"This senior sure lives in a rather unique place!" Han Li looked down at the dazzling golden island in a stunned manner.
"Hehe, this is just one of his strange indulgences. You'll know what he's like when you meet him," Qing Yuanzi replied as a slightly peculiar look appeared in his eyes.
"I'm quite curious about this senior now," Han Li mused with a contemplative look on his face.
Meanwhile, Qing Yuanzi swept a sleeve toward the white light barrier up ahead, and a burst of golden light immediately shot forth before transforming into a giant golden sword that was over 100 feet in length.
The sword swept toward the light barrier without any hesitation, and a resounding boom rang out as ripples ran over the entire surface of the light barrier.
Almost at the exact same moment, several roars of fury immediately rang out from the island.
"Who dares to attack our Golden Flame Island?"
"Are you unaware that this is Master Golden Flame's abode?"
Several figures instantly appeared within the light barrier before revealing themselves to be four golden-armored guards, all of whom immediately turned toward Qing Yuanzi and Han LI with furious expressions.
However, upon catching sight of Qing Yuanzi, the four guards hurriedly extended respectful bows. "Ah, it's Master Qing!"
It was quite clear that all of the guards recognized Qing Yuanzi, and their enraged expressions immediately faded.
Han Li swept his spiritual sense toward these four guards and discovered that they were all at the Spatial Tempering Stage. However, there were violent auras within all of their bodies, so they clearly weren't ordinary people.
"Golden Flame Baron, why don't you come out to meet your old friend?" Qing Yuanzi called out toward the golden palace, paying no heed to the four golden-armored guards
Even though his voice wasn't very loud, he had clearly used some kind of secret technique that made his voice audible over the entire island.
"Come in on your own, Qing Yuanzi. Are you asking me to come out to greet you?" An indifferent male voice rang out from within the golden palace in response. It was coming from somewhere quite far away, but it was also very clearly audible to Han Li and Qing Yuanzi.
"Hehe, pardon my intrusion, then. You can lead the way for me," Qing Yuanzi said to the four guards with a smile.
The four golden-armored guards hurriedly replied in a respectful manner, "Yes, please come with us, Senior."
Thus, Han Li and Qing Yuanzi were led through the light barrier by the guards before descending toward the palace on the island.
Not long after that, Qing Yuanzi was seated in a spacious hall in a casual manner, while Han Li was seated beside him in a more rigid and respectful posture.
On the main seat in the hall sat a golden-robed middle-aged man with a golden dragon crown on his head, and a calm look on his face.
"I can see that this fellow Daoist is a mid-Body Integration cultivator; could it be that you accepted him as your disciple, knowing that your life is about to come to an end soon? Someone of his powers at his age is indeed worthy of being your heir. However, last time I visited Old Man Yan, I recall he told me that you have a female disciple," the golden-crowned man said.
This man had skin that was as fair as jade, and a very graceful and refined appearance.
He was the owner of this place, a Grand Ascension Stage being by the name of Golden Flame Baron.
Almost every single inch of his body was adorned by shimmering golden accessories, and Han Li was left feeling rather speechless at the sight of him. At the same time, he finally understood what Qing Yuanzi had told him earlier.
"I'm afraid you're mistaken, Fellow Daoist Jin; Fellow Daoist Han is just one of my acquaintances. I'm sure you recall an incident that took place several hundred years ago, where members of the Mayfly Race hunted down a few people who tried to steal some Divine Infernal River Elixir; it was during that time that I first met Fellow Daoist Han. As for the female disciple you're referring to, she's already become my foster daughter, and even though she also possesses outstanding aptitude, she's still only at the Spatial Tempering Stage at the moment," Qing Yuanzi explained with a smile.
"Oh, you must be the one who diverted the Infernal Lightning Beast away for those who were attempting to steal the elixir. If I recall correctly, didn't everyone in that group get captured by the Mayfly Race in the end? How did this Fellow Daoist Han manage to escape? Could it be that you were the one who saved him?" the golden-crowned man asked with a hint of befuddlement in his eyes.
"That's not exactly what happened, but it's close enough. I was indeed the one who sent Fellow Daoist Han away from the infernal river, but please don't misunderstand; I only did this as Fellow Daoist Han is from the same race as I am, and I also required his services to do something in my stead in the outside world," Qing Yuanzi said in a calm manner.
"I see. Come to think of it, it's been over 1,000 years since you last came to visit me. Now that you're here with Fellow Daoist Han, I'm sure you haven't just come to me for a chat, right?" Golden Flame Baron asked in a serious voice.
