Li Du was not just trying to create the chance for them to be alone; he went out of his way to entertain the other treasure hunters.
He and Hans gathered everyone, saying that they wanted to delegate jobs for each of them to prepare dinner. Their real motive was to remind everyone of one thing: "All of you can feel free to show your things to these three appraisers. If they offer to bring your items with them to help you find buyers, please do not reject them and hand your items to them!"
Feeling unsure, Turis asked, "Boss Li, isn't that risky? Without any security deposit, how can we pass our things to them? That can't be the case."
"Don't worry, everyone," Li Du said."I've planned this out and would never allow anyone to lose money over this. Do you trust me?"
While the treasure hunters had initially shaken their heads against the suggestion, all of them eventually gave their agreement.
Lastly, Li Du said, "Remember what I've said to you guys: don't let the California chaps and the appraisers know of thisthis is our own matter."
"Everyone help yourselves. There's plenty of beer and steak. Come on buddies, let's get drunk!"
Hearing this, everyone cheered instantly, "Drunk, drunk, drunk! Let's get drunk!"
At the other side, the five of them started chatting. People like Ma Cheng and Frank were adept at social interaction. Furthermore, they had common topics to talk about, all having come from California.
"Frank, my friend, it seems like our trades are similar. Both require us to keep gaining knowledge and expanding our horizons."
"Right, we always attend events at museums. During our free time, we also like to hole up in the library or watch documentaries covering various industries."
"Speaking of museums, you guys live in L.A.? Then you should be near The Getty Villa? Have you been there?"
"Of course, we visit it frequently. I like the colonnade and the Herb Garden there very much."
"Ha! We may have bumped into each other there before. They hired Du and me as maintenance consultantsDu's in charge of Ancient Greek Civilization while I'm in charge of Etruscan Civilization."
Hearing that, York exclaimed, "That's amazing! How have we never bumped into each other? What a shame!"
Ma Cheng patted his shoulder warmly. "Let me know beforehand when you next visit. I can help you save on the entrance tickets and parking fees."
"That's great," Frank smiled. "Parking there is tough, d*mmit, and the parking fee is 15 dollars!"
"Fifteen dollars?" Ma Cheng said in surprise. "Has it been a while since you last visited? It's now twenty dollars."
"Oh, d*mn!" Frank's eyes seemed to be less guarded.
After speaking about The Getty Villa, they also spoke about the Santa Monica Museum of Art and Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art.
"If you always need to visit the library for reference books, then I recommend the Huntington Library in Pasadena," Du Dayuan said.
"It's not easy to enter that library, buddy, not easy," York said, shaking his head.
The trio laughed in unison; Du Dayuan said with a smile, "It would be easy if you were acquainted with Mr. Ding. His brother-in-law works in the library management."
Ding Xiaofeng gave a reserved smile before whipping out his mobile phone to show them a few photosthey were of his family and work. He pointed to a middle-aged white man in one of the photos and said, "This is my younger sister's husband. He is personally in charge of the rare books collection at the Huntington Library!"
York's eyes lit up. "The rare books collection? Is that the rare books collection with the Gutenberg Bible? Oh my god, that's really something."
Ding Xiaofeng nodded. "Look, I've conducted research there before."
He swiped the screen again and a new photo appearedit was of him and his brother-in-law pouring over a huge thick book on the table.
"That's great," York said excitedly. "I've always wanted to go there. There's an extensive medieval Europe collection there."
"And a lovely garden with more than 1,200 types of flora in the rose garden," Ding Xiaofeng added.
The two parties got along very well. Ding Xiaofeng made a phone call and then told the two of them, "Let me have your phone numbers. I'll give you a token gift."
Frank and York became guarded once again. But, since it was just their phone numbers and not anything private, they provided them to him.
Ding Xiaofeng then said a few more sentences before he hung up. In no time, the SMS alert sounded on their phones. Both of them retrieved the message to see a QR code.
"This is..." York started in surprise while reading the information from the QR code. "'Los Angeles' Huntington Library awaits your arrival. This QR code entitles you to a complimentary entry to the library during each weekend in October. You can also visit the library's rare books collection'"
Ding Xiaofeng smiled. "I just called my brother-in-law to get you guys two monthly VIP tickets."
The expression on Frank's face was one of rare sincerity. "Thank you."
Du Dayuan had been periodically glancing at his watch and upon noticing this, York asked, "Du, are you in a hurry?"
Du Dayuan gave him a woeful smile. "We came to the party tonight, but we brought with us some items that should not be seen here. I would like to deposit them in the bank, but the bank's about to close soon."
"What items?" Frank asked.
Du Dayuan did not want to elaborate, but Ma Cheng said, "There's nothing we cannot disclose to our friends. It's actually some artwork made of rubies. It will be in the Phoenix autumn auction."
Frank noticed the small briefcase secured to Du Dayuan's wrist, and said in realization, "Oh, are they in here?"
Du Dayuan nodded nervously and whispered, "Hush buddy, there's too many people here. Some of them don't look that trustworthy."
"Of course," Frank said. "Although I'm friends with them, as your friend I have to warn you to be wary of these people."
"Maybe it's not so nice to say this," York added, "but as a friend, I've got to tell you that that fellow countryman of yours is not just some kind-hearted good guy."
Du Dayuan said, "Then I better put them in the bank. There's a Chase Bank here in Flagstaff, right? Our company's in partnership with them and can deposit auction items with them at no charge."
After spending all this time in Flagstaff, Frank and York were familiar with the city.
"Yes," York volunteered, "let me bring you there. In fact, we also have items with the bank. However, it's not a Chase Bank but First Financial Bank."
With an eager smile, Du Dayuan said, "That's great, thank you both."
York said, "We should be the ones thanking you instead. You've given us two valuable VIP tickets to the library."
"Friends should help each other out, right?" Ding Xiaofeng smiled. "Come, let's go deposit our items first and then come back."