Chapter 31: The Woman In the Gazebo
Zu An had considered simply turning around and leaving the academy, but Cheng Shouping was eyeing him right now, and his lips were too loose to be trusted. If he were to escape right in front of Cheng Shouping’s eyes, it was guaranteed that everyone in the Chu clan would hear of the matter within a day’s time.
Currently, he had no place to go other than the Chu clan, so he could only swallow his pride.
Ahh, the life of a ladymoocher isn’t easy either! I guess I’ll first enter the academy and wait till there’s no one around to sneak away.
Zu An grabbed the school bag which Cheng Shouping had prepared for him. To think that someone as old like me will still be carrying a school bag to school. This is so awkward!
With an awful look on his face, Zu An passed through the entrance and found himself standing before a serene street with lush trees growing by the sides, bringing natural shelter to the pedestrians.
Zu An looked around and noticed that there were quite a few beautiful women sporting a youthful ponytail walking around the area. Their short skirts fluttered along with the light breeze, allowing one to catch glimpses of their fair thighs.
Wow, the students in this world dress a lot more openly than I thought. Maybe going to school isn’t that bad after all…
Looking further ahead, Zu An realized that there was yet another massive gate right ahead, and there was a guard stationed there to verify the identities of the students. This was likely to be the official school gate of the academy.
Zu An quickly scanned his surroundings before darting off to a pathway by the side, leaving the area.
You want me to go to school? Impossible! There’s no way in hell I’m going to school again!
Zu An swiftly made his way through the pathway that was sheltered by trees around. However, the academy had done too well foresting the areas around the academy that there were tall trees and flowers no matter where he went. After taking a few bends, he realized that he was lost.
By the time he finally left the perimeters of Brightmoon Academy, he could hardly discern where he was anymore.
“Where is this?” It had barely been two days since Zu An arrived in this world, and he didn’t have time to familiarize himself with the huge Brightmoon City too. He couldn’t recognize his surroundings, so it was hard for him to figure out where he was.
“Given how famous the Yu clan is, I guess I should be able to find her residence by grabbing a passerby and asking him,” Zu An muttered to himself. All that was in his mind at the moment was completing the task assigned by Ji Dengtu so that he could regain his manhood. As for cultivating and whatsoever, what was the point when he couldn’t even get his manhood up?
Zu An strolled around the area, but to his shock, he couldn’t find a single person in the vicinity at all.
A streak of lightning flashed across the sky, and thunderous rumbling could vaguely be heard from afar. Following that, it began to drizzle lightly.
The drizzle wasn’t much of a concern to Zu An, but the lightning left him feeling unnerved inside. One must know that he was brought to this world by a strike of lightning, and he wasn’t so naive as to believe that he could return back to his world by being struck a second time. What was more likely for him to drop dead and lose his life.
The deafening rumbles of the thunder reached a crescendo. Zu An quickly scanned his surroundings and spotted a gazebo not too far away, so he quickly ran over to take shelter.
Once he was in the gazebo, he was surprised to discover that there was already someone else here. A woman dressed in a simple dress was sitting on a chair in the gazebo, her back leaning lazily against one of the gazebo’s pillars. With a hand propping up her chin, she gazed through the rain to look into the distance.
She hooked her forefinger around a green wine gourd beside her and swirled it lightly. It was such a light movement that it felt like the gourd would fall from her hands with the slightest push of the wind, but it never did.
Zu An’s attention was soon drawn to yet another detail. The woman’s shoes were placed neatly on the ground, and her beautifully shaped feet were curled up naturally on the chair, slightly visible under the veil of her dress. It looked warmer than jade and smoother than silk.
Zu An admitted that he had an obsession with the face, chest, hip, and leg. Other than that, the other parts could look like anything for all he cared. However, he was starting to understand why some people would have a feet fetish.
“Have you seen enough yet?” The woman hadn’t bothered turning around, but she knew exactly what was happening behind her.
