Noble Daughter | Chapter 18: Lantern Festival(2)

Chapter 18: Lantern Festival(2)

Wei Heng has a strong dislike for Lu Zhan. Firstly, in her previous life, Lu Zhan was her cousin-in-law, which was enough reason for Wei Heng to dislike him. Secondly, in that previous life, Lu Zhan ruthlessly shattered the fragile heart of Wei Heng’s.

In everything, Wei Heng had to compete with Wei Xuan, and marriage was no exception. If Wei Xuan liked Lu Zhan, then Wei Heng would also set her sights on him. To be honest, it wasn’t difficult to be attracted to someone like Lu Zhan. A single glance from him could make a young girl’s heart flutter.

Considering Wei Heng’s age, where boys her age were still referred to as “little boys” and might have runny noses or bedwetting issues, Lu Zhan, at nineteen, was exceptionally mature, handsome, and talented. He was like a golden and jade-studded prince.

Upon hearing the rumors about a potential marriage between the Lu and Wei families, Wei Heng gathered her courage, set aside her maidenly reserve, and took the handkerchief she embroidered with the words “Héng yěshì sī (sī), shù yěshì sī (sī)” to meet Lu Zhan. However, she received a response of “A woman should be reserved.” Not only did he not like her, but he also looked down on her.

Later, when Lu Zhan and Wei Xuan were engaged, Wei Heng harbored intense resentment towards Lu Zhan. She even contemplated tearing him apart and eating him, thinking there was nothing exceptional about him – just an ordinary man with no cleaner qualities than others.

To be honest, only Wei Xuan was able to get along like a fish in water when she married into the Duke of Qi’s mansion, but even so, the eldest Madam Mu also shed tears behind her back.

In this world, every talented man had a charming concubine by his side, and the case of Lord Lu Zhan, a prominent talent, was no exception. The unique aspect lay in his concubine, who was not only exceptionally beautiful but also remarkably talented. It was said that, apart from a slightly inferior background, she was in no way inferior to Madam Wei.

Whenever Madam Wei thought of such a woman, she found it terrifying. To think that she was only second to Madam Wei and still managed to be a constant presence before Madam Wei, it was truly frightening. Only Madam Wei could keep this concubine in check. However, even with Madam Wei successfully managing her, right after Madam Wei gave birth to the legitimate eldest son, the concubine managed to have an illegitimate son. This second young master was deeply favored by Lord Lu Zhan, and later it was proven that he possessed even more talent than Madam Wei’s legitimate eldest son. Do you think Madam Wei would be resentful or not?

In the following events, Lu Zhan gained more status and influence, and more women were sent to his mansion. Without Wei Xuan’s talents, who could engage in music and conversation with Lu Zhan, who could maintain a deep relationship with him? Wei Heng found the thought of such a woman terrifying, especially considering that Wei Xuan ranked second to this woman and was constantly bothering Wei Xuan in front of the main mistress.

Wei Heng felt a malicious satisfaction when she thought about these matters. It was truly a sin.

As if that weren’t enough, on top of that, she had to serve Madam Chu, who maintained a perpetually icy demeanor, was always fault-finding, came from a noble background, and was such a delicate mother-in-law. Without Wei Xuan’s skills, one would inevitably meet an unfortunate end.

Later on, as Lu Zhan’s status and influence grew, there were even more women sent into his household. Without Wei Xuan’s abilities, one might wonder which woman could achieve the continuous harmony and deep affection shared with Lu Zhan.

As the years went by, and she experienced more in life, any fleeting feelings she had for Lu Zhan during her youth had long evaporated. Later, as she watched Wei Xuan, who was just in her thirties, start graying and developing wrinkles that could catch mosquitoes, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief. Fortunately, Wei Xuan married Lu Zhan, and she also considered herself fortunate to have married Fan Yong. Wei Xuan had to be on guard against other women trying to snatch her husband, contend with her mother-in-law, Madam Chu, for the attention of her son, and constantly update her knowledge to avoid ending up in a situation where she and Lu Zhan had no common ground.

Thinking about it, marrying Lu Zhan seemed like a fate of eight lifetimes of misfortune for anyone. Wei Heng found it exhausting. She considered it a relief not to have married Lu Zhan. She couldn’t help but feel sorry for anyone who did.

Returning to the scene on the boat, after Wei Xuan and the others went to the Lu family’s boat, Wei Heng finally enjoyed some peace. Sitting by the window, she watched the lanterns. Of her three sisters-in-law, only Ge Shi stayed with Wei Heng; Jiang Shi and Gu Shi went to other boats for socializing.

