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Be With You – Xie Xingyang, Su Mengdi

Be With You is a historical wuxia comedy, written and directed by Bi Xinye. The main cast includes Xie Xingyang, Su Mengdi, Wang Hanwen, Pan Yuetong, Zhao Ziqi, Tong Jiahao, Wu Fei, and Fang Pinqi, with a special appearance by Huang Sirui.

The series tells the story of martial arts master Meng Sanxi, who comes to the hidden and faction-ridden city of Muyun to uncover the truth behind his friend's murder. It unfolds a series of comical and absurd adventures in the Jianghu, including events that take place in an unnamed department store.

Details

Be With You

English Title: Be With You
Chinese Title: 我有一个朋友
Genre: Historical, Wuxia, Comedy
Tag: Investigation, Revenge, Martial Arts, Hidden Identity , Slight Romance, Smart Male Lead
Episodes: 24
Duration: 34 min.
Director: Bi Xinye
Writer: Bi Xinye, Han Bing, Wang Juzheng, Li Junzi
Producer: Tang Pan, Dailing, Guo Xin, Chen Xi
Product Company: Mango TV
Released Date: 2023-09-06
Broadcast Website: MGTV, MangoTV Monsoon

Cast

Synopsis

The renowned martial arts hero, Meng Sanxi, loses his martial skills overnight and becomes a destitute fugitive, hunted by both the righteous and the wicked. In his quest to regain his martial prowess and clear the name of his deceased friend, Meng Sanxi mistakenly flees to the city of Muyun.

Along the way, he encounters three fellow wanderers, and they form an unlikely alliance. To settle down in their new hometown, they start working at a general store. As these four martial artists work and live together, they embark on a journey to uncover their respective truths. Suspicion turns into camaraderie as they gradually learn to trust each other.

Recap

Meng Sanxi (played by Xie Xingyang) went to see Doctor Hu for a diagnosis. After examining his pulse, Doctor Hu had both good and bad news to deliver, but they were essentially about the same thing: Meng Sanxi had lost all his martial arts abilities. To understand the reason behind this, Doctor Hu asked Meng Sanxi to recount his story.

Meng Sanxi began by talking about his background, revealing that he was an orphan and had been adopted by his master's sect since childhood. Upon hearing this, Doctor Hu reminded Meng Sanxi that he charged by time. Meng Sanxi continued, explaining that he had grown up in the sect and one day had accused his master of being disrespectful for constantly visiting a widow in the village and even staying overnight with her. When his master couldn't deny it and claimed it was love, Meng Sanxi mentioned that his master had also peeped at his senior sister while she was bathing. His master, furious and embarrassed, gave Meng Sanxi an ultimatum: either apologize and face three years of wall-facing punishment or leave the sect immediately.

Meng Sanxi initially refused to apologize, but when his master sternly kicked him out, he quickly apologized, hoping to reduce the punishment to six months of wall-facing. However, it was too late, and his master didn't spare him. Meng Sanxi's fellow disciples had expressed a desire to leave as well but had been unable to do so. They admired Meng Sanxi for being the first to leave the sect. Yet, when the moment of his departure came, they showed no signs of nostalgia and instead seemed to mock him as if he were a fool.

Meng Sanxi went to a restaurant but didn't have money to pay the bill. He thought his fellow disciples would give him some money since they saw him leaving, but it turned out they were all very poor, and his bundle didn't contain a single silver coin. Fortunately, Bei Xiaohai happened to be dining at the same restaurant. Seeing Meng Sanxi's predicament, he offered to pay the bill. However, even after pooling their money together, they were still two wen short. They awkwardly laughed to cover their embarrassment, but the restaurant owner refused to let them off the hook and made them wash dishes. This incident marked the beginning of Meng Sanxi and Bei Xiaohai's friendship.

Bei Xiaohai had been wronged by someone, and to seek revenge, Meng Sanxi challenged over a dozen prestigious martial arts sects in succession. This led to various sects becoming displeased with him. After defeating one of the senior martial artists from an older sect, he became famous. Subsequently, he started working for the local authorities, gathering information about wanted criminals in the black market and capturing them. He received a reward of ten thousand taels of silver. Meng Sanxi became renowned in both the lawful and unlawful worlds. However, on this day, he discovered that he had lost all his martial arts skills and encountered someone seeking revenge for his actions. The opponent believed that Meng Sanxi wouldn't kill him, so he had come to avenge his big brother. Meng Sanxi, however, intimidated the opponent by declaring that he was initiating a new killing rule starting from that day and also offered compensation, thus settling the matter.

While riding in a carriage, Meng Sanxi was traveling aimlessly through the streets when a martial artist intercepted him. The martial artist wanted to regain his master's honor, which Meng Sanxi had tarnished in the past. Meng Sanxi was forced to fight the martial artist, realizing that he had no internal strength left and was no match. He pretended to feel remorse for his past actions and even shed tears. This fooled the martial artist, who let him go, believing Meng Sanxi regretted his actions. Meng Sanxi barely escaped another encounter unscathed.

