Wuxiaworld > Nightfall > 430 The Buyer from South Jin Kingdom

430 The Buyer from South Jin Kingdom

Chapter 430: The Buyer from South Jin Kingdom
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn

Chu Youxian fanned himself pleasedly and felt proud. The people in the Stone House attic sighed in admiration, especially the Tangs, who felt honored to have a calligrapher come from them. One said that they had never seen such a young Grand Calligrapher. One mentioned that Sir Ning's calligraphy was the greatest in a thousand years. One regarded flower blooms section as the best cursive calligraphy section out there while another said that it was the Chicken Soup Calligraphy that deserved to be called the best cursive calligraphy.

Ning Que felt uncomfortable listening to these compliments. He might be thick-skinned, and had always been confident in his own calligraphy. But the reason why the praise made him feel a little uneasy was that his love towards calligraphy was true and he knew it clearly that he did not deserve such exaggerated praise yet.

He knew that his writing was decent, even excellent. It was of a great standard in today's world. But he would not have achieved his status nowadays if not for the Lucky Chances that he had back then, when he was an idiotic teenager who had written down the five characters "The Flower Blooms on the Shore Astride" which got the mad love of the emperor. And thanks to Master Yan Se and the Academy, his calligraphy came to be known and admired by so many famous calligraphers.

He thought about the spring rain in Chang'an at that time. His calligraphy, hung on the walls of the Old Brush Pen Shop, witnessed that people passing by despised and distained them. There were days when they did not even have one customer. Only Chao Xiaoshu held an umbrella and stood outside their threshold with a smile. Chao Xiaoshu knew it well that most of time, reputation was something attached on the appearance, just like the make-up on women's faces.

However, no matter how sober Ning Que was, and no matter how calm he was after his self-reflection, he could not remain sober and calm when the people in the attic of the Stone House began praising him after hearing Zhong Li's words. The normal looking calligraphy sections were brought up to the platform by a girl who had taken Lu Xue's place as the most favored girl in the House of Red Sleeves for the time being. Then, the calligraphy sections went to their new owners in the frantic bidding.

Ning Que quickly calculated how much he would earn from the rapidly rising figure. He realized that as long as the Chicken Soup Calligraphy could be sold at a good price, it would be sufficient for his needs. He could not help but smirk, and anticipated that Grand Secretary Wang would spend a huge amount of money on those sections.

As long as his reputation could earn him money, and as long as he could earn enough money, he did not care whether this reputation was inflated or not. The shame and unease were just like flying ashes and dissolving smoke.


Chu Youxian caught a glimpse of his expression and felt that Ning Que's smile was a little odd. He shuddered and whispered to him, "What are you going to do? Which one are you going to buy? The Chicken Soup Calligraphy?"

He seemed to have made a great decision and said in a wobbly voice, "I took 50,000 taels of silver with me today."

Ning Que was shocked and he looked at Chu Youxian, asking, "50,000? Why did you take so much money?"

Chu Youxian replied, "My father gave it to me."

Ning Que grew even more surprised. He asked, "Your father is really going to buy? He does not have to do this. I can write him a few and he can just give me a few thousand taels of silver."

Chu Youxian thought Ning Que was being polite. He said with a worried expression, "I only found out later that my family sold half of our lands for me to enter the Academy. We really don't have any more money."

Ning Que explained impatiently, "Which calligraphy in this world could sell for 100,000 taels? Even the best ink is not made of gold, nor is the best paper made of jade. The famous Night calligraphy by the Master of Calligrapher only sold for 8000 tales of silver. Do you think I am a deity?"

Apparently, he did not know that the auctioneer, Zhong Li, had planned to sell the Chicken Soup Calligraphy for 30,000 taels of silver.

The girl from the House of Red Sleeves walked up to the platform slowly with a heavy sandalwood table. The girl whose appearance was so beautiful that it made those who saw her forget their worldly desires, walked like a dancing willow. However, the gazes of those in the attic did not stay on her but landed on the memo paper on the table.

The memo was carefully trimmed by the appraisers Stone House. It was not exaggerated, and added a sense of mysteriousness to it. A memo was no more than a memo. But to others, this memo was not just a memo, but an expensive note or a tiny country.

The girl had obviously felt that no one in the Stone House was looking at her but at the memo she carried. However, she did not look annoyed or appear indifferent to it. She lifted her chin and looked considerably prouder compared to the previously gentle image she presented.

Everyone in Chang'an knew of the relationship between Ning Que and the House of Red Sleeves. This legendary calligraphy section was written by Ning Que in the House of Red Sleeves after he got drunk.

She was a girl of the House of Red Sleeves and was naturally proud of that fact.

...

...

All was silent in the attic, and only the sounds of the lake breeze caressing willow trees from afar could be heard.

Then, there were sounds of heavy breathing.

Everyone stared at the section on the table.

Everyone knew that the origins of this Chicken Soup Calligraphy and the legendary stories behind this section. They had already known that the last auction piece from the Old Brush Pen Shop was the Chicken Soup Calligraphy. However, they still could not hide their shock when finally seeing the genuine copy of the Chicken Soup Calligraphy.

