♫ The sounds from the sheng and xiao die away in the distance, in the sparse, declining light ♫
(T/N reed instrument made of vertical pipes; end-blown flute) ♫ Memories of my past, my companions in youth. ♫ ♫ Over boundless years, old affairs have become difficult to recall. ♫ ♫ I’ve used a lifetime of truth to put up a pretense. ♫ ♫ Parting without opening these cupped hands full of tears. ♫ ♫ Clears my vision and permits me to resist ♫ ♫ Perhaps when targeted by love it is not wise to separate ♫ ♫ The morning wind can not dispel the aftermath. ♫ ♫ Whose hidden tears made the blooming flowers blush, ♫ ♫ And in the desolate and dreary torrential storms to painfully droop low, ♫ ♫ Unwilling to blossom again alone? ♫ ♫ The coming day belongs to the young. ♫ ♫ As the glimmer of dawn becomes again the setting sun. ♫ ♫ Who is this person who does not sleep soundly in the middle of the night? ♫ ♫Sitting and watching the autumn wind puff out and penetrate the palace curtains. ♫ ♫One strand held in remembrance, shackling sentiment and concern. ♫ ♫ Always submerged in the fragrant incense of fleeting time ♫ Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace Episode 13 Speaking with impertinence. Mocking palace personnel and belittlement of central palace. Contempt of ancestors. I must punish you as my duty to my ancestors. – Come.
– Yes. Slap her mouth. Noble Consort, forgive me. Noble Consort, forgive me! Noble Consort, even if A’Rou is unruly, she shouldn’t be slapped like this. Consort Xian, I have yet to find your fault in failure of management. And you dare to help her? May Your Highness the Noble Consort allow me to take A’Rou back to my place to manage her. You failed in it and I shall do it for you. We don’t dare to lament about your punishment. It’s just that A’Rou still has to do her job. If she’s sporting an injury, it looks unwell for all. May you be merciful. It’s about to rain. I’m tired too. Moxin, escort me back to rest. Yes. – Shuangxi.
– Yes. You stay. I punish A’Rou to kneel under the Cricket Gate for six hours. Yes. I will watch her. And Consort Xian, I punish you to transcribe the Buddhist scripture hundred times. Take it to Anhua Hall before midnight and burn it for atonement. Yes. Mistress, save me. You must carry your own mistakes. Mistress! Mistress! Eunuch Shuangxi, it’s about to rain. There are two umbrellas. I’ll leave them for you and A’Rou to shield the rain. Noble Consort didn’t leave that instruction. I don’t dare to take it. Mistress! Mistress, please rescue me! Stay. Kneel. Mistress! Shuizhi. Close the window, Shuizhi. Coming. Coming. It’s raining past afternoon. No sign of thinning out. Good thing Xiao Lezi and Shuizhi escorted Yonghuang back. I went to see A’Rou earlier. I wanted to sneak her two buns. But that Shuangxi is staring at her from the corridor. Without budging at all. I told her so many times she needs to watch what she says and she just won’t listen. Words are not forgiving. She needs to remember that. That rain is just getting heavier. You’re supposed to kneel for six hours. Kneel nicely for me now. Don’t try to be lazy. I am watching you closely. Did you hear that? Kneel well. [ bitter … ] Mistress, don’t rush. Noble Consort is picky. If she finds fault in it, you’ve wasted your time writing. They say thunderstorms quit quickly. But how is this rain just getting heavier? It’s cold with the rain. I don’t know after kneeling in the rain, just how frozen A’Rou will be when she returns. I’m almost done transcribing. Later, take it to Xianfu Palace to let them know. And go to Anhua Hall to burn it. Yes. How many hours has it been since A’Rou started kneeling? It’s been over four hours. Sanbao. I’m here. Go and summon Royal Physician Xu. Tell him I’m not feeling well. And have him bring me some medicine to get rid of chill. I will go now. – Shuizhi.
– I’m here. Go and boil some hot water and have A’Rou bath in it when she’s back to get rid of the chill. And bring some thick blanket to have her be covered in them. And prepare some ginger soup. Yes. Mistress, you ache for her. She’s been serving me for so many years. Her fault she’s not faring for herself. Go now and take it to Noble Consort Hui, and come back for your chores. Yes. Mistress. Mistress! Sister A’Rou. All soaking wet. – A’Rou.
