Jake grinded it out like never before as he did his alchemy while completely and utterly ignoring the entire auction going on around him. He had chosen to focus on mana potion primarily but also done a fair deal of health potions because he knew those usually sold the best.

He actively used his arcane mana even more than before in place of pure mana. While he could still control pure mana and even had to in some instances, the more he crafted, the more he could phase out. He still had to infuse pure mana into the entire brew to make the potion as if he didn’t, it would fail, or at best, he would end up making a potion only he could use that wasn’t even as good.

How did he know this? Because he had made one batch of such potions.

[Arcane Mana Potion (Common)] – Restores 11783 arcane mana when consumed.

At first, Jake was shocked upon seeing they were not Soulbound in any way and promptly had Sylphie test one by drinking it. The result? She thought it tasted “yucky” and did not restore any resources for her, killing Jake’s dreams of having found a new way to make better mana potions.

But… even if others could use them, his regular ones were just better:

[Mana Potion (Common)] - Restores 14314 mana when consumed.

In his humble opinion, fourteen thousand mana was a fuckton, but one had to remember Jake had a mana pool of over forty-eight thousand now. He was also still considering when he would learn to make uncommon-rarity versions and should probably just get his shit together and read a book on it or ask Villy, but that was all stuff for later.

Secondly was, of course, health potions. While they were great, they were far from as good as his mana ones.

[Health Potion (Common)] - Restores 9138 health when consumed.

Still respectable, if he had to say so himself and in proportion to his thirty thousand health pool, it was about as good as the mana ones. Jake had around a hundred and twenty health potions and over two hundred mana potions made during these six and a half hours, and when he looked at Sylphie, he was still confused about what she was doing.

Sylphie had made two small green wind elemental-looking things that were now in a fistfight as Sylphie both seemed to control them and cheer whenever one landed a hit. Jake did not say anything as he would always advocate for more mana practice for the young. He still thought it was kind of weird, especially how the elementals seemed almost alive.

Must be that Sylphian heritage, Jake reckoned as he took a look around the room, seeing everyone still immersed in the auctioning.

Jake just shook his head as he saw there were only five or so minutes left. Not enough to start another batch, that was for sure. Instead, he began considering ways to use his arcane mana more, also if it was just to make Jake-specific potions.

The issue with his arcane affinity being mixed into an actual potion was that it wasn’t really safe for consumption. The stable element could be consumed but would take more energy to break down and reabsorb than if it was just pure, and the destructive element would rather burn his insides than restore mana.

Jake had a feeling he could reach an equilibrium where he would be able to reabsorb the energy, but that would take some time. During this time, Jake had also reflected a bit on his talk with Eron about vital energy to try and improve his health potions, but it was actually surprisingly useless.

Eron was all about controlling your own vital energy and only your own. Making a health potion was all about making energy others could absorb easily within the parameters set by the system. The two philosophies just simply didn’t mix. There were a few parts just on general manipulation, but it was negligible.

Well, there was also the notebook, but Jake still didn’t get anything in it. To his eyes, it was all just headache-inducing scribbles.

As he sat there thinking, he noticed most of the others were more focused than ever as he saw the timer about to reach zero. Sultan looked sweaty and tired, like he had just been in a battle to the death, with Roman scowling and muttering curses at “some bloody bastard” that kept outbidding him.

Jake stood up and looked down at the hall with the same situation playing out everywhere. He smiled as he also checked the menu himself and saw that most of the items had been sold by now. Looking at the logs in the interface, he saw that all items had only been up for an hour total before being sold unless active betting was still going on. This meant that here in the last stretch, the most hotly sought-after items and the last batch of five hundred were the only things left.

Out of curiosity, he checked out the most expensive item, sitting at a whopping six million Credits.

[Damaged Transportation Pod (Rare)] – A pod created to transport individuals over a long distance. This pod was originally made to allow the weaker denizens of Yalsten to travel outside their realm safely through wormholes, and the vehicle has an incredibly high resistance to all space magic. The inside of the pod is spatially expanded. Due to damages incurred during an escape and subsequent decay of the entire vehicle, it has led to a severe decrease in rarity. The pod is still functional but has severely limited speed and limited spatial expansion. During the escape, the generator was damaged, making the pod require a constant power infusion too.

Jake read the item… and seeing it be so popular made perfect sense to him. Vehicles like these were big and often worth a lot just for their materials alone and were items one could often use for a long time. The speed was not determined by the pod alone either, but primarily the operator up to a certain limit.

