This question seemed a little unnecessary because all the people who had touched the ancient alloy had either died or gone crazy, except for Xia Lei.
The scene on the wall changed again. An archeologist opened a stone room behind the jade coffin. There were many things in the stone room which ranged from ceramics, weapons, armour, and so on, and that bronze book. There were also imperial edicts, books, gold and silver jewelry, and so on. They were all preserved in good condition.
“Where is this ancient tomb?” asked Xia Lei.
“It’s not that far. Just several kilometers away at the Tongzhou Yongle Store,” said Fan Yiming.
“Yongle Store?” Even though he had lived in Jingdu for a period of time, this was Xia Lei’s first time hearing about this place, let alone visited it.
“It has an origin.” Fan Yiming said, “Have you heard of the Yongle treasure?”
Xia Lei shook his head.
“According to legend, it was a treasure that the Great Emperor Yongle left behind in the Yuan dynasty. All the treasures that Zheng He brought back from his expeditions to the Western Pacific are all kept in the Yongle Store. Whoever gains this treasure would have wealth equivalent to an entire nation. The archaeologists were all quite excited back then, when the compass pointed them to the first treasure location. They all thought they had found the Yongle treasure from the legends, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. There were a lot of treasures in Princess Yongmei’s tomb, but they’re not worth much compared to the legendary Yongle treasure,” said Fan Fan.
Did the Yongle treasure and the ancient alloy have anything to do with each other?
Anticipation grew like a wave in Xia Lei’s heart. “Did those archeologists discover any clues related to the Yongle treasure? If the Yongle treasure was also in the Yongle Store, there should be some clues.”
“I’m not too sure about that. I don’t really care about the Yongle treasure. I’m only concerned about the ancient alloy and the Alloy X Project,” said Fan Yiming.
Xia Lei understood why an old scientist like Fan Yiming didn’t care about a treasure from the Ming dynasty, but he didn’t feel the same way since two very important people were involved with the Yongle treasure — Emperor Yongle and Princess Yongmei, Zhu Xuanyue.
‘Emperor Yongle was powerful, a great strategist, and very ambitious. He wanted to expand the Ming dynasty’s territory and he wanted even more to gain eternal life. Is it possible that there wouldn’t be any ancient alloy secrets in treasure he personally buried? That doesn’t make sense. If I were him, I would put the most important secret in my treasure,’ thought Xia Lei.
“Big Brother Lei, what are you thinking about?” asked Fan Fan, as she switched the video off.
Xia Lei snapped back to his senses. “Nothing much. I was just thinking if we could go take a look at Princess Yongmei’s tomb.”
“Everything’s already been moved out of there and nothing was left. It’s no use if you go there,” said Fan Fan.
“No, I think it’s still necessary to take a look. Perhaps I’ll be able to find some other clues. That’s right, Elder Fan, who should I talk to about this?” asked Xia Lei.
“You don’t need to ask for permission for that. Our Academy of Science has sufficient authority. If you really want to go, just let Fan Fan take you there. I went there with Fan Fan before and it’s quite easy to get there,” said Fan Yiming.
“Do you want to go now?” Fan Fan looked at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei said, “No, I still have something I want to ask about. Elder Fan, when I turned in the compass the last time, the higher-ups said that they had sent several people to search for the treasure location. I saw that compass here, so I was wondering... Do you already have a general idea of the next treasure location?”
Fan Yiming shook his head. “I know about that too. After you turned in the compass, the higher-ups ordered many people to look for it around the world. They sat in planes and practically orbited around the Earth multiple times but this compass was still pointing towards the sky. I think it’s just like a man’s physiological reaction. It gets hard and then softens…”
Fan Yiming hadn’t finished talking but Fan Fan interrupted him with a blush across her face. “Grandfather! I’m still here! What are you talking about?”
Fan Yiming wasn’t embarrassed at all. “Did I say something wrong? You’re even someone who deals with bioengineering. Are you not even clear with a man’s most basic physiological reaction? You should really find a volunteer and study it properly.”
Fan Fan was speechless.
Xia Lei also felt very awkward. However, he felt that if Fan Fan were to really find a volunteer to research a man’s physiological reaction, there would definitely be a lot of people fighting to volunteer as tribute.
“Forget about it. I won’t talk about you anymore, you silly girl.” Fan Yiming looked at Xia Lei. “Mr Xia, let’s discuss your research. I have the previous research team’s research materials. I’ve looked over the materials and they basically didn’t finish anything. I also looked through your research materials and you did better than the last research team and you had some breakthroughs. However, I think it’s still far from enough. I would like to hear your views on this.”
Xia Lei thought for a moment before saying, “Elder Fan, you saw the last research team’s and my research materials. I think you probably have a certain level of understanding already so I’ll just be frank. Its composition and structure are currently still unknown. It cannot be cut or dissolved, not to mention duplicated. On the other hand, it has a very mysterious energy, and this energy can affect someone’s mental state. Those who have come into regular contact with it have become mad, and those who have interacted more closely have died. As for me, I am the only person who’s immune to this energy.”
Fan Yiming suddenly smiled. “Actually, I have already understood what you’ve said. Why don’t you talk about your thoughts on making a breakthrough in the Alloy X Project? I know you definitely have some of your own opinions. The three of us are currently a team. This team doesn’t have a leader but only consists of members. We should all share everything with each other.”
“I do indeed have some thoughts, but…” Xia Lei hesitated. He actually knew too much. It was a pity that he couldn’t share these things with Fan Yiming and Fan Fan. Princess Yongmei’s secrets were confidential and the secret of him taking the AE capsules was also confidential.
