Chapter 722: Chapter 722 – Lumber Pile
Youthful Reflection, as well as the representatives from both The Black Hand Syndicate and Cloud Herder, were all greatly annoyed.
Coincidentally, the amount the representatives from all three guilds had temporarily gotten from their guild leaders was set at 10,000 gold coins. Because everyone had the same idea, a guild of a thousand with everyone contributing 10 gold coins was not too much. Since the price was still around 1000, the 10,000 gold coin limit was far off, and this time in between was to be used to talk things over with the guild once more to secure more funds. Of course, the better resolution would be if this auction battle could be resolved without breaking the 10,000 gold coin threshold.
In the end, when the three of them received their instructions to limit their bids under this sum, and they were emboldened from getting a lot more larger leeway, none of the three men even thought that Young Master Han would step in as a competitor and immediately call out the 10,000 gold coins bid in one go and elimination all competition.
The three were dumbfounded, looking at one another in disbelief before they turned to regard Young Master Han.
Xi Xiaotian was not too concerned with all that, rapping her knuckles at Cirrus standing beside her, “start the countdown!”
Cirrus was originally in a daze as well. After being prompted, he quickly began his job that Youthful Reflection had asked him to do, and began his countdown. In order to create a sense of pressure to everyone, he even made sure to actually count backward, “30, 29, 28, 27…” Cirrus conscientiously shouted each number out evenly.
“No this doesn’t count, this doesn’t count,” It was like Youthful Reflection was awaking from a dream, protesting wildly as he shouted to stop.
The representatives from The Black Hand Syndicate and Cloud Herder came back to reality as well, yelling the same thing even louder than Youthful Reflection. The three of them were suddenly united because they had a common opponent: The trouble-making, unreliable Young Master Han, that looked very much like a spy.
“What other requests do the three of you have?” Xi Xiaotian was laughing as she said this.
“Young Master Han, don’t you dare walk away? Get back here!!!” Youthful Reflection bellowed. After Young Master Han had shouted his bid for 10,000 gold coins, he nonchalantly wandered about once more. Is he even here for the auction, or to sightsee?
Why would Young Master Han even listen to Youthful Reflection? He simply crooked his head and threw him a look and walked away.
Fortunately, Young Master Han was not the only person from Colored Clouds. Youthful Reflection angrily turned to the other men from Colored Clouds and barked, “What’s going on here? 10,000 gold coins… Can your guild even afford it?”
These men were naturally shaken by Young Master Han’s sudden bid as well, and were busy reporting the matter to their guild leader Gu Xiaoshang! However, when Youthful Reflection came over, demanding for an answer with that tone of his, these people all focused their own outrage toward him and glared at Youthful Reflection, seething, “It’s none of your business.”
Youthful Reflection was not alone in this battle, and he had representatives from The Black Hand Syndicate and Cloud Herder helping him, and they came over to give over to offer their opinion, “What can you say about this? You guys could also see that the auction was originally going smoothly, just what are you doing suddenly raising the bid so high like that?!”
“What are we doing? To intimidate you, of course! If you can, outbid us, otherwise, you can just give up. There’s nothing else to say to this,” The players from Colored Clouds suddenly hardened their own voices, as they have received word from their guild leader, “It’s only 10,000 gold coins, we can all still front the coins necessary as a whole. What are you guys so cowardly making so much fuss over nothing?”
These men were all very embarrassed after being admonished by their guild leader about this. They also felt that Young Master Han’s unconventional bidding at this point was very satisfying since they managed to see these representatives from the three large guilds flush in astonishment. Thus, they decided to thoroughly enjoy this as they stood on Young Master Han’s side.
It was at this time when Cirrus’ countdown had reached 10, and very soon was calling out “9, 8, 7, 6…”.
“Stop, wait a minute! This is a unique situation, and we need time to mull over this,” Youthful Reflection quickly blurted this out. He felt that there was no reason for the seller to reject his request. After all, further mulling over this meant that there would be the possibility of raising the price, but if they were to let the countdown reach 0, the price would simply stagnate there at 10,000 gold coins.
