It was almost 2 pm when Michael reached the plaza of the Central Trading Hall.
The plaza was a large and grandiose square, which was surrounded by the U-shaped Central Trading Hall. A huge water fountain, surrounded by stone statues of humanity's heroes, adorned the center of the plaza. However, Michael didn't pay much attention to it. He approached the map and used the searching function.
'Bartholomew's House of Witchery', he typed, and a detailed route appeared in front of him. Michael pressed the crystal watch against the map's information transfer symbol and left afterward.
The crystal watch now had the route to Bartholomew's House of Witchery and guided him through the humongous plaza and even the larger Central Trading Hall.
Despite being called a Trading Hall, it was easier to compare it to a shopping mall with 20 floors in total. It was also possible to sell goods here, which was why Michael chose the Central Trading Hall as his destination.
Entering the Central Trading Hall was pretty easy. Every entrance had certain channels one had to pass to be allowed to enter. Awakened with a War Rune would have their War Rune scanned while ordinary people's irises and fingerprints would be scanned and compared with their ID for verification. All of this was a precautionary measure since too many incidents had occurred since the Central Trading Hall had been built.
When it was Michael's turn, he showed the Guard his War Rune and waited for it to be scanned. However, the Guard didn't step forward immediately. He looked at Michael for a second or two before he moved to scan his War Rune.
"I hope you don't take offense at what I am going to say, Sir, but I recommend you register as a Lord. The government will provide higher access permission to certain information if you have a Lord ID, and more benefits will be provided as well," The Guard advised with a subtle smile on his face.
Michael was stunned for a moment, but he nodded his head. He recalled that the War Rune of a Lord had a stronger presence than that of an Adventurer. This made it easier for others to sense when they're in the presence of a Lord, and how strong that Lord is.
Of course, Michael seemed young, and he didn't have a lofty air around him, but it was always better to be careful, especially as ordinary guards.
The other guards looked at their colleague with a little astonishment, but they didn't say anything.
"Thank you. I will do that!" Michael said and he made a mental note to register at the government when he wasn't in such a rush anymore.
Once his War Rune was scanned, Michael could enter the Central Trading Hall. He followed the guidance of the crystal watch and went looking for Bartholomew's House of Witchery.
Meanwhile, the other Guards rushed to their colleague.
"Why did you speak to that kid? You know that some of those kids can be extremely troublesome, so why did you give him unsolicited advice?" One of them asked in a husky voice while the other jumped ahead, shaking his colleague as if to wake him up from a dream.
"Did you already forget what happened to Sh–..."
"I know," The guard, who had talked to Michael before, replied, "I don't know why I did that either. He seemed kind and was wearing clothes from an ordinary brand, so I figured that he became an Awakened not too long ago."
He gave it a shrug, and didn't bother with the discussion anymore, "He thanked me for the advice, so everything is fine, isn't it?!"
In the meantime, Michael found himself on the 14th floor, standing in front of a large shop titled Bartholomew's House of Witchery.
"It's not exotic, at all. Isn't it just a normal store?"
Michael expected the House of Witchery to be a small store that was filled with the smell of herbs and grotesque-looking items from the Origin Expanse. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find it to be the exact opposite. The store was meticulously organized, clean, and faint citrus aroma wafted through the air.
All kinds of Artifacts were exhibited in the main aisle of the store, and miscellaneous items could be found on his right side. Various potions and various resources entered his view as well upon taking a proper look. Overall, it was easy to understand the set-up of the shop.
"Selling items and Monsters can be done…here!" Michael mumbled and looked around a bit until he found a clerk standing behind a wooden counter. A wooden sign saying [Witchery Bazaar] attracted his attention, and he approached it.
The clerk noticed Michael's arrival in his store and bowed lightly.
"Welcome to the Witchery Bazaar. How may I help you?" He asked politely.
