Chapter 246 – The Surprising Auction
“The next time an Azure-veined Vine will be auctioned is in three days, with the bids starting at eight in the evening. I believe there are three sets available.” Ruo Ling said, a smile so sweet it could rot teeth.
Wu Zhangkong frowned. “If I want to buy a high-grade vine immediately, how would I do so?” It had been years since he last visited this auction and rarely did he visit any auction in general.
Ruo Ling hesitated for a moment, biting back her words as she organized her thoughts. “According to our rules, we’re not allowed to sell items directly. But I can make an exception for someone as honorable as you. An instant purchase will cost twenty-percent more than the estimated sales price. We can offer an accurate quote once you’ve considered it.”
Wu Zhangkong turned to face Tang Wulin. “How about it?”
An extra twenty percent? That’s a lot of money! Tang Wulin’s heart hurt at the mere thought of it. The listed price for a high-grade vine was five million federal coins. With twenty percent added on, he’d be shelling out six million!
Yes, he saved up a small fortune over the years, but that had been earned with his sweat and blood!
“Teacher Wu, isn’t the auction in just three days?” Tang Wulin answered finally, though not without some hesitation.
Their eyes met, teacher and student communicating in silence before the former nodded. “Fine. Give us two auction tickets. We’ll come bid for the vine in three days.”
“Alright. Please wait a moment. I will go handle this.” Ruo Ling agreed with a smile before leaving. In the brief period she had been in contact with Wu Zhangkong, she understood that he was not one to offend. She was less than a speck in his eyes.
After obtaining tickets to the auction, Wu Zhangkong left for the inn with Tang Wulin in tow. Everything had been left to Tang Wulin to decide without Wu Zhangkong making a single remark or suggestion.
In truth, Tang Wulin had been nervous. Not only was the Shrek exam in a week, but he had to wait three days before he could lay hands on the Azure-veined Vine. That left him with four days to break the seal. Luckily, his body was stronger than it had been during the first unsealing. As such, he should just make it.
His nerves settled at this epiphany, relief swallowing him whole.
Tang Wulin cultivated in his room until the day of the auction. Xie Xie followed suit, his friend’s diligence rubbing off on him, even though he knew deep down that sharpening the spear at the last minute was pointless.
Three days later, Tang Wulin and Wu Zhangkong returned to the auction house.
They were led immediately to the VIP seats. Only two types of people could be found here: those with money and those with strength. Wu Zhangkong belonged to the latter.
The auction beat Eastsea City’s in grandness by a longshot. Every single item auctioned was a rarity and the mood was soon set.
“The eleventh item to be auctioned is a high-grade thousand-year Azure-veined Vine. The starting price is three million. The minimum bid increase is one hundred thousand. Let the bidding begin.”
It was finally time.
Tang Wulin clenched his fists without realizing. He stared at the item like a desert-bound man would look at water.
Nonchalantly, Wu Zhangkong slipped the number plate into Tang Wulin’s hands, as if the bidding had nothing to do with him.
He was generous when advising Tang Wulin on everything related to cultivation, but was a mute when it came to money matters. This spurred Tang Wulin to learn and adapt fast, to become independent, lest he be taken advantage of.
“Three million,” Tang Wulin said as he raised his number plate.
“Three million one hundred thousand.” A person followed quickly.
Because of the lack of side effects and its ability to increase one’s constitution while strengthening the physique, the Azure-veined Vine was expensive. Tremendously so, in fact. For large clans, it was seen as a necessity, used in rearing the younger generation. Thus, the demand for it was always high.
“Three million five hundred thousand.”
“Three million eight hundred thousand”
The price kept increasing. The hand in which Tang Wulin held the number plate grew sticky with sweat. At the current bidding rate, the price would soon exceed five million!
Regret crept into his heart. If he had known this would be the outcome, he would have paid six million up front!
For every item on the program, the sales price listed was the minimum amount of money the auction house needed in order to break even. Tang Wulin had seldom attended auctions in his life. Therefore, he didn’t know this important fact.
If the treasure wasn’t popular, then the final price would usually hover around the estimated sales price. Items in high demand, however, often exceeded the estimated value by far.
In reality, the price Ruo Ling had given Wu Zhangkong was heavily discounted in consideration of his status. There was rarely enough thousand-year Azure-veined Vines to go around, and this fact was reflected in its price.
It was Tang Wulin’s ignorance that bit him in the back.
Wu Zhangkong had known, yet chose not to warn his student. In his mind, Tang Wulin had to experience this bitterness himself so that the lesson would be carved into his heart.
“Five million four hundred thousand!” Tang Wulin was on the verge of tears, almost crumpling into himself as he raised his number plate.
“Five million seven hundred thousand!” Another person shouted out.
Tang Wulin didn’t have a single moment to spare in regret. Although he was stingy, breaking the seal was more important. The chances of success were the highest with a high-grade vine. There was only one being auctioned today. Even if he threw out the six million right now, he wouldn’t be able to buy a second one.
His sole option was to fight tooth and nail for it.
“Six million two hundred thousand!” Tang Wulin’s face was morphed into an unsightly expression as the price breached the six million mark. I was stupid. Why didn’t I just buy it back then? I could have broken through three days earlier and saved some money!
“Six million three hundred thousand.” He had no choice but to continue.
“Six million five hundred thousand.”
“Six million eight hundred thousand.”
“Seven million three hundred thousand!” Tang Wulin gnashed his teeth as his number plate shot up once more.
Finally, the audience was quiet. A pin drop could be heard.
“Seven million three hundred thousand going once!
“Seven million three hundred thousand going twice!
“Seven million three hundred thousand going three times!
Tang Wulin’s entire body went limp in his seat the moment gavel sounded. One million three hundred thousand… I paid an extra one million three hundred thousand!
Wu Zhangkong looked him in the eye and said, “I showed them my identification as a battle armor master that day. Popular items usually exceed the estimated sales price. The price you won it for today is about normal. Do you understand now?”
Tang Wulin forced out a smile. “I understand, but the price is still painful.”
“Let’s go.” Wu Zhangkong didn’t comfort Tang Wulin. This had been Tang Wulin’s own choice; thus, he must live with it himself. It was useless to blame others. He didn’t tell Tang Wulin this explicitly, and instead chose to teach him this lesson through his actions.
Tang Wulin trembled with remorse as he paid the bill. He had earned about fourteen million federal coins after three years of hard work. The vine costed half of his entire savings!
If it wasn’t for his high chance to succeed at Spirit Refinement which would save him some material costs, he would have coughed up blood on the spot. His remaining amount of savings was a pitiful shadow of its former self.