Noble Daughter | Chapter 19: Lantern Festival(3)

Chapter 19: Lantern Festival(3)

TL: Let the competition begin!!!!!

Wei Fang also just noticed that her younger sister, Wei Heng, whom she saw every day, had grown so beautiful that even the dazzling lantern hill couldn’t compete with her radiance. The moonlight and the lanterns’ brilliance flowed gently along her curves as she held the white rabbit lantern. Her fingers, illuminated as if made of transparent glass, were incredibly beautiful, almost unreal, like arrow orchids blooming in the light. Just her hands were enough to captivate anyone’s gaze.

As for her appearance, it made people feel that even a second look was an affront to her beauty.

After the crowd enjoying the lanterns passed, Wei Heng smiled at Wei Fang, “Elder Sister.”

This smile seemed to bring forth a riot of colors, as if fireworks and silver flowers were blooming. The figure in the painting suddenly came alive, walking from a sacred mountain thousands of miles away into the bustling world.

“Goodness,it is too beautiful to be human?” Someone murmured, expressing what everyone felt in their hearts.

After the lantern festivities passed, the enchantment was lifted, and time resumed its flow.

“Third Sister-in-law, Third Sister, where are you going?” Wei Fang asked.

“We’re just strolling around.” Ge Shi pulled Wei Heng’s hand and walked across the street to join Wei Fang and the others.

“Come with us to Zhenzhi Tower. Today is the fifteenth, and the owner of Zhenzhi Tower is opening the third floor, where they have prepared exquisite delicacies. We’re going to see the excitement.” Mu Zhen interjected.

Zhenzhi Tower was a famous restaurant in the capital, known for its high prices. A meal there could consume the monthly salary of a fifth-rank official. Yet, it was still swarmed by guests from all directions. Don’t complain about the cost; if you didn’t book a seat ten days in advance, you’d be left standing outside watching.

The third floor of Zhenzhi Tower was never open to the public, except on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month when the owner personally hosted guests.

However, for the past three years, no one had successfully ascended to the third floor. The last person to achieve this feat three years ago was none other than Young Master Lu, standing next to Mu Zhen.

In Wei Heng’s memory, Wei Xuan also successfully ascended to the third floor later, but it was a challenging task.

Both Wei Fang and Mu Zhen extended invitations, and Wei Heng also wanted to experience it. She looked at Ge Shi, who nodded. Wei Heng then said, “Sure.”

“Let’s ask Cousin Zhan to take us up to the third floor tonight and witness the spectacle.” Mu Jin smiled.

Wei Heng’s maternal grandmother, Madam Mu, and the grandfather of the Duke Qi’s Mansion, Madam Mu, were cousins, and Lu Zhan, being Madam Mu’s legitimate grandson, could indeed be considered a cousin to this group of sisters. However, Mu Jin’s casual address made Wei Heng and the others also start calling Lu Zhan “Cousin Zhan” within a short time. Even Wei Xuan followed suit.

Lu Zhan spoke, “The rule of Zhenzhi Tower is that each person can only solve a puzzle once in their lifetime.”

This was precisely the reason for Zhenzhi Tower’s fame. If they allowed unlimited attempts, the achievement of reaching the top floor wouldn’t be as satisfying. Due to this rule, those who treasured their abilities would never dare to attempt to solve the puzzle easily. If they failed, it would be a lifelong regret, with no second chance.

Mu Jin, unaware of this rule, felt a bit disheartened upon hearing it. However, she quickly cheered up. “No problem. Cousin Xuan will definitely solve it.” Mu Jin, as Wei Xuan’s most loyal follower, always praised Wei Xuan.

Wei Xuan shook her head and smiled, “I can’t guarantee that, but I’m willing to give it a try.”

Wei Heng, hearing Wei Xuan’s words, was somewhat surprised. In her vague memory from her past life, Wei Xuan ascended the tower only after completing her studies at the women’s academy. Now, at the age of thirteen, she was attempting this daringly. Even if she succeeded, it would only be an embellishment to her achievements. However, if she failed, it could be a significant loss.

Wei Xuan was not someone who took risks like this. Wei Heng couldn’t help but look at her a few more times. Seeing Wei Xuan’s confident smile, she figured Wei Xuan must have a plan, so Wei Heng didn’t say anything to dissuade her.

The group, led by Lu Zhan and Wei Xuan, arrived at Zhenzhi Tower. With the presence of Lu Zhan and Wei Xuan, well-known figures, a crowd quickly gathered around Zhenzhi Tower, eager to witness the extraordinary performance of the top female scholar in the capital.

