"Oh? Would you be able to elaborate further on that, Fellow Daoist?" Han Li cast his gaze toward the young boy with a slightly surprised look in his eyes.
"Of course I can. Truth be told, I don't have many direct lineal descendants, and Xiang'er is the only junior of mine that is worth nurturing in my eyes. I don't mean to boast, but my junior's knack for cultivation is quite outstanding, even in the context of the entire Cloud Race. He should be able to become an upper race being in less than a century." From the benevolence in Eccentric Xu's eyes as he looked at the young boy, it was quite apparent that he held the boy in extremely high regard.
"You're far too kind, Great Grandfather; I only have ordinary aptitude that's nothing to boast about," the young boy hurried said in a shy manner.
"Haha, you've already reached this cultivation base below 20 years of age; your aptitude is even far superior to mine, so what's there to be modest about?" Eccentric Xu laughed heartily in response.
"Your junior does indeed possess astonishing talent," Han Li also chimed in with a smile.
The young boy could only remain silent with an embarrassed blush on his face.
Eccentric Xu's delighted expression then faded as he said in a heavy voice, "Generally speaking, this junior of mine could well rise to even greater heights than me in the future, but unfortunately, there's an inherent flaw in his body that makes his future cultivation full of doubts and uncertainty."
Han Li's eyes flashed upon hearing this, but he didn't say anything in reply as he knew that an explanation was definitely coming.
As expected, after a brief pause, Eccentric Xu continued, "He possesses outstanding aptitude, but some issues have arisen in his cultivation of his Bonded Cloud Beast. It should've been cultivated long ago, but he's stuck at the final steps and unable to truly manifest it. According to past experience, it's naturally best for one to cultivate their Bonded Cloud Beast as early as possible. Otherwise, his powers and future cultivation base progression could be hampered. This is why I've decided to come to you, Fellow Daoist Han."
"I'm not sure I understand how what the connection is," Han Li said in a perplexed manner.
"This is indeed rather complex. To put it simply, I unintentionally discovered that the world's origin Qi that I'd gathered from the phenomenon a few days ago can assist my junior in manifesting his Bonded Cloud Beast. However, I'd already used up most of the world's origin Qi I'd gathered last time, and the remaining amount isn't enough for him to use. As such, I can only come to you in the hopes that you could perhaps replicate that phenomenon." Eccentric Xu finally disclosed the purpose of his visit.
"If the world's origin Qi is useful to your junior, then I'm sure you can gather some yourself with ease; why do you need to come and find me?" Han Li asked in a calm manner.
"I've already conducted several experiments and found that normal world's origin Qi is completely ineffective in aiding my junior to manifest his Bonded Cloud Beast. As such, the world's origin Qi gathered by the phenomenon that you conjured up must be special somehow, and contains something that is beyond my scope of comprehension. Perhaps only that special thing will be able to help Xiang'er," Eccentric Xu replied in a rather gloomy manner.
"I see." A thoughtful expression appeared on Han Li's face.
He was naturally well aware that the so-called phenomenon that had taken place a few days ago was created by the dissipation of the true Kirin essence particle, so it was no surprise that this world's origin Qi gathered was different from normal. However, it really was quite a surprise to him that this special type of the world's origin Qi was beneficial to Cloud beings in manifesting their Bonded Cloud Beasts.
"I came here in the hopes that you can conjure put the same world's origin Qi as last time. If you can do that, I'll be sure to reward you handsomely for your efforts," Eccentric Xu said with a hopeful expression on his face.
"It's not that I don't want to help you, it's just that this is not something that I can accomplish easily," Han Li replied in a hesitant manner.
True Kirin essence was an extremely precious substance, and even though he couldn't refine it, it would still be immensely beneficial to the Weeping Soul Beast, so he was naturally unwilling to extract more particles for no good reason.
After all, even though there were many such particles in the Weeping Soul Beast's body, who was to say that a single particle wouldn't be the difference between the Weeping Soul Beast going through an evolution or not?
Han Li was definitely unwilling to help a foreign being that he'd only just met at the expense of his spirit beast.
Eccentric Xu's heart sank slightly upon hearing this, but he still insisted, "Are there some difficulties involved that you can't disclose, Fellow Daoist Han? This is an extremely important matter to me, so I'm willing to offer you as many spirit stones as it takes."
After a long pause, Han Li furrowed his brows as he explained, "This is not an issue that can be resolved with spirit stones. Truth be told, the phenomenon that I created last time wasn't a result of a secret technique or cultivation art that I used. Instead, I had to use a disposable treasure to conjure up that phenomenon. As for exactly what treasure that is, forgive me for not being able to disclose that. However, I'm sure you can imagine just how precious this treasure is to be able to conjure up such a phenomenon. I don't have many of those treasures left on my hands at the moment, and I'm very reluctant to part with them."
"A disposable treasure?" Eccentric Xu's expression changed upon hearing this.
"Indeed. On top of that, this treasure is extremely useful to me as well, and I'm not willing to exchange it for any quantity of spirit stones," Han Li continued in a rather apologetic manner.
