Fatty took a piece of paper from the table and picked up a pen to start writing. Based on his appearance, he was using his signature enumeration method. (1)
“First of all, we have to know where these people went,” Fatty said. “This is a closed temple halfway up the mountain, with snow-capped mountains in the back and the only road up the mountain in the front. The whole temple is also very large.”
Fatty drew the shape of the temple and asked me if it was accurate. I helped him fix several details.
“First things first, I’m sure they didn’t go down the mountain,” Fatty said. “Unless they all jumped or rolled directly, but I don’t think they’re that stupid. Second, they took all their equipment. Assuming that I wanted to give you a scare or create a situation where I suddenly disappeared, I wouldn’t use this method. Instead, I would light all the lamps and candles and keep them on as if we were still talking. But all the equipment was taken away and now the lights are all off, which means that they didn’t want to confuse you. They don’t mind people thinking they left spontaneously, do they?”
“Since this is the case, they can’t go down the mountain from the front,” Fatty continued. “And if you don’t think they’d enter the snowy mountain, then they must have chosen a road we don’t know about.”
In reality, this reasoning was completely valid.
I continued to nod.
Fatty drew a big circle on the paper outside the drawing of the lama temple, “This lama temple must have an unknown mystery. It’s at the border between the inner and outer world, an inherently strange position that’s probably not as simple as we think. The lama temple may be a station designed by these inner people, so maybe there are some back channels or hidden rooms.”
When I thought about it, I felt that it made a little sense.
The structure of this temple was extremely complex, and there were so many rooms that even the people living in the temple only moved in this area and had never been to many other places. Moreover, this temple had a sense of design and wasn’t built naturally on the mountain. In other words, the feng shui here had more or less been textually researched.
I studied architecture, so I always had this feeling, but this was a lama temple and it wasn’t covered in my studies so I didn’t dare say as much.
Fatty continued, “Next, we’ll see if we can find the secret tunnel by tracing those people’s actions just now.”
Fatty ticked off the big lama’s room on the map and then ticked off the rooms of the Zhang Haike siblings and the Germans, as well as the places where several other people were staying.
“Look, they’re going back to get their equipment,” Fatty drew a line and pointed to the route. “The other lamas live here and here. I don’t know if their stuff is still there, but we can take a look. If their equipment is gone, it means that they returned to their rooms beforehand. That is to say, if they discussed their problems with the Germans and then went back to pack up their things and leave so quickly, they couldn’t all be mobilized that fast. In other words, the tunnel through which they left must be within this area of activity so that everyone could catch up. We can do an experiment to see how long it takes to run back and forth from these places and then compare that against the time we were trapped. In this way, we can probably figure out the route those people took.”
I looked at Fatty and told myself that his thought process was very clear. I didn’t know how many times I had praised his method of thinking before, but after resting for such a long time, it seemed that his mind was even clearer.
But Fatty had said the word trap, which made my heart thump.
I looked at the lama who lay on the ground and wondered if this was the case. “This lama was shooting at us with a pistol,” I said to Fatty. “And then what? He didn’t kill us but delayed us for a long time. Could it be because—”
Fatty immediately interrupted me, “That’s what I thought just now, but it’s impossible.” He pointed to the cut on his head, “It’s especially difficult to have the bullet graze my forehead without killing me. This kind of thing can only be said to be an accident.”
“Maybe he just didn’t want to kill me and you didn’t matter,” I said.
Fatty thought for a moment and said, “That’s quite reasonable.” After that, he looked at the lama who was still passed out on the ground and spit out, “Fuck him! This is really racial discrimination! Fat people are humans too!”
I interrupted his rant, “I just had an idea so I’ll say it. There are several situations that can explain all of the contradictions in this matter. Let me give an example: in the Roman Colosseum, a lion and tiger were put in cages. The tiger was especially strong and the lion was especially heavy. They carried in the lion and tiger and then brought in the gladiator slave. At that time, there was a lion, a tiger, gladiators, and many workers in the whole Colosseum. What do you think would happen if they released the lions and tigers from their cages?”
