Chapter 180 - Mu Chenfeng
Silvermoon City, Xiaoyue Palace...
As Gu Hai and his team disembarked the crane carriage and followed Long Wanqing into the palace...
Long Wanqing's retainers immediately came to welcome them. One of them was the retainer that was imprisoned in the Song Jia Sect of Nine-Five Island, and then rescued by Gu Hai. Naturally, he recognized Gu Hai.
Meanwhile, the Great Han officials followed behind Gu Hai. At this moment, they were looking at everything with endless curiosity.
"Has everyone arrived?" Long Wanqing asked that retainer.
"The disciples of the Metal Throne and the Wood Throne have arrived. However, the Metal Throne Master waited for a few days, and after seeing that Hall Lord hadn't returned yet, led the Metal Throne Master disciples to the frontline of Ying Province battlefield, saying that he was going there to look for the clues of Hall Mother's death. He left a letter with me to give to Hall Lord!" That retainer immediately took out a letter.
Opening the letter, Long Wanqing looked it over a few times before putting it away.
"As hot-tempered as Metal Throne Master may be, he is loyal to my mother. It's just that everything is in a mess at this moment. We don't have a single clue. I wonder if he will find anything by going there?" Long Wanqing heaved a small sigh.
"What about the Wood Throne Master, Mu Chenfeng?" Grandmaster Liunian asked.
"Yes, the Wood Throne Master brought three thousand Wood Throne disciples and has been waiting here. However, Wood Throne Master seems to be more interested in the Zither Conferring Assembly of Silvermoon House. He has visited the Silvermoon House eight times already, hoping to obtain the pass for the assembly, however...!" a wry smile emerged on that retainer's lips..
"A pass?" Gu Hai asked, puzzled.
"Yes, this time, Silvermoon House's awarding of zithers has drawn countless Zither Daoists from all over the world. After all, the attraction of Guo Chen is simply too great. However, not every Zither Daoist has the qualifications to attend. You need to go through screening. Outside the Silvermoon House, there is a special screening area where you have to play your piece to pass, and only then will you gain the pass to attend the Zither Conferring Assembly. However, even after having gone eight times, Wood Throne Master had not been successful once, the screening is too strict!" that retainer explained with a bitter smile.
"Mu Chenfeng! I remember that his Dao of Zither is extremely powerful, yet he doesn't have the qualifications to participate in the Zither Conferring Assembly!?" Long Wanqing asked blankly.
"There are just too many Zither Daoists, which made the screening fairly strict. As a result, the Wood Throne Master had been practicing his zither these days!" that servant stated, forcing a smile.
Right then, a melodious zither tune suddenly chimed in from the floating island shrouded in dense clouds above.
The zither tune was clear and very pleasant. Much to everyone's surprise, the clouds in the vicinity slowly started to move along with the zither tune, led by the music, and slowly started swaying.
"Oh!" Gu Hai was taken aback.
Clouds are moving because of a zither tune? This zither tune is fairly good. However, having just listened to Fairy Wan'er at the World's First Zither Building, it was fairly easy to judge which was better.
That zither tune captivated Gu Hai, but this zither tune, on the other hand, only sounded pleasing to him.
"Go and help the Great Han officials settle down properly!" Long Wanqing ordered that retainer.
"You should go and rest first. Get yourself ready! Tomorrow, you can go to the city and research the shops in detail!" Gu Hai said to the Great Han officials in a commanding voice.
"Yes, Your Royal Majesty!" the seventy officials bowed respectfully to Gu Hai.
"Shangguan Hen, do want to take your rest with them first?" Gu Hai looked to Shangguan Hen.
"Yes, Your Royal Majesty! However, Your Royal Majesty, this minister wants to sightsee the city by myself, can I?" Shangguan Hen said. His voice carried a bit of excitement.
"I guess! You should settle down first, then you can go on your own!" Gu Hai nodded his consent.
"Thank you, Your Royal Majesty!" Shangguan Hen thanked Gu Hai at once.
After having sent off the team of officials...
"Let's go up, okay?" Long Wanqing proposed as a smile appeared on her lips.
Gu Hai nodded in agreement.
Looking up at the floating island, Gu Hai slammed his foot on the ground fiercely.
BOOM! Just like a bullet, Gu Hai shot into the sky.
Long Wanqing and Grandmaster Liunian flew closely behind him. As the two waved their hands, the clouds all around them immediately parted a bit. Very soon, the trio landed on a huge platform on the floating island.
Landing on the stage heavily, Gu Hai turned his gaze towards the outside. This array of clouds was extremely mysterious. Looking from the outside, all Gu Hai could see was a thick veil of clouds. However, looking out from the inside, Gu Hai could see everything on the outside rather clearly.
