In a pavilion in the Silver Moon Mountain Manor:
“Cough! Cough! Cough!” the manor lord coughed.
Yun Mo stood behind as he said worriedly, “Manor Lord, are you feeling better?”
The manor lord smiled faintly and said, “There’s no need to worry. I’m fine. In the end, I’m old already. Playing soul music drained me a lot.”
“Ten days later at the Silver Moon Sea?” Yun Mo said with a frown.
“Indeed, the Silver Moon Sea. That is the land that Teacher Yinyue left back then. Haha! Duke Lu Yang? Does he think that I do not know?” the old manor lord sighed softly.
[TL Note: Yinyue means silver moon when translated. Given that naming a sect after oneself is common, it is likely that this Teacher Yinyue was the founder of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor and possibly Silver Moon City as well, or the city might be named after the sect. My guess is that Yinyue is the given name as Yun Mu is supposed to be a descendant, so the family name should be Yun.]
“Know what?” Yun Mo said, feeling confused.
“It’s better that you not know. Even I am helpless about it. After I pass away, manage the Silver Moon Mountain Manor well. Remember, the Silver Moon Mountain Manor entered a decline because it relied on others. Being strong yourself is the foundation. During my time, I could not support the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. That was why I used the heaven-grade zithers to exchange for favors. If it were during Teacher Yinyue’s time, he would have just placed one at the entrance, and no one would dare to take it. Every faction in the world took glory in befriending him. If anyone offended him, Teacher Yinyue would not even have to take personal action. Many factions would rush to eradicate the offender’s faction,” the manor lord sighed softly.
“Manor Lord, you are already incredible. Yun Mo is far from comparable,” Yun Mo said bitterly.
“Incredible? Haha! I hope that you will be even more incredible than me. Only then can you protect this Silver Moon Mountain Manor.” The manor lord looked at Yun Mo.
“Yes. Manor Lord, you don’t have to worry; you won’t die,” Yun Mo said through clenched teeth.
“Silly, who can avoid death without becoming immortal?” the manor lord said with a bitter smile.
Just at this moment, a Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciple rushed over. “Manor Lord, Mo Yike is outside, seeking an audience.”
“Mo Yike?” The manor lord raised his eyebrows.
“Yes. Mister Mo Yike said that only he would enter. His companions will remain outside. He seeks an audience with Manor Lord, saying that he had something important to discuss,” that disciple said.
The manor lord remained silent for a while before nodding and saying, “Invite him in, then.”
Soon, that disciple brought Mo Yike to the pavilion.
“Mo Yike greets the Silver Moon Mountain Manor Lord!” Mo Yike greeted, bowing extremely politely.
“Mister Mo is too polite. This old man’s body is weak, and I cannot welcome you from afar. Do forgive me for that,” the manor lord said with a faint smile.
“Is this the young manor lord? Indeed, heroes emerge from youths.” Mo Yike gave Yun Mo a slight bow.
“I’m not worthy of such praise,” Yun Mo replied politely.
“Young Manor Lord is too polite. Silver Moon Mountain Manor Lord, I am here on behalf of the duke to deliver a big gift to Manor Lord. It can help Manor Lord deal with the problem of your lifespan’s approaching end,” Mo Yike said with a smile.
“Oh?” the manor lord said, feeling curious.
Mo Yike looked at Yun Mo as though he wanted Yun Mo to leave.
“Yun Mo will be the manor lord soon. There is no need for him to leave,” the manor lord said indifferently.
“That is of course. It is just that I need the young manor lord to verify this item.” Mo Yike frowned slightly, but he immediately changed the topic.
Mo Yike took out a jade box and handed it to Yun Mo.
Yun Mo brought the jade box to the manor lord, feeling curious.
“Open it and see,” the manor lord said.
Yun Mo slowly opened the jade box. Faint beams of golden light radiated from the inside. A golden peach lay in the jade box, looking very similar to the century lifespan immortality peach that Gu Hai obtained in the past. However, the bottom half of this peach was crimson.
“This is?” Yun Mo asked in bewilderment.
“A century lifespan immortality peach from the Innate Puzzle World. Eating one increases one’s lifespan by one century. This can allow Manor Lord to extend his lifespan by one century,” Mo Yike said with a smile.
“What? A century lifespan immortality peach? An immortality peach? Manor Lord, you can have another century of lifespan!” Yun Mo’s face immediately lit up in joy.
However, the manor lord did not feel excited. Instead, his eyelids twitched wildly. “Duke Lu Yang obtained the century lifespan immortality peach tree?”
“That’s right. We extracted it from the Innate Puzzle World not long ago. However, someone already picked the century lifespan immortality peaches, leaving an empty tree. After a lot of effort, the duke managed to make it grow another ten. After the tree produced century lifespan immortality peaches, he immediately sent me to bring this over,” Mo Yike said with a smile.
However, the manor lord shook his head and said with a bitter smile, “Many thanks to the duke for his kind intentions. However, this humble one is truly unable to enjoy this.”
“Huh?” Mo Yike said in confusion.
“Manor Lord!” Yun Mo said anxiously.
The manor lord shook his head and said, “This is not the only lifespan plant in the world. If this old man were willing to forsake his pride and ask for one, I could get some. However, this old man never even considered this. Mister Mo, do you know why? The Innate Puzzle World opens every two centuries. This old man could have shamelessly asked for one as well. After all, this old man can be considered old friends with Old Mister Guan Qi. However, I did not.”
“Why?” Mister Mo asked, feeling confused.
“Lifespan plants plunder the lifespan of the world. It damages the harmony of the world. The century lifespan immortality peach tree bears fruits only once every century. However, Duke Lu Yang nurtured new fruits in just a few short months. I’m sure Mister Mo knows how,” the manor lord said with a bitter smile.
Mo Yike frowned slightly.
“Manor Lord, what’s wrong with lifespan plants? Why can’t you eat it?” Yun Mo said anxiously.
The manor lord looked at Yun Mo and smiled bitterly. “Do you know of the Innate Puzzle World’s century lifespan immortality peach tree? Do you know what its nourishment is?”
“Back then, when the century lifespan immortality peach tree was in Old Mister Guan Qi’s hands, the century lifespan immortality peach tree was rooted in the nether realm. Did you know that? The tree was in the land of the living, while the roots were in the nether realm. The nourishment from the nether realm was ghosts. Did you know that? What are ghosts? They are the souls of people who died violent deaths, the souls that had not used up their lifespans. Did you know that they were turned into nourishment for the century lifespan immortality peach tree? I heard that he even invited a person called the Unborn Man to help him in the nether realm. Haha! Do you know how many ghosts one century lifespan immortality peach consumes? Do you think that I can stomach the immortality peach, which is nourished by ghosts? A lifespan plant that uses ghosts as nourishment? That is just plundering lifespan. That Unborn Man person will not have a good fate. The natural order of things moves in a cycle. It is not that he will not suffer retribution; his retribution just has not arrived yet,” the manor lord explained.
“Ah?” Yun Mo felt mildly startled.
“I’m not even willing to eat that century lifespan immortality peach. Do you think I will eat this? Look at the crimson lower half of this century lifespan immortality peach. Duke Lu Yang used living people as its nourishment, right?” The manor lord suddenly looked at Mo Yike.
Mo Yike raised his eyebrows but did not say anything.
“Living people? Living people as the century lifespan immortality peach tree’s nourishment?!” Yun Mo said in horror.
“Indeed. It directly plundered the lifespans of the living; that is too bloody. Mister Mo, I think you had better keep this. This old man cannot accept it.” The manor lord smiled faintly.
Mo Yike showed a faintly bitter smile and said, “Alright. Since Manor Lord is not willing, then never mind.”
“Mister Mo, are there other matters?” The manor lord looked at Mo Yike.
Mo Yike looked back at the manor lord in silence for a while before again showing a faintly bitter smile. “There is nothing else. This humble one shall take his leave, then.”
“Yun Mo, send off Mister Mo.” The manor lord smiled.
“Yes.” Yun Mo returned the century lifespan immortality peach.
Mo Yike bowed before being led away by Yun Mo.
