Absolute Great Teacher - Chapter 505
In the Nine Provinces, famous paintings were still very scarce. After all, things were different from the modern era where paintings could be faked easily. Even rubbish could look like a rare treasure after an elaborate scheme.
In the Nine Provinces, if the artist wasn’t in the Wondrous Blossom realm, their paintings wouldn’t be qualified to be called a famous painting. Hence, famous paintings had always been rare commodities.
Usually speaking, it would be considered very fast if a famous painting could be produced once every three to four months.
(Hence, Zheng Qingfang, what are you saying? Obtaining three famous paintings in one go?)
If it wasn’t for the fact that they knew Zheng Qingfang’s personality, the guests would feel that this old fellow had obtained them through force or trickery.
“What are you still waiting for? Quickly!”
Li Zixing urged.
Gu Xiuxun stood outside the perimeter, observing everything. Even if she wanted to help Sun Mo, she couldn’t do anything. After all, both parties in this scenario were peak-tier bigwigs of Jinling.
Very soon, three muscular guys walked in. Each of them had a square-shaped wooden box.
“What are you doing?”
The Jinling Governor started. After that, he came to his senses. Was Zheng Qingfang not afraid of besmirching the status of these famous paintings? He was immediately unhappy. “Premier Zheng, how can you take the risk of letting these lowly people taint the famous paintings?”
After hearing this, Sun Mo frowned. His impression toward the Jinling Governor dwindled greatly.
The Jinling Governor had status and power. He wasn’t simply a literary official. He had troops under his authority too, but he looked down on soldiers.
However, this was the common attitude in the Tang Empire. Literary officials would always look down on military officials.
Zheng Qingfang knew Fang Lun’s temper, so he naturally wouldn’t argue with Fang Lun over such a small matter. However, someone not far away started speaking.
“The famous paintings are not choosing people, but the admirers of the paintings are doing so instead. Hehe, how comical!”
Fang Lun’s expression changed. He turned his head swiftly. “Who’s the one being noisy?”
The guests all had faces filled with panic as they dodged away when they saw Fang Lun staring at them. They were deeply afraid of being implicated. After that, Fang Wuji who was drinking in the corner was revealed.
“Wuji, what nonsense are you talking about?’
Cao Xian started and quickly berated, “Quickly apologize to the governor!”
“The one who should apologize is him!”
Fang Wuji had drunk so much that he was completely intoxicated. Because he was rejected by Zhang Li when he had proposed in public, after he returned, he became dispirited and started to feel self inferior.
In the past, given Fang Wuji’s EQ, he would have not said something like this. But now, he didn’t care at all. In any case, he had no more interest in this life. He didn’t mind even if everything was destroyed.
“Governor, he is drunk!”
Cao Xian sighed silently. He knew he wasn’t able to persuade Fang Wuji and could only apologize for him.
“Old Cao, admire the painting. Admire the painting! Don’t let such a person spoil the mood!”
Li Zixing persuaded.
He was the backer of the Myriad Daos Academy and had heavily regarded Fang Wuji. However, it was time to knock some sense into this brat.
“He’s ‘disabled’ now!”
An Xinhui sighed.
“A formidable opponent of our rival academy is ‘disabled’. You should be happy instead, right?”
Sun Mo counter-asked.
“Even if I want to win, I want to do so with an upright method.”
An Xinhui explained, “Fang Wuji is a good teacher. What a pity!”
Honestly speaking, the three muscular guys didn’t feel that they were insulted. After all, there were no such things as human rights in the eyes of some officials in the empire.
“Alright, let’s admire the painting!”
Zheng Qingfang pulled Fang Lun gently. He was also fond of talents and didn’t want Fang Wuji to be punished. “The first painting, [A Walk in Early Spring].”
When the painting scroll was opened, one could see the beautiful scenery of spring rain that had just stopped. The aura of spring instantly gushed forth, causing everyone in the Linjiang Hall to immediately fall silent.
