We looked down the passage and saw a stairwell leading into the darkness. Professor Silicon decided not to waste any more time and did the first step. In a moment he was absorbed by the abyss and I could only hear the faint sound of his steps deep down the passage. When the sounds disappeared, I decided to follow Lextor and see what is going on there.
It took some time for my eyes to start to define the things in the darkness. Now I could see that the stairwell was an infinite spiral going a great distance below the floor of this temple. In a distance, I could recognize Professor who was almost running like a schoolboy and singing some melody out of joy.
Soon I caught up with this speedy scientist and we reached the bottom of this well. As soon as we stepped on the floor, we could see a long passageway in front of us light up with something like shining hieroglyphs and paintings. It was clear that we had to follow these signs. The question was where this passageway was leading. And what if this was a well-planned trap?
Passing by the paintings, various symbols, and hieroglyphs, I could not but notice that there were many symbols of the alternating current like the one in the temple. The paintings on the walls showed how people worshipped and defended the temples with this symbol from various scary creatures. The further we went the more interesting it got. Looked like the symbol was some kind of energy source giving people strength and enhancing their senses.
We kept on going for about half an hour and yet the passage seemed to have no end at all. Another curious thing was that all the lights behind us were going down. And it was deep dark behind us like there was nothing there at all.
Professor’s eyes were glittering with joy and excitement all the passageway. First, he was singing something like a lullaby, then he was mumbling something in Chinese, and then his lullaby was filled with Chinese words and sounded like a poem, at least it sounded like a poem to me. Professor Silicon said that he recognized some of the paintings which he once saw before. He told me that the paintings and all the stories on the walls were part of the old prophecy. The prophecy he shared with me before. But no one knew the whole story, no one possessed the knowledge. And these walls could tell us just a part of it.
One thing was clear the timeline on the walls told the story of many past generations through thousands of years.
Just when Professor Silicon wanted to translate the stories he read, we faced something like a small shield or gate with an already familiar symbol on it. Only now it looked like it was on fire or was struck by lightning. And it looked so real and from a certain angle, you can say it was moving. Though it might have been just the dark effect.
Professor tried to open it. He pulled and pushed but nothing worked. I had a feeling that it was me who could open the gate. I pressed my palm against the center of this shield and the symbol on it started to rotate. Many hieroglyphs were appearing and disappearing, and finally, there was a crack and the gate opened.
Stairs were going up in front of us. It looked like a way out, and it looked like there was daylight above.
We climbed the stairs and soon reached the top. To get outside we had to lift what looked like a trapdoor cover. The way out was as narrow as the way in back in the temple. But we could finally breathe some fresh air and see the sky. This trapdoor was located in a small rose garden among the bushes. And when we get out of it, we could see that we were far away from the Forbidden City.
Professor looked around and said that we were in the Temple of Heaven imperial complex and pointed at the huge temple in front of us.
The Temple of Heaven is a complex of religious buildings in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for a good harvest. The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed the Temple of Heaven during the reign of the JiaJing Emperor in the 16th century. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times. In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time opened to the public.
We hurried to the Temple of Heaven to check if there will be any more clues or some key waiting for us. The closer we got to the temple the greater it looked. It was located in the center of a square like some alien space shuttle that landed here ages ago. When we approached the stairs leading to the temple, I saw a plate with dragons on it. They were reaching for something very familiar. It was the symbol. We were right and we were on the right path after all.
We entered the temple to see all the beauty inside of it. Many pictures and artifacts were showing the history of this temple. We were studying very closely every detail inside of the Temple of Heaven. There was nothing that could somehow look like the next clue. The only thing left inside the temple was the small copy of it. However, there were too many people inside to get close to this model.
There were many locals and tourists in the temple coming and leaving, and I thought I saw a familiar face from the Garden of Wisdom. I had a feeling that we again had been followed. Though I could be mistaken. Too many people’s faces were crossing my sight inside of this beautiful building. I looked at Professor and he seemed puzzled as well. Then it was true, we were followed again. I came a bit closer to Lextor Anderson to try to squeeze through the crowd and finally study the small copy of the temple.
This time we managed to get close enough to see that there indeed was the next clue for our journey. The copy of that plate with the dragons and symbol now had a tiny key installed in it. I felt that we just needed to push it to see what would happen next.
We waited till there were only a few people left in the temple and they were preoccupied watching the old pictures on the walls. I grabbed the key and felt the electricity coming through my body. I felt warm and all my fatigue and anxiety seemed to go away in a second. I turned the key in the lock and in a moment the stand on which the small temple stood began to move to the side and we saw another passage leading underground.
We made sure that no one noticed the change and dove down. This time the passage was wider and much shorter. On the wall of it there was a fresh painting saying “the path of the silicon dragon leads to Shanghai”. We had no choice but to move quickly. The passageway led us exactly to the Beijing Railway Station storage room. Professor said that we cannot go back to the hotel. Besides, back in the Garden of Wisdom, he asked his friends to take care of our belongings.
Luckily for us, we had our documents and money enough to continue our journey. We bought the tickets for the high-speed train leaving in twenty-five minutes. It was unbelievable that it will get us from Beijing to Shanghai which is 1318 km away in less than four and a half hours. I got used to the trains which could cover such a distance in over a day. This is what I call a high-tech country.While I was buying us the tickets Professor Silicon had time to buy us some snacks and delicious ice cream. Now we were good to go to new adventures waiting for us in Shanghai. Besides, there we could meet some potential customers to present TSemics Industries’ power semiconductors portfolio. I was looking forward new experience and my thoughts were speeding faster than the train we were on.