Mr. Martin and his wife questioned the two of them on what had happened in the evening, and so Li Du provided them with a detailed explanation.
The whole time, the couple kept making the sign of the cross at their chests. Their conclusion was just like that of Sophie's, that God had blessed them and sent an archangel to rescue them.
Li Du took out the birthday present he had brought for Mr. Martinnarwhal's tooth.
Mr. Martin taught history, not biology. He asked in bewilderment, "What's this?"
With a smile, Li Du shared the identity of the tooth. Mr. Martin stroked the smooth glossy exterior of the tooth, and said in astonishment, "This is a narwhal's tooth? God, it's beautiful! But, is it legal to keep this thing in a personal collection?"
In American society, there was an iron law dictating that whatever was prohibited should not be a collector's item. This included wild animals or natural products protected by the state, weapons and drugs that were not registered with the government departmentsall of these could not be collected.
For example, wild elephants were protected by law, and collecting ivory was a criminal offense. Therefore, the sale and collection of ivory products were rarely seen.
However, it did not mean that there were none of these illegal items such as ivory in the American society. There were still some antiques and collectors' stores that had them, but these items were all from long ago before the legal injunction had been passed. Hence, these could be collected.
"There is permission to collect this. I've gotten someone to verify it. Judging from the fracture, it had dropped off more than half a century ago, so it can be collected," Li Du explained.
Mr. Martin and his wife were university professors. They surely enjoyed collecting things.
This narwhal's tooth could be included in their collection as one of their treasures. Afterall, it was very valuable and had a strong artistic malleability. If it were to be made into artwork, it would be even more valuable.
Since returning from the Martins', Li Du stayed put at the cabin instead of heading out.
He'd experienced some bad luck in a short period of time and was not too keen on seeking excitement. According to the almanac, when Jupiter was in the West, one should not appear in public.
In addition, he was recuperating in preparation for his venture to the Petrified Forest National Park in search of fire opals.
It was the weekend, and Hans was planning on going to Hoffman's to attend the countryside auction. He asked Li Du if he would like to join him.
They were going to auction off the newly-completed "Men's Secret Hideout." Hans had priced it at 10,000 dollars. The electronic appliances in it were all famous brands, which cost at least 5,000 dollars in totalits value was pretty high.
Having spent the last few days brooding, Li Du jumped at the chance to head out for a breather and so agreed to go along.
In autumn, the auctions for old goods were especially vibrant. Many people in the countryside had spare time after the harvest period. With money in their pockets, they were also looking to buy stuff for their homes.
In the rural areas of the United States, families had the habit of conducting spring cleaning in autumn. To prepare for storing the harvested grains, they would clean up the house during this time.
During this process, they would find many things that had gone unused. They would not want to sell them as the items would only fetch a pittance at the provision stores.
They would choose to go to old goods markets to find what they needed and pass their things to the people who wanted them. This would earn them the maximum value of their items, achieving a win-win solution.
In the afternoon, the five of them, along with the four animals, drove to the town of
The old goods market in the town was now extremely busy, just like the annual carnival back at Li Du's hometown. Stalls flanked both sides of the streets. One could find anything and everything being sold there: fruits and vegetables, snacks, hardware, furniture, household appliances, seafood, and handicrafts.
Li Du saw that many of the stalls were displaying curios of all sorts. His interest piqued, he went up to ask, "Are all these antiques?"
The stall-owner was a middle-aged Chinese man. He was fluent in English, and answered solemnly, "Yes, it's all Chinese porcelain, brought over by my grandfather when he immigrated to the United States from China."
Seeing Li Du's Chinese appearance, he asked, "Are you Chinese?"
Li Du nodded. "Yes. I've gotten interested in the cultural heritage left by our ancestors lately and would like to bring something interesting back for keeping."
The middle-aged man waved his hand immediately. "Then you are at the right place, buddy. Here are some of our cultural treasures. Come, on the account that we share the same ancestors, I'll give you 20 percent off whatever you choose."
Li Du laughed. This guy was very good at drawing in business.
He released the little bug to look for something with time energy.
It would be next to impossible to find any antiques in such a place. It was way too challenging to treasure hunt at a stall like this; the goods would have been appraised and if there were any antiques, they would have been put away.
His aim was to find things that contained time energy to feed the little bug with.
In the end, the little bug turnrf around and then returned to his shoulder with disinterest. Even though the things here looked real, they were actually worthless fakes.
In that case, he didn't want to waste his time. Shaking his head, he started to walk off.
The middle-aged man grabbed hold of him and said, "What's the matter, brother? Look, I've got good stuff here. You see, this is blue and white porcelain from the Yuan Dynasty. These are ancient coins from the Yuan and Ming dynasties, and weapons from the Sui and Tang dynasties . . . "
Li Du decided to walk away; the more he spoke, the less reliable he sounded. Ancient coins from the Yuan and Ming dynasties? Weapons from the Sui and Tang dynasties? Possession of any one of these items would enable one to buy everything in the entire market!
He anticipated that if he stayed, the middle-aged man might also take out the bronze vessels from the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC).
As the market was huge, there was bound to be something with time energy. The little bug flew about and soon found a rusty dagger.
Li Du strolled over to the stall, which was manned by an old goods treasure hunter. He was acquainted with the owner, by the name of Wright George. He visited his cabin often to hang out.
Since it was someone he knew, he didn't beat around the bush and asked directly, "How much for this dagger?"
Wright's eyes lit up. "Hey, Li, what's so great about this dagger? Tell me, for friendship's sake, give me a chance to make some money."
This dagger was not a famous item. Just that it contained time energy, and so the little bug was interested in it.
Li Du used Reverse the Past and saw the scene of a veteran with the dagger at a World War II battlefield.
The veteran had cherished the dagger, often polishing and maintaining it. After he had passed on, his family had chucked the dagger in the garage, causing it to rust.
Li Du said, "Honestly, Wright, this knife's worthless. I just want to buy it for a look. I have no intention of collecting it or reselling it for profit."
He enjoyed a good reputation amongst the Flagstaff treasure hunters; he wouldn't profit from his own people, but would instead help them earn money.
Hence, Wright believed his words. With no other choice, he said, "Give me 50 for it. I bought it for 25 bucks."
Li Du threw him 50 dollars, took the dagger and threw it into his backpack. The little bug flew in immediately to absorb the time energy within it.