"Master wants to see you."
That was what Yujia heard upon stepping foot into Lingxin and running into her senior brother. She nodded at Yunhe, then made a turn for her master's courtyard.
It seemed like Yunhe was her master's errand boy, considering how many times he had sent Yunhe to fetch her. While Yujia walked to his courtyard, she wondered what her master needed. He always wanted to see her for some reason, be it art-related or just to have her company.
This time, however, it seemed like he just wanted to tell her something. "I left a nice paintbrush in the pavilion," he mused when she walked in, "you should go fetch it for me."
"Lingxin Pavilion?" Yujia asked for clarification, then added on, "Why can't you send a servant?"
"Kid, why can't you just listen?" he sighed with deep disappointment. "I've never come across a disciple as unruly as you are."
"Alright, alright, I'll go," Yujia relented, shaking her head with a grin.
She should've realized that her master was up to no good when he wanted her to fetch a paintbrush. She should've questioned it some more, truly considering if he would really send Yunhe to call her over just to get her to run a simple errand.
The issue was: she didn't question it.
So, when she walked up to Lingxin Pavilion, seeing Yu Zixu in there, Yujia wanted to smack herself.
She should've known better.
Zixu spotted her the moment she appeared. She had no choice but to walk up into the pavilion, a nervous smile on her face. Except, thinking that she had wanted to see Zixu as well, her smile relaxed. This was a good opportunity.
She spoke up first, getting to the point without any pretending, "Senior Brother, did my master pull some sort of trick again?"
He gave her a grin. "I came into the school and ran into your master by accident. He insisted that I stay in this pavilion until he sent someone to see me. Are you the one that he was speaking of?"
"I suppose so." She leaned back against the railing of the pavilion. "He asked me to fetch a paintbrush that he misplaced here."
"There seem to be no paintbrushes in sight." Zixu glanced around the empty pavilion. "On another note, though, how did things go?" He leaned forward.
Yujia exhaled. This is what she wanted to see him for, to talk to someone in depth about the events that had happened. "It went well, for the most part. I solved the mystery. Though, I wouldn't be here if I didn't solve it," she laughed.
"I do believe that you promised me an answer if I helped you with the mystery, no?" Zixu brought up, eyebrows raised slightly in amusement.
"Indeed," she nodded. Then, she went on to explain the events that had happened from getting knocked out by the thieves and escaping their den to sneaking into the Yang Villa with Yunhe's identity. She didn't bring up A'Yan and Lianye— that part was something she felt like she shouldn't discuss.
After hearing her explanation, Zixu pointed out, "No wonder you were dressed as a man again."
"Based on your genius deduction skills, I'm sure you already developed a vague idea of why I was dressed like such whenever I walked into the pavilion," Yujia said, to which Zixu replied with a small smile.
"Thank you for the story," he said after a moment of silence, "albeit the fact that it ended up being a tragedy."
"Well, what matters is that I now know the truth," Yujia acknowledged.
Zixu nodded in agreement, then responded, "Your story reminded me." He pulled out a pendant from his sleeve— a rectangular, white jade pendant that Yujia may or may not have been in the possession of until she returned it back to him. "This is yours."
Yujia stared at the pendant for a moment, saying, "I gave it back to you, though."
"I recall that we made a transaction, where you gave me taels in exchange for the pendant. You said that those were your 'hard-earned funds'. How can I take the pendant back again?"
"I didn't feel right to keep it. If you feel uncomfortable that I gave you those taels for nothing, treat it as a gift, then, Senior Brother."
"Ah." Zixu bowed slightly, extending out his hands with the pendant to hand it to her. Then, he looked up, echoing her words. "Treat this as a gift, then, Junior Sister." And then, the corners of his lips twitched upwards, as if he couldn't hold back his smile.
Yujia was wordless. She stared at the pendant in his palms, and seeing that he was unwilling to rise until she accepted the pendant, she grudgingly reached forward and took it. "Fine, fine," she murmured.
"If you would like, you can sell it," Zixu suggested.
Raising the pendant up, she observed the white jade, glittering in the sunlight. "I don't think I will. It's pretty." The beauty of the pendant brought a soft smile to her lips.
"Alright then. Whatever pleases you," he hummed.
The two chatted for a few more moments, and then, it was time to depart. Zixu had a business meeting to attend, and Yujia wanted to change out of her disguise. As lovely as the idea of chatting for the rest of the day was, it was merely a lovely idea and not reality.
Yu Zixu walked out of Lingxin with a soft smile, yet the moment he exited, the smile dropped.
This was not realistic. He knew that it wasn't. He was merely indulging himself with the idea that it could be, even if only for a brief, passing moment. How much longer could he continue to have carefree conversations with her like what happened today? It was a dream, slipping away, second by second.
He went to that meeting alongside his father, wearing the charming smile again while his thoughts were anything but joyous.
At the end of the meeting, returning to the deeper courtyards in the Yu Villa, his father pulled him to the side for a discussion about marriage, yet again. He was old enough. It was about time for him to find a wife. There were a few young misses in a few other families that would make a good match.
Zixu only silently nodded, avoiding any specific discussion by dismissing the topic with another "let's discuss this later."
Walking back to his courtyard, he thought of her, and the side view of her face as she held the pendant up to the sunlight, observing it.
A future with her would be impossible. Perhaps it would be better to bury these emotions and move on. It would be easier that way.
Shen Li was by his side, waiting patiently for any orders. Zixu glanced over, expression blank.
"Go over to the Bo Villa and ask Bo Zhiyuan if he's in the mood to have a drink," Zixu said.
Then, he sat down behind his desk and leaned the side of his face against his hand, sighing.
i promise i have good things planned ;u; no worries
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