Chapter 97: Graduation credit (8)
Only after Di Lin and Hydin reached Borg city did they find out that the Head of the auction had already come to look for Di Lin multiple times regarding his task to host an auction.
A count of the days that had passed showed that school would be starting again in a few days. There was less than two months left to the deadline Orosai had given, yet he still had two uncompleted tasks. Not daring to tarry, Di Lin returned to his room, took a quick bath, and changed his clothes before preparing to head to the auction.
Hydin was still in his room.
Di Lin stood in the corridor hesitantly.
Abner’s words had made him more alert about whether he was overly reliant on Hydin. If he wanted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Hydin… no, not just shoulder-to-shoulder, but someone who overpowered Hydin, then he could not stand by his side and depend on him.
The first step towards growth was leaving one’s shield, just like how a child learning to walk would need to let go of their parent’s supportive hands. Yet, he feared that rashly throwing Hydin to the side would have the opposite effect. Although he wasn’t satisfied with being the one at the bottom, he was willing to be with Hydin.
Hydin opened the door. Without waiting for him to react, he directly pulled him into his embrace for a kiss.
Di Lin’s eyes widened in confusion. In his mind, Hydin had always had low levels of sexual desire, to the extent that he had never taken the lead in initiating anything after that night. Of course, one of the reasons was Abner’s presence in Magil Town, so many things could not be done openly.
“You’re here for this?” Hydin’s voice was languid, an obvious invitation in his voice.
However, Di Lin quivered, placing his hands on Hydin’s shoulders and widening the distance between them slightly. “No, I wanted to ask if you’re ready.”
“For the underground auction,” Di Lin then had second thoughts and probed, “You don’t want to go?”
“No need to go. Someone will come very soon to invite you,” Hydin was calm.
Di Lin understood in a flash. It was actually very easy for the Head of the underground auction to know when Di Lin would return. Di Lin and Hydin didn’t conceal their whereabouts, so all he needed was to stealthily dispatch some people to keep an eye on them, and the news would naturally be sent to him. The reason for his persistence in visiting was merely to express his goodwill.
“So, we still have time,” Hydin smiled and lowered his head.
Di Lin turned his head to the side cooperatively.
Behavior like this that didn’t draw a line between the active and passive party was still quite welcomed by him.
The Head of the underground auction arrived very quickly, though he felt that the gaze directed at him had a trace of dissatisfaction. Did he think that the thirty thousand wasn’t enough? But he had clearly already added an extra ten thousand. The appetite of this Young Master Basco was a little too great.
These thoughts made him a little uncomfortable. “Young Master Di Lin, my apologies for coming late.”
“Indeed, you could’ve come earlier,” Di Lin thought about what had occurred just now and his desire to grow stronger intensified. “Oh right, when can I host an auction?” The earlier he completed this practice, the earlier he could graduate and concentrate fully on researching magic.
The Head made out his sense of urgency and replied hurriedly, “If Young Master Di Lin and Master Hydin doesn’t find it too sudden, it can be done tonight.”
Di Lin stared blankly. “So soon?”
The Head smiled. “I’d already prepared the auction items a month ago; they’re all good-quality goods and ready-made. But Young Master Di Lin and Master Hydin was always out, so it was delayed.”
Di Lin thought about it and made his decision. “All right, tonight then.”
Bob suddenly appeared and asked worriedly, “Young Master, will your body be able to take it?”
Di Lin stiffened. He saw Hydin’s meaningful smile from the corner of his eyes and smiled insincerely. “Of. Course.”
Bob was unable to make heads nor tails of the subtle fury in his gaze and thought to himself, I was just scared that Young Master was too tired from rushing back, why does he look so unhappy?
The Head didn’t notice the undercurrent of turbulence and said in great delight, “Then I’ll head back immediately and make the preparations.”
He said he would make the preparations straightaway, but in truth he had already made sure everything was ready.
The Head went back and cancelled the goods scheduled for the auction that night, amending them to the items the magic guild had specially delivered previously. Then, he quietly waited backstage for Di Lin and Hydin to arrive.
To host this auction, Di Lin specially took out the gaudiest of all his pieces of clothing. He had already noticed on the day they observed the auction that the host’s attire was also one of the key things to look at on the stage. His appearance was pretty on its own, so after he put on the gaudy clothing, he appeared even more like a delicate doll. The moment he alighted from the carriage, he attracted considerable attention.
