A Sky-High Price
Standing in the middle of the platform, that golden-haired, middle aged man continued to boast, “When discussing the Ten Masterpieces, in this day and age, the lowest valuation of one of the Ten Masterpieces is 5.28 million gold coins, while the highest is the ‘Bloody-eyed Maned Lion’, which recently was auctioned off in the Proulx Gallery branch at the Yulan Empire for a price of 13 million gold coins!”
All of the nobles and wealthy merchants below grew silent.
These prices were downright terrifying.
“The materials for the sculpture, ‘Bloody-eyed Maned Lion’, were collected from an actual, Saint-level ‘Bloody-eyed Maned Lion’, while the sculptor was Grandmaster Hoover from over a hundred thousand years ago. In the past ten thousand years, our Yulan continent has produced just two Grandmaster level sculptors; Master Proulx, and Master Hope Jensen. These two both reached the level of Grandmaster.”
The golden-haired man let out a sudden laugh.
“However, from what I know, every single Grandmaster sculptor in history….no…let’s not discuss Grandmasters for now…even the vast majority of master sculptors were only acclaimed as ‘masters’ after their first century of life. Even if they hadn’t reached a hundred, they were at least in their seventies or eighties. Has there ever been anyone who became a master before the age of thirty?”
The golden-haired man looked at his audience. “In the past, no. But now? There is.”
“The incredible Master Linley is a genius. He is seventeen years old! He is a seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank. In the field of magic, he is the number two genius in the entire history of the Yulan continent. But his accomplishments in the field of sculpting, despite only being seventeen years of age, is well known by everyone here as well.”
As he spoke, the golden-haired man turned to stare at the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
The two female attendants stepped forward and removed the covering cloth, revealing the actual sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
“This is the sculpture produced by Master Linley. Based on the investigation performed by our Gallery, this sculpture was completed last December, during the days of that huge blizzard. In other words, it was completed when Linley was still sixteen years old.” The golden-haired man laughed. “At the time, I had been wondering why that blizzard was so unnaturally fierce. But now, thinking back, I imagine it must have had something to do with the impending birth of this sculpture of Master Linley’s.”
Instantly, all of the nobles and magnates below laughed.
“Alright, enough with the small talk.” Pointing at the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, the golden-haired man said, “This sculpture has absolutely reached the Grandmaster level. More importantly, this sculpture is extremely large. To be absolutely honest, we could actually chop it into five pieces and auction each piece off separately.”
The wealthy nobles below all roared in laughter as they began to chatter.
“I’m just joking, of course. Each of the figures pictured in this sculpture has its own aura and charm. When put together, they seem to form a wondrous love story. I believe many connoisseurs of stonesculpting who are present can sense the sad but beautiful love story behind this sculpture.”
The golden-haired man sighed. “Each of these five figures have been carved at the Grandmaster level. When put together, they will give the viewer a very unique, very special sensation. I am absolutely unable to guess what the price for this sculpture will be.”
“And most importantly of all, when Master Linley finished this sculpture, he was sixteen! Just sixteen years old!” The golden-haired man’s voice began to boom. “I have never, in my life, found myself at such a loss for words. I have no way of verbally expressing the admiration I feel for Master Linley. He…is a true genius!”
These words caused yet another commotion amongst the watching nobles.
For a sixteen year old to complete a sculpture like this was nothing short of a miracle.
But in their booth, the Debs clan was totally silent.
“That detestable bastard.” Kalan was filled with rage and hatred towards this golden-haired auctioneer. After that little speech of his, the bidding war for this sculpture was sure to become even more extreme.
“I simply cannot imagine Master Linley’s future accomplishments. And that is precisely why this sculpture, the first sculpture made by Master Linley to shock the world, is so valuable! Alas…unfortunately, I myself don’t have much money, as otherwise, even if I had to sell off all my family’s possessions, I would still buy this sculpture.” The golden-haired man said with a laugh. “Alright, let’s start the auction. Bids will start at 1 million gold coins. I trust no one will object?”
A million gold coins!
That was the starting point for this auction?
