Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the afternoon, when the sun was shining, the treasure hunters were busy picking up what they had won.
Following a sign from Li Du, Godzilla and the bodyguards entered to tidy up the exhibition room he had bid for.
Dr. Saatchi stood glumly by the door, and when he saw Li Du asked his men to go in, his eyes widened and he asked, “You have taken this room?”
Li Du smiled and said, “Yes, I did bid for a few of the rooms to see if I could make some profit from them.”
Dr. Saatchi was definitely not a good businessman. When he heard Li Du said so, he immediately grabbed his arms and said, “The museum has been cleaned by the city government, the banks, and several universities. Why don’t you sell me the things left here? I’ll give you… I’ll give you two thousand dollars…”
Li Du looked at him with a puzzled expression.
Noticing this, the old man changed his story. He gulped and said, “Well, I’m very passionate about this room, in particular, the table and chairs. I want to buy them.”
Li Du said, “I respect your feelings, but if you want to buy some tables and chairs as keepsakes, many other rooms here have some nice furniture as well…”
“I’ll buy them all. I will buy all these tables and chairs and take them home in memory of the museum,” snapped Dr. Saatchi.
With a pitiful look he went on, “You’ll grant the request of an old man, won’t you? I’ve worked here all my life. God, I’ve become one with this place…”
Speaking of that, his expression suddenly changed, he slowly closed his mouth, and then carefully stared at Li Du’s face.
Li Du shifted uncomfortably under his stare and said, “What’s the matter, doc?”
Dr. Saatchi said, “Last night… last night I saw you in the street! It’s you, isn’t it?”
He looked at Godzilla and the others, who were more recognizable in shape and appearance.
Li Du said without any secrecy, “Yes, I was walking around last night. We did meet. What is the matter?”
The old man’s face became livid. He stopped talking and stared at Li Du with fury.
Li Du shrugged his shoulders, ignored him, and directed the group to pack up the contents.
The exhibition rooms were in a mess, with shattered ceilings, concrete blocks, torn-up wood floors and various fragments everywhere.
Godzilla cleared a table and pulled it out with one mighty heave.
The table was made of solid wood. It had been very sturdy, but it fell from the second floor and suffered damage from concrete blocks and chairs.
With brute force, Godzilla pulled the table apart, wrenching the top off.
It was a solid table, supported not by four legs, but by two thick, broad planks of solid wood.
When the tabletop was pulled down, a hole was exposed in it.
Godzilla took one look inside and said, “Hey, boss, there’s something in there.”
Li Du asked, “What is it? Some kind of silver coins like in the prison’s warehouse?”
Godzilla shook his head. “No, it’s a book. A big book.”
Li Du said with disappointment, “Who would hide a book in there? What sort of book is it?”
“A very big book,” Godzilla picked up the board and slid the book out. A huge book, at least one meter long, 60 or 70 centimeters wide and more than ten centimeters thick was revealed.
When Dr. Saatchi saw the book, his expression changed greatly, but he did not look any longer. Instead, he went to a corner and made a phone call.
Li Du carefully moved the book out. The treasure hunters in the vicinity gathered around to ask, “What book is this? Why is it so big?”
On the cover of the book, there was a name. The author’s name was John James Audubon.
John James Audubon was a name that was not well known to Chinese people, but to Americans, it was absolutely famous.
Just as Chinese students learned about ancient scientists like Zhang Heng, Shen Kuo and Xu Xiake in elementary school, American students learned about John James Audubon.
Looking at the name on the book, one of the treasure hunters was shocked. “God, John James Audubon? Two centuries ago, he was a famous painter and naturalist. His paintings of birds are known as the United National Treasure.”
“That’s the book. That’s the Birds of America! Am I dreaming? You actually found it? This is the national treasure that he is famous for!”
“Yes, that’s it. Birds of America, Turkey, and Quadrupeds of America, these books are national treasures.”
The treasure hunters’ surprised voices attracted a lot of people, but the curator did not come near. He went aside and wandered to the street outside with an unhappy expression.
Soon, after much discussion, Li Du learned about Audubon.
Mr. Audubon was well-known both as a scientist and an artist, like some famous men of the Renaissance. He had completed countless paintings in his lifetime. Each work was not only an important project of scientific research but also a rare masterpiece of art.
American academics called Audubon “the greatest ornithologist of all time”. Audubon was born in France in 1785 and immigrated to North America at the age of 18.
After Audubon came to America, he hunted a large number of birds, fixed them with wire and made them into temporary specimens, which were then drawn in a ratio of one to one.
It may seem cruel today, but at the time, with primitive technology, it was the only way that naturalists could accurately record the physical details of wild animals.
It was common practice at the time, and Audubon was remembered for his years of bird-watching experience and for improving his bird-painting techniques.
His birds did not stand stupidly like those in the early natural history paintings, but showed various natural habits: flying, foraging, raising young, brooding, fighting, and so on.
Because of the mass extinction of birds in modern times, people could only learn about the birds on the American continent hundreds of years ago through these natural history paintings.
Among them, Audubon’s work was the best, and the pinnacle of it was Birds of America, which was now in Li Du’s hands.
Someone looked up the estimated value of the book online and was shocked. Other people went to check, and their mouths opened wide when they saw the number.