Han Li pondered to himself for a moment before calmly saying, "It's nothing. It won't be too late to mention it in the future. Since there is an extensive gathering here, I'll take a look at there first."
After the two white-robed youths glanced at one another, the shorter youth smiled and said, "That's good. Let us lead the way, Senior."
Soon after, each of them took out a disk magic tool and tossed them into the air before leaping onto them. When Han Li saw this, he tossed a sparkling flying sword and appeared on top of it in a blur.
Having seen the sword, the shorter youth revealed an expression of admiration and said, "Senior's magic tool is a high-grade flying sword. You must be an inner disciple of a large sect, right? There is no way a master or sect would give a magic tool of that quality to a low-grade disciple."
Han Li chuckled and answered, "My sect has a rule where we're not allowed to reveal the identity of our affiliation while we're on a journey. I hope you two Fellow Daoists will refrain from asking these questions."
The two youths felt somewhat embarrassed, but now they felt even more certain that Han Li was a disciple from a large sect and their expressions grew even more respectful.
The three cultivators then headed south of the village on their magic tools.
The Snowmound Mountain wasn't very far away from the village. As they flew towards it, they could faintly see a line of black mountaintops in the distance. It was more appropriate to call it a mountain range than a mountain. The mountain range spanned over five hundred kilometers and was one of the several great mountain ranges in the Liao Province. Additionally, it was reportedly said that there were demons and ghosts lurking deep into the mountain. Let alone mortals, even lower grade cultivators would occasionally disappear in the mountains.
The friends and sect of the cultivators who disappeared formed search parties and scour through half the mountain range only to find no sign of them. After this, more cultivators would disappeared regardless.
Fortunately, disappearances only rarely happened and most of those that disappeared were low-grade cultivators native to the Liao Province. As a result of these repeated incidents, few cultivators ever tread too deeply into the mountains and the disappearances slowly stopped as well.
Of course, the Grand Assembly that was hosted by the three great clans of Guanning wasn't being held deep into the mountain range. It was located at a town on the top of a lofty mountain at its edge.
When they eventually arrived, Han Li saw beautiful towering buildings erected on top of this mountain. His eyes flickered and he was able to see that the mountain was newly constructed. He couldn't help but wear a pensive expression at the sight.
"Senior, we've arrived," the taller youth pointed at the town down below and said, "All of the Foundation Establishment cultivators that arrive are given their own room. As for the Seniors at Core Formation stage and above, they are given their own building. This way, all Seniors are given a proper place to rest."
Han Li nodded and remained silent, only releasing his spiritual sense to carefully look at the town below them. He unconsciously frowned and sensed that there was a Nascent Soul cultivator in the town. It was unknown whether he was a cultivator joining in the gathering, or if he was the Eccentric Kong that Feng Yu had mentioned before he died.
The noble clans of the Great Jin were not to be underestimated as rumor had indicated. In the Heavenly South, cultivation clans had late-Core Formation cultivators within their ranks at most and weren't capable of producing a Nascent Soul cultivator.
But to his surprise, the Nascent Soul cultivator he sensed on the mountain, faintly emitted the aura of a corpse. Although it was very faint and well concealed, Han Li was able to clearly see through it with his overwhelming spiritual sense. No matter how well it was hidden, it would've been detectable with some careful observation.
Could it be this person cultivated a Devilish Dao or a wicked heretical technique?
If he remembered correctly, the Kong Clan hailed from the famous Confucian Sect known as the Heavenly Sage Sect and the clan still received the sect's backing. Regardless of whether or not this Nascent Soul cultivator was the Kong Clan ancestor, it would be inappropriate for a sect of their standing to either practice this technique or have a guest of this nature.
As he pondered this, they descended to the village gates and were immediately welcomed by four blue-robed cultivators.
At nearly the same time in a secret room over seventy meters deep underground, the lid of a pitch-black coffin suddenly moved and a pure-white hand suddenly emerged from the gap. Then it pushed the lid of the coffin completely off to reveal a yellow-robed man wearing a king's crown. He appeared in his thirties and wore an odd expression of bewilderment.
"What's going on? I suddenly felt a wave of trepidation. Could it be that someone was spying on me?" The man muttered to himself. After some hesitation, he carefully released his spiritual sense and swept past the entire mountain, particularly focusing his attention on the many cultivators in the village above.
After a long while, he found no trace of any other Nascent Soul cultivators and tightly knitted his brow.
