Chapter 703 - Hoarding!
Competition in the potion market was fierce. Everyone was undercutting their competitors in order to seize more market share, so profit margins were low. Even the Starry Night Potion Shop had no choice but to keep their prices low to attract customers. Major guilds were the largest consumer group. They often bought in bulk to save on expenditures. Even if they made insultingly low offers, the ordinary potion shops would still gladly oblige, for fear of losing out on a big order; it didn’t matter how meager the profits were. Some shops wouldn’t even mind losing money on one order if it meant securing a long time customer. From this, one could imagine how intense the competition was.
The small potions shops couldn’t compare to the Starry Night Potion Shop. They sold inferior goods and only survived by offering the lowest prices. This left their Alchemists in sore straits, often working 10+ hours a day for a meagre pay.
Most large guilds also had their own inhouse Alchemists. However, the production output was far from enough to meet the guild's demand. In this sense, the Starry Night Potion Shop was unique. No other guild had developed their alchemy department to such a scale. For the Alchemists of guilds like Angel Corps, God Executioner Sword, and Penumbra Empire to even meet 30% of the guild’s demand was already above the norm, let alone sell off their surplus for a profit. They still supplemented their needs by purchasing potions from outside.
Asskickers United had a total of 160,000 Alchemists, all of whom were elites that commanded high salaries. There were several million Alchemists across the Viridian and Satreen Empires. About 100,000 of them were skilled enough to join the Starry Night Potion Shop. Nie Yan’s target was these Intermediate and Advanced Alchemists. As for the low rank Alchemists, even though he would still accept a few promising talents, assimilating all several million would be a fool’s errand.
Nie Yan’s main focus were the Intermediate and Advanced potion market. There were simply too many low level potions. You could find them selling everywhere in stalls on the streets. Cornering this section of the market wouldn’t result in much profit anyway. Intermediate and Advanced potions sold for five gold at the cheapest and up to several hundred gold at the highest. Meanwhile, low level potions normally sold for one or two silver, with the lowest going as low as 50 copper. The added value was hardly worth it. It wasn’t realistic to focus on this. As long as he could pull the Intermediate and Advanced Alchemists to his side, he could control this market. As for those low ranking Alchemists, when they reached Intermediate or Advanced rank, with the Starry Night Potion Shop advertising high salaries, he refused to believe they wouldn’t be moved.
With all things considered, this market had boundless prospects.
At Nie Yan and Guo Huai’s command, Asskickers United started buying up all the Intermediate and Advanced-rank medicinal plants in the market. Low level medicinal plants generally weren’t put up for sale because you wouldn’t even make back the listing fee.
Nie Yan ran some calculations. If he wanted to buy up 50% of all the Intermediate and Advanced medicinal plants in the market on the same day, he would have to spend about 6,000,000 gold. Players consumed a lot of potions daily. As he depleted the market of medicinal plants, the previous reserves of potions would slowly run out. In another five or six days, it would start affecting the prices of medicinal plants.
The more gold Nie Yan poured in, the greater the effect on the prices of medicinal plants.
Ever since Nie Yan started raising funds, apart from Asskickers United, Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, the War God Tribe, Radiant Sacred Flame, and Battle Crazed Alliance chipped in as well. Nie Yan added everything up. Holy Empire had raised 2,200,000 gold; Sapphire Shrine 2,000,000 gold; the War God Tribe 2,800,000 gold; Radiant Sacred Flame 2,000,000 gold; Battle Crazed Alliance 1,900,000 gold; and Asskickers United and its five branch guilds 6,500,000 gold. Like this, they had over 20,000,000 gold, a number that was still rapidly rising.
Nie Yan updated the guild treasury. For a limited time, every gold contributed would net you 50% additional merit points. In an instant, the number of players contributing gold skyrocketed. Within the short span of a day, an extra 1,200,000 gold had been raised. Of course, this came at the cost of roughly 10% of the equipment in the entire treasury.
Such large movements from Asskickers United naturally attracted the attention of the Monet Financial Group.
God Executioner Sword guild headquarters.
Qin Han was anxiously awaiting word from Necromancer Vorderman. His skeleton army was currently on standby, only occasionally harassing the strongholds of Asskickers United. He didn’t dare to go forward before Vorderman returned.
