No. Her master couldn't be pairing Ye Yunhe with Yu Zixu. He was delighted with the fact that Zixu was paying a visit to her, not Yunhe. Plus, he had asked her all of these questions, like how she felt about Yu Zixu. He didn't ask Yunhe that, so surely, he wasn't trying to pair her two senior brothers together, right?
Her master coughed, breaking her train of thought. He gestured his head at Yunhe, then declared, "What about you, then, brat? How do you feel about your Junior Brother Zixu?"
Yunhe replied something vague as well about Zixu's talent in art, but Yujia didn't really bother paying attention. She was more focused on the idea that her master was now asking the exact same questions he asked her earlier about Zixu.
So… Yunhe had an equal chance of being a potential pair with Zixu?
She supported Yunhe. She really, truly supported this senior brother of hers, regardless of who he liked or who he would end up with. He was like an older brother to her.
So why was she so bothered, now, with the idea of her senior brother ending up with Yu Zixu, someone who she only recently started calling a friend?
It had to be because she didn't see Zixu and Yunhe having personalities which would match in that way. It had to be that.
Yujia thought about it some more. No matter how she tried to make sense of it all, it still didn't feel like her master was trying to matchmake Yunhe and Zixu. Maybe he was asking Yunhe these questions so that Yunhe could flatter and make Zixu seem like such a desirable person. And this way, Yujia would feel more inclined as well…
Well, it really wasn't a good idea that her master was trying to pair Zixu up with either of them. Yujia settled on that idea. Yu Zixu, despite the fact that he was unmarried, probably had someone out there that he was interested in as well. Although her master was the founder of Lingxin and an honored elder, it didn't seem likely that his matchmaking attempts could do anything, right?
Seeing her blank expression, Yujia's master coughed again.
"Kid. didn't the brat over here say that Noble Yu was waiting for you? If you're done eating, you should go meet him," he suggested.
Yujia stood up at this. "I should," she agreed with a nod.
Bowing quickly to her master and senior brother, Yujia left the courtyard, deep in thought.
She really didn't like the idea of some love triangle. She also really didn't like the fact that she was so concerned over a few words from her master. But still, she couldn't help but feel like her master was planning something, and this was a feeling that she couldn't easily shake off.
What exactly was this old man trying to do?
Ye Yunhe stared at his master.
"Okay. She's gone now. Tell me, Master, what's all this about?" he blurted out.
The old man in front of him smiled without saying anything, suddenly having extreme interest in the bowl of congee in front of him. "You know," he babbled, "there is an art to making a good porridge. The rice and water ratio must be just perfect— absolutely perfect— for the texture to be so silky, and the fulfilling factor so high."
"Don't try to divert the topic," Yunhe continued straightforwardly, "Besides, do you seriously think that I have interest in talking about congee?"
The smile on his master's face dropped. "Who said that I was changing the topic, brat?"
Yunhe, choosing to ignore his master's disagreement and obvious attempt at diverting the topic, went on, "Are you trying to set my junior sister up with Yu Zixu?"
"Why not?" His master dropped the entire 'let's talk about congee!' act, and didn't try to change the topic anymore. "Your Junior Sister comes from a merchant family background, and now that she is a Lingxin disciple, she has that backing her. Yu Zixu is also from a merchant background, and his family is one of the top in the city. Their backgrounds are excellent, and society won't say anything about it. Yu Zixu, that kid, is also interesting. Polite, good with his words, and he treats my disciple well— what else can an old man like me ask from him?"
"So you're really trying to pair them up?"
His master waved his hands, then grumbled, "I tried to find you a good wife, and you never let me. Let this old man play matchmaker once in his lifetime, alright? I want to see a happy relationship bloom in at least one of my disciples."
"It's not like Junior Sister Yujia and I are the only disciples you have. What about… say the Emperor? Did you forget about this disciple of yours? He has plenty of… relationships, would you not say that he is happy?" Yunhe retorted.
His master smirked at this. "Foolish brat, do you seriously think that relationships in the palace are ever happy ones?"
He thought about the Fu Yushang he saw a few days ago, the apparent crown prince who he had mistaken for a scammer. He had chasen the prince around the yard with a scroll back then, not knowing his true identity, until Fu Yushang couldn't take it anymore and revealed it.
Yunhe might be somewhat dense in these matters. But when he thought about it, this crown prince's attitude towards his junior sister didn't seem as simple as the prince claimed either.
"Relationships in the palace are never happy ones?" Yunhe mused, "So, you would be against Junior Sister going into the palace?"
"Of course. Besides, that kid never will." His master smiled again. "I know what kind of person she is. She wouldn't want to be drawn in all these political schemes." He paused, sighing deeply. "I want her to live a happy life, like I said before. And to have that, she must have a happy relationship. Don't you think Yu Zixu is quite a worthy candidate?"
Yunhe tried to recall his last impression of Yu Zixu. Truthfully, with Zixu being one of his friends, his entire impression of Zixu was all very positive.
He admitted that seeing his junior sister with Zixu wouldn't be a bad sight at all.
"Wait but first—" Yunhe quickly added in, "how do you know that Junior Sister even likes Yu Zixu? Are you really going to force her if she doesn't?"
"No, obviously not."
Yunhe sat straighter. "Then, I think that you should just leave them be. From what I know of Junior Brother Zixu's personality, it's not all too compatible with Junior Sister's. And with all the words you said today, I'm afraid she'll overthink things. She does that, sometimes."
"You think so?" The eyebrows of his master raised. "I, on the other hand, think those two will be good together. Even if I make her overthink, that's not necessarily a bad thing. And…" He stared back at his porridge. "Sometimes, even if two personalities are distinctly different, they won't be all that bad together. Back to the congee I spoke of. Rice and water are two very different things— but if you place both in the same pot, then some flames underneath it, you will find the two making a very nice pot of porridge soon enough. They combine better than you expect. And I, in this scenario, am the flames."
This was a ridiculous analogy— comparing people to rice, water, and flames— and it seemed like his master knew as well. He laughed shortly after hearing Yunhe's laugh, though his laughter was soon cut off by a spurt of coughs.
"Master, are you alright?" Yunhe quickly jumped to ask.
"Yes, fine as ever," the old man responded, "I'm just getting old with age. Been having some coughs lately, but they are not a big deal. The physician who came by yesterday said so."
"Are you taking your medicine?"
"You think I'm the type to not take my medicine?" His master rolled his eyes. "I'm old, but I'm not senile and dumb. I know how to take care of myself, if out of anything I learned over the past few decades." He then looked off to the distance. "Well, all this talking is making me tired. You have your own things to do as well, right? Leave this old man alone— I need to get some rest."
"Alright then, Master," Yunhe pushed his chair back, then bowed. "Hope you rest well."
Yujia came upon Zixu in the Half Moon Pavilion, just like Yunhe described earlier.
He was sitting in the shade, lazily looking out from the pavilion rails. A slice of sunlight shone across his face, casting light on the half not covered by the shade.
Yujia recalled the Zixu she knew from last night, the one under the moonlight with his angled features and dark eyes. The Zixu she saw now, under a glimmer of the sunlight, was different.
He looked warmer, less melancholic, though his gaze was still drowsy. His eyes were fixed on the nature surrounding the pavilion, capturing the smallest breeze amongst the grasses or a slight rustle of the leaves from the creatures of nature. Zixu seemed captivated by it all, as if this was all a painting, and he was one of the people, frozen within it.
But when he heard her footsteps, he turned around, tilting his head when he saw her, expression light.