"Perhaps it was just an old fart that journeyed nearby and swept his spiritual sense. The Blackjade Coffin should've concealed my corpse Qi so it shouldn't attract any attention." The crowned man muttered to himself before returning into the coffin. The lid then slid back in place of its own accord and sealed the coffin, causing silence to fill the room once more.
Back on the surface, the blue-robed cultivators recommended Han Li to go to the huge plaza at the center, which was spralling with half a thousand variously dressed cultivators.
However, these cultivators were divided into several groups and each gathered into clearly different areas of the village. There were some that were talking and others that were selling items. The plaza was also covered in variously-sized vendor booths with some that have set up tables and others that had their items arranged the ground. It made for quite a lively scene.
Han Li smiled and recalled the first time he entered the cultivation world at the Great South Meeting . He felt a bit emotional over the memory.
But to his surprise, there was a huge tent that was erected at the center of the plaza. It was sparkling with white light, revealing itself to be a magic tool, and it spanned over three hundred meters wide. There were many people walking in and out of its openings.
His eyes stirred and he looked at the rest of the plaza. There were stone buildings that were flickering with light with people occasionally flowing through them, but they received far less traffic than the tent at the center. There were even a few cultivators that were pacing back and forth around the buildings or were chatting with their companions.
Apart from the few Qi Condensation cultivators from the three clans, there were only cultivators at Foundation Establishment stage and above. With a sweep of his spiritual sense, he found that there were over a dozen Core Formation cultivators present. Even without the Nascent Soul cultivator, the cultivators present were beyond in number of what large clans in the Heavenly South could produce. And this was only a trade fair that a few of the local noble clans in the Great Jin were hosting.
When Han Li thought this, he couldn't help but sigh.
As he was informed by the disciples that had welcomed him, he knew that morning was the time for free trade and the afternoon was when the auction would start. If he had rare materials, magic tools, or other items, he would be welcome to exchange them before the auction. Additionally, the trade fair was planned to only span three days and on the last day, the thousand-year-old Monarch Ginseng would be auctioned. It was likely that the Core Formation cultivators had come solely for this item.
After glancing around for a while, he began to stroll around the plaza.
Han Li was currently a Foundation Establishment cultivator that had joined the trade fair on its second day. Although his face was unfamiliar, no one took notice of him; he was just another ordinary cultivator in the crowd.
The items around the vendor booths were all common as expected and were of little interest to Han Li. There were items that would prove to be attractive to Foundation Establishment and Core Formation cultivators, but he already had countless precious materials in his possession. The only vendor booths to catch his attention were selling particularly odd magic tools and materials.
But after some careful observation, he easily recognized them. Past that point, there was no further value in investigating them.
After spending quite some time roaming around, he didn't end up purchasing anything, and just as he thought to enter the tent at the middle of the plaza and see what was being sold there, his expression suddenly changed and he vigilantly turned around. He saw an old man with pointed ears and thin cheeks looking at him with amazement. He possessed cultivation at early Foundation Establishment stage.
With an icy glint in his eye, Han Li coldly said, "Fellow Daoist, you've been following me for quite a while. Could it be that you recognize me?"
"Please don't misunderstand, Fellow Daoist." The old man wore an embarrassed smile and calmly explained, "My name is Jin Yuan and I don't mean any harm to you. I was simply curious. This is the first time we've met, but you seem to have a great understanding of many of these tools and materials. I hold you in quite some admiration!"
"Oh! I didn't know Fellow Daoist was so observant," Han Li calmly said, "But since you've been following me for so long, surely you have more business with me than just a chat."
"Hehe! It seems you're quite sharp. In truth, I actually have something to request of you."
"Please go ahead and state it!" Han Li crossed his arms and wore an indifferent expression.
The old man examined the storage pouches at Han Li's waist and chuckled with narrowed eyes, saying, "I have a strange treasure here and I've been unable to make any sense of its uses and origins. I was hoping Fellow Daoist could appraise it. Of course, if Fellow Daoist is able to read through it, I may as well sell it to you. With your background, you will certainly be able to purchase it."
"A strange treasure?" Han Li's brow stirred and his gaze wandered around the old man for a while. He eventually nodded and pointed to a room at the side, "Fine. Since Fellow Daoist has been following me for a while, it seems you hold good intentions. I may as well took a look. Let's go to that hidden room and have a chat. I also have a few things I wish to have explained as well."
"A hidden room? You have to pay a spirit stone for that. That's quite luxurious." The old man hesitantly said.
Han Li mysteriously smiled and said, "That's fine, I will pay the spirit stone. I simply hope that your strange treasure isn't to my disappointment."
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