Chapter 288: Ji Mo gongzi
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: GaiaNove
"Oh? Let's go over then!"
Since Zhang Xuan was free, he decided to take the opportunity to learn more about how the painter examination was conducted. Thus, he followed behind the green-robed attendant into the crowd.
Right at the front, before a dark green table lined against the wall, an eighteen or nineteen-year-old youngster, dressed in white, was sitting on a wooden chair, and his eyes were tightly closed.
"Ji Mo gongzi, I love you! I want to bear your babies!"
"How shameless can you get? Ji gongzi is mine! Whoever who dares to vie with me, I'll rip off her clothes!"
"Young mistress, a beautiful lady over there is intent on vying with you. Go and rip off her clothes, we'll cheer you on from here!"
Even though Ji Mo gongzi's eyes were still tightly shut, many ladies in the surroundings had already gone into a frenzy.
"Ji gongzi may be young, but he's extremely gentle toward ladies. More importantly, he has a suave appearance. Thus, he became the idol of ladies in the capital!" The green-robed attendant explained with a hushed voice.
Zhang Xuan nodded. Turning to look at Ji Mo gongzi, his skin was indeed fair and smooth, and he had a dashing face. Even though his eyes were closed, his lips were slightly curled upward and vaguely, it seemed as if he was smiling. Zhang Xuan could understand why he was able to win the fancy of these ladies.
Talented, capable, a good background and most importantly, he was dashing. It was no wonder why so many ladies went insane for him.
"This is... What is he doing?"
Seeing the other party seated with his eyes shut, ignoring the ruckus around him, Zhang Xuan inquired.
"Ji Mo gongzi is about to paint, he is probably calming his brain and adjusting his mental state!" The green-robed fellow said.
"Adjusting his state of mind? Here?" Zhang Xuan was puzzled.
It was just a painting. Zhang Xuan would usually grab a brush and start on his work right away... Is there a need to adjust any state of mind?
Besides, even if he truly needs to adjust his state of mind, he should have gone somewhere quiet and peaceful. With so many people causing a huge ruckus here, how in the world does he expect to adjust his state of mind?
"Ji gongzi possesses incredible talents, having reached the level of a master painter before even reaching twenty. Every single action that he makes has its own profound purpose, this isn't something a countryside bumpkin like you can comprehend!"
Before the green-robed attendant could reply, a lady turned around and glared at Zhang Xuan furiously.
"Indeed, where did this amateur come from? Scram aside, don't taint Ji gongzi's painting!" Another lady harrumphed angrily.
The ladies in the surroundings turned to glare at Zhang Xuan with disdainful eyes.
Not expecting to meet with so much hostility just by raising a simple doubt, Zhang Xuan became speechless.
"A lot of civilians in Tianwu Kingdom are interested in painting, thus raising the status of painters here greatly. Ji gongzi, as one of the most talented painters of the younger generation, has countless fans. Thus, it is best for you not to say anything here. Otherwise, you might really drown from the criticisms of his die-hard fans!"
With a bitter smile, the green-robed attendant whispered to him
Zhang Xuan nodded. Just as he was about to speak, Ji gongzi abrupt opened his eyes and stood up.
"Look, Ji gongzi is about to begin painting!"
"I wonder what level of painting will he create!"
"Does it have to be said? Ji gongzi is an official painter, his works are definitely at least of the second level!"
Upon seeing Ji gongzi move, those who were glaring at Zhang Xuan previously turned to look forward immediately, their eyes twinkling with adoration.
The first four realms of painting are Reality Depiction, Spiritual Canvas, Infused Intentions, and Breathtaking Verisimilitude.
Just like in the case of Lu Chen and Yuanyu, official painters, otherwise known as master painters, are capable of producing a painting of the second level or third level with ease. As for whether the painting can reach Breathtaking Verisimilitude, it would depend on his luck and condition.
"Me, Ji Mo, will now display my humble skills!"
Ji Mo stood before the table and with a flick of his wrist, a Chinese fan appeared in his hand. Gently fanning himself twice, his black hair and white robe danced along with the light breeze. "The painting that I create will be sold on the spot. However, I will not claim a single cent of the money, and instead, I'll be using it to build a Painting Hall. I'll invite apprentice painters to conduct lessons there so as to propagate the comprehension and passion for painting!"
"As expected of Ji gongzi, he truly doesn't care for material wealth..."
"A character befitting of a master painter, I am impressed!"
Hearing his words, the crowd burst into commotion once more. Numerous ladies screamed fanatically.
