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Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Getting out of the car and standing next to the spring surrounded by the circular pool, Zhang Zian quietly killed a mosquito that was buzzing in front of him.
While this was also an oasis, the number of mosquitoes in the Siwa Oasis was significantly lower than in the Faiyum Oasis. It was strange, as the Siwa Oasis had more than 2,000 natural springs and a saltwater lake. The environment was similar to the Faiyum Oasis. Therefore, there should not have been a large difference in the number of mosquitoes.
If one really needed reasons, the first might’ve been that the area covered with plants and crops here was much smaller. Second, although the Garonne Lake was a saltwater lake, it was not too salty, and fish and shrimp in the lake could survive. However, the salt content of the Siwa Lake was too high. Even the beaches along the lake were covered with salt, and mosquitoes could not lay eggs and hatch larvae in the lake.
The water in the spring was moving and crystal clear. Mosquitoes liked to lay eggs in stagnant, still, and stinky water.
Fina had not heard him killing that mosquito. When they passed the market, they could not find a vendor selling honey, which made her regretful but him grateful.
Standing by the pool and watching the children play for a while, Zhang Zian finally confirmed, albeit disappointedly, that the several European female tourists did not swim naked. However, there were several young men who wanted to take off their clothes.
At the same time that he was staring at other people, Fina seemed to beb worrying about something. She couldn’t help but look at the khaki-coloured building shaded by the dense date palm trees.
From where they were, it was only possible to make out the roofs of the buildings. However, as they had no fixed destination anyway and Zhang Zian was not particularly interested in looking at men swimming, Zhang Zian proposed that they go there.
While passing under the date palm tree, Richard licked a few palm dates but immediately spit them out. It almost dirtied Zhang Zian’s clothes.
“So sour and bitter! Gross!” it murmured.
“Nonsense! The fruit is not ripe yet and you ate it? I heard that coconut cooling balm has a nice flavor. Do you want that instead?” Zhang Zian knew it was bored and spitting out gibberish from its mouth. Richard had to constantly find something to do, be it eating or talking.
They passed through the woods as they spoke. There was a building like a broken castle in front of them, but it seemed like a castle should not exist in the vicinity.
Zhang Zian thought and immediately understood the identity of the building—here was the temple of the gods that Alexander the Great had come to seek. It was not far from the temple of Amon.
Now, when it came to the temple of Amon, it was generally referred to as the large temple of Amon in Luxor, and few people came here. Whether it was the Temple of God or the Temple of Amon, they were a dedication to the half-goat-half-man sun god Amon. Alas, the place was in ruins now.
The two temples and shrines were not destroyed by heavy rains. This was because ancient Egyptians used stones instead of mud bricks for the entire construction—perhaps it might’ve been better with mud bricks. Had it not been built to last, the locals would not have blown it up with explosives in 1896. They did it so that they could use the stones to build a police station and other facilities.
After listening to Zhang Zian’s explanation, Vladimir applauded and said, “Although it is a pity, I still support sweeping the old for the new! The people are masters of the land, and the temple is demolished to become houses for ordinary people. This should be a good thing! As for God, this is the chance for him to go out for a few days!”
“This is…” Zhang Zian began. “This has no link to the removal of feudal superstitions. It is only because the local people don’t believe in this god…”
Vladimir understood his words and could not come up with a rebuttal.
The shrine had been built on top of a small hill. The surroundings were cold and clear with no one around.
Zhang Zian and the elfins came to the ruins of the shrine hall, where a stone monument stood. The stone monuments used English and Arabic to describe the voyage of Alexander the Great. Together with a small number of followers, they’d entered the desert to seek the gods.
This was considered to be a high point in Siwa. After all, gods always needed to be in an elevated spot.
Standing here and looking around, one got a panoramic view of the whole town. The town was surrounded by a dark green date palm forest, and farther away was a saltwater lake.
Across the town, the Hill of the Dead stood in the distance.
The sun was slowly setting, and it was no longer glaring into their eyes. This was a good place to think about the history of life. Standing alone in front of the temple, the mind found nirvana. Whether it was a dynasty that lasted for 1,000 years or a temple that was worshipped by thousands, the inevitable was a return to the earth as yellow dust.
Zhang Zian took his time to play pretend so that he had a quick moment to himself to stare out at nothing. He thought to himself that while he needed to work and make money for his future wife, children, and perhaps grandchildren… The fact of the matter was that the only certain thing was the continuation of the bloodline.
To his surprise, Richard had suddenly become silent and had been in deep thought since they got to the shrine.
It was so silent that Zhang Zian thought something had happened.
“Did you eat the wrong medicine?” he asked. “Or did you eat so much that you need to sh*t? I am warning you, if you dare to drop your sh*t on me and my clothes…”
Richard shook its head and said seriously, “You idiot, stop bothering me. I am thinking about a problem.”
Zhang Zian stared at it incredulously. He could not believe that such serious words were coming out of a bird’s mouth that was only known for saying crappy things.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked curiously. What important question could make this bird have such deep thoughts?
Richard snorted. “I told you not to bother me! What would be the use even if you knew?”
“You can’t say that.” Zhang Zian played humble so as to be able to satisfy his curiosity. “Haven’t you heard? Two heads are better than one. Why don’t you tell me the question and I will see if I can be of help?”
“Ha! Just based off your ability? Letting you join will only lower the average IQ level between the both of us!” Richard rolled its eyes as it spoke.
It seemed that the soft tactic was not working. Time to go hard!
Zhang Zian rolled up his sleeves and prepared to use violence. Richard saw it and immediately changed its tone. “Hey! I have no problem telling you! Perhaps you are indeed the destined one to solve this problem!”
“Oh? Actually, I think so too!”
He was happy but just a tad skeptical. After all, this bird rarely gave praise without a reason.
Richard lowered his voice and said mysteriously, “Did you notice? From the time we left the hotel until we got here, we met no women while on the road.”
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