31 More Pencils and the Fourth Miss

Quite frankly speaking, Yujia was disappointed.

Firstly, the experimental pencil took longer to dry than she expected, so she had to wait until the next morning to see how it was. Yet when she woke up that morning, she found that it barely made a mark. The lead in the center was too light. It needed more pigment. Much, much more pigment.

Secondly, Hui'er apparently couldn't find clay in the marketplace, so she returned, for the most part, empty handed. This was certainly out of Yujia's expectations. She planned to send the girl back to the marketplace first thing in the morning to go search some more. Yujia would not be able to make pencils without a clay base.

Thirdly, and finally, Yujia was disappointed because the tailor was coming around again for robe-fitting, and Yujia didn't like the terrifying thought that the deadline for her marriage was coming up soon although she only transmigrated into this world two days ago.

Perhaps the only thing that Yujia was truly happy about was the fact that Hui'er didn't return completely empty handed yesterday, since she did manage to sell the cloak that Yujia gave her to some merchant for twenty silver taels. Now, instead of eighteen taels in her hand, Yujia had thirty-eight, considerably better of a fortune. The cloak the rich kid gave her turned out to be much higher in quality than she expected, resulting in the price.

Yujia sighed a bit as she mixed the last of the clay mixture she had with the rest of her graphite pigment. Considering how terrible the pencil she had last time was, she would've needed to include so much more graphite. To speed up the time that it took for the pencil core to harden, Yujia also decreased the amount of water she added into the paste. After all that, she picked up another pencil mold and filled the center in.

It was a learning process. Yujia was certain to fail a couple of times before she got the result she wanted. With that encouraging thought in mind, she didn't feel as bad about the pencil as she had before.

Seeing that her Fourth Miss was finished with what she was doing, Hui'er stepped up and asked, "Miss, the tailor should be coming soon."

Yujia nodded. "I know. Should I do anything to prepare?"

"No. As long as you remember who you're supposed to be."

Yujia nodded again. "I'll make sure that I am the most perfect Fourth Miss you'll ever see." She gave Hui'er a little smile. "Then, Hui'er, can you help me clean up a little? I suppose the Fourth Miss would look neater than how she does here."

Of course, Hui'er agreed and retrieved a small bronze mirror as well as a thin box holding a wooden comb and a simplistic silver hairpin. While Yujia cleaned her fingers and nails from the excess clay mixture that clung to her hands, Hui'er set the mirror down in front of Yujia and combed her hair.

It was relaxing, almost, to have someone do these things for her. Yujia liked the feeling of having someone like Hui'er to rely on.

The single window in Yujia's room was propped open to allow more air circulation so that the pencil molds dried faster. A relaxing spring breeze traveled into the room, carrying the sing-song voices of birds and the rustling of the leaves along with it. Hui'er, while she went through Yujia's long hair, hummed a small tune.

Despite the occasional times that Yujia was stressed over, moments like these made Yujia decide that transmigrating here was not a bad twist of fate. Life was simple, calm, and Yujia was happy.

Finally, after a few minutes or so, Hui'er's humming stopped, and Yujia could feel Hui'er's hands leaving her hair. She stepped back a little. Yujia looked into the mirror, seeing that Hui'er was finished. The front strands of her hair were neatly combed back and threaded through by the silver hairpin while the rest of Yujia's hair ran down her back. It was a plain hairstyle, but Yujia thought that it suited her well. It finished the look of the Fourth Miss.

Hui'er's voice was light as she spoke, repeating the same phrase she spoke of before. "The tailor should be coming soon."
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