Ge Shi was not talkative, and the two sisters-in-law occasionally exchanged glances, sharing a knowing smile before turning back to enjoy the lanterns. At the bow of the boat, the boatwoman warmed her floral wine, and Wei Heng ordered a cup. She raised her cup to the moon, her face tinged with a faint blush, radiating an irresistible charm.

Ge Shi, originally looking at the lanterns, had shifted her gaze to Wei Heng. The moonlight and lantern light outside the window surrounded Wei Heng, making her elegant silhouette distant, like a glow on a snowy mountain peak or a precious pearl in a deep-sea palace.

Ge Shi couldn’t find words to describe Wei Heng’s beauty; everything seemed ordinary and plain in comparison. Wei Heng’s beauty lay in its variability and purity. As a young girl, her charm had both innocence and the arrogance of a noble family, combined with a translucent aura like the sea, not just a spring.

This kind of person, who knows who will win her heart in the future? The only thing Ge Shi could be sure of was that no matter where she ended up, they wouldn’t bear to see such a girl suffer.

Under Ge Shi’s guidance, Wei Heng and Ge Shi disembarked, surrounded by maids and servants, making their way into the brilliantly lit Imperial Street.

The street was adorned with various lanterns, competing in beauty. Lotus lanterns, pagoda lanterns, Ruyi lanterns, jade hairpin lanterns, embroidered ball lanterns, silk lanterns, lobster lanterns, walking horse lanterns, mooncake lanterns, white rabbit lanterns, rooster lanterns, prosperity lanterns, carp spitting pearl lanterns, double dragon grabbing pearl lanterns, dragon and phoenix lanterns, fairy and lotus lanterns, Chang’e flying to the moon lanterns – you name it, they had it.

The lanterns on Riddle Street were only given away, not sold. Throughout the year, being able to walk through Riddle Street, win lanterns all the way, and return home with a large group of people carrying lanterns was a highly prestigious accomplishment. Wei Xuan had done this in the past.

Wei Heng was also good at solving riddles, but considering what Wei Xuan had done before, Wei Heng felt a sense of unease. It seemed like picking up someone else’s leftovers, so she casually browsed the exquisitely crafted lantern riddles, stopping only when she encountered complex and difficult ones. However, she never revealed the answers.

Ge Shi managed to win two lanterns, intending to give them to Quan’er. Wei Heng also won a lantern, the most delicate one on the street, with a white rabbit that could be pulled along with wheels attached. When Quan’er grew a little older, he could play with it.

Although Ge Shi had an eye on that lantern, she failed to guess the lantern riddles. Surprisingly, Wei Henh guessed it right, causing Ge Shi to raise her opinion of Wei Heng a bit. It seemed that her visits to Baihe Academy in Hangzhou over the past two years had greatly enriched her.

“Third Sister.”

As Wei Heng received the white rabbit lantern, she heard a loud call from across the street. Looking up, she saw Wei Fang, accompanied by Wei Xuan, Mu Zhen, Mu Jin, Fan Xin, and the sisters from the Lu family.

And Lu Zhan.

Wei Heng almost couldn’t recall the appearance of the young Lu Zhan from her youth. Her memory of Lu Zhan was mostly of his middle-aged self, exuding a profound demeanor, matured by life’s experiences. He possessed an aura that seemed capable of resolving any problem. The confidence and grace that emanated from his elevated position were unparalleled, making even the most handsome young men pale in comparison. Under such an aura, even the most handsome features could only serve as an accompaniment. Moreover, Lu Zhan’s looks were exceptionally striking, often described as “jade-like.”

However, compared to the middle-aged Lu Zhan that Wei Heng remembered, the currently slightly immature Lu Zhan seemed less impressive. Wei Heng sighed inwardly, realizing that she indeed had the body of a young girl and the heart of a young woman. It was hard to say whether this was good or bad, but it was certainly fresher than the heart of an old woman.

After Wei Fang called out “Third Sister,” her subsequent words were drowned out by the drum and gong sounds emanating from the lantern street. A procession followed, with a robust man carrying a lantern leading the way. The crowd surrounded him, and there were also teams carrying colorful flags and dancing.

The lantern in the man’s hands had ninety-nine small lamps, each containing a glass cup filled with tea oil, shining brightly and translucent. It weighed around thirty catties, thanks to the man’s robust strength.

The lantern resembled the stars in the sky, pearls in the sea, making it impossible for people to see anything else. Yet, standing under the lantern, Wei Heng, upon hearing Wei Fang’s shout, turned her head with a hint of surprise and caught the eyes of people across the street.

In the dim light of the lanterns, a girl wearing a bright red, gold-embroidered dress with peony patterns, and a white fur-trimmed Zhaoling crown, stood quietly amidst the crowd. She froze the entire scene in that moment, engraving it into the eyes of the beholders.

TL: behold the beauty, guess who is holding their breaths…. we will see in the next chapter..

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