After checking the room cards, the CEO took out a check and handed it to them. "Thirty grand—they are worth it! Although I am suspicious of you inflating the price, I would still like to show you my gratitude for helping me and my wife reclaim these."
"Our pleasure." Li Du signaled for Hans to take the check.
Hans scanned through for a moment and confirmed that the check was good.
As he touched the room cards, Lynch got slightly emotional and started reminiscing. "The first time we collected key cards, Agatha and I had simply wanted a memento.
"We had stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. During checkout, I asked if we could keep one of the room cards. In the end, the front desk gave us six cards that were out of use, including the one which we had used.
"I still remember clearly photos of the hotel's theater, pool, and bar were printed on that set of room cards. Which is this set," he said, picking up a set of cards. "How are they?"
Hans nodded his head. "They are beautiful. I think I want to make a hobby of this now as well."
When he heard this, Lynch became even more emotional. "From an artistic perspective, the most beautiful ones would be Park Hyatt and Le Méridien. These are my personal favorites." He carefully took out a stack of cards from the case.
"See, all Park Hyatt Hotels use black and white pictures on their cards to display the local attractions. The lonely surfers of Sydney's Bondi Beach, the people taking a stroll in Shanghai's French Concession, the cyclists busily traversing the streets of Brooklyn… These are all city sceneries captured by Park Hyatt.
"In comparison, Le Méridien visually depicts the five different senses using what the photographer saw in his travels on their room cards. When they are collected in a set, they show their true beauty collated and framed on a wall. This allows the audience to experience a trip around the world in just a picture frame."
Hans displayed a look of interest and asked in concert, "These two hotels definitely did well. Any more of these that seem especially interesting to you?"
"If you want interesting ones, then we would have to talk about Starwood and Carlson." Lynch said. "They don't mass produce an intricate series of cards, but if you frequent the hotels enough, you are able to experience the beauty in them.
"The back of every Starwood card is painted with standard pink. The front displays sceneries with images of typewriters, afternoon tea, jewellery, and fresh flowers, the colors vibrant and outrageous.
"Carlson room cards use table-top decorations as their focus. They would also give a brief introduction to the local landmarks, encouraging you to explore and make a journey."
Li Du said in admiration, "This really is a form of art, Mr. Lynch. Your room cards are invaluable. If you were a public figure, your hobby would create a new trend."
Lynch was pleased by his words. He smiled, "Haven't I already created two followers for this trend?"
"Yes, from now on, I will try my best to keep the cards from the hotels that I've stayed in," Hans said.
"Me too," Li Du said sincerely.
Lynch gave a satisfied laugh. "I believe that the both of you aren't just trying to flatter me. In fact, collecting key cards not only allows you to reminisce and appreciate them, some can even bring you actual benefits."
"How so?" Hans responded in concert again.
"For example, they might become an entry-level ticket into some special exhibition. This set of prestige cards once gave us entry into a fashion show in Paris."
He searched for another set of cards. "These are the Continentale Hotel in Florence room cards and London's Westbury Hotel room cards. I once used them at Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence and Mayfair in London and enjoyed exquisite discounts in their designer stores."
Hans's phone started ringing continuously. He had already hung up several times and finally took the call, embarrassed.
The call came from treasure hunters, urging him to attend a party.
Lynch asked, "They still have a party going on? I wanted to invite you two to a meal."
"I think what you need to do now, more importantly, is return home and show these to Agatha," Hans said. "Then, you two could snuggle up while enjoying some good gin and reminiscence on all those old times."
Lynch laughed heartily. "Nothing can beat that."
The two were prepared to leave when the CEO gave a signal, and a waiter came by politely.
"The food I requested for take-out, is it ready?"
"Yes sir, anytime."
"Let them have it," Lynch said.
Hans and Li Du were slightly embarrassed; this was different from last time. His caliber was definitely one of the factors that allowed the CEO to enjoy his current position and wealth.
After both parties shook hands and parted, Hans brought the take-out food to Hannah.
Hannah asked in surprise, "Another big profit?"
Hans shrugged. "Don't show that stupid expression. You should get used to our excellence."
"Alright," Hannah said, "you're the boss now, whatever you say."
"You have to eat these by yourself, Hannah. Sorry, but we have to attend a party," Li Du said.
Hannah smirked. "Then I hope you two enjoy yourselves."
The party was held in a small bar. A bunch of treasure hunters were already there. The two walked in, and immediately they were showered with beer.
"Congratulations, you two lucky b*stards!" a group of men roared.
Hans took off his soaked jacket and accepted the beer. He laughed, "D*mn straight! A Weltenburger Stout, I love it!"
Li Du did not enjoy this atmosphere, but since it was a happy occasion, all he had to do was smile.
A group of about ten men opened a path for the two; as they walked by, there were people poking fun at them while congratulating.
"Well done, you two! You guys have earned a blessing from God!"
"Andrew, that dumb*ss, has finally learned a lesson. Let him eat sh*t!"
"Ha! Getting questioned by the police is worse than eating sh*t, that poor fella."
"To victory! Cheers to the Ten Thousand club!"
Li Du wanted to put down his bottle after taking a sip of beer, but seeing everyone cheering, he had to keep drinking.
Someone brought up his achievement in Phoenix. "Do you guys know? This Li is good at treasure hunting, but he is even better at drinking! In Phoenix, he won against Mad Bull Lucas!"
"Oh f*ck, is that true?"
Hans slapped Li Du's shoulder enthusiastically. "Of course, of course! When my buddy here started drinking, you guys were still sucking on your milk bottles! Come on, let's drink 'till we drop!"
Blaring music resounded across the bar, bottles were emptied at every change of breath. Li Du realized the song that was playing was an oldie. It was "We Will Rock You" by Queen from the seventies.
The crowed started singing along loudly to the song: "Buddy, you're a boy make a big noise, playin' in the street gonna be a big man someday…"
When it came to the chorus, the crowd started shouting even more madly: "We will, we will, F*CK YOU! We will, we will F*CK YOU!"