The crestfallen Freddy went inside the old house; it seemed that he did not plan on coming out until all the treasure hunters were gone from the front porch.
Li Du had finished his beer too and gestured for Hans to leave. "Lets go back while its still early."
But Hans was indifferent about it. "No hurry, lets tease him some more."
Li Du said, "Whats the point?"
Hans laughed, "You see buddy, the weather is so warm, and he hides in there like a mouse hiding in its tiny hole. Hes going to suffer from the heat and stiff air inside, but he wont come out if we are all here. This is why I want to stay here for a while more."
It was afternoon; the sun was still blazing hot. The treasure hunters took off their shirts and stayed under the cooling shade of the trees, drinking their cold beers.
Staying inside a dusty house in such warm weather would be torture.
But Li Du held a different view with regards to Freddy. He never took Freddy as an opponent. To Li, he was a fellow treasure hunter, but a rather scheming one.
And when Freddy chose to stay inside the stuffy house to avoid the laughing treasure hunters, he had revealed that he was not someone with great wisdom.
Li Du tried to persuade Hans: "Remember my plan? We need to go back earlier to look for a place."
Troy, who was nearby, overheard what Li said and asked, "What plan?"
Li Du then told him about Hoffmans Old Goods Market and his idea of leaving the second-hand goods on a piece of land.
Anyone who took a liking to any item could get it for free, but on the condition that they would help clear the trash that was bundled with it.
Troy shook his head after hearing that. "This is a loss-making plan. Why dont you rent a storage unit to store those unsold items first? After you sell them, you can use the cash earned to clear the remaining trash."
"But too Im lazy to do that," Li Du replied.
Li Du did not reveal his goal of having his own flea market, as he was not sure if he would be able to achieve it.
Godzilla cleared out the entire house. He even took the windows and doors.
Li Du laughed when he saw the barren structure of the house. "Hey, you dont have to do this, theyre not worth much anyway."
Godzilla replied in a muffled voice, "Put them somewhere. Someone will want them."
Li Du was surprised; he hadnt expected Godzilla to be the one who supported his idea the most.
Hans was put in charge of looking for a piece of land to house the goods as he was good at sourcing and liaising work.
In just two days, Hans called up Li Du for a viewing of the places he had shortlisted.
"Youre sure fast!" Li Du hopped onto Hanss motorcycle.
Hans snorted, "Of coursethis is Big Fox youre talking about!"
Li Du grinned at Hanss reply. Hanss serious attitude toward work never failed to impress him; Hans always made sure to complete the work given to him in the fastest time possible.
The first place they went to was situated in the bordering suburbs, just outside Flagstaff, near Pine Tree Tops. It was the warehouse of a factory that went into bankruptcy.
Hans gave his opinion on the place: "The place is fully-enclosed and quite close to where you live as well. You could walk home when you finish your work here."
"How much is the rent?"
"One hundred thousand dollars a year."
Li Du quickly shook his head. "Gosh, thats too expensive! We could build a new warehouse with a colored, steel roof on a piece of wasteland with a hundred thousand dollars!"
Hans waved his hands and said, "Okay, lets check out the next area."
The second plot of land was situated in the suburbs to the east; the location was rather far away from where they lived. The journey took 30 minutes.
The scenery along the way was pleasant; there were lush grasslands and hills filled with tall trees. There were even farmhands with herds of cattle and sheep grazing on the grasslands.
"Isnt this a bit too out of the way?"
"Well, I bet youll like the place."
Hans stopped beside a deserted farm, and pointed. "Thats the one."
The farm was situated next to a hill; the wildflowers on the hill were colorful and vibrant as the morning rays shined on them. The entire farm was bathed in the gentle rays of the early morning sun, making the whole place look picturesque.
Li Du was awestruck. "Uh, are you sure about this? A farm to house our second-hand goods?"
Hans shrugged his shoulders. "This farm is a wasteland now. The previous owner was an idiot who knew nothing about agriculture. He used so much fertilizer and urea on the land so that in no time, the soil quality was ruined."
A farm that could not grow crops was no different from a wasteland.
Li Du walked toward the entrance of the farm, the land barren and lifeless; hardly any weeds could be seen. The deserted farm looked like it was cut-off from the bustling world.
"How much is the rent?"
"Eighty thousand dollars a year," Hans replied. "This is a small farm with about 60 acres. Its big enough, right?"
Li Du already seemed to like the place. "Its really nice here but its so far from where we stay."
Hans had an idea. "Thats easy: we can move here and just rent the farmhouse inside the farm."
"You mean the 80,000 dollars does not include the farmhouse?" Li Du asked.
"Of course notif we add the farmhouse, thats another 80,000 dollars," Hans said matter-of-factly.
Li Du shook his head vigorously. "Thats too expensive! Is the landlord crazy? 80,000 dollars per year? I could buy a country house for the same price if I rented the farmhouse for two years, right?"
"Come on, buddy, 160,000 dollars for a country house? This is Flagstaff!"
Flagstaff was a small city located in northern Arizona; the weather was less unbearable compared to the relatively hot southern cities of Arizona. It had a lower temperature in the summer season, which made it a more popular choice among citizens.
Furthermore, the Grand Canyon National Park was just beside Flagstaff; the beautiful scenic views and the slower pace of life made Flagstaff a good choice for the wealthy people of Arizona. The price of country houses in Flagstaff was very high.
Currently, Li Du paid a monthly rental fee of 800 dollars for a room. In Phoenix, he could rent a very nice apartment with a second bedroom for the same amount.
That was Flagstaff: a good place for the retired as well as a popular vacation spot.
Hans went on to explain the 80,000 dollars was not only for the farmhouse, but all the other structures as well, like the warehouse and the granary.
A yearly rental that amounted to 160,000 dollars was unacceptable for Li.
He would rather continue with the current accommodation arrangement: a reasonable rental fee, and glimpses of beautiful long legs in black stockings, provided Rose was in a good mood.
Hans brought him to another two locations, but Li Du wasnt happy with them either. He felt embarrassed as there were none he was satisfied with.
"Nevermindlets go back and discuss our options, and choose one among them."
Hans put on his helmet and said, "No hurry, theres another place you havent seen yet. This time you might really like it!"
The motorcycle cruised along going northwest, toward Grand Canyon National Park.
Not long after, the scenery on both sides of the road changed to big areas of farmland. There were even horse carriages on the road!
Watching the Amish buggies cantering leisurely along the road, Li Du asked, "This area belongs to the Amish?"
Hans nodded. "Yup."
Li wanted to continue asking about the rural-loving group of people, but Hans slowed down as the road entered the woods. Shortly after, they reached a piece of land surrounded by barbed wire fences.
"Thats...the place?" Li Du was caught off-guard; he hadnt expected something like this.
Hans stopped the motorcycle and said, "Yup. Nice environment tooI think youll like it here."
This land was situated in the woods; it felt like someone had deliberately cleared this piece of land for its quiet environment.
Li Du checked the map; he noticed that this area was near Hoffmans Old Goods market, which meant that he would not have to worry about getting treasure hunters to come to his flea market.
The only thing that stopped Li from accepting right away was that it would be inconvenient to live herethere werent any houses or buildings on this land.