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Winters in the north were especially long. In the past years, when people in the capital had already taken off their cotton-padded clothes, here, it would still be snowing.
Xiao Wangye had been afraid of the cold ever since he was a child. Fortunately, he now had a portable heater, which he carried around wherever he went. He didn’t find it too much of a hassle. At most, his butt would hurt a bit. 1I’m not sure what this paragraph means, but… it could be that the portable heater is Yan-daren 😉
One day after the New Year, Yan-daren came back from outside the Wang Mansion with a big wicker basket in his hand.
Xiao Wangye curiously leaned over to take a look, and he saw two pairs of eyes sticking out and looking around.
“Waa!” Xiao Wangye exclaimed. “Where did the little kitties come from?”
“From the tailor’s house along the street. His family’s mother cat gave birth to six, but they couldn’t afford to raise them, and so I took two.”
Xiao Wangye was overjoyed. He picked up one of them and carried it in his arms. He told Yan-daren, “Before, I used to take care of all the kittens in the palace.”
Yan-daren picked up the other one and said, “I know.”
Xiao Wangye merely talked about what he had done before and didn’t think much about it. But little did he know that after he left the capital, Yan-daren took several of the little calico cats in the palace and brought them back to the Yan Residence. Until now, the old housekeeper was still looking after them.
Xiao Wangye looked at the kittens, then looked at Yan-daren. He stood very happily on tiptoes and gave Yan-daren a sweet kiss in front of those two young cats who were yet to see the world.
This novel is translated by lizonkanovels dot com. If you are reading outside lizonkanovels(.)com, then the chapter you are reading is either incomplete, unedited, or badly formatted.
In the summer, Xiao Wangye finally realized what was good about the North. Before, in the capital, it would already be time to eat ice to cool themselves. Here, however, a cool breeze was still blowing, and the temperature was pleasant. And with less mosquitoes, Xiao Wangye’s fair arms no longer had any little red packets2红包 – Literally refers to those money envelopes, but here, it’s a metaphor for how big the mosquito bites are on XJ’s skin..
Of course, there were also others who thought so.
One day, in the middle of summer, Xiao Wangye was teaching Yan-daren calligraphy in his study. Just when he saw Yan-daren’s hand inappropriately probing towards a certain area, a servant from the mansion came over to announce that a distinguished guest had come to visit.
Xiao Wangye blushed and tied his belt, then went out to meet the guest.
The distinguished guest who came to visit was Si Wangye3Si means “fourth.” I kept it in pinyin coz Wangye is also in pinyin. And Si Wangye is the Fourth Prince, if you remember him. Now translating his character as Si Wangye coz author is now referring to him with wangye. Before, they used the characters huangzi (皇子), which is what is translated as Prince.. Si Wangye’s fiefdom was located in the southeast. In June, it was like a furnace. Therefore, along with his five wives, he took the opportunity to come to Rui Wang’s territory to escape from the heat.
Xiao Wangye had not seen his si-huangxiong for a long time, so he was very excited. Not only did he arrange the best courtyard, he also held banquets every day.
Si Wangye also didn’t treat himself as an outsider. He stayed for a couple months, spending everyday in pleasure and ecstasy4 花天酒地 – indulging in wine and women/sensual pleasures; debauchery.
Xiao Wangye had no idea what to do. Having an outsider around restricted his own private activities, and this really distressed him.
One night, Si Wangye drank too much wine, and while tipsy, he gave Xiao Wangye some sincere words and earnest wishes: “Xiao Jiu ah, don’t blame your gege for speaking out of turn, but you’re already an adult. You should take advantage of your youth and marry many wives to carry on the ancestral line.”
After saying that, he turned to Yan-daren with a smile: “And Yan-daren, you’re so talented and well-mannered, adept with both pen and the sword, how come you don’t understand the affairs of romance? Until now, you still haven’t taken a wife. It can’t be that you have some problems at a certain area hahaha…”
Xiao Wangye and Yan-daren were both stiff-faced and silent. Si Wangye was inviting trouble upon himself5汉英大词典 – to bring contempt upon oneself; make oneself unwelcome. He carried his wine pot, rose and took his leave, returning to his courtyard.
That night, ambiguous and high-pitched cries came from Xiao Wangye’s courtyard.
In the morning of the next day, Si Wangye got up to leave and returned to his fiefdom.
Yan-daren had the habit of getting up in the morning to practice the sword. Though he no longer needed to go to the battlefield or command thousands of troops, this habit was still maintained.
Xiao Wangye sat leisurely on the porch with a cup of barley tea, watching Yan-daren wield his sword in the courtyard to prune the leafy branches neatly. In his heart, he felt rather proud.
Other people’s wangfeis can embroider, but my “wangfei” can garden. Xiao Wangye was very satisfied.
Xiao Wangye’s appetite had increased a lot recently, and Yan-daren had also noticed this. He rubbed Xiao Wangye’s bulging stomach and teased him, “Is our Xiao Jiu pregnant with a little Xiao Jiu?”
Xiao Wangye was ticklish. He smilingly patted away Yan-daren’s hand and said, “It’s because the rice in the north is too delicious.”
He had heard of this when he was in the capital. Now that it was the autumn harvest season and he was eating authentic northern rice, he realized that it really deserved its reputation.
A few days later, the housekeeper of the Wang Mansion took a leave, saying that his family’s farmland had too much harvest to handle, so he had to go back and give a hand.
When Xiao Wangye heard this, he immediately discussed with Yan-daren. The next day, Yan-daren went to the countryside with the housekeeper.
Upon seeing this strange man dressed in luxurious clothes and looking extraordinary, the villagers busy on the bank of the field thought for sure that he wouldn’t be much help.
Who would’ve thought this man would go down to the field without consulting anyone, and after pulling out his sword behind him, went straight to the rice paddy. The speed of his actions made it impossible to see what he was doing, and he was able to harvest over half a mu6亩 – classifier for fields; unit of area equal to 1/15 of a hectare of land quickly and easily.
The rice, which would’ve been completely harvested over three days, had now been completed in half a day. The villagers were very grateful, and before leaving, they gave Yan-daren five dan7石 – dry measure for grain equal to ten dou 斗; ten pecks; one hundred liters of rice as a token of their gratitude.
In the evening, Xiao Wangye ate the fruits of Yan-daren’s labor and added more rice to his bowl.
Just into October, it started to snow again. Xiao Wangye wrapped himself up in a newly-made cotton-padded jacket and recklessly rushed into the snow. Yan-daren followed him with a cloak slung over the side and said, “After a year, I had thought you’d already be tired from looking at snow.”
“How can that be? There are four seasons in a year, and each season has its own unique scenery. Watching the snow is just one of them. And with Yan-gege accompanying me, I never get tired of seeing anything.”
Xiao Wangye looked back and smiled at him, smiling with curved eyes, as he did on that winter solstice night. But now, his words had more ease and certainty: “Yan-gege will always be with me.”
Yan-daren smiled and embraced Xiao Wangye from behind, leaning down to his ear and whispering:
I’ll walk with you through spring, through summer, over autumn, and across winter.
And then I’ll walk with you through another four seasons.
[END OF MAIN STORY]
Liz: There’s still an extra in the next chapter, so read on!