Volume 2, Chapter 8: Keys

Outside, the wind was restlessly blowing madly and the swaying branches of the trees had been banging against the window, issuing out “pīpā pīpā” sound.

Xiao Bei suddenly shivered and unconsciously put his hands in his pocket.

“Come, look at this.” Liu Xin took out a stack of information and passed it to Xiao Bei while slowly saying, “Perhaps what you had said was right. We might have turned into someone’s chess piece. A while back, I went to Luo Yang. Through the network connections with some people, I had managed to find some traces left by the previous expedition group. However, it may be due to the fact that the incident was too far in the past that the clues aren’t complete.”

Xiao Bei wiped dry his face and roughly flipped through the stack of information.

“Everything was spearheaded to one place: the origin of this case.”

The two suddenly spoke at the same time.

“Luo Yang!”

The information contained many insignificant things and most of them were about their occupation when they were alive. There were archaeologists, university graduates, adventurers, billionaires, and others. The first impression of this group would be that it was messy but when it was carefully pondered, there was one similar nature about them and that was, they were obsessed. They were obsessed with the unknown and fanatic with the ancient civilization.

Regarding the emergence of the jade and then linking it with fatty’s words, by calculating the time, it explains that other than Liu Xin, the person who jumped into the depression had also managed to escape and that resulted in the jade to mix among people. However, the most likely possibility would be that that person had already left the world and because of this point, Liu Xin and Xiao Bei had no intention to find that person.

The last place that group stopped at before departing for the expedition was somewhere they had visited before and that place was Luo Yang.

Are there any clues still left there? About this, nobody would know. But, what’s certain is that it is inevitably linked to this series of incidents in countless ways.

After the two discussed with Yang Chen, without delay, they immediately set off to Luo Yang.

Luo Yang was located at the west of Henan Province called Huang He Nan An. It was built by the Duke of Zhou in the 12th century before Christ. It was one of the 8 ancient capitals and the first batch of State Council announced it to be one of the renowned cities in history. It was also the only city in history to be named as a divine capital.

Luo Yang had a pretty long history. It was once China’s political, economic and cultural center where it was also the transport hub for the roads that extended in all directions. During the early periods of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, the first establishment of a large road network was built in China and Luo Yang was one of the main cores. The path for the horse was as straight as an arrow where the distance would no longer be a problem; during Sui Dynasty (year 605 AD) when Emperor Yang of Sui reigned for about a year, he built an eastern capital in Luo Yang and ordered the Grand Canal to be cut. This resulted in Luo Yang to be the center of the of the north and south water network which is more than 2,000 km long. Luo Yang is used in the textbook for education. Many historians knew that in China, civilization began here, Taoism began here, Confucianism originated from here, culture flourished from here, Buddhism spread here first, metaphysics was started here, the Confucian School originated from here. Many talents and wise and holy men gathered here. Luo Yang is also the main root of many families such as Min Nan, Ke Jia and others

[TLN: To sum everything up, the above paragraph just briefly explained the history of Luo Yang.

Min Nan-闽南 = a southern Chinese dialect of Fujian and east Guangdong

Ke Jia-客家 = Hakka ethnic group]

When Xiao Bei first step foot on the land of Luo Yang, he could feel the difference to Li Jiang’s old art and culture. It has a rather scholarly flavor as well as an awe-inspiring feeling but it definitely possesses a kind of majestic feeling to it.

“So, where do we go first?”

“It would be great if we could start with the ancient jade and investigate any incident that had happened in these recent years.”

“Wú…” Xiao Bei lowered his head and pondered. He suddenly remembered something and exclaimed, “Ah! I thought of something”

“What is it?” Liu Xin asked.

“Fatty had once said that they had found the old man who collected the ancient jade but his family had moved away. In that old man’s house, they found a remnant of a page that was torn from a book.”

“What’s on it?”

“A picture of the ancient jade!”

The three no longer hesitated and immediately hurried to the old man’s house according to what Xiao Bei had heard from fatty. Sure enough, the old man’s house was still there but it was shabby and was beyond recognition. The weeds in the yard had already grown to half a man’s height.

When Xiao Bei touched the door, the whole door fell and the padlock that was hanging on the door had become an ornament.

