Li Du wanted to ask how much they had been, but was worried that Sophie would misunderstand. He shrugged and said, "If I have the chance to get another set, would you be willing to accept them as a gift?"
Sophie chuckled and waved her hand, "No, thank you for your kind intentions. My salary is high enough for me to afford these dolls myself. It was just an impulsive decision last time I bought one—I don't think much of them afterward."
Ah Meow lied near her legs and was curiously observing the high-heels that she wore. There was a small butterfly knot at the back of her heels. It thought that this was a real butterfly, reached its claw out, and scratched.
Li Du hurriedly tried to stop it when he saw that. "Stop, Ah Meow, that's not a butterfly. you can't play with it…"
Ah Meow ignored him and continued in self-content.
Li Du squatted down to try to grab Ah Meow, but when he stretched out his hands, Ah Meow scurried to the back of Sophie's leg. Sophie instinctively moved, and with Li Du's hands outstretched, he ended up grabbing onto the female doctor's leg.
This was his first time experiencing the smooth texture of a beautiful woman's leg in stockings. However, as the situation was awkward, he hastily retracted his hand and apologized. "Sorry, I didn't mean it."
Sophie smiled lightly. "It's fine. Ah Meow is very cute. Since it likes to play then just let it be."
Li Du saw that she had misunderstood him and tried to explain. "I mean I was sorry for touching your leg."
Sophie giggled. "I know. I thought that you might be embarrassed about it, so I tried to avoid the topic. But it seems that you want to continue talking about it?"
Li Du smiled in embarrassment; the female doctor was apparently wiser than he thought.
Sophie didn't mind and continued playing with Ah Meow, using her legs. After a short while, another doctor called for her to help, and she waved goodbye to Li Du and left.
The female doctor had just left, when Han's figure popped out like a phantom. With a mocking smile, he said, "I know why now, Li. No wonder you didn't fall for my sister. So you already have someone in mind?"
Li Du rolled his eyes and said, "Don't use your stupid way of thinking to guess my character, there is nothing going on with me and Dr. Sophie. Oh, right—do you know, these Barbie dolls seemed to be collector items. They seem to be expensive."
This was a very appealing topic to Hans. He ran over and looked for Mother Mesa. "Hey, granny, you know quite a bit about Barbie dolls right? We just gave Victoria and the others some dolls."
Mother Mesa used her large hands and patted his shoulder with a satisfied smile. "I saw that, Hans. Li, you're really a nice child. But don't break the bank like this next time and just get ordinary dolls. Don't get the collector editions."
"Oh? These are collector editions? How much are they worth? We got them in a storage auction, so we don't know their worth."
"This set of collector edition dolls would be about 5,000 dollars on the market. Because they were sold as limited edition, there are rarely seen on the market. I would say that they would have an even higher value because of this."
Mother Mesa added, "You didn't know their value? Then you should have let me take a look. But it's fine. I'll get them back from the children and restore the tags and packaging to as good as new."
Li Du hastily stopped her and said, "No, no, Mother Mesa. You've misunderstood. We just wanted to know more about these dolls, because we might see them again in the future. As to the presents that have already been given out, regardless of how much they are worth, we cannot claim them back. The children's love and attachment are invaluable."
Mother Mesa smiled and said, "Alright. Mother Mesa apologizes. You and Sophie are all good children. It's because there are people like you guys that the Lord has not given up on this world."
Li Du asked, "Are you familiar with Dr. Sophie?"
Mother Mesa nodded and said, "Yes. I've known her since she was a young child. A very kind and sweet girl. I hope that our Lord will protect her. Every year, she brings some colleagues to provide free medical check-ups for us. If not, where would we find the spare funds for such check-ups?"
Li Du asked curiously, "This wasn't an organized activity from the hospital?"
Mother Mesa smiled and said, "No, it's not. This was organized by Sophie and her friends. Twice a year, they use their own breaks to come over and provide check-ups. God bless them."
What Hans was concerned about was different. "Is there still not enough money?"
Mother Mesa strained a positive smile and said, "I always think that with more funds, then more people could be helped."
Li Du was about to donate some money, when a nurse called for Mother Mesa, calling her to prepare something.
Sophie and the others were performing full check-ups. Everyone was busy, and as Li Du and Hans could not help in any way, they left. Staying there, they would just get in everyone's way.
On Monday, Hans called Li Du. He called him over to prepare to sell the ceramic animals.
Hannah was on break, so she especially came to pick Li Du up with her BMW Z4. Her drving gave him an out-of-body experience.
After getting out of the car, Li Du said helplessly, "I regret getting you this car, Hannah—you drive too fast! It's dangerous!"
Hannah said excitedly, "Come on, Li. I've never exceeded the speed limit. I'm completely adhering to traffic laws. How could it be dangerous at that speed? You're playing it too safe."
Li Du shrugged. Perhaps he was. Compared to Hans and Hannah, he was, of course, more conservative.
When Hans saw him, he asked, "Do you remember Carter? The man you gave one of the statues to? He helped us contact the client, the Phoenix Ceramic Art Museum. They are interested in buying them from us."
Li Du replied in surprise, "That's fast. I thought these things would take a few months on E-bay or Amazon to sell out."
This was the strength of networks. He gave Carter a ceramic Triceratops. Carter wanted to repay Li, so he helped them contact a client for sales.
The Phoenix Ceramic Art Museum sent a caretaker and two experts on ceramics to inspect the authenticity of the artworks.
At 10 am, the two parties met. The caretaker from the museum's side was Lucci Payne. For the two experts, the middle-aged man was Corey Krane, and the younger was Nick.
Upon seeing the 54 ceramic toys, Corey and Nick began examining them with a magnifying glass.
About half an hour later, Corey walked over and nodded. "They are authentic."
"You are sure?" Payne asked.
Corey took one of the ceramic Stegosauruses and said, "This was no problem. Look—these are all sintered, and Kern loved to use sintering to make his work. He was talented in using this technique to simulate the hardening process."
Li Du asked curiously, "How are you able to tell?"
Corey laughed and said, "From experience. If you look past the beautiful coloring on the surface, these products are covered with layers of materials. The materials capture the shape and texture of an inflatable toy. These materials also protect the layers under them, like natural rocks."
Li Du nodded and said, "What you mean is that although these ceramics are imitating modern plastic toys, in reality, sintering is a technique that simulates fossilization?"
Corey looked astonished. "You're right. That's what I was about to say. Young man, you know about this craft?"
"No, no, I don't. I just deduced from what you said."
Corey was even more astonished. "Then you must be talented in this field. Are you interested in learning how to make and appraise ceramic artworks?"
Hans said, "My partner is a curious one—he'll definitely be interested. But as of right now, our interest is in the price. Are you willing to purchase these works?"