Of course, now would not be a good time to bring out the suit of armor to study it as he was sitting in a beast-drawn carriage. As such, Han Li could only repress his curiosity and stow the jade box away before entering a meditative state.
Several hours later, the beast-drawn carriage arrived at the foot of the spirit mountain.
Han Li disembarked before tossing a spirit stone to the driver, then flew up the mountain in a calm manner.
His cave abode was situated around halfway up the mountain, and all of the cultivators that with cave abodes here were either almost constantly away or arduously cultivating in their cave abodes. As such, it was relatively rare to see anyone on this mountain.
However, as Han Li was flying toward his cave abode, he was quite surprised to discover a pair of uninvited guests outside.
One of them was a red-robed man who appeared to be in his sixties; this was none other than the Eccentric Xu who had used his crimson gourd to absorb all of the world's origin Qi gathered in the aftermath of the true Kirin essence's explosion.
The very same crimson gourd was hanging from his waist, and standing next to him was a young boy who appeared to be around 14 to 15 years old with a set of fine and delicate facial features.
Both of them were sitting outside the stone door of his cave abode with their eyes closed in meditation, and Han Li was naturally quite surprised to see this.
All of a sudden, Eccentric Xu opened his eyes as if he'd sensed Han Li's return, and he smiled as he asked, "You're the Fellow Daoist Han who just moved in recently, right?"
Han Li recomposed himself before asking in a polite manner, "That's right. Were you waiting for me, Fellow Daoist Xu?"
All of the Spatial Tempering Stage beings on the entire spirit mountain were clearly quite wary of this Eccentric Xu, so he had to be quite a powerful being. As such, Han Li naturally didn't want to get on his bad side.
"Hehe, I am indeed here to pay you a visit, Fellow Daoist Han. This here is one of my direct lineal descendants. Pay your respects to Fellow Daoist Han." To Han Li's surprise, Eccentric Xu seemed to be quite eager to introduce this junior of his to him for some reason.
"Junior Xu Lunxiang pays his respects to Senior Han," the young boy immediately greeted in a respectful manner.
"There's no need for formalities." Han Li had already ascertained with his spiritual sense that this young boy's cultivation base was at the pinnacle of the Foundation Establishment Stage, so he was only one step away from the Core Formation Stage. For a cultivator of his age, that was a reflection of outstanding aptitude.
"You don't find my visit too abrupt, do you, Fellow Daoist Han?" Eccentric Xu chuckled.
"Not at all. It's my honor to host you at my humble cave abode, Fellow Daoist Xu. If it weren't for the fact that I had some matters to attend to during these past few days, I would've welcomed you into my cave abode right away. Please come in, Brother Xu." Han Li was still rather perplexed by this situation, but his expression remained unchanged as he swept a sleeve toward the stone door of his cave abode.
A burst of azure light swept forth, and the stone door opened on its own in a soundless manner to reveal a shimmering white passageway that was paved with beautiful white jade.
Eccentric Xu expressed his gratitude toward Han Li's hospitality before making his way into the passageway with the young boy right behind him.
After entering his cave abode, Han Li immediately released his spiritual sense to contact the second Nascent Soul that he'd left here.
Thus, he learned that nothing had happened during these past three days aside from Eccentric Xu's visit, and he was quite relieved to hear this as he led Eccentric Xu and his junior into the hall.
After exchanging some pleasantries, Eccentric Xu and Han Li each took a seat, but the young boy continued to stand behind Eccentric Xu wit his hands hanging by his sides.
After sitting down in his chair, Eccentric Xu said, "Truth be told, Fellow Daoist Han, I've been in seclusion for a long time, and I've only recently re-emerged. Not long after that, I heard that a new fellow Daoist had moved in to this spirit mountain, and I heard that Elder Qian Jizi of the Myriad Ancient Race had organized your cave abode in person. May I ask if you're related in some way to Elder Qian Jizi?"
"Hehe, I'm just an outsider; how could I be related to Senior Qian Jizi in any way? It's just that I saved the life of a fellow Daoist from the Myriad Ancient Race a few years ago, and that fellow Daoist just so happened to be quite close with Senior Qian Jizi," Han Li replied in a calm manner.
"I see. That makes sense. After all, the Myriad Ancient Race is ranked quite high among the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races, and Senior Qian Jizi is an elder of the Myriad Ancient Race, so he can certainly organize for you to settle in Cloud City without ant issues," Eccentric Xu chuckled.
Han Li merely smiled and offered no response.
He knew that this Eccentric Xu had to be visiting him for a reason, and he was most likely going to elaborate on the purpose of his visit next.
As expected, Eccentric Xu suddenly adopted a rather serious expression as he said, "Truth be told, I decided to visit you on this occasion because I have some questions I'd like to ask you. Please forgive me for my unannounced intrusion."
Han Li immediately became slightly more guarded upon hearing this, but he still smiled, and replied, "There's no need to be so polite, Brother Xu. Cultivators like us are all straightforward beings, so feel free to tell me if you need something from me. If I know the answer to your question, I'll be sure to reveal them."
"In that case, I won't waste any more time," Eccentric Xu said with a smile.
