Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Chickens, ducks, cattle, and sheep now populated the ranch of the manor, but the farm was still empty.
Knowing what it would cost to have a small farm in such a place, Hans shook his head and said, “It’s a waste. Why not grow something?”
Li Du shrugged and said, “What can we grow? It will be autumn soon. Plant corn? I think whatever you plant now, it’ll freeze to death when winter comes and that would be a waste of energy.”
Hans laughed and said, “Then plant peas.”
Li Du had not planted peas before. He wondered, “Why, are peas more resilient than corn? Will they survive the season? It’s cold at the seaside in winter, and the wind is strong.”
Hans shook his head. “No, they won’t.”
“Then why grow them?” Li Du looked at him with wonder.
Hans said, “The root of the pea, and of all legumes, for that matter, has nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which means it can turn inorganic nitrogen into bioavailable compounds that not only nurture the plant but also nourish the land when the plant residue is used as a natural fertilizer. You can take advantage of that to improve the quality of the soil.”
The idea was not bad. Li Du did not know this before. He patted Hans on the shoulder and said, “Oh, yes, man, are you an agricultural expert now?”
Hans showed him the middle finger and said, “I am a genius. I can go into any profession and become a success if I want to.”
“How about warehouse auctions?” teased Lu Guan.
“Of course,” said Hans nonchalantly. “I admit I didn’t do very well before, but that was because I didn’t have enough motivation. My purpose of being in warehouse auctions was to have enough to eat. I didn’t have ambition, but now that I’m in agriculture, I want to do my best.”
Li Du said, “Now I am sure that you are indeed my good friend Hans. Your bragging is the same as before!”
Sotheby’s auction has not started yet. The first thing that was going to be open was the California customs auction.
It was a major event, and all American treasure hunters were expected to gather.
After all, California was one of the richest states. It was a major center of global foreign trade. The Los Angeles seaport had one of the largest throughputs in the world.
The Los Angeles customs could not predict how much money it would accumulate every year, and each time someone would get lucky and become a millionaire or even a multimillionaire.
The auctions Li Du usually participated in were held by the warehouse companies. It was directly in the warehouse base. Lu Guan took him and Hans to the place to check out the situation. When they approached, he saw a vast area with large and small warehouses occupying an impressive territory.
“Are all the warehouses here for auctions?” Li Du wondered.
Lu Guan nodded. “Yes, all the warehouses are up for auction. They will accumulate things until all the warehouses are full and then hold an auction. Isn’t it huge?”
Li Du estimated that the number of warehouses here could amount to thousands. How many treasure hunters would attend? Would they come from all over the country?
Unlike usual auctions, the California customs auction did not have a system of calling out the bids aloud. There was a box with a slit, like a ballot box, in front of each warehouse and, each bidder would put in a slip of paper with their offer. Later, the highest bidder would win.
Before this auction was due to take place, there were several real estate auctions in Los Angeles.
Li Du tried to prepare for the customs auction, but Dickens and other treasure collectors are waiting for him to lead the team to bid for real estate. After all, the profit they would make from the real estate market was solid.
Compared with the huge customs auction, bidding for real estate was relatively simple.
Li Du spent two hours visiting a dozen houses and choosing two good ones and then went to the auction in late August.
When he appeared at the auction, the chattering tenants suddenly fell silent.
They looked at Li Du in anger, awe, and envy, but no one dared to provoke him again.
Li Du only entered this trade less than two months ago. The two largest gangs from Santa Monica and Bel Air had great losses because of him. Santa Monica’s Dripping Blood gang’s leader was still in the hospital. The Bel Air gang faired even worse, with the key men in prison.
Two cold eyes were fixed on Li Du. They belonged to Wolf King Logan.
Seeing that Li Du noticed him, Logan walked over and said, “The haunted house made you a lot of money, didn’t it? You’re lucky. Congratulations.”
Li Du smiled and said, “I haven’t sold it yet, actually. I did not expect you would also come to participate in this auction. I assumed it would be small potatoes for you.”
Of the six drug-dealer youths arrested, one was Logan’s own brother.
The police worked out who they were and who Logan was, but could not prove he had anything to do with the case, or even that he might know what his brother was doing.
However, Li Du knew very well that Logan was not innocent. Otherwise, he would not have wanted to buy the haunted house.
The price Li Du had offered was out of his budget. He probably thought his brother and the gang would find a way to get rid of Li Du, or that the haunted house would not be sold for a long time, and he would take it when Li Du put it on the market again at a lower price.
In a word, he believed Li Du would lose out on buying the haunted house and would not occupy it for long. Moreover, the secret of the house was well-concealed and Logan trusted it would not be discovered.
However, Li Du did not only discover the secret of the haunted house, but he also found out the truth behind the mysterious deaths.
Although Li Du had suspected something fishy from the start, the ruthless cruelty of taking human lives for the sake of drug money gave him the chills.
Logan stared at him. “You’ll soon learn that I’m involved in something you didn’t expect. Believe me, everyone must take responsibility for what they do.”
Li Du nodded. “Right, especially people who do illegal stuff. They should definitely be responsible for their actions.”
Logan knew what he was talking about, and he sneered. “Are you ready?”
With that, he walked away and waited for the auction to begin.
The administrator arrived, and the first house was put up for auction with the usual opening remarks.
The first two houses were not worth the money. Li Du was not interested in them, and he and his treasure hunters did not bid.
The third house was a detached property, well maintained and uninhabited, and Li Du set his eyes on it.
The starting price of the house was $120,000, and Li Du estimated the value of the house at $300,000, so he led the treasure hunters to bid.
The treasure hunters bid aggressively, and when the price rose to $250,000, there was no competition. Just as Dickens started to express his satisfaction, Logan said, “Three hundred thousand!”