I’d confidently assume that plenty of people found lunch to be tasteless since they ate while feeling nervous as they conversed with their neighbour. Yes, I was aware that lunch was sumptuous, but it was served to the wrong audience. The people present weren’t here for food; all of their attention was on the auction.
They were the sellers, yet they were more nervous than Albert and Melissa, though I could understand their reasons. If either Albert or Melissa owned fifty percent or more of the total shares, then they’d already have the absolute authority over the shipyard, which meant that others would lose interest in the shares they had yet to sell. As a result, all of their effort would become scrap.
That would be a sledgehammer to them as it was soon about to be for Albert. At most, they’d be able to receive a bonus as a shareholder in the future. Consequently, they were busy thinking about whether or not to sell immediately at the current price, or take the uncertain route and wait it out to see if Melissa would buy for a higher price at the risk of shooting themselves in the foot. Based on the price at present, a chance of further increases in price did exist because Albert and Melissa were still competing. Plus, not many people were offering their shares. If they did, wouldn’t that lead to a missed opportunity? It was psychological warfare. The astute would’ve seen the light already.
I had no idea where Melissa and the weapons merchant went off to, but I was confident she’d bring back good news. She withdrew money from the bank, received money from Queen Sisi and sold an enormous number of bonds, so she had to be able to close a deal with the merchant. The man did want to earn something, as well. That said, he wasn’t after just cash but more in the future. He was probably trying to secure a deal to stay involved with the shipyard after Melissa owned it. I didn’t think she’d agree, however.
Melissa was making the purchase using leverage, meaning that her money wasn’t actually hers but the bank’s money. Hence, she didn’t have the rights to make any delegations concerning the shipyard. The shipyard was going to have to be turned over to the bank to write off her debt. Howbeit, that didn’t mean that the merchant wouldn’t be able to secure anything for himself. He could reach out to Queen Sisi and the businesses at the imperial capital. Well, it all came down to how discussions between him and Melissa went.
I trusted Melissa. She wasn’t worse than anyone. I’d even argue that she was much more prudent and impressive than many businessmen. She had already invested more effort than any other businessman to reach where she was today. Therefore, she had every reason to be able to succeed in the negotiation. As I couldn’t get involved, I couldn’t concern myself with what they did, either. That didn’t stop me from feeling nervous, having said that.
If what was making me nervous was my goal of procuring shares to destroy Albert, then I’d be calmer and proud, not nervous. When I find myself faced with a precarious situation, I find myself extraordinarily calm, same as when I find myself under pressure. Due to not being able to get involved, though, I guess I was more nervous than the involved parties. Just watching Albert and Madam Melissa made me nervous. I guess it’s akin to leaving your life in someone else’s hands.
There were plenty of possibilities that could unfold. I managed to guess that the weapons merchant was waiting for an opportunity, but I couldn’t say with absolute certainty that Melissa could capitalise on it even though I trusted her; it was a tug of war in my head. I always had an issue with trusting people; I always believed that I could only rely on myself to get things done. Hence, watching others left me panic-stricken.
I picked up an orange glass of wine, but I had no desire to drink. I picked up a small piece of cake to eat, letting the sweetness ease my nerves. If Achilles was with me, the two of us would be able to crack some jokes, and that would help me relax.
I was no longer an ordinary young man but the empire’s minister of business, Queen Sisi’s count and the owner of everything Achilles left behind, not to mention his blade for vengeance.
“Can I fulfil all my duties properly? I didn’t have any responsibilities in the past. I have way too much to carry on my shoulders now. I have yet to even start my duty as a husband, a real father and a man who takes care of his family. Queen Sisi was right. It’s a husband’s duty to take care of the family. Can I really fill those shoes?’ I asked myself.
Melissa and the merchant soon came to the dining table. I placed my glass down. Madam Melissa picked up a piece of cake next to me. I couldn’t discern what happened from Melissa’s expression, while she didn’t speak to me because there were too many people watching. The last round was going to start soon, and I couldn’t allow all of our efforts to go to waste.
It was finally time for the afternoon auction to begin, so we returned to our seats. I continued to sit there, looking at the whiteboard with my arms folded.
The first batch’s price in the afternoon was announced. After discussing it during noon, the last distributed shares totalled four percent. Melissa didn’t listen to my objection and went for them. At the same time, despite costing twenty five gold coins per share, Albert yelled, “I’ll offer thirty gold coins per share! I want all of the shares! Thirty gold coins!”
“Thirty-five,” calmly announced Melissa.
Although five gold coins sounded as though it was a tiny amount, it was actually a ludicrous price.
“Did her blood get to her head or something? This doesn’t bode well. Why is she fighting for them all of a sudden? Did negotiations fall through, forcing her to outbid Albert?”
“Thirty-six!” yelled Albert, veins showing on his forehead.
Yelling that sum must’ve hurt as if he was pulling his teeth out. I looked at Madam Melissa silently, I didn’t have the final say, after all. She didn’t continue bidding, however. As a consequence, the shares were sold for an abnormally exorbitant price.
Albert sat back down. If I was genuinely on his side, I’d think it was dangerous. The biggest problem was that Albert himself had elevated the price through the roof. I had to question if he had enough money left to buy the remaining shares. He had a total of forty-four at this point and needed another six.
“Can Albert still buy any shares? If he can’t, then possessing forty-nine percent would be the exact same as having one percent. Madam Melissa has roughly twenty-nine percent. So, what exactly happened between her and the weapons merchant in the end?”
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