Treasure Hunt Tycoon Chapter 800
Chapter 800: Lightning Ridge
Chapter 800: Lightning Ridge
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After finishing his sentence, the person in the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado proudly drove off.
Li Du did not know whether to laugh or cry and said, "What's going on? Someone has already given us a warning even before we have passed through the town's entrance?"
Brother Wolf, who was ready to step on the accelerator asked, "Chase them? Teach them a lesson?"
Li Du waved his hand. "No, not necessary. Let's be on our way. Drive around the town first."
Due to its long history of producing gemstones, Lightning Ridge was very well-developed and had a few infrastructures that were very famous in Australia.
Since the number of tourists who came to Lightning Ridge for vacation was also very high, Li Du could not figure out how the person in the Land Cruiser managed to tell that he was there to search for gemstones. There were many abandoned public mines in the town that tourists could enter to freely search for gemstones.
Even though those abandoned mines contained black opals, one had to be extremely lucky to be able to discover them. Compared to harvesting opal in the national park, harvesting opal here was much tougher.
It was already evening. After Li Du found a hotel and completed the check-in procedures, the group entered the hotel and took a break.
The hotel's manager wanted to refuse Li Du's business when he saw that Li Du had pets with him. However, after seeing the expressionless Brother Wolf and hefty Godzilla entering the hotel, the manager could only shrug his shoulders to express his helplessness.
Sophie tactfully took out a hundred dollars, handed it over to the manager, and said, "This is the fee for our pets' lodging. If there are any stains, we will pay you more money to compensate."
Initially, what Sophie said was just a formality. As Ah Meow and the other two furry children were very smart and obedient, they knew how to make use of the toilet to relieve themselves, so much so that they would even press the flush button after they had finished.
However, their group now included Ali. As Ali was not as smart as they were and was not able to control its excretions yet since it was still very young, it immediately started peeing on the floor after entering the room.
Since Ah Meow and the other two furry children were very obsessed with cleanliness, they were very displeased with Ali's action.
Ah Meow gave Ah Ow a slap. As the younger brother, Ah Ow immediately dashed over and hit Ali with her paw before showing her teeth and intimidating Ali, "Ahwoo! Ahwoo!"
Frightened, Ali squatted on the floor and spread its legs. With that, the floor had another puddle of liquid.
After coming out and seeing this sight, Li Du sighed helplessly at Ah Ow, picked up Ali to wipe its butt, placed it on a chair, and said, "Dear, we have to buy a cage for Ali."
Sophie popped her head out of the toilet and asked, "Why? It just lacks training. Ah Meow, Ah Ow, and Crispy Noodles have never stayed in a cage before."
Li Du said in his heart, How are they the same? The three furry children have been altered by the little bug. With every one of them being mischievous, quick-witted, and more intelligent than children, of course they don't need to be kept in cages.
Li Du went to bed and took a nap. After waking up, he heard Sophie say, "There is indeed a need to buy a cage for it."
The floor had even more puddles of pee and poop and Ali was, as usual, staring helplessly at them.
As night had already fallen, Li Du took the others out to have dinner and at the same time, find out more about the situation in town.
Being a large country, Australia had a large variety of ingredients. Despite that, there was not a lot of variety of food in Australia. Even though Li Du had already been in Australia for a long period of time, he had not eaten anything other than seafood.
However, for people who loved eating meat, such as beef steaks and lamb steaks, Australia would be able to satisfy them as the steaks there were cheap and of high quality.
If one was not fussy about the where the meat was cut from, they could fill themselves up with meat even if they did not spend any money.
Although there was seafood available along the coastal regions and on islands, there was not a lot of seafood available inland in places such as Lightning Ridge.
After Li Du and the others arrived, they could see a lot of restaurants along both sides of the street, mostly selling food such as steaks.
Sophie chose a restaurant that sold hot plate beef steaks as it was small and quiet. After entering the restaurant, Li Du and his group occupied all the seats in it. By giving the restaurant's boss a small fee, they were allowed to bring their pets in.
The small restaurant did not have much food to choose from. After Li Du ordered a few steaks, the boss began grilling them.
The boss was a 50-plus-year-old, hefty, mild-tempered Caucasian man. He had a broken leg, so he walked at a slow pace.
