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289 We Have Been Found

    "Ladies and gentlemen, WELCOME!" Said a man with a handlebar mustache and dressed in a red jacket, black pants, and a black high top hat. He was the auctioneer of the event, and was standing on a stage in the middle of a massive arena, next to a small wooden pillar.

    After making sure that he had the attention of the participants of the event, he added "Let me remind you, according to the rules of the House of Merchants, violence is severely prohibited.. and the buyers of an object will be protected as long as they'll reside within our lovely Golden Nugget. After all, we are merchants.. Not bandits."

    The merchant faction was made so that money would be able to generate power.. However, in order to prevent one family to start wars with one another like it happened during the faction's earlier days, and protect this capitalistic paradise, strict rules had to be followed. The most important rule, was that people were prohibited from stealing or robbing the objects of another person.

    At first, the faction had existed just like a normal, yet massive company.. but due to its lack of leadership, constant wars amongst the armies of mercenary hired by he merchants would start almost every day. With time, these conflicts were causing the weakening of both the mercenary faction, and the merchant faction.

    In the end, the two factions had formed an agreement. The mercenary faction would be able to decide which group to assign for each job that came from the merchant faction, and at the same time, the mercenary groups would have to refuse the jobs that required them to attack any of the powers within the merchant faction.

    That way, the merchants would be unable to wage war against each other, and the numbers of both factions would stop dropping, along with their faction's overall power.

    This system was not perfect, and it didn't stop the families from acting in the shadow, but if a family was caught killing and stealing, they would become outcasts. While not the type of outcast which one was allowed to put a bounty on to the universal government, they would lose all of the support of the faction, and if a single powerful individual decided to destroy them, no one would move a finger to stop them.

    The entire system worked on collaboration, and if one piece of the engine stopped working properly, it would be removed, and replaced.

    "Now that we have gone through the rules.. Let's start the with tonight's event!" Said the auctioneer with a joviant tone, and flashy movements. "The first item.. Is.."

    -----

    Sitting in one of the private booths on the second floor, were Daniel, Aeron, and Virgil.

    "What is this place?" Asked Virgil in his mind. From observing Daniel, he had understood that the show they were witnessing was important, and therefore, he did not wish to distract him.

    Nevertheless, Daniel turned to look at him, and said "This is an auction house. Works as a shop, but instead of buying an object at a fixed price, you have to compete against the other participants by bidding."

    Virgil appeared interested.. And seemed to be enjoying the surprise factor that the revealing of each objects brought to the faces of the audience.. But since this auction was different when compared to the others, Daniel decided to correct his train of thoughts. "You have heard the rules.. Why do you think there is such a rule?" He asked.

    Virgil thought about it for a moment, then responded by saying "Because it's the right thing to do.. You buy an item, and that item is yours.. You shouldn't steal it."

    "True.. but why did he need to specify that.. If even you can understand that.. Why does he have to remind it to all of these people?"

    These words were enough to turn Virgil's expression from one of enjoyment, into one of realization. There was only one reason why one had to remind a person not to do something as obvious as stealing.. If people did not have enough money to buy the items they wanted, in this form of event, they would be able to know where to find it for free once the event was over.

    To Daniel, it was important that Virgil understood that being safe in this sort of events was not a given.. But an exception.. Even if that meant stopping him from enjoying it.

    The auction went on for a few hours, which the three of them spent observing in silence. The objects put for auction were mostly high level enchanted weapons, overpriced thomes, and items which Daniel would not be able to afford even if he was interested in them.

    "This was the last item of the evening!, but do not leave yet. We have an announcement for you." Said the man in an attempt to regain the attention of the already leaving crowd.

    Seeing that only a portion of them turned to look back at him in interest, the auctioneer added "Feel free to leave, but you will lose a colossal opportunity!"

    Caught by the words of the auctioneer, a few individuals stopped and went to sit back in their original seats.

    The reason why so many individuals were leaving the venue in haste, was because the city was massive, and there would be hundreds of auctions all around it each and every day. Most people had a set schedule for the day, and the moment the last of the objects was auctioned, they would reach the next one.. only leaving one of their men to pay, and retrieve the object they had purchased.

    "It is a pity that more than half of our participants already left.. But that is probably for the better.. Because the less people there is here, the more money you will earn from this deal.." Said the auctioneer with an enticing tone.

    "Can we get this done with, every second wasted here will mess our schedule further!"

    ".. that's right, enough with the greasing.. Just tell us what it is."

    The participants were starting to get irritated, but before any of them could leave, the auctioneer patiently began to explain.

    What Daniel needed the most at the moment, were cultivation resources. Sewah had emptied all of his rings, and cultivated as if his crystals were made out of air.. So he had no choice but to sell one of the items in his possession which he was sure would fetch a high price.

    This item, was the recipe low level poison immunity pill.

