The first three storage units all contained fake mahogany furniture, but Mr. Li did not leave; he patiently viewed every piece of furniture in the units.
The reason why he did this was in hopes that the Mahogany Gallery had at least owned a few sets of genuine mahogany furniturethat not all the pieces of furniture were imitations.
But after using the little bug to ascertain the identity of all the furniture inside the units, Mr. Li was really furious.
D*mn! he cursed silently. None of them are real! That d*mned Mahogany Gallery is really unethical! All the furniture inside is fake!
Having used so much energy only to confirm that all the furniture inside the units were just knock-offs, Li Du felt like looking up the owner of the Mahogany Gallery and asking if his conscience had ever bothered him!
The sixth unit was filled with miscellaneous items: woodworking tools, pieces of thin planks scattered around the place, some paint, and several boxes that stored pieces of some unknown wood wrapped in kraft paper.
When he had first seen the planks and paint, he had not understood why the Mahogany Gallery would store such equipment in a storage unit.
But now he finally understood. The Mahogany Gallery was bold: they had leased the storage unit for making fake mahogany furniture!
The last unit also contained fake mahogany furniture. Li couldnt tell the specific raw materials used. However, it was clear that the furniture inside was fakeonly the outermost layers were authentic.
Just as he was about to recall the little bug, he suddenly thought of something important.
Although all of the furniture were knockoffs, their outermost layers had been created using the real rosewoodthis was called the "veneer." That meant, the veneers pasted to the fake furniture were real rosewood.
From what Li Du knew, even imitated mahogany furniture was not cheap stuff. The reason was attributed to the complexity of the creation process.
Among various types of imitated mahogany furniture, the most expensive of them all was the type that was created with a thin layer of real rosewood stuck on them. As long as the real layer of rosewood did not fall off, one could hardly tell the difference between the imitation and the authentic mahogany furniture.
Since the veneers used were real rosewood, the scattered thin planks over at the sixth unit could be real rosewood as well.
There were a few boxes of wood which Li Du had not paid attention to earlier. He had dismissively thought that they were just some other cheap pieces of hardwood used for making the fake furniture.
However, from the looks of it, this nicely-wrapped wood could be the real rosewood that was used by the Mahogany Gallery as the veneers for the fake furniture!
As soon as he realized this, he quickly sent the little bug back into the sixth unit, and dived into the wood for a good look.
Nevertheless, he was unable to distinguish the woods true identity. Only a specialist in this area would be able to do so.
The only consolation was that Li was sure the wood on the inside had not been bleached nor was there a veneer attached to the plank.
He recalled the little bug, exhausted by all the checks and verifications he had done. "Lets go. I need to rest."
Hans asked, "How is it?"
Li Du gave a disappointed sigh. "Theres a 90 percent chance that all this mahogany furniture are imitations. I feel that they arent worth much. But maybe you can pray to God that I might have guessed wrong. Otherwise, we probably wont get much out of this trip."
Hans seemed disheartened upon hearing this from Li. "Although I believe in God now, in regards to this matter, I believe in you more."
Li Du patted his shoulder and said, "I dont mean that well go back empty-handed. Theres one unit that seems okay. If the price is reasonable, we can take a gamble."
"Whats the success rate? How confident are you?"
Li Du gave it a thought. He felt guilty inside and said, "Hmm, about 50 percent?"
Hans perked up again when he heard that. "Fifty percent? Thats high enough, brother. Well gamble on that!"
Back at the hotel, Li Du napped until the sky turned dark. After he washed himself and opened the door, he saw a Rottweiler sitting by the entrance.
Li was confused to see the big black dog. He muttered to himself, "Geez, am I dreaming? Am I still asleep?"
The strong Rottweiler bared his teeth and growled deeply at Li Du.
Ah Meow was walking behind Li lazily. That growl immediately made him alert: his eyes widened and he gave a prominent, loud hiss. He lowered his body and move forward with light, flexible footsteps.
The Rottweiler showed an eager expression when it saw Ah Meow.
However, before it could attack, a whistle was heard. Someone stood at the corner of the corridor. The Rottweiler glared at Li Du and Ah Meow before running back to where the sound of the whistle had come from.
Li Dus eyes followed the dog and he saw a familiar face: Frank Boll!
Why was Frank here? Li Du was puzzled. Frank mainly attended storage auctions held in the wealthy state of California, with Los Angeles as his main turf.
In reality, not only Frank, but all treasure hunters based in California would rarely come to Arizona for auctions. In comparison, Arizona was too poor, the odds of getting anything valuable too low.
Frank gave Li Du a creepy, unkind smile. "Hey my little Chinese friend, we meet again. Very good." Frank walked away after this greeting.
Li Du stood at his room door and blinked; he still felt that maybe he was not yet awake.
He went to knock on Hanss door, who was staying in the room beside him. He could hear Hanss voice: "D*mmit, whos that?"
Li Du got a little pissed. "Its me."
"Ill come get you in 30 minutes," Hans shouted, sounding excited. "I have important matters right now! Important! Very important!"
What important matters could this dude have? Li Du concluded that there could be a girl inside his room right now. Otherwise, he wouldnt sound so excited.
The room door opposite him opened. It was Godzilla. "Boss, youre awake?"
Li Du asked, "Whats Big Fox busy with?"
"One-night stand." Godzillas curt reply did not surprise him.
Li Du asked another question, "Frank Bolls here with his dog. What happened?"
Big Quinn came out and replied, "Yes Boss, Frank and York are here. They arrived here after lunch. Theyre pretty unfriendly."
Godzilla made a sudden remark, "Boss, be careful of Dog Ears."
Godzilla furrowed his brow and said, "Dog Ears is staying in the hotel beside ours. I went out in the afternoon and saw Lil Rick with the casino guy Harris. I heard them say that theyre going to teach you a lesson."
"Casino Harris?" asked Li D. "The Native Americans are here too?"
While Li Du mulled over all this, he creased his brows. He thought about what Lil Rick had said last night and the sudden appearance of Harris, who knew nothing about storage auctions. Thats really weird, he thought.
Big Quinn had an acute sense of awareness too. "D*mn," he exclaimed. "If only we had a bug, then we'd know what they're up to."
He didnt want to exert more energy and use his own little bug, but what Big Quinn said gave Li Du another idea. He took out a camera and a small walkie-talkie and fixed them onto Ah Meow. "Although we do not have a bug," laughed Li, "we might still be able to hear them."
He had bought the surveillance camera and walkie-talkie at Hoffmans market. He had used them before during the old-house property auction on Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles. He hadnt had the chance to use them since.
It was a good thing that Li always brought Ah Meow and the equipment with him.
Li Du switched on the tablet and said, "Well be able to receive the wireless signal up 70 feet away. Ah Meow can creep into their room, and well know what theyre talking about."