Chapter 354: Inaugural Launch of an Armament (6)

The three feudal officials who called out the exact same bid at the exact same time turned to look at each other once again. Then, just as Han Qinhu was about to raise his bid again, the attendants beside him immediately held him back.

“Lord Han, we can’t afford it!” “It’s too much… this lot of armor is worth 2.5 billion at best, and it’s way overpriced right now. Please be mindful that we’re not among the wealthiest of fiefdoms. At the very least, we can’t hold a candle to the Lord of Hanyang!”

Han Qinhu’s nostrils flared up slightly as he desperately struggled against the attendant’s grip to raise his hand. Seconds later, he finally sighed regretfully, “Fine. Let go. I’ll give in.”

Although he conceded verbally, his heart still felt terrible, almost as though a viper was constricting tightly around it.

It was subtle, yet completely at odds with that feverish rush that he had experienced when he called out the bid earlier. That simple action had earlier filled him with the sensation of being on top of the world. But the decision to back out of the running made him feel incomparably stifled and upset. He even wanted to scream out loud to ventilate his frustrations, and it took him three full minutes of ragged breaths in order to properly suppress these stirring feelings in his heart.

I’ve been somewhat impulsive tonight… He could only imagine the kind of feelings that the other twelve envoys were going through right now.

The only two ostensibly left in the running were Ma Fubo and Liu Yu.

“Lord Ma.” Liu Yu glanced at Ma Fubo with a faint smile on his face, “Hanyang is the most prosperous of all fiefdoms around. Are you sure you want to contend with me?”

“How would I know unless I give it a shot?” Ma Fubo smiled back. “Alternatively… why don’t you sell three thousand sets of the armor to me after winning the bid?”

“Haha… you must be kidding… 2 billion 830 million.”

“But I wasn’t kidding at all… 2 billion 850 million.”

They were like jackals of the same tribe.

The bid was no longer going up in 100 million increments. Instead, the variance was now far smaller, to the tune of 10 million. Within moments, the bid was already close to 3 full billion - a sum which represented the entire military budget for the preceding year. Naturally, everyone proceeded with far greater caution than before.

Everyone seemed calm, but the tension in the air was white hot.

It was obvious who held the pole position, and who was the contender.

“2 billion 870 million.” “Two billion… 900 million!”

The voices echoed each other, while the number reflected on the Yin energy screen continued to climb rapidly. Then, just as the two men continued to butt heads in this tense tussle against the other, another deep voice suddenly boomed out.

“3 billion.”

Three billion… Qin Ye immediately gasped and glanced in the direction where the voice had called out from.

Yang Jiye.

He had finally made a move!

Things were no longer within Qin Ye’s control. Yang Jiye’s and Yu Qian’s intervention was an oversight on his part. Right now, he could only bank on the fact that Liu Yu would see his bids through to the very end. After all, the Hanyang underworld was undoubtedly the most prosperous fiefdom of the twelve envoys. Ma Fubo was already struggling earlier, and it was clear that Qin Ye couldn’t count on him to outbid Yang Jiye at this point in time. It naturally went without saying that it would be the worst case scenario if either Yang Jiye or Yu Qian ended up winning the bid at the auctions.

But since things had already come to this, then he would leave everything to fate.

Qin Ye sat down and closed his eyes, listening intently to the bids below. He left everything to the will of the heavens, and he braced himself for the worst case scenario.

Whoosh! Down in the auditorium, both Ma Fubo and Liu Yu turned to stare at Yang Jiye with an expression filled with killing intent.

Not under my watch!

If Yang Jiye won the bid, it would be no different from equipping King Yanluo’s troops with these sets of armor. This was something that neither of them wanted to see in Hell’s possession if they could help it.

“3 billion 100 million!” Liu Yu raised his hand and muttered placidly, “Do you really think Luzon is able to hold a candle against Hanyang?”

Liu Yu could tell that the earlier bid of 3 billion was already Yang Jiye’s limit. Yang Jiye sighed wistfully and turned to look at Qin Ye with a gleam in his eyes.

My hands are tied.

Lord Yanluo, what have you done…

“Anyone else?” Liu Yu glanced at the audience around him as he slowly rose to his feet. The feeling of satisfaction was slowly burgeoning in his heart, and he felt as though he was drifting on cloud nine. The two flames in his eyes that were blazing wildly slowly subsided and reverted to its original state. Moments later, he turned back to Li Shunzhai and lifted his chin, “If nobody’s calling out anymore bids, then… auctioneer, what are you still waiting for?!”

Li Shunzhai’s body trembled, and he immediately picked up his gavel, “3 billion 100 million going once, 3 billion 100 million going twice, 3 billion 100 million--...”

“Title deed to Begnas Lake of Pokhara, the second largest city in Licchavi!”

