Hammurabi Style – Chapter 12

An auctioneer wearing a clown mask bowed as a greeting and the audience started clapping.

“Thank you, thank you. I’m well aware that you are very busy, so let’s get started quickly. Everyone, please give a shout!!”

After he brightened up the mood while shouting, he showed his three fingers to the people.

“Three!!”

“Two!!!”

“One!!!”

Kieeeng-

A screen barrier that was almost invisible appeared between the auction stage and the auditorium.

Skill detection barrier.

It was to protect the auction goods from people who tried to steal them.

“The Dark auction is now starting!!!”

The audience clapped and applauded even harder than the first round.

“The first item up for bid today! The ghost ferret silencer!”

“If you use this item, your wife is not going to wake up even if you shoot 80 people next to her. Isn’t this fantastic? What? You are going to shoot her first? Haha, sir. Are you married? Of course, you did.”

“The ghost ferret silencer is a product that the famous Triangle team made!! Let’s get started. The starting price for this is $1,000! Oh, $1,300! $1,400! $1,500!!! Anyone? Ok! Sold to the bidder at $1,500!”

The auction was fun and it progressed quickly.

There were no more seats due to the exciting mood.

Especially when some drugs showed up in the middle of the auction, the audience grew even crazier.

The war of nerves between a successful bidder and a failed bidder was way too violent. The enforcers and the security guards had to move them far away from each other and let them standby for a while.

“Woah… That drug stash is $50 million? How crazy.”

“The stash will destroy 10 million people. Compared to 10 million lives, $50 million is cheap. Oh, maybe less than 10 million since most of the people who take drugs do it again.”

Kimin clicked his tongue.

“Aren’t the police watching this kind of trade?”

“There are moles from the police, of course. However, they can’t stop or arrest the Dark auction because they are not stupid. There have been many incidents you can’t even imagine and they are all over that.”

“Indeed, no one would come if they didn’t believe in the Dark auction.”

“The latest incident was that a policeman who came to the Dark auction tried to call his for backup with a summons stone.”

“Oh… It’s an interesting approach, but the Dark auction is too great now to ask what happened after.”

“Right. None of the police who came in here left safely. They are all missing.”

“Wow, they couldn’t leave….”

“That’s what this place is. Anyways, it’s not for a normal person to come here.”

“Well, curse those normal people. I will keep that in mind and will warn the normal person when I meet him or her.”

It was all about normal people.

Kimin giggled at Sera Lee who quickly turned her head away and then focused on things he came up with after the conversation.

There were many things he had to think about again, things he missed because he took them for granted.

‘The invitation. It’s weird.’

After contemplating it, he realized that the invitation was weird.

Just tearing a small business card activated teleportation. It meant that the invitation and the person who made it were not normal.

Let’s compare it to a return stone.

After a stone is crafted with great care, many teleportation skill users compound it with other ingredients.

The crafting process was very important to bring out the best effect of the attribute. The compound and mixture wouldn’t succeed without the process.

By the way, this invitation was literally just a normal business card. It just activated without any directions when it got torn. It was an incredible technique.

‘According to the police story, there is a high probability of space distortion or a disturbing barrier being set up at this Dark auction. Or, this whole space that holds the Dark auction might be a subspace… Wait?!’

Kimin’s imagination instantly gave him the creeps and he shook his head.

‘Is this a subspace? No, there’s no reason to use the containers and trailers if it was. They could just build a building.’

‘…Wait. It could really be a subspace. The containers and the trailers could be to disguise the subspace. Let’s consider the possibility.’

‘It’s uncomfortable… I want to leave quickly after the business is over. I don’t like this.’

His deduction made him hate the Dark auction.

Just being inside someone’s subspace meant he was risking his life.

Kimin was organizing his thoughts, ‘One of the sponsors of the Dark auction is a teleportation skill user and he is very capable.’

A teleportation skill user, power, rights…

Kimin naturally came up with someone.

‘Saehyun Choi…?’

He decided to bury the topic and his suspicions in his mind for now.

He moved his head to the stage.

“Here!! The next item!!! I’m introducing the tree of life, Jaepil Lee’s posthumous work!!”

Finally, the auctioneer was talking about ‘the ‘tree of life.’

The tree of life.

It was Kimin’s target.

‘I’m not buying it with my money though.’

Kimin changed his sitting posture and crossed his arms to hide his hands from the others. He tried to look natural when he carried out his operation.

Sera Lee’s group was sharing opinions quietly next to Kimin who was getting ready.

“So many people are aiming for this art. Should we try to bet?”

“Are you trying to make a profit? Old man, my uncle’s not going to let you do that.”

“Hahaha, that’s not it. I heard a rumor that this art is miraculous. Who knows? It might be effective to him (or her).”

“…”

Sera Lee stopped laughing.

Drag-

At that moment, a tray that carried the item was coming to the stage.

They didn’t have to be concerned about the status if it fell or not.

Most of the auction houses hired psychokinesis skill users to prevent that kind of incident.

The statue was softly supported by the invisible power now.

Drag, drag.

The tray arrived in the middle of the stage.

The auctioneer raised his arm high and dropped it to the bottom while bending his waist.

When he moved his arm like swinging a baton, the white cloth over the statue fell off.

Ohhh-

The statue was overwhelming as bidders who had tasted the sweetness and bitterness of life started letting out exclamations.

The tree’s body and branches were made out of carved rock. The texture and sense of volume were magnificent.

The curve where it went in and out was perfect and the bark of the tree was so real. If someone who didn’t know about this saw it, the person would think it was a real grey-colored tree.

