Chapter 616 - An Overlooked Clue

A guard blocked Xia Lei and Fan Fan off before they could get close to their destination. Fan Fan showed her ID and was allowed to go through, together with Xia Lei. Xia Lei and Fan Fan walked forwards for a bit more before they saw an entrance. It was a passageway that that a worker had cut, slanting and extending underground, with crushed stone spread out around it. An arching stone door was at the end of the passageway. The stone door had already been opened, and another rock-covered passageway extended downwards. Some lamps had been lit in the passageway, but there were several curves and corners, so they couldn’t see the end in a glance.

“I came with my grandfather three times but we didn’t discover anything at all,” said Fan Fan when they entered the passageway behind the stone door. Her voice echoed in the passageway along with the clicking sounds of her high heels, going into the depths of the passageway.

“Did you guys go to the unopened areas too?” asked Xia Lei. 

“No,” said Fan Fan. “Some of the unopened areas are buried in soil, and water has seeped through in some areas so you can’t even go there.”

“This place was discovered two years ago. Do you know why it hasn’t been completely opened up yet?”

Fan Fan thought for a moment. “It’s probably because of the reservoir. This ancient tomb is next to the reservoir and also stretches underneath the reservoir. If some parts were rashly excavated, the water in the reservoir would flood this place, then you wouldn’t be able to save the place even if you wanted to.”

The two chatted and they walked and unknowingly entered the ancient tomb.

This was a very big ancient tomb. The space at the end of the passage seemed like a hall of a palace. It was very wide, and there were dozens of stela, each large enough for a person to hug, supporting the dome. There were dozens of statues in the hall, some officers riding on horses and some others soldiers on foot. These statues were fine work, and their facial expressions were all rather life-like.

There was a stone arched door in the hall in front of them, as well as on the left and right. Behind each stone door was a passageway which extended onwards.

“Princess Yongmei’s burial chamber is in this direction.” Fan Fan pointed at the stone door straight ahead.

Xia Lei glanced at it and then looked over at a stone door at the side. “What’s behind there?”

“That’s also a burial chamber, but the people buried there are just a few servants and some cultural relics and antiques.” She then pointed in the other direction. “It’s the same for that area. This place is very wide and the terrain is complicated. When I first came here, I was shocked by it. How is this a princess’s tomb? It’s practically an underground palace,” said Fan Fan. 

Xia Lei’s heart thumped and he thought to himself, ‘It’s normal for an emperor like Zhu Di to have such a huge tomb, but for a princess’s tomb this is abnormal. Could this place really have something to do with the legendary Yongle treasure?’

He didn’t know if the archeologists had thought of this before, but it was possible.

When they entered the stone door in front of them, Xia Lei and Fan Fan walked for about five minutes in a very twisty passageway before they reached Princess Yongmei's burial chamber. The burial chamber was very imposing and regal. Flowers were carved onto every single floor tile. A white, marbled jade coffin was in the center of the room. The coffin was open but nothing was inside. The archeologists had long since taken the things inside away, including the ashes from after Princess Yongmei had become dust.

"Every single inch of this place has been carefully examined. Those archeologists even tapped every single floor tile but they didn't find anything," said Fan Fan.

The examination process had been clearly very meticulous since the archeologists had tapped on every tile.

Xia Lei said, "I'll just look around casually."

"Okay, I'll wait for you. I'll bring you to another place when you’re done looking around here," said Fan Fan.

Xia Lei slowly walked around the oval-shaped burial chamber. As he walked, he silently activated his left eye's ability. He first saw through the four walls of the chamber, trying to see through as much as he could. Then he looked through the chamber's dome and floor, trying to see as far and as deep as he could.

The results were disappointing. The four walls of the chamber and the dome were dirt which had been treated, and this protective layer was made up of a lime, glutinous rice, and soil paste. This protective layer was common in old tombs. It could protect against white ants and soaking. It could even seal the air to prevent the corpse from rotting.

Because of his overuse of his ability, Xia Lei's body reacted with fatigue. He used his hand to support himself on the jade coffin, and shut his eyes as he waited to recover.

"What’s wrong, Big Brother Lei?" asked Fan Fan in concern as she moved in close.

Xia Lei opened his eyes and was startled by what he saw. He saw Fan Fan, but she was no longer wearing a shirt and a short skirt but a translucent thong and bra. The white, gauzy cloth couldn't even cover up her important parts and he saw about 80% of the beautiful parts of her body. Full, firm, fair and clear like jade, fragrant, with crevices which were mysteriously seductive. 

However, that wasn't why he had been startled. He was startled because Fan Fan was holding a rubber toy in one hand with a mischievous smile on her face. That toy in her hand, and her mischievous smile… was she hinting at playing that kind of game with him, where their roles were reversed?

"Big Brother Lei, you…"

"Don't come any closer!"

