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Royal Road CH 138

Author:Liang Category:urban Update time:2022-09-26 13:11:54


Ch138 - Winter Celebrations

“His Imperial Majesty has moved to Chang’an.” Liang Feng threw away the report, feeling beyond feeling anger at this point.

Several days ago, Zhang Fang left Luoyang with the Emperor in tow, heading for Guanzhong.

When word reached the Prince of Hejian, he immediately sent thirty thousand foot soldiers to welcome the unwilling Son of Heaven into the city of Chang’an. 

And thus there were two capitals: Chang’an, where the Emperor resided, known as the “western administration,” and Luoyang, which had a useless imperial palace and a few leftover government bureaus, known as the “old administration.” The warring factions never rested, for shortly after the Emperor left Luoyang, the old administration restored Empress Yang, who had been deposed by Zhang Fang, to her former station, and declared universal amnesty in an effort to affirm their status and existence.

How was Liang Feng to respond to all the miscellaneous reports landing on his desk Get the twenty-to-thirty-year-old Sima princes with too much power for their own good to stop There wasn’t anyone capable of that.

No one was immune to the promise of power and prestige, much less that seat of ultimate authority.



Duan Qin took the report, quickly read it over, and said, “Presently, the Prince of Chengdu is in decline; the Prince of Hejian controls Guanzhong and has the Emperor in his grasp; the Prince of Donghai is unlikely to concede.”

Sitting at the side, Cui Ji added, “The Duke of Pingchang has taken Ye City, and the Prince of Gaomi has stationed his troops in Luoyang.

Though the Prince of Donghai was thwarted, his strength is not diminished in the least.

The Emperor’s moving of the capital is too important to be concluded so hastily.” 

The Duke of Pingchang and the Prince of Gaomi were the Prince of Donghai’s younger brothers, and so long as they held Ye City and Luoyang, Sima Yue hadn’t lost completely.

In addition, there was the ill-intentioned regional commander of Yu Province, the Prince of Fanyang.

It’d be strange if any of them allowed a playing piece as valuable as the Emperor to fall into the Prince of Hejian’s hands.

One only needed to look at the puppet empress, Yang Xianrong, to know that the two sides hadn’t been able to reach an agreement.

It was only a matter of time and place before they were up in arms against each other once more.


“Courtly affairs haven’t much to do with us.

Our priority is still to develop government fields and settle refugees,” Liang Feng said coolly.

He was not at all inclined to involve himself in the vicious dogfighting.

Regardless of who ultimately won, the only difference would be an even worse autocrat in power.

Cui Ji instantly shut his mouth.

He hadn’t known His Excellency Liang for very long, but he had come to know something of his temperament.

This grand administrator truly didn’t care about court politics, it could even be said that his attitude towards power struggles in general was extremely apathetic.

Anyone else would spend at least some thought to the happenings at court to ensure they picked the winning side, but His Excellency Liang was different.

He was seemingly satisfied with his position as grand administrator.

It was at odds with the aura he projected; however, Cui Ji didn’t believe it was a flaw.

On the contrary, he was much more taken in by his focus on addressing practical issues.

Petty schemers were innumerable, but true nobles who were of the heart to serve the people pitifully few.

Bing Province had deteriorated to such an extent that it did indeed need a ruler who governed, brought stability, and maintained order.


Duan Qin, who was more familiar with the way Liang Feng thought, immediately said, “The winter solstice that will be upon us in a few days would be a good opportunity to hold a banquet and a Nuo ritual, for the commoners’ peace of mind.”

The winter solstice had been a major holiday since the Han dynasty.

Government offices would organize celebratory ceremonies, perform exorcisms, and hold banquets; bureaucrats would stop working; soldiers would be put on standby; friends and family would visit each other.

Its importance was second to only New Year’s Day.

Liang Feng had only been a noble without office last year, only able to observe the End of Year Sacrifices honoring deities and ancestors.

This year though, he was the grand administrator of Shangdang; he could of course order winter solstice celebrations to be held. 

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.

If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Liang Feng thought over his suggestion and nodded, “That is workable.

Aside from Lu City, the other counties should perform Nuo rituals on the winter solstice as well.”


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Duan Qin and Cui Ji understood his intent.

On his orders, all the counties rapidly began making preparations for the midwinter celebration.


The ceremonies held by the Grand Administrator’s Mansion were naturally going to be grander than the counties.’ The altar had been set, the decorations hung, and the preparations begun two days before the solstice.

Sacrificial animals came and went, the Fangxiang-shi exorcist and children had readied themselves to fast.

All the hustle and bustle instantly brought some liveliness to Lu City.

Two days later, Liang Feng, wearing a jìnxián guān, dressed in black, with the grand administrator’s seal hanging at his waist, stood before the altar, leading all the officials of the Grand Administrator’s Mansion in the ceremonial sacrifice to the gods.

In ancient times, only the Emperor could sacrifice to Heaven and Earth, so, as a grand administrator, Liang Feng could only pray for fair weather and protection from natural disasters.

After respectfully presenting the offerings and reciting ritual words in accordance with the ancient rites, the Fangxiang-shi, masked with a demonic four-eyed face, cloaked with a bearskin, raised his shield and spear and began his frenzied dance. 

The drums and horns sounded simultaneously, accompanied by rhythmic chanting.

The one hundred and twenty child exorcists began dancing as well.

Standing at the head of the commandery officials, Liang Feng couldn’t help falling into reminiscence.

They had held a Nuo ritual last year as well, with only twenty or so people.

