“This isn’t because the emperor is bored. His Majesty gave each of his children a challenge under the pretence of testing their knowledge,” said the seventh brother.
“Oh, I see… let me think about it,” nodded Ye Lang.
“Take your time, but do hurry, we only have three days to solve it!” urged the seventh brother uneasily.
“Yeah I know… I’ll think of a way as soon as possible,” Ye Lang waved a hand.
“Please don’t ever forget about it…”
“If you drone on, I’ll forget about it right now!”
Seventh brother immediately shut up.
The Goal: To empty a busy street of people.
The Conditions: he was prohibited from damaging the streets, placing foreign objects on the streets, and blocking people from entering.
It was an easy objective, but the puzzle’s conditions made it almost impossible to achieve it. This caused great trouble for seventh brother and his fiancé, as they were unable to think of any solutions to the challenge. As a result, they had no choice but to request for Ye Lang’s help.
And so they did, not only because Ye Lang is considered to be an ‘alchemy genius’, but also, but they were hoping Ye Lang’s good luck would rub off on them.
Seventh brother even believed that regardless of the solutions Ye Lang might come up with, and even if the surface of the streets did not change, as long as he participated in the solving of this challenge, people would magically avoid the street.
Lady Luck, please watch over this sweet child of yours!
Seventh brother had an idea. Because this challenge did not have a time-related condition, all they had to do was to choose a time of the day when there were fewer people around. With a bit of luck by their side, the challenge could even be completed if no one were to walk on the streets during the allocated time.
But the couple discovered a flaw in their idea. The emperor could always send a representative to walk on the street during their allocated time of the day. Worse, he did not mention onlookers could not walk on the street.
In fact, they were so obsessed with their idea that they did not even consider an alternative: completing the challenge when traffic was the busiest.
During the evening, Ye Lang told seventh brother he had a solution…
“What? You plan to invite the emperor tomorrow? And you chose the busiest time of the day?” seventh brother was shocked. He would never consider executing his plan at such a time of the day.
“That’s right. The more people, the better. And also, we must carry out the plan during daytime, where we have sufficient lighting.” Ye Lang nodded while explaining.
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to do. But I must remind you, we are helpless! How are we going to make people avoid a street?”
“Who said we were powerless in this? Why would the emperor give you a problem that cannot be solved?” Ye Lang grinned.
“Relax, I’ll be back with satisfying results. Even if this doesn’t go to plan, we still have two more days. Didn’t you say that this challenge has unlimited attempts?” Ye Lang reassured.
“I guess...” seventh brother nodded. All of the challenges given by the emperor had the same condition. Participants had an unlimited number of attempts, as long as the challenges were completed within the given time limit.
On the second day, the emperor and his entourage arrived at the imperial city’s busiest street, where the traffic was rather heavy. They settled down and prepared themselves for the assessment.
“Are you certain you want to complete the challenge here? At this time of the day?” The emperor asked, with furrowed brows.
Seeing as the emperor asked, it seemed as if he had the same questions too. However, he did not expect them to execute their plan under such circumstances.
“Yes…” future seventh sister-in-law nodded and glanced at her fiancé, who smiled meekly, for he could only believe in Ye Lang’s plan.
“Then let’s begin!” The emperor announced, excited to see his daughter’s plan.
“Yes, I know…” seventh brother walked over to a particular area on the street, and lifted a cover from the aforementioned area. And underneath that cover was...
A deep, gaping hole!
“What?! We’re not allowed to damage the surface of the street! Ye Lang, what the hell were you thinking? Get over here!” seventh brother roared.
“Hey relax, you’re blowing my cover here,” Ye Lang replied helplessly, who was initially hiding in a corner, sipping tea.
The emperor and his entourage had noticed Ye Lang’s presence, coming to the conclusion that this was all Ye Lang’s idea.
At this moment, someone emerged from the crowd and came to Ye Lang’s side, while staring at him unhappily.
“It doesn’t matter! You’ve broken the rules!” cried seventh brother unhappily. There was a hole in the street, was blowing his cover still an issue here?
“Relax, I haven’t broken the rules. Watch! Hey seventh princess, why are you staring at me like that?” said Ye Lang, to the person by his side, who turned out to be the seventh princess.
The seventh princess had come to the imperial city for no particular reason, no idea that she would bump into Ye Lang. Furthermore, she did not expect that he would be helping his future sister-in-law with the challenge!
“Speak for yourself,” replied the seventh princess unhappily, who grabbed Ye Lang’s hand and clutched it with a vengeance.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ye Lang was confused. He did not understand what the seventh princess was trying to say.
Meanwhile, the challenge was ongoing. After seeing the black hole, the public decided that the street was not usable, and decided to take a detour.
As for those who did not see the black hole, they simply followed the masses who took detours. As a result, it was almost impossible to ignore the presence of the black hole. This was likely the reason why Ye Lang chose a time of the day when the traffic was busy, as to take advantage of mob mentality.
“Silly, who are you helping now?” seventh princess asked as she slapped Ye Lang’s hand.
“My future sister-in-law, what’s this about?” Ye Lang asked, naturally.
“Well, don’t you know what’s going on?” seventh princess continued.
“I do. The emperor gave every child a challenge, and one of his daughters came to me for help,” Ye Lang answered.
“Why didn’t you ask me if you knew?” seventh princess asked, pursing her lips. The emperor and his entourage, who were witnessing this, were surprised to witness this.
They had almost never seen such behaviour from the seventh princess, for she was not the most noticeable among them.
“Ask you what?” asked Ye Lang, confused.
Seventh brother, the emperor and his entourage all shook their heads. How could someone so intelligent and bright, be so dense at the same time?
Alas, the seventh princess was the emperor’s daughter, she was no exception. She too, was given a problem to solve.
“You’re such an idiot!!” A frustrated seventh princess had already expected this.
“I’m the seventh princess, and the emperor -my father- gave me a problem to solve too! Didn’t that cross your mind?”