EIF - Book 3 Chapter 10: Mu Chenfeng
Xiaoyue Secondary Residence, Silver Moon City:
Gu Hai’s group alighted from the immortal crane carriage and followed Long Wanqing inside the residence.
The people that came to receive the group were Long Wanqing’s servants. One of them was one of the servants who had been trapped in Nine-Five Island’s First Song Sect; Gu Hai had even rescued him. Naturally, that servant recognized Gu Hai.
The Han Royal Dynasty officials followed Gu Hai, feeling curious about everything they saw.
“Is everyone here?” Long Wanqing asked that servant.
“The Metal Division and the Wood Division are here. However, after waiting for a few days without seeing Hall Master’s return, the Metal Division Master brought the Metal Division disciples to the frontlines of Ying Province’s battlefield. He said he was going there to search for clues to the previous hall master’s death and left a letter with me for Hall Master.” That servant retrieved a letter.
Long Wanqing opened the letter and put it away after a few looks.
“Although the Metal Division Master has a somewhat fiery temper, he is loyal to my mother. Right now, things are messy, and there are no clues. I wonder if he managed to find anything there?” Long Wanqing sighed slightly.
“Where is the Wood Division Master, Mu Chenfeng, then?” Venerable Liu Nian asked.
“Yes! The Wood Division Master brought three thousand Wood Division disciples and has been waiting here. However, the Wood Division Master seems more interested in the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s zither bestowing event. He has already gone to the Silver Moon Mountain Manor eight times, wanting to receive an event invitation proving his qualification. However…!” That servant smiled bitterly.
“An event invitation to prove qualifications?” Gu Hai asked, feeling puzzled.
“Yes! The Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s zither bestowing event this time has drawn many music Dao masters from all over the world. After all, the attraction of Ensnaring Performance is too great. However, not all music Dao masters are qualified. They need to go through a selection process. There are specialized selection zones outside the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. If one’s playing passes, one will be qualified to attend the event. Despite going eight times, the Wood Division Master has not succeeded. The selection is too strict,” that servant explained with a bitter smile.
“Mu Chenfeng? I recall that his music Dao is pretty incredible. To think that even he is not qualified to attend the zither bestowal event?” Long Wanqing said in confusion.
“Since there are too many music Dao masters, the selection is rather strict. Hence, the Wood Division Master has been practicing the zither these days.” That servant smiled bitterly.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Dong! Dong! Dong!
Just at this moment, zither music suddenly rang out from the fog-covered floating island.
The zither music was crisp and melodious, extremely pleasant to listen to. The surrounding clouds and fog even slowly started to move, as though directed by the zither music to dance to it.
“Oh?!” Gu Hai felt slightly startled.
The clouds and fog moved because of the zither music? This zither music was already pretty good. However, the difference from Fairy Waner’s music at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion was stark; Fairy Waner’s music was clearly better.
Fairy Waner’s music could intoxicate Gu Hai. Gu Hai found this zither music only pleasant.
“Go make arrangements for the Han Royal Dynasty’s officials,” Long Wanqing instructed that servant.
“Go and rest first; make your preparations. Tomorrow, I will send you to investigate the situation of the shops in the city!” Gu Hai instructed.
“Yes, Your Majesty!” the seventy officials answered with respectful bows.
“Shangguan Hen, will you go rest with them first?” Gu Hai looked at Shangguan Hen.
“Yes, Your Majesty. However, Your Majesty, this official would like to walk around the city alone. May I do that?” Shangguan Hen asked with some excitement on his face.
“That’s fine. Settle your accommodations first. Then, you may go.” Gu Hai nodded.
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Shangguan Hen answered.
After Gu Hai sent off his officials, Long Wanqing smiled and said, “Let’s go up together?”
Gu Hai nodded.
Gu Hai looked up and stomped hard on the ground.
Gu Hai shot up into the sky like a fire cannonball.
Long Wanqing and Venerable Liu Nian quickly flew behind Gu Hai. The two waved, and the surrounding clouds and fog parted somewhat, allowing the three to land on a large platform on the floating island.
