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73 A Stressed Out Fourth Miss

    Yujia spent the rest of the day thinking of plans, finding herself disappointed when she couldn't come up with any good ones at all. Some of them were decent ideas, but the fact that she had to earn an amount as insurmountable as five-hundred taels just ruined most of them.

    When night came and Yujia laid down on her bed, she found herself unable to fall asleep from the ever-growing concern of how she was going to be able to complete her goal.

    It almost seemed impossible now, a terrifying thought that Yujia wanted to dismiss but just couldn't. Doubt clung onto her every thought, a constant warning echoing back to her.

    Somehow, she managed to fall asleep, but when she woke up in the morning, she looked terrible, frankly.

    Looking in the mirror while Hui'er combed her hair for her, Yujia noticed that all the color she was used to seeing in her skin vanished, and faint dark circles emerged under her eyes. She even had a slight cough, causing her to feel a little breathless, which concerned Yujia a little considering that all of this came from having a slightly below average but still decent amount of sleep.

    Hui'er noticed her cough and said, "Miss, you might be coughing because today's morning is a bit chilly. The... past Fourth Miss always had a coughing problem whenever the weather changed." She set the comb down and headed towards a small cabinet to Yujia's left, pulling out a vial of pills. "She always used this medicine. Perhaps taking one would help?"

    Yujia took the vial from her and shook a pill out of it. So that was part of the reason for why these conditions started showing up in her. After all, Yujia still inherited the body of the Fourth Miss. She originally assumed in the start that the poor health that the Fourth Miss used to have just magically disappeared, but in retrospect, that was a stupid assumption to make, just like many of the other ignorant decisions she took in the past.

    In fact, she was rather lucky that her poor health only started catching up with her now. From now on, besides her more important tasks, she also needed to focus on caring for her body too. Self-care would be essential to ensure her success in this world.

    Yujia placed the pill in her mouth and swallowed it dry. It was rather small, so no water was necessary. Hui'er resumed combing her hair, and Yujia's difficulty breathing slowly became better when she found that her breathing went back to normal a few minutes afterwards.

    Even though this problem seemed to be temporarily solved, Yujia couldn't help but feel even more upset. First, it was trying to think of a solution to her dilemma of earing money. Now, it was sickness and medical conditions bothering her.

    There were just too many things to be concerned about. Stress was really getting to her.

    ...

    Xiaoyi arrived soon enough, bringing her own art supplies with her this time. She set them down on the table and explained, "Big sister, I didn't want to waste any of your supplies, so I brought my own!"

    Looking at the stacks of paper and ink, Yujia nodded. "I appreciate the sentiment, but you don't have too much. Keep these for when you're working by yourself. I have plenty of supplies, and I can teach you on scrap paper too." She gestured to the other end of the table, where Hui'er already set out a lot of the supplies.

    "Oh, okay." Xiaoyi agreed and gestured for her maid to take the supplies away. She then turned her head to look at the supplies Yujia already had, curiously picking up one of the boxes on the table. "I saw this yesterday and didn't know what it was, but I forgot to ask," she said while tilting the box in her hands, "What is it, big sister?"

    With a small laugh, Yujia reached over and opened the box, showing her the pencils that were in it. She didn't expect to introduce them to Xiaoyi so soon, but she gussed that now would be a good time too.  "These are... I suppose... my invention of a sort. I call them 'pencils'. You can draw with them like this, see?"

    Yujia took out one of the pencils and drew a small squiggle on the paper in front of her. A glint of interest flashed in Xiaoyi's eyes while she took one of the pencils out too, testing it out with amaze on the paper.

    "This- you can draw with it so easily!" She exclaimed, carefully examining the pencil.

    Proudly, Yujia sat a little straighter. "That's what I wanted when I created it. Drawing with brush and ink gets a little boring at times."

    She stood up and found a few of her pencil sketches that she practiced with, showing it to Xiaoyi and eliciting more amazement from her younger sister.

    "How is that possible? How does it work?" Xiaoyi ran her fingers across the portrait of Hui'er, her lips parting in awe, "I've- never really seen anything like this before!" She looked at the flowers that Yujia also sketched, then at the self-portrait, holding it up to compare the person in the portrait and her older sister. "You could sell this 'pencil' and make so much money off of it! It would revolutionize painting and art!"

    Yujia's eyebrows flew up. Upon hearing Xiaoyi's words, it was as if all sorts of new potential was revealed to her. She originally made the pencils with the sole intention of making something that she could draw with something that she was familiar with in this new world.

    But now, with Xiaoyi mentioning that she could sell pencils, it was as if new light was shone on the entire idea of her "invention".

    Selling pencils! How did she not think of that before? If she put enough effort into selling it, her pencils could potentially become one of the most popular art supplies of the century. She just needed some funds which she could accquire through selling her generic mountain paintings to create pencils that were more visually appealing. Her current pencils were a little bit... crude, if one were to describe them.

    Ah- this was by far the best idea that Yujia had come across! She would definitely spend a little more time smoothing out the idea and figuring out what conflicts she would face, but currently it seemed like the best solution she could take.

    Giving a grateful smile to Xiaoyi, Yujia clasped her hands and said, "Little sister, you have helped me out so much with that statement. Thank you."

    Xiaoyi nodded slowly, a little bit taken aback with the sudden grateful attitude Yujia held towards her. "Are you going to start selling the pencils?" she asked.

    "Possibly," Yujia confirmed, then after a few more moments of letting Xiaoyi experiment with the pencils, she moved on to talking and demonstrating a fading ink technique to create a mountain range with drifting fog, which Xiaoyi learned eagerly.

    Towards the end of the lesson, Yujia was still excited with the idea of profiting off her pencils, but then, she suddenly remembered what she promised Hui'er with asking Xiaoyi about the past. When Xiaoyi finished with creating a faded mountain range, Yujia set her elbow on the table and leaned against her hand, asking the question that was on her mind.

    "So, little sister, this might be a sudden question, but why is that you ignored my existence until two years ago?"
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