Richard put on his gloves, his movements gentle and elegant. He slowly opened the box, showing the rune to everyone. Nobody knew what this piece of hide was used for, but many could tell that it had come from a thunder lizard. The magic crystal within was easy to recognise, and as for the magic arrays it was evident that these intricate lines were formed of very precious materials. The entire thing was simply a work of art.
Kellac studied the rune for a long time, but he couldn’t tell the function of the array. However, even if he couldn’t understand the principle it worked on he could tell what some of the smaller parts did. Most importantly, he understood what this array signified. It was a display of amazing technique, some parts reaching the level of grandmasters. He’d only had the chance to see such beautiful arrays twice or thrice in his life, and every one was the work of a grand mage.
He was the last of everyone present to sit back down, spitting out the warm air he’d held in for way too long. He spoke solemnly, “This is the work of a grand mage.”
Amon exchanged a glance with the former priest before asking, “Mr. Richard, what is the use of this masterpiece?”
“This is called a rune, it can be attached to the body. With a small amount of life force and the mana from a magic crystal, it can amplify one’s strength by about 15%. Each activation lasts for five minutes.”
Everyone went deep into thought, pondering over this unprecedented ‘rune’ and its uses. Amon’s hands trembled as he asked in a shaky voice, “This… rune… Does it have any effects on powerful people who’ve already entered sainthood?”
“Of course!” Richard replied. Norland’s runes were effective even on those of legendary might, what were these mock saints of Faelor in comparison?
“And what about other magical equipment? Will there be a clash?” The old man’s voice was trembling even harder.
“I’m buying this!” Devon suddenly yelled out, reaching out to snatch the box.
However, a slim yet strong hand gripped Devon’s hand. Amon stared directly into Devon’s eyes, enunciating each word, “Rolf needs this.”
The sword saint Rolf was Marquess Anrick’s younger brothers, one of the members of the Bluewater Council. He was also the most powerful person in Bluewater Oasis, his capabilities unrivalled. Powerful saints found it extremely difficult to advance in level, and no matter how short the burst was a 15% increase in strength was a huge benefit to one’s combat abilities.
However, Devon seemed undaunted by the mention of Rolf’s name. The Golden Warflag did not fear Marquess Anrick’s power, and his hand remained extended towards the box as he said with a sneer, “Rolf’s enemies need this as well!”
“But this artifact is of no use to you!” Amon’s expression grew sombre.
“It’s of use to the Golden Warflag. Even if I don’t need it personally need it, others do. I’m not the right person for you to ask about this, go look for Lord Trevor instead,” Devon replied sarcastically.
A disturbed look crossed Amon’s face. Trevor was the Golden Warflag’s second in command, the one leading the slave trade. A strong fighter and a level 17 saint, he was an enemy Rolf most definitely would not want to meet. His need for this kind of strength far exceeded that of Rolf.
Bivier, who was seated at the other end, suddenly leaned forward and looked into Richard’s eyes. “This really is some good stuff,” he said slowly, “Name your price!”
Devon and Anrick were startled, levelling penetrating gazes at Bivier as they said simultaneously, ““You want a piece of this as well?””
“Why not?” Bivier retorted, showing no signs of backing down. This was quite rare; his backing was far weaker than Marquess Anrick or the Golden Warflag. However, his next sentence caused both Devon and Amon to have a complete change of expression, “General Rislant is getting ready to launch a large-scale expedition against the Dragon Church. He definitely needs this rune!”
Marquess Rislant was a famous general of the Iron Triangle Empire in the north, nearly undefeated in his entire life. At level 17, he was known for his tyrannical strength and the power of his subordinates. Bivier being under him now was a surprise.
However, the Iron Triangle Empire was a significant distance away from the Bloodstained Lands, separated by two duchies. Because of that, neither Devon nor Amon grew afraid as they continued struggling for the box.
Eventually Devon banged hard on the table, roaring in Richard’s direction, “50,000 gold! Sell this to me!”
Seeing that the situations wasn’t dire anymore, Amon folded his arms and laid back calmly as he raised the bid, “60,000.”
“80,000” Bivier’s confidence was comparable to that of the other two men.
“80,000? Do you even have that much on you?” Devon sneered.
Bivier smirked in response, “I still have five kilograms of Mithril!”
Being amongst the most outstanding magical metals, a kilogram of mithril could fetch upto 20,000 coins in a human empire.
“90,000!” Amon remained calm and collected, continuing to increase the price.
Devon broke out into a sweat. He chuckled maliciously, fixing his gaze on Richard as he spoke, “Mr. Richard! Just name a price, I’ll pay whatever you ask.”
Richard thought about it for a while, smiling in reply, “Alright.”
Everyone grew nervous once he opened his mouth. Outside of the three already bidding, two others had expressions that indicated they wanted to join in as well. Without batting an eyelid, Richard scanned everyone’s faces.
He gestured to Olar, and the elf took out another magic box and opened it in front of everyone, showing the exact same rune.
Everyone here was stunned for a moment, but this only riled them up further. Emotions ran high as another part expressed interest. Since there were two runes now, many felt that no matter what they had to at least bring one back. Gold was aplenty, but powerful saints were few and far between. Many of those sitting in the room could use this as a way to build a rapport with a powerful saint.
Richard thrust both boxes forward, “Both together will be 50,000 coins.”
“What?!” Everyone was taken aback by what they heard. It wouldn’t have been shocking if Richard had asked for 500,000 instead.
The first rune easily drew a high price of nearly 100,000 coins, and if bidding had continued everyone had the backing to easily push it past 300,000. An accessory to increase the strength of a saint, with no need for an agreement with the mage that crafted it, was worth any amount of gold.
Bivier was the first to react, immediately offering, “100,000!”
“120,000!” “150,000!” Another round of bidding broke out, raising the price past 200,000 in a short amount of time.
Helpless, Richard laughed bitterly and lifted his arms to silence the crowd. Every pair of eyes was fervently glued onto him as he spoke, “These aren’t the only runes, I might be selling more in the future. I only ask for 50,000 for these, anything else is up to you guys.”
All sorts of expressions clouded the faces of those present. They all had different opinions and judgements about what Richard had just said.
Regardless of what they were thinking, however, the most important important matter at hand was to determine the allocation of the runes. Another round of intense contest later, it was ultimately decided that Devon and Amon would get a rune each while Bivier and the two others would receive some compensation.
The efficiency of the traders in the Bloodstained Lands was unparallelled. A chest of 50,000 gold was placed in front of Richard in a flash, so heavy it needed two strong men to carry it.
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