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After the first batch of Wake-up Incense and incense pills was received, someone tried one out at random, not expecting much from it, but it turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. Those who made their first order to humor Zeng Yuewei were now jumping on the ship most eagerly.

Within two days, Gu Yu received another ten orders, which kept him busy preparing materials the whole day and he was not able to make time to come until late.

In fact, he did not care for labels such as "magnate" in people, but only followed his instincts instead. The Zeng family had left him with a good expression, hence his decision to make friends with them.

Just as what he said to Xiaozhai, a mortal man or a cultivator, as long as one needed resources and communication, they could not stay away from environmental factors. He was only at the entrance of the cultivation world and not in obvious need of anything just yet, but who could say for sure that it would remain the same in the future?



He did not belittle fortune and power of the secular world, for they could prove extremely useful every now and then.

Back to the Zeng manor where the fragrance had dispersed into thin air, the five elderly remained immersed in the heavenly imagery, unable to extricate themselves. They then watched Gu Yu enter the yard bathed in the moonlight.

For a split second, that image reminded them of an immortal, banished into this world.

They remained in a trance-like state for quite some time before the old lady came to herself first, standing up to greet him, "Hello, Xiao Gu!"

"Granny Zeng, I was really busy today and am a bit late for the party," Gu Yu was mildly apologetic.

"Not late at all! You are right on time!"

The old lady behaved in a childlike playfulness as she grabbed him by his hand and led him into the wing-room, apparently very pleased with herself. "Come, let me introduce a few friends to you."

"This is Grandpa Lei."

"This is Grandpa Sun."

"This is Grandpa Xiao…"

Gu Yu greeted them in turn, acting as natural as always. The behavior of the other four, however, was rather remarkable. They abandoned their previous nonchalance and were now outshining one another in terms of their enthusiasm. They had all grown to be fond of incense after retirement, but were no better than Granny Zeng in their expertise.

Granny Zeng herself had been overwhelmed with amazement back then, let alone these four who were completely unprepared for the experience. The impact the incense left on them was much more profound.

"Xiao Gu, come here…"

Old man Lei pulled Gu Yu to his side in a somewhat unashamed manner and asked, "How did you make incense like that? I've bought a fair share of incense myself and have never encountered anything so, so…"

"Insightful!" Old man Xiao finished the sentence for him.

"Exactly! Insightful! That's the word I was looking for!"

Old Lei savored that description and found the word appropriate indeed. He grinned, "The effect of your incense was almost eerie and I felt a chill running down my entire spine. The smell went away but it somehow lingered. How did you make something like that?"

Maybe it was a question out of his mere eagerness at the moment, or maybe he was simply playing dumb. Either way, he was asking directly for the ingredients of the incense.

Barely knowing this old man, Gu Yu smiled back without any answer. Old man Zhang found the conversation rather awkward and interjected, "Xiao Gu, I heard that it was called Moon-Side Incense, may I ask where the name came from?"

"Oh, there was a scholar named Xu Xuan in the Five Dynasties, who was a master incense maker himself. Whenever there was a moonlit night, Xu would sit alone in the atrium and burn a fine dose of incense. In the course of time, he grew to call this incense he made the 'Moon-Side Incense'. The recipe was later scattered and passed down among the common folks, from whom my grandfather then inherited. He altered the recipe slightly, giving the incense a clearer and brighter aroma—speaking of which, the incense-making skill sort of runs in my family."

Instead of attributing the skill to himself, Gu Yu gave all the credit to his grandfather. As expected, the other five sighed at his explanation.

"Oh my, what a pity!"

"Such a shame that we were not able to meet him!"

"Senior Gu was definitely a grand master just by the sound of it. Sigh!"

"..."

Bowing his head slightly, Gu Yu pursed his lips at his little prank.

The so-called Moon-Side Incense was concocted from materials such as white wood incense, storesin, clove, nutmeg, rue, cogon grass, etc. The aroma of the incense would drift far and wide, molding one's temperament and calming the nerves, therefore it was usually burnt in studies, zither rooms, meditation rooms, as well as spiritual places.

When the recipe was passed onto Gu Yu's grandfather, he found it too serious and not elegant enough. As a result, he added silver osmanthus to it.

After Gu Yu inherited the recipe, he found some other deficiencies in the aroma and the further improvement had endowed the incense with an underlying sentiment of "present people could not witness the ancient moon, yet the same moon today used to shine over the ancient people".

As said before, incense-savoring consisted of three stages: the appraisal of ingredients, smell and inner meaning... the last one was almost indescribable, for it involved spiritual factors much in the same way swordsmanship worked in wuxia novels—regardless of how well one mastered their swords, their opponents, who had grasped the inner meaning of the sword, would always win almost instantaneously.

It went without saying that incense-savoring required corresponding environment--the higher the quality, the more numerous the requirements.

The chilling autumn night air felt as cold as water on one's skin. As the bright full moon hung high overhead like a floating mirror, it was time to burn a dose of Moon-Side Incense. When the pleasant aroma lingered in the air with you sitting quietly in the yard under the bright moon, all earthly turmoil was put aside. Such was the delight one obtained from incense.

