Looking at the belt, a middle-aged man beside Andrew started laughing loudly. "Rookie, for God's sake, I don't want to make fun of you, but why are you guys always so full of yourselves? It's just a belt."
Andrew raised his eyebrows. "Don't laugh, this belt does have some value." He went closer to the belt and started analyzing. "This looks like a real Nazi Schutzstaffel belt. Look at this eagle head. If it's pointing to the left, it represents Germany. Right means the Nazis. It points to the right. Thus this would be a Nazi SS belt."
When Andrew finished talking, he flipped over the belt. The back of the buckle had an icon with two streaks of lightning. The name "Schutzstaffel" was often shortened to "SS." Lightning was the typical icon used by the SS and could be considered the symbol of this organization.
"Shit, it has the SS symbol. This was the belt of a Schutzstaffel commander, probably from before 1929," Andrew continued. "If I'm right, this buckle even works as a weapon. The four buttons are the trigger, and pressing them would shoot the bullets."
The Schutzstaffel was established in April of 1925. In the beginning, they were Hitler's guards, as well as tools to deal with his political enemies. They were a paramilitary group and operated on a small scale.
Starting from 1929, the group was led by Himmel. The Schutzstaffel started growing rapidly. By early 1933, its members had increased to about fifty thousand people.
As the number of men multiplied, the equipment of the members was not as refined. The belts, for example, had no SS symbol for later members.
From July of 1934, the Schutzstaffel replaced the Sturmabteilung of the Nazis and took a leading role as the paramilitary power. With Hitler directly in control, their operations included intelligence and surveillance, becoming an interrogative organization. They were like the Embroidered Uniform Guard of China, and thus their equipment was similar to special forces, having all sorts of hidden functions.
The buckle flipped open, and just as expected, there were four hollow points. Li Du thought of the small box that he had previously found. Opening it, he found some bronze bullets.
Hans took the belt and inserted the bullets in, after which he closed the buckle. It was a perfect fit!
Li Du looked at Andrew and said, "Although your attitude stinks, I have to admit, you have a good eye. You do know your stuff."
Andrew gave a condescending chuckle. "Of course, when I learned about this belt you were still in your mother's womb. The value of this belt isn't as high as you think, at most, it would sell for ten grand."
The surrounding treasure hunters shared looks of envy and despisement.
"Shit, these guys are fortunate, getting something this good."
"Damn it, why is God blessing these yellow-skins?"
"So what? He's gonna lose anyway. No matter how lucky he is, he'll lose!"
Hans repeatedly studied the belt, even putting it on his waist. He ignored the gloating Andrew and the surrounding crowd that was making a ruckus.
"We achieved our goal," He said and gave Li Du a wink.
They didn't care about winning or losing anyway, all they cared about was whether they made any profit. This bet was established just to leech off Andrew's information.
The reason why Hans was depressed before was that this unit had no profit. Now, with a 10,000 dollars Nazi belt, he was naturally elated.
Andrew gestured with his finger to Li Du, saying, "Alright Chinese man, accept your loss. Give me information on a unit. Remember, I want a premium one, don't try to fool me, or else I'll make sure you won't be able to show your face in this business anymore!"
Li Du shrugged. "Information on a premium unit? I don't have any."
Andrew's expression warped instantly. He reached out and jabbed a finger at Li Du's chest. "If you don't have any, then you can screw off. Don't even think of being a treasure hunter again!"
"But I haven't even finished going through my stuff. You think you've won?" Li Du asked.
With that, Andrew and all the treasure hunters who had been making fun of them were stunned.
Hans was too, and said, "My dear friend, what else have you not taken out? You're killing me with this suspense!"
Li Du pointed to the passenger seat of Hans's trunk in the parking lot and said, "I didn't hide anything from you. I've shown you from the start. The thing is in there."
Hans walked over and opened the truck door. Ah Meow was sitting in the passenger seat, guarding a box. He went to reach for it, and Ah Meow quickly gave him a scratch, its eyes full of hostility.
"Ah Meow, give it to him. You know Hans," Li Du said calmly, but loud enough for the ocelot to hear.
"Meowww," Ah Meow purred and took its claw off the box. Hans brought it over to the storage unit; inside was a large number of neatly arranged cards.
Seeing these hotel cards, Andrew let out a chuckle. "Are you nuts? My friend, relying on a bunch of old hotel key cards to win? Ha! You're as naïve as a child who believes in Santa."
"Whether they are valuable or not isn't our call, but the call of the one who collects them," Li Du said.
He took out a few cards and asked Hans, "You can't see the value that lies in these key cards?"
Hans shook his head. "Woah, stop teasing us, brother."
"There are names on the cards," Li Du hinted.
Hans took a closer look. Indeed, every key card had two names on them: Russel Lynch & Agatha Lynch.
While he was studying these cards, Li Du was already making a phone call. "Hi, Mr. Lynch, this is Li, the one who sold stamps to you. Do you remember?"
"Ah yes, I remember you, Chinese boy. You wolfed down quite a few steaks," Lynch laughed.
"Sorry about that. As an apology, I've called you specifically to inform you of some goods that we've found."
"What goods? Stamps?"
"No, not stamps, but key cards. Hilton, Park and Le Méridien, also Langham and Mandarin Oriental hotel key cards. About four hundred altogether."
Hearing this, Lynch exclaimed excitedly, "Oh God! God I love you! Where are you? Tell me where you are! I'll come look for you!"
"We are in Williams. It's getting dark, how about we FaceTime so you can look at the cards? If you're interested, make an offer. If we have a deal, I'll send them to you tonight."
Li Du said to Hans, "FaceTime with Mr. Lynch."
The group of treasure hunters curiously looked on, unsure what kind of trick he was going to pull. As Andrew listened to Li Du speak on the phone, his confidence started to waver.
"Why don't you do it?" Hans asked.
Li Du showed him his phone. "My phone's camera is busted."
"You sure are careful."
Hans had just made the call when Lynch immediately picked up the phone. Li Du then showed him the hotel cards for a good amount of time; he made Li Du repeatedly show several of them to him over and over again.
When he was done, he asked, "Good fella', how did you know these were my treasure?"
"I didn't know, but I noticed that every one of these cards had the names of you and your wife. So I figured that if someone collected all these cards and signed them, they must have valued them. They were very well kept and taken care of."
Lynch laughed pleasantly, and said, "You are a smart one, Li. You are a smart son of a b*tch! That's right, these cards are our treasure; we've collected them to mark the places we've gone over the years. Wherever we go, we would always bring them with us.
"However, one day, they went missing. You have no idea how depressed we were. Now, it turns out we lost them in Williams. I should have guessed; we frequently go there for vacation. They are in your hands, so name your price."
Li Du turned the camera to his surroundings, letting him see the group of people and the storage units. He then recounted the bet he had with Andrew.
Lynch asked, "To win, how much more money do you need?"
He was an intelligent man and had already guessed Li Du's aim.
Li Du said, "We have an excellent Nazi belt, worth ten thousand dollars. Our opponent has a guitar worth thirty thousand, and some other instruments, reaching an estimated total of thirty-five thousand."
"Then to be safe, you want to sell it for at least thirty grand?"