This was the charm of a famous painting. One just needed to glance at it once and they would have no way to shift their eyes away.
No one discussed, no one evaluated. Everyone was immersed in that atmosphere that exuded qualities that delighted children.
A large pavilion, the swallows were flying west in the rain!
The brooke rippled as the fish swam. The willow trees swayed gently on both banks from the wind. Tender soft shoots were seen around them.
Not far away, a young girl holding a kite was standing on a tip-toe, staring at the pavement.
Following the girl’s vision, one could see the end of the path. There was a rich young master with a fan in his left hand and the reins of a horse on his right.
“Wonderful, extremely wonderful!”
Li Zixing slapped his thigh before applauding loudly.
This painting instantly made him recall memories of his youth, back when he had been enjoying a spring outing with his friends.
“When I was young, I used to fly kites as well!”
“Young child playing out in spring, what a joyful atmosphere!”
The guests started to discuss among themselves, feeling a myriad of emotions. A few emotional upper-class women even started to cry silently as they recalled fondly about scenes in their youth.
Zheng Qingfang coldly smiled when he looked at these people. He then spoke, “Everyone, look carefully. This painting isn’t a simple Spring Painting!”
Zheng Qingfang was a major character. People would naturally not dare to defy his suggestion. Hence, they looked at the painting carefully again. After that, they soon discovered the other details within.
At the grassy area far away, over ten children were pulling kites, running to and fro. Their shirts were already drenched by their sweats, and their faces were filled with fatigue. However, not a single one of them dared to stop because there was a young girl clad in gorgeous clothes berating them.
At the right side of the painting, there was a pavilion with a sumptuous feast prepared within. A few well-dressed scions of wealthy clans could be seen sitting there, drinking tea while chatting as they looked at the kites in the sky.
Outside the pavilion, on the road, there was a young girl who made a living by singing. Her grass shoe was stained with dew and mud.
She wanted to go near to earn a few copper coins but was worried she might disrupt the mood of the rich scions and be beaten up as a result.
The guests no longer spoke. All of them were secretly monitoring Zheng Qingfang’s expression.
As expected, although this premier had retired, he still had the welfare of the common people in his heart.
“The concept of this painting is really fascinating. At first glance, it seemed to be scions from wealthy clans enjoying the spring, exuding a childlike delight and joy. But if one looked carefully at the four corners, the main concept of the painting completely changed. It became a type of denunciation instead!”
Qi Mu`en spoke, appreciating this famous painting.
An Xinhui nodded. “The waters of early spring were still cold, but these children still frolicked in the waters. From this, one could see the difference in statuses between them and those wealthy scions.”
Zheng Qingfeng swept his glance around. No one else spoke. It wasn’t that their standard in art was too low. Rather, they didn’t dare to speak.
This painting clearly spoke of the differences between the two worlds.
“Teacher Miao, what do you think?”
Zheng Qingfang glanced at Miao Mu.
Miao Mu fell silent. The main concept this painting was presenting might still be ‘enjoying the spring’, but happiness only belonged to upper-class people. He could see this, but how would he dare to say it out?
Those who could come to Linjiang Square were all upper-class people. If he said such a thing, wouldn’t he offend everyone?
When he saw Miao Mu acting like this, Zheng Qingfang sneered in his heart.
“Under the vast heavens, there are indeed many more people who are suffering. I’m lucky enough to enjoy his majesty’s favor. I will definitely work hard and make sure there’s no starving people dying on the streets. I will do my best to make every family have a storeroom full of grains!”
Qi Mu`en spoke again. “I represent the Eldest Princess to donate 1 million taels of silver for the repair of orphanages and schools.”
Upon hearing this, the countenances of the guests all turned grey. (Zheng Qingfang, you dying fool! So it turns out you are here to swindle all our money.)
Even Qi Mu`en had spoken.
(If I don’t donate, wouldn’t I be implicated?)
