Chapter 291 “The holy maiden” (Part one)
With all this talk, it’s only to be expected that Du Wei would fall into a state of cold sweat. Likewise, Zack was also pale white like his lord.
After a long period of this eerie silence, Du Wei finally sighed: “Fine then. Things have already come this far, we can only act according to his highness’s will.”
His mouth may sound helpless, but inwardly he was thinking: What’s strange about this is why it must be me? Why push me into a corner and make me be the flashy bird? Taking the Pope’s decree away is certainly a method to deal with the Temple’s defiance, but isn’t he thinking too highly of me? Why didn’t he pick Earl Biliaibuer and Kami Siro, those two would’ve loved to take on this flashy post…..
He’s complaining inside but since it’s not fit for Zack’s ear, he could only keep this quiet. Settling himself, Du Wei sent the monkey away to make preparation for today’s important event.
It’s not necessarily true that the Roland Continent doesn’t have anything similar to an auction house prior to Du Wei’s arrival, for example: those bidding wars in the slave market are an earlier adaptation of the same thing, it’s just that Zack used the knowledge imparted to him by Du Wei and systematically upgraded that infantile system into an auction similar to the business format in Du Wei’s past life.
Currently, the day hasn’t even reached noon yet and the empty lot outside the shop has already parked eight to ten carriages belonging to some noble giants. With the many lords inside and seated, the remaining attendants they brought along reached a whopping hundred people as they stood outside.
It’s to be expected with how fantastic the auction house has been operating in the past year. Unlike the single story building Du Wei started off with, a separate two-story building has been erected next to the main store. With lavish furnishings and elegant seating, the seven to eight rooms on the second floor of this place was reserved solely for the VIP members.
Towards this form of extravagant spending, the auction house of the Tulip banner has become an important monthly activity among the members of the elite circle in the capital. No longer was this a simple form of flaunting ones wealth, to participate in the auction was a symbol of status, a way to tell others of your importance.
And the seven or eight VIP rooms on the second floor was heavily booked throughout the year, leaving only one or two rooms for temporary rental.
Within these VIP rooms on the second floor, there are soft comfortable couches, free wine, and a wide variety of service girls to satisfy the customers need. Naturally, such an offering would make this places stand out among the rest. Aside from these small things, there are a few more important benefits to be had: the VIP status of these special rooms has become the symbol of status for the elites in the capital. It can be said that as long as you don’t hold a seat in one of these rooms, you can’t be called an elite. This may be a stretch, but there’s partial truth to this saying. Aside from the most favored political figures of the time and some big shots from powerful aristocratic familyies, the average wealthy snob can forget about coming inside even if they wish to pay.
And Zack being a very sly person himself, auctioned off the seating arrangement of these VIP box rooms from the very beginning, thus earning Du Wei a fortune without any work.
In addition, each month workers of the auction house would provide – free of charge – various catalogues to the members of the VIP rooms. Just like how top brand names does it in Du Wei’s previous life, these catalogues would detail the goods in its finest light and allow the potential buyers a glimpse into the upcoming products.
As a result, not only will it enforce the halo of their VIP status, it will also raise the status of the Tulip auction house in the hearts of the capital’s occupants. At this point, merely seeking an ordinary ticket to enter this place was damn near impossible unless you had some sort of connection.
And based on the current result, it’s obvious today’s “listing” has made an uproar in the capital and attracted more customers than usual.
Zack had already stepped out to get things ready, but even so, by the time Du Wei came around there’s already a dozen or so people sitting inside the auction before him.
Sweeping a glance at everyone present, he can see just about every first rate noble family has a representative here today. According to the rules of the auction house, only the ticket bearer may enter. As for their servants and attendants, those people can only stay outside and wait for their lord’s return. As Du Wei entered for the first time into the gigantic hall used for the event, many of the guests immediately recognized him. Many of these people may not have met Du Wei in person, but for a young teenager like himself to come into this place, it doesn’t take much to guess his identity.
In addition to the scroll containing the decree from the Pope which caused the current uproar, there are also other items of great value, especially the products manufactured by Du Wei’s personal craftsmen. Using the materials trafficked from the frozen forest in the north, there are quite a few valuable pieces of jewelry up for bid today. As seen here, there are some noble ladies hailing from some of the most prominent households in the capital.
Of course, there are also those who have ulterior motives in mind. Knowing the Duke’s return to the capital, these fathers calculatively brought their most beautiful daughters out today in hopes of catching Du Wei’s fancy and thus clinging onto this big tree in the process.
But those are merely the minority with most of them coming to snoop around and getting wind of any news regarding Du Wei’s reaction. After all, this was quite the unusual act by the Temple so it’s alarming for everyone.
Since he’s already here at the auction site, Du Wei decides to keep silent and not bother with any questioning at this point. With a collected and calm mindset, his eyes radiated perseverance as he strolled through the aisles.
In a matter of fact, this was Du Wei’s true character. Though he may seem clever and cunning at times, often taking shortcuts and accustomed to scheming, but if there’s a real crisis cornering him with no escape route, he will erupt an inherent toughness that wouldn’t yield to anything.
In other words, if the situation forces him to choose only one path, he will not lack the courage to walk to the end and into the darkness.
With a fortified heart, Du Wei removes any distracting thoughts from his mind and focuses on the current problem.
Naturally, Du Wei’s face would seem indifferent and hard to get close like this. As he walked inside, many did want to go greet him, but the bone chilling aura exuding out of his body stopped anyone who tried. After all, the temperaments of a mage are hard to grasp and unpredictable, thus no one wanted to test that water at this current moment.
