Chapter 2328: Fragrant Maidens

After a brief moment of contemplation, he flipped a hand over to summon a white jade slip amid a flash of white light.

He then chanted something while pointing a finger at the jade slip, and a series of extremely life-like portraits quickly emerged one after another.

The elderly man carefully inspected the transitioning portrait with an unblinking gaze, and all of a sudden, the shapeshifting portrait settled on the image of an azure-robed man; it was none other than Han Li.

 "So it really is this new Grand Ascension Stage being from the human race. He's far more powerful than the average Grand Ascension Stage being; I'm going to have to organize a welcome of the highest standard," the elderly man murmured to himself before clapping his hands together twice.

Spatial fluctuations erupted on one side of the hall, and a woman in a purple palatial dress with a thin veil over her face appeared before the elderly man.

"Is there something I can do for you, Master?"

"Fei Yun, this is Fellow Daoist Han Li; make sure to organize a welcome for him of the highest standard that's reserved for the most esteemed guests of our trade guild. You must ensure that he's satisfied with our trade guild at all costs," the elderly man instructed.

The woman's heart jolted slightly upon hearing this, and she replied in a respectful manner, "I understand. I'll attend to this man in person and make sure that he has a positive experience."

"Good, I have full trust in your abilities; you can go now. That man has already entered the Profound Heavenly Gate; here's some information about him. Make sure you take a good look at the information so you don't offend him in any way." The elderly man pointed a finger at the jade slip as he spoke, upon which another jade slip appeared in his hand. 

The second jade slip was tossed toward the woman, who immediately caught it before giving an affirmative reply, then vanished on the spot as if she had been nothing more than an illusion. 

Following her departure, the elderly man swept a sleeve through the air, and the projection of Han Li instantly vanished.

At the same time, spiritual light flashed from the wall, and a middle-aged man in a set of scholarly robes appeared before cupping his fist in a salute toward the elderly man, then said, "Master, the first batch of auction items have already safely arrived in the warehouse."

"Good. Those auction items are extremely precious, and there are even a few items among them reserved for the elders of our trade guild, so make sure that nothing happens to them. Also, begin preparing the sentinels for the auction right away, and some restrictions and formations need to be re-examined over three times..." The elderly man began to rattle off a series of instructions.

......

As soon as Han Li entered the Profound Heavenly Gate, his field of view was filled with a flash of white light, following which he abruptly appeared on a stone platform that was over 100 feet tall.

The blood soul and the others were standing close behind him, and beneath his feet was a teleportation formation with a diameter of several tens of feet.

Han Li inspected his surroundings to find that there were massive trees all around him, forming a watertight barrier around the stone platform, and there was only a winding stone path leading away into the distance.

He looked up into the sky to find a grey stone ceiling tens of thousands of feet up ahead, and the stone ceiling stretched as far as the eyes could see with countless stalactites all over its surface, indicating that they were currently situated in an underground world.

Every half a kilometer or so, there would be a head-sized source of light embedded onto the stone ceiling, making it appear as if there were countless stars up above giving off gentle white light to illuminate the entire underground world.

Han Li quickly swept his spiritual sense through the forest and immediately discovered seven or eight other stone platforms identical to the one beneath him, and there seemed to be other people nearby as well.

It appeared that there was more than one entrance to the Black Char Peaks than that Profound Heavenly Gate.

Just as Han Li was about to spread his spiritual sense even further, it came into contact with something less than 10 kilometers away, upon which his spiritual sense was repelled back.

This didn't seem to bother him at all, and a faint smile appeared on his face as he strode down from the platform before walking along the stone path.

The blood soul and the others naturally followed along closely behind him while also inspecting their surroundings.

After walking for around two kilometers, the path suddenly took a turn, upon which Han Li's group arrived at a crossroads.

Besides the crossroads was an awning constructed from green branches, within which sat several tens of foreign beings in different attire.

The foreign beings were split up into seven or eight groups, and they were either conversing with one another or meditating in their seats, seemingly waiting for something.

At the center of these foreign beings were three children who appeared to be no more than 11 to 12 years of age with their hair arranged into small braids.

The trio wore identical attire, and they were constantly traversing between the tables, occasionally serving up cups of spirit tea or plates of spirit fruits.

