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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 018: Fooled by Gu Hai

In the end, Silver Moon City was different from other cities. There were too many people who liked music here.

When the Canon Rock Super Crazy Piano Edition appeared, it promptly kickstarted a mania for composing in many people. Even the now quieter This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion turned incredibly bustling.

In contrast, the master zitherists that the World’s Best Zither Pavilion hired ended their performances quietly.

The World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s business worsened while the business on the other side flourished.

Jiang Tianyi and Lu An watched sullenly.

Selling zithers? It had always been the World’s Best Zither Pavilion with the booming business while their competitors were quiet and empty. When had they ever experienced this?

“Are all the master zitherists you hired trash? Gu Hai used only the Canon, and he defeated them all?” Lu An demanded coldly.

“Young Master An, please calm down. Speaking of which, this Gu Hai is truly a business talent. He chose the most appropriate moment to drive the customers’ spending. He could have revealed the Canon variation long ago, but he held it back until now to deal us a heavy blow.”

“What should we do now?”

“This old man has not met his match yet after being in business for so many years. Young Master An, rest assured. Business is actually the same as fighting a war. There are head-on battles and tactics. Gu Hai won one round with his tactics, but he has yet to meet the problem head-on. The Canon is just a piece. Indeed, it excited many people, but no one will care about it when the novelty passes. At that time, Gu Hai’s tactic will be useless. As I mentioned to Young Master An previously, Gu Hai’s zither pavilion has no goods. Even if he finishes the renovations, he will have nothing to sell. What is the point? It would just be a joke. Let him be cocky for a few days. When his zither pavilion’s renovation is complete, we will go and deliver a gift to him,” Jiang Tianyi said with a cold smile.

Lu An suppressed his anger. Right now, piano sales were booming. They simply could not clash head-on.

“Humph! Alright. When his zither pavilion’s renovation is complete and the Canon’s influence passes, let’s see how his zither pavilion collapses. Humph!” Lu An snorted coldly.

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As Jiang Tianyi expected, no matter how popular the Canon was, the zitherists started to tire of it after hearing it nonstop for one month. The sales of the piano waned. Initially, there were ten lines of people queuing to preorder. Now, there was only one line. Sometimes, there were even no people.

On the other side, Lu An and Jiang Tianyi revealed faint smiles.

Long Wanqing felt extremely anxious.

“Hall Master, there’s no need to worry. This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion is about to open for business. The piano is just one instrument. There are going to be many instruments in the future,” Gu Hai said with a smile.

“However, what are you going to sell the day after tomorrow? Are you going to make another new instrument and do preorders again?” Long Wanqing asked, still feeling worried.

“Who said that I have nothing to sell? You will know when the time comes.” Gu Hai smiled.

Long Wanqing frowned, but she nodded.

“Oh, right. The venerable seems to have left the city with Shangguan Hen?” Long Wanqing said, still frowning.

“I know about it. I gave Shangguan Hen another five hundred thousand superior-grade spirit stones to buy things to eat.” Gu Hai nodded.

As Mu Chenfeng drank tea at the side, he suppressed the shock in his heart.

Money? During this time, many people have tried guessing how much Gu Hai has earned. Only one month has passed. Is he a beast that can create money?

Mu Chenfeng now learned that Gu Hai had given Shangguan Hen one million superior-grade spirit stones. What is going on? One million superior-grade spirit stones? How long would it take me to earn that with my salary?

However, that money that Gu Hai gave Shangguan Hen was only for buying food.

Is that Shangguan Hen some kind of glutton? How is he able to eat so much?

“Division…Division Master Gu, This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s renovations are complete. Over the past two days, you announced its opening after playing the piano, inviting everyone in the city to come and buy all sorts of instruments. However, where are your instruments coming from?” Mu Chenfeng asked, feeling puzzled. 

“Didn’t I borrow one thousand subordinates from you previously? They have been helping me source goods. You will see in two days,” Gu Hai replied with a smile.

“Alright?” Me Chenfeng nodded in confusion.

The entire city received news of the opening. Many cultivators were aware of Gu Hai’s situation. Could an outsider shoulder the pressure from the World’s Best Zither Pavilion?

Where was Gu Hai going to get his goods?

Would there be zithers for sale when he opened for business?

Many shopkeepers on that street were waiting, wanting to see whether the zither pavilion would become a joke on this day.

Many people already surrounded This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion early in the morning.

After one month of waiting, the World’s Best Zither Pavilion had regained some of its previous popularity.

General Manager Jiang Tianyi, who had gotten his men to prepare a gift long ago, smiled coldly from a distance as he looked at the tightly shut This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion.

This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s renovation style was quite original. The ground was paved with marble, and white seemed to be the theme everywhere. It looked very luxurious and magnificent.

Han Royal Dynasty officials and Elite Hall disciples now stood outside.

“The auspicious time has arrived!”

Crackle! Bang! Crackle! Bang! Firecrackers rang out.

Amid the bustling scene, Gu Hai and Long Wanqing made their way to the very front.

“Commence the ribbon cutting!” a Han Royal Dynasty official shouted.

The surrounding cultivators goggled at the entire opening ceremony.

Where did this group of country bumpkins find this? What kind of opening ceremony is this? Why is it so strange?

This was how Gu Hai opened his businesses, a practice he brought over from Earth. When the cultivators saw this, they felt confused.

Gu Hai and Long Wanqing used the scissors in their hands to cut out a ribbon ball hanging at the center of the ribbon.

“We are open for business!” Gu Hai smiled.

Amid crackling fireworks, This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion officially opened for business.

Then, the doors burst open.

The interior decorations followed a uniform design. The sunlight could shine into the center of the store, making the store look exceptionally bright and open.