The branches stretched softly and flexibly and showed the solid stone very well.

Even some of the bidders thought it was a real tree covered up with stone powder while looking at the branches reaching the sky.

Also, there were energy stones attached here and there on the branches.

If they were placed awkwardly, people could say, ‘Horrible cancer cells on the tree.’ Then it would not be able to arrive at this place as art. 

Just like the energy stone on the statue that only had a body without any leaves, the tree seemed to be alive.

‘This is why it’s called the tree of life.’

The auction house had an atmosphere of solemnity.

At that sacred moment, Kimin’s finger moved slightly and then…

Somebody screamed and broke the silence.

“Wha…What the!!!”

The tree of life suddenly started shining.

To be accurate, the energy stones on the tree were oxidized with light.

The light wrapped the tree and it looked like it was blazing up.

The inside of the hall became noisy.

The light blazed up madly, scattered like fog, swayed like wildfire, fluttered sadly, burst into flames solemnly like the last sentence, and then disappeared like a lie.

The tree of life was not there anymore.

The noise at the auditorium became too loud as the staff couldn’t handle it.

At that moment, somebody rushed onto the stage and whispered something to the auctioneer, and then he nodded.

“Please calm down everyone. The auction is still going on!” the auctioneer’s voice echoed out loud.

It seemed like they had decided to continue the auction for the moment and turned up the microphone’s volume since it was louder than before.

The noise was slowly cooled down.

Kimin was looking at his skill status window with loving eyes.

He wasn’t sure when he absorbed the huge transition stone in the head office of Ohsung group.

Now, after all this time, he could be certain.

‘Those transition stones that remain and don’t disappear are not ordinary transition stones.’

‘Random potential characteristic transition stone…!’

Even the level of those transition stones were good enough. He couldn’t find an A grade, but there were, at minimum, C grade and mostly B grade.

The rate of random success was pretty high after he absorbed about 50 transition stones at once.

[ One of the abnormal status absorption(S)’s characteristics will be improved. Improving characteristic: Absorption distance ]

***

After Kimin read all the messages about his improved normal abilities, he started looking into his potential characteristics.

[ Abnormal status absorption(S)’s new potential characteristic will be opened: Diary ]

[ You can record the abnormal status that you currently have in your ‘Diary’. The abnormal status you have recorded can always be released. 

 Current bookmark slots: 3 ]

‘In plain language, it is an armory.’

Kimin had to have an abnormal status to release it to someone. However, it was pretty bothersome and stressful to have it until a war broke out.

He tried to make up for his weak points while using some ‘powders’, but they had a limit.

What if he had the ‘Diary’?

He could just record the abnormal status and be free of it.

Furthermore, he could record it in the diary and save himself when there wasn’t a living thing around him to release it.

Also, when he found a rare abnormal status, he could absorb it and save it as a secret weapon.

‘Good. Very good.’

Potential characteristics were always right.

Kimin didn’t care anymore if the auction still continued and ‘The tree of life’ that already lost its life got auctioned at a much higher price than the original.

***

At that moment, a bloody storm was about to come up behind the stage.

“Who did this?”

“I have no idea.”

“What the fuck do you know? You fucking idiots. The detection curtains at the stage are still fine. Then are you telling me that somebody in the auditorium pulled some trick? It doesn’t make any sense. Tell me who did this.”

This suspicion was almost right, but there was an important error.

They couldn’t figure out that Kimin’s ability was exempt from ‘detection’ skills.

No one could criticize them for it.

How could they prepare for something they couldn’t even imagine?

“We really didn’t do it.”

People who supported the auction offered an excuse with deadly pale faces.

However, the person who was holding somebody responsible didn’t slow down the questioning at all.

“Don’t lie to me. Oh, right. Hey you, psychokinesis.”

The arrow turned to the psychokinesis skill user who was holding the statue with the skill.

“…Isn’t it you who couldn’t control your power while supporting the statue?”

It was in the closed questioning that he blew up the energy stones with his skill by mistake.

It was almost plausible.

Soon, dozens of eyes stared at one person.

The person who was interrogating was an ‘enforcer’ who had enough power and rights for a summary conviction. The psychokinesis skill user knew that his answer to the enforcer at the moment could be his last will.

“I didn’t. Trust me. If I put too much power on the tree as much as the energy stones were blown up, the branches would be broken first. Look at the thinnest one. It didn’t get hurt at all.”

The psychokinesis skill user shaking his lips tried his best to make an excuse desperately. 

“Hm…”

The enforcer seemed unsatisfied while looking at him and slumped in a nearby chair.

Then, his direct subordinate carefully suggested, “Should I tell them to detect people’s skills now?”

“Do you really think they can use their skill for that long? I’m sure they are going to shit their pants while detecting.” The enforcer got annoyed.

“But we have to give a report to the people above though.”

“…That’s right.”

“Let’s just do as much as we can. Besides, the statue was sold to a bidder at a higher price after the incident. If we just show them how we tried, they won’t say anything to us.”

The enforcer looked at his direct subordinate.

“Little punk. You’ve grown up. Now, you are advising me to put on a show of effort to them.”

“Hehehe.”

“Indeed, the important thing at this moment is how it looks. They will forgive us since it still looks fine. How many eyes are available?”

“There are three underlings and one elder.”

The enforcer asked how many skill users were available to investigate and his direct subordinate answered that three underlings (newbies) and one enforcer were available.

“Fuck. Why are you talking about the elder right now? Dude, you are not considering my pride. Just call the underlings and make them work at full capacity.”

“Sure.”

His direct subordinate who wore a jellyfish mask bowed and left quietly.

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