Just when Meng Sanxi thought he had narrowly escaped danger, he encountered a thief attempting to steal his silver notes. To ensure his safety, Meng Sanxi decided to let the thief take a hundred taels of silver notes. It turned out that Meng Sanxi could only evade five moves with all his strength, and he needed a full five hours of rest to recover. This realization made him cautious not to provoke the thief, who had no knowledge of Meng Sanxi and might kill him to cover their tracks.

Doctor Hu concluded that Meng Sanxi's condition was due to blocked meridians and recommended seeking a remedy from a renowned martial arts family in Muyun City. However, the required medicines were challenging to obtain, and only the Liu family in Muyun City had a medicine that could cure Meng Sanxi. Meng Sanxi decided to go to Muyun City immediately.

As Meng Sanxi was leaving, he heard pursuers approaching. Doctor Hu kindly advised him to leave through the back door and promised to provide some of his consultation fee to help Meng Sanxi continue fleeing.

Meng Sanxi had been trapped beneath the cliff for two hours. During this time, someone attempted to kill him by lowering a rope, but when that person mentioned "Southern Howling Sky," Yan Sifang (played by Wang Hanwen) stepped in and threatened to smash that person's head if he didn't come up. The person wisely climbed up, and Yan Sifang turned to Meng Sanxi, urging him to quickly defeat the fifty-six people above so that they could all stop running. Meng Sanxi claimed he couldn't do it, but Yan Sifang didn't believe him until he felt Meng Sanxi's pulse, confirming the truth.

The people on top of the cliff tried to make Meng Sanxi, Yan Sifang, and Ye Wuzhi (played by Su Mengdi) harm each other. First, they offered a hundred taels to send Yan Sifang up, followed by the pursuers of Meng Sanxi offering five hundred taels. The most outrageous offer was three thousand silver taels to take Ye Wuzhi back as a mistress. This surprised Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang, and they suggested Ye Wuzhi go up, but she immediately drew her sword to express her determination. Realizing that the situation couldn't continue as it was, the three decided to unite, climb up to the top of the cliff together, and stage a ruse before rushing into Muyun City.

Meng Sanxi used his silver tongue to portray Ye Wuzhi as Yan Sifang's aunt and himself as Ye Wuzhi's brother, who had come back specifically for her wedding. The steward was initially deceived by Meng Sanxi's persuasive words but couldn't believe the incredible coincidence. He asked Ye Wuzhi for confirmation, and although she didn't speak, her nods and shakes of the head indicated that they had only recently met. The steward eventually fell for their trickery and instigated a fight between the three groups of people chasing them. Meng Sanxi, Yan Sifang, and Ye Wuzhi pretended to be injured, spitting blood and fainting. When no one paid them any attention, they made a quick escape towards Muyun City.

After realizing they had been fooled, the steward immediately ordered a sedan chair to chase after Ye Wuzhi. She and Yan Sifang, while supporting the exhausted Meng Sanxi, ran as fast as they could. Meng Sanxi was in great pain and wished he could just die, especially as he saw the pursuing crowd drawing closer. Yan Sifang quickly decided to go ahead. When they had planned their escape at the bottom of the cliff, Meng Sanxi had initially doubted Yan Sifang's reliability, but he was eventually persuaded. Now, they had formed a small team, and both Ye Wuzhi and Meng Sanxi believed that Yan Sifang would deliver on his promise, but they were also wary because he appeared so cold and distrusting.

Meng Sanxi wanted Ye Wuzhi to go first, but she couldn't bring herself to abandon her companion. She fought off one of the pursuers and defeated him. Meng Sanxi took advantage of this to demand that those who wanted to challenge Ye Wuzhi had to prove their ability by withstanding his five moves before fighting her. One person, doubting Meng Sanxi's abilities, accepted the challenge. Meng Sanxi proposed that if he managed to dodge all five moves, the man would have to protect them from the others. The man agreed and attacked with full force, but he couldn't touch Meng Sanxi. Meng Sanxi urged Ye Wuzhi to leave quickly, as he was almost at his physical limit and fell to his knees. Ye Wuzhi and Yan Sifang both reached out to help him, honoring their promise to enter Muyun City together. Meng Sanxi was deeply moved.

Upon entering Muyun City just in the nick of time, Meng Sanxi noticed a girl's ornament hanging in the street, reminding him of his good friend Bei Xiaohai. He had once told Meng Sanxi that such wooden plaques were unique to his hometown, and they had even admired passing girls together. Unfortunately, Bei Xiaohai had been ambushed by masked men six months ago, and though he was innocent, he had been drugged. Meng Sanxi remembered Bei Xiaohai's dying wish to return to his hometown.

Twenty years ago, when Yan Sifang was four years old, he lived in Tuoba Village. On the day his parents were about to leave, his mother, tears in her eyes, held him tightly. Despite her reluctance, she eventually followed his father as the time for their journey had come. Yan Sifang trailed behind them, feeling deeply attached. However, his mother didn't allow him to cross the threshold, promising to return in ten days and instructing him to listen to the village chief.

