Chapter 654: The Final Auction

    Chapter 654: The Final Auction

    Whether the East would benefit from the alien menace would depend on where the three invading planets made their first strike. Certainly the first Alliance unlucky enough to face the aliens would be the hardest it. There was a three in one chance, and no one knew what to expect.

    "It's about that time. I believe they're ready by now. I'm anxious to see how much this crystal will fetch." Lan Jue smirked as he rose to his feet.

    The Wine Master sighed and shook his head. "You get craftier by the day. I'm glad you're on our side." Lan Jue had handled the details of the auction. He'd collated all the information they had about the current state of things, and presented it to the Western leaders for discussion before they eventually agreed.

    "And still you taunt me," Lan Jue replied. "When this auction is over we have to plan our next excursion into the Starfields." Scouting was integral and couldn't be delayed any longer, they had to know where the planets were headed.

    When they returned, 'raucous' was a mild term to describe the museum's interior. The faces of several buyers were already flush with excitement and anger.

    Lan Jue did not doubt that agreements would be reached and a good price obtained for the crystal. It was too precious to pass up for those in the audience. The Terminator and other Paragons were no exception. It seemed likely this crystal would break the snobbish attitudes of these opposing factions, which was part of Lan Jue's plan. He wanted people as strong as possible when the aliens showed up.

    Just imagine. What if the Pontiff used the crystal to extend his life? What if Metatron and Constantine used it to breakthrough and become Paragons themselves? How much would that improve the Citadel's sorry state?

    The same went for the Great Conclave and the Dark Citadel, too. At least three major organizations were very interested in getting this final crystal for themselves. They wouldn't dare allow for the auction to be compromised. None of them even knew how many times this crystal could be used, or how many people the vital protogenia within could help.

    The Wine Master spoke. "I presume you're all ready to continue. I will not take any more of your time than is necessary. Our final item on auction is about to be open for bidding."

    "This vital crystal's starting bid will begin at three dreadnaughts. Every increase must be a minimum of five expedition ships. Begin." The lofty starting price was indicative of how valuable the crystal was. Lan Jue guessed in the end they would get a Capital ship for it.

    Determining which was more valuable - a Paragon or a Capital ship - was hard to evaluate. In the battle was outside of a planet's atmosphere, a Capital ship's main guns would vaporize a Paragon. It didn't matter how many Paragons, either - so long as they were below the rank of Nirvana the ship would end them. Even Jue Di would be gravely injured by a direct blast. Paragons of who had achieved Nirvana or later still tried to avoid a situation like that as much as possible.

    However, if a Paragon got close or managed to infiltrate a Capital ship, they could destroy it easily. If they were on the surface of a planet a Paragon's abilities were even more dominant. As a general rule, the smaller an item the more powerful its energy, and Paragons could do many things a Capital ship wouldn't.

    The East's current lofty standing was due to their wealth of Paragons. For their Alliance they were strategic resources.

    The two citadels had already contacted the West's government leaders to discuss the importance of this crystal. The reasoning was simple; the government had more ships, and the citadels needed this crystal.

    The North was much the same. The Terminator and other Northern leaders would support each other.


    "Sir, please alert the Western congress that if His Majesty the Pontiff receives this crystal it will extend his life by at least fifty years. It will also allow myself and Constantine to become Paragons ourselves." Metatron urged the Western representative.

    "Sir, with our specialty in energy absorption Satan can become a Reflection of Heaven and Earth with this crystal - the same as the Terminator. It will also help me to break through." Lucifer countered.

    "Gentlemen, I'm not in the position decide. I'll run it up the ladder, and we'll just have to wait and hear what they say." The poor man was overwhelmed in the face of the two peak-ranked Adepts.

    Metatron and Lucifer cast each other hateful glares. This was too important - both personally and for their masters - to let the other get the upper hand. Ascending to Paragon not only made them stronger, it also came with a longer life.

    Both of them quickly alerted their respective leaders in the hopes they could apply pressure to congress as well.


