Based on the suggestion, Li Cu carefully examined the box again, and finally saw the hidden mystery of the dragon pattern on it.
There were very small horizontal and vertical lines on many parts of the pattern, and if he looked closely, he could see a divinatory diagram that closely resembled the Book of Changes. But it wasn’t the same. Li Cu instinctively felt that these patterns— which overlapped yet had nothing in common with each other— formed a kind of number.
Facts proved that he was right again, as the middle-aged man said: “It appears your basic knowledge needs more extensive supplementary lessons. The patterns you see are similar to the divinatory diagram of the Book of Changes, and are how the ancient Chinese calculated and expressed numbers. In ancient Chinese arithmetic, there was no concept of zero, only the concept of emptiness. This means that the figures without any lines at all represent emptiness. In other words, it’s zero.”
There were eight areas on which the pattern was shown. Li Cu didn’t recognize the meaning of these symbols, so he just looked at the general direction and guessed.
“This is a pseudo-quinary (1) writing method.” The middle-aged man continued to explain: “Anyone with a brain can figure out the numbers represented by these symbols after thinking about them. You can read these numbers. You just need to remember what order the ancient Chinese read things.”
Li Cu read it again according to his own speculation: “02200059”
What kind of number was this?
The middle-aged man said: “This series of numbers is constantly changing, but the frequency is very slow. It changes in units of ten years, and is irregular. This is the latest series of numbers, but we haven’t been able to figure out how this box works or what these numbers mean. We later found a group of mathematicians to analyze them. They didn’t analyze the equation of numerical change, but put forward a hypothesis.”
The slide on the projector changed again, and there was a diagram showing a box with the words “synchronization key” on it, along with a coffin on the right that read: “synchronization lock”.
Sounding very impressed, the middle-aged said: “King Mu was either very clever and good at arithmetic, or he had talented people under him. He designed a rudimentary password protection structure, but it’s only now emerging in the computer field.”
The changing numbers on this box were a countdown. King Mu didn’t know when he would wake up, so he couldn’t set a precise time for his trap.
In other words, he couldn’t set his trap to start after thirty-five hundred years or even twenty-three hundred years. He had to start it as soon as he woke up.
Without electronic wireless devices or sensors, and no regularity in the changes he underwent in the jade burial armor, how could this be done?
King Mu did something that even now seems inhumane.
He used part of the jade burial armor to make a small coffin, killed a pregnant woman, took out her fetus before it had reached full term, and then put it into the jade burial armor.
Each change the fetus underwent in the jade burial armor— along with its movements— would affect the mechanism in the box, which caused it to change, and thus changed the calculation symbols on the surface of the box.
That jade burial armor affected everyone the same, so the changes the fetus underwent in the box would be exactly the same as those King Mu underwent in the tomb.
King Mu didn’t use regular counting methods, but used completely irregular numbers in order to cover up the real meaning of the box. But if the changes in the box started to become so frequent that the counting mechanism inside reached a thousand in a month, that was when the changes in the jade burial armor had been completed.
The number 02200059 would appear on the surface of the box, and when it was opened, all the information pointing to King Mu would appear.
Li Cu looked at the box: “Is this it? It didn’t open?”
“I said this was just a copy. We’ve been trying to copy this box, and wasted a lot of resources, but we lack the know-how.” The middle-aged man smiled and looked at Li Cu: “The real box has been destroyed.”
Li Cu asked, “Destroyed, why?”
“Destroying this box was the biggest concealed event in Chinese history. Everything we’ve experienced was completely changed at that moment.” The middle-aged man said: “Although King Mu made the most complicated preparations, he didn’t foresee one thing. From our point of view, it’s a very stupid thing. He didn’t foresee the emergence of someone like himself.”
At that time, King Mu used his understanding of human nature and social changes to control and predict what would happen in the future. But he failed to think about the possibility that there might be someone like him in this world, someone even better than him.
He thought that he had surpassed all others who came before and after him.
