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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 015: The Manor Lord’s Artistic Conception Restoration

Dang dang dang dang dang! Dang dang dang! Dang dang dang… The music rang out.

Gu Hai played Canon in D, the most perfect Canon and also the most widely acknowledged Canon on Earth.

There was no master zitherist infusing a strong artistic conception, just pure music that kept spreading out. Many musical motifs repeated endlessly in this piece, but this repetition made it feel complex and not bland. The more one listened to it, the more interesting it became, and the more one wanted to listen to it.

There was no artistic conception, just the music. However, just the music already surpassed several artistic conceptions.

The cultivators in Silver Moon City all possessed an extraordinary appreciation for music. Although there was no artistic conception, the piece left a rich aftertaste, lingering in memory.

The cultivators around This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion who were preparing to see Gu Hai make a joke of himself slowly grew solemn.

The people who came here had heard all sorts of classic pieces. However, they had not heard this one before.

Many people closed their eyes.

Since there was no artistic conception in the music, they simulated an artistic conception in their minds as they listened to the music.

Many people slowly became intoxicated by the music.

Long Wanqing, Venerable Liu Nian, and Shangguan Hen slowly became immersed in this moving piece.

However, Mu Chenfeng goggled. He muttered incessantly, “This is impossible. What piece is Gu Hai playing? Why have I not heard it before? Why is it so pleasant to the ears?”

------

On the other side, in the World’s Best Zither Pavilion:

The expressions of Lu An and Jiang Tianyi turned increasingly gloomy. The two had a good ear for music. However, this ear for music allowed them to make out how extraordinary this piece was.

Such a moving piece should be very pleasing. However, it sounded like hell declaring war on them.

“How can it be possible? A piano? One can use another instrument to play this piece, but why did the piano take the stage? Where did he get such a good piece? Where did he come from?” Lu An said with a sullen face. 

“Young Master An, this piece contains joy and sorrow. I even seem to make out the cycle of life and death. How can it be possible? How can a song without an artistic conception achieve such a result? Gu Hai? The piano?” Jiang Tianyi said with an unsightly expression.

The countless people who understood music stopped everything they did when they heard this canon and listened carefully.

This was a spiritual baptism. They could forget about all their worldly worries by listening to the music. As they listened, they rejoiced and grieved together with the music.

Some of the people who came to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion to buy zithers suddenly stopped in their tracks.

“Customer, do you want this zither?”

“Be quiet!”

“Customer, you still have not paid!”

“I don’t want it anymore! Stop getting in my way!”

The people who came to buy zithers put down everything they did and walked out of the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. Then, they watched the swallow-tailed-coat-clad man, Gu Hai, on This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s deck on the other side with the others.

When the piece ended, Gu Hai repeated it.

This was where the charm of this divine piece lay. One would not tire of it even after listening to it several times.

More and more people gathered around the deck.

The music amplified by the sound amplification ritual array spread out in all directions within Silver Moon City.

Everywhere, everyone who was busying themselves with their business suddenly stopped.

“Old Wang, stop playing. Listen! Listen! Quickly listen! What piece is this? Why do I hear a sense of sorrow?”

“What sorrow? This is clearly joyous music!”

“That’s not right. That’s not right. I feel that it is touching love!”

“No! I feel that it is a parting through life and death!”

Soon, people stopped debating this. The region the sound amplification ritual array covered was one-tenth of the city.

The other ninety percent of the city remained bustling. However, this one-tenth of the city stilled, leaving only one sound to ring out—the sound of the Canon in D.

There were no illusions from an artistic conception, only the mellow varying notes of the music. However, this music instantly captured the hearts of countless people.

------

In a small courtyard not far from the World’s Best Zither Pavilion, a veiled, white-clad woman with an exquisite figure gently caressed a guqin as an incense pot burned and released a pleasant fragrance—a beautiful scene. If there were a cultivator here, that cultivator would recognize this woman to be the Fairy Waner, who had played the zither at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion not long ago, the master zitherist who had drawn Gu Hai into an illusion with just her zither music.

When the piano music carried in from outside, Fairy Waner frowned at first. This loud music disrupted her composing. However, as the melody of Canon in D rang out, the repetitive notes slowly elicited in her an indescribable feeling.

“This…the notes repeat, but the result is not bland or boring. This piece makes something simple complex, reaching the pinnacle? Who is it?” Fairy Waner stood up in shock.

------

The sound amplification ritual array could cover only one-tenth of Silver Moon City. Naturally, it could not reach the Silver Moon Mountain Manor.

