Chapter 110.2 – Second Prince
“I haven’t thought about it yet,” An Zi Ran said shamelessly. In the beginning, he wrote what he did with the intention of teasing the other party into playing. It was an impulsive act, so how could he be carrying something like a reward? “But… surprises vary from person to person.”
Fu Wu Tian asked, “How is it different from person to person?”
An Zi Ran gave an example, “If the other person is a poor scholar, do you think it would count as a surprise if I gave him ten silver pieces?”
“It counts! Then what if the other party does not lack for money?”
An Zi Ran hesitated. This was more troublesome. He had yet to figure it out. His eyes suddenly fell on the painting that he was holding. It was only an artist with a little bit of fame, but if he gave it to Zhuo Hai Tang, perhaps it would be a pleasant surprise. Zhuo Hai Tang was the artist that he hired for the casino.
“Finally found you!”
Just then, an elegant voice sounded from behind them. Without turning around, they could feel the other person’s gaze on them. No need to ask, the ‘you’ in that statement was without a doubt referring to them.
An Zi Ran turned around in surprise. He didn’t expect that someone actually fished up his lantern, and even played along with his boring little game. What’s even more surprising and unexpected was that that person actually found them at the Lantern Competition. The image that entered An Zi Ran’s eyes when he turned around was an elegant and refined man.
The slight smile on the corner of the refined gentleman’s lips abruptly disappeared upon seeing Fu Wu Tian beside An Zi Ran, replaced by a flash of surprise on his face.
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Fu Wu Tian was much calmer than him. When he saw him appearing here out of the blue, his expression didn’t change a bit, he even inclined his head very faintly. “Second Prince.”
This time, it was An Zi Ran’s turn to be surprised.
This person was the second prince, Fu Yuan Cheng, the current Minister of Revenue. His outward appearance was cultured and refined, polite and modest, courteous, able and efficient, moreover, he has an innately high talent for governing the country, and he has never spoken ill of others.
Among the Chong Ming Emperor’s five sons, he was the prince with the best leadership abilities. Compared to the first prince and third prince, he was more popular amongst the people, so the other two princes both regard him as their biggest competitor.
Although Fu Yuan Cheng did not have a maternal family to rely on, like Fu Yuan Wu And Fu Yuan Yang, he was the prince that could not be underestimated. In addition to his own ability, what was more important was that he had the fifth prince, Fu Yuan Jian, as his most loyal brother and helper.
The fifth prince’s mother, Yun fei*, was part of the Zhao family. The Zhao family’s ancestors were outstanding founding ministers**. When they were young they contributed heroic war exploits to the empire of Da Ya. The ancestors were all generals. Now, in the generation of Yun fei’s father and little brother, although they were overshadowed by Fu Xiao and Fu Wu Tian, they still could not be underestimated.
[*T/N: 妃 fei – imperial concubine]
[**T/N: 开国功臣 kai guo gong chen – title given to reward loyal general or vassal of new dynasty or state]
If nothing unexpected were to happen, then the military power that the emperor took from Fu Wu Tian would eventually fall into the hands of the Zhao family. Fu Yuan Cheng had the support of the fifth prince, Fu Yuan Jian, which was enough to make up for his disadvantage in terms of maternal family.
Neither side expected that they would have this kind of fate*.
[*T/N: 缘分 yuan fen – fate or chance that brings people together]
At this time, Zhao Yi, who had split up with Fu Yuan Cheng to search the convention, also saw them. He was Yun fei’s little brother. The age difference between the sister and brother was relatively large, because Zhao Gang was over thirty years old when he had Zhao Yi with his first wife, therefore, he was about the same age as Fu Yuan Cheng, so they were able to come together*.
[*T/N: Not come to the festival together, but come together as acquaintances and/or friends due to being in the same age group.]
“Zhao Yi greets jun wang.”
When he saw An Zi Ran and Fu Wu Tian, Zhao Yi’s eyes flashed with a bit of surprise, but he reacted quickly, and saluted him with a manner that was neither servile nor overbearing.
Fu Yuan Cheng smiled, looked at the two of them, and said, “Indeed, surprising enough.” Then he looked at An Zi Ran, “This must be Wu Tian tang di’s* wang fei. I have heard of di mei**, but have not had the chance to meet until now. Seeing you today, sure enough, you are different from the rumors.”
[*T/N: 堂弟 tang di – younger male patrilineal cousin]
[**T/N: 弟妹 di mei – younger brother’s wife]
An Zi Ran nodded his head slightly at the other party, but did not get close, instead he looked estranged.
Fu Yuan Cheng didn’t mind. He took out the four pieces of card stock that were collected along the way. “Presumably, these four pieces of paper are written by di mei, right?”
He has seen Fu Wu Tian’s handwriting before, grand and majestic, unmatched by anybody. If Fu Wu Tian had written the words on the card stock, then he would be able to recognize them at a glance.
An Zi Ran answered, “I wrote it.”
Fu Yuan Cheng laughed, “It’s a fun little game.”
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An Zi Ran said succinctly: “Thank you for the compliment!”
The gaze with which Fu Yuan Cheng looked at him suddenly became profound. This temperament was really indifferent, but much better than he had imagined. He heard that An Zi Ran was the son of a landlord in a small county, but there was no sign of panic when An Zi Ran saw him. If he had known that Fu Wu Tian’s wang fei was such an interesting person, he would have visited the Imperial Fu Palace earlier.
An Zi Ran did not like Fu Yuan Cheng’s gaze, it felt like he was looking at an object.
Fu Wu Tian seemed to read his thoughts, and after speaking a few polite words, he found an excuse to take his wang fei away from the Lantern Competition Convention.
Leaving aside the last two people they met, this trip to the Lantern Festival was still wonderful.