104 Meetings and Conventions For the Fourth Miss

    Dinner ended soon, and Yujia went back to her courtyard to sleep, all of her thoughts occupied by the many events and revelations that had happened this day.

    The next morning, when she woke up, after speedily getting ready, she rushed to go meet Zhizhong before the

    hour of Chen


    even came. He did say that he generally liked to arrive a little earlier to things, so she arrived at their meeting destination ten minutes earlier, hoping that he was there so she didn't have to be too late to the painting convention.

    To her relief, she saw him taking a seat down at one of the front tables of the inn right when she entered through the doors, meaning that they arrived at around the same time. When Zhizhong saw her, he grinned, getting up and bowing.

    "Miss Yang, you're early."

    "You're early too," she hastily replied back, sitting down while putting down the few papers she worked on the past few days. "I'm supposed to get to a painting convention in a few minutes, so hopefully we can talk less today, if there's not too much to discuss?'

    Zhizhong shuffled through the sketches she showed him, a nod of appreciation coming as he looked at each one. Then, he poured both of them a cup of tea and said, "Sure. You're a pretty busy person."

    "I just have a lot of things I want to accomplish, and not much time to do all of them."

    "Well, I guess highlights of what we need to discuss today is that I've settled the spot of where our store will be located. Right in front of Lingxin Pavilion. I believe you may have heard of that- it's an art academy." Yujia nodded to his words, and he went on, "I had to convince and negotiate with a lot of people to clear the land out, but now we have a good place for a shop. Most artists will notice it when it's built."

    "That's good." A spot right in front of Lingxin was the most ideal. She didn't expect Zhizhong to come up with that, but since he did, then it was even better.

    "I also found the artisans who will create the pencils for us." He pulled out the page with a pencil diagram sketch that Yujia created along with the sample sketches. "So, can I take this paper with me to show them exactly what needs to be made?"

    "Yes. Of course. How many artisans did you contact?"

    He answered, "Only one, but he said that they would get ten or so more people to be making the pencils for us so that we'll have a stock soon."

    Yujia pursed her lips. She just thought of the issue that the more people that knew about her invention and how to create it, the likelier her design might be stolen. It was inevitable once pencils became a big thing for other people to try to figure out how to make it, but she wanted the advantage of being completely unique to the market from the very start. If one of those artisans who were creating the pencils for her leaked the design, then...

    "How can we trust them to not steal the design?" she asked, "Are there any laws that prevent that?"

    Zhizhong thought for a second. "No, not really." He saw the shift on Yujia's face, then quickly added, "Don't worry too much about this. This pr- I mean, this young master has his own ways of making sure the design is not stolen."

    "And that is?" Yujia continued, a little unconvinced.

    He scratched his neck, glancing down and looking a little uncomfortable as he told her, "You know... stuff like bribery... and threats..." His eyes looked up and his words sped up as he made sure to emphasize, "I'm not the kind of person to really like using these things though! Don't misunderstand. I'm just suggesting those things since you said you were afraid that they would take your invention."

    So he was concerned with the honor behind his name. It seemed like making himself seem like a decent person meant a lot to Zhizhong.

    Yujia smiled. "I know. You don't have to explain yourself in the matter. I'm sure you're not that kind of person."

    "That's good." He let out a relieved sigh. "I wouldn't want to be mixed up with those young masters who just boast around with their wealth and pressure people with that."

    "Me either," she joked, and both of them laughed.

    They discussed a few more things for a couple more minutes, and then, Yujia decided it was a good time to leave for the convention. They talked for around fifteen minutes now, and the distance between the inn Yujia was at and Lingxin had to be at least a ten minute walk. This meant that Yujia would be fifteen minutes late to the convention, but she hoped that it was an excusable amount of tardiness. It couldn't be that bad, right?

    Swiftly bidding farewell and parting with Zhizhong, Yujia rushed down the streets in the direction of Lingxin, praying that when she got there, there wouldn't be any problems. Even though she tried to convince herself that being a few minutes late wasn't going to make it the end of the world, she still hated the feeling of being late to something.

    Things were only worse when she arrived at Lingxin and found that the academy was already full of students and other people discussing. Yujia turned to the direction of the Ice Lily Pavilion, straightening her hair and robes as she attempted to make herself look more presentable and less of a hurry when she arrived there.

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    Before she even entered the pavilion, she could hear many people discussing in there already. It seemed like they already had a good conversation going on amongst themselves, so it was even more awkward when Yujia stepped inside the pavilion and cut off all conversation. She stopped at the entrance to bow at everyone, then scanned her eyes across the crowd.

    There were many unfamiliar faces staring back at her, but she did recognize a few people out of all the young masters and students. Sitting right at the front of the pavilion was Yunhe, while a few seats to his left was both Yu Zixu and Bo Zhiyuan. Her eyes met with each of theirs. Yunhe's expression seemed to silently read,

    "Being late to this is the biggest mistake of your life"

    , while Yu Zixu simply smiled and nodded back. Bo Zhiyuan looked at her with a completely puzzled expression, as if he couldn't understand what she was doing here. She didn't know why he was here either- was he accompanying Zixu?

    Yujia silently scurried to Yunhe's side. There were no empty seats, so she could only stand. "Senior Brother," she quietly muttered, unsure of how she was supposed to acknowledge everyone else.

    "Senior Brother?" Yunhe didn't even say anything when another person, dressed in orange and white robes and looking not much more than twenty years, asked in a sharp tone. "Noble Ye, when did you have a little junior sister like her?"

    Someone else dressed in dark teal chimed in, "And much less someone coming in so late."

    So late? Yujia only arrived a little later than ten minutes. What did they mean by "so late"?

    She looked down at Yunhe for answers, and he responded while biting the inside of the cheek, "Junior Sister, I may have messed up on the schedule. This year, they started the convention half an hour earlier than usual, and I forgot about it when I told you yesterday. I hope you can forgive me for that."


    It started half an hour earlier? Half an hour earlier?

    No wonder everyone was so absorbed in their conversations already! Yujia arrived more than forty minutes late to this event!

    Upon knowing exactly how late she was too this, Yujia could feel the awkwardness of the entire situation multiplying exponentially, discomfort rising up in the atmosphere of the room.

    What was she supposed to say now? Even if she explained to them that she had the schedule miscommunicated to her, surely their first impressions of her weren't exactly positive now.

    7:00 AM
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