"Huh? What's wrong?" Fan Fan didn't leave but she grabbed Xia Lei's arm. Xia Lei's reaction made her even more nervous.

Xia Lei shook his head hard and sobered up somewhat. The Fan Fan in translucent undergarments disappeared, and her short-sleeved shirt and short skirt were back on her body. 

"You…" Fan Fan stared straight at Xia Lei and asked investigatively, "Big Brother Lei, did you just have a hallucination?"

This sentence made Xia Lei snap back to his senses immediately. He realised then that the woman standing in front of him was not a regular person, but a bioengineering expert. She could make conjectures based on some of his reactions, and those conjectures were supported by professional expertise!

If he thought about it from this angle, Fan Fan would definitely guess that his vision was far above the average person if she saw him use a sniper rifle to kill a target 3,000 meters away!

Fan Fan seemed smart and cute, and had a special constitution, but she was actually a ticking time bomb inside him which could go off at any time!

'Looks like I’ll have to guard carefully against her. I can't expose my superhuman abilities in front of her or she'll suspect something. She is going to study my body so exposing any superhuman abilities in front of her is equivalent to giving her a lead in her research. I can't do that, and I also need to find a way to wreck her research,' thought Xia Lei to himself.

"Big Brother Lei, say something. Are you feeling ill?" asked Fan Fan in concern.

Xia Lei laughed then. "I’m fine. I was just joking with you. Oh no, there's mud on your leg! I'll pat it off for you."

Before Fan Fan could react, Xia Lei reached out a hand and patted at her thigh. His palm moved quickly, but stopped when it landed on Fan Fan's thigh, turning the pat into a touch. 

"Oh. You." Fan Fan's face turned red immediately and her body started trembling faintly. 

Xia Leu pretended to pat her thigh but the pressure he put on her thigh, and the pauses between his touches didn't have anything to do with patting dust — they were fairly regular movements for taking advantage of her. 

Fan Fan's reaction was quite intense. She bit her cherry lip, and her eyes seemed to tear up. She glared at Xia Lei in shameful anger but her expression was as if she were glaring at a delicious cake instead.

Having successfully diverted Fan Fan's attention, Xia Leu stopped and retracted his hand. "All right, it's all clean," he said pretentiously. 

Fan Fan looked down at her thigh. There was now an additional dirty handprint on it. She then looked wordlessly at Xia Lei.

"Oh! Sorry, I must have gotten my hand dirty somewhere. I'll pat it away again." Xia Lei reached over.

“Don’t, don’t touch me!” Fan Fan dodged nervously.

Xia Lei shrugged. "I'll look around some more. Let's go somewhere else afterwards."

Fan Fan ignored him. Hints of shame and anger remained in her dark and tearing eyes. He had held her until she came on their way over, and now he had touched her again. She wasn't an idiot. She could tell that Xia Lei's earlier actions were done on purpose.

Xia Lei pretended to not see anything, and quickly focused his attention on the floor tiles.

Every tile in the burial chamber had a picture. Some had words, some animals, some irregular lines and some had people's faces. These pictures didn't follow any order and seemed as if the artisans at the time had carelessly embedded them into the ground.

'That's not right. This is Princess Yongmei's tomb after all, and she is Emperor Yongle's daughter. How could anything in her burial chamber be less than perfect?' Xia Lei thought silently, 'However, it does seem like not enough care and attention went into it. Why? Could it be… that it was deliberate?'

A place where everything should have been carefully and meticulously designed wasn't that way. If it wasn't because of the artisans being lazy and not doing their job properly, then it was another reason.

It was clear that laziness was not a possibility, because blaspheming the Princess's departing spirit during the feudal dynasties era would result in the killing of all of the offender’s relatives. Who would dare do so? It could only be the second reason now. 

After eliminating the first possibility, Xia Lei’s left eye swept over every brick while his brain simultaneously entered a super mode. Every time his left eye ‘scanned’ a floor tile, it appeared in his mind, one after another, until he got to the last tile.

There were 999 floor tiles on the tomb floor. Every single picture, or depiction on each floor tile was different. The floor tiles’ words, lines, and designs rearranged themselves constantly in Xia Lei’s mind, and assembled themselves, joining together to form the most probable complete image.

Results of multiple combinations appeared in Xia Lei’s brain, but they were thrown out one by one by Xia Lei.

Fan Fan looked at Xia Lei with an odd expression on her face. From her perspective, Xia Lei was walking back and forth in the tomb, laughing occasionally, then quickly quieting down as if he had a lot on his mind. She felt Xia Lei was being a little weird but she couldn’t guess what he was doing.

A full ten minutes passed.

“Big Brother Lei, can you stop pacing back and forth? I’m getting cross-eyed from watching you go back and forth.” Fan Fan couldn’t help herself at last, and broke the silence in the tomb.

Xia Lei stopped in his tracks. A smile sprang on his face.

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