Chapter 223 - Kelat Auction House (6)

The day of the auction for the third tablet piece arrived, and it was all anyone could think about. Although it was a secret auction held at the top auction house of the Kelat Auction House, the building bustled with people.

As they had done with the second auction, the West Wind Union only sent invitations to VVIPs. However, they received so many complaints after the second auction that they ended up giving out more invitations for the third round to stay in the good graces of the Large Clans.

Another reason for the huge crowd was that each of the Large Clans sent large groups of people. Even if they only had five representatives, the seats were still filled with their bodyguards. The Magic Tower also sent big groups and the high rankers had shown up, and so it wasn’t too much of a secret auction anymore.

Many of the guests weren’t the kind of people who liked noisy crowds, and they didn’t hide their displeasure. However, no one dared say anything to the West Wind Union. Most of them weren’t even invited; they simply wanted to see who would get the last piece of the tablet.

“Even the Elohim is acting strangely. Four members from the Senate and one from the Consul? They’ve gone crazy.”

“I see the head of the Family of Life. I heard he doesn’t leave his residence often. I can’t believe he’s here right now.”

The head of the family of the Protogenoi species, Ione, was famous for being a hermit. However, he was here at the action, his eyes flashing coldly from his VIP seat. He was clearly dissatisfied with all the nobodies in the room and wanted the auction to start right away. On each side of him sat those who ruled over the Elohim: the Senate and the Consul. A quick glance at them made it clear that the auction wouldn’t go very smoothly.

It wasn’t just the Elohim contributing to that atmosphere. “Marquis Nageling and Marquis Scrap from the Blood Land are here too. The person in the back looks like…Duke Ardbad.” Of the four monstrous War Spirit Guardians who protected the Gluttony Emperor, he was the one who represented power. He was renowned for his sword skills, and he was said to have the ability to cut through oceans. Everyone knew that the Gluttony Emperor rarely let him leave unless it was important. His presence was proof of the Gluttony Emperor’s interest in the auction.

“And it seems the Fourth Bishop and the Fifth Bishop from the Devil Army have come, too.”

“The Sea of Time? They’re here, too? That’s crazy. Everyone’s gone mad over this auction.”

Two people sat away from everyone else on the right. Their black, hooded robes obscured their identities, but their demonic energy made it obvious that they were from the Devil Army.

However, a group of five sitting close to them attracted even more attention. They didn't seem particularly interested in their surroundings, and occasionally yawned and pulled out books to read. No one could approach them, as though they’d been sectioned off. These were members of the Sea of Time, the most mysterious of the Eight Large Clans. Since the opening of the Tower, they were rumored to be everywhere and nowhere.

They were notorious for their reclusiveness, and no one knew how many members they had or where their headquarters were. Although clans like this were ordinarily dismissed and forgotten, each time the Sea of Time made their presence known, they roiled the entire Tower.

Their most astonishing feat so far was sending Allforone back to the seventy-seventh floor when he was still active. Red Dragon, who was thought to be the only group that could stop Allforone, was greatly shocked. 

From that point on, people began to say that the only clan that could stand against Red Dragon was the Sea of Time. Of course, no one was stupid enough to say it out loud, but the Sea of Time was still considered one of the most powerful among the Eight Large Clans and a force that couldn’t be dismissed.

Aside from them, there were other clans who had the potential to take the place of the Cheonghwado within the Eight Large Clans: Iron Lion Clan, Stray Children, Magic Tower, and so on.  

With all the leaders of the current age present, the auction house was full of tension. However, even with such an atmosphere, an arrival grabbed everyone’s attention. A group of players marched through the door in an organized and serious manner.

“They’re finally here.”

“Red Dragon…”

Red Dragon had finally shown up. Even though the Sea of Time was considered to be their equal, Red Dragon still ruled supreme, both in the past and in the present. They had even defeated the Cheonghwado, another group thought to be their equal, and didn’t seem to suffer any great losses.

The people who walked down the carpet all had bloodthirsty auras: 

The Delusional Ghost, Garavito. 

The Chancellor of Blood and Iron, Bismarck. 

The Old Sword, Hanan. 

The Lionheart, Richard. 

The Venomous Butterfly, Danghee. 

The Twin Murderers, Jack and Ripper. 

The Hawk Eye, Troy. 

They were members of the famous Eighty-One Oculus who crushed anyone who dared stand up to Read Dragon. However, after they walked past, and one more person entered the room, the players’ shock grew. 

It was a handsome man with a sculpted face and cold eyes, the youngest of the Summer Queen’s Nine Dragon Sons who had received the Summer Queen’s blood in their veins through a transfusion: the Nine Dragon Songs. As the leaders of the Eighty-One Oculus, the Nine Dragon Sons ruled Red Dragon in the Summer Queen’s stead. Everyone grew even tenser when the man appeared. He was called Tom the Beginning.

Tom laughed sardonically, not caring about the looks he received. He sat down on the seat reserved for him and crossed his legs. Just as the tension grew so thick that it was palpable, Atran appeared behind the podium.

“I’d like to thank all those who have come to this humble place.” He scanned the room and greeted the guests politely. “Since everyone is busy, we’ll begin the auction right away. This is the third piece of Trigmegistus’ tablet.” Atran pulled back the curtains with a flourish, revealing a piece of the tablet inside a glass box.

Silence descended as the heat rose in the room. The same expression appeared in everyone’s eyes as they looked at the piece: greed. It wasn’t just Red Dragon who knew that the piece had something to do with the Philosopher’s Stone. Even if they didn’t pinpoint that it was the Philosopher’s Stone exactly, the Large Clans and high rankers knew that it would create an extraordinary organ for magic power. The tablet created enough greed to spark wars.

