He left the one holding a hollowed out golden bow to walk to a row of railings at the edge of the hall.
Behind them were thicker black pillars with even more precious items.
Garen walked a few steps and stopped beside some college students.
These students wore blue and black uniforms, three guys and four girls. They seemed to be having an aggressive discussion about the treasures.
"Antas’ Blue Wing, it symbolizes freedom, joy, happiness, and the yearning for the perfect paradise in the skies. It’s a mythical item from Antas, only nobles are allowed to craft it," A girl with a blue ponytail claimed. "It’s impossible to appear in a lowly merchant family."
"Normally that is true, but this is different. Look here, that’s the famous Asha Mark from the famous Asha Business Alliance. You can also tell from the details here, here, and there." A white haired boy retorted gently but firmly.
"I think Karen is right, this item can not be simply crafted during that period."
"Maybe someone secretly constructed it for their own collection? Like how some rich dudes like to go to parties all night."
The students each took their sides, splitting into two.
Garen scrutinized the item they were debating about.
It’s a sky blue statue of a single wing. It’s about one meter tall, two meters wide, and looked as if it’s soaring. The textures of the feathers were meticulously sculpted. It’s like a real eagle’s wing.
With a single glance, Garen could already tell it was made with an imitation style Old Man Gregor had talked about. He couldn’t go close to it, but there was a tiny section of the base that made him suspect its authenticity.
Subconsciously, he frowned slightly, his gaze stopping at the crack-like fissure on the base. It didn’t look like it cracked by itself, more like someone made it so and left an "S" shaped mark.
"You saw it?"
A white haired gentleman noticed where Garen fixed his eyes on. He was wearing a tuxedo and stood straight commandingly. He stopped by Garen and gave the Blue Wing and once-over.
"The mythical wing that symbolizes freedom and paradise, but it’s only a fake." The gentleman sighed.
"I was not so sure myself, I didn’t expect you to be so sharp, sir." Garen smiled humbly.
"No, you’re already pretty good." The old man shook his head, "How much do you know about the Antasan Civilization?"
"Not a lot, I’m afraid. I’ve only read a little here and there in some books." Garen picked out some information he knew about the civilization and listed it to the old man.
The gentleman became more interested as he listed on.
"That’s quite a bit that you knew. Tell me, from which class do you reckon this imitation was trying to imitate?"
"From the texture and the sculpting, I’d say it’s by small time merchants who wanted to add to their collection." Garen didn’t try to sugarcoat his thoughts.
"It can’t be. If it were for the collection of small time merchant, how would they dare to include the royal coat of arms?" The old man shook his head again.
"The royal coat of arms does not mean anything."
"You don’t understand how strict the law was then. Even using a noble’s family symbol callously could get you onto the guillotine, let alone the royal coat of arms." The old man said seriously.
"Then you do not understand the uniqueness of the situation. If I’m correct, this imitation was made during a time of special circumstances when Antas was already near its end, the power structure is failing, and the royals no longer has any real power over the commoners." Garen disagreed.
"From where did you infer its specific creation year? After all, this is a fake. How would you know the imitators wouldn’t just make it up as they go?"
"Obviously the wing looks like it’s about to take flight, almost all of the Blue Wings you can find look like that, but did you notice? This has a little hesitation and weight to it, right here…" Garen pointed at the root of the feathers. "Do you see the shape? This is a red hawk’s wing."
"Red hawk?" The old man had not noticed what the original models of Blue Wings are.
"Blue Wings, Royal Sculptors used to base it on the blue hawks that were bred in the palace. There are pretty much no blue hawks outside of the palace, so people can only base their imitation on the red hawk wings which are the most similar. Unfortunately they are still slightly different. Furthermore, only during that period would Picardian sculptors use red hawks to imitate royal objects." Garen shook his head.
"Very detailed observation, you surprised me with your knowledge. But you also left out one spot. The inscriptions on this item." The gentleman was still not convinced.
"There are three symbols on the inscription, signifying the three sculptors. And it just so happens that I know this one. This one belongs to the most famous Blue Wings Royal Sculptor Robert Niggen."
"That doesn’t mean anything, sir." Garen disagreed.
"What do you think?" The gentleman turned aside to a female student who listened to their conversation.
This was a girl wearing blue and black uniform with a white denim pants. She was so entranced by their conversation that she didn’t realize the gentleman was talking to her.
"I… I think both points were valid."
"Don’t be scared, child." The old man softened his voice, "I saw your gaze just now. Among all these people, only the three of us noticed the few weird points about this Blue Wing. Why don’t you share your thoughts on it?
Garen observed the girl from her side.
She looked about eighteen to nineteen, fair skin, silky shoulder-length dark hair. The way she stood highlighted her purity of heart. She had long lanky legs and rounded hips, as shown by the thinness of the material she was wearing.
"You’re too anxious." The old man shook his head, "Take a breath. From I can see, you’re a student from the Picardi Women’s College, isn’t it? You are already not bad if you can recognize that much, believe in yourself."
Garen and him were both staring at the girl, waiting for her to speak.
The girl shifted her weight in discomfort.
"Both of you have your points, but I think… this Blue Wing is by a Royal Sculptor during a peace period. If I remember correctly, the Royal family gifted slightly different Blue Wings to descendents who are going away to their territory…"
Before she could finish, she heard a soft clap from in front of her,
She looked up and saw the two agreed with her.
"You noticed something that we couldn’t." The old man smiled. "I can’t believe such knowledge came from a normal schoolgirl. Do tell me your name, child."
"My… my name is Ophany…" The girl hid her face with her hair in embarrassment, not knowing how to accept the praise.
"Ophany," The old man produced a black card from somewhere and gave it to her. "Take this, it’s my name card."
Ophany took the name card thoughtlessly, but there was nothing on the card aside from a big symbol of an eye.
"Keep it safe, when you’re in a pinch, this card will bring you luck." The old man told her mysteriously.
Garen looked at the old man for being cryptic.
Obviously he’s some sort of important person, seeing how his bodyguards spreaded out to look after him.
"Congratulation, miss Ophany, looks like this old sir isn’t just a normal expo-goer." He smiled at the girl.
Ophany blushed, not knowing what to say.
"What about you? Why do you act so mature? Teenagers should look like teenagers." The gentleman looked at Garen with admiration, "Your knowledge is on par with mine. I wouldn’t expect the younger generation to produce someone like you." Another black card. "For you."
Garen smiled looking at the gentleman’s card. He was about to say something.
"Who goes there!" Someone yelled outside the expo. "Alert!"
The voice was cut off.
The crowd in the expo started to make noise. People were worried, and those with bodyguards quickly surrounded themselves for maximum protection.
The gentleman was the same. Within seconds, seven bodyguards with different clothes surrounded him, and under his orders, kept Garen and the girl under their protection.
"Don’t move." The gentleman told Garen and Ophany calmly. They both nodded, looking slightly worried.
"Micah, go check out the situation, be careful." The old man told one of his bodyguards.
"Yes sir." The man with a tall nose nodded and left the protection circle, and slowly make his way to the entrance from the wall, his gun drawn.
Several other people were doing the same thing.
Garen faked his serious and worried face.
Looks like it’s going to start. He didn’t want to stand out so early, or else he’d have wasted his advantage being hidden in the crowd.
He checked out the situation through the gaps between the bodyguards.
The other students were ushered into a corner by a middle-aged man, looking either curious, fearful, or excited.
Several other middle-aged men looked grumpy. They drew their guns and gave out orders to their subordinate to maintain order in the hall with the cooperation of the staff.
The security captain also stood forward. He led his teams to calm the emotions of their guests, while sending a team outside in full caution.