"Through some special avenues, I managed to obtain a map of the underground layout in the area near our mine, and I discovered that there's a mine that belongs to the city lord's manor that's situated not far away from ours. Apparently, it's a mine with exceptional potential, and even the city lord's manor has yet to touch it as they're saving it for the future," Wu You said.
"What do you mean by that? Are you saying the Foreign Devilish Stones we discovered actually belong to the city lord's manor?" the young devilish man asked in a stunned manner.
"That's right. The private mine that we opened in secret can only be categorized as a mid-grade mine at the very most, so there's no way that so much top-grade Foreign Devilish Metal could be found in there. It's most likely the case that we accidentally deviated from the original mine vein during the mining process and dug into the top-grade mine that belongs to the city lord's manor. Similar events have happened in the past; it's just that we've been quite lucky that our private mine has gone unnoticed by the guards of the city lord's manor for so long," Wu You said.
Grim looks appeared on everyone's face upon hearing this.
The city lord's manor had Sacred Ancestor Lan Pu as its backer, so it was undoubtedly the premier power of the entire Blue Waterfall Lake. There were some other powers in the area that also had prominent backers, but none of them dared to openly oppose the city lord's manor.
They were only a group of Spatial Tempering and Deity Transformation Stage beings, so it would most definitely be fatal for them to incur the wrath of such a formidable powerhouse.
The devilish woman who had proposed fleeing the city with the Foreign Devilish Metal had completely abandoned the idea upon hearing this.
"Now that you know this, don't try anything in an attempt to maximize the benefits that you can derive from this; the best possible outcome for all of us is to be able to escape from the Blue Waterfall Lake alive, and this is why I'm in such a hurry to sell this batch of Foreign Devilish Metal. Even though I'm selling it at a very cheap price, it would still earn us an astronomical sum of devil stones, which could be a potential life-saving trump card for us. Of course, if we can all survive this ordeal, I'll split the devil stones with everyone," Wu You said with a cautionary tone in his voice.
Everyone's expressions eased slightly upon hearing this, and they all gave an affirmative response.
As for the exchange that was scheduled to take place the next day, no one was overly concerned about it.
After all, this was a very unscrupulous deal, and the exchange wasn't going to take place in some secluded location, so neither side would dare to try anything. Otherwise, if they were to attract the attention of other major powers, then both sides would be in massive trouble.
Even so, Wu You had still prepared some precautionary measures, which he instructed his subordinates to set up.
Everyone naturally had no objections to this, and they all departed from the hall to complete the duties that had been assigned to them.
At this point, Han Li was already situated in a beast-drawn carriage that was traveling toward the eastern city gate.
Several hours later, the beast-drawn carriage traveled out of the city gate, then galloped along a stone path for an extended period of time before stopping next to a lush forest
As soon as the carriage drew to a halt, Han Li emerged from within it, then cast his gaze toward the forest.
At the edge of the forest was a small winding path that led deeper into the undergrowth.
Han Li then turned his attention to a massive tree beside the small path, and he discovered that there was a mundane-looking yellow wooden sign nailed to the trunk of the tree, and the words "Vast Origin House" were inscribed onto the sign in black ink.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face upon seeing this, and he began to walk down the path into the forest.
After walking for a few hundred feet, he turned a few corners and disappeared from view.
Right at this moment, a tall and broad grey-robed elderly man appeared up ahead. The man had fiery red skin and eyes that were remarkably long and thin.
He was currently completely engrossed by an antiquated book with a silver cover that he was holding in his hand while leaning against a tree.
Han Li swept his spiritual sense toward the elderly man to find that he was only a Deity Transformation cultivator, and his brows furrowed slightly as he continued onward.
As he passed by the elderly man, he released a Spatial Tempering Stage aura for a moment before walking past the elderly man without even turning his head.
During this time, the elderly man continued to read the book in his hand, as if he had truly become completely enthralled by it.
However, as Han Li turned a corner and disappeared from view, the grey-robed elderly man quickly raised his head, and there was cold sweat pouring down his face.
"What powerful spiritual pressure! That man is no ordinary Spatial Tempering Stage being; I'll have to notify everyone else to grant him passage into the Vast Origin House," the elderly man murmured to himself before quickly scribbling something onto the cover of the antiquated book with a finger.
Several black runes emerged, then vanished into the silver cover of the book in a flash.
