A Lack of Money
Within the audience hall of the Lucas clan, the room was dazzlingly lit, and beautiful serving girls brought out tray after tray of delicacies. Everybody was toasting each other and chatting quite amicably.
Since he was young, Linley had received strict instruction from his father, and so he knew how to comport himself. On the surface, he was engaged in idle conversation with the nobles, but in his heart, he was still rather impatient with it all.
“Duke Bonalt [Ba’na], by your leave.”
Linley bid a farewell to this Duke Bonalt in front of him, then headed directly to the Lucas clan’s leader, Marquis Jebs. Seeing Linley walk in his direction, he knew that he could no longer avoid the topic of the warblade, ‘Slaughterer’.
Linley and Marquis Jebs both took seats at a table in the corner of the audience hall.
“Marquis Jebs, I expect your nephew has already informed you as to why I came here today.” Linley said courteously.
Marquis Jebs sighed. “Linley, I’m already an old geezer. I really can’t bear to part with my collector’s items.”
“Marquis Jebs, my Baruch clan has over five thousand years of history, and I have always been proud of the fact that I am a descendant of the Baruchs. But for the ancestral heirloom of our clan, the warblade ‘Slaughterer’, to be lost to us, is a humiliation. Marquis Jebs, I can openly assure you that for centuries now, our clan has labored to recover the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. One of the main reasons why I trained so hard since my youth was out of my desire to recover our ancestral heirloom.”
Although Linley’s voice was very calm, the ‘absolute resolve’ in his voice was unmistakable.
“I understand, I understand.” Marquis Jebs, with a major effort, produced a smile.
Of course the Baruch clan would want their ancestral heirloom back. Marquis Jebs also understood that if he was dead-set on refusing to return the warblade ‘Slaughterer’, then his Lucas clan would truly draw the ire of this seventeen year old young man.
Marquis Jebs was fully aware of how much influence this young man now possessed.
Even putting aside the Radiant Church for now, the Dawson Conglomerate alone could easily devastate his family.
“Linley. The warblade ‘Slaughterer’ is an extremely valuable treasure. In the past, someone offered me a million gold coins to buy it from me, but I couldn’t bear to part from it.” Marquis Jebs turned to the subject of ‘money’. “Our Lucas clan is an ancient one, but to be frank, we actually don’t have a huge amount of money.”
Linley understood this point quite well. Based on what Yale said, the Lucas family was a very old one, with a great deal of influence within Fenlai City. But in terms of financial resources, they were far and away less wealthy than, say, the level of Kalan’s Debs clan.
To force a not-so-wealthy clan to suddenly hand over a treasure worth a million gold coins as a gift wasn’t too realistic.
“So he wants money for it?” Linley relaxed.
If it was just a matter of money, things wouldn’t be too difficult.
“Marquis Jebs. In the past, your clan spent good, solid gold in order to acquire this warblade, ‘Slaughterer’. Naturally, I too must give you a figure that would satisfy you. But of course, I do hope that Marquis Jebs won’t try to take a huge lion’s bite out of me.” Linley chortled as he spoke.
A hint of a smile was revealed on the face of Marquis Jebs.
No matter what, eventually he would have to hand over the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. At the very least, though, he had to get some gold for it.
“Linley, since you have acted so sincerely towards my Lucas clan, then my Lucas clan also has to give you face. Although this warblade ‘Slaughterer’ is worth around a million gold coins, as long as you can offer us six hundred thousand gold coins, then you can take the ‘Slaughterer’ away with you.” Marquis Jebs said forthrightly.
Six hundred thousand gold coins?
Compared with the actual value of the warblade, ‘Slaughterer’, this really was not a high price.
But right now, Linley had only managed to procure around 200,000 gold coins from his work as a sculptor. This trip to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, he did indeed obtain a large amount of magicite cores. But the value of these cores was only around a 100,000 gold coins or so. He didn’t have enough money.
The most valuable thing Linley possessed was…
Blueheart Grass and the magicite core of the Saint-level Violet Tattooed Bear!
Linley had over a hundred clumps of Blueheart Grass left, and each clump was worth several tens of thousands of gold coins. But of course, the price of the Saint-level magicite core was incomparably more valuable. A Saint-level magicite core was an invaluable, priceless treasure, worth far more than the magicite core of a magical beast of the ninth rank.
