Disclaimer: Please see first chapter.
Translator's note: Sorry for the wait, I forgot to post the update last week lol. And I haven't even started to translate the fourth chapter...oops. I'll hurry, really! But each chapter is getting longer and longer ;
Thank you reviewers and followers! Even though this is a bunch of spoilers, I'm sure you will be just as excited to see the movie when it comes out. The novel doesn't contain many details at all, so it will be a totally different experience and much more fun I think.
On to the second chapter!
New York, America.
Even amongst Manhattan, a city bristling with super high-rise buildings, there stood out an exceptionally tall skyscraper - the One World Trade Center. Within this tower the press and bidders were gathered together excitedly at the site of an auction.
"Continuing on, we now bring you one of today's most eye-catching pieces!"
The sound of the auctioneer's hammer rang out through the hall.
"Thought to have been lost. The internationally renowned masterpiece. A true treasure of mankind - We bring you Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers!"
With a wave of the auctioneer's hand, the spotlight flicked on to the wall. The curtains covering the masterpiece were drawn. As the Sunflowers was revealed, commotion swept through the bidders and press alike.
"What, the Sunflowers!?"
"Well, it's true that one of the Sunflowers was thought to have been burned during the war…"
The flash of the reporter's cameras were intense from edges of where the animated bidders sat.
"Everyone please quite down! We will now have a detailed explanation of the painting." Once the audience was silenced, the auctioneer turned to the Van Gogh specialist. The specialist nodded and cleared his throat, bringing himself closer to the microphone.
"It is said that when Van Gogh lived in Arles, he painted seven different 'Sunflowers.'"
The woman sitting next to the specialist used her computer to bring up a picture of six of the seven Sunflowers in the chronological order they were painted in. Most of the Sunflowers were similar in that they merely depicted sunflowers sitting in a vase. They varied in that there were either three, twelve, or fifteen sunflowers in each vase with differing background colors ranging from blues, greens, and yellows.
On the projected screen a new Sunflowers appeared between the first and the third painting. In this picture there were three sunflowers sitting in a vase, and two more having fallen to the ground. A close-up of the painting was brought up.
"The Sunflowers up for auction now is known as the second of Van Goh's Sunflowers series. This particular Sunflowers was said to have been destroyed by the flames of war in Ashiya, Japan. However, a painting with the same layout was re-discovered in Arles last year. While it has yet to be confirmed whether this painting was a new work or a replica, it is for certain that it was painted by Vincent Van Gogh."
There was a stir in the crowd at the specialist's explanation. English, Chinese, Arabian, and every other language of the world could be heard throughout the hall. Some were taking out their phones, others were typing quickly on their computers.
In the midst of where the reporters were standing, a young man wearing a "PRESS" armband was kneeling with one knee on the ground.
The man glanced up; a familiar eye peeked through from under his hat that was pulled low down on his head.
"Now, everyone, it's time to infuse new life into this Sunflower. We bring you the Phantom Painting, Vincent Van Goh's 'Second Sunflower'!" The auctioneer spread out his arms wide and all at once the bidders picked up their paddles.
"Let's start the bid from 10 million dollars! (about 1 billion yen). Those who would like to purchase this, please raise your paddles!"
Meanwhile, in downtown New York at an intersection known as "Times Square," a large number of people were watching auction displayed on a giant monitor in a hub of bright neon signs.
On the monitor, the bidders were raising their paddles one after another continually increasing the base price.
"Are you kidding me? They're starting from $10 million!?"
"Check it out, they're raising the price in intervals of $100,000s."
"Man, if I had that kind of money I'd go on a trip to space."
The people gathered in front of the monitor watched with wide eyes at the exorbitant amount of money being offered at the broadcasted auction.
"We got $16 million over here! $17 million! I hear $18 million-"the auctioneer announced from his platform as the bidders continued to raise their paddles. Then, "Ah, just a moment please," he looked to the side at a staff member who was receiving bids by the phone and internet.
"Just now we've got a bid for $20 million by phone, and $25 million by net!"
Just then, a white man wearing numerous luxurious rings on his fingers raise his left hand, "$50 million!" he shouted. His flustered assistant sitting next to him quickly raised the paddle. The sudden increase had the other bidders in the room turning around to look at him.
"Hey, it's that guy."
"Oh yeah, that guy who's buying all the famous works he can get his hands on."
"Go figure, right?"
"I guess it's decided who's going to get the painting."
For a moment there were no more rising paddles. The white man looked rather satisfied with himself as he listened to the people murmur around him. Right at that moment, however, a voice shouted out from the back of the hall.
With this giant leap in price, all the bidders –including the white man- spun around. Sitting in the very last row wearing a black crested kimono sat an elderly Japanese gentleman. The man was the Suzuki Financial Group Consultant, Suzuki Jirokichi.
"Did you not hear me? 100 million! 100 million dollars I tell you!"
Sitting next to him was Suzuki Sonoko. She raised their paddle numbered '705' while chuckling nervously to herself.
"A-and now suddenly we have a bid for 100 million dollars!"
Stir started amongst the audience as the press turned their cameras back toward Jirokichi. The young man mixed in with the press from before grinned.
"$110 million- anyone for 110 million dollars!?" At the sound of the auctioneer's voice, paddles began to raise again.
The white man who had made a bid of 50 million dollars glared at Jirokichi. As the bid was rising from 153 million to 154 million dollars, his assistant sitting next to him asked, "What should we do?"
"Oh well. We might as well start this battle from 200 million then."
"…Yes, sir." But right at that moment-
"$200 million!" Jirokichi's voice once again rang out.
"Huh?" Surprised, Sonoko quickly raised their paddle.
The auctioneer stared.
"Um…if I'm not mistaken Number 705 would like to bid $200 million…" as he said this, the auctioneer typed '705' into the panel in front of him and pressed the enter key. Upon seeing Jirokichi's data, the auctioneer's expression changed. So he's the famous Mister Suzuki…!
Because of the sudden leap in price, the staff member dealing with phone and online bids had difficulty keeping up.
"Due to the abrupt increase, the phone and internet bidders are unable to keep up. Please wait a short moment."
The other bidders in the auction hall continued to stare at Jirokichi and Sonoko without saying anything. Even though hugely wealthy people from around the world had gathered, none of them could so easily put up that kind of money.
Sonoko looked nervously around at the other bidders, "Hey, Uncle, everyone's dropping out already. Shouldn't we try to draw it out and enjoy the auction a little more…?" She whispered to Jirokichi.
"Nonsense. I am a master at managing my shopping time."
"You call this shopping…?" She tried to smile out of consideration for those around them.
Suddenly Jirokichi stood up, "Come on, there's no need to wait for the internet!"
Again at the sound of his voice, all the other bidders turned to look at him. The glasses of the surprised auctioneer began to slide off his face.
The young man mixed in with the reporters continued to grin. He let out a small laugh and quietly stood up to leave his spot.
"Eh?" Sonoko squeaked at her smirking uncle's declaration.
"I said, 300 million dollars!"
Immediately the auctioneer struck his hammer three times.
"Hammer Price! Hammer Price! This product is sold at 300 million dollars!"
"Whoa…!" came cries throughout the hall as the cameras of the newsmen and women flashed furiously from the sidelines.
"For an unprecedented, enormously high price, Mister Suzuki is the successful bidder. Everyone, please give a round of applause!" announced the auctioneer.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha!" Jirokichi laughed loudly. He smugly folded his arms at the resounding applause.