Chapter 461 – The Past is Difficult to Forget
Fu Qingjin, if it weren’t for you, why would I have drunken, drunken…
Who’s Fu Qingjin? What did I drink?
“Fuck this shit!” Li Qingshan finished off all the tea. He smashed the teapot on the ground, tossed the willow branch aside, and strode off towards the Parlour of Clouds and Rain.
“Fu Qingjin, get your ass out here!”
Even though I have no idea who you are!
They had requested all Foundation Establishment cultivators to attend the meeting in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain this time, but it clearly was not the case.
In the academy, within a residence of the school of Painting.
Dismissing all his uniformed disciples, Chu Shidao propped himself up on the bed and stood up. He arrived beside the window and gazed at the brilliant spring scenery outside. The glistening water flickered between the willow leaves.
His eyes began to glisten too. I really don’t want to die!
Having cultivated his entire life, his reason and the thing he pursued was still about a single word, longevity, because if he lived, there would be hope, and everything before him right now would be his.
He forced himself to turn away. He took out a painting from his bosom carefully and unfurled it slowly.
The person in the painting currently stared at him with her pitch-black, inky eyes. Her cyan dress and her rouge lips had been painted by him in the past, stroke by stroke, but looking at it again, she no longer resembled the her of the past anymore.
“A’Yan, I’m hungry.”
As soon as Chu Shidao said that, a gust of fragrance hit his face. It was not the fragrance of rouge, but the fragrance of ink.
“You always shove me into your bosom. You’re going to dry out the pigments.”
A woman emerged from the painting and snatched the scroll from Chu Shidao’s hand, hanging it up on a wall properly.
As if she had failed to notice the aura of death gradually growing heavier on Chu Shidao’s face, she touched her skin in the mirror and made her way to the kitchen at the back without even asking what he wanted to eat. A while later, the smell of fire and smoke arrived, followed by the smell of food.
Chu Shidao leaned against the table and sat down. He took out a gamboge jug of alcohol and set it on the table. Without much hesitation, he opened the lid and tipped in the golden fluid he had obtained from Ru Xin.
Before long, A’Yan served up the dishes. Chu Shidao took a bite. “It’s salty.”
“If you don’t want to eat it, then don’t eat it,” A’Yan said in exasperation.
The alcohol was poured into two cups. With a gentle clink in their hands, they each drank the alcohol and remained silent.
There was not any awkwardness from the silence. Having spent over a century together, they had already said everything that they wanted to say to one another. Their eyes just had to meet, and they felt no need to speak anymore.
“Are you hiding something from me?” A’Yan stared at Chu Shidao with some suspicion. Today, there was something obscured in his eyes, which she struggled to read.
“What can I hide from you?” Chu Shidao lifted up the cup again with a smile.
Before long, the jug of alcohol was emptied.
“This alcohol is so strange. Why do I feel tipsy?” A’Yan propped up her forehead. Her head felt rather heavy.
“I feel a little tipsy too.” Chu Shidao smiled. The matters of the past rose up like smoke, like dust, before all dispersing. Dispersing with it was the final shred of life that remained in him.
With a gentle clank, the cups and dishes on the table jolted together. Chu Shidao leaned on the table, without moving at all. He had passed away all of a sudden.
With a clatter, A’Yan stood up abruptly and pushed back her chair. “Hmm? W- who are you?”
Before her sorrow could even fill her, it had turned into confusion. The harder she thought, the harder she tried to grasp at something, the more it would all just turn into wisps of clouds in her hands.
Her face heated up for some reason. She touched her cheek. It was already moist. Tears flowed endlessly.
The spring scenery outside the window seemed even more brilliant.
Just as everyone’s attention was drawn away by the moon demon in the Watermirror disc, Ru Xin paid no attention to the arrival of this terrifying daemon at all. Instead, she asked in concern, “Are you fine?”
When Li Qingshan faced Fu Qingjin, he seemed extremely calm, but Ru Xin could sense his nervousness. This had nothing to do with her sharp wit. Li Qingshan’s acting had been flawless.
Perhaps they had achieved a tacit understanding? Ru Xin snorted in contempt. What benefit would come from achieving a tacit understanding with him? But at the same time, she could not help but worry for him too. She immediately thought of the existence of Water of Oblivion.
She had never drunk the Water of Oblivion before. Instead, she had found a few regular people. Enticed by a great sum of money, no one would be interested in their memories. As a matter of fact, they had never even imagined they would actually possess something worth so much silver. As a result, they sold it without the slightest hesitation.
The effects seemed decent. Her Water of Oblivion was obviously nowhere near as potent as granny Meng’s Soup of Forgetfulness, which could wash away everything in a person’s memory. Otherwise, she would have never offered it to Li Qingshan.
Its effects were basically the opposite to the Water of Recollection. The Water of Recollection allowed the consumer to remember whatever they wanted to remember, while the Water of Oblivion made the consumer forget whatever they wanted to remember. During the refinement process, she had referred to the formula for the Water of Recollection and chosen many medicines with opposite effects before tweaking it further.
It was exactly because of this that ensured she would remain the same as before while removing her memories of Chu Shidao painting her.
The xiezhi divine beast was known for being able to discern lies, but it could only rely on a person’s conscience to see through lies. If the very mind itself had forgotten, even the xiezhi was unable to distinguish anything.
“I seem fine, don’t I?” Li Qingshan stared at Ru Xin. There was not even a hint of unfamiliarity in his eyes.
