Chapter – Bitter hardship that can't be said is very pitiful
With fundamental knowledge from before, Chu Qing-Yan didn't feel it would be difficult; but then, the iceberg teacher's stern criticism rained down.
"Keep your fingers steady, your palm should be empty and erect, the wrist should be flat, keep it steady."
Chu Qing-Yan blushed with shame, what a strict teacher.
"The finger that writes needs strength, joints should be facing outwards, close but not loose. Five fingers should use strength at the same time so it will be firm and powerful. You must also pay attention to wielding the brush, however, the looseness and tightness must be appropriate. If it is too tight, the movements won't be nimble; too loose, you can't use enough force."
Chu Qing-Yan subconsciously added a bit more force, "Slap——" A ruler landed on the back of her hand and a red streak appeared momentarily. Afterwards, she felt the scorching pain and couldn't help but lift her eyes, gleaming with tears to glare at the main offender.
Xiao Xu directly ignored her glower and continued to say, "The fingers shouldn't tremble. Concentrate!"
Chu Qing-Yan clenched her teeth. Compared to this iceberg teacher, she thought that her teacher at that time was really gentle and benevolent.
The iceberg teacher looked at her hand and continued, "The space between the thumb and the forefinger should be wider."
Chu Qing-Yan, having heard this, parted the two fingers slightly, but sadly, the other party didn't seem to be satisfied. After criticizing her for a long while, and she still couldn't reach his requirements, she saw his brows knit slightly. Chu Qing-Yan thought he had already given up, but didn't think he'd call Lan Yi to come in.
"Bring me a raw egg."
Lan Yi looked at Chu Qing-Yan with puzzlement, then immediately nodded and withdrew.
Chu Qing-Yan thought that Xiao Xu was hungry and wanted to treat it as a snack, but when she thought again, she realized he hadn’t asked for a cooked egg ah!
After Lan Yi offered up the egg, and Xiao Xu turned around to make her hold it, she had an ominous feeling.
"Place the egg in your palm and hold the brush properly. If the egg falls then don't even think about having dinner tonight!" Iceberg Teacher sat in the chair in a leisurely manner. However, the words he said made her feel that this person really needed a good spanking!
The egg felt cold in her palm and the cold penetrated into her heart. Did this Xiao Xu have to torture her just to feel at ease?
Her belly and heart were full of fire that couldn't be discharged. But after she had calmed down, Chu Qing-Yan couldn't help but admit, this method was indeed very effective in training her posture for holding the brush, only that it made the hand sore easily, alright?
"Use your whole body's strength, keep your wrist leveled, point the brush vertically. Don't let your wrist continue to lean on the table!"
The ruler fell once again and because the fingers weren't holding on tightly, the egg in her palm slipped out just like that, landed on the table and broke open. The golden- colored egg yolk and the transparent thick pasty liquid, in a flash, spread out on the table. It was like the blazing sun in the horizon, provoking one's tender affection. But at this moment, Chu Qing-Yan was already stupefied because she was thinking that she had no fate with tonight's dinner.
"A pity ah." An indifferent tone sounded by her ear, as if pitying this egg, but also seemingly pitying her. However, in Chu Qing-Yan's ear, it seemed to carry a touch of mockery.
Chu Qing-Yan looked at the red criss-crossed bands on the back of her hand. She had practiced the posture for two hours without rest. At this moment, she was thirsty, tired and hungry. Suddenly, the grief and indignation seeped out from the bottom of her heart, she turned around to look at the person in front of her with extreme grievances and angrily opened her mouth, "Why are you always forcing me to do things that I don't like to do?"
"If you can give a reason to convince this king, then this king will not force you to learn to read." Xiao Xu looked like he was not infuriated by her words and continued to idly lean on the chair, looking at her coolly.
Chu Qing-Yan's eyes suddenly glinted. Was this person trying to reason with her? Her eyes turned and immediately pulled out what she thought was a watertight reason to say, "As the proverbs say, a woman's virtue is to have no talent, so Cai Cai doesn't need great erudition and scholarship. I only need to understand how to aid His Highness in managing the manor and that will be good enough!"
