Just before summer break, Teacher Tam, Jasmine’s history teacher, told her about a magical history tour he’d planned for her. Two weeks later Nai Nai went to heaven and Gong Gong Gramps moved in. To cheer him up one rainy day, Jasmine told him that the tour included eighteen sites and the first stop was the Hong Kong ferris wheel. ‘At each place there’ll be a clue to the next site, and one letter of a mystery message,’ she said.
That afternoon they were on the ferris wheel, climbing higher and higher, high as the clouds, when there was a rushing, a sucking, a watery lick, and they were standing in front of a stone reading the characters ???. ‘What happened?’ said Gramps.
Jasmine’s parents didn’t call her Hong Kong History Girl for nothing. She knew exactly where they were: Sung Wong Toi, Hong Kong’s most ancient relic. The ferris wheel must have spun them from Central to Kowloon City. Is that why the crew man who chose their carriage had looked so strange?
Jasmine read from her phone app: carved by locals around 1279, this slab of rock was blasted from a boulder when building Hong Kong’s old airport, Kai Tak. To escape from the Mongols, a courtier jumped into the sea here with the last Southern Song emperor, a boy, strapped to his back.
‘Maybe it was carved by Nai Nai’s great-to-the-eighteenth gong gong,’ said Gramps.
Jasmine wasn’t good at Maths so she didn’t comment. Instead she asked him to help her find the clue.
‘What about this?’ Gramps reached down the wall of a dry fountain where he was sitting.
Yeah! Jasmine tore the envelope open. The clue to the next relic: the most ancient pagoda in Hong Kong.
The first mystery letter was I.