Shendu Archaeological Institute of Cultural Relics.
Lin Jie slowly modulated aether to scrape the bloodstains and dirt caking the cover of the notebook that had formed a ‘shell.’
He wasn't used to utilizing such aether; he was still an ordinary person after all and didn't have many opportunities to use it.
Lin Jie just constantly accumulated aether during his time in the dream realm when asleep. Like a chipmunk with its acorn stash, this provided him with a rather inexplicable sense of security.
The 'shell' gradually started to chip from the 'chiseling' of the formless aether, and tiny bits fell all over the countertop.
At the bottom left corner of the journal's cover, some words previously hidden by the dirt started to take shape.
Lin Jie blew away the clippings on the table, revealing a 'fresh' journal.
Despite passing hands from the Lower District smuggler to Theodore, not a previous custodian of the journal had thought to scrape off the filthy 'shell' of the notebook.
An inherent lack of time was a possibility, though it could also be because they thought it unnecessary.
Of course, they could have been unwilling to attempt it as they lacked the skill set.
Usually, the restoration of ancient relics ought to be done with the usage of specific tools. However, Lin Jie was neither at home nor at school, and the only usable tool he had at his disposable was a screwdriver... which definitely shouldn't be used on such a delicate book.
As such, Lin Jie could only rely on the accumulated aetheric energy that he himself had nearly forgotten as a substitute for the professional tools required to clean the journal up.
And looking at the results, the process had gone smoothly.
"Shendu Archaeological Institute of Cultural Relics... It's indeed this institution that gives participants of their archeology seminars journals as souvenirs.”
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It finally dawned on Lin Jie why the book appeared so familiar.
Because he himself owned a notebook of the exact same design, complete with the complementary fountain pen which came with it.
Although he majored in folklore studies because of his family’s ‘academic roots,’ those people that came to his house when he was young were mostly people that studied archeology and history. Through prolonged exposure, Lin Jie’s knowledge of archeology was pretty extensive.
As aforementioned, Lin Jie would be dragged to help the school's neighboring archeology department whenever they lacked manpower.
Similarly, those who respected the late Professor Lin had always pinned their sympathies on Lin Jie and hoped for Lin Jie to take over Lin Minghai's 'mantle.'
They would often drag Lin Jie to participate in a multitude of academic seminars, or straight up just bring him to archaeological dig sites.
Nevertheless, Lin Jie still showed no interest in any of it. He disliked conducting research on the dead and ancient; instead, he preferred something he could appreciate firsthand, such as the culture of living humans in today's world.
Moreover, those expectant gazes weren't technically directly cast at him.
So, why would he try to please these people?
Of course, Lin Jie wasn’t dull either, and he obviously wouldn’t voice out his inner thoughts so casually. He would still attend those seminars, though it was mostly done as subterfuge.
Moreover, the seminar hosted by Shendu Archaeological Institute of Cultural Relics was a rather insignificant event that Lin Jie had attended.
The notebook would afterwards be kept alongside Lin Jie’s other souvenirs, never to be touched again.
“I never imagined such an outcome, seeing this type of notebook again in this other world.”
Gazing at the blurred inscribed words on the cover, Lin Jie couldn’t really describe the emotions he was going through as he tapped a finger on his forehead.
“The director of that insitute seemed to have the surname Duan. Someone had once introduced him as a student of Lin Minghai. He did seem to have worked in Shendu for some time, but this Director Duan never visited, not even showing up during the funeral.
“So, it would seem like these two had a rather ordinary relationship.
“If I had bothered to dig deeper back then, perhaps I would’ve been able to know whether that Director Duan was the Duan Xueming mentioned in this journal.”
Lin Jie shook his head and continued with his rambling, “Yet, with this specific type of notebook, the Shendu Archeological Institute of Cultural Relics must be linked to this whole event. It may very well have been the research institute mentioned within the entries.
“There’s only one problem. What if the owner of this journal had, like me, only obtained the notebook from some past random seminar.”
Lin Jie sighed. Squeezing out the truth from such a dingy notebook was proving to be very difficult.
There were still many uncertain elements and key points lacking. According to Theodore’s statement and Lin Jie’s own judgment, the notebook seemed to be over a hundred years old.
Yet Lin Minghai got into that car accident only 24 years prior.
Supposedly he really was leading this archeology expedition back then, it would mean that time flowed differently on the two sides.
Or perhaps, when he jumped through the 'door,' there was a warp in the space-time continuum, sending him to the Lower District from a hundred years ago and leaving behind all that Lin Jie saw now.
“Norzin’s Lower District seems to hide some great secrets... Traces from the Second Era or even earlier should all be there. If so, there may even be some ancient, secret power hidden down below.”
This was yet another reason for Lin Jie to check out the Lower District.
Since the entire team of nearly 30 personnels were ordered to document their experiences, surely this journal wouldn't be all that remained.
If Lin Jie could obtain the journals of others, he would be one step closer to the truth.
“Moreover, since there's a language barrier between the two worlds, this notebook would just be a series of illegible scribbles that aren't worth anything from a 'local' point of view.
"But Theodore did mention about the many troubles that arose from holding on to this journal as well as him being watched.
"This all means that there is a possibility that a group of people have already discovered the value of this notebook in Azir. This would explain the demand for the notebook.
"Understanding everything purely from possessing this notebook seems unlikely, but if I were to make a bold assumption, they may already have other notebooks within their grasp, or perhaps even other objects from Earth."
A pendant crafted from yellow crystals dangled and swayed slightly in the wind, glimmering as it did so.
“This truly reflects the beauty of the mineral that has been completely depleted on Azir..."
Through the rays refracted off the crystal, Cleveland sighed as he gazed upon the gigantic 'nest' in the center which had swallowed two people and had eyes all over it.
“It’s truly unheard of for a juvenile dream creature to display such strength; it must be at least Supreme-rank.”
He pocketed the pendant with a triumphant smile as he sensed the fluctuations in the surrounding boundary. "No wonder Lord Sandalphon had a sudden change of plans. Sacrificing these two pawns to set a trap for obtaining such an exceptional pet was definitely worth it."