drabble: auction

This is kinda the annual Rizal day tribute thing. I hope you like. ^^v

…………………………..

The sullen man sat at the back of the auction hall. His hair was white, fell to his shoulders, and was partly hidden under his top hat. He raised the dark spectacles over his eyes. HIs hands were perched over his cane, simple, hardwood, hiding a reliable but plain sword in its center, without any of the jewels that he peddled across the Asian isles.

He bided his time, as he had for years now, waiting for the perfect moment.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel for order. He grew alert.

He was here for a set of antiques. He would acquire them, then sell them at a higher to certain Spanish officials he knew were interested. However he also aimed to see the other lots, knowing people everywhere who wanted his attention, who wanted his goods.

The gavel sounded again. “Lot one.”

A small wooden box was brought out. The assistant stood in the middle of the stage, and opened the box.

The man gasped.

The velvet-lined box revealed a pair of shoes, dark leather, of Spanish design but not of Spanish make. Along with the shoes was a balisong — a retractable dagger, a weapon of his people, especially those hiding in the mountains.

He clenched his teeth underneath his frozen face, hiding rising memories.

There were bitter memories he kept down, for they reminded him of a naive young man, who failed to see what was before him, and another young man, whom he failed to listen to.

His friend was alive. Somewhere. Somewhere he would never know, and never admit.

The auctioneer spoke. “A pair of shoes, and a dagger, found by soldiers stationed at Laguna Bay. They remained unclaimed for a year. It is hoped that someone in this audience may be interested.”

The man’s eyes darted under the dark spectacles, watching the other men: dignitaries, people who worked for dignitaries, mayors who tried to hide their identities. He searched for interest. He found none.

His friend was an indio. Thus, an ignorant nobody. But he was a friend.

“The craftsmanship of the dagger is high, displaying the best of the native work, south of Manila. Knife collectors may find this a welcome addition.”

It was a dagger that had saved his life from a powerful reptile. It had a simple hilt but a strong hinge and tough steel.

He tightened his fist.

“We start the bid,” the auctioneer said, and gave an amount, higher than the man expected.

But the value could be spared from his capital.

No other patron raised a paddle. He gripped his own paddle tightly.

Would raising his own paddle reveal himself, his true plans, his true ideals, now different from the ones he held when his friend knew him? Would it reveal him for the traitor he was, just one in fancy clothes?

Was he right to do this? Or was his friend more in the right, than he would ever be?

But the other people were indifferent.

He gripped his cane with one hand. With the other he raised his paddle.

The auctioneer acknowledged.

“Going once?”

The others were already looking down at the lot catalogue again, anticipating the next lot.

“Going twice?”

The man let out as small a relieved sigh as he could manage, without gaining attention.

“Sold to the man with the spectacles.” The gavel sealed the purchase.

………………………………

The man claimed his auction purchases last. He kept his hands on the small velvet-lined box, as assistants handled the antiques and loaded them into carriages.

He opened the box, and quiet removed the balisong, placing it under his coat, into his trousers.

Where ibarra failed, Simoun will succeed.

He would create the ideal world his friend wanted, using the means he wanted.

By fire, by force.

He swore on the dagger.

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