After eating supper, Li Du slept.
He had originally wanted to sleep only for three to four hours before waking up to continue the search, and had set his alarm to wake him.
When he woke up, however, it was already bright. He looked at his watch. It was 8:30 am. He asked gloomily, "The alarm didn't go off?"
Seeing that he was up, Sophie chuckled. "It was turned off by someone, cause that someone saw someone else was sleeping soundly, so wanted to let him sleep more."
Li Du also laughed; he had enough sleep and so was feeling recharged.
"I'm fine. You shouldn't have worried," he said as he went over to give Sophie a kiss.
"Remember what I had said last night?" Sophie asked. "A stress fracture is a kind of injury caused by excessive fatigue. When the muscles are overused, they cannot absorb the vibrations caused by repeated collisions. The stress is then carried to the bones, resulting in fractures or cracks in the bones."
Li Du understood what she meant. "How could that happen?" he asked with a smile. "I'm not that tired out."
He continued his search for fire opals. Conducting the search on a specific piece of land made for a targeted and efficient operationthe gains were also much more.
Over two days, he found another 40 opals on this one-hectare piece of land. In total, he found 58 pieces. Although it wasn't yet double the number of opals from the last round, it was already quite a lot more.
But, Li Du was dead tired!
Over the last two days, he'd used the little bug more extensively and for a longer duration than the last time. This was why he could find more opals than before.
Finding 58 opals within two days was quite a feathe made searching for opals look easy.
But that was not the case. It was not easy to search for opals. This was why some regular folks might not find a single piece over a whole month.
The fire opals that Li Du had found were mostly lying inside the gravel. Some required him to dig nearly a foot deep while those that were deeper required him to dig through rock layers over three feet deep.
Besides, most fire opals were usually not exposed. With the passing of tens of millions of years, most of them had been wrapped up in soil and gravel.
If he hadn't had the little bug to fly in for a look, there was no way Li Du would find the gemstones' true identities.
The little bug's ability to penetrate most materials was like having X-ray vision. This made the search for fire opals much easier.
The reason why regular hunters found it so challenging to search for fire opals was that searching for them was inefficient.
They were not allowed to bring machines into the national park and could only search by hand. When they found lumps of gravel or mud balls, they needed to crumble them to check if there were any gemstones in them.
They had to pick up pieces of rock, crumble them, or break them apart, by handit was way too much work.
If they were checking at least a couple feet below the ground surface, it would be considered quick of them to finish searching an area of about three to six square feet in one hour. To search through 60 square feet in a day was quite an impossible feat.
Li Du had almost emptied all these plots of land of the easily-accessible fire opals. It would not be easy for hunters on these plots trying to find fire opals after him . . .
Granted, the national park was a huge place spanning hundreds of kilometers. One square kilometer was one hundred hectaresthere was a limit to what Li Du could cover.
This time, he kept the fire opals that he had found instead of selling them.
Anything abnormal would definitely arouse suspicions, especially if he were to sell dozens of fire opals every two or three days.
After securing the 58 fire opals, he brought the three of them back to the motel for a rest.
When he woke he received a call from Hans. "Hey bro, how's it going in the national park?"
"Got great gainsdo you want to come get some?"
"No," Hans said, "I spent some time as a gem hunter once. No sign of even a piece of sh*t after two months. I swore that I would never do such a stupid job again."
Li Du laughed loudly. "You just haven't got the know-how."
Hans countered, "Did Big Quinn and Godzilla find anything? What did they find?"
Mr. Li became quietthe two poor guys also hadn't managed to find sh*t.
Noting his silence, Hans guffawed.
"Stop laughing, why did you call?" Li Du asked in frustration. "It can't be just to ask about my gains."
"Right," Hans said. "Was so busy talking crap with you that I almost forgot the main reason I called."
Hans laughed, "Don't cuss at me, you should praise me instead. The first thing was that I've sold all our sports equipment. Wanna know how much I got for them?"
Li Du pretended to think hard before saying, "A million?"
Silence came from Hans's end of the line.
It was Li Du's turn to laugh. "I'm just kidding. How is it, did we get a good price? What else can you tell me? Alright, I was joking about that million but we should have at least gotten 200 grand?"
After a while, Hans's listless voice could be heard. "I was quiet because I was irritated by you. Irritated because you underestimated my ability."
Li Du was shocked. "What?"
Hans said, "The whole set of autographed footballs, I sold them for 240,000 dollars!"
Li Du was dumbfounded by his statement. "You must be kidding me!"
"Come back and see the account statements for yourself. This time we'll have to pay quite a bit of taxes. The sales of all the sporting goods totaled at 1.66 million dollars! "
Upon hearing this price, Li Du gasped, "1.66 million dollars? You sure it's USD and not Thai baht or Zimbawee currency?"
"I'll show you the books when you get back. The second thing I am calling about is the news I just got. There's going to be a cash auction in Las Vegas in two days. Wanna try it out?"
Li Du had yet to recover from the moment he'd found out that a pile of balls and a few machines had sold for the astounding price of 1.66 million dollars. Upon hearing Hans's question, he said casually, "As long as there is a chance to make money, we'll go."
"Of course! Of course there's a chance to make money. Every time there's a cash auction, someone makes money."
Li Du suddenly reacted and asked, "Cash auction? What does it mean? Only cash can be used? Why would it be a guaranteed chance at profits?"
Hans explained, "Yes, only cash can be used. To participate in the auction, we gotta bring enough cash. Why is it a guaranteed chance at profits? Because cash auctions usually see many storage units being auctioned off, and so the chances of making profits are higher!"
Cash auctions were a type of large-scale storage auctions; cash was the preferred mode of payment so that the seller could evade taxes.
With the proliferation of online transactions, it was even easier for the Internal Revenue Service to check on accounts. Many auctions used online banking to carry out transactions; all the IRS needed to do was check the online statements with the banks.
Cash transactions meant that there was the chance to falsify accounts and evade taxes. Large-scale storage auctions would see large sums of money being transferred. Tax evasion could help to save a significant amount of money.