"What? Is there a problem with the Firesmelt Crystals?" The old man asked with a friendly chuckle.
"There's nothing wrong. These were precisely what I bidded on." Han Li nodded and calmly replied. Then, he handed over the spirit stones, took the gems, and took his leave with a salute.
As Han Li walked away, the old man took a glance at the empty jade box and frowned, his eyes revealing slight doubt.
Soon, Han Li returned to his seat at the auction and in a flash of light, a Firesmelt Crystal appeared in his hand. Han Li looked at the gem with a smile and obvious satisfaction.
The green-clothed woman next to Han Li saw his expression and said, "Fellow Daoist must be quite wealthy to spend eight hundred spirit stones on three Firesmelt Crystals!"
After calmly looking at the woman, Han Li replied, "That's right. I've been wanting to buy those crystals for a while. Being able to buy these made this trip quite worth it."
When the green-robed woman saw the glint in Han Li's eye, her heart trembled and she suddenly became unable to say anything further. The yellow-robed woman at her side saw this and her expression changed as if she sensed something. She also said nothing.
After acquiring this unexpected harvest, Han Li began to look forward to the rest of the auction. But at that moment, Monarch Soul Divergence couldn't help but ask, "Youngster Han, what do those Firesmelt Crystals have to do with demon cores? How about you give me an explanation?"
"Senior should've already guessed it," Han Li calmly answered, "One of the Firesmelt Crystals is actually a grade seven demon core, but after the passage of countless years, its body had turned to that of complete crystal. It now appears no different from a Firesmelt Crystal. Even those with exceptionally powerful spiritual sense aren't able to see the difference."
"Grade seven demon core? Since one can't tell the difference with spiritual sense or its exterior appearance, how were you able to see through it?" Monarch Soul Divergence wasn't particularly shocked, but he still felt somewhat doubtful.
"Hehe, this has something to do with the baleful Qi on my body," Han Li calmly explained, "In the past, I had personally slain thousands upon thousands of high-grade demon beasts, resulting in the dense baleful Qi on my body. As a result, the baleful Qi on my body began to stir when the grade seven demon core was taken out. Since I handled a great number of demon cores in the past, I acquired a particular method of detecting them."
"So it was like that," the old man chuckled, "If you truly killed so many demon beasts, then it makes sense to me why you have so much baleful Qi on your body. However, I am quite interested in how you were able to kill so many demon beasts. It seems you have many old tales that haven't been revealed to me!"
"It's nothing. I simply had an opportunity in the past. More importantly, I fear Senior doesn't know the use of a crystalized demon core." Not wanting to mention his years in the Scattered Star Seas, Han Li changed the topic to capture Monarch Soul Divergence's attention.
"Oh! This is also the first time I've heard of a demon core turned to crystal," Monarch Soul Divergence said with interest, "I do wonder what it can be used for."
"The crystallized demon core can no longer be considered a true demon core," Han Li said as he stroked his chin, "If it were used during pill concoction, it will turn into a poison that would kill ordinary cultivators when taken. As a matter of fact, this material is an optimal material for refining flying needles. It is said that when a flying needle if crafted from it, the needle's speed will be so fast it'll immediately strike the enemy as soon as it is released, and most fearsome of all is that a flying needle crafted from this material will be nearly invisible while in flight, allowing it to be an optimal weapon for sneak attacks. However, because it is extremely difficult for crystalized demon cores to be created and there are sparsely few cultivators that can recognize them so they are seldom ever found. If it weren't for my baleful Qi, I wouldn't have detected it myself."
As it so happened, Han Li had once read through a jade slip that recorded the refinement method for a flying needle created from a demon core. When he killed Zenith Yin's master in the Scattered Star Seas, he had taken a look at this jade slip out of interest and had only just remembered it after he acquired the crystalized demon core.
"I've never heard of this before. It seems there are countless bizarre things in the world. I fear there are no cultivators that have tread through all areas of the mortal world. According to what I know, there are at least six other cultivation worlds apart from our Heavenly South. There are few that can be safely ventured and others that will be dangerous to enter. During my lifetime, I visited two other areas apart from the Great Jin. Due to my decreasing lifespan, I returned to the Heavenly South and desperately researched techniques to extend my life." Monarch Soul Divergence's tone turned completely dim and listless.