Suddenly, a harsh note disrupted the zither tune on the floating island, as if a string had broken.
"Who's there? Who dares to disturb my training?" a shout immediately came from a nearby pavilion.
"Oh?" Gu Hai was startled.
On the floating island, the biggest palace was called the Rising Moon Palace. Next to it stood many other pavilions and palaces. But this furious shout came from one of the small pavilions among these many grand and majestic pavilions.
"Wood Throne Master, I heard that zither cultivators need to have a peaceful mentality, only then can they play a matchless tune. But you were disrupted just by us scattering an array! It seems your zither heart isn't good enough!" Grandmaster Liunian laughed as he replied.
Gu Hai looked around, and soon noticed a man dressed in green robes walking over.
The man seemed to be in his forties and was extremely thin. At this moment, a discontented look was plastered over his face.
However, upon noticing that it was Long Wanqing and Grandmaster Liunian, the man was unable to vent his discontent, and all he could do was take a deep breath and swallow his irritation.
"So it's Hall Lord and Grandmaster Liunian. I apologize for my behavior, I forgot myself in the training!" Mu Chenfeng said as he forced out a smile.
"It's alright! Throne Master Mu, you are now our Ascendant Hall's hope, please try your best to obtain Guo Chen!" said the smiling Long Wanqing.
Mu Chenfeng immediately broke into a wry smile as he replied, "How can the Zither Conferring Assembly be so easy? However, I will try my level best! I will not bring shame to Old Hall Lord!"
While speaking, as Mu Chenfeng turned his gaze on Gu Hai, his pupils slightly constricted. "This is…?"
"Gu Hai greets Throne Master Mu!" Gu Hai introduced himself with a smile.
"Gu Hai!? The new Water Throne Master appointed by the Hall Lord!? So you are the one who killed Ding Rui and Meng Tai!?" A furrow crept up on Mu Chenfeng brow as he asked this.
"Throne Master Mu, please don't speak carelessly. Meng Tai is still alive, he is on Nine-Five Island. As for Ding Rui, Li Haoran killed her to silence her, nothing more, nothing less!" Gu Hai corrected as he shook his head, smiling.
Mu Chenfeng, after staring at Gu Hai for a while, nodded and said, "Since you were handpicked by Hall Lord as the Water Throne Master, you had best perform well, don't disappoint Hall Lord!"
Hearing this, Gu Hai stared at Mu Chenfeng, stupefied. I just met you and you are speaking to me in an elder’s tone!?
"Hall Lord believed me and made me the Water Throne Master, how can I not perform well? Thank you, Wood Throne Master, for your kind instructions...!" Gu Hai replied, his smile thin and tone dry.
Mu Chenfeng, on the other hand, didn't seem to care about Gu Hai, as if he believed Gu Hai wasn't of any importance.
"Mu Chenfeng, Gu Hai, you both are colleagues, you must cooperate with each other well, don't make a fool of yourself in front of outsiders!" A furrow crept up on Long Wanqing's brow as she reprimanded the two.
"Hall Lord, rest assured!" Gu Hai assented quickly.
"Hall Lord, don't you worry! Since it's the Water Thone Master, I will naturally take care of him. Gu Hai, if you need my help in anything, you just have to say so!" Mu Chenfeng too followed up immediately.
"Well, speaking of that, there is indeed something I need Wood Throne Master's help with!" Gu Hai said after a moment of thought.
"Uh!?" Mu Chenfeng's face turned stiff immediately. I was just speaking politely, but you really took advantage of it!?
"Oh? Tell me about it, I will see what I can do!" Mu Chenfeng said. There was a reluctant look on his face.
"It's like this; I brought along a couple dozen men with me to open a store in Silvermoon City, so that they could support themselves. However, I don't know much about the business practices of Silvermoon City. Therefore, I wanted them to do some market research in advance. However, their cultivation is too low; all of them are in the Houtian Stage, which might not be convenient for them to roam about in the city. Therefore, I want to ask the Wood Throne Master to send some subordinates to accompany them and protect them on their trips, if possible!" Gu Hai stated calmly.
"Open... a store?" Mu Chenfeng looked straight at Gu Hai, as if he couldn't follow Gu Hai's words.
"Yes!" Gu Hai nodded confirmation, as a smile appeared on his lips.
"Alright, I will send two hundred men to show them around. However, if they want to buy anything, they will have to spend their own money, my men will not be responsible for it!" replied Mu Chenfeng, shaking his head.
