Iwasaki Kyouya looked at Qin Ye, “Sirs, what if I make an offer to purchase the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl for four billion RMB, and then further compensate Guardian Auctions for their losses? Would that suffice for you?”
Qin Ye stared back at Iwasaki Kyouya with incredulity. Iwasaki Kyouya coughed dryly and kept silent.
“What are his intentions?” Ming Shiyin asked curiously.
Qin Ye immediately cursed him under his breath, “That old fox is doing all he can to salvage the reputation of Mitsubishi Corporation. After all, he’s also had a stake in the auction of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl from the onset. He’s offering recompense to the parties involved. And then, after I cleansed out Oda Nobunaga’s soul from the bowl, he would be able to secure it for his own benefit. Four billion might seem like a huge sum to us, but it’s really not that significant considering the wealth of the conglomerate we’re talking about.”
“Then what’s wrong with his suggestion?” Ming Shiyin didn’t understand the situation.
Qin Ye rolled his eyes, “Based solely on that statement of yours, I can already tell you’re not fit to be placed in charge of Hell’s finances. There’s nothing wrong with his statement in and of itself. But one crucial thing is missing - where’s my money?”
“The four billion would be paid directly to Guardian Auctions, over and above the recompense he’s offering. Where do I come into the picture?”
Ming Shiying recoiled slightly, almost as though it had just snapped out of a stupor. Then, it spat under its breath, “Wily old fox.”
That said, Qin Ye wasn’t extremely bent on profiteering from the situation. He could tell that Grandmaster Chu was already on the verge of a mental collapse. Truth be told, Qin Ye could somewhat empathize with Grandmaster Chu’s predicament and emotions right now. Thus, after some deliberation, Qin Ye suggested, “I’ll give you a chance.”
“I’ll give you the opportunity to die without pain and suffering, with all of your loved ones surrounding you on your deathbed. Furthermore, I can guarantee you a smooth afterlife ahead. On top of that, I’ll send Guardian Auctions a great lot for auctions later on.”
Surprisingly, it was Iwasaki Kyouya whose eyes gleamed brightly as soon as he heard this. That said, he knew his place, and he chose to stay silent.
“You are…?” Grandmaster Chu asked cautiously.
“Who I am isn’t important. What’s important is that I can deliver on my promises. Consider it well. You’ve only got one chance.”
Yet, almost without consideration, Grandmaster Chu shook his head and maintained, “No way.”
“Guardian Auctions is the manifestation of my blood, sweat and tears. It’s home to hundreds of cultivators, and it’s the fruit of our labour over the last few decades. I would have readily agreed to your terms had we been auctioning any other goods. But this is the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl we’re talking about! If you take it away from us… Guardian Auctions would be ruined! Ruined! Completely and utterly ruined!”
His breaths grew shallow, and he turned to stare at Iwasaki Kyouya with bloodshot eyes, “You’ll be able to placate the Nipponese commercial circles with a simple token gesture or two. But are you really able to appease all of the aggrieved Cathayan tycoons? Guardian Auctions is still going to be operating out of Cathayan soil! How are we supposed to continue running our auction house if you capitulate on your earlier promises now?”
“Old man, when has it ever been your place to state conditions?” Dojin couldn’t stand it any longer. With a cold snort, he slowly walked towards Grandmaster Chu, “This is something that shouldn’t even have been sold at the auctions to begin with. Ignorance is bliss. Get lost. We’ll compensate you accordingly in future.”
He quickly arrived before Grandmaster Chu. And then, he suddenly froze in place.
And he wasn’t the only one. Everyone else gasped in astonishment as they stared at Grandmaster Chu.
A gun’s barrel was pointed straight towards Grandmaster Chu’s finger.
His own finger.
His own gun.
“Nobody would be able to open the box without my fingerprint!” He chuckled coldly with bloodshot eyes, “Now, leave! Or I’ll shoot! And then, it’ll take several more months before it finally heals up again. Nobody is allowed to threaten the lifeline of Guardian Auctions!!!”
Nobody had expected Grandmaster Chu to take such drastic measures.
“Is there any other means of unlocking the X-magic box?” Jingo glanced at Iwasaki Kyouya.
Not even Iwasaki Kyouya himself had expected Grandmaster Chu to be able to threaten everyone else this way. With a livid expression on his face, he shook his head, “No. This is fail proof technology that employs the latest, cutting-edge technology developed by Nippon. In fact, this security box isn’t even in circulation right now, and it wouldn’t have been used if not at my behest.”
Most if not all security measures would only be cracked after they were put into circulation. This was the strength of crowdsourced knowledge.
Just like pirates on the internet.
