The bidding war for blood essence ended at seven thousand and five hundred gold moores. Though it was a valuable commodity, it wasn’t very mind-blowing. Locke was already sufficiently pleased with the results. After all, Chief Shabille was selling it for the equivalent of one thousand gold moores for ten grams of blood essence, making his sale a seven and a half-fold increment in value. This was only possible from the nobles’ deep pockets.
If Locke had brought the blood essence to a normal store or the black market, the most he would get was six thousand gold moores. Pleased with the outcome, Locke figured that he could afford to join the next few bidding sessions. He had already missed a decent armour earlier due to his lack of funds.
The host onstage introduced the next item. “Dewdrop’s Heart! Extracted from a freshwater major monster, the spiked goldfish, this treasure can advance hydromancers… Berserk potion! It provides a temporary one-third elevation to a knight’s combat abilities! It is especially useful for ranks below high-rank Ritters…”
Immediately after the blood essence, several highly desirable treasures useful to casters and knights alike were auctioned. The competition that followed was fierce, almost comparable to the one for Locke’s blood essence.
Billie made a winning bid for the Dewdrop’s Heart. Locke guessed that she got it for Daenie; perhaps the casters of their party got along better because they were all women who understood each other better.
Later, he stared longingly at the magic-resistant hood being auctioned. The bids placed for it had soared, forcing him to give it up and ending with a winning bid of twelve thousand gold moores, much higher than his expectations.
Locke was interested in the item because he was looking for something to replace his half-moon bracelet, the one Angelina had gifted him a magic bracelet. It was a piece of powerful equipment that could resist high-ranked spells once. King Faustian had originally gifted this to his daughter, Angelina, for protection. Little did he know she would give it to him instead. It was among the few items in the Faustian treasury that could be considered a national treasure.
The ability offered by the magic-resistant hood alone was comparable to the bracelet. If Locke could get his hands on it, his defences would be greatly enhanced. Sadly, nobles far richer than him shared the same thought. They were much more afraid of death than Locke was.
In terms of value, the magic-resistant hood was inferior to the half-moon bracelet, both in terms of form and function. The missions Locke had performed in the past two years had mostly dealt with vigorous major monsters. Tough armour helped mitigate physical damage and the bracelet had protected him from magic attacks more often than he could remember. Those were the main factors behind his accomplishments.
Unfortunately, the bracelet was now worse for wear. Though Locke hadn’t taken any high-ranked magic attacks directly, he did frequently endure middle and lower-rank magic. Major monsters weren’t typically blessed with strong magic abilities, which made them depend more on power, speed and agility. However, weaker magic meant more frequent uses, rendering Locke’s bracelet almost unusable over time.
“I can lend you some money.” Billie said, understanding his concerns. She wouldn’t mind if Locke was in her debt. In fact, she would be extremely pleased about it.
“No, thank you.” Locke shook his head. Locke’s wealth had come from the spoils of his mission, which included the blood essence he sold. On the other hand, Billie’s wealth was her family’s. Given that she wasn’t the sole heir of her family, if she were to subsidize more than five thousand gold moores for him, she would have a hard time explaining it away. Twelve thousand gold moores was probably the most expensive price Locke had ever encountered for magic equipment.
After the hood was auctioned off, the event gradually mellowed down. The subsequent item prices mainly fluctuated between two to four thousand gold moores, with only a few managing to exceed six thousand. This was just to ease the tension; everyone knew that they saved the best for last.
“Here we have the cliffedge grass, straight from the cliffs of the Arba Mountains! We’ll start at five thousand gold moores! However, the seller is also open to trading it for an item of similar use. Full details can be discussed after the event!”
Everyone gasped in surprise. The underlying message was obvious: seller probably had more cliffedge grass with them. The sharp-witted ones had already decided to approach the person in private.
“Five thousand and two hundred moores!”
“Five thousand and five hundred moores!”
“Five thousand and six hundred moores!”
“Six thousand and two hundred moores!”
“Sold!” exclaimed the host excitedly.
Cliffedge grass worked more or less like Locke’s blood essence, but its effects were far more intense. Users would suffer lots of pain for a lesser effect compared to blood essence, which explained the slightly lower price.
“What a lucky fellow! They must’ve found a whole bunch of cliffedge grass!” someone enviously said.
Locke had been to Arba once during a mission. The mountains there were towering and Locke was in awe of the luck one would need to be able to find those rare herbs from the cliffs. Caressing his spatial ring, Locke made up his mind to approach the seller after the event. As blood essence worked better with a weaker side effect, there was little chance the trade would be refused.
Most of the subsequent items for auction were tailored for the nobles. There were earrings, calligraphic pieces, antiques, jewellery and so on, though it couldn’t get more boring for Locke. Billie, on the other hand, made several bids and spent three thousand gold moores on a pair of red earrings and a pearl bracelet. As the auction approached its end, Locke finally found something he was interested in.
“This set of froststeel armour was crafted by a famous armourer and smelted with froststeel found beneath the glacial layers in the northern lands! It’s extremely sturdy and its surface is enchanted with Featherweight, which reduces its weight by a quarter! The opening bid is three thousand gold moores!”
Despite the host’s elaborate introduction, it seemed that everyone else wasn’t too keen on it. Locke straightened himself and raised his hand. “Three thousand and one hundred gold moores.”