Han Li sat on in his chair for around two hours as large numbers of foreign beings poured into the hall.
The spacious three-level hall was entirely filled in the end, and even the cabins on the upper level had all been occupied.
Even the weakest foreign beings to attend the auction were at the Nascent Soul Stage, while the most powerful beings were at the Body Integration.
Just the Body Integration Stage beings that Han Li counted amounted to around four or five, and both Duan Tianren and Qian Jizi among them.
As for the other few Body Integration Stage beings that Han Li saw, those were also presumably all important figures akin to elders in their respective races.
At least 60 to 70 beings had already filed to the cabins on the upper level prior to Han Li's entrance, and all of them were at the Body Integration Stage.
However, Han Li didn't see Cai Liuying among their ranks, which meant that she had either take a cabin before Han Li had arrived or she had no interest in participating in this auction at all.
As he looked around at the packed auction hall, Han Li couldn't help but heave an internal sigh of awe and wonder.
It was indeed true that Cloud City was inhabited by beings from all 13 Heavenly Cloud Races and even foreign beings outside of those races, but it was still quite extraordinary for so many Body Integration Stage beings to appear in a single city. After all, there were only a dozen or so Body Integration Stage beings among the human and demon races combined in Deep Heaven City, and that city had also been where the cream of the crop among the human and demon races resided.
After waiting for a while longer, the entire hall was virtually packed to the rafters.
A string of three crisp bell chimes rang out, and the gate leading to the main hall slowly swung shut amid bursts of flashing five-colored light.
When the gates were completely shut, the auction finally commenced.
At the very front of the hall was a tall stage that was over 100 feet in height, similar to the kind of stage one would find in a normal auction house.
The only thing that was different was that there was a golden humanoid puppet standing on each of the four corners of the stage. These puppets were all antiquated in design and several tens of feet tall, wielding a giant silver halberd each.
Even though they were standing in a completely motionless manner, they gave off quite a fearsome aura, and it was quite apparent that they were extremely powerful.
At the very center of the stage was a blue formation, within which was a faint red table. There were many runes carved all over the table, giving it an extremely mysterious appearance.
As soon as the gates swung shut, the blue formation lit up and began emitting a low buzzing sound.
As the runes on the spell formation flashed, a humanoid figure appeared behind the table.
That spell formation was a teleportation formation.
The humanoid figure was a little blurry when it first appeared, but it quickly became clearer and revealed itself to be a refined and graceful middle-aged man.
The man wore a brocade robe and had a clean-shaven face. He appeared to be completely identical in appearance to a normal human being.
However, as Han Li swept his spiritual sense toward the man from afar, he was stunned to discover that the middle-aged man was a mid-Body Integration Stage being. On top of that, he could sense an extremely fearsome aura emanating from the man's body, and this observation told him that this man was an extremely dangerous being.
The middle-aged man seemed to hold quite a resounding reputation in Cloud City, as indicated by the fact that the chatter in the auction hall immediately died down following his appearance.
In fact, Han Li noticed that many of the beings around him were appraising the man on the stage with a hint of fear in their eyes.
In contrast, the middle-aged man adopted a warm smile as he said, "Greetings, fellow Daoists, I am Xiao Buyi. I'm sure that many of you know of me already, and there are even some among you who have met me in person. As such, I'll skip the self-introduction and cut straight to the chase. Due to the fact that the Sand Race, which I am a member of, is partly responsible for holding this Four Races Auction, I was asked to act as the host. I won't elaborate too much on the rules of the auction; they're completely the same as that of normal auctions. Seeing as all of you are attending an auction of this level of prestige, I'm sure you all know basic auction rules and etiquette. Aside from that, I can disclose some information about the most precious auction items that are to be brought out near the conclusion of the auction; those auction items are definitely not inferior to any that have been offered during the last Four Races Auction. In fact, for some fellow Daoists, the final auction item will be far more valuable than even the Great Fortune Pill that was sold for the highest price during the last Four Races Auction. Alright, without further ado, let the auction begin!"
Xiao Buyi's voice wasn't very loud, but he had injected his spiritual power into it, so it was clearly audible to everyone in the auction hall. Just a simple introduction had piqued the interest of the hundreds of thousands of beings present.
In the instant that Xiao Buyi's voice trailed off, a buzzing sound rang out from the blue formation again, and a dozen or so miniature light formations suddenly appeared on the empty table.
Immediately thereafter, spiritual light flashed, and a dozen or so boxes of different sizes emerged along with a palm-sized jade badge.
Everyone's attention was immediately drawn to the table as a result.
Xiao Buyi strode forward and picked up the jade badge before seeping his spiritual sense into it to glean the information within. He then picked up one of the jade boxes before removing the lid as he announced, "Similar to how the Four Races Auctions have operated in the past, the items we'll be auctioning off first will still be different types of materials. We'll start off with this Phoenix Stone."
Xiao Buyi raised the box in his hand before him, and an object immediately hovered out from within.
It was a strange rainbow stone that resembled the shape of a bird.
Xiao Buyi inspected the stone briefly before announcing, "Phoenix Stones are rare materials that can only be found at the sites where true phoenixes are born. They are extremely prized and sought-after both as a tool refinement materials, as well as a pill refinement ingredient. This Phoenix Stone weight 1.7 kilograms, and it is of the highest quality with no impurities whatsoever. The starting price for this item will be 2,000,00 spirit stones!"
Phoenix Stones were extremely versatile in their uses, and 2,000,000 spirits stones was quite a modest starting price for such a large chunk.
Even Han Li was rather tempted to place a bid for it. Even if he had no use for it in the immediate term, he could purchase it so that he'd always have it on hand for future usage if required.
However, the events that unfolded next immediately made him give up on the item.
As soon as Xiao Buyi announced the starting price of 2,000,000 spirit stones, bids came flying in thick and fast.
Xiao Buyi didn't even have to employ any auctioneer strategies to liven up the crowd, and the price was still quickly bid up to over 4,000,000 spirit stones, which was double the starting price.
In the end, the stone was purchased by a woman from the Dark Green Race for the lofty price of over 5,200,000 spirit stones.
She immediately issued the spirit stones on the spot in exchange for the item.
Even though Han Li had attended many prestigious auctions in the past, he still couldn't help but draw a sharp breath upon seeing this.
Phoenix Stones were indeed precious materials, but this price as way too staggering.
As such, Han Li naturally had no intention of joining in on the bidding.
After that, Xiao Buyi opened another jade box to reveal a shimmering golden spirit flower. "Next up is a 6,000-year-old Golden Monarch Flower. These flowers are the perfect medicinal catalyst for refining some precious pills, and the starting price is 3,000,000 spirit stones."
The flower was comparable in size to a human head, and each and every one of its petals looked as if it had been forged from pure gold.
In stark contrast with the Phoenix Stone, the entire auction hall remained silent after the flower was revealed, and many people looked on with furrowed brows as an awkward atmosphere quickly began to permeate.
This wasn't a surprising occurrence. After all, most of the beings gathered here hadn't even ever heard of this so-called Golden Monarch Flower, yet it had an even higher starting price than the Phoenix Stone.
Han Li began to stroke his chin with a contemplative look on his face upon seeing this. This was also the first time he had ever seen this flower, but from the faint smile on Xiao Buyi's face, it appeared that he was quite confident in this auction item.
"3,000,000." Someone finally made a bid.
Many people turned toward the bidder to find that he was a thin and frail elderly man from an indeterminate race with a pair of white horns on his head.
"3,200,000." Someone else immediately made another bid.
One bid after another rolled in from various locations in the auction hall, and there were only a dozen or so participants in the bidding, but the price was climbing just as quickly as it had for the Phoenix Stone.
It appeared that very few people knew how to use the flower, but the few beings that did held the flower in extremely high regard.
After the white-horned elderly man gritted his teeth and made a staggering bid of 7,000,000 spirit stones, all of the other bidders finally remained silent.
Thus, Xiao Buyi took out one auction item after another from the boxes on the table. All of the beings gathered here were high-grade cultivators, so he didn't have to present in-depth introductions for these items before they were sold after rounds of intense bidding.
After all of the items in the jade boxes had been sold, blue light flashed from the teleportation formation again, and seven or eight jade vials appeared on the table.
This time, several types of spirit liquid were being sold.
These items were all extremely precious, and countless beings clambered to place their bids in rapid succession.
The first few vials were all sold for prices that were three to four times their starting prices, and many beings in the auction hall were stunned by the ferocity of the bidding.
This was the beauty of auctions like this; the same item could be worth nothing to someone, but be regarded as a priceless treasure by others.
In the blink of an eye, all of the vials of spirit liquid had been sold aside from a final white vial.
Xiao Buyi's expression had remained quite calm throughout the auction, but a hint of desire finally flashed through his eyes as he cast his gaze toward the final small vial.
He heaved a faint forlorn sigh before picking up the vial as he introduced in an extremely concise manner, "This is half a vial of Glazed Heavenly Flame Liquid. The starting price will be 18,000,000 spirit stones!"
"What? Glazed Heavenly Flame Liquid?! Did I hear that right? How could this item possibly be sold in an auction?"
"And the starting price is only 18,000,000? Is it real?"
"How could that not be one of the final auction items? It's one of the seven most precious spirit liquids of our Spirit Realm!"
The entire auction hall immediately burst into a frenzy as everyone stared at the small vial with incredulity and scorching yearning in their eyes.
There were even a few cries of surprise that rang out from within the cabins on the upper level, and Han Li's expression also changed drastically as he heard the name of this spirit liquid being announced.