Chapter 2206: Envoys and Presents
Han Li waved a sleeve through the air as he sat on his azure lotus platform, and said, "Please take a seat, fellow daoists. Thank you for traveling from afar to attend my Grand Ascension Stage celebratory ceremony. I haven't prepared too much; I can only offer you some tea to quench your thirst from your long journeys."
As soon as Han Li's voice trailed off, Qi Lingzi immediately clapped his hands together twice in succession, and groups of beautiful white-robed women immediately strode into the plaza from all directions.
Each of them was holding a platter, atop which sat cups of tea that they offered to the cultivators present.
The spirit tea being offered was extremely exceptional, but it wasn't all that noteworthy considering Han Li's status as a Grand Ascension Stage being.
What was much more astonishing to everyone was that even though all of these white-robed women were very beautiful, they were all completely expressionless, and their movements were rather stiff, clearly indicating that they were all humanoid puppets.
The arrival of several hundred humanoid puppets that were so life-like filled most of the guests with amazement, and after the spirit tea had been presented, a burly man who was seated in the inner circle suddenly stood up before extending a deep bow toward Han Li.
"I am the envoy of the Heavenly Radiance Sect. As a congratulatory present, our sect offers you a pair of Longlife Insect shells, both of which are over 10,000 years old. We hope that you'll reach the summit of the mountain of immortality, and that your powers will rival the might of the heavens."
The burly man summoned a yellow wooden box as he spoke, then removed the lid to reveal a pair of fist-sized insect exoskeletons, both of which were translucent and strikingly crimson, as if there were balls of fire burning within them.
Han Li smiled, and replied, "Your Heavenly Radiance Sect is one of our human race's three major sects, and I've heard much about your grand elder; I'll be sure to pay your sect a visit should the opportunity arise."
The Heavenly Radiance Sect was extremely renowned in the human race, and not only did it have over 10 human cities under its direct jurisdictive power, the sect also had several Body Integration cultivators among their ranks.
As for the grand elder of the sect, he also had a resounding reputation in the human race and had once slain two Body Integration Stage foreign beings in battle. Unfortunately, he had failed several times thus far in his attempts to progress to the Grand Ascension Stage.
"I'm sure our grand elder would be extremely honored to know that he's in your thoughts, Senior Han. He's currently at a critical juncture in his seclusion, so he's unable to attend the ceremony in person, but he was the one who chose this pair of Longlife Insect shells as our sect's congratulatory present," the burly man said as he hurriedly extended another bow with an elated expression.
"These shells are one of the main ingredients for refining Spirit Settling Liquid, which is something required by all new Grand Ascension Stage beings, so this is clearly a very thoughtful gift," Han Li continued with a smile.
The elation on the burly man's face grew even more pronounced upon hearing this, and he handed over the wooden box to a white-robed servant with both hands, then extended another bow before sitting down again.
An armored young man seated on the outskirts of the inner circle stood up, and said in a respectful manner, "On behalf of Cloud Guard City, I offer 15 tons of golden essence and five tons of Profound Yin Sand as a congratulatory present."
"Your present is much appreciated."
Cloud Guard City was only a medium-sized city on the border of the human and demon territories, so Han Li naturally wasn't going to treat the representative with as much enthusiasm, and merely gave him an indifferent nod.
Even so, a hint of excitement flashed through the young man's eyes, and he hurriedly extended a deep bow before taking a seat again.
After that, two green-skinned demonic cultivators with red hair presented a jade box in a respectful manner. "We are the envoys of Thousand Domain Mountain, and on behalf of our mountain master, we offer Senior Han our heartfelt congratulations, as well as three pieces of Profound Phoenix Wood, three Spirit Enchanting Beads..."
Thus, one representative after another began to offer their congratulatory presents to Han Li, and it didn't take long for dozens of sets of presents to have been offered.
The representatives were all of different cultivation bases, but they encompassed all of the important powers among the human and demon races. All of them were extremely respectful toward Han Li, and they either offered extremely precious presents or presents of staggering quantities, clearly doing their best to leave a good first impression with Han Li.
As for the vagrant cultivators in attendance, it was also quite an eye-opening experience for them to witness so many rare and precious items that they had only ever heard of in the past.
Of course, as long as they weren't mentally handicapped, no one would dare to try and steal these presents from right under Han Li's nose.
In the face of all of these offerings, Han Li maintained a faint smile and reciprocated with brief words of thanks.
However, as a woman in a white dress rose to her feet, Han Li initiated a conversation for the first time.