Xi Xiaotian waved her hand, and Cirrus’ countdown did indeed come to a stop. The men from the three large guilds heaved a sigh of relief when the players from Colored Clouds began criticizing, “What’s going on? Is the rule being enforced or not? Weren’t you three the ones who just said that the auction will end the moment the 30 seconds expires? How are you guys just changing your mind the moment things aren’t going your way? No, keep counting!”
The three representatives were sweating bullets. Indeed, they were the ones who asked for the time limit rule to be added, and yet they were also the ones asking for it to be stopped right now. It sounded exceptionally bad when it was now apparent that the three of them were the ones fully controlling the proceedings. None of the three could think of a reason to argue on this point, only hoping that the seller, in this case, would be more of a profiteer, shamelessly heeding to their request here since they would benefit greatly from this change.
In the end, it appeared as if the seller in this case at least had a bit of professionalism to them. Xi Xiaotian helplessly shrugged as she said to Cirrus, “Continue the countdown.”
“Wait a minute!” The three parties were all crying at this point.
“Guild leader! 10,000 isn’t enough!”
“What? How did it get to 10,000 so soon? Just what in the world happened?”
“There’s no time to explain. Are we putting in more funds to this?”
“Give me a second.”
“We can’t give you nuts!” In the final second, all three guild representatives received a similar message to hold, and their hearts chilled.
“10,000 gold coins going once,” Xi Xiaotian began following the official rule of auctions by giving the final three counts. The men earned themselves a 3 seconds reprieve, as they used this moment to send another message.
“There’s no more time! The final three seconds are upon us before the bid makes it through. Is the limit being increased to 20,000 gold coins?” The three typed out in a flurry.
“10,000 gold coins going twice.”
There was no message coming in from the guild’s side, and the three men were now about to burst into tears from all their anxiety.
10,000 gold coins going thrice,” Xi Xiaotian’s right hand was raised. She was not holding a gavel in her hand, but it would signify the end of the auction once she drops it down.
“18,650 gold coins!” It was at that moment when someone had yelled out that price. Everyone turned to the source of the voice and saw Youthful Reflection with a savage expression across his face. Sure enough, he had been the one who called this latest bid.
Youthful Reflection had not gotten an answer from his guild leader, but what was different between him and the other guild representatives present, was that he actually held a rather high position in the guild. Oathless Sword might be the guild leader, but Youthful Reflection also possessed an equal say in the guild as well. What Oathless Sword had more when compared to him was the privileges that the system provided, and in this aspect, neither men would really nitpick with each other over it seeing as they were already old friends.
Seeing that there was no reply from Oathless Sword for the longest time, Youthful Reflection steeled his heart and decided to simply make the executive decision and raise the bid, only informing Oathless Sword after when the deed was done. Oathless Sword was still busy discussing this with the people in the guild when he was informed by Youthful Reflection that he had already placed in a bid for 18,650 gold coins. He got quite a fright when he first heard this, though it was not out of shock that Youthful Reflection had made the decision for them. What had left him flabbergasted was about the impulsively higher bid Youthful Reflection had made, jumping over 8000 gold coins in that one bid instead of slowly edging it up as per usual.
This raised bid from Youthful Reflection had bought everyone another 30 seconds worth of discussion time, as the relevant representatives quickly give a quick summary regarding what had happened back to their guilds, beseeching further orders. Meanwhile, Young Master Han had flitted back like a wandering spirit, looking at Youthful Reflection as he commended, “Impressive. That’s some quick math!”
When Young Master Han had raised the bid to 10,000 gold coins, the increment was 8650 gold coins, and going by the system’s auction rules, that became the lowest bid increment, which was why Youthful Reflection had followed this sum and raised the bid accordingly, not even a copper coin less.
“What are you trying to do again?” How Youthful Reflection wished time would speed up and the auction would be over when that man was not around. His intuition told him that that Young Master Han genuinely had no intention of participating in this auction, and was clearly just here to cause trouble. Colored Clouds had said that this auction might very well be some scheme Thousand Miles Drunk and Sword Demon had cooked up, but was Young Master Han not their most familiar battle buddy? Could he…
Youthful Reflection could not help but suspect, while the representatives from The Black Hand Syndicate and Cloud Herder were also eyeing Young Master Han when he appeared, all forgetting to discuss the results with their guilds.
Could this person… Everyone had shared the same sentiment.
Sure enough, Young Master Han did not disappoint them. He headed toward Xi Xiaotian and waved his hand to get her attention, “30,000 gold coins please, thank you.”
Everyone’s faces went pale. Young Master Han turned around and actually pulled out a glass and poured some liquor out for himself. He lifted the glass toward everyone and drained it in one go as he laughed, “What’s the matter? Looks like I didn’t disappoint you guys, huh?”
That was when the three representatives each received a reply from their guild leaders, “Okay, the result of our new round of negotiations, everyone in the guild will pull out 30 gold coins each, making it a 30,000 gold coins limit. Rest at ease and bid on!”
The three were petrified as they read the message. A grimace sneaked across their faces as they replied with the same message, “It’s already 30,000 gold coins.”
“What?” The guilds were all reeling. This auction today was really climactic, alright!
Youthful Reflection was no longer irritated by the state of affairs this time, calmly messaging Oathless Sword, “I’ll be stopping the bidding! I have a feeling that Young Master Han might be up to something.”
“Oh? And what if nothing’s up?”
“If there’s no scheme? Then the quest will end up going to Gu Xiaoshang. Aren’t you very satisfied with that?” Youthful Reflection said.
“Hmm, it’s not too bad,” Oathless Sword acted like he was unaffected by this outcome.
The representatives of the other two guilds expressed the same views as well, strongly condemning Young Master Han’s actions this time around even as they indicated how they would only end up severely injuring themselves in the end. There was no need for such an outcome, so it was preferable to just concede the quest to them.
After 30 seconds passed, none of the three representatives made any move. Xi Xiaotian had begun her final call, yet the three men remained silent. Young Master Han flashed a slight smile raising his glass to the people as he called out, “Thank you.”
“This quest is sold, for 30,000 gold coins, to Colored Clouds!” Xi Xiaotian’s hand finally lowered, and the auction ended just like that. Gu Fei and the others were all hidden in their respective hiding spots, grinding their teeth. They were also listening in to the process of the auction and they were completely convinced that Young Master Han must have uncovered certain insight, and was intentionally causing trouble.
“Congratulations!” Xi Xiaotian came forward and gave her well-wishes to Young Master Han.
“There’s no need to be so polite, just call them all out here!” Young Master Han replied.
“Call who?” Xi Xiaotian was nonplussed.
“What are they still hiding around for?” Young Master Han patted that lumber pile behind Xi Xiaotian.
“Whatever do you mean?” Xi Xiaotian was still very lost.
Young Master Han jerked his head over at the pile, and those men he brought along with him made their way over. “Push it over.” Young Master Han pointed to the lumber pile as the men immediately went forward and push and tugged, yet the lumber pile did not budge at all.
“What are you doing?” Xi Xiaotian asked him, confused. At the same time, a flurry of footsteps could be heard from all around them as a huge swarm of men from Colored Clouds unexpectedly descended upon the sawmill. Young Master Han waved his hand out and pointed at the piles of lumber all around him, “Moved them all and see what you find.”
“Wait!” Xi Xiaotian suddenly stepped out to stop them.
“What’s the matter?” Young Master Han flashed a meaningful smile as he sent Gu Xiaoshang a message, telling her to prepare for battle. Gu Xiaoshang understood what he was hinting, so she secretly gave the order in the guild channel, with her men forming into circles surrounding each of the various lumber piles.
Unhurriedly, Xi Xiaotian pointed to the NPC Walter, sitting up on the lumber pile beside her, “This is the quest giver, and the storyline of the quest happens to be related to the lumber piles we see around here. What you guys are doing now will change the configuration of these piles. Who’s going to take the blame if the quest can’t be picked up because of this?”
