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Soon after Nikolai leaves for his regiment, the Countess takes ill. The Count along with Natasha and Sonya makes a trip to Moscow to settle affairs on his estate in the city and also to meet Prince Bolkonsky who had arrived in the city recently. At Moscow, they stay with their acquaintance, Madam Dmitrievna who entertains the girls by taking them for shopping. Later, they visit the Bolkonskys. The Prince refuses to receive them, while Marya exercises restraint while talking to them. Natasha feels slighted and returns home disappointed.
One day, as they visit the theatre, Natasha makes the acquaintance of Ellen and her brother, Anatol. Anatol is captivated by her beauty and flatters her with admiring glances. Natasha pays the Bezukhovs a visit and falls for the charm of Anatol. On an impulse, she cuts off her ties with Andrei and decides to elope with Anatol. However, Anatol fails to carry out his plan and exposes his villainy to Natasha. Natasha is shattered and starts neglecting her health. Pierre takes pity on her. He meets Andrei and persuades him to accept Natasha but Andrei declines to renew his relationship with the girl. The Count is distressed, but the old Prince Bolkonsky and Marya are relieved to hear about the broken engagement.
Napoleon enters Russia, even as emperor Aleksandr makes merry with his officers of the army. When the Tsar hears about Bonaparteís invasion of Russia, he is infuriated. He sends his messenger to Napoleon ordering the French emperor to retreat from his soil. Napoleon is unmoved and declares war against Russia. He overpowers the enemy at Vitebsk and Smolensk. The Tsar feels insulted. He transfers the command of the army to Kutuzov and gives him the responsibility of repulsing the attack of the French. At Borodino, the Russian soldiers fight bravely and drive away the French.
Natasha takes interest in religion and receives her communion. Pierre comes to meet her often. Both of them enjoy each otherís company. Petya gets inspired by the words of the Tsar and decides to join the army. Pierre also turns patriotic and declares his intention to maintain ten thousand soldiers. Later, he visits the battlefield and observes men in action. He witnesses many men getting wounded and dying on the field. He meets Andrei but the latter asks him to go back home.
The health of Prince Bolkonsky deteriorates. However, when Andrei sends a word for their removal to Moscow to avoid the French intrusion at Bald Hills, the old Prince along with his daughter and staff, move over to Bagucharovo. Here, he struggles for his life and finally, succumbs to his illness. Princess Marya, though crestfallen, decides to leave for Moscow at the earliest. However, the peasants at Bagucharovo pose problems and stop her from moving out of the place. Nikolai Rostov appears on the scene and helps Marya transport herself to Moscow. Circumstances help the two to get attracted to each other.
Andrei fights bravely against the enemy and repulses their attack. In the process, he gets injured and is hospitalized. At the hospital, he observes Anatol struggling for his life after the latterís leg is amputated. Andrei thinks of poetic justice and feels no hatred for his enemy. Instead, he sympathizes with the plight of Anatol.
Kutuzov and his troops, rest contented after their victory at Borodino, as Napoleon marches towards Moscow. When Kutuzov hears about Napoleonís invasion of Moscow, he feels helpless, as his army is unprepared to tackle the situation. He orders his army to retreat and the inhabitants of the city to abandon their homes. Thus, many including the Rostovs are on their way out of the city. Andrei is one of the wounded soldiers who travel with the Rostovs. Natasha becomes aware of his presence in their midst only when they reach Mystischi. She pays him a visit, as he lies wounded. Andrei welcomes her and desires her company. For the rest of the journey till they reach Yaroslavl, Natasha attends on him.