The girl gritted her white teeth lightly, her complexion was pale, and only the bright red on the tip of her eyebrows became more and more distinct, like apricot blossoms falling in an apricot forest that is covered by a vast expanse of snow and with the tender redness at the beginning of blooming, arousing pity for no reason.
However, what Chi Can lacked the most was the emotion of pity and tenderness. He squinted at Qiao Zhao and asked angrily; “What’s the use of saying this now?”
“Brother Chi, is what you’re looking for not convenient to say?” Qiao Zhao casually asked him with a smirk.
‘He had gone, hoping to visit her father, and judging from his identity and age, it was not an official business. So, it is very likely that it had something to do with the purpose of his visit three years ago.’
‘If so, she might be able to fulfill his wish for him. It was not showing off, rather, it was just to repay his kindness for saving her.’
‘As for his volatile temper…well, what does she care about how a pervert behaves?’
Qiao Zhao had called Chi Can a pervert, which wasn’t really true.
She knew little about the people in the capital, but Chi Can was an exception. On the one hand, it was because Chi Can had visited her grandfather three years ago, but on the other, it was because his parents’ deeds were very famous.
Princess Changrong was the younger sister of his Holy Majesty and was very popular with the Queen Mother and the Emperor when she was young. At the age when she could get married, the princess had chosen, from thousands of choices, a handsome and unparalleled scholar from a poor family.
In the words of the princess back then; “The humble scholars are a bit less exaggerated than Zhixun’s noble children, and they are more down-to-earth and reliable.”
Xu Shi verified what the princess had said. After marriage, the two raised their child together and for ten years or so, they seldom quarreled. And as time went on, this couple aroused the envy of many people, and those who were puzzled by princess Changrong’s choice had begun to admire her wisdom.
But life always proves to be more exciting than the intended script. When the husband had passed away unexpectedly, and the princess was dying of grief, a woman had come to visit her with a pair of children and she said that she was the husband’s concubine and that she had come with his children.
What was more shocking to the princess was that the twin children were not much younger than her only son, Chi Can. It felt like a huge slap to the face, as if the past ten years of her marriage were a lie.
Not long after, the princess decided to stop mourning and eventually her life began to move forward.
Chi Can, who was still young at the time, became surlier in the face of this series of changes. In addition, his appearance followed his father’s, and the older he grew, the more handsome he became. The princess was always hot and cold towards her son, but the little ladies in the capital chased him wildly, which made his temper even weirder.
These were all gossips that Qiao Zhao heard occasionally after marrying into Jing’an Hou’s family. She withdrew her thoughts and looked at Chi Can with a little sympathy.
‘How normal her parents were compared to his.’ She said to herself.
Chi Can was extremely sensitive, and he felt like he was being stabbed by the girl’s inexplicable eyes, and said coldly; “What’s with this inconvenience?”
He glanced at Qiao Zhao from top to bottom, contempt overflowing within him; “What’s the use of talking to you anyway?”
Qiao Zhao had a bright and open personality. Normally, she would use jokes to ease the awkward atmosphere, but her family was in great trouble. No matter how open-minded she was, she was not in the mood for small talk at the moment. Seeing that he had no intention of saying what he wanted, she stopped insisting. And with an “Oh” sound, she picked up the chess piece thrown by Chi Can, and began to play the game with herself.
Chi Can was still waiting for her to answer, but in the end, she had just made an “oh” sound and then began to play the game with herself. His breath was held in his throat, unable to move up or down, and his face became all red with rage.
‘ “Oh” was definitely the most annoying reply, barring none at all!’ Chi Can gritted his teeth and thought.
Zhu Wu coughed lightly with his fist on his lips, trying to ease the tension; “Xi Xi, I’m sorry. If I hadn’t destroyed the painting we had already, then we wouldn’t have had to travel all the way here for nothing.”
He was very tolerant towards his friends. Chi Can waved his hand and said; “It’s meaningless to talk about it now. I’ll just think of other ways.”
“My father still has a ‘Five Bulls Picture’ of Mr. Han with him…”
Chi Can interrupted Zhu Wu; “My mother is not interested in the paintings of the previous dynasties. She only cares about Mr. Qiao’s paintings.”
Qiao Zhao’s eyes flickered.
‘Does the princess care about her grandfather’s paintings?’ She wondered.
She had a delicate mind, and soon thought of Chi Can’s coming to the door more than three years ago to ask her grandfather to teach him his painting skills.
‘Everyone in the world knew that her grandfather was weak in his later years and had no energy to teach others. Could it be that this person’s request for her grandfather’s painting skills was false, and his real purpose was to ask for her grandfather’s paintings?’
‘Given her grandfather’s prestige in the literary world, when Chi Can directly asked for a painting, he might have been flatly rejected. But this man had pestered her grandfather in the name of asking for advice, and finally annoyed him so much that her grandfather finally decided to send him away with a painting.’
Qiao Zhao couldn’t help but take a deep look at Chi Can.
‘That year, this person was only fifteen or sixteen years old, so it really wasn’t a simple task.’
Thinking of those rumors again, Qiao Zhao became even more puzzled.
‘Does this mean that the relationship between Chi Can and Princess Changrong is stiff? How could he spend so much time because the princess wanted a painting?’
Qiao Zhao unconsciously thought about it and then saw Yang Er slap his head and shouted; “I just remembered. My father kept a painting of Mr. Qiao, which was rewarded to him by the queen mother in their early years.”
Yang Er is the son of the Marquis of Liuxing, and the residence of the mansion of the Marquis of Liuxing is the family of the Empress, Dowager Yang.
Chi Can gave Yang Er a sideways look and said with a half-smile; “You just remembered?”
Yang Er scratched his head; “It was rewarded by the queen mother, and it was Mr. Qiao’s painting, but my father treasures it. If he found out that it was stolen by me, he would break my legs…”
“But Mister Qiao is not good at painting.” Qiao Zhao finally couldn’t help interjecting, causing the eyes of the three people to immediately turn to her.
“How do you know?” Chi Can asked impatiently because she had interrupted them.
The girl’s eyes widened slightly and her tone became very serious; “I admire Mr. Qiao. I have been copying his paintings for some time, and I have also paid attention to Mister Qiao’s deeds. There has never been any news about Mister Qiao being good at painting.”
After she finished speaking, the three couldn’t help but look at each other.
It seemed to be the case. Mister Qiao had been an official in the capital for many years, but no paintings had ever been handed down. They only thought Mister Qiao, being the son of Mr. Qiao, was also good at painting, but clearly, they were deluded.
“Can I see the destroyed painting?” Qiao Zhao asked.
Chi Can glanced at Zhu Wu.
He had asked for that painting for his mother three years ago and his friend took it out because he wanted to see it. With the painting being destroyed, it will naturally lose its value.
Zhu Wu gave a wry smile and returned to the cabin. He then came back shortly afterwards, with a long box in his hand.
He was a person who cherished paintings. Opened the box, he took out the painting with a clean white veil, and unfolded it carefully in front of Qiao Zhao.
A pool of clear water and sunset spread out on the paper, a small bridge stood tall and was accompanied by reflections, with seven or eight ducks that looked alive, as if they could swim out of the painting with a flap of their wings. But it was a pity that a cloud of ink stained the painting.
Qiao Zhao’s eyes darkened.
Sure enough, it was the painting that her grandfather had given Chi Can.
Grandpa became famous for drawing ducks in his early years, because drawing ducks was seen as childlike, and it was also the first thing she had learned.
Qiao Zhao already had a solution in her mind and said; “I can draw this.”