"I wouldn't dare to accuse you of deceit, Senior. Breaking through the Body Integration Stage bottleneck is an extremely important matter, so it certainly makes sense to be more cautious," the young woman said with a smile.
"Back when I broke through my Body Integration Stage bottleneck, I also found an extremely secluded place to make my breakthrough, so it looks like we have something in common with our thought processes, Fellow Daoist Han," the elderly man chuckled.
Han Li merely smiled in response.
After that, the three of them moved on to some more casual topics of conversation.
Han Li had explored multiple continents in the past several centuries, so he naturally had a vast wealth of knowledge and experience. As for these two guests, one of them was the leader of a true spirit family while the other was a veteran Body Integration Stage cultivator, so they had naturally seen and experienced a lot themselves.
Thus, the three of them were having quite pleasant conversation, and the elderly man and young woman both felt as if their horizons were being significantly broadened.
"Fellow Daoist Han, you seem to know a lot about foreign races, and much of this information isn't recorded in the tomes of our human race; could it be that you've traveled to other continents in the past?" the elderly man couldn't help but ask.
"You have a sharp discerning eye, Fellow Daoist Qi! I did indeed just return from the primordial world, and I also traveled to other continents during my journey as well," Han Li replied in a truthful manner.
Both the elderly man and young woman drew sharp breaths upon hearing this.
Fairy Xiao Feng was silent for a moment before speaking again. "It's no wonder that I've never heard you despite your powers; it makes sense that you've been traveling elsewhere and have only just returned to our human race. However, I heard from Elder Gu Yun that you had mentioned the true spirit families, the Ye Family and Long Family to him. That reminds me of something, but I'm not sure if I should disclose it."
"Oh, what is it? Go right ahead, Fellow Daoist," Han Li prompted.
"Truth be told, after Elder Gu Yun informed me about you, I was very intrigued and sent out some of my people to investigate those with the same surname as you. Not much time has passed, so I haven't been able to find a lot of information, but I did hear about a certain Han Li who was a Dark Azure Guard of Deep Heaven City several centuries ago. Would that be you, Senior?" Fairy Xiao Feng said in a slightly timid manner.
The elderly man was quite surprised to hear this.
He was stunned, both by the fact that Han Li had lived in Deep Heaven City hundreds of years ago, and the fact that a Dark Azure Guard like him had become a Body Integration cultivator in just a few centuries.
Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, but it immediately returned to normal thereafter, and he replied, "Hehe, true spirit families really are very resourceful; I didn't think you'd find out this information about me in just a year. I was indeed a Dark Azure Guard several hundred years ago, but I regained my freedom after completing a mission at the time."
"In that case, the one that the Long Family and Ye Family are searching for is also you, Senior Han," the young woman said with a slightly peculiar look in her eyes.
"The Ye Family and Long Family? They've been searching for me?" Han Li's expression darkened slightly upon hearing this.
"The Ye Family once searched for you for over 100 years but gave up after that. However, the Long Family still hasn't withdrawn their official search order. During these past years, the Ye Family and Long Family have been on very bad terms with one another. Their relationship isn't bad enough to lead to full-blown conflict, but they're often standing against one another, and this deterioration in their relationship seemed to have begun right around when they began to search for you," the young woman said in a meaningful manner.
Han Li's brows furrowed slightly, but he didn't offer any reply and fell silent in contemplation.
"You were once a Dark Azure Guard of Deep Heaven City, Fellow Daoist? That's rather surprising to me, but this is a good thing; I can cut straight to the chase and won't have to go around in circles now. I'm sure you've already guessed the reason for my visit, right, Fellow Daoist Han?" the elderly man said after clearing his throat.
"Could you be here to invite me to join Deep Heaven City again?" Han Li asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Indeed. I'm here on behalf of the panel of elders to officially invite you to join our city. With your Body Integration Stage cultivation base, you'll immediately become a member of the panel of elders if you decide to join our city. As for the benefits you'll receive, you've stayed in Deep Heaven City before, so I'm sure you'll be aware of those, and I won't waste any time by listing them," Qi Xubing said in a serious manner.
A contemplative look appeared on Han Li's face, and he didn't immediately agree or refuse.
The young woman's expression stirred slightly upon seeing this, and she also made her case. "Seeing as Senior Qi has opened up this topic for discussion, then I'll weigh in on the matter as well. As the leader of the Gu Family, I'm naturally also here to try and recruit you to join our Gu Family as our guest grand elder. Not only will we make sure to offer you satisfactory conditions, our Gu Family won't restrict you in any way unless our family is in grave danger." Her conditions seemed to be even more alluring.
The elderly man's expression darkened upon hearing this, but he couldn't do anything to stop her.
