While CQ is a bit worried that Yue might be upset for being laid off from the political center, Yue seemed to be happy for being able to peacefully enjoy a whole new year’s fest together with CQ. He has resumed the old daily routine of Qingshan Yard, sleeps early, gets up early, and carefully rehabilitates his health strictly following CQ’s plan. He uses his spare time reading and taking care of his plants and flowers. Every morning, he practices martial arts with CQ. They play against each other, with all kinds of weapons, which attracts the servants gathering to watch and applause. The days passed in quiet and peace, as if in the center of a storm, with a flustering calmness.
CQ has chosen a bright red dress for the New Year’s Day. The reflection in the mirror tells her that her cheek becomes pinky bringing out by the red dress, like a flower blooming in spring. Behind her stands Yue, wearing a long gown in smoky blue, thin and straight like a bamboo, breathtakingly handsome. He picks up a pearl hair stick, skillfully twisted her long black hair into a bun, and places the stick in the bun. Her own reflection in the mirror has put CQ into a light trance. Never had she thought herself can be such pretty and feminine. She has insisted from a very early age that it is extremely vulgar for women dressing vivid colors and wearing jewelries. Later, she became even less spirited on dressing up herself due to the years of toil. But now, she feels a comfort warmth and joy with the warmness of the splendid dress.
Looks into the mirror, Yue smiles and says “What a gorgeous look!” Which makes CQ a bit embarrassed and blushed. She pushes him slightly and says, “Nonsense, don’t be exaggerated!” Yue looks back on her and grins,” I’m just talking about myself, don’t you think too much!”… and that begins a joyful New Year’s fest of Xing&Yue. The doors of Sima’s mansion are closed, all the visitors are blocked outside. Zhao Che has sent two jars of good wines during the midnight, and that’s all the disturbance they’ve received during the whole fest. In the evening of the New Year’s day, a super drunk CQ has loudly announced in front of all the family members that: “Zhuge Yue, I love you!”
Yet the joy of spring fest cannot even cover the cruel reality of the severe natural disaster and the famine. While the state of Daxia is still suffering from the aftermath of the famine and the riots, the situation in Yanbei is even worse. Back in Shanshen grassland where CQ used to live, thousands of herds of sheep and cattle were frozen by severe snow storms. The whole Yanbei is fallen in famine, which threatens Yan Xun’s ruling over the state. The schadenfreude of Daxia is soon teared apart by the news that Yan Xun had assembled his elite troops and attacked the state of Biantang. The objective is thousands of tons of grains stored in the border city of Biantang, and all the troops had successfully retreated to Yanbei after robed the grains. Although she is the grand princess of Biantang, CQ somehow feels lucky for those kind nomads of Shanshen and Huihui, by considering those grains as a relief from Biantang to the people of Yanbei. All in all, she has to confess that she don’t want to seeing Yan Xun to fail. Probably, Zhege Yue is the only one in the world who can rival Yan Xun, but it is still hard for CQ to see any of them been defeated.
The long holiday of Yue is ended by March and he returns to the political swirl of Daxia. Yan Xun had send a letter to Daxia requesting a negotiation on border trade between Danbei and Daxia. Such a letter at this time equals to a beg-for-mercy, which prompted a wave of calling for attacks on Yanbei from the war hawks. Knowing Yan Xun so well, both Yue and CQ realize that he must be planning something big, and this kind of weakness showing is just a small trick to begin with. Then there is the news about a small conflict at Yanming Guan (The most important border city of Daxia, which Yan Xun finally abandoned to conquer in order to support CQ who was defending the city of Beishuo) between the soldiers of Daxia and Yanbei. Some tens of drunk soldiers of Daxia had rushed outside from the Yanming Guan and attached the nearby Longyin Guan of Yanbei, which caused a slight casualty of Yanbei soldiers. But Yanbei didn’t fight back, which confirmed Daxia’s hawks that Yanbei is too weakened by the natural disasters to fight against Daxia. The whole state is incited by the hawks and many are enthusiastic on starting a war against Yanbei, and Yue is assigned to the western border to inspect the real situation just in half month before their wedding.
ddmcmc: it’s always the busiest time at the year ends. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll try to manage to conclude the whole Vol 5 by the end of 2017.