“I haven’t seen enough yet,” Zu An replied reflexively, only to regret it right away. He really should kick his habit of running his mouth. He kept forgetting that he wasn’t on the internet anymore, where he was protected by a veil of anonymity. People could literally beat him up here!
While his cultivation had grown significantly yesterday, such that he possessed strength rivaling 20 men, he had an inexplicable feeling that the woman sitting before him was not someone he could deal with.
Clearly, the woman also hadn’t expected him to respond so vehemently. She turned around to look at the shameless man that had barged into the gazebo and assessed him. A moment later, she turned her attention back to the rain as she remarked, “Continue watching then.”
This time, it was Zu An’s turn to be shocked. He had seen all sorts of bizarre individuals on the internet, but he didn’t think that this woman would reply in such a manner. On top of that, when she turned her head over earlier, he noticed that she was an enchanting beauty. It was just that her clear yet distant eyes carried a tinge of melancholy.
Just like that, she sat on the chair, leaned against the pillar, and watched the rain before her. An occasional breeze would bring droplets of rain into the gazebo and soak her, but she remained unfazed. Even amidst the pattering rain, her quiet breathing could be somehow heard.
Zu An was initially still assessing her captivating profile in interest, but her air of melancholy seemed to be contagious. Slowly, he found his heart growing heavier along with the atmosphere.
So, he retracted his gaze and immersed himself in the raining scenery too. It was then that he heard an unfamiliar tune that took his breath away. For a moment, he saw a waterfall flowing in reverse, returning upward; the seeds of a dandelion flower was drifting into the distance, filling the sky with many tiny umbrellas; the sun rising from the west yet setting in the east; the ten years he had spent working himself to the bone in the kitchen during his schooling years…
An elegant voice sounded in his ears. It was only then that Zu An realized that he was tearing up. The woman sitting opposite to him stared at him curiously.
“I miss my home,” Zu An wiped the tears off his face as he replied. He had been overwhelmed by both the excitement and horror of having transmigrated into a foreign world that he hadn’t had any time to think about his home. The momentary flashback made him remember the parents he had in the other world, and he couldn’t bear to imagine how anguished they were when they heard of his death.
The woman’s expression flickered a moment. She seemed to be surprised to hear that he was able to understand her music.
It was then that Zu An noticed a seashell-like instrument in her hands. He couldn’t help asking, “You were blowing on that earlier?”
“Mm,” the woman replied with a nod.
“Can you lend it to me for a moment?” Zu An asked.
“You know how to play music?” The woman asked in surprise.
Zu An smiled in self-deprecation. “I’m a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to useless skills that can’t be used to make a living.”
The woman chuckled upon hearing those words before tossing the instrument in her hand over. Zu An received the instrument before proceeding to examine it. While this seashell-like instrument had a unique appearance, the principles behind how it functioned weren’t too difficult to figure out. He was just about to bring it over to his mouth to test out the notes when he noticed a light lipstick imprint on it. That made him a little hesitant, so he turned to the woman and asked, “May I?”
The woman smiled and nodded her head.
Zu An finally brought the instrument to his lips to test it out. In a few moments, he had already roughly figured out the notes that it could play. It bore striking resemblance to the ocarina in his previous life.
His nostalgia for his home had been invoked by the previous melody, so he subconsciously played Scenery of Hometown. He had worked hard learning it during his university years for the purpose of picking up girls, only to regrettably realize that no matter how well he could play the ocarina, it was still no match for a Ferrari. 
As the memories of his previous life flashed across his eyes, he couldn’t help but feel like it was all a dream. Was it Zhou Zhuang who dreamt of becoming a butterfly, or a butterfly that dreamt of becoming Zhou Zhuang? 
When the melody came to an end, the duo in the gazebo had already fallen into deep reminiscence, leaving just the sound of the rain between them.
It was till the woman seated opposite to him wiped the corner of her eyes that Zu An remarked, “You’re crying too.”
