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237 Bonus: The Crown Prince Drinks Vinegar

    The conversation went well. When Yushang left Lingxin, he was feeling rather productive today.

    As he walked back to the palace, he found his guard, Si Shen, walking behind him silently. In the beginning, when Yuhang first knew Si Shen, he did find it a bit freaky that his personal guard was literally one with the shadows, able to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. He also found it freaky that Si Shen walked so silently that even in a fully silent room, his footsteps were still one with the silence.

    Now, though, Yushang was completely used to it. So when he noticed Si Shen's presence, he didn't feel the slightest bit surprised.

    "Hey," Yushang started talking first, as usual, "Si Shen, if I told you to go track someone down, could you?"

    His mind wandered towards the memory of a man's back, the one Yujia was watching walk away.

    "Who?" Si Shen responded with his typical brief style.

    Yushang admitted, "I don't know. I just know he's wearing like... a white cloak? Or was it light blue? Or light green? Or wait... was it a cloak? Or was he wearing light colored robes?"

    Scrunching up his face, Yushang tried to recall the fading image in his head. Why didn't he pay more attention before? But then, Yushang recalled what Yujia told him about this man's identity before.

    "Oh, I remember now- he's also a disciple of Lingxin!"

    After saying this, he turned his head to look at Si Shen, who was expressionless. But then, Yushang squinted, and he swore- he really swore- that in Si Shen's eyes, there was the glimmer of a condescending, mocking gaze.

    "You're making fun of me? Really?" Yushang scowled.

    Si Shen stared him back in the eyes. "No."

    Hands clenching at his side, Yushang pressed on, "Then, why are you looking at me this way?"

    "The Lingxin disciple robes are all light colored."

    "Ah, so because of such a simple reason, you can't find this person? You can't even do this one, small thing?"

    Si Shen actually snorted a laugh- or what Yushang thought was a laugh, but more like a small breath of air. "You ask me why I'm making fun of you, but then you're just here, being..."

    His voice trailed off.

    Yushang immediately snapped back, "Being what?"

    "This one is afraid to offend the almighty crown prince." Si Shen went back to his blank expression.

    "No, go on," Yushang commanded, "Finish what you were saying. This prince will not charge you with any offense. Tell me, what were you going to say?"

    Once Si Shen heard these words, he didn't have any hesitation in replying, "You're just being dumb."

    "Dumb?" Yushang repeated, eyebrows flying up. He immediately regretted saying that he wasn't going to charge Si Shen of any offense. "I'm not being dumb! I asked a simple task from you. You're Si Shen- how difficult will it be for you to track down a single person? You already have your choices narrowed down to the disciples of Lingxin."

    "Any other details?"

    Yushang thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Nope."

    "Then, I'm not a god. Go find that Lingxin disciple yourself," Si Shen blankly stated.

    This man... Yuhang could not believe Si Shen's dismissive attitude right now.

    And although he was about to retort, angrily, Yushang actually stopped himself.

    Si Shen was right- Yushang was being dumb. This person that he was trying to track down could be any of Lingxin's disciples. Without any extra details, he really couldn't figure out who this person was. Yushang originally thought that Si Shen might know, since for all he knew, Si Shen might've been lurking above the rooftops of Lingxin or something. Maybe he saw all the people who entered and exited Lingxin, so he knew more than Yushang.

    But, Si Shen was sadly right.

    This personal guard of Yushang's wasn't any god. Who would really keep track of the normal-looking people going in and out of an ordinary school? Only a god could track down this person that Yushang wanted to find the identity of.

    All this time, maybe Yushang did see Si Shen as an overpowered, super capable being that could do anything Yushang asked from him. Yet from what he saw today, Si Shen had his limitations too.

    Yushang sighed deeply, running his fingers through his hair and messing it up.

    How could he figure out exactly who the person Yujia was sending off was?

    Yushang stopped in his tracks.

    Wait.

    Why did he care so much about who she was associating herself with? Like she explained before, she was just sending one of her senior brothers off to be polite. There was nothing wrong with it...

    But wait!

    Another realization hit Yushang.

    Could it be that... her words, which he chose to accept at the time, were all a flimsy excuse?

    This didn't make sense at all. How could it be that Yujia, who claimed that she lost a bet with a friend, was sending a senior brother of hers off in the next second? Yushang saw how quickly she ran to her room to wash her face off once the person she was sending off left. If she lost a bet with a friend, and the friend was already gone, she would've washed her face clean before she sent off this senior brother of hers.

    She wasn't the type who would walk around all day with ink on her face. If she was sending off her senior brother looking like how she did when Yushang first saw her today, then...

    That was it!

    The friend that Yujia talked about, the friend that Yushang assumed was just some female friend, the friend who drew on her face, and the friend that she had been so vague towards... it was none other than the senior brother that she was sending off!

    She was just lying to him this entire time! She was just telling him excuses to get him to stop asking questions! And now that Yushang was already almost at the palace, so far away from Lingxin, he couldn't go back and ask her more questions either now.

    Yushang glared down at his two hands, realizing how stupid he must've been to believe her so easily. Heavens, he hated to admit it, but Si Shen was just so goddamn right. Yushang was dumb. An absolute idiot!

    Yujia's senior brother, another man, was the one who drew on her face...

    Yushang recalled the time where she drew on his face. Their close proximity, the way that her skin brushed against his, her concentrated gaze fixed on his face...

    Another man was doing that to her!

    He didn't care if it was some senior brother. This sort of closeness and touchy-touch was not okay! Yushang thought that he was the only person who she would do these kinds of things with.

    Yushang wasn't quite certain why he was feeling this twinge of irritation in his heart.

    Before, when she said that it was a friend drawing on her, Yushang wasn���t quite so irritated at this idea. Maybe it was because he assumed that "friend" automatically meant "girl" for absolutely no reason at all. Or maybe it was because he didn't know exactly who this friend was, so it wasn't as irritating as the idea of seeing the person who drew on Yujia's face. Or maybe, he was irritated due to the fact that she had lied to him- which meant that she definitely had something to hide.

    Nails digging into his palm, Yushang resumed taking bold strides forward.

    This was making him inexplicably angry. So, he vented at Si Shen, ranting, "I just realized, she- Miss Yang- she was lying to me! She said that it was just a friend that she was spending her time with, but it was her senior brother! Why would she lie about that? Did she think that I would misunderstand? But if there was nothing wrong or off in the first place, why would she be afraid of any misunderstandings?"

    While he continued walking and ranting, he ended up turning his head to see if Si Shen was paying attention. That was when he noticed that Si Shen wasn't following him.

    This was a first.

    Yushang spun around completely, surveying the people behind him. That was when he noticed a glimpse of Si Shen standing at some vendor's stall.

    Swiftly, Yushang strided across the street to the stall, demanding from Si Shen, "What are you doing? You're supposed to be following me."

    Si Shen ignored him until he passed a few copper coins at the vendor, then picking up a jar the vendor handed him.

    He looked at Yushang and pressed the jar he just bought into Yushang's arms. "For you."

    "What's this?" Yushang raised the jar.

    "I saw that you were drinking vinegar, so here: have some more," Si Shen answered.

    Yushang's eyes trailed over to the sign of the shop Si Shen just bought from.

    It was a stall that sold vinegar.
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