Boom!

Liu Yu’s eyes immediately erupted with flames once more. Yu Qian… you damned old fool! If you want to pledge allegiance to Hell, fine. But do you really have to stonewall me at every turn of the way?!

Everyone has their own free will. I didn’t stand in your way when you evinced an intention to rejoin Hell, so why are you standing in my way now?! We’re colleagues when all is said and done! Are you really not going to give me the slightest bit of indulgence in this moment of our separation?!

“I’ve never heard of such an attraction before, so how can you possibly use it to cover that bid of yours?” He sneered. Yu Qian’s resurgence in the bidding war had caused the fire in his heart to ignite once again. He knew full well that the bidding was going to devolve into a battle of will, yet… his emotions prevailed over rationality at this very moment.

I’m blessed by the gods with prosperity and eternal life. How dare a mere vassal lord - and a remote one at that - attempt to call my bluff?!

The lingering intoxication from the earlier concert had flared up once again.

“Besides, nobody has said anything about the use of deeds as security for one’s bids, is there?” He glanced at Li Shunzhai, “I’m asking you!”

“Yes!” Li Shunzhai was startled, but quickly regained his composure and bowed respectfully, “In principle… there’s no issues with this. This humble servant has had the opportunity to visit that scenic spot before, and I can safely confirm that its value is definitely worth more than 3 billion Yin spirit stones. In fact, a rough estimation would peg its value in the region of 3.5 billion Yin spirit stones. My lord, what do you say?”

“Damn you and your 3.5 billion…” Liu Yu snorted coldly. The rage in his heart was stirring furiously right now. He glared coldly at Yu Qian, “Four--...”

Before he could finish speaking, the two attendants standing beside him immediately held down his sleeves.

“My lord… my lord! You can’t! That’s 4 billion Yin spirit stones you’re talking about!” “My lord! Please reconsider! I beseech you! That’s well more than the value of these sets of armor! You cannot do this!”

“Scram!!” Liu Yu’s furious bellow resounded through the entire auditorium. He flicked his sleeves in rage, and the two attendants immediately flew into the distance and slammed against the walls with a muffled grunt. Then, he suddenly shot to his feet and yelled, “3 billion 600 million!”

“Yu Qian, I want to see what else you’re going to bring out from Licchavi against the Hanyang underworld!”

In the end, he still reconsidered his earlier bid and revised it downwards slightly.

Up on the second floor. Qin Ye’s eyes opened abruptly to the pleasant tunes of the sparks of conflict below.

3.6 billion… that’s 800 million more than my initial expectations!

The last half a year of preparation, starting from the day on which I heard from Liu Yu for the very first time, has finally… come to fruition.

Everything had been worth it!

3.6 billion Yin spirit stones was a shocking price that astonished all of the feudal officials present. Even Li Shunzhai couldn’t help but reel back in shock. The only thing that carried on as per normal was the rousing music that was still playing in the background.

Drums, trumpets, and piano were among the instruments that were weaving together in great harmony, as though preemptively celebrating Liu Yu’s triumph in that very moment.

“Three-three-three billion six hundred million going once… going twice… going thrice! Sold!!!”

Li Shunzhai quickly composed himself and shouted with a hoarse voice, “Congratulations to Lord Liu Yu of Hanyang for successfully bidding for this lot of premium battle armor at the inaugural armament launch of the new Hell! Next, let us witness the destruction of the molds together. Henceforth, every New Tigerform Battle Armor that is destroyed will mean that one less such armor exists in the entire world! We will never forge another set again! What you see are the only ones in existence right now!”

Liu Yu’s heart stung with the pain from burning through that much of his national budget at once. But, at the same time… he felt incredibly satisfied.

Refreshing… how refreshing. Ever since we’ve stepped into this room, the musical extravaganza has really lifted our moods to new heights, bringing us back to those days of clashing iron and bloodshed in the fields and the plains. And when my soul was stirring with great battle intent and ambition, I thought it was going to linger for a long time before this feeling would dissipate. Yet, to think that we would be presented with the perfect outlet for ventilation immediately after that.

The price of venting was undoubtedly painful.

But… he couldn’t feel any of that right now.

The satisfaction and comfort accompanying that release coursed through his body, numbing the pain which he would otherwise have felt.

Crash! Just then, a loud smashing sound came from the screen of Yin energy. Instantly, the entire production line was completely crushed to smithereens. Liu Yu raised his eyebrows in satisfaction, stood up and bowed slightly towards Qin Ye, “I’ve benefited a lot this evening. I sincerely thank King Yanluo for your hospitality. If you come to the Hanyang underworld in future, I’ll be sure to repay the favour.”

“Naturally. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too long before we meet in Hanyang again.” Qin Ye smiled and nodded back.