Han Li's eyes narrowed slightly upon seeing this, but he continued to make his way toward the awning.

Many of the foreign beings under the awning turned toward the new arrival, and none of them were able to glean Han Li's cultivation base with their spiritual sense.

Upon discovering this, their expressions changed drastically as they hurriedly withdrew their gaze in a respectful manner.

The blood soul took a glance at the foreign beings gathered under the awning, and said, "This should be the trade guild's welcoming area. All of the outsiders wishing to participate in the auction have to wait here until the trade guild sends people to fetch them. Otherwise, participation in the auction won't be granted even with a token."

"I see. The He Lian Trade Guild sure is quite cautious," Han Li replied with a smile.

At this point, he had already reached the awning, and he identified that the majority of the foreign beings present were at the Spatial Tempering Stage, while only a few were Body Integration Stage beings.

The three children hurriedly rushed out before extending respectful bows toward Han Li, yet just as they were about to say something, a burst of beautiful music suddenly rang out from above the awning.

Countless white runes emerged up above, then transformed into a giant jade disk.

Immediately thereafter, spatial fluctuations erupted from the disk, and a formation appeared on its surface, following which an elegant purple figure emerged.

"That's a guidance envoy!" someone exclaimed, and everyone's attention was immediately drawn to the jade disk.

Atop the jade disk stood a gorgeous woman in a purple palatial dress.

Even though her face was concealed behind a thin veil, everyone was still struck by a sense of captivation at the sight of her.

As soon as the woman appeared, she cast her gaze downward and instantly caught sight of Han Li.

"May I ask if you're Senior Han of the human race? My name is Fei Yun, and I was instructed to take you to the esteemed guest pavilion," the woman said in a respectful voice as she extended a curtsey toward Han Li.

Han Li took a glance at the woman, and an intrigued look appeared on his face. "I see. I am indeed here from the human race; who was it that instructed you to come and fetch me?"

"I was instructed to come here by Master Ming Zun, the person overseeing this auction. We have prepared a welcome of the highest standard for your esteemed self," the woman replied.

"A welcome of the highest standard? That man really is a Grand Ascension Stage being!"

"He's most likely no ordinary Grand Ascension Stage being, either!"

A stir immediately ran through the other foreign beings upon hearing this.

"I've heard of Fellow Daoist Ming Zun; I didn't think that he was a member of your He Lian Trade Guild. Alright, you can lead the way," Han Li said with a nod.

"Yes, Senior; please come with me," the woman stepped away to the side of the jade disk before making an inviting hand gesture.

Thus, Han Li and the others all flew onto the jade disk, and the woman made a hand seal, upon which the formation resurfaced on the disk.

A burst of spatial fluctuations erupted forth, and the entire group vanished in a flash along with the jade disk.

In the next instant, Han Li reappeared in a resplendent hall that was several acres in size with several identical jade disks situated at its center.

"We pay our respects to Senior Han!"

There were 12 other young beauties in palatial dresses waiting in the hall, and they immediately extended respectful bows toward Han Li as soon as he appeared.

A hint of surprise flashed through Han Li's eyes at the sight of these young women.

All of them appeared to be no more than 16 to 17 years of age, and their physical characteristics clearly indicated that they were from different races.

However, all of them were very beautiful and alluring, and they were holding different items in their hands, such as incense burners, scepters, and horsetail whisks.

What was most noteworthy to Han Li was that despite how young these women were, they were all at the Nascent Soul Stage.

The woman in purple seemed to have sensed Han Li's surprise, and she explained, "These are fragrant maidens nurtured by our trade guild. All of them have regularly consumed the honey of 100 flowers from birth, allowing them to give off a floral fragrance. On top of that, they're all virgins and would make great dual cultivation partners. According to the rules of our trade guild, all esteemed guests of the highest level that come to attend our auction will be gifted a group of these fragrant maidens."She then turned to the fragrant maidens, and instructed, "Come here and greet your new master."

The 12 young women immediately fell to their knees, and said, "We pay our respects to our master."

"Fragrant maidens, eh? Hehe, your trade guild sure is sparing no expense. In that case, I'll accept this gift. You can all get up now. Guo'er, I'll leave them to you for now," Han Li chuckled.

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