“You're in charge of this. The opponent is merely a Magus at the Crystal Phase; with your secret guards, you must take him down,” the Azure Mountain King spoke nonchalantly.
“Understood, Grandfather!” The chieftain nodded before bowing and leaving.
After acquiring all the information, he would first let these fugitives dispose of their goods before he went forth to hunt them down and receive the bounty. This method of taking advantage of both parties was not a foreign concept to him.
If wealth was being accumulated quickly, it would usually involve bloodshed. Even if the Azure Mountain King was a Morning Star Magus, the Oakheart Clan would not have been able to develop so quickly without these methods.
The Oakheart chieftain’s heart was aflame as he impatiently arrived at a control room, rubbing his fingers. “How many Morning Star Magi will come to the anonymous barter this time? I”m looking forward to it…”
“This is the central control room. Commanding all daughter elements to transmit gathered images,” he pressed a crystal and ordered.
Quickly enough, numerous fragmented projections formed a screen with many little squares on it. On the surface were the outer appearances of the Magi participating in the barter, as well as their true appearances.
Beside the images of some of the exceptionally beautiful female Magi were even full-body images. Of course, they were without clothing. The chieftain’s eyes widened, and he looked excited.
What he did not notice was that in one of the parts in the corner, Leylin’s character had a completely foreign face.
The barter was held in a large karst cave underground. The ground was filled with powerful runes and brands, emanating formidable energy waves.
The mask Leylin had on gave off a black layer of light that resonated with the spell formation on the ground, hiding his body in darkness.
From the outside, all the Magi who entered were black blobs of light, and it was difficult to even distinguish their sexes.
In addition, the strength of the spell formation was something Leylin had never seen before. He could not help but order the A.I. Chip to record the pattern down.
It was evident that this was a spell formation that only Morning Star Magi were able to set up. It was even able to ward off the probing of other similarly-ranked Magi.
This had been verified by the many Magi who had participated in such events in the past.
It was a pity, though. Even if the Oakheart Clan hadn’t tampered with the spell formation, they had surreptitiously placed a deadly spy on all their bodies.
Bugs that were ten thousand times smaller than specks of dust would not be discovered even if on someone’s body. On top of that, these stardust bugs had the innate skill of concealing themselves.
With the Oakheart clan’s nurture and specialised training, these stardust bugs had already turned into dreadful spies that could tell the identities of every single Magus in the trading event.
“So sad…” Leylin strolled along with the numerous black blobs of light, feeling regretful.
He had yet to do much research on this type of bug. He could only achieve the effect of hiding himself, but it would require a lot of time to trace the origin and even steal the others” footage from the central control room. Perhaps, he might need to even develop his own stardust bugs and sneak them in to achieve that goal.
All this required time! However, he only had three days at the auction. It was already amazing to be able to accomplish what he had done. Wasn”t that obvious from how the many Morning Star Magi here had yet to realise the secret of the stardust bugs and how their identities were completely exposed?
When the black blobs of light in the cave increased in number, a crisp bell sounded, attracting the attention of multiple Magi to a circular stage at the centre.
Light began to flicker there, revealing a blond middle-aged Magus.
“The many of you may or may not know me. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Leo Oakheart, the host of the Azure Mountain auction. I shall also be the host of this anonymous barter…” Leo’s expression was brimming with a warm smile.
“I”ll cut to the chase. As the anonymous barter only takes place for one night, I shall not waste any more of your precious time. There are two parts to this event. First, the Magi who need to trade items can come onto the stage in order to show the item you wish to sell, and declare what you hope to obtain in exchange. Each person is limited to three items! When the time for the public exhibition is over, next will be the trade. Everyone may communicate privately, but this place does not permit any fights, and once you are out of range of this cave our Oakheart clan will not be held responsible for any of the items you have traded!”
Nearing the end, Leo’s voice became stern. As if to complement his words, a large pressure emanated from within the spell formation on the ground like a huge mountain.
“Please do not worry. All of us are aware of the Oakheart clan’s rules,” a low voice sounded from within the surrounding Magi. It was evident that some of these Magi had been here a few times.
“Good!” Leo nodded, and yielded his position on the platform.
*Swish!* The moment he left the stage, three streaks of black darted forth.
