EIF - Book 03 Chapter 037: Back to the Pyramid-Formation Islands
On the flying ship:
Gu Hai held the guarantee that City Lord He wrote. After taking a look at it, he revealed a faint smile and said, “Alright, it’s time to fish for dragons.”
“Using this guarantee letter? What are you going to do with it?” Long Wanqing asked, feeling curious.
“Take a look and see,” Gu Hai said with a smile.
Long Wanqing received the guarantee letter that City Lord He wrote earlier. She looked at it for a while, appearing puzzled. Then, her expression changed as she sniffed it.
“This is not ink?” Long Wanqing exclaimed.
“This is cuttlefish ink, also known as squid ink,” Gu Hai said with a smile.
“Cuttlefish? Squid? I have heard that someone used cuttlefish ink to write promissory notes and borrowed money from others. However, the words would vanish some time after the promissory note was written. Hence, cuttlefish were named as such,” Venerable Liu Nian said as his expression changed.
[TL Note: One of the Chinese terms for cuttlefish can be translated as “black thief” when the two characters making the word are translated independently.]
“Venerable is indeed knowledgeable.” Gu Hai smiled faintly.
“Disappearing words? Is that why you got City Lord He to stamp his official seal on it? So that you can write in what you want?” Long Wanqing’s expression changed.
“That’s right!” Gu Hai nodded.
“However, I heard that it took half a year for the words written with cuttlefish ink to disappear,” Venerable Liu Nian said doubtfully.
“Cuttlefish ink disappears on its own because the proteins in it denature and oxidize, which indeed takes more than half a year. However, I do not need it to denature and oxidize because I got City Lord He to write the guarantee letter on a silk scroll and not paper.” Gu Hai smiled.
With a flip of his hand, Gu Hai took out a small bucket. A transparent liquid filled this bucket with some lotus root pieces still floating in it.
“This is lotus root juice. It can be used to wash off cuttlefish ink. We just need to rinse the silk scroll with water after that and dry it,” Gu Hai explained.
“Lotus root juice washes off cuttlefish ink? Really?” Long Wanqing marveled.
As Long Wanqing spoke, she tried it.
Indeed, the cuttlefish ink faded away when washed with the lotus root juice.
“It really washed off?! Gu Hai, how did you think of this?” Long Wanqing asked in pleasant surprise.
As Gu Hai looked at the cleaned silk scroll, some memories flashed in his mind.
“When I was young, this was how my mother washed my clothes when I stained them with cuttlefish ink,” Gu Hai sighed.
Venerable Liu Nian felt slightly stunned, a trace of curiosity appearing.
Gu Hai’s mother?
Venerable Liu Nian had investigated Gu Hai while in Nine-Five Island. However, there was no information about him before the age of thirty, as if he had appeared out of nowhere, which was exceptionally strange. No one could figure out who Gu Hai’s parents were.
Long Wanqing did not notice this detail. Instead, she carefully cleaned the silk scroll and dried it, leaving only the stamp of City Lord He’s official seal.
“Pass me the silk scroll. I have seen a lot of City Lord He’s handwriting recently. It should not be difficult to imitate!” Gu Hai smiled.
Silver Moon Island:
Sima Changkong had been paying attention to Gu Hai’s group. Although Long Wanqing quickly put away the decree, he still saw it.
“A decree?” Sima Changkong narrowed his eyes.
Sima Changkong turned his head to face a nearby zitherist. Without moving his lips, he projected his voice into the ears of that zitherist.
“Pass down the instructions—monitor He Shikang’s movements with everything you have. Also, send some people after Gu Hai’s group. Quietly follow them and report any situation back.”
That zitherist nodded respectfully. Then, he left the plaza.
Silver Moon Sea:
Lu An and Fang Minghou left Silver Moon Island again.
“Young Master An, we have people among the zitherists keeping an eye on He Shikang. Although there was a sound isolation ritual array when they spoke, our people are skilled at lip-reading. They could see everything. Aside from discussing Long Xiaoyue’s death, Gu Hai asked about how he would be treated if he joined the duke,” Fang Minghou said gravely.
“There are people keeping an eye on He Shikang at all times; I’m not worried about him. I am only worried about that Gu Hai. Haha! That insignificant thing that I initially did not take note of? Now…now…,” Lu An said with a sullen expression.
“Gu Hai said ‘what great authority’ twice with a tone that suggests disdain. Perhaps—”
“There is no perhaps. Humph! As long as Gu Hai joins the duke’s official residence, I will lose all my authority. He is mocking me. Mocking me!” Lu An said with an unsightly expression.
Fang Minghou remained silent.
Lu An showed an uncertain expression. After a while, a cold look flashed in his eyes. “Fang Minghou, help me kill Gu Hai!”
“Kill Gu Hai? Young Master An, Mister Mo instructed us not to take action against Gu Hai.” Fang Minghou’s expression changed.
“We are not allowed to take action against Gu Hai? No. This barrier will seal this sea for only ten days. This is our only opportunity. If you silently kill him, Mister Mo will not know. Otherwise, once Gu Hai joins the duke’s official residence, I will lose my place. I am the direct grandson,” Lu An said with a sullen expression.
“No buts. Gu Hai’s death in the Silver Moon Sea is due to the manor lord. It is not connected to us. You are my man. If I lose my status, you will be ostracized as well. My glory is your glory. My destruction is your destruction. My grandfather sent you to protect me. If you don’t make a move now and Gu Hai gains power, I will fall,” Lu An said as he stared at Fang Minghou.
Fang Minghou frowned and pondered it.
Lu An continued staring at Fang Minghou.
After a while, Fang Minghou nodded and said, “I can do that. The only person I worry about, of those four, is that Venerable Liu Nian.”
Since Fang Minghou was willing to help him, Lu An smiled. “That’s not a problem. There are ten days. There will be a time when he is alone. We’ll go and find Gu Hai. After that, we will think of a way to lure Venerable Liu Nian away and finish off Gu Hai.”
Fang Minghou nodded.
“Alright. Let’s go search for Gu Hai now,” Lu An said with a cold glint in his eyes.
Silver Moon Island:
The people in the plaza eventually left. The zitherists listening carefully seemed to have picked out a direction and left. Soon, only the manor lord and the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples remained.
“Manor Lord, let’s return?” Yun Mo asked worriedly.
The manor lord closed his eyes and shook his head slightly. “There’s no need to bother with me, Yun Mo. I can hear the surrounding zitherists using music to attract the fairies. This is really pleasant. I’ll just sit here.”
“But it is windy here,” Yun Mo said worriedly.
“It’s fine. I already have one foot in the grave, and my senses are failing. What is there to worry about? Now that the end of my lifespan approaches, it does not matter where I go. Go about your business. Don’t disturb me. I want to listen,” the manor lord said while shaking his head.
Yun Mo remained silent for a while before nodding.
The manor lord sat at the very front with his eyes closed, occasionally showing a smile. His complexion flushed pink, appearing to be showing a dying flash.
“Young Manor Lord, the manor lord’s current state…” a Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciple said with an unsightly expression.
Everyone could tell that the manor lord was on his last legs.
The Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples showed unsightly expressions. Then, they looked at the young manor lord, Yun Mo.
Everyone stared at Yun Mo as though waiting for him to give them orders.
Yun Mo bit his lips, his struggle showing in his eyes.
After a while, Yun Mo made up his mind. A ferocious look flashed on his face as he stared at the surrounding sea and tightly clenched his fist.
Then, Yun Mo nodded.
The surrounding Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples showed joy on their faces as they bowed respectfully to Yun Mo.
Yun Mo gestured, and the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples nodded before silently leaving to set up their plans on Silver Moon Island.
The manor lord was immersed in listening to the music, oblivious to what Yun Mo and the others were doing.
Yun Mo remained by the manor lord’s side, silently directing the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples with gestures.
In the southern region of the Silver Moon Sea, where the dragons guarded, a vast fog covered the three islands in a pyramid formation.
Gu Hai’s group had already put away the flying ship. Now, a small boat carried the four to one of the islands. However, their appearances had undergone some changes at this moment.
Venerable Liu Nian wore a wig, and all four wore official robes. Then, Gu Hai applied makeup to everyone.
“Gu Hai, your makeup skills are excellent. With just a few strokes of the brush, you can completely transform someone?” Long Wanqing exclaimed.
“It is just a minor trick,” Gu Hai said with a faint smile.
“Get me a set of the eyelash curler and eyebrow pencil. Also, that foundation.” Long Wanqing could not recognize herself when she looked in the mirror.
“No problem. I’ll get someone to make you a set of the best quality when we return.” Gu Hai smiled.
“Your Majesty, they’ve discovered us!” Shangguan Hen suddenly called out.
A sharp arrow shot over from a distance.
The arrow embedded itself in the boat, its tail vibrating.
“Who are you? You are not permitted to approach!” A loud shout came from the island.
Gu Hai flung out his hand.
A jade box shot towards the island.
“Huh?” This slightly startled the distant soldiers.
One of the officers on the island caught the jade box and opened it to take a look. He found a silk scroll inside with City Lord He’s official seal stamped on it.
“Oh? Don’t shoot. The city lord sent them!” that officer immediately shouted.
The small boat continued heading for the island.
There were ritual arrays around the island. However, no one dared to stop the boat because of the silk scroll, so the boat easily reached the island.
After landing on the island, Gu Hai’s group was immediately surrounded by a troop of soldiers.
“Who are you? You look somewhat familiar?” The officer leading the troop frowned.
“You blind fool! Does Lord Gu of the duke’s official residence need to report to you? Go call the person with the highest authority over!” Shangguan Hen suddenly shouted while glaring.
“Huh?” This startled that officer.
Although that officer got scolded, he did not dare to talk back. Lord Gu? Which Lord Gu? That officer did not know this Lord Gu, but all he needed to know was that this Lord Gu was from the duke’s official residence. Furthermore, this Lord Gu wanted to meet the general. There was no point talking back. This person had the city lord’s introduction letter. What was there to worry about? The general would deal with this.
Gu Hai’s group walked around the island boldly, escorted by the soldiers. Along the way, Venerable Liu Nian studied the surroundings.
“How is it?” Gu Hai asked in a low voice.
“There are about two thousand soldiers, but there should not be any powerful people.” Venerable Liu Nian nodded.
“Alright. Do be careful later.” Gu Hai nodded.
“You have the city lord’s introduction. What is there to worry about?” Long Wanqing smiled while speaking softly.
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