The entire auction venue instantly went silent.
The only sounds that could be heard were the furious typing on the keyboards of computers in the entire hall. It was almost as though everyone were deep in thought. Except Qin Ye.
He knew that his competition were seasoned auction-goers, and they probably had many tricks up their sleeves. On the other hand, he didn’t have any tricks up his sleeves. In fact, he didn’t even need to consider the potential liquidity of his assets, since all of his funds were available from one single account. Since everyone was so hesitant, he didn’t mind firing the first salvo.
“1.2 billion.” He held up the sign in his hand, and the entire audience turned their attention to him.
Where did this gentleman come from?
He doesn’t even have a working group of assistants with him, and yet his very first increment is to the tune of 200 million?! He must be one of Guardian Auctions’ agents, isn’t he?
Bai Yishan had already picked up the gavel, and he was fervently suppressing the excitement on his face. 1.2 billion… It couldn’t be said to be a small sum of money, but it most certainly wasn’t sufficient to reflect the historical significance of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl.
“Buyer number 21. 1.2 billion going once…” He paused for three seconds, “1.2 billion going twice…”
“1 billion 260 million.” “1 billion 280 million!” “1.3 billion!”
Three number plates shot into the air before Bai Yishan could even continue. Consequently, the profiles of the three bidders immediately appeared on the screen.
Nipponese tycoon of antiques, Fujimoto Hirobumi, had bidded 1.26 billion.
Nipponese tycoon of high-end restaurants, Nishino Mio, had bidded 1.3 billion.
Cathayan tycoon of communications, Cai Da, had bidded 1.28 billion.
However, this was just a prelude of what was to come.
The three voices were nothing more than the first salvo of fireworks during the new year. In fact, it didn’t take more than a second for several other names to flash across the giant LED screen.
“Buyer number 40 - 1.38 billion.” “Buyer number 27 - 1.46 billion.” “Buyer number 4 - 1.5 billion.” “Buyer number 9 - 1.6 billion.”
The number that was well in excess of a billion continued to increase in a flash, and the LED screen constantly refreshed with the buyer numbers of the highest bidder. The bidding price went over 1.8 billion in no time at all!
This was the power of a national treasure at an auction.
There were only two such artifacts in the world, and this was the only one that represented the dawn of a new era in Nippon. Its historical value was simply astronomical!
The Nipponese were indubitably the most invested participants of the auction. As soon as the bid price hit 1.5 billion, it quickly skipped to 1.6 billion, 1.7 billion and then 1.8 billion in an instant. It was almost as though the bidders were calling out their bids without any hesitation at all!
Qin Ye’s heart skipped a beat.
The experience of an auction in person was completely different from how they appeared on television.
There was a palpable sense of nervous excitement as salvos of bids were fired with the full backing of immeasurable wealth. A great rush of adrenaline filled the entire auction hall. Even Qin Ye, who had been slouching in his seat lazily, couldn’t help but sit up subconsciously.
It was too exciting.
Numbers that represented wealth beyond an ordinary person’s imaginations continued to flicker through the LED screen. It sent an electrifying sensation coursing through their veins, and it filled the air with a mind-numbing buzz.
“Calm down…” Qin Ye took several deep breaths to calm himself down. The current bidding price of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl had already surged past Bai Yishan’s expectations, and it was already closing in on the 2 billion mark in no time. This was a bid price that was completely unprecedented in the entire history of all auctions. Even Bai Yishan couldn’t keep his cool any longer, and his breaths began to grow ragged. His voice trembled as he began his auction chant, “1.8 billion going once!!!”
The intense excitement made his voice go dry and hoarse, “1.8 billion going twice!!!”
“One billion eight--...” “1.84 billion!!”
Another voice called out before Qin Ye could.
Shit… Qin Ye massaged his temples and looked over. It was another Nipponese man.
They were bidding as though they would stop at no cost.
Bunch of mad dogs!
“2 billion!!!” Qin Ye gritted his teeth and immediately called out, even before Bai Yishan could begin his auction chant.
Everyone turned to stare at Qin Ye. This time, they sized him up with a look of great vigilance - especially the handful of Nipponese tycoons around.
They had initially thought that Qin Ye was only here to fool around. After all a billion RMB might still be something that a wealthy clan could passably fork out for their prodigal son’s whims and fancies, but two billion RMB was a considerably larger sum of money.
It represented a change in the first figure of a ten-digit sum.
