Chapter 233: Competition prize!
Watching Li Muyang surprisingly accept Chu Ning’s challenge, Qiandu could not help but feel concern.
She pulled Li Muyang over to under a peach tree, persuading him softly: “Muyang classmate, do you really have confidence in winning? The royal family of West Wind is talented at painting, and Chu Ning has been studying the exquisite skills of painting from court painters from a young age. After entering the Starry Sky Academy, she has majored in painting. With years of experience, she should be accomplished in this field. You’ve never been trained in painting before, although you have started studying a few days ago, it’s not a skill that one can master in a day——I’ve been learning painting for a few years, if you don’t mind, let me compete with her. I might not necessarily win, but there shouldn’t be a wide gap between us.”
“That’s right. Matching your weak points against the enemy’s strong points, you would suddenly get hit where it hurts.“ Lin Canghai added. “Let Qiandu compete with them. I don’t believe they can win against Qiandu. You need to know, Qiandu is——awesome.”
“I appreciate your kindness, I know you’re worried about me and you don’t want to see me lose so miserably.” Li Muyang said, looking deeply moved. “But have you ever thought that, even if I lose, what do I lose?”
“You’re not afraid of losing face?” Lin Canghai asked, pointing to the spectators who were eagerly looking forward to the competition.
“The way of painting, wide-ranging and profound, is not inferior to the way of cultivating pill. I’m a beginner, and this is not my field. I’m a beginner who has not even started. Even if I lose, what can it prove? That I don’t know a single thing? But I really don’t know a single thing.”
“Then why do you want to compete with her?”
Li Muyang looked over in the direction of where Gu Huangwu, the Double Wall of Painting and Calligraphy, was having a conversation with other students. “To be able to present my work to Teacher Gu for comments at the first lesson, even if I loses, it’s worth it. A word from a Master might have the magic of enlightening me with his perfect wisdom and allows me to find the path of entry? Such gains compared to being ridiculed by some insignificant people, which is more important?”
“Besides, if I lost to that unruly West Wind princess, perhaps her hatred of me would lessen a little and she would no longer disturb me and think of taking revenge on my family——If I could have such a result, never mind losing this time, what harm is there in losing eight or even ten times?”
“Advance or retreat, each has its rules; there is a basis for each action. Devising a good battle strategy beforehand wins the battle from far away. That is a strategist.” Qiandu’s eyes shone bright looking at Li Muyang as she praised him sincerely.
She then turned to Lin Canghai and said aloud: “Muyang classmate has considered it very carefully, you and I don’t need to persuade him anymore. Let’s wish Muyang classmate success.”
“Yes.” Lin Canghai said, nodding. “Brother Muyang you can bow and submit, or you can stand tall. No matter how the result of this game, in my heart, you’re the winner.”
Li Muyang smiled. “You two don’t need to exaggerate. I only said that to make the situation less embarrassing when I lose. If I lost too badly, wouldn’t these words be the loudest slap on my face?”
The three of them looked at each other, bursting into loud laughter.
The surrounding crowd, attracted by their laughter, glanced over blankly. Thinking to themselves: did they think of a sure win strategy?
Gu Huangwu waved his hand, motioning Li Muyang and Chu Ning to come over.
Gu Huangwu looked at Li Muyang, then at Chu Ning, asking: “Are you ready?”
“Teacher Gu, I’m ready. I will certainly perform well and not disappoint Teacher Gu.” Like she was rather familiar with Gu Huangwu, Chu Ning spoke extremely affectionately and casually, and sometimes in a cute and coquettish manner.
Li Muyang also wanted to act coquettishly and win over the teacher. But he was worried that it would have the opposite of the desired result. Moreover, he really couldn’t bring himself to do something like that. Instead he respectfully bowed to Teacher Gu with one hand cupped in the other. “Thank you Teacher Gu for the assessment, student will certainly work hard. Also Teacher Gu, please give me a lot of advice and comments.”
Gu Huangwu shook his head. “Discussing poems, drinking wine, entertaining guests, and comparing the wording and purpose of what one writes, are all elegant and refine activities. What assessment? Clearly you’re bringing us joy, we should thank you instead.”
“——” Li Muyang thought that, this Gu Huangwu was peculiar and brash, and behaves differently from normal people.
Of course, he might have said that as a refusal to comment on his work.
Li Muyang for the time doubted the character of Gu Huangwu, worried that he was bribed by the royal family of the West wind and was intentionally biased.
“Prepare the painting table.” Gu Huangwu shouted.
Two youngsters dressed in black outfits came out carrying two painting tables, the Four Treasures of the Study displayed across the table.
With everything ready, the only thing contestants Chu Ning and Li Muyang needed to do was put their brush to paper and start painting.
“You can choose the brush and ink that you’re familiar with. If you don’t see it here, I can ask people to go to my room to get it.” Gu Huangwu knew that some painters were very particular about the pen and ink they use.
“Thank you, Teacher Gu, I like to use Xuanzhou brush that master likes to use. For ink I use chicken printing ink that master aslo likes.” Chu Ning stated with a smile.
Li Muyang’s eyes panned across all the brushes displayed across the table, before he said: “I use the Hu Brush1. Also I use chicken painting ink.”
[TN Note:Writing brush produced in huzhou]
During this period of time where he started to practice writing every day, the brush that he used was precisely the Hu Brush. It was made up of dead trees as the shaft and a mixture of deer and goat hair as the brush tip.
He had never cared about what brush he used write with, because no matter what brush he chose, he did not write well.
It wasn’t until when he was suddenly enlightened and the words he wrote looked much more beautiful, that he began to be selective with the brush that he uses.
He had never used Hu Brush before back then, but he subconsciously felt like the Hu Brushes would good writing brushes.
It was after merging with the Dragon King’s tear that he came to understand that, because the old dragon liked to use Hu Brush, so he was influenced by him and began to use Hu Brush——This kind of discovery worried Li Muyang a little.
He feared that he would be affected more and more by the old dragon, and eventually when his mind is entirely under his control, he would go on to inherit his mantle and will. At that time, he will begin his plans of destroying the human race——
In all honesty, he had never thought of destroying the human race.
“Then let’s start.” Gu Huangwu announced with a smile.
“Teacher Gu, I have a small suggestion.” Chu Ning stood in front of the painting table, smiling sweetly at Gu Huangwu.
“Huh? What suggestion?” Gu Huangwu was evidently enjoying the manner of speaking and expression of the female student. His voice also sounded very gentle.
“I think, since it’s a painting contest, there should be some prizes. The loser give the winner a prize, isn’t it more exciting and fun?” Chu Ning looked over at Li Muyang and loudly suggested.
Gu Huangwu nodded, replying: “Makes sense. Gambling without earning something is the same as drinking without meat, like something is missing. So, what would be appropriate?”
“The loser apologise to the winner and then promise that they will take a request from the winner.” As though she already thought of it a long time, Chu Ning responded immediately.
“I object.” Li Muyang interrupted. “If she asks the loser to quit Starry Sky Academy, or the loser undress and run around naked——just who would want to accept the stake of that gamble?”
The crowd burst into loud laughs and thought what Li Muyang said was interesting.
Chu Ning sneered: “What?” You’ve already decided that you would lose before we start the contest? Why don’t you give up now, then there wouldn’t be a gamble, right?”
“I’m saying this is for your consideration.” Li Muyang explained. “If I loses, I don’t mind running around naked, but if I win, can you can go around naked?”
“Li Muyang——” Chu Ning felt the impulse to chop Li Muyang into pieces rising within her.
“See, I knew you wouldn’t agree.” Li Muyang remarked aloud.
Chu Ning forcibly restrained her anger, before she argued: “I obviously would not put forward that embarrassing request and I will not ask to kick you out of Starry Sky Academy——”
Chu Ning really wanted Li Muyang to immediately disappear from Starry Sky Academy, but she knew that Li Muyang would never agree to such request. All the hopes he had in his own safety was currently invested in Starry Sky Academy. If he left Starry Sky Academy, the Cui family will not leave him alone and many families will not let him get away. At that time, Li Muyang’s path was only death.
“I thought so too.” Li Muyang said. “Among students, the purpose of competition is to learn from each other and to strengthen friendship, with both sides mutually benefitting. If you always want to kill or hurt someone, it would seem like there is deep hatred. Where is the friendship between classmates? What is the purpose of competition then? A contest like that has lost its romantic meaning, I refuse to participate in such a contest.”
“——” Chu Ning started to regret her proposal of a ‘prize’.
Of course, she knew in her heart that the more Li Muyang was being an annoying troublemaker, the more it proves that he did not have confidence in winning. At this time, she should calm down and continue pressing the issue.
She knew that, as long as the contest starts, the winner would definitely be herself.
“Li Muyang, do you have the guts to accept?”
“I can accept the proposal that the loser has to give a prize to the winner.” Li Muyang answered. “But I want to know what it is.”
“The loser acts as the winner’s servant for one day.” Chu Ning suggested. “The servant must obey the master’s orders.”
Li Muyang very readily agreed: “No problem.”
“The loser must apologise to the winner.”
“No problem with me.”
Chu Ning looked at Gu Huangwu. “Teacher Gu, I have nothing else to say.”
Gu Huangwu nodded. “Then the contest officially starts. In one hour of time, both contestants must produce a piece of art with the theme of peach blossom——The loser has to be the winner’s servant for one day. All people present can be a witness, no repudiating. Or, I will expel you from the Institute of Art and never allow you to take a step into the Walls of Peach Blossom ever again.”
“Yes.” Chu Ning and Li Muyang agreed at the same time.
Chu Ning cast an arrogant gaze over Li Muyang and sneered, “Li Muyang, wait to be my servant.”