An Xiaoning then continued, “They’ll naturally come out from the exit at the grave. That way, we’ll minimize our losses because we don’t know whether they have weapons or arms down there or how many of them there are exactly. But, just now, I felt that there were quite a lot of them. So this is a risk we must reduce.”
Gu Beicheng did exactly as she had instructed.
They followed the path leading to the exit of the passageway and, after some time, finally found the exit. With the two hundred people here and the cement transported, An Xiaoning made the people seal the passageway with cement after requesting that they make minimal noise and movements.
After everything was done, the group went to the secret passageway where the stone slab was.
An Xiaoning saw that the men Gu Beicheng brought were all carrying knives, so she instructed them to stay there.
Considering that the people in the tunnel were probably still unaware of them using cement to seal the exit, An Xiaoning made these men guard the area in batches and take turns to be on duty. A bunch of them stayed around for the first half of the night. Another bunch had their duty for the later half of the night, and the rest would stand guard at daybreak.
On the other hand, An Xiaoning and Gu Beicheng returned to the house within the temple.
“This room used to be where I lived.” An Xiaoning pushed the door open. “There was no electricity here before. Ever since Grandfather was buried here, you made people connect it with electricity, so now it’s not too bad.”
Gu Beicheng looked at the interior of the house – it was very shabby. Perhaps because it was not inhabited anymore, the house appeared rather dilapidated.
The graveyard-keeper brought two blankets, one each for Gu Beicheng and An Xiaoning. The two covered themselves under their blanket and sat facing each other on their beds. It was too cold at night there.
“Are there a lot of valuable things in Grandfather’s coffin?” An Xiaoning asked.
Gu Beicheng shook his head. “Not a lot, but there’s still quite a few in there. They’re all Grandfather’s favorite items when he was still around. Also, I feel that they might not be after those items alone. If they made an effort to resort to this, they might be after Grandfather’s remains.”
“You mean they want to use it to threaten the Gu family?”
“Smart. Compared to those valuables, Grandfather’s remains can get them what they want, right?” Gu Beicheng thought it over. “We just have to see who instigated it and we’ll get answers. It could simply be for money, but if it’s more complicated, it might be other things they’re after.”
“I think this is really despicable.” An Xiaoning continued, “Grandfather and Master are buried together. If they want to steal both their remains, then it won’t just be you they’re going to threaten. It’ll be both of us.”
“That’s true. Seems like leaving only four people to guard the grave here is no longer possible. They want to collect the remains without anyone realizing it, so they must be intending to find us at an opportune moment. Otherwise, they could have just captured the four graveyard-keepers and openly dug the grave.” Gu Beicheng wrapped the blanket around him tightly. “It’s really cold here. When you lived here, how did you survive during winter without a heater?”
“I just survived like that. It’s fine when you get used to it. Thinking back to those days, I don’t think they’re hard at all.”
“You might not be able to go back tonight, aren’t you going to report to Jin Qingyan?”
“I’ll send him a text message.” She took out her phone and sent Jin Qingyan a message, simply explaining the situation and asking him not to worry. As she was with Gu Beicheng, everything would be fine.
Unexpectedly, his reply was: “It’s exactly because you’re with Gu Beicheng at this time of night, all the more I’m worried!”
An Xiaoning replied: “You’re irreplaceable in my heart. I love you, goodnight.”
This successfully soothed the upheaval in the man’s feelings.
After talking endlessly with Gu Beicheng this late at night, the two were wiped out and fell asleep leaning against the wall, hugging onto their legs.
They slept through the night, and before daybreak, the two were awakened by the voice of someone who suddenly broke in.
“Young Sir, Ms. An, there’s movement down there.”
An Xiaoning and Gu Beicheng removed their blankets and got down from the bed, then headed to the back of the house.
Just as they arrived, they heard a loud vibrating sound from below. An Xiaoning used her hand to signal all of the men to come over.
Very soon, the stone slab was pushed open forcefully and a figure from below slowly appeared. When he saw that he was surrounded by people, he wanted to go back down but was pulled up by Gu Beicheng’s men, who covered his mouth. Just like that, one by one, people came out of the tunnel. The people who were at the top wanted to go back into the tunnel, while those at the bottom who were unaware wanted to come out.
One by one, a total of more than sixty people came out from the tunnel.
There were also about twenty to thirty people who knew they would be surrounded by men up there and refused to come out.
An Xiaoning had no choice but to speak into a loudspeaker and direct it into the tunnel. “If all of you won’t come up, then we will seal up this entrance to the tunnel and you can stay in there forever. Don’t come out anymore.”
Hearing this, the people inside could only crawl out.
There were a total of ninety-two people.
Seeing an army of so many people, Gu Beicheng’s eyes turned cold. “Who sent all of you here to dig the tunnel?”
“No one ordered it, we wanted to dig it ourselves. Just cut the crap and send all of us to the police station.” The leader of the group appeared fearless.
“You want to go to the police station so bad?” An Xiaoning stared at him. “I won’t let you all have your wish then. Men, listen up. Throw all of these people back into the tunnel and seal the exit with cement. I want to see if all of them are that stubborn.” Gu Beicheng looked at her in surprise. She was far more ruthless than he had expected, but he liked women like that.
Hearing this, the group pleaded for mercy. “We’re really not sure, we just work for the money. We only know that they pay well, that’s why we risked doing this.”
Another man was drenched in cold sweat. “Miss, please spare me. My two sons and wife are waiting for me at home. I won’t dare to do something like this again!”
An Xiaoning remained unmoved. “From now onwards, whoever says the name of the instigator, I’ll let him go and I won’t pursue any responsibility. I stand by my words.”
“I’ll tell you!”
“Let me say it!”
The people who had insisted on not conceding were instantly heated upon hearing her words and fought with each other to say something.
“Silence.” An Xiaoning raised her hand. “To verify if all of you are saying the truth, stand properly and tell me one by one.”
She went farther away and started gathering the people who had something to say.
Only after each person had answered were they then allowed to go back to the group.
Just like that, one by one, apart from the leader of the group, everyone revealed the same name.
After An Xiaoning had verified this, she said to the group, “All of you have given the same name. I’m someone who stands by my word, so all of you can go.”
She waved her hand to signal the men from the Gu family to let these people go.
In an instant, the group of people scurried off.
The only one left was the leader of the group.
An Xiaoning flashed out a knife from her sleeve pocket and cut open his shirt. “The people who work for you have said the truth. As for you… you’d rather die than concede?”