Hans was also puzzled to see them and asked, "Didnt you both go to New Mexico? Why are you back again?"
Carl stole a nervous glance at Li Du and said in an irritated tone, "Hurry up and start the auction, pal. Isnt chatting disallowed during auctions?"
Li Du exchanged glances with Hans. There was no need to say anything moreHans understood what Li wanted him to do.
There were a total of around 20 treasure hunters who attended the auction. Hans chatted with one of them.
A while later, he returned and said, "There are four units on auction, the previous three were won by Carl. There might actually be something good? Hes bent on getting them all."
Li Du smiled and said, "Who knows? Lets take this warehousehe must have gotten some insider information. Theres certainly one valuable unit out of the four."
This would also explain why Carl and Rambis were flustered to see the two of them. They feared that Li Du would spoil their plans.
Carl kept urging the auctioneer to start quickly. The auctioneer calmly answered, "The two are from the Hundred Thousand Club, let them join in."
The auctioneer was concerned about his own interests. Their commission was determined from the final bid price of the storage units. That meant it would be more beneficial to have more people participating in an auction.
Besides, treasure hunters in the Hundred Thousand Club were rich, had better judgementable to accurately ascertain the value of the unit and tended to place higher bids.
Carl's urging did not work; the auctioneer ignored him.
"Pal, my brother-in-law is almost a member of the Hundred Thousand Club," Rambis said, disgruntled. "Youre showing disregard for him."
The group of treasure hunters gazed at Rambis as if they were staring at an idiot. The auctioneer replied slowly, "Yes, your brother-in-law is a quasi-Hundred Thousand Club member while the two of them, are already in the Hundred Thousand Club. Who do you think I should take care of?"
Hans smiled. "Thank you, Hawthorne. Were done."
The auctioneer raised his hand after seeing Hans and Li Du finish their discussion. He announced, "This is the last storage unit for today, youve already made evaluations in your minds. The starting bid is 200 dollars..."
There were many useless things in the warehouse: outdated newspapers and books, broken tables and chairs, stacks of moldy cardboard boxes containing torn, ragged clothes.
With only one glance, one could tell that this was basically a trash unit; the type of unit that most treasure hunters would dread to make a bid on. Most of the time, nobody would attempt a bid, so the starting bid would usually be very low.
Hans was puzzled by the starting bid and he whispered to the treasure hunter beside him. Then he turned to Li Du. "The earlier units were all trash as well, but Carl took them all."
With that, it shed light on the situation. The auctioneer had raised the starting bid as he was sure Carl would bid for it. Otherwise, such units generally started at 50 dollars.
Sure enough, as soon as the auction started, Rambis raised his hand and said, "Us."
The Auctioneer pointed at him, "Okay 200, 200, 200 dollars now, how about a higher price of 300, 300, 300 dollars?"
The other treasure hunters had skeptical expressions. They could not see the value of the warehouse, and were therefore hesitant to bid.
As the larger-scale silent auction had been held on the same day, most of the treasure hunters did not participate in Memorial Storage Co.s small auction. Most who came were treasure hunters that did not have much cash on them.
In their eyes, whether it was 200 or 300 dollars, it was still moneyeven a dollar shouldnt be wasted.
However, Carl's interest in the unit had sparked some curiosity with a few treasure hunters. Someone made a bid: "300 dollars!"
Not to be outdone, Rambis raised his bid by another 100 dollars.
Li Du looked at Carl strangely, gave him a fake smile, and placed a bid.
The bid slowly increased, with four or five people participating; the price went up from 400 dollars to 900 dollars.
When Rambis shouted the bid of 900 dollars, Li Du followed immediately after. "One thousand dollars."
The auctioneer rejoiced when he heard that price. He quickly pointed at him. "Okay, our Hundred Thousand Club fella bid 1000 dollars, 1000, 1000, 1000 dollars, anyone wants the price of 1,100 dollars?"
Carl's face was gloomy; his furrowed brows creased so much that they might have been able to squash a fly.
The other treasure hunters shook their heads. They were willing to spend three to four hundred dollars to take a risk, but when the amount hit 1,000 dollars, that was beyond their limit.
Someone said with hesitation, "Pals, Big Li is someone who does not bid unnecessarily. The unit that he and Carl are optimistic about should be something worthwhile."
"In any case, I dont see any value in it. Im not taking a risk."
"Maybe its just to spite Carl? They hate each other after all."
"Im out. If I pay 1,000 dollars and I get a trash unit, Im going to sleep in a pile of garbage tonight."
Carl exchanged glances with Rambis and the latter made a bid: "1,200 dollars!"
"One thousand three hundred dollars." Li Du crossed his arms and observed the two of them leisurely.
Every time Rambis placed a bid, Li would follow with another bid. But every time he did so, he would only add 100 dollars, which was the minimum price limit.
The increment in price was slow, but steadily rising, from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars, and from 2,000 to 3,000 dollars.
The treasure hunters were perplexed and gathered at the entrance of the unit again. They did not know what could be inside that invoked such persistent bidding between the two.
Carl could not bear the pressure of the slowly rising price; a vein in his forehead twitched. He took a step forward and said, "4,000 dollars!"
The increase in bid price by 1,000 dollars created a ruckus amongst the treasure hunters. Someone shouted, "Carl, are you that desperate for it?"
Li Du was unmoved. Not waiting for the auctioneer to begin his auction chant, he instantly placed his bid: "4,100 dollars!"
Carl's face darkened further. He rubbed his face with his hands in frustration. Finally he waved in frustration, indicating that he had given up the unit and said, "Let's go, we've got three units. The odds are good enough."
With those words, the treasure hunters immediately caught an important fact: Carl and Rambis knew what valuable items were in those storage units!
Immediately someone caught up with them and asked, "Hey pal, what's in these units?"
"Yeah, what is it? The auctions over, you can tell us what news youve got."
"Let us widen our horizons, pal, what do you know?"
Li Du was also concerned about thishe kept staring at Carl.
Carl sneered when he noticed this, and he responded, "Well, let me give all of you an eye-opener"
"My brother-in-law has been keeping an eye on these units," Rambis blurted out. "All these units belonged to a man who had broken into a car dealership and stole some valuables from a custom-made Rolls-Royce!
"Later on, this b*st*rd got arrested and went to prison, but the stolen items have not been recovered. We suspect that he hid the stolen items in one of these units!"
"What are the items?" someone asked in anticipation.
Rambis was about to open his mouth when Carl punched him in the chest, and roared, "Shut up! Didn't I say the information is confidential?!"