After the two left, the manor lord looked at Mister Mo’s departing figure and frowned heavily.
“Hah…Mister Mo is very sharp. I know that you want me to change the location of the zither bestowal event. However, my Silver Moon Mountain Manor does not want to get involved in your matters. This time, I must hold the zither bestowal event in the Silver Moon Sea. To think that you chose to keep quiet when you noticed my determination! Haha! I wonder whether it is a good or bad thing for Duke Lu Yang to have such a subordinate.” The manor lord showed a bitter smile.
Then, the manor lord picked up a piece of cloth and started gently wiping the almost-rotting guqin.
City lord’s official residence, Silver Moon City:
The city lord’s official residence sat on a humongous floating island. Large numbers of guards protected the place with a huge palace above.
Gu Hai and Long Wanqing slowly walked out of a hall’s entrance. There were still some guards in the surroundings.
“Hall Master Long, Mister Gu, you sought out the wrong person. I have been in Silver Moon City all these years, and Hall Master Long’s mother died in the Thousand Islands Sea. How could I possibly know the details behind it? Furthermore, I am only in the Nascent Soul Realm. Hall Master Long doesn’t suspect me, right?” City Lord He Shikang said with a faint, bitter smile.
“I don’t. I’m just clueless at the moment and recalled that Uncle He used to attend mother’s zither conventions. Mother even told me to address you as Uncle He. That’s why I came to see if Uncle He has any clues,” Long Wanqing said disappointedly.
He Shikang appeared stunned. Some sorrow flashed in his eyes as he said, “Your mother? Haha! She was an incredible person. Unexpectedly, she perished. Hah…”
“Uncle He is feeling upset over my mother? Then, why did you—” Long Wanqing spoke, wanting to address a doubt.
However, Gu Hai tugged Long Wanqing midway.
Long Wanqing gave Gu Hai a confused look. When Gu Hai shook his head, Long Wanqing nodded and did not say anything more.
“City Lord He, since you have no clues, then never mind. Sorry for the disturbance.” Gu Hai smiled faintly.
“Alright.” City Lord He nodded.
Gu Hai and Long Wanqing took their leave and left the city lord’s official residence.
“Gu Hai, why did you interrupt me earlier? I was about to ask why He Shikang did not come to pay his respects to my mother,” Long Wanqing asked out of curiosity as they traveled.
“We shouldn’t ask; we wouldn’t get an answer. Someone is monitoring He Shikang,” Gu Hai said seriously.
“Ah?” Long Wanqing’s expression changed.
“Do you remember that guard near He Shikang? After we entered the city lord’s official residence, he remained nearby, ‘protecting’ He Shikang. Wherever we went, he followed us. We walked through three corridors and two halls, but he was always around. Furthermore, during the commotion at my This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion during the day, that guard was standing behind He Shikang as well,” Gu Hai said gravely.
“Ah? You remember even that?” Long Wanqing exclaimed.
“Since I suspect City Lord He, I naturally will pay attention to the people around him,” Gu Hai explained.
“This is all thanks to you,” Long Wanqing said gratefully.
“Someone was monitoring City Lord He? How could it be like that? Given this, how are we going to continue investigating?” Long Wanqing said worriedly.
“Do you remember the earlier fairies? City Lord He also has an event invitation. Perhaps we can ask him in the Silver Moon Sea?” Gu Hai said.
Long Wanqing nodded.
The two returned to the Xiaoyue Secondary Residence. Coincidentally, Shangguan Hen and Venerable Liu Nian returned as well.
“Shangguan Hen, did everything go well on your trip out this time?” Gu Hai smiled.
“Your Majesty, we went all the way to the Silver Moon Sea. There is a snake head of the Black Tortoise Prime there, an entire head! If I can obtain it, I will reach the Nascent Soul Realm,” Shangguan Hen said excitedly.
“Oh? The Silver Moon Sea again?” Gu Hai felt slightly surprised.
“Yes. Furthermore, we saw sin dragons there, the same sin dragons that Lu An brought to the Northern Sea to hunt black tortoises. They were at the Silver Moon Sea, blocking our way.” Shangguan Hen frowned.
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