But now, the over a hundred red head coverings and black robes painted a wholly unfamiliar picture.

With a Fangxiang-shi specially invited by the Grand Administrator’s Mansion and a grandson of a famed Ruist, Cui Ji, spending effort in the preparation, the ceremony could be nothing less than a grand and stately affair.

But it lacked the thrilling somberness and majesty of last year’s ritual, being more of a flowery performance.

Like any other sacrificial ceremony, it was dazzling, entrancing, and awe-inspiring.

Liang Feng didn’t let his momentary distraction show in his expression, but he collected his thoughts and witnessed the Nuo dance with a more solemn manner.

He needed to reassure the people, so the more professional the performance, the more convincing it was. 

The officials of the Grand Administrator’s Mansion stood behind him.

Every gaze was intently locked on the dancing Fangxiang-shi, save for one, cast forward towards the back of a certain figure. 

Yi Yan remembered last year as well.

Back then, he’d stood before him, a heavy, ghoulish mask on his face obscuring everything save for the radiant figure illuminated by the firelight.

There was the focused gaze, filled with approval, regard, and expectation for him alone, that set his blood alight, for which he would gladly give his life!

Yet today, he could only see his back, standing behind him next to a dozen or so bureaucrats.

Even if he could rise above the others in rank, he’d only be one step closer. 


The drums roared like winter thunder, pounding on one’s heart.

Yi Yan lowered his eyes and stood a wordless statue behind Liang Feng. 

After circling the Grand Administrator’s Palace, the Fangxiang-shi and the child exorcists rushed out the gates into the city.

The Nuo ritual was not complete until they danced through the city’s main roads, purifying them of filth, and with their dance, the news of the huge celebration held by the Grand Administrator’s Mansion would spread throughout Shangdang. 

After the Nuo ritual came the officials’ banquet.

The most recently appointed grand administrator had invited all the staff of the Grand Administrator’s Mansion to attend.

Even the lowliest errand-runner could eat a two-course meal and have pancakes filled with ground mutton.

It was a wonderful portent to the beleaguered officials of the commandery government.

His Excellency had not forgotten all the work they’d done in the last six months, nor the ancient traditions that had fallen by the wayside.

How long had it been since such a grand Nuo ritual was last held in Lu City In the entirety of Shangdang

Now, they had a grand administrator who cared about them and the tens of thousands of people under his governance.

Where could one even find such a virtuous official

With that kind of sentiment, there wasn’t a single soul in the mansion who wasn’t jubilant.

Moreover, Liang Feng had gone out of the normal, providing fine wine, musicians, and dancers.

Sharing a meal, eating their fill and enjoying their wine, both host and guests had a merry time. 

Liang Feng returned to the inner residence smelling of alcohol.

He hadn’t had many cups, but few others had shown such restraint, as even Jiang Da had been goaded into drinking himself to stupor, forgetting his duties as a doctor, to say nothing of those who had a fondness for wine. 

After sitting down, and ordering Lüzhu to bring him a cup of tea, Liang Feng let out a long sigh.

It seemed that Duan Qin’s suggestion had proven effective after all.

There were some things that made a world of difference when done.

In ancient times, it wasn’t without reason that there were so many official holidays and celebrations.

The illiterate masses had only the words and actions of the local government to depend on, or else the concepts of “parent officials” and “clear-sky officials” would not have survived the ages.

Thus, he would have to arrange banquets for Zhengdan, flog cows on Lichun, hold fetes on Shangsi, etc.

Hopefully, the Xiongnu wouldn’t kick up too much of a ruckus come spring.

His thoughts were interrupted by a report, “Your Excellency, Young Master Rong requests an audience.” 

Why had Rong-er come Liang Feng sat up straight, “Show him in.”

Liang Rong, also wearing formal attire, walked into the bedroom and bowed in salute, “I wish Father a peaceful winter free of illness and disaster.” 

Only then did Liang Feng realize that Liang Rong had come to wish him a happy holiday.

The winter solstice as another one of those holidays where children paid respects to their parents and elders.

Last year, the two of them had passed the holiday in the Liang Estate, but because of the government-held celebration this year, it had slipped his mind.

Surprised that Liang Rong had been waiting all this time just to give him this “holiday greeting.” 

His slight tipsiness vanishing without a trace, Liang Feng smilingly beckoned him over, “It seems I’ve kept you waiting, Rong-er.

Come and draw a winter-passing picture with me then.”

It was a tradition they’d begun last year.

The difference was that last year, Liang Rong had directly received his picture while this year, Liang Feng would draw it in front of him. 

Liang Rong happily went over to him, meticulously rolled his sleeves up, and ground ink for his father.

Thick ink spreading thinner, Liang Feng began drawing winter plum blossoms.

He’d had a difficult time of it last year, as he’d only ever learned Liu-style calligraphy, not painting.

A year later though, both his handwriting and art skills had greatly improved.

It was, after all, a basic survival skill, and plus, entertainment was scarce nowadays. 

Craggy branches were drawn with thick ink and delicate petals with thin ink.

Before long, a cluster of plum blossoms bloomed upon the branch. 

Liang Feng put down his brush and smiled at the child mesmerized by the picture, “Rong-er, today is the first of the nine nine days.

Do you want to color in the first petal”

Liang Rong immediately nodded, “Yes!”


Lüzhu very astutely brought the cinnabar.

The young child took the brush his father handed him and carefully began to trace.

Under his small little hand, still round with baby fat, a single plum petal was dyed red.


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