♫ 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 3 Aunt. You may rise. I was about to summon you. I’m here to tell you that His Majesty has arranged for you to go to Shengjing Palace to live your remaining years there. What do you mean by this? I won’t be in the historical book and cremated in the temple of ancestors. I will be buried without a virtuous name and status of the late Emperor. I won’t be sleeping in the same grave with him. It’s not like that. As long as you live peacefully in that palace, you will have a ceremonial funeral and be interred with the late Emperor. What did you use in exchange to pay the price for this arrangement? His Majesty dotes on me. That’s why he arranged this. Without Lady Niuhuru’s agreement, would His Majesty have agreed? She must have made you decide. Who will be able to survive between the two aunts? The Empress Dowager came to visit you? Qingying, I have taken care of this. I know your personality. In order to protect me, you will sacrifice yourself to protect my status. But Lady Niuhuru has always wanted me to die. Will it be of any use if you die? To add further, if you die, would your beloved Hongli spare me? Would he let me change my fortunes? Even if he takes care of me because I’m your aunt, as the imposing Empress of the Great Qing Dynasty, how can I possibly breathe under Lady Niuhuru, lingering feebly without a name and status? I need to die so that she will allow you to live. You will then be able to continue the glory of my story. Aunt. You are already under His Majesty’s care. You are my only hope. You must be favored. You must become the Empress. But Aunt, I have never wanted the position of Empress. I only want to live happily with His Majesty for a long time. Hongli is in your heart, right? Don’t you want to be deeply in love with him and be buried with him after death? Only by being the Empress, you can live and die with him. But Lady Fuca is a good Imperial Consort. She will be a good Empress in the future. If you are mediocre, you won’t have any ambition. How did the Ula-Nara Clan give birth to such a child as you? Aunt. Aunt, what’s wrong with you? Help me up. Help me up. What’s wrong with you? Lady Niuhuru gave me a bowl of poison. It won’t poison the body, only the heart. I will only allow one Lady Ula-Nara in this palace. This is my greatest tolerance. Qingying, you must watch me die. to attest that I wasn’t forced to commit suicide. But no one is to be blamed for the grievances over my sudden death. But Aunt, you are distinctly being forced by the Empress Dowager to die. At this moment, we are unable to counter-attack. You must survive. You don’t even need to hate. You only need Lady Niuhuru to spare your life. You must make her let you become her aide. You must become the Empress in order to take revenge for me. This is how you can repay me. You are luckier than I. You have already obtained His Majesty’s love. Don’t ever become an abandoned woman like I am. Qingying, there is already an abandoned woman in this Lady Ula-Nara. There must not be a second abandoned woman again. Aunt. When the late Emperor conferred me as the Empress, that was my most glorious moment. It was an extraordinary honor. My beloved one didn’t leave me either. Aunt. Aunt, Aunt. Aunt. When I went there, there was already a death in Jingren Palace, Mistress Qing came out from there. Empress Dowager, Mistress Qing came out from there. When Cheng Han went in there, that person in Jingren Palace has already passed away. Her attendant, Xiu Xia, also committed suicide with her. Now that she’s dead… we will let Qingying live for the time being. Should we temporarily not announce her death? I will meet the Emperor tomorrow to discuss this with him. To answer Your Majesty, while waiting for the funeral arrangements, the Empress Dowager will move to Cining Palace. The Royal Consort Dowager will move to Shoukang Palace.
