“Big brother Kalan.” Alice called out in a low voice, while looking at him with urgency in her eyes.
Perhaps others would feel pride at being the inspiration for a Grandmaster-level sculpture. But this ‘Awakening From the Dream’ of Linley’s was different. Anyone who had ever spent any time analyzing sculptures would easily be able to tell from the aura given off by those five figures that there was a romantic history between Linley and Alice.
If Alice had just married into a small clan, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
But…she was marrying into the clan of Kalan Debs.
Kalan was the future successor to the leadership of the Debs clan, and the Debs clan was one of the top three clans of the entire Kingdom of Fenlai.
“Calm down, calm down.” Kalan comfortingly held Alice’s hand.
But Alice could feel that Kalan’s hand was covered in sweat.
“Father…” Kalan turned towards his father, Bernard, then looked at his mother. His parents both doted on him exceedingly, which was why they were willing to spend eight million gold coins on Kalan’s behalf. After all, even to the Debs clan, eight million gold coins was an exceedingly large sum.
“Kalan, don’t even think about it. The clan can’t possibly hand over ten million gold coins just for the sake of your fiancée.” Bernard said, his face extremely solemn.
Kalan was stunned. Even Alice turned her head to look at Bernard, her eyes filled with worry and a hint of supplication.
“We’ll act in accordance with our previous discussion.” Bernard totally ignored Alice’s silent appeal as he coldly pronounced his judgment.
Kalan froze for a long moment, while by his side, Alice tightly clutched his hands, staring into Kalan’s eyes. Alice fully understood what Bernard meant by his words just now. Alice was extremely unwilling to accept this result.
Kalan glanced at Alice. He let out a helpless sigh, then slightly shook his head.
“Big brother Kalan, I’m not willing…” Alice said in a small voice.
Kalan clasped Alice’s hands. He gently shook his head again. “There’s no other way. Alice…I am the heir to our clan. I have to put the considerations of the clan first. I hope you are willing to sacrifice a little bit for me as well. I promise you that my heart towards you will never waver.”
Alice fell silent.
The heir to the clan!
These five simple words guaranteed that every single action of Kalan’s would reflect upon the honor and glory of the Debs clan. Although Bernard loved and doted on his son very much, no matter what, he could not permit Alice to become Kalan’s principal wife.
That’s right. There was no way she could become the principal wife.
In other words, any children which Alice bore Kalan in the future would not be able to become a heir, or be considered to be direct line of descent.
In truth, ever since the ‘Awakening From the Dream’ had been viewed by many people, the elders of the Debs clan had been constantly urging Kalan to give up Alice. Even if Kalan insisted on marrying her, they didn’t wish for Alice to become his principal wife. But Kalan had remained steadfast.
In the end, Bernard, the doting father, compromised. He decided that if they were able to purchase this ‘Awakening From the Dream’, then this matter would more or less be at an end.
But from the looks of it…
“Big brother Kalan!” Alice looked at Kalan, her eyes turning moist. At the same time, she turned to look at the other members of the Debs clan. But at this moment, neither Kalan, nor Bernard, nor Kalan’s mother, paid Alice any mind.
At that moment, Alice felt her heart grow cold.
She suddenly thought back to everything she had experienced with Linley, how Linley had protected her and unstintingly cherished her. In the past, she had always taken Linley’s constant yielding to her for granted, but at this moment, how she longed for that feeling!
Raising her head, her gaze passed through the glass window to stare at the third level. But all she could see was the black glass.
“Ten million gold! Ten million gold! Is anyone willing to bid higher?” That golden-haired man was calling out from the platform.
The man dressed in the loose robes casually glanced around. And then, he directly addressed that golden-haired auctioneer. “Hey, stop wasting time. Hurry up and start counting.” The nobles nearby all began to laugh.
How could an auctioneer possibly obey the commands of one of the bidders below?
Based on their understanding of this golden-haired auctioneer, they knew him to be someone who would constantly escalate the bidding wars until the price reached an extremely high level.
