236 The Artist Deals With a Jealous? Business Partner

    Seeing that it was just Zhizhong, Yujia let out a breath. "You scared me."

    "Scared you?" Zhizhong frowned. He crossed his arms underneath a deep navy blue cloak that he wore. "People who weren't doing anything shady shouldn't get spooked easily."

    "I... wasn't doing anything suspicious." Yujia crossed her arms too. "You just talk super loudly. And abruptly."

    Zhizhong snorted. "I speak at a perfectly fine volume and pace, thank you very much." He then slid his eyes at her face, raising a finger and bursting out in a wave of laughter. "Are you kidding me? Why- why does your face look like that?"

    Yujia immediately flung her hands over her face, groaning loudly. She swiftly began to walk back into Lingxin. "I don't want to talk about it."

    "Ay, let me get a better look!" Zhizhong ran after her until he was standing in front of her, then turning to walk backwards. "Just the other day, what were you doing again? Drawing on my face? What is this now, karma? Did someone draw on your face? Who? That guy walking away that you were watching? Or did you draw it on yourself? Were you really that bored?"

    "Why do you have so many questions?" Yujia stopped in her steps, dropping a hand so that she could glare at Zhihong. "And no, do I look like the type to draw on my face for fun?"

    Snorting again, Zhizhong answered, "Right now, yes, you do."

    "You're so..." Yujia's voice trailed off, not sure of the proper words that could convey her exact frustration at this moment.

    How bad was her luck? First, she lost that game of tic-tac-toe that she thought she was sure to win. Then, Zixu scribbled over her face. And now, she had to deal with a Bo Zhizhong, who she conveniently did the same ink-scribbling on in the past.

    Maybe it really was like what Zhizhong said: karma.

    "Come on now, you can't cover your face the entire time," Zhizhong continued, "You have to take your hands away sometime, and then I'll see."

    "Okay, okay, okay, fine!" Yujia finally dropped her hands, glaring at Zhizhong. "Are you happy now?"

    Zhizhong stared at her face for a moment, before Yujia went on with her walk, storming through Lingxin.

    "Oh!" he exclaimed, "I thought you were a cat at first. You're actually not?"

    "No, a tiger."

    Zhizhong fell silent for a moment. Yujia imagined a frown on his face, though she couldn't bear to make eye contact with anyone right now.

    When he finally spoke up again, unsurprisingly with a question, he demanded, "How come you get to be a tiger, but I'm only a cat?"

    "Why? Is there a law that says that you must be a tiger?" she asked back.

    "Well, tigers are the kings of all animals, and I..." his words trailed off, though he hastily went on, "I think that they're one of my favorite animals. You should've painted a tiger instead of a cat for me! Cats are just..."

    "Ah, so, would you like me to paint on your face right now?" she suggested.

    Zhizhong immediately shut up.

    Yujia, once reaching her own private courtyard, headed for a water basin immediately. "Go help yourself to some tea or something," she told him, "I'm pretty sure you're not here to just gawk at my face. Once I'm done washing my face, we can talk about whatever is important."

    "You're washing it off already?" Zhizhong immediately protested, "But last time, you told me I couldn't wash it off for the whole day!"

    "Come on, we all know that you didn't follow through. You probably washed it off as soon as you got home."

    Ignoring his offense towards the fact that she was washing her face so quickly, Yujia went into her room. She got a full look of Zixu's painting on her face, scrunched up her face, then took a towel and wiped her face clean. The ink did stain a little, but with some more scrubbing, it all came off clean. It probably helped that she washed it off quickly.

    In all honesty, Yujia didn't feel any regret, wiping the ink off.

    She hoped that she wouldn't see Zixu for the rest of this day. He did say the same requirements that Yujia had for Zhizhong- that she couldn't wash it off for a day- but as long as Yujia avoided him, he should never know.

    Another fact was that Yujia planned to go pay a visit to her birthmother after all of this, so she couldn't go with her face looking like a tiger either. That woman probably already thought that Yujia was insane. Ink on her face would not help Yujia's case.

    She finished up by drying her face pretty quickly. Then, Yujia slipped back out of her room, taking a seat across from Zhizhong at the stone table.

    He looked at her, scowling upon seeing that she really did wash all of her face clean. Setting his cup of tea down on the table, he questioned again, "You never told me, why did you have ink drawings on your face in the first place? I don���t think that you would do this to yourself."

    Surely, Yujia couldn't explain Yu Zixu and the entire reason behind how she came to have a tiger-face. That would be too complicated, and she didn't want Zhizhong to misunderstand anything.

    "I had a bet with a friend, lost the bet, and so this happened. Similar to what happened between you and me last time. Simple." She chose to answer this way.

    Zhizhong's eyes narrowed. "Was the guy who was walking away the friend you were talking about?"

    "No," Yujia blurted, "That was... one of my senior brothers."

    "Why were you sending him off?"

    "I was being... polite?" Yujia bit her lip. Then, she quickly changed the topic, saying, "What did you come to find me for?"

    "Oh." Zhizhong sat up, pulling out some papers from his sleeve. "I actually wanted to talk about our shop, and some of the business decisions I've decided on. I wanted to ask you before progressing."

    Yujia thought about her new discovery and gift of oil paints from her master. She remembered that she wanted to talk to Zhizhong about potentially selling oil paints as well, and this was the perfect opportunity.

    So, she said, "Right. I actually have something to talk about Three Inks as well. Tell me what new things you have, and I'll tell you mine afterwards."

    "Sure." Zhizhong quickly got down to explaining attentively.

    As Yujia watched him explain, absorbed within the discussion, she couldn't stop a small smile. Even someone as childish and playful as Bo Zhizhong could get serious like this. He was a good kid.
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