A…Second Elder Brother?
An Fei couldn’t help but stare at Wei Chang Luo for a long moment, the scarlet irises misted over behind the veil.
She had heard snippets here and there from eavesdropping on the servants’ causal conversations in the past, and was well aware that she and An Yan Yue were not the only members of the younger generation of the Wei Family.
A Third Elder Sister, a Second Elder Brother, and the Eldest Brother; that information was all she had managed to obtain.
Wei… Chang Luo?
As the handsome youth tilted his head in confusion, the girl continued to stare blankly until Xiao Ying decided to tug her arm. Leading An Fei who mulled over her thoughts, the maidservant quickly departed for the carriage waiting outside of the manor, Xiao Ying giving an apologetic smile to the baffled Second Young Master.
“Did I do something wrong…?” Wei Chang Luo murmured to himself, watching the trio leave the manor’s main gates.
Suddenly, he panicked and rushed forward, crying out in a loud voice.
“Ah!? Wait for me, wait for me, ah!”
Realizing that the young miss and two servants were intending on leaving him behind, the Second Young Master rushed forward at great speed, clambering onto the carriage as fast as he could.
Seated next to the driver, Wei Chang Luo directed a reproachful glance towards the inside of the wooden carriage, before heaving a sigh of relief.
“Driver,” The youth called out to the middle-aged man next to him, placing a delicate gold coin in his hand.
“Can you take us to Tian Ming Pavilion?”
“Hehe, the opening ceremony of the Pagoda of Sun and Moon, eh?” the driver chuckled as he pocketed the coin.
“So many youths attempt to fish for good luck at that place, who knows whether one will truly get a world-renowned cultivation technique? Lad, you must be careful not to offend anyone, ah!”
Wei Chang Luo earnestly nodded, his expression delightful. Though he had already obtained a set of cultivation and martial arts techniques from the Pagoda of Sun and Moon through a deceitful channel, this was his first time actually entering the sacred pagoda of Great Yong.
Thus, the joyous expression on his face could be considered as genuine.
“Fourth Young Miss, are you all right?”
Xiao Wen nervously asked, gazing at An Fei’s stiffened posture. For her gaze was unable to penetrate the veil and determine what expression the Fourth Young Miss was displaying on her countenance, the maidservant couldn’t help but constantly fidget around, earning herself a quick slap on the wrist from Xiao Ying.
Of course, neither Xiao Wen nor Xiao Ying could have guessed the look on An Fei’s face, for it was simply indescribable.
Her bewitching countenance was currently frozen in a mottled blend of astonishment and admiration.
…with her Second Elder Brother’s looks, ah, he could easily step onto any professional stage and attract every female’s attention regardless of their age!
Not to mention that such appearance was naturally formed, and the youth himself was only sixteen years old! She could clearly envision the youth being swarmed by an ocean of female admirers an such an occasion.
“Such a pity…”
“Hm? Fourth Young Miss, did you say something?”
Xiao Ying moved herself closer to An Fei, the maidservant leaning her ear closer to An Fei’s mouth for clarity. Tempted by that fair-skinned, slightly pink ear exposed directly before her mouth and recalling the maidservant’s passionate “exercise regimen” that she was forced to undergo, An Fei puckered her lips, blowing a swift stream of air towards Xiao Ying’s ear.
“Sister Ying, something wrong?” Xiao Wen rose from her daze, glancing at the startled maidservant.
Xiao Ying shook her head, feeling a little perplexed as she withdrew back to her original position. Allowing herself to lean to the side and rest against Xiao Wen’s shoulder, An Fei finally took the time to examine the carriage they were riding.
It was a simple, oaken box constructed to hold a maximum of five people at a single time. Though there weren’t any furniture other than two slabs of wood extending from the wall to form a makeshift bench, An Fei could care less as she opted to lean utilize Xiao Wen as a pillow.
In the center of the carriage was a small but effective heater, filled with a scented coal that warmed the interior of the box even with two windows introducing cold air.
The suspension of the carriage itself was of a masterful quality, the occupants not suffering from many bumps or jolts during the ride.
After some time, the driver called towards the curtained interior of the carriage.