Di Lin’s brows creased. The gazes of those who were paying close attention to him made him extremely uncomfortable.
But those gazes were very quickly retracted.
Di Lin looked back and realized that Hydin was standing on the spot with a smile yet not a smile, a flame burning mercilessly in his hands.
“Young Master Basco and Master Tagilis? The venue has already been prepared for the both of you, please come this day,” An employee of the underground auction cautiously walked to Di Lin’s side, maintaining a safe distance from Hydin.
Di Lin took two steps and then turned towards Hydin as if he had thought of something. “Tutor, you can stay at the bottom and root for me.”
Hydin raised a brow. “Sure.”
Di Lin turned and walked off with the employee.
The area backstage was very large, though there weren’t many people around at this time. Only the Head and the host from the other time were waiting there.
Di Lin knew the Head was afraid that having too many people around would distract him and make him nervous, so he gave him a smile.
It wasn’t time yet, so the host cordially approached Di Lin and started chatting with him. The two of them very quickly became friendly.
The host first told him about the items that would be auctioned today before carelessly proceeding to talk about his own experiences.
Di Lin knew that he was imparting his experiences and thus listened very attentively.
Although it was just a small auction, there were many areas to take note of. In particular, since it was an underground auction, anyone could enter as long as they forked out money. There was a mix of dragons and snakes, so a tiny slip-up could create a commotion.
After hearing the host speak of a few examples, Di Lin finally knew what this auction tested.
If the goods auctioned were received with drool, then it was possible for someone off-stage to think of snatching the treasure. Similar to how the Glory of Grusen that Hydin had fancied was eventually stolen by someone from the robbers’ guild, all sorts of dangerous elements existed in an auction. If any of those elements wasn’t controlled well, chaos could result.
The start of the auction gradually approached. The host’s last words to him were very direct. “I know you’re a mage. Mages are rare at an auction.” This was because all mages could participate in legal auctions. Moreover, the items there were cheaper, so there was no need for them to squeeze into underground auctions. “If you’re unable to control the situation, you can showcase some of your strength. That way, they might retreat.”
“Thank you for the reminder,” Di Lin stood up and made a gesture of courtesy specially for nobles.
The host moved to the side, startled. “Young Master Basco, this…”
Di Lin smiled. “I’m going up.”
“I wish you luck,” The host very respectfully bowed towards him.
Di Lin nodded and walked up the stairs backstage, one step at a time, to the stage.
The originally noisy area off-stage became silent the instant Di Lin appeared on stage. Immediately after, an even louder clamor sounded.
Di Lin listened expressionlessly to the sounds of laughter and teasing directed at him from the surrounding area as he walked steadily to the side of the stage. A small-scale wind magic array that could transmit sound was positioned there. He could sense that this magic array was made up of wind elements.
“Hello everyone, I am Di Lin·Basco.”
There was a deathly stillness.
The entire venue was enveloped in a noiseless stillness, as if everyone’s throats had been pinched tight by something.
As if oblivious to this, Di Lin continued, “I am very happy that everyone has taken the time to participate in today’s auction. Hopefully, today’s auction goods will allow some of you to return home from a rewarding journey.”
Whispers replaced the noise that had vanished.
They didn’t know who Di Lin was, but they were very clear on what the word Basco implied. In Shamanril, Basco was a very rare surname. It was said that the founding emperor of Shamanril had specially altered it from ‘Basekri’ in order to give prominence to it. Thus, there was only one Basco clan in Shamanril. Hearing the surname Basco in Borg city would only lead them to think of one person.
Seemingly unaware of the silence all around him, Di Lin continued, “The first good I will be auctioning today is a pair of earrings.”
The original host personally brought the tray up.
Perhaps it was this familiar face that made many people feel a sense of closeness and consequently loosen up, but a sparse and fragmented clamor rose again.
Di Lin stated, “This pair of earrings is called Ocean’s Temperature. They can adjust the surrounding temperature according to changes in the weather. In addition, it is also a defensive magic tool.”
There was an uproar off-stage.
A defensive magic tool that could adjust the surrounding temperature?
Wasn’t it a portable, invisible small-scale magic array then?
Di Lin was inwardly shocked as well. Since Saint Padeus emphasized personal strength, there wasn’t much attention given to defensive equipment and scrolls, so he didn’t understand them very well either. But it couldn’t be denied that he had also secretly been tempted when he heard of its attributes.