Yan Sifang had his meals at the village chief's house, and although the village chief treated him well, with the passing of time and his parents' absence for fifteen days, rumors started circulating in the village. People said that Yan Sifang's parents hadn't gone for business but had taken the money and fled. While the village chief didn't blame Yan Sifang, his attitude was no longer as warm as before, and he stopped inviting Yan Sifang for meals. Yan Sifang's inherent pride prevented him from submitting to the village chief, so he went to eat at other people's homes. The village chief, concerned for Yan Sifang's well-being, came looking for him secretly. In the end, Yan Sifang returned to the village chief's house for meals, somewhat comforting the village chief, who believed that his own cooking was still the best.

Reflecting on the past, Yan Sifang couldn't help but wonder whether he would have avoided harm if he hadn't trusted anyone. Consequently, he became exceptionally cautious and didn't trust anyone. Although Meng Sanxi had friends, his friend Bei Xiaohai had already been killed. Now, in the city of Muyun, Meng Sanxi had nowhere to go. Knowing Yan Sifang well, Meng Sanxi believed that Yan Sifang must have left himself a way out. He asked Yan Sifang to take him along. Yan Sifang initially intended to act alone but was surprised when Ye Wuzhi tugged at his clothes, demonstrating complete trust in him. She even used a bit of moral persuasion to convince him to take her with them. Yan Sifang had indeed considered an escape route, planning to spend a night in the bustling open areas of Sifang City. Even if they entered the city, he remained vigilant. This puzzled Ye Wuzhi, who, as a young girl, believed that the presence of the yamen (local government office) in Muyun City would ensure their safety. Yan Sifang had to remind her that even if they found the yamen, they couldn't expect them to provide 24-hour protection. There was still a chance of danger, and the best strategy was to avoid it at all times.

Ye Wuzhi was from the Jingtao Sect and had entered the martial world to investigate the case of the Jingtao Sect being attacked, resulting in the deaths of thirty percent of its members. The Sanqi Dao, believing that their actions were a form of punishment for those who committed crimes or thought they could escape justice, often acted under the guise of justice to punish wrongdoers. Yan Sifang couldn't comprehend how a sect with over seventy members could lose thirty percent of them to the Sanqi Dao. Meng Sanxi explained the issue of martial strength to Yan Sifang. The Sanqi Dao typically dispatched as many as eighty experts and easily overwhelmed martial sects with fewer members. Yan Sifang planned to leave the city early the next day when the city gates opened, using a fast horse to outrun their pursuers. However, Meng Sanxi and Ye Wuzhi decided to stay in Muyun City. Meng Sanxi suggested that if Ye Wuzhi encountered pursuit, she could blend in with the common people, and if someone tried to stop her, she could easily escape. The next day, when Ye Wuzhi woke up, Yan Sifang had already left. Meng Sanxi had prepared breakfast and was waiting for her to eat. While they dined together, Ye Wuzhi invited Meng Sanxi to rent a house with two bedrooms. Meng Sanxi assumed that Ye Wuzhi had romantic intentions, which filled him with excitement. However, Ye Wuzhi clarified that there were two bedrooms, causing Meng Sanxi's assumptions to crumble. Meng Sanxi believed that he had grown accustomed to eating alone. Ye Wuzhi reminded him that being accustomed to something didn't mean he enjoyed it. This made Meng Sanxi recall the happiness of eating with someone in the past. They agreed to share meals once they settled down.

Ye Wuzhi wanted to rent a house through the yamen, but she couldn't find it. At this moment, a girl in a tavern beckoned her inside. For a price of five copper coins, she provided Ye Wuzhi with the address of the yamen and also tried to introduce other services to profit from the information in her mind. Ye Wuzhi, who knew more about the Liu family's affairs than the girl expected, made her wonder if Ye Wuzhi was an outsider. Ye Wuzhi noticed someone searching for her outside the tavern. She continued to converse with the girl to inquire about the headquarters of the Sanqi Dao, as she sought revenge for her sect. Meng Sanxi, who had bought groceries, met Ying Baichi, who enjoyed watching the chaos.

Meng Sanxi wanted to enter the boutique store to buy a top-quality tent. The doorkeeper looked down on him, but Meng Sanxi directly pulled out a handful of silver bills, silencing the doorkeeper and allowing him to enter the store. Inside, he met the beautiful Gu Nianjiu, confirming that Bei Xiaohai had not lied to him; the girls here were indeed stunning. Meng Sanxi confidently purchased an outrageously expensive tent, and when Gu Nianjiu suggested he look at other items, he couldn't help but feel elated.

Yan Sifang, on the other hand, spent a large sum of silver to buy a new outfit, but he was recognized by a steward before he could leave the city. Yan Sifang was puzzled because he barely recognized himself in his new attire, and he wondered how the steward saw through his disguise. The steward bluntly pointed out that Yan Sifang's shoes were different, making Yan Sifang deeply regret not thinking it through. The steward then revealed that he had seen through Yan Sifang's plan: to leave through the city gate, mount a fast horse, and escape. He advised Yan Sifang that he also had a horse and that Yan Sifang's plan was futile. He couldn't outrun them, especially considering the people waiting at the city gate. The steward's sole intention was to find Ye Wuzhi, believing Yan Sifang to be her nephew.

