There was a pattern on the bottleneck, which was actually the tree's original grain pattern. It looked natural and euphemistic, as it complemented the vase perfectly, making it look like a work of art.
Li Du stared at the vase. "Was this really carved by you?" he asked. "On your own?"
The little blue-eyed girl nodded, and whispered, "Well, do you like it?"
Li Du kissed the vase. He then squatted down, gave her a hug, and kissed her on the forehead. "Yes, I like it very much. It's so well-made."
He was not patronizing her; the vase was exquisite. He marveled at the little girl's carving skills.
He might be an adult, but if he were given a trunk to make a vase out of, he would definitely not be able to do half as well as she had.
The little girl gave a shy but contented smile. She then took out a small container from her backpack and said, "I also brought gifts for Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles."
Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles stretched their necks out in anticipation.
Then, the little girl opened the container to reveal the few chunks of ice inside it.
The sun's rays shined onto the ice, reflecting a beautiful soft light.
How is ice considered a gift? You could have at least brought dried fish or something. Ah Meow glowered at the little girl, his eyes wide with astonishment.
Victoria asked, "Ah Meow, I brought you ice cubes. Do you like them?"
"Meow!" Ah Meow moved his claws about with dissatisfaction. To hell with it. I'll topple your box of ice!
Li Du smacked him on the head. "Be quiet, don't make so much noise."
Then he gave Victoria a warm smile. "Ah Meow's very fond of ithe likes it so much. See how excited he is?"
Ah Meow scratched his head with his claws as he despondently nursed his grievance. Victoria couldn't really read his mood. She giggled, "As long as Ah Meow likes it. I'll bring him some more ice next time. And Crispy Noodles, does he like it? "
The raccoon was smart. He'd noticed that Ah Meow got a smack on the head from Li Du when he had expressed his discontentment.
So when the little girl asked him, he leaned forward, rubbed his head against her calf, and raised his face toward her with a fetching smile.
Li Du stroked his head approvingly. Well, this was how a good boy should behave.
Godzilla went into the cabin to get Victoria a cup of freshly pressed apple juice. Mother Mesa's home was some distance away; the little girl had come over on a bicycle and was hot and tired.
Taking the juice, the little girl said politely, "Thank you, uncle."
Godzilla laughed and went to unload the truck.
Li Du asked, "Have you been looking for me thee past few days?"
The little girl bowed her head and drank the juice. Her bangs blocked her face, and her expression could not be seen. Only her little voice was heard, "Hmm."
Li Du had been in Las Vegas the past few days, so she ha not been able to locate him.However, she had insisted on making a trip to the cabin every single day, and came by to check every morning.
The treasure hunters in the cabin told him this. After hearing this, Li Du asked, "Why were you so persistent about giving me this gift?"
The little girl remained quiet and sipped the juice with her head lowered.
Li Du had work to do, and seeing that she did not wish to speak further, he let her play there with Ah Meow, Ah Ow, and Crispy Noodles.
When he was about to leave, the little girl said, "Brother, are you going to do work?"
Li Du nodded. "Yes."
"How about I go help you out? I am good at doing work," the little girl whispered.
Li Du said, "It's better for you to play here. Later, Brother will cook something delicious for you."
The little girl shook her head. "I'll help you. Mother Mesa said one should use labor in exchange for food."
Li Du was vexed at how stubborn she was. Unloading the truck was laborious and dangerous work. It was not something a barely seven-year-old girl should be doing.
He remembered that she had paper, pens, and comic books in her backpack, so he asked, "Victoria, do you like drawing?"
"How about this? You stay here and draw, then give me the drawing later. I like collecting drawings. This will also be labor, right?"
"Okay," the little girl happily agreed.
Li Du then went over to help sort things out. They had brought back two truckloads full of stuff from Las Vegas, mostly furniture and household appliances.
Hans said, "We've gotta expand the fleet, at least buy another truck. Look, we got six storages units at once this time. We can't possibly rent trucks for every auction, right?"
They indeed faced an issue. The six storage units had been small and so hadn't contained many items. If they had been six medium-sized storage units, they would have had to rent four or five trucks.
Li Du couldn't be bothered with this, and told him, "I'll leave it to you to handle."
Surprised, Hans asked, "You don't seem to care?"
"You'll be responsible for the company from now on. I'm going to the Winslow National Park to look for fire opals, and might not attend storage auctions anymore."
Hearing this, Hans got anxious. "Buddy, I'm in favor of you pursuing your hobbies. But if you don't attend the auctions, how are we gonna land the valuable units?"
"I'll attend fewer of them, not skip all of them completely," Li Du assured. "Let me know about any major storage auctions. If it's not major, then you can make the decisions."
This was acceptable to Hans. In the storage auction line of work, one could sometimes go without making money for as long as three months. However, once the money came in, one could also live off the gains for three months. Besides, there were many valuable items left at their cabin they had yet to sell off.
The items they had were worth millions of dollars. He wouldn't be available to attend storage auctions for the time being anyway; he would have to find ways to sell them off first.
As they were unloading their trucks, the old goods treasure hunters went up to them with interest.
"Hi, Boss Li, what would you like for this set of tableware? Or do you plan on selling it?"
"This is a set of pure silver antique-style tableware," Li Du said. "It's worth quite a bit. Are you sure you've got something just as valuable to match it?"
"Alright, it's obvious you know its value. What about these appliances? The TV, microwave oven, grill and so onhow should we swop?"
"Not swopping theseI've got an idea. We're going to create something fun," Hans said, resting his elbow on Lu Guan's shoulder.
Lu Guan said, "No, Big Fox, it was MY idea."
"I'm the second boss and your leader," Hans replied in a domineering way. "The subordinate's idea is also the leader's idea."
Li Du was busy until noon, and finally opened the refrigerator as he prepared to cook.
They hadn't been in at the cabin for some time. All that was left in the freezer was some leftover pork, a pig's head, and pig's offal from the Berkeley black pig.
As he took these items out, Li Du said to Hans and rest, "I'm going to whip up some Chinese farm-style dishes. Are you guys interested in trying some?"
Hans nodded quickly. "Yes, I'm interested."
The little girl, drooling, also nodded. "Yes, interested."
Li Du smiled and stroked her little head. Recalling his earlier experience selling cookies with her, he was even more sure that this little lass was a glutton.