Fangzheng ignored Pancake Face as well and instead said to Wang Yougui, "Uncle Wang, I attended school only for a short period of time. I have heard of this poem before, but I've already forgotten it after so many years. I'm just searching for it so that I can write it well."
Wang Yougui was surprised. Ouyang Fenghua and Cui Jin were surprised. Jiang Songyun and Sun Guanying were surprised...
When everyone heard that, they were collectively dumbfounded before they erupted in chaos!
"This fellow actually hasn't memorized 'Lyrics to Remembering Your Charm - Remembrance of the Tale of the Crimson Cliff'? Hahaha! How much schooling has he had?"
"He hasn't even studied well, yet he wants to fake being a literature expert? Wahaha!"
"Just this and he wants to act as a calligraphy expert? Haha, doesn't that mean the requirements for being a calligrapher are too low? Seriously, what the heck?"
"This... is truly ridiculous! How embarrassing!" Sun Guanying said with a sigh. Regardless of anything, as One Finger Temple was a part of Songwu County, he too found it embarrassing when Fangzheng embarrassed himself.
Jiang Songyun didn't even have the mood to criticize Fangzheng. Instead, he said empathetically, "Kid, you really are- Forget it, I can't be bothered to speak further."
With Fangzheng already explaining himself, what else could Wang Yougui say? All he could do was wait by the side.
However, at that instant, be it Wang Yougui, Dog Song, or the other villagers, and even Fatty and Monkey, they began to suspect if Fangzheng could win or not. Even Wu Changxi, who was certain that Fangzheng would win, turned a little worried. Text that one had never written definitely had a gap from a text that one had frequently practiced.
Ouyang Fenghua had been practicing calligraphy arduously for years. 'Lyrics to Remembering Your Charm - Remembrance of the Tale of the Crimson Cliff' was his claim to fame, so it was unknown just how many times he had practiced it.
As for Fangzheng, not only did he not have much practice with it, he had not eve, seen it that many times! Under such circumstances, even with excellent foundations, it would still be disadvantageous for him.
Through this comparison, Wu Changxi began to worry. If they were to lose, a million bucks would be gone! He had the feeling that his life was on the line. He felt unsettled and uneasy.
Fangzheng carefully read the poem in its entirety and memorized it to heart. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He realized that he had memorized it all almost instantly!
"Nice! Indeed, my perception has been enhanced! Heh heh, the Crystal Rice was not eaten for nothing and I did not recite Buddhist scriptures for nothing either. Alright! If I had these things years ago, wouldn't my results dominate the entire county? The old man would probably have laughed until his teeth dropped." Fangzheng thought of Zen Master One Finger and felt a sense of warmth in his heart. The derision from the people around him turned unimportant as a result.
Yet as he picked up the brush, Fangzheng was once again stumped. He knew how to use a brush, but what about the grinding of the ink? He didn't know how it was done!
Everyone noticed that Fangzheng had finally picked up the brush. He was prepared to write! Immediately, everyone perked up. Regardless if they were there to watch the farce or if they held a little hope, they stretched out their necks in anticipation as they waited to see what the young monk would manage to write.
However, Fangzheng fell into a daze with the brush in hand. Everyone was left dumbfounded once again. What the hell was this fellow up to now?
Wu Changxi, who could not sit idle any longer, immediately came forward and asked, "Master, why... aren't you writing?"
Fangzheng said with a bitter smile, "How... does the grinding of the ink work?"
Wu Changxi immediately wanted to faint as he subconsciously asked, "Master, have you never written with a brush? You haven't ground ink before?"
Fangzheng said honestly, "To be honest, this is the first time I'm using a brush."
Monkey, who had always been unperturbed, spewed a mouthful of water as he exclaimed, "What? Master, you have never used a brush before?"
Seeing Fangzheng nod, Monkey immediately felt his heart turn cold. He was the one who was putting up a million bucks! Although a million was not a sizable amount of money to him, he still felt the pinch!
Jiang Songyun and company were even more speechless. This monk that Wu Changxi had bragged so much about had never used a brush before! Then, what was the point of carrying on with the competition? Everyone knew that brushes were not ballpoint pens. One could not simply pick it up and write. The amount of force and speed used on the brush determined the thickness of the brush strokes and other factors. Whether the text could be written well was absolutely determined in part by one's capacity to use a brush!
Jiang Songyun couldn't even be bothered to mock Fangzheng. Instead, he said pitifully, "This young monk is seriously... If he doesn't know how to use a brush, what's the point of the competition?"
Wu Changxi had a stroke of genius as he exclaimed, "Master is skilled at writing in the snow. He can write in the snow!"
"Wu Changxi, how can it be a competition when one writes on the snow while the other writes on paper? Fairness is to determine the victor under the same conditions. Furthermore, be it internationally or domestically, which country has a competition that has calligraphy written in the snow to determine whose product is better?" Jiang Songyun categorically rejected it. From his point of view, Ouyang Huazai was definitely winning. This young monk had no chance of winning, so he did not want to waste time and effort on these sidetracks.
The others agreed in unison, immediately shooting down Wu Changxi's suggestion.
"What do we do? Old Wu, ignoring the fact that Master doesn't know how to use a brush, just the grinding of ink is problematic. Without ink, how is he to write?" said Monkey.
"Is grinding ink that hard? I'll do it!" Fatty rolled up his sleeve and was about to walk forward. Wu Changxi pulled him back and said, "Have you ground ink before?"
Fatty rolled his eyes, "What era is it? Who would write using a brush for no good reason? Even if there's any writing, we will just use liquid ink. I haven't ground ink before, but isn't it just grinding? How hard can it be?"
"You- You really have no fear because of your ignorance! Grinding ink is a very particular art. Too much strength and it will be spoiled. If the angle is wrong, it will be spoiled. If there's too much water, the words written will appear too dilute. Too little water and the text will appear too thick. Regardless of how good one is, the effects of the produced calligraphy will be terrible! If not, why do you think Ouyang Huazai got his wife to grind the ink? Why not anyone else? The person who grinds the ink must firstly be proficient at it. Secondly, the person must understand the calligrapher's habits and know how the thickness and thinness of the ink changes. Thirdly, and most importantly, the person must be trusted!" Wu Changxi reprimanded.
Fatty and Monkey were dumbfounded and immediately, they did not dare to offer their help. Monkey said, "Wu Changxi, you do it."
Wu Changxi said with a bitter smile, "I'm just a theoretician. I have never learned it either. A million bucks are at stake here. I don't dare to do it either."
Fangzheng was also feeling vexed. He did not know how to begin with the inkstone in hand. He, too, had heard what Wu Changxi said. He thought a simple grinding would do but now, he didn't know how to begin either. The Dragon Buddha Epithet only thought him of the various styles of writing, but it did not teach him how to grind ink!
"I'll do it." At that moment, a person came in front of Fangzheng.
Fangzheng looked up and was surprised. It was Jing Yan!
"Little Monk, I'm telling you ahead of time that I don't think that you will win. In addition, you dared to release the wolf to bite me. I'll remember this grudge for life! I came out not to help you. It's just because this darn mountain is too cold, and I don't want to waste any time here. Quickly finish this up and everything would be good. Therefore, it's up to you to let me grind the ink for you," Jing Yan raised her head as she spoke in a rather arrogant tone.
"Master, don't let her grind the ink. It's a very important aspect! If she has any intentions to cause trouble, you will definitely lose!" Wu Changxi exclaimed.