But upon hearing the words of the man in the loose robes, the auctioneer seemed to have been hypnotized. Very naturally, he said, “Okay, then I’ll start counting! Three, two…”
“10.1 million gold coins!”
An ancient-sounding voice rang out from one of the second-level private booths.
Everyone’s attention turned towards that booth. Even that man dressed in the loose robes turned to stare at that booth in astonishment. In that second level booth, aside from the Debs clan, every single clan present was one of the major, world-spanning clans of the Yulan continent.
The wealth of those clans was far higher than that of the Debs clan.
“Whoah, so there’s someone here who appreciates value after all. But raising it by just 100,000 is a bit too stingy. 10.3 million gold coins.” The man in the loose robes said casually, grinning.
Linley and the others on the third level all noticed the man in the loose robes now, but from their current angle, they could only see the man from the side, and were unable to see his face clearly.
Cardinal Guillermo and Cardinal Lampson of the Radiant Church both suddenly rose to their feet. Frowns on their face, they walked to the opposite end of the glass, carefully looking down at the loosely-attired man below.
Just at that moment…
The loosely robed man seemed to have discovered the presence of the two Cardinals, as he raised his head upwards and glanced towards them.
The faces of the two Cardinals suddenly turned bone white.
Guillermo and Lampson exchanged glances, then they both shook their heads. In truth, the Radiant Church had already come to a decision about this auction. They had decided to spend a very large sum of money to purchase this sculpture, and thus improve the relationship between them and Linley.
But upon seeing this man, both Guillermo and Lampson silently decided to change their course of action.
“It’s best that we not get into a bidding war with this madman.” Cardinal Guillermo said softly.
Cardinal Lampson nodded as well. “I definitely don’t want to agitate that madman either.”
Although they both referred to this person as a ‘madman’, the fear they felt towards him was fear which was etched into their bones. Both Lampson and Guillermo were very much aware as to how terrifying that thirty or forty year old man could be. Lampson, in particular…
Because if it wasn’t for this madman, Lampson probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be promoted to the rank of Cardinal.
There were only five Cardinals at any time within the Radiant Church. Precisely because this madman had casually killed one of the previous Cardinals, Lampson had the opportunity to be promoted to his current position. But even though he had killed a Cardinal, the Holy Emperor was still unwilling to be enemies with this madman.
“10.4 million gold coins.” That old voice rang out once again from the second level.
The loosely robed old man raised his head up, glancing up with a frown. “You really are irritating. 11 million gold coins.”
“11 million, this gentleman is willing to bid 11 million gold coins. Is anyone willing to bid any higher?” That golden-haired auctioneer was growing excited. After all, even the ‘Bloody-eyed Maned Lion’ sculpture, the greatest of the Ten Masterpieces, was only worth 13 million.
On the third level, Guillermo asked Lampson quietly, “Lampson. Do you know which clan is situated in that booth? They actually dare to struggle with that madman? Are they tired of living?”
“Director Maia.” Lampson called over Director Maia, seated not too far from them.
Director Maia immediately came over.
“Director Maia. Do you know which clan is located within that booth?” Lampson asked. “The one where the leader is a young woman, I believe.” Being on the third level, Lampson naturally could see the people seated on the sofas in the second level booths.
As for that elderly man, he seemed to be that woman’s servant.
Director Maia took a glance, then laughed. “Lord Lampson. Lord Guillermo. This young lady is a female in the principal line of inheritance for the Leon clan of the Yulan Empire. This booth was reserved under the name of the Leon clan.”
“The Leon clan?” Lampson and Guillermo were both startled.
In the Yulan Empire, the most ancient Empire in the Yulan continent, the Leon clan was ranked fifth amongst the major clans. A clan which could rank in the top five of the Yulan Empire was capable of easily destroying the Debs clan.
What’s more, the majority of the descendants of the Leon clan all lived within the Yulan Empire, and thus in the Yulan Empire, they had an enormous web of influence.
