There was no body in the stone sarcophagus. A piece of paper sat on red cloth.
There was a line of Italian written on the paper: How did barbarians go down to hell?
Xia Lei was flabbergasted.
Is this a joke that da Vinci was playing on him?
He had gone through all that danger and made his way here with much difficulty, looking for what he had left for him… but he had left this?
After a long pause, Xia Lei snatched up that paper and was about to tear it into pieces when he suddenly thought, ‘Wait… Was da Vinci the type of person to do something like this? He left the password and map under the Mona Lisa, and directed me here. This was not all for a joke, right? Impossible. He must be hinting something to me. How did barbarians go to hell? Barbarians… Hell…’
Xia Lei’s gaze went to the red cloth at the bottom of the stone sarcophagus.
Everything in this maze had been black, but just this piece of cloth in the sarcophagus was red.
‘Red represents flames. Another name of hell is Purgatory, where souls burn and suffer. Barbarians gives one the impression of violence and destruction. So how do barbarians go down to hell…’ A faint smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth. He grabbed the red cloth from the bottom of the stone sarcophagus.
The bottom of the stone sarcophagus was a black stone slab.
Xia Lei’s left eye twitched, and his X-ray vision bore into the stone.
Darkness. All he saw was darkness. It was a stone platform under the stone sarcophagus, and dirt underneath that. His X-ray vision was soon as its limits, and he could see no deeper. However, he quickly found where the mechanism was — in the corner of the stone sarcophagus. It was a square-shaped bit of stone material. The resin and black paint had made it seem like the bottom of the sarcophagus was a whole piece, but it was split, and individual pieces.
Xia Lei climbed into the stone sarcophagus and kicked at it. Nothing moved. He kicked a second time, hard. The resin filling the gaps loosened, and cracked. He then jumped up to stomp heavily down.
Crack! There was a light crack as the resin sealant was broken, and the square-shaped bit of stone material moved down.
The stone sarcophagus shook, and the entire bottom fell out immediately afterwards. Xia Lei hurriedly stuck his legs out and stood on the stone slabs. He felt like he was riding a lift.
The stone slab fell to a depth of about ten metres, and stopped. A narrow doorway appeared in the stone wall on the left. Xia Lei threw the light stick in his hand into the doorway, and the space inside was illuminated.
It was an oval-shaped space with many things in it. There were several pieces of apparatus for experiments which looked simple but were very varied. There were things made of wood and metal, but their uses were unknown. There were also some works of art — some of the makeup of the human body, some sketches of architecture, and some oil paintings. There were several large glass bottles too, and these contained liquid with human body parts suspended in it. Eyes, hearts, brain tissue…
‘Was this da Vinci’s secret laboratory?’ Xia Lei quickly came to a conclusion. He took out a new light stick from his backpack, and lit it, then walked in.
This was indeed da Vinci’s secret laboratory.
Xia Lei walked about da Vinci’s laboratory, observing the things he had left behind as he pondered, ‘It’s not that difficult to build this laboratory but it was definitely a great labour to build the maze above this. Even if he made use of a natural cave, this was not something he can just build casually. Da Vinci was not very wealthy in his time period either. Where did he get the funds to build this maze?’
Xia Lei’s gaze fell upon a table as he mulled over these questions.
There was a cowhide notebook on the table. A thick notebook. There was also a piece of silver-coloured metal about the size of a cigarette box. He tried to judge where it had come off of by its shape, but could not tell what it was. Next to the metal was an oil painting of a starry sky.
Xia Lei was instantly drawn to the painting. His feet moved, almost on their own.
The light from the light stick fell on the painting and the stars sparkled. The stars seemed to come alive to Xia Lei after looking at them for some time. They seemed to have their own trajectories and were moving on their own. The stars were moving, and the nebula was moving slowly too. The painting gave one the impression of a slowly whirling mass of stars and nebulae. They rotated slowly, as if they were trying to suck something in.
‘A moving painting?’ Xia Lei was stunned, then surprised to discover that this painting had not been painted with paints, but with some sort of minerals.
However, as Xia Lei observed this painting, he failed to notice that the alloy necklace around his neck was being attracted like a magnet, going against the pull of gravity and floating silently in the air, moving closer to the painting.
Xia Lei noticed it, finally, when the alloy pendant floated up from under his chin and into his vertical line of sight.
‘This… What’s going on here?’ Xia Lei was shocked, and he hurriedly backed away.
A bright white light suddenly shot from the pendant and into the oil painting.
It all happened so quickly that it was all over when Xia Lei saw the white light appear.
The stars in the painting shone brightly when the white light went into the painting. It was like when light bulbs brighten from an electrical surge. Soon, he was unable to see stars and nebulae — a white light seared his vision.
The light got brighter and brighter and Xia Lei had to cover his eyes with his hands.
And right then, he heard a familiar voice.
“I’ve been waiting for you for a long, long time…”
“Princess Yongmei!” Excitement burst in Xia Lei’s heart. He put down his hands and focused his gaze to look into the white light.
