Vol. 1: chapter ten – auction house (part 1)

During their journey to the auction house, Li Xinwen could barely contain his excitement. He was smiling from ear to ear the entire time, from the moment they left the hospital until they reached the nearby city called HengShui, where the auction house was located. When Xue Rui announced they had arrived, Li Xinwen quickly got out of the car to look at the auction house.

But when he saw it, he turned despondent. He was expecting a majestic building similar to the pagodas in Long Xing. It was a total let down. He was expecting a more stately structure to say the least. Unfortunately, a small, modest and modern 2-story building was what greeted him. The building was white and had modern, clean lines. The only indication that it was an auction house was the brass lettering mounted on the front wall of the building, spelling out the establishment’s name. “Rui-ge, this is the auction house?” Li Xinwen asked.

“En, yeah. You sound disappointed, Xinwen. What happened to all your excitement from before?” Xue Rui teased. “Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the building. It’s bigger than it looks,” he continued, at the same time placing his arms around Li Xinwen’s shoulder. “Shall we go inside?” Xue Rui smiled at Li Xinwen as he threw his key to the waiting auction staff so they could park it in the designated area.

Li Xinwen let Xue Rui lead him into the building. As soon as they stepped inside, someone was already waiting for them. It reminded him very much of the situation at the restaurant earlier. ‘This kind of reception… Just how high is his social status? Is he like those first-rate families in Long Xing?’ Li Xinwen couldn’t help but glance at Xue Rui in wonder.

“Xinwen… Ah‘Wen… What’s wrong?” Xue Rui noticed that Li Xinwen was staring at him and he couldn’t help asking. He wondered if it was because Li Xinwen was slowly becoming conscious of him or if Li Xinwen was slowly falling for him. ‘I truly hope it’s the latter…’

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“Nothing, Rui-ge, it seems that you have a lot of… connections,” Li Xinwen answered before looking away. He wanted to say more but he was afraid that it might cause suspicion.

After a quick introduction, both Li Xinwen and Xue Rui were led into a room, which Li Xinwen could only assume was the back room. There was a round table there, and two chairs. They each took a seat and the attendant who welcomed them excused himself and went further into the room through a door, which blended with the walls.

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“Rui-ge, where is the auction hall?” Li Xinwen voiced his curiosity.

“We’ll go there later. Do you not want to inspect the Jian first?” Xue Rui asked, though he doubted Li Xinwen knew much about a sword’s quality.

“Oh, I see…” Li Xinwen replied. He didn’t know that in the mortal realm, you had to inspect the item first before it went into auction. Of course, in reality, this only happened because Xue Rui asked the auction manager to allow them do so. If it were someone else whose reputation was lower than Xue Rui’s, this kind of hospitality would merely be a pipe dream.

About half an hour later, the auction manager arrived, followed by several other employees carrying several display cases enclosing various types of jian. Li Xinwen’s eyes shone with excitement. Moving his eyes through the display cases placed before them, one particular display case captured his interest. He suddenly frowned when his eyes landed on a jian that was, unlike the others – still in its sheath and covered in rust.

Xue Rui noticed Li Xinwen’s expression and thought Li Xinwen did not like the rusty jian. He showed a look of displeasure towards the manager before he opened his mouth to speak. “Take that thing away,” he said.

“What? No, wait!” Li Xinwen quickly stopped the employees who were about to leave. “I want to see that one,” he added, pointing to the rusty jian. “Can I hold it?”

The manager was, of course, a shrewd salesman and when he saw Li Xinwen’s reaction he quickly became attentive. This jian had been with them for several years and not a single buyer had ever wanted to look at it. He thought that if Li Xinwen was interested then he would use this chance to finally get rid of it – for a hefty sum.

“It seems this young master has an eye for antiques!” said the manager. “This particular jian was found 50 years ago at the bottom of the ocean near the island of Fushan. Experts say it dates as far back as 3000 years ago,” and the manager gestured for an employee to let Li Xinwen hold it. Another employee handed a pair of gloves for Li Xinwen to wear.

Li Xinwen put on the gloves, then held the jian in his hands and started to inspect it while the manager continued to run his mouth. “Unfortunately, no matter how hard we tried to unsheathe it, we were unable to pull it out. Which is why we can only display it like that. We suspect that it is only an ornamental sword and does not have a proper blade–” the manager’s eyes widened suddenly at the scene before him, and his voice trailed off.

Li Xinwen had completely ignored what the manager was saying and had already pulled the blade out of its sheath. Sadly, just like the rest of the sword, rust also covered the blade. Li Xinwen frowned and was about to use his spiritual force to remove the rust when he remembered where he was and stopped himself.

Li Xinwen turned towards the manager and asked, “Will this be in the auction?”

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