Not only did Golden Flame Baron and Qing Yuanzi exchange a wry smile upon hearing this, Han Li was also quite stunned by what he had just heard.
"I have something that I need to speak to the two of you about, so I'll come take a seat in your palace. Golden Flame, your Green Spirit Wine is pretty good; get me eight flagons," the elderly man said in a nonchalant manner.
"Eight flagons? Surely you jest, Brother Voidspirit; each flagon of Green Spirit Wine takes several centuries to brew, and I only have four flagons in total," Golden Flame Baron said with a wry smile.
"Haha, four flagons will suffice, then; that'll be enough for one sitting," the elderly man chortled.
After that, he made a hand seal, and the giant beetle beneath his feet abruptly vanished as a plume of black smoke. The black smoke then swept upward and disappeared up his sleeve like a spirit snake.
The elderly man flew down toward the palace as a streak of black light, and Golden Flame Baron could only heave a resigned sigh as he made a grabbing motion toward the distance.
The three golden-armored guards being suspended in mid-air immediately stopped spinning, and the white thread around them crumbled away.
They were still feeling very dizzy, but as soon as they stabilized themselves, they immediately extended deep bows toward Golden Flame Baron with shameful looks on their faces. "Thank you for saving us, Master. Our incompetence has brought shame upon you."
"It's not your fault; that man's powers are far beyond even my own. Just make sure to repair the restriction," Golden Flame Baron said with a shake of his head, then descended toward the palace as a streak of golden light.
"Come with me, Fellow Daoist Han. Make sure to be on your guard as that old monster is very difficult to please," Qing Yuanzi sighed before he vanished into thin air as a streak of golden light.
Han Li paused momentarily on the spot with a contemplative look on his face before also flying down toward the palace. Moments later, everyone arrived in the same hall and took their seats.
However, the main seat was now being occupied by Voidspirit rather than Golden Flame Baron.
As soon as everyone had taken a seat, Golden Flame Baron clapped his hands together, and four beautiful servants clothed in golden veil dresses immediately strode into the hall before placing some precious spirit fruits down onto the tables beside everyone.
"Where's the Green Spirit Wine? You're not trying to swindle me with this stuff, are you, Golden Flame?" Voidspirit scoffed as he rolled his eyes at the spirit fruits.
Golden Flame Baron forcibly repressed his rage, and explained, "Rest assured, Brother Voidspirit; Green Spirit Wine can only be brewed in Myriad Year Profound Ice, and I've already sent someone to retrieve it."
"Alright, but you better not keep me waiting for too long!" Voidspirit nodded before picking up a red peach-like spirit fruit, then gobbled it down with just a few bites, not even bothering to spit out the core of the fruit.
Han Li was struck by a sense of speechlessness upon seeing this.
Right at this moment, the elderly man took a glance at him before a hint of intrigue appeared in his eyes. "Oh? I can see that your bone age is only just over 2,000 years, yet you've already reached the mid-Body Integration Stage; that's quite impressive. Are you a junior from the same race as Qing Yuanzi?"
Not only was Han Li not flattered by the elderly man's words of praise, a chill immediately ran down his spine, and he hurriedly rose to his feet before extending a respectful bow. "Junior Han pays his respects to Senior Voidspirit. Indeed, I'm from the same race as Senior Jiang."
Even a Grand Ascension Stage being like Qing Yuanzi was extremely wary of this man, so he naturally had to give this man the utmost respect. It was quite incredible that he was able to determine Han Li's age with just a single glance, and Han Li could only hope that the elderly man would only take a fleeting interest in him before moving on.
However, things didn't progress as he hoped they would.
The elderly man's eyes lit up upon hearing this, and he clicked his tongue with wonder before continuing, "Your level of aptitude is extremely good, even in the context of the entire Spirit Realm. Qing Yuanzi, I recall that your human race seems to be nothing more than an insignificant minor race, right? Why is it that not only does the human race have a Grand Ascension Stage being like yourself, there's also someone of this Han brat's aptitude among their ranks? Could it be that you intentionally lied to me about the power of the human race?"
Qing Yuanzi's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, and he hurriedly explained, "I wouldn't dare to do that, Brother Voidspirit! Our human race really is just a minor race; I did indeed come from the human race, but without the opportunities I encountered thereafter, there's no way I would've been able to reach my current cultivation base. However, as a result, I'm no longer purely a human. As for Fellow Daoist Han's astonishing aptitude, that's not all that strange as every race has a supremely talented prodigy or two; it's just that you happened to encounter him, Brother Voidspirit. Of course, there's no way our human race could compare with your race."
