Chapter 198: Major Auction

Qin Ye blinked as he scrambled about looking for something.

“What are you doing?” Arthis wondered.

“I’m preparing to get a tattoo… Do you think I’ll be able to increase my attack power by tattooing the blueprint of the academy on my body[1]?”

Arthis made a stiff expression, “Attack power? Now that’s something I’ve not heard before… Perhaps it might make your aura flourish with more vigor too…”

Nothing good would come of anything done in exhaustion and weariness. The time now was already close to 2 a.m. Qin Ye floundered about for a little bit more, and then quickly sank deep into the embrace of slumber.

The mortal realm and the underworld were akin to two parallel planes, and trading between these two planes naturally wasn’t going to be easy. Next to the foreseeable issues arising out of these future trades, his problems with the Southsea Huanghuali were truly mild and insignificant.

In fact, these were all problems that could never be resolved with looming impatience. Just like the old man who moves mountains[2] it is only by persevering through tough times and powering through arduous tasks one by one could Hell finally regain its former glory at the very end.

Working blindly or overtime at the cost of clarity of mind would only result in wasted efforts. A sharp mind and clear thoughts were the building blocks for achieving great things. Thus, Qin Ye slept peacefully through the night until he woke up at 8 a.m. As soon as he awakened, he received a notification message from his Momo app.

Vast Ocean Smile: “All instructors from the Faculty of Combat are to be prepared for the reassignment of dorm rooms. The directive has already been given by Head of Faculty Zhou for everyone to be relocated into the six dormitory buildings located at the east zone laboratories next to the artificial lake. Each faculty would be residing in a single dormitory building, and the last dormitory building shall be occupied by the leaders of the school. Furthermore, at least one instructor will be residing on each floor of the dormitories. The professors of each faculty will be going around to check on the reassignment of dorm rooms at 6 p.m. this evening.”

It suddenly occurred to Qin Ye that ever since abandoning his ways of intentionally keeping himself at arms’ length from social groups, he would somehow or other be added to groups and communities for no good reason.

For instance, this Faculty of Combat group was another one which Zhou Xianlong wasn’t part of.

And then there was another group called ‘Local Bully and friends’ that would buzz incessantly with 999 alerts every minute.

Only the heavens knew when he had been added to this shameless group!

As soon as Su Feng’s message blast was sent, Local Bully immediately contacted Qin Ye with a private message: “I’m already done moving. When will you be done? Wanna go grab a snack at the canteen?”

Qin Ye: “So quickly?”

Lin Han: “Ask your students! They can do everything, from packing to moving! Do you really think a precious piece of work like I would be doing something menial like that?”

… You’re a piece of work alright… Despite his thoughts, Qin Ye did think well of Lin Han’s suggestion. Thus, he quickly typed: “Wouldn’t you send some strong arms and legs my way?” Then, just as he was about to send the text, he suddenly remembered something of grave importance, and immediately deleted everything he had just typed as he gave the internet-obsessed silicone doll a death stare.

I’m like a boy with huge skeletons in the closet! What’s going to happen if students come in to help me pack my belongings?

The following would probably ensue.

Student A whispers, “Hey, did you hear? Instructor Qin? The instructor who’s the youngest Soul Hunter in history? He’s hanging his ‘girlfriend’ out to dry today! This is a secret that I’m only telling you. Don’t tell anyone else!”

Student B nods vigorously, only to turn to Student C with a hushed tone of voice, “Hey, let me tell you a secret. Promise me you won’t tell anyone else. Instructor Qin used his ‘girlfriend’ last night and didn’t clean it properly, so he’s hung her out to dry today.”

Student C: “Do you know something? Instructor Qin broke three ‘girlfriends’ last night, and they’re all hanging out on the balcony of his room right now!

It was far too graphic for his own imagination.

An hour later, Qin Ye stood at the entrance with several large boxes in tow, gritting his teeth as he sent a message to the student body: “Are there any lovely students willing to help an instructor with his luggage?”

“Certainly!” “Is that Instructor Qin? I’ll be there right away” “I’m a minute away. I’m already downstairs!”

Ten minutes later, Wang Chenghao, Ye Xingchen and several others stood at the door, wiping off the sweat beading up on their foreheads. Wang Chenghao looked at the large boxes beside Qin Ye and froze, “Brother Qin, you could’ve called us to pack your belongings for you. Isn’t it a hassle to pack your own things…”

Qin Ye stared into the distant sky in silence. Apart from a slight urge to chuckle sardonically, there was hardly a trace of emotion in his heart.

