“What’s wrong?” Sire Zhao frowned as he unhappily said, “I know my own body well. I can eat, sleep, and even work!”
As for Yue Zun, he was worried that Sire Zhao might flare up and immediately smiled. “Sire Zhao, please calm down. There might be another reason in his words.”
Withdrawing his hand, Su Tao said in a grave tone, “Sire Zhao, there’s no problem with your body, there’s only an issue in your cervical vertebra. However, the state of your cervical vertebra is still better than anyone at your age, so as long as you receive a massage periodically, it can help to alleviate your cervical vertebra’s issue. There’s nothing wrong with your body, but there’s an issue with a painting on the wall!”
Hearing Su Tao’s explanation, Sire Zhao’s expression loosened up, before he asked in perplexion, “What’s wrong with the painting?”
Nodding his head, Su Tao replied with a serious tone, “There’s nothing wrong with the painting in general, but there’s an issue with the person that drew this painting. Although it was signed with your name, I can guess that it must be done by a friend of yours!”
“You actually noticed that?” Sire Zhao exclaimed in astonishment.
Nodding his head, Su Tao responded, “I’m not proficient in calligraphy and painting, but as the saying goes, calligraphy can reflect the person, while painting can be drawn vividly. There are many styles in traditional Chinese painting drawn using brushes of different sizes. The brush itself is soft, and practice is needed to wield the brush like the wind. The so-called ‘strength of the brush’ is a display of the body’s Qi. Thus, you can determine the Qi in a person’s body based on his brush strength. Judging from the style, this person is extremely familiar with your style, so it’s practically the same as a genuine work by you. But even if the brush techniques can be imitated, it cannot conceal the state of the author’s body. From these details, I can tell that the Qi of the person that made this painting is weak, and I’m afraid that he won’t live for long.”
Sitting on the side, inwardly, Yue Zun grew anxious as he wondered why Su Tao talked so much with Sire Zhao. Since there’s no issue with Sire Zhao, then Su Tao could just complete his healthcare service. Why did he go on blabbering?
“Su Tao is just blurting things without minding his words, so please do not take it seriously!” Yue Zun explained to Sire Zhao.
As Sire Zhao’s expression turned ugly, he glanced at Su Tao’s face before he finally sighed, “Professor Yue, you’ve misunderstood Physician Su. He was speaking the truth. This painting was indeed a copy of my work done by my friend. Likewise, that friend of mine kept my work at his home.”
According to Sire Zhao’s shrewdness, he wouldn't usually blurt such private matters, but it was mainly because Su Tao jabbed at his sore spot.
Hearing those words, Yue Zun was briefly stunned as he looked at Su Tao in astonishment. Su Tao even managed to deduce such details? Isn’t that too unbelievable?
Since Su Tao noticed the date of the work, he sighed, “If I’ve guessed correctly, this friend of yours must have passed away, right?”
Wearing a bitter smile, Sire Zhao nodded his head and sighed, “That’s right! I was depressed for a long time when I came to know about this matter. At that time, he was gravely ill, and I even invited the National Healer’s Specialist Team to treat him, but they failed. Thinking about it now, it was also precisely because of this reason that I was so against the healthcare service provided by the National Healer’s Specialist Team.”
Hearing Sire Zhao’s explanation, Yue Zun instantly knew what was going on. So this is the reason why so many National Healers were afraid of providing healthcare services for Sire Zhao.
“The lifeforce of that friend of yours had already snapped when he did this work, and even Hua Tuo couldn’t do anything to save him.” Su Tao patiently explained.
After the matter had been passed for a long time, Sire Zhao’s mood was much better and he looked at Su Tao for a long time before he nodded his head and praised, “This matter was hidden in my heart for a long time, and I’ve never mentioned this to anyone. I never expected that I would reveal it to you. All of a sudden, I feel so much better now. Life, death, honor, and riches are determined by fate. With my current age, I won’t live for a long time, and I will be able to meet him soon in another world in a few more years.”
“You can’t say those words! Your life is extremely beneficial to the country. Many officials are behaving cautiously because of your prestige and do not dare to outdo themselves.” Yue Zun immediately said.
Being flattered by Yue Zun, Sire Zhao pointed at the former and laughed, “Old Yue, I hate hypocrisy the most in my life, but for some reason, I can’t seem to get angry with you.”
“That’s because I never lie!” Yue Zun earnestly acted.
The conversation between Yue Zun and Sire Zhao spoke about their relationship, and it was no wonder that only Yue Zun maintained such a good relationship with Sire Zhao.
Even Su Tao learned something from Yue Zun, since interacting with a figure like Sire Zhao needed some occasional flattery, and many times, medical skills were secondary.
After a brief pause, Sire Zhao curiously asked Su Tao, “I never imagined that so many details could be seen from a painting. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn't experience it personally.”
“I know nothing about calligraphy and painting, I only made the judgment from the angle of a physician.” Su Tao patiently explained.
“Perhaps if that friend of mine met you earlier, he wouldn’t have died.” Sire Zhao sighed.
