Home Post 3124-chapter-26


Chapter 26

Young Master Qi was a very famous painter, and most importantly, he was an immortal. Rumor had it that he was a charming and extraordinarily handsome man. From a young age, he had a reputation for his romantic escapades. Wherever he went, women’s hearts would flutter. The shop owner firmly believed that no young woman could have failed to hear Young Master Qi’s name.

However, the young woman in front of him shook her head blankly and said, “I’ve never heard of him.”

The shop owner was at a loss for words and stood there, dumbfounded.

“This porcelain basin is not just about superior craftsmanship,” Tanyin said, looking at the porcelain basin with interest and taking the lead in the conversation.

“Shopkeeper, can you take it out and pour some water into it?”

The shopkeeper originally intended to talk about Young Master Qi and then reveal the mysterious aspects of the porcelain basin. Unexpectedly, the young woman saw through it immediately.

With a peculiar expression, the shopkeeper carefully took the porcelain basin out of the crystal cabinet and poured half a jug of cold water into it. The lotus leaves at the bottom of the basin instantly came to life, their colors becoming extremely vibrant. The pink lotus flowers swayed gracefully, and, more astonishingly, as the clear water was added, several small orange-red carp appeared among the lotus leaves, swimming around the lotus flowers and leaves, lively and enchanting.

Seeing Tanyin watching with great interest, the shopkeeper couldn’t help but feel proud again.

“How is it? Isn’t it extraordinary? The painting alone is unmatched in the world, not to mention the miracles that appear after adding water. Miss, this is the treasure of the shop. If you sincerely want it, the price is negotiable…”

Before he could finish, Tanyin smiled and said, “Pour out the cold water and try filling it with hot water.”

The shopkeeper had never considered the difference between hot and cold water. Seeing that Tanyin seemed very knowledgeable, he didn’t dare to neglect her suggestion. He immediately boiled a pot of hot water and poured it into the porcelain basin. In an instant, all the lotus leaves on the basin disappeared, and countless lotus flowers overlapped within the basin. The orange-red carp turned into small silver fish, swimming joyfully inside the basin.

The shopkeeper was stunned. Tanyin, smiling, gently touched the porcelain basin. The person called Young Master Qi was very interesting, embedding immortal techniques into the painting to produce such transformations. He must have been a person of unique craftsmanship.

“If you pour wine into it, the scene will change again,” Tanyin said, holding the porcelain basin reluctantly.

Suddenly, she asked, “How much is it?”

Finally getting to business, the shopkeeper breathed a sigh of relief and continued to smile mysteriously. “Three thousand taels…”

Tan Yin was shocked. So expensive?! But the next two words from the shopkeeper left her completely silent.

“Of gold.”

Three thousand taels of gold—was it really necessary to be that expensive?

Tanyin thought for a moment, then took out a lucky mirror and a fraud-detecting mirror from her bag, explained their uses, and handed them over. “Can I trade these two items?”

The shopkeeper saw that the two small mirrors were ancient in design and not particularly exquisite. No matter how useful they were, they couldn’t fetch a high price. He shook his head repeatedly.

“Not worth it. Miss, these are practical items. Young Master Qi’s painting is a collectible favored by the wealthy and royalty. They are not in the same league.”

Actually, she also had a few exquisite houses, but even in the ancient times when she lived, exquisite houses could sell for tens of thousands of gold. It would be too extravagant to trade one for a porcelain basin.

After pondering for a while, Tanyin suddenly heard Yuan Zhong’s voice. “Three thousand taels of gold, I’ll take it.”

She looked up in surprise and saw him walking in from the back door of the shop, empty-handed, not knowing what he had been off to buy.

Yuan Zhong took out a sizeable silk pouch and handed it over. When the shopkeeper opened it, he was nearly blinded by the brilliant pearls inside. The pouch was full of large, dragon-eye-sized pearls, all glittering. He had lived a long life but had never seen such beautiful pearls, almost fainting from the sight.

Suddenly, another person laughed outside the shop.

“He offered three thousand taels of gold; I’ll offer four thousand. Shopkeeper, sell it to me.”

Upon hearing this voice, Yuan Zhong’s eyes lit up. Sure enough, he saw a refined and elegant young man in purple clothes walk in, exuding a noble aura. It was Tang Hua, accompanied by the stunning maids Wan Qiu and Lan Xuan. As soon as they entered, the shop seemed to glow, overshadowing even the brilliance of the pouch of pearls.

