Chapter 15 Jin Fengyu
“Bang Bang!” Bursts of festive firecrackers sounded suddenly, blowing up large tracts of white snowflakes. On the streets, countless of children were laughing and tussling happily while covering their ears at the sound of the loud noises. No sparks were made cheap, it was a “thunder terrific artillery”,they played the whole day.
This is the 25th lantern festival since Emperor Xia Gaozong ascended to the throne. The rumbling and crackling of gunfire was heard all day long. This day was also Emperor Gaozong’s 57th birthday. The whole nation was made deliberately festive. The officials provided the commoners with firecrackers free of charge and the success of this festive moment was adding to the prestige of the tribute.The Emperor very much appreciated the practice of the Jingdufu magistrate. That very night, an announcement of joyful news was passed down. The Yu Wei family of the Imperial Capital would award Wei Shu You perfectly.
Rumbling among the gunfire, the Zhuge Residence has stepped up to prepare for this important holiday. This day, the city of Zhen Huang was filled with the Great Snow (21st of the 24 solar terms) present everywhere. The snowflakes fell all over like goose feathers fluttering in the wind. The city’s old people say that this year’s snow had some strange undercurrents, because this time since previous years, it was simply frost.
Chu Qiao was wearing her new outfit of light pink dress coat and a fox cloak. Her white and tender jade face shrunk in the white fox cashmere. Her cheeks were pink and her big eyes were round. Snowflakes fell on the tip of her nose causing her to constantly wrinkle it and it made her look surprisingly kind of lovely.
“Xing’er, young master called you.”
Cried the newly arrived servant who came running over and was panting like a cow while breathing heavily.
Chu Qiao slowly turned to see Huan’er with messy hair. It was natural for her to step forward while tiptoeing to stroke his hair,then quietly spoke, “Look at you, will you not slow down? What is the big deal, must you be so flustered while running?”
Huan’er was 16 years old this year, but he did not know why, but in the face of this little eight-year-oldish girl, he always felt that he was still a child. He obediently bent over to let Chu Qiao finish fixing his hair, while saying “Xing’er you go, young master is waiting for you.”
Chu Qiao put down her hand , nodded her head and said, “Come on.” She left towards the direction of the Guan Pavilion and took small steps leisurely,not in a hurry.
Huan’er frowned while looking at her for a long while. He then shook his head and hastened his pace to keep up.
Compared to Chu Qiao, Zhuge Yue was a phlegmatic in the Guan Pavilion. Zhuge’s 4th young master was sitting on a warm couch observing a game of chess and slightly frowning with a very serious look.
Chu Qiao was accompanying him and was squaring up the pieces one by one. She then quietly went to attend the tea. She gently placed a cup of green tea next to the writing desk for Zhuge Yue before sitting straight back down by the incense burner quietly waiting while resting her chin on her hand.
Time slowly went by. The door attendants had come to look many times inquisitively. When Zhuge Yue finally pushes the board and stands up, the waiting maid quickly helps to put on his deerskin boots. Zhuge Yue’s white and dark blue and white robe, made of red fox fur, made it so that this less than 13-year-old child looked very prominent.
Zhuge Yue said in a low voice and lead his subordinates to go out. In front of the Zhuge Residence was a row of horses causing Zhuge Yue to be delayed, the other young masters of the Residence had already left first. A servant bowed to kneel on the ground, Zhuge Yue seemed calm as he went up, stepping on the back of the lackey before taking a seat on the horse.
He arranged his clothes and was ready to go but Zhuge Yue suddenly turned to look at the gate of Qingshan courtyard to see a maid standing to see him off, “Xinger, have you seen the Lantern Festival?
Chu Qiao was surprised for a moment, then quickly shook her head. Zhuge Yue nodded his head: “Come up, I’ll take you.”
Chu Qiao was stunned for a long while to digest the meaning behind the words ‘come up,’ Zhuge Yue had said. She quickly replied, “Master, this is not the custom.”
Zhuge Yue frowned and was about to speak when Chu Qiao suddenly stepped forward and said, “Xing’er can ride her own horse.”
Zhuge Yue stared at her up and down doubtfully. With her small body, the meaning of his look was obvious.
“Master can get Xing’er a pony, then Xing’er will be able to ride.”
Zhuge Yue heard the words and gently smiled. He looked at his attendant, Zhu Cheng, and nodded. Soon, a red pony was pulled out. It was small-sized but it was still higher than Chu Qiao by a lot. Several eyes were set on Chu Qiao , seeing that she was not even taller than the pony’s legs, they were ready to take pleasure in her misfortune.
