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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 014.1: Canon, Part 1

How could Gu Hai’s notices not cause a commotion?

Since the World’s Best Zither Pavilion dared to call itself the best, its standing in Silver Moon City went without saying. It was the largest zither shop in the city. As the saying went, when one was popular, one would be discussed a lot. This was the same for the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. The moment there was any major news about it, it would immediately become the topic of discussion everywhere.

Duke Lu Yang’s grandson came and framed the Elite Hall disciples in the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. Elite Hall’s Gu Hai took out seven hundred thousand superior-grade spirit stones with the flip of a hand and redeemed seventy Acquired Realm subordinates.

Did Elite Hall just endure it? No. Elite Hall opened a shop called This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion right across the World’s Best Zither Pavilion, challenging them.

This showed signs of a fight to the death.

People of the mundane world were not the only ones interested in such gossip. Cultivators were extremely interested as well.

Everyone waited for this matter to develop further for two days. How would This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion strike back?

Indeed, some news came out in less than two days. While a group of cultivators listened to a master zitherist play at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion from outside, they suddenly saw a notice being put up on the other side. Hence, they immediately stopped listening and swarmed over.

“The goods will arrive half a year later? Payment first? Is Gu Hai crazy? What is this piano? Furthermore, he wants us to pay first?”

“I heard that Manager Jiang blacklisted This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s supply chain.”

“No wonder the goods will only arrive half a year later. However, who would be so stupid as to pay first and wait half a year to get the goods?”

“A piano? What is a piano?”

Everyone showed disdain at the preordering announced by Gu Hai on the advertising board. Who did business like this?

However, the next notice caused everyone to open their eyes wide.

“Not made of spiritual wood, one hundred superior-grade spirit stones for a piano?”

“Look! The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s peak-quality zither is at the side. That is one hundred medial-grade spirit stones. A piano costs one hundred superior-grade spirit stones, one hundred times the difference. This is a direct slap to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s face.”

“What a joke! The peak-quality zither made of ordinary materials commanded a price of one hundred medial-grade spirit stones. I wouldn’t even buy it. After all, with that money, I could buy several zithers made of spiritual wood already. This Gu Hai is an even bigger joker. He’s setting his price one hundred times higher? That’s crazy!”

“A piano? What kind of zither is a piano?”

The many cultivators started to criticize Gu Hai, claiming that he had gone mad. How could someone ask for one hundred superior-grade spirit stones first and only deliver a zither made of ordinary materials half a year later?

As the World’s Best Zither Pavilion was just across the street, they naturally received news of this immediately.

“There does not seem to be many people buying zithers recently?” Lu An frowned.

Jiang Tianyi revealed a faint bitter smile as he said, “Yes, Young Master An. Although Young Master An earned seven hundred seventy thousand superior-grade spirit stones previously, it dealt a blow to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s credibility. Many cultivators do not dare to come and buy a zither, afraid that…”

“Afraid that this is an unscrupulous shop?” Lu An said coldly.

“Yes, there is that aspect. After all, we did detain Gu Hai’s subordinates and break the rules of business. However, Young Master An, there is no need to worry. After some time has passed, this will blow over.”

“Humph! Rules?” Lu An snorted coldly.

“Young Master An, I have been wondering why Gu Hai bought the peak-quality zither. Now I finally understand. This person is very scheming. He bought the peak-quality zither only to set a contrast with his piano. One hundred times the difference in price? Ha! He is announcing that his This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion is better than our World’s Best Zither Pavilion,” Jiang Tianyi said coldly.

“One hundred times? Humph! I think he is just trying to create a sensation. How could anyone be willing to pay one hundred times the price for a zither made of ordinary materials?” Lu An sneered.

“Yes, this subordinate thinks so as well.” Jiang Tianyi nodded.

As the two chatted about this, a customer below suddenly asked, “Do you sell pianos here? Bring one out and show me.”

“Piano?”

“Yes. The shop across the street is going to sell pianos. I want to see what it is like. To think that it is sold for one hundred superior-grade spirit stones!”

“Eh…we don’t have it!” 

“You don’t? Are you the World’s Best Zither Pavilion? Don’t you have every kind of zither? How can you not have it?”

Every now and then, someone would come over and ask about pianos out of curiosity. However, the World’s Best Zither Pavilion did not have a piano at all.

Lu An’s face sank. Jiang Tianyi frowned slightly.

“Manager, should we craft a metal guqin?” one of the attendants at the side asked.

“We cannot,” Jiang Tianyi said with a frown.

