It was the rainy season in Jinling City, causing the place to give off a rustic and elegant feeling.
Sun Mo took a stroll around the city. In this place, there was neither the forest of concrete nor the metal vehicles of his world. Instead, it was filled with alleys, maids in green clothes, and elegant-looking young ladies who took light steps into some shops that were selling make-ups.
You could smell the fragrance of claypot chicken or meat skewers and hear the occasional calls from generous customers who wanted the waiters to serve them wine.
Sun Mo bit on his vegetarian bun as he walked along the wet and slippery slated path. After passing past a tanghulu  seller who was lifting a carrying pole, he entered a bookshop called Reading Veranda.
As it was raining, there were very few customers in the shop. There was only an old man sitting on a wooden chair, reading a book leisurely. Placed next to him was a cup of tea that had already turned cold.
The bookshop was very big, filled with tall and heavy bookshelves made from Chinese locust trees. Even with Sun Mo's tall stature, he would have to tiptoe to reach the books on the highest level of the bookshelves.
Sun Mo took a liking to this bookshop after taking a look around.
Everything was categorized and placed very neatly. The books could be loaned out, and it would only cost one copper coin per day.
Usually, books that were loaned out would have some stains or damage to them, but that wasn't the case for the books here. This meant that the owner took great care of the books and had solemnly given a warning to the people who loaned them.
Sun Mo didn't like to go out. Other than playing games, his other hobby was to read novels. Therefore, he felt very endearing to see a bookshop here.
There were folk stories, Chinese opera manuscripts, as well as poetries. There were different types of books here, but the one Sun Mo picked up was a novel.
[Nine Provinces Immortal Slaying Legend], written by Wild Mountain Old Man. There were over ten books in the series, and they filled up half the shelf. This should be a popular series in the Tang Country.
Sun Mo flipped through the book. The title sounded very domineering, and the plot was heavy. It wrote about the emotional entanglements in a sect, presented in an imposing style. It was no wonder that they could be displayed here.
In Middle-Earth, the literature was written in movable type printing. Therefore, knowledge still wasn't being disseminated widely, and only a minority of people were literate.
"Tsk, if they are of this standard, I can write my own novels."
Sun Mo took a few glances and put the book back.
"Why? Not satisfied?"
Sun Mo hadn't noticed when the old man had gotten up from the wooden chair and approached him. Seeing Sun Mo put back the [Nine Provinces Immortal Slaying Legend], he couldn't help but ask, "This is a popular book that took the entire Jinling by storm in the past one year. Youngsters like to read it."
Sun Mo didn't say anything. This old man was clearly a fan of the book. If he were to say the wrong things, they might end up getting into a fight.
The old man carefully tidied the bookshelf that Sun Mo had browsed through and then sat back on the chair. About half an hour later. he saw Sun Mo coming back, holding onto the [Nine Provinces Immortal Slaying Legend]. He couldn't help but smile.
"I thought you don't like it?"
The old man raised his brows, making his intentions very clear. (You said that it isn't good, but your body seems to be very honest. You're still going to borrow them after all, right?)
"That's right. I don't like it. But there are really no other books to borrow, so I can only make do with it."
Sun Mo wore a helpless expression. The novels here were still stuck in the xianxia and monster genres. How could such monotonous subjects possibly satisfy Sun Mo?
Hearing the words 'make do', the old man glared at Sun Mo, his mustache flying as he puffed out. "Then write a book and show me what 'not make do' is like!"
"Have you read Transformers before?" Sun Mo teased.
The old man appeared stunned.
"Have you read Dragon Ball before?"
The old man continued to wear a dazed expression.
"Then you must have not read Journey to the West before, right?"
Sun Mo started his teasing episode.
"You're spouting gibberish, right? I've read countless books. Why is it that I haven't heard of the books you mentioned?"
The old man felt gloomy and stared at Sun Mo suspiciously. He hadn't expected this young man to be such a liar when he looked so refined.
"That's because you haven't read enough."
Sun Mo said as if it was true, but he was laughing inside. Then he felt dejected. Sigh, he wouldn't be able to read them anymore in the future.
The old man's face turned black. But as someone who loved books as much as his life, he suppressed his fury and asked, "Where did you read those books?"
"I wrote them myself!"
Sun Mo didn't dare to say things recklessly. As someone who came from another world, he wouldn't say these names if it wasn't because the old man had been speaking sarcastically to him. It was because revealing information might just bring him trouble.
The old man was so angry that he raised his hand, wanting to beat Sun Mo. Sun Mo had piqued his interests, yet he was now telling him that those were all made up? What an awful man.
"It costs one copper coin to rent it for a day, right?"
Sun Mo dug out the money.
The old man nodded and settled the procedures for Sun Mo. However, the words Sun Mo had mentioned earlier kept on flashing in his mind. Putting that Transformers aside, just the names of Dragon Ball and Journey to the West sounded very interesting. He couldn't help but ask, "What is Journey to the West about?"
Sun Mo let out a soft laugh and shook his head.
"If you have a manuscript, I can buy it from you!"
The old man had read too many books, and thus it was far too difficult for him to find a book he liked. This was a torment to someone who loved books as if they were his life.
"How much would you offer?"
