A note from Zogarth

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The undead and Jake talked for a while longer, just chatting and discussing things related to Earth and the struggles of the Risen. Casper didn’t say much but mainly let Priscilla outline their difficulties, as quite frankly, he himself barely had any issues these days. He didn’t have any family, to begin with, so he didn’t go through the struggle of convincing one’s parents or a former lover that they were still the same person despite now being undead. Overall, it was pleasant, but soon Jake had to return.

Casper sat back as he watched Jake leave, the ancient rarity auction beginning shortly. He was a bit miffed he had not gained the Root, but he believed Jake would stay true to his promise and trade it with them soon enough.

”Why tell him what to do?” Priscilla asked him once Jake was out of the hall and unable to hear them, her mood changing quite a bit from the welcoming and kind persona she put on in front of others. ”The consequences if he becomes consumed by a curse, much less one of Hunger, would be disastrous. You know that Hunger often expresses itself as pure greed and gluttony, making him a living killing machine.”

”Because he is going to do it anyway, so may as well just tell him what it entails,” Casper explained. ”Trying to dissuade him will only make him more convinced to give it a try.”

”That’s just… moronic,” Priscilla said with exasperation.

”Well, Jake can be a bit of a moron; what can I say? But he is also a moron for whom things just tend to work out. Besides, I doubt the Viper would allow him to do anything that could legitimately risk his life or future.”

Jake knew Villy would totally be up for Jake doing something insanely risky, as long as he got front-row seats to see him do it.

He walked back towards his booth with a brisk pace, already looking forward to doing some funny experimentation after the event. Of course, it was time to do some more auctioning before that.

Jake got back to the booth before Sultan, Miranda, and Sylphie, but he did see Roman and Felicia already back. The two of them sat on a couch, chatting with Eleanor, Christen, and Levi from Neil’s party. The two last members – Neil and Silas – were absent for some reason.

Deciding not to bother them, Jake went over to a corner and summoned his arcane mana to set up a barrier around himself. He got a few glances, but he just motioned for them to ignore him as Jake got to work. As for what Jake was doing? Well, he was eating some healthy greens.

But first, he would have to throw up what he had already eaten.

Jake opened his mouth as Palate of the Malefic Viper activated, and space around him warped as a glowing rock appeared. At the same time, the purpose of his barrier became clear as incredible heat bombarded it.

Knowing he could not put it in his normal spatial storage necklace, Jake took out the legendary storage cube. He activated it, and the Suncore Fragment was stored without any resistance. Happy it worked, Jake took out the Root of Eternal Resentment, and a good gobble later, it was stored inside of his Palate of the Malefic Viper. It was a natural treasure, so naturally, he could use the skill on it to learn about its properties.

The fact that Casper and Priscilla praised it so much made him even more interested. He didn’t think they lied to him about the Root, but confirming using his own skills was always advised. Besides, no matter what, he would learn about the Root and the curse energies within by having it absorbed.

As for how it tasted? Eh, pretty neutral.

With all of that done, he dispelled his barrier again, getting a few more stares, with only Roman yelling at him. ”Yo, the fuck ya doing?”

”Put the sun in a box and ate the Root of a cursed tree able to destroy worlds,” Jake answered.

”Fair enough!” Roman yelled with a shrug and a laugh.

Jake chuckled a bit himself as he closed his eyes for a moment, just relaxing as the minutes ticked by and people returned to the booth. Jake greeted them as Sultan and Miranda came over.

”Now it’s time for the true action to begin,” Sultan said. ”I predict this phase will be far more extreme than the others, and it will no longer be individuals but entire factions investing in items. However… I have a good feeling equipment won’t be as bad as it could be. Many factions are unwilling to invest substantial funds in a piece of equipment that could be lost permanently should the user die in a place where it cannot be retrieved like in a dungeon, and quite frankly, the additional power offered compared to epic gear will likely not be worth the investment.”

”Except for people like me,” Jake concluded.

”Precisely. Based on my estimates, you will compete with around a hundred people total on the planet willing to invest so much wealth in temporary equipment. Of them, it is doubtful how many will even require the same things you do. As for the auxiliary items… that will be a whole other deal. Those are items factions as a whole can use,” Sultan explained.

”Well then,” Jake said as the intermission came to an end. ”Let’s hopefully spend some money!”

