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Chapter 14 – The Master of Painting

The Master of Painting

There was a mystery in the Dragonfly’s eyes?

Zhao Quan really didn’t find this out.

It seems that this hermit is very proud of himself, so he is not polite to Bole Zhao Quan who can’t see the exquisite paintings.

The Hate Pen Hermit didn’t expect that the young lady who had been silent all the time found the mystery of his painting. It was a rare bosom friend like the “High mountains and flowing water” he had ever met in his entire life.

So the old scholar could not help but look at Liu Miantang with admiration, twist his beard and say, “This lady has good eyesight.”

Liu Miantang smiled. She didn’t know her eyesight was so good. In the beginning, she just looked at the dragonfly because she thought that the eyes seems alive, so she looked at it more carefully. She doesn’t know why, she had a sense of deja vu about this kind of painting method with hidden mystery, but she couldn’t remember it for a moment.

However, the painting aroused her interest, so she followed Zhao Quan to find the painter.

Of course, she is not as boring as Zhao Quan who is determined to be a bole who appreciates people.

No matter how beautiful the painting is, it has to be painted on a porcelain plate first. If this gentleman is as famous as Zhao Quan said, wouldn’t it be better to sell his plates, bowls, and bottles?

However, in the eyes of the scholar, he could not see that this dignified and beautiful young woman was a merchant with a lust for profit. He just felt that besides his dead wife, there was another bosom friend who understood his painting well.

But Liu Miantang could not wait to explain her intention. She just wanted to ask the highly talented painter to draw porcelain plates for her and she was willing to pay a high price.

Zhao Quan was not the first to discover the mystery. So he was ashamed in secret. In fact, he was even more ecstatic. Anyway, he was the first to discover such a genius. He thought that the old scholar was just freehand and elegant. Now it seems that his meticulous brushwork is also superb.

If he can reveal his masterpiece to the public, becoming a famous painter where the generation of people pursues and flatter can be expected soon

But before Zhao Quan could have a good talk with the old scholar about his bright future, the young lady Miantang asked the old scholar to do something inferior to being a craftsman. It is insulting the old scholar!

Knowing that the old scholar had a strange temper, he was afraid that he would turn her request down again. He quickly said to Liu Miantang, “Madam, you are really mischievous! How can such an elegant person as the master of painting do the work of a craftsman? If you are short of plate painters, there are many workshops nearby. You can hire any number of people you want. I will pay for it!”

Liu Miantang saw that the time was not early anymore. She did not want to stay in the same yard with Zhao Quan for too long, so she told the old scholar frankly: “To tell the truth, Sir, my family runs a porcelain shop, but the business is poor. I can only close the shop in the long run. But this shop is my husband’s first business since he moved out of the capital. If it closes down, he will be hurt. I can’t help him much as a lady. I just want to ask you to help me draw a store treasure to be placed in my shop and make a name for it. By then, I can contact those long-established porcelain kilns and import some fine products to sell later. If I can revitalize my family business, I will certainly repay you sincerely! ”

This truth had moved the old scholar. He stared at the sincere Liu Miantang and asked, “How much money are you paying?”

Liu Miantang thinks about the shallow financial resources of her family and asked, “How much do you want, Sir?”

Without waiting for the old scholar to make a bargain, Zhao Quan, who was afraid that the scholar would lower his status, immediately stared at him and said, “You can sell me your paintings. I’m willing to pay a hundred silver money for your paintings!”

Are you kidding! Her husband will be deeply hurt? What kind of bullshit is this! The guy surnamed Cui is afraid that he can’t catch the thief after so long and causing him to feel so anxious!

If it was other matters, it would still be fine. But he doesn’t want to delay a talented genius because of the fraud play of Prince Huaiyang!

The title of a poor and elegant painter who came from the countryside is the best saying at touching the hearts of people. How can a painter who paints plates for a porcelain shop be compared to? Zhao Quan won’t let this unusual talent abandon itself!

Liu Miantang’s eyes widened. She didn’t expect that the doctor would dare to raise the price so much!

Although her husband said that he had a lot of wives and concubines in his family and should not worry about making a living, isn’t it crazy to spend one hundred silver money just on paintings? He’s such a black sheep. Isn’t he afraid to cause his wife and concubine to beg on the street with him in the future?

What’s more, she can’t afford a hundred silver money. Zhao Quan is indeed not a good thing! He’s been messing with her affairs!

Regardless of etiquette, Liu Miantang could not hide her anger and glared at Zhao Quan viciously.

Zhao Quan saved the talented painter from abandoning himself. Before he could be satisfied, he was stared at by Lady Liu. A knife-like look in her eyes, makes him shudder.

What a fierce lady, but her eyes are so beautiful

At that moment, the old scholar said, “The price I sell to a painting shop is forty coppers coin for a painting. You can just follow this price and pay me with that.”

This made Liu Miantang overjoyed, while Zhao Quan was completely dumbfounded.

Marquis Zhennan was so distressed that he stamped his foot and said, “Why did you want to degenerate like this, Sir?”

But the old scholar went to the side of the straw shed, which should be the place where he usually painted. He pulled out a painting scroll from the barrel and opened it. He looked at it wistfully and said, “This lady looks like my dead wife. She asked for a painting for the sake of her husband. She is heartfelt and touching. I should help her.”

Zhao Quan walked over in mourning and looked at the woman on the old scholar’s painting scroll. He’s so passed that his nose was crooked.

Although the old scholar had modified his beloved wife’s using brush and ink due to his favoritism, the woman had a thick waist and a persimmon face… Just how blind must he be to feel like his wife looks like Liu Miantang with a slender waist and an oval face?