All everyone could think was: ‘I must get my hands on it, no matter what!’ Even if they had to bankrupt their clan or fight a war, they would do anything.

Atran was extremely pleased with the atmosphere. The greater the greed, the better his reputation would be. It wouldn’t be long before he ended up owning the West Wind Union.

Although the risk of a fight breaking out after the auction was great, it was none of his concern. His only task was to sell the tablet piece at a ridiculously high price.

“Alright, then let’s—!” Before Atran could even officially begin the auction, Tom raised his bidding paddle and said in an annoyed tone, “Elixir.”

There was a stunned silence before chaos erupted throughout the room.

“Red Dragon! What are you doing?” The faces of the high rankers were all twisted with anger. A few of them stood and shouted, but Red Dragon didn’t seem to care. They even gave Atran pointed looks as though questioning why he wasn’t going through with the auction.

Atran was frozen at first, then he began to tremble from shock. Elixir was the divine medicine that couldn’t be bought with all the money in the world. Heaven Wing Cha Jeong-woo had been critically injured trying to get it, and it was easily equivalent to the value of the Philosopher’ Stone.

Offering this divine medicine that could cure any illness meant that Red Dragon was staking their claim. Tom and Red Dragon didn’t care about the Elixir since it couldn’t help their queen, and to them, it was no more valuable than a pebble on the street.

“I thought we could pay with items instead of money. Have the rules changed?” Tom’s growl shook Atran back to his senses. However, his voice still trembled as he said, “First bid is the E-Elixir. I-is there anyone e-else who’d like to make a bid?”

An expression of urgency appeared on the players’ faces. No one had anything like the Elixir, much less surpassed it. Even the high rankers who had brought their life savings couldn’t do anything.

“I-if no one else wants to make a bid, I’m going to start counting down. Ten, nine…”

“Of course no one will bid. They’re blind as bats and don’t see what the value of the piece is,” Tom scoffed.

Duke Ardbad exploded in anger, his face as red as a tomato. “Red Dragon is the same as ever. Do you think you can take that?” He knew that he was being unreasonable, but he didn’t care. It was more important that he stop Red Dragon’s iron fist than lose his reputation. If they got their hands on the tablet piece, there was no telling how much they would grow. The other players agreed with him silently, exuding violent auras. They were ready raise their swords if the piece went to Red Dragon. 

Kashing! Troy and the rest of the Eighty-One Oculus all slowly pulled their swords out. The tension in the room began to mount.

“Six, five…” Atran continued to count in a trembling voice, wondering why the Bureau hadn’t stepped in yet. Why hadn’t anyone shown up yet? Was it because no blood had been shed yet? The Bureau was extremely conscientious about the Kelat Auction House, and he was beginning to fear that something was preventing them from intervening.

“Four, thre…” Suddenly, Tom laughed coldly and said to everyone glaring at him, “I think everyone has the wrong impression, so I’ll make things clear. We don’t want just that one piece.” He put emphasis on his next words. “We want all of them.”

Some players were ready to demand that he explain himself when the faces of the representatives from the clans grew shocked. They were hearing news from the outside.

The leader of Golden Studies from the Magic Tower jumped up with a flushed face. “Just what are you doing, Beginning? How can you—how! You’ve betrayed us!”

“You’ve raided the magnate’s vault and the Magic Tower, and you’re even ready to disrupt the Kelat Auction House. Have you all gone insane?”

“Are you trying to go to war with the entire Tower?!”

Everyone began to shout as they received the news that Red Dragon had launched attacks at different locations in the Tower. They had already killed the magnate Croy, and a few of the Nine Dragon Sons were massacring the Golden Studies in the Magic Tower. A few were even attacking the secretaries of the Kelat Auction House.

Atran’s face paled. Attacking the secretaries meant that they were trying to get the sales records and find out who the seller of the tablet was. That meant his job as a merchant was in jeopardy, and he began hiccupping and forgot to count.

Tom smirked and got behind the podium. No one thought of stopping him because of Red Dragon’s unforgivable acts. Tom broke the glass box and snatched the piece. “Finally!” This would heal his mother and return Red Dragon to their position of glory as rulers of the Tower.

***

“It must be a madhouse right now.” In the Demons’ Forest on the twenty-third floor, Brahm couldn’t help laughing as he looked at Yeon-woo and thought of the auction that was underway.

Yeon-woo had set up an elaborate scheme to ensnare everyone in the Tower. The greedy Red Dragon would likely launch a search for the seller so that they could hoard the Philosopher’s Stone, but they wouldn’t be able to find anything since Yeon-woo had already wiped all traces from the database.

“They’ll never find out, huh?” A corner of Brahm’s lips curved up. In fact the tablet contained a crafty trick that no one would be able to figure out. “It contains the formula for Devil Poison.”

After making the Philosopher’s Stone, the Summer Queen would realize that something was wrong, but the Devil Poison would be in her body by then, and she would be destroyed. Her body was already ruined from the collapse of her Dragon Heart, and her condition would worsen. Since demons were the natural enemies of dragons, this would be a fatal injury to her.

Where would the Summer Queen direct her anger? It was obvious: the source of the tablet. And Red Dragon would easily find out through their ancient networks that it was the Emerald Tablet from the Walpurgisnacht. 

The night of the witches would end. “I won’t need this anymore.” Yeon-woo burned the last piece of the tablet with Holy Fire. They had prepared this extra piece in case the Tower needed a little prompting, but there wasn’t a need for that anymore.

The dark ashes fluttered away in the breeze. 

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