The tent, with an interior more than one hundred feet long and wide, was beautifully furnished; but, its style did not match with the traditional style of Great Yu. In addition to the many rare ornaments, the most striking object was a purple-green cauldron in the middle of the tent. It measured ten feet tall, with eight breathing holes arranged in the positions of the Eight Trigrams along its lid, which were constantly drawing air and energy from the surroundings.
Vaguely, a lilac pill flame could be seen dancing inside the cauldron, but it was trapped by some restrictive spell; so, the temperature in the tent did not rise. Zhang Liang, sitting cross-legged on a hassock, was performing hand incantation gestures to control the pill flame. It looked like he was concocting some kind of pill. The cauldron was so well sealed that not even a hint of smell leaked out. There was only a faint sloshing sound which could be heard, which was the sound produced by the reaction of the medicinal liquid in the cauldron.
Apart from Zhang Liang, who was absorbed in alchemy, Xiao He, the man with three pupils in his eyes, was seen sitting on a bed and carefully cutting a white python skin on his thigh with a dagger. He cut it into fine strips as small as hairs, seeming like he was going to make a whip with them. The tricolored pupils in his eyes twirled gently, and a strange force spread from him and enveloped the tent. A few mosquitoes flew in from the outside, but were immediately burned into ashes.
With his aura restrained and body shrunk down, Wu Qi deftly slipped into the tent. The strange force released by Xiao He swept through his body, but he managed to avoid it with a mystic art found in the Scroll of Stealing. He sneaked into the tent like a slippery loach and came to Han Xin's feet, then climbed up his trousers and hid under his collar.
Perhaps out of respect for Han Xin, Xiao He's strange force vanished just three inches from him; therefore, Wu Qi did not have to keep his energy-consuming mystic art running all the time. He crossed his legs comfortably on Han Xin's shoulder and listened.
Han Xin spoke about his conversation with the old man, then he told them how Wu Qi had killed the old man with the dragon python's energy beam, and he himself had been hit by the beam and thrown thousands of miles away, resulting in not only frostbite on his body, but serious damage to his Vanquishers. The energy beam, which was dragon python's innate divine ability, was most adept at hurting magical items of all kinds, especially spirit items. Han Xin's proud weapons, the Vanquishers, were almost knocked down a level by it.
"I don't care who that guy is, I'm not going to let him go!" Han Xin, who was pacing around the tent briskly, ended his words with an angry roar.
Zhang Liang opened his eyes, with a golden-purple gleam flashing in them. He gave Han Xin a look and then closed his eyes. With hands locked into an incantation gesture, he pointed at the cauldron. Immediately, a faint dragon roar was heard, and several streams of violet pill mist sprayed out of the breathing holes, forming into a dragon shape above the cauldron. After that came the roar of a tiger, and a few wisps of green pill mist sprayed out of the breathing holes, forming into a tiger that ran wildly about the cauldron.
Gradually, the dragon and the tiger tangled together and formed a small whirlwind near the cauldron. Zhang Liang's expression was a little nervous, and his hands kept forming one incantation gesture after another. Meanwhile, a purple immortal talisman flew out of his sleeve and released a ray of light to cover the cauldron, which slowed down the dragon and tiger. Cold sweat was oozing out of his forehead, and his body trembled slightly.
With one leg on the bed and the other on the arm of the bed, Xiao He chuckled and said, "Pangu Continent is so vast! How are you going to find him when you don't know his name, neither do you know why that old man wants to kill him? Aye, I say drop those empty words! Now, have you figured out why they snuck into the barracks?"
Stamping his feet, Han Xin sat down on the bed opposite Xiao He, his eyes wide and cold. "I don't even know his name, so how could I possibly know why he snuck into the barracks?"
While frowning, he stared at Zhang Liang. "But, I saw a man," he said. "When I caught up with them, I saw that man fly away in a beam of blood-red light. By the look of his back and the maniac smell on him, he did resemble one of our old acquaintances!"
Xiao He laughed. "Old acquaintance? Who is it? Surely not the one who gave us the Feast at Hong Gate?"
The atmosphere in the tent suddenly became very strange. Han Xin stayed silent for a long time before he pointed a trembling finger at Xiao He and shouted, "How do you know that? By the look of his back, he really does resemble the one who killed himself at the bank of the Wu River!"
A muffled explosion erupted. The cauldron Zhang Liang had been laboriously controlling suddenly rocked; the dragon and tiger that had taken shape around it broke into pieces, and the purple immortal talisman flew feebly back into his sleeve. The lid of the cauldron slowly lifted with a pungent black smoke rushing out of it. With a gloomy expression, Zhang Liang waved his sleeve and pushed all the smoke out of the tent.
"The 597th cauldron of Xixi pill has failed! It had always been because of either natural disasters or because of man-made accidents! Alas, in short, the efforts of the past few years have been in vain!" Zhang Liang sighed, and looked at Han Xin with a wry smile. "Had you not mentioned that man, perhaps I would have succeeded this time, and we would have had the chance to become Gold Immortals… Real Gold Immortals, not the fake Gold Immortals whose cultivation bases are forcibly elevated by someone!"
