The third leather page of the map had an ancient tomb marked on it. It was a triangular-shaped tomb, very much like an Egyptian pyramid yet lacking the characteristics of a pyramid. There was no description of the area of the tomb so Xia Lei did not know if it was a large tomb or if it was just a small, ordinary tomb. What he could confirm was that it was located under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and under the ancient drainage system.
There were three pieces to the map. The first was the surface map of Jerusalem Old City, the second of the underground drainage system and the third was a drawing of a tomb. These three pieces looked like three separate pieces with no overlapping details but if one took away the leather it was drawn on and the descriptions, it was a basic 3D map!
People of ancient times had no computers to make 3D models, but overlapping three different pieces together also reached about the same result. The ancient Jews had to be admired for this ingenuity.
If all the modern day scientific equipment could separate the three fused leather map pieces, the Israeli archaeologists would have gone to excavate that tomb long ago. Unfortunately for them, Xia Lei was the only one who could use his ability to see the information on second and third pieces.
The sunlight washed over their faces, warming them as they walked out of the Jerusalem Museum. Xia Lei’s mood matched the weather - bright, sunny, and clear with a light breeze. The best weather. He was in such a good mood because he saw some hope in solving the mysteries of the alloy and the bronze book.
The answer could well lie in that tomb. This was a tomb which Princess Yongmei did not yet get to and it was now just one step away for him. It was right within reach - how could he not be excited?
“What are you smiling about?” Tang Yuyan wrinkled her brows. Xia Lei had been behaving very erratically recently and she was a woman who was already curious about him. Her brain was already full of the various problems and doubts she had about Xia Lei.
Long Bing kept an eye on Xia Lei too, and observed him. She, like Tang Yuyan, felt that Xia Lei was not acting like his usual self.
“Say something,” said Tang Yuyan in dissatisfaction. “Didn’t you say that you’ll tell us? We’ve left the museum now. Long Bing and I are waiting for you to talk.”
Long Bing nodded. The two dissenters seemed to finally be on the same page.
Xia Lei then said, “Jerusalem Old City does have an ancient drainage system underground, and part of it goes under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. So we just need to find the entrance to that drainage system and we can get to the area beneath the church.”
“You…” Tang Yuyan said in surprise, “How do you know that there’s an ancient drainage system under Jerusalem Old City?”
“I looked at the map,” said Xia Lei. “Didn’t you guys see the map? There were hints on it.”
Tang Yuyan could not help looking at Long Bing. “Did you see any hints?”
Long Bing tried her best to recall the contents of the map but she had not looked long at it and didn’t know Hebrew. There was no way she could tell if there were hints. She shook her head. “No.”
Xia Lei shrugged. “You can go take another look if you want. I’ll wait for you.”
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing did not move. They were doubtful but could not think of any explanation for why Xia Lei would know about a drainage system other than what he’d told them.
“All right, let’s go back,” said Xia Lei. “I need a set of protective equipment for tunnelling, and some digging and archaeological equipment. Get these for me as quickly as possible.”
“A set? You mean you’re going to enter that drainage system alone?” said Tang Yuyan.
“Yes, alone,” said Xia Lei.
Long Bing cut in, “No, I’m not letting you go in alone. You can get Yuyan to wait outside and act as lookout but I must go in with you and search.”
“What do you mean by that, Long Bing?” Tang Yuyan’s pretty face darkened with anger. “Why not you stay outside and I go in with Xia Lei?”
“Okay, okay, stop fighting.” Xia Lei smiled wryly. “You two can go in with me too but let me tell you that you two must remain outside if we discover a tomb underground; no coming in with me. You know that this is a very dangerous thing. Those experts who’ve died and gone mad are proof.”
“But you’re fine?” said Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei could not explain that.
“Whatever. We’ll see when we get there,” said Long Bing.
A pickup truck came to a remote section of the edges of Jerusalem Old City in the afternoon. Liu Qiang was driving and he drove off after letting Xia Lei and his team out.
All three were carrying a large travel bag each, looking like backpackers.
Xia Lei looked around, then went to a manhole cover by the road. He used a crowbar to open the manhole cover, revealing a rusty iron ladder below. A terrible moldy smell wafted out of the manhole and Tang Yuyan and Long Bing wrinkled their brows.
“You sure it’s here? This looks like it’s been built recently. Is this the entrance you found?” Tang Yuyan’s eyes were full of doubt.
“What’s with all the questions. Come with me.” So saying, Xia Lei grabbed hold of the rusty ladder and climbed down.
Long Bing followed closely after.
Tang Yuyan was the last to go down. She reached out and pulled the manhole cover as she descended, covering the manhole.
Crack! A light stick was lit and a green glow illuminated this section of drainage system. There was no water below, just some dirty refuse deposited by sewage. The horrible smell came from this; there was a rotting rat in it.
“Gross! How did it die here? Eek!” cried Tang Yuyan as her hair stood on end.
“Weak,” muttered Long Bing. “The young lady of the Tang sect is weak. It’s just a dead rat, not a dead person. Even if it was a person, you’ve killed more than a few yourself. Are you afraid of dead people?”
Tang Yuyan really wanted to smash her fist into Long Bing’s nose. She’d put on a helpless and feminine act to attract Xia Lei’s attention but Long Bing was messing with her act - that bitch!
“Really, you two? Fighting on the surface and here too? Were you two married in a past life?” Xia Lei took out the equipment from his travel bag as he spoke.
There was a lot of equipment in the bag. One set of waterproof clothing, waterproof shoes and a small oxygen bottle, enough for two hours. There was also a knife, tools, a hammer, a collapsible military grade shovel and the like, dozens of them. One big pile of them. Additionally, there was also a handgun manufactured by Thunder Horse Military Factory, two magazines and the pre-loaded magazine, totalling 30 rounds.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing did not continue their fight. Fighting to them was just a habit and they felt a little unnatural if they did not engage in a fight. They started unpacking their bags too and took out their equipment one by one. They had the same items as Xia Lei.
Xia Lei changed into the rubber clothing.
Sounds of rustling and squeaking came from behind him as the women got changed too and Long Bing’s voice then said, “We’re done. You can turn around now.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter