Chapter 447

 


Chapter 447



The Zigong merchant group mainly dealt with silk, paper, and silver-thread crafts.



All three were specialty products of Chengdu, and the ones handled by the merchant group were of the highest quality.



Outside Sichuan, these items were rare treasures that could not be obtained even if one paid in gold. The Zigong merchant group hadn't always dealt with these products.



The entry barriers were so high that a new merchant group like theirs could not handle them. The fact that they were able to deal in these three specialties was due to the help of Yoo Gi-cheon in Snow Cloud Manor.



He introduced them to his customers, and thanks to him, Lee Sin-pil was able to handle the high-entry-barrier specialty products.



The silk of Chengdu had been famous for its quality since ancient times.



Merchants came from as far away as the west, and the great and powerful would buy silk from the city if they could find it.



The quality of silver-thread crafts and paper were also top-notch, so they sold like hotcakes as soon as they were displayed.


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Because the goods were so precious, the guards of the Zigong Merchants had tarpaulins placed over their wagons.



In case the items were damaged by rain or wind, it was important to take precautions beforehand.



The merchants, guards, and workers accompanying the merchant group on this trip numbered more than forty.



This could be considered a large group.



Lee Sin-pil spoke to the chief guard,  Goo Sang-hak.



"There will be a few more people participating in this trip."



"What? Why?"



 Goo Sang-hak's eyes widened.



Lee Sin-pil usually didn't allow outsiders to join their trips. It was strange that he would allow outsiders to participate this time.


 


"They're going to Shaoyang, which happens to be on our route, so I allowed them to join."



"Ah!"



"They are important people. Make sure to tell the guards not to lose their manners."



"I understand. I will make it clear to them."



 Goo Sang-hak bowed and replied.



Just then, three people opened the door to the merchant group's quarters and entered.


Lee Sin-pil rushed over to them.



A man wearing a hat with a cape, a girl, and a young boy who seemed to be guarding her closely.



"Welcome."



"Hmm!"



The man wearing the hat nodded his head.



He was Pyo Wol.



Lee Sin-pil carefully spoke.



"We've prepared an empty carriage for you to ride comfortably."



"If a carriage with people is mixed in the merchant group's procession, it will attract attention."



"Oh? Then…



"We'll just take the wagon at the back."



"Will that be okay?"



"Don't give us special treatment out of consideration for us. It would only draw more attention."



"Understood. Please ride in the cargo carriage at the rear."



"Thank you!"



"You're welcome."



Lee Sin-pil immediately made arrangements.



He moved those who had been driving the rear cargo carriage to another carriage and adjusted the personnel.



Those who had been in the rear looked at the newly joined Pyo Wol and his companions with curious expressions.



They seemed out of place for such a trip, but as they were brought in by Lee Sin-pil himself, they just watched silently.



"I'll drive the carriage, brother!"



The boy took the coachman's seat as if it were a given.



He was Do Yeonsan.



Next to Do Yeonsan sat Eun-Yo.



Eun-Yo looked ahead, wearing her hat with a cape pulled down deeply over her eyes.



Since it was her first time going outside since arriving in Chengdu, her face was flushed with excitement.



'What will the outside world be like?'



At times like this, she regretted not having perfect vision.



She could not even imagine how beautiful the world would be if she could see it with her own eyes. Nevertheless, being able to experience the outside world first hand was meaningful enough.



Pyo Wol climbed up and lay on the top of the cargo carriage.



Thud! Thud!



As the carriage passed over the bumpy ground, it shook. Still, Pyo Wol didn't change his expression and closed his eyes to sleep.



The journey went smoothly.



The merchant group moved along the main road.



Sichuan was a basin surrounded by high plateaus.



Naturally, to go outside of Sichuan, they had to cross the treacherous plateaus.



The path through the plateaus was much more dangerous than the well-trodden main road.



Riding a carriage on this path was so risky that it could cost one's life.



So, as soon as they entered the treacherous road, Lee Sin-pil and the guards couldn't help but be on high alert.



A single mistake could send both the carriage and people plummeting to their doom.



"Everyone, stay alert."



"Check the width of the road. Be careful not to let the carriage wheels go off the edge."



Lee Sin-pil and  Goo Sang-hak shouted simultaneously.



They were usually lenient with their subordinates, but they couldn't be that way on such a dangerous path. They had to keep shouting to keep everyone awake and focused because complacency could lead to fatal consequences.



The carriage Pyo Wol was on also went up the precarious mountain path.



Since it was loaded with so much cargo, it looked even more precarious. As a result, Lee Sin-pil also glanced at it and paid special attention.



Driving a carriage on such a treacherous mountain path required special skills. There was concern about whether young Do Yeonsan had such skills. However, against these concerns, Do Yeonsan drove the carriage well.



Although the carriage was filled with cargo and shook precariously, he managed to skillfully navigate through the dangerous areas.



The merchant group finally entered a safe area.



The treacherous path ended, and a well-trodden road appeared.



As they continued down the road, a spacious area for rest appeared.



It was then that the people of the Zigong merchant group let out a sigh of relief.



"Phew!"



"I thought we were going to die."



Their legs were wobbly from navigating the dangerous path.



Especially those who drove the carriages, their legs gave out from the release of tension, and they couldn't move.



Lee Sin-pil clapped his hands and said.



"Everyone did a great job. It's already late, so we'll camp here tonight. Rest a bit, and then prepare for camping."



"Yes!"



"Understood."



The workers responded energetically.



