A short while later, countless streaks of light and a series of beast-drawn carriages and flying arks rose up from the sea of clouds before departing in all directions.
One of the mundane-looking streaks of azure light vanished into the distance after just a few flashes, and Han Li flew within it with a contemplative look on his face.
Hai Yuetian and Qi Lingzi naturally stood in silence behind him, carried along by the azure light. The bidding for the last two treasures had truly been a sight to behold!
Several dozens of Body Integration cultivators had competed for the Myriad Manifestation Formation Plate, and it had fallen into the hands of Black Phoenix Monarch Xiao Guan in the end.
As for the blueprint for that Giant Atlas Ark, it fell into the hands of the number one true spirit family, the Long Family.
Han Li's eyes narrowed slightly at the thought of the Long Family, and the image of a middle-aged cultivator instantly appeared in his mind.
That man had stepped onto the platform to accept the blueprint for the battle ark at the conclusion of the auction, and he was the patriarch of the Long Family. On top of that, he was also a late-Body Integration cultivator with unfathomable magic power and an inhuman frosty aura revolving around his body, striking one with a sense of unease even just from looking at him from afar.
This Long Family patriarch seemed to be no less powerful than the three sovereigns and seven monarchs; it was no wonder that the Long Family had always been able to maintain its status as the number one true spirit family.
The Long Family patriarch had been able to outbid all of the sovereigns and monarchs at the auction, and although it naturally couldn't be deduced from that alone that the Long Family's wealth outstripped that of those sovereigns and monarchs, it was definitely quite telling, nonetheless.
Han Li couldn't help but be concerned when he thought about how he had managed to cross this powerful family.
Thankfully, through his interactions with the Gu Family and Ye Family, he had already learned that the other true spirit families also didn't see eye to eye with the Long Family. On top of that, he now had some ties with two of those families, and he was a Body Integration cultivator himself, so he didn't really have to fear them.
It wasn't like the Long Family patriarch would dare to gather all of the elders of the Long Family to attack him at once.
With that in mind, Han Li was feeling significantly less concerned.
Right at this moment, a familiar voice suddenly rang out from behind him. "Please wait, Fellow Daoist Han."
Han Li's expression changed slightly, and the streak of azure light he was situated in really did stop. At the same time, he turned around before cupping his fist in a salute. "Greetings, Brother Myriad Bone, did you reap many rewards during the auction?"
A grey cloud was flying toward Han Li at a phenomenal speed from several thousand feet away, and the man standing atop the cloud was none other than Daoist Master Myriad Bone of the White Bone Sect.
"There aren't any good things to be found in an auction like that. Even with the last two treasures, they're well beyond my reach," Daoist Master Myriad Bone replied with a wry smile as his grey cloud arrived in front of Han Li.
"Hehe, my thoughts exactly; both the Myriad Manifestation Formation Plate and Giant Atlas Ark blueprint are most certainly beyond the reach of vagrant cultivators like us. In particular, the latter would only bring me trouble," Han Li chuckled.
"Haha, I knew you were a wise individual, Brother Han, not like some people who seem to have regressed in their intelligence through constant seclusion. Who in their right mind would try to compete for something so dangerous?" Daoist Master Myriad Bone guffawed.
"Is there something you would like to speak to me about, Brother Myriad Bone?" Han Li asked with a smile.
"Of course. Did you know that the Black Realm convention will be held in three days? I asked for a guidance badge for you after receiving this news. When the time comes, you can submit the badge in exchange for access to the exchange convention, so you won't have to try to access the convention through alternative avenues," Daoist Master Myriad Bone's said as his smile faded, and he pulled something out of his sleeve before tossing it to Han Li with a flick of his wrist.
Han Li caught the item before looking down at it to find that it was a black triangular badge. Aside from some simple patterns on its surface, there were no other embellishments on the badge, not even a symbol of any description. If Daoist Master Myriad Bone hadn't told him that this was a badge, he would've thought that it was a piece of scrap metal.
"This is a guidance badge?" Han Li asked in a skeptical manner.
"I understand your suspicions, Fellow Daoist, but please rest assured. The guidance 'badges' for the last Black Realm Exchange Convention were only ordinary wooden sticks. I don't know how the organizers are able to do this, but these things are indeed the only things that will grant you access to the Black Realm, so make sure you don't lose it," Daoist Master Myriad Bone cautioned.
"I see. It looks like the organizers have an interesting sense of humor. You have my thanks, Brother Myriad Bone," Han Li said in a slightly surprised manner.
"Hehe, don't mention it. I don't have any other traits that stand out among our Body Integration Stage fellow Daoists, but I'm pretty good when it comes to gathering information. Brother Han, have you heard of a tribulation that will descend upon our two races within the next 1,000 years? You and I may be affected by it as well." Daoist Master Myriad Bone suddenly changed the subject as a grim look appeared on his face.
