Preface: Tomb Blows Out Lights
"Chief, why is this tomb so gloomy? Feels like there's an ominous aura, did you check today's horoscope?" In the dim, dark side chamber several gray figures with dirt-smudged faces moved around, one of which wiped his sweat, half straightened his waist and shouted into the main tomb chamber.
"Yeah I checked." Meng Fuyao1 had a mini flashlight stuck in her mouth and was half-crouched on the floor, stirring up dust while brushing away at the large blue-green stone coffin in the middle of the tomb. She responded with difficulty around the flashlight and without lifting her head, yet her words were still clear. "Today is an auspicious day on the zodiac for funerals, wearing mourning attire, moving coffins - look, that's what we're doing! What a coincidence, all of them have death in common!"
"Kao2, can't you say something more optimistic?" The fatty who yelled previously rolled his eyes, then raised his head to look at the strange ox-head human-bodied tomb mural on the ceiling. Under the dancing of the dim candlelight, it was as if it would step out from the wall at any moment, making him shrink back a little in fear.
Meng Fuyao was too lazy to bother with him while focused on her work. The dust was gradually brushed off, revealing the carving of a three-headed, double-bodied, single-horned creature with two wings on its back and a fierce stare. In Fuyao's eyes, the carving had a majestic beauty to it characteristic of ancient civilizations.
With an expression of delight and her eyes wide open, Fuyao gently brushed the carving with one hand while extending the other. "Tape measure!"
Someone frantically offered the tape measure to her.
"Fatty, come over here and take a group photo with the emperor's coffin." Fuyao grabbed the fatty and pulled him to the side of the coffin. "You on that side, me on this side. Count off!"
"Chief don't! Why aren't you letting go of me?" The little fatty Xiao Yuan tried to struggle to no avail.
"Because you are a rookie," Fuyao showed a toothy smile, "rookies are for veterans to trample on, didn't you know? Now stop dawdling, quickly! We have to finish this tomb fast, so that my PhD thesis this year will have some material!"
"Madwoman, workaholic, only 22 years old and already an associate professor, your existence is just a humiliation for all archeological geniuses...." Fatty mumbled, then read the measurements underneath the light from the flashlight, "Finished, length 2.18 meters, width 0.94, height 0.66."
"OK!" Meng Fuyao slapped the stone creature on the coffin, causing dust to fly in all directions, then looked at the coffin in satisfaction. When she thought about how her salary would soar up into the sky after getting her degree, and how her mom's hospital fees wouldn't be a problem anymore, her mood couldn't help but get better.
Thinking of her mother's illness, Fuyao was lost in thought for a moment, and so didn't notice that her last slap caused a deep echo to travel starting from the coffin through the passageway down to the tomb door. The sound then rebounded back as a long and gloomy reverberation, sounding like the vibrations from the footsteps of primordial giants.
Despite the fact that the tomb was sealed underground, a cold wind blew from who-knows-where, causing people to shiver. The tomb chamber's lights were weak, barely illuminating the pale white faces of the people present and creating an eerie atmosphere.
This archeology team was from an archeological college in the Jiangsu province3, coming to the southwestern frontier to excavate an unnamed tomb rumored to predate even Cao Cao's4 grave by centuries. Starting from the excavation's first day, the mysterious incidents never ceased. First was the team eating the wrong mountain herbs, causing people to expel all of their bowel contents and give the barren earth of the Yungui plateau5 free fertilizer straight from the cities. Next was team member Xiao Li6 randomly getting bitten by a poisonous snake when setting up his tent in the morning. Even worse, when opening up the tomb this morning, the team didn't even plan to explore the tomb today; the team only rushed down here because the medic Xiao Wang6 was suddenly hit by a falling ridge rock while delivering tools and gloriously fell into down into the tomb, holding his head in pain.
With all the inauspicious events happening up to this point, according to grave robber logic, this tomb would be a little too suspicious, and not suitable for further exploration. Yet according to archeologist logic ... actually, archeologist logic is pretty much the same as grave robber logic. The only difference is that one is private business and one is public, but both dig up their ancestor's graves, and both know that some graves should not be dug up.
Team members already begged to seal up the grave and go home, leaving further exploration up to the mighty excavation machines of the government.
Yet it was a pity, this time's team leader was not a normal person, but the so-called "Red-haired Witch" Meng Fuyao, Miss Meng. Miss Meng was great in all aspects, a model of the new generation who exemplified everything that the "morality-intellect-athleticism-positivity-hard work7" education was supposed to be, with her only weakness being: she wasn't exactly right in the head.
Of course, this abnormality only appears through her fiery passion and craziness for digging up ancient graves, as well as the illogical choices she makes when encountering strange situations.
In summary, Miss Meng definitely would not give up on her much-loved action of defiling graves just because of a couple random events like diarrhea or snake bites or rocks falling. To a social deviant who once hugged to sleep the first ancient corpse that she excavated out of pure delight, these small bumps were far from what she would consider problems.
"Crowbar, hammer, pick!" With a swish of her red hair, a bright, colorful flash suddenly broke through the darkness of the chamber. Meng Fuyao cracked her knuckles, her eyes lighting up like the eternal flames of the heavens.
However, the tools were not handed over immediately. Fuyao knitted her brows and turned around, only to see the excavation members all dispirited and pale, unwilling to come forward.
"Kao, afraid? Don't tell me the righteous and professional archeological team also believes in superstition! You, you, you," she pointed one after the other, "all party members, geniuses, students nurtured by Marxist-Lenin and Mao Zedong's teachings8! Did the diarrhea cause you to shit out all of your brain's scientific theory?"
Thump, thump, thump, with big steps she stomped over, hua la la she flipped through the backpack in a messy search, pulled out a couple sticks of candles, and rolled her eyes. Fuyao impatiently stuck a candle at each of the four corners of the tomb. The faint candlelight flickered at each corner of the room, unexpectedly containing a greenish tint.
"Boss ... what are you doing ..."
"Haven't you seen 'Ghost Blows Out the Light9'?" Meng Fuyao clapped and created another loud echo while smiling and saying "Since you guys think there are ghosts, I'll follow the flow then. If the candles are blown out, then we'll go back, good?"
"Really?" Fatty surreptitiously eyed the candles ... maybe directly blow them out himself?
Before he had time to get closer to the candles, the witch had already started assigning roles to each person, and soon the crowd of people was milling around the coffin in circles, with no time to spare for the candles at the four corners of the tomb.
This meant that when a swirl of wind close to the ground caused the candles at the west and south corners of the tomb to flicker and then go out, no one noticed immediately.
The coffin lid was very heavy, and after thousands of years the gaps between the stone lid and the coffin were tightly melded. It took several people exerting much effort to finally crack open a hair. Meng Fuyao was standing up on a tombstone, two hands on her knees, shouting and directing the efforts: "One, two three!"
A loud rumble suddenly sounded, and with a large bang, the coffin lid was pushed aside, exposing the inner contents.
"Great job people!" Meng Fuyao lavished praise onto the team, then with one step leaped onto the side edge of the coffin. While using the flashlight to illuminate the insides of the coffin, she also sang an improvised, light-hearted tune.
"After two thousand years,
we will meet again,
ship to the nearest museum,
install in glass cabinet for man,
you a cabinet,
me a cabinet,
don't differentiate between us,
unafraid of the tomb robbers surrounding and chasing us ...10"
The workers below rolled their eyes, only hating themselves being unable to cover their ears to block out the off-tune, extraordinarily ear-harming sound.