Chapter 21 - Another Life
On the street walked two people which attracted the attention of many passersby. Walking in front was a young girl who wore a white one piece. Although her eyes were hidden by a pair of sunglasses, from her stiff movements one could guess that she was blind. Trailing her was a middle-aged man who, despite his rather handsome features, was an unkempt mess. Many onlookers observed the two and made ready to intervene or call the police if the man was to do something to the young girl.
“I’m hungry. How about we find something to eat?” Tian Yan stopped and said to Li Huaibei.
“Sure, we can eat here.” Li Huaibei grumbled and pointed at a small, unhygienic-looking shop to the side. He took out his gourd and drank another mouthful.
“You’re making it quite difficult for me.” Tian Yan said with some frustration in her voice.
Li Huaibei shrugged his shoulders and entered the small restaurant by himself. As he pulled a seat for Tian Yen before sitting down, he picked up the menu.
“It’s just normal food. What do you want?” Li Huaibei went directly to the page with the drinks.
“Drink a little less, will you? We have business to take care of after this.”
“Here’s your noodles. Extra egg with no onions,” The waiter’s voice suddenly came as he put down the bowl on the table.
“I think that this is a mistake. We didn’t order yet.” Li Huaibei frowned and said.
“You didn’t?” The waiter looked back at Li Huaibei and realized that he indeed did not have any recollection of him, or anyone else in fact, ordering the noodles. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Who is this…” The waiter mumbled and looked at the piece of paper on which he wrote the order. At first, he thought that he saw traces of his own writing, but when he examined it closely, he found the paper to be completely blank. ‘What? Maybe I’m just too tired. I’ll need to have a few days off, I suppose.’
“I don’t mind eating these noodles. Can you give me that piece of paper in exchange?” Tian Yan suddenly called out.
“Oh? Of course!” The waiter put down the bowl of noodles along with the piece of paper right next to it. He then wrote the same order for Tian Yan’s table, thinking that he was lucky that Tian Yan was nice enough to spare him some trouble with the cook.
As soon as Tian Yan picked up the paper to look at it, her hands began shaking and tears filled her eyes.
“Look at this…” Tian Yan said as she gave the slip of paper to Li Huaibei.
“This…?” Li Huaibei’s eyes immediately lit up.
“In Another Life… It’s him?’ Li Huaibei looked around.
“It is him…” Tian Yan clenched her fists as tears rolled down her cheeks. She knew that there was only one person in the world who was protected by such a technique: Fu Bo.
During that time, two men hurriedly walked away from the scene on the opposite side of the street.
“Hey, why are you so scared of that little girl?” Sai Gao asked as he moved his waist left and right during his fast pace.
“You don’t get it. I can’t let her see me.” Fu Bo glanced back from time to time as he paced.
“Do you like her?” Sai Gao suddenly asked with a curious smile.
“She’s the only woman in the world who can remember me.” Fu Bo suddenly stopped walking and said in a low voice.
“What? Do you mean that I’m not one?” Sai Gao asked, his voice showing hints of irritation.
“Are you serious?” Fu Bo asked.
“Have you seen anyone prettier than I am?” Sai Gao asked with a soft voice, looking at Fu Bo with eyes full of love and bending over slightly as to reveal his collar bones.
“Sai Gao! If you keep looking at me like that…” Fu Bo let out a cry of horror and jumped back.
“What? Are you going to marry me?” Sai Gao asked playfully as he licked his lips.
“I’ll write a special chapter just for you.” Fu Bo took out the laptop in his bag and threatened.
“Such bad temper… Are all authors like that?” Sai Gao grimaced and resumed his walk, seemingly wary about the mysterious power that Fu Bo possessed.
Fu Bo put his computer away, and after one last emotional glance in the direction of the restaurant, he caught up to Sai Gao.
* * *
“Is Li Yiming here?” Wu Jia asked as she entered the tea shop.
“Oh? Ms. Wu! Boss has been gone for a few days,” Chen Jiawang stopped playing on his cell phone and replied. Li Yiming had given him a call before leaving with Lin Lu.
“I see… I just happened to pass by…” Wu Jia had disappointment written all over her face.
“Do you want me to give him a call? Maybe he’s coming back today.” Chen Jiawang chuckled as he observed Wu Jia’s reaction — he was fairly certain that she would soon become Li Yiming’s girlfriend.
“That’s okay. Could you give me a cup of water? I’ll be taking my leave soon.” Despite refusing the offer, Wu Jia sat down and decided to wait for a bit on the off chance that he would be coming back shortly. Ever since the banquet at Yunding Tower, she had been unable to get him out of her mind, so she decided to pay him a visit.
“Would you like red tea or green tea? It’s the only tea we have,” Chen Jiawang said as he approached with a kettle.
“I’ll let you decide. Just a question, do you have any customers?”
“Well, you can see for yourself. But you really should ask boss about it. I’m just a simple employee.” Chen Jiawang laughed.
“Li Yiming just left this thing here?” Wu Jia suddenly asked as she noticed the golden flower sitting on top of the counter. It was hard to believe that such a priceless treasure was used as a simple ornament.
“Actually, boss told me that you were the one who decided to put it here,” Chen Jiawang joked as he suggested that Li Yiming was serious about offering the plant to Wu Jia.
Wu Jia’s face flushed, and her impression of Chen Jiawang improved after hearing his comment. She approached the counter and began scrutinizing the flower.
“Oh? What’s that?” Wu Jia suddenly noticed Chen Jiawang’s drawings and her attention was instantly attracted.
“My drawings…” Chen Jiawang said. He was a little embarrassed of receiving attention for his drawings, and he did not know that Wu Jia was a professional.
“Oh? Can I have a look?” After receiving Chen Jiawang’s consent, Wu Jia began looking through his scribbles. All of the drawings depicted objects in the tea house, and it seemed like they were drawn from the counter where Chen Jiawang usually sat.
“Not bad…” Wu Jia said as she noticed the intricate details and the accurate proportions.
“Haha, I just draw here and there…” Chen Jiawang scratched his head.
“Have you taken classes before?”
“No, I’ve started recently. It’s a hobby I’ve picked up since there’s nothing much to do here.”
“Oh? This drawing…” Wu Jia picked up Chen Jiawang’s first drawing of the stone tablet. It stood out particularly due to the mythical scene it depicted, in contrast with the other drawings of much more mundane objects.
“Oh, this…” Chen Jiawang’s face went red as he thought of his first drawing to be his worst, since the stone tablet itself was a very cragged object.
Before Chen Jiawang could continue his sentence, the door to the shop was suddenly flung open by Li Huaibei.
“Where did you get this drawing from?”