Chapter 34: Lantern Festival

As the only one who understood what Gu Qingyu really meant, Qi Wan tried his best to hold in his laughter. He spoke with an expressionless face, “Yes, we’re a bunch of playboys.” 

Ending the conversation on ‘playboys’, the group strolled through the streets and solved lantern riddles along the way. Gu Qingyu got most of the riddles wrong, she did not have an interest in riddles and quizzes. Qi Wan, on the other hand, was spot-on everytime. And he received a small prize for each correct answer.

“I’m suspecting you have Google on you.” Gu Qingyu glared at Qi Wan.

“Haha, me, the handsome Qi Wan, still needs Google?” Qi Wan made a pose he thought to be very handsome.

“You can get lost.” Gu Qingyu rolled her eyes and saw another riddle. “The answer can release the leaves for three autumns and open the flowers of February… Isn’t this ‘Wind’?”

“Little girl, you’re so good at this!” An old man walked over with a smile as he handed her a small lantern. “This is the prize.”

“Thank you!” Gu Qingyu took it with a smile.

“Brother Zhu, let’s make some wishes!” Qi Yichen was very successful in his own attempts at the riddles, he truly was a scholar! His hands were full of bags of loot.

“Huh? Sure!” That piqued Gu Qingyu’s interest and she skipped ahead.

“Brother Zhu…” Murong Zuoyu raised his eyebrows. “You’re so lively.”

“Thank you for the compliment.” Gu Qingyu went to the wishing area. “Wow! It’s beautiful…”

Lotus lamps of different sizes floated on the water, each of them carried the wish of someone else in the crowd. 

In a blink of an eye, Qi Wan returned with multiple lotus lamps in hand. “Come, don’t be shy! One for ten coins! While stock lasts!”

Gu Qingyu took the lanterns from Qi Wan and gave them out to their team without any sense of shame. “You’re paying for them.” 

“Ah, sad.” Qi Wan took a brush and started writing his wish on the only lotus lamp he had left.

Gu Qingyu took a curious peek at his wish, ‘May peace be with Boss, may we go home soon!’ 

Um...I couldn’t say anything against that wish…

She looked at Qi Yichen’s wish. ‘Learn well and improve every day!” 

Alright, that was a lot more fun than Qi Wan’s wish. 

Then Mo Bai’s wish was ‘May the herbs in the world be in my hands!”

For some reason, it sounds really badass!

What about Murong Zuoyu? ‘World Peace!’ 

I don’t know what to say! Even your wishes are grander than the others!

Xiao Qi’s wish should be more normal. ‘May Xiao Yu be happy, always happy.’ 

Yeap, that hits my heart. 

Xiao Qi passed the brush to Gu Qingyu. She held the brush for a while, then she wrote, ‘May everyone stay safe, may our journey be peaceful.’ 

All those who have helped me and followed me; Jia Qizhe, Qi Yichen, Mo Bai, Murong Zuoyu, Qi Wan, Xiao Qi, Yan Zun, and even Xie Zang. I wonder how Jia Qizhe is doing… 

She then wrote two more words: ‘Jia Qizhe’. Let’s wish for some blessings for him too.

Suddenly a bolt of thunder streaked across the sky, followed by a clap of thunder. 

Gu Qingyu shuddered, “The rain is getting heavier, let’s go back!”

“Brother Zhu is scared of lightning?” Murong Zuoyu seemed curious. Gu Qingyu nodded immediately. 

More than scared! I travelled here in a thunderstorm like this!

Mo Bai opened the umbrella he prepared earlier and brought it over Gu Qingyu’s head. “Brother Zhu, let’s go.”

Gu Qingyu took Mo Bai’s hand with a smile. “Thank you, Brother Mo!”

Qi Wan scooted over as well. “My dear Brother Mo…” Before he could finish his words, Mo Bai had left with Gu Qingyu.

Qi Wan said, “Have I lost my charisma?”

Qi Yichen snorted in amusement as he watched Qi Wan before he broke into a small jog to catch up with Gu Qingyu. “Brother Zhu!”

Gu Qingyu and Mo Bai arrived back at the tavern. She watched as Mo Bai gently closed the umbrella. His black hair was mostly tied back together with a white ribbon, though parts framed his face. His face was gentle and gave an otherworldly air. The paper umbrella matched his white robes. He kept the umbrella in such a graceful manner.  A line popped into Gu Qingyu’s mind, although she was not sure where she had seen it from. He who was like an angel in painting, his smile would topple the world. But, it was perfect in describing Mo Bai.

“What’s wrong?” Mo Bai gave a warm smile.

Gu Qingyu quickly focused and replied, “Nothing! Um...How’s Jia Qizhe?”

“I don’t know.” Mo Bai lifted his chin with a hand. “Should I take a look?”

“It’s ok, it’s already late at night. I’ll check on him instead! Go and get some rest, Mo Bai!” Gu Qingyu said in a hurry. “It’s just a shame that he missed out on a fun night like this.”

“Yu’er, didn’t you bring gifts for him?” Mo Bai pointed to the small lantern in Gu Qingyu’s hand.

“Oh yes!” Gu Qingyu suddenly realized. “Thank you, Mo Bai! I know what to do!”

“Yeap, then I will go and rest first.” Mo Bai turned, took a couple of steps, then turned back. He raised his hand, stretching out those manicured fingers and waved with a calm smile, “Ciao.” 

“Ciao!” Gu Qingyu waved back as she returned his smile. Being with Mo Bai was so reassuring. It was like even if the sky fell, he would still be there. 

After everyone returned to their rooms, Gu Qingyu came to Jia Qizhe’s door. She plucked up her courage, reached out and knocked gently. The door was not locked, it creaked open at her first knock.