She may have only been a Spatial Tempering cultivator, but her status as a leader of a true spirit family made her a force to be reckoned with even in the eyes of a Body Integration cultivator.
After a brief pause, the elderly man continued, "There is currently a severe shortage of Body Integration cultivators within our human and demon races. Aside from this city, I'm sure there's nowhere else in the three regions and seven territories that's inhabited by so many Body Integration Stage beings at once. The members of our city's panel of elders will be able to regularly exchange cultivation experiences, and I'm sure that would greatly benefit your cultivation if you were to join us. Also, our panel of elders will often join forces to hunt for some powerful ancient beasts in the primordial world; these are conditions that can't be offered by any other please, so please consider my offer carefully, Fellow Daoist. This is truly a sincere offer for you to join our city."
Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, as if he really had been tempted.
"Our Gu Family only has one Body Integration Stage grand elder, but as one of the true spirit families, we have some unique secret techniques for the utilization of true spirit blood. I heard that when you broke through your Body Integration Stage bottleneck, you summoned a Giant Mountain Ape projection. According to my knowledge, none of the true spirit families have inherited the bloodline of the Giant Mountain Ape, so I can only assume that you obtained this true spirit bloodline outside of the human race. If you're willing to join our Gu Family, I will pass on the method to refine and utilize true spirit blood to you. Also, if you wish to found another true spirit family yourself 10,000 years from now, our Gu Family definitely won't oppose you. On the contrary, we'll support you with all our power." The young woman was also laying down the most attractive conditions she had to offer.
The elderly man was quite stunned to hear that Han Li possessed a true spirit bloodline, and his expression completely changed upon hearing the conditions offered by the young woman.
"A new true spirit family?" Han Li was also quite surprised to hear this.
"Indeed. With your powers and the true spirit bloodline you inherited, our Gu Family wouldn't dare to restrict you as our guest grand elder forever. As long as you're willing to undertake the role of guest grand elder in our Gu Family for 10,000 years, we'll offer you our wholehearted support if you decide to found another true spirit family after that. Otherwise, even with your powers, you'll definitely encounter a lot of opposition if you try to found a true spirit family on your own. After all, none of the true spirit families would wish to see a new competitor arise among them," the young woman said with a smile.
Han Li stroked his chin and fell silent upon hearing this.
A wry smile appeared on Qi Xubing's face. Han Li hadn't yet offered a response, but even if he were to join a certain power, it definitely wouldn't be here in Deep Heaven City.
In contrast, Fairy Xiao Feng appeared to be quite calm and collected, but she was also feeling rather uneasy as she didn't know if these conditions would be attractive to Han Li.
After all, many high-grade cultivators were interested in establishing their own major family or power, but there were also many who were only interested in cultivation and didn't want to have ties with any entity, even as just a guest.
Otherwise, it wouldn't have been so difficult for Deep Heaven City to source new Body Integration cultivators to replace the ones they had lost.
After a long pause, Han Li suddenly said something that caught both Qi Xubing and Fairy Xiao Feng off guard. "I heard that the Heavenly Spirit Sovereign among the three sovereigns passed away not long ago, and that a new spirit sovereign will be chosen in about 100 years; is that true?"
"That is indeed true. A Body Integration Stage fellow Daoist will be chosen to become the new spirit sovereign in a tournament to be held 100 years from now. Are you interested in that, Fellow Daoist Han?" the elderly man asked with a peculiar look on his face.
"Do you think I don't have what it takes to enter the tournament?" Han Li asked with a nonchalant smile.
"All human cultivators at or above the Body Integration Stage have the right to enter this tournament, but almost all of the three sovereigns of the past have been cultivators at the pinnacle of the Body Integration Stage, and the only rare exceptions are mid-Body Integration cultivators with unfathomable abilities. According to my knowledge, there has never been an early-Body Integration cultivator who has managed to take on that role ever since the human race established itself in the Spirit Realm," the elderly man said with a wry smile.
"You do indeed possess a true spirit bloodline, which will grant you immense powers, but it's most likely still too early to be going after the position of spirit sovereign. 100 years will only just be enough for you to familiarize yourself with your new powers and abilities, and I'm afraid that you won't be able to compete with those at the mid and late-Body Integration Stages," the young woman also persuaded in a euphemistic manner.
"Hehe, I'm not arrogant enough to think that a new Body Integration cultivator like me can become the next spirit sovereign. However, I'm sure many other Body Integration cultivators will be participating in the tournament; I only want the opportunity to acquaint myself with and communicate with these fellow Daoists. As for your offers, I must decline as I don't like staying in a certain place for too long, and I don't like to be bound to too many people. However, I'm quite interested in the refinement and utilization method of true spirit bloodlines of your Gu Family; would you be willing to pass on this secret technique to me for any treasures or cultivation arts?" Han Li asked.