In one corner of the lobby, there were many wooden posts attached with papers, detailing the auction goods that filled the whole space. However, most people were gathered in the center of the auction house. The sizes of the wooden posts in this area were bigger than the others and their descriptions were more detailed.
Furthermore, the starting prices of these goods were much higher. Leona carefully read through the information, but what caught her eyes the most were the exorbitant prices. Although she didn’t know much about the human world yet, she could estimate their value by her own measurements.
‘This is the price of 300,000 apples. This one is 350,000 apples. And this is o-one million apples…!’
Leona’s complexion grew paler and paler at the sight of such high numbers. What shocked her, even more, was that these numbers were the starting prices. Since she had participated in an auction to sell her jewels, she knew what they meant.
‘If the Lake’s Tear is being auctioned here…’
It seemed like she wouldn’t be able to buy it with the money and gems she currently had. However, she was able to relieve her worries at Zich’s question.
“Did you find it?” he asked, and Lyla shook her head. Leona also couldn’t answer.
“This is a surprise. I thought we would at least find it in the central auction room.”
Zich stared at the wooden posts with the description of the goods. To their astonishment, they couldn’t find a description of the Lake’s Tear.
“Did we miss it?” Lyla asked, and Zich answered, “We looked for it three times each. If we didn’t find it after searching for it so thoroughly, it must not be here.”
The second time they were looking for the Lake’s Tear, they even poured mana into their eyes to help their search. However, they still failed to find it after going through such an effort twice.
“Can you really feel the treasure in this building?”
“I-I’m sure.” Even as Leona looked like she was about to cry, she said this assuredly.
“Then, let’s go back for now. There may still be writing a description for it.”
Suddenly, another possibility popped into Zich’s head.
‘Wait, don’t tell me that is already here.’
* * *
“A black market?”
Lyla had come to Zich’s room to discuss future plans, and she looked surprised.
“Yeah. Of course, that’s not its official name, but that’s what people call it.”
While Zich sat comfortably in his chair, he tapped Windur's handle next to him a couple of times.
“You can guess what sort of place that is by its name, right?”
“I can tell that it’s not such a great place.”
Zich smirked. “It’s similar to the Tyroul Auction House in the way that it displays everything expensive and valuable in this world, but the black market has a couple more conditions.”
Like he was conspiring to commit a crime, Zich lowered his pitch.
“It takes in only things that are dangerous, illegal, immoral, and so on.”
“In short, they are all goods that will put you at a risk if you get caught buying them.”
“Yes, perfect,” Zich answered like he was complimenting a student he was teaching.
“I’m not absolutely certain, but there’s a possibility that the ‘Lake’s Tear’ could've gone to the black market. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a stolen good or if there is another reason, though.”
“Will it be much harder to find it then?”
“Of course. Not only will it be harder to participate in the auction now, but the price of the item will also be much higher,” Zich said and curled his forefinger and thumb into a circle.
“So, in the end, everything is about money.”
“The auction house exists for that purpose.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“That’s the problem.”
Zich leaned his back against his chair. Lyla was a bit surprised to see him ponder deeply.
“Is it that expensive?”
“Very. Goods that you have to buy and sell in secret are much more expensive than normal ones because you have to share the risk costs with the seller. Even if we combine the money Leona and I have, we won’t be able to buy the cheapest goods on the black market.”
“I thought you had a solution.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, the solution to get back the Lake’s Tear.”
‘Was that a lie too?’ Lyla thought, ‘I mean, even he won’t be able to prepare an immense sum of money in such a short time.’ However, Lyla was underestimating Zich too much.
“Of course, I have one.”
“We can just buy it.”
“…You just said it was too expensive. Where can you get the money?”
Zich responded to her confidently, “I have never worried about money since I left my family.”
Although Zich restrained from using a lot of money at the beginning of his journey, Zich soon realized that it was useless for him to do so; and now, he used money unsparingly and raked in fortunes after going through many incidents.
Lyla felt relieved to hear that Zich at least had a solution to the matter; but at the same time, she couldn’t help but wonder.
“So, if you can buy it, what’s the problem?”
“Well, I thought the black market only formed around the period of Demon People since the Tyroul Black Market was famous at that time.”
During those days, the black market operated in broad daylight as one of the Tyroul’s main auction houses… of course, until Zich caught it on his radar and smashed it into pieces.
“So, it’s a big deal that I just realized the possibility of it existing at this time.”
Zich smiled. It was the kind of smile that gave goosebumps to Hans, Snoc, and Lyla from time to time.
“We can’t just let the black market be, right? No matter how you see it, they are run by bad guys.”
* * *
Zich and his companions went to the auction house every day to see if the Lake’s Tear was added to the list of items available for auction. Yet even after a couple of days passed, it didn’t appear on the list. They even asked the information center employees if an item called the Lake’s Tear was up for auction, but they just replied that all the items up for auction were written on the wooden boards. When they checked the auction house for the fifth day with no success, Zich was now definitely sure.