Moving all the way to the back, a circling staircase of extravagant design led the way to the upper floor where the VIP boxes lay. Sure enough, some old acquaintances like Taklanshan and Biliaibuer were already there inside the rooms.
A highly trusted official of Prince Son, an industrial giant dealing in sales of weapons, both their identities are more than enough to warrant a seat on this floor. As for the other people present, they are also top notch giants in the noble circle.
Seeing Du Wei’s arrival, the first to come greet him was Biliaibuer, followed by the fatty Taklanshan and his blubbery smile. And to think he held some gratitude towards Biliaibuer last night…. What a laughable joke. They clearly knew about the auction today, yet they pretended like it’s nothing and hadn’t said a word to him. Du Wei knew it must have been Prince Son’s order, but he simply can’t avoid holding some resentment in his heart. Nevertheless, against these two old friends, Du Wei simply can’t keep up his grumpy attitude despite being upset at the situation.
Du Wei may not say his thoughts out loud, but both of these weasels are already old veterans in the aristocratic circle. Taking the initiative, it was Biliaibuer who came clean: “Du Wei, I know you must be quite dissatisfied with us right now but this matter was ordered by his highness himself, we simply can’t defy him. Umm… So this morning I sent someone to invite you to dinner tonight, I wanted to apologize to you in person.”
Likewise, fatty Taklanshan also spouted something of similar order from the side.
Hearing their explanation, Du Wei now understands why there were so many invitations this morning.
Since they are coming clean like this, and Du Wei’s not the grudge bearing type to begin with, he can’t hold it against them: “Both of you are my good friends so these words are not needed. It’s just that… Aigh, this hand from his highness is giving me quite the headache.”
As old foxes, these two only dryly smiled and kept the topic away from judging Prince Son: “His highness has always done things with deep meaning. As his courtiers, we only need to do as he instructs. This time is of course no exception.” Taklanshan mutters from the side, afraid Du Wei might not get it.
Du Wei knew of course they were throwing evasive words to shirk off any responsibility; even so, he can’t blame them. With a broad smile, Du Wei invites the two into the VIP room.
Like the concerto halls from Du Wei’s past life, these VIP rooms are arranged in an arc like shape with a wide opening to allow its occupants to watch the stage.
Walking into the box that Zack arranged for him, Du Wei had just seated himself when he noticed an uncomfortable gaze coming from the box left of him. Looking over, there sat a young nobleman dressed in a black robe embroidered with yellow-gold threads on the sleeves and a variety of fine gemstones on the waist. The man’s style of wear was common among the nobles to the south.
The people to attend this event today are usually in their forty or fifties, seldom would there be a man as young as this person. As such, Du Wei gave extra notice to this guest.
Based on his contour and outline, the young man could even be called handsome, but that complexion was simply too pale thus causing him to appear frail and weak. Du Wei may not like the extra white shade to the skin but that doesn’t mean others thought the same. To many nobles, having a white skin color was the ideal shade of beauty. What’s worse, Du Wei can clearly tell this man had rubbed powder over his face and worn a glossy red lipstick over his lips. Towards the gesture of a man putting on makeup, Du Wei hated that the most and found it nauseating.
Then peering behind this young nobleman, Du Wei saw a intellectual looking old man, clearly a steward of that family.
As Du Wei looked over the young man again, he found that the other person was doing the same to him. Maybe it’s his imagination, but from those eyes, Du Wei vaguely sensed an unfriendly glimpse of light flashing across those pupils. As soon as this young nobleman noticed Du Wei’s assessing gaze, he immediately retracted his eyes and looked away.
To anyone else, this hasty retreat would be enough to fool the foe, but not Du Wei. Right before he moved away, Du Wei clearly saw a smear of gloom.
Considering Du Wei’s current status and power, the nobles in the capital would love nothing more than to curry favor from him so why would someone like this show such hostility? What’s more, this young man seems very strange and not someone Du Wei recognize as a local.
Struck with a thought, Du Wei casually turns to the attendant on his side and asked with his finger pointing to the box next door. This attendant was sent by Zack himself to serve Du Wei, very clever and sharp witted. Without any need to ask why, this servant immediately leaned down and whispers the answer into Du Wei’s ear, “Milord, that box was reserved by Marquise Senna. A few months ago, Marquise Senna booked that box for half a year using forty thousand gold coins. Usually the marquise would attend in person, but it’s said that the marquise has fallen ill recently and hasn’t frequented our auction house for a while. Hmm, the young lord over there should be one of the three sons belonging to the marquise, lord Dupont. He may be the youngest son in the marquise’s household, but due to the fact that he’s born from the main wife, lord Dupont’s status within the family is said to be very high and highly favored by his father.”
Du Wei nodded in understanding.
Marquise Senna? Du Wei have heard about this name. According to his knowledge, there should be some blood relation between this household and the royal family, but that’s already hundreds of years ago. Regardless, the Senna clan itself holds a long and old history and was a bonafide ancient family with immense influence in the noble circle. Aside from its strong foundation, their political choices have been sound over the years and had hardly gotten themselves mixed in any political struggle, thus the reason for their century long standing. It also helped when this clan was a very rich one with a large number of businesses in the south. Back during the initial call for the construction of the empire’s naval fleet, the Senna clan was one of the first to step forward to donate to the cause. As a result of their choice, they received heavy admiration from the emperor and was given the opportunity to reap in large sums of war money from the expeditions. Aside from their massive wealth, their family also produced some very senior naval officers that commanded large patches of water. And in the past, there had been someone in their lineage that reached the post of a high ranking governor overseeing one of the most powerful provinces in the empire.
To put it plainly, this Senna clan was a first class family with a long line of historic figures.
It’s just that…. As for as he recall, Du Wei don’t remember ever offending the Senna household.
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