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177 Too Many Gifts for the Artis

    Zixu blinked.

    "Alright," he said, his expression oddly calm. Not a single sign of surprise crossed his face- no wide eyes, no flinch backwards, no furrowed brows, no gawked mouth. Not even a smile. He just looked at her, and blinked again.

    Yujia's jaw tensed. She stared back at him, repeating her words slowly again. "I'm... poisoned."

    How could he give her such an expressionless response?

    But then, Zixu actually smiled. "You're joking," he said, his eyes glancing up and his hand reaching up to run through a strand of his hair.

    Yujia let out an exasperated snort, her eyes widening to a glare.

    "You think I'm... what? Joking?"

    She truly couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. Perhaps, he was the one joking?

    Zixu's smile fell again. "You're... not?"

    "No!" Yujia threw her hands up in the air, her head lurching back. "You thought I was joking? I would make a joke about potentially dying?"

    "I was confident!" Zixu actually showed signs of pure confusion now, his brows knitting together and his body leaning forward. "Just the way that you said it, so calmly, so out of the blue, and without any hesitation. Usually when people reveal this information to others, they at least don't look as relaxed as you do- actually, nevermind." He straightened himself, tugging at his sleeves. "Nevermind that. My mistake; I apologize."

    It was Yujia's turn to smile. The smile crossing her lips turned into a short laugh.

    Zixu's stare at her only became more intense. He spoke with hesitation, "And now, you're... laughing? Is this actually a joke? Stop confusing me."

    "No," Yuija assured in between a laugh, "I'm not joking. I actually am- poisoned- a physician confirmed it himself. I'm only laughing- because- because it's rare to see you make a mistake. In fact, when was the last time you made one? Have you ever since you were born?"

    Zixu turned away from her, beginning to walk again. Mimi, who was standing around them all this time, soon followed. Yujia chased after, listening as he said, "Of course. You think of me as one who doesn't ever make a mistake?"

    "Yes," she replied to the view of Zixu's back.

    That was a simple answer, but that was all Yujia really needed to say. Zixu, to her, was almost omnipotent. He was talented at art, had a few survival skills up his sleeve, could analyze people with deadly precision, and memorized things well. If that was not perfection, what could be?

    Though, Yujia did admit that after this mini adventure in the forest, Zixu felt a little more realistically human. He had his imperfections too- despite that so far, Yujia only recognized his lack of directional sense. She technically couldn't quite criticize him about that, as she was just as pathetic with directions, but she found it fascinating to discover his flaws, one by one.

    Zixu only sighed. He then stopped in his tracks again, spinning to face Yujia. The movement was so sudden and unpredictable that even Mimi scrambled forward a few steps before doubling back in realization. Yujia almost bumped into him, and she was glad that she didn't, because today was filled with far too much contact with Zixu.

    She took a wary step back.

    "I make mistakes all the time," Zixu declared, his gaze perfectly serious, "only that when I make them, I usually manage to cover them up. I turn the situation around to look like no issues ever occurred."

    "But you didn't manage to cover up your mistake with my joke about being poisoned."

    "I only put in so much effort when I'm around calculative people."

    Yujia blinked twice. "Are you calling me simple-minded?"

    "No- just that I know you won't- you know what? Forget it." Zixu sighed, tilting his head. "What did you say again about being poisoned? Everything after that was all a very off-topic conversation."

    "Right. I could be dying. You don't seem particularly worried," she pointed out.

    "Because I know that you're not dying."

    "And how so?"

    Zixu pressed his lips into a flat line. "If you were dying, you wouldn't be calmly- and would I say, carefreely- discussing this with me right now. You would be panicking. Just your entire tone from the start would be panicked and rushed. Your muscles would be more tense. You would speak with more hesitation, debating if it was proper or not for you to reveal this information to me. Therefore, I can conclude that it's not an urgent matter, and there is no need for me to be too worried."

    Yujia paused, her eyes looking down.

    He was right. She went through all those things already, before she came to the idea that such a long-term poison probably didn't exist to kill her. She had those moments of tense panic and hesitation before.

    Now was different, since she was almost in the mindset where she wished that she could stay away from the idea that someone had plotted against her. She was living a dream in the forest, where as long as she looked away from the river and stared at the stars, she could at least run away a little.

    They were leaving the forest though. She had to come back to reality, and though she knew that it would be much more unpleasant to speak seriously than to joke around with Yu Zixu all day, it was only a matter of time before she needed to tell these things to him. She might as well stop wasting time now.

    So, Yujia exhaled and straightened herself. "You're right. The poison is not the type to kill me, from my speculations. I found out about this upon running into a physician, who revealed this fact to me only a few days ago."

    Zixu became more serious too, his eyes focusing on her. "How can you trust him? Have you visited other physicians to run some more tests?"

    "He was a physician hired for treating a young lady of the Rong Household- it's a long story. I know that he's trustworthy, and there was no reason for him to lie. I've apparently, from a test he ran with my blood, been poisoned for a long time, since young."

    "You suspect your family." This part didn't come out as question, but rather a statement. He said this knowing her suspicions.

    "Yes. There is no other group of suspects who could've poisoned me."

    She could see the information going through Zixu's thoughts. The speculations that she slowly mulled over during the past few days seemed to fly through his brain. Zixu did know a bit about the Yang Family's structure- Yujia recalled telling him during her half-drunk conversations with him- so she could almost see him coming to the same conclusions she came to in the span of a few moments.