While Meng Sanxi was pulling a cart of vegetables on the street, he was followed by the steward's people. Meng Sanxi handed the man a silver note, trying to make him ignore him, but the man misunderstood and claimed he followed unattended carts out of curiosity. Unable to get rid of him, Meng Sanxi climbed onto the cart himself, forcing the man to pull it.

Ye Wuzhi finally found someone from the house agency and inquired about clues related to the Three-Seven Society. She learned that all the clues in Muyun City, whether hidden or not, were controlled, and buying information would cost fifty taels upfront, with another hundred taels payable upon success. However, with her meager monthly income of only two taels, she couldn't afford it. Before she could secure lodgings, she was found by someone. She considered drawing her sword to subdue them, but she couldn't do so in Muyun City without breaking the law. She listened to reason and sheathed her sword, quickly running away. Her pursuer chased her through several streets. When they reached a place where exams were being held, Ye Wuzhi took refuge, as it was guarded by yamen officials who wouldn't tolerate disturbances. Her pursuers were stopped, and Ye Wuzhi felt victorious. However, Yan Sifang and the steward blocked her path on the way out. Soon after, Meng Sanxi arrived with his vegetable cart. The three of them had separated for only a short time and found themselves back together again, marveling at the strange twists of fate. Meng Sanxi took out three radishes, giving one to each of them, as a makeshift meal. However, he realized the radishes were incredibly spicy and quickly spit out his bite, amusing Yan Sifang and Ye Wuzhi.

In the evening, Yan Sifang, Meng Sanxi, and Ye Wuzhi gathered around a fire to cook. The aroma of the food made the pursuers, who could only eat dry bread, even hungrier. Suddenly, thick smoke billowed from the stove, and Meng Sanxi shouted that there was a fire. Taking advantage of the chaos, Yan Sifang, Ye Wuzhi, and Meng Sanxi escaped. Yan Sifang was responsible for pushing the vegetable cart, while Meng Sanxi threw vegetables to leave a trail for the assassins to follow. Yan Sifang's original plan was to escape to Mufeng City with a horse-drawn carriage containing the tent. Afterward, he would send the carriage on its way to another city while they discreetly returned to Muyun City. This plan would divert the assassins' attention, making them think the three had left the city entirely. Three-Seven Society members sent to protect Meng Sanxi and hinder his actions discovered this plan but were willing to help execute it in exchange for payment. Meng Sanxi quickly handed over all his silver notes to make them believe he had no more money hidden.

Yan Sifang's purpose in coming to Muyun City was to find the swindler who had deceived the village chief. Reflecting on his childhood in the village, Yan Sifang's emotions were complex. He regretted the tragic consequences of the village chief's decision to keep the younger generation from leaving, which led to them getting married and having children early. He thought that by keeping the parents tied to the village, they wouldn't have abandoned their children.

Ye Wuzhi practiced the "Wu Wang Jue," a technique that required her to avoid developing emotions and had certain age restrictions. Liu Yunxiao, her senior martial brother, had been expelled from the inner sect due to his age and his failure to master the "Wu Wang Jue." Before leaving, he confessed that this expulsion was a relief for him. He also revealed that he had written a love letter to Ye Wuzhi. This revelation surprised Ye Wuzhi, who glanced at Liu Yunxiao. Their master reminded Ye Wuzhi not to be influenced and advised her to continue her training diligently.

One day, Ye Wuzhi saw a junior disciple from the outer sect, Xie Chenghuan, come to the inner sect for training. He claimed to have come for a rendezvous, as he had written a love letter to Ye Wuzhi, thinking she had also come for the meeting. This surprised Ye Wuzhi. Her honesty, a result of her martial arts training, made her admit that she hadn't seen the love letter. She also expressed her unfavorable opinion of Xie Chenghuan, describing him as someone who liked to show off but had weak martial skills and no redeeming qualities. Xie Chenghuan was deeply hurt by her words. However, what he didn't expect was that their sect leader had secretly read the love letter he wrote to Ye Wuzhi, which was hidden nearby. As a result, Xie Chenghuan was caught in the act, and a sect-wide meeting was convened. He was punished with three months of confinement, and Ye Wuzhi was portrayed as the informant who exposed him. Unable to defend herself, Ye Wuzhi faced isolation and ostracism from her fellow sect members, as they were all afraid she would report them. No one wanted to eat with her, and she began a solitary life dedicated to her martial training.

Meng Sanxi's willingness to sacrifice all his silver notes to divert pursuers greatly impressed Ye Wuzhi. However, both Yan Sifang and Meng Sanxi thought she underestimated men. Yan Sifang immediately revealed a secret compartment on Meng Sanxi's back, containing a silver note. Ye Wuzhi examined it closely and found only ten taels, which puzzled her. Meng Sanxi couldn't believe it either, realizing that he had initially hidden one thousand and ten taels. Now, he had only ten taels left, and he worried about his future. Yan Sifang entered a nearby shop, and the three of them decided to stay there for the night. Meng Sanxi recalled the days when his exceptional martial skills allowed him to live comfortably, thanks to the bountiful rewards from the yamen. He never imagined he would end up in such a situation. He began to lament his fate, and Ye Wuzhi realized that Meng Sanxi was trying to borrow money. Although she had limited money in her pocket, she lent him five taels. This left both of them with fifteen taels. Yan Sifang had recently deposited a large sum in the bank, making him the wealthiest among the three. Upon hearing this, Meng Sanxi quickly flattered him. They agreed to withdraw the money together the next day.

