She didn't know what to expect anymore. Many things that she never expected happened, leaving her completely clueless.
Though, she did see quite a bit of potential in getting the old man as her master. If she was his disciple, then she could potentially get the ability to sell art in the Lingxin marketplace, which would save her a lot of worry. This meant that life was going to be easy again, and earning five-hundred taels within a month wouldn't be a big deal anymore. She could live without stress again.
But what if something unexpected happened again and ruined her plans once more?
Yujia was back in deep thought again, going through the festival without making a word. Behind her, Hui'er tugged on her sleeve again, asking, "Miss, are you okay?"
"I just have a lot of thoughts," Yujia sighed, looking up and forcing a smile on her face.
She didn't know why, but she suddenly had a very distinct sense of worry, as if something bad was going to happen soon. It didn't make sense to her, especially when things were going so well with her money-earning Only one or two things that she didn't expect to happen happened, so why couldn't she shake off this feeling of dread?
A stall of exquisite jade trinkets caught her eye, drawing her attention away from her inner thoughts. There were many things displayed in the stall, all made from green jade and ranging from necklaces, bracelets, pendants, to little statues and figurines. She hadn't seen anything like this that looked like high quality in the festival yet, so seeing something like this caught her attention.
Along with Hui'er, she walked to the stall and let Hui'er pick out something that she would buy for her. Meanwhile, Yujia picked out a present for Xiaoyi, as a gift since she missed the festival tonight. A simplistic and classic necklace of woven string and a circular piece of jade shaped like a coin seemed the most fitting as a gift since Yujia wanted to draw from tradition. Hui'er picked out an equally elegant jade bracelet, similar to the one Yujia wore today, but likely cheaper since the quality of jade didn't seem as good.
She paid a total of six taels for the two pieces of jewelry, which was somewhat pricey, but understandable since jade was such a precious stone. Besides, Hui'er seemed ecstatic about her new bracelet, and the shining smile on her maid's face and her continuous words of gratitude were worth spending the six taels.
Now, along with the three taels she spent on art supplies and the single tael she converted to copper coins, all the taels she had on her were completely used up except for six or so spare coins.
Prepared to go home, Yujia looked towards the distance in the crowd and caught a familiar flash of wine red.
She knew that color very well.
A little too well.
Hurriedly, she grabbed Hui'er, who was happily admiring her jade bracelet, and took a sharp turn to the side, where there was a vendor selling masks suiting the theme of the festival. Was this person the reason why she had been so worried? It must've been her intuition giving her a warning that he would appear again. But then, why was she worried about him? She had nothing to fear about him. It would only be a little awkward to run into him again.
Except… what else would explain this sense of worry that wasn't going away?
Hui'er looked up from her bracelet, asking with a confused tone, "Miss, what's wrong? You… want to buy a mask?"
Yujia turned to look at the girl. Hui'er never saw that person before, and Yujia never told her about it either, so of course she wouldn't understand. "I just… saw someone I wanted to avoid. I think he might spot me if we walked further ahead, so let's just buy some masks to prevent him from recognizing me."
Though, with six copper coins, could she even afford a mask?
Hui'er didn't ask much about it. She glanced at the masks hanging on a rack, then picked out a simple one with a face of blushing cheeks and painted lips, handing it to Yujia.
"How's this one, Miss?"
Yujia shook her head and waved one of her hands. "If I were to choose, that one is too suitable for those typical young misses. I think this one is much more interesting."
She picked out a mask with a face of pure rage painted on it with vivid red paint the color of blood. Black paint elongated the sides of her eyes and drew in details like her eyebrows as well. Most importantly, the mouth that was drawn on the mask— one that was curled in a very deep frown— spoke to Yujia on a spiritual level.
"Good pick, Miss," Hui'er giggled a bit upon seeing the mask. She put the mask she suggested back on the rack while Yujia fished in her satchel for a few copper coins to see if she had enough to pay the vendor.
