Wuxiaworld > Stealing The Heavens > 144 Thunderstruck

144 Thunderstruck

When it came to the painting of galloping horses, the artwork composed by old mister Xu Beihong[1] was definitely among the best.

Back in those days, the Underhand Sect had stolen many rare and expensive items on Earth, including many paintings of galloping horses created by old mister Xu. As Le Xiaobai always tried to assume that he was a man of extraordinary culture, he kept making replicas of these paintings every single day. But in the eyes of Wu Qi, Le Xiaobai was actually trying to produce counterfeit paintings to con someone. Nevertheless, the painting of galloping horses which Le Xiaobai had arduously practiced for many years had been beautifully recreated by Wu Qi today, and it simply astounded everyone.

On the huge drawing paper with the length of thirty feet and the width of ten feet, using a large brush as thick as an adult's arm, seven galloping horses, each with different expressions, were splendidly drawn by Wu Qi. The stature of these horses was strong and healthy, there was a gleam in their eyes, and it looked like there was airflow bursting out from their nostrils. An air of extreme mightiness and liveliness was leaping out from the drawing, as if these horses were going to spring out from the paper at any time. With merely ink strokes of various thickness, Wu Qi had drawn out seven fine horses which gave all viewers a feeling as if they were painted with myriad colors. His skill of drawing could no longer be described as a skill, but it was almost a 'Dao'!

As a matter of fact, Wu Qi had used his magical ability as a Human Immortal and branded a tiny thread of his divine sense into the painting, thus giving the effect of stirring one's soul to this painting.

When a few young men in white robe carefully picked up the painting and hung it on a long pole, displaying in front of all few thousand men on the platform, shrieks of shock and amazement immediately broke out like a sudden thunderclap. They were so loud that even the surrounding water became undulating. Some of the scholars were older and had seen many things, they were gazing at the seven galloping horses on the painting with amazement. Then suddenly, tears flowed down from their faces, and they began thumping their chests and stamping their feet, wailing loudly like a child.

Each of them had been indulging in the art of painting for several dozens of years, yet their achievements could not even be compared to Wu Qi, a youth who not even reaching his adulthood. How embarrassing was that?

Like a proud little Peacock, Princess Zhang Le stood beside Wu Qi triumphantly, resting her arms on the hips. She tilted her pretty tiny chin upward while snorting a few times at Yu Qianqian, who now bore a wan expression on her face. Wu Qi had composed three poems with a style totally different from the current trend of Great Yan Dynasty, yet they were beautiful, refreshing, and extraordinary. Together with this grand painting of galloping horses, she felt she was now showering in a great honor and glory!

In the past years, every time when Princess Zhang Le came to attend this meeting of poem and drawing, Yu Qianqian always made her hot with shame. But for the sake of not willing to admit defeat, she would still come to the meeting every year. Fortunately, she got Wu Qi coming with her this year, and finally was able to bring back all her lost honor in the former meetings!

Having her nose in the air, Princess Zhang Le twisted her little waist. Her long dress spun and spread out like a large dazzling flower of green, then she let out a glorified laugh and said, "Who else wishes to compete his skill in drawing and poetry with Marquis Tianyun? I'll have a reward too. If any of you can defeat Marquis Tianyun, I'll accompany you to an outing for three days! Hohoho!" As she was too happy with the result, Princess Zhang Le hardly refrained herself and let out a winning laugh. However, as she was overexcited, the loud laugh actually forced out from her throat became a rather sharp and shrill laugh, and even she herself was taken aback by it.

The five colored divine rays gradually spread out behind Princess Zhang Le. As she was having a good mood now, each of the colors become vivid and vibrant, as if five long rainbows were coming out from her back, reaching several thousand feet into the sky. The surrounding water of the river become calm and flat like a mirror. Yet, underneath the smooth surface which looked like egg white were countless vortexes the size of a human palm, just like the current mood of Princess Zhang Le.

Yu Qianqian was looking at the grand and mighty painting of the galloping horses while the expression on her face kept shifting like the clouds. At last, she forced out a brief smile on her face and said towards Wu Qi, "Marquis Wu is indeed a great artist. This painting of galloping horses is bold and impressive, yet, it is not delicate enough."

The divine rays of five colors behind Princess Zhang Le retracted, suddenly transforming into a five-colored ball of chaos. She was like a little hen who had all her feathers plucked away by someone. She assumed a very threatening manner and was about to storm up and argue with Yu Qianqian. Not delicate enough? What do you mean by not delicate enough? The topic given out by you was drawing of galloping horses, not some drawing of leaping fleas!