A certain silicone doll had earlier just been highly resistant to the idea of being packed into a box, clinging fervently to her laptop, claiming that she wanted to finish her ranked game first, and complaining that the box lined with a blanket for comfort was too dark for her liking. It was only after Qin Ye stuffed a phone into the box after her that she finally gave in. She was probably playing CrazyRacing Kartrider in the box right now.

After much difficulty, Qin Ye finally managed to shift into his new dorm room. It was located on the outer end of the third floor. The students residing close by were delighted to learn that he was their new neighbour, and they all greeted him cheerfully when he arrived. By the time he unpacked his things and settled into his new room, it was already 11 a.m.

He went to the cafeteria for a quick lunch, before returning to his room and bolting the door shut after him. Then, he switched on his WiFi and began to type rapidly in the search bar.

The City of Salvation was currently still under a lockdown. That said, the technology supporting their connectivity was impressive. There were probably some parameters in place that filtered out results with certain keywords or search terms, allowing citizens within the city to look up most of the information from the rest of the world outside, save for any information pertaining to Yin spirits or supernatural incidents. In fact, the news sites were so clean it appeared almost as though Cathay wasn’t experiencing any supernatural upheavals at all.

And while they could play online games, they were unable to access any chat functions at all. Furthermore, as long as one was looking to make a post or comment pertaining to any supernatural incident on a website or a forum, that post or comment would automatically be blocked altogether. Qin Ye couldn’t figure out how it all worked.

Nevertheless, Qin Ye was thankful that he could still look up and receive information from the rest of the world.

“That’s it.” Qin Ye clicked his mouse, and Guardian Auction’s website appeared on the screen of his newly-bought laptop.

The webpage was rather retro-looking. The page frame appeared to be a mahogany carved openwork door, and the words ‘Guardian Auction’ were written in majestic calligraphy in the center of the page. There was the usual, customary bar at the top setting out their contact information and provided access to various other functions on the page. Yet the bulk of the page displayed the items that they were auctioneering, as well as the heart-stopping starting bids of these goods.

There were three exhibits occupying the top of the page.

The first was a glossy porcelain vase with an incredibly lyrical landscape etched on it. Qin Ye, who had no sense of aesthetics whatsoever, hovered his mouse over the thumbnail and took a look at the price.

‘Blue and White Porcelain of the Yuan Dynasty[3] - 30 million!’

“Huh!” Arthis gasped, “... How many skins can that get me?!”

Qin Ye nearly swore out loud… He ignored the hopelessly addicted silicone doll and scrolled over the next item.

It was a regional seal, and the transacted price was… 100 million!

The third item was of far lower quality. It was a piece of calligraphy that was starting at 12 million RMB.

“What’s the point of looking at all these things?” Arthis asked in bewilderment.

Qin Ye tapped his fingers on the table in deep thought for several seconds, before finally responding, “This is a display of strength.”

“Although I don’t know much about auctions, the one thing I do know is that there are two main factors which determine whether an auction house will do well or not. The first is the quality of its products, and the second is the number of wealthy buyers who are willing to bid for these goods.”

“The porcelain of the Yuan Dynasty…” Qin Ye’s eyes twitched uncontrollably as he repeated these words, “I can still vividly recall that day when I picked up a broken vase… and then some unspeakable matters occurred… and then finally an old man knelt before me, bawling and wailing and claiming that he was going to fight with me to the bitter end… I heard that these things are among the most coveted among all blue and white porcelains…”

Arthis blinked several times as she attempted to make head and tail of what Qin Ye had just said, “Why do I get the feeling you’re omitting a number of things? If it’s something you’re unhappy about, why don’t you tell me about it, so that I can delight in your misery? Speaking of which, why are you still so poor after having lived such a long life? You’ve got quite the affinity with poverty, don’t you…”

“That’s not the point!” Qin Ye could feel his temples throbbing as he gnashed his teeth, “What I’m saying is the fact that this auction house is auctioning a product as coveted as the blue and white porcelain of the Yuan Dynasty naturally means that it’s got some substance to it. The transaction prices aren’t too shabby either. Looks like the place which Gu Qing has recommended is pretty decent after all.”

He scrolled back to the top of the page and looked at the webpage’s menu. There were four items on the menu - ‘The History of Guardian Auction’, ‘Process Inquiry, ‘I Want to Auction’, and ‘Contact Us’.

