"The prefect's tomb was built in the middle of a triangle," Li Xiusheng beckoned Zhao Yu to a secluded area outside the tomb and told him. "This is extremely rare among the ancient tombs! This is not up to the standards of feng shui! Look, the tomb is surrounded with mountains on all sides. Also, even though it is sufficient to gather qi, it still falls short of having all of the five necessary elements. That does not make sense at all!"
"Qiu Cheng was a Ming Dynasty prefect over the years. So, it makes sense that the place already had tendencies of being carved up and stylized according to a different regime. Plus, Luya was located at the communications center of the north and the south. Qiu Cheng was, of course, an officer that had a large numbers of troops. So, why would he build a tomb that does not follow the teachings of the most popular and respected art of feng shui?"
Listening to the questions that Li Xiusheng brought up, Zhao Yu was very much in the dark. He had completely no idea about feng shui.
"The Dozen Statues of the Golden Buddha!" Li Xiusheng said excitedly, "The ancient legend...It's true!"
Dozen Statues of the Golden Buddha?!
Zhao Yu had no idea at all about this, so he just shook his head.
"For Prefect Qiu to have buried himself in such a place, one that does not follow the teachings of feng shui, he must have had his own reasons!" Li Xiusheng seemed to be speaking almost incoherently, due to his excitement.
"Police officer, do you know about the Golden Buddha Temple in Qinshan?" Liu Xiusheng asked again.
"Yeah! It has been reopened as a park now, with an ancient lotus pond and a forest of stone platforms," Zhao Yu answered. "It costs more than twenty dollars for an entrance ticket. What about it?"
"The Golden Buddha Temple was named so because it once enshrined the golden buddha! Thus, the golden buddha should be related to the Prefect Qiu!" Li Xiusheng quivered as he spoke, still quite excited.
But, Zhao Yu found this odd, asking, "Mister, I still don't understand. How does what you have just said relate at all to the Tomb Murder Case?"
"Of course it relates!" Li Xiusheng quickly pointed at the ancient tomb in the distance and said, "I looked carefully just now. The relics within the tomb were not touched. Most likely, the robbers only took away one fifth of them. Hence, there were still many valuable items that were left untouched! These actions do not line up with any grave robbers I've ever heard of!"
"What the heck?!" Zhao Yu was puzzled. He wanted to urge him to hurry up and get to the point, but the master spoke haphazardly, without any logic.
"The grave robbers took things that could be taken without any extra effort, and it all seemed to be so random! Some things were buried in the ground, some were in disrepair and needed to be touched up. All of these things, they didn't even touch them, but just left. They seemed to be in such a hurry!" Li Xiusheng continued. "Theoretically, the location was so remote, they would have had more than enough time to slowly take care of all of those relics. So, there really should not be anything left!"
Hmm….What does it mean?
Zhao Yu creased his eyebrows after hearing this. By the looks of the corpse, the murderer was very calm and calculated. However, they had left in a hurry. These two things seemed to be more than a little contradictory to one another.
"You listen to me… Mm…" Li Xiusheng reorganized his sentences, restarting at the topic discussed earlier. "The legend says that there were twelve statues of Golden Buddhas, hence the name Golden Buddha Temple! According to the historical record, these twelve statues were possibly related to Prefect Qiu!"
He continued. "It is actually recorded that, at the beginning of the wanli era, there was once a great drought in Luya. It lasted three years and was a very serious disaster. It made life impossible for the common people!" Li Xiusheng explained. "Back then, the Luya prefect had once led the locals to the temple in order to pray for rain. To show his sincerity, the prefect united with the local wealthy gentlemen to build the twelve statues with pure gold as offerings. That's how the temple got its name!"
"Golden Buddha temple...Golden Buddhas. Okay, makes sense. What then?" Zhao Yu urged.
Li Xiusheng replied excitedly, "There isn't any record about the effects, if any, that these prayers for rain had. But, there was rumor saying that the prefect who was praying for rain was fake. However, the reality was that he was secretly extorting money! Apparently, he painted gold paint on the twelve statues, which were actually made of stone and not gold. Hence, he was only pretending that they were Golden Buddhas! Then, he put them into the temple! In other words, he substituted the fakes for the genuine Golden Buddhas!"
