Chapter 354: Madam Lan
Han Li and that man were seated on different sides of the square table. They took several glances at each other, but neither of them had any intention of talking.
Cultivators who came here to do their shopping had no intentions of treading too closely to strangers as it would only breed hostility.
Despite this, the man still shot several curious glances at Crooked Soul who had remained outside the hall by the staircase.
Thanks to his perceptiveness, he had already made out Crooked Soul to be a refined corpse, but the Spiritual Qi fluctuations he felt from Crooked Soul's body left him quite baffled.
After all, cultivator-refined, iron-skinned corpses normally only had immense strength. It shouldn't be possible for them to possess magic power.
The man strongly suppressed his desire to ask questions. Although Han Li was a mid Foundation Establishment cultivator like himself, he was rather wary of him.
After Han Li had sipped away most of the tea, the woman finally returned to the main hall.
This time, she had two strong, robust men following behind her. These two men didn't possess any magic power and had rather stiff faces. They were unexpectedly two realistic-looking puppets.
The puppets held a huge tray, wrapped in a bundle of silk cloth. It seemed that the shopkeeper intended on concealing the precious items within it.
A strange expression flashed from Han Li's eyes. He had just used his spiritual sense to see through the red silk and find out what was underneath it. However, he hadn't expected that the unremarkable silk cloth would block him. In his surprise, he couldn't help but turn his head to look at the man beside him.
He also appeared astonished. It was obvious he had done the same.
The middle-aged woman approached Han Li and the man until she was a few steps away. She wordlessly smiled before she spoke, "I've already acquainted myself with you, Fellow Daoist Fan. Might I ask for your name, Fellow Daoist? My surname is Lan. You two Fellow Daoists may call me Madam Lan." The woman gave herself a well-practiced introduction.
Naturally, Han Li couldn't awkwardly remain silent so he reluctantly said, "My surname is Han."
Afterwards, he said nothing further and displayed a cold demeanor, unwilling to speak further.
Madam Lan didn't take this to heart. After all, a vast majority of cultivators that came here feigned indifference like Han Li. It was something she had long become accustomed to.
As a result, she smiled slightly and beckoned to the puppets behind her. The well-chiseled puppets immediately walked forward. Afterwards, Madam Lan extended her flawless finger and lifted the red cloth cover, revealing the several items underneath.
Han Li and the man surnamed Fan simultaneously gazed at the items on the tray, their eyes gleaming with rapt attention.
A long sword, short blade, throwing dart, a ring, and a piece of jet-black armor were arranged in a line. From one glance at the sparkling shine each of these items radiated, one could tell that these were not common goods.
Once the magic tools on the dish were clearly seen, Han Li and the man surnamed Fan had differing reactions.
The cultivator named Fan intensely stared at the plate with a gaze containing a slight trace of exhilaration. But when Han Li glanced at them, he immediately turned his gaze away, revealing a lack of interest. This greatly surprised Madam Lan, causing her to pay closer attention to Han Li.
"This item is called the Cold Crystal Blade. It was refined using rare profound crystal and ice jade. Not only are its attacks powerful, it also possesses dark-cold Qi, capable of unknowingly decreasing the power of enemies in a chaotic battle. It truly is a quality item among top-grade magic tools." The woman gave calmly introduced the item after deftly grabbing the transparent, sparkling short blade from the tray and lifting it into the air.
She then waved the magic tool in her hand, immediately releasing a breeze of icy Qi. As soon as it appeared in the room, the Qi Condensation maids couldn't help but shiver.
"Could Madam let this one take a look at that blade?" The man surnamed Fan looked at the magic tool with excitement.
Madam Lan faintly smiled in response and handed over the blade without the slightest of hesitation. Afterwards, she took a hidden glance at Han Li.
She only saw Han Li with an indifferent expression. He had merely lowered his head to look at the empty tea cup in his hand. As he did not show the slightest interest in this magic tool, Madam Lan felt slightly disappointed.
As he was playing around with the short blade in his hand, the man surnamed Fan spoke in a loud voice, "Alright, I want to buy this Cold Crystal Blade. How many spirit stones will it cost?"
Although Madam Lan was somewhat surprised to hear this, she calmly asked, "Doesn't Fellow Daoist Fan intend to look at the other magic tools?"
