The wall clock showed it was 9:30 in the evening.
Yet Su Houde had been standing in the corridor ever since 9 p.m. while looked at this spacious room.
The smell of paint wafted out from the room along with some soft music. The last student finished checking the counterfeit statue of "David" before heading back home at 9:30 sharp.
This was an art studio.
At present, an art teacher with inspiring temperament, who wore a canvas apron and coiled hair, gave a long sigh. She then revealed a smile of satisfaction on her face, while looked at the empty studio.
She started to clear up the tools and chairs.
Su Houde called her name softly.
Luo Qiu had been with him for the full half hour. He said, "Don't you want to enter?"
Su Houde thought for a second, then asked, "Does she… remember me?"
Luo Qiu said indifferently, "Do you still remember Tai Yinzi? I've asked him something about the Koan Sutra. Every time you complete a part of it, you will leave something behind. Therefore, I think she doesn't. She won't either remember the previous you many years ago, who had sculptured jades, or the original herself… so why you do still ask that question? You should already have your answer after observing her for half an hour."
Su Houde heaved a sigh, "She is Sanniang; however, at the same time, she isn't… Sanniang's gaze is different."
While saying this, Su Houde gritted his teeth and suddenly walked into the art studio.
The young art teacher was called Qin Chuyu, instead of Yu Sanniang. She was astonished by his sudden intrusion, "Sir, it's closed now. Is something the matter?"
"Sanniang…" Su Houde's gently said.
Qin Chuyu's revealed a vigilant look. "Sir, who are you looking for?"
This man did not seem slovenly but, instead, had a pale and gaunt face, which made people be on guard---at least, Qin Chuyu showed a guarded expression.
Su Houde's heart ached and his face became a shade paler. He lowered his head depressingly, sitting at the side of the drawing board which was separating Qin Chuyu and him.
"Sir, what do you want to do?"
"May I draw a picture? I can pay you… I'll just stay here for the duration of a picture."
"Sir, it's closing time now. If you want to learn to paint, you can come and register tomorrow."
Nevertheless, Su Houde had already grabbed a Da Vinci V35 from the tool tray, sharpening the nib of the brush to a point by dipping it in water, just like an eyebrow pencil.
He sat perfectly straight, closing his eyes while holding the brush pen and stayed perfectly still.
Qin Chuyu had never seen a person who could concentrate so hard while holding a brush. She couldn't help frowning---should she call the mall's guards to get rid of him or find some other way.
While she was thinking about it, this weird man had begun to draw.
He focused on every stroke, an affectionate gaze emerging from his eyes.
Wiping, dyeing, outlining.
A variety of methods were used to create the picture. Qin Chuyu was curious and peered at the painting over Su Houde's back but never left after taking that one gaze.
It was not a western painting technique. This man actually treated water colors and paint as Chinese ink and used the brush to create a calligraphy painting.
However… what he was drawing seemed to be a picture of a lady in the official clothing of the past.
Her smile had a natural grace to it; it felt she was about to jump out of the paper. Qin Chuyu opened her mouth slightly. She was shocked by the lady's appearance; the girl in the painting seem to have been modeled after her.
Su Houde started to inscribe characters on the drawing canvas.
"Raise the glasses in the face of yellow flowers, remember the memories while being drunk after waking up."
"The cinnabar is not a cure-all, the sunshine can't hide grey hairs at both sides."
"Neglect the gravestones behind, and ignore the men without souls ahead."
"All you pursue through your life will become a dream, separations are certain to take place in the end."
Qin Chuyu seemed to have been transported into another realm just by this poem, losing herself in it suddenly. When she regained her consciousness, all she saw was Su Houde heading towards the door, intending to leave.
Several crumpled bank notes were placed on the chair… he really did pay for drawing the picture.
Qin Chuyu was stunned, she called out to him, "Sir, your picture…"
"A gift to you."
Su Houde closed the door.
Qin Chuyu grabbed up the notes and rushed out of the studio. However, no one could be seen in the corridor.
She returned to the picture, feeling that this night had been a little… odd.
"She really has forgotten about me… and herself…"
At the square outside the shopping mall, Su Houde was sitting on the edge of the music fountain that had been switched off. He eyed the misty night sky in disappointment and sighed with emotion. "Long long ago, the sky was studded with twinkling stars."
"Separations are certain to take place in the end." Luo Qiu sat down beside Su Houde, and said in a low voice, "In the end, separation will still happen."
"Why did I wander in the world for 500 years?" Su Houde gazed at Luo Qiu.
Luo Qiu shook his head.
How could he know that? He didn't have the experience and wisdom that could solve this question with a single sentence.
However, he had to say something to maintain his honorable status as the club's boss, thus could only imitate an old monk, saying "Love is tiring."
Su Houde gaped.
He chortled suddenly, roaring with laughter. However, his laughter sounded so pitiful. He stood up suddenly, opening his arms, letting his body fall into the fountain, and sank beneath the water.
After a long while, Su Houde said indifferently, "It's over… take what you need, take it away. I don't want this painful recollection anymore."
Luo Qiu nodded, stretching out his hand and grabbed in Su Houde's direction. Some light gathered and eventually formed into light ball on Luo Qiu's palm. At the same time, Su Houde stood up suddenly, feeling the transformation occurring in him.
He felt something had been taken away from his body and now, felt relaxed. "What happened to me?"
"The 500 years wandering should be due to your obsession of meeting Yu Sanniang again. It came from your reluctance to let go of your relationship. You said you were suffering because you love her so deeply."
Luo Qiu played around with the light ball in his palm. "However, if all the beautiful memories disappeared, where will the obsession come from? Therefore, all those that are fated to separate… will do so in the end."
"Really… I also…"
His eyes finally closed.
When Su Houde opened his eyes again, all he felt was that his body was freezing wet, seemingly in a terrible situation. "Where… where am I? And who are you?"
The jade craftsman of the last life had vanished and this current man was only Su Houde himself---with no memory of the series of ridiculous events.
However, here came the problem.
No matter who it was that felt into an icy pond, then looked up and saw a suspicious-looking guy in a mask would not feel good.
Luo Qiu said, "It's not important who I am… the important point is, did you forget something?"
Su Houde frowned, as if he lost part of his memory. "I… feel a little bit dizzy."
Luo Qiu laid out several bank notes on the ground. "You forgot that your family is worried about you, afraid that you might have gotten into some kind of trouble."
At this moment, Su Houde felt like he saw a ghost, feeling terrified… because--the guy in front of him disappeared!
"Did I see a ghost…"
He shivered furiously. Then recalled the words that the weird guy left behind. Hence he fished out his cellphone unconsciously. Sure enough, his phone log showed he had been already bombarded by phone calls from his families and friends.
He was astounded, "How long… have I not returned home?"