42 Pine Tree Tops

Translator: Vicky_

"What are we betting?" Dalton immediately asked excitedly.

Li Du remained poker-faced. "The loser is whoever makes the least amount of profit during the auction, has to provide a piece of reliable information on a storage unit."

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Andrew did not even consider this. "Ha! Kid, don't even dream about it. You're just a rookie, what kind of quality information do you have to trade? It's different for me, any information I give would be able to feed you for a year!" he said mockingly.

Again with that phrase. The people who had participated in the buzzer-beater bet rolled their eyes.

"If we win, then it proves that our observational skills and the channels that we have are better than yours," Li Du laughed. "But yes, in this case, the information that the loser provides isn't as good as the information the winner already has. But life isn't just about earning money, and winning itself is also a form of pleasure."

Hans applauded, "That's right, if you want to win, then you must be willing to raise your stakes!"

"Of course, he has to feel confident that he can win," Li Du said, adding fuel to the fire.

Andrew looked at them furiously. "Alright, let's make a bet. For which auction we will be competing at, I will let you know soon."

Reginald asked with a smirk, "How about letting us be the referees for this?"

"So be it," Andrew said, putting on his sunglasses and leaving.

Dalton shrugged. "He didn't pay us for this five-star meal."

Li Du sat without another word, and just ruthlessly began wolfing down the food.

Once full, the pair left.

When they drove onto the road, Hans immediately shouted, "Hey! What's wrong with you today? Why were you so hot-headed that you made a bet with Andrew? That isn't your style."

"You saw the atmosphere," Li Du said, "that guy made this party to mock and instigate us. I couldn't just let them be, could I?"

Hans swallowed his saliva. "You're right, screw those *ssholes!"

Li Du continued, "More importantly, don't we need information on auctions? Why not make a bet? Whether we win or lose, at the very least, we might get information on a good unit."

Hearing this, Hans thought for a while, and said, "Yeah, that Andrew does have a lot more sources of information than we do. The auctions those in the Hundred Thousand Club participate in will be good."

"Also," Li Du said, "I didn't say that the loser had to give up the goods they got to the winning party. I only said that they had to provide a piece of valuable information.

"If we lose, just give him some random information. If he loses, what he gives us will be good."

"Why?" Hans asked.

Li Du pointed to his temple. "Use a bit more of this. What are we? Rookies, the lowest of the treasure hunters. We have nothing to lose, but if Andrew doesn't give us something good, then that would hurt his reputation, and he can't afford that."

Hans smiled. "Hey, dude, I just realized you're pretty smart."

"If you spend less time sleeping around with women you meet on the streets, I'm sure you'll be able to preserve some cells in your brain."

"Ha! Don't lecture me. Save that energy to take care of Andrew."

When they arrived home, they first went on the Internet to look at the First-Generation iPhone that they had listed on E-Bay. They decided not to sell it to a collector and instead put it up online.

Hans didn't fix a price. Instead, he started an online auction, setting the starting bid at 20,000 dollars; this was also the lowest offer he could accept.

In the end, after attending the party, they returned to see that the bid had gone up by 5,000, reaching 25,000.

Seeing this, the two happily high-fived. "Why did we sell our previous stuff directly?" Li Du asked. "We could have sold it in online auctions."

"I just praised you on the road, and now you're making me regret it. Not everything is suitable for online auctions. Only things that people are interested in, things that can't be obtained by ordinary methods, will make these auctions work," Hans said.

After looking at the bid, Li Du went to search for houses.

He got lucky. He managed to find a decent house, not too far, about two streets away. The house was situated in a district called Pine Tree Tops, which was a popular middle-class district.

The house for rent was one with a secondary bedroom, with all the proper furniture and appliances. It asked for 450 dollars a month, and he would only have to pay extra for the safety deposit. This place seemed promising.

Li Du went to make a call. The owner's name was Felix. They agreed to meet in the afternoon the next day.

Andrew hadn't yet given them any information. Since they were free, he brought Hans to look at the house.

As Hans drove, he said, "Calling me was the right choice. Dude, I'm familiar with everyone in Flagstaff. Too familiar. I know everyone, so I can give you a lot of advice on the character of whom you'll be dealing with."

The car had almost reached their destination. The environment was clean and green. Every household had their garden and yards trimmed neatly.

Seeing the serene landscape, Li Du mumbled:

"In the blue night

frost haze, the sky glows

with the moon

pine tree tops

bend snow-blue, fade

into sky, frost, starlight.

The creak of boots.

Rabbit tracks, deer tracks,

what do we know."

"What are you mumbling?" Hans asked.

Li Du looked at him in surprise. "You don't know this? "Pine Tree Tops?" What I just recited was Pine Tree Tops, which is probably what this district was named after."

Pine Tree Tops was the work of American Poet, Gary Snyder. He was renowned as a master in the clarity of his lyrics; they were indifferent, but clear and meditative.

Hans shrugged. "Poems? Who cares about those? I only care about pop music. Alright, Number 15, Block B. This is the place. Let's see who's living here."

The two knocked, and a well-built African-American walked out. Seeing them, the man asked, "Who are you guys looking for? Oh, Is this Mr. Li from China?"

This man was Felix. Li Du shook his hand and could feel that he was very strong. When they were shaking, Li Du wanted to pull back his hand but realized he couldn't.

Felix was a friendly man; he embraced the two of them, and then they walked into the house. "Don't be shy, guys, come, come. Feel free to look and see if it suits you."

Taking the opportunity when Felix moved a few feet away from them, Li Du asked quietly, "You know him?"

Hans showed a rare expression of embarrassment. "Um, I… I… don't think he's familiar."

Felix heard this, and laughed, "Oh, I came to Flagstaff not too long ago, just about half a year."

Hans shrugged, and said quietly, "See, you can't blame me. Half a year ago I was still in Phoenix."

Li Du also shrugged. He went to look at the living room and then the secondary bedroom. He was quite satisfied with it. The place was clean and tidy, suiting his preferences.

When he went past the master bedroom, he hesitated for a moment, and let the bug in.

With the way things were going, he was planning to rent the place, but he was suspicious of Felix. To be safe, he wanted to use the bug to scout.

As a result, the bug flew into the master bedroom, and he was stunned!

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