Chapter 179 - World's First Zither House
In Silvermoon City...
The crane carriage flew low above the streets in the city. Looking at each and every enormous store, the ogling Great Han officials were bedazzled. After all, the stores in here reflected a great atmosphere, very different from the secular world . Every store was a magnificent building, occupying a fair share of area on the grand streets as well.
The streets were packed with countless cultivators roaming about. In addition, there were crane carriages flying everywhere.
The celestial cranes pulling the carriages were of varying sizes and in varying numbers, from many to just a few. Some carriages just had a solitary celestial crane carrying the pa.s.sengers on its back, flying along at low alt.i.tude. Some carriages had as many as a few dozen celestial cranes pulling them, like the one in which Gu Hai and his company were sitting.
The team of Great Han officials kept on rubbernecking about with endless curiosity. Gu Hai, on the other hand, maintained a calm demeanor as he watched everything pa.s.sing by. After all, only the form had changed, that's all. These carriages were no different than the cars on Earth. The crane carriage which his party of a hundred men or so were sitting on was no different than a bus, after all.
"On the streets, we have seen pill shops, magical tool stores, and herbal stores, but it looks like most shops are selling zither here!?" Gu Hai asked after a moment.
"But of course! Silvermoon City's zithers are world renowned! Silvermoon City, didn't you notice anything from this word?" Long Wanqing stated as a smile bloomed on her face.
"Silvermoon? Silvermoon? Music?" Gu Hai made an 'ah-hah' tone.
[TLN: Silvermoon(銀月) and Music(音樂) sounds the same, yin yue.]
"Just about right, this is clearly understood by the descendants! Many zither lovers come here from all over the world, looking for their guqin. Zithers crafted here aren't just the best, but world-renowned, as well! The Dao of Zither, as the leader among Arts cultivation, has it own unique enchantment, naturally. It doesn't have a high threshold, but mainly depends on who can comprehend it!" Long Wanqing said with a smile.
"Mhmm!" Gu Hai nodded in agreement.
"Countless zither users are gathered in Silvermoon City. Therefore, the zithers produced here are the best. Silvermoon City is remote, but because of this very reason, it has avoided many world disputes. Silvermoon City existed way back before the Great Han Empyrean Dynasty was even founded. It's the holy land of countless zither users. Similarly, a world-renowned zither crafting Clan is living here, called the Silvermoon House!" Long Wanqing explained to Gu Hai.
"Oh? Silvermoon House!" Gu Hai repeated to himself carefully.
"Yes, the Silvermoon House prime focus has always been crafting zithers. They have never partaken in any political affairs. They don't have any political standing or any military rights, but their prestige in Silvermoon City is greater than the Duke here," Long Wanqing continued.
"Oh? Prestige greater than that of the Duke's!? That is certainly not good. Does His Holy Majesty of Great Gan not care about it!?" Gu Hai asked, puzzled by this very fact.
"My Grandfather? My Grandfather has also tacitly consented to it. In the past, my Grandfather personally visited the old president of Silvermoon House. The old president even gifted a Heaven-level Guqin to Grandfather. Do you know what a Heaven-level Guqin is? Except for a legendary Immortal-level Guqin, a Heaven-level is the world's best! There aren't many Heaven-level Guqins in the world. Even my Great Gan Empyrean Dynasty only has a total of two Heaven-level Guqins, both of which came from the Silvermoon House itself!" Long Wanqing explained.
"Both were gifted by the old president of Silvermoon House. One is called Stable Cauldron, which was gifted to my Grandfather. The other is called Army Breacher, gifted to King Lu Yang!" Long Wanqing stated.
"Stable Cauldron? Army Breacher?" he repeated, nodding to himself.
"Therefore, don't look at Silvermoon House as just a zither crafting Clan. My Grandfather paid the Silvermoon House a visit, and Ying Province's King, King Lu Yang, has also visited it, and both of them were very polite to the old president. Now, tell me, do you think that the Silvermoon City's Duke would dare to cause any trouble for Silvermoon House?" Long Wanqing queried him knowingly.
Gu Hai nodded his acknowledgment of the situation.
"Furthermore, rumor has it that recently the old president seems to be looking a predestined friend for the last Heaven-level Guqin, but no one knows why! That Guqin seems to be called Guo Chen!" Long Wanqing spoke as she recalled the details.
"Guo Chen!? A Guqin?" Gu Hai was taken aback.
