Li Du shook his head. "If apologizing works, whats the use of legislation?"
Hans whistled and said, "Wowwhen did Li become so arrogant? I like this sentence."
Barts eyes were darting around; he kept his body safe in the water and said, "Dont carry it too far Li. Theres security here, and theyll protect me."
"Of course, but if you want more people to look at you in your birthday suit, just go ahead. You can even call the Arizona Militia for help," Li Du suggested.
Bart tried to calm himself down. "I dont care, I only want some clothes. Security can help me with that, Ill just change here."
Hans retorted, "Oh, you dont care? Okay, then Ill send this video to all my fellow treasure hunters. I bet theyll be really interested in passing this around for a good laugh. It might go viral for all you know."
Li Du added, "I have a bunch of pictures toointeresting pictures."
Bart became infuriated again, but the next moment, he looked depressed.
He smiled bitterly and said, "Pals, please dont do this to me. Im in the wrongIm willing to apologize."
There were a few treasure hunters who were still there, looking on.
One of them comforted Bart: "Dont worry Bart, they wont do that. Its an invasion of privacy. Theyll get into trouble for doing that."
Hans laughed, "Oh yeah, and what happens next? We have the money to get a really good lawyer. And we have ways to make sure you wont be able to get any evidence regarding the origin of the pictures and the video. Wanna try?"
Another treasure hunter responded, "Hey, Big Fox, dont go overboard."
"Whos the one who went overboard?" Li Du asked. "My cat was just passing by and he burned it with hot water! Thats animal abuse. I can sue him for this!"
The treasure hunters couldnt rebut Lis argument. They could only mutter to themselves things like, "Im not the one," and, "None of my business."
Bart decided to spill everything he knew. "Li, Im sorry, but Im a victim too. Freddys the b*st*rd who egged me on. Otherwise, why would I bother hurting a cat?"
Li narrowed his eyes. "Freddy?"
"Yes, yes, it was Freddy. Hes the one who asked me to use hot water to scald the cat. He dared me to do it." Bart quickly added.
"Fine then. But now we need to settle this, because youre the one who hurt my cat."
"Apology not accepted!" Li Du said firmly.
Bart cried out in anguish, "Then what do you want? For Gods sake, please let me off."
Li Du saw a kettle nearby. "This is the hot water you used to hurt my cat?"
Bart had an uneasy feeling, and asked, "What do you mean?"
Li Du spoke slowly, "An eye for an eye. I dont like being a bully, but that doesnt mean I wont retaliate. Burn yourself with the hot water, and well bury the hatchet."
Bart cursed, "No! D*mn"
Li Du waved his hand as if the deal were being called off. "Fineyou better pray to God that your pictures wont be picked up by the media. Otherwise, you might be a new internet sensation."
Hans laughed and joked, "Isnt that nice? If you become the new sensation, youll earn more money than being a treasure hunter."
Even Godzilla, the big guy with few words, teased as well: "Do you need a manager?"
Bart glared at the onlookers; he felt that they were looking at him as though he were a monkey in the zoo.
That was certainly an unpleasant feeling. Finally, he gave up and replied, "Thats harsh of you. Do you really want me to do it?"
Li Du replied without any expression, "Harsh? Arent you harsh when you poured hot water on an animal? I could have done something worse, but I offered you a choice. You choose."
Bart said with difficulty, "Fine! Ill do that!"
Hans wore a gloating smile on his face but he whispered to Li Du, "Buddy, you sure about that?"
Li Du replied in a low tone, "Even you feel that was too much of me? Compared to that casino boss, Marlin, Im the better guy already."
"Thats different, buddy," Hans whispered.
Li Du continued, "Yeah, its different, thats why I only wanted him to have a taste of his own medicine. I dont want to be kind to someone who abuses animals. I can make an example of him to remind others that they shouldnt mess around with us."
Li Du knew he was being cruel to the lanky guy, Bart.
But by now, he had learned that many people in America liked to bully people who they deemed weak. Time and time again, these people had tried to put him down, and besides thwarting their money-making plans, he hadnt done anything else in retaliation, as he thought he could still tolerate all their sh*t.
However, after the episode at the casino, Li finally understood that in order to avoid getting bullied, he had to be ruthless.
The Confucius teaching of being tolerant and peaceful would not work here.
Li Du was not someone who would bully anyone without reason. If he were to let Bart off easily, these people would only laugh at him for being an idiot behind his back. The same people might even continue to provoke him or abuse his pets in future.
Li Du thought, And who knowsit might get worse next time.
Li gave a light kick to the hot kettle. "You burned my cats back, but Ill not restrict you to that part. You can choose any body part you like. Do it."
Bart looked at Li Du, full of resentment. He covered his privates with one hand and, with the other hand, grabbed the kettle.
After hesitating for a few seconds, he gritted his teeth and poured the hot water on his shoulder.
Bart yelled in pain and threw the kettle into the pool, shouting, "You happy now?! You happy now?! You happy now!?"
Li Du waved to Hans and Godzilla as a signal to leave the place.
Bart only poured a little bit of hot water on himself. Li could tell that the lanky guy was exaggerating the amount of pain he was experiencing.
However, there was no need to push it too far, since his goal had been achieved anyway.
The trio spent the rest of the day at their VIP pool and rested one night at the resort; it was all part of the 1,000-dollar package he had bought.
The next day was the auction of the old houses. Fifty to sixty treasure hunters appeared at the entrance of the Cumulus Cloud neighborhood.
When Li Du and his team arrived, the treasure hunters made way for them. Nobody made any snide remarks at them either.
It was evident that the incident at the resort had circulated around the treasure hunting groups.
Li Du remarked, "Not a lot of people."
There were forty-two houses being auctioned off. Only fifty to sixty treasure hunters turned up, but many people were in teams, just like Li Du and Hans, so the number of people who were there was not considered a lot.
Hans explained, "Its understandable. Old house auctions are hardly profitable, so not many are interested."
The auctioneer was Aiden Humphrey, an old man with a cowboy hat. He was famous in Flagstaff as an auctioneer. He handled all the storage auctions of the Smith Storage Company.
He gave a nod to Hans and Li Du. "I wish you good luck in this auction. I feel better when I see both of you here."
To the treasure hunters, both of them were their rivals.
But to the auctioneer, seeing both of them was a sign that he could earn a decent amount of commission. A lot of treasure hunters would follow Li to place their bids due to his reputation and good track record.
Therefore, the chances of boosting the auction price would be much higher.
At nine o'clock sharp, Humphrey blew a whistle and shouted, "Hey pals, time to get cracking! The same old rules apply. You have one minute to move around each house. Dont touch anything, or out you go!"