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40 The Fourth Miss Begins Her Persuasion

    "Right." Straightening herself a little, Yujia figured that it would be better to adapt the personality of the actual Fourth Miss since that seemed to command a little more respect and confidence. "As I said before, I am the 'Old Master' of this maid. This was simply the title I told her to tell others just so people didn't judge my artwork by my age or gender."

    The young man gave her a long stare. Yujia figured that he was definitely doubting his choice of paying the amount of taels he gave for the painting.

    "But," he spoke up, "you're- you're- you can't be older than twenty years?"

    Yujia sighed. "Precisely. I'm eighteen, if you want the specifics."

    "How can that be...?" The young man looked down and muttered to himself. Then, after a few moments, he stood up, shaking his head. "I'm sorry. If this is the case, then I guess I really have to cancel it."

    He reached into the navy blue sleeves of his robe, pulling out a single silver tael and placing it on the table. "I apologize for taking up your time. Here- have this tael- and I'll be going now."

    With that, he turned around and made motions to leave. A servant that seemed to be following behind him turned around too.

    Despite the fact that on the outside, Yujia appeared to be calm and collected, she was panicking on the inside. This couldn't be the case. She was so close to getting those eight-five taels... if she let the perfect opportunity slip out of her hands, how would she feel about herself in the future?

    "People like you disgust me."

    That was the sentence that Yujia settled on saying. It would be her last hook- if she couldn't catch the attention of the young man who was walking away, then everything would be hopeless.

    However, like she predicted, the five simplistic words worked.

    Slowly, the young man turned his head around, walking back to the table. Quietly, he asked, "What did you say?"

    Yujia raised her eyebrows, repeating, "I said that people like you disgust me. It's people like you who only see value in age and gender, who believe that just because I'm a young female, I can't do anything that old, pathetic men can do, that disgust me. So what if I'm not the person you expected that I would be? You still bought my painting for some reason, and at that time, I suppose you weren't thinking of who the painter was, were you?"

    Her voice was gentle, but her words were anything but.

    The young man looked at her wordlessly. Hui'er gave a nervous tug on Yujia's sleeve, as if she was reminding her to not anger the other. But now that Yujia was already starting on her speech, she didn't feel like stopping either.

    "If in the past, you saw my painting as a work of art, how does it change in value now that you know who I am? Is this really how you judge people?  Is the value of a person determined by their wealth, their appearance, and their age?" Yujia sighed once more, folding her hands on the table. "If that is the case, then I suppose you should just leave. I have no need to do business with disgusting, biased individuals like you."

    Her miniature speech that she gave was something she came up with at the spur of the moment because she guessed that the young man was the type who would respond more to something like that if he had the wealth to pay so much for her paintings, but at the same time, they weren't completely words that she didn't believe in her own heart.

    Back in her old world, selling art was a struggle precisely because of the reasons she listed above. No one wanted to buy art from a freshly graduated, young artist like her. They didn't particularly care about what the art was, but who was painting it.

    If one of those incredibly famous artists drew a single line across a paper and sold it for millions, people would throw their money at it wholeheartedly, but if Yujia spent weeks working on a single painting, making sure that every stroke of her brush was flawless, she would gain nearly nothing for her work.

    In her old world, it was all about connections. If you did not have previous connections or fame to your name, you were nothing in the vast sea of people just like you. That was just the world that she lived in, and now, looking at it, Yujia realized that although the time period may have changed, the world and the people in it were still the same.

    Yujia pressed her lips in a thin line and looked up, seeing that the young man was still standing at the table in front of her. "Why are you still here?" she asked.

    The young man opened his lips. "Because- because- I'm sorry about what I said before. It was unintended." He wrung his hands together. "If you are still willing... can we talk about the commission again?"

    A small, sly smile appeared on Yujia's face.

    Her plan worked.
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