"This fellow sure knows how to win the hearts!" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
This Ji Mo gongzi might be young but he was obviously skilled in politics, knowing how to attract attention.
That was similar to the charity auctions conducted by celebrities in his previous life. In plain honesty, they were just gimmicks.
If he truly wanted to build a Painter Hall and propagate the passion and understanding of painting, he could have done so silently. There was no need for him to create such a huge ruckus. More importantly... It was already late autumn, and not to mention, night time. It felt cold just to stand on the spot and yet he was fanning himself...
Shutting his fan, Ji Mo gongzi gestured grandly, "Alright, not to waste everyone's time, I shall begin painting now. I hope that everyone can remain silent while I am at work!"
Hearing his words, the screaming crowd quietened down all of a sudden.
Smiling lightly, Ji Mo gongzi flung his sleeves and picked up a brush.
After opening a xuan paper on the table, Ji Mo struck the table lightly with his left hand, and under the tremor of his zhenqi, a droplet of ink leaped into the air from the ink slab and landed precisely on the tip of his brush. Then, with a grand movement of his right hand, the brush fell on the surface of the paper.
The brush flew around the paper gracefully, creating an imposing sight.
The brush danced about on the paper, reminiscent of a fish swimming freely in a pond. Accompanying the passing of time, and the painting gradually took shape.
It was a painting of a mountain and a stream.
On the tall and towering mountain was a combination of mystical forests and mysterious boulders, divided by a stream that flowed through them. Ding dang, one could almost hear the sound of the stream striking the surface of the boulder, and the leaves were dancing toward a certain direction, as though a gentle breeze was caressing them.
"This is a painting of the second level!"
With a single glance, Zhang Xuan nodded his head silently in approval.
The Heaven's Path Painting Art which Zhang Xuan compiled using the books in Master Lu Chen's house had given him a profound understanding of paintings. Even without the Library of Heaven's Path, Zhang Xuan was capable of appraising paintings to a certain standard.
This mountain stream painting was detailed, allowing people to feel as if it were a true mountain right before them. There was a spiritual touch to the painting which gave it bizarre but wonderful aesthetics. This was proof that it has reached the level of Spiritual Canvas.
However, even though the contents were outstanding, the mountain and stream were lacking artistic conception and a personal touch. In other words, it did not reach the level of Infused Intentions.
"It is a pity. If he wasn't overly focused on showing off his skills, and instead, had carved out his painting slowly and calmly, he might have been able to achieve the level of Infused Intentions!" Zhang Xuan sighed after a moment
Even though this Ji Mo gongzi was a braggart, his painting fundamentals were in place. Logically speaking, as long as he were to paint calmly, producing a painting of the third level shouldn't be a problem.
However, his obsession with graceful and exaggerated movements had caused him to neglect the essence of the painting. Thus, this painting had only managed to reach Spiritual Canvas pinnacle, just a small step away from Infused Intentions.
Even though Zhang Xuan thought that it was a pity, he didn't voice out his thoughts.
He was only here to see how the master painter examination was conducted and he wasn't related to this Ji Mo gongzi in any way. Besides, he had been criticized by the crowd just moments ago for expressing his doubts on Ji Mo's actions, and he didn't want to be berated by this bunch of women before him.
Soon, the painting was completed.
Ji Mo gongzi threw the brush into the brush holder and hung the painting on the wall.
"This is a painting that has reached the second level pinnacle, and it is called Breeze By the Mountain and Stream. The auction will start now. The starting price is one million gold coins, and every raise must be a hundred thousand gold coins at the minimum."
At which, the edges of Li Ji gongzi's lips shot up, and a mesmerizing smile appeared on his face. Waving the fan in his hands, he brought out the disposition of a dashing scholar. "I'll accompany anyone who manages to purchase this painting for dinner, for free!"
"Accompany for dinner? This painting is mine!"
"Don't compete with me, I'll offer one million and a hundred thousand!"
"You wish to buy Ji Mo gongzi's painting for one million and a hundred thousand? Stop joking! A million and three hundred thousand!"
"I offer two million!"
Upon hearing the additional service that came with the painting, the ladies’ eyes reddened with excitement immediately. As they competed wildly against one another, the price soared rapidly.
"Two million and four hundred thousand?"
Seeing the price reach two million in the blink of an eye, Zhang Xuan was flabbergasted.
He sold the fifth level painting he created to Lu Chen, Huang Yu, and the others for merely two million each and this mediocre second level painting has exceeded that sum..."
This is way too damned!
"That... How much is a painting of the fifth level, Spirit Creation, worth?"
