Once the gems were polished, the news spread that there were 12 pieces of good black opal in Li Du's mine. Dozens of gemstone buyers came after hearing this news.
Li Du listened to their offers but didn't make a decision. He told the crowd he had to go to a jeweler to rate and value the gems. He could not decide the price now.
This was normal. His 12 jewels were fine, and together they would sell for at least two or three million, so they could not be sold at just any price.
The 12 gemstones that had been polished were carefully selected from all the gems that Li Du had dug up. The rest were small, low-grade, and low-priced.
The valuable gems were polished because Li Du wanted to use them as bait to catch other big fish.
With these gems in mind, people quickly forgot that Li Du had bought mine number 115 because he had been scammed by Blanchett.
Currently, the town's mine owners and miners believed that Li Du's purchase of the number 115 was purposeful.
One theory that had resurfaced was that Li Du chose number 115 because it was described in Bob's geological survey diary.
"Who is Bob? Why is this guy so good?"
"Bob Bryan, I know him. I have a good relationship with him, but I don't know how good he is. Of course, he works very hard."
"Not only does Bob Bryan work hard, but he's also smart, too, remember? He would wander around the mines when in his free time."
"Yes, I remember that, too. I thought he was just hanging around, but I didn't think he was exploring the gem stocks in the mines."
"He had already targeted mine 115, but he had a bad relationship with Blanchett and couldn't buy it from him. This gave Li from China an opportunity."
"Is there any other mineral deposit area written in Bob's diary?"
"I wish I could get my hands on it…"
The 12 jewels displayed by Li Du set off a storm of discussion in town, and for the last few days, the conversation about him became the topic of town gossip.
Some new information had been passed on, some made up by Li Du and some by the locals.
People were like that. They loved to gossip. When someone gave them a hint, they could make more assumptions based on the hint.
Li Du wanted this effect.
Blanchett returned to mine 114, where he hired miners to scour the mine to find the hidden gems.
There was also news of Blanchett's harvest. He believed that mine 114 was adjacent to mine 115, and that there was a vein of gems in it. He was determined to mine his own land.
In this case, the miners' value had suddenly increased, so Blanchett had to pay more than usual to hire miners to work.
If it hadn't been for Li Du's encouragement, Blanchett wouldn't have paid more to hire miners.
However, now he was impatient. With Li Du's harvest and what he had told him that night, he was so excited that he couldn't wait to find the gems in his mine.
So, even as miners demanded a higher price, he reluctantly hired them.
The wages paid to the miners were nothing compared to the value of black opal.
Li Du returned to the number 115 mine, where the ore was still being dug every day.
Sophie had nothing to do in the mine except take care of the four little ones, and make coffee, juice, or dessert.
Li Du invited Blanchett over from time to time for coffee and dessert, and occasionally Hans would send him a good beer.
As the two grew closer, Blanchett became interested in him and never came empty handed. He would bring food or gifts.
In this case, Li Du's side of the harvest naturally could not be concealed.
Seeing the precious stones dug up almost every day in Li Du's mine, Blanchett was in a jealous rage.
He wanted to know what was written in Bob's diary about the gems in the 114 mine, but Li Du kept his mouth zipped and refused to reveal anything.
Blanchett did all he could but there was no useful information forthcoming, so he changed his strategy and brought Li Du good wine.
He wanted to get Li Du drunk and then make him spill his secrets.
This trick had been a little useful so far. Li Du once drank too much and drunkenly gave out some information, including that gems and snakes were related.
However, after he said this, Brother Wolf saw that he was drunk and then helped him to leave.
After a few days, Li Du's life was disturbed.
Blanchett wanted to extract information about the location of the stones in the number 114 mine. Others wanted to see the diary of Bob's gems Li Du had.
Most of the miners were brave enough to try to approach the diary, knowing that Li Du would not voluntarily show it to them.
Some wanted to steal the diary, while some wanted to use violent means to force Li Du to hand it over, but there were a few who used the method of sending him pretty ladies.
However, thieves had Ah Ow to deal with. Ah Ow's hearing was so sensitive that she could hear someone two miles away.
If anyone wanted to use violence, they would have to deal with Brother Wolf, who had beaten a lot of people and had made a name for himself in town with his fists.
As for the beauty trap? That was even worse. There was no girl in the whole town like Sophie. Li Du had the prettiest lady already, so why would he have an interest in others?
Godzilla and Brother Wolf were responsible for digging out gems from the mine. Li Du had no work to do there. He took Sophie and the four little animals to visit around town.
Lightning Ridge was a large area and had many places to visit. What attracted Li Du was a river, the Lightning River.
The Lightning River flowed through the northern part of Lightning Ridge, all the way to the ocean. However, the river didn't flow year round. Sometimes it stopped flowing.
Because there had been heavy rain recently, the Lightning River, which had been close to drying up, was once again filled with running water.
In mid-May, when Li Du learned of the river's existence, he went to a fishing tackle shop to buy fishing rods.
Seeing this, a miner laughed and said, "Are you going fishing in the Lightning River? That's harder than digging up gems in a sh*t mine."
"The number 115 mine that I bought was called a sh*t mine," Li Du said.
The miner choked and said, "Well, you're in luck, but you can't catch fish in the Lightning River. It must be full of little monsters right now."
"Little monsters? There are monsters here?" asked Li Du.
The miner nodded solemnly. "Yes, small monsters that come in huge numbers. It's very scary when they come in a group."