"I do indeed have something I need to discuss with you, Fellow Daoist Jin," Qing Yuanzi admitted with a smile.
"Hmph, I knew it. We're slightly closer with one another than all of the other old geezers in the infernal river, but we're certainly not close enough for you to pay me a visit right after you come out of seclusion. What do you want to see me for?" Golden Flame Baron asked in an expressionless manner.
Qing Yuanzi was rather displeased by Golden Flame Baron's cold and forbidding demeanor, and his expression fell slightly as he said, "I'm not here to force you into anything, Fellow Daoist; I only want to propose a mutually beneficial exchange. If there's anything you're not satisfied with, I definitely won't force the issue."
Golden Flame Baron took a meaningful glance at Qing Yuanzi before a smile appeared on his face. "Haha, forgive me, Fellow Daoist; I haven't had company for a long time, and it seems that I've forgotten my manners. Now then, what would you like to propose? As long as it's not an exchange that's too lopsided, I would be happy to consider it."
"In that case, I'll get straight to the point. I recall during my last visit that you expressed an interest in my Nine Eye Bead, and that you were willing to exchange some treasures for it. However, at the time, I required it for something else, so I turned down your offer. On this occasion, I've brought this bead along with me and would like to exchange it for something I need. What do you say, Brother Jin?" Qing Yuanzi swept a sleeve over the table beside him as he spoke, and a vibrant green jade box appeared amid a flash of golden light.
Golden Flame Baron's composed facade immediately cracked slightly upon hearing this, and he focused his gaze intently onto the box on the table. Only after seemingly expending a lot of effort did he finally manage to forcibly wrench his gaze away from the box.
It was quite clear that he held this Nine Eye Bead in extremely high regard, and he said, "Seeing as you're being so straightforward, I won't waste any time, either; what would you like for this treasure? As long as it's not one of my indispensable treasures, I can consider anything else."
Han Li was quite elated to see this. Judging from the current situation, it seemed that there was a very good chance that he would be able to secure some Divine Infernal River Elixir.
Qing Yuanzi smiled, and replied, "I want three vials of Divine Infernal River Elixir, and a chunk of Self-creating Soil."
"Absolutely not! This Nine Eye Bead does indeed have extraordinary abilities when it comes to tool refinement, but it's nowhere near valuable enough to exchange for those items. Setting aside the Divine Infernal River Elixir for now, Self-creating Soil is one of the best earth-attribute materials in existence, and there are almost no other earth-attribute materials that can compare with it. I'm only in possession of a very small amount of this soil, and I'm planning to use it to refine a treasure for my next tribulation transcendence; I certainly can't give it away like this," Golden Flame Baron said as he shook his head vehemently.
"I'm naturally aware of this, but what if I throw in these three things as well?" Qing Yuanzi wasn't surprised in the slightest by Golden Flame Baron's rejection, and a confident smile appeared on his face as he swept a sleeve over the table again, summoning three strange rhomboid items.
These three items resembled fist-sized spearheads that were of a shimmering golden color.
These items were covered in strange red runes and were quite mystifying to behold.
Golden Flame Baron faltered slightly at the sight of these items, then carefully inspected them, but didn't seem to discover anything. Thus, he made a grabbing motion to draw one of the items into his grasp for closer inspection.
"Could this be..."
At the same time, Han Li was staring intently at the other two golden items on the table as he could sense an extremely familiar aura emanating from them.
After inspecting the golden item in his hand for a while longer, Golden Flame Baron's expression began to change slightly.
"I can't be certain, but this seems to be the legendary Vajra Devil Vanquishing Divine Lightning," Golden Flame Baron said in a rather hesitant manner as he turned to Qing Yuanzi.
"You have an exceptional eye, Fellow Daoist! I obtained some Golden Lightning Bamboo leaves some years ago, and it took me several centuries to refine only six pieces of this lightning. I'm bringing out half of them at once, so I'm sure that's a sufficient show of my sincerity. Your next major heavenly tribulation won't be too far away, and Vajra Devil Vanquishing Divine Lightning is an exceptional weapon against Extrarealm Heavenly Devils. Those devils can be extremely troublesome during tribulations, and normal treasures have very minimal effects on them. With this lightning, you'll be able to protect yourself against them far better than any treasure could protect you. If it weren't for the fact that I had managed to refine more than enough for myself, I definitely wouldn't be offering them to you," Qing Yuanzi said with a hint of a smile on his face.