Noble Daughter | Chapter 17: Lantern Festival(1)

Chapter 17: Lantern Festival(1)

Fan Yong looked at Wei Heng and muttered, “Of course, I bought it. I asked Wang’er to bring it to you.” Wang’er is a servant by Fan Yong’s side.

This situation is indeed quite different. What Wei Xuan received was personally delivered by him, while Wei Heng’s gift was brought by a servant. Fortunately, Wei Heng kindly stepped in to ease the situation. At this moment, she was too lazy to bother with Fan Yong.

However, Wei Heng’s actions today were too obvious. After the guests left, He Shi pulled her back into the house. He Shi, a straightforward person, directly asked, “Is it true that you have feelings for your cousin from the Fan family? Why are you so unassertive? It’s obvious that Fan Yong only has eyes for your sister. Even his mother and your eldest aunt have discussed the engagement between him and your second sister in private.”

Wei Heng was surprised, “Cousin Fan and Second Sister are getting married?”

He Shi sneered, “Not necessarily. Your eldest aunt has high standards, and your Second Sister didn’t fancy Fan Yong. As for you, this foolish girl, at such a young age, you’re already indulging in fantasies. If this gets out, it will be truly embarrassing.”

Wei Heng frowned, realizing her own inappropriate behavior. Mostly due to her previous life as a married woman for nearly twenty years, she had lost the bashfulness of a young girl, especially towards Fan Yong, who was her husband.

Despite her own shortcomings, Wei Heng found He Shi’s direct scolding somewhat inappropriate. If she weren’t a reincarnated person, such words could easily embarrass a young girl. Shouldn’t a mother delicately hint at such matters, fearing to touch the girl’s sensitive nerves? But He Shi was too straightforward, leaving no room for subtlety.

Wei Heng sighed and said, “Mother, I don’t have any affection for Cousin Fan.”

He Shi replied, “You say that, but for a young girl, talking about likes and dislikes openly is inappropriate. You should be careful. When it’s time for you to get married, if you have any feelings, you can tell me privately. I won’t scold you. However, outside, you should behave properly. A girl’s virtue is essential to avoid being looked down upon. You, at such a young age, should read fewer inappropriate books. Even if our family invites a theater troupe, we strictly prohibit performances that corrupt people’s hearts.”

Wei Heng thought, her interest in classical books and travelogues was not inappropriate. However, she couldn’t tell He Shi about it. After all, in her previous life, He Shi strictly forbade her from reading such books, and she never touched them until she got married. Only after marriage, feeling bored and empty, did she start reading and realize the interesting aspects, broadening her horizons.

Of course, she couldn’t tell He Shi about this. She simply responded obediently.

However, from this point on, Wei Heng avoided Fan Yong when she saw him. Fan Yong also seemed to be avoiding her, going so far as to walk around when he saw Wei Heng. This made Wei Heng both embarrassed and irritated. Fan Yong treated himself like someone significant, forgetting that he was just a soft rice eater living off his wife’s dowry. Wei Heng wished she could trample him underfoot. With his evasive behavior, it seemed like he confirmed Wei Heng’s supposed affection for him.

Wei Heng found it challenging to explain herself. If she explained, she appeared pitiful; if she didn’t, she felt wronged. In her heart, she cursed Fan Yong’s ancestors to the eighth generation. He deserved it for not being able to marry Wei Xuan in his previous life and not being able to marry her in this life either.

On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, anyone with a bit of status in the capital would go to Ji Shui to watch the lanterns. Ji Shui ran from east to west, traversing the capital. The officials and noble families lived on the east side, while the wealthy families resided on the west. During the Lantern Festival, every household competed in lantern decoration, turning Ji Shui into a bright and beautiful scene, as if the Dragon Palace in the Eastern Sea.

Therefore, people in the capital liked to rent a boat to tour Ji Shui first, then disembark at the Qinglong Bridge pier facing the Imperial Street. They would walk along the Imperial Street, enjoying lanterns while eating and drinking. It was lively, comfortable, and enjoyable. Until the wee hours, no one wanted to go home to sleep.

During the Lantern Festival from the first to the eighteenth day of the first lunar month, Ji Shui was especially bustling. Countless boats competed, and even the lanterns on the boats were ingeniously crafted.

However, with too many boats, it became congested, and it was challenging to move. This resulted in losing the joy of watching lanterns. Therefore, the government began to control boats during the Lantern Festival. For these ten days or so, boats on Ji Shui had to register and obtain a permit before going into the water.

The Jingning Marquis’s mansion prepared a few boats specifically for the Lantern Festival. On the fifteenth day, they rented another permitted boat. Wei Heng and her three granddaughters, along with a few sisters-in-law, occupied one boat, while the men in the family took another.

Wei Heng sat by the window, looking outside. She saw boats coming and going on Ji Shui, the river reflecting the scenery on both banks, resembling a silver river. A round full moon was crushed into several segments in the water, rippling and swaying, with moonlight spreading across the sky.

