Maybe it was because I was too tired after climbing the mountain or maybe it was because I spent too much energy thinking about these bad things, but I soon fell asleep. The alarm clock on my watch woke me up at five o’clock.
I tried to force myself to get up, but it was hard because it was still dark outside. I did a few push-ups to fully wake up and then did a few stretches before walking out.
There was no movement in the courtyard; the whole temple was as quiet as a grave. I picked up my cigarettes, put on my gloves, and walked towards the dark part of the temple.
I had hidden four lighters in the first place I went to. All four of them were exactly the same, but I had placed them in a certain order in the cracks of a stone wall, with only some very subtle marks in places that only I knew about.
I took the lighters out one by one, only to find that their order had changed. It appeared the other party hadn’t discovered my little trick.
As expected, someone was watching me. That meant there must be someone following me right now, but unfortunately, I couldn’t sense anything. The other party was clearly a master.
I lit a cigarette with one of the lighters, then put all of them in a small bag and put them in my pocket.
The second spot was where the slingshot had been placed. There was a pile of things on the ground, above which was a beam that looked dark upon first glance. I had thrown the slingshot up there at that time, so I couldn’t reach it even if I jumped up now. I would have to climb up or step on something in order to get the slingshot.
The pile of items here could serve as a perfect foothold. I glanced at them and immediately noticed that they weren’t in the order I had written down when I first came here.
I squatted down and found a handprint on the edge of one of the water jugs. I turned it over and found that it had been flipped and stepped on, leaving a very fuzzy footprint on the bottom. But the man obviously didn’t want to leave any marks and tried to wipe them away with his hand.
I looked at the other items and was surprised to find that there weren’t any additional traces of being stepped on.
This water jug wasn’t very tall. I was 1.81 meters (1) tall so even if I stepped on it, I still couldn’t reach the slingshot. The water jug was the only thing used here despite the fact that there was a lot of stuff here and it was very cramped. Even if a person with a strong jumping ability stepped on the water jug and jumped up, there would certainly be more traces left here.
This meant that the person who reached the slingshot must be taller than me, but I didn’t see anyone like that among those Hong Kong people.
In the entire lama temple, the only ones taller than me were probably those Germans.
They’re also involved? Could it be that out of everyone in the entire lama temple, I’m the only one who’s innocent and everyone else is problematic?
For the first time, I finally felt some fear in my heart. If this was true, then this was really a big show and I was the only audience member.
I really hope this isn’t the case.
I piled up two water jugs and stepped on them so that I could take the slingshot down. After carefully examining it and finding that it wasn’t damaged, I hooked it onto the back of my belt.
I didn’t want to go to my other hiding places just yet in order to maintain some of the mystery, so I went back to my room and closed the door. I burned the instant noodles with a lighter, crushed them into a very fine powder, spread the powder evenly in some water, dipped a toothbrush into the mixture, and then flicked the toothbrush bristles to splash the black water onto the lighter.
The fingerprints were soon displayed and I used the adhesive tape to collect them.
I did the same thing for the other lighters.
That night, several of my buddies came to me. After I talked with them, I went down the mountain to find a place with a telephone and dial-up internet so that I could send a scan of the fingerprints to my friend. I needed to see if the owner of these fingerprints had a criminal record, which was very likely if it was someone in our profession.
That night, I stayed in the same guest house as before. My friend’s surname was Mao, and I only got to know him in recent years. I had hoped he could prove handy when it came to dealing with the cops. He quickly emailed me back and told me that I had provided seven fingerprints: three were the same, which could mean that there were five different people or it was five different prints from one person.
He checked in the database and found that only one fingerprint was recorded.
He attached the fingerprint owner’s file to the email.
As I scrolled down the vertical bar, a formal electronic file appeared in front of me, displaying a somewhat gloomy face.
I was taken aback as I suddenly realized that I had seen this face before.
Damn, this is that woman’s face! The same woman who spit my cigarette onto the floor yesterday!
“So it turned out to be you, girl,” I muttered to myself. Her file was under the photo, and it stated that her surname was Zhang but there wasn’t a record of her first name.
It turned out to be Little Brother’s family. I scrolled down the file and went on reading it. This woman was the same age as me and was sentenced to three years in prison in 1998 for intentionally wounding and maiming someone. Her occupation at that time was a far cry from a criminal: she was a trainer at a training institution.
It seemed that when I was hiding something in the temple, she was the one who was following me. But I didn’t know if she was also following me now.
After she was released from prison in 2001, the record was blank, but I wasn’t helpless. I saw the phone number of the training institution she had worked for on the file and searched its website. It was an outdoor sports training organization in Hong Kong, and when I opened the trainer’s page, I saw many familiar faces.
I had seen many of these people in the lama temple.
Almost all of the trainers from that institution were in the lama temple, and I also saw that girl’s picture on the list.
It seemed that after she got out of prison, she still went to work in her old group. And her old group still wanted her.
What kind of training organization was it that it specifically trained people to disgust me? “Disgusting Wu Xie’s Training Class”, specially teaches people how to disgust Wu Xie?
At this time, I found an astonishing detail.
I saw on this page that almost eighty percent of the trainers were surnamed Zhang, and at first glance, there were many with that surname.
My heart clenched and a bad thought popped into my head. I began to recall these people and found that I couldn’t remember seeing their hands. These Hong Kong people were all wearing gloves and had never taken them off.
