♫ 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 PalaceEpisode 20 Yuhu.I’m here. Don’t investigate further what I asked you to investigate. Your Majesty, is there a difficulty? Yes, and Royal Mother doesn’t agree to it either. The waters of the inner palace are too deep, one slip and you’re muddy. I’ve dirtied you. There are two tasks I have for you. Imperial Concubine Jia is living in Zhenxiang Hall. I want you to look after Imperial Concubine Jia personally until the birth, and both mother and child are safe. I will. Second, the cold palace holds all the abandoned consorts. But they are all palace people, and I don’t wish to see anyone die in there. I know what to do. – You can leave now.
– Yes. I am carrying out Your Majesty’s order. I’ve relocated Yonghuang to Zhongcui Palace and the Ula-Nara person has been sent into Cold Palace. That’s good too. Out of sight and out of worry, so His Majesty won’t have to be reminded of that Ula-Nara and get angry.The deer runs through the wilderness and the warrior pursues it. (T/N This is Qianlong’s poem, “Studying Xiang Yu’s Story”)The sounds of frogs and violets surround him.He pulls up the mountain and shoulders it, like a ding he once carried in excitement. (T/N ding=a massive cauldron, Xiang Yu possessed legendary strength)The ballad of his sword, his Zhui, and his steadfast will, (T/N Zhui=Xiang Yu’s warhorse, meaning “piebald”)the world sings the song of his suffering… (T/N Xiang Yu’s Song of Gaixia composed the day before his death) – It must be Yonghuang.
-Where is the end of protecting one’s family and country? – That child.
-A thousand swelling Wujiangs cannot wash away the sorrow. (T/N Wujiang=Wu River, at Gaixia, Xiang Yu had his back to this river at his end.) Jin Zhong, have him come in. Yes. Oh my, First Prince, what are you doing? Get on up, please. His Majesty summons you. Greetings to Royal Father and Royal Mother. Greetings to First Attendant Shen. You are getting more unruly. Yonghuang, princes and princesses should be calling all step-mothers “Niang Niang” (Mother). You should be calling First Attendant Shen, “Mother Shen”. You are lacking in decorum. I used to serve First Prince’s foster mother. The First Prince being unwilling to follow rules is understanding. I was raised thoughtfully by my mother. She never taught me wrong, and she never incited me! Today, the poem I recited was taught to me by Mother personally. Mother always had Royal Father in her thoughts. Why would she murder Royal Father’s heirs? May Royal Father investigate sagely! The Ula-Nara woman harbored a sinister thought while raising you. You really shouldn’t plead her case. First Prince, that Ula-Nara only cherished you to use you as a means to court royal favor. You were used, and you’re still blinded. You’re spewing nonsense! It was you who betrayed your mistress for gain! You framed my mother! You will be punished! Yonghuang, you mustn’t be rude. I will tell you and tell everyone. From now on, you will be raised by Imperial Concubine Chun. I won’t allow anyone to plead that Ula-Nara’s case. Li Yu, take him out. First Prince, please come. His Majesty’s arrangement is really so thorough. Noble Consort Hui has her clan. If she were to raise First Prince, and it will be bad if she harbors the idea of stealing the main position. Imperial Concubine Chun is not favored and she has no clan power. Furthermore she has own biological son. She will cherish First Prince. My mother always warned me that I must preserve Yonglian and the Fuca clan’s future. I deem myself as having done my best. Now this Ula-Nara received the evil taste of her own sinister plotting. But I don’t want to see Noble Consort Hui getting too pompous. Imperial Concubine Jia is pregnant and you assisted A’Rou to rise to favor. Imperial Concubine Chun has two princes. No concubine is at an advantage over others. You can rest in the center palace without worrying. (T/N Official wife gets center palace, others in the “back six”) Before Yonglian contracted asthma, I didn’t need to feel so anxious. Seeking the balance of the harem. But now with Yonglian ill, I have no choice but