Li Du and Hans were blocked by the group of shouting and singing treasure hunters. It was complete chaos!
As someone had shouted a bid before the ruckus started, Li Du knew that the situation had gone beyond his control. He shouted as loud as he could: "4,000 dollars!"
He was certainly loud, but the ruckus was even louder. The auction was a mess.
Not long after he heard the auctioneer shouting, "3,100 dollars, 3,100 dollars, 3,100 dollars, anyone placing a higher bid? Very well, this unit is now yours!"
The auction for the unit ended!
Li Du was furious.
This was a humiliationa complete insult. It was the scheming of the Tucson Brotherhood. Princeps had nodded so his men would play another dirty trick against them. He had never intended to back off from the bidding.
They had split into groups to distract and prevent the duo from placing their bids. Then, they had another treasure hunter make a bid and, with the auctioneer's help, they quickly fixed the price and ended the auction. It was a conspiracy!
When the auction ended, the treasure hunters surrounding them dispersed.
Hans looked at him helplessly. "Now you see how bad the Tucson Brotherhood is, right? They are a bunch of thugs! This is the reason most treasure hunters are reluctant to attend storage auctions in Tucson!"
Li Du was agitated as well. "Nobody has reported them?"
"People have, but what's the use?" Hans asked. "We placed our bids but these people were shouting and yelling around us. The auctioneer could say that he didn't hear our bids. How do you expect the Association to verify this?"
Li Du had never encountered such a situation before. This Tucson Brotherhood really had ways and means to monopolize the auction!
"We can't let it happen like this," said an enraged Li Du. "I must f*cking sue them and file a complaint against this auctioneer to get his auctioneer status disqualified!"
Like many sports referees who needed qualifications for their profession, the auctioneers in storage auctions also needed to show their qualification certificates. These were regulated by the union of the local auction houses.
In other words, the Association of the treasure hunters had no authority over the auctioneers. This was to prevent collusion between the auctioneers and the Treasure Hunter Association.
It seemed people had still found a loophole.
The third storage unit was opened for viewing. Li Du still fumed with anger when he joined the queue. Several treasure hunters sniggered when they saw him. Not long after, mocking words were heard:
"Hey, Chinaman, welcome to Tucsonthe Tucson cowboys welcome you!"
"This is a world for tough men. Wussies should get out of here. You should see your pathetic face. What happened? You look like you're in pain."
"You look like my pet bulldog right now. Every time he loses a fight out there, he comes back with your expression."
"Lost a fight? No, my pet dog only had your expression when he got castrated. Awww, look at how pitiful you are."
Li Du was really furious. Hans hurriedly whispered to him, "They obviously dread your presence. That means they are in awe of you and they want to provoke you. Once you start a fight with them, you've fallen into their trap."
With a sneer, Li Du said, "No, I won't fight them. They like to play tricks, right? Fine, I'll deal with them!"
Taking a deep breath, he released the little bug to the earlier unit with lots of wooden planks and found the blueprint in one of the chests. He let the little bug take in all the time energy of the blueprint and the piece of paper turned to powder.
The auction for the third unit was about to begin.
Glancing at the auctioneer, Li Du gave Hans a wink and both of them came up to the front once again.
This unit was worthless, probably only worth 100 dollars. But Princeps and the Tucson Brotherhood were too much. He wanted revenge. And this unit would be the guinea pig for his vengeance.
The previous two units were the more valuable ones. He couldn't tell if Princeps and his men had bid for them because they knew these were worth the most money or if they simply wanted to win all the units.
The second unit number 10, and Li Du had been really interested in this one.
However, he'd lost the unit because of some dirty tricks they pulled. Li Du was horribly frustrated and felt that the situation was unfair. He thought of a plan to take it back, but in order to realize this plan he needed to conduct some experiments.
The auctioneer raised his hand and shouted, "Alright, the auction begins now. You need to make sure I can see youif I can't see you, I'll probably miss your bid!"
These words were part of the standard speech that every auctioneer gave. Li Du had never paid attention to these. But unlike all the other auctioneers he'd met before, this one had an underlying meaning to what he said.
The Tucson Brotherhood created "human walls" to block other treasure hunters from placing their bids. This way, the auctioneer could use the excuse of "didn't see" and "didn't hear" any other bids from other treasure hunters and award the unit to the Tucson Brotherhood.
After saying that sentence, the auctioneer continued to shout, "Everyone has seen what's inside this unit. There could be a gold mine or a pile of dogsh*t in there, but my starting bid is 200 dollars, 200 dollars, 200 dollars!"
Hans immediately nodded his head. "Okay, 200 dollars!"
"Three hundred dollars." A plump Mexican man raised his hand.
"Four hundred dollars," Hans continued to bid.
The plump man immediately placed another bid, shouting, "500 dollars."
Hans looked at Li Du. Li nodded at him, and he gritted his teeth and made another bid. "Very well, 1,000 dollars!"
"One thousand one hundred dollars," shouted the plump man.
Li Du looked around; his furrowed brows were so closely-knit that they could squish a housefly. The storage auction market in Tucson was bad, monopolized by the Tucson Brotherhood.
There were more than 40 storage units on auction but so few treasure hunters had shown up. Besides the Flagstaff treasure hunters and the treasure hunters from the Tucson Brotherhood, there were only five other people.
These treasure hunters were greenhorns. They didn't know about the situation in Tucson. Now that they knew what they were dealing with, they didn't dare place any bids.
Hans continued to bid: "2,000 dollars!"
Princeps touched his mustache and shook his head once more. Li Du knew that they were going to start their dirty tricks again.
True enough, the two groups of men once again blocked him and Hans from the auctioneer. They started to shout and sing loudly. One of their men managed to shout a bid of 2,100 dollars, followed by the auctioneer immediately announcing the end of the auction!
The group of men dispersed again but Li Du had calmed down and was not as agitated as before. Hans, on the other hand, was furious. He yelled, "Sons of b*tches, just thrash them! We won't get a unit anyway!"
The Flagstaff treasure hunters were nearest them. They heard what Hans said and started shouting as well:
"Yeah, let's just thrash these b*st*rds! Mess them up!"
"Send them to hell! They thought they could do whatever they wanted in Tucson!"
"Big Li, show them some colorsthey're an eyesore!"
Li Du had a cold smile on his face. "Don't worry, everyone. Just watch me. I don't believe that these people can win against me!"
He had meant what he said; he had already formulated a plan. Although the situation seemed dire, it was still early enough for them to turn the tables around to their favorit was just that he needed to execute his plan perfectly.
The Flagstaff treasure hunters were still agitated and wanted to fight the Tucson Brotherhood. Li Du had to calm them down so that they could continue to participate in the auction.