379 – A piece of white paper!
Chapter 379: A piece of white paper!
“Do you smell it? It’s the fragrance of plum blossom——”
“Are the plum blossoms in the courtyard blooming? I noticed that there were two plum trees in bloom, but the aroma was not this strong——”
“It’s a fragrance emitting from the painting, did that cart driver add plum blossom essence to the ink——”
In the process of the scroll being unfolded, all sorts of guessing and questioning voices could be heard from time to time.
Obviously, no one believed that a cart driver could draw a painting of this standard.
They didn’t want to believe it either.
When Cui Xiaoxin had completely unfolded the scroll, everyone gazed at the ‘Winter plum blossom blooms proudly’ painting on the table in silent.
A deathly silence.
After a long while, everyone burst into laughter.
“So funny, I’m dying from laughter——”
“Is this a painting from a cart driver? It indeed expresses the cart driver’s highest standard——”
“Haha, good painting, the best painting, never seen before, and will never see again——”
It was no wonder that the others broke into laughter.
Because on the scroll, there was nothing.
No plum blossom, no snowflakes.
Empty and clean, white and pure, it looked like a piece of white paper.
A paper that had nothing on it can be called ‘extraordinary painting skills’?
“How could this be?” Li Shinian said, a bewildered look on her face, dashed over to touch the paper and said, “I clearly saw a painting, how come there’s nothing? Did I bring the wrong painting scroll?”
“Miss Shinian really is funny.” Chen Wenting said in a mocking tone. “Such a painting, we do not have the ability to appreciate it. I heard that your brother Li Muyang has entered the tenth realm of painting, and with the stroke of a paintbrush he can trigger a courtyard of peach blossoms to bloom——Has your cart driver also reached the tenth realm of painting, and with one stroke of his paintbrush can make the very sky snow.”
Chen Wenting exchanged glances with the girls next to her, pretending to be surprised, “The snow destroyed the city, the snow this year is more ferocious than that in previous years——Is this caused by Miss Shinian’s cart driver? If that is the case, the matter must be kept secret. Otherwise, those people that are snowed in would definitely curse him.”
“There really was a painting.” Li Shinian said in an embarrassed tone. “I didn’t mean to deceive everyone. Maybe I brought the wrong one. I’m really sorry.”
Cui Xiaoxin rolled up the scroll, held Li Shinian’s hand and uttered in a comforting tone, “never mind. You must have taken the wrong painting scroll in a hurry. Since this painting is for me, then I will cherish this——but, send me the one left in your house too.”
“Sister Xiaoxin, I’ll send someone to your residence later.” Li Shinian looked at Cui Xiaoxin in the eye, thinking that could she be suspecting something?
“It is best to tell Li Mu to personally bring it over, if his paintings are really good, then perhaps I should evaluate it properly.” Cui Xiaoxin looked at Li Shinian, a pensive expression in her bright and beautiful eyes.
“Certainly.” Li Shinian readily agreed. As long as Cui Xiaoxin was willing to talk with her brother, no matter what identity her brother has at that time, he will be very happy to see her.
“Miss Shinian really makes one take notice.” Chen Wenting said with a smile.
“However, since we are all sisters, it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand talent——Since Third young master has invited you to come, he does not need you to show what talent. However, making things unnecessarily complicated, and teasing others, that’s extremely boring.” A girl in a red dress said aloud.
“I know, I really had high expectations for the cart driver——if this matter goes out, we’re all going to be laughed at by the entire Tiandu——” said a green-dressed girl holding a golden handwarmer.
“I’m sorry—I’m sorry—” Li Shinian bowed in apologetically——
Song Tao ran his finger along a puddle of water stains on the table, his brows knitted together thoughtfully.
Seeing Cui Xiaoxin put the piece of white paper away, he said with a smile, “Xiaoxin, can I take a look at the painting again?”
Cui Xiaoxin cast a puzzled look at Song Tao, “Third elder brother, it’s just a blank piece of paper, what is there to see?”
“Maybe we’re wrong, I need to evaluate it again.” Song Tao explained.
“Third elder brother, you’re joking, right? Even if you want to praise a cart driver, you do not need to take your reputation as a joke——” a young man advised. Song Tao was a well-known scholar in Tiandu, skillful in the four arts, zither, chess, calligraphy, painting, and was an expert in painting. He had great potential of becoming a ‘national champion’. If he made an error of judgment today, mistaken a piece of white paper as a good painting, his reputation would be harmed and he will become a laughing stock.
“There’s no harm in taking a look.” Song Tao was very insistent.
Cui Xiaoxin chuckled, “Third elder brother, if you’re really that interested in Li Mu, he is in the hall——Why not invite him over and tell him to draw another ‘Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly’ painting again in front of everyone? Wouldn’t that be better? That can make him famous, and prove to the world that Third elder brother is broad-minded and does not restrict talent. We can also test his painting skills, put an end to everyone’s suspicions and jealousy. What do you think Third elder brother?”
Song Tao laughed. “Good idea. Servants, please ask Miss Shinian’s cart driver Mister Li Mu to come in.”
The way he addressed Li Mu was strange, but no one spoke out about what was wrong with the introduction.
Soon, disguised as cart driver, Li Muyang was brought into the small building by the servants.
Wax-yellow complexion, a gaunt figure, and his eyes filled with blood veins; he looked like he had not had a good sleep for days.
Dressed in the grey cart driver uniform of the Lu family residence, he kept his head low to avoid any eye contact. Because his robe was too wide, it seemed like Li Muyang’s body was empty, and a gust of wind can sweep this sickly man away.
The West wind pays particular attention to beauty and personal image. It was easier for good-looking to attract people’s affection and to get promoted faster than others.
There was a young man named Kou Zhong who had been governing a county for ten years, made remarkable achievements and was deeply loved by the civilians. However, every time there was an evaluation for promotion, his name was not on the list.
Later someone asked the City Lord why he didn’t give Kou Zhong a promotion. The City Lord bluntly said it was because he was too ugly, makes him feel disgusted, and he was almost sick and tired of seeing him. It was better to leave him in the county to do more good deeds for the people.
Later, this Kou Zhong indeed served as a county Lord his whole life until he was old.
This cart driver clearly did not meet the beauty standard that the West Wind seeks, and the girls were extremely disappointed with the cart driver who had stirred the emotions of everyone at this gathering.
Chen Wenting also felt frustrated. A cart driver that she usually wouldn’t lay her eyes on had unexpectedly turned the gathering to this state. What a waste of time.
Li Muyang headed straight to Li Shinian and greeted her first.
Then he bowed at Cui Xiaoxin and Song Tao the two acquaintances, as for the people around he gave a slight bow of his head in greeting.
Song Tao looked at Li Muyang, and said with a smile on his face, “Li Mu, your Miss says you are good at painting, and took your ‘Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly’ painting for us to appreciate, but the painting scroll was empty when it was unfolded. We all feel extremely disappointed. Why don’t you create another one in front of everybody, with the winter plum and snow scene in front of you as the subjects?”
Li Muyang looked at Li Shinian, waiting for the order of his Miss.
Li Shinian nodded. “I embarrassed myself in front of everyone just now. I depend on your performance now.”
She lightly bit her thin lips and smiled, “Li Mu, don’t let me down.”
It was only then when Li Muyang agreed, “I won’t.”
“Servants, bring brush and ink.” Song Tao shouted.
When the servants had prepared and grinded the ink, Li Muyang rolled up his sleeves and walked up to the table.
Cui Xiaoxin had all along been paying close attention to Li Muyang’s arm, when she saw that Li Muyang’s arm was wax yellow, similar to the skin of his face and there was not a trace of scar when he unfolded his palm, she could not help but sigh.
There was always an inexplicable feeling that this person is the person she was waiting for, but the fact very clearly told her that this person was not that person——
Li Muyang dipped the brush into the ink, and then pressed on the white paper in one heavy stroke.
Everyone was initially surprised, then overjoyed.
A youngster who was good at painting explained to the girl next to him: “The most important thing about painting is the composition. The composition shows the overall view of the painter, but is also the root and bone of a painting. If the bones are crooked, then what’s the point of the other parts of the painting being well drawn? Of course, if the first stroke is ruined, then the painting won’t be good.”
“This painting is ruined, it’s not pleasant to the eye.” A man in white shook his head and sighed. “A cart driver, after all, is a cart driver, the way he put the brush to the paper was like swinging out a horsewhip. Barbaric and rough. Does such a person understands the way of painting? What a disgrace.”
Even Song Tao’s expression was slightly stiff, a hint of regret flickering in his eyes.
“Could it be that he really is just a cart driver? I am bringing trouble to myself by putting my mind on this person.”
Only Li Shinian stood behind Li Muyang, her hands balled into fists, placing all her attention on her brother who was painting seriously.
It looked as if she was cheering on her cart driver, and still firmly believed him even when the world did not believe that her cart driver can paint.
It made the other young Miss look at Li Shinian with increasing contempt in their eyes. She sees a cart driver as a precious person?
Only Li Shinian knew that she was itching to go up to her idiot brother and bite him to death.
“Idiot, you idiot——just draw a few strokes, why are you putting so much effort——”
Li Muyang ignored the comments of the outsiders and the insults directed at him, and did not notice Li Shinian gnashing her teeth, after leaving a heavy brush stroke in the upper left corner, he indifferently began to draw in the lower right corner.
As the paper was filled with black ink, the sneer on the spectators’ face, one after another, solidified into frost.
It was as if the temperature in the room was colder than the outside.