Chapter 205: Is It My Victory?
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: GaiaNove
"You painted it?"
The hall fell completely silent.
Then a commotion broke out.
"You said that this painting of the fifth level was painted by you? Zhang Xuan, you are going to make me die of laughter. Even if you can't appraise anything about it, you should just admit your defeat. You don't need brag to such an extent!"
"You sure are thick-skinned. Even if you want to brag, there should be a limit. Are you going to tell us that you are Grandmaster Yun Shaoqing next?"
"Know your place! Do you know what a painting of the fifth level means? To think that you would dare to claim that you are the painter, stop joking!"
Tian Long, Lu Xun, and Wang Chao sneered. The three of them stared at Zhang Xuan as though he were a fool.
What does a painting of the fifth level mean?
Currently, in the entire Tianxuan Kingdom, there wasn't a single person who was capable of producing a painting of such level. Not even Lu Xun's father, Master Lu Chen, was capable of such a feat. Yet a mere low-level teacher of the academy who wasn't even twenty yet said that he had created such a painting. If this wasn't a joke, what could it be?
"Liu Ling, is this the person you intend to accept as your apprentice? He is arrogant and boastful. Do you think that it is fitting for such a person to be a teacher?"
Elder Tian's flung his sleeves as his complexion darkened.
Ever since Liu shi had sent this painting to him, he had hung it on his wall and appreciated it every single day. Regardless of how many times he had seen it, he couldn't help but be impressed by it. All along, he had thought that it was a masterpiece from some grandmaster painter and admired him. Yet this fellow said that he was the one who painted it?
It was an insult to this masterpiece.
"Tian laoshi, this painting…"
Upon hearing hearing his teacher's furious interrogation, Liu Ling looked slightly hesitant. "… was really painted by Zhang Xuan laoshi!"
"What, you admit that he's arrogant as well…. Huh? What did you say?" Halfway through the sentence, Liu Ling's words suddenly hit him and he almost fainted. With quivering lips, he asked, "He… he painted it?"
"Yes, this painting… was painted by Zhang laoshi a few days ago…."
Liu Ling smiled bitterly.
Back then, when Huang Yu passed this painting to him so that he could pass it on to Elder Tian as a gift, her words also stunned him.
Even in a Tier Two kingdom like Beiwu, a painting of the fifth level was a hard to come by treasure. Yet such a treasure came from the hands of a low-level teacher of Hongtian Academy, not even mentioning that the other party wasn't even twenty yet….
Even though he had heard from his apprentice directly, he found the matter hard to believe.
Elder Tian's eyes narrowed and his face flushed with embarrassment. If there were a hole in the hall at this moment, he would have dived in at that instant.
As a master teacher, it was impossible for Liu Ling to lie about such things. That meant that… the painting really came from the hands of Zhang laoshi.
Elder Tian had been speaking praises of the painter all along, saying that he would like to meet that painter before his demise, yet now that the painter was before him, he doubted his identity….
"I don't believe it…. Even if he had started learning from his mother's womb, it is impossible for him to produce such an incredible work…." Hearing Liu shi admit to it, Lu Xun gritted his teeth.
He had just praised the creator of the painting to the high heavens, be it his technique or his brush strokes…. He even guessed the identity of the creator of the painting to be the esteemed grandmaster painter. It seemed that all that was missing was for him to bow in reverence to the painting. Yet… it turned out to be the one whom he had been trying to put down all along. This was unacceptable to him.
"I don't believe it either. Liu shi, don't be fooled by him—" Wang Chao bellowed as well.
However, before he could finish speaking, Zhang Xuan had already walked up to the painting and his hands gently touched the painting.
With a crisp sound, the wild deer seemed to have suddenly came to life. Turning its head around, it leapt out from the painting, dancing for a moment before dissipating into thin air.
"This is… Origin Spirit? The Origin Spirit which only the creator of the painting can trigger?"
"A painting contains the blood, sweat, and tears of its creator, and as such, it is perfectly aligned with the creator's spirit. When a painting reaches the fifth level, as long as the creator touches it, the painting will automatically form a spirit…."
"This… He really painted it…."
It was easy to determine the creator of a painting when it reached the level of Spirit Creation. As long as the creator were to come into physical contact with it, the painting would automatically display its ability to come to life.
Seeing the wild deer running about, the aura of the painting seemed to resonate with Zhang Xuan laoshi…. No matter how stupid a person, it was clear that the creator of the painting was him.
"How… is this possible?"
Lu Xun staggered backward before falling onto the floor. He was on the verge of tears.
Just a moment ago, he was still confidently uttering that the creator of the painting was definitely Grandmaster Yun Shaoqing, and that he had used the Double Hook painting technique. In the end… reality turned around and slapped him right in his face.
Brother, if I knew you are a grandmaster painter, I would have never competed with you!
Aren't I just looking for a beating?
Next to him, Wang Chao and Tian Long convulsed, on the verge of passing out.
Especially Tian Long. He finally understood why even Master Yuanyu treated this fellow with utmost respect, even wanting to learn from him….
A grandmaster who was capable of producing a painting of the fifth level… was worthy of that much respect.
"Grandmaster Zhang Xuan, please pardon me for my blindness…."
With an awful complexion, Elder Tian stood up and clasped his hands together. In an instant, he seemed like he had aged a decade or more.
Having immersed his entire life in teaching and enlightening others, he had enjoyed quite a tremendous reputation. To think that he would slip up here.
Having Lu Xun compete with a grandmaster painter in a painting competition?
Was there anything more ridiculous than this?
He had intended to help Lu Xun become an apprentice of Liu shi, but in the end… he simply made things worse. Furthermore, it was the worst kind of worse….