    While for the other factions this item was extremely valuable, for the mercenary and merchant factions, it was priceless.. After all, those who needed the immunity to poisons the most, weren't the cultivators of the other factions who would spend the majority of their time cultivating, but those who often came into contact with poisonous plants, beasts, or objects.. specifically, merchants and mercenaries.

    To make a comparison, selling a poison immunity pill recipe to a cultivator from any other faction, was like selling bandages to a librarian in case he cut himself with paper.. On the other hand, selling it to somebody from the merchant or mercenary factions, was like selling bandages to the army.

    Furthermore, while the pill was only of a low level, the territories of the merchant's and mercenary's factions were immense.. And even if there were a hundred people that decided to purchase it from Daniel, there was still enough ground for everybody.. Even if they split the territory of the faction evenly, they would be able to earn an immense amount of money.

    After listening to the words of the Auctioneer, half of the remaining merchants stood up and left. Even if they believed the words of the man, Daniel had decided not to put the item for auction, and therefore he planned on setting the price himself. When something like that happened, the price would usually be sky high.

    Left in the company of the interested parties, the auctioneer nodded at the guards that were standing next to the entrance of the hall, which immediately closed the door shut.

    As soon as the doors were closed, Daniel appeared on the stage right next to the auctioneer, who introduced him to the potential customers by saying "This is the owner of the recipe.. Mister Hiel."

    In the middle of the small crowd, were two individuals who recognized Daniel immediately. They were a young woman, and a young man who Daniel knew as the owner of the booth from which he wanted to buy a few books for Virgil from, and her suitor.. The son of a rich merchant which happened to have brought the girl here so that he could spend time with her.

    After making sure that the attention of everyone was directed at him and Daniel, the Auctioneer said "The house's role is that of the middle men. Those interested in the deal will hand the payment over to us, and will receive the recipe from Mister Hiel. After everyone will have a recipe, Mister Hiel will demonstrate the validity of the recipe, and after confirming that the recipe is legitimate, he will receive the payment, minus our cut. Is that clear?"

    The auctioneer waited for the customers to agree.. And once he received a nod from the last of these merchants, he said "Very well..  The price is.. Five hundred million perfect crystals."

    The extremely large amount of money left the minds of the merchants present completely blank. Five hundred million was the revenue that an extremely wealthy family earned in a year.. And it was not something that could be spent on a whim.

    Naturally, the auctioneer had expected this. So he said "The recipe will not be sold to any other merchant of he merchant faction aside from those who are willing to buy it today. The entire competition for the pills' market, is within this room.. Think carefully about the numbers."

    It took a few minutes for these greedy merchants to make their calculation, and understand that this was a high-end investment, and that if hey played their cards right, they would be able to recover the money spent relatively soon. However, the majority of them still decided to leave for various reasons.

    Of the hundred interested merchants, only a dozen were left in the room.. And amongst them, was the young cultivator which Daniel had met before.

    "Splendit. Let's proceed."

    The following hour was spent counting the crystals, and demonstrating the validity of the recipe.

    Once confirming that the recipe was in fact real, the merchants approached Daniel in an attempt to interact with him. They wanted to know if he possessed other valuable recipes that he wished to sell, but unfortunately for them, they did not possess anything which Daniel had a need of.. So they had no choice but leave with what they had earned.

    "Mister Hiel.." Said the owner of the booth while bowing graciously. She was standing next to the young cultivator nervously and looking at Daniel in awe.

    While he did not like how the girl looked at Daniel, the young cultivator's spirit was that of a merchant.. So, in the eventuality that there would be other trades between the two of them, the young cultivator had decided to approach peacefully along with the girl.

    Daniel did not have a bad opinion of this man. The first time he had seen him, he had thought that he was one of those rich individuals who could not accept being rejected, but after approaching the booth, he was able to hear his thoughts, and had realized that he was a man in love, which could not bear for the girl he loved to not love him back.

    The three chatted casually, until the Auctioneer approached Daniel by the side, and handed over to him as many ring as there were customers. "Mister Hiel, these are yours. We have already taken our part, so do not worry about it."

    "Very well, our business is concluded then." Said Daniel while taking the rings, and putting them into his spatial ring with enthusiasm. This amount of wealth was more than he had ever seen, and it would last him for a very long time.

    Not willing to stay any longer, he bid farewell, and reminded to the young girl that he would come over to take the books.. But just as he was about to leave along with Aeron and Virgil.. A blinding green light shone through the windows of the auction house.

    "What is that green light?"

    "It's so warm.."

    The spectators looked at the light with amazement and curiosity.. but Daniel and Aeron were extremely serious.

    "We have been found.." Aeron muttered from behind his mask.

    While to everybody else this light looked like an odd and interesting event.. Daniel and Aeron were more than aware of what the source of it wass.. The feeling of purifying warmth.. regal flames.. Xargy's flame.

    "I am afraid I won't be able to retrieve those books, after all.."
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