Whether Richard truly hadn’t heard of his name before or chose to ignore what he knew, Cardiff was someone special in the Tuescher Family. He earned more than two million gold every year from a personal plane that his mother had left behind for him, and this plane that had been occupied for more than a hundred years was also the backbone of his claim to succession.
Cardiff had already calculated that Richard had around five million gold in capital at most. Auctions like the one today required payment up front, so things like contracts to make runes wouldn’t be of help. Winning the gamble would still mean a loss of two million gold, but a million gold each for two slaps to this arrogant fellow’s face would be more than worth it. He looked at Richard and secretly sneered; he could afford up to five million gold in loss!
With the terms of the bet laid out, the two made their way straight up to the fifth floor of the building, entering a small yet luxurious auction hall. Several nobles immediately rushed over to greet them, with more crowding around Richard than around Cardiff.
News of the bet leaked out in a flash, riling up all of those present. More than half of the hundred nobles gathered here knew that the death of a lowly guard meant nothing, but it served as a good cover for a more traditional political battle. Three million gold wasn’t too scary, but two slaps to the face was definitely interesting. It was rare for the phrase ‘a slap to the face’ to be so literal.
These nobles had to put up a civil front and normally shied away from something so barbaric. They would rather start a war than suffer such humiliation. However, the Archeron upstarts were known for their gruffness and violence. Even though Richard was a pretty boy who seemed mild-mannered, he was a ruffian just like the rest. This kind of bet wasn’t too surprising coming from him.
Richard sat down calmly, but Cardiff had some tricks up his sleeve. Having never enjoyed battles he had no confidence in, he quietly instructed one of his aides to get all the money the family would loan him. Adding that two million gold to what he already had on hand, he had a total of ten million gold!
The host of the auction started off with a few jokes to get everyone in the mood, but the bet had already filled the hall with excitement and anticipation. He thus had a few pretty servants carry a box with a powerful sealing enchantment on stage, beginning the auction right away.
A disgusting stench wafted into the hall the moment the box was opened, but none of the nobles showed any signs of disdain. Limited Arms were known for their high standard, so anything worthy of being auctioned off here was certainly rare. A few experienced old men even grew excited at the smell, and Richard stirred as well; he recognised this scent.
“Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, this is the first item up for bidding tonight. It is quite valuable as an offering and comes from the Land of Dusk. Some of you might have heard about it, and the select few that have used it will be able to appreciate the greater uses of this marvellous item. Yes, the vesicles of a sksar ursa warlord!”
A loud rumble sounded from the older gentlemen that had gathered. Like the host had said, ursa warlord vesicles were only the lowest grade of offering, and only a rare few put them on the altar. These things normally fetched the price of an intermediate offering, because they could be refined into a potion that could cure erectile dysfunction!
This wasn’t just a drug that enhanced sex. Once concentrated enough, potions made from these vesicles would pass down several traits of the ursa warlord to the user. The penis could temporarily be enlarged, and the chances of conception increased as well.
Be it for the former use or the latter, those older nobles who were immensely rich valued this item greatly. Bids started being shouted out the moment the host was done speaking, and the price quickly crossed the 400,000 gold threshold for a lesser offering and zoomed up to 900,000 in the blink of an eye.
Richard smiled silently, continuing to watch as the price shot up to 1.3 million before the bidding slowed down. 1.5 million was the base price of an intermediate offering, and however rare ursa vesicles were, there was a point when they weren’t worth it.
“1.5 million,” Richard said calmly, gathering all the eyes in the room onto himself. He truly had a use for this item, but he would just be donating it to the Church anyway. Saint Lawrence had entrusted him to find it for him, but so long as Beye was involved he didn’t have the guts to do such a thing. The old man’s wish could only be fulfilled at a later date.
Moreover, his second venture into the Land of Dusk had shown him that the relationship between Lawrence and Beye was more complicated than he had first thought. The old man’s mentions of sex were more of a threat than a desire. After all, someone able to bring the almost-dead Beye back to life would certainly be able to solve a minor problem with his erection.
The crowd fell silent and the item was won. Richard merely had the servants wrap it up and send it to the Church of the Eternal Dragon, not even looking at the thing as it disappeared.
Cardiff who wasn’t far away gritted his teeth hard, almost crushing his armrest in the process of calming himself down. His last bid of 1.3 million wasn’t far off from Richard’s, but he hadn’t dared to raise the price further just in case Richard withdrew.
It was only after the host announced the end of the bid that he realised he had made a mistake thinking of this bid like he normally would. It wasn’t important how much this thing was actually worth so long as he could donate it to the Church. All that mattered was for him to spend more than Richard.
Richard suddenly looked over to him, voice audible to a good section of the audience, “It isn’t too late to admit defeat, Cayden, just cut your losses and give up.”
Cardiff no longer had the strength to argue with Richard over his actual name, just grunting in reply, “The auction just started!” Turning his attention to the obvious look of apprehension on Lina’s face, he felt a little reassured.
Having learnt from his mistake, Cardiff started making several high bids to win some lesser offerings. He quickly went into the lead, having spent 2.3 million while Richard had spent 2.1. He didn’t bid for every item he saw, instead choosing those that the Church might like. This way, he could kill two birds with one stone. On the other hand, Richard was focused on buying magical materials which weren’t as much. Even though he paid two to three times the market price, he was still a little behind.
The second phase of this auction came when an intermediate offering was placed on the table. Cardiff and Richard launched into a bidding war, and after a desperate ten rounds back and forth the earl successfully acquired it at a sky-high price of 2.5 million. He immediately jumped into the sky, screaming with joy.
However, Cardiff did not remain happy for long. Right after the offering was a large chunk of gold-lined onyx which also came from a battlefield of despair. This was a core material for grade 3 runes, and Richard won it at a price of 3 million. It gave the earl a minor heart attack; Richard had already spent the limit of what he should have possessed!
When he saw Richard handing over three promissory notes which bore the insignia of the royal family, he felt like his lungs had caught fire. Promissory notes from the royal family were second only to those issued by the Church, and he didn’t know just how many such million-gold notes Richard had in his pocket. Normally, one needed to deposit an equal value into the royal warehouse to obtain these notes!
Cardiff stole a glance at Nyris who was still lazing by Richard’s side. Even though the prince had a number plate of his own, he hadn’t raised it even once. It seemed like he was only here as an observer. However, he quickly put his doubts aside. There were many princes in the race for succession, and his own family had a good relationship with quite a few. The Fourth Prince definitely wouldn’t be so stupid as to help Richard cheat on this auction.
However, as Richard passed the gold-lined onyx to Lina, his next words almost caused Cardiff to crumble, “Put this in my lab when we get back.”
Cardiff pointed at the crystal with disbelief, “You’re not donating this?”
“No, this isn’t part of our bet. I bought this for personal use,” Richard said indifferently.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA