The auction was already halfway done when the thirteenth prince entered. An auction never waits for anyone even if you’re an important customer, they obey their own set of rules.
Fortunately, whatever sold at the front of the room were just regular items, all the better items were all saved for the second half of the auction. The best finds were always saved for last!
The thirteenth prince observed and waited for a while, then started to offer his bid after a few items. Everyone would fall silent once he announced his bid, allowing him to obtain the item of his choice. His bid price wasn’t the reason everyone fell silent though. Since the items weren’t rare enough, everyone was willing to give them up to not offend him in any way possible. No one wanted trouble from the Ye family.
Being a prodigal does have its benefits sometimes, you’d be able to obtain some rather cheap finds.
But here comes the problem…
“Master, why are you buying these? Please don’t tell me those are birthday gifts for the seventh princess,” frowned Tigress.
He’d bought a sword. It was a decorative sword fully encrusted with gemstones. While it did seem to carry some historical value, it was still considered completely useless to martial art practitioners. It wasn't practical at all.
Not to mention, these decorative fancy swords are commonly donned by young male aristocrats. It wasn't a gift fit for a princess! However, there may be some exceptions as ladies who practise martial arts may carry it around too… But the seventh princess was training to be a magician, not a warrior.
“No,” He shook his head, “I bought this for myself. I can’t give my wife something so cheap, I’ll get her something better, something more expensive,” added the thirteenth prince.
The auction went on, the thirteenth prince did place a bid for a few items in the middle for fun, which resulted in purchases of odd magical accessories and a magical scroll he mistook for fireworks.
Magical scrolls were considered luxurious due to its expensive manufacturing process and material cost, plus they weren’t the easiest to make either. The value of the scrolls was no concern of the young thirteenth prince, who thought they were fireworks and promptly destroyed them out of boredom. What a decadent, prodigal person Ye Lang was. But to be really honest, the magical effects of burning the scrolls were much majestic than that of regular fireworks.
“It is almost the end of our auction today, these last three items in the front are our pièce de résistance. First, we have the legendary Lunar Deity Laurel gifted by Emperor Xi Si to his beloved queen. It was meticulously handcrafted by hundreds of craftsmen, currently holding the biggest sapphire ever found in history. We’ll start off with fifty thousand gold coins, you may now place your bid.” stated the auctioneer. The auction then followed immediately.
“Master, you should consider this. This crown would make a good gift for the seventh princess,” added Tigress helpfully. Though she felt the crown was a tad bit pricey, it had seemed like the best choice available as of now.
Unfortunately, Tigress had noticed the disinterest of her master, Ye Lang was not planning to offer a bid.
“Really? Oh… then I’ll get it. Hundred thousand…” offered the thirteenth prince promptly. It was obvious he wasn’t aware of how items like these were a ladies’ favourite if it weren’t for Tigress’ input.
“The Ye family’s thirteenth prince has offered a hundred thousand! Anyone with a higher bid? Hundred thousand, going once…”
“Hundred and ten thousand!” shouted someone from the back. The crown was worth more than a hundred thousand gold coins, therefore everyone had continued to offer higher bids. They wouldn’t stop until the bid had exceeded its original value.
“Hundred and twenty thousand!” the thirteenth prince didn’t waste a second.
“Hundred and fifty thousand!” the same person had no plans to stop. Surprisingly, the thirteenth prince had offered a higher bid as soon as he finished his sentence.
“Hundred and sixty thousand.”
“... Hundred and seventy thousand…”
“Hundred and eighty thousand.”
In the end, the Lunar Deity Laurel was bought by the thirteenth prince at the price of a hundred and eighty thousand gold coins. He didn't mind that it was so expensive. In fact, the more expensive it was, the better.
The next item to be auctioned was a sword. Unlike the one Ye Lang had bought a few moments ago, this sword wasn’t decorative but an actual practical weapon. The sword was expertly crafted by a master, it was many swordsmen’s dream weapon.
While everyone was busy shouting out their bids, the thirteenth prince was silent. He wasn’t waiting to be the last to offer a price, he wasn’t interested in the sword at all. He didn’t need weapons as he was a prodigal. War, violence and killing wasn’t his thing.
“The last item… will be a discrete bid. The item is in this box, we’ll start with a hundred thousand gold coins.” the auctioneer didn't seem too confident introducing the item.
There were many ways to conduct discrete bidding. The auction organizers sometimes knew what it was but sometimes didn't. Bidders could usually estimate the hidden item’s worth through hints given, but there seemed to be none this time.
This time, the auctioneer had absolutely no idea. No information about this mysterious box was available, and the person who sold this to the auction had not revealed a single thing after paying the processing fees. Such an item was sure to deter potential buyers, hence the auctioneer was slowly losing his confidence.
“A hundred thousand gold coins? What’s in there?” someone asked. No one dared to offer a bid as the item was way too suspicious.
“We don’t know what is truly in there. Anyone adventurous enough may buy this item, maybe there’ll be something worth more than a hundred thousand. However, I must warn you that we shall not be responsible if you’ve suffered a loss from this purchase,” warned the auctioneer.
Some people never understood why discrete bids were even conducted. They were rules auction houses had to obey, though rarely done as they were never well received by bidders. The more information available to others, the more bidders it would garner.
Of course, there were also many auction house who used discrete bidding to achieve their selfish goals. However, no matter what, any information they offered had to be true as all mysteries would be revealed after the purchase. Dishonesty would result in loss of customers.
Sometimes, the rarity of the item was the reason discrete bidding was done. However, starting off the bid with the price of a hundred thousand gold coins was rarely done. Many items auctioned in this manner were of national treasure sort of quality.
The secrecy manner of such an auction had given an air of curiosity. Many bidders had become observers instead.
In the midst of murmur and silence, a voice rang. It was a surprise to the auctioneer who was slowly losing his confidence in the secret item, but again it was expected.
To the unknowing amateurs, this would’ve occurred as a surprise but among the experienced bidders, this was normal. Of course, it had to be him out of everyone present who would do such a risky purchase.
This person was a true prodigal, someone who was working hard towards his goal to be even more of a prodigal... and that person was the thirteenth prince.
“One hundred thousand!”