Madam Melissa sat next to me. There was no question that she sprinted all the way to the trade centre judging from her messy. Lord knows what she went through, but it was clear that she rushed over as fast as her legs could take her. Her attitude was enough to please me, and let me feel relieved. Voice quiet, I queried, “What happened? Why are you here?”
“Sorry, but I was held up by delays in the imperial capital for a day,” softly answered Melissa.
Though the two of us conversed, neither of us looked at each other. Given my current status, I couldn’t get involved with the bids or interact excessively with the people involved, or I’d be denounced. As the minister of business, I needed to avoid getting involved with issues between citizens.
To put it into perspective, compare it to rat trading. Rat trading refers to a fund manager who uses personal accounts to buy shares cheaply and then sell them at a profit after purchases from the funds they manage have boosted their value. I couldn’t interact with anyone excessively as it would lead to them misunderstanding that I was their representative, or in this case, Madam Melissa’s representative.
Although I lodged at Albert’s place the entire time, I never appeared in public other than at his store. By that point, he already had everything planned. As such, nobody could claim that I got involved. Melissa, however, was a different case. If somebody saw me converse with her and then she suddenly pulled out a load of money, there was definitely something to be suspicious about.
“Did you get enough money?”
“I did,” replied Melissa, with a small nod. Perhaps she looked at me nervously to put me at ease. “Everything went smoothly, and I have enough money.”
I didn’t need to get involved any further. As long as Madam Melissa was as confident as she sounded, I didn’t need to comment. My only job was to sit back and watch as Madam Melissa wiped the grin off Albert’s face. I calmly watched the host start the event with my arms folded.
Excessive opportunities were pointless to businessmen for they were only after money. The auction started based on the current price of twenty gold coins for one share. One share didn’t equate to one percent of total shares but a very small percentage. You would need approximately two hundred shares to have ten percent of total shares. Put another way, Albert only needed six hundred shares or, alternatively, twelve thousand gold coins to acquire the rights to the shipyard because he needed, at least, more than fifty percent of total shares. That was where there was a big difference between us. That said, we were also similar in that aspect. Based on the status quo, twenty for a share was rather steep. By my estimations, the people who sold at that price would quickly readjust the price with their stocks up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly, not even Albert was willing to make his move right out of the gates. Having a lot of money didn’t automatically make Albert an idiot. He also needed to ensure balance. If the share price was too low, others would jump in, making competing meaningless. If the price was too high, he’d spend too much to obtain the shares, leaving him with hardly anything. Neither was optimal.
By the same token, it was pointless for Madam Melissa to bid off the bat since she couldn’t deal the finishing blow to Albert yet. Her goal wasn’t to buy shares to be an owner; her goal was to stir the pot and evoke a situation where the share price was erratic. Melissa’s chance to deal the fatal blow was once Albert had spent most of his money. My opinion was worthless for Melissa had a functioning brain of her own.
Should the price of the shares be affected, nobody would want to buy. Subsequently, the shares worth twenty gold coins for one share would temporarily drop down to seventeen gold coins for a share. Still, that wasn’t the ideal number we wanted. If Albert didn’t make a move, nobody else would. As a result, the price would inevitably drop at gradual increments. Only after the incremental drops would it plummet significantly.
Melissa didn’t make a move, either, resulting in another drop. This time, the price dropped to fifteen gold coins per share. Fifteen per share was almost what we could work with. Albert was particularly steady. I could see him say something to another businessman next to him with a smile. At a surface level, I could tell that he was patient.
The next drop saw the price drop down to just fourteen gold coins, but still no one made their move, everyone now edging forward in their seats. Melissa frowned as she pondered. Neither she nor Albert made a bid. Nevertheless, it was about time to make a move in my opinion. If Melissa made her move now, the price would appreciate and stabilise. If somebody started to buy, there was no question that Albert, too, would begin to feel anxious and make a purchase. Those who had a taste would no doubt raise the price. If Melissa then jumped in again, then the price would go back and forth. Neither made a move yet, which meant more waiting. The price might not have reached its bottom line, but it was close.
The host erased the number and took a sheet of paper that the people below had written on. Then, he wrote a new price one. This time, it was thirteen. Melissa and Albert still didn’t make a move. Suddenly, the weapons businessman stood up and went to the other side to sit. That was an indication that he had given up, switching from a buyer to a seller.
Everybody clapped. Albert rose to his feet, chuckling and bowing to everyone. I snickered to myself. Melissa must’ve been snickering, too. On the surface, Albert had the win in hand. Reality had another story in store for him, unfortunately. That played to our advantage even more. With more than thirty percent of the total shares available out there, if Madam Melissa made her move now, she’d be able to instantly get her hands on fifty percent of the total shares.
The price didn’t drop again at the next offer. Presumably, that was the lowest it was going to go. Albert, however, kept waiting. Madam Melissa, on the other hand, couldn’t wait any longer. She raised her hand and called, “I want four hundred shares for thirteen gold coins per share!”
Melissa’s declaration drummed up excitement. Albert already had over twenty percent of the total shares. Madam Melissa jumped from zero up next to him in one go, going for the throat straight away.
“Sorry, Madam, but only three hundred and twenty are off-“
“I’ll take three hundred and twenty to begin, then. I want another eighty shares next,” Demeanour calm, Madam Melissa declared.
Albert finally turned around. It was hard to read what he was thinking from his expression. Nonetheless, I could tell that his serious flip had been switched.
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