Zhang Haike kept thinking at that time that there had to be a passage in the ruins, which would obviously be more convenient than digging. Poker-face was very familiar with this place and said that he was also there at that time, so maybe he had cleared out the mud in this passage himself.
Only that kid could enter the passage, but it was obviously unrealistic for him to clear out the dirt alone. There must have been other Zhang children who helped him clear the passage at that time.
But this didn’t conform to the Zhang family’s rules. Letting a child as small as that go into the field was a clear violation of clan rules.
Just now, when Poker-face said that the man they had thought was his father wasn’t actually his father, there didn’t seem to be any trace of emotion in his voice. So, maybe he was an orphan whose biological parents died in the Zhang family’s infighting and he was forced to do these dark things here.
No matter how fierce the fighting was between people in this line of business, there were always casualties, and the Zhang family was no exception. These people’s children led completely different lives from them.
Incidentally, Zhang Haike really didn’t care about these people’s fate. These poor children were different from them in that they had lived in a separate courtyard and were taken care of by special personnel. They were usually completely enclosed in the courtyard and couldn’t be reached at all. Every generation of the Zhang family had a batch of such children, and some of the families who didn’t have any heirs would adopt several of them as their own. Could Poker-face have been adopted by his so-called father in this way? After being trained, was he made to work in the ancient tombs by entering narrow spaces that adults couldn’t and finding artifacts?
An eight- or nine-year-old child having to face the cold darkness… no wonder this kid had such a character.
In any case, they couldn’t use that route, but there was still the other grave robbers’ tunnel beside it. This should have been the passage that was excavated later for the adults to use.
The two passages should lead to the same place.
Zhang Haike examined them with a flashlight and saw that the two holes appeared to go in the same direction. He took the lead and crawled into the bigger one.
“This was a grave mistake,” Zhang Haike said to me. “We climbed in almost a hundred meters before we saw the exit. After we came out, we realized that the two grave robbers’ tunnels led to two different places and we were separated from him.”
After climbing out of the tunnel, they entered the second linqia—the fourth room since they had arrived in this place—which was much simpler than the previous one. They knew at a glance that it must have been a temple for a local god.
The place was very small and there was a layer of loess on the ground that was half a palm deep. If they dug a little bit, they could even see the blue-green bricks on the ground.
There were Buddha statues on each side of the temple: one side had an image of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (1); the left and right sides had the local Tudi Gong (2); and the temple door was on the other side. There were idol statues in the honorary spot on either side of the door that were probably of Taoist origins. The temple door had been broken through and the resulting mud that entered formed a steep slope. But because the temple was very sturdy, the mud only blocked the door instead of destroying the whole temple.
There were many densely packed things hanging from the ceiling of this small local temple while water jars and other miscellaneous items were on the ground. There was clear water in the jars, but the Zhang children didn’t know where it had come from.
Their group washed some of the mud off and sat down on a nearby bench to rest. Off to one side, Zhang Haike saw something drawn on the ground. When he looked at the marks left by the benches, he realized that someone must have casually drawn this picture with a knife or branch while taking a break here.
Zhang Haike looked at it again and saw that it was the plan of the ancient city. The unexplored area and the area already excavated were clearly marked, and to his surprise, this person had added a border to the outline of the whole city. It was in the shape of a scorpion.
But in the unexplored area, a stone was placed at a certain point, which obviously meant that that was the place they wanted to reach.
It was clear that they had made great progress with great difficulty in this ancient city. And the fact that they had to hang everything in the areas they walked through showed that such zones had high-frequency tremors. But what caused these tremors? Since his group had come here, they hadn’t encountered anything related to this theory.
“The further you go in, the further you get from the exit, which increases the danger,” one of the Zhang children suddenly said. “I think it’s a little strange. Since it’s so worthwhile to operate this place, why not just go up there and take out the Ma family? Our Zhang family is so good that those deserters definitely wouldn’t be worthy opponents. We could take out the local strong man and replace him, which would enable us to rob whatever we want.”
“Based on what you’ve just said, the Zhang family might as well become bandits,” Zhang Haike retorted.
“Don’t you think it’s a little strange?” Another one asked, prompting the others to turn to him. They saw him touching his hand, where many red rash spots had appeared.
He scratched at the rash, thought for a moment, and then said, “There’s something wrong with the water.”
“It’s not the water, I checked it.” The one who spoke suddenly looked solemn and said, “It’s the silt. There’s something wrong with it.”
Without speaking, Zhang Haike went back to the place where they had cleaned themselves off, touched some of the silt with his fingers, and put it under his nose to smell it carefully. “There’s mercury in the silt,” he said.
The Zhang family’s children always carried several antidotes with them, and each person immediately took out a small bottle and rubbed the contents on themselves. One of them said, “Isn’t this an ancient city? Why is there mercury in the silt? That’s something you’d usually find in an ancient tomb.”
Everyone was also puzzled. The first person who had a reaction to the mercury suddenly fell to the ground, and the person standing next to him immediately went to help him up. He saw that the kid kept shaking, and the rash on his hand hadn’t abated but became more serious.
“We’re all fine. Why is he reacting so strongly?” The one who was helping him asked.
Zhang Haike put his finger down the boy’s throat and pulled hard, causing him to vomit all the silt out.
“He must have swallowed a few mouthfuls of mud. Give him some protein water to clear out his intestines.”
Perhaps this Zhang kid wasn’t good at swimming and swallowed a few mouthfuls of mud when he came down. In order not to lose face, he couldn’t spit it out but swallowed it instead.
The smell of the silt itself was extremely unpleasant, and the vomit mixed with stomach acid made several people look a little green. One of them went to get him some protein water to drink while Zhang Haike immediately dug up some dirt to cover the filth. After digging a few more times, however, he suddenly found that something was moving in the vomited silt.
<Chapter 50><Table of Contents><Chapter 52>
(1) The Bodhisattva of the Great Vow (to save all souls before accepting Bodhi)/also translated Earth Treasury, Earth Womb, or Earth Store Bodhisattva
(2) God of the Earth, a god whose deification and functions are determined by local residents
4 thoughts on “Chapter 51 Their Discovery”
I don’t know if what haike is thinking is right but all xiaoge’s past is so sad… i’m starting to think that wuxie and fatty are not only xiaoge’s connection with the world but his first really family 💔
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You are right. Maybe thats why he became so indiferent
What hurt more is that this book makes me realize that even tho he lost his memory periodically, his childhood memories stay, thats the reason the lama enherited the same name so he can find his people
Isnt that practically saying that every time he lost his memory, he back to his adolescent state? Thats why its easier to get close to him in this time and getting harder after he slowly regain his memory back
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i think you are right about him going back to his adolescent state and i think xiaoge way of being depends on people and experiences that he knows and goes through every time he loses his memory
это жутко.. вот так, каждый раз, все проходить заново и вспоминать… он так и останется моим любимым героем из троицы, да простят меня фанаты У Се и Толстяка. Я всех люблю, но Сяо Гэ – больше всего! 💗💗💗💗За всей его крутостью – такое печальное прошлое… и его неумение выражать эмоции немного меняется рядом с У Се и Толстяком… с ними он даже научился немного улыбаться…