Gu Qingyu called out in a hushed voice, “Jia Qizhe? Brother Jia? Hero Jia? I’ll just come in?”

She entered the room and the door closed behind her. Gu Qingyu jumped in fright, luckily the small lantern she brought along gave off a faint light.

“Jia Qizhe?” She called out again. In the darkness, a silhouette responded with a grunt.

“Jia Qizhe!’ Gu Qingyu jumped in fright and hurried to his side. “What happened to you?”

“Nothing.” Gu Qingyu could barely make out his face in the faint light. 

“He seems to be poisoned.” Yan Zun commented as he stroked his chin and examined Jia Qizhe curiously. He had appeared out of nowhere and had taken on a ghostly form. He floated about in the room as he continued to think. 

Gu Qingyu heard his voice and her heart almost jumped out of her mouth. She was about to snap back, but Yan Zun stopped her. “Calm down, only you can see me. If you don’t want him to think you’ve gone mad, then collect yourself and pick up your jaw.”

Gu Qingyu closed her mouth at his warning, then she turned to check on Jia Qizhe. His eyes were closed, and his brows were slightly knitted as if he was in pain. He did not notice Gu Qingyu’s strange behaviour.

“What poison?” Gu Qingyu asked Yan Zun using their telepathic connection.

Yan Zun hovered around Jia Qizhe and concluded, “The Frost Poison. Anyone afflicted with this would be extremely cold, but they would feel as though they were on fire instead, with extreme itching in the bones. Even fainting would be luxurious relief. Some have gone crazy in this torture. It looks like he had this condition for a number of years. It’s not easy to bear it, every attack must be agonising, I truly respect his determination.” He said it lightly, without an actual tinge of ‘respect’.

“Frost Poison?” Gu Qingyu repeated mentally. “How can it be cured?”

“Cure?” Yan Zun sneered, “You think this is the common cold? That it can be cured so easily? If it was so easy to fix, why would this Hero Jia suffer like this?” He paused. “I do have a medicine that can temporarily ease the symptoms, do you want it?”

“Yes! Of course!” Gu Qingyu replied instantly. 

Yan Zun slowly pulled out a small white ceramic bottle from his sleeve, “I have conditions though... ”

“We can discuss that later!’ Gu Qingyu grabbed the bottle, felt about for the pills and carefully poured them into Jia Qizhe’s mouth. Jia Qizhe’s tight frown finally relaxed. 

He opened his eyes soon after. “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me.” Gu Qingyu waved and opened the windows to let in some fresh air. She then sat next to Jia Qizhe and poured a cup of water for him. “Are you better? Do you want something to drink?”

Jia Qizhe nodded, took the cup and drank it in a single gulp.

“Did you have fun?” Jia Qizhe smiled, the faint light from the small lantern shone on his pale but handsome face.

Gu Qingyu nodded, “Yeah, I did. Ah, this is actually a present for you! But sadly, with the rain and all, there won’t be any moon viewing tonight.” She held up the small lantern. 

Jia Qizhe chuckled as he took the small lantern, “It’s cute.” He pushed himself up from the bed, “You want to see the moon?”

“Well… it would be nice.” 

But it’s not like we can see the moon now. Gu Qingyu complained internally. 

Jia Qizhe suddenly stretched his hand out, and moved his hands in the air, as if he became a mime who’s wiping a window. Just then, a soft silver light came in through the window and shone on his smiling face and into his azure blue eyes. Gu Qingyu followed the light as she turned to look outside. It was the moon! The big full moon!

“Wow! Jia Qizhe, you have a couple of tricks up your sleeve!” Gu Qingyu praised Jia Qizhe. She did not notice that colour had drained slightly from Jia Qizhe’s face. 

“Don’t mention it, as long as you’re happy.” Jia Qizhe looked out the window along with her. The moonlight was very beautiful.

When Gu Qingyu opened her eyes again, it was dawn already.

Wait, when did I fall asleep? I seemed to be too tired last night and slept in Jia Qizhe’s room and I did not look for Yan Zun afterwards… She looked around her surroundings. Luckily, I’m still in my room. She got up, turned to twist and stretch the creak in her neck, and… What in the world, Yan Zun is in my room! 

Snap! Yan Zun opened his eyes and yawned lazily. “Huh? Did you twist your neck? I’ve already told you not to be too surprised, let your master massage it for you.”

“Um...How did you get out?’ Gu Qingyu twisted her neck stiffly. “Also, how did I come back here?”

“As your master, I had enough strength to come out after absorbing part of your own.” Yan Zun was dressed in red robes and floated around in the air. If she woke up in the middle of the night, she would be scared to death. “As for the second question, you better ask Jia Qizhe yourself.”

“Then forget it…” How is this rock so good at being a master? Ever since assuming that position, he has not shut up about his title. What if one day, he decides to designate himself as my father figure in this world and calls himself ‘dad’? Jesus, just thinking about that gives me the creeps! 

Gu Qingyu straightened her clothes and went downstairs. She was one of the early risers today, Qi Wan was already downstairs. 

“Morning.” Gu Qingyu greeted him with a lazy smile.

“Morning.” Qi Wan smiled back at her. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yeap, it was alright, quite good.” Gu Qingyu summarized briefly, sat down and bit into a meat bun.

Qi Wan sat opposite her. “Are we leaving already? Why don’t we rest for a bit longer, maybe a few more days?”

“No, we’ve already stayed far too long.” Gu Qingyu waved her hand. “Besides, don’t you want to go back ASAP?”

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iris.knight's Thoughts

And we are now in the month of April! We will be adjusting the releases for ACA. From this month onwards, 2 additional chapters will be released every week on the weekends That means there will be 9 chapters per week, instead of the usual 7.