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15 Who Dares to Steal From the Fourth Miss?

    Yujia was back to walking down the streets while her other hand held a fabric bag carrying the art supplies she just bought. Surprisingly, the vendor she bought from earlier had materials on him, and all he had to do was to drill a few holes into the premade brush molds. It only took an hour or so for him to finish, and Yujia could wait that long. She didn't have anything else to do.

    He also didn't want to bargain much with her. Hui'er also seemed very reluctant to see her bargaining, so Yujia ended up paying the full ten taels. Maybe it was a bad deal, or maybe it was a good deal. Yujia didn't know. She needed to find a way to learn how much monetary value a tael was worth sooner or later.

    Now, the pencil molds were inside the bag of supplies with all the other materials she bought, but the graphite Yujia needed would not be here until tomorrow, where Yujia planned to go and pick them up immediately. For now, all she could do was to either browse a little more to find anything she wanted to do with her silver or to return home.

    \"It's late in the afternoon, isn't it, Hui'er?\" Absentmindedly, Yujia spoke while walking forward at a leisurely pace.

    \"Yes, Miss. In fact, it's nearing the evening.\"

    Yujia couldn't believe that only a little more than half a day has passed since she transmigrated into this world. She was already getting so much things accomplished! She was proud of herself and her productive talent that she didn't seem to have back in her world.

    Thinking about it, Yujia suddenly straightened herself, turning sharply to look at Hui'er while stopping in her steps. \"Hui'er!\"

    The younger girl looked bewildered. \"Miss, is something wrong?\"

    \"We haven't had lunch!\" Yujia bit her bottom lip. All she had this morning was hangover soup, and she was very, very hungry. \"I was so caught up with making my pencils and everything that I forgot about it. We must go to eat lunch, Hui'er. Do you know any good places?\"

    \"It's a little late for lunch, Miss.\" Hui'er laughed awkwardly. \"But don't you remember Auntie's pastries you liked to go to? It's just down the street. We can buy some of those.\"

    Without a moment of hesitation, Yujia agreed. \"Sounds good.\" The two continued to walk.

    Yujia's guard was down, not the slightest bit defensive. Everything was perfect today. Her success in all the tasks she chose to take on put her in a good mood.

    Yet something- a flurry of movement- caught Yujia's eyes. Her reflexes took over, and in the next moment, her hand flew up to the satchel of taels that she had tucked at the fold of fabric near her chest while her head whipped backward to look at who had caused the rapid movement. It was a young man wearing an extremely suspicious hat that shaded half of his face. His clothes were dirty and torn, and his entire appearance was very disheveled.

    Instantly, one word appeared in Yujia's thoughts.

    Thief.

    The eyes of the thief met with hers for a brief moment, except in the next, he was gone into the crowd, just a shadow of a blur.

    Exhaling deeply, Yujia took the satchel of taels out and held it tightly, feeling the secure weight of it in her hands. Good thing she decided to put it somewhere more secure after purchasing the art supplies; otherwise, someone else would be enjoying her hard-earned eighteen taels today.

    \"Didn't let the thief snatch this way, did I?\" Yujia smiled, showing the satchel to Hui'er. She tucked it back in and looked at Hui'er, noticing that the girl's eyebrows were knitted together as she stared downwards. Yujia paused, asking, \"Hui'er, what's wrong?\"

    Did the thief really just scare Hui'er to the point where she was staring blankly at nothing? No way, right?

    With a shaking finger, Hui'er pointed at Yujia's left hand. \"M-miss...!\"

    \"What?\" Yujia looked down at her empty hand. \"Is there something wrong?\"

    Then, realization came to her.

    In her moment of making sure the taels at her chest were safe, she entirely forgot about the bag of art supplies she bought from the vendor. Her precious bag that was worth a whole seventeen silver taels, filled with her hope and desire to bring pencils to the world...

    ... gone! All of it!

    The thief must've taken it from her hand while she was preoccupied with checking her taels. Why were these thieves so creative? How could they think of such a ridiculous- yet effective- method?

    Her cherished, beloved paintbrushes! And ink! And paper! And most of all, her pencil molds!

    Yujia thought she was so intelligent, so talented... but all along, all she was being was an arrogant fool! She should've heeded Hui'er's warnings. If only she was better at taking advice, at taking criticism, at just simply being a more cautious person...

    Yujia wanted to cry.

    Instead, she chose to do the more sensible way of exerting her frustration and anger. Raising her voice, Yujia yelled loudly into the crowd of people.

    \"Thief!\" She pointed at the direction the thief headed, shouting, \"Catch that thief!\"

    Yujia didn't wait for Hui'er to respond or for own mind to formulate a more logical response. Quickly she patted her maid's shoulders, giving an assuring smile. \"Hui'er, I'll be back soon.\"

    And then, she ran after the one who dared to steal her art supplies.
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