“Er, hello,” William said after a moment. He had a flashback of speaking to Elder Huang in the Jade Healing Clinic.

It was in their first conversation, but he remembered it clearly since it was related to the name Daoist Chen gave him. Elder Huang said two things about the Wei Clan.

They were wastrels, and they were obscenely wealthy. Well, the latter was more implied, but the point still stood. It was not a kind description.

William agreed with Elder Huang, even if it was only from the appearance of Wei Ming.

If anyone fits the stereotype of a ‘Young Master,’ the arrogant, handsome, wealthy cultivator from a large clan, it was Wei Ming.

His robes looked more like black silk robes made for lounging around than cultivation robes. His expression was lazy to the extreme, as if he couldn’t care less about anything around him. To add that little bit of extra charm, there was a faint scar on the right side of his face, barely a line, starting just above his brow and ending under his eye.

If William didn’t know any better, he would assume this was the man he had to defeat to rise to the heavens, but this wasn’t a cultivation novel. This was his life.


Wei Ming was just a member of a ridiculously affluent clan and also happened to be dangerously attractive. Nothing else, and certainly not some stepping stone.

“Brother Ming, what do you think?” Rong Yun prodded.

“Didn’t you tell me we would meet him after the auction?” Wei Ming asked with an annoyed scowl before sighing, “Never mind, let me see.” He narrowed his eyes after studying him and said, “Closer than I would have thought, but I still say no, Brother Yun.”

“My prince,” Lan Yang moved slightly to cover him with his body. It made William add some points to the ‘mentor’ status. “Did you expect something from Junior Wei?”

“Ah, don’t misunderstand me, Lan Yang,” Rong Yun immediately reassured, “I have no ill intentions. When I heard of Junior Wei’s name, I thought of the Wei Clan. You know as well as I that someone like this junior coming from a completely mortal background is unlikely.”

“Really?” Lan Yang relaxed as he looked at him, “Hm, I see a resemblance.”


“See, Brother Ming!” Rong Yun’s belief was rejuvenated by Lan Yang.

“Fine, let me take a closer look,” Wei Ming rolled his eyes and… sauntered to him. That was the best way to describe the walk.

William frowned, tensing in discomfort when his personal space was invaded. This happened a little too much here.

“… There are some similarities,” Wei Ming accepted grudgingly after he stared at William’s face closely. “This junior is certainly pretty enough to be part of my clan.”

The scowl that appeared on his face before he could stamp it down made the man chuckle.

“And the attitude is there too,” Wei Ming pulled away and looked at Rong Yun, “But I still say that’s all it is. Similarities. I would know if anyone in the clan lost a child.”

Rong Yun sighed, looking more disappointed than he should have. “I was hoping you were a lost child of the Wei Clan, Junior. It would ease the debt we owe you for your help.”


“Wait, does this mean Princess Jin passed the heavenly tribulation?” William blurted out. It just clicked in his mind that Rong Yun acted too thankful toward him. Far too much if Princess Jin’s life was still at risk.

“Yes,” Rong Yun confirmed with a brilliant smile, “Rong Jin is recuperating at the moment, but the danger has passed.”

“That’s… good,” William felt a tension that he didn’t even know existed disappear. Of course, he noted that she was referred to as Rong Jin, meaning she has got her wish of being accepted into the main branch. However, that took a backseat to his relief.

As sad as it might be to admit, Princess Jin was one that he could call a friend… or friendly acquaintance. The other option was Ren Bo, and he didn’t wish that for himself.

“I’ll let her know you asked after her,” Rong Yun chuckled, “Back to the matter of repaying you. Maybe there is something that will interest you in the auction. It won’t end our debt, but it can be a good start.”

The last thing William wanted was to accept anything from the Imperial Family, no matter how string-free the offered gift seemed. He still didn’t know anything about karma, and until he did, he wanted to avoid accepting anything significant.

Even his greed was keeping itself absent, knowing this wasn’t the time to do anything stupid. The only concern he had now was Lan Yang.

William was starting to believe that Lan Yang was becoming a decent mentor, the useless act of being ready to defend him from Rong Jun helping greatly. Still, he was well aware that Lan Yang wanted something in the auction, and with Rong Jun’s offer, it could be possible that he would try to pressure him into asking for help.

“That won’t be necessary, my prince,” Lan Yang proved him wrong almost instantly, but still, he sounded as if he regretted the words leaving his mouth, “It’s my duty as his mentor to ensure Junior Wei has what he needs.”

“So be it,” Rong Yun accepted the soft denial graciously, “The offer is there if needed.”

“As I said, my prince, I don’t need any reward for helping Princess Jin,” William reiterated. Both to let Rong Yun know he didn’t intend to accept anything and to remind himself that he didn’t intend to accept anything.

Now, that resolve just had to last when the auction started. Wealth had never been on his mind in this world, a strange thing when even he was aware of how quickly he was to risk his life for some benefits. Then again, he never needed wealth for his cultivation.

William supposed that was a good thing. He wasn’t greedy for everything, just for whatever could help his cultivation. The problem was that he was sure there would be something in the auction that would convince him to make stupid choices.

He would spend all the time in the Qi Refining room to avoid the temptation.

“Well, that almost confirms that he isn’t from my Wei Clan,” Wei Ming chuckled.

“… Regrettably, I would have to agree with you, Brother Ming,” Rong Yun nodded, “If anyone from the Wei Clan acted like that, they might be checked for a heart demon.”

Heart demon was not a term William recognized from his time in this world, but he did read about them in his novels. It represented a manifestation of one’s innermost fears, doubts, or desires that could hinder cultivation.

… Being humble apparently meant something so extreme for members of the Wei Clan.

“True,” Wei Ming smirked, “If you gave me the same offer, I would test the limits of what you were willing to spend in this auction, then try to take more if I could.”

William almost felt the need to clap at the casual shamelessness.

Rong Yun, on the other hand, just rolled his eyes. “That's the reason I never would give you that offer.”

“Your Highness, we need to leave soon. There will soon be a larger crowd than we are comfortable with.”

The man who had spoken was one of the several nascent soul realm cultivators conspicuously keeping their space from them.

It didn’t take long for William to have an idea as to why. After another glance at the others on the stage, he concluded that these were likely bodyguards… until he remembered that Rong Yun said he was Princess Jin’s brother.

They were from the branch family, and Rong Jun was ‘only’ in the core formation realm at most. It made no sense to have this type of protection around him. As for Wei Ming, that made even less sense when the nascent soul realm cultivator respectfully addressed Rong Jun first.

William was already wary, but now he would carefully watch each word spoken in Rong Jun’s presence. The whole thing made zero sense.

“A few minutes?” Rong Jun repeated, “Then it’s best to stop wasting time. Lan Yang, Junior Wei, let’s see if any of these three treasures interest you.”

Lan Yang was practically pulled to stay beside Rong Yun, leaving William staring at their backs.

Oh, and Wei Ming was standing beside him. At least it was quiet, other than Lan Yang telling the prince he was a mentor and what he had planned for after the auction.

That was alright. William could tell it was vague enough, with mentions of Elder Yu inserted into the conversation plenty of times.

“You know, I might be wrong.”

William took a moment to reply, mostly because he didn’t expect Wei Ming to speak. “What?”

“About you being part of the Wei Clan,” Wei Ming repeated, “I might be wrong. If you visit Qingyun City, you can find out with certainty.”

“… Thank you, Senior,” William couldn’t even act like he was enthused about that prospect.

“You don’t intend to ever try,” Wei Ming commented the obvious, “That might be for the best. You will get access to riches, but such things are never without hidden costs.”

William nodded in agreement, but something stood out to him. Wei Ming spoke as if it was a given that it would be confirmed that he was from the Wei Clan, a complete change from his past comments.

There was no Qi technique to keep that sentence private, at least not one like the one Princess Jin used. It was likely everyone had heard what Wei Ming said, with the only possible exception being Lan Yang.

“I really do appreciate it, Senior Wei,” William repeated a statement that said nothing.

“Ah, Junior Wei!” Rong Yun called him over. Such convenient timing. “Look at this treasure. It will be of great help to you!”