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165 The Artist Gives Advice

    The moment Yujia decided to spend the rest of her day taking a nap- the headache was really too bothersome- a servant woke her up by knocking on her room's door, which she just closed to get some peace and quiet.

    A little groggily, Yujia threw her outer robes back on messily, ran her fingers through her hair, and pushed the door open. "Do you need something?" she asked the servant.

    The servant bowed, replying, "There is a young lady at the front of Lingxin who claims that she is looking for you."

    A young lady? Who could that be? Zhou Luowei seemed the most likely, but if Yujia thought about it, any of the young ladies from yesterday had a possibility too.

    She straightened herself and gave a curt nod. "Bring her here."

    The servant obeyed and left. Yujia instantly turned, grabbing the plain robes she wore and switching it to a set of Lingxin disciple robes. Two sets of these were given to her the second day she moved in by a servant. She hadn't worn it much, since she mainly stayed in her own courtyard, but it seemed like it would be reasonable for her to wear to meet this unknown other today.

    The robes were simple light teal, embroidered with fine silver-white threads of clouds and cranes. The fabric was comfortable to wear, and the sleeves were not the inconveniently large draping types that would interfere with art. Because they were intended for men, they had more of a masculine style, which conflicted with Yujia's softer features. She finicked for a while with the different strings and tying methods to put the robes on properly, wishing that Hui'er was here. Her maid probably knew the tricks to wearing these robes.

    Once she managed to get the robes on, she hastily combed her hair to a simple style she learned and wore most of the time. She strung the Lingxin jade pendant at her waist and checked her appearance one last time in the bronze mirror before going to the room designated as a living room and a study. She sat down, picked up a brush, and acted just as if she was working on painting the plum branches.

    Whoever this young lady Yujia wanted to meet was, Yujia didn't want to ruin her image as a refined disciple of Lingxin with a messy appearance or a lack of productivity. That was why she hurried to make it seem like she was doing anything but suffering from a hangover.

    The person that the servant brought over next was not the person Yujia expected to see. Lu Feifei.

    Lu Feifei- that was the person who barely spoke at the gathering. Besides the one moment where she offered her cloak for Yujia to tie her makeshift rope together, Yujia's impression of her was very faint, since she was always so silent. In a way, this was also why Yujia expected her last.

    The two of them were not close. They barely exchanged more than two words. So, why was Lu Feifei here?

    Yujia set her brush down at the brush holder, stood up, folded her hands, and bowed. "Miss Lu. I didn't expect to see you here. Have a seat, please."

    Feifei bowed deeply, then sat down stiffly. Yujia poured her a cup of tea while hearing her explain, "Miss Yang, I'm sorry for visiting you without any notice beforehand."

    Yujia waved her hand. "That's alright. Have a cup of tea. It's the season's newest green tea, just shipped into Lingxin."

    Feifei picked up the tea, had a sip, then placed it back down on the table. "Indeed. The flavor is light and fragrant. This is good tea," she agreed. Yujia sat down at the chair across. She expected Lu Feifei to say something else to follow up her wods at this moment, and sure enough, the other girl continued, "Miss Yang, I came here today because I would like to apologize."

    Her words were not blurted out or rushed, but rather calm and collected. Her manner of speech, which sounded almost rehearsed, reminded Yujia of Zixu.

    "Apologize?" Yujia said, her hands folded in her lap. "What is there to apologize for?"

    "You might not know it, but my family owns the pavilion that these gatherings are held at. And the entire situation with the golden fish in the surrounding pond yesterday, I had a few people train the fish months beforehand to do some tricks such as swimming together in certain locations. I thought that it would be a gift for everyone there to witness the fish perform these sights, but I didn't expect what happened yesterday to happen..."

    Yujia recalled the wooden banister breaking, and Rong Tianyu falling into the water. A frown appeared on her face. "I still don't understand. How is it your fault? Yesterday was an accident."

    Feifei bit her bottom lip. "But a few days before, I was overseeing one of the trainers who was teaching the goldfish how to circle around in rings. He reported to me that a few of the banisters had wood that was rotting from the humidity, and that they would snap easily if anyone put a lot of pressure on them. I didn't think much of it, since I thought that no one would be putting their weight on the banisters."

    Yujia began to see the direction where this was going.

    Her words became more rushed now, and she stumbled through a few of them. "I- I didn't expect Tianyu to just jump and push down on one of the weaker ones. But I should've listened. If I did, instead of just ignoring his warning, then none of what happened would've happened. And I feel just overwhelming guilt. The guilt- it's just- my brief moment of carelessness almost

    killed

    Tianyu. I would've been a murderer. Can you understand me?"

    Lu Feifei's hands were trembling. Her face wrinkled up while she kept her head down.

    Yujia took her words with silence.

    Could she understand Lu Feifei? Of course she did. She knew the exact guilt that the other girl felt. Except, contrary to Lu Feifei, Yujia didn't

    almost

    become a murderer. She was one.

    A nauseous feeling rose up in Yujia. She raised her hand to her mouth to stifle it, which caught Feifei's attention.

    "Miss Yang," Feifei quickly continued, "I saw, in the midst of my fear during the time, your fear as well. I'm afraid that the entire situation caused distress to everyone else as well, so today, I am paying a visit to everyone present to apologize. I know that it can't make up for my moment of negligence, but I'm not sure what else I can do to make up for it. And for you... I would like to thank you as well. If it weren't for you taking action so quickly, I'm afraid that Tianyu..."

    "I know," Yujia interrupted, before Lu Feifei could finish her sentence, "and there is no need to thank me. I just did my part." She paused, then asked, "You're apologizing to everyone personally? All those young misses?"

    Feifei nodded.

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    "What about Rong Tianyu?"

    At this, Lu Feifei hesitated. "I'm visiting her last, after you." She wrung her hands in her lap, twisting her fingers over and over. "I'm just scared, if I'm to be honest. Do you think she'll forgive me, after what I've done?" Yujia didn't reply instantly, giving Feifei a chance to add on, "I'm sorry for asking you these questions. If you don't wish to answer, that is fine. I understand. I know that you are most likely not the ideal person to be asking these things to, but it's slightly easier to tell these things to someone I don't know well. I'm terrified of hearing what the others will think about me, since I'm rather close with them."

    Yujia found her voice softer than normal when she opened her mouth to speak. "It's fine. I think that Tianyu, from what I've seen of her, doesn't seem like a resentful person who will hold a grudge. Don't put all the blame on yourself. We all make mistakes; we all skim over important details in life. What you should be focused on is not the possibility of the future that could've happened, but rather the events that did happen. Tianyu is fine. She's alive. That's what truly matters."

    With a glance over to Feifei, Yujia noticed that Feifei's large eyes were beginning to water. She didn't want to deal with someone crying today, so she just turned around, keeping her gaze away from the other girl.

    "You should go now. At least you still have the chance to apologize to someone you may have harmed. Treasure this opportunity while you still have it," Yujia said quietly with a sigh tracing her breath.

    She heard the sound of Lu Feifei standing up. "Thank you for the advice today. I'll treasure it, like you said."

    "En. I'm feeling a bit fatigued, so I won't be sending you out. Take care."

    "Alright, Older Sister Yujia."

    Hearing Feifei's way of addressing her, Yujia turned in surprise. But Lu Feifei was gone already, leaving nothing but a slight breeze carried through the room.

    ...

    Yujia quietly kept to herself for the rest of the day. The next day, she decided to do the same, but that was when things were different. An invitation was sent to her from Bo Zhizhong, asking for her to meet up with him at Three Inks Shop.
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