Chapter 262: The Reappearance of the Animal Head
“Gosh, that’s an authentic work of Yan Zhenqing…”
“It might look like one, but we’re not sure if it’s an authentic work. The Nihon woman just said that it might be fake.”
“How much is it worth if it’s authentic? At least tens of millions…”
Huaxia people were familiar with Yan Zhenqing. Many of the spectators that day were calligraphy fans. At the moment, all the people below the stage were discussing.
Soon, everyone found the problem. The two paintings looked exactly the same. The writing of the painting on the left was lighter than the one on the right if one looked at it carefully, but no other differences could be found except that.
“Dude, which one is real?”
“How would I know? We’ll need Director Guo to determine this…”
“Maybe both are fake. Yan Zhenqing’s work is hard to find. Maybe it’s a copy made in Salitun.”
On the stage, Chiba Mieko smiled at Guo Feng and said, “Mr. Guo, please tell us, which one is real and which one is fake?”
Guo Feng nodded and put on his white gloves. Then, he picked up his magnifying glass and began to evaluate it seriously.
He was quite calm in the beginning, as he was sure that he could distinguish the fake one from the authentic one based on his decades of experience in the antique industry. However, as time went by, he grew more and more serious. His forehead shone with sweat.
He checked the two works more than ten times, but both of them looked flawlessly authentic, which was impossible. After all, even Yan Zhenqing himself wouldn’t be able to copy this exact same work. Even the font sizes were the same, as if they had been made by a copy machine. However, there had to be a fake one.
Chiba Mieko stood beside him and smiled coldly. “Mr. Guo, how long will you need to give us the result? Should I make you a cup of tea?”
Although her proposal seemed polite, it was actually full of sarcasm.
“Don’t worry, I will give you the answer!”
Qin Haodong answered before going onto the stage. According to the regulations, three people from Huaxia could participate in the same appraisal as long as they could settle on the same result.
Upon seeing Qin Haodong show up again, Chiba Mieko’s expression changed. She had suffered a loss to this young man last night, and Yagyuu Ai had lost to him during the tea ceremony earlier. It was hard to imagine that this guy was also talented at antique appraisal.
Chiba Mieko shook her dead. This was definitely impossible. Usually, it took people some time to reach the top of a certain industry. No one got to be good at every industry unless they were immortal.
Upon seeing Qin Haodong get onto the stage, Guo Feng felt really relieved. He was at the end of his wits while looking at the two works. He felt lucky to have invited Qin Haodong here, as it would have been a great shame if a Huaxia expert had failed to appraise these works.
He said, “Dude, can you tell which one is real?”
Qin Haodong smiled and said, “Director Guo, it’s simple. Don’t get confused by them. In other words, you’ve been misled.”
Chiba Mieko frowned and said, “Mr. Qin, what do you mean? How have I misled you?”
Qin Haodong said, “That’s easy. The two works are both authentic. You forced him to choose a fake one, which is an impossible mission.”
“What? Both are authentic? How?”
“The young man is talking nonsense. How could they both be authentic when they resemble each other in almost every detail?”
“I’m not surprised. This guy is so young yet so talented in the tea ceremony. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t know anything about antiques. No one’s good at everything…”
The spectators immediately became angry when they heard Qin Haodong’s words.
Chiba Mieko’s expression changed, but she soon calmed down again and said, “Autique appraisal requires vision and experience. You can’t just say whatever you want to. Are you saying that you’re even more knowledgeable than Mr. Guo?”
She said that to create conflict between Qin Haodong and Guo Feng. She thought that, as the president of the Antique Association, director of the Antique Appraisal Center, and a senior member of the antique industry, Guo Feng wouldn’t accept Qin Haodong’s opinion so easily.
Therefore, she was really surprised when, after she finished talking, Guo Feng answered firmly, “I trust him. If he says that both are real, then they are real. My conclusion will be the same.”
“Well…” Chiba Mieko asked, “Are you sure? You can only give your opinion once. You cannot revise it.”
“I am sure.” Guo Feng seemed quite firm. He turned back and looked at Qian Duoduo. “We’ve shared our conclusion, so please reveal the answer.”
Now that Guo Fen had made a decision, Qian Duoduo hesitated no more. She opened the box in her hand and took out a white card. The card stated that both were authentic.
The spectators were angered by the content of the card, which was shown on the big screen.
“Gosh, how is it possible that both are authentic works of Yan Zhenqing?”
“The Nihon people are so sneaky. They actually brought two authentic works for us to appraise. We are lucky that this young man is so experienced, or we could’ve been fooled.”
Obviously, the Huaxia team won the first round again. Guo Feng looked really happy yet confused. He asked Qin Haodong, “How’s that possible? How can they be exactly the same and both be authentic?”
Qin Haodong said, “Director Gao, you’ve been misled. Do you remember the story of the strokes that permeated the paper?”