Countless master zitherists had arrived outside the Silver Moon Mountain Manor and were playing their best pieces, hoping to pass the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s test.

The old manor lord was wiping his guqin in a pavilion within the Silver Moon Mountain Manor when he suddenly raised his eyebrows in a shocked expression.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

He extended his hand and strummed the guqin’s strings. A strange note suddenly rushed out.

------

When this note appeared, the expressions of the cultivators playing outside the Silver Moon Mountain Manor suddenly changed, as their zithers had stopped making any sound.

There is no sound?

Everyone tried to play their zither, but no sound rang out.

“What is going on? My guqin is not making any sound?”

“Mine as well!”

“That’s not right. The strings are vibrating. Is this a sound wave, a sound wave that surpasses our hearing range? Is someone playing the zither and resonating with ours?”

“Who? Who can affect our playing like that?”

The various master zitherists revealed horrified expressions. Whose zither skills were so strong?

Just as the crowd started to panic, a Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciple walked over.

“The manor lord commands everyone to remain calm. The manor lord was the one who executed the sound-canceling technique. Everyone, please be quiet and do not interrupt the manor lord from listening to a piece,” that Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciple called out.

“Ah? Yes!” The group of master zitherists nodded while gaping in confusion.

It was the manor lord’s sound-canceling technique? That is normal, then. However, whose music could attract the manor lord’s attention? We can’t even hear anything.

------

In the pavilion in the Silver Moon Mountain Manor:

Others could not hear the music that the manor lord was hearing, so they all appeared bewildered.

The manor lord smiled faintly and extended his hand to play his guqin.

Buzz!

Space trembled slightly, and the piano’s Canon in D issued from the trembling space.

The Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples’ eyes immediately lit up when they heard the melodious piece.

The manor lord listened to the piece. Soon, Gu Hai finished one rendition of the Canon in D, then started the third rendition. Even on the third time, everyone seemed like they could not get enough of it.

“Yun Mo, what do you think about this piece?” the manor lord asked with a smile.

“It gives me a quivering that penetrates my bones, reaching deep into my soul,” an azure-clad man, Yun Mo, said with a faint marvel in his tone.

“Oh? What about the rest of you?” The manor lord looked at the others.

“I feel sorrow, like the parting caused by death.”

“I sense passion, the feeling of falling in love for the first time.”

“I sense delight, the delight that comes from liking a person?”

The various people expressed different things, apparently having seen different things.

Yun Mo spoke again. “Manor Lord, I feel that everyone gets a different feeling from hearing this. My impression is that this piece is telling a story. The front part seems to be reminiscing about something, muttering calmly and gently. It is as though asking oneself, ‘Do you remember those times? Do you remember the wondrous and sorrowful love? The part after that made me feel exceptionally upset, as though telling me that those times would never return. The wondrous times were no more. Love no longer existed. Everything was already the past, leaving only sorry and hurt. As the music repeats, it seems to be saying that time moves in a cycle and that time will never return. Although many things settle with time, there is a scar that will never disappear; it leaves us with memories. Even on one’s last days, one can never overcome this sorrow.” 

The manor lord nodded in satisfaction at Yun Mo’s explanation.

“Although the playing is rough, it is a rare piece. A piano? This is a piano piece?” The manor lord appeared somewhat puzzled.

The manor lord waved his hand, and the sound of Gu Hai’s piano vanished.

The manor lord stroked his guqin before plucking its strings. He also played Canon in D, using the guqin to mimic the sound of a piano.

This sound was even more resounding and nimble than Gu Hai’s playing.

Soon, the group of disciples seemed to see a realistic scene.

------

The scene showed a small boy orphaned by war. A kind pianist adopted him, and he learned to play the piano from that kind pianist. Furthermore, he improved as time went by. When he grew up, he became a renowned pianist.

One day, the beautiful daughter of a rich man accidentally entered the pianist’s house. Moved by the pianist’s playing, she fell in love with the pianist.

The rich young miss asked to learn under the pianist, wanting to learn the piano, so the pianist accepted.

However, the rich young miss had her mind filled with the pianist and did not focus on learning the piano. Although she studied for a long time, she still played terribly. The pianist felt extremely disappointed and extremely angry with the rich young miss for not liking to play the piano, so he chased her away.

The rich young miss felt heartbroken and extremely aggrieved. She swore to learn the piano properly and become the best in that place.

After the rich young miss returned home, she practiced the piano every day, not resting at all. She practiced extremely hard and seriously. Finally, she took first place in a competition half a year later.

