Chapter 55.1 – The Unfinished Painting
A flight from Shanghai to Beijing just landed, and a few young people were standing at the exit, waiting. As soon as they saw a few elderly people coming out of the gate, these young people immediately surrounded them.
“Teacher, we’ve come to pick you up and take you back to school,” said the leading young person, rushing to take the luggage from the elderly.
“You’re so thoughtful,” the elderly replied.
They handed their luggage to the approaching young people, except for one elderly person wearing colorful clothes who insisted on carrying their own luggage.
This elderly person was none other than Professor Zhuge Yu from Q University of Fine Arts.
The other elderly people who came back with him were professors from Q University of Fine Arts and other art academies. They had just finished attending a seminar in Shanghai. The young people in front of them were their students, and they somehow learned about their itinerary and came to pick them up.
When the old professors saw that Zhuge Yu didn’t let anyone handle his luggage, they teased him, “We heard you found a talented student in Shanghai, but they didn’t come with you, did they?”
Zhuge Yu glanced at the professor and said, “What do you mean they didn’t come with me? I haven’t even extended an invitation, you know? They’re still in my probation period, you know?”
“Oh, come on!” another professor immediately interrupted, “Still in the probation period? Who brought back that precious painting as if it were a treasure? Isn’t it because you’re worried someone else might damage your painting?”
Seeing through his thoughts, Zhuge Yu stopped pretending. He raised an eyebrow and said, “I guess you’re all just jealous that I found another talented student, aren’t you? Envy is eating you up! Hmph!” With that, he took his luggage and walked ahead, his colorful figure full of pride.
The other professors looked at Zhuge Yu’s departing figure and laughed. One of them chuckled, “He’s getting ahead of himself before anything is set in stone.”
“That’s his usual character,” another person chimed in.
“I remember he said he wouldn’t take on apprentices a couple of years ago. Why is he so eager today to accept someone under his wing?”
“It seems this time he has really encountered a talented individual that made him change his mind about closing his doors.”
“Now that you mention it, I’m quite curious about this person he has taken an interest in and their talents.”
“Who isn’t curious?”
The professors chatted and laughed as they left with their students who had come to pick them up.
Zhuge Yu returned home and didn’t even have time to unpack his luggage. He hurriedly grabbed the ink painting Chen Li had made that day and rushed to a mountain in the outskirts of the capital.
This mountain was in a relatively remote location, not a famous scenic area. It was quiet and deserted, with only a few young people coming to climb the mountain on holidays.
It was a weekday, and the entire mountaintop was silent. In the summer, the trees were lush with foliage. As soon as Zhuge Yu entered the forest, the heat from outside was blocked by the thriving leaves, and a cool feeling greeted him. All the heat disappeared without a trace.
Zhuge Yu parked his car at the foot of the mountain and sighed deeply as he looked at the winding mountain road in front of him. This old man didn’t live anywhere convenient. He chose to live in a place where even birds don’t bother to visit, making it a hassle every time someone came to visit him.
Zhuge Yu resigned himself to fate and walked into the forest. The sunlight filtered through the gaps in the leaves, casting dappled patterns. The mountain breeze was refreshing. After walking not too far, Zhuge Yu’s impatient heart gradually quieted down.
After walking along the winding mountain road for half an hour, he heard the sound of flowing water. Zhuge Yu followed the direction of the water and soon saw a small stream cascading down from a height, forming a small waterfall. Below the waterfall, a wooden waterwheel turned slowly under its force. Connected to the waterwheel was a bamboo pipe, bringing the stream water to a large water tank not far from the bank.
Several carp leisurely swam in the water tank, occasionally blowing bubbles and playing chase. A water lily floated on the water tank, blossoming splendidly in the sunlight.
Next to the water tank were moss-covered stone steps. Climbing the steps, there was a small wooden house. The aroma of tea wafted out from the wooden house. The white curtains gently fluttered in the summer breeze.
Zhuge Yu approached, pushed open the wooden door, and the wind chimes hanging on the door jingled as the door swung open, announcing the arrival of a guest.
But there was no need for the wind chimes to give a warning. As soon as Zhuge Yu stepped inside the wooden door, his booming voice rang out.
“Old man, today I brought something good for you to see.” Zhuge Yu spoke, stepping on the stone pathway, and made his way into the small wooden house. The muddy footprints he left from climbing the mountain were imprinted on the stone pathway.
Without knocking on the door, Zhuge Yu ascended the steps and entered the room directly. As expected, he saw an old man with white facial hair earnestly painting with a brush.