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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 011: Dispute at the Zither Pavilion

Spending money for an Acquired Realm subordinate? One thousand superior-grade spirit stones?

No matter how one combined these two phrases, it sounded strange. It was not just Mu Chenfeng. Over the past two days, his subordinates had been likewise extremely shocked.

Initially, the Wood Division disciples were quite unwilling to guard a group of Acquired Realm cultivators. After all, when they went out, they definitely would have to spend some money, regardless of the situation.

However, when this group of Han Royal Dynasty officials left the Xiaoyue Secondary Residence, the Wood Division disciples finally understood what extravagant meant.

Initially, the Wood Division disciples had wondered whether they would walk or take an immortal crane carriage.

However, they stopped thinking this the moment a Han Royal Dynasty official spoke.

“How much does it cost to rent an immortal crane carriage for a day?”

“One medial-grade spirit stone.”

“What?! It’s so cheap! Call me fifty and reserve them for two days first!”

“Huh?”

“Fifty immortal crane carriages for two days is just one superior-grade spirit stone? That is really cheap!”

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“Oh? This is a sword?”

“This is a sword that has a flame ritual array engraved on it. It possesses excellent might. Look! When you swing it, a fiery light appears.”

“How much?”

“One medial-grade spirit stone.”

“What? It’s so cheap? Take out one of every type of sword you have in your shop. We are taking them all!”

“Ah?”

“One medial-grade spirit stone each. That is really cheap!”

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“How much for this medicinal pill?”

“This is a medicinal pill for treating injuries, one medial-grade spirit stone. No, since this is this customer’s first time here, I will give you a ten-percent discount. Ninety inferior-grade spirit stones each.”

“What? Such a good medicinal pill costs only this little bit of money? Give me five hundred for now. In the future, if we fall sick, we just need to eat one, and we will be well. This is great!”

“Huh?”

“Oh, that’s right. Also, give us five hundred of those medicinal pills for Acquired Realm cultivators over there. They are really cheap!”

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Now, the Wood Division disciples finally understood why the Han Royal Dynasty officials hired fifty immortal crane carriages in one go. They were used for ferrying goods. These people were a bunch of prodigals. Where did all their money come from?

Hence, the Wood Division disciples took the initiative to establish a good relationship with the Han Royal Dynasty officials. These officials were also extremely polite and generous, occasionally buying things for the Wood Division disciples, which significantly deepened the relationship between the officials and Wood Division disciples.

However, this group caused a huge commotion.

The shops had seen groups making large procurements before. However, who had ever seen Acquired Realm cultivators being so lavish and extravagant?

Sometimes, these Acquired Realm cultivators did not even pick up a knife when they entered a shop. However, they had money and just immediately purchased the item without batting an eyelid. However, they had a request. They asked every shop’s owner to show them the shop’s accounts.

I’m not bargaining, and I bought a lot of things. Letting me take a look at your accounts is no big deal, right?

Many shops immediately handed over their accounts, but some were unwilling. Well, if they are unwilling, fine; we won’t buy anything.

Thus, the strange group became one of the sights of the commercial district.

Along the way, the Han Royal Dynasty officials paved the way with money. They were like gods of fortune, spending spirit stones like water. All shops liked people like them. This continued until they went to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

Initially, things went very smoothly for this group of prodigal officials. However, they ran into a terrible situation at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s guards detained them all.

Detained?

At the other end of the street, many shopkeepers made their moves when they heard the news. They had quietly raised the prices of the things in their shops, waiting for this bunch of fattened lambs to walk in.

You detained them? What do you mean by this?

Some of the shopkeepers could not sit still and went over to investigate. However, they got chased out.

Caught off guard, the Han Royal Dynasty officials had been instantly captured.

They could not do anything. Their cultivation was too low, only Acquired Realm. They simply could not resist.

However, the officials were very smart and quick on their feet; they immediately gave up resistance. Simultaneously, they shoved a few superior-grade spirit stones to the Wood Division disciples and got them to report back quickly.

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Now, word reached Gu Hai.

When Gu Hai, Long Wanqing, Venerable Liu Nian, and Mu Chenfeng heard the report, their expressions changed.

“What are you looking at? Go! Call some men. We’re going to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion to demand them back!” Long Wanqing said while glaring.

“The World’s Best Zither Pavilion? That is Duke Lu Yang’s business!” Mu Chenfeng’s expression changed.

“I’ll shoulder all responsibility! Hurry up and go!” Long Wanqing yelled.

“Sorry to trouble Division Master Mu,” Gu Hai said while frowning.

Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai. If it were before, he would not want to take this risk. However, he still held the event invitation that he received due to Gu Hai’s grace. He could not bear to forget such gratitude and refuse to help.

“Alright, I’ll immediately call my men!” Mu Chenfeng nodded while gritting his teeth.

Mu Chenfeng immediately called over two thousand Wood Division disciples. Then, they followed Gu Hai’s group to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

Indeed, Gu Hai was wealthy and lavish. He called twenty large immortal crane carriages with a wave of his hand and carried all the Elite Hall disciples, charging straight to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion grandly.

