This auction was considered large as it contained 45 storage units. But the treasure hunters were not discussing the units. They were all talking about what had just happened.
"Those California guys were so unlucky. They had sh*t all over their bodies! But unfortunately I wasn't there to see it."
"I have some pictures here. F*ck, they were too miserable. It's lucky you weren't there. I felt disgusted just looking at them!"
"Oh, my poor California brothers. Why did I feel happy hearing this news?"
"You're so bad, dude, but I couldn't stop laughing either! Ha! It's so funny!"
Li Du was listening the treasure hunters discussing the incident. Suddenly, someone touched his shoulder from behind.
He immediately turned around. His gaze was clear and cold; he looked gloomy, thinking that someone was looking for trouble again.
Because of his Chinese identity and race, many treasure hunters liked to provoke him and bully him. Now, he had become an extremely frightening person. So he immediately turned around.
It was someone he was familiar with, someone who had the same skin color as he: Zhang Kai.
"Hey, is something wrong?"
Zhang Kai was startled by his expression and eyes. He said cowardly, "Oh not... not no, nothing. Ah, yes, I have something to tell you, something serious."
Li Du understood Zhang Kai's personality well. He was an honest and timid man like many other Chinese people who went abroad.
He patted Zhang Kai's shoulder to comfort him, then he asked, "What's so serious?"
Zhang Kai gave him a wink and whispered, "Follow me."
Li Du followed him to pass through the crowd until they arrived at a secluded place. The unpleasant smell of the feces, however, was everywhere because of the poor ventilation there.
Zhang Kai covered his nose. "The feces of the Americans are more smelly than of the Chinese. I was really unlucky. Some more their pipes are actually aging. Sh*t, I'm really up to my neck."
Li Du asked, "Why?"
"The Americans always bully people," Zhang Kai complained. "They leave all the difficult work like cleaning to me and other East Asians while they only do the easy work."
This was the reality. There was discrimination and oppression everywhere even though the United States advocated the spirit of equality with ideals such as "everyone is born equal."
Li Du asked, "So this is what you wanted to tell me? Let me think how could I help you"
"No," Zhang Kai shook his head. "It's a more important matter. Come here and I'll show you something."
He took a picture out of his pocket. There were a few vases and plates in the picture, all of which were porcelain, white on top, colorfully painted with pine trees and bridges. They were beautiful.
Li Du was immediately interested. "What's this?"
Zhang Kai said refreshingly, "Have you heard the saying, 'The secret collection of Qing court shined bright over the centuries?'"
Li Duo shook his head and asked, "Is it something related to Chinese porcelain and the imperial Qing Dynasty?"
Zhang Kai had a twinkle in his eye and nodded. "Yes, exactly, have you heard of famille before?
Li Du continued to shake his head. "I don't know," he said, embarrassed. "I just guessed from your words. Have you studied this stuff before?
Zhang Kai smiled. "Yes, I collected enameled vases for quite some time before in China when I was rich, so I've seen and studied the famille rose before.
"This so-called famille rose uses overglaze decoration. It was a method of decorating pottery, where the colored decoration is applied on top of the already-glazed surface, done in a special firing under a very high temperature of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Famille rose was originally created during the Kangxi Emperor's reign. The technique was based on our traditional Chinese overglaze enameling skill and it was combined with the western ceramic technique too..."
Li Du wasn't familiar with these kinds of things so he listened to Zhang Kai quietly. However, once Zhang Kai started the topic, he spouted the story from the origin to the process. He even shared information on how to identify the enameled vases and some related legends.
Li Du noticed that the auction was about to start so he had to interrupt him. "Sorry, bro, perhaps we could continue in the afternoon as the auction is going to start soon."
After listening to this, Zhang Kai slapped his face to apologize. "Oh I'm sorry. I just can't stop talkingI could chat interminably."
"It's all right. Straight to the point."
"Well, what I wanted to say is there are some things like these in the auction!" Zhang Kai said mysteriously.
Li Du was interested once again when he heard this. He said, "There are one of the vases you mentioned just now in the storage units? In a unit that you're taking care of?"
Zhang Kai shook his head. "No. If all these were a storage unit that I'm taking care of, I would have told you yesterday. They were in another unit and I only learned about it today."
He paused and continued, "I talked to one of my colleagues yesterday and he told me there was something valuable in his unit when we talked about the storage auction."
"The guy is a n*gger without any culture and knowledge. He just took a few photos with his phone. Most of them have no value at all but this photo is different."
He shook the photos in his hand when he said this. "I think the subject in the photo is quite similar with the famille rose so I printed this photo to have a closer look. I think this is real because Americans don't really value this type of work so they wouldn't need to create the false product."
Li Du was not completely confident in what Zhang Kai was saying. He knew that there were no such antiques in the other units he had checked on yesterday.
The bug would have been attracted to any antiques yesterday if there had been any. However, he was unsure about this also because he still knew very little about the bug.
So Li Du asked, "So these things are in which unit now?"
Zhang Kai whispered, "Storage unit 44!
Li Du rubbed his chin. Unit 44? He had been impressed with this unit, he remembered, because the Warcraft motorcycle was in this storage.
However, he couldn't remember coming across any porcelain while searching the units. Maybe he had been too careless: he had only roughly looked around in order to save his energy.
After he learned it was in storage unit 44, he said to Zhang Kai, "Okay, I'll certainly get the bid. If the famille rose is really in unit 44, I'll share one-third of the profit with you after I sell it."
Zhang Kai asked, "One-third?"
Li Du thought he felt that this was too little money. He explained, "I'm cooperating with an American so I must share with him."
Zhang Kai nodded quickly. "Yes, I understand. I meant that one-third is too much. I'd be satisfied even if you shared one-fifth of the profit with me. The famille rose is very valuable!"
"Don't worry," Li Du said. "I'll certainly share one-third of the profit with you. You just have to wait for the good news."
Zhang Kai was nodding continuously. Seeing this, Li Du decided that the man really liked to nod and it seemed as though he had very healthy cervical vertebra.
When they went back to the storage company, people had already started viewing the first unit. As there were too many people and units, in accordance with the old rules, a group of five people at a time was given one minute to view.