Love Like the Galaxy (2022) Episodes 13-14 Ramblings
Cheng Shaoshang or Niaoniao in recent days has seen something of the dehumanizing cruelty of war up close in front row seats and not as a dispassionate observer. The rebels are deliberately depicted as menacing and ruthless to drive home the point. In Hua County where her third uncle is appointed to take over the post of magistrate from the previous official, there are signs of devastation everywhere. The human cost is viscerally high and there she wrestles with the senselessness of the attempted rebellion that led to the horrific death of many including her beloved companion and maid A’Miao. Ironically it is for such a time that her innate audacity comes into its own especially as those leave behind lose their will to live another day. Inside a makeshift infirmary comprised of the wounded she gives a rousing call to action invoking those who died so that others might live and stirs the maimed into regaining their confidence for the future.
The entire sequence of events starting with the rebels’ siege is an anti-war anthem sung with sorrowful urgency. Whatever the rationale, it’s clear that rebellions bring much suffering and anguish to the bystanders. One man’s discontent is insufficient justification to inflict this level of damage on the entirety of the civilian population especially if he is only a puppet for a far more sinister agenda.
Some time later the people of Hua County hold an elaborate funeral procession for their late great magistrate with an imperial edict read out by Ling Buyi who hastily makes his way there when the magic words “the fourth Cheng young lady” and “potential suitors” are uttered by His Majesty. It’s a posthumous celebration of selfless public service and a send-off for a man who sacrificed himself and his entire family to keep his people safe.
At her side is the eager-to-please Lou Yao who makes it his mission to be attentive to Niaoniao’s every need even to the point of offering marriage. It comes at a low-point in her life despite the bravado and the young master Lou says all the right thing to a child that’s been severely neglected. A’Yao is a child himself (wet behind the years) even as he proposes marriage claiming that he has seen the light and is determined to go into public service. Niaoniao impressed with his earnestness and frank the desire to crown her queen in his heart, assents, very appreciative of the delicacies that he presents as daily offerings of his undying love.
It would be comical if not for the backdrop of tragedy and the possibility of more difficulties ahead for the youthful might-be-lovers. Mother, Xiao Yuanyi, disapproves vociferously at the suddenness of it all. She’s understandably concerned too that while the young Lou master might be keen to follow through on his proposal, the older female members of his household might not be as elated at such a prospect. They’re an aristocratic family afterall with expectations. For them, snobbery is a virtue not a vice. It’s obvious he hasn’t thought it through — the very qualities that he declares his greatest admiration for might end up being the ones that will rock the house in days to come. Niaoniao is prone to turn her nose at conventions and bring attention to herself. He on the other hand, can barely stand on his own two feet. Just because he thinks he’s in love doesn’t mean that everyone will love her like he does.
Niaoniao's entire attitude to the marriage issue is little more than a gesture of teenage rebellion. She’s doubling down in part because Yuanyi who raised serious objections. She’s always had a reasonably good head on her shoulders but she’s being foolishly irrational here. This whole marriage issue is really a reaction against long-term neglect and bad parenting and a proverbial shaking fist to the mother who doesn’t seem to have anything complimentary to say about the daughter.
A’Yao’s also been a bit rude too, settling things in unseemly haste much to Mother’s unerring dismay. It begs the question — why is he in such a hurry? He’s just broken up with a shrewish fiancee and it seems he’s a glutton for punishment. But honestly, it begs another question: what is he really afraid of?
Maybe he’s a little nervous that there might be actual competition for the hand of the fair lady Shaoshang so he strikes while the iron is hot. In his case pester power does the job.
The emperor (who finally makes an appearance) finds out unexpectedly that his beloved godson the General Ling Buyi has his eye on a certain fourth young miss from General Cheng’s household. He doesn’t mind who she is as long as Buyi (style name: Zisheng) sets up his own household and fulfills his duties to his ancestors. Therefore, he nags incessantly about marriage and does his sneaky bit to nudge things along where he can. It’s only what a good surrogate father should do.
Ling Buyi has declared himself a one-woman man more than once now. He once said that he will only marry the one woman he meets and falls in love with. It’s a terrible inconvenience to a lot of people that Zisheng is such a avowed monogamist who can go off on unplanned expeditions to stave off unwanted admirers but he’s been traumatized by the mistakes of his parents. Despite his austere appearance, Ling Buyi is a man for whom still waters run deep. He knows that Cheng Shaoshang is the only woman for him but there has to be a right time for everything. She’s still grieving over her losses during the recent bloody skirmish and it would be thoughtless of a man who sheds blood routinely to speak of love in such a context. Unlike his two immediate rivals, the young general is an adult with a functioning brain at all times.