The small town of Derta, Arizonas "miracle oasis."
Of course, that was what the people there called their hometown. The town was unheard of by most. Few people paid attention to it, and few people cared what they called their town.
Just like Humphreys, the town that self-proclaimed they were the birthplace of American country music. Hardly anyone believed that.
But the birth of Derta town could be considered a small miracle, as it had been built on a piece of barren land.
Arizona had lots of barren, desert land. Although it was a large state, there were many empty areas that were unable to provide suitable living conditions due to the lack of water and resources there. No other plants could survive except cacti.
Derta was once such piece of land, but due to the movement of the Earths plates, an underground water vein had migrated over to form the Derta River.
The river water meant the possibility of a habitat.
Then Americans migrated west and settled. Slowly, people saw the need to have pastures and farms, and more people came over to build farmlands and pastures.
Derta and Holbrook had a lot of similarities. Both towns had not many resources and therefore, competition between the ranch owners was quite stiff.
Derta was a peaceful town. Although it had limited resources and no one was rich, life there was rather relaxing and comfortable.
Turis and the group of treasure hunters came to the small town. Their convoy of trucks made a beeline cruising along the highway. They could see red canyon rocks as they traveled along and soon, the small town was in sight.
"Maybe this time we can get hold of outdoor equipment," said Big Beard Carl to his partner, Dickens. "Look, theres quite a number of outdoor hikers appearing now and then."
Dickens was puzzled and asked, "Since when did this place start attracting outdoor hikers?"
Carl's beard moved as he puffed out a sigh. "Only God knows the answer. These dudes are insane. They should just rest when they have free time. Why are they hiking?"
They were chatting with each other when they saw someone waving at them on the highway. Dickens stopped and asked, "Whats up?"
A young man wearing a cowboy costume gave them a toothy smile. "Hey pal, would you please give me a lift? My car broke down. I need to go get a toolbox to fix it."
This was a common sight on American highways. When there were a lot of cars, there were also a lot of cars that would break down.
Dickens opened the door and said, "Get in!"
"Thank you pal," the young man in the cowboy costume laughed. "Why are there so many trucks? What are you here for? Ive lived in Derta my whole life25 yearsand its the first time Ive seen a convoy of trucks coming to town."
Big Beard Carl replied, "Were here for a storage auction. Were here to see if we can get some good stuff."
The young man was surprised. "Storage auction? Is it Pratts Storage Company thats holding the auction? What could they have? Therell only be junk."
Dickens blinked at him and said, "Were treasure hunters. We specialize in finding good items from a pile of junk."
The young man shrugged. "Is that so? As far as I know, Pratts Storage Company is going broke. I remember that nobody rented the units for a period of time. I didnt realize that there was still stuff inside the units."
They chatted along the journey. Big Beard and Dickens learned more about the town from the young man in the hopes that they could get some valuable goods from the auction the next day.
Inside the town, the truck stopped at a grocery store; the young man hopped out of the truck and said, "Ive reached my destination. Good luck on finding some good stuff in Derta."
A middle-aged man, believed to be the store owner, came out from the grocery store. "Tory, who are these people?"
"Theyre treasure hunters," Tory replied. "Theyre here to attend a storage auction."
The middle-aged man nodded. "Oh, its been lively these past two days. I saw a truck drive into town just two days ago and thought they were here to buy something." The grocery store owner leaned on the entrance of his store.
"But they werent here to buy something," he said casually, "they were making a delivery instead. I believe they were Californians."
Big Beard Carl and Dickens glanced at each other and asked, "Californians?"
"Yeah, some Californian fellas," said the store owner disdainfully. "They told me they were from Tucson, but I aint deafI could hear their Californian accent clearly."
Dickens bought two bottles of cokes and continued the conversation. "Any of them keep dogs as pets?"
"Yeah, two Rottweilers. I didnt expect those sissies to keep such good dogs as pets."
Big Beard Carl took a deep breath. "D*mn, its them: Frank and York!"
They settled their accommodations at Derta before driving to Pratts Storage Company, the towns only storage company, in the late afternoon.
It was exactly as what the young man had said: the storage company was about to go bust, the units did not look well-maintained. Some of the units even have grass growing in them. Their entrances were old-fashioned, folding iron doors, which were rusty and variegated.
However, the place was clean and tidy. There was someone inside a unit packing up some stuff. Dickens went over and asked, "Hey pal, this is your storage unit?"
"Of course, I store my tools here," said the man with a local accent. "Whats up?"
Dickens and Big Beard Carl were copying Li Du to check out the units in advance. However, unlike Li Du, they wouldnt be able to gain much from it.
The storage company was quite small, with around 30 storage units in total.
Dickens went for a quick scout around and laughed, "This must be the smallest storage company Ive ever seen."
Big Bearded Carl said, "As long as theres good stuff. I just received news that there might be a small tractor. Lets get it!"
Dickens immediately perked up. "A tractor? Thats great!"
Some of the folding iron doors seemed to be broken. Both of them looked around and there was nobody in sight. They quickly pulled out a Swiss Army knife to pry open the door and used a flashlight to look inside the unit.
The flashlight pierced through the darkness inside. Dickenss eyes lit up. "Look, whats that?"
Big Beard Carl had just wanted to take a look when suddenly a security guard appeared and roared, "What are you doing?!"
If they had just been walking around the place, the storage company would not bother with them. However, the two of them had used a knife to pry open the doorthat was an illegal act.
The two of them immediately made a run for it.
After they successfully got away, Big Beard Carl asked Dickens, "Bud, what did you see just now?"
"Saw some cowhide and polished cattle skulls," Dickens said excitedly. "D*mn, that stuff is decent. Seems like Derta is not as poor as everyone thinks!"
This stuff could be clearly seen; especially the cowhide, which was near the entrance. They shared the news with the other treasure hunters when they got back to their hotel.
By doing this, they could enjoy a higher status among the treasure hunters. Treasure hunters could earn their status by their amount of earnings and also by the number of information channels they had.
The storage auction industry was an industry that required a huge network of connections. The more information channels a treasure hunter had, the higher their status, and in turn the higher their popularity as well.