Chapter 380: Military authority and imperial power!
The whole world was blanketed in snow.
The woods were covered with snow, the rocks and the villages were also covered with snow.
The wind was strong and the snow was heavy, the whiteness extended to the paper, giving people the feeling that there was no end in sight.
The rough and forceful first brush stroke was modified into a branch of an old plum tree, then the specks of vermillion on the branches became a blossoming red plum blossom, bright and dazzling.
Between the boundless heaven and earth, only this one wild plum tree was blossoming against the wind, defying the bitter coldness, and revealing red flowers.
The dark colours were the woods, the mountains and rocks, while the huge blank space was the pure snow. Only the several plum blossoms were the finishing touches that bring the subject to life, it was the luster of this desolate world.
The first brushstroke was the plum tree, the root and the bone. It was also the spirit of the composition of this painting.
Li Muyang ended the last brush stroke, set the brush on the ink stone, and then expressed his thanks to the servant who had been grinding ink for him.
"Does the cart driver really know the way of painting?"
"This painting is excellent, it delights the eye, it's a good painting right?"
"Impressive——What kind of brush technique was that? It's a little like the Flying white technique that painting master Xu Feihong created thousands of years ago."
Chen Wenting and a few other women went up to the table, carefully studied Li Muyang's 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly' painting, their eyes glistening, and then their expression was much softer and gentler than before when they looked at Li Muyang.
No matter the time, talented people are always more respected by others. Although this person was not good-looking, his painting did indeed have a profound artistic conception and captures one's attention.
Cui Xiaoxin did not look at the painting, but fixed her eyes on Li Muyang who quietly stood next to Li Shinian after finishing the painting, her long eyelashes lightly fluttered. No one knew what she was thinking about.
Li Shinian, who did not understand paintings, was rather worriedly studying everyone’s expressions, worried that someone would say 'this drawing style is similar to that Starry Sky Li Muyang'.
Luckily, no one uttered such words.
Li Shinian felt a huge load off her heart. She was worried that her brother would do too well that he would link him together with Li Muyang. But now it seems that this worry was unnecessary.
What Li Shinian did not know was that her brother Li Muyang had fused with the Dragon King's tear, inherited the black dragon's memory. In the long life of the black dragon, he had learned too much painting skills, not only of his dragon clan but also the human elites——Li Muyang naturally used a different technique to draw the peach blossom painting, the 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly' and also this 'Bitter cold snow painting'.
Li Muyang wanted to draw better, so he used the black dragon’s most skillful technique. If he wanted to draw bad to cover up his identity, he would use the techniques that the black dragon occasionally had interest in using.
The Dragon King’s tear was a huge treasure trove, there were countless and endless cultivation technique, skills and treasured objects——Li Muyang was thinking that when he has free time he should take out the treasures that the black dragon had hidden over the entire divine continent.
At that time, he would possess the wealth equivalent to that of an entire nation. Even the richest merchant of West Wind Ma Yunma may not necessarily be richer than him?
Song Tao was unblinkingly staring at the painting 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly in snow' on the table. It was only after a long while that he breathed out a heavy sigh. "Bloom proudly in snow, the snow has bone, the snow bone is in the wind, the strong wind is biting cold. Winter plum blossoms is tough and strong like a boulder. However, even an ugly branch of the tree bloomed the most beautiful flowers. The more ugly the branch, the more the plum blossoms appear to be delicate and beautiful, and makes one feel protective towards them.
Song Tao added with a taunting smile, 'A cart driver was able to do this, do we have any reason not to work hard?"
"Third elder brother, your painting is also very good." Someone said out loud. Pointing to a few flaws in the painting, he continued, "you see, his brush strokes are a little out of practice."
Song Tao shook his head, unexpectedly explaining for Li Muyang. " Indeed it can be seen that he really has not been learning for long, perhaps only a few years——"
Li Muyang said to himself 'when have I been learning painting for 3-5 years?
It was only because he had fused with the tear of the Dragon King and had inherited a part of his memory. Moreover in this period of time he had been practicing hard, and with Master Gu Huangwu's advice, he had made rapid progress in a short period of time and seemed to possess 3-5 years of foundation——
"But do you remember 'A flaw in white jade' Zhang Daiying? He was the first to propose that paintings should be flawed. Because people have joys and sorrows, the moon waxes and wanes, all things in the world are not perfect. Therefore, the painting should also have flaws, flawed painting is a good painting that is close to real life. Those flaws that you mentioned is a problem when you look carefully, but at a glance, it enhances the beauty of the landscape."
Song Tao's eyes swept across the crowd, saying, "this painting should be a good painting, right?"
