Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There were too many warehouses and even more bids. Hence, the customs gave everyone a timeline of five working days. They would be notified of the outcome on Friday afternoon.
To show that they were impartial, the warehouse number and price would be displayed on the official website of California Customs and the California Information News the following day.
The next two days of the weekend was a period of time for the bidders to consider. In those two days, one could make payment for the warehouses they won. If one did not pay within two days, the ownership of the warehouse would be denied and handed over to the second-highest bidder.
On Friday afternoon, Li Du and his men gathered in the manor. They were refreshing the website of the customs, waiting for the announcements.
At four in the afternoon, Li Du received a message on his phone. The warehouse number and some information were displayed. The information told him what documents and how much money he needed to bring along to gain official ownership of the warehouse.
The rest of them did not receive any news and that caused them to become anxious.
Olly joked, “We have bid for so many warehouses, it can’t be that we didn’t even land one, right?”
Li Du shook his head. “Impossible. The price I set was already rather high. There might be some warehouse that we would have lost but my guess is that we have been able to land most of them.”
“That’s definitely impossible,” Dickens agreed. “We had bid for more than eighty warehouses. Could we have lost all of them? That’s statistically improbable.”
Finally, the announcements were displayed on the website.
The California Customs website was easy to navigate. One could search for announcements using keywords. By entering their own names, one could see the warehouses that they had won.
Olly vied for the computer and managed to get before it. Then, he started to key in his name and auction numbers with a concentrated frown.
The internet speed was very fast and the website immediately refreshed. He read, ‘Preston Olly, No. 01788, zero warehouse won.’”
Seeing that, Olly was stunned. He said, “How can that be? I bid for six warehouses and lost all?”
“Did you type in the wrong name?”
“That’s impossible. I’ve put in both my name and the auction number. With those two, the right information would be shown. Otherwise, there would be an error message.”
Olly refused to give up so quickly. He re-entered his name and the auction number. However, the result was the same:
‘Preston Olly, No. 01788, zero warehouses won.’
There could be no mistakes. Olly’s expression fell.
Dickens went up to take over the computer. Very soon, a similar result was shown: ‘Ston-F-Dickens, No. 01712, zero warehouses won’.
The rest of them rushed up to try, and the results were all the same. Zero warehouses!
Olly’s joke was not so funny anymore. They had really lost all their warehouses.
“How can this be?” The bunch of them were stunned.
Li Du’s face turned pale. He entered his own information and hit ‘search’. The page refreshed: ‘Li, No. 01705, warehouses won: No. 0008, No. 0119, No. 0185, No. 0454, No. 0585…”
He checked the information against the message on his phone and said, “No problems.”
The rest of them looked at the monitor blankly. They were stunned. Then, still disbelieving, they re-checked the announcements.
They knew that that was useless. Perhaps there was a glitch with the website. However, it was impossible that there would be so many glitches at the same time. They had really lost!
Someone scrolled down the on the announcement page with no expression. Then Big Beard Carl suddenly said, “Logan Suchett, Logan Suchett, Logan Suchett… d*mn, he got so many warehouses? Then there is Vic Vincent, Tapport Wayne… F*ck! What’s going on! They are all house pickers, how did they get so many warehouses?”
Li Du said coolly, “Check the numbers of the warehouses they landed.”
The men needed no explanation. They knew what must have happened.
The numbers of the warehouses that the house pickers landed were familiar to them. That was because they had bid for those warehouses themselves. The other party’s bids were similar to theirs, just slightly higher.
That was how bidding worked. The warehouse went to whoever offered the highest price, even if it was only higher by one dollar!
However, that was very strange. The house pickers had landed all of the warehouses that they had bid for. Besides, the winning bid was only just slightly higher than their own. It seemed like the other party had that information in advance.
It could not be a coincidence. The house pickers really had all of their information. They knew which warehouses they were interested in and how much they bid. Then they went and intercepted those warehouses!
The expression of the treasure hunters became ugly. Li Du said slowly, “The information in the notebook has been leaked. Which one of you did it?”
Olly said anxiously, “That’s impossible! I did not leak it. I definitely did not pass any information to anyone. In fact, I did not even interact with any outsiders in those two days!”
Big Beard Carl shook his head too. “Neither did I. After I recorded the warehouse and pricing I wanted, I deleted the pictures.”
“Could it be that someone hacked into our phones? Like maybe planted some trojan virus in them?” Turis frowned.
Li Du looked at them and said, “Such a possibility is very remote. If planting a trojan virus were so easy, they would have gone for the phones of those on Wall Street. That way, they would be able to make more money!”
“That means that we have a sneak among us,” Hans said.
The treasure hunters looked at each other, beginning to suspect every man who was sitting in the room with them.
Li Du said, “I have an idea. Everyone, bring out your phones. We will check them carefully. If the information has been leaked to Logan and his people, there must be some evidence left in the phone!”
Olly immediately whipped out his phone and placed it on the table. “Right, let’s do that!”
The rest of them brought out their phones with no qualms. Li Du and Hans started to check the voice call history, message content and chat apps.
They worked on it until midnight, when everyone’s phone had been checked and they were forced to admit there was nothing.
Hans said, “Whoever did this might have used someone else’s phone. He must have expected that this would happen and threw away their old phone.”
Turis said hesitantly, “So, is there a chance that this is all a coincidence? Or maybe Logan found a way to spy on us?”
“A coincidence is impossible,” Li Du said. “Perhaps he has spied on us, but how? Everyone, search your bags and cars, see if there are any detection devices.”
Either way, it was a lost game.
They had been anticipating the mega auction that only took place once every three or four years and in the end, they had landed nothing. They were extremely depressed.
Olly said impatiently, “Boss Li, we should not have provoked Logan and his people. They are locals, and locals are not to be trifled with!”
Turis shoved him angrily and said, “What do you mean? Are you blaming Boss Li for this?”
Dickens pulled the two men apart and said, “Olly did not mean that. He definitely did not think that way. However, Logan is really a smart b*stard. We have lost to him the few times we pitted against him!”
Li Du said, “Let’s wait. Everyone, go and take a rest. Tomorrow, we will go to the warehouse administration. I will not let you guys lose out.”