There was a fairly high chance of finding good stuff in the storage units in a city like Tucsonit had a vibrant manufacturing industry.
With a storage company in Tucson announcing its bankruptcy, the number of storage units put on auction would definitely be greater than most auctions. Therefore, many people should find it appealing and participate in the auction.
Li Du had not informed the treasure hunters from Flagstaff due to this reason. Such an opportunity was hard to come by and this news was easily accessible; the treasure hunters would flock to this city without a reminder.
Nevertheless, fewer people than expected had attended the auction. Olly and the rest of the treasure hunters had probably seen the news, yet they hadn't originally chosen to attend, which had baffled Li Du.
When Li inquired about the weird phenomenon from Hans, he simply said, "You'll know the reason very soon." That was all he would say.
The gates opened; the auction was about to begin and the treasure hunters entered the storage company.
The auctioneer was a local, middle-aged Mexican man.
Tucson had once belonged to Mexico but was later bought by the United States in 1853. They had not driven the Mexican population out, who accounted for nearly 20 perfect of the population of the city. Many Mexicans had, however, left the United States for Mexico after this.
Many years later, the descendants of these people tried ways and means to smuggle back into the United States, which was considered ironic.
There were many treasure hunters who were Mexican attending the auction. When Godzilla appeared, many of them went up to greet him. "Hey big fella, when did you join this industry? I've never seen you before."
Godzilla was friendly, so he replied, "I'm from Flagstaff" Before he could finish his sentence, the person's expression changed. "Oh," he spat, "foreigner."
Li Du gave this dude a thumbs-up in his mindthere were not many people who dared speak to Godzilla in such a tone. That's brave of him, he thought.
Storage unit number 2 opened and people lined up to view the unit. Li Du was interested in this unit, so he didn't say anything to the others after viewing it and quietly walked to one side.
Olly and rest of the treasure hunters were not greedy; as they had said earlier, they would be glad with just the "soup." They knew very well that highly profitable units would be for Li Du.
As they knew Li wanted the unit, they gave up on the thought of making any bids. Ferris even asked the whole group what they wanted to drink and went out to get beverages.
Li Du was not at the end of the line for the viewing this round. The last position was taken by a Mexican big guy who wore a toothbrush mustache that made him look rather ugly; he must have thought he looked good, however, for he would touch the mustache occasionally.
Hans spoke in a low tone when he noticed Li Du staring at the man. "That fella's nickname is Princeps. He's infamous in southern Arizona and a quasi-member of the Million Dollar Club."
Joining the Million Dollar Club required a treasure hunter to earn at least million dollars worth of revenue on three separate occasions. A "quasi Million Dollar Club" member referred to people who had made one or two such earnings.
To achieve this, a treasure hunter not only required good judgment, but also a lot of good luck as well. Li Du had the little bug to help him out and even he had not achieved such results.
"Should I fight for that viewing position?" Li asked
Hans shook his head. "Don't, this is their territory. Princeps and Frank have the same problem: both of them are grumpy madmen."
"I've dealt with Frank," Li Du said with ease.
"This is all I'm going to say: these two men are maniacs but they are different. Frank's easy to deal with because he practically works alone, but Princeps has a group of maniacs working for him. He's the boss of the Tucson Brotherhood."
"Tucson Brotherhood?" Li Du asked. "What is that? A gang?"
He was not very clear about the industry rules and specific situations of different storage auctions. Whenever he had the spare time to learn, he chose to do something that would broaden his horizons in other areas. He never dedicated time to understanding such matters.
With someone like Hans for a buddy, he didn't need to worry about this kind of stuff. Hans was Mr-Know-It-All in the storage auction industry. Whenever Li had a question, he would ask Hans.
Hans was about to answer when suddenly someone knocked into him from behind. Li Du hadn't noticed the man and staggered a few steps.
"What's going on?" Li Du asked instinctively.
He had been knocked into by a young, muscular black man with braids. He wore baggy clothing and had a cynical look on his face.
The young man did not apologize to Li Du. Instead, he condescendingly pushed his chest against him and said provokingly, "Don't you know what's going on?"
Many people were drawn by the conflict and turned toward their direction to see what was going on. The auctioneer noticed this as well but he didn't intend to do anything about it. He glanced at them without expression and looked away.
His nonchalant attitude would not have happened in Flagstaff. The auctioneers in Flagstaff valued their reputations and responsibilities. If they saw anyone starting trouble, they would immediately ask the troublemaker to leave.
Li Du could tell that he was not welcome here, and that the young man had intentionally provoked him. He furrowed his brows and asked, "Hey pal, what do you want?"
The young man replied coldly, "What did you say earlier?"
Li Du had no idea what he was talking about. "What did I say?"
"You said what the hell the Tucson Brotherhood is!" The young man spoke through clenched teeth.
This was a false accusation. Li Du had a good temper but that didn't mean he would remain humble in the face of obvious bullying. He sneered and was about to retaliate.
However, the usual fearless Hans caved in. He separated the two of them and tried to pacify the young man. "Okay, okay pal, you heard wrong. This is the first time my brother has been in Tucson. He's a rookie. He only asked what the Tucson Brotherhood is about. You heard wrong!"
"Oh, really? The 'Big Li' who is well-known throughout both the central and northern regions, is actually a rookie? That's funny."
Princeps spoke slowly. He stroked his mustache as he stared at them with interest.
The surrounding treasure hunters followed Princeps's lead and started shouting.
"Wow, this is Big Li? But what is Big Li?"
"A good-looking clown. Look at his skinsmooth and delicate. I like this type of fella."
"He provoked the Tucson Brotherhood? Very well, nice one. It's been a while since we met someone as interesting as him."
Several men surrounded Li Du and Hans. They glared at the duo intimidatingly; a few of them even popped their knuckles to taunt them.
Big Beard Carl, Turis and all the Flagstaff treasure hunters there quickly stood behind Li Du, their eyes unyielding.
The more hot-tempered Olly frowned and exclaimed, "Hey Princeps, what are you doing? Pushing us around on purpose?"
Princeps gave him an icy look. "Now where did this rookie come from? You're talking to me? Are you using this kind of tone to talk to me?"
As he said this, someone immediately attempted to shove Olly.
Li Du moved so quickly that nobody could clearly see what happened. They only saw a blurred movement before them and then Li had grabbed the man's arm, twisted and stopped the treasure hunter who tried to shove Olly. It looked like something a cop usually did.
Li Du's glared at the treasure hunters from Tucson and said, "Although we are not here to make friends, we are not here to create trouble either. Why are you intentionally starting something with me?"
These people had deliberately caused a fight. The young man had knocked into him not because he had heard incorrectly but because he was trying to agitate Li Du. They wanted him to break the rules so he would get chased out by the auctioneer.
This made Li Du furious; he burned with anger.