Zhenzhi Tower was located on the west side of Qinglong Bridge, and the Ji River meandered in front of Zhenzhi Tower, forming a crescent-shaped Moon Spring Lake. The view from the third floor of Zhenzhi Tower, overlooking the lake, captured the myriad lights of the capital, making it one of the top ten scenes in the capital—Moon Spring and Blooming Flowers. The beauty was beyond words.

Wei Heng had never known that the capital’s residents were so well-informed. As soon as the owner of Zhenzhi Tower appeared, the surrounding tea houses and taverns were quickly filled with people. Looking up, Wei Heng saw that all twelve members of Spring Snow Society were present, and even the eldest prince, who had already established his own mansion, was peering out from the opposite building.

Wei Fang held Wei Heng’s hand, both a bit sweaty. However, she turned around to comfort Wei Heng, saying, “It’s okay, our second sister will definitely succeed.”

Wei Heng nodded.

The owner of Zhenzhi Tower, upon hearing that the second daughter of the Jingning Marquis’s mansion had arrived, personally descended to greet them. Wei Heng looked up and saw the owner, around forty years old, with phoenix eyes, curved eyebrows, a beautiful beard, and dressed in a green shirt, exuding an air of wisdom and elegance. Only someone like him was worthy of running Zhenzhi Tower.

The first-floor puzzles at Zhenzhi Tower were already arranged, with twelve signs covered in red silk.

“These are the upper couplets I have collected during my travels over the past few years. The problem is, I haven’t found the matching lower couplets. To pass this first stage, you need to match eight out of these twelve couplets within the time it takes for an incense stick to burn.” The owner of Zhenzhi Tower, Chang Shengshan, explained to the ready challenger, Wei Xuan.

People nearby took a deep breath. While learning these couplets during early education wasn’t difficult, matching eight out of twelve, especially challenging and unique ones, within the time of an incense stick burning was no simple task.

Some of the people who were initially eager to try felt a bit hesitant.

“Please be patient, those who wish to attempt the challenge. Wait a moment. When the bell strikes the hour of the pig, I will unveil the red silk,” Chang Shengshan loudly announced to the crowd.

It was now approaching the end of the hour of the dog. More and more people were surging toward Zhenzhi Tower, eagerly awaiting the bell’s chime.

However, Wei Xuan, seated calmly inside Zhenzhi Tower, looked at Lu Yiyuan, along with Zhou Yue’e and the recently arrived Zhou Yue’e, and said, “Sisters, would you like to give it a try? It’s rare that all the members of our Spring Snow Society are here. It would be quite an event if we challenge this together.”

Zhou Yue’e was intrigued, and she and Wei Xuan had been in a silent competition. Although Wei Xuan had the upper hand in poetry and literature, Zhou Yue’e was not lacking in areas where she could surpass Wei Xuan. Both were outstanding students of the women’s academy, and Zhou Yue’e was not willing to let Wei Xuan shine alone.

Both Gu Rong and Zhou Yue’e nodded, and Lu Yiyuan was also eager to try. The princess of Changzhen County, Gu Rong, said, “If any sisters from our Spring Snow Society want to try, please step forward.”

Wei Heng had no intention of moving, but Mu Zhen stepped forward without hesitation. She was also a girl secretly in love with Lu Zhan.

Wei Heng thought that Wei Xuan had a good trick up her sleeve. Afraid of becoming a laughingstock if she failed the challenge, Wei Xuan seemed to have pulled all the girls into this, ensuring that no one could mock anyone else. Seeing this, Wei Heng felt that the goddess image she had built up for Wei Xuan in her mind had shattered a bit.

Wei Heng sighed, realizing that Wei Xuan was not infallible in everything.

“Third Sister, are you coming?” Wei Xuan turned and asked Wei Heng. She was the only one left who hadn’t stepped forward.

Wei Heng was not one to avoid challenges. Although she had little talent, she was not without strengths. However, at this moment, if she didn’t step forward, she would be isolated by the other eleven girls from Spring Snow Society. Reluctantly, Wei Heng walked up.

When the bell struck the hour of the pig, Chang Shengshan personally unveiled the red silk covering the twelve plaques.

These twelve plaques were paired, with the upper couplet written on the left side and the corresponding lower couplet left blank on the right side, waiting for the challengers to fill in. Of course, not everyone had the qualification to write their answers. The neat rows of tables and cushions were placed in the lobby of Zhenzhi Tower, and the challengers sat in front of the tables, contemplating the couplets.

The time of one incense stick was extremely short. Not only did they need to contemplate, but they also had to write down their answers. Some people started to panic, with ink spills happening as soon as they began.

Wei Heng had no intention of challenging and felt less pressure. She leisurely looked at the twelve upper couplets, realising they were incredibly difficult. She wasn’t greedy and thought that if she could match a few, that would be enough. If not, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

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