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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 050: Exclusive Supply

Xiaoyue Secondary Residence, Silver Moon City:

Gu Hai looked at a note that Long Wanqing handed him.

“This is?” Gu Hai looked at Long Wanqing and Venerable Liu Nian.

“While you ran all over the place with the one million zither puppets on your tail, we found He Shikang. He Shikang refused to say anything. However, when Yun Mo used Ensnaring Performance’s artistic conception zither strings to bind us, he shoved a note to me in the frenzy,” Long Wanqing explained.

“Huangfu Chaoge?” Gu Hai read out the words on the note.

“That should be the Mister Huangfu that we are searching for. Previously, he and He Shikang frequently attended my mother’s zither conventions. After my mother died, they never came to pay their respects. Previously, you guessed that this Mister Huangfu and He Shikang knew something,” Long Wanqing said.

“You both know this Huangfu Chaoge?” Gu Hai looked at the two quizzically.

Venerable Liu Nian took a deep breath and nodded. “Indeed. Unexpectedly, he is this Mister Huangfu. He actually attended Xiaoyue’s zither conventions? Haha! He must have taken a lot of risks to do so.”

“Oh?”

“Do you know who is Duke Lu Yang fighting at the frontlines?” Long Wanqing smiled bitterly.

“You mentioned it before. I think it was called the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty? Initially, this Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty was subordinated to the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. It has since broken the alliance and turned its back on the Qian Heavenly Dynasty, allying with an imperial dynasty hostile to the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. Do the battles at the frontlines refer to Duke Lu Yang attacking the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty?” Gu Hai asked.

Long Wanqing nodded and said, “Indeed. Huangfu Chaoge is the master of the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty. Twenty years ago, he was allied with the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. However, he did not have the authority to enter the Qian Heavenly Dynasty. Back then, he should have attended my mother’s zither conventions incognito.”

“Huangfu Chaoge knows the reason for your mother’s death? Now, he is fighting a war with the Qian Heavenly Dynasty?” Gu Hai frowned.

“Yes!” Long Wanqing nodded.

“Then, why are you worrying? Isn’t this a good thing? Now that we have a clue, we just have to look for him.” Gu Hai smiled.

Long Wanqing showed a bitter smile and said, “However, he is now an enemy of my Qian Heavenly Dynasty. It is not convenient for us to go there.”

“There is nothing inconvenient about it. Only the three of us know about this matter,” Gu Hai said.

The two nodded.

“Gu Hai! Hall Master! Venerable!” Mu Chenfeng rushed into the hall.

“Huh?” Everyone looked at Mu Chenfeng.

Ever since Mu Chenfeng did his best to open the city gates for Gu Hai, Gu Hai had a much better impression of him, showing him a better attitude.

“He Shikang died! I heard that he committed suicide in the city lord’s residence!” Mu Chenfeng explained.

“Oh? He died?” Long Wanqing raised her eyebrows.

Gu Hai and Venerable Liu Nian exchanged looks with a gloomy cast to their eyes.

“Also, I heard that the one million bronze statues that Sima Changkong dispatched got robbed,” Mu Chenfeng added.

“Robbed?” Long Wanqing felt startled.

“How bold of them! To think that they are so fearless! They actually dared to rob the dispatch of the heavenly court?” Venerable Liu Nian said with an unsightly expression.

“Who knows?” Mu Chenfeng frowned.

“Alright. That’s not something for us to worry about. The manor lord’s funeral service will begin soon, right?” Gu Hai asked.

“It should be about time.” Mu Chenfeng nodded.

“Let’s go and say our final farewells to the manor lord’s remains. He showed us much care during our stay in Silver Moon City,” Gu Hai said seriously.

“Alright.” Everyone nodded.

------

Outside the Xiaoyue Secondary Residence:

When Fairy Waner passed by the Xiaoyue Secondary Residence while riding on an immortal crane, mixed emotions flashed in her eyes as she looked at the fog-covered, floating island.

Gu Hai was in there.

Fraud? Shameless? Benefactor?

