Chapter 34: The Power Gem
“Mika, you didn’t miss me even a little?” Lan Jue smiled charmingly, leaning against the counter. His eyes swept over the fiery salesgirl.
Mika huffed. “A boss who neglects his duty for over half a month? What’s to miss?”
Lin Guoguo also spoke up, her own voice somewhat grouchy. “If you keep this up, boss, Mika and I’ll apply to work with Xiuxiu and Ke’er. We’re down here all day long, dead tired with no sunlight and you don’t even come to see us. It’s heartbreaking!”
Lan Jue rubbed his forehead and smiled. “Fine, fine, girls. My mistake, alright? I’ll change my ways, and definitely come more often to see you.”
Mika’s anger turned to delight, and she fixed him with a softer gaze. “That’ll do.”
“Ah, right. You showed up just in time boss. There a matter you need to tend to.” Lin Guoguo’s changed gears, all businesslike. Even like this, with her sweet flushed face, it could almost drive a man to bite her.
“Oh?” Lan Jue asked. “What is it?”
“Yesterday a guest came in with a gem to sell,” Lin Guoguo began. “Mika and I both had a look, but it was hard to tell. He wanted a lot for it, and we didn’t want to proceed without asking you.”
Lan Jue nodded. “Let me see it.”
Zeus’ Jewelry Store didn’t only sell jewelry, but also purchased some, though of course at a lower price than they would at the market place.
The shop above offered the flashy, the opulent, the magnificent. The Avenue underground, however, was different. Jewelry was also sold here, but they weren’t only for looks. In fact each was fitted with a power gem for practical use.
With the onset of the New Era humanity proceeded to excel at planetary development. Eventually they discovered a number of special gems which possessed special qualities. Their specific abilities were as various as the stones themselves, but they all became known as Power Gems.
Regardless of whether they were affixed to mechas or forged in to weapons Adepts used directly, they advanced the abilities of whatever they touched. Particularly rare were the giant Power Gems, which often fetched exorbitant prices.
An example was the Soulfire Diamond he’d bet against the Barber’s Harlequin Silver. The diamond’s function was energy compression. In condensing energy by a factor of five the original volume was reduced by a fifth, but it’s power was increased three-fold. The greater the size of the diamond, the greater it’s one-time use. The gem held in Zeus’ Jewelry Store was sufficiently large to compress the entire power of a ninth-level Talent in to a single blow. Although the Power Gem would fracture after use, it was certain that single blow would be the deciding factor in any battle.
In truth single-use gems like the Skyfire Diamond weren’t exceptionally valuable. Of much higher worth were the re-usable gems. Generally speaking, power gems of equivalent effect compared to precious metals increased functionality by a factor of ten. In terms of price, the difference could be a hundredfold.
Therefore, the highest level mechas were often a combination of precious metals and power gems.
After a short time Lin Guoguo returned, bearing a silver metal box. The box was small, and unadorned, but Lan Jue knew at a glance it was composed of heavy lead. This sort of box was only used for intense, radioactive gemstones. And most of those gems were harmful to people. Of course it would also be capable of stimulating an Adept’s genetic abilities, strengthening their Discipline. That sort of gem was invaluable.
“Boss, we’ve already analyzed the radiation. It’s emissions are strange; they aren’t harmful, but also don’t seem to have any benefit. But, the intensity of the radiation itself is quite large. It has a high metal penetrability. The man seemed like he desperately needed the money. If you wait a little while he’ll probably return. He’d said that if we didn’t take it he’d go sell it to someone else.
Lan Jue took up the box, opening it gingerly. A gentle blue light crackled around his hand, growing until it coated the box. Lin Guanguan and Mika had long ago grown accustomed to Lan Jue’s power, and so were not surprised by the display.
A precious stone the size of a ping pong ball rested in the box. It was a light brown, and clearly unrefined. Still, it’s crystalline façade displayed no impurities, and light flowed easily through it’s center. But it’s surface appeared somewhat opaque. All in all, it didn’t look worthy of much attention.
The radiation it emitted was indeed strong, and his body tingled from the sensation.
“How much did the man want for it?” Lan Jue muttered.
The saleswomen had reverted to a more professional demeanor, retiring their playful smiles. “He wanted fifty thousand NED*,” Li Guaguan replied.
“Give it to him,” Lan Jue said eagerly.
Mika’s eyes glinted in the pale glow of the stone. “Boss, you know what this stone does?”
Lan Jue, in turn, shook his head. “No idea. But judging from the strength analysis, his power gem is at least a-rank. This radiation is directly derived from it’s power. It’s power is quite pure, and it seems the compression abilities in it are hidden deeper in. The power itself doesn’t come to the surface to dissipate, instead presenting as radiation with no distinguishable power fluctuation.”
A-rank? Hearing this, the two women’s eyes shone like luminous diamonds.
The value of a Power Gem, from high to low were S-, A-, B-, C-, E-, and F-rank.
The discrepancy between rankings was tenfold. Generally, It was accepted that a gem’s value and rank were directly proportionate to it’s volume.
Only a few s-ranked gems were uncovered a year in the Three Alliances, and nearly all were subsequent favorites at top-level auctions. It would be fair to say that a-rank gems were the best the average man could hope to encounter. The Skyfire Diamond, by comparison, wasn’t even considered d-rank. The capabilities of a single A-ranked Power Gem could rival that of an elite mecha. In fact any ‘elite’ mecha that wasn’t fitted with an A-rank power gem wasn’t elite at all.
Mika and Lin Guanguan were both quite experienced in the industry, and new all S- or A-rank power gems on the market. Neither had seen this one before, but that didn’t shake their confidence in their boss. If it was indeed an A-rank gem, then the thing was worth a hundred million dollars.
“I’ll contact the seller,” Mika stated promptly. She turned on her heel and left.
Lan Jue wasn’t in a hurry to leave, confronted with the A-ranked power gem. He played with it in the palm of his hand. Fifty thousand NED meant little to him – the cost of a fine bottle of wine – but even if this gem was a fake, it still required some investigation. And in the event it was real, this was the deal of a lifetime. But above all, since this gem wasn’t known on the market, it could mean he’s found information on a new vein. And a place to build a mine. Of course the possibility was extraordinarily remote. Gems of power were almost never found together.
*New Era dollars. Future translations may refer to them as ‘bucks’ or NED unless otherwise specified.