Chapter 499 No Need to Be So Self-Defeating
Cleverly dodging them, Elise symbolically searched inside the room with Tom before turning around and leaving.
Following behind her, Tom reminded, “Ziggy’s found several pieces of special-quality jade these few days, Miss Sinclair. I imagine there’s not much left inside that’s good.”
“I see,” she replied flatly without showing too much of a reaction.
With that, she stepped out of the room and headed to where the second-grade rough stone was piled.
“Miss Sinclair,” Tom protested, growing anxious as he saw that, “you haven’t paid much attention these few days, so you might not know that the Carnegie Family’s higher-grade rough stone was selected from inside the room. Everything out here is waste rock. We’d best save time by returning inside.”
“Sure,” she answered off-handedly but she had no intentions of turning back. After surveying the display cases in the outer hall, she walked directly up to the person in charge of registration and rattled off a series of numbers, “10896 …11023.”
There were a total of five numbers, all above ten thousand.
Speechlessly, Tom watched on as he mused, Surely she doesn’t need to be so self-defeating, does she?
The rough stone at the venue was numbered according to the organizers’ preliminary review of them. The smaller the number was, the higher likelihood there was of the stone producing a jade; the larger the number was, the worse condition the stone was in. Since the stones numbering six thousand and below were in the inner hall, there was no doubt that everything Elise chose came from the outer hall.
By now, Tom was certain she knew nothing about stone gambling.
“We still have time, Miss Sinclair. Perhaps we still have the chance to look through the stones carefully,” he made a last-ditch attempt to convince her. “Even if we’re going to throw in the towel just like that, we could still choose stones from the inner hall—that way, we might not suffer so many losses in the end. Or perhaps a miracle might happen like it did in Landred City!”
With a smile, she patted his shoulder and comforted, “Hasn’t lady luck been by your side all along? You’re being too nervous. Calm down.”
In the past, Tom might have been bolstered by her confidence but now, he could only feel endless despair. “Miss Sinclair, please listen to me. There isn’t much left in the inner hall, but there’s still a chance someone missed something. It’s better than us trying to fill the quota by picking something from the waste heap.”
“Okay. You go pick; I’ll pay,” Elise answered him good-humoredly before shushing him with her index finger when she saw that he was about to say something else. “I respect your choices, Mr. Shaw, and I ask that you respect mine as well. When it comes to stone gambling, there’s no harm in buying a few more. Why are you so caught up in trying to convince me otherwise? Believe me, you’re only wasting the time you have left to choose your own stones if you continue to pester me. So, go do what you wish, but do not interfere with my choices.”
Once again, Elise’s imposing, majestic manner subdued him.
The thing was, she had the air of a natural winner, and he knew that even a loss at this time would not stop her from shining, for she was pure gold through and through.
So, Tom didn’t say anything else to her and only turned to instruct the registrar, “Please help Miss Sinclair register her choices.”
“Okay. Just to confirm, you both registered only one stone previously. Are you sure that on the last day of this auction event, you’d like to choose these many stones from the outer hall?”
Having heard quite a bit of gossip through the past few days, the registrar knew that Tom and the woman with him were the objects of Ziggy’s bet. Thus, the registrar deliberately raised his voice, emphasizing the words ‘outer hall’ and attracting quite a bit of attention.
“Look, she has goals in mind now!”
“F*ck! She’s bold. From the very beginning, she’s only chosen materials from the outer hall. Clearly, she wants to stand out against Ziggy!”
“Oh—please. I bet she’s creating a gimmick because she knows she’s going to lose. Maybe the organizers hired her to drum up attention!”
“Rough stones from the outer hall? Ha! Is that any different from directly admitting defeat?”
No one in the crowd believed in Tom and Elise.
Very quickly, the registration was done.
Lifting her head, Elise looked at Tom. “What about the ones you like? Go note down their serial numbers and have them registered alongside mine.”
“There’s only one I fancy, and even then I’m not certain about it…” he hesitated.
“If you think it fits, you should choose it. Don’t worry about it. I’m paying.” She had always been magnanimous to her friends.
At this moment, Tom didn’t know what to say.
Inwardly, he sighed.
Initially, he had thought he could ask her to help him assess the stone once she arrived, but based on today’s scene, she was merely choosing at random, so how could he rely on her?
“I understand—” he told her sincerely. “—but I still have time. I think I’ll look through the stones once more.”
Making no comment, Elise simply nodded to indicate her approval. Thus, girding his loins, Tom went back into the inner hall.
Just like that, Elise was left alone to her boredom. Since there wasn’t much time left before the halls would close for the morning, she retreated to the rest area for some drinks, intending to leave with Tom later.
It didn’t take more than a few minutes for Ziggy to appear with Tina by his side.
He reached out to snag two glasses of champagne from a passing waiter before approaching Elise with an expression that suggested he already knew he would win.
A glass of champagne in each hand, he asked lightly, “You seem to have some free time on your hands, Miss Sinclair. Will you humor me by having this glass of champagne with me?” With that, he passed the drink to her while lecherously eyeing her delicate neck at the same time.
In response, Elise lowered her head to glance down at the champagne before turning away with not much of a change in expression. Without reaching for the glass, she told him flatly, “Get lost.”
The smile on his face instantly disappeared, only to be replaced with annoyance. “You’re not above me, you b*tch! Do you think you’ll be able to escape my grasp once the results of breaking open the stones are announced this afternoon? Very soon, you’ll know what it feels like to be in the depths of hell!”
“And?” she sneered. “Have I already lost? You don’t know yet who will get the last laugh.”
“I have four pieces of jade in hand and no doubt that at least half of my selections that haven’t been broken open yet will contain jade. You rooted through the outer hall for a pile of trash that nobody wants. How could you possibly compare to me?” Ziggy scoffed disdainfully.
Knowing it would be meaningless to argue with him since someone like him would not admit defeat until he was at the end of his tether, Elise ignored him.
Meanwhile, noting her lack of response, the previously timid Tina finally stood up for her. “It’s a gentleman’s virtue to respect women, Mr. Carnegie. It reflects badly on the Carnegie Family for you as a man to pester a woman like that, not to mention that such a bet is meaningless, anyway. I think—”
“Shut your godsd*mn mouth!” he snapped impatiently at her with a look of contempt and disgust. “Your job here is to pick out the jadeite. You needn’t interfere with anything else and you’d best remember your place!”
Thus being reduced to worthlessness, Tina paled in mortification.