"So you've also come to attend my ceremony, Fairy Xu. Are you here on behalf of the Xu Family?"
The woman was none other than Xu Qianyu, and everyone was quite surprised to see this.
After all, her cultivation base wasn't anything special, so it was very unexpected for Han Li to be so hospitable toward her.
Xu Qianyu had been feeling quite nervous, but Han Li's benevolent display eased her anxiety significantly, and she replied, "I am indeed here on behalf of our Xu Family, Senior Han. I've brought with me one stick of East Sea Purple Flame Bamboo, three Boundless Spirit Fruits, and a Heavenvoid Cauldron; our Xu Family wishes you luck in your journey to immortality, Senior Han."
A hint of enlightenment appeared in Han Li's eyes upon hearing this, and he said, "Heavenvoid Cauldron, eh? I understand. You and I are old acquaintances, so why don't you stay and explore this mountain for a while; perhaps you'll encounter some opportunities."
"Thank you for your kindness, Senior Han!" Xu Qianyu replied in an elated manner before taking a seat again, and many of the other cultivators present immediately turned toward her with envy in their eyes.
It was quite clear that Han Li was implying that he was going to give her something, and that naturally evoked a lot of envy in everyone's hearts.
After that, the representatives of the true spirit families presented themselves. Among them, the Gu Family had sent Fairy Xiao Feng, while Ye Ying was the representative of the Ye Family.
Both of them were also old acquaintances of Han Li's, and witnessing this astonishing scenario made them feel as if they were in a dream.
If they hadn't sensed the unfathomable aura being released by Han Li's for themselves, they wouldn't have even dared to believe that he had actually already become a Grand Ascension cultivator.
As these two offered their congratulatory presents, Han Li also chatted with them, and that drew another round of envy from all of the other cultivators.
This didn't appear to be anything important, but at the very least, it was clear that the two women really were acquaintances of Han Li's. As such, if anyone wanted to plot against them or their families in the future, they'd have to take Han Li's indirect intimidation into consideration.
Of course, the Long Family had also sent someone, and it was their new grand elder.
This grand elder was a Body Integration cultivator who had remained hidden in the Long Family this entire time, and he treated Han Li with the utmost respect, thanking him openly for informing the Long Family of the death of their patriarch.
Back when Han Li was still on Wood Tribe territory, he had already sent messengers to inform the Long Family and Ye Family of what had happened.
He didn't know what their reactions to this news had been, but now that Han Li had progressed to the Grand Ascension Stage, neither of the families dared to voice their suspicions, assuming they had any in the first place.
What came as a slight surprise to Han Li was that the Black Phoenix Race had sent a Body Integration Stage elder as opposed to Dai'er.
It seemed that she really was still in seclusion. Otherwise, there was no way that Black Phoenix Monarch wouldn't have sent Dai'er as their representative to establish closer ties with him.
"I am Ben Yue of the Spirit Race, and on behalf of the Spirit Monarch, I offer one each of the five-elemental spirit cores, three balls of Heavenly Light Spirit Flames, 10 top-grade treasures, 100 pieces of Azure Lock Wall, and five tons of Deepsea Purple Crystal Iron," a humanoid figure who was enshrouded in purple light said as he extended a respectful salute.
"Welcome! I've heard much about the Spirit Monarch, and I'm truly honored to receive such lavish presents from him," Han Li said as he rose to his feet before returning the salute.
The figure within the purple light didn't dare to accept Han Li's salute, and he stepped aside slightly as he continued, "Aside from offering his congratulations, our Spirit Monarch also instructed me to ask you some things, Senior Han."
All of the cultivators on the plaza faltered slightly upon hearing this, but Han Li didn't seem to be surprised at all as he prompted, "Go ahead."
"Our Spirit Monarch has instructed me to ask you about two things, and replies to both questions are optional," the Spirit being explained in a cautious manner.
"I'd be happy to answer the Spirit Monarch's questions, but I'll only permit you to ask me those two questions, no more than that; do you understand?" Han Li said in a calm voice.
The Spirit being's heart jolted slightly upon hearing this, and he hurriedly replied, "I understand; I definitely won't harass you with unnecessary questions, Senior Han."
"Alright, then go ahead," Han Li replied with a nod.
"The first question pertains to Holy Maiden Thousand Autumns; is she still alive?" the Spirit being asked.
"No," Han Li replied without any hesitation.
The Spirit being wasn't surprised to hear this, and he continued, "Who was she killed by?"
"A devilish patriarch," Han Li replied as his eyes narrowed slightly.