Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
The four little animals were picking grapes just for fun, and after Li Du encouraged them, they became more playful. Consequently, Li Du could not go fishing because he had to watch over the four furry children.
During those two days on Turtle Island, Li Du and Steve talked quite a bit. Thanks to Steve’s experience, Li Du got a lot of information he would be able to use when he was ready to buy an island.
Two days later, they returned to Sydney and went their separate ways. Steve flew back to the United States, and Li Du’s gang stayed in Australia for Ivana’s post-operative treatment. Li Du wasted no time, flew to Tasmania, and gave some information to Stuart Burr and Tony Theodore.
After another ten days, Ivana’s postoperative treatment was over, and she could return to the United States for recuperation. She still wore the veil, but it was acceptable to remove it when there were no strangers around. To be sure, she still looked awful. Her face was covered with gauze, and under the gauze were incisions with many stitches. She looked like a broken doll.
However, she looked much better than before. At least her facial features were formed. After applying ointment continuously, the scars began to fade away, and eventually, she looked like a cute girl again. Sophie gave her a blonde wig in the same hairstyle as Ivana had had before. When she put on the wig, Ivana’s mood improved even more.
At first, Li Du’s plan was for Brother Wolf and Sophie to take Ivana back to the United States for recuperation, as he needed to stay behind to dig for black opal. Li Du needed a lot of money to buy the island, and the black opal mine at Lightning Ridge was the fastest source of money. He estimated that the gems in the vein around the number 122 mine would be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, he soon found that gems would not be his ticket to island ownership. He wanted to sell black opal to the Winston group so that the gems would not flow out to other luxury companies, but Cole did not have enough cash and could only pay Li Du with shares. However, Li Du did not want to sell his shares, at least not yet. Thus, the black opal that Li Du dug up would have to be sold to other luxury companies. Luckily, black opal was very popular on the international market, so if he wanted to sell, someone was always willing to buy.
However, given that these luxury companies were rivals with Harry Winston, and that the company was now preparing a new collection of opal-themed jewelry, if Li Du sold a lot of black opal at this time, it would lower the value of Harry Winston’s collection.
After thinking about it, Li Du suspended the sale of black opal. He allowed Aubrey and the others to continue mining, but the gems were saved, not sold. He made the decision not only because he had to consider what was best for the Winston group, but because Hans had told him about a new money-making opportunity…
Government warehouse auctions!
The Arizona government was planning a huge government warehouse auction in Phoenix, which would begin in early July. Li Du had heard of such auctions when he was in Flagstaff. He had been attending one of the biggest banquets in the storage auction business, and it had attracted a flood of treasure hunters.
For a variety of reasons, governments, police stations, banks, and other agencies confiscated large quantities of property. Some of the property came from illegal proceeds, and some had been repossessed from loans that could not be paid, and still others were lost items.
There were two ways of dealing with ill-gotten gains. If it was something that was a threat to social stability, the police destroyed it. If there was no threat to society, it was given to the government for auction.
There were also ways of disposing of houses, vehicles, jewelry, and other items seized by banks. One way was selling the items in an auction, and then whatever didn’t sell would be kept in a warehouse.
Government warehouse auctions dealt mainly with items collected through both channels, and while none of the items were accepted for public auction, it didn’t mean they were all garbage. On the contrary, the warehouses contained many treasures and valuable goods, but it was a test of the eye to find them.
Hans explained, “Every government warehouse auction is a multimillionaire producer. People have found vintage cars, boxes of jewelry… a lot of good sh*t! Why don’t we go back and attend this auction, Li, and with your eyes and my good fortune, we might make a lot of money.”
Li Du looked at him suspiciously and said, “My eyes are good, but your luck?”
Hans puffed out his chest. “I feel insulted. Of course, my luck is good.”
Li Du rolled his eyes and said, “There’s a lot of doubt. If we depend on your luck to participate in the storage auction, we will starve to death in no time!”
Hans thought about it and smiled. “It seems so. We can’t pick treasures by luck.”
At the end of June, Li Du took the Mi-8 helicopter back to the United States by sea, and the crew flew from Sydney to Los Angeles.
As it was just beginning to be summer in Los Angeles, the sun was hot, and the wind was warm. Hans got off the plane and spread his arms.
Li Du asked him, “Are you going to kneel again?”
The last time they got off the plane in Los Angeles after returning to the United States from the mainland of China, the idiot had fallen to his knees.
Hans said, “I’m not an idiot. Why would I do that?”
After a brief stop in Los Angeles, they continued to Phoenix. It was a short journey, and then Hans and the others were finally home.
In contrast to Los Angeles, Phoenix was a desert and was already well into summer, weather-wise. As soon as Li Du stepped out through the plane’s cabin door, he began to sweat from the hot wind.
They had been shivering at night on Seagull Island, and they were sweating from the heat when they returned to Phoenix. The two extreme kinds of weather made them uncomfortable.
Hans got off the plane, got down on his knees, threw himself on the ground, and kissed the earth with his lips, shouting, “Ah, my Arizona, I’m back!”
The passengers around them stared at him. Sophie and the others felt embarrassed, but Li Du was calm and did not find it strange.
Ignoring the passengers’ gazes, Hans pulled himself up in delight, took a deep breath, and said, “The air is sweeter back home. I feel my lungs cheering.”
“Big Fox, this is the airport. Every day the planes emit a lot of exhaust with an excessive metal element. If you breathe so deeply, be careful, or you’ll get lung disease.”
Brother Wolf, Godzilla, and Big Quinn all laughed and nodded.
They didn’t return to Flagstaff city but stayed there in Phoenix. Sophie contacted the appropriate medical professionals to take care of Ivana, while the others stayed at the Steampunk Hotel, preparing for the auction soon to come.