As the auction began, Zich, Lyla, and Leona sat on the sofa right in front of the railing and looked down. The auctioneer went up onto the circular stage, introduced himself, and bowed. Maybe it was because of a magic device, or the efficient architecture of the building, or merely the auctioneer’s loud voice, but they could hear every word from the stage.
The first item came up on the auction stand, and the auctioneer introduced it.
“They say it’s a rare gem.”
Lyla took the catalog that had been prepared for guests in the room. On the front page of the catalog, there was an explanation and a drawing of the gem that the auctioneer was introducing. Hans and Snoc approached closer, holding a fruit each, and peered at their own catalog. They all turned its pages. They had already seen the items on the wooden posts in the lobby, but it felt different seeing them while they were in auction. Furthermore, except for Leona, no one had read the explanations of the items on the wooden posts carefully.
“Is there anything you want to buy? Tell me. I’ll buy you several.” Like somebody who had struck it rich overnight, Zich spoke arrogantly.
“Aren’t you spending too recklessly just because you got some money?” Lyla asked.
“But you know, it’s an amount I can spend recklessly.”
“That’s true.” Lyla accepted his explanation, knowing how much wealth Zich had gained.
“Besides, I’m planning to get more. This is all just small change.” Zich sounded as if he had really just earned some small change, but everyone, including Lyla, knew the amount Zich was talking about couldn’t be described as such.
Not long afterward, the food they ordered arrived. Hans and Snoc got close to their food and filled their bellies. Nowem stuck his face right into the food and ate.
“…Ah!” Lyla, who had been turning the catalog’s pages while neglecting her food, stopped flipping.
“There’s something you’re interested in?” Zich returned with a plate full of food and came up beside Lyla, remarking, “Oh, it looks pretty good.”
It was a straight staff. Its long handle extended out some distance, and its ends were split like a crown. There were five gems of different colors stuck on the tips of these ends, and its height just about reached up to a small man’s shoulders.
‘Now that I think about it, she used multiple high-level spells in a row without the help of a magic aid or magic tool.’ Zich realized Lyla’s monstrous skills again. He asked, “Do you want it?”
“Uh, well…” Lyla nodded.
Zich responded simply, “We should buy it then.”
After receiving a lot of help from her, Zich didn’t want to act stingy towards her. Lyla also had a considerable amount of money from the treasures he had shared with her, but Zich had more. So, he glanced at the number of the page which had the staff. Since it was near the back of the catalog, he was sure that the staff was an expensive item with a high starting price.
Zich watched the auction. After watching many fascinating and rare items pass by, the staff they had been looking at came up. After the auctioneer finished his general explanation of the staff, the auction began. The people sitting in the common seats began their bids and increased the item’s price. Many people seemed to want the item, as the bid continued to increase.
“…Weren’t you going to participate in it?” Lyla quietly asked. She had remained silent when Zich said that he would buy the staff for her, but it seemed she secretly wanted it.
Zich replied nonchalantly, “What’s the point of increasing the price little by little when I can just participate at the end—when the price is high enough?”
Zich was carefree. And just as he said, as time passed, fewer people began to participate in the auction, and the speed of the bids slowed down. Then, somebody proposed a bid, and no one else made a higher bid. It was then that Zich made his bid and pushed the button on the side of his table, which was a simple artifact that moved the sign below the terrace. The auctioneer checked the terrace where Zich was and yelled out the new price.
Lyla stared at Zich and asked, “You bid two times higher?”
“Yup.” The item was already at a price a normal commoner couldn’t even dream of—but Zich had called for twice the price. However, Zich said calmly, “There’s no need for me to waste my energy to get it.” He had plenty of money, anyways.
* * *
The auction was over. There were some people pleased that they had acquired the item they wanted, while others were in a foul mood for the opposite reason. But however they felt, the event was over. The people in the common seats near the stage disappeared. However, Zich and his companions didn’t get up from their audience seats.
“Are you satisfied?” Zich asked.
Lyla smiled brightly as she looked at her staff. “Yeah!”
Hans and Snoc stared at her face absentmindedly for a moment. Even though they were used to her beauty by now, Lyla’s peerlessly beautiful smile stole their gazes. Even Leona was stunned.
But Zich was calm as he replied, “Is that so? That's good. If you liked it so much, why didn’t you buy one for yourself?”
“I didn’t have money,” Lyla answered. Thinking about it, this was true.
“Also, I didn’t feel uncomfortable without it.” Other magicians, who couldn’t do a simple attack spell without a staff, would have rushed towards her in anger at her words; but Lyla said them calmly and continued to stroke her staff.
At that moment, somebody knocked on the VIP room door.
The door opened, and an employee entered the room. The employee humbly bowed their head and told Zich and his companions, “I don’t mean to intrude, but since the auction is over, it’s time for people to leave the rooms.”
Instead of getting up from his seat, Zich pushed a document forward. The employee meekly checked the document and bowed their head again.
