An oil-producing tree was a discovery that made Yan Yue decide to postpone his return to Kunnan.
With the development of China’s economy over the years, the importance of fossil energy (non-renewable resources that formed when prehistoric plants and animals died) had become more and more prominent. People’s material standards were rising and the corresponding demand for fossil energy was growing. The problem was that there were not unlimited reserves of fossil energy, be it oil, coal or natural gas. At current levels of extraction, for example, the world’s oil reserves would be depleted in another 40 years, not to mention China’s own oil reserves.
To ameliorate the energy crisis, China had been exploring the development of renewable energy sources. This included wind, water and solar energy. There were also efforts in the direction of green plant energy, but this was the first time that a plant energy like the one discovered by the little monkey could be used directly in machines without any processing.
After making this decision, Yan Yue quickly called Elder Zhang to explain why he couldn’t return to Kunnan for the time being. Originally, Elder Zhang was still a little upset that he couldn’t see Lu Lingxi, but after listening to Yan Yue’s explanation, he was instantly interested in this tree.
“Yan Yue, how did you get this energy fuel you’re talking about? Like peanut and soybean oil extraction?” Elder Zhang asked over the phone.
“It’s not that complicated, it doesn’t need to be processed at all.” Yan Yue patiently explained, “After collecting the oil, it can be used directly.”
“Used directly?” Elder Zhang was dubious.
“This is the current situation, but we still need to collect some samples and do some tests to see.”
The samples brought back by Wang Chaoliang last night were too small, and a trip to the rainforest would be necessary for further analysis. Yan Yue was already discussing with Wang Chaoliang about entering the rainforest again. Without the drug dealers, the two of them were able to deal with all the dangers except for the large python, which was a bit scary.
When Lu Lingxi woke up, Yan Yue had just hung up the phone. Lu Lingxi was confused when he heard Yan Yue say something about a tree that could produce oil.
“Xiao Xi is awake?” When Yan Yue turned around and saw Lu Lingxi, the corners of his lips raised up unconsciously. He quickly walked over to the bed and brought a change of clothes for Lu Lingxi.
Lu Lingxi used Yan Yue’s help to get into his T-shirt and casually asked, “What’s the oil-producing tree?”
Yan Yue smiled, “Get up and eat something first, I’ll tell you slowly.”
When Lu Lingxi finished washing up, Yan Yue had already asked the neighbour to cook a large bowl of rice noodles. He fed the peeled quail eggs to Lu Lingxi and began to talk about Wang Chaoliang’s discovery.
“That’s a first-class copaiba balsam tree.” Although it sounded a little incredible, Lu Lingxi still corrected the name of the tree seriously.
Yan Yue realised something, “Is that the prompt from the panel?”
Lu Lingxi put down his chopsticks and nodded.
Yan Yue looked at Lu Lingxi dotingly, pulled out a tissue to wipe his mouth, and said softly, “Good, it’s the copaiba balsam tree then.” Although he thought the name was a bit awkward, Yan Yue still obediently called it the new name. When he spoke of re-entering the rainforest with Wang Chaoliang to look for some samples, Lu Lingxi blinked and said, “I’m coming along too.”
“No, the rainforest is extremely dangerous, Xiao Xi, have you forgotten the big snake?”
Thinking of the big snake, Lu Lingxi frowned slightly, but still refused to change his mind. He insisted, and Yan Yue had no choice but to go to Fang Lei to see if he had time to go along, or if he should pay to hire a few locals. Before he could suggest a second option, Fang Lei had readily agreed to follow them on their journey. The group of four got ready and re-entered the rainforest.
It was late at night when they returned to the village last night, and they only had a rough idea of the direction they were heading. Luckily, Xiaohei and Xiaohui knew the way, with Xiaohei leading the way and Xiaohui responsible for guarding. The two cooperated tacitly, and everyone walked smoothly in the rainforest. Because of the clear goal of entering the rainforest this time, they didn’t delay on the road. Even Wang Chaoliang tried his best to restrain the idea of studying plants along the way, and kept urging everyone to go faster.
When they passed the place where the python had appeared last night, both the drug dealer and the smaller python’s body were gone. It seemed that the python had returned after they had left, and considering the python’s fierceness that was hardly possible to control, they almost trotted away from the place.