"Naturally." Chen Wenting nodded, "The ten realms of painting, Li Mu has at least reached the first realm. The illusion realm, the plum blossom is real, the flurry of snow in the sky is an illusion. The real and the illusion set off each other." "
Song Tao turned to bow at Li Muyang with hands held in front. "So the Master is in the room, and the scholar is a cart driver. In the past, Song Tao was not aware this, I ask for Brother Li Mu's forgiveness."
"Third young master praised me too much." Li Muyang said modestly, bowing.
Song Tao then turned to Li Shinian, exclaiming, "Miss Shinian is right, even a cart driver of your family is so accomplished in the way of painting, Miss Shinian must be even more talented——I really look forward to seeing your talents."
Li Shinian smiled, waving her hand. "Third elder brother, I am not as good as Li Mu, and also inferior to the big sisters present. I do not understand zither, chess, poetry or painting. I only know how to eat."
"So Miss Shinian is a foodie. Me too."
"Kekeke, having a good appetite is a blessing——
When the other ladies heard Li Shinian say that she is inferior to others, and do not understand zither, chess, poetry or painting, they instead felt that she was innocent and frank, and their opinion of her changed greatly.
Now that his performance had ended, Li Muyang was ready to return to wait in the hall.
Song Tao urged him to stay, "It was my mistake to arrange Brother Li Mu to the hall. How can we now let Brother Li Mu to go back to the other room to wait——if Brother Li Mu does not mind, how about staying here with us?"
He was thinking to himself that the method this person used was the Flying white technique, which was different to the 'Shower of spring sunshine' painting that Li Muyang drew at Starry Sky. And although this Li Mu paints pretty well, but it is still far inferior to the painting skills of Li Muyang, who had received a wisp of spring breeze from Gu Huangwu——It seems that his fears were unnecessary. Li Mu is Li Mu, and Li Muyang must been buried in the illusion?
Li Muyang after a brief thought, shook his head, "I should go to where I belong. It makes me feel more comfortable there."
Song Tao understood Li Muyang's concern. For a cart driver to hang out with a group of noble Gongzis and young ladies would indeed make him feel uncomfortable.
So, Song Tao nodded, "then please forgive Song Tao for being rude."
Li Muyang gave a cupped fist salute before turning away. "
Li Muyang returned to the hall, and the numerous bodyguards and butler who had known what happened in the building all had a whole new level of respect for him.
Some people took the initiative to greet him, while others inquired about Li Muyang's background.
Li Muyang responded to every question, before taking a seat in the corner again.
Ning Xinhai thoughtfully stared at Li Muyang. "You can paint?"
"I studied for a few years." Li Muyang replied.
"You remind me of a man."
"We have similarities?"
"He’s a person that can create miracles." Ning Xinhai stated out loud. "Before he was just a trash that everyone looked down on, but after diligently studying for half a year, he become the top scorer in the Imperial exams, the best in West wind——Then what happened after you also know about, he was accepted into Starry Sky Academy and then died in the illusion. Until now, I have not seen a more talented person than him."
Li Muyang seriously nodded: "Indeed. Unfortunately, I’m just a cart driver."
Ning Xinhai lightly smiled. "Your cart driver days will come to an end soon. You have become famous in Still water dew, many people will hire you for a huge amount of money? Even the Lu family will not be indifferent to you, this is what they call cherishing talents. If a person like you can only be a cart driver, who dares work for the Lu family?"
Li Muyang shook his head lightly and said, "why did you be a cart driver?"
"I like the pure and quiet personality of the young Miss, but also I have been working for her for many years in Jiangnan, we naturally have a good relationship."
"I also really like our Miss Shinian very much." Li Muyang said aloud. "I am willing to be her cart driver for life."
"Interesting. Your Miss Shinian will be glad to hear these words." Ning Xinhai only thought that Li Muyang was saying this to please the young lady.
Inside the small building, Song Tao scanned the surroundings, then said in a loud and bright voice: "Green foam on fresh, unfiltered rice wine, on a little terracotta stove. It’s getting late and looks like it will snow, you might want to have a cup? I originally wanted to enjoy the snow in the Still water dew building with everyone, smell the fragrance of the plum blossoms, recite poems and paint, and drink until we are drunk. But I did not expect so many things to happen, I don't think everyone have the mood anymore. But if we end this gathering it would be wasting this beautiful scenery. How about we choose a question to debate, add some fun to this night. What do you think?"
Light intellectual conversations and debate were what everyone enjoys. Choose a topic of discussion, quote copiously to support one's argument, fight a battle of words, and defeat opponents with one's knowledge. It is a great joy in life.
"What should be the topic?" Someone asked aloud.
"How about I give a topic?" At the entrance appeared a group of people covered in snow.
