At 9 a.m., the auction promptly began.
Li Dus estimate was not bad: there were thousands of treasure hunters. With the hustle and bustle of the crowd, the auction was expected to continue into the night. The conflict between him and Frank had become a hot topic, with people adding juicy details when relating their account; even the treasure hunters who arrived later knew of his heroic act.
Li Du had become the most admired of Flagstaffs treasure hunters. Even the treasure hunters of Phoenix respected him.
While getting ready to view the units, Turis asked, "Li, why was that guy Rick so submissive toward you? What were two talking about?"
Li Du said with a wry smile, "If I said that I dont even know whats going on, would you believe me?"
Turis nodded earnestly. "Yes, I would believe youof course I would believe you. Youre a son of miracles; youve done so many unbelievable things. So what reason would we have to not believe you?"
Li Du still didnt know why Rick and his son wanted so badly to speak to him. He only knew that the two of them had been beaten up by Marlin.
Why did they insist on speaking to him? Could they not just avoid him in the future? Or could it be that, after being beaten up, the two of them were now afraid of him? Or could they want to bury the hatchet and partner with him in the future instead?
The auction was going to start, so there was no point in thinking about the things he could not figure out. In any case, the Rick father and son pair would definitely look for them again.
Because there were too many attendees, to save time, they were divided into large groups. Ten of them formed a group and each group had one minute to view the storage unit.
Li Du was shockedthis was the most ridiculous storage auction he had encountered. Ten of them at the entrance of the storage unit, blocking the doorhow the heck could they see anything?
But he still had to go take a look, to act the part.
There were professional organizers who orderly divided everyone into groups. Frank and York, however, were not in any groups.
"How can they do this?" Hans shouted in irritation.
Frank showed him his middle finger while York had a few words with the organizer in whispers. The latter nodded and then assigned them to take their places at the very end.
Frank and York were in a group by themselves, and they would be the last people to view the storage unit.
Based on the process of viewing the storage units at storage auctions, the last group had an advantage. They could eavesdrop on what those before them were saying; if nobody hurried them, they could also take a longer look.
The crowd could be envious all they wanted, but nothing would happen since no one had neither Franks network nor fame.
The viewing started, and it turned out to be an eye-opener for Li Du:
There were many different ways in which treasure hunters conducted their viewing. Some would simply take a quick glance with their eyes; others would bring a video camera for recording and leave the analysis for later when they walked away; there was even someone who had brought binoculars.
Li Du was shocked. "Is that guy myopic or what? Needing to bring binoculars?"
Hans rolled his eyes and said, "Thats a pair of thermal infrared binoculars. They can sense things of different temperatures and then show them in different colors.
"Although the external temperature is constant, the temperatures of the items inside are different: plastic items, paper items, metal itemseverything is different, and the binoculars show the difference in material."
"So high tech!" Li Du said.
"Look, theres something even more high tech there." Olly pointed to the front of the line. At the entrance of the storage unit, someone had taken out a drone, attached a camera to it, and flew it into the unit.
Li Du thought it was more than an eye-opener for him: even his third eye was now open wide. "What the f*ck!"
Hans was also surprised. "A drone?"
The auctioneer in charge of supervising blinked his eyes, not knowing what to say or do.
Someone asked doubtfully, "Can a drone be used? Buddy, thats cheating!"
The owner of the drone countered, "Why cant it be used? This is within the boundaries of the regulations. The regulations do not allow people to enter the storage units; they dont say that machines cant enter."
The auctioneer spread his hands and said, "He has a point there."
"Itll be interesting in the future," Hans said. "I heard that the Japanese developed a very innovative robot? I suppose there will eventually be human-controlled robots going into the storage units."
Li Du stroked his chin. "We could also do that, but make Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles go in."
The treasure hunters were disgruntled, and felt that such methods should be banned.
The auctioneer said, "Everything will be according to the regulations. If there are any objections, please share them with the association after the auction."
The owner of the drone said coolly, "Yes, weve got to observe the regulations. Otherwise, why have them in the first place?"
Li Du and his team had finished viewing. Turis and his men came up to ask, "Li, are you bidding?"
This was a huge storage unit with many valuable items inside, such as the polystyrene splint printed with patterns of the city. Each piece could be sold for thousands of dollarsthere were dozens of them in there!
He hesitated for a moment. "I estimate that the sale of the items in this storage unit would fetch about 50,000 dollars. So, I will participate in the auction up to 20,000 dollars."
According to standard tradition, the leader had the priority bid; the followers could only participate if the leader withdrew.
The auction started and the auctioneer began shouting in rapid-fire mode: "Ill not wait, wont give you extra time to consider, so if you want it, give your bid fast.
"The starting bid for this storage unit is 1,000 dollars. 1,000 dollars, 1,000 dollars, if anyone is interested please come forward and let me hear your bids"
"One thousand dollars, me!"
"Good, now its 2,000 dollars. 2,000 dollars, 2,000 dollars"
"I offer 2,000 dollars."
"Then 3,000 dollars."
"... five thousand dollars"
"... eight thousand dollars"
"Ten thousand dollars!" someone shouted.
"Fifteen thousand dollars!" another treasure hunter quickly shouted. The speed at which the bids were increasing was terrifying.
Hans quickly shouted, "20,000 dollars!"
This was their maximum bid; if someone were willing to increase their bid, then they would withdraw. If not, they would get the storage unit.
The treasure hunters who attended this auction had brought plenty of money. As soon as he had called out his bid, someone else cried: "22,000 dollars!"
"Twenty-three thousand dollars..."
"Thirty thousand dollars!"
"Forty thousand dollars!"
The price continued to rise; it was quiet on Li Dus end. The treasure hunters looked at each other and smiled helplessly. "Today, we are just here to watch the fun, right?
Forty thousand dollars was not the highest bid: people continued offering more and more money. Within thirty seconds, the price rose to 50,000 dollars.
Li Du sighed with relief and said, "Hang in there for the battle, guys!"
Frank and York still did not offer any bids; they did not seem to be interested in this storage unit and smiled elusively at the crowd.
In the end, the price stopped at 62,000 dollars. The auctioneer waved his hand, shouting, "62,000 dollars, 62,000 dollars, 62,000 dollars, anyone else? Nobody? Then the deal is closed!"
62,000 dollarsthe auction for the first storage unit had ended!