Chapter 1599: Strange Being

The woman initially faltered at the sight of Han Li staring blankly at her, but a hint of rage then quickly appeared on her face. She swept her spiritual sense toward him, and her heart jolted with shock as she discovered that she was unable to detect any spiritual Qi fluctuations from his body.

This was quite unsettling to her, and she immediately turned around.

At this moment, Han Li finally managed to recompose himself, and his expression reverted back to normal as he stared at the woman in deep thought.

This blue-robed woman was a memory in the bottom of his heart that he had been trying not to revisit, and as such, he was both astonished to see her, yet also hesitant about approaching her.

She was Chen Qiaoqian, the woman who had once expressed her love toward him countless years ago, and the memory of her voice and her smile filled Han Li's entire heart.

This blue-robed woman was completely identical to Chen Qiaoqian, who had already perished in the human world. Aside from the fact that her demeanor was quite cold, she was the spitting image of Chen Qiaoqian, and it was as if she'd been resurrected.

Back when Han Li had heard about her death, he'd remained quite calm and collected, but an indescribable sense of sorrow had welled up in his heart.

It wasn't the type of grief that one would be struck by following the passing of a lover. Instead, it was simply a reminiscent sense of melancholy that any normal man would experience when hearing about the passing of a woman who had once loved them.

However, there was no way that Chen Qiaoqian could be resurrected, and there was certainly no chance that she would be reincarnated in the Spirit Realm. As such, regardless of how closely she resembled Chen Qiaoqian, she had to be someone else.

This string of thoughts rapidly flashed through Han Li's mind, and he finally managed to forcibly repress his slightly tumultuous emotions. Following a brief hesitation, he still proceeded with his original plan, making his way toward the same stone wall.

The blue-robed woman didn't turn around, but she seemed to have an ability that allowed her to sense what was happening behind her, and her brows furrowed as she departed from her original spot.

Thus, Han Li strode forward and stood directly on the spot where she had been standing just a moment ago.

Even without turning around, Han Li could sense the vicious glare that the blue-robed woman had aimed at him, following which she hurried away to a stone wall that was slightly further away.

It appeared that this woman had formed the opinion that he was some kind of perverted swine.

Han Li chuckled internally before focusing his attention on the stone wall in front of him.

As expected, the silver characters on the stone wall were all names of different types of materials and treasures, but strangely enough, none of the items had any prices listed next to them; they only had a number between one to 13 assigned to them.

Han Li's heart stirred upon seeing this, and a thought occurred to him as he cast his gaze toward the distance.

There just so happened to be 13 jade pavilions surrounding the crimson pavilion, and there was a shimmering golden number hovering above each of the pavilions.

As such, it wasn't difficult to deduce what those numbers assigned to the materials meant.

He wasn't in any hurry, so he carefully scanned his gaze throughout the entire stone wall, then headed toward the next one.

Han Li was able to glean the contents of an entire stone wall virtually in the blink of an eye, yet even after looking through most of the stone walls present, he remained completely expressionless as if he hadn't found anything that caught his eye.

Right at this moment, a rumbling boom rang out from the crimson pavilion at the very center, following which a thunderous roar of rage erupted from within. 

"What? You're saying this is fake, Eccentric Song? That's impossible! I went to great lengths to obtain this treasure, and I was almost killed by a bunch of Golden-winged Giants in the process!"

"Quit yelling! I've made my final appraisal, and I can tell you with certainty that this thing is fake. You can leave now, Fellow Daoist Duan," a sharp voice replied from within the pavilion.

"I was bedridden for seven years after obtaining this item, yet you're telling me it's fake? The person who supplied me with the information better pray that they don't bump into me again. Otherwise, I'll twist his head off!" Another resounding roar of rage rang out, and this time, a hint of spiritual power had been injected into the voice, making it clearly audible to virtually everyone outside.

All of a sudden, red light flashed from the surface of the crimson pavilion, following which a massive figure that was around 30 feet tall leaped forth before landing on the ground nearby, causing the entire earth to tremor with the immensely heavy impact.

Most of the people in the plaza turned toward the giant figure, and all of them drew a sharp breath in unison.

From the head down, this giant figure possessed a body that was half flesh and half metal.

The metal half was of a glistening black color and was emanating a peculiar grey light, while the other half of his body was of a tanned deep bronze color, and it seemed to be just as indestructible as his metallic half.

The head attached to this body had a sinister set of facial features. Not only were his nose and eyes twice as large as that of a normal human, his head was conical in shape with a few sporadic tufts of green hair growing on top.

Han Li swept his spiritual sense toward the strange being, upon which his expression changed drastically. He was completely unable to fathom his cultivation base, thereby indicating that this was a being at the pinnacle of the Body Integration Stage, just like Qian Jizi.