In the past, according to what the books Linley had read said, the standard valuation of a magical beast of the ninth rank’s magicite core was around five million gold coins. In reality, these days the price would nearly reach ten million gold coins!
But as far as a Saint-level magicite core went, perhaps even if one tried to offer a hundred million gold coins, it still wouldn’t be enough.
A priceless treasure!
Naturally, Linley was not willing to simply sell off the Saint-level magicite core. At the same time, the Blueheart Grass was going to be very important to the future of his clan. Every single clump was to be cherished.
The sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’!
Linley’s mind suddenly drifted to the stone sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’. Linley felt very torn about it, and in fact usually didn’t even want to look at it. This was why Linley continued to let Yale safeguard it.
“Sell it.” Linley suddenly came to this decision, and in fact, in the bottom of Linley’s heart, this thought flashed by: “I wonder what Alice would think, once she sees this sculpture?”
Linley consulted with Doehring Cowart.
“Linley, it’s best if you go ahead and sell off this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’,” Doehring Cowart advised. “You don’t want to look at this sculpture, but if you keep it with you, you’ll always have it on the back of your mind. Best to just sell it off. Also…this will serve to broaden the fame of the Straight Chisel School that I founded.”
“Marquis Jebs, rest your mind. Very shortly, the 600,000 gold coins will arrive. I only hope that while you are waiting for me, you won’t sell off this warblade, ‘Slaughterer’, to anyone else.” Linley said with sincerity.
Marquis Jebs hurriedly replied, “Linley, be at ease. Even if someone else offered me two million gold coins, I still wouldn’t sell it.”
Indeed, if it weren’t for Linley’s particular status, how could Marquis Jebs bear to part with it?
Within the office of Manager Austoni at the Proulx Gallery.
“What?! You are willing to auction off that sculpture?” Austoni’s eyes were wide with amazement and wild joy.
Linley nodded slightly. By his side, Yale cast a helpless look at Linley.
Yale had grown up alongside Linley, and so he understood Linley’s temperament very well. Linley was a person who cared deeply about friends, and was extremely loyal to them. But at the same time, Linley hated owing others. This time, Yale was preparing to loan Linley a few hundred thousand gold coins.
But as Linley put it, “I don’t want to see this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, anymore. Best that I sell it.”
Yale secretly thought to himself that if this sculpture was auctioned off, Linley’s fame would be broadcast far and wide, which would also improve Linley’s status. This was a good thing. Thus, Yale didn’t try to force Linley to accept his money.
“Wonderful. Wonderful.” Austoni was extremely excited. “Linley, don’t worry one bit. For this sculpture of yours, our gallery won’t collect so much as a single gold coin in transaction fees.”
“I need to auction this sculpture off within the next seven days.” Linley directly stated his requirements.
Austoni said confidently, “Be at ease. Starting tomorrow, our Proulx Gallery will arrange for a five-day major exhibition event, as well as spread the news of this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, to every single wealthy clan. On the seventh day, we will begin the auction.”
“Boss Yale, let’s go.” After formally handing the sculpture over to the Proulx Gallery, Linley could feel something missing in his heart, but at the same time, Linley also felt as though his mind was a bit more relaxed now.
Within the main hall of the Proulx Gallery.
Count Juneau still visited the Proulx Gallery virtually every morning. First, he would admire the sculptures in the main hall, before progressing to the hall of the experts and the hall of the masters. But this morning, once Count Juneau stepped into the main hall, he discovered….
“Hey, why are there so many people congregating over there at the hall of the masters?” Count Juneau felt a bit puzzled.
The hall of the masters always had just those few sculptures that everyone had seen before. After being on display for so long, the number of viewers had become rather low. Unless, of course, a new work had been produced by a master sculptor. Only then would the hall of the masters be a bit more lively.
“Can it be that a new work has been produced by a master?” Excited, Count Juneau also headed directly to the hall of the masters.
Currently, it was eight in the morning. Logically speaking, there shouldn’t be many people at the Proulx Gallery. But there were already several dozen people squeezed into the hall of the masters. What’s more, all of these people were staring in astonishment at a sculpture placed dead center in the hall of the masters.
