Chapter 210: Pelagic Pearl
It was certainly a startling field; weak, but complicated. The deeper he delved in to it, the more his thunderbolt and lightning Disciplines resonated. His own power was strong enough to counter-act the strange sensation, but a lesser man would certainly have difficulties controlling the chaotic powers.
The one million dollars was well worth it!
There were other metals that produced an electric field, of course. Lan Jue had even encountered several of them. However, this was the first time a metal had begun to influence his Discipline just by being close.
Lan Jue was well satisfied with his purchases. This metal alone would require more careful study when he returned to the hotel later. Years of experience and study have possessed him with a calm state of mind, but it would be best to examine the stuff in Skyfire Avenue.
After a while the remainder of wandering auctioneers returned to their seats. The show continued shortly thereafter.
The bid caller changed once again. The older man had returned to take over.
Now he was clad in a snow white suit, and a red shirt that gave him a sort of old-timey charm. A younger man wouldn’t have been able to pull it off.
“Thank you and welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Now we come to the final section of the Tear of Neptune auction. I’m certain many of you have been waiting with baited breath for this very moment. That’s right, here we’ve come to the final leg of our time together; power gems! Today we have sixteen gems on offer, all of them the product of our very own planet Lir. Our basest gemstones are c-ranked, so we have something for everyone. Don’t miss your chance!”
“Please bring out our first item.”
An assistant pushed the cart back onto the stage. The scarlet velvet covering the item was removed, revealing a crystal display box. Within sat a twinkling pitch black pearl.
If they were sticking to their normal formula, then this item would their third major draw for this section, surpassed only by their last two sales. They did this to keep the excitement levels high, and drive up competitive prices. It was a common practice in auctions.
“The Pelagic Pearl, an a-ranked gem. In total, we have three identical gems available for purchase. They’ve already been beautifully cut for your convenience and appreciation. It’s ready for any application, especially as the core gem for your mecha. The power gem has three special characteristics, making it a star among a-ranked gems.”
“First, the gem is chalk full of an enormous amount of personal energy, making it an excellent source of alternative energy. As I’m certainly everyone is aware, Sovereign-class mechs have gems such as these to help with energy consumption. The more prosperous the energy gem, the more powerful the mecha it can support. This single five hundred carat gem can power your top of the line mecha for three hours of uninterrupted combat.”
“Secondly, the gem has a pure and powerful water element power. Water Adepts who channel their power through it, will see their capabilities doubled at the least. A concrete number for how much more powerful one is when using the gem is difficult to provide, as it’s contingent on how well one’s Discipline melds with the gem. To our knowledge, a well-paired team of Adept and gem can reach as high as five times their normal abilities.”
“The third and final ability of the pearl, is its regenerative powers. Drop it in the water, and the power gem will consume the water energies around it to heal. If the gem runs out of energy, keep it in the water for three hours and you’re ready to go again.”
“Amplification, preservation, regeneration, all in one balanced package. Let’s begin; we’ll set the opening bid at one million NED. Bids must continue in twenty-thousand dollar increments. Begin!”
The interest in power gems had always trumped lust for anything else in all three Alliances. As the bidding commenced, no less than ten auctioneers brought up their placards. The price rose frighteningly fast.
“Hey freshman, what do you think of this a-ranked gem?” Su He asked.
Lan Jue turned his head to reply. “Balanced, yet moderate. It’d be much more suitable for water Adepts.”
Su He nodded.
An energy gem that’s reached this level didn’t even have a market price. It was uncommon enough that there wasn’t a previously set game or hardware situation for them to fall back on.
The pearl eventually sold to a gentleman in the front, for eighteen million NED.
Energy gems that reached a-rank were very rarely seen on the public market. They were rare enough so that price no object when those in need finally came across one.
Things continued as before, with the items following the Pelagic Pearl being significantly less interesting. In fact none were better than ‘mediocre.’
Xiuxiu and Lin Guoguo occasionally bid on pieces that came up, without needing to wait for Lan Jue’s input. As decent deals presented themselves, the two young women would involve themselves. Even still they didn’t buy much.
Before long, they’d come to the second to last item on auction.
“Next for your viewing pleasure, we have the last item before our main event. This is another a-ranked power gem. However, I must tell you, this is a gem that’s at the absolute peak of its class. Let’s take a look!” He swept his arm towards the cart.
A blue, opaque gemstone sat within a crystal display box. In all it was about the size of an adult fist, and round like a ball. It’s interior looked like a storm of rolling clouds and mist, accompanied by an indistinct halo of dim light. Even with the barrier of the crystal box between them, Lan Jue could still faintly sense the energy waves given off by the power gem.
