Chapter 1981: Extortion

The Origin Pocket Pavilion was a place for high-grade cultivators to meet up and hold discussions. Its owner was a Body Integration Stage elder of Deep Heaven City, so no one dared to cause any trouble in the pavilion. As such, the pavilion had always had a good reputation among the cultivators of Deep Heaven City.

Many cultivators would rent out a certain level of the pavilion if they were holding a small exchange convention or discussing some secretive matters, and the reputation of the pavilion placed everyone's hearts at ease.

After flying for a long while, a lush forest that spanned an area of over 100 acres appeared up ahead. At the center of the forest were four pavilions, one large and three small. 

The largest pavilion was over 10,000 feet tall and wasn't any lesser in stature compared to the stone pagodas of Deep Heaven City. Even the three smaller pavilions were around 3,000 to 4,000 feet tall, presenting quite a majestic sight to behold.

Han Li's expression remained unchanged at the sight of these pavilions, but he sped up by about twofold.

At this moment, there were several yellow-robed Nascent Soul cultivators standing guard at the entrance of the first level of the tallest pavilion, chatting idly among themselves.

All of a sudden, a blur flashed past their eyes, and something seemed to pass right by them and entered the pavilion.

The guards were naturally very alarmed to see this, and they hurriedly turned toward the entrance while one of them instantly summoned an alarm-raising talisman.

Right at this moment, a cold harrumph rang out from the entrance, and a powerful burst of spiritual pressure swept forth from within. The air around the guards instantly tightened, and they were completely immobilized.

Only then did they catch a glimpse of an azure-robed figure who had appeared in the hall on the first floor of the pavilion.

Even though he had his back facing them, the spiritual pressure emanating from the azure-robed figure's body was completely unfathomable to them, and sweat began to pour down their faces.

"Don't raise the alarm; I'm here for a friend. Once I find the person I'm looking for, I'll leave," the azure figure said in a calm yet implacable voice.

In the next instant, the azure figure blurred and vanished into thin air, completely disregarding the restrictions in the pavilion.

As soon as he vanished, the enormous spiritual pressure faded, and all of the guards regained their mobility.

"Who was that? How dare he barge straight into the Origin Pocket Pavilion? Does he not know who the owner of the pavilion is?" a young guard yelled in an enraged manner as soon as he recovered his freedom.

The other guards didn't say anything, but they also wore extremely dark expressions.

"Hmph, you should shut your mouth if you don't want to die!" a blue-haired elderly man suddenly interjected in a low voice to cut off the young guard.

The young guard faltered slightly upon hearing this before turning to the elderly man. "What do you mean by that Fellow Daoist? Do you know who that was?"

"I do. All of you only recently joined this pavilion, so it's no surprise that you don't recognize him. I once had the honor of seeing this Senior Han from afar, and he's a mid-Body Integration cultivator, so his cultivation base outstrips even that of the pavilion's owner!" the elderly man said in a grim voice.

"What? A mid-Body Integration cultivator?" The other guards all drew a sharp breath upon hearing this, and the young guard who had just spoken instantly turned deathly pale.

For a mid-Body Integration cultivator, killing them wouldn't be much more difficult than crushing ants. If he were to be one to hold grudges...

The young guard's back was already drenched in cold sweat!

A thought suddenly occurred to one of the other guards, and he exclaimed, "A mid-Body Integration Stage senior with the Han surname? Could it be..."

"Hehe, that's right, he's none other than the Senior Han who was rumored to have perished two years ago. Seeing as he's appeared here, those rumors are all clearly false," the elderly man confirmed with a nod.

"I could sense a powerful baleful aura emanating from his body; it doesn't seem like he has very peaceful intentions. Is he really just here to look for a friend? If something happens, the reputation of the pavilion will be damaged," the young guard murmured.

Hints of fear flashed through everyone's eyes again upon hearing this.

"We have no power to dictate what Senior Han does here. Even if he completely destroys the Origin Pocket Pavilion, the pavilion owner won't pin the blame on us. The pavilion's rules only apply to normal cultivators; you can't expect to enforce them on someone like Senior Han," the blue-haired elderly chuckled before falling silent.

All of the other guards nodded in agreement, and they no longer discussed this matter, treating it as if it had never happened.

