Sophie had to go back to work, so Li Du brought Ah Ow outside.
There was a large grass patch on the hospital grounds. Many people were recuperating there. He brought the puppy to the grass. Feeling the sun and wind, it was like an adrenaline shot for her and she became very spirited.
Li Du realized he had underestimated Ah Ow with her short legs and because she sometimes stumbled when she ranshe looked quite magnificent when she was running on the grass.
Still, she was too little. The grass was uneven and had several holes. She completely fell into one while running.
She was young, small, and weak. Ah Ow couldnt climb out after falling into the hole. She could only lay there and cry until Li Du got her.
In the afternoon, Li Du invited Sophie out for a meal.
There was a musical-themed restaurant in Flagstaff. It was a high-end restaurant, with all of the rooms private with different genres of music playing in each of them.
The two chose a room that played classical piano songs. Sophie introduced some of the songs to Li Du, while he introduced the dishes to her. They had a great time.
Later in the afternoon, Hans called Li Du, saying, "Ive contacted a furniture store. They have an expert on mahogany. Ive invited them to identify what those logs are."
Li Du was concerned about this. He first returned to his place at Pine Tree Tops to take some of his treasures with him back to the site.
Amongst his collection, the most valuable was the Trossi Leggenda watch he was wearing. He wasnt concerned about that getting stolen since he was always wearing it.
The next valuable was the treasured dagger that hed gotten as a lucky pick from the Arabian mens storage unit. Beautiful gemstones were on it, the blade was sharp, and the materials were intricate. The handle and hilt were made of ivory.
However, what really multiplied the value of this knife was the identity of the owner. Li Du had seen it through his ability to relive the past. The owners of the knife were all extremely wealthy.
The last owner he had frequently saw him on TV: Libyas leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Even without using the ability, he could see pictures of this knife with him. In one of the news pieces that covered Gaddafi, there were short clips where it could be seen on his desk, placed right in the center.
A pity that there was no mention of this knife online. Li Du guessed that it wasnt some legendary, famed knife but that it had simply been collected by Gaddafi because of the large amount of precious material that had been used to make it.
In addition, there were some papyri that he couldnt make sense of. He had not deciphered the words on the papyri and had no idea what was written on them.
The three items were his private collection. There was also the specimen of the dodo bird placed on his desk. It would soon no longer belong to him. However, thinking that he could get a million dollars for it, Li Du was extremely satisfied.
When he reached the site, the mahogany experts were already there. There was a middle-aged Chinese man with an old white man. The two had come with tools.
Hans introduced them to him, saying, "This person is from the same country as you, his name is Antonio Su. His family has done research on mahogany for a long time. This man here is Barth Kerry. Hes an expert on wood and furniture."
Li Du shook hands with the two. Antonio Su spoke in heavily-accented Mandarin: "Hiya, Li. Nice ta meet ya. Mi ancestars are from Jiangnan."
His Mandarin was painful for Li Du to hear. Li Du introduced himself, and then opened the wooden crate to reveal the logs.
The two experts glanced at each other at the same time and nodded.
"Does this look positive to you?" Hans asked excitedly.
"We still need to do further testing," Barth said, "but from the appearance, things are looking good."
"What can you tell from the appearance?" Li Du inquired.
Antonio started explaining, "These logs belong to different species of mahogany. Perhaps you guys might know that there are 33 species of mahogany. They all have differing appearances. Take this, for example." He pointed to the purple and red log as he said, "this looks to be red sandalwood, a very precious species."
"Ive been learning more about this on my own," Li Du said, "but according to what I know, this seems to be similar to the African coralwood."
Antonio smiled. "Pardon me for being direct, but although you might have some knowledge on it, you lack the necessary experience. Red sandalwood is originally red, and the color eventually darkens. Compared to African coralwood, red sandalwood has clear lines and an oily surface.
"African coralwood is a completely black-violet slab of wood. It doesnt have the right shine and the fibers are coarse. There are many ox-hair patterns, and they look terrible.
"One interesting fact is that red sandalwood is a type of "living" wood. The other types of rosewood are all "dead" wood."
As Antonio explained, Barth went to work.
He received permission from the two to cut a small piece off both logs. He then cut them into even smaller pieces and treated them differently.
For each fragment, he placed them in a test tube and added some reagents. He put them under a microscope and tested them in all sorts of ways.
"Identifying is such a complicated chore?" Hans exclaimed in shock after a while.
"Of course," Barth laughed. "It can take up to six hours to do this."
"Everyone was lacking knowledge on mahogany. When we were in Holbrook, some people did some pretty foolish things," Hans said to Li Du.
Some treasure hunters had called their friends and described what the wood looked like to them, while some took photos to show their friends. Some even used Facetime, thinking that they could identify what kind of mahogany the furniture was over the phone.
Apparently, all those methods were crude and ineffective.
The most precious amongst all species of mahogany was red sandalwood. The two first focused on identifying the violetish-red wood.
Barth brought out a piece of blank paper. He extracted a fragment of wood and scratched it on the paper. He made dozens of lines, all with a violet-red trace. From the first one to the last one, the lines remained constant.
"You cant discern even from that?" Li Du asked.
"Sir, you dont know how ingenious the current methods of replicas are nowadays. Using a mixture of potassium permanganate mixed with litmus solution and soaking certain woods in it, they could replicate this."
As he spoke, he dipped some of the wood fragments into a glass cup full of clear water. "We have to wait for some time and later, well check this under ultraviolet light.
"There shouldnt be a problem," Antonio said as he raised his head up from the microscope.
Li Du went to the microscope to look. It showed the magnified fibers of the wood.
He couldnt tell anything from it, but to Antonio and Barth, who were in contact with wood on a daily basis, a load of information could be drawn from the microscope.
Antonio was someone who liked to explain things. He told Li Du, "This has 30x magnification. Its one of the best ways of finding out information on mahogany. Of course, other methods will still have to be combined with this. Would you like to know how?"