However, Meng Sanxi lost his jade token, making it impossible for him to prove that the money belonged to him. Consequently, he couldn't withdraw the money. Furthermore, the shopkeeper who had helped him make the deal yesterday was now enjoying his newfound wealth and couldn't confirm Yan Sifang's identity. Yan Sifang realized that he had been secretly given ten taels by the bank teller as a token of gratitude for helping him secure the business. With only ten taels left, Yan Sifang felt baffled by the shopkeeper's excessive display of emotion. When they opened the shop, they noticed a crowd gathering and then dispersing. Gu Nianjiu, a fellow merchant, visited the store and bought the most expensive item. She revealed that this shop was infamous in Muyun City, as all previous owners had closed within three months. People just came to see the commotion. There were individuals in Muyun City who demanded protection money, but Ye Wuzhi believed her martial skills were sufficient to deter them. However, these individuals were vile and resorted to disgusting acts like throwing feces during the night, making everyone disgusted.

The ruffians attempted to throw feces at night, but Yan Sifang set up a trap and captured them along with the feces. He turned them over to the local authorities, but the ruffians accused him, Meng Sanxi, and Ye Wuzhi of kidnapping them while they were soliciting prostitutes. Li, the constable, was aware of the ruffians' misdeeds but lacked evidence to arrest them. He decided to mediate and reconcile the two sides. When the ruffians demanded twenty taels, Dai Menghui suddenly intervened and cut the ropes binding them to the accusation of kidnapping. This made reconciliation possible, and the ruffians agreed.

Failing with one plan, the ruffians devised another. They deliberately blocked the entrance to the "Wuming Grocery Store," preventing customers from entering. Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang knew that if Ye Wuzhi found out about this, it would likely lead to a conflict. They went to confront the ruffians to resolve the issue. Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang were unaware of each other's abilities and mistakenly believed that the other was a formidable opponent. To their surprise, they were both overpowered by the ruffians and suffered a severe beating. They initially planned to report the incident to the authorities using their injuries, but the ruffians were even more ruthless and turned on each other, preventing both Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang from pursuing that path. When Ye Wuzhi returned and saw their injuries, she decided to seek justice for them.

Before Ye Wuzhi arrived, the ruffians had been dealt with by Meng Sanxi and those who wanted to protect the store's reputation. Ye Wuzhi, despite her limited martial skills, managed to handle the ruffians effectively. However, this led to the ruffians reporting her to the authorities. She was quickly arrested and faced a choice: pay a fine or spend three years in prison. Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang, lacking the necessary funds, had no choice but to sell all the store's goods at a fifty percent discount to Ying Baichi to secure Ye Wuzhi's release.

Back at the store, Ye Wuzhi felt guilty as she looked at the empty counter, wondering about her future livelihood. Meng Sanxi suggested joining the ruffians, as it would be a quick way to make money without any initial investment. Yan Sifang was tempted, but they needed to involve Ye Wuzhi, who refused to engage in criminal activities. Instead, she sold her sword to raise the money needed to repay Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang ten taels each. She then left, warning them not to do anything shameful.

Meng Sanxi later realized how Ye Wuzhi had raised the money and was touched by her honesty. They initially considered trying to take advantage of her kindness, but her straightforwardness made them change their minds. When they attempted to leave for a meal, they found themselves locked in. Their feelings of gratitude quickly faded, and they realized their hunger and need for the restroom. They eventually thought of using Yan Sifang's cliff-jumping equipment to escape, but it was too late. Ye Wuzhi returned with food and money, rescuing them from their predicament.

The trio noticed that only gambling dens and brothels remained open at night. Given Ye Wuzhi's good looks, they suspected something unpleasant might happen to her. They hurried to the gambling den and found Ye Wuzhi gambling and intoxicated. They intervened to protect her, but the owner of the gambling den threatened them. Meng Sanxi pretended to be injured and threatened to report the incident to the authorities, which forced the owner to let them leave with Ye Wuzhi.

Ji Mingzhao, the daughter of the Ji family, was initially intended to be betrothed to Liu Yungui, the third son of the Liu family. However, Ji Mingzhao had witnessed her elder sister's unhappiness in a forced marriage due to family arrangements and didn't want to experience the same fate. She approached her parents, hoping to avoid such a future. Her mother criticized her for lacking skills and challenged Ji Mingzhao to prove herself by earning money for the Ji family. If she succeeded, she could make her own choices.

Ji Mingzhao decided to use 4,000 silver taels as startup capital to turn the most unsuccessful shop in Mu Yun City into a profitable one. She also aimed to develop her employees, including Ye Wuzhi, Meng Sanxi, and Yan Sifang, into skilled core members. She set the ambitious goal of increasing the shop's profit tenfold within a year, renaming it "Wuming General Store."