It was obvious that these Magi were all experienced. They knew that it was most advantageous to go up first, since what they needed might very well be in the hands of the next Magus. The sooner they went up, the easier it would be to obtain the items, and their own items would not be traded off so quickly as well.
“Hehe… my apologies…” The black streak in the middle was lightning-quick, and reached the platform a moment before the other two. A robotic voice sounded from the black streak, and it was difficult to identify the gender of this person.
Upon seeing this, the other two streaks of black light hesitated and could only retreat. They knew the rules of the Oakheart clan, and that if they did not obey they would be in trouble. Hence, they did not have any plans of doing things by force or arguing.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, what I have brought to exchange here is an ornament, the “Forbidden Ancient Clock”. In exchange, I require…” The moment he spoke, the audience was in an uproar.
“The forbidden clock? Isn’t that the inheritance of the Lucca clan in the north? Why is it here?”
“Rumours have been circulating recently that a few fearless Magi snuck into the clan and stole it, and then scattered till they were near the Azure Mountain. He can’t be one of them, can he?”
Leo, who was watching on, was also slightly surprised. He had not expected the other party to make their move so quickly.
With a thought, countless stardust bugs crawled all over the Magus” body in secret. With them on his body, that Magus would definitely be unable to escape from the Oakheart clan.
“The Forbidden Ancient Clock? A.I. Chip!” Leylin, who was under the stage, was similarly startled and quietly issued a command.
[The Forbidden Ancient Clock. One of the mysteries inherited from ancient times. Said to hold the power of time, and is the treasure of the northern Lucca clan.]
The A.I. Chip quickly came up with a paragraph and a picture. It was a vivid image from a piece of parchment paper, within which was a giant black wall clock. The clock hand was twisted, and gave a strange sense of confusion.
“The power of time?!” Leylin’s eyes widened. “This is an extremely advanced power. How can low-ranked Magi control it…”
There were many who knew about the rumours surrounding the Forbidden Ancient Clock. Many Magi stared at the black blob of light onstage with fiery gazes.
Or to be precise, they were staring at the item the Magus was displaying.
It was a round ornament. It looked exactly the same as the picture of the ancient clock that the A.I. Chip had shown. The surface was the colour of dark copper and did not seem the least bit special.
“A.I. Chip, scan!” Knowing something was off, Leylin commanded the A.I. Chip to perform a scan.
[Mission established. Beginning scanning. Beep! Interrupted by an unknown force field. Scanning unable to proceed.]
On the interface of the A.I. Chip, Leylin saw a strange blank region at the sides of the black item, preventing the A.I. Chip from scanning.
After advancing to become a rank 3 Warlock, the A.I. Chip had also been upgraded. Issues like this, where there was interference from a force field that prevented it from scanning, hardly happened anymore.
The only possibility was that this Forbidden Ancient Clock was the real deal. The A.I. Chip was still unable to draw data on the power of time.
“However, what the A.I. Chip might be unable to probe might not be the clock, but some other mysterious item that causes a similar reaction…” Leylin touched his chin and continued watching the platform.
As expected, that Magus continued to demonstrate a few tricks, proving the authenticity of what he held.
A unique treasure, especially one that was related to the domain of time, was more than enough to be highly sought-after by Magi, even if it was merely a small component.
On top of that, this Magus had not quoted a very high price. Not only could it be exchanged with some precious materials, he even accepted magic crystals. This immediately caused the eyes of all the Magi present to go red in desire.
This was an anonymous barter event. Even if they obtained the item, the Lucca clan might not be able to find them. The number of Magi who had this thought in mind was definitely not small.
At the end, another Magus shrouded in black light used an astronomical price of 15 billion magic crystals as well as numerous precious materials and put pressure on the other competitors, finally obtaining this item.
After obtaining this item, the Magus knew that he could not stay for much longer and quickly left in a hurry. The Magus on stage did the same.
In order to protect customers, the Oakheart clan had even set up a random teleportation formation. Customers leaving would be transported to any area near the Azure Mountain, which even the Oakheart clan would not know. Hence, there was no need to worry about being followed.
However, these things were all just to prevent any attention. Leo had long since planted stardust bugs on their bodies. Not just the seller; even the Magus who had obtained the item was now under his eye.
This feeling of being in control of another’s fate was truly intoxicating.
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