The most crucial time for determining the price of the gun had arrived: the testing of the gun.
Luckily, they were at the range. Maurice called out a greeting, and a staff member chose a firing line for them. Wooden targets were placed at the positions marking the one-hundred meters, two-hundred meters, five-hundred meters and one-thousand meters respectively.
Hans was the tester for the gun. He held his headset and said, "Wow, wooden targets. Old man, this is costing you an arm and a leg."
Maurice laughed heartily, "I hope you can hit them all."
The Type 92 machine gun was being carried up. Godzilla stuffed a round of thirty bullets into it and then pushed Li Du so he would leave with him.
Li Du asked, "What is the matter?"
"It can explode and kill someone," Godzilla said briefly.
It was highly dangerous to test such old guns. It could explode if one were not careful, causing the person testing the gun to get hurt or even die.
Hans put on the headset and fixed his eye on the optical gunsight, and pulled the bolt to release the click sound twice before slowly pulling the trigger.
A crisp clat sound was heard, and the feed plate started to move. A few golden bullet shells shot out, making a sharp sound as they hit the ground.
With the vibration of the machine gun, Hanss arms shook violently. A hundred meters away, the wooden target had split into a few pieces after being hit!
On seeing this, he was instantly excited and moved to aim at the target two hundred meters away. As he pressed the trigger, he shouted, "Oh oh, this feels so f*cking good!"
This machine guns function was truly superior, despite not having been used for some years now. Although it had suddenly been whipped out for a round of shooting, its accuracy was still very good.
The wooden target at the two hundred meter mark was split up too. The five hundred meter target, however, could be more challenging for Hans to hit.
Thirty bullets were not considered a small amount, but for a machine gun, they could be used up in a matter of seconds. Hans, a seasoned shooter, had fired the gun in bursts. If he had shot continuously, the bullets would have all been used up with one press of the trigger!
A feed belt had been used up, but the wooden target at the five hundred meter mark was intact. However, even further, at the one thousand meter mark, the stray bullets had made a big hole in the wooden target.
The firing of the machine gun had attracted the attention of the shooters nearby. They came over to have a look and started a discussion about this gun:
"What type of machine gun is this? It looks very ugly but it has pretty amazing power."
"Pretty good shooting skills, buddy. Well done!"
"Let me try, there is a gunsight here. There should be no issue hitting the target five hundred meters away."
Hans took off his headset and smiled smugly, "How is it, old man? This explosive b*stard is not bad, huh?"
Maurice nodded. "The trajectory is a little off, but it is understandable. It has probably not been used in many years. Fifty-five thousand dollars; come with me to get the money."
Hans whooped for joy and high-fived Li Du. Both of them did not expect this gun to be able to fetch such a high price; this was indeed an astounding surprise.
After getting the money, and as they were leaving, Li Du said, "The owner of the gun shop is such a nice guy. If he had not told us about this guns history, we would have sold it for even 40,000 dollars."
Hans explained, "Yes, thats why we all like to go to Maurice for guns and related products, as he is equally honest with everyone."
He then shared with Li Du some trade information on storage hunting. This was a trade that had already been in practice for half a century, and its members had already accumulated a lot of experience in this area.
The treasure hunters did not simply pick any shop for handling their goods. The shops they used were those that their predecessors and counterparts had used, and had found suitable for handling their goods.
"Maurices character is very well-known in all of Arizona," Hans said. "Whoever gets ahold of guns comes to him. After accounting for profit, he quotes an honest price. Everyone makes money, win-win."
Li Du nodded. "This is great. If we get ahold of guns again, we will go to him."
This trip to Phoenix was not that rewarding. Although they had gotten a sum of money after selling the gun, they did not gain much profit from the storage auction.
Hence, upon their return to Flagstaff, Hans tried even harder to search for news on storage auctions.
In this information age, information on storage auctions could be retrieved from the Internet. The Storage Auction Associations website released news of the storage units for sale throughout America on a daily basis.
But there were thousands of storage units put up for auction in America every day, and more than ninety percent were worthless. It was very tedious to filter out those with value from the news on storage.
Such a task required experience, foresight, and a wide network; Hans was more suited for this task compared to Li Du.
Li Du had nothing to do, and called Sophie up. Sometimes the two of them would have long conversations over the phone at night. They were not romancing each other, though; Sophie was learning Chinese from him.
In less than two days, Hans had news. "Lets get going guysthere is a batch of storage units at Red Rock Canyon in Sedona that needs to be settled. Heard there is good stuff in there."
Sedona was located between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, and was like Flagstaff: a small city.
It was, however, better known than Flagstaff. It was popular for travel, leisure; a vacation destination famous for its unique Red Rock scenery and rich Native American culture.
This small city only had a resident population of about 10,000, but every year it attracted more than four million tourists from all over the world.
"So, treasure can usually be found in the storage units of such places. Some tourists do not know how to be thrifty and cherish things, and so they throw away many useful items. I like those people, ha!" Hans said happily in the car.
Li Du read up about this small city on the Internet. It was actually more like a town rather than a "city", as its geographical area was rather small, at only about seven square miles.
There were many travel magazines and websites in America which usually ranked all the tourist attractions. Sedona was regarded as a town, and had been on the top ten list for many years. It had even been named as "the most beautiful town in America" a few times.
They left in the afternoon, and reached Sedona in the evening. Magnificent red rocks flanked both sides of the roads. Under the remaining rays of the sunset, the rocks set off a memorable, unique glow.
There were bicycle paths on both sides of the road, and many cyclists were perspiring profusely as they pedaled.
Beyond the bicycle paths were rolling vineyards. It was June and the grapes were flourishing. A large expanse of green came before Li Dus eyes; the contrast of this with the red rocks was stunning.
Other than the outdoor enthusiasts and tourists, Li Du also saw some Native American Indians in their ethnic outfits, kneeling in prayer. He asked, "Is the holy land for Native American Indians?"
Hans nodded and said, "Yes, Native Americans have been born and bred on this land for generations, and regard this place as sacred."
Li Du sighed. "No wonder this was regarded as one of the most beautiful towns worth visiting. It is one-of-a-kind in terms of scenery, culture, and customs."
"Not only that, buddy, it is also a famous place for mending broken spirits. There is a Native American saying that one can connect directly with spirits of the dead here. So, every year, many people come here to mend their broken inner spirits," Hans added.
"Do you know the New Age movement? The supporters of this movement believe that this is the energy center of the radiative force of the earth. It is said that there is a magical force here, which can uplift ones spirits."