“He doesn’t want to get acquainted with you.”

After the show, the spectators dispersed, and several large men were packing up. The leader of the performance group grabbed a handful of copper coins and smiled from ear to ear towards Myrna. “Miss, please take this money. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have gotten this much money today.”

They were a travelling performance group. They also came to seize the opportunity today due to the Lantern Festival and sold their talents on the street, making a good profit. They didn’t know what kind of crazy luck they had stepped on to meet such an unworldly beauty who was willing to join them.

“No need.” Myrna turned away, losing interest. “I had my fun.”

“Eh? Miss—” The big man wanted to stop her, but the lady in purple disappeared in the blink of an eye.

He stood in place at a loss. “Strange, where did she go?”

Inside an inn

As soon as Myrna stepped into her room, two maids rushed forward, looking like they were faced with their saviour.

“Saintess, you are back!” The maid almost cried with joy. “Saint is waiting for you next door.” 

Myrna rolled her eyes. “Why is he being so nosey? I’m not going.”

“If I wasn’t, you would have gotten yourself killed ages ago.” A grave and stern foreign-looking man appeared at the door. The two maids put their right hands on their left shoulders and saluted. They tacitly withdrew from the room and closed the door.

Myrna was unhappy at his tone and smacked the table. “Aslan, you are the Saint and I’m the Saintess, we are equal, so you don’t have the authority to be in charge of me!”

“Lao Lao ordered me to look after you. Her worry for you is indeed reasonable.” Aslan said coldly, “Where do you think you are? This is the Qin Empire’s territory. I know you want to have a good time, but this is not a place where you should act recklessly. Right now we are envoys representing the Liang Empire. If you sneak out today and cause trouble, how can we justify ourselves to the Emperor?”

“I know how to behave. I just want to experience their festival!” Myrna huffed impatiently, “Can you stop treating me like a child? I have slept with more men than the number of women you’ve met.”


Aslan clenched his fist in silence.

“Oh, that’s right.” Myrna smiled, deliberately sharing, “I met a very interesting man today. Although he was wearing a mask, I have a feeling that he is better looking than you...”

“You slept with him?” The emotion under Aslan’s eyes turned violent.

In Liang, as long as the man was young and good-looking, he could get into Myrna’s bed.

...Except him.

“No, he is a cut sleeve.” Myrna sighed. “It’s a pity. I really wanted a taste of his yang energy. Such a pure energy. It would definitely increase my internal strength and energy by tenfold.”

When Aslan learned Myrna and the man in the mask did not have a night of fun, the emotion in his eyes became peaceful. He studied Myrna and informed in a riddle, “You think he is the one who is off the hook. But don’t you know it was you who was schemed?”

Myrna frowned. “What do you mean?”

Aslan said vaguely, “Why don’t you check? Are you missing anything?”

Myrna felt around herself and eyes widened in shock. “Where is my huanhun 還魂丹 Is to return from the grave. So a reviving pill or soul restoring pill.pill?”

Shaman voodoo magic is prevalent in the Liang Empire. As the Saintess of the Liang Empire, she possessed many poisonous objects. It was natural that she would also be carrying a huanhun pill, known to detoxify all poisons.

The pill is extremely precious as it was concocted with many rare medicinal materials. She was only able to craft one, which she kept close to her, and she regarded it as her treasure.

How could her precious possession be pocketed by some stranger!

Myrna recalled the event carefully and found that when she tried to bewitch the young man in green, the other party was clear-headed from start to finish...maybe the pill was taken from her during that time.

She thought she spotted juicy meat, it turned out she was the juicy meat the other had his eye on.

“Damn it! That cunning fox actually tricked me!” Myrna stamped her foot angrily. “This shouldn’t have happened. I’m a first-class martial artist. Doesn’t that make him a peerless expert to be able to take my pill off me without me realising it?”

“There is a saying that in the wider world, there are people more talented than yourself. The Qin Empire is a nation known to have Crouching Tigers and Hidden Dragons, a land of concealed talent. This is why I keep reminding you to be careful.” Aslan warned.

Myrna was careless and suffered a loss, so she was in no position to refute Aslan. She sat down, fuming and gnashing her teeth. “He better hope that we don’t meet again!”

The duo walked down the street with the crowd. Ji Yue did not ask what special performance the woman did for Wei Lian. Instead, Wei Lian asked the older man, “How do you think the woman appeared from inside of the box?”

“There is a hidden compartment in the box. She hid there.” Ji Yue answered absentmindedly.

“There’s no way there is enough space to fit an adult in that box.”

“As long as you know the art of contortion, it is not hard for an adult to bend and fold their body into a small gap.” Ji Yue replied, “Why make a big deal of something so trivial?”

“Oh.” Wei Lian forged his amazement. “You are still the smartest.”

Ji Yue glanced at him. “It’s you who is too dumb.”