Smiles were hard to find on their faces.



After all, they had overcome the crisis, and their minds were at ease.



After a short break, the workers started moving.



They gathered branches to build a bonfire and prepared food. Meanwhile, the guards checked for any potential dangers in the surroundings and inspected the cargo on the carriages.



Pyo Wol, Eun-Yo, and Do Yeonsan also got off the carriage and approached the bonfire.



Eun-Yo took off the hat she had been wearing backwards. Her beautiful appearance was then revealed.



"Wow!"



"Wow!"



Those who happened to see her couldn't help but exclaim in admiration.



The bonfire light accentuated her beauty.



Eun-Yo then realized her mistake and hurriedly put her hat back on. However, everyone had already seen her face.



Pyo Wol spoke to her.



"It's okay to take off your hat."



"But still..."



"Only the leader knows your true identity here. So, it's fine to take off your hat."



"Alright."



In the end, Eun-Yo removed her hat and joined the bonfire.



Do Yeonsan couldn't help but smile as he stood next to Eun-Yo.



Pyo Wol still wore his hat with the cape deeply pulled down.


 


His appearance was already widely known, and even strangers could quickly recognize him.


 


That's why he never took off his hat for a single moment and kept it pulled down deeply so that others couldn't recognize him.



Lee Sin-pil approached Pyo Wol and asked cautiously.



"Weren't you uncomfortable?"



"It's fine!"



"I understand. I'm just worried…"



"You don't have to ask about every little thing like this."



"I'll keep that in mind."



"Does this road take us directly into Guizhou Province?"



"That's right. Apparently, the fastest way to get to Hunan is through Guizhou."



Guizhou was a place inhabited by a diverse group of ethnicities.



There were countless ethnicities living together, such as the Han, Miao, and Toga people.



"If we do well, we can buy some useful things here. The ethnic minorities are skilled and often create unexpected items."



"Is that so?"



"Yes! Because of that, our journey might be delayed by a day or two. Please understand."



"I told you, I don't want to get involved in your plans. Just act as you normally would."



"Yes! I'll do that."



Lee Sin-pil bowed his head and stepped back.



Pyo Wol maintained a strict guest's position.



He didn't want to get involved and narrow Lee Sin-pil's scope of action.



Pyo Wol's gaze suddenly turned to Eun-Yo.



A faint smile played on her lips as she basked in the warmth of the bonfire.



The blowing wind, the fragrant smell, and even the noisy sound of insects were all enjoyable.



Eun-Yo hummed softly and then looked at Pyo Wol.



"Brother!"



"What?"



"Could you play the Pipa for me?"



"Pipa?"



Pyo Wol looked surprised.



He hadn't expected Eun-Yo to make such a request.



Pyo Wol had learned the Pipa from the music master at the Heavenly Music Hall.



Thanks to that, he had a high level of expertise in playing the instrument.



Eun-Yo also learned the Pipa from the music master after Pyo Wol's introduction. However, she had no talent for music. In the end, the music master gave up on teaching her.



Although she gave up learning the Pipa due to her lack of talent, she still had many lingering attachments.



"But there's no Pipa?"



"I brought one."



She rummaged through the bundle Do Yeonsan brought and pulled out the Pipa.



"You brought a Pipa?"



"Yes! I thought it would be nice to listen to it while camping like this…"



"Let me see."



Pyo Wol received the Pipa.



When he bought the Pipa from the music master, he also learned to play the Pipa as a side skill.



Thump!



Pyo Wol plucked the Pipa strings once.



People stopped working and looked at Pyo Wol because of the sudden music. However, Pyo Wol didn't care and plucked the strings a few more times.



Once he got the feel of it, Pyo Wol began to play a song called "Yangchun White Snow".



Ta-da-da-da!


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Pyo Wol's white fingers skillfully plucked the strings.



Despite not having played the Pipa in a long time, his skills were still smooth.



The beautiful music resonated throughout the campsite.



People froze in place and closed their eyes.



The sound of the Pipa was so sad that it made the listeners feel emotional.



It pierced the hearts of people like those present, who had to leave their hometowns and travel far away.



Some of them even wiped away tears while immersed in the music.



"Can't help but cry."



"Whew! His skills are amazing."



"Didn't expect it to be so heart-wrenching."



Pyo Wol's performance continued.



He thought his skills might have become rusty after not playing for a long time, but that worry was unfounded.



Once he started playing, his hands moved automatically.



Eun-Yo closed her eyes and immersed herself in Pyo Wol's music.



'Brother is truly amazing.'



When she was learning the Pipa from the music master, the most frequent topic of conversation was about Pyo Wol's musical skills.



The music master had said that if Pyo Wol focused only on the Pipa, he could easily compete to be the best in the world. At the time, she didn't fully understand, but now that she heard Pyo Wol's performance, she understood the music master's words.



Pyo Wol's music had the power to move people's hearts.



The performance reached its climax.



People's emotions soared along with it. Then, suddenly, the sound of the Pipa stopped. The performance had finally come to an end.



"Ah!"



"Wow!"



People applauded and cheered.



Eun-Yo also clapped her hands enthusiastically, but Pyo Wol, the person involved, showed no reaction.



He casually handed the Pipa back to Eun-Yo.



"Can't you play one more song?"



"If I have time later…"



"Okay!"



Eun-Yo obediently took Pipa back.



Pyo Wol pushed his hat deeper and looked at the blazing bonfire.



The long performance had not only stirred the hearts of others but also caused ripples in his own heart.


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