Along the way, Mu Chenfeng gave Gu Hai a few strange looks. After enduring for a long time, he finally could not help asking, “Division Master Gu, I heard the hall master mention that you only cultivated in the mundane world previously and had never come in contact with spirit stones. Only one year or so has passed. How did you obtain so many spirit stones?”

Gu Hai was currently pondering the World’s Best Zither Pavilion situation and could not spare the effort to answer Mu Chenfeng properly. Hence, he only said casually, “Hmm?! Oh, I just ran a small business and earned some.”

Ran a small business? What kind of small business could earn so much in so little time? Did you rob a bank? Does a desolate place like your Thousand Islands Sea even have banks?

[TL Note: Ancient China had banks, but on a smaller scale than what we see now. Back then, people used metal coins and silver or gold taels as money. Some people came up with the idea of opening a shop where they would give out promissory notes that could be changed back to metal money at these shops at any time. The idea eventually caught on and reached the point where the promissory notes could be used as money in some shops. However, these promissory notes were valid only in the shops where they changed the money or in the associated branches. Some of these shops ended up forming alliances and accepting each other’s promissory notes. Since these were private banks and not government-backed, there was some risk to it. If the bank collapsed, those promissory notes would be worth nothing. It was, however, convenient, especially for large transactions. Gold is quite heavy, after all.]

Mu Chenfeng remained boundlessly confused, but he did not say anything.

The immortal crane carriages flew very quickly. Soon, they arrived at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

At this moment, many people already surrounded the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. Some of the Wood Division disciples were still arguing with the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s people. Countless cultivators and shopkeepers in the surroundings observed from a distance.

“The World’s Best Zither Pavilion is breaking the rules of business. How can they snatch their customer’s money? Isn’t that the ways of a scammer?”

“Hush! Be quieter. This is Duke Lu Yang’s business.”

“However, I can’t blame them for finding this strange. I find it strange as well. Why does that group of Acquired Realm cultivators have so much money?”

“However, I heard that they are Elite Hall’s men!”

“So what if they are from Elite Hall? This is Ying Province, Duke Lu Yang’s territory!”

As the crowd discussed this, twenty immortal crane carriages stopped nearby. One hundred people alighted from every carriage, making for two thousand fully armed cultivators looking at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion with murderous expressions.

“Look! The Elite Hall Master brought people charging over!”

The crowd quickly parted, giving way in shock and horror.

“Division Master! Division Master! You are finally here!”

“Ah! Hall Master, you are here as well. This is great. They injured our men!”

Dozens of Wood Division disciples cried out anxiously.

Gu Hai and Long Wanqing walked at the very front. Venerable Liu Nian and Mu Chenfeng followed close behind.

Gu Hai had a sullen expression, while Long Wanqing appeared anxious, Venerable Liu Nian remained calm, and Mu Chenfeng appeared worried.

“What are you doing? Are you thinking of causing trouble? If you don’t leave, we will capture all of you!” someone at the entrance shouted.

“Capture all of us? Who gave you that authority? We are His Holy Eminence’s personal army. How bold of you!” Long Wanqing glared.

“Huh?” The expression of the guard at the entrance froze when he noticed Long Wanqing.

“Scram!” Long Wanqing shouted.

“The World’s Best Zither Pavilion is not a place for you to do as you please!” that guard roared.

Just as the guard was about to step forward, Venerable Liu Nian flicked his finger, and a Buddhist prayer bead suddenly shot out.

Boom!

That guard suddenly crashed into the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

Long Wanqing and Gu Hai stepped in.

“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! We are here!”

“Your Majesty, this official failed in his duties. They snatched away all the spirit stones!”

“Your Majesty, they snatched away all the spirit stones!”

A group of bound Han Royal Dynasty officials shouted from nearby.

A group of yellow-clad World’s Best Zither Pavilion cultivators standing around the Han Royal Dynasty officials held whips as they interrogated the Han Royal Dynasty officials.

Seeing that the officials were still alive, Gu Hai surreptitiously released his bated breath.

A group of Wood Division disciples also lay messily on the ground.

“Who gave you such authority? To think you dare to detain my Elite Hall’s people?!” Long Wanqing shouted with a glare.

“So, this group of thieves is Elite Hall’s people? Younger Sister Wanqing, are your Elite Hall’s people thieves?” Harsh laughter rang out.

“Huh?” Everyone looked over with raised eyebrows.

The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s building had an interesting construction similar to large shopping malls that Gu Hai had seen on Earth. There was a large atrium in the center with corridors going around in rings on the various floors. One could look down through the large opening in the middle of every floor. The various display areas were placed along these corridors.

Everyone raised their head and looked up.

They saw a white-clad youth seated on a protruding balcony on the third floor. This youth held a cup of tea as he showed a cold smile while looking down.

A man with a golden saber stood behind the white-clad youth. A pile of spirit stones was displayed at the side, clearly the spirit stones taken from the Han Royal Dynasty officials. It was as though the youth placed the spirit stones there for Long Wanqing’s people to see and agitate them.