“Oh, I didn’t know this would be the storyline of the quest. Tell me, what do these lumber piles have to do with the quest?” Young Master Han asked.
“You need to count the total number of logs here,” Xi Xiaotian said.
“Oh? And your guild lacks the manpower to accomplish a quest that merely requires you to count?” Young Master Han chuckled.
“Of course there’s more to this quest; we had no problem with the counting, but we can’t get past the stage of the quest that requires us to go up against and kill NPCs. Now that you’re dissembling the log piles, I don’t dare to guarantee that the quest would still remain. May I ask if you’ll still pay us the 30,000 gold coins if you guys can’t pick up the quest after we abandoned ours?
“So that’s the reason. That’s easy. We’ll pick up the quest first, and then dismantle these lumber piles. You should have no problem with that, right?” Young Master Han said.
“Oh, and if you guys can’t obtain the quest in this way, that means the system did not have such a function, we’ll just have to accept that we’re just unlucky,” Xi Xiaotian said.
“You’ve got your back road all mapped out!” Young Master Han laughed.
“Are you ready to pick up the quest?” Xi Xiaotian affirmed.
The guild leader was required to pick up the quest, and Gu Xiaoshang had already hurried over by this time at Young Master Han’s request. When the lady nodded her head to acknowledge this, Xi Xiaotian appeared to send out a message, before nodding her head soon after, “Okay. We’ve abandoned the quest on our end. Please pay up the moment you receive the quest.”
“Okay,” Gu Xiaoshang nodded. Meanwhile, the NPC Walter was up on the lumber pile, and Gu Xiaoshang was already climbing up to pick up the quest. Young Master Han stood next to Xi Xiaotian and turned his head sideways to ask, “Is there really a quest?”
“Of course,” Xi Xiaotian tittered.
Gu Xiaoshang was already halfway up the lumber pile, when Young Master Han suddenly had a thought, immediately called out, “Wait a minute, don’t go up there yet.”
Gu Xiaoshang turned her head back, perplexed.
“Is the lumber pile sturdy enough?” Young Master Han suddenly stepped forward and patted a log on the pile.
“What do you mean?” Xi Xiaotian asked.
“If we dismantle the log pile and we can’t get the quest, we’ll still pay up. There’s no problem with that, right?” Young Master Han asked.
“As long as we’re paid, we don’t really care what happens,” Xi Xiaotian shrugged nonchalantly.
“What’s going on?” Gu Xiaoshang was very confused by this time.
“Come on down!” Young Master Han beckoned toward Gu Xiaoshang as he called out to the other players, “Dismantle these lumber piles. Forget about the rest and just focus on this one.”
The men from Colored Clouds immediately got to work, transforming into laborers working in the sawmill as they came over to move the lumber pile. These players were simple and brusque, not caring about structural integrity or which log would be easier to move. After a few seconds of moving the logs, the entire pile began to collapse as the logs rolled all over the place. Obviously, the NPC Walter was no longer standing atop the lumber any longer and had fallen along with it. The players from Colored Clouds were already waiting for further instructions, everyone battle ready, yet nobody had appeared from amidst the tumbling logs like Young Master Han had said.
The representatives from the other three large guilds had not departed yet, and none of them could make sense of what was happening when they saw what Colored Clouds was doing. There were several players around that were doing their normal quests that heard the commotion and came running over, breaking out into a discussion over just what sort of vital quest was going on here.
Xi Xiaotian acted like nothing had happened, waiting for every one of the logs to stop rolling before she said to Young Master Han, “You can pay me the gold coins now. We are no longer responsible if the quest is no longer there.”
