It was a normal day like any other at the Libra Auction house. It was the latter part of it and the workers were carrying some of the items into the back for appraisal. In this world, with a game like system it was easy to tell an object's true worth. Though that was only if the person’s identification skill was high enough or if they had an enchanted item to help them out with it.
Those items were costly though and they required mana as any other runic equipment. That is why a person with a high identification skill was sought after as he could appraise many items throughout the day without the need for mana.
Percival was one of those people. He was the holder of a special non-combat analytic class that even had an appraisal skill included. His job was the identification of goods at this auction house. Not every item on the list made it to the showcase, there were rules put in place to not sell anything below a certain price. There was just not enough time for everything to be put out on stage.
The Libra Auction house was one of the largest ones in the city and it had multiple stages where the items were being put up. They were all separated into ranks, so you wouldn’t see a grand magic sword being auctioned before a lesser magic potion.
“Here Mr. Percival, this is the last item from this batch, we still need to decide on the order of the items.”
A person brought in a certain item and placed it to the side at the entrance of Percival’s office before leaving. There were already certain other products all separated by prices and labeled by the man’s assistant, waiting for pickup. The appraiser was a busy person so not like he had enough time to do such things himself. The assistant was a regular human by the name of Cynthia.
“Another one into the trash bin, in it goes!”
The girl shouted out in a cheerful voice while placing a metallic looking statuette into a large tray with other various items. These were all products that were deemed unworthy for this auction house to sell them.
“Cynthia how many times do I have to tell you to not be rough with those, if you break it, it will be deducted from your pay!”
“Now bring me over that item, I want to go on my break!”
The man was a bit grumpy from all the long hours of appraising items and just wanted to be done with it. The girl slowly walked over to the item in question and picked it up. She was a bit confused as to what this was. It was rolled up with a couple of sheets of gray paper and tied together with string.
“I don’t think this person is good at wrapping.”
She brought the item over to the grumpy old appraiser that looked at it with scorn. After he managed to get rid of the crude outer shell he frowned even more. He had seen products like this before and knew that they weren’t worth much. Even from the first glance, he could tell that the quality of the scroll parchment was the absolute lowest.
“Why would they make me appraise spell scrolls, they sell for almost nothing.”
“Did this get through due to the packaging? I told them to look through the items before they bring them over here, what if there was a bundle of sticks in here?”
Percival the appraiser wanted to grasp the bundle of spell scrolls and toss them aside. Before he was able to do that his lovely assistant grabbed one of them and took a look.
“Hm, Mr. Percival, these spell scrolls are strange… they only have a couple of large symbols on them, I thought you had to write a spell on these~”
The girl turned the spell scroll around to show it to the man whose eyes bulged slightly. He looked down to see that these items weren’t simple spell scrolls, no they were all runic spell scrolls which were much harder to make.
“Give that back you fool!”
The girl stuck her tongue out at the old man and went to the side. She was also waiting for him to finish up so she could take a break, the auction would be starting in a couple of hours and she still had some other work to do.
The appraiser fixed his glasses and placed one of the scrolls on the table so he could see it better.
“These are indeed runic spell scrolls. Which runesmith had enough time to make these?”
He was a bit baffled why anyone would make so many of these, maybe a new runesmith was feeling bored so he or she made them? He didn’t want to speculate more so he leaned up and started examining the item. His identification and appraisal skills activated and you could see a faint blue glow in the man’s eyes for a fraction of the second.
Runic Fire Arrow Spell Scroll [Common] [High]
One of his eyebrows moved up after reading through the information. He thought this was some beginner runesmiths work, but it was actually of a high grade. Even accomplished smiths mostly made items at the ‘intermediate’ level while ‘high’ was a sign of talent and hard work.
A regular intermediate fire arrow spell went for 2 to 4 small silver coins but this was a runic spell scroll. They worked a bit differently than the regular ones. The biggest difference was the possibility of amplifying the spell. The user had the option of adding more mana into the scroll which would increase the output to a certain extent depending on the rank.
“Interesting, I’d say this scroll could even go for up to 9 small silver coins, not bad for a common spell scroll.”
The man almost made a mistake by crumbling up these, if the owner got wind of it he might have to even apologize in person. These scrolls even had a little logo drawn in the corner, it looked like a red shooting star or a comet. There were more of those scrolls there so he got to it going through them one by one.
“High… high… high… highest?”
