Chapter 94: Chapter 93: Bait the Baiters Part III
“I would like to thank the Hive for giving me the opportunity to sell at your auction house again. But, don’t you think it’s time I got a discounted sales fee, since I am one of your regular customers?” It sounded to me that he was trying to tell everyone that he was not affiliated with Hive.
“You always take 5% from me!” A few laughed at his joke.
“I’ll get straight to the point! We all want to be strong. Why? Because that is how we judge and how we are judged in our current era. Yes, we all have our reasons to go kill more monsters, to find better hunting grounds, to find more items and golden rings but in the end, it boils down to strength!
“Isn’t that what we all strive for? To find better items and to buy better skills? But there is a limit to it all. No matter how much money we have, we can’t buy items higher than Rank 8 and there’s a limit to how many skills and skill points we can have. I am here to help you in that aspect.” Toh pointed to the man standing next to him.
“My friend, here, is the answer. Show them your Stats, would you?”
“Open Public Stats Menu.”
[Level: 642 Death count: 35
HP: 710,000/710,000 MP: 39,800/39,800
STR: 3,055 AGI: 1,277 VIT: 1,420
WIL: 398 INT: 20]
“My friend here is level 642. The stats you see here are not affected by items. His total stat points should be 6,520, but since he has died 35 times, his total right now is at 6170.”
Toh shouted the next part of his speech.
“For one year! I will lend 70% of my friend’s stat points. That’s 4319 stat points in all! My friend, do I have your consent?”
“There, do you see? You will have 4,319 stat points for one year this instant. That’s 432 levels! Any hunting ground you want is yours! You can kill anyone who laughed and scoffed at you for being weak! This is your chance!”
The atmosphere of the auction floor changed in an instant. It was one hell of an offer. It wasn’t just a thousand or two points, it was more than four thousand.
-So, if a host has more Stat points, the better.-
I could see why Toh and Wanhu really wanted me to come here.
“I know many of you are skeptical about the yearlong time limit, but do not worry as it will be worth every golden ring. 70% of my friend’s HP and MP will also be transferred, but since he doesn’t have too much of either, I will give them to you for free.”
As soon as Toh finished his explanation, the auction master came forward.
“Have you all understood what’s going on? We’re selling 4,319 Stat points. No Rank 8, 9 or 10 item can raise your Stats by that much.”
No one denied it.
“Then let’s begin the highlight of the 21st Hive auction! We’ll start the bid at 100,000,000 golden rings.”
The bids started to come in fast. When the bid passed 300 million, the woman next to me, who had said nothing the entire time, bid 500.
“5…We have a bid of 500! Anyone else?”
Some discussed among themselves, but no one made another bid.
“Sold at 500 million!”
The woman then raised her hand. “What happens if it doesn’t last for the entire year?”
“Umm…” the auction master turned to Toh who replied instead. “I will reimburse you 10 times the amount, if it expires even an hour too early.”
“That’s a splendid policy you have.”
“I hope you will keep your promise.”
“Would I lie to you, Luana, queen of South America?”
I looked at her in surprise. The queen of South America! The Iron Maiden! I didn’t recognize her, as she wasn’t covered in blood today.
She turned to me. “It was a pleasure meeting such a promising deva.”
“Huh? Oh, thank you.”
“If you ever find yourself in Brazil, look for me at the Laura Guild.” She then stood up to meet Toh outside.
“Thank you all for coming to the 21st Hive auction. Please look forward to better merchandise at the next auction. Have a wonderful evening.”
I followed the crowd out of the auction hall. It felt like I had a taste of upper class life ,and it was actually pretty fun taking part in a Hive auction.
I returned to my suite and plopped down on the sofa.
-It should be time for them to contact me now.-
I still had Warp Scrolls for Seorak dungeon and the Myth Guild. I could just take their bait and run, and they had no way to stop me. I technically didn’t have any reason to meet with them, as I was invited by Hive, not them.
“Hmm…what to do? If I don’t hear from them by the count of ten, I’m leaving. That’s another way of screwing them over.” I smiled to myself.
At that moment, I heard a knock at the door.
“Hah…what timing.” I calmly walked over to the door and opened it.
“Apologies for bothering you at this late hour, Mr. Lee.” It was the manager.
“No, it’s alright.”
“Do you have some time to spare?”
“Master Toh would like to meet you personally.”
“Toh wants to meet me?” I feigned surprise.
“Yes. Master Toh would like to form a relationship with you. I believe he would be of much help to you, as he is Macau’s ruler.”
“I see. Very well.” I suppose it was time to thank him for the necklace. I followed the manager out to a building next to the hotel.
“He’s waiting inside.” The manager left, leaving me in front of a huge door. I went inside.
The room I entered was filled to the brim with jewels and gold. A man and a woman were sitting on a large couch on one side of the room. The man was Toh, and the woman I recognized as Wanhu.
“Welcome.” Toh greeted me first.
“Hello. It’s nice to meet you.” I smiled and shook Toh’s hand.
“Please, have a seat.”
“It’s nice to meet you as well, Ms. Wanhu.”
