Chapter 207: The Auction
Lan Jue carefully read through the Tear’s introductory paragraphs. As anticipated, the Tear of Neptune was reputed to have an exceptional ability to remove impurities.
Once energy was channeled through the gemstone, it would emit a gentle light. Any gem was easily perfected when paired with the Tear. Once the s-ranked gem’s work was done, only the purest forms of energy remained in its target. Everything else was unnecessary, and was removed.
There were certainly other gems that held similar properties, but none were as thorough as this. However, there were only b-ranked stones that were similar to this one 1! Clearly, there was a world of difference with regards to cost when considering a b- and s-ranked gem. However, even b-ranked gems were able to remove ninety percent of impurities.
Another reason why Tears of Neptune weren’t so highly sought after.
Finally, near the end, there was a closing note: The Tear of Neptune – chasing the perfect gem.
After reading through the introduction, Lan Jue flipped through the brochure in his hands. There were many other gems on offer, of many different sorts. They ranged from d-to a-ranked, though clearly there was significantly more lower end stones available. The d-ranked gems alone weighed in at ten kilograms.
Once more this underlined the pricing scheme for a gem that requires five thousand kilograms of the stuff.
“Boss, your black coffee.” Lin Guoguo came back from the coffee bar, bearing a mug for her employer. She placed it on the table in front of him.
The dark, thick liquid was bitter, full to the taste, but it was a flavor Lan Jue enjoyed. Plus, his stomach never digested dairy products well 2. A mild case of lactose intolerance. Hence the preference for black coffee.
He took several sips of the stuff, and almost instantly felt waves of refreshing energy course through him. He shut the brochure in his hands, closed his eyes, and enjoyed the relaxing sensations.
Just as he was taking the final sip of his brew, an announcement hailed the beginning of the auction.
The auction had lead the organizers to temporarily refurbish the large chamber in the center of the gallery. The second Lan Jue stepped inside, he could feel powerful waves of energy coming from all around him.
He took only the briefest look around. In that moment, he identified no less than thirty Adepts, at least sixth-ranked. There were ten more who were seventh-ranked. Two ninth-ranked adepts were backstage.
It was quite the powerful assembly, to be sure. There were powerful security measures to match.
The auction was soon to commence, and people were filling the seats. More than a thousand had already picked a spot.
Lan Jue and the others managed to finds seats on the center of a lane near the front of the hall. To his left sat Lin Guoguo and Xiuxiu. Su He, and Ya Xiu sat to his right.
“So has anything caught your eye?” Su He asked in curiosity.
Lan Jue nodded. “A few things. Let’s see how many I walk away with.”
The great double doors leading to the chamber were closed. Two Adepts took up position on either side of it, their eyes sweeping over the crowd. The lights dimmed. Just as they did, before the onlookers could let their eyes adjust, a single blazing spotlight sprung to life. All eyes were on the stage.
An elderly gentleman appeared from backstage, clad in a masterfully tailored grey formal suit. His clothes were immaculate, without blemish or wrinkle. His silver hair was slicked back, and looked in fine condition for a man of his age. On the contrary, he seemed full of vitality. In a way, he was a lot like the antiques he was slated to sell. The more you looked upon him, the deeper the sensation went.
Lan Jue raised a brow. He could feel that this was one of the ninth-ranked adepts he’d sensed when first entering.
“Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, greetings and welcome. It is my great honor, to host this year’s annual Tears of Neptune Auction. Out in the crowd I see many familiar faces, but I also see new friends I’m confident will happily join our community tonight. The Tears of Neptune Auction, is the largest auction held on Lir, occurring once a year. It has a storied, twenty-seven year long history of joining buyers with new treasures. This year, we have a more extensive – and more expensive – selection than any year prior. I can assure you, that you won’t regret your presence or future purchases.”
The elderly man’s voice was cast through the room by virtue of a microphone pinned to his lapel. It was magnetic, and pleasing to the ear.
Lan Jue leaned slightly towards Su He on his right, and spoke to him in low tones. “Mentor, are there any restrictions or requirements to participate?”
“Many,” Su He assured. “Clear proof of identity, enough money for a deposit, and a good standing within the Alliance for starters. Yesterday I set us up through the Bookworm’s name. With him in such good standing, there was no need for you to submit to a check. The Bookworm acts as our guarantor.”
Lan Jue cracked a smile. “So if we run around stealing stuff it’ll probably tick the old man off. He’ll be in a world of trouble!”
Su He laughed. “Yup! He’d probably kill me. Or, more likely, reduce me in to a series of data matrices.”
“There are numerous items for us to bid on tonight, so this old man won’t take any more of your time. Let us begin. The first ten items were donated to us by people from all walks of life. All of the proceeds for these items will be given to local Lir charities. This is as good a reason to be liberal with your money as you can find – get something nice, and help people in the process. Now on to our first item, The Mergoddess Surveys Her Kingdom.”
Another individual made his presence known, pushing a large cart onto the stage. It was simple, lending itself to the quaint antiquity that surrounded them. Within it were scores of goods for sell.
The item indicated was quite simply a work of art; shell, pearl and stone had been expertly combined. However, the most expensive part of the piece was the massive blue Lirian pearl, flawless in every way. The shells had been cut and engraved in the shape of a young woman. She sat upon the giant pearl, which made her look like a maiden resting in the depths of the ocean. It was remarkably true to life. Closer observation would reveal that her legs were in fact a fin, covered in meticulously detailed scales. All in all, it was a work of art one rarely came by.
The bid caller gave a brief introduction, then said “Since this is for charity, we’ll skip the lower offers, please. Ladies and gentlemen, your bids.”
Lan Jue nodded to Xiuxiu and his shoulder 3.
Xiuxiu lifted the small placard in her hand that read ‘#568’. “Ten thousand NED,” her melodious voice called. It was pleasing, but loud enough to be clearly heard.
The bid caller was certainly surprised by the bid. New Era Dollars were hard to come by in general, with the average monthly income hovering around three to five hundred. Ten thousand NEU was well beyond the asking price.
- If you recall, the Mundus crystal from Chapter 57, I believe, did the same thing, though it was only c-ranked. ↩
- The Chinese do not eat Dairy products often. They have various sorts of yogurt, but that’s about it. No milk, no cheese, and if they do eat something with those things they don’t like the flavor. It simply isn’t a part of the Chinese diet. As a result, most of them can’t handle diary well. ↩
- Really dude? You’re too lazy to lift your own arm? ↩