After she finished speaking, she heard a low sneer.
"This king will never leave useless people by his side."
Chu Qing-Yan was scared by his tone, it was like cold air that brushed by her ears. It carried arrogance, cold indifference and mockery——
She couldn't help but look at the person in front of her. At this moment, Xiao Xu unhurriedly shifted his gaze away, his ice-cold gaze carrying a touch of fickleness. His pair of thin lips slowly opened, "Qing-Yan, do you think that this king lacks people who can manage the manor? Let alone to say someone that can't do anything!"
These words successfully made Chu Qing-Yan think of the hard-working Bai Hu who managed the front courtyard and Hong Yi who took care of the back courtyard. She couldn't help but feel a bit embarrassed. Indeed, this person had such capable right and left hand men, why would he need another person? However, she was clearly just being courteous, okay? She merely wanted him to give her some face so she could step down, this person wasn't the least bit sensible!
Perhaps because his own tone was too tough, the complexion of the person before him turned slightly pale, as if scared by him. Xiao Xu couldn't help but have a bit of headache. He was used to bossing people around, used to facing those steely strong men. Moreover, the people by his side were also used to how he handled matters; but the person before him wasn't the same as his subjects, subordinates and servants in the past. Being strict didn't work and he didn't know how to be soft, so he had never felt so defeated like at this moment. Looks like he really had no talent in teaching children. He clearly restrained his strength, but he didn't know if it was because the ruler was too hard or because her skin was too delicate, that the tender skin at the back of her hand was already slightly red.
Xiao Xu suddenly also had nothing to say.
And so, the two people looked at each other in silence.
Finally, Chu Qing-Yan shook her sore arm, then wordlessly held the brush once again.
Looking at the unbending stubborn back facing him, Xiao Xu was slightly stumped for words. Immediately after, the lines on his face softened. He stood up, picked up the ruler and walked to her side. Then, he lifted her arm up slightly and corrected her stance, "The palm should be vertical so that the brush will be straight. When the brush is straight, it'll be able to point properly. When it's pointed properly, you can turn it in all four directions smoothly."
Chu Qing-Yan nodded her head slightly, overall, accepting his instruction.
This training lasted until the sun set in the west.
The result of being too concentrated was that time turned into sand, slipping by unawares.
Lan Yi entered the room to inform them that it was time for dinner. Chu Qing-Yan glanced at Xiao Xu before putting down the brush in her hand. At this moment, she felt like her right arm didn't even belong to her anymore.
"The posture barely meets the standards. Tomorrow, I'll teach you simple brush strokes." Xiao Xu said faintly.
Chu Qing-Yan lightly nodded, looking like an eager student. The shadow of that glaring, red-eyed hedgehog from this afternoon couldn't be found on her body anymore.
Seeing Xiao Xu lifting a foot, wanting to leave, Chu Qing-Yan looked down and rubbed her little stomach. Looks like tonight I'll let you be wronged and sing the song of an empty city stratagem(1).
"What are you doing staring blankly? Are you going to make this king wait for you to eat?" Xiao Xu turned around and looked at her with a frown.
"Ah——" Chu Qing-Yan's eyes lit up and she immediately went to catch up to him.
Looks like this ice cube of a teacher wasn't too unapproachable after all!
Lan Yi watched as the large and small silhouettes gradually got farther away, the corner of her lips revealing a slight smile, as if she had never seen such an interesting scene.
She turned around to enter the study and tidied up the pool of broken egg debris on the table.
Ever since Chu family's Ninth Miss entered the study, there would be unexpected things being broken mysteriously in the study. What was surprising was that His Highness actually hadn't gotten angry at all.
This was really too interesting!
1) Empty city stratagem – Zhuge Liang presents himself as unperturbed while making it evident that his city is undefended, hoping his adversary will suspect an ambush. The city was truly defenseless, thus, a double bluff.