“However, many people are asking about it.”

“Gu Hai coined the word piano, so people will take him as the standard. If what we make ends up being different from his, we would only be mocked by others.” Jiang Tianyi shook his head.

“Yes!” that attendant answered.

Lu An narrowed his eyes as he looked at This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion across the street.

This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion versus the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. The news spread all over Silver Moon City like it had grown wings.

Anyone who heard the news thought Gu Hai was just spouting lunatic ravings, going crazy from thinking about money. However, countless people paid attention to this as well. They wondered what a piano looked like, to think that Gu Hai felt so confident about it.

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In an area with mountains and forests covered with fog in the city, countless zither sounds rang out. Many zitherists practiced their zither here so that a certain mountain manor within the fog would send someone to deliver an event invitation to them. This was the most prestigious place in Silver Moon City, the Silver Moon Mountain Manor.

At a pavilion in the Silver Moon Mountain Manor:

Fog surrounded the pavilion. Mountains and forests filled the surroundings, looking very elegant.

A white-haired, old man sat in the pavilion, gently wiping a guqin that was on the verge of rotting with a piece of cloth.

“Cough! Cough! Cough! Old fellow, is your lifespan approaching its end, like me? Cough! Cough! Cough! Hahaha!” The white-haired, old man gently wiped the guqin.

A group of azure-clad Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples stood behind the old man. All of them were extremely respectful, not even daring to breathe heavily.

“Is there anything interesting in the city recently?” the white-haired, old man asked as he wiped the guqin.

One of the disciples behind immediately showed a solemn expression as he replied, “Reporting to Manor Lord, many different things happen in the city every day. However, there is one exceptionally strange matter. Elite Hall’s Water Division Master challenged the World’s Best Zither Pavilion and is currently building up attention.”

“Oh?” The white-haired manor lord turned his head, appearing slightly surprised.

The azure-clad man respectfully reported everything he knew.

The manor lord thought quietly for a moment before suddenly laughing. “It is indeed interesting. A piano [metal zither]? Metal is not suitable for making a zither. At best, it can only be zither strings. Even so, it has an extremely distinct sound, very different from most zither strings. Selling a zither with metal strings will not be easy unless unique pieces are specially composed for metal strings.”

“Composing songs?”

“Indeed. Artistic conception is easy to express, but good pieces are hard to find,” the manor lord sighed while shaking his head.

“Yes! Then, does Manor Lord also think that Gu Hai is crazy?” the azure-clad man asked, feeling surprised.

“Let’s wait for another two days or so. I have not seen what a piano looks like,” the manor lord said while shaking his head.

“Yes! I will pay attention to this matter and report the moment there are any updates,” the azure-clad man said respectfully.

“Alright.” The manor lord nodded.

After that, the azure-clad man spoke of other interesting things that happened in the city. The old manor lord smiled as he listened. It was as though, at his age, nothing much in the world could surprise him anymore. He just listened and occasionally showed a faint smile.

------

After two days of word spreading, This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion had already attracted the curiosity of countless cultivators.

Many people asked what a piano looked like and what a piano was. However, the Han Royal Dynasty officials remained tight-lipped, only saying that Gu Hai would show everyone in two days.

------

Two days later, many cultivators with nothing to do surrounded This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion, some even watching from a distance.

Most of them were not even interested in listening to the master zitherist playing in the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. They only paid attention to This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s deck.

Now, a group of Elite Hall disciples stood on the deck, guarding a large object in the center. A black cloth covered that large object, shrouding it from everyone’s sight.

“Is that a piano? It’s so big?”

“It is three meters long and about one hundred sixty-five centimeters tall? Is this huge item a zither?”

“Is it a guqin made of metal? What does it look like?”

Many people waited, stewing in curiosity.

Although Lu An did not think much of Gu Hai, he stood with his subordinates in a hidden spot of the World’s Best Zither Pavilion, looking curiously at the tightly guarded deck across the street.

“Piano? Do you think you can deal a big blow to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion just by creating a strangely shaped object? What a joke!” Lu An sneered.

Jiang Tianyi nodded. Indeed, the fame of the World’s Best Zither Pavilion could not be shaken by just one or two strangely shaped instruments. Among musical instruments, the guqin reigned supreme. No matter what instrument it was, so long as it was not a guqin, it would not work.

Seeing that it was not a guqin, Jiang Tianyi relaxed completely.

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Just one chapter today due to adjustments for the end of the month.

Chapters for August: 49 / 50

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Written by Guan Qi — Watching Chess. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by VampireCat.