"Is that so? Our Mayfly Race is indeed quite powerful, but I've never seen anyone from our race reach such a cultivation base at such a young age. So how about it, Fellow Daoist Han? Are you interested in joining our Mayfly Race? As long as you're willing to become a guest elder of our race, we'll supply you with everything you need in your future cultivation," the elderly man said as he turned to Han Li with a hint of a smile on his face.
Qing Yuanzi's expression changed drastically upon hearing this, and he opened his mouth to say something, but refrained from doing so in the end.
Han Li was also very surprised by this offer, but he immediately gave a euphemistic rejection. "I'm extremely flattered by your kind offer, Senior, but our human race is about to face a major tribulation. My powers aren't all that significant, but I'm bound by duty to help our human race transcend this tribulation."
The elderly man's expression immediately darkened upon hearing this, and he accused, "Tribulation? Hmph, are you using an excuse to placate me?"
At the same time, a burst of invisible pressure erupted from his body before hurtling directly toward Han Li.
"I definitely have no such intentions, Senior!" Han Li was aware that this man had a very eccentric personality, but never did he think that Voidspirit would attack him without any inhibitions. In response to the pressure weighing down upon him, he hurriedly conjured up a protective layer of golden light around his own body.
A resounding boom rang out, and a burst of enormous force crashed down onto his shoulders, forcing him to stoop down slightly, and the protective golden light around him flashed violently as if it were about to shatter. At the same time, a string of cracks and pops rang out from all of the joints within his body in rapid succession.
If a normal Body Integration cultivator were standing in Han Li's place, they would at least sustain severe injuries from this and could easily be killed on the spot.
"Hmm? Interesting," the elderly man mused as the dark expression on his face was replaced by one of intrigue again. Immediately thereafter, he abruptly rose to his feet, and the pressure weighing down upon Han Li became even more intense.
Han Li's shoulders swayed, and his face paled slightly, but he remained firmly seated, However, the wooden chair beneath him had already been reduced to dust amid a dull thump.
"Please spare him, Brother Voidspirit!" Qing Yuanzi finally stepped in as he swept a sleeve through the air with furrowed brows, sending a burst of golden light surging forth from within his sleeve.
A dull thump rang out, and two bursts of enormous force clashed in front of Han Li, canceling each other out in the end.
The pressure on Han Li's shoulders was immediately alleviated, leaving him feeling as light as air. He heaved an internal sigh of relief, but at the same time, he was extremely stunned by this Voidspirit's powers.
It was no wonder that even Qing Yuanzi and Golden Flame Baron were so wary of him; his powers were indeed far superior in comparison.
As opposed to being enraged by Qing Yuanzi's intervention, Voidspirit's eyes immediately lit up, and he said, "Oh? Do you want to spar with me, Qing Yuanzi? I would certainly welcome a sparring match! It's been several thousand years since we last fought, and I heard you recently cultivated a new ability; I would love to see it!"
Thus, he paid no further heed to Han Li, who was at a slight loss for what to do.
He didn't know if this man really did have such a strong yearning for battle or was simply putting on an act.
Some kind of recollection seemed to have surfaced in Qing Yuanzi's mind, and his expression changed slightly as he forced a smile onto his face. "Of course not, Brother Voidspirit; I wouldn't dare to challenge you. I was only hoping that you would spare Fellow Daoist Han as he's a junior from my human race, after all."
A hint of disappointment flashed through the elderly man's eyes, and he seemed to have become significantly deflated. "So you don't want to? That's rather disappointing. So be it, I'll let him off the hook seeing as you've stepped in to intervene. Alright, let's cut straight to the chase, then."
"Brother Voidspirit, I heard that you had been in cultivation for over 1,000 years in preparation to ascend to the True Immortal Realm; what brings you here today? You mentioned that you'd visited everyone else in the infernal river as well; is there something important you have to discuss with us?" Golden Flame Baron asked in a curious manner.
"Of course I do! Do you think I would make the effort to break into this realm because I'm bored and have nothing to do? I'll cut the chit-chat; give me all of your Divine Infernal River Elixir. I brought Five Origin Pills and eggs of Myriad Universe Insects in exchange," the elderly man said in a straightforward manner.
"What? You want Divine Infernal River Elixir?"
"What use do you have for Divine Infernal River Elixir, Brother Voidspirit?"
Qing Yuanzi and Golden Flame Baron were both quite surprised to hear this, as was Han Li.
"What's with this reaction? I'm only asking for your Divine Infernal River Elixir; do you think my Five Origin Pills and Myriad Universe Insect eggs aren't worth your elixir?" The elderly man's expression darkened slightly once again.
"Of course not! It's just that I traded all of my elixir to Fellow Daoist Jiang just now," Golden Flame Baron hurriedly explained.