Wu Qi grabbed Princess Zhang Le, threw a look over at Yu Qianqian who had her eyes glinting. He smiled, then said with an indifferent voice, "Not delicate enough? You're right, these horses looked bold and grand, and only us, the men who have killed people and set fire to houses could ever appreciate them. A delicate and prestigious lady like young miss Yu Qianqian, who is nurtured in a flower nursery, of course you cannot understand the lofty sentiments of heroes. Well, if you want delicate, Wu Qi will give you delicate!"

He laughed and ordered some maids on the platform to lay a sheet of good quality brocade on top of the table. Then, he requested a set of tiny brushes and paints of myriad colors. He personally mixed a few colors, after which, he picked up the tiny brush and began painting on the brocade, stroke by stroke.

He wanted to create a delicate painting, a luxurious and magnificent painting, a painting that even Yu Qianqian could not find out any flaws in. So, the best option was the painting of rare birds created by Emperor Huizong of Song dynasty [2]. Just like old mister Xu's painting of galloping horses, Underhand Sect also possessed a few of Emperor Huizong's paintings, and Le Xiaobai had recopied them for more than several thousand times. Therefore, every single stroke, style, color, had almost become his second nature. What Wu Qi did was to copy exactly what Le Xiaobai did in the past, and as a Human Immortal himself, he had an excellent control over his muscles, which simply turned him into a laser copier. Within just a short one hour, he had replicated a painting of a rare bird.

It was a painting of a golden pheasant with gorgeous feathers and lively expressions, standing and resting on a flowering branch[3]. The painting was created following a very strict, conscientious and meticulous style. The color was vibrant and luscious, filled with a strong luxurious imperial air. When a few young men hung the painting with a long pole and displayed to everyone, a loud clamor that sounded like the rumbling of a landfall was once again broke out on the wooden platform. There were even some youths who leaped forward with staggering pace, looking like wanting to squeeze themselves into the painting. All few thousands of men kept pushing and clustering forward, turning the place into a state of chaos.

Suddenly, Princess Zhang Le's eyes went wide. The five colored divine rays on her back thrust towards the crowd, sending a powerful force and pushed back all the young men in white. With a stern voice, she cried out, "What are you rushing for? Why are you creating such a scene? This painting belongs to me. Who dares to damage it or crumble even just a tiny bit, hmph!" She then pointed her tiny finger towards the river, unleashing a dazzling thunderbolt the size of a bowl that impacted forcefully onto the surface of the water with a loud boom. A large hole with the diameter of several hundred feet was created by the impact, surging up a huge wave that was several hundred feet tall.

With that, nobody dared to move again. Everyone was holding their breath, throwing their glances over at the two paintings, and a perfect silence reigned. Some of them were heard murmuring under their breath, repeatedly reciting the three poems which Wu Qi 'composed' just now. No matter it was his poems or his painting, Wu Qi had given all of them a heavy blow, making none of them able to come out with any words again.

With a lifeless expression, Yu Qianqian stared at both paintings with totally different styles. Her face turned red, then pale, then green. Her body was shivering, and even after a very long time, she seemed unable to come out with any words. At last, after nearly fifteen minutes, Yu Qianqian turned around and gave Wu Qi a rather blank look. Hastily, Wu Qi waved his hands and said, "Big sister Yu, please don't ask me anything related to ancient books and records. Wu Qi is just a wild man from remote villages. I can still recite a few poems and draw a few rare birds, yet if you want me to discuss those articles of ruling a kingdom, how to manage worldly affairs, Wu Qi has no wit in those."

He then cupped his fist, dragged Princess Zhang Le who had her face melted in a smile, and walked back toward the ferry. If not for the sake of Princess Zhang Le's face, Wu Qi would not want to waste his time with this bunch of fools, who claimed themselves as some cultured people, who appeared to have eaten too much and had nothing to do, trying to show off their air of elegance and prestige by discussing poems and painting. He had killed several dozens of men not long ago, and there was a great deal of Human Immortal essence stored in his meridians which he had yet to digest. So, did he really have a lot of free time to pose as a gentleman here, wasting his time in playing with this group of young misters who had nothing important to do?

Yu Qianqian was dumbfounded, and was about to stop Wu Qi from leaving. Yet, what Wu Qi said had countered every single possible excuse she could come out with.

Wu Qi had mentioned that he only knew how to compose a few poems and draw a few rare birds. However, as he was a wild man who came from some remote villages, he had no wit in composing an article about ruling a kingdom and attending to worldly affairs! He had put on a grand show for himself, then immediately sealed off every possible approach that could bring himself troubles. Such behavior was really a big slap in everyone's face. With those poems composed by him, with the magnificent paintings drawn by him, he still claimed himself as a wild man. So, all those thousands of 'young and handsome scholars' from the top tier of Great Yan Dynasty's society here, what were they then?

