OMF V3C53 A Half-Finished Painting

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Yu Jin took a deep breath and stood up, once again cupping his hands and bowing in front of his Master. “Master, I understand. Please give me a bit of time to think things through. I’ll give you my answer then.”
“Mn. Very well. But Yu Jin …”
Yu Jin looked up and was met with a smile on his Master’s lips.
“I’m already happy that you’re willing to consider it because of the things I said. So don’t force yourself. If you feel like this isn’t your way, then don’t do it. Everyone has their own fate. Maybe yours … will truly be outside of our sect.”
“Thank you, Master.” Yu Jin straightened and actually reciprocated his Master’s smile. In all honesty, he also had good feelings for him. It seemed like it had been an eternity since he last saw his own parents. Now, they weren’t even alive anymore. Maybe even their bones had become dust by now. Having someone who cared so much about him and put this much trust in him … it really felt good.
“About the matter regarding Zhong Jing Yi, I’d suggest sending Qiguan Cheng Da instead.”
Yuchi Bing Xia lifted his brows. “Qiguan Cheng Da?” He needed a moment to remember who that actually was. “Didn’t you say he lacked moral integrity?”
“Mn. I definitely think he’s unsuitable as a spy but he is someone who has risen to prominence. He should get some opportunities to prove himself.”
“That is true.” Yuchi Bing Xia nodded slowly. “Well, there isn’t much he could do wrong with that assignment. In the end, it’s just being a messenger, even though it’s a bit dangerous going into their territory. You know him better. How about you bring it up?”
Yu Jin nodded. “Then I’ll take my leave now.” Yu Jin turned around and went back to his own house.
Yuchi Bing Xia watched him leave and sighed. He had put the matter with Qiguan Cheng Da and Zhong Jing Yi to the back of his head already. The thing that really troubled him was still the question of who would become his successor.
“Ah, let’s hope for the best. The sect definitely needs a capable Sect Master. If I choose just anyone, it will definitely continue to decline. Well, if Yu Jin doesn’t want to do it, there would still be the Grandmaster’s disciple. I don’t know about his personality but his aptitude is high. Even higher than Yu Jin’s considering his constitution. Well, I still hope it’s going to be Yu Jin.”
He poured himself another cup of tea and looked down at the outer sect again. Leaving all this in his disciple’s hands … he wouldn’t have to be worried.
Meanwhile, Yu Jin went to his study room. His Master had provided him with a house all to his own. He had protested back then since he didn’t need more than one room but Yuchi Bing Xia had been thrilled at the opportunity of teaching this last disciple thus no matter what he said his Master had insisted.
With his thoughts uncharacteristically churning, Yu Jin felt even more that it was too big. This wasn’t like being outside in the vastness of nature. No, this was a little suffocating to him.
He sat down at his desk and took out a scroll of paper. Grinding the ink gave him at least a little peace of mind. His thoughts focused on the scroll, he dipped the brush into the ink and slowly traced it across the parchment.
Yes, indeed. It felt more like tracing then actually painting. He felt like he could already see what he was painting although the whole image still eluded him when he thought about it.
Yu Jin took a deep breath and stopped thinking. First of all, he needed to calm down. In those years since he had come to the Yun Zou Sect, painting had been the only thing that let him achieve that. Even meditating was out of the question.
The brush swayed from one side to the other and an image emerged bit by bit. There was a tree in the background and the walls of a building on the sides. In the middle …
The brush in Yu Jin’s hands paused for a spell and the lines he had still seen a moment ago vanished in front of his eyes. A half-finished painting remained.
He sighed and put the brush down. How often had he experienced this now? Before he could finish the painting the thing he wanted to paint made him pause and suddenly he couldn’t remember what it had been in the first place. He couldn’t help starting anew afterward. It was just like an obsession. If he didn’t pay attention, he might actually suffer a Qi deviation because of this someday.
Yu Jin stared at the empty middle of the scroll. He couldn’t explain why but he felt like there should be a person there. Someone very important.
Maybe this was a memory of a past life? And that person had been someone close to him? It was the only explanation he could find. But then that still posed the question of why he only remembered it now. Could it have something to do with the Yun Zou Sect? Maybe he had been here before and that was when he met that person?
Yu Jin sighed. There were just too many things unknown to him. He could guess however much he wanted he wouldn’t find out the truth that way.
He stood up and put the painting into the shelf at the side of the room, his gaze lingering on the rows of unfinished scrolls for a moment. How long would it take until he finally found out what this meant?
He sighed again and left his house. There wasn’t anything he could do regarding this besides waiting but he could go and relay his Master’s message to Qiguan Cheng Da. And after that, he should start pondering on his Master’s proposition.
Becoming the Yun Zou Sect’s next Sect Master … He didn’t doubt that he would be up to the task. The question was: Did he really want to take that place?

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