That night, Xiang Zhili showed up as promised and chatted with Han Li for the entire night.
Han Li obtained a lot of information about Cloud City from Xiang Zhili, and only after the sun had risen the next day did Xiang Zhili finally take his leave.
However, just as Han Li had accompanied him to the door, a thought seemed to have suddenly occurred to him, and he abruptly turned around as with a hesitant look on his face as he said, "Junior Martial Brother Han, I won't ever be able to return to human territory, but that possibility is still alive for you. If there ever comes a day when you want to leave Cloud City and go somewhere far away, please come to visit me first. I have some things to give to you, as well as a request I'd like to make, but rest assured, you'll be able to complete my request with ease as long as you can make it back to the human race, and doing so will also be immensely beneficial to you."
Han Li faltered slightly upon hearing this, and after a brief pause, he asked, "Oh? Can't you just tell me your request now? I really can't say for sure when I'd be looking to leave this city. If an emergency strikes, I may not be able to go and visit you before I leave."
"Truth be told, I can't disclose these matters to you right now, and it'll take me some time to prepare some things. It would be best if you could come and visit me before your departure. Otherwise, I think you and I will both regret it," Xiang Zhili replied with a meaningful shake of his head.
Thus, Han Li promised that he would do his best to visit Xiang Zhili prior to his departure, and only then did Xiang Zhili nod before departing from the room.
Han Li looked on as Xiang Zhili left, and a peculiar look appeared on his face. All of a sudden, he made a grabbing motion toward the door of his room, and an immense force erupted forth, instantly shutting the door again.
At the same time, white light flashed from the walls within the room as the restriction within was activated, encapsulating the entire room.
Han Li then strode over to a corner of the room before sitting down in a cross-legged manner on the futon that had been prepared there. It was unclear exactly what he was thinking, but a faint smile had appeared on his face while a cold light flashed through his eyes.
The next day, Han Li continued to meditate in his room, showing no intention of going anywhere.
Only on the morning of the third day was the door of the room finally opened, and he emerged from within in an unhurried manner.
However, instead of going downstairs to the hall to find Xiang Zhili, he left the inn through the exit on this level before drifting lightly down onto the streets outside.
Han Li seemed to have already decided where he wanted to go, and he casually hailed a beast-drawn carriage and gave the driver a destination before setting off.
Through the window of the carriage, Han Li could see everything on the streets outside.
His heart stirred slightly as he cast his gaze toward the massive balls outside the city walls.
Following his lengthy conversation with Xiang Zhili the night before, he had learned just what these massive balls were. It turned out that these were 13 super massive puppets, each of which was comparable in power to an early-Body Integration Stage being.
Each of the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races controlled one puppet, and it was quite clear just from those fearsome puppets just how stalwart the defenses of Cloud City were.
It was no wonder that this city was designated to be the central hub for the resistance against the Jiao Chi Race. At the very least, it would almost be impossible to launch an effective sneak attack on this city.
Han Li quickly withdrew his gaze from the balls in the distance before closing his eyes.
The place that he was traveling to wasn't very far away, so the beast-drawn carriage arrived at his destination after only an hour or so.
Han Li casually tossed a few spirit stones toward the driver before disembarking the carriage and surveying his surroundings.
The street before him appeared to be quite mundane, but there were far more people here than even on the main streets.
The shops on either side of the street weren't very large, but business seemed to be booming for them as many customers were regularly entering and exiting the shops.
Han Li nodded as he cast his gaze toward the shop that stood right before him. He glanced up at the plaque hanging above the entrance, then immediately strode in in an expressionless manner.
The shop was several hundred feet in size, and it was filled with rows of shelves, upon which were placed all types of items such as stone tablets, jade plates, silver badges, and ancient tomes. However, all of those items had been concealed under a shimmering light barrier.
This was a shop that specialized in selling tomes.
According to Xiang Zhili, these types of shops couldn't be more common in Cloud City, but the few renowned shops that Han Li was interested in were all gathered on this street.
Now that he had arrived, it appeared that Xiang Zhili's claims rang true.
The shop wasn't very large, but it really did contain many tomes of all different types.
There were a few other foreign beings who were also inspecting the wares being sold in the shop, and they were all Core Formation Stage beings.
All of these foreign beings seemed to be focused on their respective searches, and all of them failed to notice that an upper race being had just strode into the shop.
As for the shopkeeper, she was a young female foreign being who appeared to be only around 17 or 18 years of age. However, her skin was as pristine and translucent as snow, and there was a pea-sized white crystal embedded in her glabella. Her beautiful eyes were also shimmering with wisdom that seemed to belie her youthful appearance.
