Yujia glared at the three men in the alley. Sunlight from above was caught among the shadows of the walls boxing them in, but a few strands of the light escaped and glinted off her eyes which were shining with fury.
No wonder the thief worked so fast! He must've had accomplices, with one of them distracting her by snatching her coins while the other grabbed at the package in her other hand. As for the third person… she expected him to be some sort of mastermind of the plan who arranged for them to all meet here once the goods were stolen.
She looked at the three, noticing that the one she held by the collar of his clothes looked the most rugged, while the one standing in the very back of the alley and mostly concealed by the shadows appeared to be dressed in simple dark clothes.
The remaining person, a man— or boy, judging by the fact that he didn't look too much older than everyone around— was the person she currently faced. Lavishly dressed in comparison to the rest of them, the boy wore light colored robes, and a wine red cape lined with fur draped over his shoulders to keep him warm from the early spring weather. His ears were pierced, a small bit of gold embedded into each one. The thread that lined the edges of his robes were also gold, glowing in the sunlight.
Ah. With his extravagant appearance, he must be the one that was in charge of everything.
With her glare turning to focus on him, she declares, "I didn't know that the thief had accomplices."
He looks at her, his lips parting a bit in disbelief. The thief's accomplice? Him? He was Fu Yushang, the empire's one and only cr—
Yushang decides that now was not the time to bring up his great and almighty status. Instead, he flashes the girl a charming smile. "Miss, I think you've confused people like him," he gestures to the thief behind her, "with me. You see here, I am not the thief's accomplice. In fact, I was the one who captured him. He was the one who stole these things— oh, are these yours?— and I merely confronted him about it. Just now, I was ready to turn him into the officials as well."
The thief's jaw dropped as he stared at the other in disbelief. A few seconds ago, he was going on about doing good deeds by letting the thief go, but now that a pretty girl turns up, the attitude of this man seemed to change completely!
Yujia, meanwhile, casts the seemingly rich boy a judgemental glance. "Don't even try to lie to me. A few seconds ago, I even saw you letting that thief go after taking the things that I," she emphasizes her tone on the "I", then continues after a brief pause, "spent my precious money on and bought. If you weren't the thief's accomplice, then why would you do that?"
God, people and their excuses. Couldn't they think of a better one?
She notices that the boy winces a little. The smile on his face drops and he scowls, turning to the other man who was standing behind him. "Si Shen, go ahead and be my witness. I confronted the thief, didn't I?'
The man in the shadows— or Si Shen— steps forward, replying quietly. "Yes."
Yujia sighs. "It doesn't work like that. Clearly, he is personally involved with you. How can he be the witness, then, if his statements could be, and definitely are, biased?"
Si Shen looks a bit confused. The rich boy, on the other hand, continues to scowl, pointing to himself. "Do you even know who I am? How dare you doubt my words?"
"No, I don't know who you are." With a scoff, Yujia gives him an exasperated look. "What, are you Jesus Christ or something? Why do I have to believe in every word you say? It's not like gold spills out of your mouth when you speak or something."
People were just so arrogant in this time period…
While she rants, multiple thoughts spin around in Yushang's mind. Who was this 'Jesus Christ' person she was speaking of? All his life, people were always speaking with a respectful manner to him, no matter what he was doing. Even if at the moment, he was not in the palace where he held superior power, it was still rare to meet a girl with such a disrespectful attitude as her!
This girl better wait until he gets back to the palace. He will use his power as the crown pr—
Yushang's thoughts are once again interrupted when the girl steps closer. Out of pure reflexes, he takes a step back.
"So, I've never met someone who was as shameless as you." Yujia fumes at him angrily. She takes a step closer, and he takes a step back.
She steps forward again. "How often is it that you catch someone red-handed yet they still have the face to tell you they're completely innocent?" He takes a step back.
Once more, she moves closer. "You, sir, have no conscience. Shouldn't even thieves have a sort of moral conduct? Right now, you're just stealing from girls like me in the marketplace, but next, who are you going to be stealing from? Families struck in poverty? Women gone homeless when their husbands are dead? Will you stoop so low that you'll even steal a stray dog's hard-earned meal? Where is your sense of remorse and guilt?"
While she moves closer, Yushang is forced to take numerous steps back until he is right next to Si Shen, who seemed as baffled as he was. How were the words of this girl so powerful that both of them were so stunned that they couldn't think of words to retort back with? Although Si Shen was supposed to be his personal bodyguard and was never shaken up by the most violent of things, at this moment, standing next to him, Yushang notices an awe-struck look on his face.
Was his personal bodyguard so amazed by this girl's words that he didn't even bother to try defending his master, the person he was supposed to protect, at all?
As Yushang continues to hold anger towards his bodyguard, Si Shen was quietly admiring the fact that this girl had such a strong skill of making his master wordless. He always figured that since his young master grew up surrounded by luxury and flattery, his ego was a little too inflated, so it was a good idea that he received such a scolding from this girl.
Si Shen's eyes met with the girl, and she turns her glare onto him. Not wanting her to transfer her anger onto him, he looks at her and gestures to Yushang, who was next to him, then giving the girl an encouraging nod. He hoped that his silent message transferred over— 'I'm not involved, but keep going with berating that man over there. He deserves it.'
Although the girl seemed to understand his thoughts, she still keeps her eyes on Si Shen. "Don't think that you can get out of this easily too just because rich kid over here irritates me. Since you three are all equally involved," she casts Si Shen another glare, roughly grabbing her bag of art supplies out of his hands, "you will all come with me to be judged at the court."
Si Shen looks at her with a pleading gaze. He was definitely not involved in this! His young master just wanted to let go of the thief, but he never had any word in it!
Fu Yushang looks at her with a grimace. He was definitely not involved in this! He didn't ever say to the thief that it was alright to steal from young girls, and he was definitely not the thief's accomplice either!
The thief looks at her with tears almost springing into his eyes. He was definitely involved in this, but he just wanted to get some extra money on his hands. He didn't know that the entire situation would spin into some strange circle of misunderstandings like this!
Seeing all of them look at her with terror, Yujia gives all of them a sweet and triumphant smile. She didn't think that a girl like her would cause much damage with words alone, so she had to go psychological and exploit the guilt in all of their hearts. Otherwise, why would these three men who would definitely be physically stronger than her even become slightly nervous by her words?
The more she speaks, the more fun she has with looking at the expressions on their face morph into different variations of each other.
"What do you all think the punishment is for thievery?" she hums, keeping the smile threaded on her lips. "I'm not good with law, but don't they chop off your hands for that? Whichever hand stole the things… chop chop!"