Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Lu Guan started to zoom in, increasing the scale of the big map. Young Markelov came over for a look and pointed at the sculpture. He said, “Hey, brother, look at this. It looks familiar.”
The older Markelov came over for a look. He said with hesitation, “Is this the Dena Mountain? These towns don’t look very clear. Look at the two towns under the mountain. Wasn’t there only one? That’s Wooku town, right?”
Young Markelov said, “That’s why I said it looks familiar. If I could be sure, why would I ask you to look?”
Older Markelov aimed a kick at him and said, “Who’s the elder brother? Is this the attitude the younger brother should take when talking to the elder?”
Young Markelov immediately gave in and said, “Alright, you’re the elder brother.”
Hearing the exchange between the two of them, Li Du came to a realization. What he had thought were cities on the map were, in fact, small towns.
He had gotten used to the small-scaled maps that he had been reading. He saw that there were mountains and buildings carved on the jade, and the area of the buildings looked larger than the area of the mountains. Hence, he had concluded that those were cities. It turned out that he was wrong.
With the two landmarks of the Dena Mountain and Wooku Town, everything became much simpler.
Lu Guan continued to identify the location on the computer while Brother Wolf tried to find the location on the map. Everything was slowly becoming more certain.
Dena was a small mountain. There were many mountains in Myanmar. That particular one was not very well known. The introduction Google gave was only, ‘Located in the northern part of Kachin State, north of the Wooku River Basin, near Wooku Town.’
Li Du noticed the term, ‘Wooku River’. The river was not exactly well known either. However, its basin had worldwide fame as a source of jade.
Lu Guan said as he looked at the map on his computer, “Hey, boss, how old is this carving? It doesn’t look the same as now. Look at the mountain on the map. It looks barren.”
Indeed, in the 3D map on the computer screen, there were no trees on the mountain. There were some greyish-white areas, and the yellowish-brown rocks were exposed. However, the mountain on the sculpture was engraved with many trees, big and small.
Li Du let out the little bug and use Time Travelling. The first scene that appeared was that of two elderly people in their fifties or sixties. They were carving a piece of pure jade carefully.
According to his experience, he made some deductions. The sculpture, he concluded, was more than two hundred years old!
He got anxious. There was a huge gap in time. The mine on the map could long have been discovered. If that were true, it could have been depleted a long time ago.
Hence, he said, “Search around here. See if there are any mentions of a jade mine in the area.”
Lu Guan started to type furiously on the keyboard. Shaking his head, he said, “There is no mention relating to this place online.”
“Of course not,” Young Markelov said loudly. “Dena Mountain and Wooku Town are remote places. Who would notice them?”
Li Du asked, “How come do you know so much about it?”
Young Markelov kept quiet and his older brother lost his smile and said to him, “Why should we keep it a secret? There’s no need for that anymore. In the past, we went there to carry out some missions. We helped the guerilla attack the government military. We had a crossfire there and we killed some men.”
Li Du said, “Then what information do you guys have about this place?”
The older Markelov said, “Hmm, I recall that there were not so many towns. To the North of Dena Mountain, there was Wooku Town. The mountainous southern region was quite developed, and Pagan Town was south of it.
Compared to the few places mentioned earlier, Pagan was better known, especially in the jade trade. That place was as famous as Australia’s Lightning Ridge was for its opals.
Just like Wooku, Pagan was also a town, albeit a much larger one. It was located in the western part of Kachin State in the northern part of Myanmar. Situated at the bank of the Wooku River, 350 kilometers north of Mandalay, it was a major source of raw jade.
Since the discovery of the jade ore in the Ming Dynasty, Myanmar had become the world’s largest producer of jade. The Pagan jade industry also laid the foundation for the country to be known as the top jewel-grade jade producer.
Pagan had been exploited. Almost every plot of land there had been dug and the situation was similar to Lightning Ridge. Hence, Li Du feared the same might be true for Dena Mountain.
There was no related news on the internet, and that reassured him to a certain degree. If there had been any developed mines there, the information would have appeared on Google, the same as for Pagan Town.
He was worried that there were a few jade mines in the area and that they had all been exploited before the internet age. After all, the mine had been around for more than two hundred years. Things could change over time, even in such remote, little-known areas.
If he took the local residents as an example, compared to the four or five towns in the past, there was only one settlement left – Wooku Town.
He wanted to travel to the area. After learning his plans, the Markelov brothers started to smile. Young Markelov said, “We are very familiar with that area. In the past, we saved the town’s chief and his family. If we were to visit again, I’m sure he would treat us very well. He owes us a debt of gratitude.”
Hearing that, Li Du was elated. “That’s fantastic!”
Right now was not a good time for flying to Myanmar. The government was still in confrontation with the Kachin Independence Army, which also included the guerrilla groups. Although the war zone was not near Dena Mountain, it would still be better for them to stay put for their safety.
The war was too dangerous. Brother Wolf, the Markelov brothers and the rest were very clear about that.
Li Du got the Markelov brothers to recruit their comrades in Ukraine. Of course, he was only willing to hire those who could be trusted. After all, the mine that he was thinking of developing was worth a lot.
In late August, Kobe was hosting a birthday party in the Beverly Hills mansion, and Li Du received an invitation to attend.
LeBron James, who was considered Kobe’s long-time rival by most fans, also attended the party. In the eyes of the fans, the players were lifelong rivals and competitors. However, the stars looked to be friends with one another, with no visible hint of animosity.
There was no life-and-death rivalry between them. To them, the sport was a profession. They were rivals on the court, but outside of the court, they considered each other as colleagues.
James was very comfortable in the crowd. He was very good at hosting. Hence, although he was not that day’s lead, he still managed to gain quite a fair amount of attention.
When Li Du arrived, James greeted him and said, “What gift have you brought with you?”
O’Neal entered shortly, and said with a wide smile, “You’ve asked the right question, LeBron, and at the perfect timing.”
He had come in a truck, and the truck carried cables. When the boot was opened, the sculpture depicting Kobe and him was revealed.
The rest of the events unfolded smoothly. Kobe smiled as he came up to give O’Neal a hug. The two of them took a photo in front of the sculpture and applause rang out, surrounding them.
Li Du was still watching the emotional scene when someone touched his shoulder. “Hi, Li. We meet again.”
Having heard the familiar sweet voice, Li Du turned around in surprise. Then he saw a few pretty faces, one of which stood out, smiling happily at him.