"I want to sell a few Monster Cores, flasks of blood, neatly preserved organs of rare monsters, Gemstones, and such," Michael said straightforwardly. The clerk took a quick glance at Michael's clothes and War Rune before he nodded his head.
"Please follow me, Sir. I will lead you to the appraisal room!" He said, sounding just as polite as before. However, his demeanor had now changed a little. The clerk didn't seem to think too highly of him.
'I am not wasting your time, buddy. Calm down, and let's get this done without wasting our time, okay?' Michael wanted to say but he remained silent to prevent inviting unnecessary trouble. He was not in the mood to play around. A more skilled and veteran Lord was probably on his way to attack his territory!
The appraisal room was a room attached to the House of Witchery. It was used to retrieve the goods from the War Rune to have them appraised, and to make sure that the trade would remain anonymous. At the same time, it also ensured that the smell of monster corpses and unique – smelly – goods wouldn't permeate the air of the House of Witchery.
The room didn't look anything special. If Michael had to compare it to something, the closest was probably the operation room in the hospital which was equipped with advanced technology that could measure and appraise the goods at hand.
"Please retrieve the items you want to sell. I will appraise them and provide a satisfactory price, I promise!" The clerk said with an obvious fake smile on his face.
'Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or what?' Michael asked himself but he simply complied. He began to retrieve the goods he had neatly stuffed inside his War Rune, filling it to the brim.
Monster Cores and Gemstones filled the table, followed by antlers, wolf claws and near-perfectly dissected fur, leather, tendons, muscles, internal organs, bones, dozens of flasks filled with triple extracted blood to purify it further, and more.
Even if his War Rune's spatial storage could only carry two Low Tier-1 Monster corpses, it was big enough for a self-proclaimed world-class Tetris player to squeeze all the puzzle pieces inside it. Michael had spent a while fitting and storing everything he wanted to sell without damaging it, but it worked, at last.
He watched the clerk's expression change with a satisfied smile before pointing out the most important fact, "If you want to maintain the quality of the highly potent Tier-1 Monster blood and their organs, I recommend you preserve them. Damages that occur in the appraisal room are the responsibility of the shop, or so I heard."
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmThe last few words intended to take a jab at the clerk and pressure him. It worked perfectly as the clerk panicked for a moment before he pressed the cooling button to decrease the temperature in the room drastically. After that, the clerk had to act quickly to make sure that no good was damaged. He didn't want his monthly report card to be tarnished with a de-merit, after all!
Michael didn't say anything else. He just watched the clerk and opened the crystal watch to research the price of potions and other goods.
There was no need to worry about getting cheated by the House of Witchery, or any other shop in the Central Trading Hall. The moment they caused trouble their lease would be retracted, and their contract terminated.
Losing one of the best spots in the most popular Trading Hall on the planet was not something any shop owner would want to happen. After all, the money they made in a month in this spot was equivalent to the bi-annual income of shop owners in other popular spots!
Less than half an hour later, the clerk was done. Despite the frigid air in the room, he was sweating buckets. He glanced at Michael every now and then, just to end up cursing himself inwardly.
How could he mess up that badly?
"I am done…Sir," He said before weakly adding, "I am sorry for my attitude earlier. I had a big fight with my girlfriend…"
Michael chuckled lightly upon hearing the clerk's measly excuse but he went along.
"I hope that the satisfying price you promised me was not a lie," He replied, and the clerk nodded his head vigorously.
"Of course, Sir! You will love the price!"
After a quick chat, they left the appraisal room. The details of the House of Wichery's purchase would take a minute or two, but that was already it. Once he signed the deal, he would earn a small fortune, which would be used up to expand his territory and nourish his subjects!
However, before Michael and the clerk could finish the deal, they heard a loud voice.
"You bastard! Do you not love me anymore?!?" A young woman shouted in a shrill voice. Her voice echoed through the entire shop, followed by the voice of an equally young man who retorted in annoyance,
"Not buying you the Artifact doesn't mean I don't love you anymore! Get your facts straight, honey!"
What the hell was going on there?