How could he have solved this Go arrangement. This was just… inconceivable!
Ning Yunzhao was not the only doubtful one. The queries of the surrounding crowd had turned accusatory.
"Why wouldn't I be able to?" shouted Tian San. Although he was a famous bum and had seen the ugliest of faces, he was incredibly nervous right now.
It was probably because of the money he was holding.
Most people here had never seen this much money in their entire lives. And right now, it was there in his embrace.
"How did you solve it?"
"You play Go?"
"Why are you walking over there?"
The voices of the crowd came down like rain.
"I cannot play Go," shouted Tian San, straightening his neck. "But I solved it. Is that impossible?"
Hiss candid admission stunned the audience, the clamor quieting slightly.
"If you can't play Go, then how did you solve it? So many others could not," asked someone with a frown.
As expected, his words sent the crowd ablaze again. Tian San beamed happily, his back straightening slightly.
It was only slightly, since he was curled protectively around that much money; he could not straighten up completely.
"If other people can't do, then why couldn't I? I just randomly put down a piece, who knows how it solved it. I also have no idea what happened." He snorted.
What? It was actually just a wild guess?
The crowd went wild.
This was impossible.
"Why is it impossible? Why is it impossible? Anyways, it was lit. Are you blaming me?" Tian San retorted. "Just leave if you're not paying attention to the Go board!"
The audience was at a loss for words.
Tian San felt more self-assured and righteous, turning to look at the man in charge of the lanterns.
"Hey, can I take the money or not? Is what you said truth or not? Could it be you only let people who can play chess try? If you can't play Go, then it is not counted as a win?" he shouted.
The man watching the lantern had a wooden expression.
"Didn't you already take the money?" he retorted. "If it didn't count as a win, why would I let you take the money?"
The bystanders could not take such injustice.
"This really counts as winning? But he cannot play Go!"
The man watching the lantern furrowed his eyebrow and snorted.
"The higher-ups instructed me that as long as the lantern was lit, it was a win. I was to give the money to the party in question. As for whether or not one can play chess, well, that was never a requirement." He brandished his wooden stick at the watching crowd. "My task is complete. I am leaving so don't block the road."
The crowd hastily got out of his way, and the man swaggered off.
"Out of the way, out of the way," shouted Tian San, taking advantage of the opportunity to run off, leaving behind the stunned crowd.
"What is this!" shouted the audience.
"I say this is trickery!"
"That's right, this must be something they colluded on."
"Yeah, they used money to bring everyone here, then raked in the money and used a trick to light the lantern."
"There are many of these tricks in gambling dens."
"Not even a gambling den. There are guessing games like this at the temple fair."
The words of the crowd grew more incensed. Many people took out their anger by stamping on the lanterns, believing themselves to have bad luck.
These were the reactions of the people who did not understand Go or had any skill in it. But there those who were instead looking thoughtful without saying anything.
"Could this be some sort of collusion?" a young man asked.
"But that Go arrangement was truly fearsome," said the other with a frown.
"But they one who set up the board of course knew how to solve it, so he could have arranged for Tian San to do this," Ning Yunzhao commented.
Naturally, Tian San would be able to solve it like this.
This was possible. His companions nodded.
This looked to be the only explanation.
"But there is still the possibility that Tian San spoke truthfully," said Ning Yunzhao.
What was true?
"This could have been just a wild guess of Tian San's and not arranged by the game maker," explained Ning Yunzhao.
How could that be? His friends shook their heads.
"There is nothing that is impossible, just like a child defeating a grown man. This Go arrangement had no person who was able to respond in turn. There was only one correct move, and Tian San just happened to make it," said Ning Yunzhao.
This was also possible, but it was much too preposterous, too ridiculous.
"Ancient books may not have have recorded the preposterous, the ridiculous, the impossible, but there are too many events that occurred to write down." Ning Yunzhao smiled. "Since if you dare to play, you dare to lose. Honestly speaking, this was a gamble."
