Lin Jin recognized this wooden plate. Or perhaps it was more appropriate to say that he had seen many just like it thanks to the visitors of his Visitation Hall.
Be it He Qing, Black Crow, or even Feng Ziqian and Zhao Jingyan who showed up more recently, they each had a plate, on which a number was carved, which corresponded to the door which they entered the Visitation Hall through.
This should be the key to the Visitation Hall.
Carved on this wooden plate was the number ‘three’. It just so happened that doors number one to three had never been opened before. The first visitor to enter the hall was He Qing who came in through door number four.
At first, Lin Jin found it strange, but now, he was able to come up with an explanation.
He Qing had come in through door number four because the tokens of the first three doors had been lost.
Of course, there were other possibilities aside from them being lost. Much more investigation had to be done.
Right, this wooden plate was passed down by the Qiao family’s ancestors. Based on what Qiao Feigong told him, his ancestor had once possessed a Rank 4 pet beast and left them with a message that this treasure was essential to the pet beast’s progress. Looks like he was telling the truth.
Judging by this situation, the Qiao family’s ancestor must have been a visitor as well. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have the visitor’s token in his possession. But if that were the case, more questions came flooding in.
Lin Jin wasn’t in this world one hundred years ago so how could there have been a Visitation Hall?
This left so much room for thought.
Also, the more he pondered, the more incredible explanations arose. No matter how strong Lin Jin’s mentality was, he couldn’t help but lose himself in thought right now.
As Lin Jin wore a stern expression while being in deep thought, Qiao Feigong and Qiao Xing dared not disturb him. Qiao Xing didn’t think much of it but Qiao Feigong did. An idea had come to mind.
‘Is Appraiser Lin perhaps able to understand the secret behind this treasure?
With the appearance of this idea, Qiao Feigong began to worry. At first, he thought the treasure was useless so he didn’t think much of it, but what if it was actually very valuable?
Of course, that was just a thought and Qiao Feigong didn’t show it on his face. He had another idea as well. Since Appraiser Lin was so knowledgeable and capable, if the man actually knew something, Qiao Feigong could get his consultation about the plate.
With that in mind, Qiao Feigong waited a while before asking softly, “Appraiser Lin, do you recognize this item?”
“I’ve seen it before!” Lin Jin answered frankly without shying away from the question. He had now pushed back all of his assumptions.
Then, he returned the wooden plate to Qiao Feigong.
Qiao Feigong accepted it with great excitement and then held his hands together in salutation. “To be honest with you, Appraiser Lin, no one in our Qiao family knows what this wooden plate is for. Those thieves from before were actually aiming for this. This wooden plate may not be of any use to our family now, but it’s still our ancestor’s treasure so we can’t just let someone else take it. We just want an explanation on what it actually is. If Appraiser Lin knows anything, our family would be grateful if you can tell us more about it.”
Having said that, he bowed deeply.
Upon seeing this, Qiao Xing immediately reacted by kneeling on the ground, prostrating before Lin Jin.
Lin Jin chuckled. “Both of you need not act this way. If I had no intention of telling you, I would have just said I’ve never seen it before.”
Realizing this, Qiao Feigong and Qiao Xing quickly thanked him and got up.
It was obvious how excited both father and son were, especially Qiao Feigong.
For three generations, their family had remained puzzled by the treasure. Qiao Feigong’s father had researched it for decades but still failed to unveil anything meaningful. He ended up passing away with regrets.
Before his death, his greatest wish was to understand what the piece of wood was used for.
However, even until old age, Qiao Feigong didn’t manage to learn of its potential. He was on the brink of despair and was even wondering if he shoud give up the futile search a few times now.
But today, he saw a glimmer of hope.
He had witnessed Appraiser Lin’s capabilities and just as Escort Zhang had claimed, the man was an expert.
And for this reason, Qiao Feigong was honest in showing Lin Jin their treasure. An expert with such high standards would never set eyes on their insignificant treasure. Hence, he did it out of gratitude and to show how generous he was.
Now that hope was presenting itself, he had to grab it.
Lin Jin didn’t beat around the bush but he couldn’t just tell him the entire truth. He refrained from revealing to them the existence of the Visitation Hall but instead affirmed that their ancestor was able to rise up from mediocrity primarily because of this wooden plate.
That much he could confirm.
Upon hearing this, Qiao Feigong’s body visibly trembled.
Although his ancestor had left such a message as well, they couldn’t verify how much of it was the truth after so long. Considering what Lin Jin was telling them, Qiao Feigong knew it must be correct.
“This item is a key that can bring you into a mysterious place where an expert will provide guidance to you. It seems that your ancestor had obtained such a chance encounter back in the day and that’s how his success was bought about, and how he managed to establish the Qiao family’s business.”
That was all Lin Jin could say.
After all, he still had suspicions of his own. If the Qiao family’s ancestor had had this plate and entered the Visitation Hall a hundred years ago, who was the hall’s ‘Curator’ back then?
It couldn’t be himself.
This was something even Lin Jin couldn’t figure out, and the more he thought about it, the more creeped out he felt.
As it concerned the Visitation Hall and even the museum’s origins, Lin Jin couldn’t afford to ignore it. Anyway, when he thought about this earlier, Lin Jin felt goosebumps all over.
He wasn’t making blind assumptions. It was a fact that doors number one to three hadn’t opened up in the Visitation Hall thus far, so what did it mean?
Lin Jin figured it must be because their access tokens were in the real world. As for why they were here, Lin Jin had no idea.
Initially, Lin Jin thought of bringing this token back to the Visitation Hall to see what would happen. However, it would be a risky attempt.
What if something went wrong?
Hence, it was better to play it safe.
He would first understand the mechanism of both the Visitation Hall and its visitor tokens before plotting his next step. That would be the safest option.
Moreover, this Qiao family was righteous and open-minded enough to trust him and show him their ancestral treasure. It would be unreasonable for Lin Jin to ask for it or even express his intention to take it away.
Meanwhile, Qiao Feigong and Qiao Xing were confused.
A mysterious place?
As they were still in the dark about most things, they couldn’t resist the urge to ask him, “Appraiser Lin, how do we use this?”
To be honest, Lin Jin didn’t know either.
He looked at Qiao Feigong and said, “I know a person who might have an idea but you’ll have to bring this wooden plate along.”
Sure enough, his words made Qiao Feigong hesitate.
Lin Jin smiled. “There’s no hurry. You can give it some thought, Lord Qiao. Once you’ve made your decision, write me a letter or come to see me directly at Maple City’s Beast Appraisal Association.”