"Tribulation? Are you referring to the devilish tribulation?" Han Li asked.
"So you do know of this. How much do you know about it, Fellow Daoist Han?" Daoist Master Myriad Bone wasn't overly surprised by this. After all of the interactions between Body Integration Stage beings at the Myriad Treasure Convention, there were most likely very few who were still unaware of the imminent devilish tribulation.
Otherwise, there wouldn't have been so many people bidding for that Giant Atlas Ark blueprint, even though they were clearly biting off more than they could chew. Everyone was trying to prepare as best as they could for the upcoming tribulation.
"I don't know much, but I've heard that this devilish tribulation is going to be even more difficult to endure than the previous ones," Han Li replied in a grim voice.
A hint of surprise appeared on Daoist Master Myriad Bone's face upon hearing this, and he cut straight to the chase. "Looks like you've had access to some confidential information. In that case, I won't waste time by going around in circles. After the Black Realm convention, would you be interested to attend a meeting with me for vagrant Body Integration cultivators? We want to get together and discuss how we can safely transcend this devilish tribulation."
Han Li's expression remained unchanged, and he pondered this notion for a moment before suddenly asking, "Vagrant cultivators? Are you referring to those in the human race?"
Daoist Master Myriad Bone faltered slightly before replying, "There are only a few vagrant Body Integration cultivators in our human race, so there's not much point in holding a meeting. Truth be told, most of the fellow Daoists in attendance will be from the demon race."
"There's no need to explain anything. I have no bias against demons; I simply wanted to learn more about the premise of this meeting. Seeing as there will be demonic fellow Daoists in attendance, this meeting should be worth my while. After the Black Realm Exchange Convention, I'll attend the meeting with you," Han Li agreed without seemingly much thought.
Daoist Master Myriad Bone was ecstatic to see this, and he said, "You've definitely made a wise decision, Fellow Daoist!"
The two of them naturally weren't going to have an extended conversation in mid-air, so after conversing for a short while further, Daoist Master Myriad Bone took his leave, departing as a streak of grey light atop his grey cloud and quickly vanishing into the distance.
Han Li looked on in the direction that he had departed in with a contemplative look on his face.
After a while, Qi Lingzi couldn't help but prompt, "Master, isn't it about time we went back as well?"
"Qi Lingzi, Yuetian, I have something I need you to do. I want you to go find a certain demonic woman for me," Han Li replied without even turning his head.
"Yes, Master!" Qi Lingzi and Hai Yuetian were both slightly taken aback to hear this, but they agreed to undertake the errand without any hesitation.
"This will prove your identity to her; I'll tell you the specific contact method as well." Han Li flipped a hand over to produce half of a jade slip before tossing it toward his two disciples, then issued them some instructions through voice transmission.
The two of them naturally listened intently before nodding eagerly in response.
"Alright, that's all. After you find her, you can come back and report to me." After that, he swept a sleeve through the air, and part of the azure light they were hovering in detached itself before enveloping Hai Yuetian and Qi Lingzi, then slowly carried them down onto the ground.
Meanwhile, Han Li flew toward the Immortal Welcome Palace as a streak of azure light.
After returning to the Immortal Welcome Palace, Han Li didn't immediately enter his secret chamber to continue cultivating. Instead, he pulled out his newly obtained Weeping Spirit Blood Wood and began to fiddle around with it with a contemplative look in his eyes.
Tribulation transcendence substitution puppets were vastly renowned in the human race, and it was because of this that refinement methods for such puppets were quite common. In fact, they could be found in many markets, and Han Li had made sure to purchase a refinement method for such a treasure during his travels, and it was about to come in handy now.
The only issue was that these puppets required a large amount of blood essence to refine, and even after being refined, they had to be nourished by more blood essence periodically or they could lose their efficacy.
Of course, compared to the potential benefits such a puppet could bring, this amount of hassle and blood essence loss wasn't a big issue. Thus, Han Li was already beginning to think of what materials he would need to refine this puppet.
After a short while, an elated look appeared on his face as he realized that he already possessed all of the other materials required to refine a tribulation transcendence substitution puppet. It could be said that this was quite the coincidence, but then again, he had purchased a vast amount of materials recently, so it really wasn't any surprise that he already had the required materials on hand.
Thus, he decided that he was going to refine a tribulation transcendence substitution puppet soon, and spiritual light flashed from his hand, upon which the section of wood abruptly vanished.
After that, he sat in his chair with his eyes closed and began to visualize the steps required to refine it in case anything were to go awry during the refinement process.
He remained seated on the spot for a day and a night, and Hai Yuetian finally returned the next morning. As soon as he caught sight of Han Li, he immediately yelled in an urgent manner, "Master, Junior Martial Brother Qi Lingzi is in trouble!"