The top floor of the Golden Tree. This location that was the highest spot in Vegas City was as quiet as a theatre waiting for a play to start, although there were some whispers down below.
The Singten Guild Leader Plavin opened the door to R-3.
The auction house for the VIP auction had seats from 1 - 5. However, there were VIP sections as well.
This was the symbol for the terrace where you could see the auction platform, as well as the seats below.
The auction house had a total of 8 terraces like this, and they were all labeled by the letter R.
It was possible to see the entire platform, but most importantly, the terrace had a sound barrier and made it easier to hide your identity in comparison to the other seats.
Plavin Singten entered terrace number 3 while wearing a mask that was embedded with beautiful jewels.
He opened the curtains covering the terrace.
Plavin had to find a seat in R-3 at short notice, however, it was not difficult as the seat originally assigned to the Singten Merchant Guild, which was one of the top five merchant guilds in the Empire, was within the 8 terraces.
The number itself was not important.
“Guild leader-nim, shall I bring some tea?”
Plavin turned toward the voice.
The participants inside the auction house could bring one servant with them. Knights and mages could not come with them.
That was why Plavin had brought the assassin guild's vice guild leader as his servant.
Plavin did not even sit at the luxurious couch as he looked around the terrace.
‘Is he on terrace 4?’
‘That bastard. Where could the crazy bastard with the Determination of Fire be located?’
That was the only thing Plavin was focused on right now.
The eight terraces were all paired up, however, there was a thick wall between the paired terraces in order to make it difficult to know who was on the other terraces.
Plavin licked his lips with his tongue.
‘Just how are we going to meet?’
He had no idea about how the person would approach him. He asked the assassin a question.
“The Flynn Merchant Guild is on terrace 4?”
“Yes sir. It is said to be Billos, who is second in line to succeed the leader.”
From terrace 1 to terrace 8, the Singten Guild Leader had used all of his information networks in order to figure out who was on each terrace.
‘…Is the Flynn Merchant Guild's successor the crazy bastard?’
Billos, the bastard son of the Flynn Merchant Guild's guild leader, was still young. But most importantly, he had never gone near the Empire’s Vatican nor had he had any contact with the Pope.
‘It is possible that I just didn't know.’
It could be that he was looking down on the Flynn Merchant Guild, however, his instincts that had been honed through years of experience were telling him something.
It was not the Flynn Merchant Guild.
They were not at that level.
He was close to certain that his intuition was correct.
It was a more difficult existence to determine. That seemed to be the crazy bastard's identity.
“It will start soon. How about we sit down for now?”
Plavin realized that he had been overly anxious after hearing the assassin’s comment. His face underneath the beautiful mask was extremely nervous.
‘The Flynn Merchant Guild's successor apparently already entered terrace 4.’
Plavin was the last to enter terrace R. The staff of the Golden Tree Auction House had closed the entrance to the terrace as soon as he entered. Talented swordsmen were said to be guarding outside the door.
‘But they’re probably still weaker than that crazy bastard.’
Plavin hated the person blackmailing him, but still wanted to see who it was.
‘Is this what it feels like to be dragged around?’
The merchant guild leader had changed his goal after last night. The original goal was to reveal the person and take the necklace away, however, it had now changed into making a deal.
A mutually beneficial deal.
This meeting would not be too bad if it was a mutually beneficial deal. Plavin made up his mind to put his, ‘know-how,’ that he had gained after so many years to use.
Of course, he had no idea that the phrase, ‘mutually beneficial deal,’ was not in the other person's mind.
He started to hear the sound of a drum beating.
“It is starting.”
Plavin sat up straight at the assassin's words and casually looked down at the platform.
The auctioneer for the auction walked up to the beat of the drum. The auctioneer was also wearing a fancy mask as he spoke into the amplification magic device.
“Nice to meet you. Thank you very much for joining us in this new year celebration VIP auction.”
Contrary to his respectful tone, the auctioneer’s demeanor did not seem respectful at all.
He increased the anticipation for the items that were about to come out with some brief descriptions.
“Our VIP auction is famous for bringing out one best item every day for the duration of the three days.”
The auctioneer shared the theme of this VIP auction.