Han Li's heart stirred as he instantly identified this woman as a being of the crystal race.
He had naturally done some research on the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races, and he knew that the Crystal Race was one of them.
However, this race was quite a peculiar one. Not only was its entire population pitifully small at only around just over 1,000,000, they were also predominantly weaker than beings of the other 12 races. In spite of that, all of them had extremely long lifespans that were three to four times that of a human. Furthermore, all of them were very beautiful and highly intelligent. Almost all Crystal beings could reach a high level of proficiency in pill refinement, formation spells, or talisman crafting with ease.
As such, the Crystal Race was always extremely welcomed, and even though they didn't have much interest in things like power struggles, they enjoyed quite a lofty rank among the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races.
The Crystal being had also noticed Han Li, and as she cast her gaze toward him, a hint of surprise flashed through her eyes, as if she'd managed to glean his cultivation base.
Thus, she immediately rose to her feet and strode over to him before extending a delicate curtsey.
"Welcome to my humble shop, upper race Senior; is there anything I can help you with?"
The woman spoke in a refined manner, and there wasn't anything forced or over-the-top about her, yet she somehow exuded an air of grace and elegance.
It appeared the rumors were true; the Crystal Race really was unlike any other race he'd seen before.
Han Li clucked his tongue with wonder internally, but his expression remained unchanged as he replied, "No need. I'll have a look for myself first, and I'll inform you if I require any assistance."
"Then feel free to browse our wares, Senior." The Crystal woman nodded in a manner that was neither humble nor arrogant, then curtsied again before leaving Han Li to his own devices.
However, her words had come as quite a shock to all of the other customers in the shop.
All of them hurriedly turned toward Han Li with surprised expressions on their faces before drawing a sharp breath in unison.
They were naturally unable to glean Han Li's exact cultivation base, but the fact that it was so unfathomable to them indicated that Han Li was countless times more powerful than them.
Thus, all of them became rather uneasy, and some of them immediately departed while others quickly picked out a few tomes before also hurrying away.
In the blink of an eye, Han Li and the Crystal woman were the only two beings left in the shop.
Han Li paid no heed to this recent development as he made his way over to a nearby shelf to inspect the tomes that had been placed there.
From the surface, Han Li naturally couldn't really see anything. Thus, he swept his spiritual sense toward one of the stone tablets on the shelf, and that was when he discovered the function of the light barrier around the shop items.
Through the use of his spiritual sense, he could only glean a short string of introductory information. When he tried to inspect more of the stone tablet's contents, he encountered a slight obstruction.
Of course, with his immensely powerful spiritual sense, he could naturally force his way through the restriction with ease, but doing so would undoubtedly attract the attention of the shopkeeper, and no being of any status would be willing to embarrass themselves in such a farcical manner.
Han Li glanced at a few of the tomes on the shelf before him and discovered that most of them only contained some general information about the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races, so he naturally wasn't very interested in them. Thus, he made his way over to another shelf before inspecting the tomes on there with his spiritual sense again.
On this occasion, he seemed to have found what he was looking for. A short while later, a hint of elation appeared on his face, and he waved a hand toward a blue jade plate to draw it into his grasp.
He then continued to search through the shop, and in the blink of an eye, he'd gathered over 20 tomes.
Only then did he made his way over the Crystal woman with a pleased expression on his face, and he placed everything down onto the table before him as he asked, "How many spirit stones are you charging for all this?"
The Crystal woman looked at the pile of tomes that had been placed before her, and a hint of surprise appeared on her face. She then suddenly smiled and said something that came as quite a surprise to Han Li.
"These tomes aren't worth that much; you can take them for free, Senior."
Han Li faltered initially upon hearing this before his expression darkened slightly, and he asked, "Are you afraid that I won't be able to afford them?"
"That was never my intention, Senior. What I'm saying is that I have something else that may be of interest to you, and if you're willing to take it, then I can give all of these tomes to you for free," the woman replied with a composed smile.
"Oh? What is it that you want to show me?" Han Li asked as his expression eased slightly.
"Please wait for a moment; the item in question is quite valuable, so I've stored it in the back room." The woman rose to her feet with a smile before making her way toward the rear of the store.
Han Li merely waited in silence on the spot, and moments later, the woman emerged with a black metal box.
There were two azure talismans plastered over the surface of the box in a criss-cross formation, indicating that the box was housing something very important.
"Please take a look at the item in the box, Senior; I'm sure it'll be quite useful to you. Otherwise, I wouldn't have brought it out for your inspection," the woman said with a knowing smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter