Chapter 49: How Did He Do It?
“A painting left behind by the master?”
By the side, Huang Yu feels like she is going insane. She almost loses her balance and falls to the floor.
In the past, Master Lu Chen had brought out paintings for them to appraise, as well as to test them. However… he had never brought out his own works!
This time, why would he…
If the fellow before her had praised the work the master took out, perhaps, the master will be delighted with his evaluation and let it pass. However… what did you say —— Downright senseless, what the heck is this toy?
Is this something a human should say?
To evaluate Master Lu Chen’s drawing as downright senseless, what the heck is this toy…
Huang Yu feels like vomiting blood.
Didn’t you say that you won’t put me in a difficult position? This… What is going on?
If she knew that Zhang Xuan had decided afterwards that as a teacher, he shouldn’t put her in an awkward situation… more blood will probably come spurting out from her mouth!
Is this what you call not putting me in an awkward situation?
You are obviously pushing me down the cliff…
She is regretting her action of bringing this fellow here!
Master Lu Chen favors youngsters who learn with humility. He never discriminates against people, and he likes people coming over to learn from him.
This fellow seems scholarly on the surface, as well as a person who knows his boundaries, so she thought that he is the type to learn with humility. Thus, she brought him over so she could please the master. If things go well, she could make use of the opportunity to achieve her goals as well. Yet, she never would have expected that… he is so unreliable!
Huang Yu feels her guts turn green with regret.
If only she knew that this would happen, she would have rejected him on the spot. Why did she guide him over just to bring trouble on herself…
While she is on the verge of going berserk, Bai Xun is on the verge of laughing.
Indeed, what is scary is not a godlike opponent, but a pig-like teammate.
This fellow actually dares to describe Master Lu Chen’s work as ‘what the heck is this toy’. Needless to think, he must have offended the master thoroughly with his words. Even if he doesn’t make a move, the master will probably teach this ignorant lad a lesson!
“Is this the knowledge and talent you speak of? Skilled in qin qi shu hua?”
Qin qi shu hua -> Zither, chess, literature and painting
Chuckling softly, he gazes at Huang Yu teasingly.
Huang Yu had just praised Zhang Xuan a moment ago, yet in the next, the latter spoke such words. Have you ever seen a knowledgeable and talented person act like this?
In contrast to butler Uncle Cheng’s anxiety, Huang Yu’s regret and Bai Xun’s glee, Master Lu Chen doesn’t get mad due to the other party’s words. He interrupts the commotion going on and looks at Lu Chen calmly, “This little brother over here, why would you make such an evaluation? Is there a problem with my drawing?”
“I didn’t know that it was master’s work. I seek your forgiveness for my brashness!” Zhang Xuan feigns shock and hurriedly bows apologetically.
The book compiled by the Library of Heaven’s Path allows him to look into the flaws of the painting, and the artist is also labelled in it. Naturally, he knows that the painting before him is Lu Chen’s work, just that he is intentionally feigning ignorance!
“Don’t worry about it. This is just a painting. I am only asking you to appraise the strengths and weaknesses of the painting, and not the painter of it!” Master Lu Chen gestures.
“With your words, I am reassured!” Zhang Xuan smiles. Facing the painting again, he strokes it and says, “If we are just talking about this painting, even if it is drawn by the master… I can only use these eight words to evaluate it! Downright senseless, what the heck is this toy!”
Huang Yu and the butler look calm on the surface, but panic on the inside.
To say such words after knowing that this is a work of the master. Lad, are you insane?
Zhang Xuan pauses for a moment.
“This painting is indeed nothing much. Any artist by the street would be able to draw it. It is already an overestimation by calling it a toy! However, if one is able to see beyond its surface, then it is definitely an astonishing creation that will leave its viewers in disbelief!”
Zhang Xuan says.
“Look beyond the surface? How should we look?” Master Lu Chen smiles gently.
“Simple!” Zhang Xuan looks at the butler Uncle Cheng. “May I trouble you to bring a dagger over!”
“Alright!” After taking a look at Master Lu Chen and noticing the lack of disapproval, Uncle Cheng turns around and walks out. After a short moment, he returns with a dagger and passes it to Zhang Xuan.
“Then, I will be making an embarrassment of myself!”
Grabbing the dagger, Zhang Xuan walks over to the painting and stabs the dagger into it.
“What are you doing?” Seeing his actions, Bai Xun steps forward. “That is the master’s work, every single painting of his is incomparably valuable that some even label them as priceless treasures. Are you sure you can compensate him if you damage it?”
Huang Yu also looks at his actions in bewilderment.
Why would you need a dagger to appraise a painting?
Ignoring Bai Xun’s rebuke, Zhang Xuan cuts the unblemished painting with the dagger.
Tzzzzzzz, the sound of paper being cut echoes in the air. The portion of the drawing that was cut curls upwards. Tugging lightly on it, the top portion of the drawing separates from the bottom layer. This is similar to how there are different levels to a building. A layer of xuan paper forms the top layer of the painting, whereas the bottom layer consists of goatskin.
Xuan paper -> A type of paper suitable for drawing.
The tearing of the top xuan paper exposes what is on top of the goatskin. There is also a painting on top of the goatskin, and it is similar to what was on the xuan paper. However, there is more spirit to this one and the depictions are much more vivid. It is as though the mountainous rocks, trees, village and children would pop out from within at any moment.
“If I’m not wrong, the drawing on top of the xuan paper is just a layer of deception. The true drawing is imprinted through the xuan paper, onto the goatskin. This is the true secret behind the master’s drawing!” After pulling away the xuan paper, Zhang Xuan smiles.
Regardless of whether it is Huang Yu, the butler or Bai Xun, all of their eyes widen in disbelief.
To imprint the ink beyond the xuan paper onto the goatskin through force, not to mention that the drawing on top of the paper must retain a certain level of clarity such that no flaws can be seen on it… This is way too incredible!
These two paintings are stacked on top of one another flawlessly… How was he able to tell?
“Not bad, not bad!” Upon seeing the young man easily exposing the secret behind his painting, Master Lu Chen’s eyes light up. This time, his gaze towards the youngster is full of praise.
At the same time, he is also filled with shock.
His ability of imprinting on goatskin through a layer of paper via force is something he just comprehended. He had never showcased it in front of anyone else. Yet, this youngster is able to see through it in an instant. His eye of discernment is way too formidable!
“Then, what about this drawing?”
Master Lu Chen turns around and points to a painting hung on the wall.
There is a giant savage beast painted on it. Similar to a savage tiger descending from the mountain, its ferocious aura leaves its viewers with astonishment. If a timid person were to catch sight of this painting, they might fall limply onto the ground, fearing to make a single noise.
Zhang Xuan steps forward and strokes it lightly. Then, he smiles, “This painting isn’t bad, but it is lacking in disposition. If I am not wrong, the painter of the work has never seen the savage beast portrayed in the drawing before! This drawing is just based on his personal interpretation!”
Master Lu Chen’s body trembles as his eyes widen into complete circles.
Others might be confused by what Zhang Xuan is saying, but he understands what the other party means.
That is because this painting is his work as well.
The savage beast on the painting is known as ‘Chi Xiong‘, and it is a rare life-form. It is said to possess boundless strength and invincible defense, to the point that no weapon is able wound it.
Just like what the other party said, it is true that he has never met such a life-form. The reason why he was able to draw this painting is because he had flipped through numerous books so as to feed his imagination.
This painting is one of his prided works. This is also the reason why it is hung on the middlemost location of the lounge. Innumerable painting masters have come to visit and they are filled with praises for it. They all find the painting majestic and lifelike. Why would the youngster say that it is lacking in disposition?
Since the other party is able to see through the overall situation behind the other painting in an instant, his eye for such stuff should be top-notch. Furthermore, he was able to tell that he had never seen a Chi Xiong just by glancing at the painting, so it is very probable that he has his own reasons for saying so!
“Which part of it is lacking in disposition, would you be kind to enlighten me?”
At this point, Master Lu Chen no longer has the attitude of superiority from before as he hurriedly asks.
Seeing the emperor’s tutor who kept testing them, causing them to scratch their heads helplessly innumerable times, seeking guidance with humility from a young man who isn’t even twenty yet, Huang Yu and Bai Xun stare at one another and they feel like fainting.
Especially Huang Yu, her eyes can’t stop blinking. The shock strikes her mind like billowing waves.
That fellow… how did he do it?
“Then, I will be making an embarrassment of myself!” “我就献丑了！”
Just words of humility that are commonly used
Chi Xiong 赤雄
There are many possible ways to interpret these two words
Chi: Crimson/ Loyal
Xiong: Male/ Heroic/ Grand/ Majestic
I don’t think there’s a meaning behind it though, just listing out to give an idea what the creature may look like.