Feeling dismayed, Zhang Xuan could not help but ask the attendant beside him.
"A painting of the fifth level? That would be a treasure left behind by a 2-star grandmaster painter! Furthermore, even such a painter wouldn't be able to produce a fifth level painting as when he pleases. It depends heavily on his condition and luck... A painting of that level will easily become the treasure of our Painter Guild, and one can say that it is... priceless!"
The green-robed attendant hesitated for a moment before answering.
"Priceless?" Zhang Xuan's body swayed violently.
"Indeed! If one has no choice but to assign it a price, this starting price would likely be at minimum ten million gold coins. As for how high it can rise, I can't give a concrete answer to that. However, half a year ago, an auction for a painting of the fifth level was conducted here, and the final price was thirty-four million gold coins."
The green-robed attendant replied.
Zhang Xuan's mouth twitched and he was on the verge of tears.
Thirty-four million for a single painting and he sold four of it at two million each... Why is the world be so cruel to him?
"The Painter Guild has been established in the capital for less than thirty years, and it was only from then that the price of paintings had been on the rise. If it was thirty years ago, when no one held paintings in high regard, a painting of the fifth level would only be worth one or two million." The attendant said. "If it were any higher than that, no one would be willing to spend their money!"
"One or two million, thirty years ago?"
Zhang Xuan shook.
"That's right!" The attendant nodded.
After hearing the other party's verification, Zhang Xuan finally recovered, and his aching heart was soothed.
Tianxuan Kingdom was remote and there wasn’t the presence of a Painter Guild. It seemed that what Huang Yu and the others reported to him was the thirty-year historical price, and two million... could already be considered as a huge sum for a painting of the fifth level then.
"Does Gongzi want to buy a painting of the fifth level?" The green-robed attendant looked at him. "Only our guild leader is capable of drawing a painting of the fifth level, but he had gone out half a month ago in search of inspiration and isn't back yet..."
"I am just making a casual inquiry..."
Suppressing his vexation, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
Staring at Zhang Xuan, the attendant asked, "Then, gongzi... why don't you buy Ji Mo gongzi's Breeze by the Mountain and Stream? It is second level pinnacle and, not to mention, Ji gongzi's work. Its value will definitely rocket in the future!"
"Forget it!" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "I'm not here to buy paintings... Besides, it's just a painting of the second level. I'm not interested in it!"
"Just a painting of the second level? How arrogant!"
Before the green-robed attendant could reply to Zhang Xuan's words, a cold harrumph sounded. Lifting his head, Zhang Xuan saw Ji Mo gongzi staring coldly at him.
Zhang Xuan didn't expect the other party to hear his words when he had already spoken so softly. Zhang Xuan replied with embarrassment, "I apologize, I was just speaking casually, so please do not be offended by my words!"
Every painting is created painstakingly and saying such words before a painter is indeed inappropriate.
"Hmph, do you think this can be settled with just an apology?"
Ji Mo gongzi flung his sleeves, and his eyebrows shot up, "This action of interrupting the auction and treating my painting with contempt, you are insulting the occupation and belittling all official painters!"
"Then... What do you think I should do?"
Zhang Xuan had only made a casual comment and had already apologized for his disrespect. Yet, the other party went on and claimed that he was insulting the occupation and him. Feeling helpless, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
"Simple, buy my painting at five million gold coins!"
Placing his hands behind his back, Ji Mo gongzi glanced at him impassively. "Don't worry, I won't take a single cent of that money. I'll donate all of it to build the Painter Hall so you can consider it as atonement for your mistake!"
"Five million gold coins?"
Zhang Xuan was stunned.
He had merely come to take a look, making a comment in passing, but the other party actually wanted to force a deal upon him. What a joke!
There are so many people who worship you present, can't you get them to buy it for you...
"Why? Are you unwilling to buy it?"
Ji Mo gongzi sneered coldly. Waving his hands casually, he said, "You can refuse, but you must apologize now and swear not to step into the guild ever again! Our Painter Guild doesn't welcome people like you!"
"Never step into the guild ever again?" Zhang Xuan was speechless.
Kindness doesn't beget kindness. Other people will simply take advantage of you.
It was just a casual comment and he had already made an apology, yet the other party refused to let the matter go.
"I can apologize, and never stepping into the Painter Guild is fine by me as well. In fact, I can even buy your painting for five million gold coins. However... Your painting has to be worth that price first!"
Zhang Xuan shook his head, "Do you think that this toy, which any apprentice painter can create, is worthy of that price?"
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