"Don't worry, I will give them some funds!" Gu Hai agreed with a slight smile.
Mu Chenfeng nodded to Gu Hai slowly.
"Hall Lord, can you take the Water Throne Master and show him around? This subordinate still wants to practice for a while. The Silvermoon House will give out a pass again tomorrow, I want to go and participate in the screening tomorrow!" Mu Chenfeng said, looking at Long Wanqing.
"Wood Throne Master, you go do your own thing!" Long Wanqing nodded in agreement.
Mu Chenfeng nodded to Long Wanqing in return and flew down the floating island, looking for a quiet place to practice.
Standing on the floating island, Long Wanqing introduced Gu Hai to the situation a bit. Grandmaster Liunian, on the other hand, discreetly took his leave.
The night scene of Silvermoon City was exceptionally beautiful, as well. Standing on the floating island, one could see numerous other floating islands hovering in the air in every direction, some of which were exceptionally bright, while others only had moonlight sprinkling on them. There were many streets from which wonderful zither music could be heard.
Silvermoon City was truly an enchanting and musical city!
Next day, the Great Han officials, escorted by a team of Wood Throne disciples, began entering the streets of Silvermoon City for their market research.
Gu Hai also didn't remain idle. He asked Long Wanqing to investigate the various things done by her mother and tell him about them. He would then analyze them for her and help her find any possible clues amid these random bits of information.
After another day...
Mu Chenfeng returned after participating in another round of screening by the Silvermoon House. He rushed in, burning with fury, his face completely stiff.
In the distance, Gu Hai had already guessed the result. He immediately turned his head away, avoiding Mu Chenfeng's gaze. He didn't want to rub salt on his wounds.
The ninth time, he had already been eliminated nine times! At this moment, it was easy to guess how terrible Mu Chenfeng's mood!
Long Wanqing couldn't stand by. She heaved a sigh and said, "Throne Master Mu, forget it, you will still have an opportunity in the future!"
Mu Chenfeng looked at Long Wanqing and became even more depressed. "Thank you, Hall Lord for your kind intentions, but no thanks! I, Mu Chenfeng, will definitely obtain the qualifications!"
Mu Chenfeng didn't appreciate Long Wanqing's consolation whatsoever. On the contrary, he spoke in a rather sharp voice!
Long Wanqing's mouth was agape. She didn't know what to say.
"Mu Chenfeng, you are still the Ascendant Hall Throne Master, is that the way you speak to your Hall Lord?" Grandmaster Liunian rebuked him ruthlessly.
Mu Chenfeng suppressed his anger and said apologetically, "Grandmaster Liunian, you are right. Hall Lord, your subordinate was really angry, please forgive your subordinate! However, Hall Lord doesn't need to bother about the matter of the Silvermoon House. This is my own business, it isn't related to the Ascendant Hall!"
"Uh!?" Long Wanqing and Grandmaster Liunian broke into a wry smile, staring at Mu Chenfeng.
"Hall Lord, a representative of the Silvermoon House is here!" a retainer shouted from the distance.
"Uh!?" Everyone looked puzzled upon hearing this.
Very soon, a man wearing azure robes arrived before them and took out a Guqin-shaped invitation card.
"This...this is the Zither Conferring Assembly pass!?" Mu Chenfeng cried out in surprise at once.
The azure-robed man, on the other hand, turned to Long Wanqing and said, "Yesterday, the Old President came to know that the Ascendant Hall Lord had arrived at Silvermoon City. Excuse me, are you Long Wanqing?"
"Yes, I am!" a puzzled Long Wanqing nodded.
"Old President said that the previous Ascendant Hall Lord, Long Xiaoyue's, Dao of Zither was filled with life! He asked me to send you a Zither Conferring Assembly pass. Old President is extremely regretful about Hall Lord Xiaoyue's death. However, the current Ascendant Hall represents Hall Lord Xiaoyue, and as such, the Old President is willing to give the Ascendant Hall a pass in remembrance of Hall Lord Xiaoyue. This pass is given to the new Hall Lord, Long Wanqing, for her to use as she wishes. As long as it's an Ascendant Hall member, no matter who he or she is, he or she can attend the Zither Conferring Assembly with this pass!" the azure-robed man handed the pass to Long Wanqing.
"Ah? Please thank Old President on my behalf!" All a confused Long Wanqing could do was nod.
That azure-robed man bowed slightly to Long Wanqing before taking his leave quickly.
Holding the pass, Long Wanqing stood in a daze. On the other hand, the nearby Mu Chenfeng kept on staring at it.
Why? Why did I not receive the pass even after nine tries, and yet someone sent it to Long Wanqing so easily!?