Headed by a man in silk robes and a jade hat. He had a square-face and was imposing-looking, tough and stocky build. He smiled and said, "what about the topic of 'imperial power is important or military power is even more important'?"
Chapter 381: Hit harder!
"Pay respect to Second Prince——" "
"Second Prince has come——"
The crowd rushed to bow to the silk-clothed youngster.
Even the famous Song Tao, Third young master Song came over to greet him with a cupped fish salute, smiled and said, "Second cousin, when I went to the palace to deliver the invitation to you, you said you can't come——Why did you come when it’s snowing so heavily? It will get chillier at night. Take care of your health."
"A little coldness is nothing to a martial artist. If I didn’t attend the gathering tonight, I won’t be able to sleep from regret——" The silk-clothed youngster said aloud.
Chu Jiang was the Second Prince of West Wind Kingdom. His identity and status was respected, and there was no one above him but the emperor.
Li Shinian was standing in the distance watching, thinking to herself that no wonder countless people sharpened their mind in hope of being invited to the Still water dew scholar gathering. The guests present today were wealthy and respected people, and, as these people grow or enter their official career, they will be the decision-makers of this vast kingdom and even ascend to the throne.
If they could keep a good relationship with these people, these people could change their life with one word. They could save them 20 years of struggle or even a lifetime.
Chu Jiang swept his eyes across the whole audience, asking loudly, "is imperial power more important or is military, this will be the topic of debate, is there any objections?"
The crowd did not respond.
This topic really was too sensitive. Not to mention the recent heated fight for the Minister position, just the careful watch that the imperial power had on the military, as well as the recent event of the Grandfather of the Lu family, Lu Xingkong, fainting from kneeling in the palace for too long, had shown that the battle between the imperial power and military had greatly intensified.
How can this subject be debated?
Isn't it asking for death to support the military over the imperial power?
Supporting the imperial power over the military is to stand on the opposite side of the Lu family——
Originally they could remain neutral, sit on the mountain and watch the tigers fight, and wait for the final winner——but now Chu Jiang had thrown out such a topic. Could it be that the imperial family could no longer endure the Lu family, and was ready to take action?
In the face of this possibility, the expression on the faces of the people present varied.
Some rejoiced, some were worried. Some people's excitement was shown on their face, while some turned gloomy and serious.
Cui Xiaoxin’s mood was very bad, the most worrying thing was going to happen?
As a girl, and now a student at West Wind university, she knew a lot about the Kingdom's affairs, but that had no influence on the direction of her family.
She and Li Shinian were good friends, and her relationship with Li Muyang was also not bad. Moreover, from a personal standpoint, she did not dislike the people of the Lu family, including the 'tyrant' in other people’s eyes, the grandfather of the Lu family Lu Xingkong.
Sometimes she also found it strange. The Cui family was a top family of West Wind Kingdom, and her grandfather was already a powerful minister, difficult to advance any further, her family did not have to worry about food or clothing, and their wealth was enough for them to spend for 100 years. What else was there to fight for? Did they really have to fight and kill people? Do they have to drive people to their deaths?
She could not understand the world of men, even more she did not want to understand. She also did not understand the political circle, and did not want to understand.
But if it was as everyone had guessed, the Imperial family will take action against the Lu family, then given the bad relationship between the Cui family and the Lu family, the Cui family would naturally stand on the opposite side.
The sword has no eye; one shall stand, one shall fall.
Where would she stand at that time? Would Li Shinian be worried? Would the friendship between them be kept alive?
Although Li Shinian was living in the Lu family's residence, usually she just paid attention to her own little small family and did not care much about the matters of the Lu family. Besides, she was just the daughter of a servant, what does the rise and fall of a family had to do with her?
Besides, she was not from an officials family, therefore was not as sensitive to political affairs as other people.
However, when she noticed the different expressions on the faces of people present, she finally understood the issue.
"The Second Prince who was known as the 'Sage king' is forcing people to take sides." Li Shinian thought to herself.
There is never a shortage of smart people in this world.
"Second Prince's suggestion is good. Given the current situation of West Wind, any wise man will be anxious. Imperial power is important? Military power is more important than imperial power. This is confusing cause and effect——"
A white-clad youngster stepped out the crowd, bowing respectfully to Chu Jiang, his words flowing and many, but only carried one intention: support imperial power and belittle the wild ambition of military experts.
Although Chu Jiang did not praise him out loud, he firmly patted him on the shoulder.
Since there was an intelligent person leading by example, the others naturally were unwilling to fall behind. Even some young masters who did not know their family's standpoint also expressed their support for imperial power. After all, there was not a person from the Lu family at this Still water dew gathering.
