Truthfully, if it wasn’t for Linda’s unexpected stir in the dreadful hours before dawn, Xia Lei would've already dissected the Metal Book. The silver lining was that talking to Linda had given rise to a new idea, which was to make a generous donation to the Malta Heritage Protection Bureau and make an official visit to the Temple of Apollo.
With that, he had found the diagram of the ancient alloy box around the temple, which helped strengthen his comprehension of the Metal Book.
Returning to the embassy, Xia Lei rushed into his room. After shutting all doors and windows for good measure, Xia Lei pulled out the Metal Book.
The book he had taken from William Arthur and the bronze book in his hands was the same. The only difference was that the book had different names for different people.
Flipping its cover away, mysterious and weird characters soon came to sight. Some looked like a bunch of astray grass, some seemed like ridiculously drawn tadpoles and some even resembled human faces with eyes and noses! However, the current interpretation shouldn’t be too much of a challenge due to his deciphering experience earlier.
Xia Lei read every page, his mind swallowing every character he came across. He tried to use his abilities on it, which returned his findings as mystical syllabuses.
He closed his eyes. Allowing the compass diagram made out of bricks that he found in an underground tomb back in China resurface in his mind.
Combining the weird characters and the compass diagram together, it created a larger spherical diagram that looked like a rune-filled compass. Just like last time, there was a line of Han characters that appeared in the centre of the compass. You’re the only one who can turn it.
Inexplicably, the image triggered Xia Lei’s subconsciousness. The puzzling surge of energy awakened and the compass in his memories started to turn rapidly. Suddenly, he heard a distant voice in the back of his head.
This had happened before. It was the hidden syllabus from the Metal Book. The latent energy that existed in his brain was no different from a pin of a record player while the compass decorated with runes was the vinyl.
“Perhaps you may not believe me, but when I was about to end my life, I met a maiden. I’ve had many women in my life and I can confidently say that her beauty was incomparable. She was perfect, from her features to her body. Even her disposition was wonderful. At that split second, I thought she was a goddess. A goddess that was here to grant me my hearts desires. The way she approached me was weightless, to the extent that I had suspected that this was merely my delusion. But she seemed so real. I spoke, pleading her to chase away the confusions that had clouded me but she only smiled at me. Then, she left…”
“Unsatisfied, I tried to run after her. But no matter how hard I ran, I just couldn’t catch up to her. The distance between us got increasingly wide before she vanished completely from my view. Her light footsteps in the snow had my hopes up, I stubbornly chased in the direction she left. Oh, how I hoped to see her again someday somewhere…”
“I’m not sure how far I travelled or how long I have travelled for. When I was prepared to have all my efforts go to waste, she finally appeared. I was perplexed and shell-shocked. She was like a phantom during our first encounter. But this time, she had a solid body. She was still as ethereal as ever. I genuinely thought our second encounter would be the start of something beautiful. I was a fool. She attacked me and hurt me, crushing the box into debris.
Though I had made it out alive, the injuries I suffered were far too severe. This felt like the most ridiculous dream of mine. Years ago, when I was prepared to end my life, she appeared and brought me hope. Now, my ray of hope has perished…”
“On the verge of death, I dug my own grave and swallowed pieces of the crushed box. This is what I’ve left for you. Please, uncover the secrets I’ve yet to solve. If you ever meet her again, be sure to kill her. She’s an entity that should not exist. She’s the epitome of evil. I’ve seen her massacred an entire tribe of a few thousand inhabitants. I was the chosen one and you’re my chosen one. What I can’t do, you must do. This is our shared mission. Remember, time does not merely travel forward, it seeps too. Farewell, the only one.”
Those were the contents of the Metal Book.
To be fair, it felt more like a CD than a book.
Finishing the ‘Bronze Disc’, some of the seemingly incomprehensible mysteries were solved all at once. Albeit so, Xia Lei couldn’t find it in himself to feel excited. His heart sank like a rock as if a heavily rusted basalt had pinned it down.
In the sacred city of Jerusalem, Xia Lei had found the corpse of an old man under the Holy Temple of Jesus with a stomach full of ancient alloy debris. He had no idea who the old man was and why there were so many ancient alloy shards in him. Now, Xia Lei finally had the answer. The old man was the ‘chosen one’ who left behind the Metal Book.