The dial-up internet’s speed was very slow in that small guest house, so as I slowly opened the web page, my long-lost anxiety surfaced again.
I didn’t know when I became calm. I had been so calm, in fact, that I was even a little afraid of it, because even though I was involved, I was already feeling indifferent despite how dangerous the environment was.
I had experienced the most tragic years where I couldn’t even pay the utilities, so compared with the past, things were much better now. I could bear any failure if I went back to that time. And I wouldn’t do things that would endanger my life, so I had been living quite calmly.
It was only when I saw this kind of news which appeared to be related to the original secret that I felt very anxious.
I looked at the names of these people, and the more I looked at them, the more flustered I became. Most Hong Kong people had English names, so most of the names on the page were English, but their traditional Chinese names were attached below.
Almost all of the names were neatly written in three characters, Zhang XX, including one named Zhang Longshen. The man next to him, who was about the same age as him, was called Zhang Longban. Only one look was needed to tell that they were of the same generation from the same clan.
“Shit, it’s the Zhang family’s lair. Did Little Brother’s family come to see him?” I touched my face.
Little Brother’s family was very large, so was it possible that they still had power in Hong Kong? But it seemed that they were doing so-so in Hong Kong if a large family was engaged in training.
But why did they set me up? Could it be that they couldn’t find Little Brother and put the blame on me?
Then why set me up instead of beating it out of me? If they wanted to ask for Little Brother’s whereabouts, I’d surely tell them the truth. And if they didn’t believe me, I could escort them there.
My mind was very chaotic. If they were Little Brother’s clansmen and friends, then it would be hard to say whether they were enemies or friends. As a result, many of my vicious moves couldn’t be used.
They were all wearing gloves, so if their fingers were all like Little Brother’s, did that mean that they all had extraordinary skills? If everyone was the same as Little Brother, then I wouldn’t play any more tricks and would just kneel down and surrender to them. It was impossible to fight anyhow.
After pondering over it again and again, I decided that this discovery was too important. I had to tell Fatty. So I called overnight, but there was no one there to answer. As soon as I saw that the time was really late, I thought I’d save it for tomorrow.
Overall, my plan was going quite smoothly, and I couldn’t help but feel a little proud at that time. They thought I didn’t know anything, but in just one day, I learned a lot of useful things. Moreover, I was in a good mood because I felt from the bottom of my heart that Little Brother’s kin wouldn’t hurt me.
I went to the guest house’s public toilet to take a dump, squatted down to smoke, and wondered what to do next.
I didn’t know what they wanted, and I couldn’t seem to figure it out. They just seemed to want to spy on me.
But why? Under what circumstances did they need to monitor someone?
I suddenly thought of those surveillance videos of Huo Ling. Surveillance, surveillance, surveillance… a thought suddenly flashed through my head.
Did they think I wasn’t Wu Xie?
I knew that there was another person in this world who looked exactly like me and was wandering around doing mysterious things with unknown purposes.
Was the Zhang family trying to determine whether I was real or whether the fake was real?
I suddenly felt that it was all very reasonable, and I immediately wanted to clarify myself. But on second thought, what thief would admit to being a thief? Moreover, if it were so easy to identify, the Hong Kong Zhang wouldn’t have used such complicated methods.
What would happen to me if they thought I was the fake? Would I be destroyed without mercy?
I suddenly felt a lot of pressure to be myself. I must behave more like Wu Xie, I thought to myself.
But if it was what I suspected, then at least I could be sure that they weren’t in the same group as the fake one.
According to general ideals, they should like the real one, so if I let them know that I was real, maybe they’d begin to communicate with me.
But how would I prove it?
I suddenly discovered that philosophically speaking, it was very difficult to prove oneself.
I sighed, no longer in the mood to take a dump. Plus, the methane in this single-room toilet was too smelly.
After squeezing out a few, I wanted to quickly pull my pants up and leave. But when I looked up, I suddenly saw that someone had scribbled something on the toilet door with something disgusting.
That thing was yellow, was it shit?
Who the fuck was in such a good mood? Smearing shit on the door when taking a dump was disgusting. I felt a little nauseous and stood up carefully for fear that I might bump into it.
With this extra time and effort, I suddenly found that what was painted on the door with shit was something I was very familiar with.
This was a star chart of Tamu-Tuo. I had seen it in my notebook.
A number had also been written beside this picture.
104 was a room number here. Feeling stunned, I couldn’t help but ask myself, what’s going on?
<Chapter 23><Table of Contents><Chapter 25>
(1) 5 feet, 9 inches tall
3 thoughts on “Chapter 24 Astonishing Details”
“Did Little Brother’s family came to see him?” Yes they came here to meet the person who made Xiao Ge go out of his way.
Сяо Гэ изначально шел верным путем, это же семья Чжан разделилась на тех, кто за секрет и кто против… вспомните предыдущие объяснения. Так что непонятно кто на чьей стороне.? Кто враг, а кто – друг?
You are righgt, Wangs are hidden in different posts with different titles and it’s not easy to distinguish them. Xiao Ge was on a difficult path that no one wants to be. Then he met Wu Xie, the innocent, faithful who approached him without ulterior motives. Even though we don’t know much about his past, we can feel the change in his life and behaviors. Wu Xie and Fatty consider him as their friend or maybe more and even to him the influence of their friendship is obvious. Maybe that’s why he considers him as his only connection to the word.