Chapter 539: The Search Continues
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After hearing what Owen said, some of the hunters fell into a panic. Cyril was exceptionally frantic. "Impossible! How can this be possible? Since when are opals found so easily?"
Li Du shrugged. "Who knows? I did say it wouldn't be that difficult to find one."
Sophie made a face at the hunters, and chortled in excitement as she said, "Admit defeat. You guys lost, and we won!"
Cyril wasn't willing to admit defeat; the opal that he'd found was worth at least 10,000 dollars, and could probably even fetch 20,000 dollars.
A gem hunter's job was not as cushy as what Li Du had assumed it to be. To look for gems in the national park, they had to pay the fee of 500 dollars each time before they could conduct an unrestricted search for the following 24 hours.
If the hunters didn't gain anything after 24 hours, they would be fraught as they would have spent that 500 dollars for nothing. It was just like when treasure hunters bought a storage unit filled with garbage.
There were many types of jobs within the treasure hunting trade, but none of them could guarantee profits and zero losses. None were easy or without their risks.
It was the same for gem hunters and storage treasure hunters; they might make enough at once to last three months or they might make nothing for three months. Cyril, for instance, had not earned much money in the past month and had pinned his hopes on this deal.
Seeing this deal was about to end badly for himself, how could he allow it to happen?
Of course, in comparison to the storage treasure hunters, gem hunters had an advantage. The level of risk they undertook was lower.
While they had to pay 500 dollars each time they entered the park, they could usually, eventually, earn that money back.
Although they were referred to as "gem hunters," they should have been called rare rock hunters. The probability of the hunters finding opals was low, but the likelihood of them finding some odd-shaped rocks was quite high.
These rocks were pretty high in demand; there were many shops selling rare rocks in the area and they could make some money selling them off.
However, only opals could provide them with significant gains. Opals could even make them overnight millionaires—there had been many such examples in the gem hunting community.
Cyril had thought that this was his chance to make some gains; even if it was not a fortune, it would still be quite substantial.
But now, the money that was about to land in his pocket was being taken away. How could he let that happen? He walked up to Owen and said, "This was not a fair bet. There's some trick involved. Give me back my gemstone."
His words annoyed the plump Owen, who asked, "Hey buddy, what do you mean by that? Are you saying that I ganged up with this fella here to cheat you?"
Owen was one of the most highly-regarded gem traders around; the gem hunters depended on these traders to earn money, and saw themselves as one notch below them in terms of status.
Therefore, upon hearing Owen's words, Cyril retracted what he had said. "No, no, no, that's not what I meant—"
Owen jabbed a finger at Cyril's chest and said. "That better not be what you meant. Buddy, you should know me and that I give a d*mn about my reputation. Since you chose me to be the referee of this bet, then you better show me some respect!"
The gem traders were particularly concerned about their reputation. Only when they were well-known and deemed trustworthy were the gem hunters willing to trade with them.
Cyril shouted, "But this son of a b*tch must have some conspiracy up his sleeve! Not sure what's up with this bloody Chinese guy, how could he possibly win? There must be some conspiracy!"
Li Du sneered to himself: This idiot is courting death and still so stubborn. He had the guts to mention conspiracy and trickery, he was obviously challenging Owen's authority.
Cyril did not care about who he offended. He could only think about how to get his gemstone back. So, he continued shouting, "Nobody could be so sure about finding an opal within an hour! I bet he bought that beforehand, put it in the soil, and then pretended that he just found it!"
This was a probable possibility; some gem hunters on his side nodded their heads.
Owen looked grim as he raised the gemstone. "You guys here are all experts. You can see the sand and powder on it, which can be used to deduce when it was dug out of the ground."
As he spoke, he looked at one of the gem hunters and said, "Dak, you tell me, can you tell when this was dug out of the ground?"
That gem hunter, who had been called out, went forward to take a look. He gave Cyril a resigned look. "Bro, this stone was freshly dug out. Definitely not bought by someone beforehand and put into the ground last minute."
The gem hunters looked at Cyril with pity and told him, "Forget it, buddy. Just admit the loss."
"You lost. Lady luck was smiling on this Chinese guy."
"It's alright, Cyril. Just think of it as though you never found the stone. It's still early, and maybe you can find another one!"
Cyril glared at the gem hunter who tried consoling him and yelled, "Shut up, you bunch of jerks! You guys instigated me to take the bet, and now you guys have to pay for my loss!"
Saying this was offensive to his counterparts, who had been on his side. Upon hearing his words, they turned around and walked away, not wanting to concern themselves with this matter anymore.
Owen passed the two pieces of rocks to Li Du, and also transferred the 20,000 dollars back to him. He then said, "You won."
Li Du gave him 2,000 dollars, and said, "I can't let you do the refereeing for nothing. The least I can do is give you a cut of ten percent—you deserve it."
No one would turn this down, especially when what Li Du said sounded so impressive.
Owen looked at him with a huge smile. Nodding, he said, "You're something, buddy, I like you. If Cyril were as clever as you, he would not have lost today."
Noticing that he now held both opals, someone asked immediately, "Buddy, are you going to sell those? At what price? I'll happily bid for them."
"Sell them to me," another person butt in to say his piece. "Both pieces. I'll give you a good price."
Holding onto the two beautiful gemstones, Li Du shook his head and smiled. "Thank you for your interest, but I'm not selling them. They're not mine."
As he spoke, he held them out to Sophie. "These are for you, darling. They are now yours."
Sophie waved her hands. "Huh? I don't want them, they're yours—"
"They're yours!" Li Du insisted. "I've done all this for you, darling. I know you like them. If you don't take them, then what value do they have?"
Sophie pursed her lips, pondered and then said, "No, Li, these gifts that you're giving me—"
Li Du interrupted her, "I know, these gifts are too low in value. You've helped me look after Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles as well as revived Ah Ow; you have even chosen to be with me. What I really want to give you is the rest of my life—the rest of my life belongs to you."
Sophie, who was not good with sweet nothings, was a shy lady.
Upon hearing his passionate words, she blushed and then accepted the two gemstones. She admired them happily under the sunlight, looking at them from left and right—she could not stop staring at them.
Indeed, that saying in the jewelry trade was true: "As long as there are dragons and women in this world, there will always be a demand for sparkling jewels."
Li Du was still not satisfied despite having gotten the two opals. As he rode the horse and trotted around the site, he released the little bug to whizz about as it continued to search for gems. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2020 So Far