161 A Good Student: The Artis

    The conversation with Yu Zixu ended quickly enough. Leaving a few words of farewell, Yujia turned and hurried to the library.

    She learned her lesson the last time she walked right into the main room of Lingxin where the school head, Master Ye, was teaching. This time, she went through the side door of the library.

    The moment she stepped in, she was greeted with the quiet stillness of the library. Like the last time she entered, the atmosphere immediately gave off a different type of energy than everywhere else at Lingxin. Though a lesson may have been going on in the other room beside it, one would not be able to hear it through the walls. It was almost eerily quiet in here.

    It wasn't a bad thing that this place was so quiet though. Yujia found it best to focus in silence when she needed to study. Though she might have enjoyed having some background ambience when she was painting or drawing, she found that noise, even music, made it hard for her to concentrate when she wanted to memorize things.

    Yujia walked through the various shelves, recalling where her senior brother, Ye Yunhe, last pointed out where the book of Six Principles were. Once the book was in her hand, she found a desk, sat down at it, and began to study.

    There were only six principles, meaning that in less than thirty minute's time, Yujia would be able to memorize all of them to the point where they were ingrained in her mind like carvings in stone. Plus, with her knowledge of a few principles that she picked up in the past, it was not a difficult task at all. Yujia just needed to be able to settle her mind down to a state of tranquility, try to deal with her headache, and the studying-time would pass easily.

    The moment Yujia found the book that Yune suggested to her last time, however, she realized that it wasn't just a book labeled with

    "Six Principles of Painting."

    The title was

    "Classified Record of Painters of Former Times",

    with the author being Xie He. She flipped through the pages quickly, finding that with a preface of the six principles, Xie He proceeded to examine and rank twenty-seven painters. The six principles only existed to define the way by which he categorized these other painters in three classes, but it seemed that they gained recognition and were established as the basics through history.

    She skimmed through the section of painters, then moved back to the preface with the principles listed. The statement about them was rather brief, so within ten minutes, Yujia managed to memorize each of them: Spirit Resonance, Bone Method, Correspondence to the Object, Suitability to Type, Division and Planning, and Transmission by Copying.

    The only problem was that though she knew these names, she still wanted more details to how they were applied to certain works. Yujia turned a page, beginning to read about the painters that Xie He discussed.

    As she read on and on, she found that it was actually fairly interesting to see him analyze the painters and their works. Xie He grouped them into three classes based on his judgements and used the Six Principles as the guidelines for his criticism and analysis.

    While she read on, she began to understand how Xie He defined these principles. Spirit Resonance and Bone Method were obviously the two given the greatest importance. With Spirit Resonance involved with creativity and bringing life to paintings and Bone Method dealing with the spirit being conveyed through the brushstroke, everything else all came as a result of the first two principles. Once one mastered those, the rest of the principles, which dealt with colors, positioning, and accuracy, would come naturally. The only principle that didn't conform was the last principle, Transmission by Copying. Xie He insisted the importance of practicing the recreation of ancient paintings created by other masters so that one could gain greater skill, and so that these works could be preserved throughout time.

    Yujia didn't keep track of time while she read through all twenty-seven painters that Xie He analyzed. At the end, once she read the last word, she found that she felt no exhaustion from her studying. She only felt more educated on the matters of this art world during this time period. In fact, she would even call the book an interesting read. Her headache had grown duller too.

    At the last word, she closed the book, stretching her arms in front of her. She now felt intrigued to discover what other scrolls or books Lingxin's extensive private library might have. Considering the influence the academy had in the art world, they were sure to hold most rare resources that might be beneficial to study.

    Yujia stood up, holding the book in her hands, but she paused. She did want to study more right now, the only problem being her other issues which were at a higher priority. So, she sat right back down.

    She thought about the diagnosis that physician gave yesterday.

    Someone had poisoned her.

    Who could it be? Hui'er? The Madam? The Old Master? One of her siblings? One of the servants?

    There were too many possibilities, but Yujia could eliminate a couple individuals. It couldn't be either the Second or Third Miss, with the Second Miss escaping the family for the army, while the Third Miss was already married off. Plus, according to Hui'er, neither of the two ever had any conflicts with Yujia. The First Miss was a possibility though. Yujia couldn't think of a definite reason, but it might be involved with Yang Qingxia's hatred for Hui'er. As for the Fifth Miss... Yujia would not like to think that Xiaoyi would ever poison her, but she could not rule off Xiaoyi completely either.

    She recalled the thoughts she once hinted to Hui'er:

    trust was always needed to some degree for her to continue on in her life, but it didn't mean that she had to blindly follow it until the end.

    Perhaps it could be the Madam or Old Master. Since the physician said that she had been poisoned for a long time, it implied that it could've started during her childhood as well. Madam Zhen, Xiaoyi's mother, died when Yujia was nine. For a split second, Yujia thought of her as a possible suspect, but quickly ruled that out. Madam Zhen had died, so though she could've poisoned Yujia when she was younger, she could not continue doing it. There was the possibility that someone continued her work, but then, Yujia wanted to find out the person who continued doing it for ten more years.

    As for Madam Liu, Yujia's birthmother, Hui'er always discussed their relationship positively. Madam Liu was one of the few people who the original Fourth Miss had a solid relationship with. She was also too far away from the villa. It would be difficult for her to extend her hand all the way into the Yang Villa, and again, what reason would she have to poison her own daughter?

    Though then again, Madam Zhang had caused her own daughter's miscarriage. Anything could be possible.

    And Hui'er, the one who Yujia interacted the most with, the one she held the most trust in, and the one she did not want to doubt...

    Yujia hated to admit that if Hui'er wanted to poison her, it would be easier than anyone else in the villa. Hui'er had to become a suspect.

    At this thought, Yujia realized her brows were furrowed, and her headache was worse than ever. She placed her two elbows on the table in front of her and leaned her head down into her hands.

    She despised all of these suspicions and calculations. This wasn't the kind of person she wanted to be, to hold zero trust in everyone. The sisters who were related to her by blood were becoming suspects. Her mother that gave birth to her, though Yujia never interacted with her, was a suspect. Even her closest friend and maid who she revealed her secret of transmigration to wasn't someone that she could trust anymore.

    Who did she have to trust in this world? With this revelation of being poisoned, Yujia had lost all her trust in the individuals she thought she was once close with.

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    Yet if she lost her trust so easily, did it mean that she never had any trust in them in the first place?

    Her headache swore to split her head in half. And in this moment, Yujia wished that it really would. Perhaps then, she would find more peace than the mess she was now.
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