When Han Li heard himself mentioned, he simply smiled and remained silent. He was certain that his Senior Martial Brother Lu would answer on his behalf.
Sure enough, the middle-aged man rushed to introduce Han Li before Marquis Nanlong could speak any further.
"Marquis, this is my Junior Martial Brother Han. He has just recently condensed a Nascent Soul and joined our sect. At his side is Lady Mu, his concubine. Junior Martial Brother Han, this is Marquis Nanlong, an old friend of my deceased master. I hope you will acquaint yourself with him."
As his clothes fluttered in the wind, Han Li calmly saluted the carriage, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Marquis Nanlong!"
Within the carriage, Marquis Nanlong indifferently said, "Han Li? That name is completely unfamiliar. It seems Fellow Daoist Han is truly a new Nascent Soul cultivator. Might we have an exchange of skill to gauge your abilities?"
"Ah? Junior Martial Brother Han only condensed a Nascent Soul a few years ago. How could he possibly be a match for Fellow Daoist Nanlong? I mean, Fellow Daoist Nanlong is already a mid Nascent Soul cultivator." Lu Luo's smiling expression froze and he inwardly cursed. Although this old eccentric's temperament was peculiar, his words suggested he was now entirely different from before!
"Be at ease. I won't be using my cultivation to take advantage of the weak. We will only be using our spiritual sense to contest. After all, Fellow Daoist Han's spiritual sense is rather strong, very unlike a cultivator who had just condensed his Nascent Soul. I am anxious to display my own skill."
As soon as that was said a golden light flashed from the huge carriage, fading away to reveal the three that were sitting inside.
One was a man wearing robes embroidered with purple pythons and a tall, jade-green hat with a long beard that reached down to his chest. The other two were women dressed in snow-white palace robes. Each beauty was being loosely held in his embrace on each side.
The women at the Marquis' sides were certain to be his concubines. Although their cultivations were only at Foundation Establishment, their graceful beauty was a sight to behold.
Worry filled Lu Luo and he directly said, "Marquis must be be joking. Although Junior Martial Brother Han's spiritual sense is a bit strong, contests of spiritual sense are exceedingly dangerous. How can this be taken so lightly?"
Marquis Nanlong chuckled with a cold smile and calmly said, "Fellow Daoist Lu, you seem worried but perhaps Fellow Daoist Han would be willing to give it a chance." He glanced at Han Li as a cold glint flickering through his eyes.
"Moreover, if I remember correctly, we are already within five hundred kilometers of Soaring Heavens City. If Fellow Daoist Han truly refuses my good intentions, I will make use of the forced trade law."
Lu Luo's expression changed as he faintly felt a sense of foreboding, "Forced trade? What does the Marquis mean?"
Marquis Nanlong's gaze coldly swept over Mu Peiling as he expressionlessly said, "From how intimately Lady Mu and Fellow Daoist Han are acting, Fellow Daoist Han must certainly hold her dear. It just so happens that I have two beloved concubines at my side, but I've grown bored of them. I'll use them to exchange for Fellow Daoist Han's concubine. My two beloved concubines are on par with Lady Mu with regards to both cultivation and appearance, fulfilling the forced trade conditions. If Fellow Daoist Han is unwilling to trade, you will have to stake it in a contest of spiritual sense. If you win, not only will you retain your own concubine, but you may take both of mine."
The two concubines in his embrace had a slight change of expression, but they soon returned to normal.
When Lu Luo heard this, furious alarm was revealed on his face and he was at a loss for words while Mu Peiling turned pale.
Han Li frowned for a moment before he calmly responded, "A forced trade! Senior Martial Brother Lu, could you give me a detailed explanation?" From Han Li's perspective, this Marquis Nanlong was still a mere mid Nascent Soul cultivator and was nothing to fear with Han Li's current abilities.
"It isn't anything much. Forced trades are one of the laws that are specifically for use by Nascent Soul cultivators of the host power.
"Junior Martial Brother should know that when cultivators reach Nascent Soul stage, no powers are willing to offend one another. The host of the trade meet is no exception to this.
However with such a large trade meet, there are certain to be a few clashes and disagreements. If the cultivators are at the Core Formation stage or below, the hosting power may forcefully suppress them. But if something were to occur between Nascent Soul cultivators, the hosting power is unwilling to go through the trouble of intervening. As such, there are a set of particular laws that will allow for Nascent Soul cultivators to resolve the dispute themselves. Forced trades are among the least used of these laws.
"Specifically, before the trade meet starts any Nascent Soul cultivators within five hundred kilometers of the city may use obviously superior goods to trade for something they require. If the other party refuses, both sides may settle the decision by comparing techniques and divine abilities. However, the conditions for use are harsh. Even if the initiator of the exchange wins, they still must pay the price to exchange, but if they lose, they will hand over their proposed goods to the challenged party free of charge.
"Furthermore, if someone is severely injured during the challenge, the trade meet host will pursue the offending party to its greatest extent, but it had always been extremely difficult to constrain Nascent Soul cultivators. Also, unless the item is desperately required and one's cultivation is clearly higher than the challenged party, no one would perform such a risky trade and risk making enemies." Lu Luo's expression was unsightly as he gave Han Li the explanation.
With regards to concubines, there have been Nascent Soul cultivators that trade them, and it is actually quite popular among a few Devil Dao sects. As the conditions of the current exchange were satisfactory, contacting the Nine Nations Union's enforcers would result in nothing.
Fortunately, this affair shouldn't put Han Li's life at risk, but it would be rather troublesome if he were to receive injuries before the trade meet even started.
Moreover, Han Li wasn't particularly attached to Mu Peiling. Even if he was forced to trade her, he would end up with two grand beauties. It shouldn't prove to be too much of a loss for him.
Han Li's expression was completely calm upon hearing Lu Luo's explanation, but Mu Peiling was full of regret. Had she known that the trade meet had such laws, she wouldn't have requested to accompany Han Li.
Although she didn't know much of this Marquis Nanlong, from how he treated other cultivators and his concubines, it was likely that she wouldn't be able to preserve her maidenhood until Core Formation stage and would be treated like a material good.
Mu Peiling gritted her teeth at the thought of this occurring and her pale complexion faintly revealed a dark shade of red. She didn't have high hopes that her husband would be able to defeat him.
Marquis Nanlong sat on the carriage and closely pressured Han Li, asking, "Well? Will Fellow Daoist agree to the exchange or will we have a match with our spiritual sense?"
Silence filled their surroundings for a time. Not only did Lu Luo and Mu Peiling nervously glance at Han Li, but even the two concubines of Marquis Nanlong curiously glanced at the youthful cultivator with an ordinary appearance.
After stroking his chin, Han Li suddenly smiled.
"If it's a contest of spiritual sense, then I will agree. Since I've just recently condensed my Nascent Soul, I coincidentally wish to compare my spiritual sense against other Nascent Soul cultivators. However, if I somehow manage to win, I don't want the Marquis's beloved concubines. Instead, I would rather know the true reason Marquis Nanlong has decided to have a spiritual sense competition. I hope the Marquis won't merely say that I was displeasing to the eye or that he finds my own concubine to be desirable!" Han Li calmly spoke, revealing not a trace of worry.
An indescribable expression flickered over the Marquis' face, and the others were left at a complete loss.
Marquis Nanlong grew silent for a moment before slowly replying, "Alright, I agree." His expression appeared completely solemn.
"Sir..." Mu Peiling couldn't help but call out to Han Li upon seeing him agree to the battle. She wore a complicated expression on her face.
Han Li waved his arm, "It's nothing. Just a mere contest."
Lu Luo sighed and warned, "Junior Martial Brother, be careful. If it becomes too much, concede immediately. I will immediately act to protect you."
Han Li nodded and said nothing further.
At that moment, Marquis Nanlong had already pushed away his concubines and flung his sleeve, launching himself through the air. Azure light flashed from Han Li's body as he also made his approach.
Although the forced trade provision mentioned that it would be best if the Nine Nations Union enforcers to be present, both sides decided to tacitly remain silent of the matter.
When both parties were only about twenty meters away from another, they stopped. Han Li then calmly said, "Although I don't know why the Marquis truly wishes to test the depths of my spiritual sense, the reason clearly isn't shallow. I am quite curious about the matter."
"Fellow Daoist Han is truly intelligent. However, you will only know the reason if your spiritual sense is at least as strong as mine. Were it not for your powerful spiritual sense sweeping past me previously, I wouldn't have tainted my reputation by challenging you," Marquis Nanlong coldly smiled and bluntly said, "However, I don't see your chance of victory being large. The differences in spiritual strength between early and mid Nascent Soul cultivators aren't something to underestimate."