When Gu Hai landed on the platform, he looked out. This ritual array was truly wondrous. From the outside, it looked incredibly thick and dense, yet one could see out clearly from inside.
Suddenly, a sharp sound rang out amid the zither music on the floating island; it sounded like a string snapped.
“Who is it? Who dares to interrupt my zither practice?!” A bellow of rage came from a nearby pavilion.
“Huh?” Gu Hai felt slightly startled.
The largest palace hall on the floating island was called Xiaoyue Palace Hall. There were many other palaces and pavilions around as well.
The furious voice came from one of the small pavilions.
“Wood Division Master, I heard that people who cultivate music need a calm and peaceful heart to play transcendent music. We only parted a ritual array by just a little, yet you got distracted. The cultivation of your mind is insufficient!” Venerable Liu Nian smiled.
Gu Hai turned to look and saw a green-clad man walking over.
This man looked to be about forty and had a skinny figure. At this moment, an angry expression filled his face.
However, he realized that he could not vent his anger when he saw Long Wanqing and Venerable Liu Nian; he could only take a deep breath and suppress his anger.
“So, it is the hall master and Venerable Liu Nian. Chenfeng lost control!” Mu Chenfeng showed a dry smile.
“It’s fine. Division Master Mu, you are now the hope of our Elite Hall. Work hard to obtain Ensnaring Performance!” Long Wanqing responded, smiling.
Mu Chenfeng’s smile turned faintly bitter as he said, “How could it be that easy to attend the zither bestowing event? However, I will do my best not to embarrass the previous hall master!”
After speaking, Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai, and his pupils contracted slightly. “This is…”
“Gu Hai. Greetings Division Master Mu!” Gu Hai smiled.
“Gu Hai? The Water Division Master that the hall master recently installed? You are the one who killed Ding Rui and Meng Tai?” Mu Chenfeng said with a frown.
“Division Master Mu, please watch your words. Meng Tai is still alive and is currently on Nine-Five Island. Ding Rui was silenced by Li Haoran.” Gu Hai smiled while shaking his head.
Mu Chenfeng stared at Gu Hai for a while before nodding. “Since the hall master appointed you as the Water Division Master, you will have to perform well. Don’t disappoint the hall master!”
Gu Hai looked at this Mu Chenfeng in surprise. We seem to have just met, yet you are instructing me as though you are my elder?
“The hall master trusts me. That’s why she appointed me the Water Division Master. As for my performance, Division Master Mu doesn’t have to worry about that,” Gu Hai retorted with a smile.
Mu Chenfeng did not seem to care about Gu Hai, appearing as if he attached no importance to Gu Hai whatsoever.
“Mu Chenfeng, Gu Hai, you are both of Elite Hall. Work well together, and don’t make jokes of yourselves before others!” Long Wanqing said with a frown.
“Hall Master, rest assured!” Gu Hai nodded.
“Hall Master, rest assured. Since he is the Water Division Master, I will naturally take care of him. Gu Hai, if you need any help, just say the word,” Mu Chenfeng said straightforwardly.
“Oh? Speaking of which, I do have something I would like to ask the Wood Division Master for help with,” Gu Hai said after some thought.
“Huh?” Mu Chenfeng’s expression froze. That was just a casual remark. Are you really taking advantage?
“Oh? Tell me about it!” Mu Chenfeng said with a reluctant expression.
“It’s like this. I brought a few dozen people over, preparing to set up a shop in Silver Moon City. I want to leave them be, but we do not know much about Silver Moon City’s businesses, so I want them to do some market research first. However, their cultivations are too low, just in the Acquired Realm; it might not be convenient for them to move around in the city. I would like to ask the Wood Division Master to send some subordinates to accompany them around Silver Moon City to protect them. Could you assist with that?” Gu Hai said.
“Open a shop?” Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai, stunned and unable to keep up with Gu Hai’s rhythm.
“Yes!” Gu Hai nodded with a smile.
“Alright. I’ll send two hundred men with them. However, if your men buy anything, it will be at their own expense. My men will not bother with anything else!” Mu Chenfeng said, shaking his head.
“Don’t worry. I will give them some spending money!” Gu Hai smiled faintly.