“It looks like we will save a lot of effort.” Xiao Bei helplessly shrugged his shoulders.

The three stepped on the thick layer of dust while covering their mouth and nose as they entered the house. Inside the house, there seemed to be nothing. A table, a three-legged broken stool and two big bookshelves and nothing more.

“Yí? Look over there!” Xiao Bei suddenly noticed that above the bookshelves, it was consecrated to a statue.

It was a rectangular shaped case and it was partially covered by a layer of red cloth. Within it was the Guan Yin. Oddly, why would the Guan Yin be placed there? It was really strange.

Xiao Bei felt that there must be something fishy but after carefully combing the house for half a day, and even after taking down the Guan Yin during the search, they did not find anything strange.

Could it really be that it was unintentionally placed up there?

Xiao Bei was currently holding the Guan Yin and was fiddling with it. He was trying to check whether there was any hidden mechanism or such thing on it but no matter how he looked at it, it was just extremely common.

“Pā——”

Just when Xiao Bei was about to place the Guan Yin back, his hand unexpectedly slipped and the Guan Yin shattered upon falling to the ground. Among the shattered pieces, there was a remnant page which was rolled into a straight cylinder.

So the secret was hidden within the statue!

Last time, fatty and Xing Man Tian found clues related to the ancient jade on the remnant page, so what will it be now?

Feeling excited, Xiao Bei picked up that rolled up remnant page and slowly unrolled it.

It was a map. On it, a red permanent marker was used to mark out a crooked line. The final point was a bright red-colored fork drawn on the map and right beside it was a very small question mark.

The three were stupefied.

What exactly was this hinting? The unknown? The knot that was just about to be released a little was once again tightened and had become impossible to unravel.

“This seemed to be the map of Luo Yang 10 years ago.” Liu Xin spoke after examining it.

During these 10 years, Luo Yang had changed a lot but there still remained some streets and the name of the places that had not changed, so these places could still be vaguely identified. So, what’s the meaning of this? The red fork’s position on the map was within Luo Yang City. Could there be a cave?

However, the human population in Luo Yang is so large, if there are any weird things, it should have long been reported in the news ah. So why was this thing not heard of?

“Xiao Bei, think carefully again, is there anything you have forgotten to say?” Yang Chen suddenly opened his mouth and asked Xiao Bei.

“Let me think. What is it that I could have forgotten?” Xiao Bei scratched his head in frustration but he could not recall any valuable clues that would be useful. Suddenly, he remembered that bunch of keys! It was when he was in Li Jiang’s ancient tomb where he found the oddly shaped keys in the bag that was at Liu Second Uncle’s side.

Xiao Bei took out that bunch of keys and passed them to Liu Xin.

“This is?”

“I’m also not very sure. This is the only thing left that I had forgotten to tell you all.”

Xiao Bei shook his head and continued, “Among this bunch of keys, there is a very common key and on it is a number. I don’t know where this key is from but it might be Second Uncle’s house key.”

Liu Xin turned the key over and over again but could not remember whether Second Uncle had this bunch of keys. He had never left Second Uncle’s side before, so how could he not be clear of the things Second Uncle had?

“Unlikely. Second Uncle must have gotten it after I had left.” Liu Xin’s tone was filled with certainty.

“However the diary did not write about the origin of this bunch of keys.” Xiao Bei sighed and wondered aloud, “It couldn’t be that it was randomly picked up from a dead person’s body? This could really give people a headache!”

“Wait a minute, Xiao Bei, what did you say just now?” Liu Xin suddenly lifted his head and asked.

“This could really give people a headache.”

“Not this, the previous one.”

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“It couldn’t be randomly picked up from a dead person’s body?”

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“Yes! It’s this! I think I understand already!” Liu Xin suddenly laughed. “Second Uncle will never do any meaningless things. Hence if it’s like this, this means that he must have felt that the bunch of keys will be useful, so he took it from the corpse. Also, at that time within the ancient tomb, there were only me, Second Uncle, the archaeological team and nobody else. So, who do you think this key belongs to?”

Xiao Bei suddenly came to a realization.

“Brother Liu, do you still remember the information you had given to me? On it, there is an important clue and that is the fact that the archaeological team’s initial members all loved to go to a place——the library!”

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