Revealing the Cards
Although Francis had found the mineral, whether or not he was able to extract it was another matter, meaning he didn’t have the power to sway the value of the stones yet. There was no way that the dwarves wanted others to know they had located the mineral.
Ross and I sat in the corner I always sat, minus my disguise. Unsurprisingly, I noticed that lots of people whispering about me, not that it bothered me. I just calmly sat there. I greeted those who greeted me and then resumed drinking.
My appearance was just the interlude, yet people were already on edge, distancing themselves from me. They thought that I might have a hefty number of stones on me since I suddenly came from the North with no news of my arrival prior. Based on their assumption, then, the price of the stones might dip dramatically or whatever. That was why they were discussing whether or not to get rid of their stones… Needless to say, those were all my assumptions. If I was them and saw an individual, who was from the place of the stones origin here out of the blue, I’d definitely assign a problem tag. They might have enough to make your own goods on hand worthless. Consequently, the safest move was to quickly exchange your goods for money. Goods could lose value; however, money never lost its value.
Soon enough, the workers at the trade centre came over to announce that today’s trades could commence. Unlike usual, a batch of stones was swiftly sold, thereby bringing the price of the stones down a tad. My attention wasn’t on the price, while everyone else’s attention was one me.
They wanted to know if I wanted to see the price drop. They remained vigilant after noticing that I remained indifferent. However, others began to quickly sell their stones after seeing others get rid of them. The price of the stones, therefore, continued to tumble down. In just two hours after the market opened, the price had dropped low enough to have people in discussions.
It was just the tip of the iceberg even if they sold all of their stones. Edward had to make a move to create any significant change. Moreover, if the price hit rock bottom before I made my move, my plan would be in tatters. In saying that, another group of people believed that I didn’t have anything for they knew me relatively well. They took advantage of the price drop to boldly buy stones, consequently driving the price back up.
The price fluctuation caught the attention of countless people. Pupils would check the numbers, and then they’d run over to their teacher to provide updates. Merchant after merchant joined the fray. I was akin to a small shark that was thrown into a fish tank, inciting absolute chaos in there.
No rush. The chaos was even better. I knew one particular man would come over. I ordered a second glass of beer and deliberately placed a few gold coins on the table, which incited even more panic. I was already bankrupt, yet was able to spend lavishly on alcohol? It led to people wondering if I had managed to repay my debt somehow.
“You live up to your reputation. Despite being bankrupt, your presence alone is enough to create disorder,” remarked a voice I was undesirably familiar with.
I subtly grinned. I could burn him with my hatred, but I hoped to see him. The fluctuations in the stones’ price inevitably affected Edward. Hence, he came over to the trade centre.
I placed my glass down. Without looking at him, I responded, “I just really like the place. You know I’m bankrupt. No money. It’s a good business deal to you people. This place is just a place for me to kill time with a pint of beer, though.”
“You came here to kill time? I think you are in the wrong place, then. If you need, I can recommend a perfect place to drink,” said Edward, helping himself to the seat next to mine and simpering. “After all, after you sign, we’ll be family. I don’t want Leah’s father to be missing at her wedding ceremony when her father is mentioned.”
I loudly slammed my glass on the table and shot Edward a piercing glare: “Edward, if you mention that topic, I guarantee you’ll regret it. You best shut up while I still have some human emotions in me.”
Edward laughed and shrugged with his hands supinated: “Really? What could you possibly do now? What could you possibly do to me now? Smash me over the head with your glass of beer? Ouch. That will really hurt. Please show mercy.”
“You know, Edward, I don’t even need capital to knock dullards, like you, out. You know why Sisi never treated you as a favoured vassal and gave you the same treatment as Achilles? It’s because neither Achilles nor I consider you smart. You’re an opportunist, and that’s all you are.”
Obviously I wouldn’t smash a beer glass over his head. Getting physical is the lowest level of defeating someone. Even a miner could wound Veirya. What was the point of brute force?
Edward’s mouth twitched. Brushing it off with a snicker, he jeered, “Really now? What does me making you go bankrupt count as, then? You always reckon you are the cleverest person in the empire, but what does reality tell us?”
“When did you ever fool me? Edward, use that brain of yours. Who concocted the plan? Don’t steal Her Majesty’s credit.”
I then just sat back.
Edward got to his feet: “Hmph, I don’t have time to argue with a bankrupt man here. I think Leah will have a better life after you officially acknowledge your bankruptcy.”
“Don’t go, Edward.”
Edward spun around and inhaled loudly through his nose. I offered him a toast: “Don’t be so hasty, Edward. Wait until sunset. I’m waiting for you to pay me my fifty thousand gold coins, you know?”
Startled, Edward flinched then shouted, “That was you?! You… you were that man?!”
“No,” I replied as I rubbed Ross’ head: “But he was my prized pupil.”
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