Why? Why did I lose my temper a moment ago? Why did I say that the Silvermoon House's matter was my business? Why did I say that Hall Lord doesn't need to bother about it? Why did I say that it isn't related to the Ascendant Hall?
The nearby Gu Hai had also realized Mu Chenfeng's predicament. He turned his head to watch curiously.
Mu Chenfeng kept staring at Long Wanqing, mouth agape. He didn't know what to say.
"Gu Hai, would you like to participate in this Zither Conferring Assembly? I am not good at it either!" Long Wanqing, holding the smile, asked with a bitter smile.
"No!" the nearby Mu Chenfeng immediately cried out.
"Huh?" Everyone focused their gazes at him.
Mu Chenfeng's face had already grown very red from holding back. Why was I making myself look fat by slapping my own face?
"Throne Master Gu, how... how are your Guqin skills?" Mu Chenfeng turned to Gu Hai and asked after holding himself back for a long time.
Gu Hai cracked a slight smile. "Hall Lord, forget it. Please give it to Throne Master Mu. After all, Throne Master Mu gave me a lot of help earlier; he sent two hundred of his disciples to escort my men!"
When this entered Mu Chenfeng's ears, he was a little taken aback, but his face immediately lit up in joy.
Long Wanqing looked at Mu Chenfeng and said as a slight smile bloomed on her face, "Alright, since Gu Hai says so, then this pass goes to Throne Master Mu. I hope you can perform well at the Zither Conferring Assembly!"
"Thank you very much, Hall Lord, thank you very much!" Mu Chenfeng immediately took the pass, unable to keep the excitement off his face..
"You ought to thank Throne Master Gu!" Long Wanqing him corrected at once.
Looking at Gu Hai, Mu Chenfeng finally nodded and said cordially, "Thank you very much, Throne Master Gu!"
"We are both colleagues, it's reasonable to help each other. This Gu has come to Silvermoon City for the first time, there are many places which I still am not familiar with. If I don't understand anything, I hope Throne Master My would enlighten me!" Gu Hai said, smiling.
"Naturally! Tomorrow, I will send five hundred disciples to you, and help you do any market research!" Mu Chenfeng immediately smiled in return as he stated this forthrightly.
"Thank you very much!" Gu Hai nodded his appreciation.
"Throne Master, bad news, Throne Master!" an anxious cry came from the distance.
A Wood Throne disciple was rushing over.
"What’s wrong? Why are you panicking?" Mu Chenfeng asked with a frown.
"We...we...!" that man took a look at Gu Hai, and his face immediately turned ugly.
"Speak!" Mu Chenfeng stared at the man.
"Earlier, we accompanied Throne Master Gu's subordinates to the city for market research. Every store they entered, they bought some things to make records. Later, we went to the World's First Zither House. But… but they were arrested by the World's First Zither House!" that man reported, his face troubled.
"Detained by the World's First Zither House? Why? What did you do?" a confused Mu Chenfeng asked.
"We didn't do anything! They just said that Throne Master Gu's subordinates are thieves, robbers! They were detained for questioning, and moreover, are going to be handed over to the government!"
"Oh? Thieves, robbers? Why did they think so?" Mu Chenfeng asked, puzzled by this matter.
"Because Throne Master Gu's subordinates were only in Houtian Stage, yet they had too many spirit stones on them. They believed that it was impossible for Houtian cultivators to have so many spirit stones. So, they said that Throne Master Gu's subordinates are thieves!"
"They are just Houtian cultivators, how many spirit stones could they possibly have? Did the World's First Zither House made some mistake?"
"No mistake, they had a lot of spirit stones! A lot!" that man replied, a strange look on his face.
"How is this possible? Throne Master Gu, I seem to remember you saying that you only gave them just a bit of pocket money!?" Mu Chenfeng looked at Gu Hai uncertainly.
"Not too many, just a thousand high-grade spirit stones each, expenses for them to do preliminary research. And if it's not enough, they can ask me for more!" Gu Hai replied with a frown.
"A thousand High-Grade Spirit Stones!? And yet not too many? It's equivalent to my yearly salary, and you gave them to a group of Houtian cultivators?! Each man was hiding a thousand high-grade spirit stones on the streets?!?!" Mu Chenfeng's eyes widened in shock as he stared at Gu Hai. There was an incomprehensible look on his face.
When did the men of the Thousand Islands Seas, that backward place, become so rich? A thousand high-grade spirit stones are just pocket money for Houtian cultivators!?
Gu Hai nodded in a serious manner, kindly not looking at Mu Chenfeng, whose face was currently twitching.
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