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Bang. The wooden mallet, which signaled the start of the auction, was struck. The audience seats opened, and people came in like a tide. People struggled and scrambled to get the best seats with the best view, so for an instant, it became noisy.
“Quiet! Let the auction begin,”
the mayor shouted. Then the presenter proclaimed,
“The auction starts at 2,000 gold coins.”
At the ridiculously expensive starting price, there were shouts of outrage among the onlookers.
The audience seats were on the second-floor balcony that overlooked the event taking place on the first floor. Since the bidders were quite a distance from the spectators, they had not yet noticed the strangeness of Elisha’s bloodless complexion and her loose hair.
“Well, 3,000 gold coins.”
Arien came to her senses a beat later and announced.
“6,000 gold coins.”
‘What should Carola do?’ She had been wondering about what to do and reflexively placed a bid.
Elisha slowly opened her mouth:
“30 thousand gold coins.”
Carola and Arien were terrified. They looked at each other in shock.
“Thirty-five thousand gold coins,”
Carola clenched her teeth and reluctantly said. Arien counted her hands, and she eventually opened her mouth.
“Forty thousand gold coins.”
A shout spread among the people. However, people who noticed Elisha’s situation began to murmur. Elisha closed her eyes tightly for a moment and then opened them wide.
“100,000 gold coins.”
When Elisha proclaimed the bid calmly, a burst of exclamation broke out.
“Uh, 104,000 gold coins.”
Here, even Carola winced.
“105,000 gold coins… … .”
“200,000 gold coins.”
Elisha called for almost double the amount this time as well.
‘She is really… … . Really crazy.’
Carola and Arien’s expressions clouded. Eventually, the mayor gave up.
“Our city hall cannot afford this amount. Pause the auction.”
Elisha stumbled, grabbed a chair, and stood up.
“The three participants are overheated. The three of you should come and discuss it.”
Elisha’s head was nodding strangely.
“No, more than that… … . I think with her condition, we should stop the auction… … .”
“What are you doing?”
Elisha snapped, cut them off, and spat out.
“Without starting the ‘consultation’ right away!”
Suddenly, Carola and Arien were tired like blank sheets of paper. It was Elisha who had been stabbed, but they looked much more ill. They were frightened by her and trembling before they knew it, standing up as Elisha instructed.
“Lady Elisha is in a strange state! Stop the auction!”
Someone shouted out from the second floor in a thunderous voice.
Elisha recognized that the voice was Nora’s.
Then some people shouted to stop the auction. It was the voices of the Seeds.
Those who came to see this pointless rivalry between the people of the Cartiers would never regret it for the rest of their lives. People looked dazed, their expressions in disbelief.
Elisha left the city hall limping. The knights of Lucerne were lined up in front of the city hall, looking at her. Four people were standing: Nora, Lapis, Lazri, and Corinne.
Nora ran first and supported Elisha. Only then did she smile faintly, slumping with relief, when receiving her help.
“Why are you doing this? I shouted that the auction should be stopped… … .”
“I heard it. I had no idea Nora could have such a loud voice,”
Elisha chuckled faintly.
“Ian went to get the doctor. He’s coming soon… … .”
She nodded. She didn’t expect it, but being aware that her knights had waited for her like this, watching her from the audience gave her unforeseen strength.
“Who dares to do this!”
“He must have run away already. Can you hold this for me?”
Elisha handed Nora the whip she was holding in her hand. Her head was dizzy.
“In the carriage… … . A little… … . I’d rather be.”
“Madam… … . Why is this competition… … .”
“In any competition, you cannot lose if your opponent uses a cowardly trick. I… … .”
“I won. That’s the most important thing. How can I give my husband a defeat that even his knights don’t give him?”
“… … .”
“I kept my husband’s pride.”
At those words, the knights trembled. She wasn’t just a contract bride for status.
She was Lucerne’s chosen woman. She wasn’t just a sweet girl who was simply kind. She was… … . the lioness and mistress of their group of wild beasts, whom they were to serve and worship in the future.
Then a black carriage stopped in front of them. Lucerne got off the wagon. Elisha looked at him as Nora helped her by supporting her weight.
“Tell me how this happened,”
Lucerne looked at her condition and ordered. Icy air dripped from his eyes. Elisha staggered and took a step closer.
“It’s fine. I… … . I got it. So… … .”
“… … .”
And Elisha fell forward in front of her.
Lucerne caught her in an embrace. A shout of the arrival of a doctor reached her ears, but she couldn’t hold out any longer.