So it was. His companions laughed. They did not care much for the ten taels they lost and nor would they be bent out of shape because of not getting the five thousand tael reward.
This was just a game.
"But that Go arrangement was very interesting. We should go study it." Everyone laughed, moving forward.
Ning Yunzhao followed them, but couldn't help tossing a glance behind him.
Was that girl still crying? If he told her that the Go board was solved by a bum's wild guess, she should no longer be so out of sorts.
They were strangers coming together by chance. He did not know where to find her.
But that girl had cared so much about the Go arrangement. She definitely would ask about it and would know of what transpired.
Ning Yunzhao let out a breath, studying the lantern he was holding.
This was quite an interesting Lantern Festival.
This was quite an interesting Lantern Festival, thought many people tonight.
They had seen the famed crippled young master. The Fang Family had let their young master view the lanterns. Some people were delighted by all the lanterns, others happy because of all the games and sideshows, while the rest were excited because of unexpected wealth.
No matter if they were excited or happy, time would steadily flow as the sky shedded the night, and it was time for a new day.
Miss Jun woke up at her habitual time, but she lay down on her bed without getting up.
What happened last night had an effect on her.
Although any gamble had a chance for losing, and Miss Jun did not resent or complain about the person who had defeated her, she was still thinking about it. She still felt poorly about it.
This was like the old adage of moving the rock that drops on your own foot. Really, she was quite foolish.
She was just a girl, and a young one at that. Although she was covered in a layer of skin, the skin on her face had weak points.
She dawdled in her bed for a moment, then stood.
"I am tired today. I will not do shadow boxing or walking," she told Liu'er.
Liu'er did not sense Young Miss' uneasiness as she nodded and yawned.
She shouldn't be doing that anyway. The carnival had gone on through the night, so by all rights, she should have a lie-in the next day. Waking up so early was already quite enough, not to mention training.
"Did the people of the house say anything about me?" Miss Jun asked carelessly while eating breakfast.
"Say something?" Liu'er's ears immediately perked up. "Who said anything about Young Miss?"
Seeing her face all prepared to fight someone, Miss Jun squashed down the thought of having her ask around to see if people were talking about the five thousand taels winning from last night.
Since she had done it, she could not be scared of people talking about it. If not, she would fall much lower.
What she wanted to do was much too hard. For this reason, she must do her utmost with the time that she had. She could not wallow in the sorrow of spring and the hurt of autumn. When Miss Jun collected herself and prepared to go to the garden and train after she finished eating, the servant girl reported that Manager Gao requested to see her.
He was made responsible of the festival matters, so now that the Lantern Festival had ended, it was only natural for Manger Gao to come have a look, especially since it involved the five thousand tael reward.
Miss Jun nodded and went into the drawing room.
Manager Gao was not the only person who was there. Behind him was a man, the one in charge of the lantern last night.
The two exchanged words. Miss Jun found out that the one who solved her Go board was actually a beggar, and that this bum had made a wild guess. Although it was shocking, she would no longer feel gloomy. Accepting a bet meant that you were prepared to lose. No matter if they relied on talent to beat her, or if they used luck, a win was a win.
"Surprisingly, word of what happened last night hasn't spread," reported Manager Gao. "That the five thousand taels reward promised to the one who could solve the Go game was in the end solved by a beggar. Everybody would believe that this was a collusion on our part."
Just like a guessing game at a festival, after cursing out the cheats for a while, they would throw the matter away and not mention it again.
"That's good," Miss Jun said with a smile.
"However, of course this was not a trick on our part," said Manager Gao next. "But I guess that this beggar colluded with someone else."
Miss Jun immediately understood the meaning of these words and frowned.
"He probably didn't just guess. Rather, someone else told him how to solve it," said Manager Gao, looking at the man in charge of the lantern.
"Last night, after I finished work I went drinking," said the man in charge of the lantern.
By finished work, he was obviously referring to the lantern festival event.
"... After I was coming back from drinking, I met Tian San," he said, hanging his head low. "He chartered a carriage out of the city."