An utterly distasteful expression was etched onto Young Master Han’s face. Did I miscalculate this time? But the fact was staring right at him in his face. There was indeed no one hiding in ambush in the sawmill. He had originally thought the lumber piles were hollowed out within, and that there would be players hiding within once they topple them. The NPC Walter was up on the lumber pile, requiring players to climb up in order to pick up the quest. If these piles of wood were hollow, a single strike would immediately send Gu Xiaoshang plummeting into a trap and end up getting killed. Young Master Han had homed in on the other party using the auction to achieve this end, yet there was no one… Worse was that if there was no quest, the opposing party had already been resolved of any responsibility, and the 30,000 gold coins price tag still had to be spent.
Gu Xiaoshang was not really bothered by everything. She stepped forward and interacted with the NPC Walter, yet the youngster merely exchanged a few lines of no importance, not at all seeming like the sort that held a quest. Xi Xiaotian very sympathetically gazed at Young Master Han, “How unfortunate!”
Young Master Han stared at Xi Xiaotian, not saying a word as he casually pulled out three bags of gold coins from his dimensional pocket. Perhaps there had been a quest, perhaps there had not been one; but because Young Master Han had made the wrong judgment call, he was backed into a situation where he still had to pay up even if there was no quest. Young Master Han did not hesitate in the least, freely taking on the burden of his decision as he tossed the three bags to Xi Xiaotian as he said, “You’re unflinching.”
“Same to you,” Xi Xiaotian smiled. Turning around to address Gu Xiaoshang, “It’s very unfortunate that guild leader Gu did not end up getting the quest. Perhaps you guys can try and put all the logs back into a pile, take the NPC back up and try again.”
Youthful Reflection and the other representatives were elated as they watched this unfold. The quest was gone, and the coins had exchanged hands. Furthermore, it was Young Master Han who had paid out from his own pocket; none of the three men had thought they would be able to witness such a satisfying conclusion, all of them trying their best to curb their own laughter. Youthful Reflection and them had been fleeced by Young Master Han plenty of times, and now that he had personally seen the man lose 30,000 gold coins for nothing, he felt as if he had just been presented with an eye-opening experience.
Gu Xiaoshang walked right over to Young Master Han, clicking her tongue as she smirked, “Aren’t you the wealthy one!?”
“I’m doing alright,” Young Master Han nonchalantly brushed her comment off.
“Don’t say your big sister here lacks a sense of righteousness; here, take the 20,000 gold coins I’ve gathered, so as to better assuage your heartache,” Gu Xiaoshang said.
“There’s no need. That was but a trifling sum,” Young Master Han dismissed.
“What are your thoughts about this?” Gu Xiaoshang was a straightforward person. She did not bother going back and forth courteously with Young Master Han, directly tossing the two bags of coins she collected into Young Master Han’s hands as she shifted the conversation back to the matter at hand.
In the end, Young Master Han did not even catch the two bags, letting them fall to the ground, kicking them away from him like they were trash even as he replied, “There’s definitely no quest here, but something that I can’t wrap my head around is whether this was something that Thousand Miles Drunk and the others had been up to, or if this lass set up this scam just so she could earn some gold.”
“If Thousand Miles Drunk and his people had been the ones setting this trap, their goal could not possibly have been the coins, right?” Gu Xiaoshang wondered out loud.
“Of course not…” Young Master Han swiftly rejected this suggestion.
The other three guilds had already gathered their men after the 30,000 gold coin quest had been auctioned off. They were of course still very concerned about the quest, so aside from leaving behind the three representatives themselves, they had also left a few of their men behind to see if there was any chance to benefit marginally from things. As for the others, they had all been sent back to their various posts from before, be it continuing the quests and missions that they had on hand or to resume their reconnaissance. The guild leaders had brought the remaining members and were headed back toward their respective sites back in the encampment.
“Guild Leader, a situation has cropped up ahead!” Foe-herder, who had been making his way back to the encampment, suddenly received a report from one of his Sharpshooters with Eagle Eyes.
Several hundred meters ahead of their troops, a singular figure had appeared, standing up against the billowing wind with a dark purple sword planted in the ground beside him.
“1000 players might be a little tough, but I think I can still give 300 players a shot…” Gu Fei played with the rings on his fingers as he nodded.