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58 In Which the Fourth Miss Demonstrates Her Painting Skills

    The Old Master, interested to see what she was saying, allowed for her to demonstrate. Yujia wanted to use the better-quality art supplies that she bought herself, but the Old Master already ordered for the average-quality art supplies he owned. She didn't want to demand too much.

    When the art supplies arrived and were laid out on a table in the center of the room, Hui'er, Manyu, and Steward Liu moved to the side to give space to Yujia.

    Yujia began with pouring water in the inkstone, slowly grinding and forming ink with it. There was only simplistic black ink, though simplicity was good sometimes. There was no need to complain about it.

    Once she had ink, she lifted her brush, pausing while hovering the brush over the ink. She turned her head to her father, asking, "Are there any specific things you would like a painting of?"

    He shook his head. It would be better to give her the freedom to display what she was best at.

    So, Yujia settled on her strength, painting scenery.

    Mountains were the number one thing that she painted since she arrived. Although she didn't necessarily have work skilled enough to be compared to the true professionals who worked on painting them all their life, to people in the Yang household who didn't understand too much about painting, her ability should be enough to convince them.

    Yujia started by dipping her brush into the ink, diluting the ink with a wash of water. With a sweep of her arm, the paint on the brush transferred onto the paper, creating the blurry shape of a few mountains.

    Her first motion instantly captured the complete attention of everyone around her.

    At first, they all thought that she would be rather hesitant and clumsy, similar to any beginner. That would be her natural behavior.

    What they didn't expect was her obvious confidence, from the way she held her brush to her first stroke. Even those who didn't know a thing about painting would've been able to tell that this was not the confidence that a beginner should have.

    Nevertheless, this was only the first stroke of her brush. There were many more to come. The watchers began to watch more tentatively, no longer treating this as an occasion to make fun of a beginner.

    Without taking much notice to the attitude change from her audience, Yujia dipped the very tip of her brush in the thick black ink again. She allowed her arms to move naturally, tracing the outline of the mountains with fine lines.

    The approach she chose to go for this time around was a blend of vague shapes and sharp lines, creating a stark contrast between detail and blurs. This would create a new depth to her work, something that she thought would awe her audience enough.

    After using more watered down ink to add in shadows to the mountains, Yujia moved on to add in a river cutting through the mountains. This river would be loud and roaring, a bold river that she depicted through overturning waters swirling and dancing underneath the mountains.

    Once the river was completed, she began to draw in the faint details of trees, from the branches to the budding leaves. The quiet tranquility of the small trees clashed with the loud and lively river, creating a fine balance between the two.

    If she had colored ink now, it would definitely be even better to highlight some of the details in the painting with the trees. Yujia concluded that it was still fine though, without the addition of any color.

    Lastly, once all the details in the front were finished, she faded away some mountains in the distant and the edges of the mountains in the front. This gave the impression of a deep rolling fog, wrapping the mountains in a sense of mystery.

    Yujia stepped back from the painting, exhaling as she took a final look.

    Only just now did she finally get a complete look of her spectators. Previously, she was too absorbed into making the painting a good one to truly notice her surroundings.

    Some looked at her with shock, some looked at her with surprise. And in other eyes, she even saw a little bit of fear along with their disbelief.

    Of course- how could they not be afraid? Who was able to paint this well with only a week of experience? If things were really as what they said, then wouldn't it mean that she was a genius at the arts? Who would've expected that the Fourth Miss who never drew any attention to herself would be so talented at painting?

    The moment after she finished, many who were able to see the painting that she created were too shocked to give a good response. Only Yang Xiaoyi, who had a full view of her entire process stood up, slowly walking up to the painting and observing it with eyes filled with awe. Directly after she did so, many others followed her and approached the painting, getting a better look at it. Servants no longer watched her paint from the side, stepping out of the shadows to view what she created.

    A faint smile surfaced on Yujia's face.

    "So," she asked, turning herself to the others, "how do you like my painting?"
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