System Announcement:

The third phase of the Auction has now begun, where all ancient rarity items will be sold off. All items will be listed with a set minimum bidding price by the seller, as well as a potential buyout price, allowing anyone to instantly buy the item.

There are a total of 413 listings of ancient items for sale during this third phase of the Auction. These items will be posted one at a time in thirty-second intervals.

Once all items have been posted, there will be a period of one hour before all bidding ends. Items will be posted in order of minimum bids and buyout price. Any item not bought at the end of this phase will be returned to the original seller.

The first item will be posted in two minutes.

Quick math, a bit over three and a half hours, four and a half with the extra bidding time, same deal as before. Jake had his wallet at the ready, everyone was in position, bird on his head, and the bidding began.

[Helmet of-]

Fuck you system, Jake thought as the first item appeared. A shitty plate helmet that also looked stupid. Who puts horns on helmets, to begin with? That just sounds impractical as hell and a great place to grab during a battle, not to mention how it could easily get stuck on stuff while moving.

Sadly, he felt like he had to watch it just to see the price develop. He saw that the bidding price started at one Credit, making it clear the guy who posted it wanted to game the system as the lower-priced items appeared first. The buyout price was set at forty million.

Jake observed the price as it slowly grew. Shortly, it reached a million, and within not that long, it sat at seven million. From what Jake could see, it looked like only three or four people were bidding with how the price spiked. After twenty seconds, the bidding died down, as clearly no one was in too much of a rush. Thirty seconds in, the second item appeared.

[Yalsten Choker of-]

His disappointment was immeasurable, and his day ruined, as yet another useless item appeared. This one was at least a bit more interesting as it included spatial storage. People always went wild for spatial storage items. Even if many already had it, this one was special because it allowed one to store liquids in some odd way, which usually a spatial storage couldn’t without first putting said liquid in containers.

It also gave stats as can only be expected. Despite Jake’s less than enthusiastic reception of the choker, there was much interest, and the price quickly climbed far above the helmet. Shortly, its price was in the double-digit millions.

A third item appeared.


This continued as Jake kept watch, waiting for something good to appear. Soon, a contender popped up.

[Blade of Ashen Cold (Ancient)] – A blade crafted from the frozen ash of dozens of powerful vampires – the handle made from their bones. Through time, this blade has only grown in power, inadvertently empowered by the environment in Yalsten and the curse. With every slash, release frozen ash to freeze your foes. By infusing the blade with mana, release a blast of ash, hiding your presence and freezing any nearby foes. As the blade itself is formed of frozen ash, it can split apart and reassemble at will. Enchantments: Ashen Cold.
Requirements: lvl 140+ in any humanoid race.

Jake read it over and had to admit it was tempting. With the preview feature-thing, he saw it looked like a katana with an entirely gray body giving off faint vapor. It also reminded him a bit of his old Shortsword of Icy Winds, though, of course, that sword had been far weaker.

He considered placing a bid as he saw the price climb fast. There was lots of interest, and Jake understood why. Swords were extremely popular, no doubt due to the majority of the Noboru clan using them, and he also had the impression that many just preferred swords over other weapons. The fact that it was a sword with wide usage, perhaps even for more spell-casting-focused classes, also helped the price.

In the end, he skipped it by, not because of the price or what it did, but because it was a sword. He recalled his talk with the Viper and decided to try and only go for shorter weapons like daggers. Also… if he decided to still bid, he had plenty of time. The buyout price for this one was at a hundred and twenty million.

A dozen or so more items slipped by, some of them a bit interesting, especially the auxiliary items, but nothing he specifically wanted. Did he kind of want a painting able to summon phantasmal soldiers that attacked anyone deemed an enemy? Sure. Did he actually think it would be useful to him? No.

Jake just honestly didn’t like wasting money. He was fine spending it but not wasting it on things he saw no real use for. Perhaps it was because he had spent years at university studying finance and had the sentiment hammered into him.

However… when something did pop up that he wanted?

[Nightprowler Armor (Ancient)] – Armor created from the hide of a powerful C-tier Nightprowler variant. The hide is incredibly sturdy against physical and magical attacks, especially piercing and slashing blows. Due to the Records left by the Nightprowler, any time you are not under direct sunlight, activate the passive ability Shadow Prowl, increasing all effects of stealth-based abilities as shadows hide you. The armor also slowly repairs while not under direct sunlight. Enchantments: +300 Perception, +250 Agility, +100 Endurance. Shadow Prowl. Shadow Mend.
Requirements: lvl 140+ in any humanoid race

It was a simple leather chest armor. Nearly entirely black, and from what Jake could see, the Nightprowler had likely been some cat-like creature. The stats were great, even if he could see himself get too much Agility and go over the cap… but then again, he would need levels to use the armor first. Jake was already calculating how much he would need from levels and if he should invest some free points and drink some elixirs before he had even placed his first bid. Because Jake wasn’t going to bid.