“The starting price is ten thousand gold coins.”
Ten thousand gold coins right at the start of the auction.
The area below was silent again.
“Ten thousand and one gold coins,” It was a mage who spoke up.
The host glanced at Di Lin in surprise.
Di Lin had noticed very early on that there were quite a few mages present today.
This was actually due to Orosai’s early preparations. With Di Lin’s strength, hosting an ordinary auction would certainly not be an issue, especially if it was in Shamanril’s capital. Therefore, he had specially let the magic guild prepare several uncommon magic tools and then release the news in secret. As expected, it had attracted the attention of many mages.
If not for the Head of the underground auction setting a very tight timeline so as to curry favor with Di Lin and avoid a situation where Di Lin would run into issues, perhaps the venue today would be packed with mages.
“Twelve thousand gold coins.”
The yelling of prices didn’t stop throughout the short two-minute period.
Di Lin listened with bated breath while paying close attention to the locations and characteristics of the mages.
As the host, he was required to keep his ears peeled and eyes alert at all times, taking note of every customer’s characteristics and expressions. He had to appease or interrupt at necessary times, so as to prevent accidents from occurring.
“Twenty thousand gold coins,” An aged voice sounded.
Di Lin looked over. It was an elderly mage seated at the corner. His body was nearly entirely blocked by the people in front of him. If Di Lin hadn’t deliberately looked for him, he would never have noticed him.
Di Lin could sense the lively water elements around him, meaning that he was a fire mage. Moreover, his strength was not low. In comparison, there was practically no magic fluctuations around Hydin. This was a true barrier that was many times superior to the elderly mage’s.
“Twenty thousand gold coins, going once. Twenty thousand gold coins, going twice. Twenty thousand gold coins, going thrice. Done,” Di Lin Di Lin didn’t add any flourishes like the host to entice customers into giving a higher price. At any rate, his task was to finish hosting an auction, not to obtain more profit.
There was no sound below.
There was a stiffness completely different from that of the original host.
Perhaps to them, this was the kind of auction that was most torturous. The host might be pretty, but his severe expression and noble temperament made it seem as if he was holding a meeting with them.
“Next, the second item is a magic scroll. One piece,” Di Lin lowered his voice and slowed the rate at which he spoke. “The magic scroll for the forbidden fire magic – Heavenly Fire, Burning City.”
A commotion broke out among those below again.
To mages, magic scrolls were not considered rare. Essentially all mages with a lower rank would bring a few pieces, while some high-ranking mages would carry a few of the most basic magic scrolls so as not to waste their spiritual energy. They were very convenient to use after all. But a forbidden magic scroll… Would definitely be harder to find than a mage who could cast a forbidden spell.
Because it implied that a rank six mage with full spiritual energy would then be able to use a forbidden spell capable of shocking even rank nine mages!
This was definitely a treasure that would reduce, no, literally erase the gap in ranks between mages.
“The starting price is seventy thousand gold coins,” Di Lin didn’t think this price was high. At least, he had also been tempted.
“One hundred thousand!”
Clearly, many mages had received this news prior to the auction and had already prepared the funds.
“One hundred and ten thousand!”
“One hundred and twenty thousand!”
A fight in the hundred thousand range followed next. No one offered increases around the one or two gold coin range. After all, the majority of mages were wealthy.
“Two hundred and ten thousand.”
“Two hundred and fifteen thousand!”
“Three hundred thousand!”
“Three hundred and ten thousand!”
The price rose extremely rapidly. The situation gradually became explosive.
“Ka Nong! Don’t overstep your boundaries!” A mage suddenly stood up and looked in the direction of the elderly mage who had successfully auctioned for Ocean’s Temperature.
The elderly mage Ka Nong sat at his spot leisurely. “I am participating in the auction in a very proper manner.”
“What do you, a rank ten water mage, want with a forbidden fire magic scroll?” The mage said in anger.
Ka Nong replied. “Who knows? Maybe I can use it as a gift.”
The mage glared at him. Suddenly, his demeanor softened. “You know my clan’s about to hold a competition. I really need this scroll. Let-let me have it.”
Ka Nong turned his head slowly. His face that was as wrinkled as a tangerine suddenly broke into a smile. “Sure. I’ll agree if you give me one million.”
