Li Xinwen quietly followed Xue Rui to the auction hall. To his surprise, there were already a lot of people sitting in the provided chairs. But Xue Rui didn’t go to the chairs and instead, he led Li Xinwen to the second floor. “The first floor is for the regular auction attendees. We have our own booth on the second floor,” Xue Rui explained.
This, Li Xinwen could understand. It was just like the auction house back in Long Xing. The auction houses in Long Xing allotted private rooms for cultivators with higher status and strength in order to protect their identity, while regular cultivators sat in an open area with everyone else. However, that kind of protection was not very effective. After all, there was a good reason every cultivator in Long Xing had another name for an auction – “treasure snatching.” In most cases, it was very risky to purchase great treasures that were being eyed by many families and sects. Anyone fortunate enough to win such a treasure at auction was likely to be attacked immediately upon leaving the auction house. Therefore, it was unwise to make a purchase at an auction without being in possession of one or two life-saving treasures that could be used in case someone attacked.
He was so deep in his thoughts that he didn’t realize that they had already arrived at Xue Rui’s personal booth.
“Xinwen, are you alright?” Xue Rui asked in a worried tone. He had noticed that Li Xinwen had been spacing out for a while now, and it seemed to be happening quite a lot ever since he woke up from his coma.
“Huh? Oh!” When Li Xinwen finally snapped out of his daze, he noticed that they were in an enclosed compartment with a balcony overlooking the entire auction hall. There were six seats in total. “I’m okay, Rui-ge. Sorry, I was just wondering if it’s really worth spending ten million just to get that jian…” once again, Li Xinwen lied smoothly.
He had lost count of how many times he had lied since he arrived in this world and he felt that he was living dishonestly.
“You don’t have to think much of it, Xinwen,” Xue Rui said as he held the chair for Li Xinwen. The chair was very comfortable and Li Xinwen settled in his seat instantly. Xue Rui unbuttoned his coat and settled down beside Li Xinwen and said, “That manager earlier just wanted to take advantage of you Xinwen. I remember seeing that jian a few years ago. Even when the starting bid was 300,000 yuan, no one was willing to buy it.” Xue Rui paused as he glanced over at Li Xinwen. “Judging by his sales pitch earlier, the manager seems desperate to get rid of the jian and perhaps thought he’d rake in some money in the process after seeing your interest in the item…” he added, after some hesitation. Xue Rui felt that he should at least inform Li Xinwen what an easy target he is.
When Li Xinwen heard Xue Rui’s statement, his face turned dark. Upon realizing the truth in Xue Rui’s words, he couldn’t help but acknowledge his lack of street smarts in the mortal world. It seemed that mortals were more cunning than the inhabitants of Long Xing.
‘That sly bastard, if I had actually pushed through with the backdoor purchase of that jian it would have been foolish! If I had really spent three million for that jian and later found that the actual price was only 300,000 I would have cursed myself and vomited blood! I guess I should be thankful that Xue Rui was there to save me from wasting money…’ Li Xinwen thought. In his mind he was smacking himself in the forehead for not noticing just how sly that manager was.
“Then I should thank you Rui-ge for stopping me from falling for that manager’s scheme.”
“Don’t worry about it Xinwen,” Xue Rui said as he took Li Xinwen’s hand in his and unconsciously raised it to his lips and kissed the back of it. And noticing that Li Xinwen was not pulling back his hand, Xue Rui continued to push his luck and take advantage of the situation by holding Li Xinwen’s hand on his chest a little ways away from where his heart was.
“Money is never a problem Ah’Wen as long as you are happy. So if you find something that you like during the auction, I hope you won’t hold back…” he said as he gently lowered Li Xinwen’s hand and let it go.
Realizing what he had done, Xue Rui leaned forward, clasped his hands over his face as if in prayer and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, hoping that Li Xinwen would not take his actions negatively. He tried to remain calm and nonchalant. ‘Oh god, what was I thinking…’
He waited for what seemed like eternity for Li Xinwen’s reaction but nothing came. A nervous feeling slowly crept up inside him and he prepared himself for the worst before looking over at Li Xinwen.
Li Xinwen on the other hand was busy reprimanding himself in his mind for almost falling for such a petty trick from the manager and did not register what Xue Rui had done. By the time he calmed his mind, he noticed that Xue Rui had hunched forward with an uncomfortable expression, and was looking at him. ‘Why does he look so uncomfortable?’ he wondered.
“Are you okay Rui-ge? Do you have a headache?” Li Xinwen asked as he gently placed a hand on Xue Rui’s back.
Xue Rui was dumbfounded, unsure whether he was dreaming or not.
“I’m alright Xinwen… thank you…” he responded, managing a smile amidst his uncertainty. He leaned back in his seat and relaxed his shoulders thinking, ‘I guess the gods are on my side today…I’ll take this any day of the week,’ and let out an amused chuckle.