Having noticed Ali hiding in Sophie's handbag when he brought Li Du and his group pre-meal red wine, the boss asked curiously, "Are you guys from the zoo or a circus?"
Li Du smiled. "I understand what you mean. However, we are just ordinary people. These are our pets."
The boss shrugged his shoulders. "Raising a kangaroo as a pet? Truth be told, this is pretty unusual."
Having served the wine, the boss went into the kitchen to grill the steaks. With the kitchen of the small restaurant located right next to its dining room, Li Du and the others could see the entire kitchen by just turning their heads.
After taking out two thick steaks and placing them on hot plates that were covered in oil, the boss placed a few plump oysters at the sides of the hot plates.
Next, the boss conveniently grabbed a handful of salt and pepper and sprinkled it on the beef steaks and oysters before grilling them for a while and pouring some white wine on them. Just like how a hamburger was prepared, the boss placed the oysters in the middle of the two steaks.
As the boss moved very slowly, the speed at which the dishes were served was naturally slow as well. In order to prevent Li Du and his group from being displeased, the boss took the initiative to chit-chat with them. "Are you guys here for a vacation? Are you tourists?"
Li Du replied, "Kind of. What recommendations do you have?"
The boss pointed to the northwest and said, "I have some recommendations. You guys can first go to the opal museum there tomorrow. It's located on Lunatic Hill."
Afterward, instead of giving them information about the opal museum, the boss gave them information about Lunatic Hill by telling them a local legend.
Approximately 30 years ago, a miner came to the town to search for black opal. However, instead of following in the footsteps of those that came before him and choosing to dig holes at the foot of hills to find gemstones, the miner opened up a mine at the top of the hill and hence, was ridiculed and called a lunatic by others.
Due to reasons regarding the formation of opal, it was almost impossible for the tops of hills to contain gemstones. Usually, gemstones were found in places lower to the ground or under the ground.
Despite that, after putting in a lot of effort, the miner managed to dig out the highest quality opal at that time. Furthermore, he also bought the hill and named it Lunatic Hill.
In the past, Lunatic Hill had produced a lot of high-quality black opals. However, as it had already been emptied and contained no gemstones, the owner of the hill sold it to the government, who then built a very modern opal museum on it.
"Besides that, there are two castles that are also very interesting. At the end of the town is a castle called Single Prince Castle. You guys can go and take a look at it. The single prince is an amazing man and is also the role model of the miners here."
After the boss finished grilling the first batch of steaks and brought them over, he began giving them information about the single prince.
Just like the miners in other industries, black opal miners led a very tough life. In order to have the motivation to live, many of them gave themselves goals.
Even though some of those goals were not feasible, the miners still worked hard to make them a reality.
The Single Prince Castle was one such goal. The boss explained, "It's a genuine castle. The single prince spent 40 plus years to build it all by himself.
"Believe me. Every day, he would bring a large rock from the mine, day after day and year after year, to build the castle, which he planned to give to his future wife as a present."
"What happened in the end?"
The boss laughed, "In the end? Haha."
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Chapter 801: Difficult Job
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The result was tragic. He had not found many black opals and had not been wealthy. The miner had never married, and there was no woman who wanted to marry him.
However, the Lightning Ridge miners admired his determination and perseverance, and honored him as, "the single prince." After all, he had built a real castle.
The kitchen was so close to the hall that the friendly boss kept telling them about the town.
Everyone who came to the mine at Lightning Ridge had a story, especially in the years after the second world war.
Some of the more fascinating visitors of that era included Britain's ex-spies, former members of the Nazis party, members of the British royal family, former big stars, and some prominent members of the bankrupt government.
"All I'm saying is true. If you meet some of the older miners, you can ask them and they will back me up. I think they would love to talk to you about those thrilling years."
The boss promised them he was telling the truth. Perhaps he felt his stories sounded a little exaggerated, and was worried Li Du and the others would not believe him.
Li Du believed the boss, and there was indeed evidence for many of the things he had said.
The barbeque kept coming, and they began to eat.
The steak tasted great beyond expectations. The aromatic beef was combined with the fresh oysters, which were only seasoned with salt and black pepper, maintaining the original flavor of meat and seafood. Li Du and the others kept complimenting the boss on his great food.