Reading the note attached to it, it also became even clearer. The sale included a notebook on how to repair it created by a vampire from Yalsten and some basic details of how the pod worked, the size, and stuff like that. He wondered if the person who had put it up had just lied to raise the price, but then again, the system probably had some safeguards for that

Either way, Jake had no desire to bid on it. He didn’t need a car, and besides, teleport-walking was way more healthy and better for the environment.

He saw it slowly go up a bit more in price until finally, the first phase of the auction ended, and a wave of relief went through the room at an almost palpable level. Sylphie also cheered as the small elemental on the right won the fight as she flew up and landed on his head again. Jake just chuckled and rubbed her head as people looked at him.

“You guys got anything good?” Jake asked as he stood there in front of the glass panel – two big piles of potions on the ground off to his side.

Miranda was the first to answer as she got up. “Only a few things for myself personally, primarily for rituals… what have you been doing?”

The question felt more like a jab than an actual question as Jake just gestured to the potions, but before he could say anything, Sultan spoke up: “You’re selling those during the intermission?”

“Actually, I hoped you would be selling those during the intermission,” Jake answered. “Because I would sell them way too cheap or end up just giving them all away for free.”

Sultan just nodded as he waved his hand, and a contract flew over to Jake. He skimmed it and saw that Sultan would take a 5% commission as an “urgency and expedition fee” or some bullshit like that. Jake agreed as he ultimately would earn more, and he really didn’t want to sell himself. As for getting Miranda to do it? Well, she was already on her way out the moment the system message appeared.

System Announcement:

Phase one of the auction has concluded! There will now be a one-hour intermission before the next phase begins. The next phase will include all epic rarity items. During this intermission, all prior listings can be edited freely, and new ones placed.

“I will see you all in the next phase,” Miranda said as she bowed and swiftly left the booth, teaching Jake that anyone could leave at any point. Jake didn’t need to think about what Miranda would be doing either, as she no doubt had a lot of diplomacy stuff to do.

Sultan went over and swept up all his potions after Jake had signed the contract before disappearing too. After a brief talk with Roman and the others, they all dispersed, with Roman and Felicia chatting a bit with Neil and his party. Sylphie jumped off his head and disappeared by herself without a chirp too. As for Jake? Jake would go and talk to the old man about a few things.

Reika walked with her Great-Grandfather as she escorted him to one of the side rooms along with many other members of the clan. During this week, she had fought off snakes and opportunists left and right who attempted to take advantage of the Patriarch’s weakness. What frustrated her the most was that she couldn’t even protect him properly, as he had forbidden her from sharing details of why he was weak, including the fact that it was even temporary or if it would have any permanent effects.

Which had inadvertently led to many concluding it would have permanent consequences.

It was frustrating, but she trusted the Patriarch.

“Reika, would you kindly ask the others to stay outside while we talk to our guest?” he asked.

She was confused about who he was talking about as she felt the approaching presence. Reika turned her head as she saw Jake walk over, a mask covering his face and an almost physical aura all around him. Compared to the time they solved the puzzle during the Hunt, he felt much more powerful… and he truly was based on his fight with the Patriarch.

He walked over as he stopped in front of the Sword Saint, not even sparing a glance for any of the clan members around. Jake and the Patriarch’s auras were incomparable at the current time, yet both men stood tall as Jake spoke: “I believe we have things to discuss?”

The Sword Saint smiled. “That we do,” he answered as he motioned for Jake to follow him into the chamber. Reika prepared to stay outside as he spoke up again. “Please, if you would come too?”

Reika perked up and instantly followed, leaving the many opportunistic politicians behind her. Perhaps he did not know it, but Jake approaching the Patriarch like an equal was a massive wrench in the works for many of those assholes.

Perhaps he did have a better eye for political maneuvering than she gave him credit for.

Jake, the old man, and Reika entered the side room together as the door shut behind them, cutting off the room from the outside world entirely through the power of system-fuckery. Jake guessed he was the only one who could see through it through the use of Bloodline-fuckery, as that was one of the only counters to system-fuckery in existence. Either way, good riddance because those people outside looked annoying.

They did not exchange any words as they found themselves a place to sit down, Reika and the Saint on one side, Jake on the other.

“Good fight,” was the first thing Jake said with a smile.