The buyout was set at seventy million Credits. The bidding price quickly climbed to thirteen million as Jake just bought it outright, not bothering with any of that bidding shit. He wanted it, and he didn’t bother getting into a bidding war.

He knew that the Court of Shadows were no doubt those he had been bidding against, so while one could argue he had fucked over his little brother a bit, Jake felt it was fair. Caleb had once taken Jake’s favorite controller to a friend’s house without asking first, so he really had no recourse.

With seventy million Credits invested, Jake did not let up as he kept watch. Items kept flying by, Jake ignoring them one by one whenever he saw them start with ”staff” or ”helmet” or anything like that. So far, he had not seen any bows, which surprised him a bit. Oh, but he did see one very interesting item pop up.

[Railgun of Silver Light (Ancient)] – A railgun firing highly intense beams of Silver Light. Created by the Pure Ones of Yalsten to kill vampires, the weapon is incredibly potent against any vitality-based lifeform, hampering their healing with every blow as the Silver Light embeds itself in any target hit. Trigger an emergency discharge, releasing an explosion of Silver Light all around you, blinding and slowing down foes. Enchantments: Silver Light.
Requirements: lvl 145+ in any humanoid race.

It was exactly as advertised, just a big-ass railgun. It was nearly five meters long, and without superhuman stats, utterly impossible to wield. Jake kind of wanted to buy it just to walk around with a big ass gun, but on the other hand, the item had already climbed to fifteen million Credits, showing he was not the only one with infantile dreams.

Or maybe it was because the weapon was actually useful. That was a potential explanation, but Jake chose to believe it was someone just wanting to look cool bidding.

He kept watching as items flew by. Jake nearly had a mini heart attack when another leather armor showed up, and he nearly didn’t want to Identify it in case of buyer’s remorse. However, once he built up the courage, he saw it provided Vitality and Toughness and had the ability to summon a barrier of mana around the user when infused. Was it good? Yes. Did it not give Perception, thus making it objectively a worse product? Also yes.

Riding high on that kind of emotion you get when you buy something or get a gift, and then afterward look up reviews online, confirming it was a good purchase, Jake already felt good about himself as the very next item appeared.

Jake read the first word and was dismissive, but the second one caught his eyes.

[Bloodfeast Dagger (Ancient)] – A dagger created from the bones of slain enemies of Yalsten, all melded together to create a ceremonial dagger typically only used during the Bloodfeast, a sacred tradition among vampires. Once Yalsten fell, the dagger was left in the pool of the last Bloodfeast, forgotten. The dagger is extremely sharp, and any cut made with it will bleed far more than before. Blood spilled using this dagger will have its properties improved. Enchantments: Bloodfeast
Requirements: lvl 140+ in any humanoid race.

A god damn dagger. No, more than just a damn dagger, a god damn bone dagger. When he read it, it reminded him of his very first enchanted melee weapon, the uncommon rarity sacrificial ritual dagger from the Challenge Dungeon. This one even had an enchantment a bit like the Bloodletting one. But even better. He saw many possibilities and how it made the blood more potent.

He had a suspicion that the weapon was technically not necessarily meant to be a weapon, but he was sure going to use it as one. Shit, even if it proved to not be a good weapon, he could just use it for the Bloodfeast ability with his Blood of the Malefic Viper.

Jake was excited and saw the price only slowly climb, meaning there was little interest. It went to four million rather swiftly still but did not jump as something like the chest armor had. He instantly went to buyout but saw the price and stopped.

Buyout price: 1,000,000,000 Credits

He double-checked, making sure there were not a few zeroes too many. But no, it was correct. The cheeky motherfucker who had put it up for sale had set the buyout price at one billion, making Jake curse under his breath as he placed a bid of five million.

I swear to god, if a bow pops up with a ridiculous buyout price, I may have to slap someone, Jake thought as the next item appeared.

And it was a bow.

A note from Zogarth

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