    "You want me help you figure out which family member it is?" Zixu questioned.

    "Yes."

    "And how will I do that?"

    Yujia bit her bottom lip. "I thought about it. The best thing to do is..." Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    She explained the plan she kept in her head to him. Zixu listened carefully, nodding in agreement. When she finished, he only tilted his head again.

    "Do you realize," he slowly asked, "that my engagement with your younger sister is already called off?"

    She nodded. "I've heard."

    "And you still want me to carry out this plan."

    "I don't have any better ideas."

    "What makes you think that I will feel inclined to follow your words?"

    Yujia only shrugged. "Think about it. There is a wonderful mystery played out in front of your eyes. An entire household of potential suspects who want to poison an illegitimate daughter... but for what reason? What can they get from it? Who are the true villains? What is their end plan? Don't you want to know?" She paused at that, then put on a big, warm smile, saying with a hum, "And you're my wonderful, multi-capable Senior Brother."

    Zixu laughed. Yujia noticed that the more time they spent together, the more he laughed. Less calm smiles and more honest laughs.

    "You do know that in the public's eye, you are my father's concubine, and therefore my step-mother of some sort?"

    Yujia only replied with a smile, "I thought you were the one who said that when we are not acting in public, there is no need to follow the public's perceptions and rules? I am not your step-mother; the marriage never went through. So you are still my Senior Brother, and I am still your Junior Sister."

    "Alright," Zixu relented. He started walking again. "Then, Junior Sister it is. With you wording it like such, it would be wrong for me, as a Senior Brother, to not always help his Junior Sister out."

    Yujia felt a surge of pride rising up within her. It made her undeniably proud to think that she managed to persuade Yu Zixu to help her.

    She thought back to their relationship just yesterday, where she would've felt more uncomfortable to have to tell him all these things. Things were obviously different now.

    But within a few minutes of walking by Zixu, Mimi running ahead of the two of them, Yujia was reminded of their beginning conversation, where she talked about how he was more chatty whenever his dog was around. He had displayed clear discomfort then, and though Yujia wanted to apologize for whatever she did wrong, she never found an opportunity to.

    Now was a good time.

    She glanced back at Zixu, hesitantly saying, "On another topic, when I met you yesterday, I think I may have said something wrong at that time. I'm not sure what, but I would like to apologize."

    Zixu didn't look back at her, only recalling the scene she was talking about. He shook his head immediately after and waved his hand in the air, dismissing it.

    "That was nothing. Don't worry about it."

    Yujia continued looking at Zixu, examining his face for any shift in expression. She couldn't find any, but she was sure that it wasn't just "nothing", like he said. Something had clearly happened there.

    Yet with him saying this, it would be wrong for Yujia to keep prodding him on the topic. Thus, she let the matter drop.

    The two of them- or actually, three, including Mimi- walked closer and closer to the exit of the forest.

    And that concluded the end of this small journey that Yujia embarked. Stepping out of the forest and into the city, she surveyed the people busily walking by. Only one day had passed, but she knew for sure that something within her had changed, for the better.

    Yujia was ready to take on the world- although first, she was going to grab a bite to eat.

    ...

    Yujia and Zixu departed and each went their separate ways soon enough. Yujia returned to Lingxin straight away, then personally went to the kitchens to stuff herself full, to drink all the water she ever needed in her life, and to take a long, hot bath.

    A few concerns ran through her mind as she went through these things, refreshing herself from the struggles she went through before.

    First, Yujia didn't want to have to face her master. She was sure that he picked up on her lack of presence in the academy yesterday, and she wasn't quite sure what to say to him if he asked. It was good that he slept in late, so she had some time to think of her excuse, but she had to make up a good one.

    Second, Yujia wasn't quite sure what to do with Bo Zhizhong. She frankly didn't know how she felt about him.

    One thing was for sure though, and that was that she still held plenty of rage towards this irresponsible co-owner of hers.

    As she went through her day, she wondered what she was going to do when she saw Zhizhong next. She came to the conclusion that she would just simply avoid Zhizhong from now on, or at least temporarily.

    A day passed without much happening. Yujia eventually had to face her master and to tell the excuse she came up with-"I went walking in the forest and got lost for the night, and no, there was totally never a Yu Zixu involved in this entire process, and yes, I am perfectly safe, just a little tired".

    A servant also reported to her that people who claimed that they were from the Bo Family came to ask how she was doing and if she returned yet, or if she was dead. Yujia immediately knew who sent them, but still being upset with Zhizhong, she didn't want to leave a reply.

    What had Zhizhong been doing for the past day, ever since the moment where Little Demon ran out of control? If he really cared about her well-being, he should've at least personally came to ask, or at least done something more than sending servants to Lingxin. Yujia knew it was a bit demanding of her, but she couldn't deny the disappointment she felt in how little Zhizhong seemed to care, especially since she thought they were good friends.

    That was why she told the messenger servant to not say a single thing to the other people that Zhizhong sent.

    Except as it turned out, the messenger didn't listen and certainly did say something. For the next day, in the morning, the same servant came running back, reporting to Yujia, "Honored Disciple! T-there is a line of servants from the Bo Family, each carrying a tray of gifts! They're all lining up at the gate, demanding to deliver these to you- saying it's the order of their Third Young Master-"

    Yujia's eyes widened.
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