The rich young miss brought the award with her to profess her feelings to the pianist. However, the pianist had been drafted into the military and sent to war.

The rich young miss waited for this pianist, intending to wait for his return. Thus, three years passed.

In the meantime, the son of a village head fell in love with the rich young miss. He proposed many times but never succeeded. To make her give up on the pianist, he hatched a scheme. He got some men to bring back a dismembered corpse from the battlefield and told her that this was the pianist. Then, he sent over many gifts and proposed to her again.

However, the rich young miss ignored the proposal. Instead, she hugged the dismembered corpse and cried for three days and three nights. On the third day, she slit her wrist and committed suicide where the pianist used to teach her the piano.

Two months after the rich young miss committed suicide, the pianist returned.

It turned out that he started to miss the rich young miss not long after he chased her away. Without her, he found himself much less happy. He only knew how to treasure what he had after he lost it. It turned out that he had already fallen in love with her without realizing it.

In the half-year that the rich young miss was gone, the pianist started to compose a music piece, wanting to use this piece to propose marriage to her. During that time, he focused all his thoughts on one-third of that piece when suddenly, a war broke out, and he got drafted.

During the three years on the battlefield, the pianist composed another one-third of the piece. This part of the piece was filled with his sorrow at parting and longing.

When the war ended, the pianist rushed back. However, what greeted him was this unacceptable nightmare.

When the villagers told him the rich young miss’s story, the pianist cried while howling. Over the next week, he felt the pain that came from parting eternally. After one week, he played the piece that he wrote to propose marriage to her before her grave, including the final one-third that contained the boundless thoughts and sorrow of the pianist.

When the villagers heard this piece, they saw the pianist’s deep love for the rich young miss as he played before the grave; tears rolled down everyone’s cheeks. After the piece ended, the pianist ended his life where the rich young miss died.

------

The scene suddenly came to an end. The group of disciples in front of the manor lord now had bloodshot eyes.

Gu Hai’s playing did not have any artistic conception. However, the manor lord brought out this artistic conception, an extremely sorrowful and moving story.

“Yun Mo, what do you think?” the manor lord asked.

“We only understood after Manor Lord used his artistic conception to show us the full story. The repeating melody was the pianist continuously declaring his love and thoughts for the rich young miss,” Yun Mo analyzed.

“Indeed. There is only a song but no artistic conception? Haha! The person playing the piano is quite interesting,” the manor lord said with a smile.

“Ah? No artistic conception?” Yun Mo exclaimed.

“Must a zither have an artistic conception?” The manor lord smiled.

“Then, this is just an ordinary piece, right?” Yun Mo frowned.

“It is an ordinary piece. However, is a composer the same as a master zitherist?” The manor lord shook his head.

“Huh?”

“Being able to compose this piece, he is qualified to attend the zither bestowal event. Go send an invitation on my behalf. Also, bring back a piano for me to see,” the manor lord said with a smile.

“Yes. I’ll immediately go. However, he only has the piece. Would it be a problem giving him an invitation?” Yun Mo smiled bitterly.

“You fool, do you still not understand? He is not just a zitherist. Go on!” The manor lord smiled.

“Yes!”

------

This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion:

Gu Hai played five renditions of the Canon in D.

Buzz!

The last note faded.

The surroundings fell quiet; many people were still immersed in the music.

Gu Hai smiled and said, “This piece is called ‘Canon. I used the piano to play it five times. I believe the various master zitherists have already memorized it. I welcome everyone to use the various instruments to play it!”

Gu Hai’s voice spread in all directions via the sound amplification ritual array.

“Canon? This is called Canon?”

“What a nice Canon!”

The countless cultivators in the surroundings slowly returned to their senses from the piece.

Not far away from This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion, a few people among the surrounding cultivators frowned.

These were the master zitherists hired. Initially, they had been ready to criticize the piano after Gu Hai played.

However, where the five renditions of the Canon ended, the group of master zitherists gaped, not knowing what to say.

Could this piece be criticized?

“Everyone, it’s about time. Hurry!” Jiang Tianyi’s voice rang out by the master zitherists’ ears.

The group of master zitherists showed unsightly expressions. However, greed blinded people. Since these master zitherists already obtained benefits from the World’s Best Zither Pavilion, they could only grit their teeth and do it.

The first master zitherist stepped forward and said, “It is only so-so, not worth listening to. Ignorant and hopeless!”

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for September: 01 / 50

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