“Prince Consort is really thinking for the commoners. 1 million taels can indeed do many things. I’ll definitely urge my subordinates to oversee this matter and make sure all the money is spent properly!”
After Li Zixing finished speaking, he turned to Zheng Qingfang again. “Premier Zheng, the first painting is already so fascinating. I’m sure the second painting will be even more awesome. Quickly show it to us!”
“Yeah, Premier Zheng, take it out quickly!”
“We would surely be able to feast our eyes on a masterpiece this time around!”
“I wonder who the artist is?”
The guests started to discuss and the volume of their voices was very loud. Clearly, all of them had chosen to forget the matter about the donation.
Zheng Qingfang was almost angered to death. He didn’t expect Li Zixing to be so shameless, not even willing to spend a single cent. As long as he donated a little money, everyone here would surely take him as an example and give generously.
“This man is so shameless!”
The papaya girl looked at Li Zixing in astonishment. (Are you sure you are a noble from the royal clan? Aren’t the commoners of Jinling your people?)
Upon thinking of this, the papaya girl stood up and said, “Grandpa Zheng, I will donate 176 taels of silver plus eight copper coins!”
Everyone instantly turned their gazes over with unkind looks on their faces. (Who the hell is this? The topic earlier was clearly shifted away, why did you bring it up again?)
“Hey, little doll, why is the amount of money you are donating such a strange figure?”
Zheng Qingfang asked.
“Because that’s all the money I have!”
Lu Zhiruo spoke in a manner like as it should be by rights. After that, when she noticed the gazes others shot her, she couldn’t help but shrink her body back and hide behind Ying Baiwu.
The iron-headed girl didn’t show fear at all. She subconsciously moved her right hand, wanting to place it on the hilt of her weapon, but there was nothing there. She then recalled that before they boarded the boat, they had been searched and all weapons had been taken away.
Honestly speaking, if it wasn’t for the different standpoints, everyone would be touched by the papaya girl’s action. What a good kind-hearted girl she was.
“Since even my student has donated money, as a teacher, I naturally cannot fall behind. I will represent the Central Province Academy to donate 1 million taels of silver to help the children in the villages around Jinling City.”
After Sun Mo spoke, he turned and looked at Cao Xian.
“As expected of the Central Province Academy, its foundations are deep indeed. Although my Myriad Daos Academy isn’t comparable, we will do our part too and also donate 1 million taels!”
At this moment, Cao Xian didn’t feel heartache for donating so much money. After all, he still possessed the sense of glory of a great teacher and a headmaster. After seeing the painting, it was like his mood was affected. He wanted to do something to help those kids in poverty.
Li Zixing immediately glared at Cao Xian. (You are donating? Isn’t that still my money?)
Since both the Central Province Academy and Myriad Daos Academy had spoken, Governor Fang couldn’t avoid this either, he was someone who wanted face. He could only laugh loudly and donate as well.
“I’m a poor man, but I’m willing to sacrifice everything I have. I will donate 500,000 taels!”
Fang Lun sighed, putting an expression of he wanted to help but was helpless to do more.
His acting skill was undoubtedly top-tier.
“It’s already good that you have the intention!”
Zheng Qingfang consoled while coldly laughing in his heart. (Every year, the coffee money you receive from those merchants that deal in iron salt tea is at least a few million taels!)
“I will donate 1 million taels too!”
Li Zixing was helpless. The major characters here had already donated. If he insisted on not donating, he would not be giving them face. After he spoke, all the guests also weren’t able to hide anymore and could only donate some money as well.
Zheng Qingfang smiled. This banquet allowed him to get roughly 10 million taels in donations. It was enough to do many things.
“Alright, the money has been donated. Quickly take out the second painting for us to admire.”
Qi Mu`en urged. However, the guests no longer wanted to see it. What if Zheng Qingfang used that as another pretext to get them to donate again? Who could bear it?