9 Lantern Festival
*Edited by buzyhoneybee*
It's been two months since Yangmi entered the book. Having no idea how to leave it and not really wanting to leave, she decided to enjoy her life here in ancient China, taking it day by day. The once conniving, arrogant and disrespectful Eldest Miss is now gentle and kind. Of course, there were times when she did strange things that the servants could not understand, but choose to remain quiet. Now, they pretty much got used to her weird antics.
For example, one morning she ordered her maid, Liqin, to grab her a mat and place it outside. On the mat, the Eldest Miss began to raise one leg back up in the air while the other remained down on the mat, her palms placed together as if she was praying. The servants couldn't help but turn their heads away seeing Yangmi expose herself like this.
"Dear Buddha, please help Eldest Miss," the servants silently prayed to themselves while gathering in a circle.
"What are you guys praying for? I'm just doing yoga!" Yangmi yelled, feeling slightly unjust.
The Youngest Miss was also acting differently. No longer was she shy and timid but now outspoken and loved to laugh. The thing that surprised the servants the most was that Yangmi and Qing Qing seemed to be getting along quite well! They often made jokes that others couldn't understand and kept talking about some guy named Wallace Huo.
The happiest person in the Feng Household right now was their father, Feng Wangshu. Seeing his two daughters finally getting along, Wangshu felt that he could die without any regrets.
During this time, the whole household was lively as everyone was preparing for the New Year. The servants hung lanterns and strings around the house, drenching it in red. Currently, Yangmi and Qing Qing were trying to convince their father to let them go outside to celebrate the Lantern Festival. Yangmi has been to many Lantern Festivals outside the book but having read many historical records, she knows that the ones in the modern world could not compare to Ancient China. Furthermore, she has heard some of the servants talking about it, making her want to experience it even more! She couldn't stand being in the house any longer and was itching to explore the outside world!
"No," Feng Wangshu said.
"But why not, Father? This only happens once a year and Qing Qing and I wish to see it," Yangmi says, trying to convince her father.
Feng Wangshu couldn't help but rub his temples, feeling a headache coming. Of course, he wants his girls to have fun and experience the world but after the conversation with the Crown Prince and the increase in human trafficking, he forced himself to turn down their request.
"We want to light a lantern for our mothers in heaven. We'd also like to light up one for you and our grandparents as well to wish you guys happiness and health. The commoners say this is only effective at the Huai Lake," Yangmi continued sweetly.
"Yes, we want to pray for the safety of our family," Qing Qing agreed with a nod.
Feng Wangshu fought back his smile; seeing his daughters being echos of each other was quite amusing. "As I said, the answer is no-"
"What if I go with them?" a loud and deep voice said from the entrance of the room. Everyone turned towards the owner of the voice only to see Crown Prince entering the room in a leisure pace before stopping in front of the Feng's. "I am also planning to attend the Lantern Festival. I won't mind watching over them for you."
Hearing that the Crown Prince wanted to go with them, Qing Qing frowned and was about to open her mouth to reject his offer.
However, Yangmi was a bit faster. "Great! Since His Highness is willing to come with us, I'm sure we'll be well guarded. Father, I promise you won't have anything to fear. So, can we go?" She looked at her father, purposely making her eyes appear bigger and her smile wider.
Feng Wangshu sighed. He knew he wasn't going to win this argument. "Alright you can go but you have to remain by the Crown Prince's side. And make sure you are back before midnight." Before Feng Wangshu could even finish listing his terms to the girls, Yangmi was already dragging Qing Qing and the Crown Prince outside the door.
By the time Feng Wangshu stepped outside, they were gone. It was almost sundown but the clouds were dark and grey, contrasting against the lively decoration. He couldn't help but have a bad premonition about this decision.
