"Everyone is obviously very interested in this storage unit. So the starting price is 200 dollars, 200 dollars, 200 dollars…"
This starting price was lower than average. At this, Reginald frowned and asked the person beside him, "Why is the starting price so low?"
"Either the old man doesn't know the value of this storage unit, or the storage company thinks that it's not worth that much. I think it's more likely to be the latter. Is this really a diamond storage unit?"
Many kept their eyes on Hans and Li Du. They didn't trust what Hans had said.
Some were still willing to take the risk. Some were fools and didn't even know that Hans had leaked the information. All they knew was that their information had been very detailed: books at the entrance, cloth coverings, Chinese art…
Which was why someone jumped to bid right away. "Me, me, me! 200 dollars, over here!"
"Two thousand dollars!" called a middle-aged white man in sunglasses.
The had price shot to ten times the previous bid. The others looked at the bidder in shock. Li Du looked too. That man, with his chin tilted up and his eyes pointed skyward; who else could it be but Sky Eyes?
"He is a member of the Hundred Thousand Club. F*cking rich and bold!" said Hans. "What do we do? It looks like we'll go back empty-handed today. D*mn it!"
"It's all your fault. Shut that blabbering mouth of yours next time!" Li Du said angrily. Quietly, he looked at a young man in the crowd and nodded while rubbing his mouth.
When he did that, the young man raised his hand and yelled, "Me, me, me! 2,100 dollars!"
Many of the people had been watching Li Du closely. Seeing his interaction with the young man, they started muttering to their partners.
Sky Eyes snorted at the price. Lifting his hand, he yelled, "2,500 dollars!"
The auctioneer beamed. He yelled, "The price is now 2,500 dollars, 2,500 dollars, 2,500 dollars! How about 2,600 dollars, 2,600 dollars, 2,600 dollars! Are there any takers?"
"Okay!" a red-haired woman joined in.
More started bidding. "Humphries, 3,000 dollars!"
"Very good, 3,000 dollars, 3,000 dollars, 3,000 dollars—"
Someone cut him off even before he finished. "I'll do 3,500 dollars!"
"Here, 5,000 dollars!" someone interrupted again.
The auctioneer was bemused. He just kept his mouth shut, waiting for the treasure hunters to bid on their own.
Li Du stroked his chin. A young man called out, "5,500 dollars!"
The people who had been watching him jumped in.
"Six thousand dollars!"
"Six thousand five hundred dollars!"
Silence from the auctioneer.
"Ten thousand dollars!"
"Twenty thousand dollars!"
After some vigorous bidding, the price hiked up to 20,000 dollars. Li Du pretended to ponder it, then gave a firm nod. The young man shouted, "21,000 dollars!"
At 20,000 dollars, the price had reached a cut-off point. They needed to think hard about it before bidding any further.
But the young man bid without any hesitation. In the heated, crazed environment, those who had been watching Hans and Li Du remained hot in the bidding. Someone shouted, "22,000 dollars!"
At this, Li Du shook his head, seemingly livid. He strode out. Looking disappointed, Hans cursed, "Go fight for some dog shit, all of you! I'll help you look for a sewer!"
The bidding didn't slow down after they left. The white-hot bidding went on:
"Look here, 23,000 dollars!"
"I have to get this—30,000 dollars!"
"F*ck—bid against me, Sky Eyes? 50,000 dollars!"
Sky Eyes Andrew spat out some chewing gum arrogantly.
The auctioneer, Humphries, was so excited that he thought he might faint. He had a suspicion that his income today would be more than he usually got in an entire month!
Andrew's bid was extremely high. The treasure hunters started to calm down. They looked at each other hesitantly.
At this, Li Du laughed, his voice cold. "Sh*t, you Americans really lack in bravery."
"These aren't idiots. All the fools have already been kicked out," said Hans.
But business was war. There were still people willing to take the risk. Dog Tail Reginald gritted his teeth, shouting, "55,000 dollars!"
"F*ck, Dog Tail! You've got balls!" Andrew mocked.
Reginald ignored him, staring at the storage unit greedily.
He'd been out of storage auctions for a while. He really needed a victory.
Last time, he had tricked Li Du and Hans into an argument with Andrew. That had been his chance, but he'd lost it because of Li Du.
Reginald wasn't willing to let the unit go this time!
Each treasure hunter evaluated the storage unit differently; they each had a limit they would never bid beyond.
This was the golden rule that everyone had learned through lost money and tears. Andrew was an old member of the Hundred Thousand Club; he understood that rule very well indeed.
His limit had been 50,000 dollars. He backed out of the auction with a dark expression.
No one else placed a bid. "We have 55,000 dollars, 55,000 dollars, 55,000 dollars! This is an opportunity like never before! Do we have any bidder for 56,000 dollars?"
Some shook their heads. Others shrugged. A few even stepped back. This was the highest possible price.
Humphries, the auctioneer, yelled, "55,000 dollars going once! Going twice! Thrice! Done! This storage unit is yours!"
He clutched at Reginald as if afraid that he might run away.
Reginald was both excited and anxious. He knew that it was a gamble. If he won, he would have made it. Maybe he would even make it into the Hundred Thousand Club! But if he lost…
He locked up the storage unit, and everyone went on to the second one.
Old Humphries opened the lock and pulled up the door of the storage unit. "Come on, people. Line up with four in a group, and have a good look at the treasures inside!"
The storage unit had been arranged very tidily. It contained furniture which had been covered in cloth. There were cabinets, chests, tables, and chairs.
The cloth hadn't completely covered the furniture, showing glimpses of it. Some exposed parts were straight-grained and burgundy in color, some were pitch-black with networks of fine cracks, others were reddish-yellow with grain that reminded one of rainfall patterns.
All of the furniture was Chinese. It had been carved with pictures of dragons, phoenixes, clouds, and water. These were beautiful, ancient designs.
"This is rosewood furniture! Look, that's the Chinese's Taishiyi armchair!"
"The black ones are ebony; the reddish-yellow ones seem to be what they call Huanghuali?"
"Chinese rosewood furniture! They may even be antiques! Get them!"
After everyone had seen the storage unit, Humphries gave the starting price of 1,000 dollars.
With the higher starting price, the bidding was even fiercer than before, reaching 20,000 dollars within just a few minutes.
Shaking their heads, Li Du and Hans pulled out of the bidding.
Rosewood furniture was not as valuable as Chinese porcelain, but it was easier for the treasure hunters to recognize and appraise. There was a much lower risk involved in buying the rosewood furniture.
This explained the bidding war over the second storage unit. The final price was much higher than the first, ending at 85,000 dollars.
When the third storage unit was opened, the treasure hunters crowded around it to see what it contained. They were dumbfounded.