Just as they were about to return to the copaiba balsam tree, a familiar squeaking reached them. Lu Lingxi followed the sound and looked up, and on the branch above his head, the little monkey was squatting, calling out excitedly to him.
“Little monkey.” Lu Lingxi said in surprise.
When the little monkey heard Lu Lingxi call it, it dangled from the branch and jumped directly into Lu Lingxi’s arms. “Zi-zi.” It happily wrapped its two front paws around Lu Lingxi’s neck and rubbed its furry head against his face, looking very satisfied.
“How come the little monkey and Xiao Xi are so close?” Fang Lei was a little curious.
Yan Yue vaguely guessed it was the attraction of the panel on Lu Lingxi’s body, just as in Fengcheng small animals all liked Lu Lingxi.
“You’re the only one here, little monkey, where are the other monkeys?” Lu Lingxi asked as he hugged the little monkey.
The little monkey seemed to understand, pointing ahead and squeaking.
“Here it is.”
Wang Chaoliang’s voice interrupted Lu Lingxi’s words, and the others hurried to follow him, not paying attention to the little monkey anymore.
It was too dark to see clearly last night, but at this time, at midday, the light was just right. The tree, after being saved by the power of nature, didn’t look like it was dying at all. The tree’s trunk towered, reaching the clouds, its branches and leaves flourished, and a huge amount of vitality overflowed from its body, condensing into a milky white mist, so refreshing that all the fatigue of the journey had disappeared.
Wang Chaoliang went to the trunk of the tree and quickly found the presence of oil. From the hole in the tree trunk made by some bugs, oil continued to flow out, solidifying into a gelatinous substance on the bark. Wang Chaoliang carefully took the knife and pulled the gelatinous substance off without hurting the trunk of the tree. The oil from the small hole flowed out again, and Wang Qingliang hurriedly pressed the prepared bottle to the hole.
Along the way, Fang Lei heard them talk a lot about the magic of this kind of tree. Now that he watched the oil flow out with his own eyes, he remembered another thing in amazement.
“This kind of tree is magical, but it looks like it is the only one around. It will take several years to raise the seedlings and plant trees when we go back.”
The issues he considered were practical, but with the help of the white panel, Yan Yue was not worried about the growth of trees. Besides, from the perspective of a businessman, it was impossible for any business to make money as soon as it got started. As long as the late return rate was high, it didn’t matter if the investment took longer. It was imperative to determine the output and composition of the oil from the copaiba balsam tree. If everything was appropriate, they could start working on the seedling planting.
The trunk of the tree was so huge that several people wouldn’t be able to hug it, gathering around it in a circle. The four of them each chose a side, looked for a hole, took a bottle and collected the oily substance from inside.
The little monkey had been observing Lu Lingxi’s movements, and seeing that he was curious about the oily substance inside the tree, the little monkey couldn’t help but jump and call out, pointing in the direction on the left and chirping excitedly.
“To the left? What’s over there?” Lu Lingxi asked the little monkey seriously as if he was talking to Dahei.
The little monkey’s two front paws stretched out and gestured a long distance. Lu Lingxi pondered for a long time and said tentatively, “Are there trees over there too?”
There was no telling whether the little monkey understood or not, so it wrapped its arms around Lu Lingxi’s neck and squeaked.
The people around them could hear their conversation clearly, and Wang Chaoliang was the most anxious, “Why don’t we go and have a look?”
Lu Lingxi asked Yan Yue’s opinion, who thought about it and nodded, “Okay, let the little monkey lead the way and we’ll go and have a look.”
Following the direction indicated by the little monkey, they walked for another half an hour to the left. A small valley soon appeared in front of them, with countless lush copaiba balsam trees filling the valley, and a four or five metre wide river winding through the valley.
Everyone was speechless for a while, and the little monkey happily jumped to the river, scooped the water and drank two sips. The group of monkeys they had seen last night appeared on the opposite side of the river and squaked at the people across the river.
The discovery of the valley of copaiba balsam trees made the people happy. Considering the lack of time, they didn’t enter the valley, but just remembered the direction of the valley and returned to the village by the same route. To Lu Lingxi’s surprise, Elder Zhang and Elder Zhao were waiting for him in the village, and along with the two old men was another old man with white hair, surnamed Min.