Fairy Waner’s heart was in turmoil. Previously, she had looked down on Gu Hai. However, Gu Hai repeatedly made her feel helpless, nearly to the point of vomiting blood. Gu Hai even caused her to become the focus of criticism. That felt unbearable.

This should be a person that she should forever be at odds with. However, in the end, he saved her at the critical moment.

At that time, no matter who Fairy Waner called out for, they could not save her. Even calling for her master was useless. However, this fraud appeared at her moment of despair. He was a savior who appeared amid despair. This should be something that greatly impacted her heart. Unfortunately, this savior was that fraud.

“Humph! You fraud, it’s not over between us!” Fairy Waner said with a complicated tone.

She flew quickly towards the city gate, riding the immortal crane. Soon, she arrived.

Upon exiting the city gate, Fairy Waner took out a flying ship. After boarding it, she went to the control room, operated it, and flew south.

------

Silver Moon Mountain Manor:

Previously, many people came to this place, wishing to visit or join the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. Now, the Silver Moon Mountain Manor appeared exceptionally empty and bleak.

Most of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples were in the main hall of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor.

White cloth already hung in the surroundings. Right now, the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s main hall, the Silver Moon Hall, was the manor lord’s funeral hall.

The manor lord’s corpse was placed in a coffin at the center of the funeral hall.

In mourning clothes, Yun Mo knelt in the center of the funeral hall, fingering the many items that the manor lord had left behind.

Every time he picked up an item, he would reminisce for a while before placing it in a brazier to burn it, hoping to pass it to the manor lord in the nether realm.

Yun Mo’s eyes were bloodshot. All the manor lord’s disciples, who were kneeling in the hall, felt sorrowful. However, it was incredibly noisy outside the hall.

“It is all Yun Mo’s fault. Otherwise, the manor lord would not have died without dignity!”

“What is the point of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor if the manor lord is not here? Now, no one wants my Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s guqins!”

“I don’t want to stay at the Silver Moon Mountain Manor anymore. What is the point of remaining?”

“You bastards, the manor lord just died, and you want to rebel? The manor lord said to listen to the young manor lord!”

“You are the bastard. What future is there in following him? Right now, everyone in Silver Moon City—no, the entire music Dao circle—are cursing at him!”

The Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples outside the hall had split into two factions, arguing with each other.

As Yun Mo burned the manor lord’s things, he sighed, “Stop causing a commotion. The manor lord just died. Let him go in peace.”

Yun Mo’s voice reached outside the hall.

The two factions arguing outside suddenly stopped.

“Humph! What is the point of hypocritically burning the manor lord’s things? The manor lord’s mortal soul already became nourishment for Sima Changkong. Without a mortal soul, he can’t even see this funeral hall. Do you really think that these things will reach the nether realm?” one of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples scoffed with a sarcastic tone.

Yun Mo took a deep breath as he said, “The manor lord just died. If any more people continue arguing, don’t blame me for being ruthless.”

The Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples’ faces sank.

“After we bury the manor lord, you may leave or stay; it’s up to you. Back when you first joined the Silver Moon Mountain Manor, you signed a contract to the effect that once you entered, you were never to betray the Silver Moon Mountain Manor; otherwise, the Silver Moon Mountain Manor would relentlessly chase you down. That is because my Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s forging methods are secrets exclusive to us, and they cannot be leaked. Do you think that I don’t know why you are kicking up a fuss? I already caused the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s reputation to go to the gutters. Now, you have other thoughts, wanting to take the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s forging method somewhere else or start your own business? Haha! Go on, then. I will return those contracts. Go if you want. Stay if you want. I only have one demand: know your place before the manor lord is buried,” Yun Mo said.

“Ah? Young Manor Lord, you can’t do that. If you do that, won’t the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s forging methods be…,” a few of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples loyal to Yun Mo objected.

However, the eyes of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples who harbored ulterior motives lit up.

The previous commotion immediately stopped.

With the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s forging methods in hand, I will be able to start a business anywhere after leaving the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. Yun Mo will return those indentures?

The funeral hall finally felt like a funeral hall.

Yun Mo felt slightly bitter.