Clenching her jaw and stomping her feet, Yu Qianqian cried out, "Marquis Wu, can you tell me who is your teacher?"

Yu Qianqian never believed Wu Qi was merely a wild man from remote villages. She had to find out who was Wu Qi's teacher of poetry and drawing, as she had lost all her honor before Wu Qi today. She decided that she would let her father, or even grandfather stand out for her in the future, so that they could help her in gaining back her honor from Wu Qi's teacher.

Without turning his head, Wu Qi dragged Princess Zhang Le and left the wooden platform, leaping back onto their ferry. He sneered and said, "My teacher? He is a warrior who only knows how to kill and set fires, and had long been killed by someone in Meng Mountain. He is not a grandmaster."

He gave Yu Qianqian a smile over his shoulder and said, "I think big sister Yu might not have any idea where this Meng Mountain is? You can have its information in Scouting Office, including my background and origin… you can find everything there! You don't have to send us off, and can just go there and find out whatever information you want!"

With a few steps, Yu Qianqian strode beside the ferry and snapped with a loud voice, "Why are you bullying me, Marquis Wu? With your talent and skill in poetry and painting, which warrior can teach you that? If an outstanding man like Marquis Wu is an apprentice to a mere warrior, doesn’t that mean all of us here are simply a joke?!"

Wu Qi pondered for a brief moment, looking at all the young men in white on the platform, who were now staring at him with their eyes filled with an eager hope. He sighed, then said, "Well, let me teach all of you a lesson today. By shutting yourself up in a room and trying to make a cart, you will never succeed. Poems are merely the inspiration from the will of the people; the paintings are just the projection to the heavens and earth. The bustling realm of mortals is a good place to cultivate your heart. The universe is a perfect place to mold a person's temperament. In order to compose an excellent poem, to create a splendid painting, it is impossible to achieve that under the skirt of a lady! The heavens and earth is your teacher! Remember this!"

'The heavens and earth is your teacher!' Upon hearing this, all the young men in white on the wooden platform, including Shangguan Yuhen, bowed deeply towards Wu Qi.

The only exception was Yu Qianqian, as her face had turned green like a large melon. What Wu Qi said was like giving a dozen of slaps on her face. It made her body tremble and shiver violently, making her feel ashamed to face anybody again. She fixed her gaze on Wu Qi's face, clenched her jaw tightly and cried out with a deep voice, "What a Wu Qi, what a Marquis Wu! How dare you humiliate me by relying on your petty skills?!"

Furiously, she glared at Princess Zhang Le, who looked like the cat that just ate the canary. Yu Qianqian said with a gloomy voice, "What a Princess Zhang Le, do you really think your status of Princess means anything? Just you wait! The insult you brought me today, I'll repay ten times, hundred times to you!"

Bai Zu'er brought a few people and took away the paintings. While letting out joyful laughter, Wu Qi and the company made their return to Ji City.

When they were still tens of miles away from Ji City, where the dark shape of city walls had just emerged on the horizon far away, a loud rumble of thunder suddenly rang out in the sky. A dazzling flash suddenly erupted from the city wall of Ji City. Then, an enormous energy barrier with countless runes glinting on it sprung out and enveloped the entire Ji City.

After that, they saw the city gate facing their direction was brutally burst open. A troop of men, sending forth a menacing air like they were escaping desperately, was seen dashing out from the city gate.

Battle cries suddenly echoed out from the surrounding. In a neat square formation, twenty armies of Blood Swallows, each consisting of ten thousand men, suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The twenty armies dispersed, before pressing inward and tightly encircling the troop of men who just rushed out from the city.

More than a few hundred shadows of men were seen streaking through the air above Ji City. Countless sword beams, thunderbolts, talismans, and magical treasures were flying across the sky, causing the ground to shake violently.

Wu Qi was struck dumb, was there a revolt in the city?

Meanwhile, Princess Zhang Le let out a shrill cry. The five colored divine rays on her back enveloped her body as she sprung and flew straight towards the city.

[1] Xu Beihong - He was a Chinese painter born in China, primarily known for his Chinese ink paintings of horses and birds. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xu_Beihong)

[2] Emperor Huizong of Song Dynasty - He was the eighth emperor of the Song dynasty, a very well-known calligrapher. If you are interested in seeing his artwork, you can find them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Huizong_of_Song

[3] Here's the image of the painting: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/6c/f3/7f/6cf37f3b7210be1000b35d1355a5bfd2.png