“You still remember me?” Ru Xin said in surprise. He should be forgetting whatever he recalled right now.
“No matter how I forget, I won’t be able to forget you!” Li Qingshan shook his head, as if he was resisting the effects of the Water of Oblivion desperately, wanting to carve the woman before him into his head so that he could never forget her.
Ru Xin’s heart began to thump, while her cheeks became slightly flushed.
“You still owe me a lot of pills!”
However, Li Qingshan’s next words left Ru Xin slightly stunned. Smiling like she always did, she said, “Didn’t you give up the remaining pills for the Water of Oblivion?”
“Oh my, you’ve forgotten.”
“You better stop trying to trick me! How can I forget? Give me some Water of Recollection. That’s the cure!”
Li Qingshan extended his hand. Although it was unable to fool the mystical powers of the xiezhi, controlling his thoughts and suppressing the power of the Water of Oblivion was not particularly difficult with the spirit turtle.
But with that, his head felt rather sluggish, so he asked the person behind it all for the cure.
Ru Xin frowned. “If you’re so capable, why don’t you just recall it?”
Li Qingshan was slightly surprised. “You’re angry?”
“Huh?” Ru Xin returned to her senses, but she discovered that she did feel a little peeved.
Li Qingshan smiled mischievously. “Looks like I really do need to discuss this with Qiongzhi.”
“It’s nothing strange for a man to have multiple wives and concubines, right?” Li Qingshan snickered. Back then, he had been quite ambitious in this respect. Thinking about how even a bastard Chu Tian could swagger around with multiple women in his embrace, he did not seem to find he was asking for too much.
This thought sprang up and grew like weeds. When he looked at Ru Xin again, he looked at her slightly differently.
The two of them had been communicating secretly the entire time, just in case someone noticed something was amiss. They had both been staring ahead, communicating from the corner of their eyes.
However, when she heard that, Ru Xin turned over, smiled sweetly, and riled up her spiritual qi, bellowing into Li Qingshan’s ears thunderously, “You better keep fucking dreaming!”
“I’ve won!” Li Qingshan smiled silently. His lips moved, purposefully mouthing that.
Whenever they were together, they constantly joked with one another, such that they would claim victory whenever the other lost their calm. As for how serious these jokes would become, even Li Qingshan himself was unable to put his thumb over it.
However, he would always have a very easy time when he was with Ru Xin. Ru Xin did not probe into the fact that he needed to drink the Water of Oblivion to fool Fu Qingjin, but she must have learnt some secrets about him, such as how he had seen the Soaring Dragon Elder, or even the fact that the Soaring Dragon Elder’s sumeru ring was on him.
However, he was not worried at all, placing a strange form of trust in her. Seeing how Ru Xin was still grumpy, Li Qingshan smiled. “If you want to keep the pills, then keep them! It’s not like there’s a lot left. It’s just a bottle of medicinal water. It’s nowhere near enough for me to forget about you. It’s not like you’re granny Meng!”
Who knew what Ru Xin felt when she heard that. Suddenly, she returned to her senses. It’s not like I’m granny Meng… Seems like the Water of Oblivion isn’t particularly effective on cultivators. Surely master Chu will be fine, right? She’s just a painting after all.
Having sensed the disappearance of Chu Shidao’s aura, the disciples of the school of Painting could no longer care about the rules anymore. They barged into the residence and cried out before all shedding tears endlessly. They sobbed painfully.
They then saw their “mistress” standing in front of the dining table at a complete loss. Her face was covered with tears, but she did not seem particularly sad. She seemed extremely confused. As a result, they all felt extremely displeased. Master has lost his mind. Is a painting like this really worth his entire lifetime of efforts?
No one paid any attention to her either. The group of people carefully laid Chu Shidao on the bed and draped a white cloth over him, carrying him off to the main hall for now. They wanted to wait until his direct disciple Chu Danqing returned before making any decisions.
Her hand remained outstretched in the air, with no one around her anymore, but she had no idea what to do. She felt like she had returned to a century ago, when she had first been painted.
She suddenly turned around and gazed at the blank canvas on the wall. She stared at the corner of the canvas, at the faded, dark-red seal. She read the two words “Chu Shidao” again and again.
Within a bamboo loft, a young man frowned. Although he was very displeased with this clumsy piece of work he had created, he still stamped his seal into the corner enthusiastically.
That was their first meeting.
Time flowed past like water, and her memories that had dispersed like dust, like smoke, gathered together once more. The first time she spoke with him, the first time she cooked for him, the first time she argued with him, as she had purposefully destroyed a newly-painted beauty of his. Who told him to stare at it like he was head over heels?
A gentle smile gradually appeared in her eyes. A century passed in a hurry, like she had lived through it all once again. She suddenly smiled. “How… can I forget?” Then she cursed, “You old thing, you sure are bored enough.”
As she spoke and cursed, she walked into the blank canvas.
A disciple returned to collect Chu Shidao’s clothes and items, planning to wash up Chu Shidao and change him into new clothes once Chu Danqing returned, only to discover that “she” was no longer there anymore.
Looking around, he saw the painting on the wall. The beauty was no different from before, smiling gently, except her smile gradually blurred.
The disciple rubbed his eyes forcefully, doubting his eyes.
The beauty in the painting gradually melted away, turning into pigments of rouge and cyan and bleeding from the canvas.
In the blink of an eye, all the colours bled away, only leaving behind a blank canvas. A spring breeze entered the residence, rustling up the canvas. All that remained was the dark red seal in the corner, the same as before.