Now that was uncalled for.

Wei Lian was the smartest in the world.

As for Ji Yue...the older man could be titled as second, if barely.

“There is a ‘guess the riddle on the lantern’ ahead.” Wei Lian looked at the crowded place before them. “Why don’t we compete?”

To see who is smarter.

“Fine, let’s complete. Think you’re better?” Ji Yue accepted proudly.

They came to the front of the stall. The lantern seller was an old man. The lanterns for only selling were set aside on display for the customers, while on a pole were exquisite lanterns with riddles written on them. Anyone who guessed the riddle correctly could take that lantern home.

Some talented men were able to take lanterns and give them to their beloved lady. The activity was still going on. The old man read the riddle on a lantern with a peach blossom pattern. “The blessing of giving birth to a baby boy, one wo—”

Wei Lian answered, “Nephew甥 The word for nephew is the combination of ‘to give birth’ and ‘male’. .”

“Oh.” The old man was stunned and immediately said with a smile, “This young master, you were able to give the right word before I could finish reading. You are correct. This lantern is yours.”

Wei Lian shook his head. “This one doesn’t want a lantern. I just want to compete with my companion.”

Otherwise, if the competition gets heated and no winner could be decided, there would not be enough lanterns in the whole stall to give out.

Once the old man found out the young man did not want a lantern and only wanted to solve the riddle, why shouldn’t he agree to do such business? He cleared his throat and began reading the next one, “The bird that lands on top of the mountain cannot see its feet as it searches everywhere for them, one wo—”

Ji Yue answered lightly, “Island島 The bottom part of the word for bird is replaced for the word for mountain, and the new word is island. .”

The old man choked on his saliva and silently changed to the next one, “One dim, one dark; one short, one long; one daytime, one nighttime; one—”

Wei Lian took the lead in finishing the one man’s riddle, “One hot, one cold. This is the ‘ming明 All descriptions related to sun and moon, and the ming word is the combination of the sun and the moon words. The word for dim contains moon and the word for dark contains sun; the word for sun is also used for DD and word for moon is also used for MM; the daytime belongs to the sun and the nighttime belongs to the moon; if the old man finished, 'daytime is hot and nighttime is cold'.’ word.”

The old man continued, “The coiled dragon lies low in winter, as the branches and leaves formed in summer, the dragon whiskers climbed upward, the pearls...” Rested downward.

Ji Yue stole the answer, “Plant is the answer. The answer is grapes.”

Old man: “...”

Could you young people let this old man finish the riddle?!

If it were anyone else, he could rest a short while after he finished the riddle to give the customer time to think. What was the matter with these two? The time they came up with the answer was faster than the time for him to finish the riddle!

If it wasn’t for them not wanting his lanterns, he would have thought they were here to cause trouble to his stall.

The duo clashed with each other and they were evenly matched, which attracted a lot of attention. Scholars are well respected by the people, as they are the subject of admiration with their talents. Although Ji Yue and Wei Lian were incognito with their masks, they still possessed their outstanding temperaments, not to mention their quick thinking.

Currently, there were many spectators to this competition between the two. Seeing more and more people gathered, the old man smiled so wide with an open mouth. More people meant he could sell more lanterns.

In order to make the competition more exciting and attract more onlookers, he picked his most difficult riddle and intended to stop the other two’s smooth ride. However, it appeared that nothing could be called a riddle in front of these two. Usually, the old man would get interrupted mid sentence. One of the two men would give the answer before the spectators could have time to ponder over the riddle.

The gap between them was so small, there were even times when they answered in unison. Neither losing ground and neither gained the upper hand.

Someone in the crowd cheered loudly.

Finally, the old man shook his head and said, “Gentlemen, there is no more riddle.”

Wei Lian asked, “Is there a winner?”

A busybody on the side shouted, “Equal scores! Both of you answered nine questions!”

Another draw.

Wei Lian sighed, “It seems that we are still even today.”

Ji Yue picked up a rabbit lantern. “Old man, can I have this one?”

Of course the old man had no objection. According to the rule, he would have to give them his entire stall as compensation. He was naturally very happy if they only wanted one.

Ji Yue nodded to give thanks and handed the lantern to Wei Lian. “Take it.”

Wei Lian was surprised, “For me?”

What was he going to do with this rabbit lantern?

“For you.” Ji Yue smirked. “Rabbit is the little fox’s favourite snack, so he should like a rabbit lantern as well.”

Wei Lian: “...”

There was no correlation between rabbit and rabbit lantern.

No, that was not right. He had no correlation between a little fox!

Wei Lian still accepted the lantern, cupped it in his hands to inspect it before lowering his hands.

This rabbit lantern, made by the rough workmanship of common folk, was far less exquisite and valuable than the ceramic glaze lantern given to him by the Qin Emperor back at the palace.

But Wei Lian actually likes this rabbit lantern more.