“No problem, you can just say it,” said Fan Yiming encouragingly. Right then, Fan Yiming didn’t seem to be addled by age at all. Instead, he seemed like an old fox with sharp eyes which seemed to be able to penetrate one’s heart.
This sharp look made Xia Lei’s heart thump as he thought to himself, ‘Could it be that he’s been pretending to be muddled, and he still has some secrets or motives that he’s keeping from me?’
One refrains from hurting others yet guards against those trying to hurt you. Ever since Xia Lei’s X-ray abilities had awoken in his left eye, he had begun to live very carefully. This was also why he had been able to stay alive until now.
“Say it, say it. I want to hear it,” urged Fan Yiming.
Xia Lei then said, “I am not just looking at it from the ancient alloy itself. We also have to start from the ancient alloy’s history and other clues. We already know that it existed in the Ming dynasty, and that Princess Yongmei had it in her possession. I want to look for answers from some historical clues, and this is also why I would like to insist on going to Princess Yongmei’s tomb.”
Fan Fan gave Xia Lei a big thumbs up and said with a laugh, “Big Brother Lei, your train of thought stands out from everyone else, as expected. Grandfather and I have been researching those materials all day long and trying to guess the ancient alloy’s composition makeup, but we never thought about beginning from historical clues. I think your ideas are brilliant. Perhaps we’ll really be able to find clues to decipher the ancient alloy’s secrets.”
Xia Lei smiled politely. “I was just saying it casually. It’s still unclear if it’ll work.” After a pause, he looked at Fan Yiming and probed, “Elder Fan, the higher-ups told you to work on it personally, and I don’t think it’s simply to aid me. You are a leading scholar of our time. There’s no need to doubt your strength. You must have the same reasoning and plans as I do right? I would also like to hear your opinions.”
“I do have my own reasoning and thoughts but my reasoning and thoughts are different from yours.” Fan Yiming didn’t continue.
“What is it?” Xia Lei’s interest was piqued.
Fan Yiming laughed. “It’s you.”
“It’s me?” Xia Lei stared blankly.
“Mr Xia, I’ll be frank. You are the only person who has interacted with the ancient alloy and haven’t been affected, so your body has the antibody that targets that type of energy. Don’t you think you are an excellent way to unravel the clues of the ancient alloy’s secrets?” said Fan Yiming.
Xia Lei could already sense Fan Yiming’s motives.
Fan Yiming continued, “The higher-ups got you to join the Academy of Science and got Fan Fan and I to assist you in the research of the Alloy X Project. In our three-person team, I’m an expert in material sciences and Fan Fan is an expert in bioengineering. As for you, you’re the most special one in our team. Your work is to find clues about the ancient alloy, and to be studied at the same time.”
This was why the higher-ups had given Xia Lei the honour of being a Fellow at the Academy of Science, and the reason why Fan Yiming had recruited Fan Fan into this team. This was why the higher-ups had forgiven Shentu Tianyin, and only detained him for fifteen days!
Xia Lei immediately felt a pain in his heart. He hadn’t become a little white mouse for the Americans, but he had become a little white mouse in his homeland.
It made sense for the higher-ups to have Fan Yiming join the Alloy X Project. The Academy of Science’s dean would be personally in charge, and the honor would go to the scholars, and well as related favours. Was he going to obediently submit to being a white mouse?
“Mr Xia, I know you feel repulsed, but you have to understand the inevitability of this and the rationale. Just think about it. How come others were done for when they touched it while you were fine? Don’t you think your body’s immune system or genomes are very valuable? I believe that your body is holds the clues, or even the answer.” Fan Yiming stared at Xia Lei with a burning gaze.
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “I understand, but… How are you going to study me?”
“It won’t be me, but Fan Fan,” said Fan Yiming. “She is an expert in this field and she knows what to do.”
Xia Lei’s eyes went to Fan Fan.
Fan Fan’s cheeks reddened for some reason and her voice grew small. “Oh, um… Body, blood, cells, organs… and other stuff… In any case, every part of you is a target of research for me.”
“This…” Xia Lei’s heart sank.
What he was worried about as white mouse for Fan Fan, was not the awkwardness in stripping naked in front of her so that she could touch and sample him, but Fan Fan’s specialty and expert capabilities. She was the best bioengineering expert in the nation. She could do even more than the doctors in the hospitals. Those doctors hadn’t discovered any differences in his body, but what if Fan Fan discovered something?
Fan Yiming’s expression became more serious. “Mr Xia, we’re doing this for our country. You won’t object, will you?”
Xia Lei would have completely rejected it if it hadn’t been for Shentu Tianyin’s matter, because the higher-ups would not have a bargaining chip to control him then. They would have been requesting him to do things for them. However, things had changed after Shentu Tianyin’s matter. If he rejected them, they would likely continue to investigate Shentu Tianyin’s case, and she might end up having to die!
“Haha, of course I wouldn’t refuse but you should still wait for me to be ready. I want to see Princess Yongmei’s tomb first.” Xia Lei forced a smile on his face.
“All right, you guys can go to the Yongle Store first. That way I can do some preparations and we can begin when you return,” said Fan Yiming.
“I’ll take you to Yongle Store, Big Brother Lei.” Fan Fan seemed very happy as she took the lead.
Xia Lei exchanged glances with Fan Yiming, then turned to leave.
After Fan Fan and Xia Lei exited the hidden workshop, Fan Yiming said, “What secret is he hiding? I have to find out.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter