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147 The Artist Becomes an Instructor

    "It's not that big of a deal," Yujia hastily added on. "I would be more afraid that my background is so lacking in comparison."

    "We're not the types to care so much about family background," Qianzi replied softly, "On the other hand, you said that you're a student of Lingxin Pavilion? That's an incredible feat that none of us would have expected." She paused with hesitation, then continued, "Isn't... Lingxin an academy of only men?"

    "Yes, but I think that I'm more of an adopted daughter of my master than a disciple, so that allows me to stay there. Plus, I haven't wandered and mixed in with the other students very often," Yujia explained.

    "Is that so?"

    The ladies all seemed to find amusement in Yujia's backstory. It was probably different than the things they were used to- prim and proper young ladies raised within the shelter of their own villas, only to grow up to get married and move into the cage of another villa.

    At this time, one of the girls in green spoke up again. "Let's introduce ourselves to Younger Sister Yujia, then. I'll go first," she turned to Yujia, saying, " I'm the Third Miss of the Luo Family, Luo Xiya."

    The other girl in green followed after. "I'm the Jing Family's only young miss, Jing Juan."

    Rong Tianyu, who seemed to think that it was somehow her turn, jumped up again. "You already know me; Rong Tianyu!"

    "Sima Qianzi, or Madam Sima of the Dong Family." Qianzi bowed her head a bit, going next.

    Yujia already knew Zhou Luowei, or Madam Zhou, so there was no need for any introduction there. One girl, though, had yet to introduce herself. She was shyly looking down. Tianyu, seeing that the girl was hesitant, nudged the girl with the side of her arm. "Come on, Feifei, you don't need to be so shy."

    The girl finally looked up, quietly saying, "I'm Lu Feifei... the only young miss of the Lu Family."

    In a joking attitude, Sima Qianzi smiled gently and said, "Feifei is always the shyest one of all of us, even quieter than Luowei. Sometimes we forget that she's here whenever there are strangers amongst us, but she's quite lively when it's just us."

    Yujia nodded and smiled.

    There were so many names and faces to memorize all at once. Each one of them had a maid behind them too. Yujia was grateful that she didn't need to memorize those faces as well; otherwise, she would definitely be overwhelmed.

    Luowei spoke up, pointing to some paper and ink on a table in the center. "Since Younger Sister Yujia is a student of Lingxin Pavilion and has so much experience with art, would it be too much to ask for a couple tips of painting? Us young ladies are expected to master painting as one of the Four Arts, but it's a bit difficult to just learn from books and copying other work. It wouldn't be proper to have male teachers either."

    "Of course. I would love to," Yujia answered.

    She had a plan in mind. If she could make good relationships with everyone here at the moment, not only would that help her social life, but it could also potentially bring business to Three Inks. Based on the profit and sales statistics Gao Yi showed her earlier, she noticed that the main profit came in on the first few days that the pencil was introduced. This was likely because since it was a new product, many wanted to see how it worked and bought it for that reason.

    After that, only a few certain artists who enjoyed using this new art supply would continue purchasing a full set of pencils. Those would last them a while, however, so they would not buy pencils again until months later. This slowed down profit on later dates.

    On the topic of the cheaper pencils that Yujia wanted the public to begin using as an easier and more convenient tool in comparison to brush and ink, there were some sales, but not much. Mostly, the pencils appealed to the artists more since it was located right outside Lingxin. Nevertheless, Yujia expected that with the publicity of the Emperor's favor of the pencil, more people will likely begin to use it. It would be a costly and difficult task to completely incorporate the pencil into society, but the beneficial outcome outweighed the difficulties.

    As for mentoring the young ladies here, Yujia's thought process was that once they trusted her enough as a teacher, she could begin to introduce them to the pencil. Once they were interested in the pencil, she expected that they would naturally introduce it into their higher-end families, who would all begin to use the pencil. Those high-end families would make their servants use it. The servants would introduce it to their families and amongst themselves. And just like that, her pencils would spread throughout the classes of society.

    Yujia admitted that this idea was a bit of a stretch. She could both see this plan happening and also failing miserably. Despite how it would play out in real life, though, Yujia thought that as long as the pencil began to spread to a certain degree, then it would definitely be beneficial no matter what. The more people she could introduce the pencil to, the better.

    As a result, she would be more than welcome to become a teacher or instructor of a sort.

    Yet before she could teach anything, Jing Juan, one of the young ladies dressed in green, spoke up. "Sister-Luowei, how do you know Artist Yang is qualified to teach, though?" She hastily added on, her face turning towards Yujia, "But I don't intend any offense. I'm just wondering... how do we know that Artist Yang is really skilled? I mean... Artist Yang looks really young. If I heard correctly, didn't you say that you were nineteen to Tianyu?"

    Yujia nodded.

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    "So, if you're that young..." Jing Juan continued, "and even if you grew up in Lingxin Pavilion... it's just a bit hard to believe that-" Her expression turned flustered and she covered her face. "I'm sorry. This is sounding very rude of me. I just-"

    "It's fine." Yujia both sighed and smiled.

    Jing Juan's doubt was normal, considering that most people in this society didn't think that young females were really capable of too much of anything. They were expected to learn the Four Arts to become either valuable future wives or virtuous wives once they were married, but at the same time, they were also not expected to be masters in any of these fields. Plus, Yujia's claim that she was from Lingxin Pavilion was just a claim, after all. None of them knew her personally.

    Zhou Luowei spoke up. "I've seen Young Sister Yujia's art before. She did a portrait of me. It turned out truly spectacular."

    "Then..." Jing Juan murmured, hesitation clear in her voice.

    Yujia thought that once they saw what she was teaching, they could probably trust her, but she could also understand this hesitation. With her original goal to create good relationships with these people, it would be better to win over their trust first before forcing them to learn under her. So, though it was a small inconvenience for Yujia to have to prove her skills, it would be better to do so quickly than to not do it at all.

    "I can understand why you all have doubts. If you would like, I can create a painting in ten minutes, and then you all can judge for yourselves whether or not to have trust in me?" she suggested.
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