The old man Jin Yuan chuckled and said, “Relax, Fellow Daoist. I went through quite some danger to obtain it. It is definitely unordinary.”
Han Li nodded and said nothing else as he led Jin Yuan to a building at the side.
After entering the building, they arrived at a huge hall that was over a hundred meters wide. It was empty apart from a middle-aged Foundation Establishment woman sitting cross-legged on a prayer mat. When she saw Han Li and Jin Yuan enter, she immediately opened her eyes and stood up.
“Since Fellow Daoists have arrived, it seems you either wish to look at some of the hall’s collection of magic techniques or perhaps you require a hidden room to exchange cultivation experiences with one another.”
“A hidden room is what we want.” Han Li calmly said. He didn’t have the slightest interest in looking at the records there. After all, techniques that foreign cultivators were allowed to see were likely all ordinary.
“That will be one spirit stone. In addition, you will lose your room when you leave the hall.” The middle-aged woman said with a smile. She then reached for her waist and took out several inch-sized miniature rooms into her hand.
Han Li was momentarily stunned when he saw this and casually took out a spirit stone and traded it for a miniature room. He then curiously examined it.
When the middle-aged woman saw his curious expression, she keenly asked, “Is this the first time that Fellow Daoist saw a Hidden Fortune Room?”
“That’s right. Is this a magic tool?” Han Li weighed the item in his hand and felt that it was light as a feather.
“The Hidden Fortune Room can be considered both a magic tool and not a magic tool,” the woman explained, “But it is very simple to use: you only need to pour in enough spiritual Qi to use it. Of course, a low-grade Hidden Fortune Room is only able to expand to a certain degree and doesn’t have much other uses. It is difficult to call it a true magic tool. However, higher grade Hidden Fortune Rooms can have spell formations and restrictions placed within them and could even be considered to be on the level of magic treasures. Of course, the one I gave you is a more common type, but there should be no problem in stopping others from eavesdropping on your conversation.”
When Han Li heard this, he felt a wave of shock. Although he was told that there would be hidden rooms being rented here, he didn’t think they were actually these strange items. Such an item didn’t exist in the Heavenly South.
“Many thanks for the explanation, Fellow Daoist.” Han Li then walked to the side chamber the woman had pointed out.
Jin Yuan closely followed behind him and after a short moment, he couldn’t help but say, “It truly came as a surprise that this is the first time Fellow Daoist saw a Hidden Fortune Room. But this isn’t too much of a shock considering that they are normally only sold to loose cultivators and high-grade cultivators that travel often. Given your young age and current cultivation, it seems you are a meticulously nurtured disciple of a sect and would’ve had little need for something like this. Furthermore, they are actually quite expensive. The spirit stones would better be used for magic tools and medicines.”
“Oh? Then what’s the price of an ordinary Hidden Fortune Room?” Han Li casually asked.
When Jin Yuan saw his interest, he explained what he knew, saying, “A low-grade room would cost a little over a hundred spirit stones. And while a high-grade room would have spell formations and restrictions, they cost much more than magic tools of the same grade. With that being said, there’s a large variety of Hidden Fortune Rooms ranging from pagodas, pavilions, and courtyards. It is said that the greatest of Hidden Fortune Rooms are small-scale cave residences.”
“A small-scale cave residence?” When Han Li heard this, he was shocked.
When the Jin Yuan heard him, he chuckled and said, “Brother Han, don’t jump to conclusions. The simplest Hidden Fortune Room on the scale of a cave residence will cost you several tens of thousands of spirits stones. They aren’t something that cultivators like us can dream of.”
Han Li nodded, his expression returning to normal.
At that moment, they had already arrived at the side chamber. There were six stone rooms that sparkled with white light scattered around the place. They appeared to be enlarged versions of the miniature stone room Han Li held in his hand.
Han Li’s heart stirred and he casually probed one of the rooms with his spiritual sense. As expected, there was a restriction that prevented his spiritual sense from contacting it. This was a rather simple restriction and could be easily broken, but the master of the room would immediately detect this and realize that they were being eavesdropped on. This was a rather secure way of preventing others from spying on you.
With that thought, Han Li tossed the miniature room into the air and his hand sparkled with azure light. After pouring spiritual power into it, the room grew hot and trembled. Then, in a flash of white light, a muffled bang sounded out, followed by the appearance of a ten-meter-wide stone room.
He glanced at the stone room and then politely said, “Brother Jin, please enter!”
“Then I’ll be heading in first. But I must say that although I’ve seen Hidden Fortune Rooms before, I haven’t had the opportunity to enter many.” Jin Yuan stroked his chin and chuckled before going in.
Han Li smiled and followed him inside before swinging the door shut.
The room wasn’t large but was well decorated. At the center, there was a stone table and stone chairs, and even a stone couch nearby. Jin Yuan had already taken a seat in one of the chairs.
Han Li pressed his hand against the wall and activated the restrictions before joining Jin Yuan by taking a seat across from him.
With a stiff expression, Jin Yuan spoke first, asking, “I heard you mention before that you had a few things you wanted to be explained. What did you want to know?”
“It’s not much,” Han Li calmly answered, “I just wanted to prepare for a short stay in the Guanning Prefecture. However, I wasn’t able to find out much about the local noble clans. From your tone, it seemed that you are a native and would be able to tell me about them.”
Jin Yuan’s expression relaxed and he said, “So it was like that. That will be no problem. I don’t mean to boast, but I know much about not only the Guanning Prefecture but the entirety of the Liao Province. What would Fellow Daoist like to know about it?”
With a content tone, Han Li asked, “Since the masters of Guanning Prefecture are the three noble clans, how about you give me an introduction on them and tell me any great events that have happened in the past few years?”
“Where should I start on the noble clans of the Guanning Prefecture? This land could be considered to be under the rule of Confucian Sects as many noble clans hail from them. But the great four clans of this prefecture came from different origins with the exception of the Kong Clan.”
Han Li curled his lips and casually asked, “The four great noble clans? Didn’t the Guanning Prefecture have three great noble clans?”
“Hehe! It turned into three noble clans only recently. Ten years ago, there were still four. However, the Feng Clan had committed an unknown offense against the other three clans and as a result, they overthrew them in a single night, exterminating all of the direct disciples. At the time, I heard the Feng Clan was discussing something of great importance and had gathered together all of their direct disciples...” Jin Yuan then continued with the rest of the story.
Han Li sat down and calmly listened to what had happened to the Feng Clan. When he compared it to what Feng Yue had told him, there were a few parts that were rather strange.
Following that, Jin Yuan began to introduce the various clans in the Guanning Prefecture. He was clearly well traveled and know about the many prefectures in the province with great detail.
Han Li was satisfied by what he heard and now had some understanding of the cultivation world of the Liao Province. This was far more detailed than what Cao Mengrong was able to tell him.
Jin Yue spoke in a flurry without stopping, only occasionally pausing to state his own take on the matter.
About half an hour later, he eventually said all that he wanted and Han Li smiled, saying, “Thank you for the trouble of telling me all of this, but now let’s move on to the topic of your strange treasure. Could you take it out and allow me to broaden my experiences?”
“The treasure? Of course. I still wish for Fellow Daoist to help me inspect it!” Jin Yuan replied with a satisfied tone.
Then under Han Li’s gaze, he took out a jade box from his storage pouch and placed it on the table.
Han Li swept his gaze past the box and wrapped his spiritual sense around it. Soon, he felt his heart stop. The item in the box released a strange power that repulsed his spiritual sense, in turn greatly captured his interest.
Jin Yuan carefully opened the box and revealed a fist-sized ball of dazzling golden light with hazy surface. He pushed the box towards Han Li and eagerly said, “Fellow Daoist, please take a careful look and see if you can recognize it.”
Han Li raised his brow and brought the box to his eyes before taking a careful look. It appeared like a bubble with a transparent center and a surface that sparkled with golden light. However, it didn’t possess the slightest spiritual Qi as though it were an ordinary object.
After examining it for a long while, he extended his finger and wrapped it in a layer of azure light. Then he poked the object with it, finding it to be soft and flexible as though it were truly a bubble.
Han Li revealed an expression of shock, and after a moment of thought, he attempted to wrap his spiritual sense around it, but it was repelled to the side as the bubble flickered with light.
He then unconsciously responded by increasing the intensity of his spiritual sense, attempting to force threads of spiritual sense into it.
Suddenly, a strange scene occurred, golden light repeatedly flickered on the surface of the bubble and it began to expand one moment and contract in another, resembling the beating of a vigorous heart.