Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
About half a month earlier, Tang Chaoyang had said that he had a gift for Li Du. It was a map of the jade mine.
Li Du had taken his words to heart. However, after that, there was the haunted house story and the tasks of selling off his property, and the map took a long time to arrive. Hence, Li Du had forgotten about it.
The Chinese youth left after passing the gift to Li Du. A treasure hunter came over and waved to him. “Boss Li, we are all waiting to hear the story of how your ancestors took risks to steal the treasures. Their experience was really mystical.”
Of course it was mystical. Li Du had narrated a translated version of the book Candle in the Tomb.
No one could have blamed him for showing off. Candle in the Tomb was a first-person narrative. Li Du had told the story that way and the treasure hunters believed him.
Dickens looked at the gift box in his hands and said, “Hey, what’s that? What did he give you? Be careful, I’ve heard that those gangsters sometimes send time-bombs to their rivals.”
“Rubbish, where did that sort of thing happen?” Olly rebutted as he drank his beer. “Wouldn’t it be really messed up if something like that happens?”
Li Du did not know what was in the box. The box had a cubical form, with each side being only slightly over 20 cm long. However, it weighed more than ten kilograms. It was supposed to be just a map. Even if it were made of cowhide, it would not be that heavy.
Li Du could not understand that, so he went ahead and opened the box. The bunch of men rushed forward to look and marveled in unison.
“Jesus, what’s this?”
“This is too gorgeous, it’s a piece of art!”
There was a sculpture in the box. It was beautifully made and looked like green silk. The color was very bright, like young leaves after rain. It was as though green water was rippling inside it.
Under the rays of the sun, the sculpture looked clearer than ever. There seemed to be a glowing layer on its outer surface. It was beautiful and intoxicating.
As beautiful as its source material was, the statue was even more valuable. A topographic map was engraved on it, with mountains, rivers, roads and vegetation, and some small towns.
Without a doubt, the micro-carving method was used here. The small sculpture depicted a rather large piece of land in amazing detail. The trees carved on it were smaller than ants. The towns were only slightly bigger than a thumb, but they included pavilions, people and cars!
The treasure hunters were not very educated. They had never seen such a sculpture and were all stunned.
Someone could not help but reach out to caress it. Dickens slapped his hand off and said, “What if you damage it? This thing here looks like it’s worth millions. Would you be able to pay it off?”
Olly, who was the one who had reached out, tutted, “I just wanted to verify if it’s real or fake. I feel like I’m in a dream. How could such a gorgeous thing exist?”
“It’s obviously real. The question is, what is it made of? I’ve never seen anything like this. This is a huge piece. Is it a sort of jade?” Dickens asked curiously.
Li Du pretended to laugh and said, “It should be a type of jade. Looks decent. Someone sent this for Ah Meow and the animals. These are really die-hard fans.”
He was spouting nonsense. That thing was carved entirely out of jade!
It was a big piece of jade and it looked like the stone was of very high quality. It could even be some glass type of jade. It was very valuable in itself.
Dickens had said that it was worth millions. Li Du felt that it was actually much more valuable. That sculpture should be worth over ten million!
Just that jade sculpture in itself was valuable enough. However, it was just a representation of its true worth. The jade mine on the map was the real deal!
Hearing his words, Olly was the first to shout, “I’m not going to continue with the warehouse or property auctions anymore. I’m going to get some pets back home. I will open a zoo, d*mn it. Animal fans would be able to sustain me for my entire lifetime!”
“If you don’t want your houses, you can give them to me,” someone laughed.
Olly flipped his middle finger and said, “Dream on, I was just saying that for fun. If I really opened a zoo, I’d get ready to become food for the animals.”
Li Du passed the sculpture to Brother Wolf and got him to keep it safe.
He wanted to give Tang Chaoyang a call. However, his previous number was no longer in use. It had changed into an untraceable number and hence, Li Du was unable to call. There was nothing he could do.
Initially, Li Du had not been interested in the so-called jade mine. There were enough mines on his hands. The value of the opal and diamond mines was very high. Even if he lived very extravagantly, he had more than enough money to last him a lifetime.
However, now that he had seen the sculpture, he started to have second thoughts. Such a jade sculpture was too beautiful!
It was time for him to plan his wedding with Sophie. He had yet to think about his wedding gift. Looking at the piece of jade, he had a bold idea.
After entertaining the treasure hunters who eventually went into a drunken stupor, at midnight Li Du brought out the sculpture again to study it.
He had been avoiding Sophie. This time around, he did not want to bring Sophie. He would go by himself.
Under the moonlight, the jade sculpture looked even clearer and more beautiful. With the light shining on it, the jade emitted a green glow. That sort of mystical beauty was truly intoxicating.
Li Du caressed the sculpture. Although it was summer, it felt cold and smooth in his hands. It was obviously made of high-quality jade.
Tang Chaoyang had said before that the jade mine was located near the northwest area of Myanmar. Even if he had not said that Li Du would have guessed. Ninety percent of the high-quality jade in the world came from there.
Li Du snapped his fingers and Brother Wolf pulled open a huge map of Myanmar. Lu Guan, on the other hand, opened a 3D map on Google. Together, they started to compare the two maps to confirm the location indicated on the sculpture.
Myanmar was an ancient civilization with a long history. After being unified in the year 1044, it went through four feudal dynasties: Pagan, Bago, Toungoo, and Konbaung.
Between 1824 and 1885, the British launched three invasion wars and occupied Myanmar. Then, in 1886, the British classified the place as a province of British India.
In 1948, Myanmar broke away from the Commonwealth and declared independence. The country was bordered by India and Bangladesh in the northwest, China in the northeast, and Thailand and Laos in the southeast.
The local law and order were not impressive. A cloud of war still hung over the entire region. In the past two or three decades, a military government had ruled Myanmar.
Until today, there were still guerrilla groups supported by the opposition in the country. There was often crossfire that broke out between the government and those groups. Li Du checked out the recent news from Myanmar and had read about the ongoing conflict there.
It was not easy to locate the specific area from the topographic map. It was definitely more difficult than reading a regular map. The sculpture-map lacked recognizable landmarks. There were only five small towns with no names near them. Hence, Li Du could not identify the exact location even after studying all the maps for some time.
Brother Wolf was an expert at reading maps. After studying them all, he shook his head and said, “I don’t think that this map is real. The locations of the five cities are incorrect. Besides, even just looking at the surrounding mountains and rivers, there’s no way to locate them on the map.”
Li Du was determined. He said, “Check it against the 3D map and look for the place!”