“The pleasure is mine, Mr. Lee.”
It was weird feeling to have Toh and Wanhu sitting in front of me. I’d been meeting quite a few famous people now, people who were makers of history during my past life. I was now one of them.
“Did you enjoy Hive’s auction?”
“Yes. I really must thank Hive for sending me the invitation and the Gold Coins. I got to spend them all wisely, I believe.”
Their smiles suddenly vanished and they began talking to each other as if I wasn’t there.
“Ha….I know I was the one to suggest sending him the Gold Coins, but I really didn’t expect him to spend them all like that.”
“It’s fine. What else can we do since we can’t take his items from him? We can just squeeze as much as we can from him while we have him.”
“I suppose you’re right. We’ll just sell him three times for seven months and sell him again in bulk for a year.”
“He’s going to be tied down for almost three years. Isn’t that too cruel?”
“Hah! It was your idea to begin with.”
“Do you think so?”
I suddenly burst out laughing. It was too funny to see Toh and Wanhu truly think they could bewitch me.
“Does… he not understand what’s going on?” They frowned in confusion.
“I do understand. That’s why I’m laughing.”
“Hah? Has he gone mad?”
“He’s lost it!”
Toh and Wanhu had lured all of their hosts into the room they were in, in the exact same why they did with Lee Jiwon. They soon developed a habit of watching their victims become confused at their situation. However, Lee Jiwon was reacting differently. It did not sit well with them.
“You really don’t understand what’s going on, do you? You fell into our trap. We’re the ones who sent you the invitation.
“You’re done for. We’re going to hold you for two years and nine months. My skill will turn you into our host, and we’re going to sell your Stat points, just like you saw at the auction.”
“I know.” I found them trying to explain to me what was going on even funnier. “To be honest, I don’t really hate you guys or anything. I do thank you for giving me 100 million golden rings. I got to buy a nice necklace with the money.”
Toh and Wanhu were floored at my calm reaction. “No, what I’m saying is…”
“I said I already know! I know that the two of you are the real owners of Hive’s auctions. I know you sent me the invitation and the Coins to lure me all the way to Macau. I know about your Buddy skill, Wanhu, and I know that you guys steal Stat points from people to sell at the auctions.”
Their faces paled.
“Anyway, I don’t particularly want to be your enemy. I actually like that you’re conning all those rich brats. I wish I could. You guys are probably raking in the dough. Of course, what doesn’t sit well with me is that you also target normal people. But I’m not really about stand up for them or anything.” I picked up the cup of tea in front of me and took a sip. I placed the cup back down and stared them in the eyes.
“I won’t attack if you don’t attack. Do what you’ve been doing. I don’t like that you’re basically kidnapping innocent people and taking away all of their hard work, but I’m no hero of justice or whatever. I’m not going to step in for people who have nothing to do with me.”
I said all that, but I was still a normal person at heart. What they were doing really pissed me off. And yet, I was still just one man. I couldn’t save everyone, even though the thought gnawed at me from the back of my mind. I was still a person, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make the sacrifice. I decided I would spend that time to become stronger instead, and help everyone once I became the greatest.
“We haven’t done this for that long, but I guess we finally met someone off his rocks.”
“I know, right?” They were the ones who didn’t understand the situation they were in.
“Just do it.”
“Might as well…become my Buddy!”
==[Buddy has been requested.
You have more Sat points than the other person. You will not be forced to be a Buddy. You may accept or reject.
I selected Reject.
Wanhu did not even think that he could reject her Buddy request. She was confident that her 22,000 Stat points were high enough. She had many items raising her Stats and had received another 5,000 from Toh. She truly believed there was no way she could fail.
However, she saw a message that never appeared before when she used her skill on Lee Jiwon.
==[Waiting for the other person to accept Buddy request.]==
Her skill didn’t wait for permission; it forced them to become her buddy.
==[The other person has rejected your Buddy request.
The maximum number of people Buddy can now work on has been decreased to 4.
When the number reaches 0, you will lose this skill.]==
Wanhu stood straight up. “What…what the hell is this bastard?”
“He…he rejected me!”
“Him! He rejected me! He has…he has more Stat points than me!”
“That can’t be right…”
Wanhu wanted to scream that she knew that it couldn’t be right, but she couldn’t deny the truth in front of her.
“Fuck! It went down to 4!” They just lost one of their hosts.
“Why are you so surprised? You’re making a mess; sit back down.”
Wanhu glared at Lee Jiwon, who was now bossing her around as if he owned the place. She wanted to kill him for making her lose a host.
A large man opened the door and walked inside. “What are your orders, Mistress?”
“Lock the whole place down and bring everyone here, ready for battle. Now!” Wanhu forgot in her anger that Lee Jiwon had enough Stat points to reject her skill. She just wanted to tear that smug look from his face.
“Wanhu, calm down!”
“How can you expect me to calm down?! We need to deal with him first!”
Toh realized he wouldn’t be able to calm her down, and would have to deal with Lee Jiwon first before figuring out what to do.
Things were about to go sideways…