Hu reaches the bottom of the well and looks around. He see a fancy doorway with an animal pelt stuck over the door. He just feels the fur then climbs back up.
They’re all around the campfire again listening to Hu tell them what he saw. It is auspicious for a tomb to be near water but he’s never heard of a tomb being this close to water so he can’t be sure there’s a tomb down there. Professor Hao says they should check it out, tomb or not, since they’re there anyways. Everyone agrees and they do so after a night’s rest.
The next morning, all of them go down into the well except for Chu Jian and An Li Man. Down at the bottom, Professor Chen observes the entrance and the animal pelt and tells Hu that the animal fur was stuck on the door to cover all the cracks to prevent water from getting inside.
They slowly work on peeling the animal skin off first. Then Hu and Fatso work on cracking open the door. Hu makes sure they all put on their gas masks first before they actually open the doors.
Once they enter, the torches around the chamber light up one by one. Fatso thinks it is the ghosts’ doing but Professor Chen says it’s white phosphorus. He explains that ancient people used to use this method since the combustion point of white phosphorus is extremely low. It will react with air, combust spontaneously, and thus lighting up the fuel oil.
All around the room are skeletal remains shackled to columns. They were probably slaves or prisoners who were buried with the dead. Ye Xi Xin and Sa Di Peng cannot take the sight and start gagging. This is supposed to be a tomb but no coffin is in sight. Professor Chen concludes that this must be a sacrificial place. They must have tied up prisoners in the desert and left them to die of thirst. When the corpses have been dried up, they’re brought down into this chamber and splashed with the blood of slaughtered animals. Fatso proclaims this practice as cruel but Professor Hao says it’s a common practice among societies with slaves.
Hu finds it weird that there isn’t a coffin because according to his book, everything adds up so there should be a tomb here, if not nearby. Shirley tells them to keep looking around for some sort of mechanism.
Fatso goes around expressing his complaints and ends up tripping over an uneven path. Hu looks back at what he trips and discovers a trap door/lid of some sort. After releasing the handles up, the four of them – Hu, Professor Hao, Fatso, and Sa Di Peng – lift up the door and reveal a second level down. They get a ladder to go down and explore.
Professor Hao goes down after Hu and gets super excited upon seeing the tomb.
Along the walls are murals that depict records related to Jingjue kingdom. Just by looking around Professor Chen thinks it’s the tomb of the Gumo Prince. Gumo was one of the smaller kingdoms of the 36 kingdoms in the west. They were also an auxiliary kingdom of Jingjue kingdom and had to offer tributes of valuables, livestock, and slaves to the Jingjue Queen every year.
In one of the murals, it depicts the Gumo Prince going to see the Jingjue Queen in order to decrease the taxation on his people. However, the queen refused to see him. So he infiltrated the palace to kill the queen but he discovered a shocking secret.
The mural they’re currently looking at is different from the others. The Jingjue Queen is seen to be covered by a veil but in this particular one, she’s just a silhouette. One hand is lifting the veil, and the slave in front of her becomes fuzzy and disappears.
Shirley says this queen is a monster because the person in front of her disappeared after taking a look at the queen’s face. Hu has a hard time understanding how a grown adult could just disappear after looking at someone’s face. Shirley explains the reasoning behind her guess.
Her father used to read a book called The Great Tang Records on the Western Regions that she has also read many times before. In there, there are many western region legions written. One of them is about the desert queen.
She tells the story about how deep in the desert there was a city where a group of covert ethnic group lived. They ruled over many of the smaller kingdoms around them. After a few hundred years, the throne was passed to the last queen. In the legend, that queen’s eyes was a passageway to the ghost world. She would just need to look at her enemies and they would just disappear to nothing. No one knows where those people disappeared to.
The queen ruled with an iron fist and wanted her people to worship her. Those who rebelled, were executed. Maybe her actions pissed off fate but after a few years, she contracted a strange disease and died. After her death, the slaves and oppressed kingdoms formed an army and destroyed the queen’s kingdom. The army was getting ready to get rid of the queen’s tomb when the skies changed colors and the desert swallowed the army and the kingdom together. All treasures the queen acquired were buried in the sand.
Now, whenever travelers take anything, they trigger a desert storm and get forever lost. Those who take treasures from the queen will never be able to leave the desert.
Sa Di Peng notes that so many of the murals depictions share similarities with what written in records and legends that the events must have really happened in real life.
Since the prince’s assassination attempt was unsuccessful, he returned to his kingdom and continued plotting the queen’s end. At this time, he met a diviner from a faraway kingdom. This diviner told the prince to hide a special, slow-acting poison in the lamb meat and give it to the queen. Not long after that, there was news that the queen suddenly died. But the prince had already died from stress and overworking. Him and his wife were buried together in the coffin designed by the diviner and buried under the alter.
After listening to the story, Hu asks them if they still have to go find the queen’s tomb if she’s a monster. Wouldn’t it be just asking to die? Professor Chen tells him that archaeology is all about legends, historical records, artifacts, and speculations. It’s finding the puzzles and putting them together to find the answer to the riddle and it’s all just science. Hu agrees that it’s all science however he still can’t get past the part about making people disappear.
Shirley tells him about a research center in Kansas that specializes in phenomenons and pathology. They had a strange patient – a 12 year old boy who had supernatural powers. If he stared at an object within a five centimeter radius, that object would disappear as if it evaporated into thin air. Later on, scientists found out that the boy’s brain waves were different from ordinary people’s. His cranial nerves and visual ability can create an energy that transports. Humans have a one in three trillion chance of having this superpower. So in the end, she’s saying that the Jingjue Queen had this power.
Later on, someone came up with a magnetic helmet for the boy to put on his head. A year later, his superpower disappeared.
Fatso makes a joke and they go back to admiring the murals once again. Then he suggests they get a move on on opening the coffin. Professor Chen is completely against it. It’s extremely rare to find a tomb with a couple inside. It’s a national treasure and they’re not in the right circumstance to open it. They could damage the corpse and whatever else is inside. Hu chides Fatso for his ignorance and they end it at that.
Professor Chen looks at another mural and finds it similar to a photograph found in the notebook they have. The mural also depicts heavy winds destroying the city – the desert swallowed the army and the kingdom together. The professor gets really excited because he realizes they are not far away from Jingjue kingdom.
Just then Chu Jian comes down and scares them all. Fatso scolds him because he was supposed to be watching An Li Man. It doesn’t matter though because Hu interjects and tells the professor that him and Fatso will go back up first since they’re not of much help down there. Once out of the well, Fatso’s only concern is to make sure that An Li Man is still there.