“I look forward to it.” Liu Yu transformed into a nethergale and began to return to his resting place, “But… what I’m looking forward to even more is the negotiations which are commencing tomorrow.”

Once the dust had settled, the feudal officials began to bid farewell to Qin Ye as they took their leave one by one. Their departure was somewhat symbolic. After all, the next time they met could very well be on the battlefield. That said, none of them dared to be arrogant before they left Hell’s territory in any event.

Just like that, everyone departed, leaving Qin Ye on the second floor with Wang Chenghao and Su Dongxue behind him.

“Go complete the rest of the transaction procedures with Liu Jinu.” Qin Ye rubbed his eyes. He was getting sleepy. He had achieved almost everything he wanted to this imperial court meeting. He had secured a good amount of funds for the construction efforts of the new Hell. After all, Arthis had told him to secure some Yin spirit stones. 3.6 billion Yin spirit stones would be sufficient to tide Hell through a period of time, wouldn’t it?

Besides, everyone knew exactly what was on the agenda for tomorrow’s negotiations. No matter what happened, the results wouldn’t be too far off Qin Ye’s expectations.

“Me?” Wang Chenghao pointed to himself with his eyes wide open.

“Who else?” Qin Ye rolled his eyes, “He’s not going to devour you. You’ll have to learn to stand on your own eventually. Otherwise, how am I supposed to laze--... I mean, deal with my other duties?”

That was a Freudian slip, wasn’t it? It has to be!

With that, Wang Chenghao took his leave, but Qin Ye remained behind. He remained on the second floor for some time, before speaking up again, “Su Dongxue.”

“Here.”

“Call Yu Qian and Yang Jiye over.”

Su Dongxue promptly drifted away. Shortly afterwards, she returned once more together with Yu Qian and Yang Jiye. Both acted as though nothing had happened before, and immediately knelt respectfully before Qin Ye, “Greetings, King Yanluo.”

Qin Ye tapped his finger lightly against the guardrail for several seconds, before finally smiling at the two, “Please rise. What do you think of the incident earlier?”

“It’s unsatisfactory.” Yang Jiue spoke bluntly, “Blight vermin carapace is incredibly difficult to come across. Hell is currently faced with a whole host of problems, both internally and externally. What’s most important right now is a strong army. If we arm Hell’s forces with the New Tigerform Battle Armor, we’ll be able to quickly train up an elite force. Unfortunately…”

“It’s like making wedding clothes for others…” Yu Qian sighed wistfully.

Qin Ye smiled.

“Hell may be lacking a powerful force, but it lacks money even more.” Qin Ye stood up and placed his hands behind his back, “Do you know why I’ve put in so much effort to entertain them despite knowing their agenda of declaring independence from Hell?”

The two men shook their heads. The entertainment tonight could be said to be completely unprecedented in certain ways, and it had undoubtedly exceeded all of their expectations. In fact, things had happened so quickly that they didn’t even have the time to mull over these matters properly.

“Because you’ve got to work hard for money. How much do you think Hell will be able to earn by relying on its own economy which is no larger than the size of a small town? It’s only by establishing sea trade that we can begin to make money everyday. Lord Yu, you’ve lived in the time of the Ming Dynasty, and you should know far better than anyone else the pros and cons of establishing sea trade.”

Yu Qian’s eyes flickered with wild netherflames.

If that’s the case, then everything would make sense. But…

“But even if that were the case, there’s still no need to sell off the New Tigerform Battle Armor! This is going to become the stumbling block for Hell in future!”

Qin Ye revealed a devilish smile to them, “Esteemed feudal lords… you worry too much. Get some rest. There’s going to be a long day ahead.”

Some things could never be discussed at this juncture. At least, not with Yang Jiye and Yu Qian, both of whom Qin Ye was only meeting with for the very first time.

After all, who knows whether such a loyal minister would become a traitor after the turn of the flop?

Yu Qian and Yang Jiye exchanged an awkward glance, before leaving without another word. Approximately ten minutes later, Qin Ye spoke up once more, “Mr Nobunaga.”

“Here.” Oda Nobunaga stepped out of the shadows. It was most surprising that none of the feudal officials had detected his presence earlier.

“Help me get in touch with the daolord of the asura.” Qin Ye smiled, “Tell him… that I’ve got another batch of armor produced using the carapace of blight vermin over here, totalling 5,000 sets, and ask him what he’s willing to offer in trade for them. Furthermore… you can reassure him once more that it’s not out of the question to confer a title upon him and subsume his existence under the wings of Hell.”

That’s right. Qin Ye had always represented to the feudal officials that he would no longer be forging new sets of armor.

But… whoever mentioned anything about this being the only 10,000 sets that were produced in this first production run?

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