"Do you think it suits me well?" Yujia asked in a joking manner, her body turned to Hui'er.
A voice traveled in from her right side. "I think it suits you very well."
Yujia flinched. She recognized and anticipated this voice.
When she turned to look at him and the wine red color she saw on him a few moments ago, she frowned. In return, he gave her a very bright smile. "So we meet again, Miss Yang."
Miss Yang? How did he know her surname? As far as she remembered, she didn't tell this investor who rejected her product in the morning her name. Could it be that he was really the younger brother of Bo Zhiyuan like he claimed to be, so he asked the other about her?
It turned out that Yujia absolutely failed in avoiding him by trying to buy a disguise at this stall. How did he even recognize her figure from so far away? She was even wearing different clothes than usual.
"Why are you here?" Or, more importantly, Yujia wanted to ask, why did they just keep running into each other? It was almost to the point where it was annoying.
"Maybe it's just fate. We must be fated together if we keep running into each other despite being strangers, don't you think?" The boy continued smiling.
He was being awfully suspicious. As far as Yujia remembered, all her interactions with this boy were either composed of him scowling, giving her a confused look, or rejecting her offers. There was never a moment where he was smiling so intensely like this for such a long period of time, completely unfazed by what she was saying.
Yujia thought back to this morning, where she was trying to convince him to go get a cup of tea with her so that she could propose her product for him to invest in her invention. At that time, she was treating him with the exact same brilliant smile.
This was a smile that she knew. It was a smile that said, "I want something for you, so I will treat you with kindness."
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Exhaling deeply, Yujia flicked her gaze up, her expression unchanging from its original flat look. "Alright, you can be honest here. What do you want from me?"
Yu Zixu was exploring the festival with Ye Yunhe.
If he was to be completely honest, him and Yunhe were only on good terms when things like art were involved. He didn't know Yunhe well enough to just interact for the sake of pure entertainment, though he wasn't sure if that was the same on Yunhe's side. Someone like Bo Zhiyuan, an actual friend of his, would be much better to go through the festival with. However, Zhiyuan wanted to go with Zhou Luowei to see the fireworks since he thought that was "romantic", so here Zixu was: stuck with Ye Yunhe.
As he walked down the streets with Yunhe, having a conversation he could honestly care less about, he noticed a familiar face standing at a stall of masks. She was dressed in peach colored robes embroidered with lotuses, and a bland, somewhat frustrated look reflected off her face while she said something to a young man, dressed in a wine red cloak, who was standing across from her.
Yunhe, noticing that he was staring off to the side, followed his gaze over and asked, "Why are you looking over there? Do you know that girl?"
For a second, Zixu debated if he was going to tell Yunhe about the fact that the girl he was looking at right now was the exact same person who impersonated Yu Ziyang, but he chose not to.
Yunhe previously talked about how frustrated he was with that person who pretended to be the Second Young Master of the Yu family because of the fact that in the second part of the exam, "he" critiqued Yunhe's work and said it was "worth less than a blank sheet of paper" because of its "lack of emotion". When he took the response and showed his master, his master only laughed and said that what "Yu Ziyang" wrote had truth to it, which made Yunhe even more furious that his art was belittled like that.
If Zixu told Yunhe that the girl he was looking at was the person who wrote such insults to his art, then surely Yunhe would start a ruckus which Zixu wasn't hoping for. At this point, he was tired of all the crowd, loud music, and talking to Yunhe. He just wanted to get home for peace and quiet, as well as finishing up one of his paintings that he had been working on for a while.
So, Zixu shook his head and smiled, replying lightly, "I wasn't looking at her. I was just observing the masks that the vendor was selling. I thought they looked good, but on a second thought, there's another vendor a few steps away with better ones. Why don't we both buy a mask there?"
Yunhe nodded. "Sounds good."
The two walked on. Zixu passed by the girl without a single word, and she didn't notice his presence either, continuing on with her conversation with the young man across from her.
A few moments later, Yujia left the Lingxin marketplace with a potential new master and investor.