Chapter 1603: Appraisal

When Han Li re-emerged from the Rich Aroma Pavilion, there were already many people making their way into the main hall of the auction house, indicating that the auction was about to commence.

Han Li immediately also followed suit without any hesitation.

The entrance to the main hall was about three to four times the size of the entrances leading to the side halls, and the number of blue-robed guards outside also far outstripped that of the guards stationed in front of the side halls.

However, these guards did nothing aside from maintaining basic order.

Han Li followed the crowd into the auction house in an inconspicuous manner, and after walking through the entrance, he found himself in a hall with several corridors leading elsewhere.

Each of the corridors had a sign hanging next to their entrances, upon which were written simple words like "Appraisal", "Pawn", and "Hall". There was a young man standing next to each of the signs in a respectful manner, and they seemed to be employees of the auction house.

Han Li cast his gaze toward the signs, and a hint of surprise flashed through his eyes. After a brief pause, he made his way toward one of them, and asked, "What can I expect to find in here?"

The young man standing next to the "Appraisal" sign bowed, and replied, "This is the place where auction items are taken to be appraised. If you have any precious items, they can be added to the list of auction items if the appraisers deem them to be worthy."

"Oh, I see." Han Li nodded before making his way into the corridor.

Cai Liuying had promised to issue half of the expenses required for him to use the super teleportation formation, but the remaining half was still an astronomical sum that he had to take care of himself.

As such, Han Li wanted to sell off some items to the auction house as he'd originally planned.

The corridor wasn't a very long one; after walking for several tens of feet and rounding a corner, Han Li found himself standing before a dark red door. 

The door was wide open, but an azure light barrier concealed the entrance, and there were seven or eight foreign beings standing in a line in front of the light barrier.

Han Li was rather surprised to see this, but he made his way over to the line calmly before standing at the rear.

Azure light flashed, and the light barrier opened up of its own accord as a red-haired foreign being emerged from within. Judging from the wide smile on his face, he seemed to have received some good news.

The foreign being paid no heed to everyone else lined up outside as he passed through the crowd and made his way out of the corridor in high spirits.

Thus, the next person in the line proceeded to stride toward the light barrier.

After only about 10 minutes, everyone in front of Han Li had gone in and re-emerged, indicating that the appraisers were quite quick and efficient. However, four or five more beings had since joined the line before Han Li. It appeared that many people had the same plan as Han Li, choosing to sell off their items to the auction house right before the commencement of the auction.

After another foreign being emerged from the azure light barrier in a dejected manner, it was finally Han Li's turn, and he made his way into the room.

After stepping through the light barrier, Han Li found himself in a massive room that was over 300 feet in size. The entire room had been constructed from some kind of greyish-white stone, and there were many runes carved all over the surfaces of this material, thereby ensuring secrecy within this appraisal room.

There was also a jade table and three wooden chairs in the room, as well as a simple teleportation formation in the corner.

There were three murky white humanoid figures sitting on the chairs, and due to the fact that their bodies had been entirely concealed under spiritual light, there was no way to glean their true appearances.

Han Li reflexively swept his spiritual sense toward them, only to find that all three seemed to be carrying some kind of aura concealment treasure that completely thwarted his attempt to gauge their cultivation bases.

"If you have something you'd like to offer to the auction house, you can show it to the three of us now. However, our Four Races Auction will only be selling materials and treasures of an extremely high caliber, so if you don't have anything that's extremely rare or special, you can go to the side hall to sell your items there. On top of that, if you're dissatisfied with our appraisals, you can raise the issue to us, and we'll get another panel of three appraisers to offer their appraisals." The one who had spoken was the humanoid figure at the center of the trio, and she had a pleasant young female voice.

"Thank you for the information, I'm sure I have something that will be of interest to you." Han Li nodded before rustling his sleeves, then flipping his hands over to produce a green jade vial and a pristine white jade box.

Instead of approaching the three appraisers, Han Li tossed the items toward them from afar, and they were immediately caught by an invisible force before being slowly carried over to the trio.

The two humanoid figures who hadn't spoken immediately grabbed a container each before opening them.

As soon as the vial was opened, an extremely rich medicinal aroma wafted forth along with an indistinct dragon's roar. A ball of green light then flew out of the vial, and the item within the light seemed to possess abundant spiritual nature.

The humanoid figure who was holding the vial let loose a faint cry of surprise as he hurried closed the vial again. At the same time, he swept a sleeve through the air, and a swath of white light shot forth to ensnare the ball of green light before drawing it into his grasp.

He stared intently at the ball of light to find that there was an azure pill within it. The surface of the pill was smooth and supple, and an extremely life-like silver dragon insignia could be seen on it. 

The humanoid figure picked up the pill before taking a light whiff, then began to carefully appraise it in silence.

Meanwhile, the other humanoid figure also opened the white jade box in his hand to find that there was a green section of bamboo that was around half a foot in length within it.

