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436 A Complicated Auction 2/3

 From the start, the enthusiasm in the auction wasn't that great as the auctioned items were mainly irrelevant. Although the items were popular amongst the noble ladies, Rhode had no interest in them at all. He was waiting for the opportune timing patiently. Natasha had successfully bid herself a beautiful crystal sculpture with 1500 gold coins while Grendy was eager to give bidding a try as he seemed to have taken a liking for a magical sword.

Soon, the auctioneer revealed his 13th auction item... That was a pair of beautiful Emerald Earrings. The auctioneer explained that this pair of earrings was made with an ancient craftsmanship and it was perfectly preserved. Fine silver lines wrapped around the emerald, arousing everyone's hearts. This pair of earrings had a starting bidding price of 800 gold coins...

However, this price was nothing for the vain nobles. The bidding for this item began and its price rose to 1600 gold coins. Normally, it would be rare for a pair of Emerald Earrings to be sold at this price. However, Natasha and Grendy didn't have any reactions because it seemed that they were used to the lavish splurges of these nobles. On the other hand, Anne widened her eyes in shock as she laid by the window and stared at the earrings

"That's ridiculous... A pair of earrings can be sold for at least 1000 gold coins... Anne definitely can't afford it..." Anne gawked at the pair of earrings on the auctioneer's hand and shook her head. Rhode squinted his eyes slightly before raising his arm and gesturing to the old butler. The butler announced.

1800 gold coins.

After hearing Rhode's bidding price, many bidders had given up. Within all the bidders, only one was left and he bid after hesitating for a long time.

2000 gold coins.

Rhode's expression remained unchanged as he raised his arm again.

2500 gold coins.

This bidding price stomped the other bidder completely. After hesitating for a while, he chose to give up. The auctioneer struck his gavel thrice and the pair of Emerald Earrings was delivered to Rhode's compartment. After paying off the sum, Rhode took over the earrings. However, Rhode didn't even look at it once. "Anne."

"Eh?" As Anne turned around, Rhode tossed the pair of earrings to her, which startled the young lady. Anne caught the earrings with her fast reflexes and she was baffled. "Eh? Leader, this..."

"This is for you. You can have it." Rhode turned around and observed the ongoing auction. Anne stared at the Emerald Earrings in her hands and after a few moments, the young lady unveiled a brilliant smile and nodded at Rhode delightfully. "Thank you, Leader! Anne will keep it then!"

Anne stretched her hands out and put on the earrings impatiently. The young lady scuttled to Rhode's side wildly and hugged his arm. "How does it look, Leader? Nice?"

"Of course. It looks great on you." Rhode caressed Anne's hair gently while Anne squinted her eyes like a satisfied cat. As Anne returned to the window to continue observing the auction, Rhode turned his gaze to Gillian who was sitting beside him and secretly pinching his thigh. Rhode knew that this fox-eared young lady must've been envious even though she didn't reveal it on her expression. He let out a hopeless sigh. "Don't worry, I'll get one for you too."

After bidding for the Emerald Earrings, Rhode spent another 3000 gold coins to bid a Ruby Ring for Gillian and the fox-eared young lady finally released him from her pincers. Natasha and Grendy exchanged looks curiously because they didn't know why Rhode wanted to take part in this auction. But it seemed that Rhode must be similar to the other nobles, who probably just wished to bid for something rare and interesting.

As though to confirm their guesses, Rhode continuously bid for three items at 4000, 3500, and 4600 gold coins for a Crystal Necklace, Platinum Bracelet, and a bracelet made up of rainbow gemstones respectively. Natasha was baffled as Rhode gave her a conception that he was a noble who had too much to splurge. These accessories weren't too useful and she thought that Rhode wouldn't have any interest in them. But now, Rhode actually spent over 10k gold coins. Could it be that his hobby was in collecting these accessories?

The first segment of the auction came to an end and Rhode's target for the day finally appeared. The four slates namely the 'Beautiful Magical Adornment' displayed before the auctioneer. According to the auctioneer, this was an item discovered in a historical ruins by a mercenary group.

