Chapter 223: Contest
Le Baiyi was astonished and Mu Wanying was curious. On the contrary, Tang Xiu's face flickered upon hearing Professor Hu's story.
Architectural design drawing? Was it... his drawing?
"Old Hu, tell me the details. Why would this architectural design be eligible to win the prize in the Asian Painting Competition?" Le Baiyi inquired.
"Why can't it?" Professor Hu asked back, and said seriously, "You haven't seen the drawing, I presume. If you see it, you'll definitely have your jaw dropped. I have many famous and highly respected painter friends. They even admitted inferiority upon seeing it. The creator of that architectural design has a superb painting technique, it's very exquisite. That architectural design is a masterpiece, and looks like it imitates and gives off the majestic aura of the palatial heavenly palace."
Suddenly, Professor Hu's eyes turned bright. He took out his mobile, opened a mail and its picture attachment. He handed it over to Le Baiyi and said, "I just remembered that my friend sent this architectural design to me. Unfortunately, it's just a picture and I can't see the original one."
Le Baiyi took the phone. After looking at for a few seconds, his pupils suddenly contracted as disbelief burst from his eyes. Despite his trivial knowledge about paintings, he could see that the architectural design was unusual. The lines were boldly drawn with incisive technique, giving off a unique charm. The picture was simply the paradise.
The thing that shocked him the most was not only this but the design of the architectural buildings itself. The edifice drawn on it looked extremely palatial and majestic. The style was strange and uncanny and it seemed like it reflected the incisiveness of the author.
He dared say that once someone constructed the edifice in this architectural design masterpiece, it would definitely become the most famous landmark in China. Not only would it be famous throughout the country, it would also be well-known worldwide.
"It's so amazing. This old man, I, have seen a lot of paintings in my life, including many masterpieces of famous painters. But absolutely none of them can be compared to this painting."
Mu Wanying, who had yet to see the picture, had her curiosity greatly sparked by looking at the shocked expression on her teacher's face. She stood up gracefully and came over to Le Baiyi's side. Her eyes fell on the picture on the mobile screen as her bent waist slightly trembled.
Mu Wanying was shocked. She hardly believed her eyes. She couldn't believe that there would be someone in the world who was able to paint such a divine masterpiece. She had once seen the incomplete picture of the "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" painting and she dared guarantee that even a complete version of the painting couldn't be compared to this one.
This painting... this painting should have existed only in heaven. Why would it appear in the human world?
Le Baiyi handed the mobile phone to Mu Wanying. The shock on his old face hadn't yet faded away as he sighed, "Ahh, someone who can draw this painting can be called the God of Painting. I really can't imagine now as to how huge the sensation would it create if the buildings in this painting are really built."
"Indeed. If the buildings on this painting were really built, I'll make sure to go to the residential area and buy a house there." Professor Hu said with a straight approving expression.
Le Baiyi said categorically, "You can count me in as well."
Mu Wanying took the mobile and went back to her seat. Her eyes full shock, she even didn't hear the conversation of the two old men. Her sensual lips slightly opened and muttered, "If the author of this painting is willing to accept apprentices, I'll be definitely be the first one."
Her voice wasn't loud. Yet, Professor Hu and Le Baiyi, including Tang Xiu, could clearly hear it.
Professor Hu and Le Baiyi glanced at each other with a forced smile on their faces. They also had the same kind of impulse!
Tang Xiu reached out his hand to Mu Wanying and said, "Show me."
Mu Wanying came back to her senses and handed over the phone to Tang Xiu with a complex expression. Her eyes were blurred, and nobody knew what she was thinking.
Tang Xiu took the phone and saw the picture on the screen. Then, a wisp of a smile revealed itself on his face. He didn't expect that the architectural design that was praised by Professor Hu, Le Baiyi, and Mu Wanying turned out to be the one he painted.
Immediately after, he returned the phone to Professor Hu.
Looking at Tang Xiu's manners, Professor Hu and Le Baiyi secretly despised him. Thinking that Tang Xiu simply had no enthusiasm toward it. That made them even worried about the upcoming contest.
Shortly after, a waiter of the Lotus Blossom House came to their box, inviting everyone to the painting exhibition hall downstairs. When the four came to the base floor, dozens of guests had surrounded the two tables in the middle of the hall; they could clearly hear their voices.
"We're so lucky to be able to see the contest between two talented young painters today. Speaking about painting, I also have learned it in the past for a period of time. But it's a pity that I'm not talented, so I gave it up. Fortunately, I followed Old Wang visiting this Lotus Blossom House today, so I can see the contest between the two evenly matched painters."
"I also have heard about Zhu Xiang's name. He's a quite famous skilled young painter. But as for Tang Xiu, I've never heard of him. He should be a junior who remains low profile!"
"Zhu Xiang is a very arrogant person. A moment ago, when he was introduced and had a toast in the box, his attitude is not friendly nor does he have a shred of modesty in dealing with things. Such a person, even if he has excellent painting skills, perhaps won't have much charm in his works. But I'm really curious about the young man who's his opponent in this contest."