to be cautious in everything. If I had to watch that Ula-Nara raise her power with the First Prince, or if someone else planned with motive and put Yonglian in difficulty, then I will not have been suitable as a mother. I understand. You are fully devoted to Fuca clan, fully devoted to Second Prince. At any rate, His Majesty’s cast that Ula-Nara into the Cold Palace. And we’ve relocated First Prince to Zhongcui Palace, so you can be assured now. Mother! Mother! Mother! Did you do everything I asked you to? Yes, I didn’t dare to let you down, Mother. I’ve done it all. Royal Father must have gotten angry. Yes, he reprimanded me and said I can’t be with you anymore. He has Lady Chun raising me. That’s good. Lady Chun is detailed and she knows how to raise you. You have a good place to go and I am assured now. First Prince, if there’s anything in the future, you can come to me. Mistress, Eunuch Li is here. His Majesty’s decree. His Majesty’s decree: “Lady Ula-Nara murdered royal heirs. Her crime is unforgivable. She is to be stripped of her title. Deposed to commoner (status). (T/N She was a noble before coming into the palace, he is taking that too) To be spending… her entire life in the Cold Palace.” Com-Commoner… Ula-Nara… shall follow the decree respectfully. Sister. Mistress. Sister. Forgive me, Mistress Yi. You no longer have a title. I can only call you that. Eunuch Li, let’s go inside and talk. Yes. Eunuch Li, is there any way to revoke this? Empress Dowager is behind this and His Majesty decreed. Plus A’Rou…First Attendant Shen is being favored. His Majesty is letting her accompany him often. No one can get a word in even if they want to, because of that. It seems His Majesty really believes it then. Imperial Concubine Yi died and that’s adding oil to the fire. Mistress Yi, since I’m here, and tomorrow, I will be sending you to the Cold Palace, if there’s anything valuable, hurry and pack them up. Once you’re in a place like the Cold Palace, you will still need money. Mistress, I will go with you to the Cold Palace. I will go too. What will you do going to a place like that with me? You can find a better mistress out here to serve. I’ve said this, that I will serve you all my life. I will too. Mistress Yi, though you were stripped of title and demoted to commoner, you can’t have no one looking after you either. You can bring one in. If for nothing else, A’Rou used to torment Suoxin. If you leave her out here, she might end up bullied more. Alright. Though the Cold Palace is a toiling place, Suoxin coming with me is good too. Sanbao, you stay with Noble Lady Hai. – Sister.
– I know you will reject me. But you only have Yexin and Zezhi. Sanbao staying would be a good for looking after you.Mother. Suoxin, you accompany Mistress Yi and pack up and tidy up. Tomorrow, I will come send you off. First Prince, you must go to Her Highness Imperial Concubine Chun’s place. Yonghuang, go to Lady Chun’s. And don’t mention me to anyone ever again. Remember that. Go now. Mistress Yi, you cherish First Prince so much. I really don’t believe you would harm another’s baby. Li Yu, do me a favor. I want to see His Majesty one more time. Mistress Yi. The royal decree has been issued and the case is decided. What use is there to come see me again? My heart is not resigned to this. I want to ask Your Majesty one thing. Does Your Majesty believe in fairness? I do. Why do you stare at me like that? I want to see you clearly, but I can’t see you clearly no matter what. This afternoon… I will go see an old play… about the people on horses, heads over the walls. Heads over the wall, sitting each upon a horse, in the distance I became aware of my lord, and felt my heart break. I still remember. You and I attended this play, and we were connected emotionally. I even chose you as my main wife personally. Now, I am also the one who sends you to the Cold Palace. Is it Your Majesty’s true intention? Whether it’s my intention or not is no longer important. Ruyi, even I myself don’t know. What little intention I have, just how much it means, before the big picture. Your Majesty’s intention back then was to choose me. But by coincidence my aunt was given a forbiddance order. Late Emperor was also not fond of me. No matter how bad the political scene, Your Majesty managed to preserve me. I am the Son of Heaven.. (T/N another way of saying Emperor) but I’m less than a prince. My impediments as Emperor… are a lot more than those of a prince. I… I’m in difficult situation. For these words of Your Majesty’s, I am willing to live in the Cold Palace for a long time. If time is truly helpful, I hope it will truly erase my resentment. Take care of yourself. Preserve your life. Let us meet again, free and clear. I go now with only my prayer for Your Majesty’s health. Live a long and happy life. That pin suits you so well.This must be Your Majesty’s new trick.It’s lotus that’s abundant but you must choose rose?Roses are full of thorns but one can’t help but to pick it.How lovely is it? Mistress. These are… I’m not longer a consort of His Majesty. This gold jewelry must all be returned. Yes. After going to Cold Palace, it will be hard to adjust. We need to prepare for everything. You’ve packed up so many bags of snacks. We have today’s and tomorrow’s but the day after tomorrow, we will still go hungry. Let’s bring extra clothes. Yes. Mistress, after going into the Cold Palace, maybe you needn’t wear nail guards anymore. Though I will be in the Cold Palace, I still need to live with dignity.[ Yanxi Palace ] Sister. I don’t want you to leave. Noble Lady Hai, please don’t put me in difficulty. Sister, First Prince is doing well at my place. May you rest assured. I will come visit Noble Lady Hai too. You two must take care. I will escort Mistress Yi. Sister, you take care. Sister. Sister, take care. Sister Ruyi, you must take care.[ Jingren Gate ]I want you to wear this to attend Hongli’s wife selection.Ula-Nara clan already has one abandoned woman.It cannot have there be a second abandoned woman. Today are the promotion ceremonies of Imperial Concubine Jia, Imperial Concubine Mei, and First Attendant Shen. Kneel. Royal announcement. I praise the glory and virtue of the palace.The titles are divided and glories brilliant.Working in tandem, raising the silk,Noble Lady Jia of Clan Jin entered the family early on.Soft and reverent, virtuous as wife. On the account of Her Highness the Empress’ nurturing, she is to be promoted as Imperial Concubine Jia. Noble Lady Mei of Clan Bai is promoted as Imperial Concubine Mei. The lady of clan Suochuolun is to be titled First Attendant Shen. Signed by the Emperor personally. Announce your gratitude. Your wives thank heaven’s mercy and bliss upon us. Gratitude to His Majesty for the great favor. This used to be Cuiyun Hall, it was used by an Empress once and then set aside along with this unused courtyard. Generations of wives who lost favor and were abandoned were sent here. This place is someone shunned by all. No one mentions it. Open the gate. Yes. Since His Majesty became Emperor, this is the first one coming into Cold Palace.
[ (left) Ling Yunche ] How hapless.
[ (right) Zhao Jiuxiao ] It’s so cold. This place is so dark. The Cold Palace is indeed dark and damp. You can easily contract chills and colds here. Mistress Yi and Suoxin, while living here, you need to take out your daily blankets and things out into the sun often. Also, you must be careful of those by you. They are all old and peculiar. The food in Cold Palace will be hard to adjust to. But Mistress Yi, you must endure and eat. The days are long and you must eat to preserve yourself. Li Yu, thank you for bringing us here. You should hurry and return. Mistress Yi. I can’t serve you anymore. You and Suoxin living here, you must be careful of everything. Hurry and go back. I take my leave. Li Yu. Li Yu! Suoxin. This is for you. This was what I gave you in secret before on Mistress Yi’s birthday. Yes. Mistress had a celebration and I put this on for some auspicious energy too. Now, my mistress is framed and I can’t wear it anymore. Then I will take it back for you for now. Sooner or later I will return it to you, and put it on you. No need. You go. I will watch you go. Take care. – Monster.
– What’s wrong, Suoxin? Mistress…monster. Don’t be scared. Let’s get the candles lit. Don’t worry. Anyone there? Don’t go out. Don’t worry. Anyone there? Of the Ula-Nara clan, bidding well-wishes to everyone. Suoxin, go get some snacks. Hurry. Put it there. Everyone, have some snacks. Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!Laorenjia, you have a piece of snack too. (T/N elder man or woman of a family, very polite way of address)[ Dowager Imperial Concubine Ji ] Elder? Am I that old? Forgive me for being rude. I just didn’t know how to address you. I am Late Emperor’s Imperial Concubine Ji. But I have never been “prosperous” like the meaning of the wordJi. My title still stands, but I got locked in here. It’s already eight or nine years in a fleeting moment. The current Emperor’s person is already in here. Greetings to Dowager Imperial Concubine Ji. You said you’ve been here for some eight or nine years? Then you… Do I look to be seventy or eighty? That Empress Dowager, that old witch, framed me and sent me in here and I was only twenty-six years old! Now, I am only 35 years old. – You said earlier you’re of Ula-Nara clan?
– Yes. Then the late Emperor’s Empress Ula-Nara is related to you how? She was my aunt. The old Empress. She was strong. But no matter how formidable she was, she couldn’t be tougher than today’s Empress Dowager. Or else how could you have fallen into this Cold Palace too? Ones who enter this Cold Palace, not many endure until they can leave. Those you saw earlier, they are all crazy. And those who can’t endure it and hang themselves, there are more of them. I will wait and see… just how a girl of Ula-Nara clan… can endure and for how long. You… Mistress, let’s hurry and go back in. You’re not scared anymore, right? Let’s go. Come here. A’Rou, today’s your first day upon promotion. Are you happy? I’m happy. I can finally serve Your Majesty in bed. But if I were to say I’m not so happy? I will make Your Majesty happy. Hurry up.
[ Eunuch Ma ] Eunuch Ma, you’re finally coming to deliver food?Food delivery.Wait. There’s some for everyone.Don’t rush.Don’t rush. There’s some for everyone.Don’t grab! Wait. You all have it. Wait. Don’t grab.That’s mine. Yours. Next. Line up well. Don’t rush. There’s some for everyone. Mine. Mine.Next. Where’s mine? Steamed bun. New? Yes. Next. This steamed bun has mold already. Don’t take mine. Mine. Dowager Imperial Concubine Ji. Don’t look surprised. Find some money. Eunuch Ma will find a way to give you something fresh. I can exchange money for things? Who hates silver? Same goes for Cold Palace. This pin is so bright and the bracelet is so elaborate. This is His Majesty’s special gift for you. Try them on. What a small-world servant. When did His Majesty not grant gifts to me? Acting like you’ve never seen anything good. This is because His Majesty favors you. Go and pick out some nice ones to give to my two younger brothers outside the palace. I didn’t have anything nice before but now I do, so I have to look after them first. I shall do that now. Congratulations, First Attendant Shen. His Majesty flipped your tag again today. Thank you for His Majesty’s grace. The Phoenix-Luan Spring Favor Carriage is already waiting outside. First Attendant Shen, this way quickly. I’ve has vomiting for so long. When will it end? This is a happy thing. It means the fetus is strong in your womb. You must endure it more. Whose tag did His Majesty flip today? I already know who. It’s that little A’Rou. What does His Majesty see in her? You’re the mistress of Qixiang Palace. No matter how favored First Attendant Shen is, she still needs to bow before you. Once I give birth to my child, I will take proper care of that one. This child in my womb, will it be favored by His Majesty? Mistress, His Majesty lost two heirs in a row. As long as you have a prince in there, His Majesty will surely love him. Plus, besides the main heir from Empress, Imperial Concubine Chun is also aHan Banner. (T/N not a Manchu or adopted of a Manchu clan, lower status) You can be assured. I spent so much energy on this just so I can give birth to the first heir upon His Majesty’s succession. This child is our hope. This child is also the hope of Crown Prince. After all these years of hoping for a crown prince, I must give birth to a prince. To become our pride. Respectfully sending off First Attendant Shen. ♫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. ♫