Chapter 23: Auction
“Ladies and Gentlemen! May I say that it is of the highest honor to be here tonight? All of you gathered today are here for one reason and one reason only I presume. It is to have the chance in obtaining rare and valuable items in this auction!”
I hear a round of applause in agreement with the old gentleman who seems to be the auctioneer.
“If everyone in the audience would now kindly turn yourselves to the back room at the top. There, we have a few very important figures. First, please join me in saluting the King and Queen of Sapin!”
I see the rows of people down below get up from their seats, all murmuring amongst each other before they salute in an orderly manner and start clapping towards our room.
The King and Queen step up in front of me and start waving their hands in response.
“Next, the one has made this whole event possible. Please give a big round of applause for Vincent Helstea and his family.”
The auctioneer’s introduction is followed by another round of applause as Vincent steps up next to the King and Queen and gives a big bow.
I stay seated, looking down below at the crowds of people who are supposed to be of higher class than I, but I can’t help but looking at them as if they’re…
No… I shouldn’t think like that anymore. I’m not a King anymore. Hell, I haven’t even gone through puberty. No point in acting like someone I’m not now.
I look at the King and Queen, studying them. The King didn’t have a domineering atmosphere. Sure he was charismatic and had a strong presence and I can see how a majority of the citizens of Sapin could adore him, but that was it. He didn’t earn his seat; his father gave it to him. The Glayder family has been the Royal family since the founding of Sapin. I wasn’t surprised to see that King Glayder’s mana core was only at the red stage.
Turning my gaze over to the Queen, something catches my eyes that I didn’t really notice at first. Strapped to the backside of her dress was a white wand. I couldn’t sense her mana at all so I guess she is a pretty adept Conjurer.
Queen Priscilla notices me observing her and gives me a slight smile, revealing her pearl white teeth. The word beautiful doesn’t seem to do justice in describing her. She was a fine woman to feast my eyes on, but one thing I noticed ever since I came to this world was that I lacked sexual attraction towards these older women that should be around the age I once was before I was reborn. At first, I thought that it might be because of the lack of necessary hormones right now in this prepubescent body, but the more I think about it, I feel like it may have to do with the fact that my mother was around the same age as I was before I came here into this world.
I was never really interested in the human psychology but it is interesting how women associated with the same age group as Mother makes them unappealing sexually. Maybe that was just me. I’m not sure.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’d go for kids like Tess, Lilia or even this snow princess here. They can be the personification of beauty itself, but it doesn’t change the fact that their mental level is that of a child. This was the reason I couldn’t see Tess as anything more than a friend or a sister to me even when she was so obvious in showing her attraction towards me. Maybe when she’s older and more mature, I’ll start thinking about it.
Sigh. Being popular is a hassle.
“…kuu” Sylvie is looking at me with a ‘are you serious?’ face and I swear she’s judging me with those half open eyes of hers, staring at me blankly.
“Haha…” I just laugh in embarrassment and cover Sylvie’s face with my hands to block her hurtful stare.
Vincent nudges my shoulder at this time, making me regain my focus.
“Arthur, a sword is up for auction right now. Tell me if you want it so I can put in my bid. Don’t worry about the price either! Perks of being the owner of this place” He shoots me a wink.
“Thank you.” I look down to see the item being auctioned off.
“This short sword was forged by a master smith who is also a Fire Artificer, ensuring that the quality during the forging process is top class. The core of this weapon is made from the core of a Thunder Hawk mana beast. Reinforcing this sword with just a little mana will produce currents of shocks on the edge of the blade, enhancing the power of Augmenters by another level! The bid will start at 50 gold!”
Soon after, numerous nobles had their hands raised, raising the bid. I just sat there, my head leaning on my arm, uninterested. Fortunately, there was a screen that magnified the items so the audience in the back could see. Just by looking at the weapon, it was pretty obvious how low class it was.
Vincent kept switching his gaze from the weapon to me, hoping I would at least be interested in the weapon that most people would drool over.
I just shook my head that was still leaning on my arm.
“No worries! This is just the start! Just let me know when you find something you like. Oh! I almost forgot. I have the items you wanted in the back. I’ll have one of the workers deliver it to me after this event is over.” He just smiles while talking in a voice so only I could hear.
My ears perk up at this and I look at him. “You managed to find a voice altering mask as well?”
“It took a bit longer than I expected but I finally managed to get one. I also got you a coat made from a Nightmare Fox that makes it harder for the wearer to be registered in the eye. I thought it would be something you would want so I grabbed that too.” He just places a hand on my shoulder.
“That’s more than what I could ask for.” The mask was essential in me being able to become an adventurer but the coat would no doubt as well.
“Don’t worry about it and just stay safe. I’m the one that has to deal with your family if something happens to you, you know.” He just chuckles and winks.
“Haha.” I just smile wryly at this fact. No. I wasn’t going to give my family a reason to grieve again like they did before.
There were a few interesting items along the way. There were several beast cores, most of which were B class or lower. The prices for those were astronomical. Even a C class core was around 50 gold, and each class multiplied this figure. There were many artifacts for both Augmenters and Conjurers.