“The theme of this auction is, ‘Beast people.’ Ah! Of course, we do not put living Beasts up for auction. We despise barbaric acts such as slavery. Haha!”
The assassin peeked toward Plavin.
Plavin Singten was someone who had risen to his current position through that barbaric slave trade. However, the assassin ignored the auctioneer's words after seeing the guild leader's calm demeanor.
“Then we will start with the first item!”
The first item was brought up to the platform and the audience applauded the start of the auction.
Clap, clap, clap-
Plavin did not clap as he simply continued to look down at the platform.
Clap, clap, clap-
He heard a different noise amongst the applause.
Plavin Singten's body quickly stiffened up.
The assassin quickly moved behind Plavin and clenched the dagger that was inside of his chest pocket.
The small noise that they had just heard.
That noise had come from the railing.
It was as if someone had stepped onto the railing in order to enter the terrace.
“The starting bid is 100 million counds!”
It was the moment he heard the auctioneer's excited voice.
The curtains closed.
Plavin could not take his eyes away from the curtain that closed by itself.
He also did not see any intruders, but the inner door to the terrace was locked by itself as well. Plavin clenched the shield magic device in his chest pocket.
“I don't think there will be a reason for you to activate your shield.”
He heard a voice even though he did not see anybody.
It was the voice of a young man.
Plavin's hand that was clenching the magic device started to shake. The man did not care as he continued to speak.
“An assassin as your servant. Isn’t that too vicious? Put away your dagger.”
Plavin could hear the nervous sigh of the assassin behind him. The merchant guild leader and the assassin. Both of them had the same thought in their heads right now.
They were thinking that this invisible man was an expert.
The table in front of Plavin started to move. Plavin’s eyes opened wide as he stared at the table.
“Why are you so shocked?”
A man suddenly appeared out of thin air. The white-haired man was sitting at the edge of the table with his arms crossed.
The man’s clear blue eyes underneath the white mask that was as white as his hair were looking at Plavin.
‘… Fuck! He’s at least a high-grade mage.’
The merchant guild leader started to get anxious after realizing the man had been using invisibility magic, however, the assassin was even more anxious.
‘He is a mage and a warrior.’
This man had realized he was about to take his dagger out. That alone signaled that the man was involved in martial arts.
He was at least a high-grade mage and a fighter. The assassin got a headache after thinking about the man’s stealthiness and the red fog from the night before as well.
However, the intruder in front of them, Cale, was just saying whatever Raon was telling him in his mind.
Shield magic device, invisibility, and the dagger. Raon had explained everything to Cale.
‘What a useful Dragon.’
Cale pushed aside his satisfaction at how Raon learned to work without needing any directions as he smiled toward Plavin.
The mask only covered the upper half of his face, making his smile completely visible.
“H, how did you get-”
Cale shook his head at the fact that Plavin's first words to him were useless nonsense.
That was not important.
Cale took a necklace out of his chest pocket.
He hung the necklace on his index finger and started to shake it.
Plavin's gaze was stuck on the Determination of Fire. He heard the white-haired man’s voice at that moment.
That number brought Plavin back to his senses as he clenched onto the armrest and started to frown.
“Who the hell are you? How dare you do this to me!”
Cale let out a sigh.
He had no intention to listen to such a boring response. That was why Cale just said what he needed to say.
“30 billion counds.”
Plavin, who was about to get angry, stopped moving.
30 billion counds. He finally understood what Cale was saying. He immediately responded back in shock.
“W, what crazy nonsense!”
“Then should I go to the Imperial Prince?”
The white-haired man responded back in an arrogant and annoyed voice. He was giving off an aura that made it difficult to even approach him.
Plavin wanted to get angry, but the gaze of the man made it difficult for him to breathe.
Cale was using a bit of the Dominating Aura as he spoke to Plavin and the assassin.
Plavin could only stare at the man who was spinning the Determination of Fire as if it was a toy. This was because he had no idea what the man would say.
“The Empire and the Church of the Sun God. Which has the longer history?”
It was an unexpected question.
However, it was something anybody could easily answer.
It was naturally the Church of the Sun God. The church had been around longer than the Empire.
This was because the Sun God had existed for much longer than the Empire. It was a simple question.
Plavin's expression changed as well. The man in the white mask confidently continued to speak.