“You’re not here to mess around, are you?” A lean Nipponese merchant gazed deeply at Qin Ye as he twirled the ostentatious emerald ring on his finger with great uneasiness, “Damn… there’s an unexpectedly large number of contenders this time round! The fact that the grand finale was being auctioned at the commencement of the auctions isn’t even affecting their bidding one bit!”
2 billion… 2 billion!!
Bai Yishan was so dumbfounded that he couldn’t even breathe.
This is 2 billion RMB! Ten figures! It’s an all time high for the auction house! No… In fact, you can even say that the starting bid price for this national treasure is already the highest bid price in the entire history of auctions, much less its closing price!
“Everyone! We have 2 billion! 2 billion going once!!!” With a light smack of the hammer, he immediately began his auction chant, “Who’s going to be the one to leave a mark in the annals of history for the greatest auctions of all time! Who’s going to be the new owner of this national treasure? Who’s going to have as part of their private collection the artifact that represents one of the most crucial turning points in Nipponese history? This is the last chance! The bid is currently at 2 billion!”
“2 billion going twice!”
“2 billion 40 million.” A calm voice called out promptly.
Qin Ye was somewhat taken aback. This was a voice that he hadn’t heard since the commencement of the auctions.
A seasoned hunter would always hold back until it was the right time to strike.
That’s right. The price had already reached 2 billion, and some of the tycoons who weren’t as interested or were beginning to feel the pinch had already withdrawn from the competition. After all, they were all businessmen, and such a huge capital outlay would most certainly pose a huge problem to their business empires. Furthermore, the seasoned veterans could tell that the Nipponese were holding nothing back.
Therefore, the 2 billion bidding line formed an arbitrary line that marked the start of the real arms race.
Those who were still going at it were either the ultra-wealthy, or those who simply had to get their hands on the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl at any cost. Furthermore, given the magnitude of the stakes involved, the increments from now on were naturally only going to diminish.
“2.04 billion!!! 2.04 billion!” The unprecedented sum drove Bai Yishan insane, and he continued to call out his auction chant with bloodshot eyes, “Buyer number 18! Mr Shoto Takagi, chairman of the Sony Group, has the highest bid thus far! The bid now is in excess of 2 billion! 2.04 billion going once!!”
“Are there other distinguished guests out there who are looking to outbid buyer number 18? Guardian Auctions is the only auction house in the entire world that auctions national treasures! This is your one and only opportunity to win yourself a national treasure!”
Qin Ye’s forehead was already percolating with cold sweat.
The rate of increment had somewhat exceeded his expectations. Even though it wasn’t growing by increments of 100 million anymore, he still didn’t have more than 900 million behind to work with.
900 million wasn’t a small sum by any means, and logically speaking, Qin Ye ought to feel at ease with the wealth he had to work with. However, his heart was still fraught with apprehension, so much so that words weren’t sufficient to describe the antsy feeling in his heart right now.
“2.1 billion.” Qin Ye firmly increased the bid by 60 million after some thought.
“Two and a half billion!” Shoto Takagi immediately yelled out before Bai Yishan could even begin his auction chant.
Several other number plates that were primed to raise were instantly lowered without another word.
“2.5 billion… It’s now 2.5 billion…” Bai Yishan’s voice grew hoarse and feeble. He had spoken far less than many of the other auctions he had presided over in the past. Yet, for some strange reason, he felt almost as though his throat and his heart were blocked by an unknown force, and he only managed to eke out a feeble auction chant, “2.5 billion… the highest price ever paid at an auction! Worthy of being a Nipponese national treasure… 2.5 billion going once!!”
Shoto Takagi clenched his fists nervously. 2.5 billion was a huge sum of money that would undoubtedly set his empire of businesses back some ways. In fact, he had even been forced to sell two plots of land in order to raise these funds - God only knows who this kid is. You’re running around with 2 billion in your pocket without a single assistant?! Who the hell does that?!
However, his gaze wasn’t transfixed on Qin Ye right now.
With a colossal bid of 2.5 billion, he didn’t think Qin Ye had the ability to outbid him anymore. Therefore, his attention right now was on none other than the contemporary head of Mitsubishi Corporation, Iwasaki Kyouya.
For some strange reason, Mr Iwasaki hadn’t raised his number plate a single time tonight.
Qin Ye could feel his heart wrenching and dripping with blood.
2.5 billion… This is well beyond Bai Yishan’s predictions! It’s complete madness!
