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111 A Matchmaker Fourth Miss

    Yujia's original plan was to take Xiaoyi to see Lingxin Pavilion, but because she wasn't sure if it was allowed for her to let Xiaoyi step into the actual sacred pavilion, she decided to just let Xiaoyi watch from afar.

    Right after arriving at a decent spot where Xiaoyi could see the pavilion in its full view, Yujia saw Yunhe coming towards them from another path.

    Smiling and bowing at him, Yujia called out, "Senior Brother!"

    Yunhe walked up to them, bowing back politely. "Junior Sister. You're back so quickly. And... who is this behind you?"

    Yujia looked at Yunhe for a few moments, then decided that he was trustworthy. He understood the importance of reputation, and she could trust him, making her honest with her answer. "This is my younger sister. She wanted to see Lingxin, so I took her here secretly. I hope that doesn't conflict with Senior Brother in any way."

    Xiaoyi glanced at Yujia nervously, then folded her hands and greeted Yunhe wordlessly.

    Yunhe clasped his hands and saluted her back. "It's nice to meet you, Miss Yang. I'm Ye Yunhe, your older sister's senior brother."

    "Ah, so it's Noble Ye." Xiaoyi gave him a brief smile and nodded.

    Yujia found the exchange of greetings between the two amusing. Compared to her normal behavior, Xiaoyi was so much more shy, befitting of her identity as a young miss. Yunhe, on the other hand, was completely normal.

    To let the flow of the conversation continue, Yujia told Yunhe, "I was showing my younger sister around Lingxin, but I didn't know if it was proper or not to let her step in the actual pavilion. We were just going to watch it from afar."

    "Oh. There is a rule that only direct disciples and the masters can enter the pavilion, as well as Lingxin's students that are guests of those disciples. But, since no one is around right now, I think we can make an exception to this." Yunhe gestured ahead to the pavilion and said, "Miss Yang, if you would like to, you may enter the pavilion to see what it's like."

    "Really?" Xiaoyi flushed red and stepped a little closer to Yujia.

    Truthfully, Yujia didn't see what was so special about the pavilion. It might have been the namesake of the school, but after that shock factor wore out, Lingxin Pavilion was just a normal pavilion. It was even a little smaller than the Half Moon Pavilion.

    She admitted that the first time she heard that the background behind the pavilion, she was a bit stunned and in awe as well, but it didn't feel that special anymore. It was almost as if she remembered that even though the Emperor once learned how to paint in this pavilion, the Emperor was just another human with a bunch of supporters. The blood that flowed inside of him was still human blood, despite all the claims that he was the son of dragons and the heavens, so Lingxin Pavilion seemed to lose its sacred factor to her.

    Nevertheless, Yujia would still choose to respect the traditions of the place. That was why she didn't bring Xiaoyi into the pavilion immediately.

    Now that Xiaoyi could go on with permission from Yunhe, Yujia just found it entertaining to watch her flustered experience as she stepped onto the pavilion for the first time.

    Most of everything about the pavilion was the same as the last time Yujia stepped in it. The only difference was that now, on one of the tables in the pavilion facing the side, there was a new, unfinished painting on it.

    While Xiaoyi explored and admired the sights of the pavilion, Yujia looked at the painting instead. The work had a few brief line strokes outlining the tops of unbloomed lotus flowers and leaves, but other than that, there was barely anything to let her judge.

    Yunhe noticed her observations, stepping up to the table as well and explaining, "I only just started on this painting of the same thing as my last painting. This time, I'll try to pay attention to Junior Sister's advice and enforce the Spirit Resonance of the painting."

    "That's nice. Show me when you're done." Yujia grinned and looked away from the painting.

    It would be a struggle for Yunhe to incorporate a lot of Spirit Resonance. He was painting a scene of lotus leaves and buds, making any strong emotions or energy difficult to weave into the work. She was curious to see how he would execute it.

    Xiaoyi noticed their conversation and walked over, leaning over Yujia's shoulders to see the painting. She looked at it for a few seconds, then looked at Yunhe, stating, "Noble Ye paints very well."

    "It's only a few lines; how can you tell?" Yunhe asked, his eyebrows raised and a small smile on his lips.

    Her cheeks turned a faint pink again, and she replied with her eyes cast down, "Even though there are only some starting lines, the lines are precise. Both the placement and darkness of each of the lines show that lots of thought went behind it, and even though there are only a few lines, it's clear what Noble Ye is trying to depict from the start."

    This seemed to be the assurance that Yunhe needed to give him more confidence for his work. Yujia realized that she probably should've said something encouraging when she first saw the painting too, but since Xiaoyi said it, it would be pointless for her to support his work now.

    "Yunhe thanks Miss Yang for the compliments."

    "It's nothing." Xiaoyi waved her hands.

    When their words exchanged once more, Yujia decided that it still wasn't right to not have a single compliment towards Yunhe thus far. She realized that ever since they were senior and junior siblings, she hadn't paid any compliments to his paintings while Yunhe had always been supportive of her work and pencils.

    Yujia decided to talk to Xiaoyi and thread her compliments between her words.

