal with. If the King Fish did not only take his bait, I wouldn't have cared about him."
"Then why would the King Fish only take his bait? What is so special about his bait?"
"I know what you want to ask-many fishers have come to ask me what kind of bait he's using, but I don't know! This man is very secretive, and he only comes to fish at night. Whenever he wants to use the bait, he hides it well. Until now, no one has been able to understand why, but now that you mention it, it's quite weird. The King Fish won't take other people's bait, only his."
"Then there should be something special about the bait." Chen Ge and Zhang Dabo walked to the fisher.
When he saw them approach, he immediately grabbed the bucket and the other bunch of stuff. "Why are you two doing here?"
"How about you just let it go? It's too dangerous for you to go now," Zhang Dabo advised, but the fisher ignored him. He tied the rope to the front of the boat and then placed the bucket with the bait and the fishing spear into the worker's small boat.