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53 Scrutiny

    The confusion disappeared. Everyone instead looked like rabid dogs that would even sell their families to acquire the armor. Who wouldn't want to gain extra years of life? Even the people in the lounges, who had somehow managed to remain calm, erupted when they heard the news.

    They weren't like the nobles below. As soon as the armor appeared, they knew that such an item wasn't simple.

    What Derrick didn't expect was what would result in presenting the item.

    Almost unanimously, every VIP ordered the investigation of the faction selling the goods. They tolerated the other items, but things that could extend their lifetimes would be pursued no matter the costs.

    To Derrick's great fortune, Brigand had anticipated the reactions and taken counter-measures. Jacqueline promptly made an announcement.

    "Dear Guests, there is also an instruction left by the seller. If people inquire about his identity, he'll simply never present such goods again. He knows about their importance, which is why he prefers giving you a friendly warning first. Finding him would net you no benefit at all"

    The pressure in the room, which hadn't reached its climax, increased. The seller was either courageous or stupid. They were the most powerful organizations in Terra and its surroundings. They weren't taking orders, they were giving them.

    However, in this situation, everyone knew that if the other party vanished, they wouldn't have another opportunity at buying these products. They were sure the quality offered right now ranged in the lower secrets of the Krakow Empire, and normally, they wouldn't be able to obtain these things.

    While grumbling and expressing their frustrations, everyone recalled their spies. They would have to wait the end of the event before acting.

    Meanwhile, Derrick sat in his chair sweating bullets. He hadn't considered the aftermath, and he would have to sincerely thank Brigand for his foresight. It was still way too early to be a known entity in the Empire.

    "Now that everything's been said and explained, let's begin. The price is set to 1000 Gold coins!"

    The Army Consortium could only bow in defeat. Their harvest was plentiful, with the two previous sets in hand, but they had to say they would gladly exchange them for the one currently on stage. They would have to bring more funds next time around.

    "3000"

    Right off the bat, the first bid was spectacular, tripling its original value. The bidder was the Jewel Company, which seemed to be represented by a woman. They had finally showed their fangs. A starting bid that high raised some eyebrows, but the other VIPs knew that its true value laid in the fact that the item didn't have a cap. In other words, the armor grew with its wielder!

    "4000"

    "5000"

    "6000"

    The back and forth seemed to detach itself from reality. The bids were so high that people could only look from the ground, awed by what seemed to be the pinnacle of society. Of course, it was indeed the top, but only of this region.

    Derrick wasn't surprised by these new heights anymore. After the last bid, he realized his hands were made of gold. If he stayed careful and maintained his cover, he would be the bank of Akata till it could be self-sufficient.

    "8000"

    It was the Merchant's Association's bid and it seemed nobody else would be able to top it. It was the first time an Auction had generated such ludicrous amounts and the event would surely be spread throughout the city.

    Derrick would have to leave tomorrow night, or he would be facing intense scrutiny. He wasn't so naive as to believe that Brigand was omnipotent. He had bought him enough time to leave unarmed.

    Jacqueline called the final transaction and bid farewell to the audience, saluting the now sour parties that couldn't get their hands on what they coveted.

    Derrick calculated his gains and almost chocked on his saliva. He earned a staggering 12 892 Gold coins! He had a hard time fathoming the amount, but he couldn't be more excited for the shopping that would happen tomorrow.

    ***

    Merchant's Association's Lounge

    "Investigate the party with our best spy. I don't want them to suspect a thing. If we lose the lead on such a talented craftsman, I'll personally hold you accountable"

    The fat man gave a sinister look to the bowing soldier in front of him, who gulped in response before hurriedly leaving.

    ***

    Jewel Company's Lounge

    "Try appealing to Brigand first and see if he'll give us the information. If not, I want a profile on every participant. If we can recruit someone that talented, our company won't only be limited to this region"

    The graceful and mature madam patted the shoulder of the young man next to her, who blushed at the contact. He would succeed in the task, no matter what.

    ***

    Army Consortium's Lounge

    "Inform the Official. A craftsman that talented can be dangerous if he falls into enemy hands. Order our top spies to tail everyone that exits the house. I want to be informed of everything, even if it seems irrelevant"

    The man was muscular, tall and had a neatly shaved beard. His face riddled with scars invoked a sense of respect of whomever spoke to him. The kneeling soldier nodded and left.

    ***

    The young master was trashing around the room, completely forgetting the butler standing in its corner.

    "HOW DARE THEY STEAL ALL THE ITEMS FROM ME! I AM THE YOUNG MASTER OF THE YUTIO FAMILY! THEY SHOULD GROVEL AT MY FEET AND ASK FOR FORGIVENESS"

    The attendant was panicking. He had seen the dangerous glimmer in the butler's eyes. His patience was clearly running thin.

    "Young Master, don't worry. We will surely find out the identity of the party that insulted you, and you'll be able to blow off some steam"

    It was a last ditch effort to calm him down, and to his relief, it worked.

    With a humph, the young man sat down and got his temper in check.

    However, a knocking sound once again disturbed him. A soldier entered the room and immediately kowtowed at his feet.

    "Young Master, we found our spy... He's dead"

    In a snarl of anger, the young master got up and flipped the small table next to him. The butler left his spot, ready to do his job...

    ***

    "Cheers!"

    When Derrick entered the study, Brigand had already started drinking, completely overwhelmed by tonight's success.

    "I'm happy as well, but..."

    Derrick's tone brought the festive man back to earth. He knew what he wanted to say.

    "I agree that the success was too big. Spies are probably crawling everywhere, taking notes. Nevertheless, I told you I would protect you, so I obviously have a way out that'll be unseen!"

    The necromancer was surprised. Exiting this place anonymously would be quite tricky.

    Seeing the doubt in Derrick's face, Brigand laughed loudly.

    "Brat, you're too young to question my methods"

    His cheeks were getting redder by the second, clearly affected by his consummations.

    It was Derrick's turn to laugh. The merchant was right, and he had never disappointed him so far.
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