The ceramic glaze lantern was gifted by the Qin Emperor to Lian Gongzi.

The rabbit lantern...

Was a gift from Ji Xiao Yue to Wei Xiao Lian.

Wei Lian carried the lantern and as he was about to turn and leave, someone from the crowd stopped him.

“Can the two please stay?” A handsome scholar with elegant temperament bowed and said, “This one’s name is Zhang Xuwen, courtesy name Enba. I’m a scholar preparing for this year's preliminary round of imperial examinations. Today, I was amazed by the two’s talents in solving the lantern riddles. It was such a brilliant display. I was wondering if the two are also candidates for this year’s examination? And if this one had the honour to become acquainted with you two?”

Wei Lian glanced at him. The uncovered part of his face smiled, then Ji Yue suddenly held his hand.

“He doesn’t want to get acquainted with you.” Ji Yue replied coldly and pulled Wei Lian away from the other person.

Zhang Xuwen: “...”

“Who does he think he is? So arrogant.” His companions came forward and defended him, “Zhang-xiong, forget about them. These are just simple riddles on some lanterns. Even people without a brain can solve it. While for you, Zhang-xioing兄 A more respectable word for older brother., remember to recommend me in front of his Majesty once you win top marks in the imperial examination in the future.”

Zhang Xuwen stopped his friend, “Zi Piao, please don’t run your mouth.”

He said that, but on his face there was a determined expression, as if he was already the top candidate for the examination.

“Ah.” Wei Lian was pulled away by Ji Yue, who finally released him once they were far away. “Why are you in such a hurry?”

Ji Yue asked angrily, “Why were you smiling at him?”

Do you not know how good-looking you are when you smile? A smile that can make anyone fall for you?

We do not allow this!

Wei Lian: “?”

Ji Yue cared about this?

Wei Lian replied helplessly, “But that’s basic politeness...”

Ji Yue was even more upset. “I have never seen you being that polite to me.”

Wei Lian always acted insolent in front of him.


Wei Lian was at his wit's end with three-years-old Ji Yue.

“Then I won’t smile at him anymore.” Wei Lian curved his lips and his eyes also followed. “I will only smile at you, all right?”

Ji Yue was blinded by the other’s smile.

It took him a long time to whisper, “...All right.”

In the street where people were coming and going, it was like the duo were frozen in place as the masks covered their complicated thoughts.

Thousands of lantern lights were shining all over, which were not as bright as the stars in each other’s eyes.

“Gentlemen, come buy a lotus lantern.” A girl carrying a basket shattered their delicate atmosphere. “Place it in the river to make a wish. The wishes will come true if it reaches the river god’s ears.”

Ji Yue turned around and found that he had pulled Wei Lian to the river. Countless men and women squatted by the river to put their lotus lanterns on the river. Couples with their eyes closed to make their wishes.

Matter regarding ghosts and gods would only work for  believers, not for non-believers. If it wasn't for his mother, he wouldn’t have believed in them. Even then, he would not entrust something like granting wishes to a deity.

But hearing the girl selling lanterns that float on the river, Ji Yue still asked, “How much for one?”

The seller stretched out five fingers. “Five for one.”

Ji Yue gave her ten copper coins and said, “Give me two.”

“All right, here you go.”

The little lady skipped away in joy being ten copper coins richer. Wei Lian looked at the two lotus lanterns in each of Ji Yue’s hands as emotion flickered in his eyes.

He suddenly had the urge to laugh.

They were being their truest selves towards each other only under masks.

Ji Yue handed one of the lanterns to the young man. “Let’s go put it on the river.”

Wei Lian pushed his prior thoughts aside and said, “All right.”

Decorated pleasure boats on top of the river were brilliant. There were gentle paddling sounds and light shadow. The sound of flutes were harmonising with the pipa across the bank. The two instruments did not need to know each other, exchanging music could also be seen as meeting by chance.

The water surface glistened, reflecting an inverse image of the round moon.

Several pink lotus lanterns in full bloom floated on the water surface and swung with the river current, carrying people’s wishes to the palace of the legendary river god.

Wei Lian and Ji Yue found a more deserted corner, squatted down and gently put the lotus lantern from their hands into the river.

During their wish making, Wei Lian closed his eyes but hesitated for a moment.

What wish should he make?

If someone asked him this question a month ago, it would have been regicide, just to calm his resentment.

But that thought was gone.

People were really fickle creatures. Wei Lian smiled softly.


Wishing for the land’s prosperity, commoner’s welfare, and world peace.

May the glory of today be forever.

Editor's Corner

Special thanks to Teo for providing the riddle ‘visuals’ which really aids in understanding. <3


1 Comment

  1. Muggelschmuggel

    Eiii~ is three year old JY jelly that WL smiled at someone else? Hahaha.

    Thx for the ch ٩(。˃ ᵕ ˂ )و

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