"If it's a disposable treasure, then it would indeed make sense that you're not willing to exchange it for spirit stones. But then again, regardless of how precious a treasure is, it must have a price. I have a collection of precious treasures as well, and I can exchange a treasure of equal value for this disposable treasure you're referring to." Eccentric Xu had no intention of giving up.
"An exchange?" Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, and he really did seem to be tempted by this proposal.
At the sight of Han Li's reaction, Eccentric Xu knew that he had a chance, and he was elated as he immediately swept a sleeve over the table before him.
A burst of red light swept forth, and seven or eight jade boxes of different sizes abruptly appeared on the table.
"These items are the most precious treasures among my collection, and two of them are treasures that I almost gave my life to obtain. You can have a look at all of them, then if any of them catch your eye, feel free to take it. On top of that, I'll also be owing you a big favor for this," Eccentric Xu promised in a straightforward manner.
Han Li smiled upon hearing this, and he cast his gaze toward the jade boxes on the table as a series of thoughts quickly flashed through his mind.
This Eccentric Xu was at the pinnacle of the Spatial Tempering Stage, and he was also a Cloud being who appeared to be quite powerful. As such, the most precious treasures among his collection were most likely quite precious indeed.
However, he also possessed many astounding treasures, including two Profound Heavenly Treasures, which even Body Integration Stage beings wouldn't dare dream of obtaining. Hence, he wasn't actually very hopeful that there would be something here that could tempt him.
In any case, unless he saw something that he really needed, he wasn't going to agree to an exchange.
Even so, Han Li still smiled as he said, "In that case, I'd be honored to see these items among your collection."
He raised a hand and made a grabbing motion as he spoke, upon which a fiery red jade box left the table and was drawn into his grasp.
Han Li raised an eyebrow as he sensed the scorching aura emanating from the jade box, and he didn't dare to take it lightly as he conjured up a layer of spiritual light to protect his hand. At the same time, he flicked a finger from his other hand toward the jade box, and the lid flew off of its own accord.
A scorching aura immediately erupted from within in a frenzy, and the temperature within the entire hall was raised dramatically.
Blue light flashed through Han Li's eyes, and he immediately identified the item in the box to be a white egg that was around the size of a normal egg. However, there were red patterns all over its surface, and there was scintillating red light emanating from it that was swelling and receding incessantly.
"What's this?" Han Li asked as a hint of surprise flashed through his eyes.
He could sense that this egg possessed quite a powerful aura, but he naturally couldn't tell which type of beast this egg belonged to.
"You really do have a good eye, Fellow Daoist Han; you've picked out the only spirit egg among these treasures. This is the egg of an extremely rare Primordial Flame Butterfly that I killed in a realm of lava deep underground. The butterfly's fire-attribute powers were not inferior to mine, and I spent an entire year to set up a trap for it before I was finally able to kill it. I'm sure that if you were to carefully nurture this egg, it would hatch into a fantastic spirit beast. If it weren't for the fact that I already have a Bonded Cloud Beast, which makes it impossible for me to divert my attention to other spirit beasts, perhaps I would've hatched this egg long ago," Eccentric Xue said with a smile.
"For this butterfly to possess fire-attribute powers comparable to yours truly makes it quite an extraordinary creature. Unfortunately, I already have other spirit beasts as well. Otherwise, this would indeed be a highly sought after treasure to me." Han Li withdrew his gaze from the egg as he clicked his tongue with wonder.
Eccentric Xu faltered slightly upon hearing this before smiling as he said, "It's my fault for failing to consider that. At your current cultivation base, it's only natural that you've nurtured spirit beasts of your own already. It's alright, you can continue browsing through the other boxes."
Han Li nodded before placing the lid back onto the jade box, then gently tossing it forward.
A burst of azure light immediately surged out his sleeve, carrying the jade box onto the table in a stable manner before sweeping another jade box toward him.
Han Li raised a hand, and the second jade box fell into his grasp...
Time passed by slowly, and after about 15 minutes, Han Li had seen most of the treasures that Eccentric Xu had brought out.
Most of them contained rare materials, and there were also one or two powerful-looking treasures, as well as even a vial of pills that could assist in enhancing a Spatial Tempering Stage being's cultivation base.
These items were all extremely precious, and they were even superior to many of the auction items that had been sold during the Four Races Auction.
However, none of them managed to catch Han Li's eye, and he merely inspected them one by one with a faint smile on his face before putting them away.
After he'd appraised the item in the final jade box and set it down again, Eccentric Xu's expression was starting to become a little strained.
He couldn't help but ask, "Were none of these items of interest to you, Fellow Daoist?"
"In all honesty, these are all indeed extremely precious items. In particular, the egg of that Primordial Flame Butterfly would be a priceless treasure to fellow Daoists using fire-attribute cultivation methods. If you were to sell them in an auction, they'd definitely be able to fetch in excess of 10,000,000 spirit stones each. However, to me, they're..." Han Li shook his head in a resigned manner, and his voice trailed off mid-sentence.