“Don’t overstep your boundaries!” A flame shot towards the elderly mage abruptly.
Though it was cut off along the way.
Di Lin floated in the air and used the water elements to slowly put out the flame. Then, he expressionlessly told the mage who had attacked, “This is my auction!”
Without doubt, a noble youth saying these words in such a calm tone made for a very strange image.
The original host couldn’t help slapping his forehead.
He had uttered that statement to address the first violent incident during his auction but hadn’t expected Di Lin to copy it word for word.
The mage very quickly calmed down. “Three hundred and thirteen thousand.”
Di Lin floated back slowly. “Continue.”
Ka Nong smiled coldly. “Five hundred thousand.”
The mage’s face instantly turned exceedingly ugly.
A forbidden magic scroll was indeed rarely seen, but it was still just a one-time use item after all. Five hundred thousand was truly an insane price.
As usual, Di Lin repeated the amount three times. Seeing that there was no objection, he directly settled the deal.
The goods at an auction always increased in grade as the auction progressed. After the appearance of a forbidden magic scroll, everyone was extremely curious about the next item. This was because the magic guild had only divulged the first two items in advance but not the third.
“The third item is a wood type forbidden magic book. Its starting price is eighty thousand gold coins.”
Truthfully, this book was not as rare compared to a forbidden magic scroll. This was because books could be mass-produced. However, one advantage it had was that someone who learnt the forbidden spell contained inside it would be able to use it repeatedly as long as their spiritual energy was sufficient. In addition, it was a wood type forbidden magic, which was slightly more valuable than the other three types. After all, the number of people who practised the wood element were the least among the four elements, while those who could use forbidden spells were even rarer.
However, there were very few wood mages participating in the auction, and those who had eighty thousand were even less. There was not a single person who had both eighty thousand and the interest to purchase it.
Thus, the wood type forbidden magic book was… snubbed just like this.
Di Lin finished auctioning all the items and was just about to heave a sigh of relief when he saw the Head suddenly rush up. He pulled Di Lin to the side and said in a low voice, “There’s an item that needs to be auctioned last minute. Could Young Master Di Lin help?”
“What item?” Di Lin understood very well that no ordinary item would cause the Head to rush up at this time.
“I don’t know either. It was sent over by an officiant from the Society of the God of Light, saying that it needs to be auctioned today,” The Head looked at him. “Or, I can get Andy to auction it.”
Andy was the original host.
Di Lin furrowed his brows. He had a feeling that the Society of God of Light was targeting him, but why?
Seeing that he had no reaction, the Head was about to leave when he heard Di Lin say, “Wait, I’ll do it.”
Since he was the host of the auction, he had to finish what he started. What’s more, he was just selling things, not snatching them. No matter how valuable the item was, the consequences shouldn’t be too major.
Seeing that he had agreed, the Head immediately went down the stage.
The people who were originally going to leave deduced from their expressions that there was something going on and thus all stayed behind.
Di Lin returned to the front of the stage. “Everyone, please remain. There is still one more item to be auctioned.”
“I knew it.”
Someone below suddenly retorted.
Di Lin stared blankly for a moment before smiling.
Maybe it was his smile that was too bright, but those who were dissatisfied with his stiff hosting of the auction didn’t complain anymore.
A while later, an officiant clad in a holy gown came up with a tray in his hand. Only, the tray he was carrying was visibly much more exquisite than the ones used by the auction. A tiny box was placed on it.
“What is this?” Di Lin asked curiously.
The people below heard that even the host didn’t know what it was and couldn’t help growing even more curious.
The officiant said, “You’ll know after opening it.”
Di Lin opened it accordingly. A stone the color of yellow earth was placed inside. He was still as confused as before.
The officiant said, “Please pick it up.”
Di Lin reached out and picked up the stone. He was just going to ask about it when he suddenly caught sight of a slip of paper pressed underneath. Eight words were written on it –
Mother Earth’s Shattered Godhead.
“What is a godhead?” Di Lin couldn’t stop himself from asking.
The surroundings suddenly quietened.
It was even more quiet than when he had first appeared on stage.
Every person had sucked in a breath.
Di Lin subconsciously looked towards Hydin and realized that his brows were furrowed.
The officiant’s tranquil voice echoed faintly throughout the venue. “A godhead is the source of a god’s power.”
 Idiom referring to a mix of good people and scumbags. Dragon = good people, snakes = scumbags.