Chapter 107.2 – Fishing for Lanterns
The old woman laughed. “Rest assured, gong zi.”
“Then, thank you!” An Zi Ran saluted to her.
“Gong zi is polite. It is but a slight effort.”
At the same time, on the opposite shore of the Huai Zi River.
After the conclusion of the poetry competition, a group of excited young talents crowded together and came to the riverside. They saw hundreds of beautiful lanterns floating on the river, one after another, and everyone was dazzled.
“This year seems to have more lights than last year.” A young man with a somewhat handsome face stood by the river with a paper fan. He sighed as he looked at these lanterns. Be that as it may, his eyes were shining as he looked at these lanterns, as if having a pair of discerning eyes.
“Don’t know if I can fish up a fated marriage this year. I’m really looking forward to it!”
“You? Wait a few more years, ba.”
“Hey. You’re looking down on me. What’s wrong with me? Can’t I get married? Don’t think I don’t know. Although you didn’t say it, your heart is actually thirstier* than me!”
[*T/N: 饥渴 ji ke – “hungry and thirsty” or figuratively “to crave (knowledge, love, etc)”]
A man stepped out to interrupt their conversation. “Okay, don’t quarrel anymore, hurry up, otherwise the good ones will be taken away.”
When they heard this sentence, the two were reluctant to stop bickering, but when they turned around they saw that everyone was looking at the lanterns, and some people had already fished one up. The two hurriedly ran over. If they were any slower, they really would be left behind.
Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.
When it came to fishing up lanterns, they must be tastefully chosen.
Most of the ladies who were seeking marriage made the lanterns themselves. The ladies were quite skilled with their hands, and there were many patterns. They were not the same as those sold on the market. Although there were many types of lanterns, the patterns were repeated, so if you wanted to know if the owner of the lantern made it, you had to look at the pattern and structure of the lantern.
After watching for a while, some people picked out the lanterns that they liked.
The number of lanterns was decreasing, and those who have yet to pick a lantern were getting anxious. For example, the two people who were just quarreling. Their families’ financial situation was not the best, so they hoped they would be able to fish up a lantern from a lady of a wealthy family. But as they perused the lanterns, one second they found this lantern looked good, and the next second they thought that lantern looked good.
Their hesitation made them slower than the others.
“Hey, look, there’s a lantern there, so ugly!”
At this moment, a young man standing upright on the steps suddenly pointed at a light slowly drifting across from him. Against the backdrop of the many beautiful lanterns, this lantern really looked ugly.
The others looked up and saw an ugly duckling. The duckling’s paper was yellow, almost the same shade as the candlelight, especially its big bill, which looked particularly funny.
“It really is ugly. Whose lantern is this?”
Someone laughed and echoed the sentiment immediately.
“Should we fish it up and take a look?” Someone suggested.
At this moment, a low voice of reprove suddenly thundered. It slammed into everyone’s hearts at once, and a few people were startled. They turned around subconsciously. When they saw the speaker, they immediately turned mute. It wasn’t that they knew each other, but that this person’s momentum was somewhat amazing. At one glance, it was clear that he was no ordinary person.
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However, there were some who refused to accept his authority and jumped out to protest.
It was the very young man who carried a fan in the middle of winter. “Who are you? What reason do you have to stop us? Don’t forget, everyone has a chance to choose a lantern.”
The man’s cold eyes fell on him.
The young man’s shoulders shrank back, but he didn’t want to lose momentum, so he still straightened up his chest.
Just then, the gentle and refined companion beside the man stood up. He was more handsome and nobler than the young man, and in comparison was even more extraordinary.
“That being the case, you can use your chance to pick up that lantern, but as you said, the chance is only once, are you willing or not?”
The young man choked.
He certainly didn’t want to. He waited for a few months for this chance, how could it be wasted on the ugly yellow duck for nothing?!
He didn’t say anything, and the others did not say anything. They were different from the other two. Their family backgrounds weren’t particularly good, merely depending on their intellect and talents to stand here.
The ugly duckling finally drifted to the shore while they were talking, but no one was interested in it at this time. Everyone went off to fish up lanterns. As the lanterns around the ugly duckling were picked one by one, only it was left alone. On the river, it looked particularly lonely.
The people who have picked lanterns were already scrambling to open the papers tucked within. There was excitement, disappointment, doubt, and hesitation.
Although some people hoped to get the lantern of a lady from a rich family, they could not see the family background of the other person based on the lantern. This was a form of fate, and those with courage could get happiness, but some people were worried that the other person was an ugly woman, so they hesitated non-stop.
The refined gentleman standing by the river suddenly walked over to the ugly duckling.
The man came over and glanced at him and said, “Interested?”
The refined gentleman smiled gently, “Indeed interested. There are so many beautiful lanterns, but the other side picks an ugly duckling. I wonder what kind of woman it will be?”
“Actually, I am also interested in knowing,” the man said out of the blue.
The refined gentleman laughed, “I knew you would be interested.”
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Unlike other people, they did not carry high expectations for fishing lanterns, so it didn’t matter even if the opportunity was wasted. At worst, they could just put the ugly duckling back in the river after looking at it. There wouldn’t be any great affect.
The man then bent down to pick up the ugly duckling. It really contained a piece of card stock. The man carefully removed the card stock and handed it to the refined gentleman.
The refined gentleman received the piece of paper, took a look, and laughed.
“The owner of this lantern is really an interesting person. It seems like we did not fish out this lantern for nothing.”