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Face Slapping At the Auction

Wei Jie cheerfully arrived at Jiang Chen’s residence the dawn of the second day. “Brother Zhen, father was up the entire night with happiness when he heard that you were willing to become a guest elder for House Wei. He has already prepared to announce the news on the opening day for Taiyuan Tower, as the icing on the proverbial cake. Announcing that you’re joining House Wei to all here in the capital and opening the store on the same day… we’ll make a ceremony out of it!” A joyous expression danced across his face. He was clearly in good spirits.

“Compared to Taiyuan Tower’s opening, the ceremony is of lesser importance. Preparations must be made, lest a few select stubborn ones come to cause trouble,” Jiang Chen smiled.

“Father has thought of this as well. It will be done. Brother Zhen, the auction will start soon. Here are a hundred thousand saint spirit stones, as a token of our sincerity to you. Perhaps it will be useful at today’s auction. I have word from father that I can call for up to five hundred thousand saint spirit stones, as long as it is something Brother Zhen wants!”

Five hundred thousand saint spirit stones was equivalent to five million origin spirit stones. It was a princely sum. Jiang Chen could tangibly feel Wei Tianxiao’s sincerity. It seemed that House Wei had been wholly impressed by his actions during the conflict with Wei Tiantong. The generosity in House Wei’s goodwill was no longer simply enticement—it veered towards appeasement as well. Having done so many things for House Wei, Jiang Chen was perfectly comfortable in accepting the money. He was neither embarrassed nor hesitant. He accepted the gift with a faint smile. “Young master Jie, please make sure to give your father my copious thanks when you return.”

“What is the point in thanks? You deserve it. The auction begins fairly early, so we should depart right now!” Wei Jie chuckled. Still engaged in conversation, they went on their way.

Joined Mountains Auction House, or simply Joined Mountains, was the uncontested top dog of the auctioneering business in the Veluriyam Capital. Accordingly, it was located within the most bustling district in the city—the Farmer God District. Upon arrival, the duo discovered that the district was clearly even busier than usual. The auction had attracted quite a few people. Though not everyone could enter, that had no effect on the high passions of those present. Even without going inside, it was still good to experience the atmosphere from the door. Potential gossip of secrets about the upper classes was even better.

The two of them encountered some of Wei Jie’s acquaintances on the way there. Jiang Chen astutely noticed they were polite but distant, whether by happenstance or on purpose. The situation facing House Wei was ample cause for caution. Close association with the house had the potential to draw indirect heat. This detachment was not unusual to Wei Jie.

The two came to the entrance of Joined Mountains in a short time. The auction house’s porter was very gracious, and didn’t trouble them solely because they were from House Wei. They were cordially escorted inside after handing in their invitation, an act that fully showed the establishment’s equanimity. The experience raised Jiang Chen’s opinion of Joined Mountains. This was the appropriate attitude that a leading member of any industry in the Veluriyam Capital should have. Mistreatment due to background would have put Joined Mountains’ purported history into doubt.

Past Joined Mountains’ doorway was an expansive courtyard. Many that came to participate in the auction were gathered here in twos and threes. Evidently, no one was permitted to enter before the auction’s formal commencement. It was one of Joined Mountains’ rules, one which no one was in a position to criticize. Besides, the courtyard was not simply a place to idle. Various amenities were amply provided. Snacks, refreshments, and drinks were available everywhere one might want to reach. There were places to rest littered through, and their placements well-arranged and organic.

“Let’s find a place to wait a while. It’ll be some time still before the auction begins.” Wei Jie scanned the surroundings and beckoned to Jiang Chen after finding a comparatively empty spot.

Just as Wei Jie was about to take a seat, standing to the side of a chair, a person suddenly walked in from the side. The drink in his hand spilled as he stumbled, splashing towards Wei Jie with a mind of its own. His reflexes swift, Wei Jie dodged to the side, avoiding the liquid just in time. Only the tips of his shoes were sprinkled, but the remainder caught the chair he was about to sit in.

“My apologies, my apologies.” The person apologized incessantly before curving his mouth into a sudden smile. “Ho, isn’t this House Wei’s young master?” The man speaking was a youth, and looked a little younger than Wei Jie. He had a babyish face, but his negligent flash of a lazy smile tipped Jiang Chen off. He was definitely not as easy to get along with as he appeared.

“Younger brother Tong, your house is ninth-rank, right? Did you not have enough to eat? Is that why you can’t even walk straight?” Wei Jie frowned.

The youth was the son of House Tong’s lord, Tong Kun.

Tong Kun had been smiling the previous moment as his face instantly sank, changing in a heartbeat. “Young master Wei, have you brushed your teeth this morning? Your mouth is so foul.”

