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210 The Artist’s Courtyard’s Truth

    Yujia wondered if she should run into her master's courtyard first thing in the morning, or if she should wait until the afternoon. By now, she knew his sleep schedule well. To see him awake at any hour before noon would be an enormous surprise.

    She was just too anticipating.

    Because of this anticipation, right after dressing herself and eating breakfast, Yujia decided to run over to his courtyard. Even if he wasn't awake, she would just wait outside. She wanted to get the answer as soon as possible.

    Perhaps it was because she had so many questions and so little answers all this time. There were so many mysteries. To know that she could finally clear one off her plate was a bit of a relief.

    So, grabbing all of her sketches and rolling them up to form one scroll, Yujia hurried over.

    To her surprise, her master was actually awake.

    The old man sat at a stone table similar to the one Yujia had in her courtyard. A jug of wine and two cups sat at the table. This puzzled Yujia a bit. Usually, when her master drank, he drank with one cup, or directly out of the jug. It didn't make sense for why he had two... unless he was treating her to a cup?

    He didn't notice her right away when she arrived at the opening arch to his courtyard. She stared at him for a moment, observing this man that she called \"master\".

    It felt like he was older today, possibly due to the grim expression on his face.

    Gone was his usual carefree laugh, or the loopy smile he wore sometimes after drinking a little too much. Now, he had one elbow propped up on the stone table. His head leaned on his hand, causing his body to shift into a slouch. His gaze peered in the distance, at nothing but blankness.

    He reached over for the jug of wine. That was when he noticed Yujia standing. Lethargically, he waved her over.

    Yujia went by his side, taking a seat.

    He filled the cup by his side full, then glanced over at her. The first words he spoke were, \"You want a cup?\"

    \"What kind of wine?\" Yujia asked back.

    \"I made it myself. Plum Blossom Wine.\"

    At this name, Yujia blinked in surprise. Just a while back, she was drinking wine made from plum blossoms with Yu Zixu. She paid a good thirty taels for it, but from her memory, the wine was just that good. It was worth every tael.

    She was curious what the wine that her master made himself tasted like. She nodded, and her master poured a full cup for her too.

    Yujia took a careful sip. While before, the wine she drank was more smooth, rich, and sweet, this drink was more fragrant. It still held the smooth and sweet qualities, but this wine felt lighter. It made the drink a refreshing one, rather than one that made her drowsy or forgetful. There was also a bit of sourness in the wine, but this sour taste balanced out the sweet taste, making it barely noticeable. In fact, it enhanced the taste by adding a bit more depth to the wine.

    It was, without a doubt, good wine.

    Yujia voiced her thoughts to her master. He replied with a soft smile, \"She was the one who taught me how to make this wine.\"

    \"She?\"

    \"My wife.\" He sighed, holding out the jug in front of him. \"Plum Blossom Wine was one of her inventions.\"

    Yujia thought back to the person she bought her first Plum Blossom Wine from. She said, \"I've seen other people sell it before though.\"

    Her master didn't seem too surprised. \"Yes. A lot of her inventions were spread out to the public.\" He drank his cup completely, then turned to face Yujia completely. \"You're here today to hear the story, aren't you?\"

    \"Yes!\"

    Taking her scroll of papers, Yujia unrolled it on the table. One by one, she explained her plum blossom studies to her master- which seemed awfully appropriate, since he had a jug of Plum Blossom Wine at the side. He listened attentively, pointing out things along her sketches and paintings in areas that she could improve, or areas that she did well in.

    Finally, he tested her on the Six Principles, which Yujia was able to proudly recite without any hesitation.

    At this, he poured both of them another cup of wine, nodding appreciatively. \"I see that you've been working hard, kid.\"

    \"I'm happy to hear Master's acknowledgement,\" Yujia responded with a smile.

    \"So, you want the true story behind your courtyard?\"

    \"That's what I'm here for, yes.\"

    \"Alright then.\" He sighed again, this time a deeper sigh as if he was truly tired- not just from waking up early, but also from the idea of telling her the story. \"Since I promised you, I suppose it would be wrong of me to go back on my words.\"

    Yujia put on an encouraging smile. This was what she worked all week for

    Her master's fingers tapped the table. Thinking for a moment, he finally began with, \"Your courtyard belonged to my late wife.\"

    Pressing her lips together, Yujia wasn't too taken aback. She did speculate something of that sort. Based on the things she saw in the courtyard, it did seem like it used to belong to a female.

    This truth didn't come as much as a surprise to her.

    \"And...\" her master continued, \"she came from the future.\"

    Yujia blinked.

    She blinked again, this time staring at her master with wide eyes and raised eyebrows.

    This truth, in contrast with the other one, did come as a bit of a surprise to her.

    When Yujia was sketching and painting those plum blossoms, she did think about the background of her yard quite a bit. She even entertained herself with the idea that the previous owner was a transmigrator, like her. This seemed a little silly, though, so Yujia didn't treat the idea too seriously.

    But to hear these silly theories confirmed by her master...

    The entire theory seemed much more realistic now.

    Perhaps it wasn't as silly as she thought of it at the time. There definitely was the possibility of his wife being a transmigrator like Yujia. If Yujia could transmigrate, why did she think that she was the only one who could? It wasn't like she was anything special.

    \"Do you believe me?\" her master asked, after allowing a moment of silence between them.

    \"I do,\" Yujia affirmed. \"Please continue.\"

    Her excitement only increased tenfold after hearing this truth and giving it some thought. If his wife was a transmigrator, then perhaps this story would reveal more to Yujia than just a simple backstory behind a courtyard. Maybe she could find out exactly how the transmigration process worked. Maybe she could finally decide if it was science or supernatural elements controlling these events. And maybe she could learn a little more about herself too, along the way.

    Yujia sat back, and listened attentively.
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