Only that young guard was still clearly very concerned and occasionally peeked into the pavilion through the entrance.

Meanwhile, on a level of the pavilion that had been sealed by many layers of restrictions, there were seven or eight people sitting around a white-robed woman, seemingly trying to persuade her about something.

The white-robed woman had skin as fair as snow and a set of beautiful facial features, but she wore an extremely cold expression.

It was none other than the Ice Phoenix who had been invited to this gathering.

Upon arriving here, she discovered that there wasn't any exchange convention taking place. She immediately sensed that something was wrong and tried to leave, only to be trapped by the restrictions on this level of the pavilion.

Immediately thereafter, the people attending the gathering took turns to try and persuade and coerce her; they had clearly all been bribed by Azure Dragon to do so.

"Come to think of it, you're an Ice Phoenix, so you have some connection with our Black Phoenix Race. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been constantly corresponding between you and Senior Azure Dragon during this past period of time. If you continue to stall like this, Senior Azure Dragon's patience is eventually going to run out. With his mid-Body Integration Stage powers, you would be completely powerless to resist if he were to try and take you by force, so you may as well agree. Senior Azure Dragon's powers and status are not inferior to that Han brat's in the slightest, so why continue to resist?" The person who was speaking was a young beauty in a black dress; it was none other than Xiao Hong of the Black Phoenix Race.

After being forced to go into seclusion for a while by the Black Phoenix Demon Monarch, she seemed to have made significant strides in her cultivation base. The rest of the group was comprised of other human and demonic beings, all of whom were acquaintances of the Ice Phoenix, and they were all trying to convince her of the same thing.

Following the commencement of the devilish tribulation, the boundary between humans and demons in the city had already been removed, which was why both sides were free to appear in any part of the city.

Even so, most ordinary beings wouldn't stray out of their designated area for no good reason, and only high-grade beings would regularly traverse through both areas.

The demonic beings among this group were all Spatial Tempering cultivators, so they naturally had the right to appear here.

However, there really wasn't much creativity with the approaches they were taking. They were merely rattling off the same narrative about how Master Azure Dragon was a Body Integration cultivator, and that countless female cultivators in the city would be over the moon if they were chosen by Master Azure Dragon as a dual cultivation partner.

However, regardless of what they said, the Ice Phoenix remained completely silent, and her frosty gaze made it seem as if she were trying to freeze the opposite wall solid.

Xiao Hong's brows furrowed tightly upon seeing this, and after a while, a cold look appeared in her eyes as she said, "We've said everything we have to say; it's time for you to give us a verdict now. Are you willing to engage in dual cultivation with Senior Azure Dragon?"

It seemed that she was the leader of the group of persuaders.

The Ice Phoenix finally responded, but her words were as sharp as daggers. "I won't agree to this no matter what you say. Come to think of it, I find this to be rather strange. As a member of our demon race, shouldn't you be aware that engaging in dual cultivation with humans is strictly prohibited in our race? Are you not afraid that the Black Phoenix Demon Monarch will punish you for trying to extort me in Master Azure Dragon's stead in such a blatant manner?"

Xiao Hong's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, but her expression quickly returned to normal as she chuckled, "How silly of me to have forgotten to mention this; Senior Azure Dragon possesses a demonic bloodline, so he's a half-demon. It's just that he chose to remain in the human race and eventually became the grand elder of the Nine Star Sect. As such, I'm not concerned about that at all. Besides, even if Senior Azure Dragon weren't a half-demon, our human and demon races must unite against the devilish army, so the demon monarchs and Body Integration Stage elders will all turn a blind eye anyway. Having said that, your answer has been quite disappointing. You leave me with no choice but to defer you to someone else." 

"Someone else?" The Ice Phoenix's face immediately paled upon hearing this, and she seemed to have already guessed whom Xiao Hong was referring to.

Sure enough, Xiao Hong immediately rose to her feet before turning to one of the side doors of the hall in a respectful manner. "Senior Azure Dragon, we've done everything in our power, but it seems you'll have to convince Fellow Daoist Ice Phoenix in person." 

"I see. It seems I'll have to tame this disobedient little Ice Phoenix myself, even though I'm very reluctant to have to resort to something like this."

A male voice rang out from the other side of the door, following which the door was opened, and a brocade-robed man strode into the room in an unhurried manner.

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