Chapter 56.1 – Shaking His Head
“Cough, cough…” Just as the old man took a sip of his tea, he heard Zhuge Yu blurt out a sentence. The tea hadn’t even been swallowed yet when it slipped into his throat, causing him to cough uncontrollably.
Meanwhile, the instigator acted as if nothing had happened. He walked over to the old man’s side, patting his back to help him catch his breath, and said, “Old man, why are you so worked up? Didn’t you say you wouldn’t take any more disciples?”
The old man finally managed to catch his breath, but his face had turned slightly red because of what happened just now. He glared at Zhuge Yu and scolded him, “Zhuge Yu, you are messing around and delaying the future of that young man! You’re an oil painter, what do you know about traditional Chinese painting? I bet you don’t even compare to a single finger of that young man. How can you teach someone?”
It seemed that the old man was genuinely infuriated by Zhuge Yu. His gaze became sharp, and his words became harsh.
Zhuge Yu wasn’t angry at all, and he continued to smile, saying, “Old man, didn’t I just say that the young man’s first Chinese painting is right here? He used to paint in oils before, and his talent in oil painting is not weaker than his talent in Chinese painting. With such a promising talent, I will definitely take him under my wing. Maybe he’ll surpass Chen Yunlan someday.” Zhuge Yu finished speaking and looked at the old man. He knew that Chen Yunlan was like a thorn in the old man’s heart, and he had always wanted to remove that thorn. Chen Li’s appearance was the perfect opportunity for the old man to get rid of it, and Zhuge Yu believed that the old man would agree.
The old man fell silent. Just when Zhuge Yu thought the old man had fallen asleep, the old man finally spoke, “Bring the person to me, let me meet him.” The meaning was clear: the old man was also interested in the person who painted this picture, and after Zhuge Yu’s words, he had softened.
With his objective achieved, Zhuge Yu naturally felt happy, but he didn’t show it on his face. Instead, he said, “What are you looking at? Nothing has been settled yet. I don’t even know where this young man is right now. I’ll bring him to you when I find him.”
The old man choked on his tea again. After coughing, he stared at Zhuge Yu and said, “Zhuge Yu, go away as far as you can.” His dignified demeanor vanished in an instant.
Zhuge Yu laughed heartily, downed another cup of tea, waved to the old man, and said, “Old man, thanks for the tea. I’ll take my leave now so you don’t have to see me and get angry.”
The old man waved repeatedly, shooing Zhuge Yu away as if swatting flies. “Go, go, go! Don’t let me see you again!”
“Then, even if I find that young man, you won’t look at him?” Zhuge Yu said.
The old man was once again angered by this remark, glaring at Zhuge Yu until his laughter and figure disappeared. After that, the old man’s gaze fell on the ink painting on the table. His thoughts drifted away, and he was oblivious as his cup fell to the floor, rolling several times, spilling the tea all over.
“Sigh…” When the old man snapped out of his trance, in the silence of the world, there was only a long sigh.
Within the sigh, there was nostalgia, helplessness, and… anger. Mixed emotions filled the air, full of complexity.
Zhuge Yu left the deep mountains and found a place with signal. He called the manager of the art store in Shanghai and asked if Chen Li had been there today. Disappointed, he received the answer that Chen Li hadn’t been at the store.
Zhuge Yu gave a few more instructions, asking the manager to pay attention to the visitors and to keep the person or their contact information if they saw Chen Li again.
The manager responded eagerly, knowing that Zhuge Yu had taken an interest in the young man from that day. There was no room for negligence in his mind.
However, a week passed without any news about Chen Li from the store manager. This left Zhuge Yu, who had been proud of finding a talented individual, feeling disappointed and regretful. If those people hadn’t interrupted Chen Li’s painting that day, he would have already obtained Chen Li’s contact information. It was now like searching for a needle in a haystack, and he felt anxious.
“Oh, so you haven’t found that talent of yours yet?” a professor patted Zhuge Yu on the shoulder and asked.
The world of calligraphy and painting was small, and Zhuge Yu was a well-known figure within it. During this time, news of Zhuge Yu’s search for a young man had spread in the art world. Everyone was curious about what kind of extraordinary talent would make Zhuge Yu put in such great effort to find them.
“No, I haven’t,” Zhuge Yu shook his head, feeling somewhat defeated.
“Have you ever thought that this young man might already be someone else’s disciple? When you find them, you might be even more frustrated if you discover they’ve already taken on a master,” Zhuge Yu said with certainty.
“No way,” replied Zhuge Yu confidently. “If someone had such talent as a disciple, they wouldn’t hide it. They would have come out to show off a long time ago.”
The professor shook his head, thinking to himself: Not everyone is as fond of showing off their apprentices as you are! In today’s internet terms, you’re simply a show-off apprentice maniac!
Perhaps sensing the professor’s thoughts, Zhuge Yu said, “You don’t understand.” With that, he let out a heavy sigh.
“Alright, I don’t understand,” the professor waved his hand dismissively, somewhat perfunctory.
Zhuge Yu didn’t bother to explain further. He continued to inquire about Chen Li from people in Shanghai, believing that if they knew about Chen Li’s talent, they would respond similarly to him.