Ye Wuzhi, Meng Sanxi, and Yan Sifang returned with Ji Mingzhao, and she offered them employment contracts, paying them five taels of silver each per month. However, she set the condition that they must remain in the shop during working hours and obtain approval for any leave requests. Ji Mingzhao planned to expand the business, selling not only groceries but also other goods like firewood, rice, oil, salt, fruits, vegetables, and textiles. She decided to rename the store "Wuming Department Store" while retaining the "Wuming" part of the name. Ye Wuzhi, Meng Sanxi, and Yan Sifang were pleased with these developments.

Meng Sanxi negotiated with the suppliers, pressuring them to sell the goods back at their original prices, creating a commotion to attract Ying Baichi's attention. When Ying Baichi learned of Meng Sanxi's intentions, he eventually agreed to the lower price to avoid further trouble, saving the Wuming Department Store some money. When Yan Sifang tried to purchase fabric, the Ji family's fabric shop initially refused to sell to them due to a prior notice. However, Yan Sifang threatened the shopkeeper with reporting him if he didn't sell the fabric, which led to the successful purchase.

Ye Wuzhi needed dice for the store's games, but the owner of the dice shop refused to sell them. Ye Wuzhi decided to gamble to win the dice table itself. She succeeded and won the dice table, which conveniently matched the fabric Yan Sifang had bought.

When Ji Mingzhao had urgent business outside, she instructed Meng Sanxi, Yan Sifang, and Ye Wuzhi to manage the store autonomously. She promised them bonuses based on their performance. Meng Sanxi became suspicious, thinking that Ji Mingzhao might be trying to restrict their freedom, but Ye Wuzhi believed that Ji Mingzhao simply had a lot of money. They agreed to work honestly without speculating on Ji Mingzhao's intentions.

Wei Dongyang visited the store and informed the three that he had successfully distracted the authorities. He had returned to Mu Yun City and now worked for Ying Baichi, offering to call Ying Baichi if they needed assistance, for a monthly fee of seven taels. Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang envied Wei Dongyang's salary but grew suspicious when they learned he had returned to investigate the actions of the Sanqi Dao sect members.

Ye Wuzhi wanted to invite Wei Dongyang to join their revenge organization, but Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang changed the topic. Ye Wuzhi later realized she needed money and decided to gamble again, but she ended up losing everything. She resolved to focus on her work and save up one hundred taels.

Ji Mingzhao learned that Mr. Fan was designing the eighth bathhouse for the Liu family and went to visit him with some fruits, hoping to form a joint venture to boost the store's reputation. Gu Nianjiu, from the Yuting Court, had a similar idea. The two of them met outside Fan's residence and competed to get his attention. In the end, they managed to persuade Fan to collaborate with them.

Meng Sanxi took a day off to inquire about Bei Xiaohai's identity at Old Wang's Noodle Shop. He wanted to help Bei Xiaohai clear his name and discovered evidence that could potentially do so. However, he wasn't sure if he could use this evidence. Excited, Meng Sanxi knew he needed to come up with one hundred taels to get started.

The shopkeeper remembered that Ye Wuzhi had done the same thing the previous day, leaving him waiting all night without returning. He questioned Meng Sanxi about when he would be back. Meng Sanxi decided to make some money by selling cabbages and return with two hundred taels, just like Ye Wuzhi.

When Meng Sanxi returned to the department store, he found Ji Mingzhao already there. He admitted to his absence and explained that Yan Sifang had reported to Ji Mingzhao about his restroom break two hours earlier. He scolded Yan Sifang for speaking too soon and apologized to Ji Mingzhao. Ji Mingzhao wasn't angry and simply reminded them all to stay in the store during working hours.

To ensure they didn't leave the store, Ji Mingzhao promised to pay Wei Dongyang one tael of silver per month to oversee them. Wei Dongyang was rational and didn't want to risk his seven-tael job for the sake of one tael, so Ji Mingzhao had to find another solution. She hired a musician to watch over Meng Sanxi, Yan Sifang, and Ye Wuzhi to ensure they didn't leave the store without permission.

Ye Wuzhi, after a good night's rest, was enthusiastic about selling cabbages again. However, when she saw there were no cabbages on the rack, she tried to take orders from customers. Lao Ding kept a close eye on her and prevented her from stepping outside the store.

Meng Sanxi planned to go out to buy inventory, and Yan Sifang wanted to accompany him. But Lao Ding insisted that only Meng Sanxi could go and that he needed to return within a set time. Yan Sifang felt like he was being confined and wanted to complain but saw Meng Sanxi's triumphant look, so he sighed in resignation.

Unexpectedly, Mr. Fan fell ill, and Ji Mingzhao and Gu Nianjiu rushed him to Liu Yungui's clinic. They discovered that Mr. Fan had been poisoned by food. Ji Mingzhao and Gu Nianjiu's plans for a joint advertising campaign were ruined, as the Liu family would finalize the bathhouse design the next day. However, Liu Yungui informed Ji Mingzhao that they still had one day to try to change Mr. Fan's decision.