"There is no need for Senior to be so dejected. The cycle of death is something all are equally subjected to. Even if you ascended to the spirit realm, you might not necessarily be freed from the shackles of your lifespan and only be entering a world full of Immortals. But it is extremely difficult for mortals like us to ascend to the spirit realm. There are only a few people that had managed it since ancient times!" Something seemed to stir in Han Li as he said this.
"Hehe! I am still unwilling to give up. I've always believed that I am absolutely among the best in the world with regards to cultivation aptitude and intelligence, but at the very end, my soul became trapped in a puppet body and I only slowed down my death. If another opportunity is given to me, I will surely enter Deity Transformation stage without too much difficulty." Monarch Soul Divergence muttered with regret and his voice gradually became softer as he went on.
When Han Li heard this, he felt a trace of sadness deep in his heart. In the past, he established a sect in the Far West and none in the Heavenly South posed to be his match. He was even more illustrious than Han Li and was peerless without a doubt, but he was never able to enter Deity Transformation stage. This pitiful end of his weighed heavily on Han Li's heart. Monarch Soul Divergence's current circumstances was a very likely possibility that Han Li could find himself in.
With that thought, Han Li's expression turned gloomy and he didn't say anything further.
The auction proceeded as usual and the items became even more precious as time went on, but there was nothing that caught Han Li's interest. When the auction was bidding the very last magic treasures and pills, Han Li lost his patience and promptly left the auction, attracting a strange gaze from the two women that sat at his side.
After he left, he paid no further attention to the other booths and left the plaza, slowly wandering around several buildings absentmindedly.
When he passed by other foreign cultivators and a few disciples of the three noble clans, he paid little notice of them either.
With slow and steady steps, he gradually made his way to a far more remote area.
After the time it took to finish a cup of tea, Han Li stopped and looked to the side. He was now in front of a building with a white-robed Foundation Establishment cultivator standing inside it. The cultivator was looking around as if he were waiting for someone.
With an expressionless face, Han Li quickly swept his spiritual sense around him and found that there were no other cultivators nearby, nor were there any powerful restrictions. The nearest cultivators were over three hundred meters away and wouldn't pay any attention to this area. As a result, he approached the cultivator standing inside the building.
The fierce-looking man was surprised by Han Li's appearance and asked, "Does Fellow Daoist have any business here?"
When Han Li approached him, he smiled and said, "Are you a Kong Clan cultivator?"
The large man sized Han Li up and saw that he had a variety of pouches at his waist. Since he didn't seem to be a vagrant cultivator, the large man politely replied, "That's right. I am the Kong Clan's chief external affairs attendant. Does Fellow Daoist..."
"I have a few matters that I must talk about with your clan master. Do you think you could inform him?" Han Li asked in a friendly tone.
"See the clan master? I'm afraid that isn't possible," the large man said with a frown, "Our clan master is currently handling important affairs. He cannot casually see a stranger. If it is important, you may as well tell me first."
With a deliberate display of hesitation, Han Li then said, "Very well. Just as I left the auction hall, I discovered that there was an item with a problem. I wished to talk about with your clan master."
"The auction hall? Something is wrong with your item?" The large man's expression suddenly froze and he said, " If that's the case, you should bring up the matter with the Fellow Daoists at the auction hall."
"It isn't something that the auction hall can resolve. You'll see once I show you the item." Han Li sighed and then he touched a pouch at his waist.
When the large man saw Han Li's action, his many years of experienced caused him to unconsciously place his palm at his waist, but when Han Li flipped his hand, he took out a shining red gem and handed it over to the large man. The large man's suspicions disappeared and his body relaxed. With a confused tone, he said, "Isn't this a Firesmelt Gem? Why would you need to see the clan master over this?"
Just as he spoke and reached out to take the gem, a wisp of blue flame suddenly shot out from the stone. At such a short distance, the large man couldn't dodge and just as he was about to yell, his head froze and a chill ran down his body. In the next moment, his body was sealed in a layer of frost and he couldn't move in the slightest.
Han Li swept up a wave of blue light from his sleeve, wrapping up the frozen man in it and bringing him deep into the building. He then entered the building with a blur.
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