She walked two laps around the pony and raised her hand high so she could touch the colt’s mane. Zhuge Yue eyes followed her and found it a little funny. He was about to help her get started, when suddenly, he saw the child reach out and seize the rein. With one little push, she jumped up to climb ,the movement was surprisingly smooth.
Suddenly a burst of exclamation came from the crowd. Zhuge Yue turned back to see a child in white looking like a ball of snow. She actually threw out her chest on the horseback. Zhuge Yue could not help it but chuckle then, he turned around and hit the horse to go.
Chu Qiao, of course, would ride her pony. Although this was not convenient with this body, but fortunately this horse was very gentle. Seeing the other horses walk, she quickly followed up.
Zhen Huang City had no curfew, and today was the Lantern Festival. The streets became more lively. Time was nearing the evening. The sky was getting dark and the street’s lights were flashing. There was a scene of dazzling fireworks ,lanterns, and incense floated in the wind leisurely. Eyes looked throughout the city and the Jiuwei Road . It was full of performances and exquisite lanterns. Both sides of the road were filled with two rows of long red-like lights and numerous buildings made into the stages. Singing ,dancing, juggling, drama and noisy music all gathered together in one place , lanterns and fireworks stir the city’s night as bright as day. Countless small businessmen were hawking in the streets to attract business.Cooking wine, tobacco, tea, clothing, fruits,vegetables, household utensils, incense flowers, pink powder fireworks and all pleasing gadgets were all here one after another; everything. The spirit of the night was such a splendid prosperous time. The world could imagine the magnificent splendor of all the chaos stirring in a meandering streets. Everywhere you looked in Zhen Huang’north and south, vertical and horizontal, latitude and longitude, a splash of color of the world’s luxury unrolled.
Chu Qiao was sitting, looking around and staring at this rare ancient night scene.
The Zhuge family was a powerful family. Wherever they went, the pedestrians all try to avoid them. Through a gorgeous tower, she saw a stage placed with a lot of brightly colored lanterns, it was a peculiar style. There were a variety of cute animals and there were also fairy flowers, those things were very dreamy.
Stall holders saw Zhuge Yue stopping so they immediately took their lanterns of gold to flatter him. Their mouths spew words to make him happy, Zhuge Yue remained how he was as if he did not hear them, before pointing to a lantern, “You, bring that.”
The stall owners looked back to see that the prestigious Zhuge Residence’s 4th son was actually referring to a white rabbit lantern. They couldn’t help but wonder.
He took the lantern in his hand and then Zhuge Yue, with his always indifferent face, showed a trace of a rare smile. With his hands, he handed over the lantern to Chu Qiao saying, “I give this to you.”
Surprised, Chu Qiao subconsciously reached out and took it. She even forgot to say her thanks. Zhuge Yue looking calm, turned around and hit the horse to move on as if nothing had happened. The look around the attendants eyes became strange. They carefully passed over her gently and swiftly tried to guess if there was any secret meaning.
Chu Qiao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, he really regarded her as a child.
Looking at the rabbit lantern, it was very sophisticated. The whole body was white with a pair of red eyes, Chu Qiao gently touched the rabbit’s mouth.Thus a pink colored paper small tongue suddenly stretched out, making her jump in fright.
At this point, a chuckle suddenly sounded. Chu Qiao turned her head. She only saw group of colored lanterns walk in front of her at that time. They blocked her line of sight, as a dragon’s eyebrows went behind some flowers. The bustling crowd came and went. They were busy running on the main street in Jiuwei, which was brilliantly illuminated and the jasper dazzling.
She didn’t know for how long; the time seemed to stretch, yet at the same time, it appeared very short. The people in her vision slowly started to disperse. On other side of the street, she saw the frozen Chishui Lake. Boundless snowfalls as the willows hung down. Snow covering the trees, as a black horse leisurely stood on the side. A youth stood with both of his hands cross over his chest, lazily leaning against the trunk, eyes bright looking at her. Black eyes like jade, smiling at her lightly.
Bang bang, all of a sudden everyone looked up to heaven, in the sky the fireworks were blooming everywhere, like the dance of the a female in a water sleeve, like a beautiful sunset sinking, bright and dazzling. The view was intoxicating.
At that time she did not notice that a naughty child had swiftly threw a firecracker at Chu Qiao’s horse, and for the first time, the small red horse moved wildly. Being suddenly startled, it raised its hoofs, and started running up the southeast.
The people from the Zhuge Residence were alarmed and called out, but unfortunately Chu Qiao disappeared into the crowd of people in a flash.
The youth under the tree saw what happened. He instantaneously jumped on his horses and whipped it then turned toward the direction of Chu Qiao to pursue her.