Lazer returned to the Art Gallery before heading to a carpet shop that was hidden even more. Although this shop differed from the one he had just visited in appearance, they were identical in nature. Intelligence trading is not an uncommon practice in markets and is particularly prevalent during throne wars. Anyone with royal family-related intelligence can reap profits from it. Likewise, they can disseminate false information to confuse others.
Lazer handed over a bag of gold coins. There were not many gold coins in it; he did not want to sabotage the market price. These coins were enough to make the shop owner talk.
“The Juan family has gathered enough money?” The shop owner used the abacus on a table as he flipped through his receipt book.
“Understood,” He scribbled down incomplete sentences such as “Juan” and “a carpet” on the receipt book and said, “It will be sent out this afternoon.”
The shop owner glanced at Lazer. “Want to buy another carpet? I mean a new, real one.”
“I will ask the family head about it,” nodded Lazer, getting ready to leave.
“Wait! Do not leave yet. We have the best dyes and weave designs in the city. Look at the patterns above you. See how we use the various colors and animals boldly? In addition to fashion, we pursue unique weaving styles and designs…” The shop owner walked to the display shelf and picked up a carpet to show Lazer excitedly. Upon seeing Lazer’s indifferent reaction, the shop owner put away the carpet and said resentfully, “I mean no harm, just that business has not been good lately.”
Lazer knew what the shop owner meant. If the throne war went on, the city would see chaos in its administrative affairs. People at the bottom, that is the commoners, would suffer the most in such a situation. However, even businessmen who had favorable relationships with royal families were not guaranteed to come out unscathed.
“Relax, if you do what I have told you to, the throne war will end more quickly,” he replied casually.
“Ah, I sure hope so. But I must say that Sir Jharif did the right thing. He voluntarily withdrew from the throne war and devoted himself to running businesses and establishing a good rapport with foreign businessmen, effectively alleviating the market turmoil.”
Lazer showed no reactions upon hearing this statement and shrugged disapprovingly.
“I heard that all of Jharif’s children died at a young age, and that his wife is seriously ill. It is only natural that he decides to waste no more time on this meaningless war.”
“I disagree. I think his vision has saved our kingdom’s commercial industry. The world is constantly changing, and rules have to be modified to adapt to such changes so that we have room to grow…” said the shop owner, sighing.
Lazer lowered his eyes and looked at the carpets on the floor, all of which had different designs and colors. He pulled out a small carpet embroidered with roses, gems, and gorgeous geometric patterns. The carpet was finely weaved and featured a bold, bright green background that resembled No. 3’s eyes.
“I will have this one.”
“Oh! Will the family head be paying for it?”
“No, I will.”
The shop owner, overjoyed by Lazer’s generosity, showed his gratitude and took the carpet from Lazer to wrap it up. “Thank you so much. Is there anything else you need, sir?”
“Tell me about how Sir Jharif has been spending his money. I want to know what he purchased or invested in,” said Lazer, showing emotions that were hard to decipher in his eyes.
“Are you interested in investment?”
“Of course, who isn’t?”
“I see. Well, recently, he seems to be particularly interested in importing goods, especially art and paintings from the Kingdom of the Sun as well as crafts from the East Alliance. I do not know where he got this art from, but it always come in large quantities. Just take a look at his merchant ships at the ports; they are almost like warships.”
“Art from the Kingdom of the Sun… Wouldn’t they be checked?”
“Who would dare do such a thing? Besides, despite us having a long-term, strained relationship with humans, many of us secretly admire the Kingdom of the Sun’s unique arts and crafts—the wars that you mentioned actually do not affect that many people.”
The shop owner’s remark made Lazer instinctively raise the corner of his lips in defense. If wars do not affect that many people, then what caused him to go through the things that he had to go through in his life? The so-called “wars do not affect that many people,” or in short, stability, was the result of the sacrifices made by soldiers like him.
“For a lizard demihuman with royal blood, he really is devoted,” said Lazer, trying not to look at the shop owner’s face and forcing him to come back to their original topic.
“Without a question, Sir Jharif is an expert in this area. Here is your carpet, sir. Thank you for shopping.”
Lazer grabbed the heavy carpet and felt that there was a hidden message for him to decipher, but could not put his finger on it.
If No. 3 was in fact correct with her assertion, Shaquille betrayed his buyer by keeping Diana alive instead of killing her. At the same time, he sent out a message to both the buyer and the Juan family for them to bid for her life.
Judging from the actions of each family, Lazer found Shaen of the Yamin family to be the most suspicious.
The Yamin family was slightly stronger than the Juan family but considerably weaker than other families such as Cecilia’s. Therefore, it made sense for Shaen to take out the weakest family, the Juan family.
Accordingly, the Juan couple sent out the message that they were gathering money to save Diana. However, instead of doing what they indicated in the message, they used this opportunity to reorganize their family finances. Because the kidnapper and his buyer did not know this, they reacted to the fake message. Judging from the conversations heard by No. 3, the buyer might have felt that he had his or her back against the wall and must act fast and pay more to end Diana’s life before the Juan family gathered the money
Nonetheless, the real question was: Why did Shaquille risk his life by starting a bidding war?
More importantly, who would benefit from all this?
Lazer gulped dejectedly. He might have guessed the answer.