The four of them were very satisfied with the sumptuous breakfast. Ah Ow, who was eating with them, ate until her small stomach was plump. She took the opportunity when the others were tidying up to quickly defecate.
Ah Ow would dig apart rocks when defecating before using the rocks to bury her feces.
After one day and one night of living together, Brother Wolf was no longer as quiet and began taking the initiative to talk. He said, "This wolf is too smart."
Li Du smiled. "Do you know why she buries her own feces?"
Brother Wolf shook his head.
Li Du pointed at Ah Meow. "He's the one who taught her. When Ah Ow was young, she would pee and defecate anywhere. Ah Meow would stare at her whenever she did so and give her a fierce beating. After many beatings, she learned the correct way of defecating."
Brother Wolf's mouth was wide opened. "Unbelievable."
While smiling, Li Du brought Godzilla along to start work. Both of them dug a stone pit and searched meticulously for fire opals that were hidden inside. As these fire opals had dull inclusions, they were harder to find.
After a while, Brother Wolf walked over. "Boss, they are using binoculars to monitor us."
As Li Du knew who he was talking about, he looked at the neighboring tent and asked, "Are you sure?"
"I saw very clearly the reflection of the lens earlier," Brother Wolf said firmly.
Without a solution, Li Du said, "Let them monitor then. We'll continue our work and change location after searching through this place once."
After working until around noon, they completed searching this piece of land just as the weather became hot.
In total, Li Du found more than 100 pieces of variously-sized opals. He did not count them too carefully because among them were some cloudy opals that, besides being not very valuable, were stuck together with rocks.
Nonetheless, he did not let them off as no matter how low-priced they were, they still had value.
Godzilla and Brother Wolf tidied things up and dismantled the tent. Li Du, who was not doing work, released the little bug to search the surroundings for a resource-rich areaas usual.
The area of the national park was 230-square miles. It was around 27 miles from north to south. The furthest across it got from east to west was 20 miles while the shortest was around one mile.
Besides having petrified forests in this vast area, there were also the interstate 40, BNSF railway, and one of the main tributaries of the Little Colorado River, the Puerco River, which all ran across the national park.
As expected, it was impossible to have fire opals everywhere in such a vast area.
Fire opal, like other gemstones, had gem deposits. Only in the vicinity of these deposits could gemstones be found, and finding gemstones anywhere else was very difficult.
The deposits were not continuous. They were discontinuous and were distributed over various regions. Although the exact regions were not clear, the total area of these regions were at least ten square miles according to the word of mouth of gem hunters.
In other words, the fire opals produced spanned over an area of more than 1000 hectares!
Among these regions, there were some regions with more fire opals and other regions with less. These few times, Li Du searched only for rich deposits as he needed to work on them.
It was not easy searching for rich deposits. Even though the little bug flew very fast and had a very good field of view, these gemstones were small and dull. As such, finding them amidst a bunch of rocks was not easy.
Even after searching for quite a while, Li Du was unable to find a place that contained a rich amount of gemstones.
Just as he was about to give up, the little bug passed a hillock and saw that there were also a few crushed rocks and ore fragments underneath the soil.
Seeing this, Li Du became excited.
As this piece of land did not consist purely of rocks and instead, consisted of soil and hillocks covered by rocks, it was likely that this piece of land had not been searched by anyone before.
Due to geographical reasons, there were fewer fire opals and more gemstones and ore hiding underneath the ground.
This place was an exception. In fact, the ground that people saw was formed by soil falling from the few small hillocks and covering the rock-filled land. Underneath the thin layer of soil, there were crushed rocks as well.
As no one had searched this place before, the number of fire opals here was greater. After all, for the last hundred years everywhere else in the national park had been searched.
Even though other people did not possess the ability Li Du had that enabled large amounts of fire opals to be discovered, there were still a lot of opals that had been extracted from the area over the course of time.
Sure enough, after the little bug had searched this place meticulously, it immediately discovered a few opals, which had decent colors as well. This place was a rich gemstone deposit.
Having confirmed the target, Li Du left.
They first drove to the motel nearby and rented a room before taking a hot water bath as well as an afternoon nap. Like before, he set off anew in the evening.
This time around, he rented two one-hectare pieces of land that were adjacent to each other. Owen, who was waiting at the ticket counter with a few jewelers, saw him walk over and asked, "Li, how's the harvest?"
Li Du wore a dispirited look and said, "Very bad, man. It seems like God has suddenly distanced himself from me. My efforts last night were wasted."
"Patience," Owen said. "You have to be patient, mate. God will bless you." He gave him a meaningful smile.
If not for Brother Wolf's warning, Li Du would not observe Owen's expression in detail and hence, would not uncover the meaning behind that smile. Although he was no longer looking at Owen directly, he released the little bug to stare at him.
Through the little bug's vision, he discovered the strange smile and became cautious.
Our ancestors were rightyou might know a person's looks but you do not know their true intentions!
Seeing him purchase two hectares of land in one go, someone with his arms crossed, said, "Dude, are you sure you can search through such a big area in one day's time?"
Other people joined in. "Yeah, you walking around the two-hectares once will already take a considerable amount of time. Truth be told, newbie, finding opals requires deep and meticulous digging."
"You seem very confident renting such a large area of land. Don't tell me you are using machines to do the work?"
Once the last few words left this person's mouth, quite a number of people, including the ticket seller and security guard, stared at Li Du.
The Petrified Forest National Park strictly forbade machines from entering. The main purpose was to prevent machines from causing harm to this protected area as well as to guarantee the output of opals.
The national park, which was a very famous attraction among the locals, had over 3,000,000 people visitors every year and approximately 10,000 visitors on average each day. The people did not only come to admire the petrified forest but also to search for opals.
Without the allure of the fire opals, the number of visitors would decrease by at least half.
Rumors such as a tourist discovering a fire opal after randomly kicking aside a few rocks, a tourist discovering a fire opal during a picnic, and how tourists discovered fire opals, would frequently spread from the national park.
These rumors have attracted a huge number of people, who did not know the truth, to come here. After all, everyone had the desire to get rich and was willing to come here and try their luck.
The national park took delight in seeing tourists come over to search for fire opals not just because of an admission ticket, but also because of the revenue from the discovery of opals.
According to regulations, after a tourist discovered a fire opal, the tourist would have to pay the national park 20 percent of the profits. Gem hunters were not required to pay this fee.
If the tourists wanted to take away other stones from the national park, they would also have to pay a certain fee. This was done to protect the ore here as well.
Otherwise, if taking away ore was free of charge, it was likely that tourists would drive over in pickup trucks and drag the ore away.