Frank's Hummer was a seven-seater and so the five of them took his car.
Chase Bank was one of the largest financial services organizations in the US, with their assets totaling to 2.5 trillion US dollars. All of its branches bank deposits were worth 1.5 trillion US dollars, accounting for 25 percent of the United States' total deposits. As it had more than 6,000 branches, there was, of course, one in Flagstaff.
Frank sped to the bank, and when they got there, it was almost closing timethere were not many people inside.
A smiling white man having an animated conversation with a bank teller approached them once he saw them enter. "How are you, gentlemen? What can I help you with?"
Ma Cheng took out his work permit and said, "Hello, we are appraisers from Christie's. We have a partnership with your bank and an agreement to deposit our valuable items with you on a complimentary basis."
The white man took a look at his work permit and then entered some information into a laptop he retrieved from the counter, before nodding. "Alright, identity verified. Please hold on, this will be managed by the treasury department. I'll inform the manager."
He left without bringing the laptop along; York stretched his neck out to take a look. The webpage had JP Morgan Chase Bank's logo on the left and Christie's logo on the right. Between the logos was information on Ma Cheng.
There was also Ma Cheng's photo, and information such as his work permit serial number, designation, et ceteramany details were included.
Frank also wanted to take a look, but at this time, Du Dayuan opened his briefcase and said with relief, "I can finally relax now. I've been so edgy all day."
The briefcase opened to reveal the rubies and the jewelrya spectacular sight.
Footsteps along the stairs could be heard. A middle-aged white man wearing a JP Morgan Chase Bank's suit walked down from stairs behind the young man who had served them earlier.
Ma Cheng shook his hand. The middle-aged man looked through his background information again, and also checked the information of the other two.
Du Dayuan and Ding Xiaofeng's info was similar to Ma Cheng's. Frank and York were introduced very briefly, and merely referred to as their clients and friends.
The middle-aged man then said, "In that case, to maintain privacy, the three of you can come with me to process the depositing, but these two men will not be able to. Sorry about that."
Ma Cheng waved his hand. "Master Du, you can go ahead to handle this on your own. Master Ding and I will stay and chat with our friends."
Du Dayuan said cautiously, "Sir, please show me your work permit for my verification."
The middle-aged white man laughed, and then removed a pass from the shirt inside his suit.
Du Dayuan took the pass to the counter and then spoke to the bank teller while pointing his finger at the middle-aged white man.
The bank teller nodded with a smile. Du Dayuan thanked her and then came back.
As the two of them walked away, Ma Cheng said, "Frank, let's wait outside. The air-conditioning in the bank is too strong for me."
Frank said, "Sure, buddy."
Du Dayuan came out soon after. "Chase's treasury department is the most professional and most secure I have ever seen. It will be absolutely safe to have them keep the rubies in their vault."
Ma Cheng said, "Oh right, Frank, where do you deposit your stuff?"
"At First Financial Bank," Frank answered, "not far from here."
The middle-aged white manager, who had come out to see Du Dayuan off, sniggered, "First Financial Bank? I don't mean to insult them, but to be honest, their insurance services are not that reliable. You guys better be careful."
Compared to Chase, a monster with 260 billion dollars worth of assets, First Financial Bank was a small, private bank, with assets of only about seven billion US dollars.
Ma Cheng said, In that case, Frank, why don't you guys consider making the switch to JP Morgan Chase?"
Frank smiled. "We have quite a good partnership with First Financial Bank. Honestly, their depositing services are cheaper."
Du Dayuan winked at him. "You can deposit the stuff here," he whispered, "if it's an 'auction item' for our company."
Frank, who was someone who loved to mooch off others, was instantly delighted to hear this. "Can we?"
Du Dayuan said, "No problem, as long as you sign the agreement to indicate that we'll be conducting the auction for you."
On hearing that an agreement would need to be signed, Frank looked a little hesitant. Seeing this, Du Dayuan said, "It's not compulsory for this agreement to be executed; there's also no need to provide any deposit. For future retrievals, all you have to do is say you no longer wish for us to carry out the auctionthere is no charge for depositing."
York's guard was up. "Du, you're being a little too nice to us. If you get discovered breaking the rules by the company, it may not be such a good thing for you."
Ma Cheng smiled. "No, this is actually a way for us to secure good partners. It would be fine even if the company were to find out about it. You guys are outstanding treasure hunters, and partners we are keen on working with."
"I see," Frank said, nodding.
The middle-aged man glanced at his watch. "If you guys want to deposit it here, then please hurrywe are about to close. Otherwise, you will have to come again tomorrow to settle this."
After a quick discussion, Frank and York drove to First Financial Bank and retrieved a huge box. The box was so heavy that two security officers were needed to carry it to the trunk.
In the meantime, Ma Cheng and the other two men spent their time going to the bathroom or having drinks. By the time the pair returned to Chase Bank, it was about to close.
An armored vehicle with a JP Morgan Chase Bank logo was waiting at the back door. The manager brought them to the back door and said, "Let's do the verification and then put your item in the car."
"Why are we putting it into the car?" Frank asked.
The manager laughed, "Because our storage is in the vault and the vault is not here. This is to prevent people from robbing the bank and robbing the vault."
Frank and York thought it strange; as a precaution, the latter went to ask one of the bank's employees, who was smoking at the bank's entrance.
Upon hearing his query, the staff member nodded. "Yes, what Mr. Leonard said is true, our vault is not here."
The two were finally reassured.
This was followed by photo-taking and signing of documents. The matter of the depositing was finally completed and the vehicle left. The five of them then kept their documents before leaving the bank.
By the time they returned to the cabin, the party had become more exciting.
Li Du's eyes lit up upon seeing them. He dragged Ma Cheng with his left hand, while tugging Frank with his right. "Guys, where have you been? We were in a panic when we could not find you. D*mmit, come have a drink!"
"We went for a spin," Ma Cheng chuckled, "and settled some personal matters. Sorry to keep everyone waiting. According to Chinese custom, we shall down three glasses as penance!"
Li Du laughed, "Great, very forthright of you. But it's not enough to just drink three glasses as forfeit, I've prepared a major punishment for you guys."
"What punishment?" Ma Cheng asked.
Li Du smiled wordlesslyhis enigmatic face carrying profound meaning.