– Mistress. Mistress. Mistress. Mistress, Sister A’Rou is all soaking wet. Mistress. Careful. Hurry and open the door. Mistress, the ginger soup is ready. Add some ginger slices in it. Drink some ginger soup. Didn’t she say six hours? I think Noble Consort Hui isn’t mad anymore. She sent word to allow me to come back. Spared me from kneeling more. Don’t cry anymore. The royal physician will be here shortly. Another sip. Add more wormwood leaves. Yes. Lianxin is still not back? It’s rainy heavily outside. Perhaps she’s evading the rain somewhere. Lianxin. Your Highness the Empress. Your Highness the Empress, Consort Xian’s handkerchief, I delivered it this morning. But on my way back, it started to rain, so I went to the study hall to look at Second Prince. This is Second Prince’s post he made today. He told me to deliver it to you to see. You’re thoughtful. It’s getting late. You should go back and rest. I thank Your Highness for your kind thought, but I don’t need to go back. I will serve you. You only got married yesterday. You should go back early to talk with Wang Qin. What’s wrong? Is Wang Qin treating you badly? Your Highness the Empress. Your servant– Lianxin. If you marry a chicken, you follow the chicken. If you marry a dog, you follow the dog. If you don’t live well with Wang Qin, you are wasting His Majesty and Her Highness the Empress’ thoughtfulness. Lianxin, I know Wang Qin is not really a man. He can’t have children with you and enjoy parenthood. But besides that, Wang Qin is still a proper person. Since you’re already married to him, as long as he treats you well, you ought to live well with him. Your Highness. Lianxin. Think about it. Your siblings all depend on the Empress’ family. They rely on Fuca Clan’s care-taking. You must be grateful. Even though it’s compromising now, if you can endure it, it is temporary. Doing the chores properly is more urgent. The rest is all for Her Highness the Empress and Second Prince’s sake. Your Highness, the girl contracted a chill from the cold. She needs to manage it well. I will prescribe medicine and deliver it here. What about her knee? From my experience, the knee is an external wound that can be treated by some ointment. I fear I will disturb the girl, so I will pass on looking. Internally and externally and it will heal faster. Thank you, Physician Xu. Sanbao, escort Physician Xu out. – Yes.
– I take my leave. Roll up the pant sleeve. Mistress. It’s so unfair to me. Unfair how? Noble Consort tormenting me is to shame you. It’s fine if I am compromised, but Mistress — It’s only natural that it’s fine you’re compromised, since you brought it upon yourself. Empress never takes your side. I wanted to tout your pride so I shamed Lianxin. For my pride? Or is it to dig a hole for me to jump in? I warned you many times we are living in the harem. One sentence spoken wrongly and you will be beaten to death. How many tongues do you have to make up for your life? Even if I did wrong, I did it out of my devotion to you. Sister A’Rou, Mistress only got agonized by Noble Consort due to trying to spare you. She had to transcribe the Buddhist scripture a hundred times. Mistress. I feel it’s unfair for you. What does Noble Consort always press on your head? It’s not like you can’t defeat her. You only want to win and to be on top. Do you know that all things require knowledge of retreat too? You want to win, but you can’t, so you still push yourself into it? Sister, it’s ginger soup to dissipate some of the chill in you. Drink it yourself. Yes. After drinking the ginger soup, go and sleep soundly. This it the last time. If you act up nonsensically again, I can’t save you either. Mistress. Why are you back so soon? Noble Consort said the transcribing is shabby. It doesn’t seem sincere in atonement. What does she want then? She said to transcribe another hundred. And bring it to Xianfu Palace tomorrow before you go to Changchun Palace for greetings. No matter. I’ll just transcribe it another hundred times. Noble Consort didn’t even look at your transcribed scripture. She just wanted to be picky. We expected that though. She never wanted to see my transcribed scripture. She clearly just wanted to see me toil. A’Rou is out of bounds and Noble Consort Hui wants to punish her. But she herself lost her boundary as well. I will let her know what keeping within bounds means. Noble Consort is really too much. [ Eight — Eighth Month, sound of waves howling in. Weren’t you transcribing the Buddhist scripture? Why are you writing a poem of another? Transcribing the Buddhist scripture is a petty trick. This is what’s most important. [ 5:45 a.m. ] Done. You’ve been busy all night. Hurry and rest up. Where did His Majesty rest last night? He was at Yonghe Palace. – Go now.
