For the first five storage units, Li Du didn't make any moves. He gave the chance to Olly and the rest. The third, fourth and fifth storage units were secured by the Flagstaff treasure hunters consecutively.
Li Du waited until the sixth storage unit before he participated.
The auctioneer sat up high on a deck as though he were a deity looking down at them.
His job was very easy. He would point at those who offered bids and shout before letting others counter-offer.
The starting bid price was usually 100 dollars; the first person to offer would raise his hand.
The sixth storage unit was number 22. From its photo, two long tubular boxes could be seen. The boxes, which were probably 12 or 15 feet in length, were narrow and long. Their cross-section was a square of about 20 centimeters long on each side.
In addition, there were also some fragmentary tools meant for a ship: a cracked ship rudder, a heavily-rusted anchor, rotating machinery, a fishing platform, anti-skid shoes, long leather trousers and so on.
Li Du took a quick look from the entrance and hastily left. He saw the auctioneer raising his hand to indicate the start of the auction and shouted, "500 dollars!"
He made a bid quickly to eliminate unnecessary competition.
Some people shook their heads and walked to the next storage unit. There was no need to stay. Some other storage units further down had been opened up and could be viewed in advance.
"Six hundred dollars," someone shouted out a bid.
"Seven hundred dollars!"
"Eight hundred dollars!"
"One thousand dollars!"
The price increased quickly. In a few breaths, it reached 1,000 dollars.
Li Du was caught by surprise; this storage unit did not look to be worth that much, and it wouldn't have been worthwhile to even buy it for 500 dollarsall the shipping tools that could be seen had been damaged.
As he was about to bid, Hans walked over. With a shake of his head, he whispered, "Someone's watching you."
Li Du looked around and realized that a few people were staring at him. Most of these people had participated in the bidding; they were evidently competing with him.
Magic Hand had also noticed this. He joined them and said, "Hey, this storage unit has got something? It won't be easy to get ahold of. It won't be easy for you to get any units todaypeople are watching you guys."
"Then let them watch," Li Du replied nonchalantly.
Given so, Hans understood what he meant and shouted, "2,000 dollars!"
"Freaking 2,000 dollars!" someone yelled. "What's inside this unit that's worth 2,000 dollars? I bet whoever gets this will be making a loss!"
"Idiot, that's a unit Boy Wonder's eying. The units that he has his eye are usually very valuablewe can't go wrong if we follow suit!"
"I think the idiot is you. Watch out for his trap. I heard that this chap's cunning and that he's used pricing traps to fool many dumb*sses!"
Li Du smiled at the crowd; there weren't that many with such thinking. The bid of 2,000 dollars chased off another batch of people.
The one with the most intensive counter-bidding was the Tucson Brotherhood; someone behind Princeps shouted out, "2,100 dollars."
Hans responded, "3,000 dollars!"
Princeps stroked his mustache but remained quiet. He squinted and looked into the distance, as though deep in thought.
He was indeed deep in thought. During the auction in Tucson, he had been badly entrapped by Li Du. He had gotten a storage unit successfully, which he could profit from.
In the end, Li Du arranged for his men to put up an act to deceive him, and so the 300,000 US dollars due to him had flown away!
However, he also didn't dare to trail Li Du too closely with his bids. He had suffered a loss during the last auction all because he had done so. Li Du was very rich and could be ruthless if he wanted to entrap someone.
The auctioneer didn't give him any time to consider. This was Las Vegas, and not Tucson where he could abuse his authority. The auctioneer pointed in the direction where Li Du was standing, and said quickly, "Alright, alright, this guy has called for 3,000 . . . 3,000 . . . 3,000."
"Three thousand one hundred!" Princeps nodded his head solemnly. The Tucson Brotherhood had decided to follow with the next bid.
Hans looked at Li Du, who nodded his head after a brief pause. Hans shouted decisively, "4,000!"
At this, the scene got rowdier. More than a hundred treasure hunters crowded around them and began to watch the happenings:
"Hey, internal conflict within Arizonaa bunch of crap!"
"Isn't this a good thing? Let's hope that they spend all the money in their pockets!"
"Princeps, don't be discouraged and keep going! I heard that you lost 300,000 dollars because of this Boy Wonder!"
"Lost 300,000 dollars? Buddy, what happened? Tell me about it!"
Princeps wasn't about to follow on blindly. He couldn't tell the value of the storage unit.Four thousand dollars was quite enough. It was not worth it to him to continue taking the risk.
As nobody else had participated in the competitive bidding, Li Du acquired the storage unit.
Magic Hand asked curiously, "What was it you saw that made you fork out 4,000 dollars?"
He asked Li Du. He knew who the brain behind this team was.
Li Du laughed. "First, there are old-fashioned shipping tools in there, which could be items left by gold miners. Second, since there were people trailing me closely in the bidding, I gotta get rid of them early on."
What he meant by the second sentence was that he actually wasn't interested in this storage unit but that he wanted to use the high price to dupe his opponents. He was, however, unsuccessful this time around.
After passing two storage units, he put in a bid again. This time, the price was raised to about 4,000 dollars.
Princeps stroked his mustache wordlessly and nodded. Someone behind him shouted, "4,100 dollars."
Li Du raised his eyebrows, slapped the photocopied colored page onto Princeps' chest and said, "This unit's yours."
A Tucson Brotherhood treasure hunter murmured, "D*mn, looks like we got duped by him again!"
Princeps glared at him with his shady eyes, and that treasure hunter quickly shut up and gloomily ran off.
Li Du chose to bid for the remaining storage units. He discovered that the treasure hunters didn't back off easily upon defeat; they were instead willing to try and bid against him.
As they moved on, more people started to trail them in bids. He was not able to get hold of any storage units for less than 2,000 dollars. If he was really interested in any unit, he would usually bid up to 5,000 dollars so that his opponents would back off.
If the bid were below 5,000 dollars, the treasure hunters were willing to take the risk to challenge him.
If the bid were below 5,000 dollars, the majority of the treasure hunters wouldn't risk it. After all, they didn't have that much money.
It was also not an easy task for the Flagstaff treasure hunters to get hold of the storage units. Everyone noticed that Li Du would whisper to some of them when he wanted them to bid for a storage unit.
Under such circumstances, some of them kept a close eye on Olly, Turis and the rest, so as to put in competing bids.
After more than a dozen storage units were auctioned, it became more and more obvious what was happening. Olly got increasingly frustrated. "D*mn, I never thought there would ever be a day when people put in competing bids against meup against trash like me?"
Dickens said, "Who said never? However, this feeling's pretty good. The control's in our hands, and it's great."
The rest of them started laughing, but Hans couldn't see the humor in the situation. He said to Li Du, "Obviously, it will be harder for us to make money in the future. More and more people are watching us."
"I have other channels for making money," Li Du said. "Besides, even if they're watching us, I'll still get my hands on those valuable storage units!"