The news of the treasure hunters joining in an auction for the welfare home was aired that night.
Hans and Li Du drank beer while watching TV. Both of them had been shown on the television; Li Du had even been interviewed twice.
"I dont think I performed very well there. I was too nervous," Hans smacked his lips.
Li Du threw him a sideways glance. "Do you think thats a valid reason for staring at her chest? If not for the camera, I bet that she would have given you one hard slap."
At this, Hans grew excited. "F*ck, that girls chest was really large"
Li Du beckoned to Ah Meow. Petting its fur, he said, "Drop it. You cant touch them, no matter how large they are. Come on, lets talk business. Are there any units up for auction?"
Hans wasnt satisfied. "Are you a workaholic? We just got a big catch. You really are hardworking."
"Working hard is a Chinese virtue."
Ah Meow turned comfortably in Li Dus lap, nuzzling into his soft belly. Ah Meow gurgled, its large eyes half-closed. It was really enjoying itself.
Hans said, "If we didnt make this a charity, we could have made a lot! Twenty-three thousand dollars! You could have used it to meet the requirement for joining the Hundred Thousand Club!"
Li Du, too, had considered this when donating the twenty-odd thousand dollars. But he knew that if he had taken the money for himself, the other treasure hunters would have killed him.
Speaking of this, he asked, "Wont the association investigate this? A scam of people stuffing counterfeits into the storage units and auctioning them off?"
Hans explained, "No, they wont, because they cant. Someone who bought a storage unit like that can only blame their luck. Treasure hunting has always been about observational skills. If youre not sharp enough, then woe on you!"
Li Du stopped and pondered this. "What a tough, cruel job to be in."
Ah Meow patted Li Dus hand with its furry little paw in dissatisfaction: Go on. I was enjoying myself back there. Scratch this place, too. Its itchy.
Hans nodded in agreement. "It is cruel, but I think that youve adapted to it quite well"
At this, he stopped talking and frowned in contemplation.
"What is it?"
Hans took a swig of his beer. "Its nothing. I was just thinking of the way we split our profits. Frankly, I dont contribute much. The main reason were earning so much is you. Maybe I shouldnt be taking forty percent."
After a moment of silence, he went on. "How about we change our arrangement? Ill just take twenty percent. How about that?"
Li Du looked closely at him. "Are you for real?"
"Yes. Im serious." Hans wasnt smiling anymore.
Li Du understood. His scamming the other treasure hunters had frightened Hans after all. Akkalou Benidito had said that he was a frightening fellow. Perhaps Hans thought so too.
He thought about this for a moment. Slowly, he said, "No, Big Fox. Our old arrangement is just fine. The information you provide is very important. So are your contacts to sell everything."
"You could find contacts on your own. Lets drop the forty-sixty profit splitting arrangement. Honestly, I dont feel at peace taking the money. In the long run, you wont be happy about it either."
Li Du said, "How about this: I have a suggestion. Under normal circumstances, Ill get half of the profits. But if theres anything in the storage units that I like in particular, I can take it after discussing it with you."
Hans was right. Even without him, Li Du would make at least just as much as he had been. Li Du had been thinking this for a long time, but had held his tongue, as he didnt think that it was fair to point outand Li Du didnt want to do that. The idea made him feel like a sleaze. He had his own moral standards to uphold.
Hans finished his iced beer in one large swig. Heartily, he said, "No problem."
Li Du sealed the deal cleanly. "Then well do that from now on."
The new arrangement wasnt as profitable for Hans, but he didnt mind. He thought that splitting the profits according to each person's workload was the only way that their partnership could last a long time. Indeed, he felt much more fired up with the new arrangement.
That night, Hans started to look for new information on storage auctions. The next day, Li Du got a message from him saying that in five days a company in Phoenix would be holding an auction. There would be a total of seven storage units up for sale.
The two of them set out for Phoenix.
On the way, Li Du asked, "Whats up with the storage units this time?"
Hans said, "The storage company is called Memorial. They have about 300 storage units. The seven storage units up for auction belong to four households.
"I asked around a bit. One of the units contains Ferrari spare parts: a seat and a steering wheel. Theyre worth quite a lot, maybe a few tens of thousands."
Li Du nodded. "So were here for the Ferrari spare parts this time, right?"
Hans slapped the trucks steering wheel. "Thats right!"
With that slap, the car started malfunctioning again. Maybe the wiring in the steering wheel had a problem. The wipers started moving back and forth across the windshield, and all the lights lit up, stubbornly refusing to switch off.
"This d*mn, rotten car!" Hans raged.
Li Du glared at him. "Shut up. Even a tank of gas could become rotten in your hands. Cant you treat it better?"
Hans replied sulkily, "I was already being very gentle to it. Never mind. This must be God telling us that we should get a new truck. Time to start saving for one."
Their first destination was the steampunk hotel. Bedes, still dressed as a European gentleman of olden times, smiled at them. "Hey, man. Looks like some good storage units are going to appear in Phoenix again."
Hans hugged him. "Nope. Were here to play, and see you."
Letting go of him, Bedes hugged Li Du. Hans stretched his hands out toward the young man with delicate features behind the bar. "Come, Nick, let older brother give you a hug of love."
The young man didnt hesitate to pull a short-barrelled shotgun out from under the counter. "What did you say? Big Fox, I dont think I heard you clearly."
"I said, please make me a cocktail," Hans said wretchedly.
The young man teased, "I really want to hear you what you said earlier. Did you say a hug of love?"
"Uh, the cocktail I want is called the Hug of Love."
"We dont have it. We do have something called A Guns Embrace. Do you want one?"
"No, nevermind," Hans said, put in his place.
After depositing their luggage at the hotel, the two of them set out for Memorial Storage Co.
The storage company was located in the Mesa district of Phoenix. After making their way in, Li Du let out his flying bug to take at look at the goods in the storage units.
The first two units were full of normal household items. The most valuable things in there were some planks and a lawnmower.
He found what they were looking for in the third storage unit. It had been converted into a racecar unit. There were pictures of racecars pasted on its walls. A helmet sat on a table, and racecar parts and automotive equipment were scattered all around the floor.
In a wooden cabinet, he found a well-kept seat and a small steering wheel. There was a small, galloping horse emblazoned in the middle of the steering wheel. Obviously, these were the Ferrari seat and steering wheel Hans had been talking about.
Li Du wasnt happy at finding them, however. The storage unit looked very valuable. It wouldnt be easy for them to get their hands on it.
He looked further. The fourth storage unit gave him some consolation. It contained more automotive equipment. Evidently, it had belonged to the same owner as the third unit. This would divert the attention of the treasure hunters.
The fifth storage unit contained a lot of oddly curved wooden logs. As the bug flew over them, Li Dus eyes lit up.
He made a big discovery!