Guo Feng was immediately enlightened when he heard that. When ancient calligraphy masters were writing, their strokes were so powerful that the ink usually permeated the paper. Sometimes, it would permeate 3 papers if the writer was a master. That could explain why the two works looked exactly the same yet both were authentic.
He could’ve figured it out if he had been calm enough, but he had been really nervous during the competition. What was even worse, Chiba Mieko had been misleading him psychologically. In his subconscious, he had believed that one of the two had to be fake.
Qin Haodong told Chiba Mieko, “Miss Chiba, did you prepare the two works? Nice try, but I don’t think that will work now.”
Chiba Mieko knew a lot about Huaxia, including the story of the strokes that permeated the paper, which was about Master Yan Zhenqing. Therefore, she had tried everything to get two authentic works of Yan Zhenqing for the appraisal.
If her perfect plan had succeeded, she would have hit two birds with one stone. On one hand, she would have misled the expert and humiliated him if he’d given the wrong answer. On the other hand, it would have been a great shame if Huaxia had been defeated by its own story.
The plan had seemed perfect until she’d met Qin Haodong. Nothing could be hidden from his powerful Spirit’s watch.
Chiba Mieko snorted and said, “Don’t act proud so early. That was just the first round.”
Then, she waved at the two Nihon people below the stage. The two of them collected the two works and then carried two wooden boxes onto the stage.
All the spectators were attracted by the two boxes. They were curious about what was inside, because they looked really heavy.
Chiba Mieko opened one box and took out an item. The audience went into an uproar. That was the bronze aminal head of the sheep of the twelve zodiac signs!
Qin Haodong was shocked at first. However, he soon felt overjoyed. It was a huge surprise to see the animal heads so soon again. He could even feel the sealing formation on the bronze head. He had made up his mind to keep it for himself at any cost. At least, he had to obtain the Upper-Level Spirit Stone, which was the only way for him to achieve a breakthrough.
The audience under the stage also became furious. The Twelve Bronze Animal Heads of the Huaxia Zodiac Signs carried a special meaning for Huaxia people. Out of the 12 heads, eight had come back and four had disappeared, including the sheep head. It was shocking that it had been possessed by the Yagyuus in Nihon.
Chiba Mieko held the bronze head in her arms and smiled at the audience. “I know that what I am holding now means a lot to Huaxia. I’ll give you a chance now. Let’s see whether you can get it back.”
She spoke as she opened another wooden box and took out an identical sheep head. Then, she added, “This head was built in the Summer Palace of Huaxia. Later, it was possessed by the Yagyuus during the war. The Yagyuu hired famous craftsmen to make a copy and show that the casting technology of Nihon was as good as Huaxia’s.
We say that the copy is exactly the same as the one from Huaxia. There is no difference. I’ve brought them both here. If the expert from Huaxia can find the real one, I’ll give it to Huaxia immediately.
If the expert from Huaxia fails to tell which one is real, then I will have no choice but to keep it in Nihon. At the same time, it will be proved that the casting technology of Nihon is as good as Huaxia’s.”
Qin Haodong thought to himself that Nihon had been preparing for this cross-culture communication conference for a long time. They had set traps at every step, so one single mistake could bring great shame to Huaxia.
However, the Nihon people did not know that Qin Haodong was a reborn emperor. The two sheep heads might be the same in other people’s eyes, but it only took Qin Haodong one single glance to know that only one of them had the sealing formation of the Yiyuan Sect inside. Thus, it was obvious which one was real and which one was fake.
Guo Feng’s face looked stern, as he knew clearly how much this sheep head meant to Huaxia. If he missed the chance to get it back, he would never forgive himself or manage to bear the pressure of public opinion.
After Chiba Mieko said that, she put the two sheep heads on the desk and told Guo Feng and Qin Haodong, “You can start appraising them now. Don’t miss this great opportunity. Or, as the old Huaxia saying goes, you’ll have no honor left to face your people.”
“Do not worry, we can handle our own staff.” Then, Qin Haodong told Guo Feng, “Director Guo, please let me have a look. You can pick it up if I can’t tell the difference.”
Guo Feng, who knew that Qin Haodong had asked him out of respect, said, “Dude, make sure to take back our heritage.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you down.”
Qin Haodong walked to the two sheep heads, which had been numbered so that they could be distinguished. Number one was the one with the formation, and number two was the fake one.
All the spectators were staring at Qin Haodong, hoping that they would be able to take back this national treasure.
Qin Haodong held the two sheep heads in his hand while pretending to check them. Then, he put number one in the wooden box. Everyone was surprised, including Chiba Mieko. She wondered what kind of appraisal this was.
He wasn’t doing that for appraising purposes; he was using it as a cover. Yiyuan Sect’s sealing formation had been broken by him the moment he had put it in the wooden box. Soon, he used his spirit to store the Upper-Level Spirit Stone in his Storage Ring. Then, he sealed it again.