How fast a train ran depended on its locomotive.
The brawny man was the "locomotive" of the group of hoodlums. And the seemingly aggressive train was wilting in power as Li Du had the leader under his control.
Hans walked over flippantly and gathered all the baseball bats and metal pipes. He also got into the van and took all the weapons inside as well.
Fortunately, Li Du had kept these people in check with his skilled shooting. Otherwise, if they were to really brawl with each other, even with the bayonet and crossbow they could sustain some injuries. These troublemakers had also brought knives with them.
Luckily, the group of hoodlums had not brought guns with them.
However, Li Du thought again that if they had brought guns with them, things would be more interesting because he would just immediately report them to the police. It was likely impossible for them to have the licenses to carry a gun: they would certainly be arrested if caught with any.
However, if the hoodlums weapons were gathered and presented to the police as evidence, they could get arrested.
But Li Du was too lazy to do that. They were not Phoenix residents. There was no need to go so far as to offend these local bullies.
He slapped the brawny leaders cheek with the short, sharp bolt and said, "Are we sushi on your plate? That was so evil of you, brother. How did we offend you?"
The leader smiled in an attempt to appease Li. "Im sorry, pal. It was a misunderstanding."
"Misunderstanding?" Li Du sneered. "No, absolutely not. Say it: who asked you to seek us out?"
There were many who he had offended, so he was unable to guess the mastermind behind this almost-attack.
The brawny man shook his head firmly. "This is purely a misunderstanding, pal. Its a misunderstanding, nobody instigated us."
Hans led Li Du aside and said, "Bud, he wont answer no matter how many times you ask. They knew very well we wont kill them. At most theyll just get a bashing. But if he were to answer your question, his reputation would be tarnished. Nobody will want to do business with them ever again."
Li Du nodded and went back to the brawny man. "Tell the truth, pal. I'm a serious businessman. I don't want to have a bloody confrontation with you."
The brawny guy was perplexed at Li Dus words. He looked at the cannon and Big Quinn, who was still holding the bayonet. Is this how a serious businessman works? he thought. What about me, then? I'm an honest citizen, right?
Li Du continued, "Lets talk about compensation. You crashed into my truck, right?"
The brawny guy nodded his head hastily. He didnt want a fight with these four men anymore; he suspected that he and his men would be the ones bleeding if there were one, so he wanted to settle this matter quickly.
"Youve also held up our time, right?"
The leader nodded again.
Li Du asked, "So, how are you going to compensate us?"
The leader replied quickly, "With cash, well pay you cash."
"How much?" Li Du had a broad smile on his face.
The brawny man gritted his teeth and said, "Please state an amount."
Li Du imitated the brawny guys action, lifting a finger, and said, "10,000 dollars."
The price he asked for was not an exaggerated figure. The Iron Knight was new and one of its headlights was smashed. The repair costs would be more than 1,000 dollars. There were also the repainting costs and replacement of the metal plates that got dented. It would not be a small sum of money.
The brawny leader hesitated for just a moment and Li Dus sharp bolt immediately made a cut across his face.
Flinching, he said, "The price is a little too high, my friend. We do not have that much money."
Li Du made a suggestion: "Its simple. You can call a friend to send the money over, or leave this van together with your phone and wallet behind."
The brawny man looked at his men dejectedly, pulled out his cell phone, and made a phone call.
Li Du also took out his cell phone, pressed the digits "nine,""one,""one," and said, "If you dare to play any tricks, well go to the police station together."
He was a legitimate businessman, and therefore not afraid to go to the police station. But these people were different. They had carried weapons and barged into the storage companys private property, which could land them a lawsuit.
And they would lose the case for sure once they got sued by the storage company. They would most probably find themselves in jail. Even if they did not get a jail sentence, the amount of bail for so many men would be a huge sum of money, definitely much more than 10,000, or even 20,000, dollars.
The brawny man made a phone call. A Ford Mustang soon arrived and someone delivered a stack of bills.
Li Du threw the stack over to Hans, who tested the weight and nodded. "No problem."
After listening to this, Li Du gave the leader a shove and said, "Goodbye, pal. Hopefully when we meet again in future, there wont be so many misunderstandings."
The brawny man did not say another word to Li Du. He waved awkwardly to his men and instructed, "Lets go!"
Someone got irked at the sight of Hans standing at the door of the van and said angrily, "What are you doing? Still want to fight?"
"No, I just wanted to find out how many of you can squeeze into this small van," exclaimed Hans. "Come on, let me see. It's an absolute miracle."
The group of thugs had suffered humiliation and were disgraced. They quickly got in their van and sped off.
Hans handed the money back to Li and wondered, "Who do you think sent them to deal with us? Carl, Rambis? The Ricks? Or other treasure hunters who resent us?"
"Who knows? But Im thinking that there should be more incidents like this one." Li Du waved the stack of cash, beaming in satisfaction.
He divided the 10,000 dollars into four stacks and handed Big Quinn and Godzilla 1,000 dollars each. He and Hans each took 4,000 dollars.
Big Quinn asked uncertainly, "This?"
Li Du replied, "Ive hired you to be a mover. And if you work beyond your job scope, Ill give you extra money."
Godzilla chimed in, "Every time."
Big Quinn touched his face and said, "Seems like Ive found a use for this."
Hans was delighted. He kissed the bills and said, "We earn 4,000 dollars just like that? Life is so wonderful."
Li Du laughed, "Your 4,000 dollars is not your net income. Remember to get the truck repaired. The repair fees are coming from your 4,000 dollars."
Hans yelled, "D*mn, Ive been fooled!"
In the speeding Multivan, the brawny leader moaned, "D*mn, weve been fooled!"
"What should we do?"
"Go back to that d*mn pig and that mustached man! F*ck! He said there were only three people, and only one man could fight!" said the brawny man, gritting his teeth. "He lied to us! They are so ignorant, we need to teach them the rules!"
"What about the 10,000 dollars?" someone asked.
The brawny man smiled cruelly. "Let that fat pig and the mustached guy cough out 20,000 dollars to us!"
In a Russian-style shady bar, Carl and Rambis were waiting for the hired thugs to bring back the good news.
The Multivan finally appeared at the entrance; the brawny man and his men alighted.
Seeing this, Rambis happily went up to welcome the group. "Hey, everyone, youre done? Are the pictures and videos taken?"
When Rambis got close enough, the brawny man gave a kick to his beer belly, knocking him to the ground.
When Carl saw that, he immediately knew something was amiss; he got up and made to escape via the back door of the bar.
Inside the bar, a fat Eastern European man stretched his arm and grabbed Carl on the back of his neck like a chicken, and said in a stern voice, "Sit down!"
Rambiss hands held his stomach, and he screamed in pain, "What happened? What's going on? You broke our deal!"
The brawny man got angrier upon hearing the word "deal" and shoved Rambis down onto a table. "Zachary," he bellowed, "show them how we really break deals."
A grim-looking, muscular young man walked up and delivered a punch to Rambis, hitting hard him under the ribs at the location of the liver.
Rambis gaped at that instant, as if he were a pig waiting for the slaughter. But he was unable to make any soundhe could only gasp for breath.