The person who organised the Still water dew gathering was Song Tao. The Song family was the leader of the civil officials, and the Lu family was the leader of Generals. The civil officials govern the world, while the Generals defend all places. In this era, which emphasises on civil administration at the expense of national defense, the Song family had suppressed the Lu family many times. So, the two families were born with some hostile feeling towards each other.
"Imperial power is decided by the heavens, the emperor is the son of the heavens. And the military is the weapon that the emperor gives to the brave and fierce fighters in order to protect the lands and ensure peace——"
"The imperial power is greater than the military, this is an undeniable fact—"
Without argument, the wind sided with the Second Prince.
Chu Jiang noticed Cui Xiaoxin in the middle of the crowd, his smile was gentle when he asked, "Xiaoxin, what do you think?"
In the dead of night, only the sound of wheels rolling across ice and snow was heard.
Li Muyang drove the carriage forward, following the purplish red horse in the direction of the Lu mansion.
Because the shafts were covered with ice and snow, Li Muyang could not sit on the cart and had to carry the reins and walk alongside.
Li Shinian squatted in the cart paying no attention to her image, and leaned her body forward to whisper to Li Muyang.
"How could you be this stupid? I already signaled to you, telling you to draw casually, but you had to draw so well——you want to show off your talent, right? If people recognised that you’re Li Muyang, I don’t dare to think about the consequences——" Li Shinian nagged.
Li Muyang’s mouth curved upwards in a smile, saying, "since you're that worried about exposing my identity, then why did you give my painting to Xiaoxin? And also showed my painting in public?"
"Didn't I ask you before. I said I want to give your 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly in snow' to sister Xiaoxin, you also had no objection at that time. Since you didn’t oppose it on the spot, I knew the painting could be gifted. You've become so smart now, you won’t agree to let me do things that should not be done——Besides, I’m sure you were happy with what I did. Do you not want me to give your painting to Sister Xiaoxin?"
"You have answered everything, what else do you want me to say?" Li Muyang smiled bitterly.
"You still haven't told me, I clearly took the 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly in snow' painting, why was there nothing when the painting scroll was unfolded?"
Li Muyang laughed without answering.
"Quickly tell me." Li Shinian smacked her hand on Li Muyang's shoulder.
"Did you smell plum blossom when the scroll was unfolded?"
"I did. What does this have to do with your 'Winter plum blossoms bloom proudly in snow' turning into a piece of white paper?"
"Back when I was painting peach blossom, because my painting skills were not good enough, and my strength was not enough, I needed to borrow a wisp of spring breeze from Master Gu——"
Li Shinian’s long eyelashes fluttered as she blinked, her little face wrapped in the fire fox fur hat suddenly lit up: "so, there is only a plum blossom aroma left on your painting, the snow——"
"The snow turned into a puddle of water. If you pay attention, you should notice."
"Is it really that magical?" Li Shinian’s eyes widen with disbelief.
"What do you mean?" Li Muyang said with a smile. "Master Gu painted a black dog, and the dog jumped out the paper barking——The 'Painting God' used a beast from a hundred year old painting to battle for him. Of course, the beast had little fighting strength and disappeared easily."
"The divine continent is so vast, there are many wonders," Li Shinian unblinkingly studied Li Muyang, then softly laughed, "I really did not think that my charcoal brother would become so amazing."
"Shinian——" Li Muyang felt a warm fuzzy feeling. "When you’re older, I will take you to travel the Divine continent. I've decided, when I return to Starry Sky Academy, I'm going to ask Senior brother Wuyou for a little crane. When I raised the crane to an adult, I can and ride it to Jiangnan with Senior brother Wuyou, and we can go wherever we want to go. Then I will come back to Tiandu to pick you up. Let’s travel the world together."
"Really." Li Shinian's eyes sparkled. "A man has to keep to his words. Go back and cultivate, I will take care of Mother and Father. You don't have to worry."
"With you here, I have nothing to worry about." Li Muyang turned his head round to look at his sister, saying: "from a young age, you were always better than I was. I always make people worry."
"Haha, I thought someone thought that just because he can paint a little he can ignore his most intelligent and beautiful sister in the world." Li Shinian held her head high.
Li Muyang tried hard to keep a straight face when he said, "who? Who dares do such a thing? Miss Shianian only need to tell me, driver Li Mu will beat that person up——"
"Good. That person is driver Li Mu——" "
"Miss, wait a moment, I'll slap him on your face for you." Li Muyang said with a smile, stroking his face with his hand.
Li Shinian giggled. "Hit a bit harder. Hit harder."
At the crossroads, the horse drawn carriage that led the way in front stopped, waiting for Li Muyang to catch up.
Li Muyang and Li Shinian exchanged a glance, immediately suppressed their laughter, and urged the horse forward to where Cui Xiaoxin's carriage was.