still a living, breathing person instead of a statue.
Thus, even though she only just met Luowei, Yujia already had a decent impression of her face from observing it up close. She was confident that she could finish her portrait smoothly without Luowei modeling for her.
It was close to noon when Yujia completed the most that she needed to do. The portrait was halfway completed with all the basic shading to show the elevation of Luowei's features.
When Yujia set her pencil down, leaning back from the table, Zhiyuan walked over, noticing her movement. He leaned over the uncompleted drawing, a puzzled look appearing on his face.
Yujia took note of his expression and hastily explained, "It's not completed yet. That's why it looks like that."
"Ah." Zhiyuan stood straighter. "Well then, it's almost time for lunch. Will you be interested in staying over for lunch, Miss Yang, then continuing after that?"
Yujia shook her head and began to roll up her portrait. "No need. I still have some matters I need to attend to, and it isn't necessary for Miss Zhou to continue modelling for me. I can finish the portrait in my own time."
Zhiyuan nodded thoughtfully. "That sounds good. Thank you."
"No— thank you," Yujia responded, "If you didn't let me have a chance to practice with the lovely Miss Zhou, then I wouldn't know how well my pencils truly worked."
And, there was also the fact that he was paying for all the money she would use to attempt to buy her way out of her marriage. He was her number one buyer— and her only buyer.
Yujia didn't mention that though.
With that, Yujia picked up the rest of her supplies, handed them to Hui'er, and bowed a few more times towards the two of them. After that, she turned around and swiftly left the room.
It wasn't just the fact that she didn't want to inconvenience Zhou Luowei by making her model for a few more hours to finish her drawing. Yujia also didn't want to raise any suspicions in the Yang Household. If she was gone for just the morning, she could give an explanation that she was browsing the markets and having fun. If she was out for the whole day, that would raise suspicions that she wouldn't be able to formulate any excuses for.
That was why she needed to return as quickly as possible before anyone noticed her absence. She thought about that last night and realized that avoiding suspicions would be the best way.
In her haste to go home and being deep in ideas of possible scenarios that she may face when she returned home, Yujia kept her head down, not upwards. This was clearly a mistake, for a few moments later, she felt a jolting sensation of someone bumping into her.
This made Yujia look up, to see that the person she bumped into halted in his steps, looking at her. When she stared back at the face of the person who she bumped into, only one name rose up in her head.
Wu Hao— that was the name of her old high school classmate. Her old crush.
There was no mistake that this person was Wu Hao. Their faces were exact copies. His eyes, his nose, his lips, and even his eyebrows looked the same as the Wu Hao she knew.
In her muddled mind, Yujia recalled the last time she saw him. It was during the reunion that occured the night she drank paint and transmigrated.
He was clearly from the modern world. So, how was it possible that he was here now? It was too good of a coincidence for her to meet someone who shared the same face of someone she used to know, someone she used to admire and fawn and dream over. Could it be… could it be that he transmigrated over as well?
Seeing him here was almost emotional to Yujia. They never had that deep of a relationship, but here he was, someone who she knew from her previous life, the only familiar thing she had in this whole new world. How could she not be emotional about it?
Hesitatingly, Yujia opened her lips, his name tumbling off of her tongue in a faint whisper. "Wu… Hao?"
The man only looked at her strangely, his eyes looking at her with a foreign gaze.
It was that moment that Yujia came to the understanding that the young man in front of her was not Wu Hao.
The Wu Hao she knew was much colder, his voice strong and certain, and while this person had a steady voice as well, his voice held warmer tones.
Yujia looked down in embarrassment, bowing deeply as she did so. "My bad. I mistook you for… someone else."
After saying that, she shut her eyes tightly and walked past him, her emotions more confused than ever. How could there be someone who looked so much like the man she used to know in this world?
To her side, Hui'er asked with a confused tone, "Miss, are you alright?"
Yujia gave a silent nod. "I'm fine. He just— really did look like someone I used to know."
Yu Zixu was slightly puzzled by the girl he just ran across. It was odd to see a girl like that walking out of Zhiyuan's courtyard in the first place— Zhiyuan didn't associate himself with too many girls after finding Luowei— but her confusing actions were what distracted him a little.