However, just because Han Li didn't recognize this strange being didn't mean that the other foreign beings gathered here didn't recognize him.

Almost as soon as he landed on the ground, a dozen or so beings rushed out of the nearby crowd before extending a respectful bow toward him.

"We pay our respects to Elder Duan!"

A string of greetings immediately rang out.

These humanoid figures were far taller and larger than normal humans, and they were all Stone Cocoon beings like Tie Jian. As such, this strange being had to be an elder of the Stone Cocoon Race!

"Oh, I see you've all come here to attend the auction as well. I wish you all good luck. I was swindled into risking my life for a fake treasure, so I don't even feel like staying for the auction anymore." The strange being waved a casual dismissive hand toward all of the other Stone Cocoon beings before making his way toward the exit.

All of the beings in his path naturally stepped aside in a respectful manner to grant him passage.

Coincidentally, this Elder Duan also happened to pass by Han Li, and Han Li shuffled back a little as well, planning to see off this astonishingly powerful being.

However, in the next instant, an alarming turn of events abruptly unfolded.

In the instant that Elder Duan passed by Han Li, his footsteps suddenly faltered, and his nose twitched before he turned an intense incredulous gaze toward Han Li.

All of the nearby beings were naturally quite taken aback by this sudden development, and many of them turned to Han Li as well, trying to determine what it was about him that had caught the interest of such a powerful being.

"Do you have any business with me, Senior?" Han Li was struck by a sense of foreboding, but he still extended a respectful salute as he squeezed a smile onto his face.

"What's your name and which race are you from?"

Han Li didn't know what this being's intentions were, so he naturally didn't dare to speak the truth. As such, he fabricated a response on the spot.

"Good! I am Duan Tianren of the Stone Cocoon Race. If you encounter any troubles in Cloud City, you can refer to me as your backer!" Elder Duan nodded with a meaningful expression, and it was impossible to tell whether he believed Han Li's fib. All of a sudden, his body blurred before reverting back to normal, but Han Li's expression changed drastically.

He could clearly sense that in the instant that Duan Tianren's body had blurred, he had thrust a palm lightly onto Han Li's shoulder. With his spirit eye ability, he was able to see the trajectory of Duan Tianren's palm, but he was simply too fast for Han Li to evade.

A burst of strange spiritual Qi flowed from Duan Tianren's palm into his arm, and it only dissipated after circulating throughout his entire arm.

"What's the meaning of this, Senior?" An enraged look appeared on Han Li's face.

There were only a dozen or so beings present that had actually caught sight of what Duan Tianren had done to Han Li, so to everyone else, it appeared that Han Li had suddenly gotten angry even though Duan Tianren was clearly extending a gesture of kindness toward him.

In the face of Han Li's enraged interrogation, Duan Tianren merely swept his gaze over Han Li's face as he chuckled, "Rest assured, Fellow Daoist; I could see that you'd also cultivated quite a special body refinement technique, so I wanted to see what that was all about."

After Duan Tianren's gaze had swept past his face, Han Li was stunned to find that his face began to throb with pain.

He had used that black veil in conjunction with a disguise technique to conceal his original appearance, but there was simply too much of a cultivation base disparity between the two of them, so Han Li wasn't confident in the slightest that he'd fooled Duan Tianren.

However, Han Li naturally wasn't going to believe the excuse that Duan Tianren had offered to placate him, and his mind raced as he attempted to glean the intentions behind that palm.

However, he was unable to think of any potential reasons why this being would target him. After all, this was most definitely the first time that he'd met him.

At this moment, Duan Tianren suddenly transmitted his voice to Han Li. "Save your brain cells, little fella; I'll be waiting for you at the Rich Aroma Pavilion across the street. Don't even think about getting away; I didn't intend to harm you with that palm, but with my residual spiritual Qi circulating within your body, I'll be able to detect your location within the next few hours."

After that, he gave no further explanations before departing with a hearty laugh. Moments later, he left the plaza and strode into the exit, leaving behind a befuddled Han Li, as well as a bunch of bemused beings who were all looking at him with peculiar expressions.

Han Li was struggling to calm himself down in the wake of what had just happened, and the widespread scrutiny he was receiving certainly wasn't helping matters. Thus, he also turned and made his way toward the exit.

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Johnchen & DoubleDD's Thoughts

Hey everyone, I've posted this at various points in the comments sections of chapters and in the Discord chat already, but this is kind of important info for understanding the story, and it appears there's still some confusion around, so I wanted to make sure as many people saw this as possible, so here it is again. The upper race is split up into nine tiers

upper race breakdown

1st tier = early nascent soul

2nd tier = mid nascent soul

3rd tier = late nascent soul

4th tier = early deity transformation

5th tier = mid deity transformation

...

9th tier = late spatial tempering