The King himself bid on a couple of them, winning an A class beast core. It wasn’t until a mage actually absorbed the core that they could find whether a beast core still had a will or not. Chances were slim to find a core that still had its will still intact and even if it contained the will, it had to be compatible with the user. Most beasts choose to disperse their will before dying though, or have already passed it on to one of its offspring.
I guess the King was hoping to get lucky. The Queen, on the other hand, bid on a mana absorption ring and a couple other items useful for conjurers.
I cringed at the sight of noble men frantically bidding on young female slaves, that were stark naked, to show their assets. I was fortunate to be around people who were above having slaves, which made me ignorant of the horrors that can await them in the hands of perverse old men. Most slaves were prisoners of wars between cities or children sold by their parents for money, but there were also children forcefully abducted by slave traders. My world didn’t have slaves so this was something that I just couldn’t get used to.
I could see my Mom and Tabitha having solemn faces at the sight of the slaves, but they just shook their heads and focused their attention on Ellie and Lilia. Even though the Helstea family was a very prominent noble house, they despised slaves and opted to just hiring maids and butlers.
Turning my head, I see the prince murmuring something to the little princess but her face stayed expressionless.
This was tedious. Maybe I’ll hold off on getting a good sword for now and just settle for a decent practice sword until my body matures a bit.
I get up to stretch when I see that hooded guard named Sebastian still looking at Sylvie.
His hood only covered his forehead and up and from the sight of a cane, I could tell he was a conjurer.
Still standing up, I stare at the plebeian. I could tell by his greedy gaze that he had his eyes on only Sylv.
After a couple moments, he notices that I’m staring at him as his eyes focus on mine. At first he looks a little embarrassed but he just straightens his back a bit and looks down at me giving me a smug look, as if he had the right to what he was doing.
It’s a pity Arthur couldn’t find a sword he was looking for. No matter. There are a lot of swords in the storage that he may take a liking to.
“King Glayder. I hope you found it worthwhile to visit this humble Auction house of mine.” I say.
“This place is anything but humble Vincent, and yes, I’m not sure how you managed to secure an A class beast core like the Silvercoat Bear. You’ve got quite the connections Haha! I just hope that the Beast Will is still intact.” He clasps my back with his hand.
I hear his wife mumble, “Don’t get your hopes up too much dear. You know how rare it is.”
The Queen turns back to talk with Alice and my wife. They seem to be discussing about their kids.
We turn our attention back to the main stage when I feel a cold chill send shivers down my back.
I quickly turn my body and use my arms to cover my face instinctively.
What is this? This was the most secure place in this building with the King’s guard inside as well as my guards outside the room.
My breathing turns shallow as the weight of something tremendous is pushing me down.
I feel cold sweat running down my body as I turn to see both the King and Queen in similar positions as me.
What is going on? What is this fear…this fear that me feel as if I had no control over my life?
I quickly look away from the pale-faced Sebastian that lost his balance and was on the floor shivering and quickly sit back down before anyone noticed.
I lost control there for a little bit. I just wanted to give him a little scare. I didn’t intend to leak out that much bloodlust.
I take a quick peek around to see everyone was either surprised and on guard or afraid and on the floor.
I didn’t think it would be this bad with this body of mine.
It was the first time letting my killing intent loose. Even when I was fighting against the slave traders, I chose not to emit any kind of intent to catch them by surprise.
Some of the King’s Augmenter guards unsheathed their weapons and were on guard from whatever the unknown source was when the King spoke up.
“Who’s there!?” He roared while unsheathing a sword he had on his waist. I see Queen Priscilla ready her wand, standing in front of her kids while my mother and Tabitha were both clutching onto the girls.
Vincent called more of the guards in and had them scout the area for any assassins that may be nearby.
It wasn’t until they confirmed killing an intruder on the roof that everyone visibly calmed down.
Ooh a scapegoat! Your sacrifice was not in vain random man.
Alice had me in her arms during the inspection along with Ellie who was confused and scared by what she felt. The King and Queen were squatted in front of their children who were both a nervous wreck. The fierce looking boy had tears in his eyes while he was hugging himself. While the princess was trying to stay strong but was shivering.
“Oy Sebastian. How could a royal guard fall on his ass by a little intimidation from an intruder? You’re going to die early like this.” A hooded Augmenter holding a spear just shakes his head.
“Y-yeah, I just slipped. That was it.” Sebastian grabs unto a hand of one of his fellow guards and pulls himself back up.
He looks at me afraid at first but just slaps his cheeks. I could tell he was scolding himself for suspecting that I was the one responsible for this.
“Now! For the final item we have up for the lucky fellow fortunate enough to acquire this…” The auctioneer’s dramatic voice echoed in the hall as a box shaped item was draped by red sheet.
A very glamorous woman was pushing the box as she paused for a dramatic effect before unveiling what was underneath the sheet.
Underneath the luxury tarp was a cage that had a dark brown feline infant about the size of a medium sized dog.