[TLN: The reason Gu Hai is taken aback is Guo Chen can refer to many things, but most likely it is referring to two things I can gather: one is the Great Emperor of Polaris, and the other is Curved Array asterism in Chinese astrology. In Chinese astronomy, the main stars of Ursa Minor are divided between two asterisms: 勾陳 Gòuchén (Curved Array) (including α UMi, δ UMi, ε UMi, ζ UMi, η UMi, θ UMi, λ UMi) and 北極 Běijí (Northern Pole) (including β UMi and γ UMi).]
"Mhmm, when this news spread throughout the world, it aroused countless Zither Daoists of the world to come here. That's but a Heaven-level Guqin! The Silvermoon House only has a total of four! One is gifted to my Grandfather, another to King Lu Yang, and then, there is also the one called Six Fingers, it seems to have been gifted a long time ago. Guo Chen is the last!" explained Long Wanqing.
"Stable Cauldron, Army Breacher, Six Fingers, Guo Chen..." Gu Hai sank into his thoughts.
[TLN: The Stable Cauldron(定鼎) was given to Long Wanqing grandfather, it can also refer to setting up a new nation or a capital, I could not use the pinyin as it would be Dingding, which is absurd, so, I went with an alternate. Army Breacher (破軍), it's the name of the last star of Ursa Major, also called Alkaid or the Star of Military Defeat, Six Fingers (六指) no idea what it refers to, Guo Chen (勾陳), explained above.]
"Unfortunately, I don't specialize in Guqin. Grandmaster does know a bit, but Grandmaster isn't willing to go!" Long Wanqing lamented, troubled.
The nearby Grandmaster Liunian smiled bitterly and said, "Zither, Weiqi, Literature, and Painting, I understand a bit of all of them. However, I specialize more in painting; zither, weiqi, and literature, I know just a little. For example, I can indeed play weiqi, but I am far worse than true experts like Throne Master Gu!"
"Oh!? Grandmaster Liunian specializes in painting?" Gu Hai blurted out at this news.
"I do know a bit!" Grandmaster Liunian did not refuse.
"Right, Gu Hai, how much do you understand Guqin?" Long Wanqing curiously asked.
Gu Hai broke into a wry smile as he replied, "Music? I have listened to many musical scores, but zither!? Back in the day, when I used to be a merchant, I traded in a fair share of zithers! I can clumsily play some tunes, but it's just technique, it's not 'dao'. Dao of Zither, I have still got a long way to go to touch its threshold. As you know, I specialize in weiqi!"
"That's really unfortunate. This time, the Silvermoon House is only looking for an expert of the Dao of the Zither. It seems we won't have the opportunity to partic.i.p.ate!" Long Wanqing stated, smiling forlornly.
"Hall Lord, our Ascendant Hall might have the chance. Wood Throne Master, Mu Chenfeng is an expert of the zither. Perhaps he might have the qualifications to partic.i.p.ate in the Conferring Zither a.s.sembly hosted by Silvermoon House this time!" Grandmaster Liunian stated thoughtfully.
Long Wanqing's face turned stiff as she replied, "Mu Chenfeng? Hmph, he just learned the zither for the sake of pleasing my mother!"
A wry smile immediately emerged on Grandmaster Liunian's face as he said, "But it's undeniable that he does have talent, isn't it? He might be a bit lacking when compared to your mother's Dao of Zither, but in our Ascendant Hall, his Dao of Zither is the best!"
Long Wanqing, furrowing her brow, reluctantly nodded in agreement.
Everyone continued to shuttle through the city.
Suddenly, everyone noticed a large number of people gathered in the distance, surrounding a store.
"That's the 'World's First Zither House', famous for having all kinds of zithers in the world. If someone wants a zither, no matter what type, they can find it in that Zither House!" Long Wanqing said, smiling in antic.i.p.ation.
"World's First Zither House!? What a big claim! Does it also have Heaven-level zithers?" Gu Hai asked, impressed.
"They do have one, but it's not for sale!"
"This World's First Zither House belongs to King Lu Yang. That Army Breacher of King Lu Yang is a Heaven-level zither, but, want to buy it!? That's impossible!" Long Wanqing said knowingly.
"Driver, stop the carriage outside the World's First Zither House for a bit! Let's see which Zither Daoist is promoting the World's First Zither House today!" Long Wanqing called out.
The driver controlling the crane carriage slowly stopped the carriage. "It sounds like Fairy Wan'er is playing!"