Lan Jue’s face changed, just the faintest bit. Su He’s eyes betrayed surprise as he exclaimed “A Brine Orb. I didn’t look carefully at the brochure, I had no idea.”
Lan Jue’s quiet voice responded. “It was there, but the picture didn’t do it any justice. Looking at it now, it’s clear it’s an excellent specimen. Once again, very suited for Water Adepts.”
The bid caller continued with his introduction. “The Brine Orb. Storied, powerful. An a-ranked power gem that pairs well with any Adept, especially when serving as part of a weapon. It gives the bearer the element of water to control during combat.”
“As I’m sure all of our illustrious guests are aware, the Brine Orb pairs well with the water element’s sustainability. I can tell you that, while testing the gem, it was able to sustain a stable emulsion of water element for thirty minutes. This is the longest recorded time for any Brine Orb. On top of that, the power it possesses rivals an eighth-ranked Talent! Whoever you’re facing, this power gem can protect you – unless you’re running around picking fights with Paragons. It’s like carrying around your own bodyguard who has no need for food or sleep, and is immune from death. After use, submerge the gem in water for twelve hours and you’re ready to go again. If you submerge it in the ocean, you’ll only need three hours.”
“I believe that’s enough of an introduction for us to get started. We underwent extensive testing, considering it over and over again before the auction. We’ve determined that the starting price for this wonderful power gem couldn’t be any less than twenty million NED, without doing it a disservice. Bids must increase at five hundred thousand NED intervals. Let’s get going!”
“Twenty-five million!” A hand shot up from the front few rows. In a blink the gem was now one fourth more expensive.
The bid caller had been right by describing the Brine Orb as one of the best a-ranked gems. The bulk of its price tag came from the fact that it only took a very small amount of one’s personal energy to enervate the gem, and call on its elemental powers. What the introduction didn’t mention was that fresh blood was how one got the most out of the power gem. It created a link between the gem and the host, so that only one person was ever able to use that gem. The gem would remain under an individual’s whim, until that person died.
As for Lan Jue, at his level of power there were other a-ranked power gems of more use…
“Fifty million.” A calm voice called out their bid. The voice was soft, yet everyone in the room could hear them clearly. Stranger still, a strangely oppressive sensation filled the area as the voice called forth.
Everyone went silent. Everyone in the front turned their heads, looking for the origin of the sound. However, they were shocked to discover that everyone was looking in different places – the voice came from a different location for every listener. Fortunately they eventually found the raised placard. 570 was clearly written on its surface.
“Number five-seventy, fifty million NED.” Even the bid caller’s voice was somewhat surprised. It wasn’t an outrageous price for such a high ranked gem, however it was already twice the current price. With statistics like that, anyone would be shocked at the increase. On top of all of that, to possess such an overbearing sensation with just your voice, set even the bid caller on edge. As a ninth-ranked adept himself, he knew clearly the sort of power that was. Number 570 was at least as strong as he was.
“Any other interested parties?” The bid caller asked.
Not a sound. Silence met the elderly man’s question.
Fifty million was a high number, by any metric. They also had no interest in testing a man who could command such power with his voice alone 1. Who he was, whether it was him or those at his side, none of that mattered. They had the power and resources to take what they wanted.
A high price to pay, and doing so would also potentially offend a powerful Adept. There were several things to consider, hence the silence.
Most of those present were businessmen, merchants, traders. They understood the way worth and risk interacted. There wasn’t enough draw for them to take the risk.
Lan Jue dropped his placard. His face was calm, without expression. Beside him, Su He looked his way in curiosity. His new wife was similarly surprised. All she really knew about this man and his two female servants was that he was her husband’s friend. She had no idea he had so much money to throw around.
“Fifty million, going once!” The bid caller had no choice but to abide by the rules of the auction. He began to call out the final chances. The oppressive sense, paired with the fact that the price was near enough to the auction house’s goal for the item, meant he wouldn’t waste any further time shouting for increases.
Suddenly, a voice in front shouted out. “Fifty-ONE million!”
“Sixty million!” Lan Jue raised his placard once again. His face still bore that calm mask.
The challenging voice was quiet, shot down by the cool and indifferent increase of nine million dollars. While the voice may have been calm, it was like a blast of thunder in their ears. The whole place shook uncomfortably. The faces of the many businessmen drained of color. 2
Such power! This is no ordinary ninth-ranked Adept. Such was the thought going through everyone’s mind.
“Sixty million, going once.”
“Sixty million, second call.”
“Third and final, sixty million. Takers?”
“SOLD. Sixty million.”
The hammer smacked the sound block. The deal was made.