“There is a reason something lasts so long.”
The Church of the Sun God had survived much longer than the Empire.
In fact, the roots of the Church of the Sun God had been around before the Empire had even set its foundation in the western continent.
Plavin recalled the many religions and kingdoms that had disappeared throughout history.
He had included the Church of the Sun God in that list not too long ago. That was why he took the side of the Empire and had planned on retrieving the Determination of Fire in order to end all of his relations to the Church of the Sun God.
However, he had an odd thought after seeing the person in front of him.
The man sounded certain.
‘Why does it sound like he is saying the Church of the Sun God is not done? He is speaking as if it will last much longer than the Empire.’
A different expression other than anger and anxiety filled his face. It was the gaze of a merchant who was curious about this potential opportunity.
“Plavin Singten, they say that you are known for your political abilities.”
This was indeed the case.
Plavin internally agreed with the man.
He was really good with politics.
“Then you should know about it. You should know what the bad news from the Empire means.”
A different emotion moved past Plavin's face.
Cale held back his sigh after seeing Plavin's expression.
Plavin was probably thinking about the Sun Palace's partial destruction and the assassination attempt on the Vice Tower Master.
That was exactly what Plavin was thinking about.
The Empire had hidden the details of the two incidents, however, the fact that the culprits were a royal servant, a royal maid, and a knight had still spread quite far.
Was the culprit somehow involved with the Church of the Sun God?
Was it possible that the Church of the Sun God had infiltrated the palace and installed spies?
It was the moment he had that thought.
He had another question on his mind.
‘Why did they aim for the Vice Tower Master? Is it somehow possible that they know about the slave trade? Do they also know about my actions?’
Plavin's pupils were slightly shaking.
Cale put on his most gentle smile after getting the signal from Raon.
“Singten Merchant Guild’s Guild Leader, think hard about it.”
Plavin started to do as he was told.
‘Just who could this person be?’
The man he had originally called, ‘the crazy bastard,’ had become an entirely new person.
Plavin had not realized the change that had occured in his mind.
He heard a happy and laughter-like voice at that moment.
“Who do you think I am?”
The man in the white mask was telling him to think hard about who he could be.
However, Plavin could not figure it out. White hair. It made him think about the Paerun Kingdom, but the Paerun Kingdom had nothing to do with the Church of the Sun God.
Fortunately, Plavin realized something at the man’s next words.
“Think about why I came to find you.”
‘Why did this person come to find me?’
He didn't seem like the type to threaten him with just this necklace. This man had the aura of somebody who was looking to do something bigger.
“Think about whether the amount I called out is just for the value of this necklace. Think long and hard.”
30 billion counds.
His mind suddenly flashed with a revelation.
Plavin realized what the 30 billion counds were for.
It was the money required to re-establish a connection with the Church of the Sun God. That was what the money was for.
Was it going to be the Empire or the Church of the Sun God?
Or would it be both?
‘No. The Singten Merchant Guild’s future is on the line as well.’
If this man and the people working for this man spread the information about the slaves to the other kingdoms?
And if he immediately spread it to the Caro Kingdom?
There were many captured people in the Empire. Would Plavin be able to cover it up?
Risk and reward.
Everything seemed to be crashing toward him at once like multiple waves.
It was at that moment.
"What are you contemplating so hard? Just follow your methods.”
It was the voice of someone looking down at him.
Cale shared another truth with Plavin.
“The strong are those who manage to survive.”
Plavin's cloudy mind immediately cleared up.
Plavin could see the magic bag on the table.
At the same time, the man slowly became invisible.
The curtains were drawn, and he could not hear anything else.
Plavin sat back on the chair and contemplated for a while. After contemplating for a long time, he grabbed the magic bag on the table.
“Here is our fifth item!”
Plavin Singten left the terrace while ignoring the auctioneer’s comments.
At that moment, Billos, who was in terrace 4, started to speak even though he did not see anyone other than Ron.
He immediately started to speak after feeling someone tap his shoulder.
“The priest is on terrace 1.”
Cale started to smile.
Cale was planning on having a private auction on the last day.
The Night's Exultation.
Cale did not decide on the price for that one.
‘I'll take as much as he gives me.’
The person with a sense of urgency would take care of that on his own.