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42 The Fourth Miss Picks Up Painting Again

    When Yujia saw the art supplies that the servant brought over, she could only say that she was beyond surprised.

    A quick look at the supplies revealed to Yujia that they were not the ordinary ones she used back when she made her first painting in this world. The scroll of paper that the servant rolled out was noticeably thicker and a flawless pale shade that could nearly compare to the quality of the paper she used back in the modern world. The inkstick and stone in front of her both had fine details carved into the black and red surfaces, and the paintbrushes... were they lined with actual silver?

    After a few moments of staring with shock, Yujia noticed the surprised look she had displayed on her face and quickly masked it while she watched the servant return to the commissioner a bulging satchel of taels.

    How many taels would be in the satchel for the servant to be able to purchase such fine art supplies? How rich was this commissioner in the first place to be able to afford such things for just a simple demonstration?

    Yujia's fingers traced the paper lovingly, and then, she turned back to the chicken and wine.

    The food and drink was something she ordered to pass the time, but now, she was about to use it as an excuse so that she could take time to think of what exactly she was to draw. Certainly, the artwork had to impress the commissioner if she wanted to keep him, but last time, she already painted mountains. Yujia wanted to do something else for a change.

    So, Yujia tore off a strip of chicken and bit into it, slowly chewing as she thought about it.

    ...

    By the time that Yujia was completely finished with the chicken and nearly emptied the jug of wine by her side, both the commissioner and Hui'er looked exceptionally concerned.

    The young man noted that she was finished and hesitatingly asked, "Will you start now?"

    "Of course." Yujia wiped a bit of the grease on her fingers on a handkerchief that was handed to her by Hui'er. "I merely needed to finish my meal."

    She waved her hands and a waiter rushed over, taking her empty plate away from her. He was about to grab her almost empty jug of wine as well, but Yujia stopped him, taking one last sip and handing it over. She wasn't completely drunk- it was just a small jug of wine- but the alcohol helped calm her nerves.

    Taking a long look at the commissioner before her, she asked the young man, "Just to make it clear, if my painting impresses you, we'll continue on with the commision, won't we?"

    "Yes. Certainly," he agreed.

    "Good."

    Yujia reached over to the side, picking up the long brush and attempting to hide her excitement. As an artist, receiving quality art supplies was always so thrilling, a habit that was never taken away from her even after all her failure in the past.

    She dipped the very tip of the brush in black ink, beginning on her first line.

    ...

    Bo Zhiyuan watched as the painting came together, line by line.

    He wasn't sure what she was about to paint in the beginning- perhaps some flowers or scenery- but as she progressed, he found that what he thought were long leaves were feathers, and the things he took for thin branches were legs and claws.

    The strokes of her brush were meticulous in some areas while in others, they were bold and saturated. She didn't seem to hesitate at all, every flick of her wrist precise and filled with confidence.

    Zhiyuan was not a professional, but just by watching her, he knew that he was wrong to doubt her in the first place. The amount of certainty she held while painting proved that she wasn't as clueless or a beginner as he thought she would be.

    When the girl painted, she moved fast, but her strokes were not at random either, each one calculated to fit together in a cohesive piece. Her style of painting was largely unlike the slow, detailed movements that Yu Zixu, his close friend who he learned bits and pieces of the art of painting from, painted at. Her method of painting made it look like painting was an instinctual action to her.

    This girl- as unimpressive as she looked- had to have years and years of experience to paint like this.

    Finally, when the girl finished, she spun the scroll of paper around to face him, and he could finally have a full, complete view of the finished painting.

    The ink on the paper depicted two roosters standing in the shade of a blossoming tree. One rooster, with a dramatic flair of the tail, was simply staring to the left, while the second one, much lighter in color, was bent downwards, pecking at something within the deep grasses. Both of them had bright red ink to highlight their heads

    Energy seemed to flow through the painting now that Zhiyuan was able to take a closer look. He could almost see the two roosters leap off of the page, surrounding him in a scene of a calm spring day with the chirping and clucking of chickens in the distance while the two roosters busied themselves.

    The background did not take away from the focus of the roosters, only framing and complimenting them. Red was only sparingly used to draw attention to the roosters themselves. Everything came together to create a stunning piece, and it only seemed to increase in value due to the fact that Zhiyuan saw the entire process of the painting itself.

    He looked up from the painting, noticing that a few other individuals in the inn had their attentions captured by the girl painting as well, standing around the table to look at the painting like he was.

    Zhiyuan then moved his gaze to the girl, who was looking at him expectantly.

    "Roosters," she began, "for symbolizing courage and loyalty. Chickens for symbolizing luck."

    He didn't know how to respond. The painting was good. Too good. Excellent. Astonishing. Marvelous. "That's- that's-" he stuttered.

    A small smile finally appeared on her face, and she set the twirling brush between her fingers down.

    "I am simply inspired by what I eat."
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