"Tianjin City is very big, and having a Zhu Xiang emerge here is kind of a given. Could anyone else be more skillful than him? But in any case, I think Zhu Xiang will surely win tonight."
"I think so too."
"Well, I look forward to seeing a good show, though."
Tang Xiu secretly smiled as he heard these discussions. He indeed had no reputation in Tianjin City, let alone in the painting world. So it wasn't a wonder that everyone present was full of confidence in Zhu Xiang.
However, if one couldn't handle the pressure, one shouldn't try to be in a position to deal with the problem.
He was confident in his painting skill. Let alone Zhu Xiang who was his opponent now, even if the other party was a master painter, he was not afraid at all.
"Ladies and gentlemen, let us begin now."
Upon seeing that Tang Xiu and the others had arrived, Bai Yu announced, as everyone immediately came into the large platform in the hall. She then approached Tang Xiu and asked, "Are you confident?"
"Rest assured." Tang Xiu could see Bai Yu's mind as he replied with a nod.
Bai Yu nodded and said, "If you're confident, please do the best you can. I look forward to your performance."
"I won't let you down!" Tang Xiu said.
After having said that, he walked to the center of the hall. Looking at Zhu Xiang indifferently, he said, "Bring everything you got, so you won't say that I'm bullying you when you lose."
Zhu Xiang sneered, "Relying on you? Hmph... if you had decades of experience in this field, maybe you'd be qualified to say this. Let's cut the bullshit, actions speak louder than words. Let's see what you can showcase!"
Tang Xiu no longer paid attention to him as he looked at Bai Yu and calmly asked, "Are there any requirements or rules for this contest?"
Bai Yu brought along ten men and women among the onlookers. Only two of them were still young, whereas the rest were middle-aged or elderly. Bai Yu pointed to the ten people and said, "These ten are our distinguished VIPs and have their paintings being exhibited in this hall. I can guarantee their fairness to be the appraisal committee for this contest. Furthermore, after they assessed your works, the other guests will also take a vote. As for the rule of this contest, it's very simple. Draw your paintings with a Lotus-related landscape theme within half an hour. Your painting brush, paints, and painting papers have all been prepared."
"Alright!" Tang Xiu nodded.
Zhu Xiang said with unfazed expression, "It's also fine with me."
Bai Yu nodded and looked at her watch and then said, "It's 8:28 PM now, so the end time is at 8:58 PM. I hereby announce that this contest is started... Now."
Zhu Xiang showed Tang Xiu a ridiculing look. He quickly grabbed the painting brush on his table. After pondering, he started to slowly paint on the canvas.
Tang Xiu was different.
At the moment when Bai Yu announced the start of the contest, he slowly closed his eyes, imagining the painting he was about to paint. After a few seconds passed, he quickly grabbed the painting brush, identifying all available paints, and then began drawing. His painting speed was a lot faster than Zhu Xian, and quickly, his brush moved as though a dragon serpent as each and every pattern began to take shape on the canvas.
"Ah, he must be lost!"
A touch of bitterness appeared on Mu Wanying's mouth upon seeing Tang Xiu's painting speed. She was well aware of the main essence of painting. Unless one was a maestro, whoever dared use the dragon serpent technique and rapid painting movements, definitely wouldn't be able to draw a genuine masterpiece.
There was a line in the painter circle that the essence of carving and painting was to slowly carve out finely particulate lines without being affected by appearance and shape.
Mu Wanying herself had never heard Tang Xiu's name before, so he should have no reputation in the calligraphy and painting world. He was but only a nameless youth. Even if he had some skills, he wasn't someone at Zhu Xiang's level.
Professor Hu secretly shook his head. While looking at Tang Xiu from afar, he smiled bitterly, "Mu Wanying, you shouldn't have agreed before. Looking at his performance, it seems like you'll lose that Wang Xizhi's calligraphy of yours."
Mu Wanying was a bit down. But she was still able to stomach it as she slowly replied, "If I have to lose it, then lose it I will! What is lost is lost, no need to cry over spilled milk."
Professor Hu lamented, "It seems you can remain positive in this situation. However, I feel that Tang Xiu himself is someone with an unusual identity. Even if you lose your treasured calligraphy, perhaps he has thought of something to compensate you."
"What's his background?" Mu Wanying was surprised.
"I don't know." Professor Hu shook his head. "But have you seen an ordinary student who just finished his CET be able to pay 20 million for only a few stones? Yet he still wants to buy Old Le's ores. His funds are definitely big, much more than 20 million yuan."
Mu Wanying replied in astonishment, "Did he buy the two Wintertide Fluorites and the Star Fragment Stone from you with a sky-high price?"
"Yes." Professor Hu nodded. "Old Le knows very well about the value of these two ores. The price I gave him is only the floor price, but this fellow accepted happily and didn't even haggle over it, directly transferring me the money. Also, there's an object wrapped with yellow cloth inside the travel bag he just handed me; of which, he just recently bought it. Speaking the truth, I can't tell his origin, neither can I see through him."