Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The old man with the plaited beard did not speak a word but looked in a suspicious and unfriendly manner at Li Du.
Li Du shrugged. “Well, I think I’d better keep my mouth shut.”
The old man with the plaited beard became even more unfriendly and said, “Ask what you wanted to ask, I hate people who don’t finish their sentences. if you want to annoy me, I dare to say you will have bad luck!”
The other side’s tone was very obstinate. Li Du regretfully concluded that he was troublesome. These old stubborn people were obviously not welcoming them.
However, since he had already spoken out, he went on, “There’s no doubt that the previous owners of the helicopter offended you. I wonder what they did. You seem to hate them.”
The old man with the plaited beard said, “Yes! We thought those bastards were our friends and treated them with every courtesy. But they sneakily attacked us and robbed us after putting some sleeping pills in our drinks.”
Li Du wanted to ask what they had taken, but the other side’s attitude was very unfriendly, so he decided that he had better not be so curious.
It was agreed that Steve would exchange some grain oil for charcoal, the rangers’ main resource, and a small amount of gold and silver.
Rivers and swamps abounded in the northern islands, and in some places, natural deposits of gold and silver were occasionally found, and rangers would trade them in exchange for supplies.
However, Li Du, Steve, and the others were not there to make money, so they were not interested in things like gold and silver ore, which were less useful to them than charcoal.
They drove away, and the rangers sent a car after them.
Of course, Li Du knew that the other side was not there to escort them, but to spy on them. The rangers did not trust them.
Steve couldn’t help shaking his head. “A bunch of old fogies.”
Li Du said, “As long as they don’t go against us, just let them do as they like.”
They called the rest of the team and helicopters ferried large troops to the new camp.
After a short break, they continued their work, searching south from the central location to find more meteorites.
In the afternoon of that day, Li Du drove an all-terrain vehicle to scout the area. The vehicle moved slowly. The terrain here was uneven, with some potholes of various sizes. He knew the car might sink if they were not careful.
The islands of Severnaya Zemlya looked barren, but they had plenty of groundwater, which is why there were so many swamps.
However, due to the low temperatures, the marshes were frozen as hard as tarmac most of the time. In June, as the temperatures warmed up, the marshes softened, revealing their true nature.
Usually, the water would be frozen and the ice was so solid that one could easily drive across it.
Now the ice had partially melted and became brittle so that in places it was barely strong enough to withstand the weight of a car.
Li Du did not find meteorites, but he did find many edible wild vegetables. He drove back at sunset in the evening, carrying a few packages of wild edibles in his car.
Steve smiled helplessly as he and Sophie happily gathered herbs for dinner. “I think you’re the most satisfied of the group with our tour here.”
Li Du said casually, “The time will pass whether you are happy or not, and discontent will not make a day go by more quickly. People, relax. Why not just be happy?”
“It’s easy for you to talk,” Hankway smiled wryly. They had not found the meteorite, so there would be no big bonus for the meteorite hunters, only a basic salary.
The villagers who came to help seemed happy enough. They were the most content people of the lot. As long as there was enough food during mealtimes, they were satisfied.
The next day, they set out again to search for meteorites. Sophie felt that this work was too boring, and chose to stay in the camp and read a book rather than follow Li Du. After all, the wind was still very cold and very damaging to the skin.
The little ones were most willing to follow the search party. They had a yearning for freedom, and as long as they were in the wild, they could always find something to keep happy.
Since Sophie did not want to go into the wilderness anymore, Li Du switched from an all-terrain vehicle to a mountain bike.
The team prepared mountain bikes for some emergencies. They did not expect to need them regularly, so they only prepared two. Li Du chose to take one, although he knew the ride would be bumpy. It was still something he wanted to experience.
Seeing this, the little ones were dumbfounded.
When Li Du drove an all-terrain vehicle, they could get in the car because there was enough space in the backseat. Now that he had chosen to take a mountain bike, there was no passenger seat, which was confusing.
Ah Bai, the smallest of the lot, nimbly climbed up the motorcycle and perched on the handlebar.
The others felt it was unfair, so Ah Meow jumped up and slapped Ah Bai down. He tried to jump onto the head of the motorcycle.
Ah Meng and Crispy Noodles climbed up as well. Ah Ow leaped in the air, but there was not a bit of space left on the motorcycle, so she fell to the ground and almost hurt herself.
Li Du firmly pulled them all down. The motorcycle ride would be quite bumpy even for himself alone, let alone with the little ones.
Therefore, when the motorcycle sped away, the animals could only chase it.
The first to fall behind the group was Ah Bai. The white monkey was not fit for running, it could not keep up after a few steps of jumping and running on all fours, and could only squeak in frustration.
Ah Meng and Crispy Noodles were also left behind after a moment. They were not animals that were good at running, so they had to reluctantly return to the camp.
Ah Meow, Ah Ow and Ali caught up with the motorcycle. The motorcycle was not very fast, and Ah Ow easily followed behind and sometimes sped up to overtake it.
Li Du played with them for a while, releasing the two space-time bugs and driving more slowly. Now that his vision had shifted to two little bugs, he had to adjust his outlook a little.
Looking for meteorites in the wasteland was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Two to three hours passed quickly, but all Li Du found was another patch of wild vegetables.
Just as he was about to change directions, a space-time bug passed a puddle, and something sallow and yellow flashed across its view.
After a few seconds, Li Du reacted to what he saw. He directed a little bug to fly back, curious about the odd yellow thing.
There were few traces of human activity in the northern islands, so there was only black and gray soil and similarly colored stones in the ground, and very little of any other color.
The space-time bug flew back, and then a drip-shaped yellowish stone appeared in its field of vision.
The rock, which was not quite the size of a volleyball, was a bit like a meteorite, with a bumpy and uneven surface.
However, on closer inspection, it was not a stone; it was more like yellow metal.
A guess occurred to Li Du. He was almost certain he discovered something that was almost equal to a meteorite in its value: a particularly large gold nugget!