“You're far too kind, Fellow Daoist. I've only just reached the Body Integration Stage, so I'm still sorely lacking in both magic power and strength; I'll have to rely on you for guidance, City Lord Peng,” Han Li replied in a modest manner.
"All of us Body Integration cultivators from the human and demon races have heard about how you progressed from the Deity Transformation Stage to the Body Integration Stage in just a few centuries. With your aptitude, it's highly likely that you'll leave all of us old geezers behind," Peng Jue chuckled.
"Haha, thank you for your kind words, Fellow Daoist Peng. May I ask who this is?" Han Li asked as he turned toward the woman in the black dress.
This woman's magic power was abundant to the extreme, and she was a late-Body Integration cultivator, which came as a slight shock to Han Li, and he couldn't help but guess at her true identity.
As for the woman in purple, he reflexively ignored her.
"My name is Xiao Guan; have you heard of me, Fellow Daoist Han?" The woman in black appraised Han Li with an intrigued smile.
"You're the Black Phoenix Monarch!" He had already guessed this to be the case, but his heart still jolted slightly upon receiving confirmation of this.
"Looks like you have heard of me, Fellow Daoist Han. Come to think of it, you seem to have had some run-ins with a junior of mine by the name of Xiao Hong," the woman chuckled.
Han Li's brows furrowed slightly, and he wanted to say something to explain himself, but Xiao Guan merely waved a nonchalant hand.
"Please don't misunderstand, Fellow Daoist Han; it was Xiao Hong who went too far back then. To think that she would dare to collude with others to try and secure the Ye Family's Heavenly Phoenix True Blood; I've already handed down a punishment to her and ordered her to stay in seclusion for 1,000 years to repent. I only brought this up as I wanted to thank you for not allowing her to sour our relationship with the Ye Family. You most likely aren't aware of this, but the Ye Family's grand elder has been a good friend of mine for many years, and I definitely don't want to see our relationship deteriorate because of something like this."
Han Li was rather taken aback to hear this, and he didn't know if Xiao Guan was telling the truth, but he naturally went along with it and replied with a smile, "In that case, I won't need to explain myself, then."
Peng Jue was naturally unaware of the run-ins that Han Li had had with the Black Phoenix Race, but he was still quite pleased to see him and the Black Phoenix Monarch settle their differences so easily, nonetheless. Thus, he cupped his fist as a salute to the two of them, and said, "Fellow Daoist Xiao, Fellow Daoist Han, the auction is about to begin; please go in first. I still have to wait here for other fellow Daoists to arrive."
"It is indeed time for me to go in. Let's go, Dai'er." Xiao Guan nodded in response before waving a hand toward the woman in purple, then made her way into the palace in an elegant and graceful manner.
Han Li faltered slightly upon hearing this before turning to the woman in purple with a peculiar look. However, she had since lowered her head and departed with Xiao Guan without taking a single glance at Han Li. Throughout this process, she hadn't spoken a single word to him.
Han Li was rather suspicious about this, and a contemplative look appeared on his face as the woman in purple departed.
Could it be that this Dai'er was the little girl that Xiao Hong had taken away from him so long ago?
That Dai'er had been born to human and demon parents, and she seemed to have been held in high regard by the Black Phoenix Race. Otherwise, they wouldn't have sent a Deity Transformation Stage demonic cultivator in the form of Xiao Hong to infiltrate deep into human territory to take her away.
If this woman in purple really was Dai'er, then it wouldn't be strange at all for her to appear beside the Black Phoenix Monarch.
However, it was rather implausible to think that she could become an early-Deity Transformation cultivator from a mere mortal in just a few hundred years.
Even if the Black Phoenix Race held Dai'er in very high regard, and she possessed an extremely powerful Black Phoenix bloodline, this rate of progress was still far too astonishing; it was no less impressive a transformation than his progression from the Deity Transformation Stage to the Body Integration Stage in a few centuries.
He could still clearly recall Dai'er's physical appearance, and while it was indeed true that a lot of time had passed since they had been together, he was unable to see many similarities between the woman in purple and Dai'er as a little girl.
Furthermore, if this really was Dai'er, then why didn't she greet him? His appearance hadn't changed at all during the past few centuries. The little girl had been very fond of and reliant on him in the past.
Han Li became even more confused as these thoughts ran through his mind.
Peng Jue was also a little perplexed to see Han Li standing on the spot, seemingly in deep thought, but he didn't urge Han Li to hurry along and merely appraised him in silence with a polite smile on his face.
"Brother Peng, is that Fellow Daoist Dai'er also a member of the Black Phoenix Race? Do you know what relationship she shares with Fellow Daoist Xiao?" Han Li finally asked.
"Hehe, I had thought that you hadn't noticed her, Brother Han. According to what I've heard, this Dai'er is a direct lineal descendant of Fellow Daoist Xiao, and she's vastly renowned among the younger generation of the demon race. I've heard that not only does she possess astonishing cultivation aptitude, she also possesses beauty in equal measure and is known as Fairy Phoenix Spirit. Countless demonic young men have become infatuated after seeing her true appearance and have sought out a relationship with her, all to no avail," Peng Jue replied with a smile.
