Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
“No, here was where they went back then!” In the car, Miao Ying tapped open the maps on her phone, pointing to a region to show Zhao Yu. “In the middle of Qinshan, there was an area of depopulated zone! It was back in 1993, so it has been a long time!”
“You mean… There were four of them?” Zhao Yu creased his eyebrows and asked.
“Yes,” Miao Ying replied confidently. “I heard it from an old retired curator, and I have seen the related records!”
“Besides Dong Peizhuo, Tian Dongmin, Wang Taiming, there was another man named Fan Peng,” Miao Ying continued. “The four of them were all archaeologists in the Cultural Relics Bureau. They went together!”
“Back then, there were many mountain inhabitants’ rumors, saying that there were ancient historical remains in one of the caves in Qinshan. So, in order to reveal the truth, the four of them were entrusted by the Cultural Relics Bureau to inspect it!
“In the end, they came across a flash flood, and Fan Peng has never returned since!”
“Mm… Never returned? That means.. He drowned?” Lan Bo asked.
“Probably!” Miao Ying replied, “According to the other three’s confessions, the flash flood was ferocious, causing all four of them to be swept into the water! Then, Fan Peng had a chance to survive, but when he pulled Dong Peizhuo onto the shore, he was hit by a big log that was drifting in the water. Then, he was flushed away. His body has yet to be found, until now!”
“What the heck… They had an internal conflict back then, and they purposely made up a story?” Lan Bo’s eyes were wide open, as he guessed this. “All of them found the clues for the Golden Buddha statues, then had an internal conflict and an intentional homicide happened. They even lied about encountering the flash flood. Actually, the three of them colluded to kill Fan Peng. The dead body hasn’t been found, right? Maybe Fan Peng didn’t die, and has instead returned to take revenge?”
“Are you sick?” Zhao Yu teased him, “Have you watched too many TV dramas?”
“It’s impossible!” Miao Ying shook her head. “Fan Peng was their leader. He was already quite old back then. If he was still alive, he should be around ninety years old by now! Plus, the flash flood did occur, as many mountain villages at the lower reaches were affected by it also!”
“And,” Zhao Yu added, “If Fan Peng was alive, is he stupid? Why wouldn’t he go home?”
“What if he lost his memory?” Lan Bo guessed excitedly, “Or, maybe he was afraid that, if he returned, the three of them might try to kill him again? Or maybe the one who took revenge was his son? Fan Peng survived in Qinshan, and became a grave robber with all the knowledge that he had learned..”
Zhao Yu and Miao Ying shared a look, then shrugged their shoulders together. Then they started their own discussion and ignored Lan Bo.
“Let me roughly summarise all of this!” Miao Ying said to Zhao Yu, “The three old experts’ earliest handwritten manuscript was not in existence before the flash flood incident, but only after 1993!”
“From the current information, I have a feeling that, when they encountered the flash flood, it spiked their interest in the Golden Buddha statues!”
“In other words,” Zhao Yu pondered, “During the so-called archeological inspection, the three of them must have encountered something!”
“There were four of them. Even though Fan Peng’s whereabouts remain unknown, he should be one of the insiders!” Miao Ying pointed at the map and continued, “I told Li Beini to check, so she’s trying to find out where they visited. To solve this puzzle, we have to investigate from the starting point!”
“Theoretically, that’s right. But…” Zhao Yu shook his head and said, “It was a major flash flood. Even if there was any evidence, wouldn’t it be damaged, or flushed away by the flood?”
“Hey?” Lan Bo cut them off once again. “Guys, look at it this way. Maybe those old experts went for outdoor inspection, then accidentally ran into the Golden Buddha statues! But, as there was a sudden flash flood, they forgot the place where they found the Golden Buddha Statues! So, they’ve been interested in the Golden Buddha statues ever since!
“And if the grave robbers now found the clues, thenwouldn’t they return to look for the place?” Lan Bo said, the car suddenly in silence.
Although Zhao Yu and Miao Ying shared a look again, they couldn’t help but consider what Lan Bo had just said!
It is extremely possible!
Nevertheless… If the Golden Buddha statues were at the place where the old expert did their inspection, they could have just returned to the place. Why did they have to rob the prefect’s grave and steal the Buddhist scripture?
Was there any hidden agenda?
Suddenly, Zhao Yu thought of a possibility. If it’s treasure, would there be any traps? They couldn’t solve it, so…. In the end, Fan Peng wasn’t flushed away by the water, but died under the treasure trap?
Then, they researched about the Buddhist scripture wholeheartedly, just because they wanted to solve the trap?
In the end, when Zhao Yu shared his thoughts, Miao Ying and Lan Bo couldn’t help but believe him. Although the level of the grave robbers was high, and they should be able to deal with the traps of the people from ancient times … This above-mentioned speculation seemed to be the only reasonable explanation, as then it could link everything together.
Even more, not only could it link up the entire case, it gave them an investigational direction. Which was the place where the old experts went for inspection, and also the place where the Golden Buddha statues were hidden?
That gang of grave robbers would most likely be there!
It had been seven days!
Already seven days!
If the speculation is valid, would the treasure already have been taken away by the grave robbers?
“No way!” Zhao Yu was anxious, as he pointed at the map on Miao Ying’s phone and said, “Captain Miao, regardless, we have to head over to the depopulated zone to take a look!”
“Mm…” Miao Ying nodded, but her eyebrows were creased tightly. “But the area ain’t small. Although we know roughly where the place the old experts did their inspection, it is hard to guarantee that the Golden Buddha statues are nearby!”
Lan Bo said, “Yeah, or maybe… Fan Peng was really flushed away in the flash flood, while the rest of them might have found the Golden Buddha statues as they were looking for Fan Peng’s dead body! There are many possibilities! It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack!”
“Hey? Look..” Zhao Yu was staring at the phone and investigating the depopulated area. He suddenly realized something and said, “Guy, look. If they depart from Yunyang country, it’s a straight-line, one hundred and twenty kilometers. If one was a forest specialist, they could reach that in a day’s walk!”
“In the ancient times, Yunyang was the centre of Qinshan. If Prefect Qiu wanted to hide his treasure, the area with no villages would be the most suitable place, right?” As Zhao Yu said this, it gave everyone a confident boost.
“Then… Captain Miao…” Lan Bo raised his head and said, “Should we send in more people? Find a few more spots, and head into the mountain to search all over, together?”
Miao Ying did not answer, but rather pondered about another question. After a while, she told Zhao Yu solemnly, “Zhao Yu, I’m worried that… That Fu Jianxing…”
As Miao Ying spoke, Zhao Yu suddenly realized: True that! Fu Jianxing looked confident today. Maybe he had realized the problem long ago, and already set his aim at Qinshan’s depopulated zone?!