“I have a suggestion. Although your body has been well-maintained, you have depression hidden within your heart. If I’ve guessed correctly, it has been two years since you touched a brush, right?” Su Tao seriously asked.
Once again, shock flashed in Sire Zhao’s eyes as he exclaimed, “You managed to notice this as well?”
“Firstly, there are many paintings and calligraphies on the wall, and I can tell that you’re someone that likes literary work. But all the work with your signature was done two years ago, and it’s also close to the death of your friend. Furthermore, I also took notice of your fingers. Someone that deals with brushes for a long time will have calluses on their fingers, but your calluses have already disappeared when I took your pulse earlier!” Su Tao smiled.
Hearing those words, Sire Zhao was somewhat moved as he self-mocked, “I’ve decided to seal my brush when that old friend of mine passed away.”
Su Tao knew that Sire Zhao was imitating how Bo Ya cut the strings of his zither. Bo Ya was proficient in performing, while Zhong Zi was good at admiring, and this was the origin of the words ‘soul mate’. When Zhong Zi died because of illness, Bo Ya was extremely grieved and felt that there wouldn’t be a second person in the world that knew how to admire his music. Thus, he smashed his beloved zither and snapped the strings, swearing never to play another song in his lifetime.
“Since both of your friendships originated from literary works, then you should cherish this relationship and continue making more creations.” Su Tao patiently asked.
Shaking his head, Sire Zhao bitterly smiled, “There’s no need to persuade me any further!”
“There’s a hidden meaning behind your friend giving you this painting before he died. He was worried that you'd seal your brush, so he left a foreshadowing behind in this painting.” Su Tao sighed.
“Oh?” Sire Zhao widened his eyes as he looked at that painting and asked, “Where’s the foreshadowing?”
Letting out a sigh, Su Tao took out a piece of paper from his medical box and folded it into a long strip before he walked toward the painting.
When Yue Zun saw that Su Tao was going to remove the painting, his forehead beaded with sweat from the anxiety as he immediately hollered, fearing that Su Tao might ruin the painting.
“Su Tao, what are you doing?”
However, Sire Zhao knew that there must be a reason behind Su Tao’s actions, so he waved his hand to Yue Zun. “Let him retrieve the painting!”
In the end, Yue Zun could only helplessly sigh. Su Tao is probably going to be in deep trouble this time!
When Su Tao laid the painting on the table, he used a matchstick to light the long strip before putting it near the painting.
Seeing that, Yue Zun’s heart leapt to his throat and he nearly roared out. Is Su Tao trying to destroy the painting?
“No!” Sire Zhao exclaimed in panic.
This painting was left to him by his close friend, and this was the only thing in the world that remained of their relationship. So how could he allow Su Tao to burn it?
But Su Tao did not stop, and at the same time, he did not really burn it. He only gently roasted the white portions of the painting a little.
When Sire Zhao stomped forth and was about to reprimand Su Tao, his face suddenly changed. He never expected that there would be words on the empty spots.
“I hope that my honorable friend’s art will live forever!”
He never expected that there would be a hidden mechanism in the painting, which left him shocked.
When he recovered from his shock, he asked in perplexion, “How did you know that there’s a hidden mechanism here?”
“The inscription location wasn’t the same as the other works, and there’s a portion purposely left out. I’ve once seen this type of work in the past, and it’s called hidden ink, where the creator will leave traces behind using scallion juice. So you will be able to reveal it as long as you roast it with heat. That friend of yours left these words for you, hoping that you won’t give up on literary work even after his death.” Su Tao truthfully answered.
As Sire Zhao’s eyes became a little watery, he sighed, “I never expected that that old fellow would leave something like this behind.”
“So, you can’t let him down!” Su Tao gently replied.
Gravely nodding his head, Sire Zhao smiled. “Young lad, you’ve successfully convinced me!”
Sire Zhao was famous for his adamant temperament, but Yue Zun never expected that Su Tao was able to convince him to change his vow. If this matter was spread out, it would definitely be a medical story that further increased Su Tao’s reputation.
However, he cursed in his heart, since Su Tao nearly scared the shit out of him!
Thus, their healthcare session for Sire Zhao ended in fear and horror.
They were honored to receive Sire Zhao’s work. It had been two years since Sire Zhao touched a brush, so even if this work was something lacking in a professional angle, Yue Zun was delighted. This was Sire Zhao’s work, whose work has received the praises of many great masters. This work itself had high collector value, and it might even be possible to hand it down as a family heirloom many years later.
When they got in the vehicle, Yue Zun couldn’t conceal his curiosity and asked, “Why must you persuade Sire Zhao to take up his brush again?”
Su Tao had a good impression of Yue Zun, and he could tell that the latter was genuinely trying to help him, so he answered, “Sire Zhao actually wasn’t healthy. The issue in his cervical vertebra was due to the knot in his heart. For someone that loves literary work, isn’t it a mockery to be growing vegetables every day? So if I want to treat his mental condition, then I will have to make him take up his brush once more. It can cultivate his heart, and when he maintains an optimistic mindset, it won’t be necessary to treat his cervical vertebra anymore.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter