Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Long before the mammoths were around, there used to be rhinoceros living in the Siberian region. Hence, sometimes, the mammoth ivory hunters would excavate rhinoceros horns by chance.
As the years went by, the rhinoceros’ horns would turn into something that was between fossil and bone. It had no ornamental value and carried a faint smell. By external appearance, it looked like it had been carved out of wood.
However, it was in fact very valuable. Its unit price was much higher than that of ivory. In Southeast Asia countries like Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and other places, the rhinoceros horn was used as folk medicine, and its price was comparable to gold.
One would need more luck to be able to find rhino horns than mammoth ivory. There was not much use for experience. That was because the horns were simply too rare and every time someone found one, it had been purely thanks to luck.
The ivory hunters did not think that Li Du and his people had located the rhino horns by luck, however. The group had looked as though they were focused and knew what they were doing. In the afternoon of the same day, they had gone to another location and found a mammoth carcass.
With those two rhino horns and two mammoth tusks, Li Du’s team returned again and made even more money that day.
Seeing that, the ivory hunters became anxious. The things that Li Du and his group had excavated should have been theirs instead. Although they did not know where all the horns and ivory were, the hunters assumed that they would eventually have found them. Now some outsider just came and snatched them away.
Li Du went to the bar again for a drink and the hunters came to talk to him. “Hey, mister. You’re really lucky. You’ve found a good number of tusks, didn’t you?”
After scanning the few men, Li Du did not speak but continued to sip his drink with a smile.
The mammoth ivory hunters exchanged a look. Then, one of them said, “We’ve checked some of your background, mister. You guys are all rich people, filthy rich. I don’t understand why you guys come here to work so hard and earn comparatively little money.”
Li Du finally spoke up. He said, “We did not come just to excavate ivory. We are here to look for one b*stard. Once we find him, we will leave. But while we are at it, it’s not a bad idea to take the chance to hunt for some ivory.”
Beside him, Steve smiled. He said, “No one would say that they have too much money. It’s never a bad idea to make more money.”
“Who are you guys looking for?” Someone quipped. “Perhaps we can be of help.”
Someone around them whispered, “Black Snake. They are looking for Black Snake from the Prayer gang.”
“What’s the Prayer gang?” an ivory hunter questioned.
“It’s one of the gangs that has been formed recently,” someone else answered. “Black Snake started it. Obviously, he had offended someone when he was in America. Now, these people are here for him.”
There was no reason to hide anything. The mammoth ivory hunters were aware that if someone from afar came looking for a person, it must be for revenge. Hence, they would unite. After all, most of them had come to live in Siberia after making trouble somewhere else.
Besides them, there were also some people who just made a living hunting ivory. These people, usually locals, have not committed any crimes or made any trouble. They were in this line of work just because of the prospect of making good money.
Now that they knew about Li Du’s actual motives, the mammoth ivory hunters left.
They were people with their own principles. They would not gang up with outsiders to deal with people like themselves. Instead, when people of their own kind were in need, they would extend help.
Li Du continued to excavate ivory in the surrounding taiga. After some time, perhaps because they were getting better at using the machine, they managed to excavate more and more ivory. Every day, they were able to dig up four, six or even eight tusks.
That caused the ivory hunters to turn anxious. In that span of time, Li Du had excavated the number of tusks that far exceeded what they could excavate in a year!
Besides, they witnessed Li Du’s machine getting more accurate. It managed to help them locate deposit after deposit and they dug hole after hole. All the mammoth ivory seemed to have been excavated.
The ivory was not an infinite resource. Once it was excavated, it would be gone forever.
Finally, an ivory hunter could take it no longer. At the end of March, Li Du received a text and there was an address: Naval Marshall Street No. 56, Unit 4002.
Naval Marshall Street was a main street in Krasnoyarsk. Number 56 was a hotel, right next to the local government and police station. It was considered to be in a prime location.
Li Du read the text and called for Brother Wolf and the rest. He got Brother Wolf to check out unit 4002 of the hotel that night, to see what the situation there was.
That night, they received information on the unit. Brother Wolf sent a series of photographs to him, taken through the window. He managed to capture the image of a man. It was Jonas Malone!
Therefore, Li Du’s plan had succeeded.
That place was the territory of Jonas Malone. He had been living there for over ten years. He must have made many connections locally. It would have been hard for Li Du and the rest to locate Malone by themselves, given that the ivory hunters were so united.
Besides, Malone was now practically a local. Once he realized that there were people looking for him, it would be easy for him to hide.
It would be much harder to rely on money alone in their search for Jonas Malone. The ivory hunters had principles and would not betray their own people for money. That is, unless the other party offered an amount too huge to reject. After such a betrayal, the hunters would move to another place far away. Otherwise, they and their family members would be punished severely by fellow hunters.
However, the hunters still had to rely on the mammoth ivory for survival. Once the trade was destroyed, their mode of livelihood and their means to feed their families would be gone.
The presence of Li Du was threatening their trade. Amongst them, someone could take it no longer and ended up helping Li Du.
Hence, the key to the issue was not money, but survival.
If Li Du had offered mere money, it wouldn’t be something the hunters needed strictly to survive. However, Li Du was now threatening their trade, and if the hunters did not help him, they would go bust.
With that piece of news, Li Du started to make his plans.
The next day, he continued to excavate ivory as before. Of course, those deposits were excavated from the source of the Podkamennaya Tunguska River.
At midnight, when the small city retired to bed, Brother Wolf made the arrangements and they launched their plan to capture Jonas Malone.
First, they drove a pickup truck to a designated spot below the hotel building. Then, Brother Wolf brought his people, together with Ah Meow and Ah Ow, and they went up to the fourth floor to arrive at unit 4002.
Big Ivan picked the lock of the door with ease and sniped off the electric circuit of the hotel. The entire hotel suddenly fell into darkness. Then, Brother Wolf got his people to knock the door down and they rushed in, wearing their infrared night vision glasses.
The process of knocking the door down was rather challenging. There were things placed on the other side of the door against an intrusion, and there was also an alarm on the door. Once the door was forced open, the alarm would go off.
However, the alarm worked on electricity. As the circuit was broken, the electricity did not flow and the alarm had lost its function.
In addition, there was a huge dog inside. Once the door was pushed open, the dog would bark. The barking was especially loud and clear in the quiet night.
Ah Ow pounced and brought down the big dog. It bit and tear at the dog, scaring it to retreat until it crouched on the ground, whimpering in pain.
There were two people in the room and both of them were lying in bed, sleeping deeply. They had not woken up despite the creaking of the door and the growling of the animals.
They had ordered take-out for their dinner. Brother Wolf had intercepted the order and laced the food with tranquilizers that were much more powerful than regular sleeping pills.