His eyebrow moved even higher as he saw that one of these scrolls was at the highest rating. This was something he didn’t get to see often, an item with the ‘highest rating’. If the ‘high’ rated scroll could go for up to 9 small silver coins then this one could even go for double, maybe even triple.
The appraiser knew that a lot of the runesmiths were unwilling to sell spell scrolls below a certain price range. This was why they were placed in stores at exorbitant figures and never saw practical use. A highest-graded spell scroll could actually go for quite the sum though.
What did the highest rating mean? It meant that the spell was really close to jumping grades and going into a higher one. That would put this common spell scroll at half a step into the greater runic spell realm.
“By Solaria, who is this Runesmith? Is he an advanced one?”
He mumbled to himself while finishing up with the appraisal, there were exactly ten runic spell scrolls in this pile. Eight of them were at the ‘high’ grade while two of them were at the ‘highest’. There wasn’t even one that was at an intermediate level which told him that the person that was making them was quite the master.
The man racked his brain, he couldn’t imagine this being one of the runesmiths from the city. Most of them were grizzled men with some lesser magical aptitude that barely managed to become a mana scribe. Most of them preferred working with metals and not scrolls the only use for them was practicing their mana control.
“Are you finished Mr. Percival, it’s getting late.”
The man looked up, he had spent a bit too long inspecting these items. He coughed into his hand and then started writing down the appropriate pricing. The pricing was mostly there as a guide for the auctioneer to start off, they would use it to choose the minimum bidding price of the item.
“Take them and be careful they are delicate, also wrap them up with some high-quality string for the auction.”
“Okay! Are we going to sell these as a bundle or separately?”
The assistant asked while taking out some better looking string and rolling up the sheets of monster skin.
“Why are you asking me, I’m just the appraiser!”
“They would probably sell better as a bundle, the ‘highest’ graded scrolls might make the buyers bid further.”
He added his opinion while standing up. The scrolls that he just appraised were slightly unusual but nothing really that extraordinary, there were items in this auction that the minimum bidding price was a gold coin. The scrolls that could fetch a couple of small or large silver coins a piece didn’t really matter.
The assistant girl shrugged while the old man walked out. She opened the door and two more male workers walked in, they removed the tray of useless items from the room first. The other goods that were going to get auctioned out were spread out on larger tables by the prices. Some other people would come in and take a look at them, they needed to decide on the order of them appearing. This was something Cynthia was also partly responsible for.
While this all was happening Roland was standing outside the Libra Auction house. He had handed over his workload that he had slaved on for months. He was wearing a robe and a face mask, his eyes looked bloodshot as if he didn’t sleep for a couple of days.
He was reaching a boiling point, he had burned through most of his cash on crafting materials and could fill a couple of books with his low and lesser crafted runic spells now. He was quite pedantic when it came to his work ethic, unwilling to go to the auction house without at least a full clip with ‘high’ grade runic spells.
He had worked tirelessly till this point, he looked at his status screen that went up a couple of levels since the last time. The skill that went up the most was his basic rune scribing skill, it was at level five. Also, his rune mastery leveled up slightly while his understanding of making the runic scrolls continued, it was at level 2.
He had procured the ‘Runic Fire Arrow’ spell scroll from that shop. He still remembered the strange look the lady elf gave him after she brought it over. She even tried telling him that it wasn’t worth it and that he should just get one of the regular spell scrolls instead.
He brought it back home and created a perfect schematic, it even gave him double the experience compared to the lesser rune schematics he made. He was still filled with anticipation and vigor at that point, this soon turned to despair after he noticed that scribing a common runic spell was a lot harder than the lesser variant.
He failed and failed, losing more money in the progress of going through his resources. He even had to go back and practice on the fire orb rune as it was more manageable. He needed to level his scribing skill up to even be able to create his first fire arrow spell at the ‘lowest’ sub-grade and this was already a full month after he obtained this item for practice.
The ten small gold coins that his party members had graciously given him started not to seem like such a big sum. He thought that it could even last him for ten months but he barely managed to last half a year while going through his crafting materials. He even had to dive into his adventurer savings just to scrape by.
At this point in time, he was sitting on his last small silver coin. If he didn’t manage to make a profit with these scrolls he would have to go find himself a job. He was very stubborn as he got it into his head that he needed good branding with his first auction. This was why he was unwilling to sell the lower-rated scrolls and why he placed a small logo on the scroll so that people would notice his brand.
