30 The Crown Prince Finds Something Familiar

    Fu Yushang was in the marketplace again, avoiding his responsibilities. He enjoyed coming to this place, where there were less rules and regulations and he could act however he wished. It was so much more freedom than in the palace.

    Si Shen was by his side, following dutifully behind. Since Yushang had gone through a few more scrolls earlier, after he returned from what happened at some certain spring with some certain girl, Si Shen didn't complain much- not that Si Shen ever complained more than two sentences at a time- when Yushang said that he wanted to take a break and go out.

    As he walked from stall to stall, a glimmer of maroon fabric threaded with gold caught his eye, and he froze, turning to look at what it was. Maroon was his favorite color, and perhaps he could find a treasure in this sort of marketplace.

    Instantly, upon seeing what it was, Yushang coughed.

    The flash of dark red that he saw was none other than the fabric that made up of some certain fur cloak he gave to some certain girl that morning. He remembered and recognized it immediately. During winter and early spring weather, fur cloaks were his favorite because of the inner fur lining that was always warming. He had specially ordered for the palace's sewing branch to create three cloaks for him, two wine red and one other navy blue, to wear during the season. Besides, how could he not recognize the clothes he wore just a few hours before?

    Yushang looked up at the vendor who ran the stall, a questioning look on his face.

    "Where did you get this-" he patted the cloak neatly folded at the front of the display section "- from?"

    "Oh, this young master certainly has a good eyesight!" The vendor running the stall, a middle-aged woman gave him a wink and picked the cloak up, unfolding it to show him the true quality of the cloak. "A young girl dropped by just an hour ago and sold it to me."

    A young girl? Could it be- her? Did that girl seriously bring his cloak out on to the marketplace to sell it and get some extra taels? How greedy could she be?

    Yushang raised his eyebrows. "How old did that girl look? Eighteen? Nineteen?"

    The woman shook her head. "No, no. She was only about fifteen. Quite short, and not too well dressed, but decent enough." She paused, then continued with speculation. "Why? It couldn't be that you were the original owner of the cloak, right?"

    Yushang grimaced. Of course he was. But based on what the woman provided about the girl, it couldn't have been who he was thinking of. She must've sent someone to sell the cloak for her. Still, he reached over, grabbing onto the cloak in the woman's hands. "Yes, I am the original owner. Now, give that to me."

    The woman gave him a look of horror. "No, no, no. I cannot just let you do that! How am I supposed to know that you are the original owner? And even if you were, I bought the cloak with my own money, so it is mine now. Unless you want to buy it from me, you cannot have it. And besides- just look at the quality. There is quality fur inside the cloak too. Plus this embroidery work- it's almost good enough to be from the imperial palace! It took me a fortune to buy it. Why would I just give it to you?"

    Groaning with frustration, Yushang was growing increasingly tired at this woman speaking. She did make logical sense, but still- would he really have to pay for his own cloak?

    Yushang turned to Si Shen, who had an amused look on his face. Ignoring the slight smirk, Yushang reached out his hand. "Got any taels on you?"

    "Only gold."

    Gold taels? Gold taels were worth much more than silver taels. It could be compared to around the point where one hundred silver taels were equivalent to one gold tael.

    By all means, Yushang was not about to pay a hundred silver taels just to get his own cloak back, when he could order the seamstresses to make it for him for free.

    So, Yushang gave the woman a shrug, patted Si Shen's shoulder as a gesture for the other to follow along, and began to walk away. He would not pay for the cloak. They would be insane of him to expect him to do that.

    However, after only a few steps of walking, Yushang's firm resolution dissolved, and quickly, he headed back to the stall with the woman and his cloak. Swiftly, he grabbed a satchel of taels from Si Shen's side, pulled out a golden tael, and threw it at the woman, who was looking at it with wide, unbelieving eyes. Then, he took the cloak and left the stall, his mind cursing him with every step he took.

    He could not believe that he just did what he just did.

    Though, while everything told him that the cloak, as wonderful as it was, was not worth a golden tael, another part of himself tried to soothe him with the logic that it would be uncomfortable to imagine someone else wearing his cloaks that were so personal to him.

    With the two opinions in his mind battling, he walked on and attempted to hide his frustration from Si Shen, which he knew that he was absolutely failing at since the other looked so amused. Si Shen was only ever amused when Yushang was frustrated. He knew it. He hated Si Shen for being this way.

    Yushang hated Si Shen for laughing at his misery. Yushang hated himself for spending a whole gold tael on retrieving his cloak. Yushang hated the vendor-woman who would not just give him his own cloak back. Yushang hated that girl for selling the cloak he graciously allowed her to wear to protect her own decency.

    Why was the world so frustrating?

    If Yushang ever saw the girl again, he promised that this time, he would truly give the girl a piece of his mind.
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