“I’ve verified it. I hope you enjoy your time in the auction house.”
Then the employee quietly left the auction house. The document Zich had shown was a participation certificate for the Black Market. He had also ripped this off from Midas.
‘He’s really a useful guy in many ways.’ Zich felt a bit pleased by Midas. Even though Zich could have participated in the Black Market without Midas, it was much easier with Midas’ help. ‘But that is that and this is this.”
In order to make Midas fall into a hilarious pit of despair, Zich repressed his laughter and honed his plans.
“Your smile was chilling just now.” Lyla increased her distance from Zich.
* * *
Time passed by. During that time, Zich and his companions spent their time in the VIP lounge. The sun was coming down, and the moon was about to come up. People were starting to gather in the auction house again, but something felt different about them. They all wore different types of masks, and even though they were wearing luxurious clothes, their outfits were huge and fluffy. It was hard to see who they were just by their appearance.
One by one, people sat on their chairs. Midas watched the people below him from his VIP lounge, thinking, ‘Insects.’
Regardless of their status, all the people who were gathered at the auction right now possessed a considerable amount of wealth. However, to Midas, they were no different than insects crawling on the very bottom of the floor. ‘If I wait a bit more, they’re all going to be on their knees beneath me.’
His happy fantasies lasted only for a few minutes; he still had things to take care of. Midas opened up the item catalog one of the employees had recently given him. The catalog was thinner than the catalog given to him during the day, but there were much rarer and more dangerous items. However, Midas’ attention was focused only on two items.
They were the Earth’s Tear, which was at the very beginning of the catalog, and the Lake’s Tear, which was in the middle of the catalog. No matter what happened, he needed to buy these items at all costs.
‘It won’t be that difficult,’ he thought. He was confident in his wealth. Of course, he wasn’t the richest person in the world yet, but it was no difficult matter for him to get two auction items. Moreover, in order to prepare for unexpected scenarios, he had also brought all the gold he made. ‘Come on, let’s get started.’
Just as he wanted, the auction soon started. The Black Market auction worked the same way as the daytime auction. But like everyone around him, he also wore a mask to cover his eyes.
The first item came up for auction. It was the Earth’s Tear.
Midas fixed his posture and looked down at the auction room. As the Earth’s Tear came into view, his eyes twitched. ‘I went through so much pain to have that item up for auction…’
Midas had had to use a lot of his connections and power to get the Earth’s Tear up for auction in the Black Market. Since he needed to buy the Earth’s Tear at all costs, he had been extremely active about putting it up for auction. Moreover, in order to buy it for a “cheap” price, he had worked hard in making an excuse for the Earth’s Tear so that it barely met the requirements for the Black Market auction. Because of that, it was more tiring than usual to make the item available.
‘But in the end, I was successful.’ Now, all he had to do was buy the item. When the auctioneer called out the price, he immediately participated. The Earth’s Tear was described as merely a special and expensive jewel, so most people weren’t interested in it. A few people participated in the auction, but most of them dropped out in the middle, and there was only one person left. Midas had a good idea who the person left was.
‘Yeah, I expected you to participate.’ The person Midas had thought of was Zich. ‘He’s eyeing the Lake’s Tear for sure.’
However, he probably only had 100,000 gold coins that Midas had given him. 100,000 gold coins were not a guarantee of buying the Lake’s Tear.
‘He knows I’m also eyeing the Lake’s Tear.’ For that reason, he had to be increasing the price of the Earth’s Tear to buy the Lake’s Tear. Even though Midas was raising the price of the Earth’s Tear, the elf was the one who had offered it, so all the proceeds went to the elf. ‘And that elf is being tricked by those bastards right now.’
Midas was confident in his analysis, as he had not only made predictions based on Zich’s words to him, but he had also obtained information about Zich’s plans straight from his gold bar. Midas thought he knew many things Zich wasn’t aware of.
‘Well, he can try increasing the price as much as he wants.’
The price of the Earth’s Tear had now climbed up exponentially; Midas and his competition seemed as if they didn’t know when to stop. People began to murmur among themselves as they saw that the very first item, which didn’t even look that precious, went for an incredible price. Soon enough, the price jumped to one million gold coins. At that moment, the auctioneer paused the bidding. Then he apologized for the interruption and gestured next to him.
In the Black Market, when the price jumped to a certain extent, employees went to check if the bidders had enough money to actually pay for the item they bid for. Since they were in a Black Market, there were a lot of immoral and conniving people gathered together.
An employee came to the VIP lounge Midas was in. Midas showed them the gold coins he had, and after verifying the amount, the employee bowed his head and left the lounge.
His competition probably had about 100,000 gold coins in total. Zich had probably wanted to scrape off as much money as he could from Midas, not knowing that this would be his downfall. Midas waited for the final result and leisurely sipped his wine.
Then, the final verdict came. “After confirming both of our customers’ available options, we will be continuing the auction.”
“…What?” Midas let out a baffled cry.Previous Chapter Next Chapter