The party had been set very simply. The beer, along with the roast, fried chicken, fried fish and sandwiches, were all easily found in grocery stores. Only the pizza had been ordered out from Pizza Hut.
Li Du ate happily. After all, he didn't have to pay. He had a ravenous appetite from using the bug. He ate two plates of roast and another two of fried chicken, as well as an entire pizza.
A whole eleven-inch pizza.
Reginald, nicknamed Dog Tail, was a mixed race man of African and European ancestry. He appeared two or three years older than Li Du, with a tall build and a gleaming, bald scalp. There was a patch of hair in a braid on the back of his head.
Li Du would have asked Reginald if he had time-travelled from the Qing Dynasty, but Hans said that Reginald had styled his hair that way since his childhood. Calling him Dog Tail was, in fact, appropriate. It seemed to Li Du that Rat Tail would have been more appropriate.
Reginald was considered a young man who had done well for himself among the treasure hunters. He had no parents, and had grown up on the streets until he had followed others into the trade. He had bought his house with earnings from treasure hunting.
Like many of those who lived on the streets, Reginald could drink alcohol as if it was water. But during the party he didn't drink a single drop, and just stood clutching a bottle of yogurt.
"Mate, what is this?" someone asked. "You were scared shitless? Won't dare to drink anymore?"
Reginald banged the table with his fist and stared at him angrily. "Hey, what crap are you saying? Me, Dog Tail, scared shitless? I was only scared enough to swear off wine!"
Hisses and insults rang at Reginald from all around, and many treasure hunters gave him the middle finger.
Reginald didn't even get angry. He snickered. "Okay, okay. I'll tell the truth. I really was scared shitless this time. When I was vomiting in the storage unit, I swore to God…" While saying this, he put his left hand over his belly and raised his right hand above his head. "'My God, My Lord, forgive my gluttony and drinking habits. If I can survive this, I won't drink anymore'.
"And, just like that, I survived. And I realized that life is full of wonderful things besides alcohol, so I swore off wine."
Dalton pulled a small bottle of vodka from his pocket, opened it, and shook it lightly so that the smell spread around. "That's just too bad. I brought some fine liquor for you."
Reginald swallowed, then looked at Li Du. "Hey, my brother from China, you haven't been doing bad lately. I hear people saying that you're 'Dog Tail the Second'. Congratulations!"
Li Du shrugged. "Who did I offend to insult me like that?"
The crowd laughed again. Dalton gave him a big thumbs up. "Cool, man. You really got Dog Tail there."
Reginald raised his hands. "Alright, alright," he said. "I surrender. I admit, I said that to change the topic. But they really are talking a lot about you. I hear you're really good."
"Yeah, this Chinaman is really lucky," someone said. "His first time he got a massage chair. The second time he got a Harley."
"That's nothing. His cat even helped him get a set of stamps worth tens of thousands!"
"Tell me you didn't get anything at the Phoenix Classics last time. Don't make me sad."
Hans shrugged. "Oh, you're definitely going to be. We got our hands on a phone."
"A phone encrusted with diamonds?" Andrew mocked. "Otherwise, none of us need to be sad, do we?"
Li Du shook his head. "No, it's just a first-generation iPhone. A very regular one."
The sound of people drawing their breaths filled the room.
Reginald, startled, asked, "Do you really have such good luck?"
"When luck comes, it can't be kept away," Hans said proudly.
"Wait," Dalton suddenly said. "You got a first-generation iPhone this time. Then according to my sources, every single auction that the Chinese boy has joined has been a killing?"
"Your sources were correct," Hans said. "Much more so than Mad Bull Lucas's. Haha!"
Dalton looked at them suspiciously. "Hey, bro, for real. Do you guys have some special way to get information? Don't say that it's just luck. Luck alone can't explain it."
Li Du was just about to deny this, when Hans jumped to say, "Yep. You got it right, Dalton, but not exactly. Tips are just a part of it. We also rely on our eyes." He gestured to Li Du's and his own eyes. "We rely mostly on these. And, of course, on our brains as well."
Li Du smiled and didn't say a word; Hans was covering for him. He had been worried that Hans would spill about his so-called, nonsensical, Ancestral Secret Art of Prospecting.
The results that the two of them had gotten over the last month were much too extraordinary. Nobody believed that their appraisal skills were that good. Everyone firmly believed that they had found some special means to get reliable information.
Seeing the whole crowd gathered around Li Du and Hans, Andrew's face turned dark. The way he saw it, it was an honor that he, a member of the Hundred Thousand Club, had bothered to join their activities.
He should have been the focus of their attention and the topic of conversation. But Li Du and Hans had stolen that place from him. Everyone saw them each as the Savior and crowded around them. This made Andrew more jealous than anything ever had. Especially since Li Du had won in the bet about the buzzer beater earlier, he felt all the more envious and resentful.
Li Du kept calm and cool even though everyone was praising him. He had been watching everyone's expressions from the beginning and noticed Andrew's dissatisfaction.
Noticing it, he quickly diverted the attention and solved the issue. "If we're talking about connections, experience, and observational skills, the best among us here would have to be Mr. Andrew. We should ask him about this stuff."
He was trying to express goodwill by doing this, but Andrew didn't accept it.
Andrew saw Li Du's humbleness and modesty as a challenge to himself. His face stormy, he said, "In front of Mr. Dog Tail the Second, what can I say? All I can tell you is if we were at an auction together, I would kick the ass of Mr. Dog Tail the Second."
In the Chinese culture, the phrase 'kick ass' didn't mean much. But in the American culture, it was quite malicious.
When watching American sports events, opponents would often use this term while facing off before a match. They would say things like, "I'm gonna kick your ass today."
Li Du's smile froze. He was humble, not a coward.
"Mr. Andrew seems to enjoy making jokes." Li Du smiled faintly. "Haha! You wouldn't like being at the same auction with me. Honestly, even I am scared of the way I shake things up at an auction."
Andrew was so angry upon hearing him that he burst into enraged laughter. "Ha! Kiddo, you really talk big. How about this, let's make a bet."
The atmosphere became tense. The other treasure hunters didn't even try to smooth the fighting out, and started watching expectantly.
Reginald, as the host, tried to intervene. "Hey, hey. We're all mates. Don't be like this. Andrew, you have no real idea about the results that the Chinese boy has gotten lately. He's quite a formidable fellow!"
With that, Andrew got even more angry. He cried out, "Then let's bet!"
Li Du countered, "Don't you regret it. Maybe you should ask around about what they call me. I will tell you now: I am called the God of Gamblers!"