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Wu Qi felt his head buzzing. What did he just see and hear? Amidst a flood of tears, Liu Bang actually pleaded King Yang Qiu to withdraw the army? And he asked that in a personal capacity, with the reason that he could not bear to witness the scenes of suffering and sorrow? Since when did he become such a compassionate man, acting like a guardian angel?

As a fellow who said he wanted to taste the soup when his own father was threatened with being chopped up and boiled alive to make a meat soup [1] 1 , could Liu Bang really have mercy on the innocent people affected by the war? Even if he had been practicing Buddhism every day for the past two thousand years and became a truly compassionate and loving man, did he need to act so strongly? Did he really need to roll on the ground and wail regardless of his status? Wasn't that a technique only used by shrews in villages?

'This fellow must be plotting something,' thought Wu Qi as he fixed his eyes on Liu Bang's face and dared not to ignore any slight change in his expression. If Liu Bang was really here to plot against King Yang Qiu, then Wu Qi was likely to be affected. How could he allow that to happen?

Dragging his legs behind him, Liu Bang put his arms around King Yang Qiu's thighs, looking up affectionately as he said, "Although Your Excellency has just killed a beautiful teenage girl, what appeared in my eyes was the scene of countless innocent people wailing in the flames of war! Do Your Excellency know how many innocent people have been killed in the years of the war between Great Yu and the alliance?"

King Yang Qiu narrowed his eyes and said nothing. How many people had been killed? Perhaps, not even a single official in Great Yu was able to answer that question. There was no official household registration system in Great Yu. Every ten years, local officials kept a rough census of the number of households in the areas they were in charge of. However, such a census was done only in towns and villages around big cities. As for the small villages in the wilderness, or the towns and villages built on the newly cleared land, only heavens knew how many people lived there.

The war had been going on for years and many innocent people must have been killed in the process. But, what exactly was the number?

King Yang Qiu shook his head. He only remembered that hundreds of large cities had been completely flattened by the alliance, thousands of small and medium-sized cities had been overrun by Fiend immortals from the alliance, and all the people who lived in them had their souls seized, which were then used to craft Fiend artifacts. As for how many small and medium-sized towns and villages had been destroyed, he did not know, and he had never been mindful of these trifling matters.

Great Yu had way too many people, hundreds of millions of times more than the stars in the sky. Who cared about such tiny casualties?

King Yang Qiu grabbed Liu Bang by the shoulder and threw him back into his seat. Then, he looked at the tears and snot that Liu Bang had left on his robe in both disgust and frustration, as well as a large stain of saliva. With a stamp of his foot, that part of the robe immediately turned to dust. "Don't tell me, King of Han, that you're here to tell me all this nonsense?" He said coolly.

Liu Bang jumped out of his seat, tears streaming down his cheeks. "What nonsense? This concerns the lives and death of countless innocent people!" He snapped.

Wu Qi shook his head. Liu Bang seemed to have a knack for talking loudly and weeping endlessly at the same time. He could not help but wonder how the latter had learned this ability of multitasking. With a smile on his face, he turned to Zhang Liang and others. Zhang Liang and Xiao He were drinking with their heads down, and their attention was fully on the glasses, while Han Xin was squinting at King Yang Qiu's military officers. Wu Qi thought Han Xin looked like a perverted surgeon who was staring at the subjects he was about to dissect, with a disturbing madness in his eyes that appeared to be as calm as a flame that was frozen.

As for Fan Kuai, he seemed to be simply downing chunks of meat and mouthfuls of wine, glancing at the bodies of those female cultivators from time to time, who were still standing in the middle of the hall and daring not move. But, he turned his eyes occasionally to study the soldiers standing guard in the hall with a flickering fierce gleam. And, judging by the way his muscles twitched, he seemed ready to jump up and kill people at any moment, then run out of the door.

