Professor Silicon told me that his friend would be joining us shortly, so we had some time to walk around the Tiananmen Square. This square is among the top ten biggest squares in the world. It has seen many events through history, and now it is the home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. There were thousands of people walking and passing by very fast so you could hardly focus on any of them. I was not sure how we could find Professor’s friend among all those strangers. Besides, there were so many tourists with cameras, umbrellas, ice-creams, so it would be difficult for our Chinese friend to locate us here as well.
We walked back and forth the square, studied all the monuments, studied all the tourists, their clothes, listened to their speech. Almost an hour passed since our arrival at the Tiananmen Square, and still, there was no sign of Lee. Professor decided to give him a call, but no one answered. Something must have happened that held him back. Professor Silicon was sure that Lee would catch us later inside the Forbidden City, and he suggested we had to keep moving to stick to our schedule.
We crossed several crowds of tourists to make it to the Tiananmen Gate. First built during the Ming dynasty in 1420, Tiananmen was the entrance to the Imperial City, within which the Forbidden City was located. Hundreds of years many secrets have been hidden there, and we were about to learn some of them soon. Like other official buildings of the empire, the gate itself had unique imperial roof decorations. Two lions stood in front of the gate, and two more guarded the bridges. In Chinese culture, lions are believed to protect humans from evil spirits. No wonder they were protecting some valuable information from all unwanted there.
We passed through the Gate and entered another square surrounded by various buildings. Then we passed through another building to enter another square. The whole Forbidden City started to remind me of some kind of an ancient maze where some incredible beast was living and guarding the secrets of its master. Professor was muttering something trying to recall some memories he needed now. He guided us through the alleys, beautiful gardens, an ancient building with lions and dragons painted on the walls. It seemed we were running in circles. Many of the buildings we passed were already familiar to me, at least I thought so.
I also started to notice that there were fewer people around us compared to the crowds we ran into when we first entered the Tiananmen Gate. Now from time to time, we faced those who looked like they belonged to this place. Lextor Anderson told me that they were wearing hanfu.
Hanfu is the traditional style of clothing worn by the Han Chinese. There are several representative styles of hanfu, such as the ruqun (an upper-body garment with a long outer skirt), the aoqun (an upper-body garment with a long underskirt), the beizi and the shenyi, and the shanku. Traditionally, hanfu consists of a robe or a jacket worn as the upper garment with a skirt commonly worn as the lower garment. In addition to clothing, hanfu also includes several forms of accessories, such as headwear, footwear, belts, jewelry such as yupei (jade pendants), and handheld fans.
Now we entered the garden. It looked very familiar. To tell the truth the garden in the hidden city of Semcity where Professor built his new underground lab was almost the exact copy of the garden we were in right now. Now I understood where Lextor drew his inspiration. It was so beautifully peaceful here. Sound of a spring running, birds singing, and wind playing with the leaves and flowers. It was impossible to believe that outside of the Forbidden City there were almost twenty million people living their life in the capital of China.
Here in this Garden of Wisdom, we met several people that were smiling and bowing to us. I felt very positive energy coming from them. For a moment I thought I could even understand what they were saying or thinking. It was like they knew we would come and they knew who we were. They addressed me as anpei ren. Professor told me that it meant a person in control of the current flow or simply Amperman, the guardian of power and light.
I wanted to ask a lot of questions when a very old man approached us and started talking to Professor in some strange language. It seemed they knew each other very well. And since I had a short break, I decided to walk around the garden to get my thoughts in order. And this is when for a moment I thought I saw some familiar faces of our pursuers from SilSic Corp. in one of the buildings close to the garden. In a second, they were gone, though I was sure what I saw.
Professor Silicon was heading in my direction and there was no sign of his friend and other people we met in the garden. Lextor told me what he learned from his old friend Way. He warned him that many strange people were asking about us since the last month, and today there were two suspicious men noticed not far from the alley leading to the Garden of Wisdom. However, the Masters of the Forbidden City were aware of the situation and did all the preparations beforehand so that no enemy could reach the secrets of the Silicon Dragon. The temple was well hidden and only a few could find the way to its secrets.
Besides, our mutual friend Lee has not been seen for two days and yesterday missed the meeting with the Masters, which was a very bad sign. Professor hoped that he was ok and had to lay low for a while. Anyway, Lee knew almost everything about our trip and would catch up with us as soon as he could.
Professor’s speech raised more questions. I wanted to learn more about those Masters, the suspicious people, the temple, and more importantly about the Silicon Dragon. I also wanted to tell him what I saw. Just when I opened my mouth to do so, Professor Silicon warned me that he saw our friends as well and this was not the place for the questions and answers. We had to find the Silicon Dragon, and the sooner we do it, the better for all of us it would be.
Way told Professor where to find the first key which will lead us further in our quest. After another half an hour of walking in circles within the Forbidden City Professor pointed at something I first did not recognize at all. In the alley of monuments and buildings, there was an ancient city wall. And if you knew where and at what angle to look at it you could see a very narrow hidden passage in it. We made sure no one was around and squeezed through it feeling like a semiconductor element being encapsulated in a diode or thyristor hockey puck package.
On the other side of this wall, there was a small pond, several trees, and a beautiful tiny building looking like a temple. There was a statue of a lion in front of it guarding the entrance. It was even more peaceful here than in the Garden of Wisdom. You could not hear any sound in here. It was like you were put into a vacuum.
We entered the temple. There was no one inside. However, the temple was illuminated by candlelight. It was very hot inside, and there was space enough only for two or three people. Professor told me to search for a key Way was talking about. I wish I knew what this key looked like. Professor did not know either. There were many hieroglyphs and drawings on the walls. Professor was watching closely at each of them mumbling something I could not understand. He told me that there was some information about the hidden path of the Masters, about the prophecy, about the anpei ren. But he did not find anything mentioning some key.
We continued our search, and I decided to focus not on the walls but the floor and the ceiling. When my head started to spin after I studied the ceiling of the temple I looked down and saw something familiar. It looked like the yin and yang symbol only a bit different. It was a small symbol of the alternating current.
Professor told me that this must be it. This might be the key we were looking for. I stepped on it, and nothing happened. Professor Silicon tried to do the same, he pushed it with his palm, fingers, but nothing happened. I tried to touch it with my index finger, and the moment I did that I felt some incredible power going through my whole body, and then we heard some loud noise as if a huge door was being opened in the distance. In a moment the floor in the opposite corner of the temple started to move and we saw another narrow passage leading underground.Professor Silicon gave me his usual kindhearted smile and headed to the passage.