Many of the lesser nobles who had been hoping to get lucky were suddenly brought to their senses. If they weren’t members of an extremely wealthy, powerful clan, they shouldn’t even think about trying to fight over this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
“Each bid must be at least 100,000 gold coins higher than the last.” The golden-haired man added. “Alright. The auction for Master Linley’s sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, now officially begins!”
Immediately, the auction hall fell silent.
“1.5 million!” A noble seated in the bottom row immediately made a bid.
Linley was watching the bidding going on below from the third floor. From Linley’s clothes, the little Shadowmouse, Bebe, also stuck his head out to watch the proceedings.
“Boss, in the future, I can eat all the roast chicken and roast duck that I want, and drink all the wine I want as well.” Bebe’s voice rang out in Linley’s mind.
“No problem.” Linley rubbed Bebe’s little head.
As far as he was concerned, Bebe was just like a brother to him.
“Yeah! In the future, life will be sweet.” Bebe was so excited that his eyes gleamed. Craning his neck, he leaned over to look down. “Whoah. Two million gold already. Higher, higher please.” Bebe constantly urged the price to go higher. Watching Bebe, Linley couldn’t help but laugh.
King Clayde, the king of the Kingdom of Fenlai, warmly clapped Linley on his back. “Linley, let me help give you a boost!”
“Austoni, five million gold coins!” Clayde instructed Austoni.
Austoni walked over to a speaking platform, then said in a bright voice, “His Majesty, Clayde, bids five million gold coins!”
“Thank you, Majesty.” Linley immediately said.
“Haha, no worries.” Clayde put his arm around Linley’s shoulders in a friendly manner. “Linley, regardless of whether or not you choose to join me, there’s no reason for us to constantly maintain decorum as ruler and subject.” Clayde spoke very casually and freely.
Linley was beginning to feel well-disposed towards Clayde.
He truly was a very magnetic, charismatic leader.
“Your Majesty, please forgive me, but I would like to go back and consult with my father first. If nothing out of the ordinary happens, I intend to remain in the Kingdom of Fenlai.” Linley said with a smile.
“Yes, you absolutely should talk this over with your father.” Clayde frowned very slightly. “But Linley, from what I hear, your father has left Wushan township. I spent some time investigating, but couldn’t figure out where your father has gone to. It is as though…he’s disappeared.”
As soon as Linley’s fame had exploded, as part of his plan to pull Linley to his side, Clayde sent some people to meet with the family of Linley.
But Hogg was no longer at Wushan township.
“My father isn’t currently at Wushan township?” Linley felt a bit suspicious, but then he laughed. “Perhaps my father has gone somewhere else for a while. Father can’t always be at Wushan township.”
“Perhaps.” Clayde didn’t continue with this topic.
Hogg truly had hidden himself quite well. Otherwise, if the ruler of a kingdom wished to find someone, how could they fail to?
Within a private booth on the second level.
“Five million gold coins?! Dogshit!” Kalan swore foully, something he rarely did.
Bernard, clan leader of the Debs clan, had a gloomy look on his face. He said in a low voice, “Kalan, you should know what sort of situation the clan is currently facing. Right now, the clan’s future is uncertain. We can’t waste too much money on this affair. Based on our clan’s deliberations, at most we can spare eight million gold coins for you. This is our bottom line.”
Kalan knew very well that his clan’s entire total net worth was only around a hundred million gold coins, and most of that net worth was bound up in illiquid assets. Their liquid assets were, at most, around twenty million gold coins or so. The clan couldn’t possibly waste all of their liquid reserves on a single sculpture.
It was already very kind of the clan to not force Kalan and Alice to separate.
“5.3 million gold!” Someone in another second-level booth made a bid.
That golden-haired, middle-aged man began to grow excited. “5.3 million gold coins! The lowest valuation of one of the Ten Masterpieces was 5.28 million gold coins, but now, the list of the Ten Masterpieces has changed. I can formally announce that the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, has officially joined the ranks of the Ten Masterpieces!”
“Young master Yale of the Dawson Conglomerate bids six million gold coins!” Austoni once again announced from the third level.
Upon hearing this price, Kalan’s face was beginning to turn black.
The price had reached six million gold coins so quickly. This truly had exceeded Kalan’s expectations. Based on Kalan’s predictions, given that the cheapest of the Ten Masterpieces was valued at 5.28 million gold coins, the eight million gold coins he had prepared should have been more than enough.
