69 A Struggle of the Fourth Miss To Think of Excuses

    Six months? She had to wait six months before she could sell art?

    She didn't know about that, but now that she did, Lingxin Pavilion just lost all of its value in her eyes. She didn't have six months to earn five-hundred taels. She had one.

    For a long moment, Yujia pondered if there really was any benefit in registering herself as the identity of Yu Ziyang into Lingxin. She didn't think that she needed to learn any more. If she wanted to know more about painting, she would just have some more casual discussion with the art vendors on the streets. She didn't have time to attend any art classes either. Staying at Lingxin was only more of a risk if people began to wonder if she was a female.

    Meanwhile, Ye Yunhe already moved onto the name registering and induction process, seeing that there were no more questions.

    Yu Zixu was at the front of the line. He stepped forward first, greeting Ye Yunhe and the other three middle aged men calmly. Ye Yunhe responded with, "Brother Yu, it's good to see you here. Seems that I convinced you to join, didn't I?"

    "I suppose you could word it like that," he replied while recording his name down on the paper lying on the table, "but I think it's more of a matter that my father wants me to make good connections."

    "Ah, so it's like that," Ye Yunhe said, a slight chuckle in his voice.

    And next, once Yu Zixu finished, Yujia found herself, standing second in line, walking up to record her name.

    It was as if all the panic from a few hours ago with Yu Zixu came back to her. She wasn't sure if she was even allowed to back out of this academy-acceptance matter in the first place. What would everyone in the pavilion think of her then? What if they forced her to sign up for the academy?

    Yet besides all the questions going through her mind, Yujia took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down.

    She had to bring up the fact that she didn't want to enter the school. It didn't matter what other people thought about her. She wasn't the one gaining unpopularity anyways; it was the innocent Yu Ziyang. Quitting was at least better than risking the potential of people finding out her true identity and losing her opportunity of buying her way out of a marriage with an old man.

    Yujia put a forced smile on her face while she bowed to Ye Yunhe. He expected her after the bow to put her name down, but instead, she kept her hands clasped.

    "I'm sorry, but I think I don't want to enter Lingxin anymore," she stated, masking all the previous fretting from her expression and voice.

    Once she said this, Ye Yunhe's brows tightened. The others in the room began murmuring. Was Yu Ziyang crazy? Why would he not want to enter Lingxin, the most prestigious academy for painting? Who would give up such an amazing chance after going through all the struggles to enter the academy in the first place?

    "Why?" Ye Yunhe frowned, taken aback, "Or, no- what's your name?"

    "Yu Ziyang," Yujia answered, noticing that the three middle-aged men behind the table suddenly looking at her with a sharp gaze, "and I just don't think that I deserve to enter Lingxin. I- I don't even know what the six principles of painting are. I really don't deserve to enter."

    Alright. That was a decent response. Yujia somewhat applauded herself. Now, she sounded much more humble than before.

    Upon hearing her name, Ye Yunhe went to look at the scores behind him. First, he noticed that this Yu Ziyang was the younger brother of his good acquaintance, Yu Zixu. Second, he noticed that this was one of the people with the surname of Yu that his master told him to watch out for. And third, he noticed that Yu Ziyang certainly did score very low in the first two exams, but he was first in the last exam!

    A puzzled expression crossing his face, he looked at the three middle-aged men, the ones that were the graders for the exam, behind him. How did they grade this person? Why was his results so out of the ordinary?

    The three scorers gave him an apologetic look, as if saying that they would explain to him later.

    Ye Yunhe turned back around. "It's alright if you don't know these basics. You can learn them here." Since he scored so high in the last round, there must be a reason for that, and making him stay at Lingxin was a safer choice.

    Yujia winced. She thought that her excuse was good enough- why would anyone let someone who didn't know the basics of painting enter Lingxin Pavilion?- but she supposed that this Ye Yunhe was really too gracious.

    "No-" she continued on, fumbling for excuses. "I really don't deserve to stay. I'm a greedy, horrible person with terrible morals- letting me learn at Lingxin would be hurting the prestige of the school-"

    She was usually so good with coming up for excuses, so why was she suddenly unable to come up with one reasonable one? Yujia wanted to tear her hair out after hearing how bad the things she was saying sounded.

    "So, all in all, I don't deserve to be at this school, and I will remove myself for the sake of the school and all the students here!" Yujia declared.

    She gave one last embarrassed look at everyone who were all judging her with mixed expression. Yu Zixu looked like he was about to laugh out of disbelief. Ye Yunhe stared at her with so much confusion. The three middle-aged men present were all glaring at her.

    Her hands clenched by her side, Yujia didn't feel like she was supposed to stay here for any longer. She spun back around and went around the two rows of students, walking out of the pavilion and heading towards the exit of the academy.
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