Li Yundong’s decisive remarks immediately refreshed the people around him, and Zi Yuan nodded. “Yes, cultivators like us should be fearless in the face of danger and difficulty! Man proposes, God disposes. Having participated in the competition, we should have all have clear consciences."
Zhou Qin was calm and had fallen into deep in thought. There wasn't any sign of either happiness or anger on her face at that moment. She muttered for a while and said, "Since you are taking part in the competition, you should pay special attention to the opponents: West Lake Longjing, Taiping Monkey King, and Wuyi Da Hong Pao. These competitors are very difficult to deal with as both their tea and Tea Waitress are excellent.
Ruan Hongling blindly believed Zi Yuan and said, "This is a competition of tea art, not tea. If the one whose tea is better is going to win, why are they even bothering hosting such a competition? They should just open an auction. Am I right, Sister Zi Yuan?"
Zi Yuan smiled slightly but didn't express any opinion.
Su Chan didn't join in on the conversation and just looked at them. She was a little unhappy about the fact that she couldn't help.
Li Yundong did not pay any attention to the little girl. He said to Zi Yuan, "When you go on stage, you should pay attention to your surroundings. Harbor no ill intention against others, but never let down your guard against evil-doers. Watch out for anyone getting up to dirty tricks with the instruments."
Zi Yuan knew what to do and said with a smile, "Of course. Don't worry."
They said a few words in private, and before long, the host of the tea culture and art arena took to the stage.
At this time, the square of the Palace of Culture was full of people. Not only were there a large number of reporters from media outlets, there were also many business people. However, the majority of them were ghosts who had come to see beautiful women from nearby.
After the host gave some perfunctory opening remarks on stage, he invited the organizer Zheng Youming to give a speech. Zheng Youming still maintained an authentic temperament of an upstart. Once on stage, his shiny golden necklace, bracelet and ring all made the audience marvel.
After reading his opening speech, Zheng Youming introduced several of the judges presiding over the competition. Li Yudong saw them sitting in their chairs along with writers, hosts from well-known media, business tycoons and even fashion models.
Li Yundong laughed and whispered, "What kind of judges are they? Do they think just anyone can judge? Do they even know the art of tea?"
"I have no idea about the others, but Shen Wancai definitely does," Zhou said. "As far as I know, he often attends auctions of rare tea. He bought Taiping Monkey King at a high price just a few days ago."
Li Yundong said with a laugh, "Good! The only one who knows about tea is our enemy. Perfect! "
Li joked to himself. Delegates went on stage to draw numbers, and when it was Zi Yuan's turn, her beauty and elegance caused an uproar in the audience.
Other manufacturers and Tea Waitresses regarded Zi Yuan as a great enemy. Ruan Hongling smiled complacently as she said, "The eyes of the masses are bright!"
Li Yundong chuckled. After Zi Yuan had stepped onto the stage, he looked at the arrangement and suddenly asked, "Umm, is Zi Yuan the last one? Then she's the grand finale!"
Zhou Qin suddenly sneered. "This is the worst position. The most important factor in being able to taste tea is freshness. Naturally, the first contestant has the greatest advantage because the judges who taste the tea at that time will have clean mouths. They can taste the aroma of the tea, and the score will be higher. However, as time goes by, their tastebuds will become more and more tired and the scores will lower."
Ruan Hongling said angrily, "That's shameless! This has got to be rigged!"
Li Yundong frowned, but when he looked at the ranking above, he saw that Qing'er, who had used Wuyi Dahongpao to participate in the competition, was unexpectedly ranked just ahead of Zi Yuan, second from the bottom. He said, "Look, Qing'er from Pine Valley Cottage is ranked In front of Zi Yuan. Isn't she afraid that the referees won't give high scores because of taste fatigue?"
Zhou Qin shook her head and said, "Wuyi Dahongpao is the champion of tea. It has a strong and mellow taste and cannot be replaced by other teas. Maybe this is their trick. The extreme fragrance of Wuyi Dahongpao will exhaust the taste buds of the judges. Furthermore, Zhenren Zi Yuan's Huangshan Maofeng has a weak smell and so she'll naturally be in an unfavourable situation."
Hearing this, Li Yundong, Su Chan and Ruan Hongling all shouted in unison that the sponsor was despicable.
In contrast, Zi Yuan was more open-minded. She smiled and said, "It doesn't matter. Real tea skills can't be obscured by such tricks."
When Li Yundong and the others saw that Zi Yuan was brimming with confidence, they also relaxed and focused on the tea arena, where the event had already begun.
They saw a young, beautiful Tea Waitress on the stage. She was wearing an ancient costume in the Gusu style of the Ming Dynasty. Her costume had a round collar button and narrow sleeves. As soon as she got on the stage, she bowed to everyone and looked at them with her bright eyes, immediately causing a burst of cheers.