But there was a man, a real wise man, who saw the whole layout clearly, and managed to get the dragon pattern box. One day during the last few decades of China’s Manchurian Qing dynasty (2), his descendants opened the box according to his last wishes, and took out the baby.
The most amazing thing in the world happened. That baby from thousands of years ago was still alive, and peacefully fell asleep. The changes that had occurred in the world over three thousand years seemed to have no effect on him, and it was as if he was still in his mother’s womb, waiting to be born.
The group of people were shocked by such a scene, and thought it was a miracle of life. Since his birth, this child had exceeded the original meaning of life.
They prostrated themselves in front of the child. These people had almost all the power in the world except for time, and yet they knelt down in front of a child. It was as if everything that had happened three thousand years ago seemed to pass in front of them. China’s heavy history, and all of time, seemed to converge on the child, so heavy that no one could lift their knees.
“They raised the child.” The middle-aged man said. “In the years to come, this child changed everything.”
Fate was really incredible. King Mu, the favored son of heaven, thought that all the wisdom and experience in the world were for his own use. He set up a fantastic puzzle, and kept rolling and passing it on for more than three thousand years, believing that he knew everything. It was unexpected that fate would give him all this, only to let a little boy who wasn’t even full-term walk from ancient times to this era, and finally meet another group of people.
A photo of a young man appeared on the slide. He was a silent, calm man with eyes as pale as clear water. He was carrying something on his back and walking normally, eyes focused on the direction of the lens. He obviously saw the person secretly taking the photo, but didn’t care.
His soulful stare seemed to look straight through the picture, as if he were face-to-face with Li Cu. It was the first time Li Cu had seen such a person, and his heart squeezed as an unprecedented feeling similar to an electric shock passed through his whole body.
It was the vague message Wu Xie had passed on to him through the viper. Countless untouchable fragments of memory, eyes that had nothing to do with the world, and the taste of the purest despair in the world.
“What’s his name?” Li Cu asked this question for the first time. He had never cared about it before.
“Zhang Qiling.” The middle-aged man said.
<Chapter 138> <Table of Contents><Chapter 140>
(1) Quinary is a numeral system with five as the base. A possible origination of a quinary system is that there are five fingers on either hand. In the quinary place system, five numerals, from 0 to 4, are used to represent any real number. According to this method, five is written as 10, twenty-five is written as 100 and sixty is written as 220.
(2) The Chinese characters referred to it as “Manchurian Qing” not just “Qing” and my dictionary said it’s referring to the Qing dynasty especially at its decline. It was the last imperial dynasty of China (1636 to 1912) if that gives you an idea of what time period middle-aged dude is talking about.
My face realizing Poker-face is more of a cradle-robber than we thought:
9 thoughts on “Chapter 139 Zhang Qiling”
Another origin story for Poker Face. ❤️
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Baaam! I thought the whole time, that Little brother is more interesting and mysterious, than just one of many Zhang children! And here it is! And it all make sense! And I would never know if it was not for you translating this. So again huge thanks!
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Thank you soooo much for translating this!!!!
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But they said before that Zhang Qilin was more a title than a real name… so it might not be our Poker-face…
I think based on the context (and the picture), they’re definitely referring to Poker-face if I remember correctly 🤔 There’s only 1 Zhang Qiling (aka patriarch) per generation and Poker-Face has held that title for like 100 years
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“He was a silent, calm man with eyes as pale as clear water”… maybe this is the holy child they think xiaoge was… because the thing about the pale eyes 🤔
Who is that.. the previous Zhang Qiling or poker face?
Based on what Zang Haike said, poker face early years is far from being worshiped and there is already someone who is became a patriarch after overthrow the previous one
Is Zhang Haike story just a crap or there is some more to this “Zang Qiling”
Omg I started tearing up when I saw the chapter title. I miss xiaoge so freaking muchhhhh. That description about purest despair stabbed straight through my heart.
Also we finally get some more insight into whatever 02200059 means!!!
Wait what was the thing that Wu Xie carried out in the Tomb in Volume 1 and opened it in his Third Uncle’s house????