Tang Hua glanced at Yuan Zhong, his expression indifferent, and tossed a larger silk pouch to the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper hurriedly opened it, revealing numerous small, delicate pearls and two exquisitely crafted golden peonies. The shopkeeper, accustomed to small transactions, never expected to have two big clients in one day, each offering pearls and gold flowers. His knees went weak. But Tang Hua’s offer was indeed higher than Yuan Zhong’s, leaving the shopkeeper helplessly looking at Yuan Zhong, not daring to utter a word.

“Do we keep meeting by chance, or are you secretly in love with me and following me everywhere?” Yuan Zhong teased, placing his arm around Tang Hua’s shoulder with an indecent manner and a mischievous smile.

Tang Hua pushed him away, frowning. “It’s just a bad fate. No more nonsense. Wan Qiu likes this porcelain basin. She saw it a few days ago, and her birthday is coming up. I want to buy it for her, so don’t compete with me.”

Yuan Zhong laughed. “But my lovely little maid also likes it. Her birthday is also coming up, and I plan to buy it for her.”

Tang Hua glanced at Tanyin, frowned, and seemed to dislike her.

Yuan Zhong remained silent, merely looking at Tanyin, who shook her head and said, “I don’t really want it; I just find it interesting. If Young Master Tang Hua wants it, let him have it.”

Yuan Zhong sighed.

“My maid is more understanding.”

Tang Hua took the porcelain basin and handed it to Wan Qiu, who accepted it obediently. She first thanked her young master, then turned and smiled gratefully at Yuan Zhong, “Thank you for your sacrifice, Your Highness.”

Yuan Zhong waved his hand, unusually serious and not bantering with her. Suddenly, the shop owner from earlier ran over, beaming at Tanyin. “Miss, could you sell me those two mirrors you showed earlier?”

This young woman indeed relied on her skills for a living, being able to do business wherever she went. Even while buying something, she managed to earn a few dozen taels, a method of wealth accumulation that was truly enviable.

Yuan Zhong lightly knocked her on the head twice, then, seeing Tang Hua and his party still lingering in the shop, said, “I’m leaving. You’ve followed me from Yan City to Guixu; it must have been tiring. Would you like to come to my place for some tea?”

Tang Hua’s face changed slightly.

“What do you mean by that?”

Yuan Zhong laughed, “I don’t believe in so many coincidences. Once in Yan City might be fine, but meeting again in Guixu? Tang Hua, let’s be honest, Ding Xu sent you to follow me, so why pretend to be clueless?”

Tang Hua’s face darkened. He suddenly grabbed Yuan Zhong by the sleeve, dragging him out of the shop and into a dark alley before saying in a low voice, “You dog-eyed fool! I have nothing better to do than follow you around? Whatever dealings you have with Ding Xu, leave me out of it!”

Yuan Zhong chuckled.

“If it’s not true, then why are you angry? Look, your face is all twisted. If those maids from Fangwai Mountain saw this, their elegant Tang Hua would look like a monkey with its tail on fire.”

Tang Hua let out a long sigh, “But I did intend to find you.”

“For what?”

“The incident with the war ghost in Yan city.”

Yuan Zhong paused, “Oh? You all know about it?”

Tang Hua’s expression was serious, “It caused such a commotion that even gods would take notice. Now that Ding Xu knows, he’ll probably send someone to find you. The war ghost might not let you off either, so be careful.”

Yuan Zhong patted his shoulder without saying anything and turned to leave, only to run into Wan Qiu coming towards him, blushing and smiling as she greeted him, “Your Highness.”

He responded with a teasing smile, “Sister Wan Qiu, you’ve grown even more beautiful since I last saw you.”

Wan Qiu softly replied, “Thank you for your kindness, Your Highness. To show my gratitude, I must invite you to a meal. Please don’t refuse.”

Yuan Zhong glanced at her and then at Tang Hua, who spread his hands in resignation. The two stunning maids by Tang Hua’s side were more like spoiled princesses than servants. Tang Hua always had a good temper, and over the years, all the maids who followed him were spoiled to the skies, with Wan Qiu being relatively gentle.

