Chapter 1598: Encounter

"Is there a trade center in the side hall? Isn't this supposed to be an auction house?" Han Li was rather surprised to hear this.

"Everyone who's attending the auction needs to carry a large number of spirit stones with them, so many fellow Daoists like to sell off some of the precious materials they've gathered for spirit stones prior to the commencement of the auction. Hence, there will always be some time allotted before the auction for fellow Daoists to exchange items for spirit stones or try their luck and see if they can find something they'd like to purchase. If you end up not being able to sell your items to anyone, you can sell them directly to the auction house as well, but obviously at a slightly lower price than what they'd normally fetch. The good thing is that with four of the 13 races supporting the auction house, they'll have sufficient spirit stones to purchase anything, regardless of how rare it is. One of the side halls beside the main hall is dedicated to those looking to buy, while the other is for sellers looking to sell off items," Tie Jian explained.

"So we can purchase items in the side halls as well?" Han Li was rather intrigued to hear this.

"Are you interested in selling or buying, Brother Han? If so, I suggest you go look at what everyone's selling before you go and sell your own things. If you can trade something that you own for something that you need, that would be ideal for both parties," Tie Jian suggested.

"That's a good idea, Fellow Daoist. In that case, I'll go in and have a look," Han Li replied with a nod of approval.

"Alright, then I'll come with you. Perhaps you'll find some things that you need if you're lucky." A smile appeared on Tie Jian's face as he led Han Li directly toward the entrance of the side hall on the right.

The blue-robed guards at the entrance merely glanced at Tie Jian and Han Li before allowing them into the side hall without asking any questions.

"The Four Races Auction is only held to boost the popularity of Cloud City, so all upper race beings and above can attend as they please. As such, there's a great diversity in cultivation bases and status among the beings who attend the auction. It's also because of this that this auction attracts far more people per year than the other auctions held in Cloud City," Tie Jian explained with a smile as he strode into the side entrance alongside Han Li.

"All upper race beings or above can attend this auction? Can this auction house hold that many people?" Han Li's brows furrowed with skepticism.

It was no wonder that Han Li would have such doubts, seeing as the number of upper race beings in the Cloud City definitely numbered in the hundreds of thousands. No matter how he looked at it, this hall was definitely not large enough to house that many beings.

"Hehe, you'll see for yourself soon, so there's no need for me to explain," Tie Jian replied with a mysterious smile.

Han Li's expression changed slightly as he cast his gaze up ahead, and only then did he realize that he had been walking through this entrance for longer than he'd expected, yet still hadn't reached the side hall.

Wait! The shimmering white entrance up ahead had appeared quite close to them even in the very beginning, so why was it that after walking for a while, they didn't seem to have closed down the distance to the entrance at all?

A hint of surprise appeared on Han Li's face as he murmured, "Spatial techniques are being used here!"

"Haha, you finally noticed, Fellow Daoist Han. This auction house itself is actually a super spatial treasure that possesses spatial abilities and can expand or shrink at will. The interior of the hall can house over 10 times as many beings as it appears to be able to from the outside, so it's more than equipped to handle the influx of auction attendees," Tie Jian chuckled.

"I see. No wonder the ring at the top of the building looked so peculiar." A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face.

"Due to the auction house's spatial ability, the entrance has been elongated slightly, but it's still not all that long, so we should be able to emerge on the other side soon," Tie Jian said in a confident manner.

Han Li merely nodded without offering a reply.

Just as Tie Jian had proclaimed, after walking for a short while longer, the entrance up ahead suddenly drew closer to them, and they made their way through it to appear on a spacious plaza.

The plaza was very lively and bustling, resembling a popular street market.

There were a series of semi-spherical light barriers situated next to one another in tight rows on the plaza, and many cultivators were entering and exiting those light barriers.

At the center of the plaza was a white jade stone platform, atop which an ordinary wooden table had been placed. There was a pair of azure-robed figures with delicate facial features handing out something to the foreign beings standing in front of the table.

Just as Han Li was inspecting his surroundings, Tie Jian suddenly cupped his fist in a salute as he said, "Let's part ways here, Fellow Daoist Han. I have to find some buyers so I can sell off my treasures as quickly as possible, so I won't accompany you any longer."

"Go ahead, Fellow Daoist; I also want to do some exploring on my own as well," Han Li replied with a polite smile.

"Farewell for now then, Brother Han." Tie Jian nodded before hurrying away.

