"Leave us!" Wu Qi gave the five lieutenants a glare. Behind him was a flash of a shadow, but none of them or even Huang Liang, who were all in an utter shock, noticed that. The five lieutenants exchanged a glance and staggered out of the hall, completely ignoring the situation around them.
All of a sudden, the shadow emerged out of the void behind the lieutenants and gave each a strong punch in the head. The punches made their eyeballs bulge and smash onto the ground. After that, the shadow flashed continuously, picking up the comatose lieutenants like sacks of weed and throwing them into the woods next to the hall. There, with his body shrouded in a billowing dark mist, the celestial fiend puppet reached out his hand and pulled the souls of five lieutenants from their bodies, casting a restrictive spell on each of them.
Staring at Huang Liang, Wu Qi curved his lips into a fake smile and made a hand gesture. The stone door of the hall flung shut with a thud. With his elbows on the table and cupping his chin with a palm, he said, "Now, let us have a small chat about that Reverend Yao Yue! Tell me what you know and you will live. Otherwise, I'll kill your entire family!"
Cold sweat kept breaking out of Huang Liang's forehead. He stared at Wu Qi in horror and stammered, "I-I-I'll be dead if I said anything... and you will kill me if I don't... You m-mi-might as well just kill me now!" He dropped to his knees and kowtowed over and over again, making the ground drum. The boulder-paved floor cracked under his head and a hole was produced.
While frowning, Wu Qi got on his feet and came before Huang Liang, holding him by the neck and lifting him up. "There are many ways to die," he said with a cold grin. "Some are more comfortable than the others, and some are… miserable. Some die peacefully, and some die with everlasting regrets. Do you wish to see your wife and children be demoted as peasants and suffer all sorts of torments?"
With his jaw clenched, Huang Liang lifted his head and said, "My parents died early. I have no brothers and sisters, and I have yet to marry. So naturally, I don't have any children. The threat has no effect on me, Your Excellency!"
Wu Qi was struck dumb and flew into a rage. Staring at Huang Liang's dark and hairy face, he suddenly gave him a slap in the face, throwing him hundreds of feet away. Then, Wu Qi went over to him and began to shower him with punches and kicks. With his overall strength of a thirty-fifth tier Heaven Immortal, Huang Liang was defenseless against Wu Qi, who now possessed the overall strength of a first tier Heaven Immortal. Like a little baby who was bullied by a frantic black bear, he could do nothing but curl himself up at the corner of the hall while wailing for forgiveness.
Wu Qi paid no mind to Huang Liang's miserable howls and wails. His fists fell like raindrops, with each punch hitting at the spots where it would give the man the most pain. Throat, chest, ribs, liver, armpits, each of his punch landed on these spots with the appropriate amount of force, just enough to wash Huang Liang with sheer pain but not hurt any of his bones and internal organs.
There were countless methods of torture in the Inferno Hell Fiend Scripture, many of which were vicious mystic arts that could make one suffer the greatest pain and yet not hurt their vitality. Huang Liang was just a small potato who had failed to be promoted to a thousand-men Lieutenant, so how could he have the ability to endure such torment? After the time to finish a pot of tea, he screamed in a hoarse voice, "Stop beating me! I'll tell you… I'll tell you everything!"
With one swift motion, Wu Qi grabbed Huang Liang's hair bun, crushed his hairpin, and brought his burly body up before his face. "That's more like it. Now, tell me what you know. If you try to hide anything from me, I'll surely pull out your soul and seal it in the fire bowl outside the hall, where you will be burned for thousands of years. You'll wish you were dead than suffer endlessly in the flame!"
Huang Liang's face was caked with tears and snots, but when he heard Wu Qi's threat, he suddenly blurted out a stupid question, "Your Excellency, only Oracles can pull out my soul and seal it in a fire bowl. You are just like me, a warrior who fights with only brute force. How could you know such divine ability?"
'Ugh?' Wu Qi suddenly realized that this Huang Liang was just a simple-minded man, and nothing worked better than violence and threats in dealing with a man like this. He grunted coldly, then began to recall some of the cultivation technique practiced by Oracles which was given to him by Yu Mu. A wisp of gray mist suddenly sprayed out of his fingertip. As it appeared, it kindled into a green ghost flame and licked Huang Liang's dense beard, consuming half of his beard along with his left brow.
Huang Liang shrieked. "You are cultivating both the body and magic? I'm convinced… I yield!"
Wu Qi threw Huang Liang back to the ground. With his body covered in a layer of bright green flame that burned silently, he floated up in the air, hovering about one foot above the ground and staring down at Huang Liang. "Now, quickly tell me everything you know about Reverend Yao Yue. Should you hide anything from me, I'll pull your soul out and take my time to interrogate you."
Huang Liang shivered. Then, not daring to hide anything, he told Wu Qi everything he knew about Reverend Yao Yue.
First of all, Huang Liang was not the real Military Minister of Hai Province. He was actually an adjutant to the former Military Minister. In fact, it could be easily found out just from his cultivation base. As Mu Hai, the Agriculture Minister of Hai Province, was that strong, how could Huang Liang be fit for being the Military Minister with such a weak overall strength?
It was just that the former Military Minister was murdered twenty years ago, and the one who murdered him was none other than Reverend Yao Yue!
It was a simple story. Twenty years ago, through the copy of Pangu's Map, the former Prefecture Overseer of Hai Province discovered an unusual fluctuation of energy in some random mountain range, and he immediately sent his army to investigate. As a result, the several hundred soldiers bumped straight into Reverend Yao Yue. At that point in time, he was extracting underground flame in the mountain, using it to craft various magical treasures for his disciples. As strong as he was, how could those weak soldiers be his match? In the end, in the presence of hundreds of soldiers, he used the cruelest means to torture the former Military Minister for three days and three nights.
Afterward, Reverend Yao Yue even openly besieged Ningbo City along with a dozen itinerant Immortals, threatening to kill the former Prefecture Overseer and all the officials of Hai Province.
With its weak overall strength, there was no way Hai Province could cope with these powerful Immortals led by Reverend Yao Yue. And because of Great Yu's unique governmental structure, the Prefecture Overseer was reluctant to request military aid from the upper-tiered province, for the fear that the powers of other provinces might take the opportunity to enter Hai Province. Therefore, he had covered up the matter, pretending he was not aware that Reverend Yao Yue had established a base in Hai Province. No matter what Reverend Yao Yue did, he just turned a blind eye at it.
Huang Liang witnessed how his immediate superior was murdered by Reverend Yao Yue, and he knew that all the officials of Hai Province had a great fear of that formidable Immortal. So when he heard that Wu Qi was about to do something against Reverend Yao Yue, he was simply scared out of his wits.
"Cowardly as a mouse, unworthy of important tasks!" Wu Qi scolded with a frown. These officials of Hai Province were quite different from those he knew. In the other provinces, it was the itinerant cultivators who were greatly suppressed by Great Yu, resulting in them behaving with caution. But here, the situation was completely reversed!
Looking at Huang Liang, he shook his head and said, "It is better that you just recruit new soldiers for me! Not including the current seven hundred, bring me an army of ten thousand soldiers! I'll personally command this army, and you will take the seven hundred soldiers to keep Hai Province in peace and order and drive away the wild beasts, as well as carry out disaster relief for the people!"
Upon hearing Wu Qi's words, Huang Liang laughed happily and said, "Does that mean I am excluded from the expedition against Reverend Yao Yue?"
Wu Qi rolled his eyes and paid Huang Liang no mind. In the woods outside the hall, the celestial fiend puppet shook his head and released the five lieutenants from the restrictive spells. These men had lost their courage, so having control over them in his hands would not bring any help. It would be better to just let them continue what they were doing while keeping the city in peace.
Wu Qi heaved a long sigh, patted Huang Liang's head, and said, "How can a burly man like you be so timid? Act wisely in the future, as the Military Court does not need a good-for-nothing!"
Shaking his head, Wu Qi had decided not to ask the Oracles to help him in the expedition. After considering for a brief moment, he went straight out of the hall towards the Prefecture Overseer Mansion.
He heard Yu He's angry curses when there was still a great distance from the mansion. The new Prefecture Overseer was using the most malicious words to greet the officials of Hai Province, going through one by one and even including their ancestors. Great Yu was a conservative dynasty, and cursing the ancestors of others was almost enough to provoke a duel between two clans. It showed how angry Yu He was.
Wu Qi saw Yu He cursing and gesticulating at the officials of Hai Province when he entered the great hall.
The grain depot was emptied.
The money vault was emptied.
The storehouses for energy stones and immortal stones were emptied.
Even the seeds that were going to be distributed for the people to plant in the coming year were gone.
Perhaps, it was a deed of the former Prefecture Overseer who had disappeared himself, or it was done by all the officials of Hai Province. In brief, the current Hai Province was an empty shell. It did not have a single penny left, and there was not a trace of the tributes that must be accumulated every year and offered to the dynasty.
How could Yu He not be angry when he had to find a way to make up the massive deficit?
The officials of Hai Province stood submissively in the great hall. No one was making a sound, and no one was coming up with a solution. They had finally figured it out, that since Yu He had become the Prefecture Overseer and taken away their official posts and power, then he should clean up this mess himself!
Yu He's eyes turned cold when he saw the subtle expressions on these officials' faces. As he was about to order the execution of these officials and confiscation of their properties, Wu Qi strode into the great hall.
A smile emerged on his face when he saw Wu Qi. He rose to his feet and said, "Have you settled everything in the Military Court?"
Wu Qi shook his head and snorted contemptuously, "A bunch of useless rubbish! They are just wenches who are too scared to do anything. Prefecture Overseer, please lend me one thousand soldiers so that I can kill a few itinerant Immortals and take over all their possessions. We will share the loot!"
With a sneer, Wu Qi glanced at the officials of Hai Province, then shook his head and mocked, "The itinerant Immortals in Hai Province are very rich!"
Yu He's eyes lit up, and then he suddenly understood the meaning of Wu Qi's words. It made him flare up and begin cursing the officials once again. After a quarter of an hour of cursing and scolding, he finally ordered a thousand private guards to follow Wu Qi.
Wu Qi expressed his gratitude with a cupped fist, then took his leave with one thousand soldiers and three hundred Oracles, his head held high.