“That it was,” the old man agreed with a hearty laugh. “But perhaps we lost ourselves a little towards the end.”

“It happens,” Jake just shrugged as he snickered. “Anyway, you doing okay? That kind of skill can be draining from what I know.”

“For now, I am still weak, but in due time I shall return to my usual state,” he answered, not explaining more. Jake respected that as he just moved on.

“So… what to do with that Legacy thing and all the other stuff?”

“Oh, I already put it up for auction,” the Sword Saint answered promptly.

Jake was taken aback but swiftly caught on. “Damn, I didn’t know yelling about springtime led to a sense of humor.”

“Spring leads to many things,” he just answered with a mysterious smile. “As for who actually won… I believe it makes the most sense to call it a tie?”

Jake looked the old man dead in the eye when he also caught the small scar above the Saints ear as he shook his head. “No… no, I lost.”


“I was at a higher level and just did worse than you. Besides… I would have died first,” Jake continued to shake his head. “Also, I don’t wanna become a vampire.”

“Neither do I… but very well, I shall respect your decision. However, I cannot fully accept the victory, so how about we make a deal? One of those altars and a single coffin, and you will have unlimited access to the artifact, and I will even throw in something extra?” the Sword Saint proposed.

“Depends; what are you tossing in?”

“That shall be secret for now,” he answered mysteriously. “What do you say?”

Jake, letting curiosity get the better of him as he summoned a coffin and an altar for the Saint and Reika. He scooped it up as Jake asked again. “So?”

“Reika will bring it when she comes to Haven,” the Sword Saint answered with a chuckle. “It isn’t quite done yet.”

“Now I’m just getting more curious.”

“Curiosity has never killed anyone.”

“Pretty sure curiosity is a leading cause of death among cats,” Jake countered.

“You must take solace in that you are not a cat then,” the Saint chuckled as they both smiled.

Having dealt with the whole duel situation, Jake moved on to something else he had thought about.

“Based on what you said, you don’t have a blessing, do you?” he asked.

The Sword Saint’s mood shifted a bit. “No, I do not, and I don’t plan on getting one either.”

“Why not?” Jake asked.

“I would think you would understand of all people that I will not subordinate myself nor my clan to a divine power,” the old man answered. “It does baffle me why you have accepted that.”

“Because I haven’t?” Jake just answered, a bit confused. “I just have the blessing for all the great stats and benefits it gives, and the Viper and I are buddies. He’s never told me to do anything, and I’ve never told him to do anything for me either. Is there a power imbalance? Sure, but I am sure as hell not some servant, and I think he could laugh at the sentiment.”

The old man frowned. “Blessings are, to my knowledge, investments, and a god will require a return.”

“Sure, I heard that too, but the Viper is happy enough if I just get strong and do well in events, and apparently, that benefits him plenty. Not that I think the Viper cares. I have also seen other cases of gods quite frankly not giving a fuck what their blessed are up to or see it all more as a transactional relationship. Perhaps not equal, but not where one party can order the other,” Jake explained, continuing.

“I guess what I am saying is… find a god that is not a dick, get a blessing, and get stronger, so I don’t roll you next time,” Jake taunted with a snicker. “The benefits are just too large.”

“You make it sound simple,” the Saint chuckled as he shook his head.

“Honestly? With that skill, you’re a special boy too now. You managed to, at worst, get a tie with the Chosen of the Malefic Viper while at a lower level, and at best, you beat me. You got plenty of capital to negotiate with; just make it clear you are no one’s servant,” Jake said.

“It sounds like you’re trying to recruit me.”

“Nah, fuck that, don’t make things weird now. There can only be one Chosen,” Jake waved it off. “Better go for some other powerful god. You may look old, but you’re still young on the inside. Just put yourself out there; there are plenty of fish in the sea! Or well, gods in the multiverse.”

The Sword Saint nodded. “I shall take it up for consideration.”

“Wouldn’t ask for more,” Jake said as he got on something else from his talk with Villy. “By the way… do you feel like the sword is an extension of your body?”

“Naturally,” the Saint answered.

“So, you actually, literally, feel the blade?” he clarified.

“Yes,” the Sword Saint answered, amused.

“Doesn’t it hurt like fuck when you block with it then?” Jake asked intelligently.

A question that was the start of Jake asking questions some people would categorize as “moronic,” making it truly lucky they were in a closed-off space.

A note from Zogarth

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