“Lu An?” Long Wanqing raised her eyebrows.

“Young Master An?” Mu Chenfeng’s expression changed.

Venerable Liu Nian narrowed his eyes, and Gu Hai’s face sank.

“Younger Sister Wanqing, it is truly a small world, after all. To think that you also came to Silver Moon City! Oh, these thieves are your Elite Hall’s men? They do not seem like it. I recall that Elite Hall takes in only elites. This group is just in the Acquired Realm. Since when did your Elite Hall’s standards drop so low? Furthermore, you even take in thieves and bandits? Should I just deal with them for you to prevent further soiling Elite Hall’s reputation?” Lu An said with a smile.

“Thieves? What proof do you have that they are thieves? Are they thieves just because they have money?” Long Wanqing said coldly with a frown.

“This is the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. If I say they are thieves, then they are thieves. Furthermore, all their spirit stones are mine!” Lu An sneered.

Long Wanqing wanted to argue back. However, Gu Hai pulled her back.

“There is no point in arguing. These are my men. I’ll deal with this.” Gu Hai smiled faintly.

“But…” Long Wanqing felt slightly worried.

However, Gu Hai already walked to the front.

“World’s Best Zither Pavilion? Huh, who is the general manager here?” Gu Hai suddenly asked.

“Oh? Brat, I am speaking to Long Wanqing. Who are you? How dare you interrupt?” Lu An looked at Gu Hai coldly.

“This humble one is the Water Division Master, Gu Hai. The thieves that Young Master An captured happen to be my subordinates,” Gu Hai said with a faint smile.

“Humph! It is not your place to speak. Scram!” Lu An said coldly.

Gu Hai ignored Lu An and started looking around.

“A nation has its laws, and a business has its rules. The World’s Best Zither Pavilion is a talent of Silver Moon City’s business world. Are you going to destroy your reputation? Or is the general manager not planning to continue business in Silver Moon City?” Gu Hai’s gaze eventually fixed on a skinny, old man beside Lu An.

“This humble one is the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s general manager, Jiang Tianyi. The World’s Best Zither Pavilion is Duke Lu Yang’s business. Whether its reputation is destroyed or not is not up to an immature brat like you. Young Master An’s word is law in the World’s Best Zither Pavilion!” The skinny, old man looked at Gu Hai coldly with disdain flashing in his eyes.

“Humph! Elite Hall disciples, come in and bring away our men!” Long Wanqing roared in anger.

Rumble…!

Two thousand Wood Division disciples immediately poured in with weapons drawn, looking like they wanted to snatch away the Han Royal Dynasty officials.

“Hall Master, don’t be rash!” Mu Chenfeng called out worriedly.

However, Long Wanqing could not be bothered with Mu Chenfeng’s words at this moment, wanting to command the two thousand Wood Division disciples to charge forward.

“Humph! If you are in my World’s Best Zither Pavilion, you have to follow my rules!” Lu An said coldly.

Rumble…!

Suddenly, a large number of archers appeared on the floors above.

These archers had arrows nocked and bows drawn, pointing their bows at the two thousand Wood Division disciples. There were more than three thousand archers, all of them showing ferocious expressions. They were poised to fire with just one command.

“Wait! Wait! Young Master An, talk it out first! Wood Division disciples, put away your weapons!” Mu Chenfeng immediately called out.

“Lu An, you have made preparations and have been waiting for us here?” Long Wanqing glared at Lu An.

“Younger Sister Wanqing, what did I say? This is my territory, so you have to follow my rules. I have to interrogate these thieves properly to find out how they stole my money. I’ll send them to the officials after I’m done interrogating them. Go to the officials for them later. However, they might be missing arms and legs by then. At that time, it would no longer be my problem.” Lu An smiled.

“How dare you?!” Long Wanqing roared furiously while glaring.

“Oh? I simply don’t understand. Why do you care so much about this group of Acquired Realm ants?” Lu An appeared somewhat confused.

Long Wanqing was on the verge of erupting in rage. However, Gu Hai gently stopped her.

“Young Master An, these people are my subordinates. I have to take them away today. Young Master An, state a price. I will redeem them and take them away!” Gu Hai said after taking a deep breath.

“Your Majesty, this official deserves death!” The Han Royal Dynasty officials knelt to Gu Hai.

Lu An frowned as he looked at Gu Hai. “Elite Hall’s Water Division Master? Ha! I did not notice that you are a person of influence as well. You are indeed wealthy, huh? To think that you talk about redeeming people? These bunch of Acquired Realm trash did not even dare to resist earlier before letting us detain them. You still want to redeem this bunch of trash?”

“That was due to my previous instruction to prioritize self-protection. Young Master An, state your price,” Gu Hai said.

Lu An narrowed his eyes at Gu Hai.

Mu Chenfeng goggled at Gu Hai. Are these country bumpkins from the Thousand Islands Sea all rich and extravagant? It’s one thing for your subordinates to throw money around, but you are doing it too? You want to use money to deal with Young Master An? Do you think Young Master An has not seen money before?

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for August: 46 / 50

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