Fatty was silent for a long time before saying, “I see. Do you mean to say that they are the workers and we are—we are the tigers?”
“No, we’re the gladiators,” I said. “The lions and tigers were released, so of course the staff had to evacuate immediately.” I looked at the window, “The gladiators are standing in a daze in the temple, the staff are all hiding, and perhaps the lions and tigers are watching us from an unknown place.”
In fact, it was a little illogical for me to speculate like this because I thought it would be very unreasonable if this matter really developed in this way. Based on all the circumstances surrounding the Zhang family, the Germans, and the head lama, they couldn’t completely be on the same team. Otherwise, the time it took for them to reach a consensus was too short.
Maybe it was another situation. Maybe the Zhang family was negotiating with the Germans when the lama suddenly ran in and said to them, “Run, something is going to happen here.” So they packed up their equipment and ran away first.
Wait a minute, was this lama sent to inform us? Maybe he thought we were the lions and tigers because of some misunderstanding and decided to shoot us?
I sat up and thought to myself, Amitabha Buddha, this time I’ve really done it! It seemed that this explanation was the most feasible. In the first place, the act of using a pistol to imitate a sniper rifle wasn’t quite right. The greatest possibility was that the lama was an amateur when it came to shooting and acted so strange because he was scared.
I immediately rushed over to look at the lama while thinking to myself, Master, I really didn’t mean it.
This time I handled him with a lot of care. In Fatty’s words, I was filled with guilt for the prisoner rather than giving him preferential treatment. While I was massaging the lama with hot water, he suddenly coughed twice and curled up. I immediately helped him up. The lama woke up and slowly opened his eyes, but he was still very confused for a while.
We leaned over and Fatty patted him on the face,h “Hey, buddy, would you say you discriminate against fat people?”
When the man saw me and Fatty again, his face suddenly changed and he quickly stood up. But it appeared that I had really hit him too hard, for he immediately fell to the ground and began to vomit.
After he finished, I pulled him up again. He looked at me and Fatty and asked, “What time is it now?” He asked this question in standard Chinese.
I looked at my watch and told him that it was going to be just past daybreak soon. His face turned pale and he groped around on the ground in order to stand up while saying, “It’s over, it’s over. We’re screwed.”
As soon as I was about to ask him a question, the lama said, “Don’t talk! Quick! You must close all the doors and windows quickly! Hurry…hurry… hurry!”
Maybe it was because his tone and expression were too real and the fear came from the heart without any affectation, but Fatty and I immediately did as he said and closed all the windows and doors.
We didn’t think much about it at that time, because after going through so many things, we all knew that people’s expressions couldn’t be disguised most of the time. It was almost a kind of instinct. I could basically look at a person’s expression and immediately determine whether they were being sincere or scheming.
Except, of course, for Little Brother. He only had one expression and there was too little material to work with.
During the process of closing all the windows, I had been looking out of them, but I didn’t see anything. The view was still the same as before. After all the windows were closed, there were only a few lamps left to illuminate the room, which made it seem very mysterious.
After finishing his side, Fatty walked over and said, “Don’t play games with us. I don’t mean you any harm, but if you mess with me and I find out, you’ll definitely be in trouble.”
“It’s no use playing games in our current situation,” the lama said. “In half an hour at most, you’ll understand that things will only be more serious than I said. Now, you may still live if you listen to me.”
Fatty looked at me again and seemed to be genuinely baffled, “Do you have evil spirits here or something? Every year, they’ll come out at dawn on a certain day of the month? What’s so powerful and why are you afraid of it?”
“It can be regarded as a kind of devil,” the man replied.
Fatty and I looked at each other, not quite understanding what he was saying. The man began to take off his lama robe and I found that he was very physically fit. He had clearly defined muscles and muscle fibers that were like reinforced steel bars. He was obviously a well-trained person. As he took off his robe, he said to us, “Take off your coats first.”
<Chapter 36><Table of Contents><Chapter 38>
(1) Remember, it’s basically just a list.