    "My Senior Brother is the son of the school head, Xiaoyi," she informed her younger sister, "so of course he has lots of refined skills in his paintings."

    "I see." Xiaoyi nodded.

    "He knows a lot more than me about painting, so maybe you should stop taking lessons from me and learn under him instead," Yujia teased.

    Upon hearing that, Xiaoyi's eyes widened. "Older Sister! What sort of suggestion is that?"

    Yunhe joined in on the joke, though he still kept a polite distance. "I would be honored to teach your younger sister, but I'm afraid that you would make a better teacher than me."

    "How so?"

    "Your words are very direct," he pointed out, "While I would be more concerned with carefully expressing my views in a critique, you get straight to the point most of the time. Though your words may be harsh sometimes- such as claiming that... a certain individual's work is worth less than a sheet of blank paper- a student would benefit more from a teacher like you who helps them realize their mistakes instantly."

    To this, Yujia replied in a courteous manner, "Senior Brother is overexaggerating my skills. Being direct is not always a good thing, too."

    She went on to bring back up the time where she called the first painting she saw by Yunhe worthless, and Xiaoyi listened to their conversation, occasionally joining in. The afternoon passed like that, with the three of them discussing painting related things, similar to the usual conversations Yujia had alone with Yunhe.

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    ...

    On the way back to the Yang Villa, Yujia couldn't help but realize Xiaoyi was more giddy than usual. There was a bounce to her step and a small smile blossoming on her face.

    "What's to be so happy about?" she questioned, though she already had something close to an answer in her head.

    "I-"

    Before Xiaoyi could say anything, Yujia cut in. "I thought you had your Young Master Yu. Why do you like Ye Yunhe, all of a sudden?"

    Anyone with eyes could tell the amount of times Xiaoyi blushed red, smiled nervously, and looked at Yunhe with wide eyes throughout the entire conversation.

    "Older Sister!" Xiaoyi complained, clearly not appreciating where the conversation was heading.

    "I'm being serious, as an older sister caring for her younger sister," Yujia insisted, "A few days ago, you were praising Young Master Yu, but here you are now, blushing at every word that my senior brother says. What's going on? Do you like Noble Ye or not?"

    Xiaoyi was silent for a few moments, but then she stopped mid-step and faced Yujia. "Okay. So Older Sister obviously knows me well. I- I thought I liked Young Master Yu. But that was because I hadn't met Noble Ye yet. Noble Ye is just so much... warmer. Friendlier. And he's good at painting too, and very patient with his words. Plus, his family background is no worse than Young Master Yu's."

    Yujia could see where Xiaoyi was coming from. Zixu definitely appeared very apathetic on the inside to her most of the time when she first met him. Even if Xiaoyi didn't get that sort of signal when she first met him, she would've been able to tell the clear difference in attitude between Yunhe and Zixu.

    Even so, Yujia decided to be straightforward. "No matter how good Yunhe seems to you, you barely know him just like how you barely know Yu Zixu. Don't make a permanent decision just yet. Besides, you have an engagement with Young Master Yu, and that's more solid than whatever instantaneous feelings you have for Ye Yunhe."

    Xiaoyi turned her head down, and she resumed walking again. "You're right..." she muttered. But then, she looked back up, a new light in her eyes. "But! Engagements are not permanent! Isn't Older Sister proving that right now with your deal with Father?"

    "That's... a different matter."

    "I don't see how it's any different! What if I discover that I like Noble Ye better than Young Master Yu? Do you really want me to marry someone I don't hold feelings for?"

    Most women in this time period quietly accepted their fate for marriage, but it seemed like Xiaoyi with her advice from the Second Miss of the Yang Family started to have thoughts that deviated from the norm.

    "Again, you still barely know him," Yujia reiterated, "Why are you deciding these things so quickly?"

    "If I barely know him, then I'll just learn more about him!" Xiaoyi continued to maintain her viewpoint.

    "Your

    birthdates

    1

    match with Young Master Yu, but you don't know if they match with Noble Ye's."

    "Then just find out his birthdates for me!"

    "I don't know if my Senior Brother has a wife or not already. Would you be willing to marry him as a concubine?"

    "Why not? As long as it's with someone that I like, then everything is fine."

    "He's a lot of years older than you. Is that really okay?"

    "What's wrong with that?"

    Ah.

    Xiaoyi truly was relentless. Yujia couldn't understand her sudden unwavering infatuation with Yunhe, but if her heart really was set straight on this matter, Yujia could only play matchmaker, couldn't she?

    Yunhe didn't seem like that bad of a candidate to marry Xiaoyi. Yujia just didn't think that her younger sister's infatuation was the healthiest in terms of emotional health. What if she regretted this later on, when the infatuation wore off?

    Except, seeing Xiaoyi's attitude right now on the entire matter, Yujia guessed that she could only cooperate with her younger sister as of right now. It didn't seem like Xiaoyi was going to listen to any other advice at the moment.

    A type of Chinese fortune telling using the "the 8 cyclic characters for year, month, day and hour of birth of a man, which determine his fate" to predict the future of a certain couple. It is important for any couple to have a positive result from the fortune telling before moving on to other customs of the marriage.
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