Mu Chenfeng nodded.
“Hall Master, please bring the Water Division Master around, then. This subordinate would like to continue practicing. The Silver Moon Mountain Manor still has another selection event tomorrow. I will be taking part in it,” Mu Chenfeng said as he looked at Long Wanqing.
“Wood Division Master, just go about your business.” Long Wanqing nodded.
Mu Chenfeng nodded back. Then, he stepped off the floating island and flew off to search for a remote place to practice his zither.
Standing on the floating island, Long Wanqing informed Gu Hai of the situation. Venerable Liu Nian left at a suitable moment.
Silver Moon City’s night scene was also extremely beautiful. From the floating island, one could see many floating islands in the surroundings. Some places were incredibly bright, and some places had moving zither music ringing out as moonlight shone down.
Silver Moon City was indeed a city of music.
The next day, the Han Royal Dynasty officials set out to roam Silver Moon City’s streets under the protection of the Wood Division disciples, starting their market research.
Gu Hai did not remain idle. He got Long Wanqing to describe her mother’s exploits in Silver Moon City in detail. He analyzed this information to see if he could find any possible clues in the messy information.
Another day passed.
Mu Chenfeng returned from the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s selection. He appeared furious, his expression rigid.
Gu Hai already guessed the result from a distance. He turned his head and avoided Mu Chenfeng’s gaze, not wanting to pour salt on Mu Chenfeng’s wounds.
Nine times. Mu Chenfeng already failed nine times. How terrible would his mood be now?
Even Long Wanqing could not bear to watch. She sighed slightly and said, “Division Master Mu, never mind. There will be opportunities in the future.”
As Mu Chenfeng looked at Long Wanqing, he felt even more depressed. “Hall Master, there’s no need to trouble yourself over this. I, Mu Chenfeng, will definitely qualify!”
Mu Chenfeng did not appreciate Long Wanqing’s consolation; his words sounded incredibly irritated.
Long Wanqing gaped, not knowing what to say.
“Mu Chenfeng, you are still an Elite Hall division master. How can you speak to the hall master like that?” Venerable Liu Nian said coldly.
Mu Chenfeng suppressed the anger in his heart and nodded. “Venerable Liu Nian is right. Hall Master, this subordinate lost his temper earlier. This subordinate asks Hall Master for forgiveness. However, Hall Master does not have to worry about the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s matter. This is my personal matter. It has nothing to do with Elite Hall.”
“Huh?” Long Wanqing and Venerable Liu Nian looked at Mu Chenfeng while showing faint bitter smiles.
“Hall Master, a Silver Moon Mountain Manor envoy is here!” a servant called out from a distance.
“Huh?” Everyone showed a surprised expression.
Soon, an azure-clad man approached. Then, he took out a zither-shaped invitation.
“This is…this is an event invitation proving one’s qualifications?” Mu Chenfeng immediately said in shock.
However, the azure-clad man looked at Long Wanqing and said, “Yesterday, the manor lord heard that the Elite Hall Master arrived in Silver Moon City. Might I ask if you are Long Wanqing?”
“I am.” Long Wanqing nodded, feeling confused.
“The manor lord said that the previous Elite Hall Master, Long Xiaoyue, possessed a vitality in her music Dao, so he had me send a zither-bestowal event invitation over. He feels extremely regretful over Hall Master Xiaoyue’s passing. However, Elite Hall represents Hall Master Xiaoyue now. The manor lord is willing to issue an event invitation to Elite Hall in remembrance of Hall Master Xiaoyue. The new hall master, Long Wanqing, may do with this invitation as she pleases. Anyone who is a member of Elite Hall may use this invitation to attend the zither bestowal event!” The azure-clad man handed the invitation to Long Wanqing.
“Huh? Many thanks to the manor lord!” Long Wanqing nodded, still feeling confused.
That azure-clad man bowed slightly and quickly left.
Long Wanqing held the invitation at a loss. At the side, Mu Chenfeng goggled, appearing dumbfounded.
Why? Why did they just give Long Wanqing the invitation that I failed to obtain after nine attempts?
