(BM) "So gold coins are universal here and silver coins are community specific?"
(YF) "That's correct. Now the value for each of the silver coin are different. The stronger your community, the higher value your coin, the more respect we get, the more benefits we receive. Since we are the third highest ranking community we have the third highest value silver coin. All silver coins are worth less than the gold coins though. One common weapon blueprint can be sold for about ten-ish of our coins. something a little more uncommon like a booby trap can be sold for a few hundred of our coins. That basic sea mine that you sold to Madam Zheng could go upwards of 5,000 coins. It's just about finding the right buyer."
(BM) "What kind of blueprint would be the most expensive?"
(XD) "Something like that hasn't been passed through here yet, but I would say the more modern the weapon then the expensive it would be. I believe the most expensive blueprint that has ever been purchased was by someone from another community, i'm not sure which. This blueprint was a top secret purchase the only thing we know is that it was purchased for over 100,000 gold coins. For reference that would be around close to 500,000 of our Chinese silver coins."
(BM) "Wow, so how much silver coins do you all have?"
(YF) "I've got about 5,000. Since i'm an elder I get paid a few hundred every year, this is already fairly good."
(XD) "I've got about 600."
(BM) "Well i've got nothing so lets go sell some blueprints."
Baron divided his 200 odd blueprints into 3 groups. One group would not be sold, therefore decreasing suspicion and prying eyes. The other two groups were to be given to Yue Fei, and Xu Da/ Ban Chao with Yue Fei getting most of the blueprints. Since these three already had connections with the auction house in the Chinese community Baron decided to stay out of it and just watch from the side lines.
The way the auction worked was there was a huge hall and a bunch of blueprints would lying on raised platforms all of them with a description card. On the description card there was the seller's info, the blueprint's name, date until the bidding ends, the starting bid amount, and a long list of blanks. Just waiting for people to fill it in with their name and their bid amount.
After the bidding time ends, the auction house would deliver the blueprint to the winner and receive the payment. Of which the auction house takes about 10% of the amount the blueprint sold for, the commission rate that the auction house varies from person to person. If the seller is an elder the auction house will take 8%, if they are one of the top 20 elders it's 6%, and if it was one of the two current great elders then they would only take 3%. Frequent sellers can lower their percentage too.
Yue Fei was an elder but hadn't done much selling so the auction house would take 8%. With this in mind, Baron gave Yue Fei the most and the best blueprints he had drawn up. The other two were considered regulars and they also hadn't done much in the auction section. So these two were selling blueprints that were of lower quality than the ones Yue Fei had received. Baron had planned everything to maximize their profit and to increase the reputation of his 3 allies. While also keeping himself out of selling due to him wanting to keep a low profile.
He wasn't laying low for fear of being suppressed, no no no. He wanted to push all three of his first allies into top 20 elder's position. That way once he actually did reveal himself he would already have the backing of three of the top 20 elder's positions. Not many people in the Chinese community would ever dare to offend such a big name, much less 3.
Baron first tagged along with Yue Fei to see how the auction works firsthand. Baron had given Yue Fei a total of 40 blueprints, there were 20ish common weapon blueprints, 10ish uncommon weapon blueprints, and only 3 that were considered a very uncommon blueprint. Yue Fei spoke with the auction representative with courtesy and respect, once the formalities were set aside the two began to talk business. In the end, Yue Fei's blueprints had an accumulated starting bid of 2,000 silver coins. This amount may not be much, but as soon as people start bidding, the more money will be made.
Xu Da and Ban Chao went together with Baron and they did the same things as Yue Fei had done with the auction representative. However, it was evident that this representative did not give very much face to this group because they did not have the same standing as Yue Fei had had. Baron and his group were still courteous, but the representative only gave them cold replies. By the end of their meeting with the representative they had an accumulated starting bid of 1,300 silver coins. This was because this group was selling the lower tier blueprints.
All in all, with the combined total of selling about 110 blueprints they had an accumulated total of 3,300 silver chinese coins for a start. Now all they had to do was to wait for the end of the bidding and collect their earnings. During the meantime the four of them went off to take care of their own businesses. They had decided to have their blueprints be up for bidding for 1 week, and after that time passed Baron once again went in separately with the two groups.
Unbeknownst to any of them, one of the very uncommon blueprints that was up for bid stirred up quite a commotion in the community. This was because the blueprint that was being sold was one detailing the schematics of the Mongolian longbow. This was prized as many to be one of the best bows that human hands have ever crafted, and naturally many people wanted it for their own gain. This one blueprint had raked in an amazing 500 silver coins after taking out commission, it was bought by one of the elders. The starting bid was 100 silver coins and quite a few elders were fighting over it so that made the bids go higher and higher until it reached 500. This was a rare occurrence.
Putting everything together, Baron's group had received slightly over 6,000 silver coins and to them it was more than enough, at least for now. With their newfound wealth, they decided to buy a sort of headquarters for themselves. Buying a place of your own was a sort of status symbol on planet 4, most people decided that the community provided lodgings were sufficient since buying one was quite expensive. Madam Zheng and her group took a few decades to amass enough wealth to buy their own headquarters, yet Baron's group had managed to do it in a much shorter period of time.
With this new headquarters they would be able to do whatever they wanted out of the sight of others. They had complete freedom here, they could devise their plans, and do their training here instead of at the community where there were countless people. This hq they bought had cost them 2,500 silver coins and they had to pay a further 500 silver coins each year. The initial cost was enough to deter most people from buying their own never mind the 500 coin payment every year. Most people just didn't have the capital to do it. That's why most people just joined an existing faction and went to live in their hq, or even barracks if the faction was rich enough to afford it.
The auction had successfully fulfilled two of Baron's wishes. One was to temporarily gather enough resources, and the second was to increase the fame and prestige that his three allies received. Yue Fei had even been promoted a few ranks higher in the elder rankings. While the other two was even more well known than they were before. It should be known that most people wouldn't sell their blueprints because that could potentially give someone an edge over the others. Most people had this selfish mentality of only buying blueprints but never selling. Due to this reason there wasn't many blueprints being circulated within the people of the Chinese community.
With Yue Fei, Xu Da, and Ban Chao selling their over 100 blueprints at the same time, the auction hall was a little bit livelier than usual. In a typical week, only about 600 or 700 blueprints would be up for bidding. Having three people suddenly bring in over a hundred to sell was quite a shock to many to say the least.
This type of event would be brushed off by many as just a few people who valued money over blueprints, but there were a few who took notice and began investigating these three. Baron already knew this was going to happen so he had all four of them lay low by only having simulation matches with the other community members for a year.
Once a year had passed Baron knew that most spies wouldn't follow them anymore since they had nothing to report about. Within this year, Baron had teamed up with Yue Fei, Xu Da, and Ban Chao to have multiple simulations against others.
Baron and his allies still needed to lay low, so they couldn't be too outstanding in their battles. Instead what Baron had his team do was that everyone of them would spectate what each other do and give pointers to one another, and Baron knew better than anyone about the basics of warfare.
He drilled the basics again and again into Xu Da, and Ban Chao as these two needed more polishing than Yue Fei. Xu Da and Ban Chao may have more experience than Baron in war, however they were vastly inferior when it came to split second decisions. Over this year the four of them helped each other to grow and become better strategists. It was now time to move forward with the second phase of Baron's plan.
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