After closing the deal, Hans and Chicano shook hands in parting.
Once they were out of the building, Li Du asked, "Who did you sell the umbrella to? Has the price been settled?"
He had asked as he felt that Hans was acting uncharacteristically.
It was true that treasure hunters valued their honor and that once a deal had been established, they could not back out.
The deal for the umbrella would normally still be up for negotiation. Under such circumstances, based on Li Dus understanding of Hans, in order to pick the best buyer, he should have at least found out what Chicanos offer was.
To answer Li Dus question, Hans said, "A buyer has been found, but the price has not been set."
Li Du was puzzled. "Then why did you not find out Chicanos offer?"
Hans pointed at his head. "Bro, the mind is a wonderful thing"
"Spit it out!"
"Alright, alright. Just like the Spirit of Ecstasy, there is a serial number on the umbrella too, and the one on it could not be changed. If he were to see the number and realize it did not match that of the hood ornament, what would he think?
"Also, this fella didnt really want to buy the umbrellahe was testing our integrity. So I presented the image of a rule-abiding, trustworthy businessman. Hes satisfied and so are we. Thats how weve got ourselves a closed deal."
Li Du nodded. Indeed, Chicano had only asked a few superficial questions relating to the umbrella and had stopped asking once Hans rejected him.
If Chicano had really been interested in the umbrella, he would not have given up so easily.
Although he had the little bugs assistance, Li Du lamented that he still had a long way to go in terms of mastering this trade.
Having left the building, they went in search of a hotel to rest inthe transaction for the umbrella was to happen later that night.
In the evening, after dinner, Hans took them on a bus ride into a bustling street.
"This is Broadway, buddy. You didnt see it the last timenow you can take a good look."
As Li Du pressed his face against the window, he asked, "Where are we going?"
"To your hometown," Hans answered.
Li Du reacted immediately. "LAs Chinatown?"
After traveling north for less than one mile, they arrived in Chinatown.
LAs Chinatown was adjacent to the former city center. It was one of the several major Chinese enclaves on the west coast of America. Large numbers of immigrants from China lived in and around here.
Nowadays, Chinatown was no longer only meant for the Chinese. Many immigrants from all parts of Asia liked to live there. Chinatown had also gradually become where the American public would show respect for and recognition of Asian culture.
Since the second half of the 20th century, the number of Chinese immigrants in LA had surged and Chinatown was divided into three separate parts.
Among them, the one they were going to visit was the oldest, where Chinese immigrants from Guangfu had relocated. The other two were "Little Taipei," with mainly Taiwanese people, and "New Chinatown," dominated by new immigrants who had come to LA in the 21st century.
This Chinatown had adopted the traditional Chinese architectural style, with an antique palatial archway at the entrance, red lanterns flanking the streets, and shop signs all in Chinese characters.
After getting off the bus, Hans said to Big Quinn, "Dude, put on your sunglasses and show the bayonetat least reveal the handle."
Big Quinn did as he was told, looking like a vicious man walking behind them.
Li Du was puzzled. "Why?"
Hans explained, "The public orders not too good herewe need Big Quinn to suppress these jerks."
Li Du questioned, "We Chinese have a gentle temperament. Is the public order at the meeting place no good?"
"In any case, I saw the news: the rate of violent crimes in LA has increased by 21 percent since last year, with the rate of crimes in urban areas and Chinatown having increased by 67 percent over the same period."
As they walked, Li Du understood why Hans had wanted to bring Big Quinn along.
The public order in Chinatown was indeed not good. Before night had fallen, many youths with resentful looks were already weaving in and out of the streets.
Studying them, he saw that they were not just Chinese people, but Vietnamese, Indonesian, Korean, and Japanese people as well. Although they were all Asians, it was not difficult for Li Du to tell the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesians, and Myanmese people apart based on their looks.
A few youths who were smoking started to walk toward Li Du, who was dressed in high-end clothing. But when they saw the King Kong lookalike, Big Quinn, they stopped.
It was Big Quinns first time in Chinatown and he felt he was carrying a huge responsibility. So he had revealed more of the bayonetthe entire handle was exposed.
Li Du sighed, "What kind of buyer did you find this time? Why do we have to deal at night?"
"The other party requested the time," Hans said, "so I brought Big Quinn. The deal may not go through. Hes one of those explorers, who are all desperate types."
As he spoke, he searched on the map and finally found a shop called "The Tang Dynasty Chamber of Abundance."
On seeing the shops name, Li Du burst out laughing.
"What is it?" Hans asked.
Li Du pointed at the signboard. "Do you know whats written here?"
"Of course I dont. How would I know how to read Chinese characters?" Hans said, exasperated.
Li Du glared at him, "Im only askingbefore explaining it to you."
Hans pushed his hand away. "Then hurry up and explain."
"It says The Tang Dynasty Chamber of Abundance. This is probably a pawnshop. Chamber of Abundance is another term for pawnshop, which originated from the Tang Dynasty. Then it was called Chamber of Materials."
Hans was confused. "Right, and whats so funny?"
With a tinge of resignation, Li Du said, "Just that this name is a little ridiculous."
"Thats right, the names ridiculous," a hoarse voice was heard, speaking Mandarin. "F*cker, nobodys blaming youacting cultured and all."
With the voice, a well-built middle-aged man walked out.
The middle-aged man looked to be about 40 years old, with a short, neatly-trimmed beard, rough-looking skin, and razor-sharp eyes.He walked with authority, giving the impression of a tough guy.
He glanced at the trio, with no change in expressioneven when he saw Big Quinn. However, as his gaze swept downward, he frowned upon seeing the bayonet. "Butcher? Interesting."
Li Du did not wish to cause any misunderstandings. This middle-aged man gave off a fearsome airif matters were to blow up, Big Quinn might not be able to hold him back.
Hence, he hurriedly said, "How are you? Were here for business, to sell an umbrella.