Tang Yuyan and Long Bing sat by the pit, eating and watching Xia Lei toil in the pit. Xia Lei’s buttocks became their focal point.
“Men wearing these type of bottoms are so ugly,” complained Tang Yuyan as she chewed on an energy bar.
“It’s still not yours even if it’s ugly,” said Long Bing evenly.
Tang Yuyan bit into the energy bar and gave Long Bing a fierce look.
A dull thud suddenly came from the pit. Tang Yuyan and Long Bing both looked at the pit and saw that a brown stone slab had appeared at Xia Lei’s feet. Not all of it had been uncovered but one could clearly see the difference between the slab and dirt.
Xia Lei dug around it for a bit and the whole stone slab was revealed. “Found it! What we’re looking for should be below!” he said excitedly.
“What’s underneath?” came Tang Yuyan’s voice, filled with surprise.
“Is it a tomb below?” came Long Bing’s voice.
Xia Lei raised his head to look at the two women and said, “Probably a tomb. Get the rock leavening agent from the bag for me. I want to open it up.”
Long Bing quickly brought it over and threw it down to Xia Lei.
“Need us to help?” said Tang Yuyan.
“No, I’ll be done quickly,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei made holes in the stone slab gaps with the shovel and a special digging drill. Cement did not exist in the era these stone slabs were made, so mortar held the slabs together. This specially made mortar was very hard and had a certain degree of strength but it could not be compared to cement. He did not take long to make four holes in the four corners of the stone slab, then put the leavening agent in the holes.
The agent reacted with the air and a chemical reaction soon took place. Crackling sounds could be heard from the gaps in the stone slab, and the slab started to loosen with the force of the expansion and move upwards. Finally, after it had expanded to maximum, the stone slab was pushed up from the ground.
Xia Lei stuck the metal drill under it and levered it loose.
Under the stone slab was a black hole. A musty, moldy smell wafted up from it. Xia Lei did not know if it was poisonous, so he moved away from the hole.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing could not sit still any longer. They jumped into the pit, one after another. Tang Yuyan shone of the torch in her hand at the hole, sending light into its depths.
Under the hole was a stone-lined passage at a 40 to 50 degree downward angle. The passage was long, and at its angle, the light from Tang Yuyan’s torch was unable to illuminate further in.
Long Bing took out a small cylinder of lighter fluid, lit it, and threw it down. The flame was quickly extinguished, telling them that there was no oxygen in the passage.
This was quite normal. The ancient tomb was built under a drainage system, so it must have been sealed very well or it would have been flooded by the water in the drainage system long ago.
“Go wait for me up there. I’ll go in and take a look,” said Xia Lei.
“There’s no air down there. It’s dangerous to go alone,” said Long Bing worriedly.
“Yeah,” said Tang Yuyan, “Better to let us come with you. Safety in numbers.”
Xia Lei shook his head. “No, there is no air down there. I can use the oxygen bottle and solve this problem but those things can make a person go mad or die. So you two can’t come with me. Stay outside and wait for me.”
“But…” Long Bing started to say, then stopped.
Xia Lei gave her a smile. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I opened up a tomb in Afghanistan too, and took the alloy piece out, right? I don’t know why I’m all right but you guys are not like me. You cannot risk it. It’s decided, then. I’ll go down first.”
A few minutes later, Xia Lei was all equipped and he entered the stone passage through the hole. He held a torchlight in his hand and moved deeper into the passage.
“Be careful, Xia Lei,” said Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei looked back to see Tang Yuyan and Long Bing at the hole, their faces full of worry. He also saw the ups and downs between their legs, highlighted by the tight rubber clothing. This was a strange feeling for him and he smiled wryly but did not say anything. He just waved and continued downwards.
The passage was at a tilt and Xia Lei walked for about 50 metres before coming to the end.
A stone door stood at the end of the passage, and the facade was larger than the one in Princess Yongmei’s tomb. Xia Lei drew close to the stone door and called up the power of his eye. His X-ray vision went through the stone door but did not encounter the blocking ‘glue’.
That glue had been a large group of bats in Princess Yongmei’s tomb, and those bats were very fierce, biting the flesh of humans. But he did not run into them this time. There was no air here, so the bats would have no way of surviving.
The tomb beyond the door was in absolute darkness. Xia Lei’s X-ray vision went through the stone door but all he could see was darkness. After he got used to the darkness, all he could see was some blurry outlines like pillars and a stone coffin.
Xia Lei observed the insides for a bit, then took out the stone blasting unit and stuck them at the four corners of the stone door. He retreated to a safe distance and detonated.
The stone door fell with a crash after some loud explosions. Dust swirled up from the ground, curling about the passage and filling it. Xia Lei had his oxygen mask on but he could still feel the wind of the blast on his face.
