Ning Yunzhao knew why she was surprised.
The moonlight was coming it at an angle, moving his shadow away from him. The light from the streets also shown brightly, and he had taken off his hood. His appearance was completely exposed.
Since she was a girl, she would definitely recognize him, Ning Yunzhao.
Ning Yunzhao knew that many women in Yangcheng hoped to see him. They came to the Lantern Festival, deluding themselves into thinking they would have a chance encounter with Ning Yunzhao, literally bumping into him or meeting under the waning lantern light.
The moment her dream came true, would this girl be surprised or not?
Ning Yunzhao heard her say. As expected, she was surprised.
Although the girl was standing in the shadows, she was holding a small globular lamp, which shone on her features.
She was much younger than he had imagined. He could not call her a woman, but a girl.
Her features were exquisite, very enchanting under the light of the lantern. She wasn't stunning, but she gave off a comfortable feeling.
This was roughly how he had imagined her, this girl with a feel-good aura.
After the girl said this, she did not step forward happily, nor did she confusedly step back. Rather, she remained in her original position.
"This truly is coincidental," she said with a sigh.
Ning Yunzhao was very pleased with her response. He was nervous just now, nervous that the girls' response would break the warm, tranquil atmosphere.
Although he didn't know what he was hoping this girl to be like, he felt that right now was everything he had hoped for, whether it be in appearance or her response to him.
Ning Yunzhao greeted her respectfully.
"I must concede defeat to Young Miss' Go skills," he said. "May I ask who you studied under?"
Asking about her teacher was also asking about her background.
Ning Yunzhao was already eighteen years old, but he still felt an inexplicable nervousness. This was the first time he had acted like this with a girl.
Although he did not have any other intentions.
The girl standing in the shade across from him went silent for a moment. Ning Yunzhao felt her appraising him.
"Your Go is also very good," she said, bending her knees in respect. She then paused. "You were better than I expected."
Did she think that he was no good?
NIng Yunzhao raised his head to look at her. The girl stepped forward, suddenly lifting up the lantern.
"I'll give this to you," she said.
Give this to me?
Ning Yunzhao was stunned, then smiled.
"A consolation prize?" he asked.
The girl laughed.
"I wish you a happy birthday," she said.
Ning Yunzhao went blank, looking at this girl with a complicated expression.
Yes, today was his birthday. His birthday was 15th day of the 1st month.
Firstly, the eight birth characters were very important and would not be easily revealed to others. Secondly, January 15 was very significant for a birthday, thus, compared to other family's children, his birthday was even less known so he would not be congratulated on this day.
This unfamiliar actually knew. It seemed she was not just an ordinary admirer.
Ning Yunzhao did not know what he should say and even felt a bit sad.
That passionate battle from before had become a tool used to talk about matters of marriage inappropriately.
Seeing his silence, the girl took a step forward.
Ning Yunzhao unconsciously took a step back.
Should he tell this young lady to conduct herself appropriately? Ning Yunzhao hesitated.
He knew that there were many girls who greatly admired him. Some had bravely used all kinds of methods to send him many things. For example poems, flower arrangements, and even embroidered handkerchiefs. These things were all dealt by someone else for him.
Although he was already eighteen, he had been meeting the current emperor with his uncle, so this was the first time a girl had given a present to his face. He didn't know how he should respond.
Ning Yunzhao responded by looking into the girl's eyes. She was smiling without any unease and shoved the lantern into his hands.
"Take it, she will be very happy," she said gently.
Shouldn't she say that 'I will be very happy'? Who is she?
Ning Yunzhao was stunned. The girl left him without saying anything.
Ning Yunzhao came to.
There were still things he wanted clarification on.
He opened his mouth to shout at her, but an urgent bird call drowned out his voice. In the next moment, fireworks began to explode in the sky.
People immediately gathered in the streets. Laughs and shouts filled the air at the sight of the fireworks, and in an instant, that girl disappeared from sight.
Ning Yunzhao was about to chase after her when someone grabbed onto him.
At this moment, a lantern appeared in front of him, illuminating the faces of the other young men.
"Look, we won."
His friends who had gone to play chess and won lanterns had returned.
"You can go now. That Go player is pretty good, but you definitely can beat him," everyone said, laughing.
Ning Yunzhao shook his head.
"No, I lost," he said.
No one understood what he was saying, and Ning Yunzhao did not explain. Instead, he looked back to the busy street.
It was like that girl had never appeared. If it weren't for the lantern in his hand, he would have thought he dreamed it up.
"Eh? Where did you get that from?" his friends asked as they noticed the lantern.
Ning Yunzhao looked at the lantern in his hand.
"Someone gave it to me," he said with a bitter smile.
Tonight, he had given a lantern. He didn't think that he would also receive a lantern.
His friends did not notice his bitter smile. They all hit his back.
"You are too much. Even with a cloak hiding your face people give you lanterns."
"Ah, that's not true. He took off his hood."
His friends had just noticed. They all stopped to stare at Ning Yunzhao, then soon jostled him.
"It really is too much. He took off his hood and only got one lamp. Could it be that your value has fallen, Tenth Noble Son?"
"Young Miss, Young Miss."
Liu'er's hands were full of lanterns. She pushed her way through the crowd and shouted out to her young miss.
"I won a lot of lanterns."
Miss Jun smiled and nodded.
"Young Miss, you are really awesome. Just by following this map you drew, I was able to get this many lanterns," said Liu'er, beaming.
To win so many lanterns was only secondary prize. The main thing was that she had a route without dead ends. When she went through the right door, people would give her lanterns and everybody would look at her.
Surprise, admiration, envy, praise.
She hadn't even felt such a feeling when they were a county magistrate's family in Funing, and she was Young Miss' number one servant.
For a thirteen-year-old child, this was extremely exciting.
But Liu'er was not so excited that she got carried away with herself.
"Young Miss, if you could make such a plan, then why didn't you go yourself?" she asked.
When she and Young Miss were walking, they had passed by a lantern maze. Many people were giving a try, so Young Miss went over there too. She had only gone for a bit and obtained a small, circular lantern, then did not go further. Instead, she borrowed a pen and paper and drew a route and bid her to follow it. She was able to go through the entire maze.
She had first thought that Young Miss was not sure, so she made her go first so that she wouldn't lose face from walking the wrong way.
She hadn't thought that it was actually flawless. If she had known earlier, Young Miss definitely would have been able to be in the spotlight and make everyone see how awesome she was.
Miss Jun smiled.
"I don't like playing such games," she said.
Because it was not beneficial. She didn't want to waste too much time on superficial things. After all, she was not idle.