Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The cowhide notebook was supposed to be old, and the cowhide used for the cover was shiny with rubbing grease, almost covered with a layer of patina.
The paper was carefully maintained. Whether it was waxed or preserved with some other method, it looked shiny.
There were some very large words in the notebook, which Li Du did not recognize. There were only a handful of words on each page, all as big as walnuts. He glanced at them at random and could see them clearly.
He did not know these words, but he had seen some of them before. He had seen at least one of them often on the left leg of the little bug and on its wings.
The little bug now had multiple legs and wings, and each time it grew a new set, it would have a complex pattern on them, kind of like a word.
Li Du could not find it, so it was just his guess. He had thought, maybe it was not the word, maybe those were just the markings on the bug.
Now that he saw what was in the notebook, however, he was certain that it was writing!
Tang Chaoyang was particularly sensitive. As a shocked expression appeared on Li Du’s face, Tang Chaoyang closed his notebook immediately, raised his head to look at Li Du, and asked, “What happened?”
Li Du steadied his mind and said vaguely, “Nothing, I am… well… what is the picture in your notebook?”
Tang Chaoyang quickly asked, “This is a kind of writing, have you seen it? Which one have you seen?”
Li Du hesitated, but he thought that there should be no risk in describing the two patterns on the little bug as long as he did not expose the little bug itself.
Thus, he opened the notebook, pointed at an image and said, “I’ve seen this.”
“Only this one?” asked Tang Chaoyang, staring at him.
His eyes were dark as a black hole. Li Du gulped and said, “You tell me what this word is, and I will write the other. I know two.”
Tang Chaoyang nodded and led him to a corner. He handed Li Du a pen and said, “Write. Write down the word you just saw.”
Li Du knew that Tang Chaoyang did not trust him and might think he was looking for some mysterious information, and therefore asked him to write the word he had just identified.
This was easy. He saw the little bug every day.
He wrote the word he had seen on the little bug’s right leg and right wing, which he had just read in his notebook.
When he finished, Tang Chaoyang’s breath grew heavier and he whispered, “I don’t know exactly how to read this word, but according to the translation, it is like the word ‘zhou’, eon, in our Chinese characters.”
Li Du thought for a while, and then he wrote out the words he saw on the left leg and wing of the little bug and asked, “Do you know the meaning of this word?”
Looking at this word, Tang Chaoyang became absent-minded. He tilted his head and looked at the word, and then stretched his hands to touch it, but pulled back, exclaiming, “God!”
Li Du said, “This word means god?”
Tang Chaoyang looked up at him. There was something wrong with his expression. He slowly shook his head and said, “No, I only said, oh God, this is it!”
“What?” Li Du questioned.
Tang Chaoyang gulped and said, “I’ll tell you the meaning of this word. It is probably Yu, universe.
Li Du repeated, “Probably?”
Tang Chaoyang said, “The second word you wrote, I saw it just now for the first time, but there is a connection between these Olmec patterns. I thought of the connection between them and guessed it might be this word.”
“Combined, they mean the universe! Do you know what the universe is? You know what I’m talking about?” Tang Chaoyang asked again.
Li Du pointed to the top of his head and said, “Of course I do. That’s what we live in. Hmm, how do we put it, the universe, the Galaxy? It is the whole world.”
Tang Chaoyang immediately shook his head. “The so-called yu, boundless space; the so-called universe, the ancient and modern time! The universe is time and space! Unity of time and space! Unity of all energies!”
Li Du looked at him. The way Tang Chaoyang looked and spoke now reminded him of Liu Shanyang.
Tang Chaoyang seemed oblivious to Li Du’s expression. “Where did you see those two words? Can you tell me? Really, brother Li, they are very important to me!”
Li Du said, “They are not ordinary texts, are they? So are they Olmec deities? But what is an Olmec tattoo?”
He thought that this thing was probably a divine mystery, but guessed Tang Chaoyang wouldn’t tell him outright.
Hearing his question, Tang Chaoyang immediately said, “I should first introduce you to the Olmec civilization. Do you know anything about it?”
Li Du shook his head.
“Do you know the four great civilizations?” Tang Chaoyang continued.
“Of course. Ancient Babylon, ancient Egypt, ancient India, and ancient China,” said Li Du.
“Olmec civilization existed long before them all. It started at least eight thousand years ago and is considered the mother culture of the ancient Central American civilizations.
Listening to Tang Chaoyang’s explanation, Li Du said in surprise, “Was it so ancient?”
Tang Chaoyang nodded. “Yes. Most researchers generally think that this civilization was born in 3000 BC, but in fact, it had existed at least 3000 years earlier than that.”
Li Du wanted to open his mouth in reply, but Tang Chaoyang interrupted him. “You don’t have to wonder how I know, I just do. The two words you saw appeared in the first three thousand years of the Olmec era. After that period, they disappeared.”
Listening to the words of Tang Chaoyang, Li Du hesitated and said, “From what you say, this seems to involve the unsolved mystery of the world?”
Tang Chaoyang shook his head. “Not the world’s unsolved mystery, because the number of people in the world who know about this riddle is very low, almost zero, so it could only be an unsolved mystery for a few people. Anyway, tell me, where did you see it?”
Li Du knew he could not say more, so he lied. “I once went to an auction and found something in a warehouse. Something interesting. It had some unknown words written on papyrus and there was a sculpture of something like a bug… ”
He paused, showing a puzzled expression. “These two words were on the sculpture. I remember them after all this time because they were so odd. You might not believe what I am about to say.”
“Say it,” said Tang Chaoyang.
“When I saw the statue, I felt as if I had traveled through time and space. No, I should say through time, since space had not changed, only time. Strange to say, but I saw myself over the years, from young!” said Li Du.
Tang Chaoyang’s facial expression becomes extremely serious. “Cosmic saint, god, this thing really exists! Can you tell me where the statue is? I can give you a satisfactory reward!”