The usual darkness of the night was replaced with the brilliant colors of thousands of lanterns that were hung at every corner. For the Lantern Festival, Feng Huang capital shone myriads of colors, welcoming the New Year. If one looked carefully, each lantern was different and unique; its frames fashioned by the blacksmiths and the silks sewed by the seamstresses. Inside each lantern was a candle, lit brightly as the day began to fade and the prayers and songs began. It was one of the busiest times of the year, but the hustle and bustle are what brings liveliness to the city of Feng Huang. The festival was overflowing with people, making one somewhat claustrophobic; there is endless chatter among sellers and buyers, old friends catching up with one another and new friendships being formed.
As the party of three walked down the street, it wasn't long before they became the center of attention. t Although they weren't dressed extravagantly, they couldn't hide their attractiveness and nobility that they radiance. The man had a tall stature with a high nose bridge and dark eyes that captivated the young girls. The two girls that were walking alongside him were like fairies. One was wearing a pastel-yellow dress while the other was wearing all white. The one with the yellow dress could be described as "classically beautiful." She has large liquid brown eyes and high cheekbones. There was an undeniable symmetry to her features that captivated those who looked at her. She had a butterfly hairpin tucked in her ebony-colored hair that laid gently over her shoulders. The other girl in white had a refreshing type of beauty, perhaps it was because she was so disarmingly unaware of her prettiness. Her skin was extremely fair, almost matching the color of her dress. She exuded simplicity with only a white ribbon to pull back a portion of her hair. It was her inner beauty that lit her eyes, holding both intelligence and serenity within them. These three people were Tian Weilong, Feng Qing Qing, and Feng Yangmi, respectively.
All of a sudden, Yangmi stopped her footsteps and turned to face Weilong and Qing Qing.
"I want to do some browsing of the stalls. I know Qing Qing really wants to visit The Tree of Fortune. Crown Prince, why don't you take her?" Yangmi said.
"Jie jie, father told us to remain together. How about I'll explore the stalls with you and after that, we'll go to The Tree of Fortune together," Qing Qing said through gritted teeth. "Why does she keep pushing me to him?"
"Oh mei mei, that can't be! If we do so as you said, we wouldn't have any time left to look around. Since we want to see different things, I think it will be better for us to go our separate ways and save some time. Let's set a time for… hm, twenty minutes and then we'll meet at Huai River to light up the lanterns together. What do you think, Your Highness?" Yangmi said, secretly giving Weilong a wink. As the main captain of this ship, how could she not steer it on the right path? If Weilong doesn't understand that she's trying to help him out, then he really wasn't sought to be the Crown Prince.
Tian Weilong immediately understood what she was trying to do. He smiled helplessly. Does he seem that incapable of wooing a girl? "I think Yangmi is right. This way, we'll save time," Tian Weilong agreed.
"Then it's settled," Yangmi clapped her hands.
"But father wouldn't be happy knowing I left you by yourself," Qing Qing said. Clearly, she is not going down without a fight.
"But I wouldn't be alone. Two, no, three of the Crown Prince's personal guards can follow me. That will be fine, right?" Before any of them could answer her, Yangmi started to walk towards the path to the stalls. Weilong sighed helplessly before gesturing Qing Qing to walk the opposite direction. Qing Qing was about to walk back to her sister until Tian Weilong grabbed her hand, dragging her towards the Tree of Fortune.
Seeing their Crown Prince leave, the three bodyguards responsible for Yangmi's safety quickly chased after her.
Currently, Yangmi was fascinated as she walked from stall to stall. She was like a little girl in a gigantic candy store, eager to try everything. The guards that were following her found it hard to catch up to Yangmi as she would wander off to different stalls in a blink of an eye.
"Where did she go now?" Guard 1 asked.
"I think she went to buy Bing Tanghulu," Guard 2 replied. Just as he said this, Guard 3 ran back to the group, tiredness and worry evident on his face.
"I can't find her."
"What do you mean you can't find her?" Guard 1 and 2 asked at the same time.
"I tried looking everywhere but she is nowhere to be found. She's gone," Guard 3 said while trying to catching his breath.
The three guards gave each other a deep look and thought simultaneously, "We're dead."