After a brief pause, a serious look appeared in his eyes again as he asked, "Were you responsible for the astonishing phenomenon that took place a few days ago on our mountain?"
Eccentric Xu fixed an intense unblinking gaze on Han Li as he spoke.
Han Li's heart stirred slightly upon hearing this, but his expression remained unchanged as he asked with a smile, "Why do you think that phenomenon had something to do with me."
"It's quite simple; the phenomenon spanned quite a massive area, but it wasn't all that difficult for me to identify the epicenter of the explosion. On top of that, I just so happened to be taking a stroll outside my cave abode as I was getting rather frustrated with some aspects of my cultivation, and coincidentally, I saw a beam of golden light flying out from somewhere near your cave abode right before the explosion took place," Eccentric Xu revealed in a truthful manner.
Han Li's brows furrowed reflexively upon hearing this, but he then quickly put on a smile as he said, "Seeing as you've already witnessed everything, then there's nothing for me to hide. I did indeed unintentionally create that phenomenon a few days ago. Come to think of it, I have to thank you for cleaning up all of the world's origin Qi that gathered over the mountain as a result. Otherwise, I would've had to clear away everything myself."
Eccentric Xu was quite elated to hear this, and he hurriedly asked, "So you really were responsible for creating that phenomenon! That's fantastic! Would you be able to replicate the same phenomenon again, Brother Han?"
"Replicate that phenomenon? Why would you want me to do that? Would you be able to enlighten me, Fellow Daoist Xu?" Han Li asked with a perplexed look on his face.
Eccentric Xu initially faltered slightly upon hearing this before suddenly bursting into laughter as he said, "Of course. Fellow Daoist Han, have you managed to identify which of the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races I hail from?"
Han Li narrowed his eyes and appraised the old man for a while before a wry smile appeared on his face. "Er... I'm afraid that's beyond a being with a cultivation base as lowly as mine."
No matter how he looked at this Eccentric Xu, he was completely identical to a normal human being, and there were no characteristics that revealed which race he was from.
"It's no surprise that you weren't able to identify me, Brother Han. After all, us Cloud beings have always been extremely proficient in concealment and disguise techniques, and even beings with higher cultivation bases than us wouldn't be able to glean our true forms if we insist on hiding them. It's just that I'm a bit of an anomaly in my race in that I cultivate an extremely Yang-oriented fire-attribute cultivation art, so my proficiency in disguise techniques is rather lacking compared to my brethren of the same cultivation base. As such, some of the fellow Daoists who have lived on this mountain for a long time are aware of what kind of being I am," Eccentric Xu chuckled.
"The Cloud Race? Isn't that the race with the smallest population among the Heavenly Cloud Races, yet still ranks among the top three of the 13 races?" Han Li was quite surprised to hear this.
He had indeed heard of this Cloud Race, and he knew that it was one of the mysterious of the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races.
"Hehe, looks like you know quite a lot about our Cloud Race, Brother Han. Our Cloud Race and the Crystal Race are the two races with the smallest populations among the 13 races. However, in contrast with the Crystal Race, us Cloud beings are all quite powerful, which is why we were able to stake a claim among the top three races," Eccentric Xu said in a rather proud manner.
"My apologies for my ignorance; this is my first time meeting a being from your Cloud Race," Han Li sighed.
"There's no need to apologize. Our Cloud Race doesn't have a big population, but there are many of us here in Cloud City; it's just that very few of us appear as our true identities. Perhaps you've even met some being whom you thought were from other races, but were actually just Cloud beings in disguise," Eccentric Xu said in a meaningful voice.
Han Li was rather speechless upon hearing this.
Eccentric Xu then put away his smug expression as he adopted a slightly solemn look, and continued, "However, even though our Cloud Race is known for our proficiency in disguise and concealment techniques, the real reason why we were able to claim a spot among the top three of the 13 Heavenly Cloud Races is due to another natural ability of ours. I'm sure you've heard of it, right?"
"Are you referring to Bonded Cloud Beasts?" Han Li asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Indeed. Bonded Cloud Beasts are creatures that lay somewhere in between the realms of spirit beasts and avatars. Only after cultivating our own Cloud Beast can beings like us truly become Cloud beings," Eccentric Xu said in a slow voice.
"I've heard some rumors about the Bonded Cloud Beasts of the Cloud Race. It's said that after cultivating a Cloud Beast, it would be the equivalent of an avatar with the exact same abilities as the Cloud being that had cultivated it. During times of peril, Cloud beings can even combine as one with their Cloud Beasts to form legendary Cloud Beast Giant Spirits. In doing so, not only would a Cloud being's powers be significantly enhanced, they'd even be able to unleash some powerful abilities that would've been beyond their capabilities otherwise. Could it be that you wanted to speak to me about something related to your Bonded Cloud Beast?" Han Li asked as he stroked his chin.
"You are truly a wise man, Fellow Daoist Han. I do indeed wish to speak with you about a Cloud Beast, but not my own. Instead, it's about my junior's Bonded Cloud Beast," Eccentric Xue explained as he pointed to the young boy behind him.