Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
American men loved drinking. All hotels featured bars, and usually, they would set up a small bar counter in the lobby as well. Tourists could have a drink there.
Of course, a small hotel like that would only have low-quality beer. The bar counter was meant to provide a more lively atmosphere. If one wanted to have a good drink, they would be better off going to a real bar.
Princeps raised his glass and the yellowish-gold beer spilled a little. He sipped tastefully and said slowly, “Buddies, drink up! Welcome to Tucson.”
The treasure hunters were all chatting with one another. They had broken into small circles, engaged in their own conversations. Nobody cared about him.
In the past, when the Tucson gang was at its peak, Princeps was considered a top figure. Now, he was nobody in the Tucson treasure-hunting circle and nobody feared him anymore.
Princeps’ face darkened. He said, “I’m treating everyone to the drinks. It isn’t polite for everyone to ignore me, right?”
Once he finished speaking, the few tough men who were with him stood up and looked at the crowd.
Princeps had learned his lesson. Now, all his underlings were stupid people with more brawn than brain. He did not have to worry anymore about them playing tricks on him.
The treasure hunters were unafraid of him but did not want to offend him either. Hence, one after another, they raised their glasses and drank to his health.
Seeing that, Princeps broke into a smile. He tapped his glass and said, “Hope that this auction will be a total success!”
Only a few men echoed him. The treasure hunters there came from around Phoenix and Flagstaff. They did not care much about him.
Princeps took a sip and said, “Seems like nobody has much interest in the auction. Could it be that you guys are just here to experience the atmosphere? Or are you planning to place bids?”
One treasure hunter frowned. “If you have something to say, say it outright. Princeps, why are you beating around the bush? What are you trying to do?”
Princeps put down his glass and said, “Alright, then I will get to the point. We, the Tucson gang, are interested in some warehouses in this auction. I hope that you guys will cooperate with us.”
“Besides, the situation in Tucson is complicated right now. I suppose everyone knows there will be many people attending this auction. Everyone’s going for gains, and it’s best if we unite…”
“You want to be our boss?” Big Beard Carl laughed mockingly.
A few of the Tucson thugs rose from their seats menacingly again. Princeps smiled and stopped them. “No, I just want to make money with a bunch of good buddies.”
Just as he said that, Li Du appeared.
Seeing Li Du, Princeps stopped talking. The few treasure hunters looked towards him in surprise. One of them, Dickens, who looked like a skinny monkey, turned around and gave Olly a slap.
That slap was a merciless one and reverberated through the air.
“F*ck!” Olly held on to his cheek and lashed out, I’m going to kill you! You son of a b*tch, what are you doing?”
“Does it hurt?” Dickens asked, concerned.
Olly shouted, “Of course it hurts, d*mn it!”
Dickens smiled cheerfully and said, “Ah-ha, that’s fantastic. This means I’m not dreaming. Is Boss Li really here?!”
Li Du greeted them, saying cheerfully, “Of course, how could I miss such an occasion?”
The atmosphere in the hotel lobby instantly warmed up and the treasure hunters started to get up to greet him:
“Boss Li, long time no see, we’ve missed you to death!”
“Boss Li, heard that you went to the Arctic? Your schedule is really packed.”
“Hurry, pour Boss Li a glass, pal. This is such a pleasant surprise!”
“Is this Big Li? Ah, hello, I’m from Flagstaff, nice to meet you! You’re my idol. You’re the role model of all the treasure hunters from Flagstaff!”
Li Du nodded, smiled, hi-fived and fist-bumped people. He felt like a celebrity. The atmosphere had heated up exponentially as he arrived.
That was one of the reasons why he would rather attend auctions than to go to South Africa to mine diamonds. Humans had a need for socializing and being validated.
In the trade of warehouse auctions, Li Du was king. He was well respected and admired by the treasure hunters. There would be none of that if he were to go to South Africa to look for diamonds. In addition, he would have to endure the harsh climate and dangers. How could that compare to what he enjoyed here?
Once people were rich enough, the attraction of money would start to dwindle. Li Du was a crazy money hoarder. He felt that he already had enough financial assets.
First, he was the second-biggest shareholder of Harry Winston Inc. His shares were worth more than one billion. Each month, dividends of tens of millions would come in.
Secondly, soon he would be able to develop the opal mines at Lightning Ridge, Australia. That would be an additional income of tens of millions of dollars.
Besides, the mammoth and narwhals burial sites were his as well. That would add on to his wealth. In addition, there was also the Amengda mine that was just about to start production, and the opals ready to be mined on Seagull Island.
On top of that, there were the things he had with him, including the sunset-fire opal, the high-quality diamonds he had hidden in the Black Hole, along with some valuable collectibles like jewels and army knives, etc.
After doing a rough estimate, Li Du realized his net worth had already reached more than ten billion dollars!
Under such circumstances, why would he need to suffer in order to make more money? He wanted to get richer, of course – in an enjoyable manner. Out of all the options, the warehouse auctions were a pretty decent way to do so.
In that industry, other than being able to bask in admiration, he could also enjoy inspiring fear in his enemies.
Seeing him, Princeps looked frightened.
Li Du had gone to Siberia for a few months. The whole world knew that he had left, but not that he had returned. That was because Li Du kept a low profile since his return and did not put himself out there.
Princeps had not expected that Li Du would join in this auction. After spotting Li Du, he stood up and took his underlings out after exchanging a look with them.
Li Du snapped his fingers and Godzilla and Big Quinn moved to the door, blocking the way.
Princeps gave a fake laugh and said, “Li, long time no see. How have you been?”
Li Du said, “Thank you, Princeps, I’m still doing okay. How about you? Have you been well? Did those men from New York give you trouble?”
Princeps looked bitter as he replied, “They have heard your name and did not give me a hard time. Boss Li, I have some urgent matters and need to leave now. You guys can keep drinking. I will pay for all the drinks tonight.”
The hotel was not a real bar and the hotel’s counter only served beer. Such low-quality beer was cheap and Princeps was happy to pretend to be generous.
Seeing that Princeps knew his place, Li Du did not want to make things difficult for him. Bullying the weak was not his style.
Li Du snapped his fingers again and said, “Buddies, aren’t you guys going to thank Boss Princeps? He’s treating us to the drinks. All the drinks we are going to have for these two days in Tucson will be placed on Big Boss Princeps’ tab.”
The smile on Princeps’ face became strained. All I wanted to do was to treat my buddies to one round of beer. Who talked about the next two days?
The treasure hunters cheered loudly: “Thank you, Big Boss Princeps!””That’s fabulous, fill up my glass, I’m going all out today!””Is there tequila? Some from Mexico? Alright, give me one shot!”
Li Du patted Princeps’ shoulder in a friendly manner and said, “Bye, Big Boss Princeps. See you tomorrow at the auction!”