“Leave, NOW!” Grandmaster Chu gnashed his teeth. The bulging veins on his forehead throbbed as he pressed the barrel of his pistol straight towards his thumb, “I’m going to count down from three. If you don’t leave, I’m shooting!”
How did things end up like that?! Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and stared coldly at Grandmaster Chu, “Does this mean you’re rejecting my offer? That’s fine. Did you overhear our conversation earlier?”
Qin Ye drew a deep breath, “The souls of Oda Nobunaga and two thousand five hundred other Yin spirits are currently residing within the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. Once they escape, the East would be thrown into chaos! This isn’t a burden that either you or the Guardian Auctions will be able to bear! Don’t stir my wrath. Otherwise… I can most certainly guarantee that you won’t live a comfortable life after death.”
Grandmaster Chu paused.
He didn’t expect the bowl to harbour such a huge secret. He opened his mouth, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to count down to ‘one’. Master Kamo immediately built upon this window of opportunity, “I can swear on the honour of the Kamo Clan that if not for these souls which reside in the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, we truly couldn’t care less about where the bowl ends up!”
Grandmaster Chu gazed deeply at everyone around. And then, after a long time, finally responded with great trembling.
“You’re telling the truth?” He panted heavily as he stared at everyone vigilantly with bloodshot eyes. The barrel of his gun was still pressed hard onto his own thumb.
“Three Hellguards, one Hunter, and the contemporary head of the Mitsubishi Corporation. Do you really think we stand to gain anything by lying to you?” Dojin’s chest undulated with every heave of breath he took. Then, he barked furiously, “Have you ever thought about the number of close shaves with death you’ve had ever since taking possession of this damned bowl?! If not for the soul of Oda Nobunaga, do you think three Hellguards have nothing better to do than to pit themselves in a competition of wealth against the head of a global conglomerate?! Do you think we really want to be here listening to you farting through your lips?!”
“There will be grave ramifications even if you successfully auction away the bowl. Nippon will come looking to you for all of their future troubles and woes. Let’s not even talk about Guardian Auctions as a going concern. You’d be lucky if you even manage to survive the aftermath of your present intractable attitude!” Master Kamo berated Grandmaster Chu coldly.
Grandmaster Chu drew several deep breaths and shut his eyes.
Qin Ye turned and blinked at Master Kamo, only to see Master Kamo shaking his head back at him in dejection.
“No.” Iwasaki Kyouya whispered, “His emotions are currently incredibly unstable. If you provoke him any further, he will most certainly fire his gun, regardless of what the consequences may be. Furthermore, as long as the X-magic box isn’t opened once every five days, it will automatically assume that its owner is dead. Once the self-destruct sequence is activated, its contents within would forever be lost.”
Qin Ye heaved a sigh of relief. He had at some point in time entertained the thought of escaping with the X-magic box, with a hope of slowly figuring it out after returning to Hell. However, the situation at Eastsea foiled his plans in this regard. After all, he would make himself far too conspicuous to the authorities if he, a Hellguard, forcibly seized possession of the X-magic box. Qin Ye didn’t want to risk exposing his identity to the Special Investigations Department just yet. And now, only when he was presented with the perfect opportunity to do so, was he abruptly informed of the fact that he had sorely underestimated the security measures of the X-magic box.
Tell me, do you have nothing better to do with your lives? Why the hell did you think to invent something with such perverse security measures?!
Just then, Grandmaster Chu opened his eyes and hoarsely muttered, “One.”
“Don’t be insolent!” True energy erupted from Jingo’s body! But just as the shockwave of energy flared up, a gunshot reverberated through the cargo hold simultaneously. Everything quietened down immediately, and even Jingo sensibly withdrew his explosion of energy.
Everyone stared at Grandmaster Chu with great astonishment.
Ruthless… Grandmaster Chu had blown a hole through the heart of his palm right in front of everyone’s eyes. He revealed a manic smile on his face. Fresh blood poured out of the grisly hole in his palm, and yet his hand remained completely still, almost as though he knew no pain.
“Do you believe me now?” His voice trembled as desperately gasped for air. However, the muzzle of the gun was still firmly pressed against his thumb, “Make another sudden move, and I’ll blow my thumb right off my hand. Let me warn these seniors of mine. You might be quick, but I come from a lineage of shamans, and I’ve got a parasite worm living in my right hand that is a hundred times more sensitive to energy than any regular cultivator out there. This was exactly why I’d detected the anomalies in the ship and roused from my slumber.”
