Now that the duo had become members of the Hundred Thousand Club, not only did they have access to more information channels, they also gained an elevation in status.
When they returned to the Steampunk Hotel, the treasure hunters had a change in their tone and attitude when talking to both of them.
Status was a strange thing. If someone had a high status, they were treated with respect by others.
Li Du recalled how when he and Hans used to come to Phoenix, they would usually get ridiculed and mocked by the treasure hunters.
Even though they had repeatedly made money from the auctions, and taught a lesson to the treasure hunters who openly challenged them, the attitudes of the bulk of treasure hunters were unfriendly.
They might have been jealous, envious, or full of hate for both Hans and Li Du. When the duo reaped more rewards from their storage units, they noticed that more peopleeven novice treasure hunterswanted to taunt them, challenge them, and put them down.
However, things changed when he joined the Hundred Thousand Clubmost treasure hunters were friendlier to him and Hans.
The treasure hunters chilling at the bar counter greeted Li and Hans when they saw them entering the Steampunk Hotel:
"Hey Big Li, Big Fox, good afternoon. I heard you both joined the Hundred Thousand Club? Congratulations."
"Come on pals, come over for a drink. This is a good time to celebrate!"
"Tell us some experience, let us learn too. How did you both do it? Were so envious!"
Li Du laughed while greeting the treasure hunters, and spoke in a low voice, "Wow, these people are really well-informed."
They had just gone for their lunch, and it had been only two hours since they joined the Hundred Thousand Club. It seemed that every treasure hunter knew about it.
Hans said, "We have a forum that provides real-time updates on information relating to treasure hunters. The Phoenix office created a thread to introduce us as the newly-appointed Hundred Thousand Club members."
As they were waiting for their check-in to be processed, Iron Man Bedes pushed a cocktail to the three of them and said, "Pals, I'm really lucky that I gave you free stay."
Li Du said, "This is friendship."
Iron Man raised up the wine glass. "Lets give a toast to friendship. I hope I have friendships with more members of the Hundred Thousand Club!"
After finishing the cocktail, they got their room and Li Du brought both of his pets to rest. Hans andAkkalou joined the group of treasure hunters for a drink.
In the afternoon, Hans came looking for Li Du. "Hey bud, were in luck. Theres an interesting auction that we could attend while were here in Phoenix."
"What kind of interesting auction?" a high-spirited Li Du asked. "Is there anything good?"
Hans replied, "Im not sure if theres anything goodhave not heard anything on that. This auction is different from the ones weve attended, though. Itll be an eye-opener."
"Whats so special?"
"Silent auction," Hans laughed. "Youve never participated in one before, right?"
Indeed Li Du had never heard nor attended this kind of auction before. He asked curiously, "Silent auction? What kind of auction is this?"
Hans lay on his bed idly and said, "No hurry, the auctions two days away. Well stay here for two days and youll get to experience it for yourself."
Li Du gave Godzilla a call and told him to contact Big Quinn. They would need to get to Phoenix within the next two days for the auction.
The next day, Li Du and Hans went to check out the units at the storage unit company. According to Hans, the company had been around for more than 80 years.
"When the company was founded, the Second World War hadnt yet started," Hans said while driving the car. "Bud, at that time my grandfather was just born."
"And?" Li Du asked. "Will the items in a well-established company like this be good?"
Hans laughed, "Not really, but they follow the old rules of storage auctions. When the amount of storage units is greater than 20, they will hold a silent auction in order to save time."
Li Du understood. "So youre saying the auction this time has more than 20 units, right?"
When there were more storage units, the probability of finding good stuff was higher.
When they arrived at the storage company, they read the auction notice displayed at the entrance. There were a total of 28 storage units that would be put up for auction, which was a lot.
Li Du could now understand why the company would go for a silent auction. If they held the auction in the usual way, the company would need at least two days to finish auctioning all 28 units.
All the storage units that would be auctioned were specified on the notice as well. Li Du released the little bug for a major scan of the units to see if there would be any historical items that would attract the little bugs attention.
When the little bug reached the fifth unit, there still wasnt anything that attracted it. But when it flew through a big chest, Li Du saw something peculiar.
From the exterior, it looked like a thick and stout metal pipe; but once examined closely, it was made of steel parts pieced together with precision.
The length of the pipe was less than a meter. The end was around 20 centimeters wide. The pipe looked like a cannon barrel, but it lacked the gallant aura of a cannon.
Li Du controlled the little bug to come out of the chest. Below the chest, were two large metal wheels; the diameter of both wheels was big, at around five feet, and they were carefully wrapped in oilskin.
Besides the chest, there were a couple of smaller chests that contained some rivets, chains, large bolts and the like. They were all painted the same color as the cannon barrel and wheels: black.
Under the metal pipe, there was a piece of black metal plate. Li Du thought the metal plate looked like the base of the cannon.
His heart missed a beat. Ive actually found a cannon? he thought.
This black cannon was not as powerful-looking as the heavy warfare cannons; it might have been used for smaller scale battles. But as long as it was a cannon, powerful or not, it belonged to the category of "valuables."
Not too long ago, when Li Du had gone to purchase a gun, he saw a replica model of a cannon. Although it had only been used for decoration, it was still worth a good forty to fifty thousand dollars.
There were some letterings on the base of the cannon. He thought the letters looked like German. But he did not know German, so he could not confirm this on the Internet.
He decided to bid for this unit after inspecting the cannon, which looked to have some value.
Using the little bug, he took another look around the unit. Besides the cannon, he also found some car frames and the like, but they were rusty. They had not been carefully protected and stored like the cannon.
With exception of this unit, Li Du did not have much luck with the rest of the 28 storage units.