Liu Yungui, who was fifteen years old and quite clever, was in charge of the bathhouse project for the Liu family. Ji Mingzhao didn't like him, even though he was outstanding and a skilled doctor. Liu Yungui asked Ji Mingzhao why she refused to marry and learned that she valued freedom and simplicity more than her status as a wealthy young lady. Liu Yungui intentionally hid the fact that Mr. Fan had been poisoned to protect Ji Mingzhao. He assured her that Mr. Fan would wake up in five days.

To earn their respective one hundred taels, Ye Wuzhi, Meng Sanxi, and Yan Sifang worked together to improve the store's performance. They cooperated by washing, cutting, and selling vegetables, and surprisingly, they sold out all their vegetables by noon. Ji Mingzhao was delighted and decided to order more goods. However, Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang were exhausted and suspected there might be a traitor among them.

Upon hearing about Ji Mingzhao's difficulties with the bathhouse project, they asked her for details and learned about the situation. Ye Wuzhi remembered that Liu Yunxiao had mentioned that Liu Yungui admired the martial world since childhood and often talked about sects. Ye Wuzhi also knew his aversion to certain colors. Using this information, the four of them stayed up all night and designed a blueprint for the bathhouse.

Gu Nianjiu also created a set of design drawings to advertise. While Liu Yungui favored Gu Nianjiu's design, the decision was ultimately in Liu Yungui's hands. Ji Mingzhao had promised to give Meng Sanxi and Yan Sifang a day off, but now she had to break her promise. The two of them expressed their dissatisfaction, but Ji Mingzhao pretended not to hear them. She was secretly pleased because every day of running the store was filled with surprises, and she found it exhilarating.

Ye Wuzhi, the most hardworking of the employees, heard about their plans to visit the bathhouse the next day and generously offered her bed for Ji Mingzhao to rest, which made Ji Mingzhao very satisfied.

Four years ago, Meng Sanxi and Bei Xiaohai chased down desert bandits together. They got lost in the desert during their pursuit, and when Nan Xiaotian discovered it, he immediately turned back. However, they got lost again. Luckily, after turning back once more, they spotted a campfire in the sand, which gave them the hope to survive. Just as Bei Xiaohai convinced Meng Sanxi to have faith and survive, Bei Xiaohai collapsed. Meng Sanxi had no choice but to drag Bei Xiaohai along. When Meng Sanxi was too exhausted to continue, Bei Xiaohai would help him up, and they supported each other until they finally reached a small oasis in the desert. There, they rushed to drink water without hesitation. After taking some sips, Bei Xiaohai noticed some desert bandits lying beside the oasis, poisoned by drinking water excessively. He quickly pulled Meng Sanxi away and woke him up with a slap, warning him not to drink like that, or he would suffer the same fate as the bandits. Meng Sanxi suppressed his desire to drink water and talked to Bei Xiaohai, asking for his real name and hometown. Bei Xiaohai, however, felt no attachment to his hometown and believed that dying in the desert would be better than returning home. At that moment, Meng Sanxi remembered his martial arts sect, missing his senior brothers and sisters. He was someone who felt a sense of belonging. Still, after Bei Xiaohai's death, that sense of belonging disappeared. He became someone who lived carelessly.

There were no details about Meng Sanxi's martial arts sect in the design drawings of the Liu Family's bathhouse. Perhaps Meng Sanxi no longer missed his martial arts sect. To prevent leaks, Liu Yungui only brought servants for construction and left everything to Ji Mingzhao. Meng Sanxi, Ye Wuzhi, and Yan Sifang thought it was a good arrangement. However, Ji Mingzhao saw deeper intentions in Liu Yungui's actions. He was testing their skills, and if they met the standard today, they would continue to work on the bathhouse construction. If they failed, Liu Yungui would not keep them. Ji Mingzhao assigned tasks: Ye Wuzhi was responsible for the Clear Spring Sect area, Meng Sanxi for the side gate, Yan Sifang for making six chairs, and she herself for the reception room. Dai Menghui was in the reception room at that time, lying on the floor with no dignity, one hand reaching for the pastries Liu Yungui had specially brought for Ji Mingzhao. He lamented his miserable life of working three jobs every day, not even able to distinguish the tastes of green bean cake and snow pear cake anymore. He finished a plate of green bean cakes, leaving only an empty plate for Ji Mingzhao.

Ji Mingzhao boasted in front of her staff that she could handle the reception room's decor. In reality, she had no sense of aesthetics. She tried to persuade Liu Yungui and Dai Menghui to help, using reverse psychology. However, they knew they had no sense of aesthetics since childhood and didn't want to participate. Ji Mingzhao had to try harder to convince them. They eventually agreed but had one condition: if they did well, Ji Mingzhao should credit them; if they did poorly, they would pretend they had never come.

Meng Sanxi gathered the servants responsible for the side gate's construction. They wanted to follow the design drawings, but none of them had seen a dragon before. Only the carpenter had some ideas, which left Meng Sanxi in a bind. He arranged them by specialization: masons and carpenters were separated. When he learned that they all had different martial arts backgrounds, he decided to let them showcase their skills, with each person responsible for a small section of the side gate. They would follow the style of their respective sects to create a design that suited Liu Yungui's taste. Ye Wuzhi tried to recreate the feeling of her martial arts sect from her memory. After finishing the path with bamboo, she felt something was missing – it lacked the historical atmosphere that the hundred and twenty-year-old Clear Spring Sect had. Yan Sifang was tasked with making chairs. He created a prototype and had the servants replicate it, but their skills varied greatly, with one chair even falling apart at a touch. Yan Sifang thought this was too exaggerated, so he played to everyone's strengths, assigning them to different parts and then assembling the chairs, ensuring everything was properly put together.

