Chapter 11 – His Path Begins (ii)

Zilan felt strange, the more he looked at Sobiar the more enveloped in her beauty he became. It was as if his eyes were glued to her body and they would not be satisfied until every corner of it was examined by them.

“Don’t fall for a stupid charm!” whispered Hula as she dug her elbow into Zilan’s ribs.

The sudden pain instantly caused Zilan to snap out of his daze and divert his gaze away from Sobiar. Surprised he turned to Hula,

“She’s using a charm?”

Hula glared at the platform below while saying,

“She’s been using that stupid technique ever since we were children. Hmph! It’s the only reason the older royals liked her more than me!”

A light sigh came out from Zilan.

“I cannot even resist a “stupid” charm from affecting me.” he thought.

Hula noticed this and she could probably guess why Zilan was so down as she had seen it time and time again but then something strange occurred. Zilan smiled!

It was not a large ear to ear grin but rather a small calm smile. However even that was enough to shock Hula greatly.

“Soon. Very soon, I’ll be rid of this weakness and I will finally set upon my course. But first……”

He focused on the platform below once again only this time he didn’t pay attention to Sobiar herself but the man standing behind her.

Hula continued to stare at Zilan and a strange feeling in her gut was telling her to savour this memory, of her and the one she loved together elbow to elbow, happily enjoying a night out. At least that was how she chose to view tonight, after all life never goes the way one wishes it to but what one sees and feels can be interpreted a thousand ways.
……….

“I’m sure most of you are aware of the rules of the auction house but for those who are new I will gladly recite the most important.
All bids must be made with the payment on-hand. Failure to do so will result in punishment!
Once an item is sold, no more bids can me made and finally, no one is allowed to bid on anything an esteemed guest in the Royal booths bids on.” said Sobiar.

As soon as she was done, one unique item after another was brought out and displayed to the audience. Some were sold in sets with most being weapons of some sort while others were sold individually like the medicinal pills and various jewellery. The only thing that was the same about all items being auctioned off was that they sold for abnormal prices that were at least triple the starting price.

The reason for such abnormal prices was clearly because of Sobiar’s experience as an auctioneer. She used her beauty and eloquent speaking to full effect, in order to make sure that even the most useless of objects made an ungodly amount of profit.
………
An hour quickly went by and Zilan stopped paying attention to the auction all together. Although there were things that spiked in prices, there wasn’t really anything that raised his eyebrows. This was probably because every thing that had been sold so far was bid on by only people seated in the lower area.

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Hula was also growing tired and bored which meant they would be leaving soon.

More time passed and Zilan began to grow restless. Hula misunderstood this and asked if he wanted to leave.

“Not yet!” replied Zilan who clenched his fist in frustration.

Did I make a mistake? The heavens have never shown me any grace so why would they start now? It was a waste of time coming here!”

He stood and motioned to Hula that he was ready to leave however as she got up to stretch, three half naked female servants walked onto the stage with a small metallic box in hand.
Zilan’s eyes opened wide, he could feel it. That was it! No doubt about it, that was Flesc’s core.

A moment later and Sobiar’s words confirmed his thoughts and immediately even before she was done describing what the item was, Zilan pressed the button and for the first time all night, a VIP box lighted up.

Obviously Hula was caught by surprise but so was everyone else. No one knew what exactly the item was except that it was from a beast core but the fact that a bid was placed even before any description was given could only mean that it was very valuable.

Bids started flying up left and right completely at random. Bids of a hundred gold, quickly spiked to  five hundred in a matter of seconds and no one even knew the starting amount.

“What are you doing?” shouted Hula.

Zilan opened his mouth but he couldn’t think of a reasonable answer and so he just said,
“I must have that core!”

“ORDER!” shouted the large man who up until now quietly stood behind Sobiar. “All bids made up until now are invalid.”

The audience went silent.
Sobiar quickly cleared her throat drawing eyes back onto her,

“The item on auction is a….white core obtained only a few hours ago from the arena. It belonged to a shadow wolf beast and after being examined by experienced hunters they concluded that its level of evolution was mid-teir at best.
Therefore bidding will start at a thousand silver.”

Murmurs could be heard breaking out throughout the auction house,

“That bastard almost made me lose gold over a useless mid-tier core.”

“Thank the heavens our bids were made invalid.”

Once again Silver pressed the button and the box lit up however this time no response came. Hula quickly picked a small jade tile from one of the trays the female servants were holding and spoke into it.

“Two hundred gold for the core.”

No one seemed to have any intention to bid on the core despite all the whispering going on.

“Two hundred gold. Going once. Going twi…….”

Before she could finish, a VIP box not too far from Hula’s lit up and a man’s voice sounded out,

“Three hundred gold for the core.”

Almost everyone in attendance looked up at the box in surprise. “Why is a mid-tier core going for three hundred gold?” they thought.

Before they had time to react, Zilan frantically grabbed the tile from Hula.

“Two thousand gold for the core.” He said.

The audience including Sobiar and Hula all took a breath.

“Two thousand gold!! Are you serious?” said a person in the audience.

“What fool would spend that much? Hey up there, if you’re throwing away money throw some my way.” shouted another.

Hula wanted to say something but after looking at the desperate and somewhat sad Zilan standing before her, she decided this was one of those moments her mother had told her about. The moment when a man needs not to hear reason but rather encouragement and support.

Zilan’s eyes shifted between Sobiar and the other VIP box.

Why isn’t she saying anything? Hurry up and sell it!”

Seconds seemed like months to the current Zilan and the moment Sobiar opened her mouth could be described as the weight of a mountain being lifted of his back.

“Going once. Going twice……..Sold to the esteemed guests in box number eleven.”

One of the servants within the box spoke immediately after,

“I will escort you to receive your purchase.”

Zilan ecstatically followed and Hula trailed behind him. She didn’t quite understand but she too was happy.

They followed the servant  to a room not too far from their box and were told to wait there until someone came with the core. The room was quite small with the only furniture in it being a single desk and chair.
…..
Zilan began to pace around the room as he mumbled to himself.

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“Where were you before you came to meet me?” asked Hula who was leaning against the door.

Zilan stopped momentarily and stared at Hula,

“I was at the arena!”

Hula frowned but when she saw that Zilan’s gaze was fixed on her and barely blinking, she blushed and looked away.

“I kno…knew the person that core belonged to. He was a friend.” said Zilan.

“Person?” asked Hula.

Zilan furrowed his brows and while restraining his voice proclaimed,

“Yes, the Person. Not animal, not dog, someone equal to both you and I.”

“Hold your tongue!” whispered Hula.

Zilan’s expression grew sorrowful as he heard Hula’s words,

“His name was Flesc. He died because he smuggled something into the city for me. I should be the one dead and not him but I cannot let that happen….I have duties that must be fulfilled.”

Shock plastered itself onto Hula. No words could come to her but then she suddenly realised something, this was the first time Zilan had ever opened up to her.

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