“Young Manor Lord, Elite Hall’s Long Wanqing, Venerable Liu Nian, and Gu Hai are here and wish to pay their respects to the manor lord,” a manor disciple said respectfully.

“Oh?” Yun Mo felt slightly surprised. Then, he nodded and said, “Invite them in.”

“Yes!”

Soon, the three entered the hall.

Although Long Wanqing was the Elite Hall Master, she intentionally let Gu Hai have the center position. Venerable Liu Nian saw but did not say anything.

When Gu Hai’s group entered the hall, none of the three greeted anyone. They went straight to the side to retrieve some incense, and each offered the manor lord a stick of incense in front of the manor lord’s coffin.

After offering incense, they bowed to the manor lord three times.

“Many thanks, Mister Gu, Hall Master Long, and Venerable Liu Nian.” Yun Mo got up and bowed to them.

The three were the first to come to pay their respects to the manor lord. Yun Mo had to thank them just for their respect for the manor lord.

“Young Master Lord, I’m sorry for your loss,” Gu Hai said with a sigh.

Yun Mo’s eyes remained bloodshot as he nodded.

“Gu Hai received the manor lord’s care during my stay here, but I am unable to repay it. Since I am here, may I have a word with Young Manor Lord outside?” Gu Hai said seriously.

Yun Mo was somewhat puzzled, but he nodded.

The group walked out of the funeral hall and sat down in a pavilion outside the funeral hall.

“Mister Gu, might you have some advice for me?” Yun Mo asked, feeling puzzled.

“Gu Hai still clearly remembers Young Manor Lord’s promise to the manor lord on Silver Moon Island. When I first came to Silver Moon City, I had a dispute with the World’s Best Zither Pavilion. This humble one used the selling of pianos to shake up the World’s Best Zither Pavilion with an unusual trick. That was not something that could be accomplished so quickly. However, the manor lord helped me, turning my Canon into a new trend. The manor lord has passed away, with this humble one unable to do anything. Right now, the only thing that I can do is hope that Young Manor Lord will not shun my This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion,” Gu Hai said seriously.

“Huh?” Yun Mo looked at Gu Hai in confusion.

“This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion will be opening branches soon. It will expand to the various cities in the world with Silver Moon City as its headquarters. Perhaps we might expand slowly. However, our mode of operation makes opening chain stores extremely easy. I ask that you believe in This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion, that one day, we can spread to all the cities of the world,” Gu Hai said seriously.

“So what if it does?” Yun Mo continued looking at Gu Hai in confusion.

“My This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion is mostly filled with guqins belonging to others. We do not have guqins of our own. Although these external guqins are good, I have a principle of never remaining reliant on others. Thus, I would ask that Young Manor Lord put up with this and lead your This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion in exclusively supplying my This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion,” Gu Hai said seriously.

“Exclusively supply guqins? Haha! You want to swallow up my Silver Moon Mountain Manor?” Yun Mo coldly eyed Gu Hai.

“No. Your Silver Moon Mountain Manor will forever be your Silver Moon Mountain Manor. I will not interfere in it, so rest assured. If someday you no longer want to work with me, Gu Hai, you may leave with the Silver Moon Mountain Manor at any time. I will not stop you,” Gu Hai said seriously.

“Oh?” Yun Mo frowned as he looked at Gu Hai.

“I only need you to supply me exclusively. During the time of our cooperation, your Silver Moon Mountain Manor will supply guqins to only my zither pavilion. Your reputation does not matter. I will think of a way to help you rebuild it. Everything will be fine. I need the Silver Moon Mountain Manor to help me, and I will do my best to fulfill your wish,” Gu Hai said gravely.

“My wish?” Yun Mo frowned as he looked at Gu Hai.

“Indeed. Don’t you want to make a zither for the manor lord? Perhaps the manor lord will reincarnate. However, you won’t know who his reincarnation will be. Nevertheless, he might enter my This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion. Perhaps he will see the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s guqins at the dedicated sales counter at my zither pavilion. By chance, he might buy a zither that you forged?” Gu Hai persuaded.