“Boss! Asskickers United has been amassing capital non-stop. So far, they’ve raised at least 20,000,000 gold,” Matchless Divine Sword said, his voice brimming with shock. A guild’s ability to raise gold was directly related to the solidarity of its members. Most guilds burned through their funds very quickly. Every day they had to pay out an enormous sum to their players just to keep everything running smoothly. However, to get gold out of these players was as difficult as ascending the heavens. With God Executioner Sword’s might, it would already be impressive if they could borrow 1,000,000 gold from their players. Yet Asskickers United had somehow raised 20,000,000! He couldn’t wrap his head around it.
Qin Han knitted his brows. “What’s Asskickers United up to? Why are they amassing all this gold?”
“We still haven’t figured that out yet. None of our moles know where this gold is going,” Matchless Divine Sword said.
With so many transactions happening every day, anomalies in the market were incredibly difficult to detect, especially since Nie Yan had spread his operations so far. His agents were buying up medicinal plants at the same time in every city. Under these circumstances, Matchless Divine Sword would have no way of telling where the gold was going.
“Monitor the situation closely,” Qin Han said in a heavy tone. Nie Yan was undoubtedly planning something big. Why else would he amass so much gold?
“Understood!” Matchless Divine Sword said. He dispatched an extra unit to investigate where Nie Yan was spending the gold.
Thunderfire City’s auction house, an ordinary-looking player in craftsman robes walked inside. He pulled open the auction house’s medicinal plants section, then started buying everything below a certain price range. Before long, he spent all of the 80,000 gold Guo Huai had entrusted to him. After which, he quietly disappeared into the crowd.
Several players had dumped their hauls into the auction house. Seeing everything being sold so quickly and the gold falling into their pockets, they were full of smiles.
“Business is pretty good today. I’ve sold all three stacks of medicinal plants for 20 gold.”
“Nice. Me too.”
“I’ll bring out my remaining stock and dump it tomorrow too.”
As for some Alchemists in another corner of the auction house, they originally came here to buy medicinal plants to craft potions with. However, after discovering there were no medicinal plants for sale at a suitable price, they all left one after another. They were in no rush to buy, since their stocks could last them for a few more days.
A similar scene played out in the auction houses of every city. However, since the movements were fairly small, it didn’t attract the attention of players.
Two days, three days, four days, five days, the same situation continued. Even though some players had noticed on the initial few days that something was up, they didn’t really pay it much attention. By the time the fifth day arrived, the shortage of medicinal plants was becoming clear. The sellers started raising their prices. Most of the Alchemists decided to wait for the prices to drop back down, lest they failed to make a profit due to high material costs. An odd few helplessly bought the price-inflated medicinal plants since their shops were running low on stock. If they didn’t craft new potions, they would go bankrupt.
Many people believed the price of medicinal plants would eventually go back down. Market demand simply wasn’t that large. However, the era of low rank medicinal plants was already long over. The price of Intermediate and Advanced medicinal plant increased by at least 50%, with some of the scarcer ones shooting up in price severalfold.
Nie Yan returned to the Starry Night Potion Shop. For the sake of storing the medicinal plants, he had reserved a large warehouse only he had access to.
The medicinal plants here were Nie Yan’s life. If a problem occurred, Asskickers United would be done for. He couldn’t help but take certain precautions.
Nie Yan opened up the warehouse window and was greeted by a massive storage space. Each page had 5,000 slots. The medicinal plants were all stored here. They were neatly sorted and organized. Every page was filled to the brim. There were even tens of thousands of stacks of some medicinal plants while only five or six thousand stacks for others. One stack was 20 medicinal plants.
Nie Yan checked the number of pages. There were 600 pages altogether.
Currently, he had already gobbled up 60% of the medicinal plants in the market!
All the Alchemists in Asskickers United were hard at work. After receiving the medicinal plants, they started focusing all their efforts on mass-producing potions. Every single day a frightening number of potions was transported to the various branches of the Starry Night Potion Shop.
The prices in the Starry Night Potion Shop had all shot up by at least 50%. Some rarer potions even had their prices increase severalfold. However, this kind of price hike simply matched the price of the material costs in the market.
“Guo Huai, how much capital do we have left?” Nie Yan asked.
“6,000,000. We’re running low.” Guo Huai sighed. They had really spent money like prodigal sons over these past few days. Over 30,000,000 gold was gone just like that. Even if you had the money, was this the way to spend it?
“No worries, the price of medicinal plants has already snowballed. Even if we stop buying, the prices will continue to rise.” Nie Yan chuckled.
Guo Huai pondered for a moment before understanding what Nie Yan meant. Them purchasing medicinal plants to influence the market’s future made sense. Just eating up 10% of the medicinal plants could affect the price, let alone 60%. The shortage in medicinal plants was bound to make prices skyrocket.