Sucking the oil off of his fingers, Li Du asked, "Boss, what about the output of gems in this town?"
The boss quickly responded, "You're not traveling? Do you want to mine black opal?"
"Both. Wouldn't it be better if we found a good gem?" said Li Du.
The boss laughed and said, "You think it is so simple. Finding a good gem on the way? You think black opal is as common as a cow?"
He shook his head, pointed to his leg, and continued, "Do you know how I got this?"
Li Du guessed and said, "Because of mining? Was it smashed by the ore?"
The boss shook his head again. He said, "No. I found a good stone, and I was robbed. The robber hit me with his car."
Li Du was surprised. "The criminal was that arrogant?"
The boss shook his head again. "It wasn't a criminal. It was a fellow miner. He mined for two years but had found nothing, so he decided to rob me."
Li Du did not say anything. The reality of what the boss had described was truly cruel enough.
"I knew Richard, so I didn't sue him. I knew he was a good man. He was pressured by the reality of life," the boss said.
With that, the boss got emotional and explained, "Think about it, buddy. You have a wife and kids, and you have a hard job that pays enough to support your family.
"But you decided to quit because the job didn't pay enough for you to buy your wife Dior and Louis Vuitton, your kids wouldn't be able to go to Disney, and you wouldn't be able to buy a Mercedes.
"After you quit your job, you come to Lightning Ridge, and you think you're the chosen one, and that you're lucky, and you're going to find a million dollar gem here.
"And the result? You've been working for a month without finding anything, and your money is tight. You work for half a year, still nothing. Your wife has no money to buy clothes, and your children have no money to go to school. You worked for a year and got nothing.
"Who wouldn't be in despair? At that time, if a fellow as unlucky as you got a gem, wouldn't you go crazy?"
Seeing the owner's look of grief and anger, Li Du was startled and quickly handed him a glass of beer and said, "Calm down, old fellow, calm down."
After drinking the beer, the boss got a hold of himself.
"I'm sorry. I was emotional," he said.
Li Du patted him on the shoulder and said, "I understand. Digging a mine for gems is not an easy job."
"It's extremely tough. I sold my black opal, stopped dreaming, and opened the restaurant," said the boss.
Sophie said, "To be honest, you're a great cook. The steak is delicious."
The boss smiled. "Yes, I have confidence in that. In fact, my grandfather and father were both cooks. They once taught me patiently, but I did not learn well."
Another guest arrived and Li Du checked out.
Although the boss had warned them, Li Du still decided to enter the industry. After all, he had a little bug helper, had no economic pressure, and he was not the same as the other miners.
Driving the next day, Li Du saw the castle.
It was a small castle, built in a rough manner, with primitive brown-red ore. It looked good from a distance, but was not so beautiful close up.
However, considering it had been built by a miner on his own, it was amazing enough.
As the old saying went, though a sparrow was small, it had all its parts. Likewise, the castle had everything including a keep, a sub-castle, a tower, a chapel, a dungeon, a cellar, and so on.
The single prince eventually left Lightning Ridge and gave the castle to the town, which was set up as a tourist attraction. The entry fee was five dollars, and they could take pictures.
Li Du and his men turned around there, then drove out of the town center and into the mine.
Digging for opal at Lightning Ridge was not the same as digging in the national park, where you had to lease a piece of land and then use a machine to dig a hole in the mine to find gems.
It was dusty outside the town, and there were machines working on several construction sites.
Some were digging pits with excavators, while others were digging a mine. The miners went down into the mines with helmets, lamps, and pickaxes.
Li Du released the little bug in the surrounding land. It searched for a while but found no gems.
This was normal. The stones in Lightning Ridge had been dug up for decades and even hundreds of years, so the stones that were easy to find had already been found.
They kept driving and came to an interesting building outside the town. It was a bit like a castle or the Great Wall.
It was also the artwork of a miner who was said to have been sent to prison for the murder of his wife.
The story was akin to the Shawshank Redemption, but it was a little bit tougher. The miners carved their experiences into the walls of buildings.
The case was said to have attracted a lot of media attention after the building was finished, and Australian police had re-examined the case.
Looking at the building, Li Du sent the little bug into it.
As the little bug moved around the building, everything in the building appeared in his view, including the ore used to build the building.