The outline of a woman appeared in the white light, but the shape was not fixed. She flickered from the outline of a Ming dynasty princess, to a female knight in the gear of the Knights Hospitaller, to a bloodthirsty swashbuckling female pirate, to a noble lady of Rome, to a priestess of ancient Egypt…
These figures flashed before Xia Lei’s eyes and he abruptly understood that the Princess Yongmei of the Ming dynasty whom he was familiar with was not the only one. She had appeared several times in history. These changes he saw now were a display of her identities in reverse. Her most recent identity had been that of Princess Yongmei, then the female knight, the pirate, the roman noble, the Egyptian priestess…
The changes went on, and even Xia Lei could not identify the time periods and identities any longer.
The historical records of humans went back 5,000 years but she had gone beyond this limit.
“Wait for me. We will meet soon.” Princess Yongmei’s voice came from within the white light.
“Just who in the world are you?” Xia Lei’s voice shook.
“You will know.”
“Where did you go since the last I saw you?”
“I was too weak back then. I had no choice but to rest. You have awakened me now.”
Xia Lei suddenly thought of something, and hurriedly asked, “Ning Jing! What’s going on with Ning Jing? Did you make use of her to paint those paintings? To lure me here? And what’s with this painting?”
He wanted answers to all of his questions.
“You will know.” It was the same answer.
“Tell me!” Xia Lei was not satisfied with an answer like this.
“I will find you.” This was her last sentence. The white light vanished as soon as she stopped talking.
Xia Lei’s gaze went to the painting and he was stunned.
The stars in the painting, and the nebulae had all vanished, leaving a blank canvas. It was so clean that there were no traces of it having been painted on at all.
‘She…’ Xia Lei was perturbed. ‘Was the painting really painted with some sort of mineral, and those minerals are what she needed? It looks like it! She is a pure form of energy, and those minerals have the energy she needs! She appears every few hundred years, and the identities through the different time periods are an example of that. The Ming dynasty princess is the latest identity she used, and now that she has ‘awakened’ again… What sort of identity will she take on this time?’
This question was unbelievable, even to him, and he felt it strange.
Xia Lei stood quietly for a while, then opened up his alloy pendant.
The AE capsule in it was in good shape, and the powder in it had no change. He let out a soft breath of relief. There was no loss to him so long as she had not damaged the AE capsule. As for what her identity was, and how she would appear before him… He would handle it later!
He put the last AE capsule back in the pendant and picked up the cowhide notebook. He opened it up to read its contents.
The first page read: If you’re reading this, it means you’ve come. I have completed the task she’s handed to me. I cannot help but imagine this very scene, and it excites me. I hope you will be able to solve the mystery of the box. I will be in Heaven awaiting your good news. She has also given me a piece of alloy. I have tried but failed at understanding its structure. Maybe you will be able to do it. The path out is before you. How did the Viking pirates enter?
Xia Lei flipped the page. The second page was blank. He stared blankly for a bit, then flipped through the whole notebook to the end. All the other pages were blank.
This was it?
Xia Lei’s spirits sank. He’d thought that this maze would be an end to the mysteries and that he would find answers here. Even if he did not find a final answer, he’d expected from important clues, at least. However, he had gained nothing great this time. What he had got was a sort of confirmation of the entity that was “Princess Yongmei” and that he had “awakened” her.
Xia Lei’s eyes went to the alloy. He reached out to pick it up.
The alloy felt weightless in his hand. A piece of metal the size of a cigarette box should have some obvious weight, but this was even lighter than aluminium!
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. He scratched the table with a corner of the alloy in his hand.
Scritch! A deep groove formed in the hard wooden tabletop, like a plow going through a field.
“It’s so hard! What alloy is this?” Xia Lei was surprised. He then walked to a metal tool and scratched at it with a corner of the alloy.
A big, obvious scratch appeared in the surface of the metal tool amid an ear-piercing screech. The alloy piece corner had had no damage at all!
Xia Lei laughed all of a sudden. This piece of alloy was his greatest gain from this trip. If he could use this alloy in the production line of Thunder Horse Military Factory, then he would be able to produce the most powerful weapons in this world!**
He put the alloy away, and strolled about da Vinci’s laboratory. All of da Vinci’s sketches and paintings went into his backpack. These things were loot for him too. Anything drawn by the great Leonardo da Vinci would be highly sought after by collectors, even if it’s of chicks eating grains!
Once he was all ready, Xia Lei stood at a stone wall with a hammer.
How did the Vikings enter?
Xia Lei swung the hammer…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
*This is one of the worst analogies in the history of analogies. MTL it if you want. 他此刻的心情就像是某些饥渴的男人，好不容易找到种子，将视频下载好了，裤子都脱了，显示器里播放出来的却是葫芦娃。还有比这更恶劣的事情吗？
**Seriously? He finds such an awesome alloy and the first thought is to use it for the factory?