Phoenix Destiny - Chapter 125
Chapter 125 - Interesting Runes
Jing Chu felt so ashamed that he wished the earth would open and swallow him up.
These books had been here in the shop from the day he arrived. He had been reading these books since he was young, and yet he could only remember the first two runes and ended up losing to Lu Mingshu, who only stepped into this shop for the first time today.
The first segment gave the host rune carver an unfair advantage and yet he still lost. That showed that he wasn't good enough.
The chief nodded, ’’Okay, the winner of the first round is Miss Lu!’’
’’Wow! Miss Lu, you're amazing!’’ one of the spectators shouted out. She was so amazed by Lu Mingshu that she actually forgot about Jing Chu's presence for a moment. After realizing, she smiled awkwardly at Jing Chu, ’’Chu, it's not that you're bad, it's just...’’
Watching how Miss Lu competed, she could feel the difficulty and was amazed by her.
Jing Chu plastered a smile on his face, ’’It's alright, Aunty Zheng.’’
He then turned to Lu Mingshu, ’’Miss Lu, let's start the second round, shall we?’’
Lu Mingshu nodded in agreement, ’’Uncle Hai, could you please pass each of the spectators a piece of paper for them to write down their request? Me and Gentleman Jing will rest in the meanwhile. Call us when you have collected all the requests and chosen one.’’
’’Okay. Please, Miss Lu.’’
Both of them took a seat in the hall and rested for a while. Soon, the child came over and told them that the request had been chosen.
Both of them made their way to the rooftop.
’’Miss Lu, look....’’ Uncle Hai showed her the pile of papers in his hand.
Lu Mingshu nodded, ’’Announce the request after Gentleman Jing and I are ready.’’
Both of them took their place in front of the table. Upon hearing the chief's ’’Start!’’, they took up the brush and started working on a piece of white paper.
This round brought out Jing Chu's strengths. He could start drawing without much hesitation as soon as he read the request.
On the other hand, Lu Mingshu seemed to hesitate a while after reading the request before she started.
For example, that Auntie Zheng mentioned that, when the weather was warm, not many people would want to buy her dimsum, so she wanted a rune talisman that could help cool down the weather. Lu Mingshu read quite a number of books in the Heavenly Wheel, and she did know what all the runes did. However, she didn't actually practice drawing them, so it was hard for her to avoid having some difficulties here and there while drawing.
On the other hand, it was a different story for Jing Chu. He had been here for ages, and everyone on this street knew him. He had been drawing rune talismans for them regularly, and, once in a blue moon, he would carve runes on some weapons. Proper rune-carving was a rare business that brought them a lot of money, but one couldn't expect people to constantly come get runes carved into their weapons, so they also made money with other jobs like making rune talismans.
Both parties were engrossed in drawing their talisman. Time flew by quickly - in the blink of an eye, Jing Chu put down his pen, ’’Done.’’
Lu Mingshu paused for a while after hearing Jing Chu. She quickly started working again and focused on drawing the talisman, and soon, she was done too.
’’Okay, let's check the answer now.’’
After the first round, the rune rune carvers in the shop all rushed up to see how well Lu Mingshu did.
’’This is good. Smart to combine two runes.’’
’’This is also okay. It has great effects, but it requires more mystic force than a usual one.’’
’’I've not seen such a talisman before. Chief, have you seen this before?’’
The rune-carvers were in a heated discussion about the two talismans drawn by Lu Mingshu and Jing Chu.
’’Well, nothing's wrong!’’
’’Mm-hmm. But hers is different from our style. It's way more complicated, so it's not as feasible to draw. Nonetheless, the requirements are met.’’
’’Miss Lu's style is the one they used in the olden days!’’
’’All correct,’’ the rune carvers said after they unified their opinions.
The chief nodded and took both drawings in his hands to compare.
’’Jing Chu's doesn't look as elegant as Miss Lu's.’’
’’But he met the requirements.’’
’’It's way simpler.’’
’’Of course, it would be sold at a cheaper price too.’’
All the rune carvers knew Jing Chu's standard by heart. He had spent years with them. In unison, they announced Jing Chu correct without second thought, ’’Chief, it's all correct.’’