The minimum bid was 4500 gold coins.

The nobles didn't fancy such items. As a matter of fact, the nobles' characteristics were similar to peacocks where they favored eye-catching and dazzling items. These ancient, mysterious, heritage items were too deep and profound for them.

However, not everyone was uninterested in such an item with a sense of mysteriousness. Soon, someone rose the bid.

4800 gold coins.

When there's a first, there will be a second and a third. However, such an item eventually wasn't useful for most of the nobles and their bidding prices weren't astronomical. When it was Rhode's turn to bid, the price was set at 6200 gold coins. Rhode made a decision instantly.

6500 gold coins.

This price set the entire auction into dead silence. However, in the shadows of this auction venue, a crafty-looking man was staring at Rhode while licking his lips slyly. "Ivan, shall we?"

"Do it and let's observe the situation first." A man, with his face covered by the shadow, responded with a deep voice. The man sounded as though he was in his thirties. "We've opposed a few times but we eventually failed. Don't forget why we're here. That man is definitely not here for these useless items and ornaments. Observe the situation, but don't attract that man's attention.

"I understand," the man nodded and lifted his bidding plate.

6800 gold coins.

This bidding price changed the atmosphere of the entire auction venue. Everyone was whispering ear to ear while examining the four slates on the stage as they couldn't figure out how this weird looking thing could fetch such a high price. Suddenly, the private compartment above them accepted the challenge.

7000 gold coins.

Rhode had no intention of giving up.

7200 gold coins.

The other bidder went into silence for a moment and announced their price.

7500 gold coins.

Now, it was Rhode's turn to fall into silence. He didn't respond immediately; instead, he sat on the sofa, lifting the wineglass casually while gazing down at the auction venue. At this moment, the others in the compartment were looking at Rhode with uncertainty because they knew that the bidding for this item that Rhode wanted wasn't that easy.

"Leader?" Anne puckered her brows and gazed at Rhode. However, Rhode was as though a sommelier, appreciating the delicious wine in his wine glass. It was only after the auctioneer knocked on his gavel once when Rhode made a hand gesture.

7700 gold coins.

This time, no one challenged him.

"Ivan?" The man shrieked in shock while his companion hiding in the shadows groaned. "Give up."

"Give up? Ivan, are you sure? That guy seems to want this thing a lot." The man gazed in doubt and frowned. "You see, that guy is willing to pay 7700 gold coins and although we don't know what's so special about that thing... Shall we experiment it?"

"There's no need to." The man in the shadows gestured with his hand decisively. "Didn't you see? That man didn't respond instantly after the second bid from the other bidder. He must be hesitant of his desire for this item; if not, he wouldn't decide to bid for it only after the auctioneer strikes the gavel once. This shouldn't be the item that he wants because there is no reason for him to hesitate for so long. Also, he raises the bid by 200 gold coins every time and didn't attempt to raise the price by a huge amount to force the other bidder away. This goes to show that this thing isn't necessary for him... Continue to observe. It's not over yet."

"Alright, I understand." The man nodded convincingly as he indeed didn't notice these behaviors... It seemed rather logical to him.

The gavel struck thrice.

Rhode let out a sigh of relief and placed the wine glass on the table. At the same time, he retrieved a handkerchief and wiped the sweat in his palms. As a matter of fact, Rhode was nervous even though he seemed nonchalant. Ever since he entered this auction venue and sensed some malicious stares, he was worried that someone would give him a hard time during the auction. Indeed, there were a few occasions when someone rose the bidding price purposely. Rhode had observed that the opposing bidder came from a particular seat below him.

Rhode bid for a handful of accessories previously in order to bait out his enemies. After confirming who his enemies were, he gave up on a few bids on purpose and took down a few at the same time. This was to confuse the enemies of his real intentions and apparently, it worked out pretty well.

However, it wasn't over yet.

Rhode couldn't let off these people with potential threats to him.

The keys to the maze were delivered to Rhode and he kept it in the Spatial Bag safely. Then, he picked up the list of auction items again, focusing his attention on the finale of this auction.