At some moment in time, Yujia realized that once she began her infiltration, it was likely in her best interest to not leave the Yang Villa. Madam Zhang set up the entire servant-infiltration process to give her a new identity in the villa, so if Yujia just went and left the villa at night, for example, it would be very suspicious.
In other words, once Yujia began the detective work, she would not be going back to Lingxin until all of it was complete.
She estimated that she would spend a week, at most, in the Yang Villa. Pretending to be a servant for that long would be a test of her skills, but it wouldn't be too bad.
After explaining the reason for her absence to a few key people in her life, like her master, Yunhe, and Chef Hong, Yujia borrowed a set of very plain clothes from Lili. With these clothes, she woke up early in the morning to get ready. She brushed her hair into a neat and simple style and dressed up in those robes quickly. Looking in the mirror, though Yujia couldn't see her full reflection, she definitely felt like she passed the mark of a potential servant-to-be-sold.
An interesting fact was that in her process of getting ready, Yujia received one small dagger from Chef Hong. During the time Yujia spent in the kitchen explaining to Chef Hong what she would be doing and upon hearing that her "favorite girlie" was going to be doing a spy mission, Chef Hong had told Yujia to pause. She had shuffled to a shelf behind her, pushed it to the side, and revealed a full wall of weapons.
Yujia could only gape, her jaw completely dropped, at the wall of weapons back then. Thinking about it now, however, it did make sense for Chef Hong to have a collection of weapons like that, considering her backstory as a criminal that she shared with the other kitchen workers.
Chef Hong had slowly dragged her fingers across each weapon, pausing at a few of them. There were axes, sabers, swords, daggers, crossbows, and more. While she looked at all these weapons, she eyed Yujia up and down before declaring, "Girlie, you're too weak to wield half these weapons."
Hearing this, Yujia could only scrunch her face up. "I'm just an artist."
"And so am I— an artist at cooking, and an artist at hacking people up," Chef Hong had remarked in response.
She ended up stopping her hands at the rows of knives. They were rather organized, with the largest dagger to the left and the smallest dagger to the right.
Chef Hong picked two smaller daggers, nodding and clicking her tongue in satisfaction. She turned back to Yujia, spinning one of the knives in her hand and unsheathing it.
"If you're going to be a spy, take this for self-protection. You might need it, you might not. But it's better to have something than nothing," she explained to Yujia, then handed a dagger over to Yujia.
"This—" Yujia stared at the dagger, a bit wary with the idea of stabbing someone.
Chef Hong, who held the second dagger, demonstrated how easily the sheath slid off. After that, she briefly explained, "Most of the time, you can probably use it as a bluff. If someone sees that you have a weapon, they'd feel less keen to attack you than if you were bare-handed. Now, if you actually needed to stab someone, though…"
Yujia mentally braced herself for what she would hear next.
"For an unskilled person like you, it's better to stab them straight into the neck. Angle it towards the center back, and once you have the blade in, slice it sideways and cut through those blood vessels." Chef Hong demonstrated these motions in the air, her movements surprisingly agile. "That'll kill them quickly, and these knives are sharp enough to do it. Slicing the outside flesh of the neck will do nothing. Be prepared for a lot of blood though… A lot, alot, a lot."
Wincing greatly, Yujia had retorted, "What if… I don't want to kill anyone?"
She wasn't a saint, but she also wasn't a killer. With how Chef Hong demonstrated, it seemed easy to kill someone, but Yujia knew that if things came down to it, she wasn't sure if she had the capability to— both mentally and physically.
Chef Hong groaned. "Aiya, girlie, if someone is trying to kill you, don't give them any pity. Just stab stab!"
"You make it sound so simple."
"It is—" Chef Hong straightened up, continuing, "but I guess for a weak-hearted girlie like you, you're not ready yet. Just know that without any experience, it's difficult to strike with perfectly lethal results. You'll end up with someone half-dead, likely, not fully dead. Or, at the very least, in enough pain so that you can run. Do you want to know the other places where you should strike?"
Figuring that it was better to know than to not, Yujia beckoned for Chef Hong to continue.
The woman had gone on to explain about the armpit, the leg, the back of the knee, and how if Yujia planned to strike the liver, the heart, the lungs, or anywhere else protected by the ribs, she should hold the blade flat to ensure that the blade slides right through. It was definitely morbid to hear all of this, but just a little bit fascinating. A teeny, tiny, miniscule bit.
Lastly, Chef Hong concluded with, "Overall, however, the best form of self defense is to run. Don't think about attacking someone if you can run. Got that?"
And so, that was how Yujia ended up with a small dagger in her possession.
The dagger wasn't anything fancy, but it came with a neat strap that attached well to her arm. Keeping it sheathed, Yujia strapped the dagger to her forearm. The knife was comfortable enough against her skin, tight enough to be kept in place, but not the point where it was digging into her flesh. She tried moving around and doing things with it, finding that the existence of this dagger didn't bother her in any way.
She didn't think that she would have to stab anyone in this mission. She was just snooping around. Nothing should be life-threatening.
But, Yujia supposed that it was like what Chef Hong said. It was better to be safe than sorry.
Just like that, dressed up in the right disguise and knife strapped to her arm, Yujia was ready to go. She felt like with all of Yu Zixu and Chef Hong's training combined, she had prepared herself to the max.
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