Li Du, Hans, Bell, and Johnson hung out together, while the others all kept some distance from them. They were each a star in there, and the four of them standing together was like a group of superstars.
Of course, in everyone’s eyes, Li Du and Hans’ net worths were not as much as Johnson and Bell’s, but everyone was aware of their potential and ability, so they had the same level of respect for them.
After exchanging a few words, the four of them separated.
Hans laughed, “This feeling is excellent. Have you noticed everyone looking at us? I bet they all want to join us here.”
Li Du said, “The feeling of making money is even better. Let’s go and get ready to enter.” The reason he used the word “enter” was because the Department of Public Services was really good at playing games. They had actually rolled out a red carpet at the entrance of storage units. This way, when the treasure hunters were entering the building, it was like superstars walking on a red carpet.
Moreover, the Department of Public Services had also invited the media to report on the auction. As a result, there were lights, cameras, and other equipment placed on both sides of the red carpet. It made everything look even more formal.
Young men always liked to take the lead. The first to walk the red carpet was Conrad Anthony with the Tucson Brotherhood flanking him. Princeps, who was always proud, followed closely behind him, just like a dog.
Li Du felt that there was no need to be pretentious in this kind of situation. There were just too many people joining the auction. The crowd was estimated at around 1,000 to 2,000 people. The auction later would really be interesting. It was definitely going to be very noisy.
After being stepped on by a couple of thousand people, what difference would there be between the red carpet and a cloth rag? When it was Li Du’s turn to walk on the red carpet, he found that it really was no different from a cloth rag. He thought that this must be an old carpet that had been used in other events in the past.
The Department of Public Services and state government probably had it in their minds that rolling out a red carpet would not cost too much, and it could increase their status as well as attract attention. However, they must not have considered that these treasure hunters were not superstars. How could they have experience walking the red carpet? Moreover, there were too many people, so they could not arrange for everyone to walk in slowly. Hence, once the doors opened, the crowd pushed and squeezed in noisily.
The Department of Public Services had joined forces with the police in maintaining order. They had arranged strong policemen to be in charge of directing the crowd, but the crowd was just too unruly. There were too many people, and the police could not handle the situation. The Arizona police also had character. Once they saw that they could not guide the crowd anymore, they just gave up and stood aside to watch with their arms crossed.
Everyone had to line up to enter the door to the warehouse, and there was someone there doing security checks. After all, it was a large scale auction with a large assembly of people. If someone brought in a machine gun and started shooting, it would be truly terrible.
As they were entering the area, someone handed them a booklet. Li Du understood once he opened it and looked inside. The Department of Public Services had used the method of auctioning through photos. Of course any large scale auction would do the same, or else with so many people lining up for viewing, it would take the whole morning just for everyone to view a single storage unit.
He flipped through the booklet. The photos in it were very clear, but of course it was not as good as seeing the unit in person. This auction allowed people to visit the storage units. The first storage unit was opened, and everyone could line up for viewing. However, there was the condition that any treasure hunter who viewed the storage unit must bid on it later.
In other words, the state government did not allow everyone to view the storage units. The booklet was used for elimination. The treasure hunters would see the things inside of the storage unit through the booklet, then if they were interested in it, they could go to visit the storage unit in person. The rule that any viewers must bid was simply to prevent people from overcrowding the storage units.
Li Du stood among the crowd beside the line. Olly squeezed in to stand beside him and asked, “Brother Li, what do you think of this storage unit?”
“Right, Brother Li, what do you think. Do you want to go in and take a look?” Reeves asked, too.
The little bug had flown in earlier, and Li Du had also roughly checked out the storage unit earlier. But due to the constraints of time and energy, he had only looked around briefly. Once again, he let the little bug out to check the situation in storage unit number one. He waved his hand, and all the treasure hunters of Flagstaff gathered around him.
Li Du pointed to the photo on the first page and said in a low voice, “Look here. There is a box. The logo on the box belongs to Foster Violin. I guess there is something in it. If there’s anything within 5,000 bucks, the storage unit is worth it.”
The little bug flew in to check, and there were many boxes inside storage unit number one. Among them was a violin box, and inside the violin box was a violin. However, the other boxes were blocked from view and difficult to notice. Even if they had noticed the box, not everyone dared to bid because nobody knew if there really was a violin in it. Li Du knew there was a violin inside, and that it came from the Foster company. This company was the most famous violin maker in England.
After hearing his words, Big Beard Carl quickly joined the crowd. He turned around and winked at his partners as he said laughingly, “I’m taking this one, partners. You guys can go to the next one.”
They had an agreement between them. They would take turns bidding on all the storage units that Li Du deemed worthy. Regardless of how much they were worth, they could not be jealous of each other.
Olly said helplessly, “Oh, d*mmit, this fellow has taken the lead.”
The auction finally started. There was a little old man standing on a high, plastic stage. He was wearing white gloves and holding a loudspeaker. He said, “Listen, listen everybody, listen! Alright, no more words. I’m not going into details with the rules. Those who are interested in the storage unit come forward. Those not interested please step back. Let me see your hands, and we will start the auctioning. Get ready…”
Hearing this voice that sounded like cannons continuously firing, Li Du could not help but smile. He had not heard those words in a long time. He had actually missed it.
There were over 40 people who were interested in storage unit number one. They lined up for viewing, and after viewing ended, the auctioneer immediately shouted, “Alright, storage unit number one, the starting price is 500 bucks, 500 bucks, 500 bucks. I won’t say the price again. There may be a box of gold inside, there may be a box of dog sh*t. Anyway, just give me a bid if you are interested – 500 bucks!”
“Me!” Big Beard Carl was the first to call out.
“Alright 500, 500, 500… is there anyone willing to go higher…”
“Five hundred and one!”
“Five hundred and two!”
“I’ll pay 600 bucks!”
“I’ll pay 700 bucks!”
“Eight hundred bucks!”
“One thousand bucks!”
The price climbed quickly, and soon it was close to 2,000 bucks.
Big Beard Carl stroked his beard and shouted, “Three thousand bucks!”
He made a big price jump, and the treasure hunters suddenly hesitated.
The auctioneer did not give them any time to think. He pointed at Carl and shouted, “This fellow bid 3,000, 3,000, 3,000. Can anyone go higher? Three thousand one hundred, anyone?”
Nobody said anything, so the auctioneer waved his hand heartily and said, “Alright, the fellow with number 0118, this storage unit belongs to you! Opening storage unit number two, same old rules. Anyone interested, come up and take a look!”
Big Beard Carl pumped his fist fiercely. The base price Li Du gave him was 5,000 bucks. He had saved 2,000 bucks. This was a successful bid.
The other treasure hunters of Flagstaff were very happy as well. They had not earned much while Li Du was not around. Now that Li Du was back, they had a great start in the first round of the auction.