Chapter 5 The Beginning of Reincarnation

After that incident, I once again started to write down the sequence of the story because of unexpected developments. Although these developments were not as thrilling as I had imagined, the information they brought was far more than I expected.

After this incident, I learned a fact of life: you didn’t have to deliberately pursue the puzzles and truth behind many things. After all the dust settles, it will emerge slowly with the passage of time.

A philosopher once said that it’s only when the tide ebbs that can you see who isn’t wearing underwear. Or a more appropriate example to describe it might be: when you deliberately look for something in every corner of your house, you often can’t find it; but when you aren’t looking for it, it suddenly appears in front of you. There are some puzzles that are like this.

I was dejected for a long time after that. During that time, I experienced two conflicting mental states at the same time. One was extreme depression where I didn’t want to do anything but lay on the couch and recall some previous memories, thinking about what kind of results would have occurred had my choices been different. I also thought that if I weren’t so entangled or obsessed, I would probably be living a different life, perhaps more comfortable than I was now. On a certain level, not knowing was much better than knowing since knowing resulted in much more pain.

My other mental state consisted of me pumping myself up and telling myself that even if there were some things I didn’t want to do anymore, I still had to do them.

As a result, I had been managing Uncle Three’s shop with such a conflicted mentality. Because there was no Pan Zi at first, it was difficult for me to do a lot of things. But whenever I felt so depressed that I wanted to quit, I thought about the song Pan Zi sang to me before he died.

“Go forward, Little Master Three, and don’t go back.”

I wasn’t qualified to go back.

In such a business, what I called moving forward was actually just a few small things. If I shrank back from this kind of thing, I would really cut a sorry figure to many people. So I tried hard.

In the second quarter of the second year, I sorted out a lot of things and even discovered a trick: it turns out that when you’ve completed something— especially after you’ve skipped the accumulation stage and developed to a certain extent—it becomes easier because you have the opportunity to make mistakes and turn it around. And if your overall income is greater than your losses, your system can survive. Besides, I also gradually got to know many of Uncle Three’s tricks.

In the third quarter, I slowly eliminated a group of guys who weren’t suitable for me and replaced them with ones that were. Although it could be argued that there was no good news at that time, the operation of the business was still very smooth.

Looking at the continuous flow of cash, I slowly gained some confidence in my abilities and found that I wasn’t as useless as I had previously thought—there was a way to succeed and it wasn’t difficult.

After developing the traditional channels, I went to visit some old friends while I trained and made plans for the future. Of course, Xiao Hua and the others were the easiest to visit. Xiao Hua was still staying in the hospital for his recuperation, but I didn’t pay much attention to his injuries because of my depression. He was also a very important person, and I didn’t even know anything about his team’s experience.

Xiuxiu had been taking care of Xiao Hua. Part of the reason why I didn’t go visit him was because of her, since the events surrounding Granny Huo’s death were too upsetting. But when I ran Uncle Three’s shop, I learned many valuable qualities, such as facing pain. I knew that when the time came, escape was the worst solution.

The pain could only be released if it was relieved slowly; suppressing it didn’t have much effect. After the pain reached its peak, it would naturally go downhill.

After several visits, Xiuxiu’s hostility towards me gradually disappeared, and so I stayed in Beijing for a period of time to help Xiao Hua deal with some family affairs. And since I relied on Uncle Three’s relationships and power in the south, I also gradually gained some voice, which enabled me to have more qualifications to help others.

In fact, I didn’t need these qualifications, but I couldn’t seem to give them up after I got them.

After everything was straightened out, I began to discuss with Xiao Hua about everything that had happened before. I mentioned some details about the Zhang family’s ancient building: the Tibetan jewelry and the two rings found in the coffin, as well as Poker-face’s final story.

Xiao Hua sighed very deeply after hearing this; he seemed very tired of all this mystery. He told me that he wouldn’t normally be so emotional. For him, his whole life was something he didn’t want to experience. He had gone through all kinds of disgusting things since he took over the whole family and participated in the struggle when he was a child. He was no longer bored with this certain way of life, but now he was feeling such emotions again, which showed how serious this matter was.

I took the Tibetan-style jewelry that I had taken from the coffin and showed it to Xiao Hua, and drew some of the others I had seen with a pen. He looked at them and said to me, “These are all pieces of jewelry from the Tibetan Buddhist system. But they only show that the owner of the coffin seemed to be more interested in Tibetan things, nothing more.”

“Since they were in the coffin, I think these buried objects will more or less have some special meaning,” I said to them. “For example, if it was Little Brother, his funerary object would be a black gold ancient sword. If it was Chen Pi Ah Si, it might be an iron ball. We should be able to reverse trace some information from the funerary objects.”

“Do you mean to say he has Tibetan blood?” Xiao Hua asked.

“Or he’s been active in Tibetan areas for a long time,” I said.

Xiao Hua sighed, “The Zhang family’s power was very large. It isn’t surprising that they sometimes operated in Tibet.”

“I don’t find it strange; I just think this kind of jewelry is very common,” I said to him. “Since the person chose to be buried with them, there may be some clues related to his experiences with this jewelry that we don’t know about. If you know someone who understands this kind of thing, you can let them take a look. We can’t let go of anything that might have clues.”

