th the average price levels bandied about so far, Ves was afraid he would need every firthal he converted beforehand.

”36.3 firthals.
Going once… going twice… sold to Number 324! ”

A muted applause arose to congratulate Number 324 for acquiring his new slave.
Manstel, who witnessed himself being sold like a prized exobeast on the auction block, pressed against the transparent barrier and screamed with rage!

Sadly, the cage that enveloped the slave completely blocked off every noise.
No one paid attention to the useless flailings of a mere slave.

One cage made way for another.
This time, a sophisticated-looking woman in her forties emerged.
The woman wore a brilliant gold-white dress which accentuated her bust and contours while hinting at more.
Her hair been styled in a majestic golden crown that enhanced her arrogant bearing.

Surprisingly, a noble was being auctioned!

”Lady Maie of House Noz of the Sentinel Kingdom here has made a dire mistake in her life.
She fell in love with an agent dispatched by a rival house and subsequently caused untold damage due to the secrets she leaked.
Suffice to say, House Noz has put a bounty on her head. ”

The subsequent details recited by the auctioneer made it clear that Lady Maie had behaved exceptionally poorly.
Not only did she leak the secrets of her own House, a subsequent investigation revealed that she had also been embezzling a significant portion of House Noz ’s income from its business interests.

If that wasn ’t bad enough, Lady Maie also proved to be a decadent woman! She ordered her men to kidnap any commoner she encountered she found ’delectable ’! Though she only targeted commoners, the Sentinel Kingdom never tolerated egregious abuses against its citizens, as such behavior was no different from that of a pirate!

Due to all of these reasons, Lady Maie elicited no sympathy at all from the crowd of nobles.

”A shame. ” Finlay sighed inside his helmet.
”Lady Maie has shamed House Noz as well as the Sentinel Kingdom with her disgraceful behavior. ”

The bidding for Lady Maie started as soon as the auctioneer finished his tale.

”20 million firthals.
50 million firthals.
100 million firthals! 120 million firthals.
150 million firthals.
200 million firthals! 210 million firthals.
215 million firthals.
240 million firthals.
244 million firthals.
300 million firthals by Number 7023! 320 million firthals… ”

The sums being bandied about for this slave far surpassed the previous offerings! Bids offering the equivalent of more than 10 billion bright credits quickly arose, but the bidding round still heated up!

”Is Lady Maie this valuable? ” Ves questioned.

Finlay chuckled.
”I think you have the wrong idea, Rho-Sigma.
Unlike what you might think, only a portion of the bidders consist of depraved pirates who want to turn Lady Maie into their trophy.
Most of the bidders actually consist of nobles who desire her secrets or wish to use her as a bargaining chip.
You can earn a lot of political capital and other rewards if you hand her over to House Noz. ”

”A representative of House Noz must undoubtedly be among the bidders. ” Ves noted.

They don ’t want Lady Maie to divulge even more secrets.
You ’d be surprised how much a noble knows.
House Noz entrusted Lady Maie to lead some of their critical business ventures, so she can offer every owner a detailed picture of their internal finances. ”

Such intel was incomparably precious in the right hands.
Eventually, after a furious round of bidding, Lady Maie had been sold at the ludicrous price of 1.3 billion firthals!

That was around 31 billion bright credits!

Ves resisted the urge to scratch his head, not that it would be of any use since he wore his thick, enclosed shadow attire.

Was this how much a typical adult noble was worth in the Sentinel Kingdom?

What kind of price would someone like Ves fetch if he appeared on the auction block?

No one would ever be able to assess his true value, but his current accomplishment should merit at least 500 billion bright credits.
As a Journeyman with a long life ahead of him, he could easily earn back this immense sum for his masters within a decade!

Ves mentally shook his head.
What was he thinking?! Why did he suddenly appraise himself like a slave? He was an honored mech designer!

”Now, for our third slave for the day, we have a special individual… ”

More slaves emerged.
Ves looked on with fascination as various distinguished and valuable people were being bid upon as if they were not even humans.

The Circle of Mota kept parading experts with valuable skills, exiles from far-flung star sectors and defeated pirate leaders.
Each time they put forward a remarkable slave, the bidding war that ensued became intense.

The sight of it disillusioned Ves to the practice of buying and selling slaves.

It was too..

He almost snapped when a Journeyman Mech Designers went up for auction.
Just like many of the other cases, the man had screwed up and ran afoul of the MTA.
A mech designer like him had no future in civilized space.

Ves did not pay attention to the mech designer.
He did not learn the person ’s name nor did he bid any sum of firthals.

It was one thing to enslave an exobiologist.
It was another thing to enslave a mech designer.

Even though Ves could figure out many uses for a competent Journeyman Mech Designer, he refused to taint his hands by purchasing an enslaved mech designer.

Finlay had no such compulsions.
He eagerly placed several bids until the sums surpassed 100 billion firthals.

While a Journeyman was a lot more valuable than that, it remained to be seen whether the new owners could actually extract that much value out of their new slave!

For the Circle of Mota to be able to involve so many people in the act of purchasing and selling slaves, their existence exerted a corrupting influence towards the Sentinel Kingdom.

Ves harbored an increasing amount of misgivings towards this mysterious organization.
Did their goals solely lay in facilitating trade between the Sentinel Kingdom and the Nyxian Gap?

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