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107 Should the Fourth Miss Sell Her Work?

    She looked at Cixuan with a hesitant gaze, then looked back at her painting. In any other situation, she would've sold the painting in a heartbeat- money was always good- but for some reason, she didn't want to sell this simplistic painting she created so quickly. It wasn't because it was Cao Cixuan who wanted the painting either. Yujia just didn't feel like it was right to sell this particular painting to

    anyone.

    Cixuan noticed her lack of response, quickly holding up his fingers and counting. "How much would you want to sell it for? Twenty taels? Thirty? Forty? Sixty? Ninety? Name your price!"

    Yujia tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

    Sure, it

    would

    be nice to sell something she created in ten minutes for ninety taels. Except, still, she couldn't shake off the feeling that for some reason, she wanted to keep the painting to herself. She wanted to crumple it up into a ball, tear it into a thousand pieces, set it on fire, or just do anything so that she didn't have to keep looking at it or have anyone else hold possession of it.

    The thoughts going through her head were some strange thoughts, but in the end, she supposed that they were just some things trying to excuse her unexplained desire to keep the painting to herself. Yujia didn't allow herself to think much about it.

    "It's not for sale." Yujia gave an apologetic smile and flipped the painting over, unwilling to look at it for a second longer.

    "Why?" Cixuan held his chin a little higher.

    "It's only something mediocre I created in a few moments; why do you want it?" She diverted his question with another question.

    "Well- because I think the speed that you created the painting at was interesting. Imagine if I could hang it up, and then someone asks me, 'Wow, that's a great painting you have there!'- and I reply with, 'Oh, yeah, the painter only created it in ten minutes.'- how fun do you think the expression of that person will be?"

    His answer was oddly childish. Yujia supposed that if she took any longer to create the painting, he wouldn't have as much interest as he did right now. Cao Cixuan was just one of those people who enjoyed the dramatic and attention-catching side of painting more than the actual artistic value. He also had no shame with his answer, being completely honest with stating the true reason why he wanted his work without being afraid of what other people might perceive of him after his shallow statements.

    Yujia folded her hands in front of her, then proposed, "If that's the case, then later, I'll paint you another ten-minute painting, and you can pay me for that. This particular painting, though, is not for sale."

    "Alright! That's good with me!" He grinned widely and spun back to his seat. By his side, Jiang Muyun gave him a look, but he didn't seem to notice it.

    Now would be a good time for Yujia to return to her "seat" too, but she wanted to grasp ahold of the temporary spotlight she had while she still could. Besides, now that she painted and received some sort of approval from everyone, the current moment was also a good time for her to act out her plans.

    "I'm going to be completely honest here," she began, addressing everyone seated, "but I didn't just come here to talk about painting. There's a new art store that's opening soon that I'm affiliated with, and they have a new tool that I thought students of Lingxin and others interested in painting would like to know of."

    Those seated began to murmur about the "new store" she was "affiliated" with and the "new tool".

    Yujia decided for now that she wouldn't refer to herself as the "inventor" of the pencil. After all, with the current standards of society, they wouldn't be particularly accepting of a female inventor. She didn't want to call someone else as the inventor, and she couldn't claim the pencil for her own yet, so she decided to go with keeping the inventor anonymous until the time was right for her to stand up.

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    Continuing on, Yujia said, "The new tool is called a pencil. It is a brush that draws without ink."

    More discussion came from the crowd. Recognition appeared on both Yunhe and Zhiyuan's faces since they had experienced her invention first-hand.

    Due to the meeting that Yujia had before this convention, she had both her pencils and sketches with her. She opened the box of pencils she placed on the table, picking out a pencil and holding it up so that everyone could see it.

    "This is it." The pencil spun slowly in her hand to give everyone a complete view. "It may not look like anything, but it can accomplish a lot. The one I have here is also a rather crude prototype- a more refined version will be sold by the store."

    She set the pencil in her hand down, then placed the example sketches she created for the store in a line across the table as a longer display.

    "If any would like to take a closer look, there are examples on the table."

    Around three-fourths of the present people stood up, gathering around the table again to look at the sketches up close. Yujia listened with a soft smile as the intrigued artists observed her work with hushed silence at first, but then, talking louder and louder about the sketches she managed to create.

    "These portraits and drawings- they're so realistic!"

    "A small stick like that can create such beautiful work? Is that even possible?"

    "How is this- how does that- I mean- it's just so strange! You all thought that the painting from before was spectacular; I'd say that it dulls in comparison to these drawings here!"

    The more they spoke, the more Yujia smiled. She found it amusing to see their surprised response to the pencil.

    Although, albeit amusing, their surprise was normal. It was their first time seeing a graphite sketch, and with moth of them being enthusiasts over art, how could they not be amazed?

    Soon enough, most of the unconvinced ones were convinced to stand up and look for themselves. One even asked Yujia if they could try using her pencils for themselves. To that, Yujia of course agreed, and demonstrated to them how to properly hold and use one.

    When one person began to experiment with the pencils on a new piece of paper on the table, more became interested and took a pencil for themselves. Because a few people hogged a couple of pencils to themselves, a few that wanted to try using the pencils couldn't, and could only watch for an opportunity to grab a pencil out of the hands of someone who set it down.

    The amount of people smiling at the wonders of the pencil, the amount of people actively trying to replicate her sketches, and the amount of people exclaiming their approval and praise...

    Yujia felt as if she was watching the painting convention transform into the pencil convention.
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