“Grandpa Zhang, Grandpa Zhao.” Lu Lingxi was taken aback as he saw them.
Elder Zhang nervously took his hand, “Let me see, where are you hurt?”
Lu Lingxi was a little embarrassed, “Grandpa Zhang, I’m fine, I just scraped the skin a little.”
“That’s good, Xiao Xi. This is your Grandpa Min.” Elder Zhang enthusiastically introduced Lu Lingxi and turned his head to add, “Lao Min, this is Xiao Xi I told you about.”
Lu Lingxi meekly called out, “Hello, Grandpa Min.”
Elder Min looked at Lu Lingxi and smiled, nodding gently. After everyone had greeted each other, Yan Yue continued to look at Elder MIn. He had not expected that Elder Min was actually a friend of Elder Zhang and Elder Zhao. If he was not mistaken… what lay before him and Xiao Xi was a huge opportunity.
As Elder Zhang spoke, Lu Lingxi realised that Elder Min, Elder Zhang and Elder Zhao had been friends for many years, but all three used to be busy with work, not having much time to get together. Now that they were retired and had free time, they would find time to get together from time to time. This time, it coincided with the Kunnan Orchid Exhibition, and since the old men were all flower lovers, they simply agreed to come to Kunnan together.
Lu Lingxi felt sorry that Elder Zhang didn’t go to the orchid show because of him, but the old man laughed and said, “The orchid show is going to be open for half a month, so we can go back and see it when we have time. If I didn’t come to see Xiao Xi, your Grandpa Zhao and I wouldn’t be able to relax. As for your Grandpa Min, he was attracted by the copaiba balsam tree and other trees that you have mentioned. Your Grandpa Min has been involved in energy research all his life, but this is the first time he has heard of this kind of tree that can produce oil, so he couldn’t sit still.” Here Elder Zhang paused and asked, “Xiao Xi, tell me what is going on with this tree?”
Lu Lingxi told about the results of Wang Chaoliang’s tests and what they had found today. As soon as he finished, Elder Min spoke eagerly, “Xiao Xi, you said you found a whole valley full of these trees.”
Lu Lingxi nodded, but quickly said seriously, “The valley of the copaiba balsam trees we found is located in the Kunnan rainforest, deep in the rainforest. In order to protect the environment of the rainforest, it is best if the valley is not developed and destroyed.”
He said it in a serious manner, as if he was afraid that Elder Min would secretly go and destroy the valley. Elder Min smiled all of a sudden, the wrinkles on his face stretching, and one could see that he was in a very good mood. “Yes, yes, Xiao Xi is right, we need to protect the environment of the rainforest. Then, Xiao Xi, what are your plans?”
Lu Lingxi glanced at Yan Yue and said after a moment’s thought, “Uncle Wang has basically determined through testing that the oil from the copaiba balsam tree can be used completely in place of diesel, so Big Brother Yan and I want to try to see if we can transplant the trees successfully in Fengcheng.”
Lu Lingxi nodded; he already considered Fengcheng as his home and wanted to plant anything good in Fengcheng. Although the copaiba balsam tree was native to the rainforest region and the climate of Fengcheng was quite different, considering the effect of Fengcheng’s environmental purification, it might not be impossible to transplant the trees.
Elder Min laughed at his reasoning and said, “It would be good if it could be transplanted to Fengcheng, so that Fengcheng wouldn’t have to dig coal in the future, and would instead mine this kind of tree oil. It’s environmentally friendly and economically beneficial, killing two birds with one stone.”
The group chatted for a while longer, with Elder Min’s conversation revolving around the copaiba balsam tree. Yan Yue looked at Elder Min thoughtfully for a few moments, and waited until the others had left to rest before telling Lu Lingxi, “Elder Min was the previous Minister of Energy in China.”
Lu Lingxi didn’t watch much news and didn’t know anything about how big a position the Minister of Energy was. Yan Yue smiled at his bewildered expression, hugged Lu Lingxi and gave him a kiss, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand these things. Xiao Xi just needs to know that this is an opportunity.”