Zhao Quan was angry deep down in his heart. He shouted, “How is your wife similar to Lady Liu?”

With tears in the old scholar’s eyes, he seemed moved and said in a trembling voice: “Their eyes are very similar…”

Before she passed away, his wife never let him do any housework. She took care of everything alone and supported the family. She was renowned for her capabilities and fierceness.

If his wife is still around, he must have accepted Zhao Quan’s high price, become famous, and let his wife enjoy and be rewarded for all her hardships and sufferings throughout the years with him.

But his wife died of illness, and no one will share the joy of his success. What’s the use of such a title? Being famous and wealthy are not as good as the thatched cottage that his wife built little by little. He wouldn’t go anywhere but here.

It would be better for him to use his abilities to help the young woman who plays a key role in helping her husband.

When Liu Miantang agreed with the old scholar’s offers, she paid the deposit of one silver money more for fear that Zhao Quan would disturb the situation again.

This gentleman’s surname is Chen and a single name of Shi. Although Mr. Chen didn’t ask for too high a price, Liu Miantang didn’t want to take advantage of him, so she agreed that if the exquisite paintings made her shop business better, she would also give Mr. Chen a pay raise.

Liu Miantang felt that as long as her business was selling well, she would be able to pay Mr. Chen more than 100 silver money.

The poor Marquis Huainan came in good spirits and returned in bad spirits. When he got on the carriage and left, he didn’t even look at Miantang. He was probably annoyed. He copied the way Liu Miantang did to him by calling his young servant and asking him to pass the message to her: “You tell Madam Liu that her actions today are super annoying, and I won’t forgive her for it!”

With that, the Marquis waved his sleeve and left angrily.

It’s good that Liu Miantang is not afraid to be on the bad side of the highly skilled doctor. Anyway, her husband wouldn’t let her talk to Zhao Quan. So she didn’t care about it and return home happily.

She found a talented painter and have the store treasure which could make a name for her store, her porcelain won’t be inhibited by ordinary shops anymore!

By then, her husband can learn chess at ease and continue to have a servant to serve him. Servant Li and the others can also continue to stay in the Cui family for retirement.

Lady Miantang’s long-cherished wish is not difficult. She just wants to guard her family and manage her life well.

The next day, she chose one of the magnetic kilns with fine porcelain quality and asked them to send a pile of bright and clean white porcelain plates for Mr. Chen to paint.

When everything was ready, Miantang, who was ready to go all out, was severely thrown cold water by the porcelain kiln worker who came to deliver plates.

When the worker heard that these plates were to be painted, he kindly reminded the laywoman.

“Madam Cui, hand-painted porcelain plates are not as good as paper paintings. You can paint them as a hobby. Because the surface of the porcelain is too smooth and you have to apply the color five or six times in the paint. The paint is not like that on paper. It can absorb water and solidify immediately. The porcelain drying speed is much slower than that on paper… And it takes a lot of time before you can continue coloring. Even if you paint well, if the temperature of the porcelain kiln is not controlled well in the process, it may also result in the crack of the porcelain… ”

Speaking of this, the worker shook his head and said, “Madam, if you don’t believe me, ask around. There is only one hand-painted porcelain store in the whole town, and their skills are passed down from generation to generation. They’re the old store of the He family. But his family is for imperial tribute! Your ambition is great, but it seems impractical!”

With that, the worker shook his head and went back to work in the porcelain kiln.

Liu Miantang now knows what it means to be in a different profession that makes one feel worlds apart.

She had thought that by relying on Mr. Chen’s wonderful calligraphy and painting skills on a few porcelain plates, she could revitalize her family business and make the shop prosperous. Now she knows that it is not that simple.

Thinking of this, she turned to Mr. Chen, who had been nearby, and said, “Sir, you’ve heard it too. I’m sorry. If you didn’t promise me, you could get 100 silver money from Mr. Zhao… Since it’s impossible to paint on a porcelain plate, I’ll go to Mr. Zhao to make amends in person and let him continue to buy your paintings… If he doesn’t buy… I’ll also give you a sum of money to compensate, but it’s not comparable to Mr. Zhao’s amount…”

Mr. Chen is sitting at the table eating the lunch brought by Servant Li for Liu Miantang. Servant Li is in a good mood these days. She always cooks meat for Miantang. What she made today is a bowl of Dongpo’s braised pork, which is well cooked and bright red. The skin of the meat is shining with attractive crystal light and it is wobbly when picked up with chopsticks.

It’s been a long time since the Hate Pen Hermit has eaten such delicious food. Thus, he swept the food down like the wind puffs the clouds away! After eating all the meat, he hold on to his beard and rubbed the crust against the gravy at the bottom of the bowl, and eat again.

After hearing Liu Miantang’s full of ashamed words, Mr. Chen wiped his mouth and waved his hand carelessly: “I haven’t tried it yet, how can madam give up easily? Since this porcelain painting needs to be painted and burned, I will go to the porcelain kiln today and guard the stove for a try. Madam only needs to send me two meals a day.”

Since Mr. Chen was willing to make an effort to try, Liu Miantang was naturally very grateful. She told Servant Li to cook for him and make sure that every meal includes meat or fish dishes.

Servant Li had no interest in reviving the family business in North Street, but she did not stop Liu Miantang from looking so cheerful.

Since she only left a few good days, it is fine to let her go with her will. If she really makes money, maybe The Prince will reward her and let a lonely woman like her have something left under her name.

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