This was the first time Li Du had attended a silent auction. It was a new and refreshing experience.
The auction was a lot quieter and definitely faster than the usual ones he attended. Everyone swiftly took their turns to view the units and then estimated the worth, or discussed it with their team, before deciding on the bid price. They would then write it down on the bid sheet and slip it into the designated box.
Li Du had no intention to win the first four units; he wrote a low offer on the bid sheets.
When they reached the fifth unit, Li Du adopted a serious attitude toward it. The stout cannon inside seemed to be worth a lot; he used the little bugs "Relive the Past" ability so he could derive a more reasonable bid price.
The scene then changed before him. The first thing he saw was the cannon being assembled and placed inside a warehouse. The warehouse contained at least a dozen other cannons that all looked exactly the same.
There was some German lettering on the wall of the warehouse, which was the same as the lettering that Li Du had seen on the base of the cannon. He still couldnt understand what it meant.
The next scene changed to a battlefield. The cannon was placed in a trench; its stubby barrel fired deafening shots across the sky.
The subsequent scenes showed that all the cannons were hidden in military trenches. Li Du was dumbstruck for a moment, as he did not know that there were cannons made for use in trenches.
He took out his smartphone and searched the Internet. The speed was slow so the image could not be shown. But from the search results, such cannons did exist and were called "trench mortars."
From the search results, the trench mortar was a short, smoothbore cannon that had a wide firing angle, a low velocity, and a steep angle of descent. Although they were short-range cannons, they were powerful weapons for destroying fortifications.
After reading through the texts, Li Du confirmed that the stout cannon was a trench mortar.
This type of cannon had a long history. It first appeared during the 13th century and subsequently got replaced by better mortars.
In general, these cannons were older and very popular before World War II, especially with the Germans, but they still developed it even during World War II.
In the introduction to the weapon on the web page, the Karl-Gert, a giant cannon developed by Germany during World War II, was specially mentioned as it was the last trench mortar cannon ever made.
The Karl mortar had a terrifying caliber of 600 millimeters. It used artillery shells that weighed 2 tons each and charge a maximum firing range of 2.5 miles. The Germans had created such an incredibly powerful cannon to break the Frenchs strong siege and defense forces at Marcheno, Italy.
However, what was inside the unit was not the ferocious Karl mortar. Li Du guessed it was created during World War I. As he recalled the original scene, the soldiers were wearing the German artillery troop uniform.
After determining the cannons age and approximate identity, he was bent on winning the storage unit.
As they finished viewing the unit, Li Du spoke to Hans in a low voice, "Generally, how much do we need to win this type of unit?"
Hans furrowed his eyebrows in thought and said, "From what we can see, this unit is not a valuable one. The old, broken parts of a car and frames of a machine are not special itemsat most, 1,000 dollars."
Li Du pondered for a few seconds and said, "Okay, lets bid 2,000 dollars."
Hans whispered, "This unit is good?"
"I cant tell specifically, but it should be worthwhile," replied Li Du. "Look at that stuff inside thats wrapped with oilskinand that wooden chest, there should be valuables inside. So, lets set it at 2,000 dollars?"
Hans shook his head and said, "Lets go with a safer price: 4,000 dollars!"
Such was the charm of a silent auction. Nobody knew how much their rivals would bid for a unit. If someone wanted to win a unit, they would bid with an amount that they thought was reasonable. There would not be cases of winning a good unit with a lower price.
If this was the usual type of auction, they could have won the unit for a thousand dollars, or even lower, for a few hundred dollars.
But that was only a possibility. At a regular auction, there could be treasure hunters following their lead and copying their bids. If the auction went this way, they would need to spend a considerable amount of money in order to win the unit.
Any bid amount could appear in a silent auction, for everything was unknown until the winners had been identified.
Li Du wrote 4,000 dollars on the bid sheet and slipped it into a small box.
He proceeded to walk to the 15th unit on auction. There were some old goods that were stored in chests and bags. Li Du made a bid of 2,000 dollars for this unit.
He estimated the bid price himself. The old goods could be sold for a slightly higher amount than 5,000 dollars. Even if someone else were to win this unit at a higher price, Li Du would not regret it either.
The 18th storage unit was filled with fishing equipment. There were fishing rods, outboard motors for boats, fishing chairs and many more items. All these items were exposed. The treasure hunters were going crazy over it.
Li Du and Hans had a discussion about this and decided to write down a bid of 5,000 dollars.
The Mercury brand outboard motor was the most worthy item amidst the fishing gear and equipment. This brand was the top performer amongst yacht engines; just one outboard motor alone could be sold for 5,000 dollars.
By the time the auction for all 28 storage units was completed, it was only 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
Li Du was ready to leave when Hans said, "Theres still time. We can go to Memorial Storage for a look. Theres an auction there today as well."
Hearing this, he frowned and knitted his eyebrows together. "Why didnt you say so earlier?"
They could have set off for the other auction long ago if Hans had notified him earlier. The remaining storage units after the unit of fishing equipment were worthless.
"Ive been asking around for information on the units, but there was nothing good," assured Hans. "Also theyve just started, well be on time."
The two of them quickly drove the Hellcat to the Memorial Storage Co. The two storage companies were quite a distance from each otherit took half an hour to reach their destination.
While they were on their way, Hans told Li Du that the number of storage units on auction were only four, which was a very small number. They could join in if the auction were ongoing, but there was also a possibility that the auction might have ended.
The duo was in time for the last unit when they arrived at the storage company. Li Du swiftly unleashed the little bug.
The last unit had almost entered the auction phase, as the treasure hunters there had completed viewing the unit. The auctioneer already had his hand held up, preparing to start the auction.
When he saw Hans and Li Du, he paused for a while and said, "Those who have not viewed the unit please hurry up. The auctions going to start soon"
The auctioneer had not finished saying his sentence when a hurried voice was heard.
"Hey pals, weve completed the viewing, so the auction should start now!"
Li Du thought the voice sounded familiar; he turned and saw two familiar faces. It was Rambis and his mustached brother-in-law, Carl Huron.
When they were in L.A., due to Li Dus courageous behavior, both of them were disgraced and in turn, spurned by both Phoenix and Flagstaffs treasure hunters.
Li Du had not seen them for a while. He had heard that both of them were too ashamed to stay in the area and had left the state of Arizona to attend auctions from other places.
Obviously, the rumors were not true, for the two of them appeared right in front of him.
Not only that, Li Du had felt odd that these two fellows were still unfriendly toward him. Now that Li was a Hundred Thousand Club member, the two of them should dread to offend him.
Li Du looked at them, astonished and puzzled by their behavior. The little bug he had released earlier flew into the storage unit automatically and headed straight to a short and longish metal chest on a shelf.