“Everyone, for the first three days of This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s opening, everything will be ten percent off. The prices are clearly indicated—no bargaining or buying on credit. Of the best zithers in the entire city, ours are the cheapest. Of all the cheapest zithers, ours are the best! This way, please!” Gu Hai guffawed.

Ten percent off everything?

Many cultivators immediately rushed in. Jiang Tianyi had prepared some special gifts to ridicule Gu Hai. However, Gu Hai strangely managed to open for business, which made these gifts useless.

“He really managed to open for business? That’s impossible. Where did he get his goods from? Does he really have quality goods?” Jiang Tianyi entered skeptically.

“Hey! It is really filled with goods. All five floors are completely filled. There’s a lot of instruments!”

“This floor is actually filled with guqins. The quality of the guqin is not inferior to the ones in the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. Ah! This price? This is only half of the World’s Best Zither Pavilion’s prices. What? There is a further ten percent off this today? I want it! I want it!”

“This pipe is not bad. Its quality is similar to those at the World’s Best Zither Pavilion but at seventy percent of the cost? What? There’s a further ten percent off on this? I have been wanting this since long ago! Give me! I want it!”

“What? Take the invoice and pay there? There is an invoice?”

Marble paved all five floors and even covered the walls, looking exceptionally bright. This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion also hired master zitherists to play relaxing music, allowing the customers to feel content as they walked around.

The salespeople were extremely polite, introducing the various pros and cons of the instruments in detail.

However, the interior seemed to be divided into many small shops.

“Isn’t this the erhu shop at the end of the street? Why is it doing business here?” Jiang Tianyi’s expression changed.

“This is the guqin shop from the neighboring street. Their drums are the best. They opened a stall here to sell drums?

“Over there! Over there! Those are Silver Moon City’s specialty shops? They have all gathered and set up shop here?”

Jiang Tianyi looked at the various small shops in shock.

Overall, these small shops were inferior to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion; however, they still had some signature instruments. They had brought their signature instruments to This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion and were conducting business here.

A win-win situation was established.

“Hey! Manager Jiang, you are here too. I have my flutes, which you praised in the past, here. Take a look. These are my shop’s signature goods!”

“You! Manager Chen, didn’t we have an agreement? You are not to provide your goods to Gu Hai. Have you forgotten?” Jiang Tianhe asked coldly.

“We did not. We did not provide him with any goods. We are just opening our own shop. Look, my signboard is here. This is my Chen’s Flute Firm,” Manager Chen immediately replied with a smile.

“What do you mean by this? This is not considered providing him with goods? Look? You are selling the goods, but the money ends up in Gu Hai’s hands!” Jiang Tianyi glared.

“That’s not how it is, Manager Jiang. The money will be handed to us,” Manager Chen said, smiling.

“Oh?”

“Gu Hai said that this is something like a large department store, or whatever he called it. Our brands can enter the department store and sell there. This place enjoys high traffic. As long as we maintain a high quality, our sales will depend on our capabilities. The department store functions on commissions. Take us, for example; they take twenty percent on our sales,” Manager Chen explained.

“Commissions? Then, you can move your brand in as you please?”

“How can we? Gu Hai is picky. Inferior goods are not permitted to be sold here. If anyone attempts to sell imitations or fake goods, they will be fined. We issue invoices, and the customer goes to the cashier to pay so that the accounts can be kept properly,” Manager Chen explained.

Jiang Tianyi’s expression changed dramatically. “Department store? Department store? Commission? Gu Hai, to think that you actually thought of such a way to earn money?!”

“Manager Jiang, let’s end the conversation here. Business is especially good today. I’ll come by the World’s Best Zither Pavilion another day!” Manager Chen bowed and went to attend to his customers.

As it was the first day of business, This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion had attracted countless cultivators over.

The goods were of good quality and cheap. Furthermore, there was an invoice guaranteeing it. The new sales method had countless cultivators quickly handing over their money.

Many people bought instruments as if they did not cost anything, rushing to purchase them.

Long queues formed at every cashier, delivering money to Gu Hai.

The preorders for pianos had already cooled down. However, the department store bustled with business.

The news seemed to grow wings as it spread out.

Jiang Tianyi left dispiritedly, continuously repeating, “It’s over. It’s over. The World’s Best Zither Pavilion is over.”

Cost? There was practically no cost to this. As long as Gu Hai could handle the management and accounts, he could just sit and collect money every day.

As for sourcing for instruments? There was no need at all. After these shops tasted the sweetness of selling here, they would resort to all means to sell in this department store.

To think that I even thought of blacklisting Gu Hai from obtaining stock! Could that still happen?

Indeed, these small shops could not compare to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. However, they all had their signature instruments. These instruments would be no worse and were much cheaper.

The cultivators were not fools. After comparing the two sides, they naturally abandoned the World’s Best Zither Pavilion.

Jiang Tianyi returned to the World’s Best Zither Pavilion dispirited. 

At this moment, the World’s Best Zither Pavilion was mostly empty; there were only a few customers.

“Manager Jiang, many people went to check out the opening of the zither pavilion on the other side. You also went. How was it? Are the instruments there terrible? How long will it take before they collapse?” Lu An smiled while drinking tea when he saw Jiang Tianyi enter.

Jiang Tianyi revealed a bitter smile as he said, “Young Master An, Gu Hai is not just a business talent but a business genius. The piano pieces from before were only to create momentum for this day. The money earned from selling pianos is just an appetizer for the sake of building momentum. We have been fooled, completely fooled!”

“What? Momentum?” Lu An raised his eyebrows.

“Indeed, selling pianos was just to create momentum. This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion is the true terrifying cash cow. My World’s Best Zither Pavilion is in danger!” Jiang Tianyi said bitterly.

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for September: 05 / 50

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