"You're kidding!" Zhao Yu was shocked. "This is so bizarre!"
"Police officer, if the legend is true, where would the prefect hide the real Golden Buddhas?" Li Xiusheng asked, his eyes open wide. "In his tomb?!"
"Oh..." Zhao Yu finally realized something and said, "So, what you meant to say was that Qiucheng was the prefect that secretly replaced the beams and pillars with rotten timbers, which means that he was already adept at substituting what's fake for what's genuine! And then, the grave robbers aimed their sights at the real Golden Buddhas! So now… they have found and taken them away?!"
"Yes!" Li Xiusheng clapped his hands together and said, "Look, what can you get from a normal prefect's tomb? Nothing worth killing over! But, if it were real Golden Buddhas that were inside, that would be different, right?"
"Oh… That makes sense!" Zhao Yu nodded, but he was still a little doubtful, as he thought the case seemed to be filled with a few too many elements of legend and folklore. This made it a bit harder for him to accept.
"The tomb was not built according to the common feng shui practices, so it was difficult to be found by the people!" Li Xiusheng continued. "Even the top grave robber would find it difficult to discover this ancient tomb! Then… The person who died would have to be an old expert from the Cultural Relics Bureau, so…"
Zhao Yu pondered this, still pretty confused by the many facts. "So, what you are trying to say is that the tomb theft was not the doings of grave robbers, but rather a bunch of experts from the Cultural Relics Bureau? You mean, they did it for the Golden Buddhas?!"
"No!" Li Xiusheng said, getting a bit frustrated by now. "I've checked the robbers' entrance, and it was really professionally done. That means that the people from the Cultural Relics Bureau definitely couldn't have done it!"
"So..." Li Xiusheng said mystically, "I think that this was a partnering trade, meaning that, the old expert knew some of the clues about the Golden Buddhas, but they couldn't enter the tomb, so they recruited some professional grave robbers to help. Hence, they all worked together to find the Golden Buddhas successfully! Then, the grave robbers were led astray, not being able to control their greed upon seeing all of the numerous valuables. So, they killed the old expert in order to have all of the spoils for themselves. How about that? Could it be so?"
Zhao Yu pondered this all very seriously. He thought that Li Xiusheng's judgment seemed pretty legit. Yet, there was something that he couldn't understand. There were three experts missing! So, why would they only kill one of them? Why not kill all of them?
"Let me tell you, police officer!" Li Xiusheng was excited. "If the twelve statues truly exist, once they are found, it will be the biggest news in archeological history. It's not about monetary value, but rather it is about its being the most telling witness for the entire Qinshan history! It is an emblem of national pride and spirit! So, the value of the Golden Buddha is very high. It is not any weaker than the mightiest terracotta warriors and soldiers! So, no matter what, you have to arrest that bunch of grave robbers, as such relics should not be lost!"
Zhao Yu was tongue tied. He would have never expected that such a simple murder case could be so complicated!
How come there are twelve statues?
Do the Golden Buddhas truly exist? Did the prefect hide them in his tomb? Were they really stolen by the grave robbers?
Why does it all sound so creepy?
Is it possible?
Suddenly, Zhao Yu thought about something that Li Xiusheng had said. He had said that not all of the relics in the ancient tombs were taken away. In fact, he had mentioned that, at most, only one fifth of the relics had been snatched.
If this were indeed so, did it also mean that the grave robbers could have take the stolen goods away with a normal car? In other words, the investigation approach was incorrect. They had been looking for trucks and bigger cars!
It now seemed that a normal car could possibly have been used to transport the relics away from the ancient tomb. Plus, the Golden Buddhas would possibly still be in the vehicle!
Zhao Yu quickly made a call to the office, reminding them to rewatch the traffic surveillance video from Yunyang County. The phone call was picked up by Li Beini. Zhao Yu had yet to speak, when Li Beini told him urgent news first.
Hearing the news, there was a buzz in Zhao Yu's mind. This was a twist that rendered him completely dumbstruck!
Li Beini had told him that the Moyang Branch had found the missing relics from the prefect's tomb!
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