Outside the window, the cold air was biting, but everyone’s hearts were warm, filled with joy and laughter. Even the usually steady Wei Xuan was smiling happily.

“Cousin Xuan.” A surprised call came from the boat opposite, and Fan Yong appeared, poking his head out from the railing.

The boatman used a bamboo pole to bring the boat closer, set up a plank, and Fan Yong helped his sister, Fan Xin, cross over to the Jingning Marquis’s boat.

Since the boat was not that large, Wei Heng and Fan Yong couldn’t avoid each other naturally. Fan Yong’s face showed a hint of embarrassment, and Wei Heng wished she could crush this guy under her foot. However, her face showed no signs of it. She greeted Fan Yong as usual, without avoiding his gaze or conversation. Seeing her like this, the others couldn’t help but suspect that they had misunderstood something that day, and the teasing smiles lessened.

Wei Heng finally breathed a sigh of relief. If Fan Yong continued to avoid her, she would feel truly embarrassed.

Fan Yong probably sensed Wei Heng’s different attitude and also breathed a sigh of relief. If the two women were competing for him, his chances of marrying Wei Xuan would be even smaller.

Wei Heng coldly watched Fan Yong’s relieved appearance, filled with malicious thoughts. It served him right for not marrying Wei Xuan in the previous life; now, he wouldn’t be able to marry her in this life either.

After a while, they encountered the boat from the Zhongqin Marquis’s mansion. Mu Shikang, accompanied by Mu Zhen and Mu Jin, boarded the Jingning Marquis’s boat, making the cabin somewhat crowded.

Wei Heng walked to the bow of the boat, took a breath of the cold river wind, and cleared the mixed scent of cosmetics from her nose. Today, Mu Jin and the others had used too much fragrant powder and perfume, making her head ache.

It was understandable, though. The Lantern Festival was the most open-minded time, and every year, some interesting stories would emerge. Although marriages were decided by parents, the sight of well-matched couples getting married was enviable, creating beautiful stories of “lovers finally becoming a couple.”

Mu Yuer saw that Wei Heng had been standing outside for a long time and hadn’t returned to the cabin. She took out Wei Heng’s red and gold embroidered peony fox fur collar and draped it over her.

Suddenly, Wei Heng slipped on the deck. If she hadn’t grabbed the edge of the cabin, she would have almost fallen into the river. The two boats collided, but fortunately, it wasn’t too severe. Such friction was common in the crowded Ji Shui during the Lantern Festival.

“Miss Zhen, why is it you?” A surprised voice echoed in the cabin. Wei Heng turned around to see lanterns with the character “Lu” on the opposite boat. It should be the boat from the Duke Qi’s mansion.

The Lu family’s boat was large and elegant, with intricate decorations. The painted surface of the boat was more beautiful than the Jingning Marquis’s boat, belonging to an inherited duke’s mansion with a richer background than the Jingning Marquis’s mansion.

When Wei Heng lifted the curtain and entered the cabin, she saw Lu Yizhen inviting Wei Xuan and the others to join them on the Lu family’s boat. Lu Yiyuan stood beside her, sneering slightly at Mu Zhen and the others, displaying a hint of disdain. The Mu family was a relative by marriage, and even the Zhongqin Marquis was titled because of Empress Mu. They were not an inherited title. Lu Yiyuan looked down on families with shallow roots.

If it weren’t for Wei Xuan’s reputation, Lu Yizhen might not have condescended to invite them. Her mother was a countess, after all.

Wei Heng had no intention of socializing with the Duke Qi’s mansion, and she didn’t want to endure Lu Yiyuan’s contempt. She excused herself, claiming a headache from the chilly wind, and stayed on the boat with the sisters-in-laws.

Mu Zhen and the others joyfully went to the Lu family’s boat. Wei Xuan also had a radiant smile on her face. Wei Xuan admired Lu Zhan, and Wei Heng knew that.

The reason these girls ignored Lu Yiyuan’s disdain and still wanted to go to the Lu family’s boat was mainly to get a chance to meet Lu Zhan.

“Zhuzhu’er, why don’t you go and play with Xuan’er and the others? You just returned to the capital; it’s also good to get closer to your sisters.” Ge shi asked Wei Heng. It was for her own good. Regardless of what might happen in the future, she would always be part of this social circle, and getting closer had its benefits, avoiding a solitary and arrogant impression in the future.

“I really have a headache, Third Sister-in-law.” Wei Heng rubbed her temples. She enjoyed both lively and quiet moments. When it was extraordinarily lively outside, she preferred quietly appreciating lanterns, having a boat to herself, drinking alone, and enjoying the splendor of the world.

Certainly, not wanting to see Lu Zhan was also one of the reasons.

TL: Yeah she certainly doesn’t want to see him. Yiyuan acts so high and mighty

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