The silence continued. Compared to the auction of the previous six calligraphy sections, the silence now seemed even odder. It felt as if everyone was waiting for something.

Auctioneer Zhong Li stood on the platform calmly and silently. He did not introduce the Chicken Soup Calligraphy or ask of the opinions of the bidders. He allowed the silence to stew and wasn't worried about the atmosphere of the auction.

Having never seen such a scene, Ning Que was a little worried.

He worried that the silence would last for too long and the Chicken Soup Calligraphy might not sell at a high price. He had sacrificed quite a bit to sooth Grand Secretary Wang's hurt feelings.

Chu Youxian could vaguely guess why Ning Que had come to the auction today. He also had an idea that the theft at Old Brush Pen Shop was but just a rumor. He whispered, "Do you want me to start bidding?"

Ning Que thought about it and said, "Hang on, I know that the steward of Grand Secretary Wang would definitely bid even if no one does now."

He recalled something and frowned. He said, "I am just worried that the emperor had heard of this and sent out a message so no one would dare to bid on this."

Chu Youxian smiled and said, "You don't have to worry about this. I heard from Jin Wucai at the Academy yesterday, that the emperor had indeed mentioned today's auction only because it involved a theft. He asked the imperial court to take care of it but he was reprimanded by Grand Secretary Wang."

Ning Que grew cheerful when he heard that. He said, "His Majesty has been trying to find ways to secretly bring my things into the palace. I suppose the officials are unhappy with that."

Chu Youxian said, "Indeed. I also heard that Grand Secretary Wang and the Old Chancellor got angry at the same time. In the end, they forced His Majesty to promise not to use the country's vaults to buy the calligraphy section."

Listening to these words, Ning Que was gratified.

Chu Youxian added, "But I heard that Grand Secretary Wang has informed everyone that he would not let anyone who dares fight him for the Chicken Soup Calligraphy off easily. I suppose that is the reason for the silence now."

Ning Que spluttered with anger when he heard this. "That old fogey. I have already gave him so many things and he dares to play tricks like this! You bid if no one else does after his steward bids."

...

...

A voice finally rang out in the attic of the Stone House after a very long silence.

The voice came from the best spot on the east of the third floor. Everyone knew that the steward of the Grand Secretary was seated in that room.

The steward's voice was calm, but the price he bid was shocking to all.

"Ten thousand taels."

Everyone in the building was shocked, and there was a pregnant pause.

Even though everyone had guessed that the Chicken Soup Calligraphy would sell at an astronomical price today, they did not expect that the first bid would exceed the final price of the Night Calligraphy written by the Master of Calligraphy. It had created a new record for calligraphy auctions.

Ning Que leaned forward slightly. He relaxed immediately after hearing the voice. He leaned back and thought that the old man Wang was generous enough. Even if no one bid after the steward, the amount Ning Que had was sufficient.

Grand Secretary Wang was the senior statesman of Tang. He enjoyed the privilege to sit without greeting the emperor, and even the prince Li Peiyan had to bow to him. Such a bigwig had sent out information previously and had even bid such a high price today. All was silent in the building. It seemed that no one wanted to compete with him.

Ning Que thought so too, and then he wondered if he should have Chu Youxian bid more on the Chicken Soup Calligraphy. It didn't have to be too much, even two or three thousand taels of silver would be good.

Zhong Li looked at the room on the third floor with a smile. He repeated the Grand Secretary's bid. He looked like the only one in the auction who was sure that this would not be the final price.

Zhong Li seemed to be waiting for something.

Unsurprisingly, just as everyone thought that the auction was ending, a voice rang out from a room on the west of the third floor of the Stone House.

"15,000 taels."

Everyone in the building was surprised once again, and silence fell in the room once more.

Chu Youxian was so nervous that he felt very hot. He kept fanning himself and walked out of the room, wanting to see who had dared to compete with Grand Secretary Wang.

Ning Que grew much cheerier.

...

...

Even though the Stone House was responsible for protecting its buyer's identity and privacy with the silks and bamboo curtains, this was Chang'an City after all. There were few who could enter the Stone House and had so much money. Everyone knew who the buyer on the west of the third floor was, and debates rang within the building.

"It is the royal buyer from the South Jin Kingdom."

Chu Youxian panted heavily as he walked into the room. He wiped the sweat off his face as he reported the news that he just heard.

"It's someone from the South Jin Kingdom?"

Ning Que was a little surprised. Even though his calligraphy pieces were rather famous, the South Jin Kingdom had always held enmity against the Tang Empire. Those from the South Jin Kingdom did not seem that they would care much for a Tang calligrapher. Why would they choose such a place to buy his calligraphy? It would mean inflating the egos of the Tangs.

Chu Youxian said, "I heard that the buyer is the subordinate of the Crown Prince of the South Jin Kingdom."

Ning Que was shell-shocked. After a pause, he asked hesitantly, "The Crown Prince of the South Jin Kingdom isn't a gay, is he?"

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