“Be careful when you youngsters step out, ah, the snow still hasn’t been fully cleared out!”
The maidservants assisting An Fei out of the carriage, the four youths waved towards the driver, who manipulated the hitched horses to pull the carriage to a side alley. Her eyes gradually adjusting to the sea of white around her in every direction, An Fei gaped in awe at the sight.
Though the snow in certain areas piled up to two, sometimes even three meters in height, the view was no less spectacular than without snow.
When the girl turned around, she saw multiple lines of wooden and brick shops established on each side of the roads leading to the plaza. Each store was constructed in a traditional, historical format; clay roof tiles, vertical corner beams as well as diagonal plating for the walls, and a large signboard above the entrance to the store.
Though the snow had quelled any business on Jiang’an’s streets, An Fei could easily visualize the streets packed to the brim with citizens dressed in antiquated styles of clothing, hustling and bustling around as they purchased perfume, books, and a various assortment of other items of interest.
“Fourth Sister, don’t leave too far; you need to stay close to me, ah!”
Wei Chang Luo’s worried voice rang from behind, snapping the girl from her reverie.
Raising her head and turning around, An Fei discovered that she had been separated from the Second Young Master and her maidservants by a considerable distance, and multitudes of people were filling up the plaza.
Clutching the hem of the linen coat shielding her from the cold, the girl quickly rushed towards the Second Young Master, reaching Xiao Ying and the others just as the sea of people reached their location.
“Fourth Young Miss, are you alright?”
Xiao Wen anxiously inquired, her eyes rapidly scanning An Fei’s appearance for any mishap. Noticing that her appearance was unchanged and that most importantly, the jade ornament replacing the second button was intact, the maidservant released a sigh of relief.
“En.” An Fei helplessly nodded. She really couldn’t say anything to defend herself, for she had nearly gotten lost on her own accord after drifting into thought.
“Fourth Sister, remember to stay with Xiao Ying and Xiao Wen,” Wei Chang Luo helpfully chimed in, reaching out to pat An Fei on the head but withdrawing at the last second.
“Father has great influence in Jiang’an, but the opening ceremony of the Pagoda of Sun and Moon invites far too many people. If you’re not careful, something bad might happen!”
The girl nodded again, wariness finally entering her eyes.
“Second Brother…what is the opening ceremony of the Pagoda of Sun and Moon?”
A soft, quiet voice trailed into Wei Chang Luo’s ears, the youth stiffening for several moments as his brain ground to a screeching halt.
That mesmerizing voice was simply too soft and delicate, making the listener yearn to wrap the speaker in a warm embrace.
Shaking his head and thinking over the contents of the girl’s question, the Second Young Master mulled over how to properly reply.
“The Pagoda of Sun and Moon is… figuratively and literally speaking, the greatest treasure of the entirety of Great Yong,” he finally spoke, gazing deeply at An Fei with a solemn expression, all inclination towards frivolity nonexistent.
“Each decade, the Pagoda opens only once, this time being a rare and unforeseen occasion. Usually, only two members from each household are permitted to enter, additionally only of the youngest generation. A son and daughter pair, and they are only permitted entry a single time.”
“The complete repository of the Pagoda is open to perusal for the officials and royalty, but we of the younger generations are only permitted to obtain a complete set of cultivation and martial arts techniques, no more. Hence, whatever we obtain from the Pagoda of Sun and Moon is fully left to chance and fate.”
“Left to chance?” An Fei asked, her brows furrowed in confusion.
“If it’s such a large collection, how will a person find anything that’s suitable towards themselves?”
“Hehe, everyone has a distinct spiritual fluctuation within their body, even if they never cultivate,” the Second Young Master chuckled.
“The cultivation technique and martial arts technique manuals will automatically respond to your spiritual trace once you get near. When you enter, you’ll understand.”
“But how will I know when-“
“Look! The Sword Marquis’ youngest son, Young Master Jiang is here! And next to him is his younger sister as well!”
“That rumored beauty? No way!”
Before the girl could finish her question, a sudden surge welled within the crowd, the originally hushed voices rising into a furious uproar.