How could Wei Jie not know that Tong Kun was here intentionally to pick a fight?  He responded sneeringly, “Tong Kun, I have no interest in squabbling with a beardless youth like you. If you’re still up for it, then wait until we’re out of Joined Mountains, I’ll be around anytime.”

It could be seen that Wei Jie had no love for Tong Kun. House Tong was a major faction under the Majestic Clan, and they were on different battlelines. In fact, it could be said that they were directly opposed. Wei Jie could figure it out with his big toe. Tong Kun’s impromptu scene was wholly premeditated. If he met Tong Kun in conflict, then Wei Jie himself would be likely to lose face next. Thus, he didn’t dawdle on the topic, cleanly cutting off the conversation. Wait until we’re out of Joined Mountains. Saying that was sufficiently forceful, but also placated Joined Mountains. It showed the auction house great respect.

Even Jiang Chen recognized the value in this, perking up and taking notice. He had always thought Wei Jie was too soft, and lacked authority and dominance. Now, it seemed that Wei Jie only expressed his dominance in front of enemies. He’d merely refrained from showing it to Jiang Chen. To be honest, Jiang Chen quite admired this kind of dominance. In this situation, harmony and conciliation would have caused Jiang Chen to dismiss the youth. This was obvious provocation that couldn’t be resolved via placating the enemy.

Sure enough, Tong Kun was unsure how to respond to Wei Jie’s retort. At this time, another youth came over clad in silver robes. His expression was cold and imperious, his eyes indifferent. He was the heir of House Sikou, Sikou Nan.

“Wei Jie, long time no see. Your temper seems to have grown.” Sikou Nan scrutinized Wei Jie from top to bottom, a challenge in his inspecting gaze. He acted as if this was the first time they’d met. Rubbing his forehead in pretense, Sikou Nan slowly declared, “If I remember correctly, today’s auction relates mainly to pills. Does House Wei have a presence in that industry to speak of? Are you here just to watch the show?” The words were quite malicious, meant to destroy House Wei standing and cause them to lose face.

Tong Kun didn’t simply stand by, either. “Brother Sikou, the reason they’re here is to remind us they still exist despite their awful showing in pills! Otherwise, the entire Veluriyam Capital would probably forget that there was still a ninth-ranked aristocratic house called House Wei, hahaha!”

Sikou Nan laughed as well, “Younger brother Tong, your words are easily misleading.”

“Misleading how?”

“People might be misled into thinking that House Wei has an unearned reputation, and are unsuited to being counted a ninth-ranked house,” Sikou Nan chuckled.

“You can’t say that it’s misleading. If we’re talking about pills alone, then House Wei does have no right to be here, right? They haven’t had a pill king for many years. Joined Mountains is so generous in their willingness to give House Wei some face, but isn’t it just a handout? Otherwise, a house with no pill king would definitely be disqualified. I hear that many eighth-ranked houses with pill kings of their own are greatly wanting for invitations, but haven’t received any! Does this count as the saying of ‘occupying the toilet without doing the business’?” Tong Kun barked in laughter.

The duo’s banter caused those around them to erupt in raucous laughter. Though the subject of their conversation wasn’t relevant to the onlookers, it was still a fun spectacle to see a full-on brawl between ninth-ranked house scions. What bystander was scared of a good show?

Wei Jie was enraged. A feeling of shame crept up his heart. He was about to fire back a retort when he heard Jiang Chen’s soft laugh. “House Sikou and House Tong are certainly occupying toilets and doing the business, alright. Two dense and smelly results are walking in front of me right this moment… how unappetizing.”

The crowd crowed in even greater laughter at these words. Jiang Chen had compared Tong Kun and Sikou Nan to shit! The war of insults attracted attention from people that had paid no heed to the goings-on here before now. Whose sharp tongue was this that lashed the young masters of Houses Tong and Sikou so? The roars of mirth caused Sikou Nan and Tong Kun to color with deep shame.

“And who are you, kid? There’s no room for lessers when their masters are talking.” In anger, Sikou Nan automatically assumed that Jiang Chen was Wei Jie’s servant.

“As I thought, heaps of shit lack basic eyesight. If I were you, I would stay in the latrines. There’s no reason to show off your… ah, qualities… to other people,” Jiang Chen sighed.

Wei Jie took the opportunity to follow up. “Sikou Nan, Tong Kun, my words are the same as before. I’ll take you on anytime after we’re out of Joined Mountains. Also, wash the idiocy out of your eyes. This here is a pill king that House Wei invited, and our honored guest, not some servant. Remember, don’t tell such stupid jokes next time—House Wei has a guest pill king!”

Sikou Nan and Tong Kun were stupefied. They had greatly ridiculed House Wei’s lack of a pill king only moments prior, and used that as a basis to claim the house had no right to be here. But in the blink of an eye, a guest pill king to House Wei had appeared. It was a biting slap to the face. The pair’s faces smarted with pain, and they were at a momentary loss for words.

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