"Do you have more?" asked Meister Lis excitedly. He could tell that this wasn't all that Locke had.
However, Locke's answer was direct. "I do but I have no plans to auction them off."
The old man snuck a glance at Billie, who had been silent throughout the exchange. Lis dropped it once he failed to find anything in her expression.
Though their auction appeared luxurious, it was only child's play compared to the other more legitimate ones across the empire. It was rarely graced by the presence of a count, let alone margraves and beyond. Valuables like the blood essence were easily the highlights of past auctions, so the old man refused to give up just yet.
"The opening bid will be five thousand gold moores. How's that?" Meister Lis had offered a very reasonable bid. After all, auctions functioned differently from regular shops as there was no strict baseline for prices. Plus, various factors could influence the final winning bid too. This auction, co-organized by Billie's family and a few others, was typically held twice a year. The highest bid from the last auction was around thirty thousand moores, which according to hearsay, was for an antique scroll painting that once belonged to a margrave family.
Locke's ten grams of blood essence would be worth around five thousand gold moores in the black market. Of course, the real price would be higher for its supply was extremely limited. Based on that offer, the old man wasn't trying to scam Locke.
"Alright." Locke passed the box, which contained the blood essence, over to a waiting attendant. There was still an hour to kill before the auction. After strolling around the venue slightly, the two finally went to their seats. One of the female attendants passed Locke a leaflet.
"Is there anything interesting?" Locke made no move to read the leaflet but instead looked at Billie.
"There are two impressive suits of armour that will suit you well. And some potions you may find useful as well…" All the items mentioned by Billie were indeed something he could use and most of their prices were kept within five thousand gold moores.
However, the only thing that had piqued Locke's interest was a mail suit. He was suddenly regretting his decision to auction off the blood essence. Among many types of armour, the best fit for Locke were leather ones, which allowed him to move most efficiently with Falconim. Sadly, the time he had spent in the army had gotten him used to metal armour. Leather was too soft to be worn as an outer layer, Locke judged it only worth being an inner, secondary layer. Heavy armour was uncomfortable, however. At this point, the only armour types that fit his criteria were half-body armour and mail. If he still intended to go on missions, he would have to get himself a usable armour to best increase his chances of survival.
Before long, the auction began. Since most of the attendees were nobles and rich merchants, the first item up for auction started with a high price. It was a masterpiece painted by a famous artist in the empire, opening at eight hundred moores and closing with one thousand and two hundred gold moores, which made for a reasonably good start to the event.
The next item was a necklace worn by some noblewoman. Then, it was a walking stick that belonged to the prominent philosopher, Marcus, from a few centuries ago. This was an event for chiefly the nobles, so the items were geared towards their expensive tastes. Locke couldn't understand why the noblewomen would fight over a necklace that had been worn by someone else. After what felt like an eternity, an item that Locke found useful appeared.
"This broken sword had been discarded by a Ritter. Despite that, it is really hard to come by and valued among the nobles as a precious collectible!" remarked the host passionately.
However, the reception was chilly. From an artistic perspective, there was nothing beautiful about the broken sword. It was completely black from its blade to its hilt, which did not fit the nobles' aesthetic standards. The same went for its jagged and chipped edges, which looked like bite marks.
What would the noble lords do with a broken sword anyway? On the other hand, the noblewomen weren't interested at all. They were either in the middle of showing off their newly acquired jewels or discussing the next item.
Even so, the atmosphere didn't die down. There were still those that raised their hands and placed bids.
"Two hundred moores!"
"Three hundred moores!"
"Three hundred and fifty moores!"
The enthusiasm for the broken sword was significantly lower compared to the jewellery from before.
"Five hundred moores!" Locke raised his hand abruptly, putting an end to the bidding war.
"What are you going to use the broken sword for?" Billie was curious. After all, she was the one who provided Locke with his current sword. Was there something wrong with it?
"Oh, I'm just curious. It's for personal research," answered Locke. There weren't many chances for Locke to come across strong Ritters. Perhaps he might discover something new with a weapon that once belonged to one of them.
The auction went on. Aside from the typical antiques and handicrafts, some rare treasures useful to knights and casters did appear during the latter half, and they were furiously bid over as well.
Locke stared at his armour of interest. It was a pity that someone else had bought it for five thousand moores. He only had four thousand and five hundred moores left to use and couldn't afford it.
"Speaking of armour, I have a decent set at my place!" said Billie. She said the same thing when she gave him a longsword back then.
Locke quickly rejected, "Thank you for your kindness but I'd have to decline it." He didn't wish to be in her debt. After that, Locke's blood essence was brought onstage.
"Here, we have an extremely rare blood essence extracted from the heart of a high-rank major monster. We shall start at five thousand gold moores!" The host's introduction was short and simple. He immediately slammed his hammer and called for bids.
Blood essence was a new addition. Nobles who already knew the auction's catalogue beforehand were bewildered at the item that showed up without warning. But as soon as the crowd collected themselves, a crazed bidding war began.
Aside from needing a lot of descendants and a wise family head, a noble family required sufficient power to ensure their longevity. A blood essence that could help the advancement of a mid-rank Ritter was priceless.
"Five thousand and one hundred gold moores!"
"Five thousand and three hundred gold moores!"
"Six thousand gold moores!"
"Six thousand and seven hundred gold moores!"
And the bids continued to flow.