After that, the elderly man's body blurred, and he instantly vanished from beneath the tree amid a flash of green light.
Shortly thereafter, Han Li followed the path and arrived at a five-story pavilion situated at the center of the forest.
The entire pavilion was constructed from a type of white wood, and the fact that this wooden material was slightly yellow from age was an indication that this pavilion had been around for a very long time.
There was a green-robed young woman currently standing in front of the pavilion. She appeared to be around 15 to 16 years of age, and seemed to be a servant.
As soon as Han Li emerged, she immediately made her way over to him in an unhurried manner, then extended a respectful curtsey. "Xi'er pays her respects to her senior. Please come with me; our young mistress is waiting for you upstairs."
"Young mistress? I didn't think that the owner of the Vast Origin House would be a woman. Alright, lead the way," Han Li replied with a nod before following the young woman toward the pavilion gates.
As soon as he entered the pavilion, he was struck by an inexplicable chill that almost made him shudder, but he was able to shake off the feeling after circulating his magic power through his body.
He then released his spiritual sense through the surrounding area and immediately detected some faint restriction fluctuations.
It was clear that a powerful restriction had been set up here, and the fact that it had even struck him with a sense of peril was sufficient testament to how dangerous it was.
On the first floor of the pavilion, there were only some simple tables and chairs and several pieces of ancient artwork hanging on the walls.
Han Li cast his gaze toward the artwork that was closest to him, then glanced at the other pieces of artwork before nodding to himself with a faint smile.
The four artworks each depicted a rusty copper mirror, a blue longsword that was flashing with a cold light, a shimmering golden spear, and an inky-black badge, all of which were extremely life-like and realistic.
A hint of surprise flashed through Xi'er's eyes upon seeing this. "Have you already noticed something, Senior? It's quite remarkable that you were able to discover the secrets hidden within these four pieces of artwork in such a short time; your discerning eye is enough to rank in the top 100 among all customers to set foot in our Vast Origin House."
"Only the top 100?" Han Li asked in an indifferent manner.
"Please don't underestimate this top 100, Senior; most of them were also Spatial Tempering Stage seniors like yourself, and the rest possess slightly inferior cultivation bases, but they're all vastly renowned characters for different reasons," Xi'er hurriedly explained.
"Hehe, if someone were to believe that these are only normal pieces of artwork, they'll most likely perish sooner or later when they enter this restriction. The formation that's been set up in a more obscure place is the true trump card here, right? How many of the past customers have managed to identify that?" Han Li chuckled coldly in response.
Xi'er's eyes widened with surprise upon hearing this, and she replied, "Your wisdom is truly unmatched, Senior! There are less than 10 customers who have managed to see through the formation, and most of them were devilish lords. Seeing as you're able to do this, there will be no need for you to undergo the trial on the second floor; you'll be able to go and see our young mistress on the third floor right away."
Han Li naturally nodded in response. "Alright, I'm looking forward to meeting the owner of this Vast Origin House."
Thus, he was led to the second floor of the pavilion by Xi'er.
The setup on this level was slightly different; aside from the set of simple tables and chairs, there were pots of different colors strewn all around the room, within which were planted many unknown spirit plants and spirit flowers.
In front of these pots stood a devilish woman with a head of grey hair, but a set of remarkably youthful features.
The woman was currently carrying an azure jade vial, from within which a stream of clear spring water was pouring out onto a crimson plant.
"Aunt Zhu, this is a senior that Young Mistress would like to see today. He's already identified the restriction on the second level, so I'll be taking him to see the young mistress now," Xi'er said in a respectful manner.
"Oh? It's quite remarkable that he was able to identify the restriction on the second level. Hmm? You've concealed your true cultivation base, haven't you?" The woman initially wore a calm expression, but after casting her gaze toward Han Li, her expression instantly changed slightly.
In the instant that Han Li caught sight of the woman, he had identified her to be a devilish lord at the pinnacle of the late-Body Integration Stage, and his eyes narrowed slightly as he replied, "I didn't think that I would encounter a fellow daoist of your cultivation base here. Rest assured, I've only concealed my own cultivation base for convenience."
The devilish woman quickly reverted back to a calm expression, and said, "I have no doubt about that; it is indeed quite inconvenient for beings of our cultivation base to go around without a disguise. In that case, I'll take you to see our young mistress in person. You can go now, Xi'er."Previous Chapter Next Chapter