Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Although Philadelphia had long lost its position as the largest business center in America, it was still a well-known major city. At night, the lights lit up brightly, and the city was luxurious and fancy.
Li Du and the group could walk to the museum from the hotel as it was nearby.
In the past, the property market had been stagnant. Hence, most of the old buildings occupied a vast area, as was the case with Green Delaware Museum. The museum spanned a total area of 20 to 30 acres and had many rooms. Naturally, each room held its collections.
In the moonlight, the museum appeared dark and dull. It was in stark contrast to the surrounding buildings, old, quaint, and bleak.
Looking at the surrounding buildings, Li Du concluded that the rumors on the internet were not unfounded. The museum was in a good location and the land was valuable. If the museum was sold after it closed down, there would certainly be no shortage of real estate developers who would be interested in the place.
However, it would really be a pity for the old museum to close down.
Compared to the museums in other towns that Li D had seen before, this one was truly a national-level sort of place. At least, it had been built in accordance with the other national museums.
The museum had a majestic lobby. At the door, there was a fountain with a pointed spire at the center. The base of the monument was engraved with a cumbersome pattern, so that one could imagine the splendor of the museum at its peak.
Taking in the sights of the entrance and lobby, Li Du could not help but say in awe, “This is majestic.”
Brother Wolf said, “It is supposed to imitate the Pantheon.”
The Pantheon was an ancient Roman building. It was also the only Roman Empire period building that has been preserved until this day. It was built in 27 BC by Emperor Octavius, to serve the gods of Mount Olymp. It was considered a classic architecture sample of that period.
The museum had indeed been built as a replica of the Pantheon. However, it also had some areas that were vastly different.
For example, the Pantheon also had a spire at the entrance. However, while the Pantheon’s spire was engraved with a scene from Roman mythology, the one at the museum was engraved with some plants and animals.
The entrance led to the main hall. In the Pantheon, there was a niche that was dedicated to the God of War, Mars, patron to Julius Caesar. In addition to the niche, there were many statues of gods and heroes in the hall.
As for the museum, the statues were those of famous people who have made important contributions to the cultural development of humankind. The niche was dedicated to Da Vinci and a lady named Maria Sibylla Merian.
Li Du did not know anything about the lady who appeared next to Da Vinci. He pretended to look inside the door and asked, “Do you know Maria Sibylla Merian?”
He was just casually asking and did not think that Brother Wolf and the rest of the crew would know about researchers.
However, the bodyguards, including Brother Wolf, nodded.
Li Du was surprised. It can’t be. If so many people know about it, it must be me who is ignorant.
Brother Wolf explained, “Merian was the pride of all women in Germany. She was an outstanding physicist and her portrait is engraved on the 1992 version of the Deutschmark.
Li Du understood now. That’s it, no wonder these Germans are so familiar with her.
He did not know much about that lady, but he could imagine that she must have been a great scientist to have the honor of getting her image imprinted on German coins.
Li Du was squatting by the door to peer in when a bright voice rang out. “Hey, what are you guys doing? You, why are you peeking at the door?”
A few men approached with small steps. The leader was an old man with a head full of white hair. He was the one who had shouted. There were also three other middle-aged men trailing behind him, looking alert as though they were getting ready for a big showdown.
Li Du said awkwardly, “Oh, we are tourists. We saw that there’s a museum here and so we came to have a look.”
The old man went over and gave him a rough shove. He said, “This museum has closed down. It’s not in operation anymore, so don’t waste your time.”
Brother Wolf and the others took a step forward and assumed their positions to protect Li Du.
A man appeared behind the old gentleman and he shouted, “What are you guys doing? I have already called the police. This is the director of the museum, Dr. Saatchi. He has a great reputation in Philadelphia. If you hurt him, you can just wait to get sent to jail.”
Upon hearing that, Li Du vaguely understood why the man had been agitated.
Dr. Saatchi had the air of a traditional intellectual. He must have come at this hour to bid farewell to the museum.
Li Du respected people with such passion for nature and research. He, too, had wanted to be someone like that once. Unfortunately, things took their course and he became a businessman that reeked of money.
Of course, he liked the smell of money.
Seeing that the other party was getting nervous, Li Du apologized and brought the rest of his people to another side of the road.
He thought that Dr. Saatchi and his people would enter the museum, but they did not. The four men gawked at them. Then, seeing that Li Du and his people were not leaving, they left first.
That made Li Du feel that something was strange. Why were they there? Were they acting like security and patrolling?
Shrugging his shoulders, he neared the entrance and let out the little bug.
Inside the museum, everything seemed to have been moved out. There were only some lousy tables, chairs, shelves and cupboards. Some of the rooms had been stuffed with random items, most of them worthless.
Fortunately, the little bug had a radar for identifying treasures. After scanning the first floor, it entered the second. There were some rooms that looked like offices with books, paintings, and some animal and plant specimens.
The little bug was not interested in those things and drilled directly into a solid wood table that looked thick.
Li Du’s eyes lit up and he whipped out his phone, ready to check the internet for an estimated price of the item the little bug had found.
He was a few seconds into that task when two police cars drove over with sirens blaring. Then, four to five policemen got out of the cars to check the identity documents of Li Du’s crew. They questioned their reason for loitering around the area.
Li Du lost his smile and said, “We are treasure hunters who are here to join the warehouse auction. Now we are just roaming about the surroundings, trying to familiarize ourselves with the auction environment.”
A policeman frowned, “Don’t try anything funny. What are you treasure hunters here for?”
Li Du said, “Didn’t you guys know? The museum is holding an auction tomorrow. It will be like a warehouse auction. I am here to participate in the event.”
Hearing that, the policemen looked into the car pointedly.
Li Du noticed that and decided to let out the little bug into the police car. Then it saw a familiar face – white-haired Dr. Saatchi.
That made him felt that something was amiss. Was Dr. Saatchi too concerned about the museum? Or was he just being too careful?
He had just made a scan. The museum had definitely undergone a huge clean-up. The items left did not hold much value and would be auctioned off to the treasure hunters.
As the director, it was impossible that Saatchi was unaware of that. However, why would he be so worried that someone should enter the museum?
Was he afraid of them damaging the museum? That was impossible. In any case, after the museum auction, it would be torn down to give way to new buildings. So what did it matter, even if someone vandalized the place?
Li Du felt that it was all very fishy. He considered this for a while and then decided to do as the policemen had advised. He brought his people away to give the impression that they left, but actually, they had only taken a corner turn.
Shortly after the police car left, Dr. Saatchi and his companions returned.
That time, they entered the museum…