43 Not For Sale
Six days passed since Kei and his party arrived at the City of Freyport. The Auction of the Stars was only two days away and an influx of people from all parts of the Eastern Federation made their way to the city.
All the inns were fully booked which made the innkeepers very happy. Some of the residents didn't miss out the opportunity to earn some money and decided to rent their homes to wealthy individuals.
Those who were not lucky enough to secure lodgings settled inside their carriages, tents, and other makeshift shelters while they wait for the auction to start.
"Master, the city is so lively today!" Shino exclaimed as she saw the various vendors shouting their wares at the plaza. She was holding Kei's arm and was getting the attention of the people around them.
"Mmm, the various merchants from the Federation likes to showcase their wares during the Auction of the Stars." Kei said. He had a smug look on his face and it pissed off the guys that were ogling Shino.
Although Shino looked like a fourteen year old girl, she was already very beautiful. She instantly became the center of attention the moment they entered the plaza. Her blonde hair swayed in the wind and her scarlet eyes were clear and radiant.
Kei arrogantly raised his chin as if to tell everyone "Jealous? Hah! It's not my fault for being handsome!" He was in a good mood and made sure that everyone could see it.
Shino, on the other hand, were oblivious of everything that was happening around them. She was more interested in the beautiful clothes that were crafted from the different kingdoms of the Eastern Federation.
"If you like anything just tell me," Kei said. "I'll buy them for you."
"Really?! Master, I love you!" Shino hugged Kei and the latter hugged her back. He even kissed her forehead when he was sure that all the guys were looking. Shino kissed his cheek in return and half-dragged him towards a stall that sells clothes.
The men gritted their teeth in envy, and Kei chuckled to rub salt on their wounds. Before they went to the plaza, Kei taught Shino the art of bargaining.
"Listen to me Shino, merchants are suckers for beautiful girls," Kei explained. "All you need to do is pout, get teary eyed, and they will give in to your demands! Make sure to use this technique when shopping anywhere in the continent."
Shino nodded her head in acknowledgement. She was still ignorant of the way of the world and listened to Kei's teaching seriously. It didn't take long before she used this technique to the pitiful merchants that were selling the things she liked.
As expected, the merchants were no match for Shino's beauty and gave her discounts for the clothes she purchased. Some of them even gave her free accessories as parting gifts which she gladly accepted.
'Master was right! This technique is very effective!' Shino was in a good mood. She was very satisfied with the purchases they made and was looking forward to wearing the clothes she bought today.
"What a beautiful girl." A man riding a white horse who seems to be in his early twenties muttered as his gaze followed Shino. He was captivated by her beauty and her pink, seductive lips, made his heart tremble.
The guard captain that was beside him understood his master's intention and decided to score some brownie points.
"You there halt!" the guard captain shouted.
Kei and Shino kept on walking and ignored the call behind them. Realizing that he was ignored, the guard captain ran ahead of them and blocked their way.
"My young master would like to have a talk with the two of you." The guard captain said with a serious expression. "I hope that the two of you cooperate."
Kei rolled his eyes 'Che, such a cliche development.' He then turned his eyes at the man riding the white horse. The man was good looking and Kei could tell that the clothes he was wearing were very expensive. He chuckled inwardly knowing how this would turn out.
"You have some business with us?" Kei asked in an arrogant manner.
"Yes, I do," the man answered and guided his steed to their direction. "I wish to speak with the young lady by your side."
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Shino frowned. Her inborn instinct was telling her that this man was up to no good. Kei's hand landed on her shoulder and drew her into his embrace. She closed her eyes and buried her head on his chest.
"You have business with my woman?" Kei raised his chin. "Sorry, but the two of us are a lovely dovey couple. Can you not get in the way of our date?"
Shino felt something warm spread inside her heart. Kei always gave her hugs and kisses, but this was the first time he announced in public that 'She was his woman.'
the man had a complicated look on his face and decided to introduce himself. "My name is Sirius, Sirius Gwyn of the Gwyn Merchant Guild."
Kei raised one of his eyebrows. "Are you perhaps related to Libertus Gwyn?"
Sirius dismounted his horse and nodded. "Do you know my grandfather?"
"Is he here?"
"No, my grandfather is dealing with the aftermath of the dungeon outbreak. Who are you?"
'Dealing with the aftermath? What a lame excuse.' Kei cursed the old man in his head. 'More like he is trying to avoid me like a plague.'
"My name is Kei, Kei Frieden," Kei said. "Your grandpa and I had a transaction, but he cancelled it at the last minute."
Sirius narrowed his eyes when he heard Kei's introduction. "I see. You were the one who wanted to purchase the Emperium correct?"
Kei brushed Shino's hair with his hand and the latter seemed content to stay in his embrace. "Yes."
Sirius glanced at Shino who was in Kei's embrace and felt a burning jealousy that he had never felt before. He had seen many beautiful woman in his travels as the successor of their merchant guild and by far, Shino was the most unique among them.
She radiated an aura of purity and innocence that was strong enough to melt his heart. He had never felt such an overwhelming desire over a woman and the feeling was driving him crazy. He clenched his fist and made his decision. 'I must have her!'
"I have a proposal," Sirius said with an earnest look. "My grandfather gave me full authority in the negotiation for the Emperium. I was planning to have it auctioned, but I changed my mind."
"I will give you the Emperium in exchange for the young lady," Sirius offered. "I'll also add ten thousand gold coins as compensation. What say you?"
Kei spat on the ground before sneering at him. "My woman is not for sale. You can keep the Emperium and your gold. Now get out of my sight!"