It was no wonder that Liu Ling and the others were willing to drop their identities just to convince the other party to become their apprentice.
If a grandmaster painter who was capable of producing a painting of the fifth level were to become an apprentice, he would immediately be eligible to take the master teacher examination. If he passed the examination, his teacher's reputation would definitely resound through the surrounding kingdoms.
Without answering Elder Tian's words, Zhang Xuan stood before the painting quietly, staring at it. "I painted this painting at Master Lu Chen's residence a few days ago. I wasn't standing on a grassland, and I didn't use the Double Hook painting technique either. What I used was the Dual Traversing Dragons. Also, the painting took me forty-seven breaths, not the few days you spoke of."
"Dual Traversing Dragons?"
Lu Xun's mouth twitched once more.
Back then, he had said confidently that even if the one who painted the painting was a grandmaster, he had to spend at least a few days on it, and it was very likely that he was standing in the midst of a grassland, inspired by the sight before him. Yet, to think it was actually created at home, not to mention, in such a short period of time….
And what that shocked him the most was that Zhang Xuan used the replication technique, which only streetside craftsmen used, to produce a painting of fifth level….
You are about to pierce the heavens at this rate!
Hearing those words, tears threatened to fall from Tian Long's eyes.
Back then, he had humiliated the other party when he talked about this technique. Yet, in the blink of an eye, it turned out that the other party spoke nothing but the truth, and that he was just humiliating himself!
Can Dual Traversing Dragons, a technique used to hasten one's painting speed, really create such an incredible painting?
Zhang laoshi, exactly how incredible are you?
Ignoring the duo, Zhang Xuan touched the painting and said, "May I know if there's any brush and ink here?"
"Yes, of course!"
Elder Tian gestured and Tian Gang immediately rushed out. Soon he brought in a brush and ink. Due to his agitation, he nearly tripped when entering the hall.
As long as one wasn't a fool, it was clear that Zhang laoshi was going to leave his name on this painting.
The presence of a signature on a painting could change the value of a painting vastly. Often signed paintings tended to be ten times more expensive.
Not to mention, Zhang laoshi was such a young grandmaster painter. In a few years' time, when he had become a master teacher and his name had rung loud throughout the surrounding kingdoms, the value of this painting with his name on it would definitely soar exponentially.
Of course, the value of the painting was of secondary concern. More importantly, it was an incredible honor to see a grandmaster painter adding his own signature onto the painting!
"This painting doesn't have the imposing aura Lu Xun spoke of, and neither does it have a profound artistic conception. Thus, it isn't worthy of the name 'Burnished Blue Skies'!" At this, Zhang Xuan dabbed the brush into the ink, walked up to the painting, and without any hesitation, his brush started to dance around.
Shua shua shua!
Two large words appeared on the top of the painting.
Seeing the name he had written, everyone was stunned.
They thought that Zhang Xuan would give it an awe-inspiring name…. Wasn't 【Wild Deer】 too casual a name?
"Candid. This is the level of a true grandmaster," spoke Elder Tian after a moment of silence.
"Indeed, the center of focus of this painting is the deer. Everything else in the painting frames it. All the artistry and dispositions contained within the painting are brought out through it. Even though the name, 【Wild Deer】, sounds simple and unimpressive, it brings out the main content of the painting, bringing the entire painting up another level," Liu Ling commented in awe.
Zhang laoshi was indeed a remarkable existence. Putting aside the fact that he was able to become a painting grandmaster at such a young age, just the name he came up with was sufficient to bring the entire painting up another level.
"That isn't just it. If the painting were named Burnished Blue Skies, those who looked at the painting would be affected by it. Their focus would be brought to the contrasting elements instead of the true essence of the painting. On the other hand, 【Wild Deer】 might be a simple name, but it doesn't constrain your thoughts. It allows room for your imagination to run, adding to the disposition and artistry of the painting," said Zhuang Xian.
"Indeed, they are indeed divine words…." Zheng Fei nodded his head. Just when he was about to say his piece, he suddenly paused abruptly and pointed ahead. "Look!"
Everyone looked over, only to see the wild deer from the painting leaping out once more. It stared at Zhang Xuan fondly and licked his hand a few times before slowly dissipating into thin air.
"This is… Spiritual Wisdom?"
"A Spiritual Wisdom realm painting? No, it hasn't reached that level yet, otherwise the wild deer would materialize for a longer moment than this."
"Even so, it isn't too far from it. Just by adding a name, the entire painting was raised by another level, and now, it was just a single step away from reaching the sixth level…."
Looking at the wild deer's appearance, everyone was stunned. All of their faces flushed with excitement.
The first four realms of painting were Reality Depiction, Spiritual Canvas, Infused Intentions, and Breathtaking Verisimilitude, respectively.
The fifth realm was Spirit Creation.
Above Spirit Creation, there was still a sixth realm, the Spiritual Wisdom they spoke of.
It was said that all of the animals in a painting of this level would possess their own intelligence, and were able to absorb spiritual energy to maintain their form outside the painting for a short period of time, creating a mystical sight.
Everyone here had thought that it was just a legend, but to think that they would have the honor of seeing it in person.
Even though the wild deer in the painting was still unable to absorb spiritual energy to maintain its form for a longer period of time, just the fact that it was able to display its affection for its creator showed that it had started to gain intelligence.
If it were nourished in a location where spiritual energy was in abundance for a century, it might just become a genuine painting of the sixth level!
For just a name to bring the painting up nearly an entire level, the two words "Wild Deer" were indeed worth thousands of gold each!
At this moment, everyone stared at the young man before them with fiery eyes.
This was especially true for Huang Yu and Bai Xun. They were so excited their bodies were trembling.
Ignoring their excitement, Zhang Xuan placed the brush down and scanned the surroundings.
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