As soon as Yan Sifang sat down and relaxed, he caught a familiar scent and followed it to the kitchen. He discovered that Feng Renyuan was in charge of the meals, which greatly disappointed him. When he learned that Feng Renyuan wanted to delay the construction deliberately to make more money, Yan Sifang immediately rejected the idea. After all, he found the food here unbearable and would rather not eat it at all. Ji Mingzhao, along with Dai Menghui and Liu Yungui, finished the decorative wall, but the result was far from satisfactory. No one could bear to look at it, and they urged Ji Mingzhao to redesign it.

Ji Mingzhao's second sister suddenly entered the reception room. Upon seeing the decorative wall, she bluntly pointed out that it was unbearable to look at and suggested that Ji Mingzhao redo it. Liu Yungui and Dai Menghui, upon seeing Second Miss Ji, involuntarily stood still. When they were young, Second Miss Ji had suddenly appeared because they played the flute badly, breaking their flutes. This had left a deep impression, and they naturally feared her. Ji Mingzhao refused to give up. She knew the weapons were not arranged well and proposed forming a music band instead. However, Liu Yungui and Dai Menghui found no aesthetic appeal in the chaotic display of weapons and decided to join the music band.

Meng Sanxi was in charge of the side gate, which was almost complete. As he watched the craftsmen carve their respective martial sect symbols, he felt an indescribable emotion. When the craftsmen didn't want to stop working and even considered adding color to the stone carvings, Meng Sanxi suddenly erupted. He reminded them that it was just a job and there was no need to pour their emotions into it. Seeing the craftsmen looking somewhat sad, he quickly explained that he couldn't express himself well and told them to continue tomorrow.

Ji Mingzhao knew she couldn't fix the decorative wall on her own and went to ask Ye Wuzhi for help. However, Ye Wuzhi was preoccupied with trying to recreate the exact look of the Clear Spring Sect from her memory and refused Ji Mingzhao's request. Ji Mingzhao then turned to Meng Sanxi, who also declined without a word. Ji Mingzhao insisted, and Meng Sanxi knelt down, forcing Ji Mingzhao to retreat. Ji Mingzhao had no choice but to ask Yan Sifang. Initially, Yan Sifang refused as well. However, Ji Mingzhao promised to bring him something to eat, using a tone that reminded him of his mother. Yan Sifang agreed to draw the design for Ji Mingzhao but insisted on doing the setup himself.

At night, Ji Mingzhao, Dai Menghui, and Liu Yungui formed a music band to practice outdoors. After a lot of effort, their performance lacked any aesthetic appeal. Dai Menghui felt it was the same as it used to be. Liu Yungui calmly analyzed the situation, suggesting that if they didn't make progress by dawn, they should just give up. Despite their inability to distinguish the sounds no matter how hard they tried, they refused to give up, continuing to play. The eerie music floated by the riverside throughout the night, seemingly unnoticed by the three musicians, who kept playing with determination.

Meng Sanxi went to find Ye Wuzhi and discovered that she was struggling with how to make the scenery exactly match her memories of the Clear Spring Sect. He advised her not to be too fixated, as it was just a job. Ye Wuzhi refused to give up, so Meng Sanxi decided to help by sprinkling some dust on the pristine white wall. This revelation opened Ye Wuzhi's mind, and she immediately covered the entire wall with dirt. Meng Sanxi, whether intentionally or not, threw a clump of dirt back at Ye Wuzhi, and she responded by returning one. The two of them worked while playfully exchanging dirt clumps, filling the small courtyard with their laughter.

Yan Sifang couldn't bear the taste of the food from the Wind Ren Court and decided to cook tofu over an open fire. Qiu Yuebai caught him in the act and believed that Yan Sifang's rejection of their food was too hurtful. She wanted to see if Yan Sifang's cooking was any better and was surprised when Yan Sifang simply threw the tofu into a pan with various seasonings, resulting in a blackened tofu. Yan Sifang found it unappetizing, but Qiu Yuebai, who had never eaten food from other places since childhood, thought it was delicious. Qiu Yuebai continued to maintain the Wind Ren Court's flavor out of a sense of belonging, and Yan Sifang stopped making fun of the Wind Ren Court's cooking.

After a night of effort, Ji Mingzhao, Dai Menghui, and Liu Yungui finally confirmed that they lacked talent in that area and decided to burn their flutes. Ji Mingzhao felt a bit homesick and asked Dai Menghui and Liu Yungui if they felt the same way. They didn't respond and quickly left, using the excuse of needing to go to work. Yan Sifang's design drawings were excellent, and Ji Mingzhao brought Liu Yungui and Dai Menghui to help set them up. As they worked happily, they couldn't resist dancing a bit. Ji Mingzhao proposed forming a dance troupe, but this time, nobody agreed to her idea.

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