Han Xin spread his arms and gave an expression conveying that he did not mean to do that. Xiao He sighed and said, "Don't take it to heart. The Old Immortal had said that you will succeed on the 600th time. You are not far away. The Old Immortal is never wrong, so you just have to try again."
Zhang Liang nodded slowly, his face gloomy. A yellow gas sprayed out of his sleeve and pulled the cauldron back. Then, he stepped out of the tent and shouted, "This cauldron of spirit pills for the Celestial Ambassador's wound has failed. Quickly bring me thirty portions of ingredients according to the prescription I gave you!"
Vaguely, Wu Qi heard an officer mutter a few words to Zhang Liang, then he went back to the tent, put down the flap, and added a few powerful restrictive spells to it. Almost at the same time, the three pupils in Xiao He's eyes glowed intensely, and the strange force emanating from him enveloped the tent instantly, even blanketing dozens of nearby tents.
Liu Bang, who had been lying like a dead man on the big bed in the tent, suddenly sat up. He spat a thick, bloody phlegm at the snow-white carpet, and said while gritting his teeth, "Xiang Yu? Ha, what a strong sense of smell! That man must be Xiang Yu!"
Zhang Liang, Xiao He, and Han Xin looked at Liu Bang together.
Liu Bang stretched out his hand and said lazily, "Wine!"
A large, golden peony suddenly appeared in the air, from which, a beautiful woman with long hair and clad in a thin chiffon dress drifted out. Then, she handed Liu Bang a white jade wine vessel that could hold about ten liters of wine. Liu Bang took a sip of the wine, rinsed his mouth, and spat the wine blended with blood on the ground. As he ran one hand across the woman's body, he said, "Have you forgotten what the Old Immortal said? He said Xiang Yu might not be dead yet!"
Laughing coldly, Liu Bang slapped the woman's hip. Numerous golden gleams shaped like the petals of a peony flew out of the woman's body, and she was gone in just the blink of an eye. Liu Bang crossed his legs, took a sip of the wine, and said, "If not, why would the Old Immortal leave the branch of Green City in Great Han Dynasty? What do you think, Reverend Li Yang?"
The flap of the tent was suddenly opened, and Reverend Li Yang walked slowly in. Cupping his fist, he offered Liu Bang a greeting obsequiously, then smiled and said in a low voice, "Your Majesty has a very good point! The reason my grandfather left a branch of Green City in that little world was to track down the whereabouts of those people! It's just that the disciples there are so incompetent that they haven't been able to find the targets after so many years!"
Reverend Li Yang chuckled and continued, "But, as a matter of common sense, since those people have backing behind them, and it has been more than two thousand years since, it is highly possible that they have ascended from that little world called Earth to some outer heavenly realm, and are already here on Pangu Continent to stir up troubles! If Your Majesty says that man is Xiang Yu, then he must be Xiang Yu!"
After considering for a moment, Liu Bang sneered and finished all the wine in the vessel. Afterward, he gritted his teeth and said, "Send the Yulin Army to find out where Xiang Yu is... and kill him on the spot as soon as they find him... O, and capture Yuji alive for me!"
Xiao He and Han Xin exchanged a glance, then Han Xin nodded and said, "I'll take care of this."
Liu Bang nodded slowly, then suddenly stretched out his hand to cut a hole in the void. A burly man with thirty odd talismans all over his body fell out of the hole and slammed into the ground in front of Liu Bang.
Stepping on the man's face, Liu Bang said with a sneer, "Jing Mo, I know you are Celestial Lord Da Hua's trusted subordinate, and we were considered associates! But, the wound you gave me with your sword has upset me! Do you know how much energy I've wasted just to play dead? So, the price has to be increased! Tell your Celestial Lord that if he refuses to increase the price, I'll expose his scheme to everyone!"
In front of Jing Mo's angry glare, Liu Bang said cheerfully, "You have a great plan, but the reward you promised me is too little to justify the great risk I'm undertaking. Hehe… If you don't give me more benefits, I'll not help you even if you have the Buddhist League supporting you from the back! Now that I'm the Celestial Ambassador, I'll not allow you to achieve your goal unless you feed me well!"
Zhang Liang, Xiao He, Han Xin, and Reverend Li Yang burst into laughter together, and Jing Mo's face turned extremely unsightly. Clenching his jaws, he stared at Liu Bang for a long time, and finally asked, "How much do you want?"
Liu Bang narrowed his eyes and thought for a moment, then he laughed suddenly. "Use the Eight Treasures Lotus Throne to help me achieve the Immortal Body of Dragon Emperor, and help my trusted subordinates to achieve the cultivation base of peak Gold Immortal realm. I'm sure this is just a small matter for you, right?"
Before Liu Bang could finish, a strange force suddenly crushed down from above, causing Xiao He's body to tremble.
"Your Majesty, that old fool is here to see you!"