There were things that the other five people might never understand, but it did not stop them, especially the four newcomers, from holding Gu Yu in high esteem.

Without knowing it, their impression of this young man had changed from an incense maker to a close young friend.

As they were deep in conversation, the younger ones of the five families were rather baffled by the turn of events. Their elders were acting all weird to begin with, but now they were holding this young man as a distinguished guest after his arrival.

Lei Ziming smacked his lips and commented in amazement, "Mark my words, that fellow is definitely an able man of some sort, otherwise my family's old man would not treat him so intimately with that temper of his."

"He's been there for so long. Aiya, I want to talk to him as well," almost instinctively, Xiao Yuanyuan acted out in her pettishly charming manner.

"Drag him here, then!" The young master of the Sun family said casually.

"Really? You go ahead," chuckled Zeng Yuewei.

"Oh my, not me!" He backed out at once.

Eyeing Gu Yu, Lei Ziming finally could not hold back any longer and said, "I'll go!"

With that, he strode fast towards the wing-room and pulled the wooden door wide open. Grinning, he said, "My elderly ladies and gentlemen, you've been keeping the guy for quite some time, can we borrow him for a while?"

"Haha, you naughty brat!" Old man Lei rebuked with a laughter and said to Gu Yu, "Don't mind him, Xiao Gu. That's my grandson over there. If it's not too much trouble for you, do go with him and teach those young ones a thing or two, or those little brats will always think so highly of themselves."

"Exactly. You must be bored after hanging around with our old people for so long," said Grandpa Sun.

"Not at all. I want to make more friends myself. In that case, I'll go with him."

Chuckling, Gu Yu got up and went out of the wing-room.

"I heard you're 21 and a few years younger than me. I guess you wouldn't mind being called a 'younger bro'? Here, let me introduce you…"

Being a fairly straightforward guy, Lei Ziming stretched out his arm and was about to wrap it around Gu Yu's shoulder. However, Gu Yu disliked physical contact and dragged himself forward slightly, as if unaware of Lei Ziming's movement, and the arm fell onto the empty air.

'Huh?'

That fellow found it a bit strange. He was reaching out to Gu Yu from behind, did he dodge it by accident or had he sensed it?

A couple of steps away was the main hall. As the two of them entered the room, a dozen people hustled nearby, gathering around them; among them were grandchildren of the direct line of the five families, as well as more distant relatives such as various cousins.

Every Tuhao was different. He Tian was of a kind which was not the same as Zeng Yuewei's. Lei Ziming himself was yet of another type. As soon as Gu Yu entered the room, he found the atmosphere rather pleasant. A few words with the group had left him with an even better impression. [1]

At least the young members of the five families were well bred. Even Xiao Yuanyuan, the extra-pretentious one, seemed rather tolerable.

On the other hand, these people were curious about him as well, talking all at once, probing into his background. Gu Yu carefully chose which questions he'd respond to, deliberately hiding his capabilities.

The conversation did not last much longer before someone found it uninteresting and turned away, back to their small groups.

Lei Ziming remained at Gu Yu's side, apparently taking a lot of interest in him. After he felt they had made enough small talk, he produced a golden membership card all of a sudden and grinned, "Young Bro, my friends and I have set up a shooting club, the genuine stuff. Come by and have some fun when you have time."

"Oh?"

Gu Yu's face brightened up, finding the suggestion somewhat appealing. Setting up a shooting club might sound improbable, but with the right connections, it could be easily arranged. By saying "the genuine stuff", Lei Ziming had made it quite plain—they were using real guns and bullets.

Gu Yu really wanted to see the power of a gun. In other words, he wanted to know if he would be able to take an enemy out at gunpoint while avoiding being injured at the same time.

He might never run into such incident, but it would do him no harm to be prepared.

Therefore, he took the card and replied, "Thanks a lot. I will definitely go have a look sometime."

The same night, in a residential building in the faraway Shengtian, smoke was curling up in the air in a bright-lit room.

An incense stick was burning on a table in the study, beside which lay the green snake, dozing off with its eyes closed. Burying herself in a huge pile of manuscripts, Jiang Xiaozhai was sorting out some notes.

The manuscripts contained handwritten pieces, photocopies, as well as fragments of yellowing ancient texts, all of which were in traditional Chinese characters and vertically set with little punctuation. They would give one a headache just by looking at them. [2]

However, Xiaozhai appeared to be very familiar with them and was combing through the papers methodically. These were ancient scrolls and fragmented texts she collected in the past few years. Thanks to her father who was in charge of a cultural department, collecting these manuscripts had been made much easier.

"Ha…"

After quite some time, she was finally able to wrap it up. Laying several manuscripts on the desk in front of her, Xiaozhai gave out a long sigh in relief.

[1] ED/N: Let me remind you, Tuhao means rich and influential guys, such as young masters and other similar... species.
[2] ED/N: As some of you may know, the Chinese used to write from top to bottom, right to left. Those who have seen original manga in Japanese will know what it looks like, for this is the same way of writing. Probably the Japanese took it from China, but the Chinese stopped using it, unlike the Japanese.

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