Looking at the last of the sunset, Sophie put her hand on the warm surface of the sandstone and sighed. "God, I feel like I've touched a piece of time from millions of years ago..."
During her sigh, the shadows grew longer as the sun got closer to the horizon.
Li Du took Sophie's hand and jumped onto a higher rock. They watched the sun fade into the distance; it was like a red fireball disappearing into the darkened desert boundary. The whole process was actually quite fast but it was slow in the eyes of the couple.
From up on the rock, they could see that the whole Forest Park was illuminated by the afterglow, everywhere glimmering with fiery red luster as if the earth were burning.
In addition to the fiery red light, as there were a lot of fossils and ore on the ground, so there were also a lot of flickering colors.
It had started with fiery red light dominating the whole landscape. As the sun set, other lights began to flicker with more strength amidst the red glow.
The colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple proceeded to show their presence in the landscape; the National Park filled with a variety of colors.
A line of big birds appeared in the sky. As the sky dimmed, the birds' form gradually blended into the sky, but the vigor they brought remained the same.
When the sun disappeared, the desert changed from an overall red tone to purple; even the sky above where the sun had set turned purple.
Twilight was here, and it turned the desert into a color palette.
The earth's hills and colors of the fossils changed again. The starry sky started to appear. The night sky was not yet black, instead a shade of dark blue.
The landscape was now enveloped in endless dark blue tones, turning the earth into a shade of grayish-blue like the tides.
Standing on the boulder, Li Du felt like he faced a magical sea of frozen hills. The boulder at his feet seemed to be a surfboard, making him feel like he could step on the waves and surf any moment.
Not until the sky was covered with stars were the both of them finally awakened from the spectacular sunset.
Li Du glanced at Sophie and said, "It's really magnificent! 'The straight lonely smoke rises in the desert, the long river reflects the round sun in sunset.' I dare say it can't be compared to what we just experienced!"
Li Du had recited the poem in Mandarin. Sophie could not understand, so he tried to explain it to her.
However, the English interpretation could not fully bring out the artistic feel of the poem. The Chinese poetry was broad and profound. A lot of poems could only be fully understood fully in Mandarin. It was common for poems to lose their flavor after translation.
After listening to his explanation, Sophie thought for a moment and then said, "How about this? Why don't you teach me Mandarin? I'll learn Chinese so I can appreciate the poetry in your culture."
Sophie's request was great. Li Du was more than happy to teach Sophie Mandarin. Once they were married, Sophie would need to communicate with his parents. It would be more reliable for her to learn Mandarin rather than getting his parents to learn English.
They rode back to the Visitor Center in the moonlight.
A few pickup trucks were parked near the entrance of the park. Some shirtless muscular men were smoking near the entrance as well. Li Du saw a few gem hunters that lost the bet to him waiting there.
Apparently, these people had stayed here, waiting for him to show up. Li Du had almost recovered from the loss of his energy and was not afraid of trouble. However, Sophie was with him and it was nighthe didn't want to put her in danger.
Thus, he called up Godzilla.
Godzilla and the rest quickly arrived. Hans came as well; he hadn't returned to Flagstaff.
As the four of them alighted, Li Du and Sophie went up to them.
The gem hunters' expressions immediately changed when they saw Li Du and they walked towards him.
Li Du was now with Godzilla and Big Quinn. When the gem hunters saw the two big men, their expressions changed once again. They passed Li Du as if nothing had happened and headed toward the National Park.
Big Quinn frowned as they walked by. "What are they doing?"
Hearing his complaint, the gem hunters walked even faster. They practically ran toward the National Park.
Big Quinn's face looked even more ferocious at night. Li Du felt that maybe it was time to increase Big Quinn's pay. Having Big Quinn around really saved him from a lot of trouble.
On the way back, he took the five opals he had with him and gave one to each of the four of them. He left one opal to himself, the one with the purest color with a blot that made it looked like a gem of fiery clouds.
Godzilla looked at it and asked curiously, "What is this?"
Lu Guan was stunned and shrieked, "Bullsh*t!"
Godzilla replied, "Can bullsh*t be this beautiful?"
"Don't interrupt me!" said Lu Guan. "Bullsh*t! This is a fire opal! This thing's expensive, this is a gem!"
Hans obviously knew what they were as well. He fiddled around with the opal. "Where did you get so many fire opals? This could be worth 10,000 dollars, right?"
Big Quinn firmly gripped his opal after listening to what Hans said.
Li Du told them briefly about the bet, then he continued, "Crispy Noodles and I found these opals. Crispy Noodles is good at digging. He seemed to be connected to the fire opals. And together with my sharp powers of observation, we managed to find these gems."
"It must be you who found them," said Hans. "A raccoon connected to fire opals? Bullsh*t. If they really have a connection, I'd be willing to keep 100 raccoons."
In places like Flagstaff, which was situated near a National Park, the raccoons were rather hated by residents. They were impulsive and destructive. They often wreaked havoc in people's backyard.
As soon as Hans blurted out his thoughts, Li Du sighed in his heart. Hans knew him too wellhe was unable to fool him.
Fortunately, Hans did not know the real reason Li Du could find valuable storage units and now the fire opals. He simply believed that Li Du possessed sharp observation powers that were beyond the ordinary man's insight.
Li Du didn't provide any explanation but continued speaking. "I found a new way to get rich. Maybe when we can't make money in storage auctions we can find some time to go hunt for fire opals in the Petrified Forest."
Hans nodded in agreement. "That's a reliable way to get rich. If we can find high-quality fire opals, we don't need to deal with storage units anymore. We can spend the next half of our lives in the company of beautiful women and exquisite wine."
Of course, the most important thing now was the upcoming storage unit auction.
In the morning, Li Du took Sophie and the others to the storage company. They went later than usual. Most of the treasure hunters had already arrived.
They didn't need to observe their opponents and decide on a plan anymore, which was what they had done when they first joined the industry.
Now, they relied on their fame and their abilities to crush their opponents. This meant it was actually better for them to arrive late. If people heard they were interested in a particular auction, it would certainly attract a lot of extra treasure hunters.
But even without him arriving early this auction attracted a lot of people. Winslow's storage units were famous. Many people had found good items here before.
Not only were the treasure hunters here, but a group of tourists was at the storage company. They wore white hats and held small flags. The treasure hunters were stupefied upon seeing the group of tourists.
The auctioneer explained to the treasure hunters that this group of people were tourists. They had come here to observe and participate in the auction. They were from Asia and had never seen or been in contact with such an industry before.