"There is no need. This one naturally knows that the other items are certain to be better. However, this one is embarrassingly short of money. I reckon that this blade is the only one I can buy. So even if the other items are better, this one does not have the heart to see them. This way, I can avoid feeling envy." This Cultivator Fan spoke rather honestly with a touch of humor. The beautiful Madam Lan raised her hand to conceal a faint smile.
The woman quickly suppressed her smile and spoke methodically as usual, "This Cold Crystal Blade costs eight hundred spirit stones. Once Fellow Daoist Fan hands over that amount, he may take the item and leave."
"Good. Could you take a look and check if this is the right amount of spirit stones?" Cultivator Fan bluntly took out a storage pouch. In the blink of an eye, a pile of varied- colored spirit stones poured out onto the table.
Madam Lan effortlessly swept her gaze across the table. With the corners of her lips slightly raised, she said, "How could I distrust you? There is no need to check."
With that said, the woman took her storage pouch and absorbed the spirit stones on the table.
Madam Lan's actions gave Cultivator Fan a very favorable impression. He then revealed an amicable expression before taking his leave.
But when Han Li saw this, he inwardly laughed in ridicule despite his indifferent expression.
'What do you mean by "there is no need to check"! What was the spiritual sense enveloping the spirit stones supposed to be? Obviously, Madam Lan's spiritual sense is far stronger than common cultivators and was able to to instantly count the number of spirit stones without anybody knowing. As such, she was able to deliberately say such a clever and convenient line.' Han Li thought with an inward sneer.
Madam Lan hadn't realized that her cheap trick had been seen through by Han Li. After she finished watching Cultivator Fan leave with a faint smile on her face, she turned her gaze upon Han Li once more.
"Fellow Daoist Han seems to hold no interest in these items! Could it be that these magic tools aren't worthy of Fellow Daoist's notice?" Madam Lan asked with a slight smile.
It was quite strange. She clearly knew that the person before her had inferior cultivation to her own. But for some unknown reason, she felt a trace of strange danger from Han Li, causing her speech to unconsciously become more tactful towards him as she didn't dare to offend him.
"While the quality of these magic tools are quite decent, I am looking for magic tools that are a bit more exceptional. They must also be well suited to my techniques! Furthermore, not only am I looking for magic tools and talismans, I am also interested in rare items." Han Li replied serenely.
"Oh! If Fellow Daoist Han had such requests, he should've said them sooner. This one had believed that Fellow Daoist Han would've been satisfied with any kind of magic tool, the same as Fellow Daoist Fan." Madam Lan couldn't help but giggle. She then continued speaking with great confidence, "So long as Fellow Daoist is able to pay the price, our Stardust Pavilion will provide all the items you desire."
Han Li dryly laughed and directly answered with a question, "Since Madam insists, I will bluntly mention them. Does your esteemed pavilion have any pill formulas useful to Foundation Establishment cultivators for sale? Or any sets of magic tools? Naturally, the greater the number in a magic tool set, the better."
The woman's face revealed slight emotion before immediately regaining her calm.
Madam Lan stared at Han Li with her beautiful eyes before speaking deliberately, "Fellow Daoist's requests are truly unusual. Were it half a month ago, I may have been left helpless. But now, my pavilion had acquired two such pill formulas and a set of high-quality magic tools. The prices of these items are truly great. They are not something that I am able to sell. Fellow Daoist will have to continue this conversation on the sixth floor!"
Han Li had anticipated what the woman would say and asked indifferently, "Then am I allowed to go up to the sixth floor?"
Madam Lan lightly brushed her hair before gently smiling. "Of course you can. But in accordance to sect rules, I must first inspect Fellow Daoist's qualifications."
"What qualifications?" Han Li casually asked.
"It's very simple! It is whether or not Fellow Daoist possesses a thousand spirit stones or items of equivalent value." The woman stated with an earnest tone.
"Is this enough?" Without any objections, Han Li took out the storage pouch that kept his spirit stones and tossed it toward the woman.
Han Li's collection of spirit stones had reached a thousand long ago. Now, he should be in possession of nearly two thousand spirit stones.
Madam Lan took the storage pouch and examined it with her spiritual sense. She then nodded her head and said, "Please follow me. I will personally accompany you to the sixth floor."
When Han Li saw her walking towards the stairs, he silently followed after her.
The young, red-clothed servant guarding the stairwell silently stepped to the side upon seeing Madam Lan approach. Han Li and Madam Lan then climbed to the sixth floor one after the other.