Sun Mo's eyes lit up. Right now, the money he was spending belonged to the original owner of this body, and there wasn't much of it in the first place. Moreover, an intern teacher's salary was very meager. Sun Mo could predict that he'd have to live a straitened lifestyle for quite a while.
If he were to get into a relationship and have a girlfriend, then he'd have to spend even more money. At the thought of how he didn't even have the money to change his lifestyle, he felt way too pathetic.
"200 silver taels!" The old man offered.
Sun Mo shook his head.
"Why? You think it's too little?"
The old man knocked on the table. "100 silver taels is enough for a family of three to lead a comfortable life for a year. Young man, don't be too greedy."
"What's the market price if I were to publish a book?"
Sun Mo thought, (if I were to sell the story of Journey to the West to you, I'd be a fool.)
"Hehe!" The old man let out a contemptuous laugh. "Young man, lead a proper life. Don't be dreaming."
Middle-Earth was still in a feudal era, and the production capabilities were low. When the printing and paper manufacturing capabilities were lacking, it would mean that publishing a book was an extremely extravagant matter.
Sun Mo turned to leave.
"Alright, I'll satisfy you." The old man gave in. "I'll help you publish 300 copies. If it ends up being a loss, it'll be on me. And if it earns money, it'll all go to you."
Sun Mo made an exorbitant request. He had a colleague who published reference books, and back then, 1,000 copies were considered quite a good result.
"Too many, no money, not possible!"
The old man gave three rejections, not wanting to be scammed.
Sun Mo looked at the old man and activated his Divine Sight.
'Zheng Qingfang, retired to his hometown three years ago, becoming a rich man. He loves books as if they were his life, and his divine force realm is at the seventh level.'
'His body function is severely damaged. He was harmed by poison in the past, and it left a hidden ailment.'
'Remark, the Zheng Clan has a strict family teaching. If you encounter a member from the Zheng Clan who has fallen down, you can help them with a peace of mind. Don't be afraid of being scammed for money.'
Sun Mo looked at the data that appeared next to the old man. Retired? Did that refer to an official who had retired? He didn't expect that this bookshop owner had worked as an official before. He must not be lacking in money.
Zheng Qingfang had survived a lot of great storms in the court, but somehow he felt uncomfortable being stared at by Sun Mo. It was as if ants were crawling on his body.
"Alright, 500 copies. Nothing more."
Zheng Qingfang gave in and assessed Sun Mo while he was at it.
Sun Mo was wearing a light-blue long robe that was washed very cleanly. Together with his handsome appearance and upright figure, he gave off a faint and refreshing disposition. When he pursed his lips, there seemed to be a faint and unnoticeable arch to it, giving off a calming feeling.
Zheng Qingfang had seen many youngsters with outstanding dispositions in his lifetime. But this young man was even more outstanding than most of them.
Sun Mo refused to give in.
"Alright, but I want to admire your wooden blade."
Zheng Qingfang's gaze landed on Sun Mo's waist. He had attached a wooden blade made from black sandalwood there.
Sun Mo shrugged and turned to leave. What a joke. It had the Grand Universe Formless Divine Art on it. How could it be shown to others so easily?
However, this old man's judgment was extremely good, capable of seeing Sun Mo's most valuable thing in one glance.
"Kid, it's useless no matter what you say. Bring me the manuscript first. If it's interesting, I'll go all out and print 1,000 copies for you," Zheng Qingfang shouted out.
When Sun Mo's figure disappeared from his sight, this old man sat back on his wooden chair. Now that he looked at the novel he was holding, it all felt so boring. His mind was filled with the names Dragon Ball and Journey to the West.
"What kind of story do they have?"
It was as if a cat was scratching at Zheng Qingfang's chest. He felt an uncontrollable itch in his heart.
The rainy season in June continued. After buying a few pieces of osmanthus cake, Sun Mo got onto a small boat and toured along the Qinhuai River.
The wooden blade was casually stashed at his belt. Its value wasn't high to begin with, but after the Grand Universe Formless Divine Art had been carved on it, it no longer had the same value as it did before.
Since Sun Mo was worried that he'd lose the wooden blade if he were to leave it in the dorm, he could only keep it with him.
It wasn't forbidden to bring around blades and swords in the Tang Country, but bows and arrows were banned. If one were found to be holding them, they'd be arrested and chained down, even thrown into prison for a few days.
Sun Mo still wasn't used to keeping a heavy blade or a sword with him, so he just kept this wooden blade on him as a means of defense.
After offering a joss stick at the Spirit King Temple, Sun Mo headed back to school. When he passed by a corner, he saw a skinny girl hugging a small bag tightly in her arms. She was sitting under a roof to get out of the rain.
The girl was about 13 to 14 years old and looked very innocent. It was just that her face was filled with dejection.
"A young girl with nowhere to go back to?"
As a teacher, Sun Mo was very sensitive toward kids like her. It was because he had had an encounter back in school where a student had run away from home.
Sun Mo looked at her, activating his Divine Sight.
'Lu Zhiruo, 14 years old, penniless. In a state of extreme starvation.'
Sun Mo secretly gave his approval at this elegant name.
The roof was small and couldn't shield the girl from the rain completely. Her cotton clothes were all wet, but she seemed as if she didn't notice anything. She curled up, like a little kitten who had been abandoned.
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