Li Yundong raised his head and noticed that the beauty was the Tea Waitress who had been clutching Zheng Youming's arm before. The Tea Waitress was the first to fight because this was all rigged, so she naturally had a great advantage. She first took her own tea set to the stage and put it on the the long redwood table. Then, she showed the tea set piece by piece to the audience.
At this time, there was also a special cameraman on the stage. The camera was facing the table. Behind the stage was a huge plasma TV screen, allowing the audience under the stage to see the the Tea Waitress performing close-up.
Li Yundong saw that the Tea Waitress was going to choose to use Taiping Monkey King. He asked, "It's strange. Doesn't this Tea Waitress represent Zheng Youming? Isn't Zheng Youming a Tie Guanyin seller? Why is she using Taiping Monkey King? What kind of tea is this?"
Zhou Qin was born in a rich family, so she knew a lot about tea culture. She said, "Taiping Monkey King is also a famous Chinese tea, which is similar to the West Lake Longjing Tea, Huangshan Maofeng Tea, and Wuyi Da Hong Pao Tea, which are also the highest-grade teas of the nation. Zheng Youming has the temperament of a nouveau riche and specializes in Tie Guanyin. Although Tie Guanyin is one of the best teas, there is still a gap between it and the Taiping Monkey King, West Lake Longjing, Huangshan Maofeng Tea and Wuyi Da Hong Pao. So, if they don't want to use inferior leaves, they have to choose Taiping Monkey King for the purposes of this competition."
Next to her, Zi Yuan nodded and said with a smile, "That's right. Although Taiping Monkey King has not been too popular recently, it's also a great tea. Especially the mother tea produced by the authentic monkey pit. It's very expensive, costing no less than Huangshan Maofeng Tea. And you can tell from its name that it's a good tea since it can be called the King."
While they were talking, the Tea Waitress moved elegantly. She gracefully lit a bunch of incense sticks on a censer next to her, her posture flawless. "The tea art of Chinese black tea, green tea, and own goal tea is different. The Taiping Monkey King belongs to the category of green tea. Therefore, according to the first procedure of green tea art, the first step is to burn incense so as to get rid of impure thoughts," Zhou Qin explained.
At this time, the Tea Waitress gently began washing every teacup with clear water, and Zhou Qin added, "This is the second step, which is to wash a cup of ice to go to the mortal world."
When Zi Yuan heard this, she could not help but glance at Zhou Qin. She then smiled and said, "Are you really this knowledgeable about tea art?"
Zhou Qin smiled slightly and said, "I don't study it. I just have some good tribute tea all year round. I used to have some contact with it when I had free time."
Zi Yuan chuckled and said to Li Yundong, "You have a good apprentice."
Li Yundong laughed and waved his hand. "No, no, not at all."
While they were talking and laughing, they watched the Tea Waitress carry out her performance all the way to the fifth step: moistening the lotus core. She poured several teacups on the square table and made tea with water. At this time, Zhou Qin suddenly said, "The highlight is coming!"
Li Yundong looked at the stage excitedly.
At this time, people who knew about tea art all looked at the Tea Waitress with their eyes wide open. Zhou Qin explained quickly and softly, "This is the sixth procedure of the green tea art. It is also called phoenix nodding heads three times! It is not only one of the steps of the tea art process, it is also the most important one!"
Li Yundong saw the Tea Waitress lift the teapot up high and let the water flow straight down. Then, she used the strength of her wrist to lift the teapot up and down and repeated the motion three times so that the tea leaves were turned over in the water.
At this point, the slow motion broadcast of the Tea Waitress' s phoenix nodding heads three times appeared on the plasma screen. The Tea Waitress's elbow and wrist were flat, and her wrist was soft. The water poured down like a river of silver silk.
People heard that the sound of water became louder and lower three times. The waterline became thicker and thinner three times. The water flow became higher and lower three times. The phoenix nodding heads three times was surprisingly equivalent to the same sound, the same thickness, the same height. In the end, the yield of tea in these tea bowls was exactly the same, as if they had been carefully calculated.
At this time, the audience under the stage finally saw the key links clearly and exclamations began bursting from the onlookers.
Zi Yuan also smiled faintly and nodded slightly. "Not bad. She has put in some hard work to get where she is."
Although Su Chan and Ruan Hongling despised the despicable behavior of the organizer, they were forced to admit that the Tea Waitress was indeed very good at tea-making. The phoenix nodding heads three times skill she had just used was unique.
The Tea Waitress also knew that she had performed well. The following performances she did were all smooth and she became more confident. When she finished her last act and went off stage, the audience burst into thunderous applaud. The judge who tasted the tea also nodded and praised her.
Shen Wancai had an expression of admiration on his face as he exclaimed, "Not bad, good tea, and good tea art!"
So the first performance was a great success. The following candidates felt more pressure. Although some of them performed well, no one surpassed the first girl. Some of them even made mistakes because of their nerves, which made the referee frown inwardly.
After the performances, it was finally time for the appearance of the Wuyi Da Hong Pao, the master of tea. A plain-looking but arrogant girl jumped onto the stage like a rocket.
This arena was 1.5 meters high, and ordinary people would be unable to climb it if they were a little weak. However, she hurtled up onto it. All of a sudden, the sleepy audience felt refreshed and cheered enthusiastically.
For a moment, the host on the stage was a little embarrassed by the newcomer. He had to say in a hurry, "The next contestant is Lin Xueqing. Welcome!"
Lin Xueqing stood there proudly, and when she opened her mouth, her words amazed those present. "Today, I'll show you what real tea art is!"
She was young. As soon as she opened her mouth, there was uproar among the audience. Someone sneered and said, "The kid is so young, but she's certainly not lacking in confidence!"
The referees had a look of disapproval on their faces. Only Shen Wancai chuckled, "Looks like the hero is emerging from the category of teenagers."
When everyone saw that Lin Xueqing was so arrogant, and that the tea leaves she was using were extremely expensive, they stopped making noise for a while and waited to see her make a fool of herself.
Li Yundong and the others also stared at her with their eyes wide open, while Ruan Hongling and Su Chan kept muttering, constantly cursing the arrogant girl and hoping that she would make a fool of herself.
Li Yundong saw that Lin Xueqing's tea art was different from before, so he asked curiously, "She seems different from the others?"
Zhou Qin said to Li Yundong in a low voice, "This Wuyi Da Hong Pao is an oolong tea. The tea procedure for oolong tea is different from that of green tea. They are prepared for use in a specific way. First, one respectfully welcome someone to the seat of honor, burning incense and calming the atmosphere, then improving the temperature of the pot, washing the cups, and putting oolong leaves into the pot like they're a black dragon entering its palace. A water flow should pour down to wash the leaves, softly wiping the scum away before the water is shifted into a Gongdao cup. The water should then be distributed into fragrant cups, and then phoenix nodding heads three times can be done..."
Li Yundong asked, "There's also phoenix nodding heads three times?"
Zhou Qin said, "Yes, this is an extremely important part of the tea art. Let's see how she performs."
While they were whispering to each other, Lin Xueqing was performing skillfully. However, she had been too arrogant before, so everyone felt it was nothing special. Some of them even booed her loudly.
However, Lin Xueqing didn't take the hecklers seriously. She suddenly held the teapot in the palm of her hand and said loudly, "Water heated by ordinary fire will make an ordinary product after all. Watch as I use water that has been boiled with Wu Ming fire to make this tea!"
She was holding the teapot up high. For a moment, she seemed to freeze and did not move at all.
Seeing her weird posture, the audience all burst out laughing. They all teased her, "Is this your tea art? How ugly and laughable!"
"Wu Ming Fire? I'm filled with the flames of fury. Get off the stage!"
Just as the crowd was clamoring, the teapot in Lin Xueqing's hand suddenly began emitting puffs of white smoke. The white smoke rolled over the arena, forming a phoenix in an instant. It was vivid and dreamlike.
Everyone was dumbfounded for a moment, completely speechless.
Zi Yuan was also shocked and exclaimed, "Condensed Qi! That's amazing! She must have cultivated the Yin Qi in her body into pure Yang Qi to be able to control Qi so well. This is the highest Cultivation of the Yang Spirit realm. No wonder she was so arrogant!"
Lin Xueqing lifted the teapot and with a shake of her wrist, the phoenix that had formed from steam, nodded. Immediately, a stream of hot water gushed out of the mouth of the phoenix, which was also the mouth of the teapot.
The crowd felt that this water was like the water from the Ninth Heaven falling from the sky, and the water splashed in the tea bowl, creating a puff of steam to correspond with the phoenix, which made it even more dream-like. The sound of the water in the tea bowl was turbulent, reminscent of birds singing.
Everyone stared blankly as Lin Xueqing shook her wrist three times. The phoenix nodded thrice in turn, and the tea bowl on the tea table was filled to the brim with three bowls of Wu Yi Da Hong Pao!
Lin Xueqing's actions shocked the whole audience. Shen Wancai stood up excitedly and said loudly, "I didn't expect to see the real phoenix nodding heads three times here! Amazing! Hurry up and bring it over. Let me have a taste!"
Immediately, attendants dressed in Qipaos came up and brought the tea over to the judges. The judges all tasted it and praised it enthusiastically. Even Shen Wancai praised it and said, "Good! Good!! Good!!!"
At this time, almost everyone reacted, and the sound of raucous cheering shook the sky.
Ruan Hongling and Su Chan were both shocked and terrified. Li Yundong and Zhou Qin looked at each other with awed expressions. Only the face of Zi Yuan was like cold, but there was a hint of worry to be seen in her eyes. She thought to herself, "Lin Xueqing is performing tea art with her Cultivation. Not only is her tea art exquisite, but her Cultivation is also no worse than mine. Can I really beat her?"