“I’m sure of it. The Lake’s Tear is going to come up in the black market.”
Zich gathered everyone in his room to explain the situation.
Leona asked, “What’s the black market?”
Zich told Leona exactly what he told Lyla.
“There’s something like that?”
“Yes, Ms. Leona. I barely managed to get this information, but I’m sure your item is being auctioned there.”
Leona’s face brightened up at finally finding out information about the Lake’s Tear. However, it was not long before reality darkened her face.
“Regardless, it’s going up for auction, right?”
“W-will it be expensive?”
“As I have just told you, the black market has even more expensive items than the ones being sold in the center auction room. The items they have are not just iffy, but if they get caught selling and buying them, it’ll be very dangerous for them.”
Even with Zich’s detailed explanation, Leona did not understand the riskiness of the black market. She had far too little experience to understand the items that were being sold and bought. However, she clearly understood that the items on the black market were going to be more expensive than even the items in the center auction room. Leona despaired at his words. In the end, there was only one thing she could depend on.
“Y-you said that there was another way, right?”
Leona desperately asked Zich as if he was her only hope. It was hard to tell if she was the same feisty elf who first held up her guard against him.
‘No, she only held up her guard for a short time in the beginning, and after that, she stopped.’
Lyla looked at Leona with a ridiculous look. Leona no longer looked like a feisty wild dog but a lost puppy looking for her owner.
“Of course, there’s another way.”
“What is that?”
Leona’s eyes sparkled. It seemed as if light was going to shoot from her eyes. Lyla fixed her position and leaned towards Zich. Hans and Snoc, who had been quietly sitting down, also leaned their heads and waited for Zich’s next words.
“Regardless of what happens, the auction will happen. In the end, everything will be over if we just buy the Lake’s Tear.”
Leona nodded so fiercely that it almost looked like it was going to fall off.
“I know a place that has enough money to pay for it.”
Zich smiled brightly towards Leona and all the others who were eagerly anticipating his next words. “Let’s go find treasures.”
“T-treasures?” Leona asked with a surprised voice, but her eyes soon sparkled. “You know about a place with treasures?”
“Yes, I know.”
“Are there a lot of treasures?”
“There’s a lot. A tremendous amount.”
“If we have that, would we be able to buy the Lake’s Tear?”
“We can buy it for sure.”
Leona cheered at Zich’s words. The word treasures made her think about all the precious gold and jewels in dungeons that she read when she was young. If Zich really knew a place filled with treasures, they would definitely be able to buy back the Lake’s Tear. Due to her excitement, she was unable to see all the eyes behind her. All their eyes were looking at Zich and saying:
[No matter how you see it, he looks like a swindler.]
* * *
After Zich suggested treasures as a possible solution and Leona jumped up in happiness, he sent people back to their rooms. However, Lyla did not leave and quickly scanned Zich with suspicious eyes.
“I’m amazed. The solution you had all along was to find some treasures?”
“Why? You think I lied?” Zich was extremely shameless. He lifted his nose as if he did nothing wrong.
“Your lines are exactly what swindlers say. So what are you going to do after you trick an innocent kid to find some treasures? Are you gonna sell her?”
“People who fall for ordinary swindlers would probably meet an end like that.”
“So, are you saying you’re not like those people?”
“Yeah, what would I get for selling her out?”
Zich shrugged his shoulders. Lyla stared at him and smirked. Lyla merely thought he looked so much like a swindler that she wanted to joke around, but she also didn’t think that Zich was lying.
“It’s information from the future, right?”
“Of course.” Zich had searched through his memories before his regression. “If we run at full speed for ten days from here, we’ll arrive at a mountain with an ancient ruins. I heard that all sorts of valuable and precious goods were found there.”
Even though he wasn’t sure what type of ruins it was or what specific items were found there, he knew that an extremely valuable item was there. This extremely valuable item was what he needed.
“No matter how high the price is for the Lake’s Tear, we’ll definitely be able to buy it if we have that item.”
“Then that’s a relief.” Suddenly, Lyla burst out laughing. “Really, your words are just like stories made up by swindlers to trick naïve country bumpkins; but isn’t it funny that those words are actually true?”
Zich also laughed, “Yeah, if you put it that way.”
“Then, I will leave you to be. Since the situation seems to have been resolved, I’m going to get a good night’s rest.”
“What do you mean by the situation has been resolved?”
“…That it’s been resolved? What, is there another problem?” Lyla, who just got up, sat back down on her chair after seeing his serious face. Likewise, she also became serious. However, it was because she momentarily forgot what type of human Zich was.
“It’s not been resolved. I still haven’t figured out the best way to screw over the auction house so that it would be the talk of the town.”
“…Damn, you Zich!”
Lyla threw a cushion next to her at Zich.Previous Chapter Next Chapter