“Guillermo, I believe that in our Ernst Institute, there was someone formerly known as the number one genius of the Institute by the name of ‘Dixie’. He seems to be from the Yulan Empire’s Leon clan, correct?” Lampson asked.
Guillermo was comparatively more familiar with the affairs of the Ernst Institute.
“Right, and not just Dixie. He has a sister as well, whose name I can’t recall. These two siblings both requested to be allowed to study at our Ernst Institute. Just a few days ago, though, this Dixie applied to graduate.” Guillermo directly revealed what he knew.
Lampson nodded as well.
“Seems like this girl is Dixie’s younger sister.” Lampson looked towards that booth.
Within the Leon booth in the second level. Dressed in violet and blue, and seated on the sofa, Delia had a tranquil expression on her face. Through the window, she stared down at the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
“Miss, stop fighting. That person below isn’t someone that you can afford to anger.” The old man was beginning to grow frantic.
As one of the elite clans of the Yulan Empire, the Leon clan was very clear as to the various super experts as well as hidden powers. They knew very well that although they were an elite clan, there were some people whom they simply could not afford to offend.
For example…that thirty or forty year old man below.
The old man knew very well that although he himself was already four hundred years old, even before he had been born, the loosely attired man below looked the way he currently did.
“Don’t worry, Grandpa Shaw [Xiu]. Just help me send this letter to him, ok?” Delia took out a pen and quickly wrote a few words down on a piece of paper, before handing it to this old man.
The old man received the piece of paper. Upon seeing its contents, he was stunned.
“Miss, you…this…” The old man was totally flabbergasted by this letter.
“Don’t worry about it. Just hand this letter to him.” Delia didn’t hesitate in the slightest. The old man did, but after a moment, he still left the booth and headed to the first floor.
“12 million gold coins!”
Delia’s clear voice rang out from within the booth.
The loosely attired man below frowned, and a baleful aura seemed to gather between his furrowed brows. But just at this moment, the old man named ‘Shaw’ walked over to the loosely attired man. Upon reaching his side, he respectfully bowed. “Milord, I am a servant of the Leon clan. This is the letter my young mistress has sent to you.”
Furrowing his brows with surprise, the loosely attired man accepted the letter with some curiosity.
“Uh…” Upon seeing the contents of the letter, the loosely attired man’s eyes lit up, and then he began to laugh.
“Fine, fine, I won’t fight it, I won’t fight it.” The letter in the loosely robed man’s hands turned directly to dust, and then he sat back down again, grinning. He even raised his head to look up at Delia, seated on the sofa within her booth on the second level.
At this moment, within the third level of the auction hall.
Upon hearing that clear voice call out the words ‘12 million gold’, both Linley and Yale were stunned. That voice was simply too familiar. Linley had known the owner of that voice since the first day he had entered the Ernst Institute.
“It’s Delia.” Yale said with amazement.
Linley immediately walked forward towards the glass, to a vantage point where he could look into Delia’s booth. Indeed, Delia was dressed in a conservative violet outfit and seated on a sofa, staring at the sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’.
The golden-haired man slammed the mallet down, then excitedly called out, “Congratulations to the Leon family for using 12 million gold coins to win this auction and acquire this sculpture of Master Linley’s. I now have the honor of announcing that this sculpture, ‘Awakening From the Dream’, has the third highest price amongst the Ten Masterpieces. Only Master Hoover’s ‘Bloody-eyed Maned Lion’ and Master Proulx’s ‘Hope’ have valuations surpassing that of ‘Awakening From the Dream’.”
The entire auction hall began to be filled with commotion, and a raucous applause could be heard as well.
But Linley continued to stand there, next to the window on the third level, staring at Delia. And then, he turned to look at Alice, seated in the other booth. Both of these women were seated on sofas, but on Delia’s face, there was a hint of a smile, while Alice’s face was drained of all color.