Yuan Zhong’s eyes twinkled as he smiled, “I live nearby. Since we’ve met by chance, why not visit my place? Sister Wan Qiu can cook a few dishes, and I’ll enjoy the meal. How does that sound?”

They all knew he had his own private cave, but his whereabouts were always secretive, and no one knew where it was. Now that he had extended a personal invitation, Tang Hua had no reason to refuse and gladly accepted it.

Yuan Zhong leapt onto his Bird of Paradise, pulling Tanyin up to sit in front of him. Suddenly, he whispered in her ear, “When we get back, lock that mechanical man in a room and don’t let him out.”

“Why?” Tanyin asked, rarely feeling puzzled. Did Yuan Zhong have something to hide?

Yuan Zhong’s ears turned red, and after hesitating for a while, he finally muttered, “You gave him to me, and… I don’t want others to see him.”

Tanyin pondered his words, half-understanding and half-not. For some reason, her mood suddenly improved. She turned to flash him a bright smile, wanting to say something but finding herself at a loss for words. As a result, he gently knocked her on the head for the entire journey.

In fact, their little cave had undergone significant changes since Tanyin moved in. Not only did she build a large mechanism to divert lake water for irrigation of the medicinal fields, but she also created a system to channel water into the building. Although the bronze pipes supplying water would freeze in winter, it was still much more convenient than before.

Tang Hua, being an immortal, managed to maintain his composure, but the two maids behind him were completely overwhelmed with excitement at the sight of the wooden snow-sweeping mechanical man. They rushed over, hugging and patting it, losing all semblance of their elegant demeanor, causing Tang Hua to shake his head incessantly.

“Not a single one behaves properly! Two crazy girls.”

Upon learning that these mechanisms were all created by Tanyin, the maids, Wan Qiu and Lan Xuan, pulled her aside and bombarded her with questions. Poor Tanyin, who wasn’t very articulate, couldn’t get a coherent sentence out amidst their incessant chirping.

Tang Hua remarked, “I heard there were legends of master artisans in ancient times. Could it be that this Ji Tanyin is a descendant of such artisans?”

Yuan Zhong, not wanting to discuss Tanyin further, responded vaguely, “Who knows.”

Tang Hua chuckled, “If I remember correctly, Ji Tanyin is from Yuancheng, an orphan whose family sold oil. She doesn’t seem to be from a line of master artisans.”

Yuan Zhong merely smiled without replying and invited everyone into the small building. Remembering Yuan Zhong’s words, Tanyin went upstairs first to settle Little Yuan Zhong. When she came back down, she saw Lan Xuan lighting a new incense tablet in the bronze censer; its scent was fresh and elegant, quite different from the usual fragrances Yuan Zhong used.

Tang Hua commented, “The ‘Reviving with Spring’ incense you use is good but a bit sweet. I recently made a new blend called ‘Bitter Cold.’ Try it and see what you think.”

As he spoke, Wan Qiu served tea. The tea was dark red with large, round leaves, emitting a wonderful aroma and a warmth that spread through the chest and abdomen.

Tang Hua continued, “This tea was given by the Dragon King of Wu River a few days ago, made from underwater herbs. It’s called ‘Soul-Soothing Tea.’ The name is odd, but the flavor is excellent. If you like it, I have a few more pieces to give you.”

Yuan Zhong smiled wryly.

“With your arrival, bringing new incense and tea, you leave me, the host, at a loss.”

Wan Qiu giggled, covering her mouth, “My master loves elegant things like incense and tea and can’t help showing off. Please bear with him.”

Tanyin took a sip of the tea, finding it incredibly fragrant. Even more remarkable was how the tea, combined with the scent of the ‘Bitter Cold’ incense from the censer, created a harmonious blend that spread through her chest, making her feel instantly refreshed and alert.

Just as she was about to take another sip, the refreshing sensation in her chest suddenly vanished, replaced by an unbearable suffocation. Her brow furrowed, her face changed color, and she lost control of her body, collapsing to the floor and spilling tea everywhere.

What’s happening? She… can’t move? Tan Yin was horrified. Though her mind was clear, she couldn’t control her body. What was going on?

Suddenly, another crash of a teacup shattering on the floor echoed.

Yuan Zhong, trembling and gripping his chair, urgently asked, “Tang Hua… did you drug us?!”


Verified by MonsterInsights