Before participating in the auction, Bella had prepared two rings that looked exactly like Oksanna’s ring.
To switch them secretly, she took out a black leather pouch from her cape, and as she did, there was a faint clinking sound. It was the sound of the two rings she had prepared clinking together inside the pouch.
She was nervous that someone suspicious might hear the sound from outside the room, but fortunately, it didn’t seem to reach beyond the door.
Bella took one of the fake rings from the pouch and replaced it with the real one that Sir Roim was holding in the box. She then put the pouch back inside her cape where it originally was.
Finally, she placed the real ring, stored in a pendant that could hold small items, and handed it to Sir Roim.
[Sir. Keep this safe.]
[What is this, Madam?]
[Listen to me for now since it’s urgent.]
Attach this to your uniform, Sir Roim.
There were few people who knew the value of this Oksanna ring.
The second prince and the archduke participated in the auction to win this ring, and they were well aware that they were competing for it.
I don’t know exactly what problem caused it, but later on, their relationship became so bad that they were in conflict over this ring. So it must have been related to the royal family.
[The fifth item has been awarded to Guest 101!!]
They must have been surprised to find out that someone else besides them was aiming for this ring.
They thought only three of them would be competing for it, but they didn’t know that someone else would intervene.
At first, when four people were continuously raising the price for what seemed like an insignificant item, it made them wonder if there might be a hidden treasure. They decided to join in, but in the end, they stopped as the price kept skyrocketing and they were outbid.
When the price rose busily up to 2000 crowns, I called out 5000 crowns at once, which was more than enough. Three people stopped the auction.
They didn’t give up, but were aiming for the next opportunity.
They must have decided that it would be easier to attack me, who they judged to be the weakest of the four competitors on the surface, and take the Oksanna’s ring by force at that time when I won the bid, rather than continuing the price competition.
I prepared two fake rings because I thought the Grand Duke and the Second Prince would aim for me if I won the bid for Oksanna’s ring.
‘Three people. I should have prepared one more as a spare.’
I was anxious all through the auction because there was one more person besides the Grand Duke and the Second Prince, but fortunately, one of them fought with the other over the fake ring, and the mage took the remaining one.
I felt really lucky when the suspicious person on the roof caught the box.
My expression must have been strange, but the first man to attack didn’t seem to notice, as he was too busy chasing after the man who had snatched it.
‘I was lucky.’
I was really surprised when the mage appeared unexpectedly at the end, and I even felt fear when my body was lifted into the air.
Magic was rare. Those who could use magic were so precious that they were managed by the mage’s tower.
Before the regression, it was the Grand Duke and the Second Prince who fought long and hard over that ring.
“I didn’t realize the Magic Tower was involved.”
During their long fight over Oksanna’s ring, news came that the ring disappeared without a sound.
It was said that the Grand Duke and the Second Prince had searched every corner of the Empire for it with all their might, especially the Grand Duke.
But despite their efforts, they could not find it, and the theft of Oksanna’s ring remained an unsolved case.
At that time, was the culprit of the ring theft incident also a member of the wizard’s tower?
If so, it made sense that the wizard appeared and took it from me.
When it was revealed that I was the one who won the bid for Oksanna’s ring, I would be involved with really difficult people from the Grand Duke to the Second Prince and even the Magic Tower. It was dangerous, but it seemed like I did a really good job with just one escort.
I deliberately didn’t mention Sir Roim’s name and changed the carriage twice to avoid revealing my identity.
If I had listened to my butler’s words, and advertised myself as the Duchess everywhere, I would almost get into trouble before starting a new life.
“I’m sorry, Your Highness.”
“Don’t you hear me telling you to explain?!”
“That…the Grand Duke’s man caught the box. I chased him, but I was alone.”
“Where did the others leave that you had to chase him alone? Don’t you know why I made you into teams?”
“I’m sorry. That. The madam set a condition that I should be left alone instead so she can hand over the goods. She said she felt threatened by having only one escort knight while there were three of us.”
“So. Did you listen to that woman’s condition? Even though you listened, you couldn’t get that ring?”
“And…and it was taken away by the Grand Duke?!”
“The Grand Duke!!”
The prince paced back and forth before throwing a vase on the desk.
In the face of the vase shattering into pieces on the floor, they could only bow their heads without moving.
“You useless things. Get out of my sight right now!!!”
“This ring is fake.”