The chief stroked his beard continuously as he went into deep thought. After a lot of thinking, he started, ’’Well, even though Chu's is correct, Miss Lu wins on the aesthetic side, so-’’
’’Chief,’’ Lu Mingshu cut him off, ’’since we already made the rules clear before starting, shouldn't we follow them? I don't believe that aesthetics was a requirement in drawing a talisman, right?’’
’’Miss, what do you...?’’ the chief was taken aback.
’’Today, I'm here as a competitor. I know that you're biased toward me because I'm new, but rules are rules. Rules aren't something that should be mixed with emotions. Once emotions are involved, fairness is gone, and when that happens, we lose all meaning in competing in competing at all.’’
Her words startled the chief, who then bowed and apologized to her, ’’Miss here is right.’’
He then stood up straight and announced the winner, ’’The winner for this round is Jing Chu!’’
’’Yay for Chu!’’
’’Good job, Chu!’’
’’Chu, come over to my house to get some lamb skewers later!’’
This sent Jing Chu into laughter, ’’Auntie Wang, why are you bringing out your lamb skewers?’’
Auntie Wang replied in a forceful tone, ’’Well, I heard that, at other places, their spectators would reward the winner with something, so I'm rewarding you!’’
This sent all the spectators into a roar of laughter, ’’Yo~! People reward with treasure. Lamb skewers must be a rare treasure too!’’
’’What's wrong with my lamb skewers? Don't say it as if you all don't often eat them in big portions! Or do you all not want my delicacy anymore?’’
’’Then let me thank Auntie Wang for the reward!’’ Jing Chu smiled and bowed.
Seeing Jing Chu's response, Auntie Wang smiled in satisfaction, ’’See, look at Chu with his positive outlook. He will be successful one day for sure!’’
’’Yes, of course Chu will be. What a pity you have no granddaughter to marry him.’’
With the spectators joking, the competitors entered the third round.
For the third round, the chief wasn't sure about how the competition would go, ’’Miss Lu, you talked about battling with runes. How do we do so?’’
’’Do you know how to carve runes?’’
The chief nodded, ’’Of course.’’ Bullshit - that was one of their biggest sources of income! Even though the rune-carving industry was declining, people did still carve runes into their weapon to achieve a certain effect.
’’You are also aware that carved runes can be triggered and used to attack, right?’’
’’That's it;just trigger the rune and use it to attack.’’
’’Chief, let's do it!’’ let's do it!’’ Jing Chu jumped up and down from excitement. Why can't runes just work by themselves?That question had been bugging him for ages, then he heard what Lu Mingshu had said;’’Martial arts arenas have fights, the weapon industry can fight... why can't runes?’’
’’Fine. Let the spectators watch from the first floor to prevent any accidental injuries,’’ the chief pointed out.
They moved everything away from the rooftop, leaving only Jing Chu and Lu Mingshu.
’’Chu, if you win, I'll reward you with a plate of mala!’’
’’Just mala? Not enough! Chu, uncle will buy you beer if you win!’’
’’Yeah! Do our rune-carving shop proud!’’
’’Miss Lu, if you win, I'll give you lamb skewers too!’’
’’Your lamb skewers again... is it that you can't sell them?’’
The scene of his neighbors joking happily as well as seeing the number of spectators increasing as time passed moved Jing Chu deeply;’’Thank you, Miss Lu. Thank you very much.’’
’’Why thank me?’’ Lu Mingshu tidied the paper and brush on her table while looking at him in confusion.
Jing Chu muttered, ’’The rune-carving industry has almost died out. Nobody wants to watch or compete at our arena, and we always blamed that on the fact that there aren't many rune carvers. Our neighbors only came because of the chief, but thanks to you, they're enjoying it now even though they know nothing about runes or talismans. I just realized how narrow-minded we are.’’
Lu Mingshu gave a smile in response.
’’I believe that our industry is useful, it's just too small. If our arena can get people to become interested in runes and learn more about them, we would soon have more rune carvers, and one day, our industry will rise again! If that day ever comes, it'll be all because of you, Miss. I'm thankful.’’