The humanoid figure inspected the section of bamboo briefly before reaching out to touch it, upon which an arc of golden lightning that was as thick as a finger erupted from the surface of the bamboo amid a loud thunderclap.

"This is Golden Lightning Bamboo!" the humanoid figure exclaimed.

The woman in the middle was also quite surprised to hear this, but she repressed her shock as she cautioned, "Golden Lightning Bamboo?! Please ensure that you've appraised it correctly, Brother Dao." 

"Rest assured, I'll be sure to appraise it carefully," the humanoid figure holding the jade box replied.

A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this, and he crossed his arms as he waited in silence.

Immediately thereafter, the humanoid figure reached a hand up into his sleeve before pulling out an inky-black gourd. The gourd was only several inches in size and extremely intricate in design.

The humanoid figure tipped the gourd over and aimed its opening at the green section of bamboo in the jade box before gently patting the underside of the gourd.

Black light flashed from the opening of the gourd, and a fist-sized ball of black Qi was expelled before striking the green bamboo.

As soon as the two came into contact, a loud rumbling thunderclap erupted, and several arcs of golden lightning erupted once again to vanquish the black Qi.

After doing that, the humanoid figure still wasn't satisfied. He pulled out a green jar and released a burst of green Qi from within, only for that to also be destroyed by the arcs of lightning unleashed by the section of bamboo.

"There's no mistaking it; this is Golden Lightning Bamboo, I'm sure of it!" the humanoid figure confirmed.

"Thank you for your efforts. How is the pill appraisal coming along, Fellow Daoist? The pill possesses some spiritual nature already, so it must be quite an extraordinary item as well, right?" The woman nodded before turning to the other humanoid figure.

"This pill predominantly contains wood-attribute power with earth and metal-attribute powers as secondary components. The pill has already attained very basic sentient will, and it's suitable for consumption for seventh and eighth-tier upper race beings. However, if a ninth-tier upper race being were to consume it, the effect of the pill would be less than a tenth of what it would be otherwise. This pill can qualify as a first-grade pill." After staring at the pill for a long while, the humanoid figure was somehow able to gauge the properties of the Rising Dragon Pill down to a fault.

Even Han Li couldn't help but be struck by a hint of surprise upon hearing this unerringly accurate appraisal.

"Congratulations, Fellow Daoist, this Golden Jade Bamboo and these pills both qualify as auction items. In particular, the section of Golden Jade Bamboo will be one of the most precious auction items that will be brought out near the end. By the way, is there a name for these pills? Also, I'll propose a starting price for both of these items, and you can tell me whether those starting prices are satisfactory to you," the woman said with a smile as she carefully appraised Han Li.

Before Han Li had a chance to say anything, she picked up a white jade badge from the table before quickly scribbling something on it with her fingertip, then tossing it to Han Li.

Han Li caught the jade badge and merely took a cursory glance at it before nodding as he replied, "I'm happy with these two starting prices. In any case, I'm confident that these two items wouldn't actually be sold for just their starting prices. As for those pills, they're called Rising Dragon Pills, and they were very difficult to refine."

"Rising Dragon Pills, got it! We'll sell these pills under that name. Please keep that jade badge safe; that will act as your receipt for you to claim the spirit stones for those two items at the conclusion of the auction," the woman reminded.

"I'll be sure to do so. If that's all, then I'll be heading into the auction now." Han Li cupped his fist in a calm salute as he prepared to take his leave.

"Enjoy the auction, Fellow Daoist. We'll be sure to issue your spirit stones to you in secret at the end," the woman replied with a smile.

Han Li nodded before turning to leave.

It was unknown which of the trio was operating the restriction in the room, but none of the three appeared to have done anything before the azure light barrier parted to allow him passage.

After emerging from the appraisal room, Han Li paid no heed to everyone outside as he made his way out of the corridor in an unhurried manner.

There seemed to be even more foreign beings in the hall now, and a steady stream of people was filing into the corridor leading to the auction hall.

Han Li didn't delay any further as he also followed suit.

After passing through a passageway that was shimmering with yellow light, he found himself in a massive hall.

After assessing his surroundings, Han Li was slightly stunned to find that not only was the hall extremely large and spacious, it had also been split into upper, middle, and lower levels. 

He couldn't tell what kind of material the middle and upper levels had been refined from, but they were entirely pristine white in color, and they managed to hover in mid-air despite the complete lack of support structures, creating quite a mysterious sight to behold.

The middle and lower levels were filled with sets of normal tables and chairs that were each situated around 10 feet away from one another, yet the upper level consisted of a series of cabins of the same size. Furthermore, these cabins were occasionally shimmering with spiritual light, thereby indicating that some kind of restriction had been applied to them.

It was quite clear that those cabins were reserved for beings of high status in Cloud City.

Han Li only took a quick glance at the upper level before withdrawing a gaze and finding a random obscure corner to sit down at, where he silently awaited the commencement of the auction.

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