The auctioneer bellows. “An infant World Lion! For those who are ignorant of this magnificent mana beast, an adult World Lion has the capability to be at least become a B class mana beast. I dare to say that if taken care of well, this infant World Lion could even become an A class mana beast! Do you know what this means? Taking care and treasuring this infant World Lion can even allow its master to become a legendary Beast Tamer!”
The crowd goes wild as people start shouting bids even before the starting price was announced. I can see the King and Queen’s eyes glow and spot the prince tugging on his father’s robe, practically begging for it.
Even I sat up from my seat in a little interest. It’s not everyday you get to see an infant mana beast that could potentially be an A class.
“Ku!” Sylv nibbles on my finger and just harrumphs bitterly, as if saying that infant beast was nothing compared to the great her.
“Yeah I know Sylv.” I just smile as I pet my jealous bond.
I can see Sebastian’s figure straighten as he looks more carefully at the infant World Lion. Then he looks back at my direction, eyeing Sylvie again.
This guy is pissing me off.
“Now now! I won’t be able to start the bidding until everyone gets settled!” The auctioneer shakes his fingers.
The crowd eventually settles before the auctioneer announces that the starting bid will be at 100 gold.
10 silvers were more than enough to feed a family of four for a year. 100 silvers, which was equal to 1 gold coin was more than enough to feed a family of four for 10 years.
I just shook my head.
This was only the starting price. The price skyrocketed at once, jumping up to over 500 gold and it didn’t seem like it was stopping.
“1000!” I hear the King bellow out with his right hand raised.
The crowd went silent. I could tell that even the ones that could afford to bid higher were debating whether it was worth bidding against their own king. It didn’t seem fair once the King stepped in, but at least he had the decency to put up a high price.
The price was settled at 1000 gold coins or one 1 white gold tablet. Something I’ve only seen in books and pictures.
I hear Vincent congratulate the King, “Seems like no one wants to bid against you King Glayder.” He just chuckles.
“Sorry about some of the potential money lost from that Vince. I owe you one.” The King has an excited look on his face and so do his wife and son.
“Looks like the royal palace will have a new pet. Do you plan on giving it to Prince Curtis?” Vincent probes.
“Bahaha! Maybe! We’ll see how he does.” The King just gives an evil smile to his son and winks.
“D-Dad!” Prince Curtis seems visibly shocked by this news and Priscilla laughs, saying, “Curtis, I remember you’ve been slacking off on your sword lessons.”
“Ah! Mom! That was supposed to be a secret!” The fierce prince doesn’t look so fierce anymore as I see my mother and Tabitha laugh softly along with the Queen.
“Mama, can I have a pet?” Ellie asks, pointing at Sylvie as an example.
“Haha! I don’t know. Mana beasts only want to be pets for nice ladies.” My mom teases.
“Ellie is nice! Right Brother?” She pulls on my sleeve, sending me out to battle on her behalf.
I just chuckle and let her pet Sylvie, distracting her.
The 10th Anniversary ended without any commotion and the guards escorted all of us to the back to pick up our items.
Vincent handed me a package wrapped in a black bag, which I assumed were the items once we got into the storage room in the back of the stage.
“Arthur, follow me to where we keep some of the swords. They might not be anything special but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a solid sword.”
Vincent says, leading me with his hand on my back.
“Oh! Are you planning on taking lessons with the sword?” The King questions after hearing Vincent.
Vincent just chuckles helplessly while I just respond, “Just something I’m interested in, King Glayder.”
The brat…I mean Prince Curtis chimes in with an arrogant voice, “Maybe I can teach you how to fight with a sword sometime.”
My father and the Twin Horns arrive to meet us at this time, giving me an excuse to ignore the kid.
“Ah you guys are here! How did you enjoy the Auction?” My father exclaimed, picking up Ellie after bowing to the King and Queen.
While my father was talking with Vincent, I see Sebastian whisper something into the ear of King Glayder.
The King looks a little irritated but he just sighs and walks toward me, with the hooded pervert behind him.
“Your name was Arthur correct? My royal guard has helped our family numerous times in duty and I do feel the need to do this little favor for him. You see; he seems to have taken an extreme fancy to your bond. I know how complicated it is to sever the contract but I will get someone to do that and I would be more than willing to pay a generous amount for her. What do you say? Can you do this old King a favor?”
I couldn’t help but give the both of them an annoyed face. The rest of the royal guards were on standby near the two and were observing me.
“How much would it take to sell your children to me, King Glayder.” I simply say without batting an eye.
The King has a surprised look on his face at my seemingly random question. “I hate to be rude, but I find it disappointing that a person of your stature has the audacity to ask someone to bargain off a family member to them. While I know that slavery is considered normal amongst nobles, I find it beneath me to sell off someone I love for a monetary value. I hope that this has made it clear that I have no plans on selling my bond.” I continue, my eyes never wavering.
“HOW DARE YOU INSOLENT PEASANT SAY SUCH THINGS TO THE KING!” One of the Augmenter guard unsheathes his blade and prepares to strike down at me.