He shone the light into the doorway of the tomb after the stone door collapsed. He had learnt from his experience in Princess Yongmei’s tomb; he first used his X-ray vision on the floor and entered only after confirming that there were no trap triggers.
This tomb was larger than Princess Yongmei’s tomb but it was much more simply furnished. There were no chests of gems or jewellery, no exquisite porcelain. There were just four crude-looking stone statues. These stone statues looked like ancient warriors in armour, holding swords and shields.
Behind the four stone warriors was a stone altar. A stone coffin lay on that altar. This was also not as fancy as Princess Yongmei’s - she had a jade coffin.
Other than the four stone statues, there was just the stone coffin in the tomb. This made it simple for Xia Lei to scan the area, and the needle of the compass in his hand pointed to the stone coffin, shaking and trembling at its limits.
Xia Lei went up to the altar and used his X-ray vision on the stone coffin. He opened it after confirming that there was no danger.
A male corpse lay in the coffin, perfectly preserved. Its skin looked like it still maintained elasticity, just like Princess Yongmei’s corpse had. The male looked about 60 or 70. He was plump, and had a thick head of golden hair and a beard. He was dressed in clothes too and the clothing was made of cotton and silk and was of a simple design. It was impossible to tell which era it was from.
There was just one thing in the stone coffin - a black pointer needle.
“There’s another treasure location?” Xia Lei wrinkled his brows.
Discovering another needle meant that there was one more treasure location. Change the needle on the compass and it would point in a new direction leading to the next treasure location.
The existence of the needle presented problems for Xia Lei but he still put the needle away. Then, he opened the male corpse’s mouth and removed a piece of ancient alloy from his mouth.
Weirdly, this male corpse stayed intact. Back in Afghanistan, Princess Yongmei’s body had turned to dust rapidly, her even bones turning to powder after he had taken the alloy out of her mouth. This male corpse however, was still in good shape and did not deteriorate.
“Eh?” Xia Lei was very surprised. “What’s going on?”
He called forth the power of his left eye and looked more deeply at the corpse. His hair stood on end when he saw what was inside - this male corpse had several pieces of ancient alloy in the stomach!
No wonder the male corpse did not fall to dust when he removed the alloy from the mouth.
‘Who the heck was this old man?’ Xia Lei’s mind whirred. ‘Princess Yongmei had just one piece of alloy but this old man has one in his mouth and four more in his gut. Five pieces in all! He has no crown, no scepter, so he’s not some king. But this tomb is hidden under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and in the same spot as where Jesus was laid to rest… Is he Jesus?’
Xia Lei was stunned by this thought.
He dismissed this bold thought in the end. The Christian stories said that Jesus had been resurrected three days after his death. There were no remains of Jesus.
Xia Lei thought and pondered but could not guess this old man’s identity. One thing was for sure though, and that was that this old man was from a time period before the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He was possibly from 300 years before Christ, someone important then, perhaps.
Xia Lei then opened up the old man’s clothing to cut into his flesh with a knife. However, the sight of several strange drawings on the old man’s chest made Xia Lei freeze in shock.
The drawings were not tattoos, but some sort of pigment or blood. These drawings were still clear and complete, even after a thousand years, or even more. The drawings were of a flying bat, a square box, black, burning flames and an arched stone door.
Xia Lei’s gaze went to that box and he could not look away.
He’d always suspected that those alloy pieces would form a box. This hypothesis was confirmed now. He could see the same exact pattern of the alloy pieces on the drawing of the box, and the shape and size of the pieces matched the drawings exactly!
He then moved his gaze to the bat and understood something. ‘No wonder I didn’t see these drawings when I used my X-ray vision on this old man’s body. These drawings were drawn with the blood of that species of bat. This bat species has a special power to nullify my X-ray vision.’
Xia Lei looked at the arched stone door next and was puzzled. ‘What is this arch? This was drawn on this old man’s body… Is it a sort of clue?’
Mysterious bats, mysterious box, mysterious door - how were these three related?
If he collected all the alloy pieces and made a complete box, what would it bring?
These questions plagued Xia Lei and he racked his brains but could not find an answer.
A few minutes later, he cut into the old man’s torso with a knife. The sharp, cold blade separated the old man’s skin and flesh. No blood came from the cut; the white corpse flesh was as soft as cheese and provided hardly any resistance.
There was no sound in the tomb but Xia Lei seemed to hear someone whispering in a corner in the dark, as if cursing him.
After opening up the old man’s torso, Xia Lei held back his feeling of disgust as he pulled the four pieces of ancient alloy from the stomach.
The old man’s corpse turned to dust instantly once the four alloy pieces left the stomach, and his clothing crumbled with his body to become dust in the blink of an eye.
Xia Lei did not leave the tomb right away. He focused on one of the alloy pieces, and his left eye twitched…Previous Chapter Next Chapter