"Fairy Wan'er!?" Gu Hai was utterly confused.
Right then, a melodious tune from a Guqin tickled everyone's ears.
The sound of the zither wasn't loud, but everyone in the vicinity quieted down immediately. Countless cultivators closed their eyes, captivated by it.
Gu Hai raised his head to look, and saw a girl wearing white robes on the terrace of the second floor of the World's First Zither building. Her face was covered by a sheer muslin, and a rose hairpin embellished her thick and beautiful hair. Coupled with her slender white hands, she gave off an otherworldly feeling.
However, many people weren't even paying attention to Fairy Wan'er's appearance, for they had been completely enamored by the zither music.
Slowly, Gu Hai was also captivated by it. As he gradually closed his eyes, he found himself in a vast sea of beautiful flowers. Suddenly, an ethereal feeling gushed into his soul.
Gu Hai felt extremely comfortable, so comfortable that he felt as if all the pores across his body had opened up.
At this moment, Gu Hai didn't want to say anything. All he wanted was to relish the ethereal feeling brought about by this melodious zither music.
All the while, he felt as if his absorption of the Heaven and the Earth Spirit Qi had increased by a couple of times.
His body and mind felt completely empty. There were no distracting thoughts, none at all. Listening to the zither music, he felt like his soul had left his body and was roaming beyond the sky.
After a good long while, Gu Hai gradually woke up.
The moment he came to his senses, Gu Hai's expression changed momentarily.
"What enchanting zither music!" Gu Hai's face turned cold as he gazed at the terrace of the World's First Zither Building.
However, the terrace was empty. Fairy Wan'er seemed to have left already.
"What a powerful music! Had it been a life and death showdown, wouldn't I have been hacked to pieces by the other guy?" Gu Hai's face turned ashen.
All around, everyone else also slowly woke up.
"Fairy Wan'er's zither music is still amazing, I could not help but forget myself!" Long Wanqing praised, heaving a marvelling sigh.
"You don't think it was dangerous?" Gu Hai asked, frowning.
"Dangerous? But the baptism of your soul is even greater, isn't it? Many people encounter bottlenecks on their road of cultivation. If they met a Zither Daoist playing a song for them, most of the times they could breakthrough! Because of this, Zither Daoists are extremely popular!" Long Wanqing said with a smile.
A shockwave broke out from a nearby cultivator who had been sitting on the ground, listening to the music.
"I broke through, I broke through! Thank you very much, Fair Wan'er, thank you very much! I have been stuck at this stage for three decades. Many thanks!... uh, where is Fairy Wan'er?" that cultivator cried out.
All around, cultivators continued to wake up, one after another. However, Fairy Wan'er had already left. Everyone immediately felt lost.
"The World's First Zither House indeed lives up to its name! Let's go in and take a look. I wonder if we could find a Guqin suitable for us!" The crowd of cultivators quickly made their way into the Zither House.
"Gu Hai, do you want to take a look?" Long Wanqing asked, as a smile emerged on her lips.
Gu Hai shook his head and said, "I don't like this feeling, anyway!"
"Alright, maybe you will come to like it in the future! However, as the World's First Zither House is established here, you will often find some Zither Daoist playing here. In Silvermoon City, this is the biggest Zither House! Take a look around... see, other zither stores simply don't dare to open near to it. They simply don't want to compete with it!" said the smiling Long Wanqing.
Gu Hai nodded and said, "The World's First Zither House is indeed very wealthy! The publicity effect is also very good! Only, it's somewhat wasteful!"
"Ah?" Long Wanqing could not understand.
Gu Hai shook his head and didn't bother to explain. This issue was related to business marketing. Even if he explained, Long Wanqing would not necessarily understand.
The crane carriage continued on its way above the streets…
After two hours or so, it finally came to a halt.
Before them was a huge area shrouded by a veil of clouds, isolated behind a fence. It was a private land. Scattered around it were many palaces. In addition, there was a huge island floating above this area.
There was a dense mist surrounding many places on the island, hiding the private areas.
At the edge of this domain, there was a huge monument, with Xiaoyue Palace written on it in huge characters!
As the crane carriage came to a halt, a group of men and women immediately rushed over from the distance.
"Greetings, Hall Lord!" After spotting Long Wanqing, everyone immediately bowed and greeted her.
"We are here, this is the secondary headquarters established by my mother in the past! My Ascendant Hall's base!" Long Wanqing introduced to everyone with a smile.