He also pretended to be a servant of some posh runesmith that made these runic spells. The disguise he was wearing was also part of his paranoia that had manifested itself slowly. It was partly due to the assassination attempt and because he was worried that his father would find him and force him to go back.
He had gotten a special plaque with a number, with this he could return later to get his money. Apparently his goods made it through the apprizer as he saw some other sellers picking up their items that didn’t make it through.
‘I should go in and check, they told me that the sellers can sit in the back during the auction if they wanted.’
He was quite nervous as a student before a big exam, waiting for his turn to enter. He felt butterflies in his stomach but he steeled his resolve and went in. He needed to see how the auction house operated and how people reacted to his wares.
He showed his plaque to the guard and was allowed to enter without paying an entrance fee. On the inside, there were a couple of corridors leading to different auction stages. There was a separate one for the more valuable items and you had to be someone of higher status to participate in those.
The one his items were being auctioned off looked like a small theater stage. There were your usual seats in the front but there were some in the balconies for the richer people that were willing to pay a bit more. He was slightly surprised that his items were being hosted here as he expected them to be in the other auction stage, for the lesser and common items. This one was the one used for common and grand ones.
He could see people coming in and sitting in the front. The auction block where the auctioneer would be standing was still empty but you could see the large curtain wiggling a bit which indicated that there was something being done behind it.
The bidders were getting paddles handed out to them with numbers. How things worked here was that the auctioneer would call the bids and the bidders would then move those numbered paddles up if they wanted to raise it. The highest bidder then would win, the auctioneer would sometimes extend the bidding if he noticed someone being unsure. If no one continued bidding it would end after a count of three.
The rest of the exchange would happen in the back where the buyer would pay his coin to the auction house. The actual seller wouldn’t really interact with the buyer in any way, they could even show up on another day to get their money. The auction house would bill him for the service, it was at 25% for now as he was a first-timer. If he started selling more he could get a better deal and even go down to 10%.
He leaned back against the wall and looked at the stage that finally opened. To his surprise, instead of seeing some old no-nonsense man with a mustache, he saw a beautiful woman in a red dress. She was quite stacked in all the right places and was apparently the auctioneer.
He figured that they were trying to appease the male carnal side with this lady, they were probably willing to spend more on the items with a beauty involved. This was one of the oldest tricks in the book.
“I would like to welcome you ladies and gentlemen to the Libra Auction house, I will be your hostess for tonight~”
She even struck a pose and made some kind of weird duck face that Roland recalled girls doing from his university days. The male audience looked happy, their female counterparts weren’t that excited though. Soon the first item appeared on display, it wasn’t much just an accessory with a lower graded enchantment.
“We start the bidding at 5 small silver!”
He could see some people raising up those number paddles and the first auction ending in a few minutes. The experience wasn’t very interesting and the fact that he wasn’t able to sleep well for the past few days was getting to him. After most of the common items were gone from the stage Roland got concerned, why weren’t his scrolls showing up?
He was sure that they should be among these common wares, but they were inching towards the greater ones by the looks of it. He was worried that he had entered the wrong auction stage and that his items were getting sold in the other one.
“Now for the last of the common items of the night we have something special!”
Just as he was about to ask someone about it the lovely lady spoke out.
“We have a couple of runic fire arrow spell scrolls from an unknown master craftsman!”
“What’s so special about these runic spell scrolls you might ask?”
“Well, they are all mostly of the ‘high’ grade! But that’s not all dear customers, two of them are even of the ‘highest’ grade!”
The people started murmuring with each other while Roland started getting nervous. His scrolls were out on display and the auctioneer lady was making quite the spectacle of it. Two workers brought out two wooden boxes and placed them on the stage area where the light shone.
“We have put them in a set of five, in each box, there are 4 scrolls at the ‘high’ grade and 1 at the ‘highest’ grade, we will be starting the bid for the first box at 3 large silver coins!”
Roland quickly started adding things up in his head, at this price range he would be able to make a profit and this was just the starting bid. The people started moving those paddles up, the moment Roland saw someone bid further he felt his heart beating faster.
He was finally seeing the fruit of his labor getting appreciated. It was like a large weight was lifted off his shoulders and he could finally relax. The first box went for 4 large silver and 5 small silver and the second one went for 4 large and 7 small. On his first attempt, he had managed to earn close to one small gold coin. Even if he deducted the auction houses pay cut he would be able to recuperate his losses.