That demon casted a sweeping glance at his surroundings, then suddenly threw the wine pot he was holding into the air. The wine pot flew to the center of the conclave and shattered with a resounding bang.
Fragments of the pot laid on the floor, but an amber ball of light floated above. This was precisely the alcohol that was inside the pot. Under the glow of the raging fire, it looked absolutely resplendent.
After that, an enticing aroma wafted out. After everyone took a whiff, many immediately began extolling it.
Miao Yi also couldn't help but take a whiff. Even for someone who didn't drink alcohol often like him, just from the smell of this wine, he couldn't help but feel anxious to try.
That demon surveyed his surroundings with a jubilant expression on his face. With a flick of his hand, he invoked his arts and pointed at the floating ball of light. The ball of wine instantly split itself into seventy-three parts, flying into the jade cups on each respective long table. Everyone's table immediately had an extra cup of fragrant, finely brewed wine.
Many of the little demons standing around started licking their lips and gulping their saliva, but unfortunately, they didn't qualify to taste such an exquisite brew for themselves. They could only continue to smell the fragrance and swallow their saliva in envy.
One after the other, everyone raised their cups to their noses, taking a light whiff, before pouring it into their mouths. Their eyes slowly closed as they relished the flavor of the wine, everyone mildly nodding their heads in quick succession.
Miao Yi could see it now. Because of Commander Yuan's fondness for alcohol, these subordinates of his had all become expert wine connoisseurs and brewers. They might even be considered a rare breed in the entire Sea of Constellations.
Monkey see, monkey do; Miao Yi mimicked everyone's actions but soon as the wine entered his mouth, his closed eyes couldn't help but snap open with a bright gleam. As though a cleansing rain after a long drought, there were no words to describe the flavors as it entered his mouth. Even when he had swallowed it down, it repeatedly tossed and turned in his belly like an icy flame within a furnace. The wonder was indescribable.
"A superb wine!" Miao Yi couldn't help but exclaim loudly. Everyone who had been relishing the taste with their eyes closed turned to stare at him.
The Fort Master that presented his wine was surprised. Initially, he had been one those who couldn't be bothered with Miao Yi, but he could also hear the sincerity in Miao Yi's unrestrained praise. Seeing someone sing praise of the wine he brewed, he immediately became jubilant, and thanked Miao Yi with a cup of his fists.
People all liked to hear words of praise, and it seemed this demon was also no exception.
A clamour of shattering noises resounded as every Fort Master began smashing the jade cups in their hands onto the ground.
Miao Yi didn't understand the meaning behind their actions, but after seeing everyone who had smashed their cups taking out another small jade cup and placing it on their table, he understood right away. They were probably afraid that it would mix with the flavour of other wines, which was why they changed cups. He promptly learned from example and smashed his own cup, taking out another and placing it on his table.
One of the Fort Masters smashed his cup then stood up. Holding a pot of wine in his hand, he glared at Miao Yi and sneered, "The superb wine is here. I will definitely have you taste it!"
Evidently, he was doubtful of Miao Yi's previous appraisal of the other demon's wine.
"An eight hundred year-old Nirvana Whisker, a thousand year-old Snow Ganoderma, and a thousand year-old Fragrant Lotus, carefully fermented inside a cave for two hundred years. Please enjoy it everybody!"
Miao Yi was left speechless after hearing this. They truly were a drunken lot. Even though he had never seen those things before, he had heard of their names. Those spiritual herbs have always been sought after by various sects and schools. They could be refined into pills to raise the cultivation of their disciples, but this bunch of drunks were actually using them to brew alcohol. Furthermore, they were all hard-to-find spiritual herbs of a prime age. These drunks were surely lavish, it seemed that drinking these bejeweled nectars could also aid one's cultivation.
'Crash!' A wine pot shattered on the ground, and another seventy-three crystal clear globules of wine flew into their cups.
Everyone was still in the midst of sampling, and as the liquid entered his mouth Miao Yi couldn't help but open his eyes once more. Yet, before he even had time to take a breath, the sceptical Fort Master was already pointing his finger at him, asking enthusiastically, "How was it?"
Miao Yi shook his head and sighed in praise, "Wonderful!"
That person became cheerful right away, and cupped his fists in thanks at Miao Yi.
When the next pot of wine was brought out and shared with everyone, the next Fort Master behaved similarly, staring at Miao Yi and asking, "Your thoughts?"
Seeing his face, it seemed as though he was going to swallow someone whole. As though warning, 'I dare you to try and say that it didn't taste nice!'
Miao Yi shook his head yet again, and indeed gave his heartfelt appraisal, "Such fine wine should only belong to the heavens. It's hard to be able to taste this often in the mortal realm!"
He was simply speaking the truth. He had never tasted such exquisite wine before. It was no exaggeration calling it a bejeweled nectar. He truly felt this from the heart!
"Haha!" That person laughed heartily, as though the more he looked at Miao Yi, the more he liked him. He cupped his fists intensely at Miao Yi, as if he had the sudden urge to become sworn brothers with him.
'It wouldn't be good to give too high an appraisal' Miao Yi began to feel later on.
The wine pots were shattered and shared one after another, and Miao Yi drank bejeweled nectars in quick succession; each had its own distinctiveness. After drinking the wine brewed by these demons, he couldn't help but lament when he thought back on the wines he had before coming to the Sea of Constellations. Those were nothing but hogwash, they couldn't even compare to the ones he was having here. The difference was like heaven and earth!
Miao Yi even thought to himself, 'Why are these demons even still cultivating? They should all just go and become wine brewers. I'm sure they'll be sought after everywhere they went.'
What made Miao Yi feel most depressed was that it seemed as though he had stirred up a hornet's nest. Every time after a Fort Master presented their wine, the first thing they would do was look for his opinion of it. He couldn't say no, and neither could he not give an outstanding appraisal. It would have been best if he had knocked all the appraisals given to the previous Fort Masters down a peg.
However, he had very little schooling as a youth, and at most had only taken a few lessons from Lao Bai. There was a limit to the amount of knowledge he had, so how could he keep coming up with so many different ways to praise?
'I thought you all didn't even welcome me?' Miao Yi sarcastically thought to himself as he mocked the Fort Masters and their entire ancestry.
If his comrades at South Edict Manor could only see him now, their eyeballs would have probably dropped to the ground. Not everyone could have such a rare cultivation experience. It was a good way to train one's mind.
After sampling over ten pots, even though he was supposed to be enjoying the bejeweled nectars, the Great Cave Master Miao felt incredibly tormented. He had to rack his brains over what to say! How could he find the right mind to relish the taste of the wine?
As he struggled to the twentieth pot, Miao Yi couldn't stand it anymore. If he continued like this, the consequence of running out of things to say was terrifying. If worse came to wore, these demonic Fort Masters might even give him a good beating.
The scariest thing was, even though these bejeweled nectars were being sampled one small cup at a time, they were not something that ordinary men could hold out against. With the rush of intoxication, he was beginning to feel a little light-headed.
Miao Yi was starting to feel the surging of the alcohol. With his cultivation, he really wouldn't be able to bear too much spiritual wine. If he continued to drink, he may even get drunk and collapse on the spot. If that happened, he wouldn't be able to avoid being examined, and he would be exposed. The end result of that would be too ghastly to imagine.
The little ones had already climbed into position anyway, so Miao Yi resolved himself. Suddenly standing up, he raised his hand and stopped the next Fort Master, gesturing for him to hold off on presenting his wine momentarily, "Everybody, would you care to hear me speak a few words first?"
If this had been before the presentation of wines, no one would have even cared, but it was different now. Those who had their wines presented before owed him this courtesy, and the ones after were still waiting enthusiastically for his high appraisal of their creations, so for the moment no one was willing to upset him.
No one rebutted. They were all either nodding their heads or extending their arms, gesturing for him to speak, visibly giving full attentiveness. This turn of events really made it seem as though they were almost friends.