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809 This Is Life

 While everyone was talking about Wu Hai, he was being surrounded by a group of little kids that were chattering away without a stop.

"Uncle mustache, are you a very good painter?"

"Uncle mustache, look here. Look here."

"My mom cooked today. She wanted to treat you to some Box Fried Bread. My mom's Box Fried Bread is very good."

A group of kids of about four to five years old were surrounding Wu Hai. From the way they spoke, it was obvious that they were quite close to Wu Hai. One of them was even brave enough to pull at Wu Hai's mustache.

Ever since the unknown girl had mentioned that Wu Hai's mustache gave off a sense of security, he had been taking great care of his mustache, even though the girl had subsequently stopped visiting Yuan Zhou's restaurant for an unknown reason.

Zheng Jiawei once tried to find out the reason. It was rumored that she might have moved somewhere else, or it might be some other reason. There were many customers in Yuan Zhou's restaurant but for various reasons, some of them would only encounter each other once.

Wu Hai felt quite weird as well. He could not understand why would he care so deeply about the evaluation of a stranger when he was not one who minded his appearances.

"Ok, ok. Go play somewhere else. I'm going to start painting," Wu Hai chased the kids away.

The children of the mountains were rather wild in nature. This was apparent from their mud-stained clothes. When the kids heard this, they all ran to the side and started painting as well. The painting papers and brushes they used were all provided by Wu Hai.

Or to be precise, these papers and brushes were brought here by Zheng Jiawei after Wu Hai told him to buy these items from a town several kilometers away.

For some unknown reason, perhaps this was in the genes of humanity, kids tend to enjoy painting.

Wu Hai had previously seen a photo of a mountain village that was very pretty, greatly stimulating his desire to paint this village.

And thus, he got Zheng Jiawei to plan his painting trip to this village. His initial plan was to stay here for a week. After all, for Wu Hai, life without Yuan Zhou's restaurant was torture.

But two weeks had passed since then yet Wu Hai was still at the village. The reason for that was quite complicated.

"Ah Hai, I bought what you wanted to eat," Zheng Jiawei came with a bag.

"Why are you so slow?" Wu Hai complained as he took the bag. The bag was half-filled with beef jerky and fruit candies. These two were the foods that had been helping Wu Hai survive his life at the mountain village.

"The one o clock bus came late," Zheng Jiawei explained and asked, "You got a new inspiration again?"

"Perhaps. Who knows. I will know after I start painting." Wu Hai then got Zheng Jiawei to move aside. After all, he disliked disturbances when painting.

During the past two weeks, Wu Hai had finished five paintings. He would usually take half a year to paint this much.

By the side, Zheng Jiawei was teaching the mountain kids how to paint.

As Wu Hai's manager, Zheng Jiawei still knew something about painting. After all, when you stay by the side of a person for a long time, you would learn inevitably learn something from that person. In any case, Zheng Jiawei was an expert in art appraisal as he had been the one to decide the price of each of Wu Hai's paintings.

Even Jiang Changxi and Ling Hong both agreed that Zheng Jiawei was an exceptional manager.

"Ah Hai is a person that speaks tough words but has a gentle heart. He obviously wants to teach the mountain kids how to paint. That was why he told me to go buy the items required for the kids. But he keeps insisting that he merely wants the kids to leave him alone," Zheng Jiawei muttered while gazing at the painting Wu Hai was working on.

The mountain village had a very beautiful view. In Wu Hai's painting, lush vegetations, verdant hills, and limpid water could be seen. And to the distant, shepherds could be seen tending to their flock.

It was certain that arable lands could be found in the mountains. This mountain village had a nice location as the soil here was quite fertile, sufficient for them to create a bunch of stepped fields that were strewn randomly around the mountains.

Currently, old farmers could be seen working in the fields. This village used to be a large village, but due to transportation issues, most of the young blood of the village had left for a better life elsewhere. Only the old parents and the children of the younger generation working outside were left in the village.

Therefore, only the upper half of the stepped fields was still lush while the lower half was already abandoned.

Wu Hai was drawing his inspiration from the view. Maintaining the same posture, he started painting, and this lasted for three whole hours.

The time he took was sufficient for the kids to go back for their meals and return here. As for Zheng Jiawei, he went to the house that had invited Wu Hai for a meal to explain what was going on and returned to Wu Hai with several Box Fried Breads.

After three hours, Wu Hai was so tired he laid on the ground weakly. His painting had been completed in a single seating.

Zheng Jiawei walked over, about to pass Wu Hai some warm water. But when his gaze landed on the newly completed painting, he blanked out.

The painting was very beautiful.

What attracted Zheng Jiawei the most when he first laid eyes on the painting were the stepped fields, the blue sky, and the beautiful landscape. Every single line drawn by Wu Hai was as smooth as the breeze rustling on the grassland, creating a perfectly harmonious wave of green.

The more he looked at the painting, the prettier it looked. It was not the landscape that was beautiful, but the old farmer on the field that was beautiful. The bland colors used for his simple attire and the spring water flowing down the mountain made one feel as if one could hear the sound of the flowing spring water from the painting itself.

This was the beauty of honest hard work.

Zheng Jiawei had been Wu Hai's manager for quite a while. He had attended many art exhibitions and had seen many legendary and famous paintings. But paintings this beautiful were very, very, rare.

"What is the name of this painting?" Zheng Jiawei asked, forgetting that he was here to give Wu Hai some water.

"This Is Life," Wu Hai answered weakly, slumped on the tree roots.

What a weird name. Was he trying to say that living in such a beautiful place was how life should best be lived?

Based on Zheng Jiawei's understanding of Wu Hai, that was definitely not the case. Compared to beautiful scenery, Wu Hai much preferred good food. The only way that could be his reason for this name was if Yuan Zhou was kidnapped and brought here.

Zheng Jiawei continued studying the painting and suddenly, he felt like a lightning bolt struck him once he noticed one particular aspect of the painting.

"It's not hard work, its tiring work," Zheng Jiawei said.

Many paintings featuring farmers would depict the farmer hard at work. Although hard work and tiring work had only a one-word difference, the meaning behind it was entirely different.

If one carefully looked at this painting, one would find that the farmer was doing tiring work. Wu Hai was very good in the details of the painting. The farmer's hair was in disarray like a field of withered grass, while his expression was dark, as if he was bearing the weight of a mountain on his back. The simple clothing he wore was, in fact, cheap and old clothing, and if one only looked at this old farmer alone, the only thought one would have was the saying: "Who knows of the tiring journey of work that had been traversed by every single grain of rice on this bowl?"

The old man was doing a tiring work at an exceptionally beautiful location. Both of these were the opposite of each other, yet were perfectly joined by Wu Hai in a single painting. If one did not study the painting properly, one wouldn't even notice the actual meaning of it.

What was life? Regardless of how beautiful the environment was, it could not be a substitute for a meal. That was life. An environment might be beautiful for a tourist, but for those residing in the mountain village, a bountiful harvest was much more important than a beautiful environment.

"The praise for nature, the solace of the mountain villagers," Zheng Jiawei lamented. Then, he evaluated, "Ah Hai, this is your best painting ever since you have arrived here."

"To be precise, in your over 20 years of painting career, this is one of your best paintings." Based on Zheng Jiawei's professional opinion, the value of this painting was definitely not lower than the People Passing By a Small Restaurant painting. One ought to know that that was a painting that was being offered high prices by tycoons, setting a new price record for modern paintings in the country.

Of course, People Passing By a Small Restaurant was still being hung in Yuan Zhou's restaurant.