Yun Mo’s eyes suddenly turned bloodshot. When he looked at Gu Hai, he no longer did so with enmity.

“Do you see the vitality of my zither pavilion? I, Gu Hai, started as a businessman. Please believe that I can make my zither pavilion the largest in the world, able to spread chain stores throughout every corner of the world,” Gu Hai said seriously.

After a spurt of excitement, Yun Mo quickly cooled down. “You only have one zither pavilion, yet you paint me such a grand picture?”

“Indeed. However, we at least have a target. Your skills in forging zithers have not reached the peak, either. You need time to grow, and so does my zither pavilion, right? In the future, all of This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion’s stores will have a dedicated corner for you and the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. Young Manor Lord, what do you think?” Gu Hai said seriously.

“Haha! Haha! Gu Hai, do you really think that you can open such a vast number of these chain store things?” Yun Mo looked at Gu Hai with uncertainty in his eyes.

“Back when everyone did not believe that my zither pavilion would work out, the manor lord believed in me, right?” Gu Hai retorted seriously.

Yun Mo’s expression turned stiff. Indeed, few thought that Gu Hai had a chance at first. However, the manor lord told him to deliver an event invitation to Gu Hai personally as a form of encouragement.

“Young Manor Lord, how about we set a contract for fifty years? My zither pavilion will promote your Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s guqins with all our might while you forge zithers for my zither pavilion with all your might. The zither pavilion and the Silver Moon Mountain Manor will halve the proceeds. The zither pavilion’s share would be for advertising and promotion. How about it? Fifty years will pass in a flash. If you still spurn my zither pavilion after fifty years, we can call off the contract anytime?” Gu Hai proposed seriously.

Yun Mo remained silent for a while.

The Silver Moon Mountain Manor disciples caused a commotion earlier because the world now spurned the Silver Moon Mountain Manor. Many in the zither business no longer wanted the Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s zithers. Only Gu Hai still valued them so highly.

Now, the internal affairs of the Silver Moon Mountain Manor were unstable. The disciples were at odds, and the Silver Moon Mountain Manor faced both internal and external threats.

“Fifty years? Alright. I hope Mister Gu will not disappoint me,” Yun Mo said with certainty.

Gu Hai smiled faintly and nodded. “Manor Lord Yun, rest assured. I, Gu Hai, will accomplish what I said. However…” 

“However, what?” Yun Mo prompted, frowning.

“However, I hope that Manor Lord Yun will seek to improve constantly in the future. I hope that every guqin that you make will be better than the one before it,” Gu Hai said gravely.

“How can that be possible? Do you know about forging zithers? Who can guarantee such a thing?” Yun Mo frowned.

“Manor Lord Yun, we will promote your guqins with all our might. The guqins that you forge will be known to everyone to the greatest extent. Every guqin that you make might be seen by the previous manor lord’s reincarnation. No. Even if the previous manor lord’s reincarnation sees just one guqin, that would be enough. Perhaps the previous manor lord’s reincarnation might buy it. I hope you will put in all your effort to forge a zither for the previous manor lord,” Gu Hai said gravely.

Yun Mo appeared solemn as he clenched his fists. Then, he nodded and said, “I will. From today on, I will put in my full effort in every zither I make.”

“It is settled, then!” Gu Hai performed a cupped-fist salute.

“Didn’t you say we would sign a fifty-year contract?” Yun Mo felt slightly startled.

Gu Hai shook his head and smiled. “There’s no need. Manor Lord Yun already made a promise; why the need for a contract? It is settled.”

“You…you aren’t afraid that I might go back on my word?” Yun Mo said while frowning. 

“I trust my judgment. If it were the previous manor lord, would he go back on his word?” Gu Hai smiled.

“Naturally, the manor lord wouldn’t. But I—”

“Even if the manor lord’s student is inferior to him, the student will not be that much inferior. I trust in the previous manor lord’s reputation, in Silver Moon Mountain Manor’s reputation, and in Manor Lord Yun’s reputation. That is enough,” Gu Hai said seriously.

Yun Mo looked at Gu Hai, stood up, and bowed to him again.

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for September: 38 / 50

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