Kalan wasn’t a true collector. He didn’t have a deep understanding of the field of stonesculpting.
Those true connoisseurs could totally sense the unique, soul-stirring aura of this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, especially when viewing all five images together. Such a thing was extremely rare. In the entire history of the Yulan continent, there had never been a case of five figures carved into a single sculpture, especially in such a manner as to evoke a sad, beautiful feeling in the viewer.
What’s more, the sculptor was only sixteen years old when this was completed. And he was a genius magus!
“I cannot allow the price to continue rising like this.” Kalan frowned.
He knew that if the price continued to rise slowly, his chances of winning the auction would grow slimmer and slimmer.
“Eight million gold coins!” Kalan’s loud voice announced his bid.
From six million gold coins to eight million gold coins. A sudden increase of two million gold coins. This sort of explosive increase was enough to stun everyone present. After all, even the Ten Masterpieces were only worth so much. Even those three precious sculptures by Proulx were only worth around seven million gold each.
True collectors didn’t collect just for the sake of collecting; they had a keen eye for value as well.
Otherwise, if they just wildly threw their money around, they would bankrupt the clan.
The golden-haired, middle-aged man immediately shouted loudly, “The Debs clan bids eight million gold coins! Such a nice, tidy, neat increase to eight million gold coins. From this, one can tell that they are determined to win this auction for this sculpture! I can already imagine how, in the future, once Master Linley becomes a Saint-level combatant, this sculpture’s price will no longer just be eight million gold coins. Most likely, by then, it will be worth sixteen million gold coins!”
This golden-haired man’s promotion ability was really very fierce.
But none of those who were present were fools. All of them were pondering…after all, even if they had money, it had to be spent in a meaningful way.
On the third level of the auction hall, Linley, Yale, King Clayde, Cardinal Guillermo, and Cardinal Lampson were all engaged in idle chatter and laughter as they watched the below events.
“Third Bro, that Kalan has made his bid.” Yale said in a low voice.
Linley couldn’t help but turn to look at Kalan’s booth. He could clearly see Kalan holding hands with Alice inside their booth. Judging from Kalan’s expression, he was very agitated.
“Third Bro, let me give him a bit of pressure. No matter what, we can’t allow your sculpture to fall into his hands.” Yale said in a soft voice.
“No need.” Linley slowly shook his head.
Linley was staring directly at Alice. Sitting there in the booth, Alice looked like a pitiable little girl who had suffered some sort of mistreatment. All of the other members of the Debs clan were looking at Alice with a hint of dissatisfaction in their eyes. After all, their clan was spending an enormous amount of money for Alice’s sake.
“If they really want it, let them have it.” Linley said emotionlessly.
Sitting next to him, Guillermo and Lampson exchanged glances, then chuckled.
Within the private booth.
All the members of the Debs clan were feeling very nervous. But of course, Alice and Kalan were the most nervous of all.
“Relax, Alice. Eight million gold coins is already an extremely high price. It won’t get any higher.” Kalan comforted Alice…but who was going to console him? Because the clan had only authorized him to bid up to eight million gold.
That golden-haired middle-aged man lifted up a small hammer. “The Debs clan has bid eight million gold. Is anyone going to outbid them? If not…I am going to begin the countdown.”
“Ten million gold.”
A rather lazy voice sounded out from one of the seats in the middle of the first level. Up till now, virtually all of the bids for this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, had come from those extremely powerful clans seated in the second level. They were the ones who were really engaged in this bidding war. Those nobles sitting below were just there to watch the excitement. Nobody expected one of them to make a bid as well.
“None of you have any insight. From what I can tell, this ‘Awakening From the Dream’ can be considered to be the start of an entirely new style of stonesculpting. Its carving style is totally different from every other sculpture, and what’s more, it has five images with totally unique yet connecting auras. It definitely is worth ten million gold coins.” That man who bid ten million gold coins said casually.
From the loose, baggy long robes of this thirty to forty year old man, everyone could sense his lazy, indolent nature.
“Ten million gold coins?”
Within their private booth, Alice and Kalan were both stunned.