The arrangement of the items was neater than the redwood storage unit. There were ordinary benches and tables, and two thick rows of bookshelves.
There were many books on the bookshelves, and some pottery and boxes. Some pottery pieces that were outside had a layer of dust, while others were carefully protected in boxes stuffed with cushioning and styrofoam.
The treasure hunters were stunned, with Dog Tail Reginald in the deepest shock.
Diana's info was that there was valuable china in the storage unit that was packaged with cushioning and styrofoam in boxes for protection.
Clearly, this was a match to her description; but then what was up with the first unit?! Flagstaff was just a small town. National College of Flagstaff was just a diploma mill meant to trick overseas students. In such a place, the shareholders could not have been that rich.
This meant that the owner of this storage unit would not have been able to collect that much valuable china and redwood furniture. Even if he had managed to collect that much, it would not have been kept separately, but should have been carefully stored together.
"Perhaps this guy thought that he shouldn't put all his eggs in one basket?" someone mumbled.
"Fool! 'Separating' your 'eggs' was meant to reduce risks! What risk would there be when it was just storing china and not moving them?"
"D*mn, I know it now. The previous unit was a sham. He was worried about his collection being stolen, so he made a fake unit with replica china to confuse the thieves!"
Hearing this, Reginald's eyelid twitched. He did not care anymore to bid on this unit, and rushed back to check on the china he had bought.
The old auctioneer could not be bothered with the guesses of the treasure hunters. Once everyone had viewed, he raised his hand up high and bellowed, "Now this new unit looks like a good one—I'll start with two grand!"
The appearance of two storage units filled with pottery created conflict, and the treasure hunters turned hesitant. Some of them even decided promptly to back out from this bid. They looked at Hans with a grim expression, and figured out what was happening.
"D*mn, let's go. Someone is pulling the strings!"
"Poor Reginald, do you guys think there would be some problem with that redwood unit?"
"Don't bother. We'll just watch the show, we're not bidding!"
"Right. Everyone, be careful. That cunning Chinese man has made some dirty deals with the Devil. He's a vicious one, he loves setting people up!" Rambis, who had two partners with him, took the chance to say.
The crowd turned rowdy, and the noise from the discussions turned more and more chaotic. The emotions of the treasure hunters became increasingly agitated.
Hans quietly said, "Seems like we underestimated the IQ of these guys. Okay, operation 'Soviet Ironfist Of Revenge' has ended."
Li Du shrugged. "The operation is already a success."
For a period, no one made any offers. Old Humphries had to continue shouting, "Two grand, two grand, two grand, anyone up for this, anyone…"
Still, no one made any calls. Everyone was just observing.
Li Du calmly raised his hand up. "Me."
The people around him looked on suspiciously.
Humphries was elated. He pointed to him and said, "Alright, two grand, two grand has been taken. Now we'll go to 2,100 dollars! It's 2,100! Anyone up for 2,100?"
"Two thousand one hundred, here!" Blackjack also raised his hand. He had been observing Li Du and Hans, and did not notice anything suspicious to give them away.
Thus, he felt that this was worth a risk.
The auctioneer continued reporting the bid. There were people who followed up with their offers, but it was not as crazy as the previous two.
The price had shot up to 5,000 dollars. Li Du once again raised his hand. "Here, six thousand."
Old Humphries was about to open his mouth when Andrew, who had been painfully deliberating, bellowed, "Ol' Hump—ten grand!"
As Cocky Andrew was someone from the Hundred Thousand club, everyone was still trusting of his appraisal. Seeing him shooting up the offer, some treasure hunters who had backed out of the auction became uneasy.
Andrew wasn't dumb. He explained, "I'm not sure of the value of that pottery. I made an offer because ten grand isn't that much—it was worth the risk.
Hearing this, some of the impulsive hunters calmed down again.
"Is that so? You want to risk it? What a coincidence," a lazy voice rang from the storage entrance, "I'm feeling adventurous too. Fifteen grand!"
The crowd fervently turned toward the direction of the voice. Li Du glanced and saw the bidder wearing a Hawaiian shirt and pants, squatting at the storage unit entrance and looking in. He wore a cheeky smile, and next to him stood a tall, beautiful woman with black hair massaging his shoulders.
"The Playboy is here too?" Hans sucked in a breath of cool air. "Sh*t, the storm stirs again—The Soviet still wants to punish the world?"
This man was the one that had invited them to the Sotheby's Auction, the Playboy, Akkalou Benidito.
Li Du twisted his lip to the side and said, "Looks like we will really be offending all the treasure hunters of Flagstaff."
The whole of Flagstaff only had four individuals who were members of the Hundred Thousand Club. Cocky Andrew was one of those, and the Playboy was another one. The other two did not appear much in Flagstaff, so Li Du had not met them.
Akkalou Benidito had good relations with them. When Li Du was down with a cold, he had sent his regards to Li Du via Hans.
If this unit was really taken by Akkalou Benidito, when the storm cleared, it would probably be the end of their friendship.
Seeing that Akkalou Benidito had made an offer, Andrew's expression changed. He glared at the other party, and then shouted, "Twenty grand, here!"
Akkalou Benidito unhesitantly followed, shouting, "Twenty-five grand!"
The two of them had a personal feud. Whenever they met during business, there would always be bloody carnage. The treasure hunters knew about this, and also knew that the spark of this carnage was the valuable unit.
Clearly, this storage unit was valuable.
The treasure hunters that had been preparing to just watch the show stopped sitting on the fence. They hastily joined in. Once Akkalou Benidito made his offer, Rambis also raised his arm. "Twenty-six grand!"
A guy beside him said in anger, "Rambis, didn't you say that the Chinese Li did something to this unit?!"
"Twenty-seven grand!" Blackjack swiftly bid as well.
Akkalou Benidito nodded and said, "Thirty grand, here!"
"Thirty-two grand, d*mn it," Andrew raise the offer.
Hans also took the opportunity to step in. "Thirty-five grand!"
Li Du just stared at him.
The previous sullen atmosphere was blown away, and everyone started another fierce bidding war. Thirty-five thousand, forty thousand, fifty-one thousand; in less than a minute, the value of this unit had exceeded the first deal.
The price continued rising, and it was only when it hit 70 thousand dollars that the amount of bidders decreased.
At this time, the treasure hunters had suddenly realized that Li Du, Hans, Akkalou Benidito, and Andrew had mysteriously backed out from the bidding.
Seeing that no one made any offers, Rambis took the chance and shouted, "Seventy-two grand!"
The other treasure hunters hesitated. They looked at Akkalou Benidito and Andrew, but the two would not make any offers. With the crowd remaining hesitant, no one followed.
Old Humphries pointed to Rambis and said, "Seventy-two grand, going once, going twice, if there's no one then I'm gonna hit the hammer—going thrice! Sold! This baby belongs to you!"
Sounds of discussions rose.
"Seventy-two grand, d*mn. What if there aren't any antiques?"
"I keep feeling that something is off. That Chinese guy stopped offering at forty grand!"
"Andrew and Akkalou Benidito's competition didn't seem like they were gunning for the items—it was more like they were just trying to spite the other…"
Rambis was, instead, full of confidence for this unit. He happily locked it up. "Wait and see, I'm going to be rich, you cowards!"
Andrew patted his shoulder and said, "Risking seventy-two grand; you really have guts!"