“If that’s the case…”
The Grand Duke passionately clenched his fist, holding the fake Oksanna’s ring.
He spoke without any expression, but the powdered sapphire gemstone that fell apart represented the Grand Duke’s unpleasant feelings instead.
“Is this the Second Prince’s doing?”
“Follow the Second Prince. And find the Oksanna’s ring.”
“This is your last chance, Ferran.”
“I will remember.”
The clear orange eyes shone ominously, gazing at the palace beyond the window.
In the Grand Duke’s eyes, there seemed to be a hint of dark hatred.
In a dark room without a single ray of light, a man kneeling with his forehead on the floor apologized.
The atmosphere was undoubtedly good until he received the leather bag that he had proudly presented, but his body trembled in the heavy and chilly atmosphere as soon as he checked the contents.
“Do you think this looks real to you?”
The man sitting in the big chair tossed the bag in front of the kneeling man.
The ring bounced out of the bag and rolled around before slowly tilting and falling over.
It was a fake Oksanna’s ring that Bella had prepared.
“Look at it with your own eyes.”
“Does it look real?”
“I’m sorry, Grogen.”
The man called Grogen got up from his seat and approached the man who was kneeling with his head down.
“I sent you out, risking to expose the fact that I am after that ring, but not only did you reveal your identity, the ring that you obtained is also fake.”
“You ruined everything we’ve been secretly investigating so that the organization wouldn’t find out…And you mess it all up?!”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Grogen! Ah–”
When Grogen clenched his fist towards the man, the man suddenly grabbed his throat and writhed in pain.
“Kk– Please forgive me!! Grogen!! Ahh–! I was wrong! Forgive me. Forgive me…!”
“How dare you ask for forgiveness? Now everyone will know about us. Not only the Grand Duke and the Prince-!”
“No-no! Kk– No, it’s not true. Grogen!”
When Grogen released his fist that was aimed at the man, the man desperately spoke while coughing.
“Cough– Only the woman and her guard who saw me use magic received that, cough– that item.”
“The Grand Duke and the Prince’s people didn’t see anything, cough– Ha–”
“…Tell me everything from the beginning in detail.”
Grogen returned to his seat and looked down at the trembling man coldly, and the man quickly caught his breath and explained as if he had been given a chance.
“The woman who won the ring went into a room with the ring and as soon as she received the box, she took out a bag from her clothes and swapped the ring.”
“So I disguised myself as an employee and escorted her. After receiving two silver coins, I wore a robe and followed her.”
“…Wait. You received two silver coins?”
“Yes. The woman gave them to me.”
“So, what did you do?”
“What? I just put them in my pocket and pretended to be grateful. It’s clear that she’s not someone who just visits once or twice, given that she even gives tips. She’ll definitely come back to the auction house next time. Then we’ll catch her–”
“This useless guy…!!”
“To Grogen… Right?”
Grogen got up from his seat again and started to get angry.
This stupid guy–!
“What did I do wrong–”
“Do you know what you just did? Silver coins are the money you receive when you enter the auction house and entrust your belongings to them!”
“It’s the item given as a guarantee of your identity, meaning the silver coins given by the auction house as a guarantee. When you leave the auction house, giving two silver coins means asking for your belongings back. You damn–!”
“Yes?! But that woman didn’t react at all…”
“That woman was convinced that you were not an auction house employee!! She’s a cunning woman who was already prepared to swap the fake ring, and now that a suspicious person like you guided her, she’ll never come back to that auction house again!”
The man’s face turned pale.
“Don’t you still want to live after making things this bad?”
“G-Grogen, please forgive me…”
With a dull sound, the man fell to the side.
As he was called out Katan roughly and sat down on the chair, someone appeared in the air.
“Find the item that woman entrusted to the auction house. Find it and bring it to me.”
The man called Katan answered and immediately disappeared into the air.
I wonder what that thing was…
Oksanna’s ring was not just an ordinary ring with sapphires.
“It was here somewhere.”
As she fiddled with the middle part of the sapphire, she found a place where the corner end was caught and pulled a little harder.
The sapphire split horizontally, and the top part of the jewel opened like a lid.
And on the lower surface of the jewel attached to the ring, a pattern depicting a dragon breathing fire was engraved.
“This is the seal.”
This was the real value hidden in Oksanna’s ring.
It was the seal of the defunct House of Peresia.