He didn’t rush to register his interest. Instead, he simply clicked on the ‘Process Inquiry’ link.

One had to be thoroughly prepared in everything they did. He absolutely had to be present when the auction was ongoing. After all… outsiders wouldn’t be able to enter the City of Salvation. Even if he managed to link up with the top merchants of the wood and furniture industries, they still wouldn’t be able to participate in negotiations within the City of Salvation.

Therefore, not only did he have to be present, he would have to get everything done within a week. Every minute was precious, and Qin Ye naturally wanted to minimize all variables that might cause him to lose time.

He scrutinized the details of their processes for the next twenty minutes, and then finally closed his eyes to sort through his thoughts.

Guardian Auction conducted twelve auctions a year - eight minor auctions, and four major auctions.

In other words, apart from the four major auctions conducted on the final day of every season of the year, the rest were all minor auctions. As far as the minor auctions were concerned, the quality of guests, the attendance rate, the collection to be auctioned, and the prices fetched could never hold a candle to the four major auctions every year.

And the items listed on their website right were the items to be auctioned off at the end of the first season of the year. Guardian Auction can truly be said to have pulled out all the stops in order to start strong in the year. This was why they had displayed an item with a transacted price of 100 million RMB.

Moreover, Guardian Auction runs their auctions concurrently across all of its branches, including its branches in the four major cities across Cathay.

Yan Capital, Eastsea City, Dragonbrook City and Pearlriver City.

Three first-tier cities, and an emerging specialized district, all of which were economic powerhouses in their own right that housed innumerable tycoons with incredible spending powers!

The auction venue was also located at a venue elsewhere, apart from the auction houses. In other words, the actual auction would not be held at the auction house’s offices. 

And as for the actual auction venue… Qin Ye couldn’t find any details on it. It was a secret.

Nobody knew where it was to be located, and it was never mentioned on any of the website’s subpages either.

“What are you going to do?” Arthis asked.

Qin Ye rubbed his temples for several moments, before finally sighing, “What if I participate in next month’s minor auction?”

“That’s going to be quite difficult.” Although Arthis didn’t know a thing about modern auction houses, she was still an expert on treasures in her own right. She continued after a moment of deliberation, “What you have in your hands now are all incredibly rare and coveted treasures. It wouldn’t be difficult to fetch a price of 30 million or more for each item. They would never arrange for these items to be sold during a minor auction.”

“Are you trying not to draw any unwanted attention to yourself? From my experience with auction houses, the major auctions generally secure a far higher quality of attendees and commensurately higher prices as well. We’re talking upwards of a 10% difference here. Have you ever considered how important such a sum of money is to us?”

Qin Ye sighed and massaged his temples.

Why didn’t I think of that?

The path of gold lined by his Southsea Huanghuali wood was immensely lucrative. But he should have realized that not many companies could fork out several billions of RMB all at once. Even the wealthiest entity around only possessed liquidity in the region of a billion RMB. And it was naturally worse with the wood and furniture industry, where one could rarely even find a single entity able to fork out one or two hundred million at once. To make matters worse, the funds couldn’t be released immediately either. They could only be raised and released through a meeting with the board of directors pursuant to recommendations by various departments. The entire process would easily take a month.

He couldn’t afford to wait that long.

Over a hundred thousand Yin spirits were idling about in Hell right now. It was like a stash of dynamite that was waiting to be lit with a single spark of flame. Hell’s development works had been held in abeyance for far too long, and it was high time something was done about it.

The funds earned from the disposal of his treasures was the stopgap measure to tide him through all of Hell’s expenditures until the funds from the sale of his Southsea Huanghuali finally goes through.

In other words, it was a fire engine rushing to a burgeoning flame. Time was of the essence.

1. This is a reference to the series Prison Break, where the protagonist tattooed the blueprint of the prison onto his body.

2. This is one of my favourite stories. The story concerns a foolish old man who lived near a pair of mountains, and he was annoyed by the obstruction caused by the mountains, so he sought to dig through them with hoes and baskets. When asked why he was doing this, he responded that even though he wouldn’t complete the work in his lifetime, his children or their children may some day finally reap the rewards of his efforts, so long as they persevered at it. The gods witnessed his hard work and perseverance and ordered that the mountains be separated so that they were no longer an obstruction. 

3. 1206-1368 AD

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