The Wei family had resided in Heaven’s Sanctum for countless generations — most of the Flameyellow Chancellors and the Sanctum Potentate were members of the family. Even most of the top ranking positions were held by the Weis.
As a result, their power and influence covered the entire institute. Yet, many disciples here didn't even know of the Wei Manor. At the very most, they knew that the chancellor Wei Tianxiong was the Overseer Wei Zikun’s brother. But few had ever heard of the Sanctum Potentate’s name, and even fewer knew that the Potentate was actually their father!
From this, it was evident that the Wei family kept a very low profile. They would rather not let people think that the Institute was a faction of their family, in order to uphold the integrity of the Institute’s purpose of raising the nation’s gifted youths. Even for those within the sanctum like Wei Guohao, he would rather address himself as Zhao Tianchen’s disciple than as the son of the chancellor.
Such a hidden powerhouse therefore had to place great emphasis on the discipline of its members. If not, they would have abused their power, a surefire way of gaining notoriety.
There were many different factions that controlled the various parts of Ignispolis, with the Vermilion Bird clan considered as the strongest faction. And only those from the most elite factions would learn that the Wei clan of Heaven’s Sanctum was actually one of the leading factions in the nation too! While the Wei family fell short in the membership numbers compared to factions like Lightning Manor or the royal clan, they were the cream of the crop! This was also why Wei Jing had connections to some of the most famous people in the nation.
Under the influence of their ancestors, the entire family considered it their duty to maintain a low profile. Therefore, even the Wei Manor hidden within the sanctum looked like nothing more than just an ordinary courtyard. It was no match compared to the luxurious Chen Chateau, or the grandiose imperial palace. Yet, it was this insignificant courtyard that sheltered the most important members of the institute.
Most of the Wei family were gathered here today, making the manor much more crowded than usual. In the main hall, the servants were busy setting up a feast, with dishes and liquor delivered quickly to the dozens of tables scattered across the hall. Clearly, there was some kind of joyous occasion happening in the manor right now.
Seated on the left seat of the biggest table was a middle-aged man dressed in a golden robe. A bulky man, his imposing presence was not any weaker than Mu Yang’s. He was none other than the supposedly strongest cultivator of the institute, the chancellor Wei Tianxiong. The man controlled the entire institute, but he rarely appeared in public except for the most important occasions, and even Li Tianming had not seen him before.
Seated across Wei Tianxiong was an elder. The elder had vitality that belied his age, his eyes brimming with golden sword ki. Even his muscles had a golden sheen, as if his torso was made out of metal. This elder was the Guardian of Sanctions, Wei Qing. He was also the Potentate’s younger brother and Wei Tianxiong’s uncle. Wei Qing was also a legendary character, as the manager of all punishments in the sanctum.
Important positions like the Potentate, the four Heavenly Guardians, the chancellor and the hall overseers were controlled by the Wei family. That made it perfectly valid to say that the sanctum was effectively controlled by the Wei family. Then again, the fact that Mu Yang could triumph over Wei Tianxiong to become the next Potentate suggested that they still encouraged competition.
Other than Wei Tianxiong and Wei Qing, the fifty or so other members were part of the Wei family as well. They were either chief mentors of the institute or disciples of the sanctum, and only very few untalented ones cultivated in the institute.
The reason why so many gathered in the hall today was because today was the birthday party of Wei Tianxiong’s youngest daughter, Wei Lingxuan. The daughter that the chancellor cherished had just reached eighteen years old today. Wei Tianxiong himself had three sons, the eldest of them thirty-nine and the second twenty-nine. Both of them were chief mentors in the institute, and were working towards joining the supernal mentors. One of them would probably take on the role of the chancellor in the future. His third son was Wei Guohao, who at twenty years old was one of the most talented disciples in the sanctum,
As for Wei Lingxuan, she was Wei Tianxiong’s only daughter and also his youngest child. Naturally, she had been pampered since young — she was essentially the little princess of the manor. As the star of the day, Wei Lingxuan was dressed in a crimson skirt, adorned with all kinds of jewelry and ornaments. As the princess of the family, her disposition fitted her status — her body was honed and full of power.
“Elder sister, you look really good today. All the boys in the sanctum must have been charmed by you.” A boy dressed in a green robe said to her. He was Wei Zikun’s eldest son, Wei Qingyi, and was a disciple of the sanctum at the age of seventeen.
Surrounding him were his younger siblings. Wei Zikun had two partners, but both of them were his concubines. He had always wanted to keep the position of his wife for Mu Wan, but she had never accepted that offer. That didn’t stop him from having five children, however, with the youngest of them only three years old.
“Don’t try to be smooth with me, what do you want?” Wei Lingxuan rolled her eyes.