Han Li looked on at Tie Jian's departing figure for a short while before casting his gaze toward the jade platform, then suddenly making his way toward it. Moments later, he had arrived close to the platform, and at this moment, a few more beings strode onto the platform.

Han Li looked on from the side to find that these foreign beings were exchanging bags of high-grade spirit stones for small flags of different colors from the pair of azure-robed figures.

Han Li's gaze followed one of those foreign beings to find that after receiving a small flag, he made his way over to an empty spot near the edge of the plaza, then waved the small flag to conjure up a semi-spherical light barrier that concealed himself within.

Han Li released his spiritual sense toward the light barrier, only for it to be kept at bay by a certain restriction.

It was quite clear that these light barriers were specifically to be used for cultivators looking to trade on the plaza.

With the light barriers set up, they wouldn't have to worry about other people gleaning their secrets.

Han Li cast his gaze toward the surrounding area to find that these semi-spherical light barriers were everywhere, and further beyond the plaza that he was situated on, there were even a few smaller plazas that were also very busy.

Han Li exhaled as he shook his head.

For sellers looking to hand off their treasures to someone, finding a suitable buyer among so many beings was akin to finding a needle in a haystack, so he certainly wasn't going to waste too much time here.

If he wanted to try and secure a Myriad Wonder Pill for himself, then he had to gather a large sum of spirit stones prior to the commencement of the auction.

With that in mind, Han Li began to slowly walk along the edge of the plaza. Most of the time, he would only have a look from the outside. He'd enter a light barrier or two occasionally, but he'd then quickly re-emerge from within.

After 15 minutes, Han Li still hadn't accomplished anything, and his brows furrowed as he turned around in a decisive manner, retracing his steps to head back to the exit.

Perhaps it was pure coincidence or by Han Li's design, but when he stepped into the exit again, he was the only one in there.

As he walked along the passageway, he suddenly rustled a sleeve to produce a black veil, and it disintegrated into a cloud of faint black mist amid a dull thump. The black mist settled over Han Li, making his body quite blurry and indistinct.

Almost immediately thereafter, light flashed within the black mist, and it surged around him before forming a glossy black robe that draped itself over his body.

At this moment, Han Li emerged from the mist with his head lowered, and his aura had become extremely faint. When he raised his head again, he had already adopted a completely new set of facial features. In what seemed like the mere blink of an eye, Han Li had completely disguised himself.

After that, Han Li emerged from the exit in an unhurried manner, passing by a few foreign beings who were walking in the opposite direction.

The blue-robed guards outside merely glanced at Han Li before allowing him to depart.

Thus, Han Li made his way into the other side hall and found himself on another large plaza, but the scenes within came as a slight surprise to him.

There were also many beings gathered here, but in contrast with the other side hall where treasures were being sold, most of the people here were gathered on a small section of the plaza.

There, a series of bluestone walls stood, and each of them was over 100 feet in height. There were silver characters flashing from the walls, and all of the foreign beings were gathered around them, looking on with rapt focus.

Further on beyond the stone walls, there were a dozen or so jade pavilions with multiple levels, and all of these pavilions were interconnected with one another.

The pavilions were all of a translucent snowy white in color, and their doors were wide open, but the entrances were concealed by layers of flashing white light.

The pavilion at the center of the cluster of pavilions was crimson in color and enshrouded under a layer of faint azure smoke. Furthermore, there was an indistinct fragrant aroma emanating from it, as if it were some kind of ethereal otherworldly object.

The beings inspecting the stone walls would occasionally enter those jade pavilions, and some would re-emerge in high spirits, while others were left quite dejected.

After assessing the situation, Han Li made his way over to one of the stone walls, yet right at this moment, a slender figure standing before a nearby stone wall suddenly turned around and also headed toward the same wall that Han Li was walking toward.

Han Li cast a reflexive glance toward the slender figure, and he abruptly shuddered as his expression changed drastically.

This was a woman with a head of long black hair in a set of blue robes. Her facial features were exquisitely beautiful, yet her expression was quite cold, and she strode directly over to the other stone wall before inspecting it with her brows furrowed in concentration, completely oblivious to Han Li's reaction toward her.

Han Li's footsteps drew to a halt as his face paled slightly. He stared intently at the blue-robed woman with an unblinking gaze and murmured in a voice that was only audible to himself, "How could it be her? That's impossible! Are there really people in this world who so closely resemble one another?"

The intense scrutiny that the blue-robed woman was receiving from Han Li finally drew her attention, and their eyes met as she turned toward him.

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