– Yes. I’ll be going now. Who is there? Didn’t you see the royal carriage? I am Yanxi Palace’s Suoxin. I disturbed Your Majesty unintentionally. I beg your forgiveness. It’s Suoxin? You may rise. Yes. I was going to head over to Yonghe Palace to greet Your Majesty. For what? Today is eighteenth of Bayue, the wave-watching day. (T/N the eighth lunar month) Your Majesty once mentioned to my mistress, that it was a regret you could not go watch the waves together at Haining. My mistress had me specially send an item to Your Majesty. Month of Bayue, the sounds of waves come howling in. Over the head and atop the mountain. But he must go to the ocean gate. Roll up the sand-like piles of snow. It’s Liu Yuxi’s “Waves Scoring Sand”. (T/N Tang Dynasty philosopher and poet, d. 842 CE) It’s about the scenery of river and tide. I have indeed said to her, that I longed for the scenery of river tide. She still remembers. Yes. Why are there Buddhist scripture on the bottom? My mistress said though the power of the tides is incomparable, but we often hear of people getting caught up in tides and suffering injuries. So she transcribed a copy of the Buddhist scripture, so she can borrow the mercy of the Buddha to calm the people. Then the ones in your hands? My mistress transcribed another hundred copies of the scripture to spread the merit. Alright. Then this copy, I shall keep. – Wang Qin.
– I’m here. Take Consort Xian’s transcribed scripture to serve at the shrine and do not take it off for a month. I follow your order. Depart. Sending off Your Majesty with honor. After coming back from paying respects at Changchun Palace, Noble Consort Hui said nothing and I knew you did it well. Yes. His Majesty honored your transcribed scripture at the shrine. I mentioned it before Noble Consort Hui and she kept quiet. Though she’s mad, she still had me send the scripture to Anhua Hall to burn it. What’s there for her to be picky about when His Majesty likes it? You never told His Majesty how Noble Consort Hui picked on you. You were already being kind. I just want to remind her that enough is enough. How’s A’Rou? She took the medicine prescribed by Physician Xu and she’s much better already. Suoxin, have I spoiled A’Rou badly? A’Rou is your dower servant, so it’s only natural that you are fond of her. A’Rou is of marriageable age now. I plan to match her to a good man. Sister A’Rou is blessed. It’s not that I don’t want her to stay. It’s just that A’Rou’s temper will harm her if she stays. It’s better to marry her out of the palace in her prime youth. Weren’t you going to appoint a royal palace guard to her? I was going to, thinking one day she will have good prospect. But her temper — If she continues her fate with the palace, it will surely bring touble. A’Rou has been with me for so many years. I must be thoughtful about her marriage. When my mother comes to visit in the palace, I will ask her to match her to a good family. Mistress. I beg you. Don’t send me away. I don’t want to be married off. I don’t want to leave you. You’re even more unruly now. You’re sick and why are you here? Mistress, forgive me. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. I was just thinking I am better, so I came wanting to serve you. Get up now. I only said it and I didn’t say you are to leave right away. I need to find a good family first. I am nothing if I leave Forbidden City. If you really want to release me, please keep me a few years longer and allow me to serve you. I guarantee. I won’t be causing you trouble anymore. Get on up. It’s chilly on the ground. If you won’t agree to my staying, I won’t get up again. Palace maids leave the palace at age twenty-five. You will then stay until age twenty-five and leave. Really? I thank you. Go now. Go and nourish your body first. I take my leave. I will let my body heal and serve you well. Those old subjects, how they are not respecting your reputation. Your Majesty allowed my father to go to the military borders and to give assistance to government work. Why are they opposing? Naquin is opposing, Zhang Tingyu is opposing as well. As for Gao Bin, he keeps going to survey the river repairs. The high officers of the military always work by summons, and Gao Bin, they can’t worry about him. Plus, I am also worried that by favoring you, the dukes will not be happy. Your Majesty could use Her Highness the Empress’s younger brother, Fuheng, you look after Maci, and depend on Fuca clan heavily. I only have one father who works for you and they are still blabbering? Why do you compare yourself with the Empress? She’s the central palace. Your Majesty. I don’t dare to compare myself with the Empress. It’s just that I feel bad for my father. And I am to blame for not being more successful? I don’t have a child beside me, so I can only let others bully me. Then what do you want? Since my father isn’t allowed to be at the military compound, why don’t you bring First Prince from Consort Xian’s place and give him to me? Xiyue, I have spoiled you too much. Allowing you to be so flighty and silly. Hebei had no rain all winter and there’s drought now. I dispatched your father to Hebei to check on affairs. When he’s back with merit, I will send him to the military and no one shall say a word then. Really? Thank you, Your Majesty. I have no measure with you. Naquin and Zhang Tingyu used foreign banners and the river work as excuses. Gao Bin isn’t allowed in the military compound anymore. Those old foxes. They are all old subjects. His Majesty won’t ignore their pride. A new court comes with a new emperor. His Majesty is young. In another five or ten years and they still try to pull this on His Majesty, and it will be difficult. Empress Dowager, don’t dwell always on the court affairs. Today Yonghe Palace sent word that Noble Lady Mei’s fetus isn’t getting carried smoothly with continuous ailment. It’s natural for the first pregnancy to have a strong reaction. Fujia, go around Cining Palace and pick out some nice things to reward her. I will go now. Mistress, His Majesty finally agreed to you. His Majesty still favors you. I hope he will favor me forever. Who’s there? Your Highness the Noble Consort. Xiao Lüzi, why are you crying when everything’s fine? Noble Consort, my home area of Hebei has a drought disaster. I can’t find the entire family, so I am sad. Isn’t your brother Xiao Fuzi working at Consort Xian’s palace? Why don’t you beg him? There’s no one at Consort Xian’s family that can help me even if I beg. My father is actually in Hebei checking on affairs now. I could help you search for family. Thank you, Your Highness the Noble Consort. Don’t rush to thank me. There will be lots of opportunities later on. Yes. Yes. Mistress, you are wise. Sister Zhenshu. Greetings to Your Highness the Noble Consort. Why the look, Noble Lady Jia? I am not blessed. It’s been hard for me to conceive. Everyone says this Cricket Gate is a sacred place to pray for children. So I came and prayed at the Cricket Gate, hoping I can be watched over by the ancestors to have a child or two. Praying for children is fine. But your downcast look, will the ancestors grant you a child seeing you like this? Yes. I am not as blessed as Noble Lady Mei to be protected by the ancestors.
[ Lixin ] Now look who’s here? Greetings to Noble Consort Hui and Noble Lady Jia. Noble Lady Mei. Your Highness Noble Consort Hui. Noble Lady Jia. I am not easily mobile with my pregnancy. Her Highness the Empress said I can be pardoned from formalities. You two, may you not blame me. It’s alright. The royal heir is the priority. I’ll make an allowance today. But after you give birth, I’ll see how proud you will be. The mother of a precious son doesn’t dare to be so proud. How do you know you’ve got a son? Princess Hejing is lacking a sister to be her mate actually. Since I have the child in me, then I have half a hope of gathering a son. If I were empty in my womb, of course that’s no hope at all. There’s still time before your royal heir comes out. You’d better keep that in there carefully, and watch out if this comes to nothing. Thank you, Noble Consort for your concern. A little music entertainer from the South Office. Even if she’s promoted to Guiren now, you are above her. Don’t need to be so respectful to her. I am not respectful to her. It’s just because she’s got the royal heir. But actually if she really does gives birth to a son, I will really need to oblige her then. Cheap whore. Always the cheap whore. Mistress, why did you talk back at Noble Consort? Listen to the way she talks? Why should I concede to her? Your body is more important. Don’t make yourself sick from anger. This is donkey-hide (gelatin) and birds’ nest porridge granted by Empress Dowager. I can’t eat it. Take it away. Each time I see that Noble Consort Hui, I get angry at once and my head gets dizzy. You never have an appetite and you don’t sleep well at night. And you’re angry. That’s not good for the fetus. Is there any fish left from this morning? I will take some. You’re not feeling well but you will eat such fishy things? Imperial Concubine Chun said eating fish and shrimp are good for the fetus. They all belittle me. But I must give birth to a fat and fair boy for them to see. Mistress, you are beautiful, even with the full stomach. Moxin, do I seem like it? You do. Then, do I have a boy or girl in me? Of course a royal prince. They say when a woman is with child, her face will enlarge and body bloat. Look at that music entertainer from South Office today! Why is she still looking so sharp? They say if you are pregnant with a boy, except for the stomach, all other parts of the body and face won’t change. Only when you’re pregnant with a girl, you will be bloated. So you’re so sure she’s giving birth to a prince? Mistress. Indeed she may possibility give birth to a son. But with her luck, how is she suitable to bear a son? Mistress, forgive me for being blunt. Since Noble Lady Mei became pregnant, I have been uneasy. She’s fond of attention and she is often disrespectful to you. If she gives birth to the first son upon His Majesty’s enthronement, she will surely be a detriment to you. What will you do? Replying to Mistress, Xiao Lüzi from the royal kitchen came to give me a tip in secret. Hurry and get up and tell me. You all be careful now. These shrimp and fish are fresh products for Noble Lady Mei. Once delivered to the royal kitchen, they need to be cooked right away. Yes. Greetings to Noble Lady Jia. Rise. I greet Your Highness the Empress. You may rise. Empress, are you worried about something? Noble Lady Mei has had severe morning sickness. I am very worried. It’s been over the first trimester already. Why is she just getting worse? I think Noble Lady Mei is just flighty. Always causing work to get His Majesty’s attention. Earlier the royal physician did come and report her fetus is indeed not looking stable. Her child would be His Majesty’s first heir upon succession, so His Majesty cares about it heavily. We can’t allow anything to happen. Yes. We all know this child is so precious. I hear you go and visit Noble Lady Mei often. Yes. I go and visit her on Your Highness’ behalf often. She should know how devoted you are no matter how careless she is. This is why you are more sensible than Noble Consort. I also hear she and Noble Lady Mei had a conflict? Noble Lady Mei is hot-tempered. Noble Consort Hui did indeed talk back. She’s got a father who’s favored by His Majesty. She’s just not as proper as you. I came from afar with nothing to depend on. I can only lean on you, Empress. Everything I say and do is for Your Highness’ sake. You have been with His Majesty for quite some time too. Now Noble Lady Mei is already pregnant. If you were to have a child, that will be great too. I will thank you, Empress. I drank so much of this pregnancy-promoting medicine but I see no effect. Since you were favored, you took medicine to avoid pregnancy. You’ve only just stopped not long. Don’t rush. Actually, no one asked me to drink pregnancy avoidance medicine. It’s just that I was too careful. When I entered the palace, Consort Zhe was pregnant with First Prince. But who knew she would suffer such difficult labor giving birth to the Second Princess and both would die? I don’t know for sure if Her Highness the Empress had anything to do with it. And I don’t dare to give birth to a child close in age to the main wife’s child, in order to avoid courting the Empress’s fury. Now I have neither the first prince nor the legitimate prince. I can only give birth to an heir in opportune time that is most cherished by His Majesty. You will for sure. Mistress, this is squirrel squid. Try it. This is hot. Be careful eating it. I fear you will get tired of eating these daily. How about a break of a couple of days — You can’t stop it. What’s wrong, Mistress? This– something’s growing inside and it hurts when I bite. Royal Physician said it’s because you’re temperament is hot due to the pregnancy. I bet it’s a prince. I hope it will be a prince. I’ll see who belittles me then. Let me eat more, so the child can be strong and smart, and His Majesty will be fond of it. Eat more fish. Sky, earth — The person is upright and so is his writing. Yes, Mother. What’s wrong? These days, when I return from school, I keep smelling something fishy coming from Yanxi Palace. I’ll have someone burn incense for you. It’s entering winter now. Putting some narcissus in your room would be nice too. I hear Noble Lady Mei’s fetus isn’t stable. She complains of discomfort a lot. And she heard eating more fish and shrimp and shellfish, will give birth to a smart and healthy child. So they are sending those fishy items through Yanxi Palace daily. It’s understandable for her child. By the way, Sister. Noble Lady Mei is unwell and should we go see her too? I hear Noble Lady Jia is frequenting her visit there. Of course we must not be unkept in our decorum. I have two large sores by my mouth. They said they can be got rid of with mint powder, but I see no result. They get in the way when I eat. That’s not good. If you can’t manage to eat, you and the child will suffer. Imperial Concubine Chun, it’s been over a month. I can’t sleep at night. And when I wake up, I feel dizzy and nauseous. Now even my hands started to shake. Don’t be too nervous. It is a discomfort to be pregnant. With so many royal physicians, it will be alright. Don’t tell me that! It’s the royal physicians who are incompetent, or else why isn’t my ailment cured? Noble Lady, please dissipate your anger. Your symptoms are all due to the pregnancy. When you give birth, it will all be healed. Yes, plus this is your first pregnancy so it’s that much more of discomfort. Seeing all these ill symptoms, usually they are all due to body fever. I think it looks like a boy. You all rise. Everyone says that, but I don’t know if it’s really true. Imperial Concubine Chun has had a prince so she wouldn’t be wrong. I remember with the pregnancy of the Third Prince, there was a lot of discomfort. But after birth I was only stronger than ever. That’s great. Why don’t I see Noble Lady Jia today? She heard you were unwell, so she went to go find some red ginseng to rejuvenate you. Noble Lady Jia is a fast talker but a sincere person. If she hadn’t forced you to think what’s good for a fetus, you wouldn’t be able to remember about fish and shrimp. Yes, it’s true. She’s really great. The day is nearly over after your spending so much time chatting with Noble Lady Mei. Yes. It’s early winter and it gets dark early. Good thing we are going through the garden and it’s faster to pick up First Prince this way. What was that sound? Mistress, someone fell in water. – What do I do?
– Hurry and save them! Yes. Put the light out closer. Mistress, it’s Lianxin. – Careful.
– Lianxin? Hurry and get the water out. It’s out. Lianxin? Your Highness Consort Xian. Good, you can talk. Mistress, I will go and fetch the royal physician. Are you foolish? We are closest to Yangxin Palace Hall right now and no one will pass this route. – You go and start a fire.
– Yes. Shuizhi, you go and pick up Yonghuang at the study hall and mention to no one about this. Yes. Careful. Come. Sanbao, you go and keep a lookout. Yes. You go and get some clothes for Lianxin to change into. Yes. Why did you seek death? I wasn’t seeking death. I was –I just… I just slipped. ♫Intoxicated by the falling flower petals in the plum garden♫ ♫ as if this life were our first time we have met. ♫ ♫ Black silken hair reflecting the frosty moonlight, ♫ ♫ Hands joined together, for our innumerable mortal lives. ♫ ♫ The burden of concern on my mind has paled rose-kissed cheeks, ♫ ♫ Yearning now turns into confusion. ♫ ♫ Glistening teardrops cover the pledge, ♫ ♫ joining hands for a lifetime, when in the past did he change it? ♫ ♫ Flowers start out blossoming in splendor, but are easily destroyed ♫ ♫ Who is that plucking on qin (zither) strings? ♫ ♫ When love becomes deep, people are prone to separate. ♫ ♫ Alone, I sing the sad song of parting. ♫ ♫ Twilight is tardy, spring is late. ♫ ♫ With graceful reasoning, like it had been empty dream, with sighs. ♫ ♫ Let it flow away with the river of time. ♫ ♫ Vast years apart, with no clear date of return or hope, ♫ ♫ Regretfully not admitting the care held deep within my heart. ♫ ♫ Moonlight flows like water, washing away the pretentiousness of the past affairs. ♫ ♫ Sincerity now is the only thing left to depend upon. ♫ ♫ In the endless night, I cannot put down the gray hairs to pursue youth. ♫ ♫ Nor dare to look at you quietly from afar. ♫ ♫ If we can have another lifetime together, may we both be commoners. ♫ ♫ Reunited, and again pledging faithfully to stand by each other. ♫