“Come on, we are brothers and sisters. I was just hoping that since sister is in a good mood today, can you perhaps mention this outstanding younger brother of yours in front of Princess Qing? After all, both of you are Supernal Mentor Qin Shi’s disciples… ”
“Don’t bother, we don’t exactly see eye to eye with each other. We barely even talk.” Wei Lingxuan pursed her lips and shut down Wei Qingyi’s idea on the spot.
Having said that, Wei Lingxuan looked at the doorway and continued, “Anyway, why is my third brother still not here? Surely he wouldn’t disappoint me on my birthday, right?”
“Elder brother Hao is together with my dad. I heard my dad saying yesterday that he will be bringing a prime disciple to the Hall of Ancestry first before attending the party,” Wei Qingyi answered.
“Prime disciple? I watched the ranking test, it’s that Li Tianming isn’t it? What a clown. He’s probably going to be chucked out of the hall by the supernal mentors,” Wei Lingxuan scoffed.
“That would indeed make him a clown.” Wei Qingyi sounded sulky. “Sis, why do you think Princess Qing is interested in scum like him?”
“What Princess Qing? Looks to me like that Jiang Qingluan is pissed at him too. But Princess Ling’s affection towards him is rather intriguing.”
“It’s queer indeed. Anyway, that prime disciple is probably still thinking of looking for Princess Ling in the sanctum. How would he react if he found out that he can’t even make it into the sanctum?” Wei Qingyi sneered, “First Lin Xiaoting’s girlfriend, and now the princesses, just how shameless is this guy?”
“Can we not talk about this kind of person on my birthday? It’s disgusting,” Wei Lingxuan said.
“Haha, my bad sis… Look, my father and brother Hao are back.” Wei Qingyi pointed to the gate where two bulky men were walking in..
“Third brother, what have you been doing? We waited so long,” Wei Lingxuan grumbled.
“I was preparing a gift for my precious little sister,” Wei Guohao laughed.
“And where is it?”
“I’ll pass it to you later. Is grandfather not out yet?” Wei Guohao looked at the seat in between Wei Tianxiong and Wei Qing which was still empty.
“We don’t know if he’s coming out today, let’s wait a while more.” Wei Lingxuan pouted. It had been a long time since she last saw her grandfather, and she hoped to at least see him on her eighteenth birthday.
“Don’t worry, he promised he’d be here today,” Wei Tianxiong was drinking with Wei Qing when he overheard her conversation and answered. Wei Zikun had also found his seat and went to send his greetings to Wei Qing.
“I reckon he will be really happy to see Xuan’er reach eighteen.” said Wei Zikun.
“Definitely, he adores Xuan’er the most. It’s been eighteen years, time really flies.” Wei Tianxiong exclaimed.
“Zikun, did any supernal mentor accept that prime disciple?” Wei Qing interrupted at one side.
“Ha, more like they wanted to hide from him.”
“That’s not appropriate. Rules are rules, and we need to find someone to accept him,” said the chancellor, Wei Tianxiong.
“That’s what brother Yang said too,” Wei Zikun replied.
“Mu Yang was there?”
“Happened to walk pass.”
“He told Li Tianming to pick one for himself, but that boy was an absolute idiot. He said that he wouldn’t force the supernal mentors to pick him, and he ended not picking any of them. Damn it, how am I going to tell Mu Wan about this.” Wei Zikun downed a mouthful of liquor.
“Interesting boy.” Wei Tianxiong smiled.
“Interesting my ass, he’s just dumb,” Wei Zikun snapped.
“And how did Mu Yang settle it?”
“He found him a place in the sanctum and told him to cultivate by himself. That boy even said he wanted to be Mu Yang’s disciple, as if he hasn’t shamed himself enough. Shouldn’t have brought him to the Hall of Ancestry in the first place.” Wei Zikun shook his head.
“If he is going to be over-ambitious then no one can help him. Just let him be, and when he fails the examinations he is bound to be expelled from the sanctum,” Wei Tianxiong said.
“It’s his own choice after all. There’s no way he can survive here without the help of a supernal mentor.”
“Forget about this fool. Today’s Xuan’er’s birthday, we should talk about something happier.”
“I’m happy enough just looking at all those youngsters there.”
“Xuan’er told me that she had one wish for her birthday.” Wei Tianxiong glanced at Wei Lingxuan, who was chatting with those around her.
“She wanted to see grandfather.”
“Have you told him?”
“That old fellow, how could he cooped up inside his own room for years…”
“Zikun, watch what you are saying,” Wei Tianxiong interrupted.
“Jing’er hurt him too much,” Wei Qing suddenly sighed.
Wei Tianxiong looked at his daughter Wei Lingxuan, and said, “Xuan’er has grown up, and perhaps this can be a new beginning. I will ask Xuan’er to visit him more often, and hopefully he will forget that person.”
Wei Zikun nodded in agreement. “Good idea.”
Just then, the entire hall suddenly plunged into silence. An elderly man had appeared outside of the gates.