She called out a peculiar name— Wu Hao— after seeing him, mistaking him for someone else, but it wasn't really that part that bothered Zixu a little. It was the fact that the rest of her features were covered so that he only had a clear view of her eyes, and in her eyes, he witnessed deep emotions surfacing. They were emotions of such nostalgia and sentiment that made him truly curious.
He didn't even know the girl, but he was curious about this "Wu Hao" she called out. He must have been someone that meant a lot to her.
Zixu put the thought of that girl to the side when he walked into Zhiyuan's room, seeing his friend and Luowei together, calmly chatting. There was clear love between the two of them, with the shared affectionate gaze they gave each other.
When Zixu neared them, Zhiyuan noticed his presence and grinned. "Zixu! What wind blows you over to come and visit me today?"
"Is it wrong for me to visit you?" Zixu smiled lightly. He then turned to Luowei, bowing politely and acknowledging her presence. "Miss Zhou."
Zhiyuan struck up a conversation between the three of them, asking Zixu how his father was with the newest import of salt he bought from a new area. Zixu answered, and while the conversation went on, he looked over at the unfinished calligraphy that Zhiyuan had not finished.
Zhiyuan was always good at calligraphy, something that Zixu was not as talented in, so it was always enlightening to look at his newest works. His eyes then flitted towards the brush that laid on its rest, and next to it, an odd little stick that had a black sharpened point.
Zixu picked it up without thinking much, turning it around in his hands. The stick was mostly undecorated except for some odd etchings to the side that looked like a strange loop with a straight line and another line with two loops lying vertically on it.
"What's this?" he asked.
When Zhiyuan saw what he was holding, his eyes instantly widened. "Oh no."
Luowei looked over, seeing the pencil. Quietly, she responded, "Isn't that Miss Yang's?"
Zhiyuan agreed, "Yes, that's her's. I borrowed it from her while she was over here, and I forgot to return it. I hope it's not too important, since I can always give it back to her the next time she drops off her commission."
Zixu set the pencil down on the table. "I bumped into a girl when I came over here. I suppose that's her?"
"Yes. I had her over for just a quick commission. Her works are very nice, Zixu. It's really stunning for her age. And I talked about purchasing her painting before, don't you remember?"
To prove his point, Zhiyuan stood up and led Zixu over to the front of his room, pointing at two of the paintings hanging on the wall. One was of a delicate scenery composed of mountains and a pavillion, and the other was a scene of two lifelike roosters.
Zixu had to admit that the art looked decent. The style wasn't similar to that of other famous painters, being something that he had never seen before, but they were good pieces overall.
"Who was it again? Was it Miss Yang?"
Zhiyuan nodded, making Zixu ponder for a few seconds.
He only knew of one Yang family in the capital— the family of a small merchant who his father was on good terms with. He did not know much about the exact details of their relationship, but it seemed like the history between the two were long since the Yu family treated the Yangs so well.
In fact, the connections between the two families were so well that there were two marriages planned out between them. Zixu didn't know the name of the illegitimate Fourth Miss who his father planned to take in as a concubine, but he did know of the Fifth Miss, Yang Xiaoyi, who he was engaged to.
Zixu never met Yang Xiaoyi in person before, but he had definitely heard of her. Despite the lack of wealth behind her name, Yang Xiaoyi apparently was skilled in the four arts: the zither, Go, calligraphy, and painting. That made his father decide that Xiaoyi would make a good wife for him, telling him that she was fond of painting too, and that meant that their interests would match up.
With that thought in mind, Zixu looked back at the two paintings on the wall, observing them carefully. Was it possible that the painter— Miss Yang— who Zhiyuan bought from, was the Yang Xiaoyi that he was engaged to?
He considered asking Zhiyuan for further information, but there was no need. The engagement was only set a week ago, so the matter was not public yet to outsiders of the two families. When the time was right, Zixu could just tell his friend then.
Zixu focused on the two roosters on one of the paintings. A light smile appeared on his lips.
The morning slowly passed by with Yujia sketching away, focusing on getting the essential parts finished. Zhou Luowei was a good model. Hui'er was alright at it too, but Luowei was just more still. She sat without moving a single centimeter, only blinking once in a while to prove that she was