The woman sighed softly and said, “I saw vast fields, the setting sun, and farewells in your melody. What’s the name of the tune?”
“Scenery of Hometown,” Zu An replied. “Yours?”
“The Silent Sea.” The woman picked up her gourd and took a sip of wine. “You want some?”
Zu An hesitated a little. “I don’t have a cup.” For some reason, he found that he was unable to bear any perverted thoughts toward the woman sitting before him. He didn’t feel like the usual him.
The woman tossed the gourd over. “It’s not as if I mind. What are you so restrained?”
Seeing how carefree the woman was, Zu An felt that he was being a little too stiff here. So, he tilted his head up and drank a huge mouthful. However, as soon as the wine flowed into his mouth, he felt a surge of heat swiftly engulfing his body, burning him up.
He choked on the sensation and began coughing violently, such that his face turned a little red. “What wine is this? It’s so strong!” It was even more potent than the vodka he had once drunk in his previous life.
“Its name is Burning Sky. It’d indeed be hard for most people to bear its high alcoholic content. It’s due to my special constitution that I often drink this wine to warm my body,” the woman replied. She took her gourd back and had a light sip of wine. A slight blush formed on her snowy cheeks. She seemed to enjoy the alcohol a lot.
“My name is Zu An. May I know your name?” Zu An asked.
The woman shook her head lightly and smiled. “Life is a series of transient fates. If we’re going to part in the end, we might as well not know one another.”
Zu An was stifled. “But I already told you my name.”
The woman replied, “You were the one who told me on your own accord. I didn’t ask for it.”
“I feel like I just got taken advantage of,” Zu An grumbled in displeasure.
The woman burst into laughter. “You drank my wine. No matter how I look at it, it doesn’t seem like you’re on the disadvantageous side.”
“I guess so too.” Zu An noticed that the rain was slowly coming to a halt, so he rose to his feet. “If fate brings us together once more, will you tell me your name?”
“I doubt that we’ll be able to meet again.” The woman shook her head. She shot a glance at the school bag he was carrying, and a bizarre expression appeared on her face. “You’re a student of Brightmoon Academy?”
Zu An’s heart skipped a beat. Just like how a truant student would never admit to his own truancy, he eyed the woman warily and replied, “If you aren’t going to answer my question, why should I answer yours?”
The woman pointed to the bag he was carrying and said, “I can tell even if you don’t say a thing. You’re carrying a backpack that only the students of Brightmoon Academy have. It should be lesson time now; what are you doing here?”
“From kindergarten all the way till university, I have already studied for more than twenty years. I don’t ever want to go to school again,” Zu An replied in frustration.
“Kindergarten? University?” Confusion flickered across the woman’s eyes. However, she chose not to ask about it. I am also keeping many things to myself, so what rights do I have to question him?
“Thanks for your wine, I’ll be heading off first.” Zu An was still thinking of looking for Yu Yanluo. Naturally, this had to take precedence over everything since it concerned his lifetime of happiness!
“Alright. It looks like we might just meet one another again in the near future.” A playful smile formed on the woman’s lips.
Zu An eyed her impassively. Like I’d trust you. Is it an intrinsic trait of beautiful women to use enigmatic words to hook the interest of men?
But barely after Zu An walked out of the gazebo, he suddenly noticed a black-clothed man walking along the pavement. The latter shot a casual look at him before passing him by, but barely a few steps later, he quickly backtracked and called out, “Zu An?”
“Who are you?” Zu An looked at the black-clothed man with a frown. The latter had a long scar stretching from his nose all the way to his right cheek. There was also a plum blossom insignia near his neckline, which made his heart skip a beat. He remembered Plum Blossom Twelve bearing a similar tattoo too.
 (It’s from a poem of a man who dreamt of becoming a butterfly before waking up, and he wondered which one was truly the dream; him being a butterfly or him dreaming of waking up as Zhou Zhuang. Similarly, he’s wondering if this current life is the dream, or the previous one the dream?)Previous Chapter Next Chapter