The treasure hunters lined up to enter the first house.
Freddy was first in line, chatting happily with a few treasure hunters. It seemed that he was rather popular and had good relationships with many treasure hunters.
Bart was there too, but he was at the back of the line, sometimes stealing a glance at Li Du and Hans. His expression was full of hatred and resentment.
When the treasure hunters came out of the first house, most of them were shaking their heads.
"Sh*t, we came to the wrong place. Theres only garbage inside."
"The house has been cleared of all valuables. Do they think were janitors?"
"Well, we can remove the windows and doors; they still look sturdy and good."
The house had a sofa set, a TV cabinet, and kitchen cabinets.
But the treasure hunters were right; everything in it was practically trash. One would most likely break-even or earn peanuts selling this house.
Nobody bid for the first houseeven when the price dropped to only 100 dollars.
The same situation occurred for the second and third houses as well. The owners of these houses had taken all valuable items with them.
The auctioneer, Humphrey, called out, "Okay, these three houses will be bundled for bidding. How about 100 dollars? Only 100 dollars, we all know three houses for only 100 dollars is a good deal"
Bart raised his hand. "Me."
Another treasure hunter hesitated for a moment and said, "One hundred twenty dollars!"
"Hundred and forty dollars!"
"Okay pal, they belong to you now." The treasure hunter shrugged at Bart. "You can perform stripteases inside without anyone pouring hot water on you!"
A cruel remark. However, Bart kept quiet about it, instead throwing Li Du another bitter glance.
Freddy was standing beside Li Du and Hans.
He sniggered and said, "Seems like Mr. Treasure Tycoon here aint interested in the old housesnot a single bid so far?"
Hans gave him a disgusted look. "Is there anything wrong with not placing a bid? Are you trying to mess with us?"
Freddy laughed, "Why would I do that? I just feel that you both arent as great as what others make you out to be. The Treasure Tycoon from China, huh? Its just bullsh*t, right?"
The surrounding treasure hunters watched the exchange between the three of them. Li Du didnt bother with Freddy and entered the fourth house.
Freddy shrugged his shoulders at the surrounding treasure hunters, implying that he had won the battle, and he looked proud of it.
"This b*stard wants to use us like doormats."
"Let him be," Li Du replied. "He thinks theres a doormat ahead and not sharp stones,"
The fourth house was apparently worth more than the previous three houses.
There was a complete set of kitchen appliances: a coffee maker, a juicer, a toaster, and an oveneven the air conditioner was intact.
The auctioneer raised his hand and said, "Lets speed things up, okay? There are thirty other houses waiting. So the starting price is 500 dollars, 500 dollars, 500 dollars"
Li Du nodded at Hans and he placed a bid: "Five hundred, me."
Freddy immediately followed, "Old Humphrey, me, 600 dollars!"
"Seven hundred and fifty dollars!"
"Me! Eight hundred dollars!"
There were three air conditioners, the one in the living room being a vertical model. Just the three air conditioners alone would be worth 1,000 dollars.
It was no surprise the other treasure hunters were interested in this house as well.
Hans placed another bid: "One thousand!"
Hanss bid made many treasure hunters shake their heads.
Freddy pondered for a while and said, "1,100 dollars!"
Hans waved his hands and said, "Okay, you win."
The auctioneer called three times but no one else placed a bid. Humphrey pointed to Freddy. "Okay, pal, this house is yours!"
Freddy wore a proud and cheerful face. "UnbelievableI got a unit from the hands of Mr. Treasure Tycoon? It aint difficult at all."
Li Du rolled his eyes upon hearing Freddys comment. A**hole! he silently cursed.
He knew about Freddys bad intentions. However, he seemed to be rather intelligent and cautious as well, so it wouldnt be easy to trick him.
The next few houses were subsequently bundled up for bidding, as they were similar to the first few houses.
"Why do they still bid for the bundled houses?" Li Du asked.
Hans explained, "They bid because they can sell the windows and doorsthe main thing is that the bundled price must be attractive so they could still earn some cash from crap houses."
The treasure hunters lined up to enter house 10. The old, but vintage-looking furniture of house 10 attracted the attention of several treasure hunters.
When Hans came out of the house, he said, "The actual view inside looks so much better than from the camera. I want to bid for it."
Li Du shook his head. "But I didnt see anything valuable in there."
Hans whispered, "Well, if you bundle them up as a set, it will be. We can sell all the vintage items: furniture, lightings, kitchenware, and everything else to themed hotels. Some hotels do their rooms in different themes to attract customers."
Li Du felt enlightenedthat was indeed a good idea. But, the price had to be low enough.
When the auctioneer started the bid at 1,000 dollars, the treasure hunters immediately placed their bids:
"One thousand five hundred dollars!" Bart said.
"Two thousand!" Freddy said with his arms crossed.
Hans contemplated for a while and said, "The price is rather high nowif we bid for it, we wont earn much, as there are lots of things to mend and repair."
Li Du made a bid: "Three thousand dollars."
Hans was taken aback by Lis bid, but he remained quiet about it.
The auctioneer was glad to see Li Du place a bid. In a cheerful tone, he continued,"3,000 dollars, 3,000 dollars, 3,000 dollars! How about 3,100 dollars? Dont let 100 dollars be the stumbling block to your business"
Most treasure hunters took a step back, backing out of the bidding race.
Freddy furrowed his eyebrows and thought for a while. "Three thousand one hundred dollars!"
Li Du continued to bid. "Four thousand dollars!"
Freddy frowned; he turned to look at Li Du, and spoke in a provoking tone: "Mr. Treasure Tycoon wants to fight now? Okay, 4,100 dollars!"
The auctioneer shouted in his cheerful tone, "Okay 4,100 dollars, 4,100 dollars, 4,100 dollarsanyone want this house for 4,200 dollars?"
Li Du waved his hands like he was trying to shoo away a fly, and remarked, "Only fools will spend more than 4,000 dollars for this amount of trash!"
Hans had estimated that hey could make a gross profit of 4,500 dollars; anything above 4,000 dollars was not worth the effort.
Li Du could therefore conclude that Freddys determination was strong; he had wanted to make a name for himself by stepping on both he and Hans.
Freddy was definitely an annoying fly to both of them.