But Qin Ye couldn’t afford to give up now.
“Two--...” Just as Qin Ye was about to speak up, his ears suddenly perked up.
Ding… It was an incredibly soft sound that rang in his ears. And it happened just once. But then, a series of similar sounds rang out just a second later - ding, ding, ding, ding…
The series of sounds were coming from the hull of the cruise liner.
“2.5 billion going twice!” Bai Yishan stared at Qin Ye with an impassioned gaze. He knew full well just how much wealth Qin Ye had accumulated for these auctions - Why isn’t he increasing the bid?
Is it because he can’t bear to put in any more money?
But that makes sense too. 2.5 billion is already a monumental sum. He must already be at his limits…
“2.5 billion going--...”
“2.6 billion!” Qin Ye jolted back to his senses and immediately raised his number plate once more.
“2.6 billion… The bid is now at 2.6 billion!!!” Bai Yishan was running on auto-pilot right now, “2.6 billion going once!”
Qin Ye’s actions had already generated a small buzz in the audience. Everyone was speculating who this young master was. They had all thought that the young man was here for fun, but not a single one of them had expected Qin Ye to be able to follow through with his bids to the end like this. It was obvious that Qin Ye and Mr Shoto Takagi were the only ones in the running for the bowl right now.
Shoto Takagi’s grip on his armrest tightened. 2.6 billion?! Heavens! Do you print money at home?!
“Sir!” The assistant in Mr Shoto’s booth was also sweating profusely, “No more! You really can’t increase the price anymore! If you do, we’ll have to liquidate all of your remaining villas. We might even have to sell off your beloved limited edition Bentley!”
“Shut up!” Shoto Takagai’s cheeks trembled with a multitude of emotions. Sweat beaded up and dripped off the tip of his nose. Five long seconds later, he gritted his teeth and barked, “Sell it… sell the most upscale villa I own, together with my limited edition Bentley!!!”
He hadn’t been considering the question of whether to increase his bids or not. Rather, he had been contemplating on how best to rally the means to increase his bids. He left the bare minimum for himself, and sold practically everything else.
The ultra-rich like him rarely possessed the means to pull out billions worth of liquid funds. After all, most if not all tycoons were asset-rich but poor in liquidity.
“Shut up!!!” Shoto Takagi stared at the screen, “This bowl represents the history of Nippon as we know it. I’ve bought it for the centuries of historical value it represents! This is an artifact that belongs to Nippon! I’m going to get it at any cost!”
“2.6 billion going thric--...” “2.8 billion!!!”
As he made his final bid, Shoto Tagaki turned to look Qin Ye straight in the eye, “Gentleman over there.”
“This is the last time I’m raising my name plate.”
“If you can still outbid me this time, you can consider it my loss.”
Qin Ye didn’t immediately respond. He was contemplating whether this was a farce put up by Shoto Takagi right now.
He was almost completely drained of funds as well. It was a good thing he had raised funds that were twice that of Guardian Auctions’ estimate of the going price of the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. He was certain that Shoto Takagi was almost spent in his liquidity as well. So… the question he was assessing right now was the exact quantum of bid he should make to completely shatter Shoto Takagi’s hopes.
Silence. 2.8 billion went once. 2.8 billion went twice. Then, just as the third call came, Qin Ye gritted his teeth and belched out his final bid, “3 billion!!!”
He then turned to lock eyes with Shoto Takagi, “This is also my final bid.”
“If you exceed it, then… I’ll think of something else.”
Shoto Takagi shut his eyes in bitterness.
The astounding price set the entire auction venue abuzz with chatter and clamour.
3 billion RMB for a single artifact was completely unprecedented in all history! This was the most hotly-contested auction ever! This was a national heirloom!
Bai Yishan was on the verge of insanity. His hands trembled as he held the gavel weakly, “3 billion going once…”
His voice echoed hollowly through the entire hall, almost as though it were raining gold around him. Everyone watched with bated breaths.
“3 billion... going twice.”
“3 billion… going thrice.”
“Sold… SOLD! The Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl has just been sold at an astronomical price of 3 billion RMB to buyer number 21! Congratulations! You have just earned yourself a piece of Nippon’s history! And not just any piece, but one of the most significant turning points in the history of Nippon! Furthermore, your name will forever be etched into the annals of history as the winner of one of the most epic auction battles of all time, for the purchase of an artifact at an unprecedented price!!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter