Wu Qi emptied his vessel of liquor and stared at Liu Bang with thousands of military officers in the tent. Everyone was curious about how this man was going to handle the awkward situation. Soul Burning Blood was not something that he, a mere thirty-second tier Heaven Immortal with a weak and fragile body, could consume without consequences. If he really drank it, his stomach would surely suffer badly, and he might end up ruining his body. In the end, even if his immortal soul still existed, it would take him many, many years to fully recover.
Squinting at the wine vessel in front of him, Liu Bang slowly held up his right sleeve with his left hand, carefully lifting up the wine vessel, then slowly pouring the wine to the ground. He smiled faintly and said, "A toast to the heaven! The Heavenly Dao protects and breeds all things. How can we not offer the mighty Heaven a toast?"
Wu Qi was struck dumb, while Bo Yunting made a face and stared blankly at Liu Bang. It was easy to see from his expression that he wished he could have thrown himself forward and punched Liu Bang to death. With a clenched jaw, Bo Yunting filled his wine vessel, lifted it up, and said, "Celestial Ambassador must be tired from your long journey here! Haha, let's have another toast before we get down to business!"
Bo Yunting and all the military officers drank up the second vessel, while Liu Bang took his vessel and poured the wine on the ground, again. He looked at Bo Yunting with a smile and said, "I dedicate this second vessel to Pangu Continent. How could all things have multiplied and thrived without this land to carry them? We cannot be disrespectful to such kindness!"
The corners of Bo Yunting's eyes twitched as he ground his teeth and offered Liu Bang the third toast.
In the end, Liu Bang still poured the third vessel of wine on the ground. "The third toast," he said with a smile, "I dedicate to all the ghost and deities of this heaven and earth, and the souls of our ancestors. Without their protection and guidance, how can all things survive in this world? The third toast must be offered to them!"
Wu Qi shook his head. Liu Bang was like an oiled loach - nobody could catch his tail. It seemed that it was really difficult to teach him a lesson. He smiled bitterly as he took the wine jar to fill his vessel up, and then emptied it.
After pouring all three vessels of wine to the ground, Liu Bang laughed and said to Bo Yunting, "Well, all three vessels of strong wine have been drunk. I'm going to consummate my relationship with Consort Phoenix tonight, and it's not good to be drunk during something so pleasant! Let us have some milder, more aromatic wine. Soul Burning Blood is for soldiers to drink before they go to war. I'm not fit to drink too much."
Bo Yunting's eyes turned green, and he gave Liu Bang a fierce glare. "To consummate the relationship... What an excellent excuse!" he said with a cold grin.
Liu Bang just smiled and looked up and down at all the furnishings in the tent, turning a deaf ear to Bo Yunting. His sly and shameless attitude had rendered Bo Yunting speechless. With no other choice, Bo Yunting ordered a soldier to bring Liu Bang some good rice wine with little taste.
Only then did Liu Bang laugh cheerfully, filling his wine vessel with the rice wine and then proposing toasts to Bo Yunting again and again as if he were the host of the banquet. Xiao He and Zhang Liang had also replaced their wine, and as knowledgeable as them, they kept proposing toasts to all those present with speeches that livened things up. Their wine tasted so light that even ordinary warriors could drink seven to eight liters and not get drunk, let alone Immortals.
According to Wu Qi's estimation, Soul Burning Blood contained at least seventy percent alcohol, and it also contained a very strong medicinal strength. Therefore, after the both of them had spent only one hour to match all the military officers cup after cup with their tasteless rice wine, hundreds of officers could no longer take it and were carried out of the tent, their entire bodies flushed. Strong smell of alcohol and a strange heat kept spreading out of their open pores.
Wu Qi felt dizzy as well. As he was in the tent surrounded by other people, it was not convenient for him to exercise the chaotic energy to devour the liquor he had drank. Fortunately, his fleshly body had reached the peak of the first tier Heaven Immortal realm, so he could still endure the strong alcohol. But, when he drank nearly twenty-five liters of Soul Burning Blood, his skin had turned fiery red, his pores had opened up, and it seemed there were wisps of flame darting out of them. He felt as if his muscles and bones were melting, and something wonderful was happening.
Half drunk and half awake, Wu Qi forced himself to stay behind the table. As the Celestial Ambassador sent by the Heaven, the purpose of Liu Bang visiting Zhong Province was to mediate the war. Wu Qi wanted to see what was up his sleeve. Wouldn't it be a pity if he were too drunk to witness the splendid show?
'Damn it! This Soul Burning Blood is so strong!' Wu Qi cursed in his heart as he wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. Even he had found it hard to withstand the wine, so it was not difficult to imagine that an ordinary Immortal would have died at once if he had taken a sip. It was literally a poison! Fortunately, the cunning Liu Bang had skipped the three vessels of wines by shameless tactics; otherwise, he would be dead now.
By the time there were only hundred or so military officers, including Wu Qi, left in the tent, Bo Yunting, who was distracted by the anger, had finally calmed down. He put down his wine vessel and frowned at the empty tent while saying coolly, "I think everyone is contented with the wine. The Celestial Ambassador has taken up the office for a year, and this is the first time you have attended to your duty of an ambassador. Can you tell me what is your purpose of visiting Zhong Province?"
Liu Bang had also drunk about fifty or sixty liters of rice wine, but instead of digesting it with immortal energy, he enjoyed the tipsy feeling. Leaning against Fan Kuai's lap behind him, he gave the girls dancing in the tent a glance and smiled. "Have I been in the job for a year?" He said, "Well, I am not to be blamed. Girls on Pangu Continent are so beautiful... During this period of time, I've only been in Liangzhu hooking up with a few beauties and getting myself a few more concubines!"
Taking a deep breath and bending his fingers as if he were counting something, Liu Bang said with a smile, "Land in Liangzhu is very expensive... But still, I had bought a piece of land there and built a 'Changle Palace' on it, about one hundred miles in both width and length; and it took over a year to complete. But, how could I not spend the money and time to build a palace? As the Celestial Ambassador, my tenure is ten thousand years... I need to live in Liangzhu for ten thousand years! If I didn't have my own palace, where would my new concubines live?"
Wu Qi was stunned, while all the other military officers in the tent looked at each other speechlessly. As the Celestial Ambassador, for more than a year after taking the office, Liu Bang was not dealing with his official duties, but rather buying land, building his own palace, and finding himself new concubines? Wu Qi sighed deeply. 'What an unbelievable man! If this is Liu Bang's true nature, I wonder how Xiang Yu could have fought against him for so many years in the past!'
However, was that really Liu Bang's true color, a man who had founded the Han Dynasty?
Wu Qi shook his head slightly when he saw Bo Yunting show an expression of disapproval. It was obvious that Bo Yunting had begun to despise Liu Bang, and that meant he had been fooled! In fact, Liu Bang was really shameless and nasty in nature, but when one really thought he was a scoundrel and treated him in the way of dealing with a scoundrel, it must be oneself that would end up with a great loss!
Bo Yunting, who was also red and hot all over the skin, waved his hand and ordered the dancing girls to leave the tent. Then, he snorted coldly and said, "So, all this while, the Celestial Ambassador has been busy attending to your own business in Liangzhu? If that is the case, are you really here to mediate the dispute as what the official paper had mentioned?"
Shaking his head, Bo Yunting did not wait for Liu Bang to answer and gave his opinion. "The unbridled Myriad Immortal Alliance had destroyed over two hundred cities of Great Yu with meteorites, killing and injuring millions upon millions of innocent civilians. The Human Emperor has issued an edict requiring all provinces to dispatch armies and hunt down those from the alliance. Celestial Ambassador, you should have discussed the matter with His Majesty in Liangzhu, not Zhong Province!"
Liu Bang waved his hand lazily and heaved a long sigh. "Your emperor is so hard to communicate with that I can't even speak a word in front of him!" He pulled out a black pearl the size of a fist and said softly, "So, I have no other choice but to come and talk to you who are leading the armies. Well, if truth be told, Myriad Immortal Alliance was forced to do that!"
As he said that, he gave the pearl a gentle tap with his finger. In the next moment, a plume of smoke rose from the pearl, amidst which some images could be seen flashing and swaying. Wu Qi recognized the image as Ningbo City before it was destroyed. He grunted coldly, then straightened his back and frowned at the image. He wondered what Liu Bang was trying to say next.
The image was constantly changing. First, it showed Reverend Yao Yue and his clan members being escorted into the city, then the arrival of three black-clothed emissaries of Myriad Immortal Alliance. It then became an aerial view of Wu Qi leading dozens of military officers in the hunt for dozens of fleeing Heaven Immortals.
Then, the image and smoke suddenly disappeared. Liu Bang put away the pearl and smiled lazily. "This is the evidence that Myriad Immortal Alliance gave me, and it tells us the exact reason why Ningbo City was destroyed! If it hadn't been for Hai Province's attack of Mount Moon Gazing and the forcible capture of Reverend Yao Yue and his clan members, Myriad Immortal Alliance wouldn't have been in a direct conflict with Hai Province!"
With a faint smile, Liu Bang glanced at Wu Qi, who sat rigidly upright and was staring back at him. "Myriad Immortal Alliance had sent three emissaries for requesting Hai Province to release Reverend Yao Yue and his clan members, and one of the emissaries' fleshly body was destroyed on the spot. Later on, the alliance had sent dozens of fellow Daoists to urge Hai Province to release the captives, but all of them were killed by the Military Minister of Hai Province, General Tan Lang!"
He slapped the table hard and said loudly, "It is a ghastly sight, Third Young Master! Hai Province had forced Myriad Immortal Alliance to make a serious move! If the alliance can't protect its own allies, the Sovereign of Myriad Immortal Alliance might as well buy a piece of tofu and kill himself with it!"
Wu Qi could not take it anymore and was ready to refute that. What Liu Bang said was somewhat right, but he had somehow worded the entire event with a different flavor. He made it as if it was Hai Province being unreasonable! According to him, it was perfectly justified for Myriad Immortal Alliance to destroy Ningbo City with a meteorite!
Wu Qi grunted and crushed the table in front of him with a slap as he sprung to his feet.