'Sure enough, none of them is as innocent as they look!' Wu Qi snorted coldly as he slowly fished a few pieces of black bones out of his sleeve in front of the crowd and shaped them into five little puppets with his sharp fingernails. He smiled and nodded to Han Xin, then lined up the five puppets on the table in front of him. Finally, he carefully cut his finger and drew some strange symbols on the puppets' chests with his own blood.

Zhang Liang, Xiao He, Han Xin and Fan Kuai's faces flickered as they straightened their bodies at the same time.

One after another, a few military officers in heavy armors sitting next to Wu Qi nodded approvingly at him. They also straightened up their backs and took hold of the weapons placed beside them. Because of Wu Qi's seemingly inconspicuous trick, the atmosphere in the hall suddenly became tense.

Sitting high up, King Yang Qiu could clearly see everyone's movements. He smiled and nodded, then turned to Liu Bang and said, "I know you're not like that!"

With tears in his eyes, Liu Bang nodded and said, "That's who I am! I really can't bear to see..."

Grinning coldly, King Yang Qiu put up a finger and said scornfully, "Stop acting! Tell me the truth…What the hell are you doing here?

"If you keep on acting and don't tell me why you're here, I don't mind killing you all now!" He threatened in a deep voice. "The reason you managed to get away from the Feast at the Hong Gate [2] 2 was because that Xiang Yu was too stupid! Liu Bang, do you really think I'm a headstrong fool like Xiang Yu?"

Wu Qi gently tapped on the puppets placed in front of him with his finger and said with a faint smile on his face, "Your Excellency is indeed a man of keen observation, I, too, found that this man, whose name is Liu Bang, is going too far with his acting. Your Excellency, wouldn't it be easier for us to just kill them all, extract their souls, and question their intentions? I can use this opportunity to try out some of the magic I've learned recently!"

King Yang Qiu gave Wu Qi an approving look. But, just as he was about to speak, Yu Qingcheng, who had come to the hall angrily with the intention of giving Wu Qi some trouble, yet had never had a chance to do so, rose to his feet. With an air of arrogance, he glared disdainfully at Wu Qi, then clasped his hands behind his back and said gracefully, "Your Excellency, King of Han is, after all, a special emissary of the Heaven. Therefore, we can't simply kill him here. Whatever his purpose is, I think it's better to let him tell us."

He took a deep breath, then pointed a finger at Wu Qi and said with a sneer, "Tan Lang, who gave you the nerve to threaten the special emissary of the Heaven when you are just His Excellency's personal guard? You better destroy those five puppets now!"

Wu Qi just narrowed his eyes and smiled without saying a word. Who gave him the nerve? Who else would it be if it were not King Yang Qiu? When Liu Bang smeared his snot and tears on King Yang Qiu's clothes just now, the latter already wanted to punch him to death. As the master of the Yu Academy as well as the first generation Great Editor of Great Yan, how could Yu Qingcheng not even see this?

Wu Qi gave Yu Qingcheng a smiling look as he gently tapped on the five little puppets with his finger. Suddenly, a dark wisp of gas shot out of his fingertip and went into one of the puppets. Immediately, Zhang Liang gave a muffled snort as his face suddenly turned dark; in just the blink of an eye his face turned so dark that it looked as if dark blood was about to seep out of his pores. He gave a furious cry, then quickly downed an immortal pill to protect his heart meridian. After that, he waved his hand and threw something glowing toward Wu Qi.

One of the military officers sitting next to Wu Qi gave a wild laugh as he pulled out a large shield, a foot and two inches thick, from nowhere and placed it in front of Wu Qi. The glowing object struck the shield, leaving no mark on it except some sparks. When it was bounced back, it became clear that it was a small flying dagger, the size of a fingernail and shaped like a curved moon.

Xiao He, Han Xin, and Fan Kuai jumped up at the same time, but the hundreds of military officers and Oracles in the hall, together with hundreds of Long Bo men standing against the wall, immediately surrounded them. At the same time, numerous runes lit up over the hall, emitting a terrible pressure that restricted Xiao He and his companions from doing anything reckless.

The color on Yu Qingcheng's face was shifting between pale and blue as he stared at Wu Qi and snapped, "Y-yo-your...your unruliness knows no limits! Do you really want to put His Excellency on the wrong foot?"

King Yang Qiu remained silent while Wu Qi looked coldly at Yu Qingcheng and cried out, "What wrong foot? All I know is that wild animals in the mountains can only survive and occupy the largest hunting grounds if they kill their enemies! This Liu Bang is clearly a treacherous man, and it's obvious that he is plotting something against His Excellency by wailing in front of so many people, regardless of his status. As His Excellency's aide, old mister Yu, instead of thinking about how to deal with this crafty man, you're defending him. So tell me, is that what you are supposed to do?"

Liu Bang's tears magically disappeared. He looked at Wu Qi curiously and nodded, "This kid knows me pretty well! With such an unreasonable character like you helping him, it'll be even harder for me to deal with King Yang Qiu in the future!"

After letting out a few strange laughs, Liu Bang turned to King Yang Qiu, then cupped his fist and said, "I have a top-secret intelligence, and I wonder what price are you willing to pay for it?"

"Tell me first, and let me see what it's worth!" said King Yang Qiu, his face expressionless.

With a bitter smile on his face, Liu Bang muttered, "I thought by putting up a show of compassion, pleading you to end the war so that the innocent people could be spared from the suffering and sorrow, I could eventually sell you the latest movements of the alliance's Sovereign so that you can kill him for me. But, it's a pity that you did not fall for that...Well, it seems I don't have any other options now!"

After shaking his head and sighing, Liu Bang confessed, "I can provide you with all of the Sovereign's movements for the next month. You send someone to kill him as soon as you can, and his position in the Heaven will be replaced by someone I arrange. What do you think of the deal?"

When Liu Bang stopped crying and acting, his bone-deep villainous immediately overwhelmed everyone and sent a chill down their spines. As a special emissary of the Heaven, the King of Han conferred by the Heaven, he was hiring a killer openly!

With his fingers drumming on the table, King Yang Qiu asked coldly, "I want to know the Sovereign's exact position in the Heaven!"

Liu Bang answered without hesitation, "His name is 'Immortal Ding Jun', and he is holding fifty percent of the alchemical workshops in the Heaven. The power in his hand is incredible. He has many disciples, the eldest of whom is 'General Lu Peng', who is the chief commander of one of the eight water armies in the Heaven. His second disciple, named 'Immortal Huo De', is the chief commander of one of the five fire armies. His third disciple is 'Immortal Dawu', a general who is directly under the Great Celestial Emperor, and is responsible for leading the 120,000 personal guards of the Great Celestial Emperor!"

The air rang with shocking cries. King Yang Qiu's eyes flickered with a bright gleam as he clenched his teeth and said, "No wonder Myriad Immortal Alliance has become so powerful in such a short time, and no wonder the Heaven's attitude toward it is so vague...Well, your proposal..."

Wu Qi frowned. Was Liu Bang's intention really that simple?

[1] It happened during the Chu-Han contention. "... Xiang Yu managed to capture Liu Bang's father, and stood outside the city walls threatening to boil Liu Bang's father alive if Liu Bang didn't open the castle gates. Liu Bang remarked that he and Xiang Yu were oath brothers, and he said bitterly, "When you are done with my father, let me have a taste of the soup." Without the heart to kill Liu Bang's father, Xiang Yu sued for peace, which Liu granted. [2] The Feast at Hong Gate was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at the Hong Gate, the capital of the Qin Dynasty. The main parties involved in the banquet were Liu Bang and Xiang Yu. The event was one of the highlights of the Chu-Han Contention, a power struggle for supremacy over China between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu which concluded with Xiang Yu's defeat and the establishment of the Han dynasty with Liu Bang as its first emperor.

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