Why? Why did I lose my temper earlier, saying that the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s matter was my personal matter and that the hall master did not have to worry about it, as it had nothing to do with Elite Hall?
Wasn’t I just slapping my face?
At the side, Gu Hai also noticed Mu Chenfeng’s awkwardness and turned his head to look at him curiously.
Mu Chenfeng gaped as he looked at Long Wanqing, not knowing what to say.
“Gu Hai, how about you attend the zither bestowal event? I’m not good with music,” Long Wanqing said with a bitter smile as she held the invitation.
“Don’t!” Mu Chenfeng immediately called out.
“Huh?” Everyone looked over.
Mu Chenfeng now flushed red. Why did I put on such airs earlier?
“Division Master Gu, how…how are your zither skills?” Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai after fighting a long internal battle.
Gu Hai smiled faintly. “Hall Master, never mind. Let Division Master Mu have it. After all, he has helped me a lot previously, sending two hundred men to protect my men.”
Mu Chenfeng felt slightly stunned upon hearing that. Then, he beamed with joy.
Long Wanqing looked at Mu Chenfeng with a somewhat assumed expression as she said, “Alright. Since Gu Hai has said that, I’ll give this invitation to Division Master Mu. I hope you will put on a good performance at the zither bestowal event.”
“Many thanks, Hall Master! Many thanks!” Mu Chenfeng immediately accepted the invitation with an excited expression.
“You should thank Division Master Gu,” Long Wanqing corrected.
Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai and eventually nodded. “Many thanks, Division Master Gu!”
“We are all comrades. It’s normal for us to help each other. This Gu just arrived, and there are many things that I’m not familiar with in Silver Moon City. If there is anything I do not understand, I ask that Division Master Mu offer me some advice.” Gu Hai smiled.
“That is natural. I will send five hundred subordinates to you tomorrow to help you with that market research thing or whatever it is,” Mu Chenfeng immediately said with a smile.
“Many thanks!” Gu Hai nodded.
“Division Master, things are bad! Division Master!” An anxious cry suddenly came from the distance.
A Wood Division disciple ran over.
“What’s wrong? Why are you in such a fluster?” Mu Chenfeng frowned.
“We…we…” That person looked at Gu Hai with an unsightly expression.
“Go on, speak!” Me Chenfeng glared.
“Earlier, we were accompanying Division Master Gu’s subordinates to do their market research in the city. Whenever they entered a store, they would buy something and take notes. Eventually, we went to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion, but the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s people detained them!” that person said bitterly.
“The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s people detained them? Why? What did they do?” Mu Chenfeng asked, feeling puzzled.
“We did not do anything, but the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s people claimed that Division Master Gu’s subordinates were thieves and bandits and detained them for interrogation and surrender to the officials!”
“Oh? Thieves and bandits? Why did they think that?” Mu Chenfeng asked, feeling puzzled.
“It was because Division Master Gu’s subordinates are only in the Acquired Realm, but they have way too many spirit stones. The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s people felt that it was impossible for Acquired Realm cultivators to have so many spirit stones, so they claimed that the spirit stones were stolen!”
“They are only Acquired Realm cultivators. How many spirit stones could they have? Was the World’s Best Zither Pavilion mistaken?”
“There’s no mistake. They do have a lot of spirit stones, a lot!” that person said in a strange tone.
“How can that be? Division Master Gu, you seem to have said that you only gave them some spending money?” Mu Chenfeng gave Gu Hai a quizzical look.
“Yeah, not much. Just one thousand superior-grade spirit stones each. That is for them to do some preliminary market research. If they don’t have enough, they can ask me for more.” Gu Hai frowned.
“One thousand?! Superior-grade spirit stones?! So many of them?! That is one year of my salary! You actually gave a group of Acquired Realm cultivators one thousand superior-grade spirit stones each to go shopping?” Mu Chenfeng goggled at Gu Hai with incredulous eyes.
Since when did the country bumpkins of the Thousand Islands Sea become so rich? To think that he gave one thousand superior-grade spirit stones to Acquired Realm cultivators as spending money?!
Gu Hai seriously nodded as he watched Mu Chenfeng’s face twitch.
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