“He mentioned that he had lived for a long time, past the Ice Ages. He was essentially an immortal. Sick of living, the man tried to end his own life. Then, he met her. Could he be referring to Zhu Xuanyue?” The possible link made his follicles bristle. Xia Lei could feel his scalp go numb with a chill crawling up his spine.
Though the prehistoric ‘chosen one’ had not mentioned her name, Xia Lei was convinced that Zhu Xuanyue was the person in question. Zhu Xuanyue was perhaps one of the many names that were given to her. She must’ve had different names over different periods. Some may have been recorded in history while some completely off the radar.
Her existence was malicious. This was something Xia Lei had already learned. He had also witnessed how the woman ‘hunted’ for her appetite, no other proof was needed.
“Time does not merely travel forward, it seeps too… What the hell does that mean?” Xia Lei’s mind tried to pick apart the old man’s words. “Is he trying to hint that there are different dimensions to this world? The world I’m in now is obviously different from the one inside the box, is he referring to that?”
His brain went into overdrive.
The world a century ago was real, the world now was real too. Without doubt, the world after a century would certainly be real too.
A century may be too much of a stretch. If the unit of time was set as one second, how could anyone say the world a second ago was fake? Why would anyone comment that the world will disappear after another second?
Humans survived on their senses. ‘Reality’ was anything tangible by their five core senses. However, the world wasn’t so simple. Aside from the past, the present and the future world, there was probably something like a light world, a dark world, a world with a conscience or a world without one. If the universe was one big chaos, humans were probably just a small grain of sand stuck in this mess!
Letting go of all constraints, a wing sprouted out of his cogitation, leaving towards the boundless horizon. But the man of such brainwork remained seated in his room, still a measly puny existence to the vast universe.
Xia Lei finally broke into laughter after a considerable time. The prehistoric chosen one solved a good amount of his questions but brought a few new ones. Realisation dawned upon him that no matter how hard he tried, Xia Lei was still far away from solving the biggest mystery. What lies before him was an ocean and he was just a sailor in a pickle.
The pursuit of knowledge was a rocky path sometimes.
“I’ve already found out how the ancient alloy box was broken and the reason behind its scattered appearance. I also know that the old man under the church was the prehistoric chosen one while Zhu Xuanyue had already existed long before civilization. But who exactly is the black-robed man? He seemed to be similar to Zhu Xuanyue, but they were not friendly. Why is that so?”
“The only difference now is that Zhu Xuanyue is an anomaly. If he’s after the ancient alloy box, there isn’t much I can do to stop him. However, he hasn’t done anything of that sort and he didn’t intend on robbing me of my last AE capsule. Why?”
One question led to another, causing Xia Lei’s mind to be split into halves. One half was alert while the other remained puzzled.
“Mister Ma Lei, are you in there?” Suddenly, Linda’s voice rang from the other side of his door.
It interrupted his thoughts, prompting him to allow his vision pierce through the door. Before long, he caught a glimpse of Linda.
The woman must’ve just returned from the gym, which was suggested by her tight spandex tracks and singlet. The white athletic wear clung onto her body like her second skin. It outlined her breasts clearly and her thighs and ass were on full display. The feminine lines were matured and seductive. To make matters complicated, her sweat had drenched the material. How was he supposed to react in this scenario?
A few seconds ago, his mind was occupied with the ancient alloy, the AE capsule, Zhu Xuanyue and the black-robed man. In the next second, his brain was now a hell hole of filthy images.
“Mister Ma Lei?” Linda rapped on the door. “I know you’re in there. Open up.”
Xia Lei could feel his brain thundering inside. He knew what Linda was here for. On the other side of the door, the man had full intention to solve one of the most difficult mysteries of the world while the woman was eager for an answer to her query. She wanted to know if he was genuinely homosexual.
“Mister Ma Lei?” Linda was losing her patience.
“Hey! What are you doing there?” Giovanna appeared out of the blue. The bandages around her body rendered her walk awkward.
“I… I’m looking for Mister Ma Lei.” Instinctively, Linda held her hands over her crotch.
“He’s out to deal with some matters. If there’s anything you’d like to say, you can tell me. I’ll be sure to relay the message,” offered Giovanna.
“There’s no need for that! Bye!” Linda left with a scowl.
The exchange allowed Xia Lei to heave a sigh in relief.
It sure felt good to be protected by his knights.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
have a nice day!