Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
He was heartbroken when he remembered that Li Du had not only robbed him of half a million dollars in cash but had also stolen his own precious stones worth millions of dollars. He felt like weeping but had no tears!
Of course, he had no reason to sue Li Du. Although he had relatives working at the police station, he had no relatives in the courts. After all, he had initiated the purchase of mine number 115 and had done so of his own free will.
As for the hole in mine 115 that led to mine 114, he could not prove that Li Du had made it, let alone that precious stones had been unearthed. Blanchett was maddened by the thoughts he was holding in his heart, and instead of taking revenge on Li Du openly, he tried to do it secretly.
However, after the previous attempt, he understood that Li Du was formidable, and that he could not take him on alone. Thus, Blanchett wanted to join the Wright group. When he inquired, he discovered that Wright and the others had been pranked by Li Du and were very miserable.
Li Du did not notice that Blanchett was with his new neighbors, as his attention was on the two mines that he planned to acquire.
Bank employees and government officials arrived on the trading floor, which was filled with chairs where bidders could sit. The auction was presided over by the mayor of Lightning Ridge, a fat, white, middle-aged man named Branson Barron. Barron was a standard politician who always had a smirk, a slick hand, and a glib tongue.
He and all the mine owners present seemed to know each other. They arrived on the trading floor like butterflies, greeting, chatting, and joking with one another. Seeing Li Du, Mayor Barron reached out his hand. “Well, well, well, you must be Du Li, who has become famous in Lightning Ridge recently. Nice to meet you. I’m Branson Barron.”
Li Du laughed. “I’m more honored, Mayor Barron. Lightning Ridge is a wonderful place.”
“It is because of everyone’s effort. This is the miners’ home, the place where we do the mining. I need to thank everyone for their help, especially someone like you,” the mayor said, laughing. He winked at Li Du, “I’ve heard that you saved them from a terrible disaster. I must say, well done, lad!” After that, the mayor went on to entertain other mine owners.
The auction began at 9:30 p.m. Mayor Barron stood on the auction stage and thanked the crowd for their participation. He then began to talk about the importance of black opal mining to Lightning Ridge. After some thanks, he started talking about the main topic and introduced the mines.
All the fields were 20 acres, so he was just going to tell them where the mine was located, and if any gems had been dug up at the mine. He also focused on the mines’ glorious history.
Unfortunately, no gems were ever found in mine 120, so it was considered a veritable dog sh*t mine.
The value of a mine declined with each trade, and former mine owners could buy a mine at a reserve price of less than $200,000. However, on occasions such as mine auctions, the starting price was lower than the minimum.
“You already know about this fertile field, right? So please get the sign in your hand ready. Let’s get started. The base price of the number 120 mine is… 100,000 Australian dollars!”
Li Du shook his head and Steve asked, “What’s the matter? Is the price too high and not worth it?”
He smiled and said, “No, the price is really low. I spent $550,000 on my first mine.”
“What are you waiting for? It’s ours, isn’t it?” Steve asked cheerfully.
Li Du and Steve were experienced on the auction floor and were not in a hurry to bid. Of course, the auctions that Steve had attended were all high-end art auctions at big auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
The price of $100,000 was very low. Some miners who had managed to save up their money and wanted to get the mine at a bargain price went ahead and bid. “I’ll pay $100,000!”
“I’ll give you $105,000. I’m number 18.”
“One hundred and ten thousand dollars, men. I am determined to win this mine!”
“One hundred and twenty thousand.”
“Out of the way, I’ll pay $150,000!”
At $150,000, fewer owners were interested in bidding. Seeing this, Li Du knew that no one was really optimistic about the mine. He gave Steve a wink. Steve held up his sign and said, “Two hundred thousand!”
He had raised the price by 50 percent. The bidding was getting very aggressive.
The other miners dropped their bids outright, while one person shouted, “Isn’t it insane? A mine that only cost $100,000 is now $200,000!”
When a mine was sold, some of the money went to the bank for the loan and some went to the town. When the new owner paid tax on the mine, some of it also went to the town. Therefore, seeing that Steve’s offer was so high, Mayor Barron broke down, pointed at him, and shouted, “This lovely young man has given us a lovely price. No doubt he is now closest to owning the 120 mine, as he has given a price of $200,000.”
All the mine owners shook their heads, and Mayor Barron wasted no more time stirring up the crowd. He took out the gavel, banged it down, and shouted, “Ok, $200,000, sold.”
Li Du and Steve high-fived. Their plan was going well, with the first mine acquired.
As the auction went on, Li Du began to realize that they had bid a little too quickly. His rivals had no idea about the mine’s value and therefore, had no real interest in it.
The number 120 mine sold for $200,000, but the two successive mines failed to sell! The two mines both started at the same price of $100,000, but no one wanted them. Li Du had visited them and, indeed, they were worthless. The mine owners knew this just as well. Both mines had been dug meticulously but without success!
One mine after another was put on the auction table. They either failed to sell, or were sold very cheaply, with the most expensive bid starting at $360,000.
The owners told Li Du that the amount was what a dog sh*t mine was worth, at best. Hence, Li Du had been cheated by Blanchett when he first came to Lightning Ridge and bought a sh*t mine from him. Both were sh*t mines, but Blanchett had sold the mine to him at a price of $550,000.
Fortunately, he had eventually gotten back the half million he had sunk in and made a quarter of a million in cash along with mining a heap of jewels.