Wolfgang walked briskly as he dragged the cart along. Li Du stood in his way yet he didn't look forward. Instead, he turned his head to look at his daughter. He, however, said, "Don't stand in my way!"
Li Du smiled and said, "Hey, Brother Wolf. We've met previously. Don't sound so unfriendly."
Wolfgang looked at him in surprise and nodded indifferently. He didn't say a word, so it didn't matter if his tone was warm or cold.
Li Du patted Wolfgang's chest; the chest muscles felt even more solid than the brick wall behind him. He sighed. "Hope you'll be able to keep your promise. Protect me well, for the yearly salary of a million dollars."
Wolfgang, who had been composed so far, was dumbfounded. He continued staring straight at Li Du, then swallowed before throwing his cart down. Then with a "swoosh," he saluted Li Du.
The million-dollar annual salary was considered a high salary for bodyguards. It was however, not the highest possible. Some bodyguards of the wealthy not only drew a monthly salary, but were also paid dividends.
For the wealthy, to a certain extent, the bodyguards were like their lives.
Li Du was willing to offer the annual salary of a million dollars. Godzilla, who had been with him for more than half a year, had already received half a million dollars. Right now he was just starting his career. Li Du intended to give Godzilla a raise later on.
Prior to this, he was not able to accept the fact that Wolfgang had to bring his daughter along to work. But Sophie had said that the little girl had issues and that she would do the same if she were him.
Hence, he understood. In addition, he believed that once Ivana had been treated, Wolfgang would not have to keep her by his side all the time.
Li Du said, "You're given a three-month probationary period. If you qualify, I'll give you an advance of your first year's salary, so you can use it for your daughter's treatment. But if you fail to qualify, then don't blame me for being heartless."
Wolfgang said respectfully, "Yes, sir!"
"Call me boss. I'm not some sir," Li Du said.
With his bodyguard recruited in such a fashion, Li Du thought over what he had done. Everything had gone smoothly, except for the part where this bodyguard would have to bring his daughter everywhere with him, which he had thought wouldn't quite work out.
The way Wolfgang was working was just as Li Du had expectedswift and vigorous.
Although he was recruited in the evening, the next morning he reported at the cabin with both daughter and luggage.
Seeing that he had lugged his things to the cabin, Li Du said, "Buddy, you don't have to live here. I only need protection when I go out of town."
Wolfgang said with all seriousness, "I'll live with you and protect you 'round the clock."
Li Du waved his hand and said, "No need. Really, no need for that."
Wolfgang became silent once again. Then he said with a red face, "There's not enough money. The rent was due."
Li Du couldn't help laughing. No wonder he had been so quick to agree to be his bodyguard once he had met his condition - was he at his wit's end?
It was understandable though. Wolfgang needed to bring his daughter along for his job as a bodyguard, which meant that it had been the case for all the other jobs he had undertaken. There weren't that many jobs that could accommodate this.
Before, he had been working at the construction site. It was hard work, but since American workers' wages were not low, the income should have been substantial. But he did say he didn't have much money, which meant that he must have spent a lot on his daughter.
Li Du gave him an advance of 10,000 dollars and then tidied up the hut for him to live in.
Now there would not be enough room at the cabin. Godzilla was staying there and the little girl, Victoria, often visited. With the addition of Brother Wolf and his daughter, space was going to be an issue.
So he called Stephen and asked him to get his friend to send another small hut over for Brother Wolf and his daughter.
Li Du didn't have much money left. Most of his cash had been exchanged for shares in Harry Winston, Inc.The two paintings were worth a lot of money but the appraiser whom Roger had helped to contact had not yet arrived.
He had followed up with Roger just the day before. Roger had asked him to wait, as those experts did not believe he had two genuine Van Gogh paintings, so he would have to manage that first.
Li Du didn't have the time to continue waiting. With the bodyguards assembled, they set out in search of fire opals.
The day after Brother Wolf was recruited, they drove off in the pickup truck.
Li Du left Big Quinn and Lu Guan behind to help Hans. He brought Godzilla, Brother Wolf and his daughter, the three furkids, and drove all the way to Winslow.
On the way, Brother Wolf quizzed him about his interpersonal relationships with the people at the National Park: who were his enemies, who were his recessive enemies, who couldn't stand the sight of him, who had a better attitude towards him and so on, all in detail.
The pickup truck arrived at the National Park and Li Du met an acquaintanceOwen the gem trader.
Owen was chatting with the ticket seller. Upon seeing him, he smiled and said, "Hi, Li, my brother from China. I haven't seen you in a long time."
Li Du fist-bumped him and said, "I went on a trip to Las Vegas. Long time, no see. How have you been, buddy?"
Owen smiled hopefully. "Good, I've been digesting the big gift you sent earlier. But I'm in the appetite for more food now. Have you got any?"
Li Du was no longer keen to sell him any gems. He was now a small shareholder of Harry Winston, Inc. The company could offer him a higher price and when it made money, he would get dividends. Why wouldn't he go for that instead?
He could not say that so bluntly, so he whispered, "Let's see if God is on my side. Hope I can still find some gems."
Owen patted him on the shoulder and laughed. "I believe you can do it. Now, many people know you have a pet which can hunt for gems, right?"
Li Du frowned. "Who spread such a piece of news?"
Owen gave him an "I understand" look and laughed. "Someone spouting nonsense. Ha, they must be talking nonsense. The fire opal has no scent and is buried deep underground. What animals can possibly find them?"
He had said so, but his expression showed that he had taken the news seriously.
Li Du didn't quite care; they were free to assume so, as long as they didn't start suspecting him of anything.
Soon after, he realized that when something like that happened, it meant he was being watched.
As before, he had gotten two and a half acres of land for use over two days and two nights. After paying the 1,000 dollars, he drove along with the security officer to the leased land.
On the way, they passed through many gem hunters' sites. These people recognized his car and waved in greeting. They seemed welcoming.
Li Du turned around and said, "I'm quite popular here, eh?"
Brother Wolf said, "Having popularity is good, but it may not have been in good faith."
Li Du asked, "What do you mean? I helped the people here to uncover fraud and prevented them from being cheated. Why would they harbor any malicious intent towards me?"
Brother Wolf shook his head and said, "Not sure yet, but be careful of that man just now."
"You're referring to Owen? That plump gem trader?" Li Du asked.
Brother Wolf said, "Yes, him."
Li Du gave him an incredulous look. "Can't be. We're partners and have enjoyed win-wins before. He even helped me during a bet."
Brother Wolf said somberly, "Maybe my analysis is wrong, but I trust my own judgement."
Li Du shrugged. He also trusted Brother Wolf's judgement. It's hard to predict what's on people's mindswho's to know what others really felt about him?
With the security officer leading the way, they arrived at the leased plot of land. The pickup truck stopped and Li Du got to work.