Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Everyone should have already made up their minds about this storage unit. Those interested in it, please be quick. The price for this storage unit before me is 500 dollars, 500 dollars, 500 dollars…"
Items in this storage unit were indeed not worth much. Although the price of 500 dollars was rather low, the treasure hunters were not biting.
Li Du held back the urge to bid, and observed the surroundings wordlessly, biding his time.
While the sight of the precious dagger within the television unit had stirred up his emotions, he had the odd feeling that something was not quite right. It was an unsettling feeling.
He did not bid but someone else did—a man who looked Arabian shouted, "500 dollars!"
This Arabian man looked to be about 40 years old, dressed in all white with a short beard. Although he had blue eyes and fair skin like a Caucasian, based on his facial structures, he was definitely Arabian.
The auctioneer pointed at him. "Okay, 500 dollars. There’s a bid for 500 dollars. How about 600 dollars? Anyone for 600 dollars?"
A treasure hunter said, after some hesitation, "600 dollars!"
"Having gotten 600 dollars, I’m going for 700 dollars, 700 dollars, 700 dollars?"
In terms of this storage unit, the treasure hunters were disinterested, with many of them shaking their heads indicating that they would not be participating.
At this time, the Arabian man put in his bid. "Can do."
The auctioneer nodded. "Alright, 700 dollars, 700 dollars, the price of 700 dollars has been reached. How about 800 dollars, 800 dollars, how about 800 dollars?"
No other treasure hunter offered, and so Li Du followed with a bid. "I offer 800 dollars!"
The Arabian man looked at him in surprise, then frowned.
Li Du, who had been looking at him from the corner of his eye, felt his heart take a leap, and then guessed that this man knew about the existence of that precious dagger.
But who had placed the dagger in there? He was still puzzled after much pondering. The Arabian man followed with the bidding, and so the bid reached 900 dollars. Li Du hesitated and then offered 1,000 dollars.
With the two of them taking turns to bid, the price rose from 1,000 dollars to 2,000 dollars.
This rare scenario attracted the attention of many treasure hunters, including Andrew, who was enticed by the pair’s persistent bidding.
Treasure hunters were not fools—when such persistent bidding occurred, they knew that there must be something valuable in the storage unit that they themselves had not discovered.
The price of 2,000 dollars was not high and so Andrew participated in the bidding, albeit with a gloomy face. Other treasure hunters had also joined in by now.
At this rate, the price went from 2,000 dollars to 5,000 dollars.
The auctioneer was bewildered, but as long as it could fetch a high bid and make more money, he was also delighted. Hence, he continued to shout out the prices without any hesitation, and got more hyped up than anyone in the crowd.
The treasure hunters could not understand it; someone asked, "I say buddy, why’re you bidding?"
"I don’t know. Since everyone’s bidding and the price’s not that high, I gotta try."
"What about you, bro? What did you see?"
"I don’t know buddy—I ain’t seen nothing. I only saw a pile of junk, but since everyone’s bidding, I also try."
Seeing this, Li Du grimaced and stopped bidding. While the Arabian man looked frustrated, he did not stop throwing in bids.
He became sure that the man knew of the existence of the precious dagger!
In no time, the price rose to 10,000 dollars, and the number of bidders dwindled. Andrew had withdrawn from the bidding when the price reached 5,000 dollars.
Once again, the Arabian man raised his hand to bid, yelling, "10,100 dollars!"
The auctioneer did not sound as enthused as when he was encouraging bids previously. He looked at the Arabian man and said, "Hi Mister, according to the storage auction regulations, I need to check your qualification for participation. Hope you can cooperate."
The Arabian man was stunned; he asked, "What qualification for participation?"
The auctioneer said, "Please take out your participation documents and prove that you can pay 10,000 dollars."
The Arabian man’s brows furrowed. "What’s the meaning of this? Why are you checking mine?"
The auctioneer shrugged. "Because this is the first time I’m seeing you here—I’ve seen the others many times. I need to make sure you’re able to pay for the price of this storage unit, and you’re not intentionally inflating the bid."
Li Du whispered, "What’s this?"
Hans said, "Just like what the auctioneer said, it’s to prevent people from intentionally inflating the bid or make trouble by throwing in bids and running off after."
Li Du understood what he meant by the latter—if someone threw in a high bid but could not pay, then the storage company would have to hold an auction all over again.
Besides, treasure hunters would not hang around for long—when they had decided that there was no money to be made, they would leave. If another auction for the same unit were organized, hardly anyone would participate—it would end up being an aborted auction.
He did not understand the first reason though, and asked, "The auctioneer and the storage company would benefit from a higher bid—is that not a good thing?"
Hans answered, "Of course not, this is to protect the trade. Just like at Christie’s auctions, the owner of the item could not bid. This is to prevent intentional inflation by the storage company, in order to increase profit."
The Arabian man’s face darkened, he said icily, "Apologies, I’m rejecting your request to be checked. I think this is ridiculous."
The auctioneer said, "Trust me buddy, I’m just going by the book. Where’s security?"
Hearing his shout, the four security guards responsible for maintaining order walked over with their batons.
The Arabian man pointed his finger at the auctioneer angrily, "You’re racist!"
The more he resisted, the more wary the auctioneer became. "I repeat, I’m going by the book. But if you think this is being racist, you can make a complaint against me. Please produce the proof!"
The Arabian man glared at him and gritted his teeth, "Alright you jerk, you’re in trouble."
The auctioneer said, "Please produce proof or else I’ll have to ask you to leave."
That Arabian man waved his fist in anger, and hollered, "D*mmit, I didn’t bring a gun with me, and all my money’s in the car! I swear I’ve got the money—I brought more than enough money!"
The auctioneer said, "I only look at what you have on you. If you can’t produce proof, then you’ll have to leave. Otherwise, I’m gonna call the police!"
On hearing that, the Arabian man cursed and then ran off, "I’m going to get the proof now. Pause the d*mn auction, pause it!"
After the Arabian man had left, the auctioneer sneered, "I knew this a*shole was trouble. Alright, 10,000 dollars, 10,000 dollars, 10,000 dollars—who’s willing to offer a higher bid?"
Li Du raised his hand, shouting, "11,000 dollars—oh, not that—10,100 dollars!"
The auctioneer did not pay any attention to the second price he had offered and shouted, "Okay, 11,000 dollars, 11,000 dollars, 11,000 dollars—is anyone able to offer a higher bid?"
The spectacle had caused the treasure hunters to quiet down. To spend 10,000 dollars on a storage unit where nothing valuable could be spotted was not something they would even do under normal conditions.
After shouting "11,000 dollars" three times, the auctioneer pointed at Li Du and said, "Alright, this unit’s yours!"
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