"True appearance?" Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
"It's no wonder that you haven't heard about this, Fellow Daoist Han; her current appearance has been concealed by Fellow Daoist Xiao using one of her bonded true feathers. Unless one were to remove the feather, no one would be able to glean her true appearance no matter what powerful abilities they possess. According to Fellow Daoist Xiao, this was a precautionary measure taken to avoid potential trouble during the Myriad Treasure Convention. Are you interested in her as well, Fellow Daoist Han?
"Come to think of it, you may be a Body Integration cultivator, but you're certainly a lot younger than other fellow Daoists of the same cultivation base. If you were to pursue her, I think you would have a decent chance. Apparently, she's not a pureblood member of the Black Phoenix Race, but half-human, half-demon instead," Peng Jue said with a suggestive smile.
Of course, he was only making a joke and didn't seriously think that Han Li was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with this Dai'er.
"Surely you jest, Brother Peng. I was only asking as I had sensed that woman possesses a rather unique disposition. Hehe, it's about time I went in as well," Han Li replied with a smile.
Peng Jue didn't think too much of this and cupped his fist in another salute. "I still have to wait for other fellow Daoists, so I won't accompany you any further."
At this moment, another female servant strode over to Han Li before leading his trio into the palace.
In the instant that Han Li turned away from Peng Jue, a contemplative look resurfaced in his eyes. After the group passed through a long corridor paved with white jade, they arrived in a massive hall that was split up into several levels.
This was a circular hall that was tens of thousands of feet in size with a white jade platform that was over 100 feet tall at the center.
There was no one on the platform, but balls of spiritual light were shimmering incessantly at its four corners. Situated at each of those four corners was a silver flying sword that was around three feet in length.
Beneath the platform were eight golden-armored halberd-wielding guards. Their faces had all been concealed behind silver visors, and black baleful Qi was swirling around their bodies, presenting a rather mysterious sight to behold.
Han Li glanced at the four flying swords and eight golden-armored warriors as blue light flashed through his eyes, and his expression changed slightly.
Not only were all of the flying swords spirit treasures, they also had a certain type of connection between one another, so it was quite clear that they comprised a set of treasures.
Each flying sword was already a spirit treasure on its own, so the combination of the four would naturally be extremely powerful.
As for the eight armored guards, Han Li couldn't sense any magic power fluctuations from them, but the black baleful Qi swirling around their bodies was an indication of how fearsome they were.
With that in mind, Han Li's trio was led by the servant to the highest level of the hall, which was the third level, and they were guided into an extremely intricately decorated room.
The room was only around 70 to 80 feet in size, but it was complete with tables and chairs, as well pots of spirit flowers growing in each of the four corners.
There was a square window on the wall facing the tall platform, and there was faint white mist in front of the window, preventing others from being able to see into the room, but it didn't obstruct the vision of those in the room in the slightest.
"Senior, are you pleased with this VIP room? If not, I can take you to another one," the servant asked in a respectful manner.
"No need; I'm happy with this one," Han Li replied in an indifferent manner.
"In that case, I'll be taking my leave. Feel free to call for me if you need me; I'll be standing outside the door," the servant said as she lowered her head.
Han Li nodded in response before waving a dismissive hand, and the servant immediately left the room and closed the door gently behind her.
Meanwhile, Hai Yuetian and Qi Lingzi were constantly inspecting the room in a curious manner, and their eyes finally fell upon the window.
Han Li strode over to one of the chairs in front of the window before taking a seat. In front of the chair was a green wooden table, upon which sat a formation plate that he could use to place bids.
Han Li merely took an errant glance at everything before casting his gaze out the window again in an expressionless manner.
At this point, tens of thousands of humans and demons were already visible through the window, and they had taken up all of the seats on the first and second levels.
Most of them were at the Deity Transformation Stage and Spatial Tempering Stage. As for Body Integration Stage beings like Han Li, all of them were naturally guided to individual cabins on the third floor.
Han Li looked around, and after discovering that there was nothing worth seeing for the moment, he closed his eyes to rest.
Hai Yuetian and Qi Lingzi naturally stood behind him on either side in a respectful manner.
After a long while, the chatter and commotion coming from down below suddenly cut off, and the entire massive hall instantly fell silent.
Han Li reopened his eyes and cast his gaze toward the tall platform through the window.
There were currently two people standing side by side on the platform, both of which had extremely peculiar appearances.
One of them was over 20 feet tall with black Qi swirling around his body. He seemed to be a burly man, but it was impossible to glean his true appearance.
Meanwhile, his companion was even taller than him, and had a crimson horn on his head, as well as a pair or remarkably large green eyes, and translucent scales on either side of his face. This was quite clearly a metamorphosed demon.
Han Li's pupils contracted slightly at the sight of them, but his expression remained unchanged.
At this moment, the man enshrouded in black Qi suddenly said, "I'm sure most of you recognize me as the Tyrant Sovereign and also know of Fellow Daoist Li Huo beside me, so I won't make any detailed introductions. I hereby announce the commencement of the first auction of the Myriad Treasure Convention."
 Chapter 1291: the chapter where Han Li parts with Dai'er