    "Your Majesty, do you know exactly how this crystal could help you?" The Northern representative respectfully addressed the Terminator.

    The Paragon's deep, rumbling voice answered. "Judging by that aura, it can help me uncover the errors in my construction. Maybe even help me ascend to the next level. I wouldn't have to worry over my health for at least another fifty years. It would work similarly for Titan 1. The Paragon manufacturing procedure caused a great deal of damage to his body, but it also pushed him into the Realm of Protogenia. Once the errors are corrected, he'll be a true Paragon. So you can see how important this item is."

    Having said this, he needn't go into any more detail to prove his point.


    "Three dreadnaughts and one expedition cruiser!" The first one to shout out their bid was the Terminator. The Northern leader was clearly chomping at the bit.

    "Three dreadnaughts and two expeditions!"2 Metatron raised his paddle next. Much to everyone's surprise, Lucifer sat back, expressionless, with his paddle on the table before him.

    Moments ago the Pontiff and Satan had come to an agreement. They would work together to get this crystal, for they knew there was a vast difference in wealth between the West and North. Right now, harping on their differences only made both sides weaker. Because of the Pontiff's urgency he would use it first, but the Citadel had to cover sixty percent of the cost. The remaining thirty percent would be the Dark Citadel's responsibility. 3 The ships themselves would be provided by the West, with the resources gathered by the two Citadels.

    The agreement had been hammered out in just thirty minutes. It proved that in the universe there were no eternal enemies when it came to profit.

    "Three dreadnaughts and three expedition ships!" The Terminator tried to slow the increase, feeling out his competition.

    "One Capital ship!" Suddenly, a boisterous and harsh voice called out without warning. It sucked the breath out of everyone, even the Terminator.

    A Capital ship? That was three times more than the current bid. This was crazy! Even the Wine Master looked astonished by the scene. Their highest guess was a Capital ship, but it'd taken only a few bids to reach that.

    Of course, the only one able to offer such an exorbitant price was the president of Gobi Entertainment, Hua Li.

    Hua Li looked perfectly calm, and graceful as ever. He sat with a small grin, like it was someone else who'd offered that nightmarish bid.

    The atmosphere was smothering. By now the East had enough promised ships to make a more than impressive interstellar fleet of their own. Buyers looked at once another in speechless despair. They couldn't help but wonder if they should send their own people out to hunt down the aliens for these crystals. These prices were astronomical!

    However, if they knew that it'd taken Jue Di himself to acquire them, they might rethink the idea.

    The room fell into an uncomfortable silence. A Capital ship, what a price. To build one you needed three years' worth of resources from three rich planets. A single ship required over a hundred s-ranked gems to power.

    The Wine Master didn't rush the auction, and stood on stage with a quiet smirk. He let the silence stretch. Meanwhile, Hua Li sat in his chair with a thoughtful expression.

    Lan Jue cast a surprised glance toward his friend. He hadn't asked him to offer that bid. Appetites were already high enough as it is. For him to offer such a price, he must have been just as interested in it as everyone else.

    "One Capital ship, one expedition cruiser!" After a moment of consideration, Metatron offered his price. He looked absolutely pained to say it, but the Pontiff's Citadel could not do without this crystal.

    "One Capital ship, one dreadnaught." Poseidon's chilly voice brought another moment of silence.

    "One Capital ship, one dreadnaught and an expedition ship." The Terminator's voice was higher than usual. His anger towards Hua Li could be heard in it. Gobi Entertainment and the Poseidon Group had gained more from this auction than anyone. Their sudden and ludicrous offers could not be countered. Hua Li had been silent for a long time, but now at the last moment he was making his final push.

    Hua Li, as though intimidated by the Terminator, did not open his mouth. Metatron looked at Lucifer, who eyes him back. Each saw the hesitation in the other's eyes. Their threshold had been a Capital ship.

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    1. His protégé. ↩

    2. TJSS appears to have forgotten the Wine Master's instructions. ↩

    3. Someone needs to work on their math? ↩
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