He panted as he continued, “Furthermore, it will execute any of my standing orders as soon as it detects danger, even if I don’t feel threatened myself. My last standing order to it was to cripple my left hand as soon as anyone makes the slightest movements. You might all be stronger than me, but I’m afraid I’m quicker than you when it comes to suicide. This is an added security measure on my part. Do you really want to force a junior to a point of no return, huh? Cough… cough…”
Qin Ye gnashed his teeth. To think that such variables would suddenly arise when the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl was right in front of his eyes!
“He’s not lying.” Ming Shiyin whispered. It turned around and revealed an image of Grandmaster Chu’s right arm, where a small bulge could be seen, throbbing as though it had an independent heart of its own.
Qin Ye snorted and walked out of the cargo hold without turning back.
It wasn’t as though he hadn’t considered the possibility of pitting the speed of three Hellguards against a single parasite living in Grandmaster Chu’s arms.
It’s just that the risk of their potential losses far outweighed the odds of success.
“Old fogey. You’re ruthless.” Master Kamo, Dojin and Jingo had an immeasurably ashen expression on their faces. They, too, left the cargo hold after cursing Grandmaster Chu under their breaths.
Iwasaki Kyouya didn’t leave immediately. It was only when everyone else had departed from the room that he finally locked eyes with Grandmaster Chu, “Cutting off your own path of retreat is never a good practice, especially when you’re confronting an adversary who commands an overwhelming disparity in strength. Until you learn to let go, Guardian Auctions isn’t going to go far. That’s all I’ve got to say. Heed my words.”
With that, Iwasaki Kyouya left as well.
The cargo hold was finally silent once again. The barrel of the gun was still pressed firmly against his own thumb, and Grandmaster Chu continued to remain in place like a petrified statue for an inordinate amount of time, fighting hard against the pain from his wounds and the light-headedness from blood loss. It wasn’t until everyone else guarding the cargo hold arose that he finally slumped back down to the ground, completely drained of energy.
He slowly ran his fingers through his hair, ignoring the dribbling blood that was percolating through his scalp, as he stared at the X-magic box with bloodshot eyes. His teeth chattered uncontrollably. The adrenaline was finally wearing off, and he could finally feel the immense pain surging through his body from the wound.
“What’s going on?” “What happened?” “Good! Check the goods!”
With a loud clamour, a number of silhouettes clambered to their feet and quickly scrambled into action. Bai Yishan stared at Grandmaster Chu’s bloodied head with great astonishment, and then hurriedly walked over to him, “Are you alright?”
“Prepare for the auction immediately.” Grandmaster Chu gave him a completely unexpected response.
“Huh?” Bai Yishan was taken aback, and it took him several seconds to gather himself, “Grandmaster Chu, we can’t do that! We’re not even at the Strait of Tsushima just yet! There are still several Nipponese tycoons who aren’t here yet. This would be a huge breach of trust! That’s a taboo for any auction house out there!”
“My instructions are to stop the cruise liner! And we’ll conduct the auctions tomorrow! Which part of that didn’t you understand?!” Grandmaster Chu bellowed back, heaving and panting heavily as though it had taken all of his strength to do so.
Bai Yishan was flabbergasted. Two seconds later, he responded meekly, “Yes.”
“But, what about you?”
Grandmaster Chu turned his attention to the X-bagic box, “You’ll be presiding over the auctions, while I’ll personally hold possession of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl and bring it up on stage. I vow to keep standing until the auction is over. You don’t have to worry about that.”
“Additionally, I want you to immediately notify all tycoons on board that due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ll be conducting the auctions the day after tomorrow, regardless of whether the other guests can make it on board the cruise liner in time or not. These auctions are for a national treasure, so I’m sure our guests would be able to understand. Finally, inform Master Kamo that if any of them spreads any word about what just happened prior to the commencement of the auctions, they can forget about opening the X-magic box altogether.”
Bai Yishan’s eyes flickered, and he whispered back, “Understood.”
With that, he immediately left with his team, leaving Grandmaster Chu and a few of his cronies remaining in the cargo hold. He looked at the black box, and then suddenly laughed maniacally.
Oda Nobunaga’s soul?
It’s no wonder so many peculiar things have been happening since then.
But is this truly something he can give up?
He didn’t need to consider his response. He knew the categorical answer deep in his heart.
His commitment to his response had caused his heart to grow cold. He knew full well that he had irretrievably offended several important factions with his response. He also appreciated the fact that the road ahead of Guardian Auctions isn’t going to be easy. However, that was a far better predicament than having no road left ahead of them if he agreed to cancel these auctions.
After all, just how many tycoons were there in attendance for the upcoming auctions? Could Guardian Auctions truly compensate each and every single one of them for wasting their precious time?
“Heh, heh, heh…” He leaned back into his chair and stared squarely at the box as he chuckled softly to himself, almost as though he were whimpering in misery.Previous Chapter Next Chapter