What’s more, this exhibit had eighteen powerfully built guards standing around it.
“So popular? I wonder which master has produced a new work?” Count Juneau forced his way to the front to take a closer look.
Count Juneau’s eyes immediately widened, and his gaze locked onto the sculpture in front of him. For an instant, Count Juneau thought that he was looking at five living persons. A person madly in love, an adorable person, a shy person, a mesmerizingly beautiful person, and an icy, heartless person.
Count Juneau remained in that half-drunken stupor for a long moment before awakening.
“What a godly sculpture! The work of a Grandmaster!” Count Juneau’s mind instantly became agitated.
Based on Count Juneau’s hundred-plus years of appraising art, he naturally could sense how spiritually stirring this sculpture was, but upon taking a closer look, Count Juneau’s eyes began to shine. “This sculpting style…isn’t it that of that genius magus of the Ernst Institute, Linley?”
Just from the sculpting style alone, Count Juneau could tell who had carved this sculpture.
Count Juneau was very familiar with Linley, because the first time Linley had placed three sculptures for sale in the Proulx Gallery, he had been the one to purchase them. And then, when Linley’s artworks began appearing in the hall of the experts, the price of each sculpture had reached six thousand gold coins.
The genius of the Ernst Institute who was only seventeen years old!
On that business transaction alone, Count Juneau had turned a profit of over ten thousand gold coins. Naturally, Count Juneau would pay tremendous attention to Linley.
“It really is him.” Count Juneau saw the two characters for ‘Linley’ written on the lower corner of the statue.
And on the placard next to the sculpture, there was an explanation of who Linley was…
“The sculptor of this sculpture is named ‘Linley’. This year, he is seventeen years old, a graduate of the Ernst Institute, and a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank. In this day and age, he is, without a doubt, the number one genius magus in the entire Yulan continent, and even if we look at the history of the Yulan continent as a whole, he is still the number two genius magus in all of history.”
“But Linley isn’t just a genius magus. In the field of sculpting, he also has made amazing accomplishments. Although only seventeen, this sculpture of his, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, already carries the grandeur and the spirit of a Grandmaster level sculpture, especially considering the fact that this sculpture is so huge. Naturally, its value is all the more priceless. When you factor in the reality that this seventeen year old sculptor is also an ultimate genius magus…the value of this sculpture is simply unimaginable.”
“Our Proulx Gallery has the privilege to be authorized by Linley to exhibit this sculpture for five days. On April 21st, after the exhibition has completed, the Proulx Gallery will carry out the auction.”
Seeing this introduction, Count Juneau understood…
“The various nobles, magnates, and royals will all be moved and intrigued…” Count Juneau knew very well that this sort of sculpture definitely wasn’t something which a person of his level could hope to purchase.
“A seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank?” Upon rereading this part of the introduction, Count Juneau couldn’t help but sigh in amazement as well.
At the same time, Count Juneau’s admiration of this Linley deepened.
A person who was able to achieve such accomplishments in two different fields was definitely worthy of admiration.
“This sculpture should on roughly the same level as the sculptures of Grandmaster sculptors. Adding the fact that it is huge…and the status of the sculptor, a seventeen year old who is the number two genius magus in the entire history of the Yulan continent…the price is going to be sky-high.” Count Juneau made a mental prediction.
“April 21st!” Count Juneau was already beginning to anticipate this day.
As time passed, the people coming to visit this hall of the masters grew more and more in number. Many of the extremely wealthy families in the Holy Capital began to receive word of this as well.
Within Austoni’s office.
“Please inform his Majesty, King Wylder, that I don’t have the authority to make this decision. If his Majesty really would like to purchase this sculpture, we would like to invite him to attend on the 21st.” Austoni sent off the royal herald from a king.
When that herald left, Austoni’s face sank.
“What a joke. He actually dared to offer just a million gold pieces to directly buy this sculpture? In his dreams! Just yesterday, his Royal Majesty, King Clayde of the Kingdom of Fenlai, offered three million gold coins!”
After being on exhibition for just three days, over ten important personages had made offers to directly buy the sculpture.
“On the 21st, I’m afraid that we really are going to see a sky-high price.” Austoni secretly mused.