Xiao Hua obviously felt that the possibility of success wasn’t very high, but I didn’t know why he had already made such an assessment. Maybe it was kind of morbid to maintain my curiosity after going through such a thing, but he didn’t stop me.

We carefully examined all the jewelry. These Tibetan ornaments were very large in size and their workmanship was very rough and wild. Most of the details consisted of traditional Tibetan symbols with auspicious meanings.

We were trying to find something about this jewelry that set it apart from ordinary Tibetan jewelry. Most of it was basically common, but one thing I noticed was that among all the beads strung on the wire, there was a strange red bead embedded among them.

We all knew that most Tibetan jewelry was made of red beads, red agate, red rosin stone, and red coral, but this particular bead wasn’t made from any of these materials.

“Can you find someone to find out what kind of stone this is?” I asked Xiao Hua.

The Xie family was a high connoisseur of jewelry but Xiao Hua obviously wasn’t particularly familiar with this aspect. He had lived in a particularly harsh environment since he was young and his main focus wasn’t on learning how to distinguish antiques. There were special people in the family who were responsible for this aspect of things, so Xiao Hua handed them to Xiuxiu and asked her, “What do you think this is?”

I didn’t think she knew much about gemstones, but sure enough, women were totally different. She looked at the beads and said, “The material used for this bead is very rare. This is an organic gemstone.”

I momentarily froze as Xiuxiu continued, “This is a mixed mineral containing a metal composition. It hasn’t yet been named on the market, but many people call it moonstone.”

When I heard this, I felt as if my brain exploded. I remembered that the Zhang family used this kind of stone extensively in their underground palace.

Xiuxiu went on to say, “This stone has many strange characteristics, one of which is that it’s especially suitable for micro-carving. Many people engrave especially secret information on it because its toughness makes the miniature carving very clear.”

I took the bead from her hand, looked at it carefully, and said, “There seems to be nothing on it.”

She pointed to the hole in the bead and said, “In order to hide the information, it’s usually engraved around the hole. Do you think this perforation is very rough? If you look at it like this, it seems that it was simply worn out, but in reality, there may be many tiny patterns carved on it.”

At this point, Xiuxiu took out her phone, started an app, and aimed the camera lens at the hole in the bead. The hole was magnified several times, and sure enough, we could see a circle of very regular micro-carved figures around the hole.

What is it? I took a deep breath and carefully looked at it while letting Xiuxiu continue to zoom in.

She shook her head, “Enlarging it any more requires professional equipment, but I think you can already see it very clearly. There’s a scorpion carved from end to end.”

Scorpion! I looked closely at her cell phone and found that it was indeed the case. It really is a scorpion!

But why was it a scorpion? I would understand if it was a Qilin, but it turned out to be a scorpion. Was Little Brother a Scorpio?

Indeed, scorpions had many hidden meanings in the traditional patterns of ancient China, as well as the Tibetan culture. This was because in that kind of plateau environment, Tibetan scorpions were life-threatening creatures. But this scorpion didn’t look like a Tibetan scorpion; instead, the pattern looked more like it was done in the Han style. This could be the result of the integration of the Han and Tibetan cultures.

This design was the end result of our research on the piece of jewelry. Xiao Hua didn’t seem surprised. I figured it was because he thought it was a miracle to have such a clue.

In light of this design, I first asked several experts and got a lot of ambiguous information. It wasn’t that there was nothing to say about the scorpion pattern, it was just that there was too much to say. After thinking about it in the middle of the night, I found nothing valuable.

Xiao Hua said that maybe the pattern was just a coincidence and the coffin owner didn’t even know of its existence.

This kind of thing was very likely to happen in a family like the Zhang family, who were all in the habit of collecting things.

I didn’t know why, but I kept thinking that this should be a breakthrough. In order to show his support, Xiao Hua found several friends, enlarged the pattern completely, and carried out the first round of newspaper, internet, and friend consultations.

He offered a high price, hoping that anyone who knew anything about this scorpion pattern or could find relevant information would come to us.

After these things were finished, all that remained was to wait. I didn’t think there would be any short-term results and I didn’t have much hope, so I went back to Hangzhou to continue to deal with the business.

As time went by, various moods swept on by. Although my life was a bit busy now and the income was also increasingly richer, that feeling of melancholy from before would still come to mind from time to time.

I still stayed in my shop most of the time since its financial situation was separate from that of Uncle Three’s shop. The shop’s situation was still dismal, and I would occasionally have to divert some of Uncle Three’s funds to help with my own utilities. If it weren’t for my own incompetence, I would start to wonder if my store wasn’t in an auspicious feng shui location.

I insisted on separating the books. I didn’t know if it was because my heart was still expecting Uncle Three to come back. I didn’t even know if he could come back, but if he did, I’d be happy to give it all back to him.

As for myself, I still liked to stay in my shop, lie on the couch, listen to the radio, fan the old cattail leaf fan, and ponder over things. I only truly felt like Wu Xie in this place. When I walked out of this room, I became another person that was composed of the shadows of Pan Zi, Uncle Three, and all kinds of people. He wasn’t me at all. Although I didn’t miss them or some of the past experiences we had, when I carried their souls, I knew for certain that the life they brought me wasn’t what I wanted.

But even if it wasn’t what you wanted, fate would ensure that it would come after all.

<Chapter 4> <Table of Contents><Chapter 6>


Updated 12/5/2021


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