"What did you say to that son of a b*tch? Why the sudden change in his attitude?" Hans wondered.
"Well, I got some dirt on him from Rose, and so I used it," Li Du said with a relaxed smile.
Hans pondered this for a while and said, "I must say that his apology really made me feel good, but Li, this is unfair to Rose. She trusted you with that information; maybe you should have just left it a secret."
"Its nothing, really."
"Then tell me about it. I will broadcast it to the whole city of Flagstaff!"
When both of them arrived at the police stations garage, a white man greeted them. "Good morning, are both of you the owners of the mammoth ivory?"
The well-dressed white man was in a full business suit. He seemed to be around fifty years of age and wore a pair of gold-rimmed glasses.
"Oh, yes, but we do not need a lawyer now, thank you," said Hans.
"Im not a lawyer," the white man smiled.
"We do not need financial services, financial trading services, or insurance services. Were not interested in bonds, funds, or futures "
"Im an animal care specialist and Im well-versed in animal by-products as well. My name is Ernst Brian. Nice to meet you both," the middle-aged man quickly made his self-introduction.
Li Du pushed Hans forward, and they shook hands with Ernst. "Nice to meet you, Mr Brian, how can I help you?"
Ernst nodded. "Yes, I would like to know where this mammoth ivory came from."
"We got it from a storage unit auction. What about it?"
"Are both of you interested in selling them? I know a few ivory carvers who are in need of ivoryif you are willing to let go of them, these people are wonderful clients to sell to," said Ernst with a pleasant smile.
Hans whistled with a smile. "Thats great! Maybe its not too bad we ended up in the police station after all."
This was a blessing in disguise indeed. Both had originally thought that they might need at least ten days to sell the ivory, but a trip to the police station resulted in a potential buyer coming to look for them in less than 24 hours.
Both parties arranged to meet the next morning at the Fox residence to discuss the sale of the ivory.
Ernst brought three European ivory carvers who were close in age to himself; they were named Adalwin, Bill, and Todd. All three of them came from different European countries. They had come to Las Vegas to participate in a collectibles and artwork auction; the three of them got to know each other through Ernst as well.
The five mammoth tusks were neatly placed side by side for inspection. Hans must have spent a good amount of effort to clean up the tusks nicely, for the ivory now emitted a gentle, polished luster that was pleasant to stare at.
"Hey, what happened to the color of the ivory?" Li Du asked. "I remember they were even more reddish-brown previously. Now, the red has faded a little, and they have a creamier tone."
Hans shrugged. "This is their actual color. I only used clean water and a soft brush to clean them last night. It just happened."
"Oh, working overtime?"
"Of course. Im a hardworking American, okay?" said Hans with a proud smile.
Ernst politely interrupted the conversation and explained, "I would like to share an interesting fact about mammoth ivory. When you see a dark piece of ivory, or hues of colors on the outer mammoth tusk, it means it has been buried for a long, long time. The darker the color, and penetration of the color into the inner layers, means that it has been buried in mineral-rich soil for a long number of years. Mammoth tusks that were frozen in clear waters, however, could result in white ivory."
The ivory carvers were now examining the roots of the five tusks. The outer layer of one of the mammoth tusks was red, and had a thickness of around two centimeters. The inside would determine the quality of the tusk, which was creamy white for the particular piece of ivory. There was a line that looked like a crack separating the outer and inner layer of the tusk.
"Whats with the line? Is that considered a crack?" Li Du asked, concerned.
One of the ivory carvers, Todd, answered, "No, its not a crack, it is just a line defined by the outer and inner layer of the tusk. You can use your finger to scratch it and see."
Li Du didnt feel like scratching it, but instead gently placed his finger on the line; it was smooth to the touch. If it really were a crack, it wouldnt feel this smooth.
Adalwin used a strong flashlight, like a welder holding a welding gun, and inspected every inch of the five tusks.
An amazing sight happened when the strong light shined onto one of the tusks with an inner layer closest to white. A soft, red, warm glow emitted from the tusk, similar to the glow that the skin someones finger took when it was directly pressed onto a shining flashlight.
"Wow, they glow under strong light?" Li Du marveled.
Hans nodded. "You bet. Once they are carved into an art piece and placed under bright lights, it will be a breathtaking sight."
The moment Adalwin completed his flashlight inspection, he placed an arm over two tusks at lightning speed. "Okay, these two are mineyou two can have the rest."
"Get lost! These two are mine; I dont care about the other three."
"You dare snatch my ivory? You two are so shameless. I want one of these two and another one over there."
The three of them began to bicker.
Hans was perplexed by their choices. "The two they want did not shine as red as that last onewhy are they fighting over them?"
"You do not determine the quality of mammoth ivory by how red it glows under bright lightsa good piece of ivory gives off a gentler glow thats pleasing to the eye, which happens to be the two they are fighting over," Ernst explained.
Li Du watched with interest as the argument went on between the three ivory carvers.
Finally, the three of them managed to reach an agreement; Adalwin secured the piece of ivory with the gentlest glow, while the other two got two tusks each.
Hanss forte was bargaining, and it was time for Hans to show off his haggling skills now that the three carvers had come to an agreement.
"We all know that elephant ivory is a prohibited item, so, for ivory carvers, the best choice of material is mammoth ivory. Ill charge 100,000 dollars per tusk."
Hanss starting price left the three ivory carvers speechless for a moment.
"Eh, did we make a mistake? This is ivory, not emerald from Myanmar, right?"
"Yes, its ivorymammoth ivory, which is bigger, tougher, and can fetch a higher price once you turn it into beautiful sculptures for collection. Ninety thousand eachthats the lowest price I can offer."
Adalwin shook his head, unyielding. "No, young man, your price is ridiculously high. Although this tusk is the best among the five, it is not the best amongst the mammoth species. Thirty thousand is the highest I can offer."
"Sorry, what did you say? Thirty thousand dollars? Thats an insult to the mammoth ivory!" Hans hissed.
Todd wanted to speak, but Hans prattled on without giving him a chance. "Im sure all of you already know mammoth ivory is a rare material. Every time the world finds one, there is one less to be found. These have been buried in the earth for so long, such precious material Eighty thousand each, then"
Bill and Todd also joined in the intense argument, the three of them against Hans, haggling over the price.
But Hans was not afraid, even though it was three against one. With his eloquence, he dealt with them with ease. He talked about the rarity of ivory to the international demand, from difficulty of excavation to the value of a completed work of art.
Bill retorted, "We know that you got the ivory from a storage auction. You didnt excavate these yourself."
Hans said defensively, "Which is exactly why we insist on the price. We must respect those ivory hunters who died looking for mammoth ivory in Siberia. I need to make sure their hardships and efforts are being recognized!"
"Fifty thousand dollarsanything lower than that, and Im not selling!"
The three European carvers were still not satisfied with the price; they continued to pressure Hans to lower the price. He refused to budge by playing the sympathy card, and the price battle continued.
This was an eye-opener for Li Du.
WowSan Ying Zhan Lu Bu! (The three valiant ones fight against Lu Bu), he thought.
In the novel, The Romance of Three Kingdomswhich was based on actual Chinese historythe famous legendary warrior, Lu Bu, fought against three other famous generals, named Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei.
Hans, in this aspect, was similar to Lu Bu, as he fought against three opponents as well.