[ Palace Internal Affairs Head Supervisor, Qin Li ] Those from the East and West Palace will move in with the Emperor’s concubines. Your Majesty, Empress Ula-Nara has passed away. What? From what Mistress Qing said, it was a sudden death. Was it really a sudden death? Mistress Qing personally witnessed Empress Ula-Nara’s passing. It was reported as poisoning. Where did the poison come from? The Empress Dowager visited Empress Ula-Nara. Send men to keep vigil over her body tonight. Tomorrow at dawn, tell Mistress Qing to come here. Yes, Your Majesty. Empress Ula-Nara passed away? How did she die? Wang Qin was stammering and didn’t speak clearly either. He only said that His Majesty was shocked by her sudden death too. Wang Qin dares not talk about the suspicions of her death. But no matter what, it’s also good that she’s dead. If Empress Ula-Nara is alive, it will only be a disaster. It’s getting late. Elder Sister, you must be tired. I will leave first. Lianxin, escort her out. Yes. Empress Ula-Nara should lived until her old age. If she hadn’t committed fault by her actions and lost favor with the late Emperor, she wouldn’t have fallen this way either. Seems like the post of the Empress is not that easy. How could you be the same as Empress Ula-Nara? You come from a big family and have a prince too. Wasn’t it the same for Empress Ula-Nara too? Just that the prince died prematurely and the authority went to the favored concubine to have the Empress Dowager title switched. And so now fallen and deceased, with her name not even registered in the history books after her death, as though she was just a dust speck that never existed. No matter what His Majesty deems, as long as Your Highness can secure the Empress’ seat, it will be okay if our Second Prince grows up safe and sound. His Majesty favors someone. We just hope they don’t give birth to any princes soon. If we can have the principal son grown first, before the consorts give birth to princes, then there’s nothing to fear. Your Majesty, Cining Palace has always been the residential palace of the Empress Dowager. Even if it’s the residence of the Empress Dowager, it needs to be a formidable palace. Issue my decree to renovate Cining Palace for the Empress Dowager to live her later days there. Since we are renovating it, Cining Palace won’t be habitable. Then, the Empress Dowager… She can temporarily stay at Shoukang Palace. You want the Empress Dowager and Royal Consort Dowager to live together? Isn’t it a bit cramped? I will obey. Your Majesty, be careful of the Empress Dowager. I will do it immediately. Mistress, you have cried the whole day for the Empress. You are going to see His Majesty now. You should lift up your spirits. Empress Ula-Nara in Jingren Palace has passed away. Does Your Majesty know? I do. Mistress Qing sent someone over to report there was a sudden death in Jingren Palace. Sudden death? Why was it a sudden death and not a suicide? Qingying is her niece. Hence, she wouldn’t fake it. No matter what then, the status of Empress Ula-Nara is rather awkward. How does Your Majesty plan to handle her funeral? Although she was stripped of her freedom, she was not deposed by the late Emperor. Empress Ula-Nara also died from a sudden death due to grief over Royal Father’s death. I plan to bury the Empress together with the late Emperor. Without being granted the honor, the Empress can’t be accorded a ceremonial funeral. She also can’t be buried together with the late Emperor. This is what the late Emperor said. They must not meet in afterlife. Your Majesty, Zhang Tingyu is requesting to see you. – Let him in.
– Yes. Zhang Tingyu sends his greetings to His Majesty and the Empress Dowager. What’s the matter? Your Majesty, I heard that Empress Ula-Nara died suddenly. Thus, I’m here to see you. It’s a matter of the inner palace. Do you need to be involved? Replying to Empress Dowager, I wouldn’t dare to get involved in the affairs of the inner palace. Although whether the Empress in Jingren Palace was sealed with honor intact has already garnered the attention of the court and it is already a matter of the state. Since this is an affair of the state, I need to ask about this. On the matter of the honorable seal, the dust is already settled. Regarding the sudden death of Empress Ula-Nara, it’s already over. After the incident about the conferment of honor, Empress Ula-Nara died suddenly. Your Majesty, I think this is a delusion. May Your Majesty please investigate this. When the late Emperor passed away, there will always be someone who would grieve over this. What’s so delusional about Empress Ula-Nara’ s death? But regarding the death for this, even more so as it’s the late Empress of Great Qing, the late Emperor hasn’t been close with Empress Ula-Nara for many years. The late Emperor hasn’t talked to or met with Empress Ula-Nara. But even if she was stripped of her honor, Empress Ula-Nara shouldn’t have just unknowingly died suddenly. What do you mean by this? What are you talking about? Mistress, you have Lord Zhang speaking up on your behalf too. Lord Zhang places importance on the principles of political legitimacy. …and the deceased was generally regarded as someone who did not get along with the Empress Dowager. Lady Ula-Nara is here to see His Majesty. Come in. Greetings to the Empress Dowager and Your Majesty. Rise. Greetings to Your Highness. Your Highness, I was talking with His Majesty about the sudden death of the late Empress. Your Highness is her niece. I need to seek justice for her. Qingying. Empress Dowager and Empress Ula-Nara are your elders. You must be cautious in what you say. Yes. Lord Zhang, I’m very sad about my aunt’s death, but I wonder why you are talking about seeking justice for her. When my aunt was confined in Jingren Palace, she was in grief and fell sick for many years. Because of the late Emperor’s death, my aunt was grief-stricken and passed away. I was in front of her bed then. I personally witnessed my aunt flying the crane to the West. (T/N euphemism for passing away) Is this true? Yes. Empress Dowager, Your Majesty. Regarding my aunt’s death, because I care about my aunt and the late Emperor, if there are any gossips, I should quiet them down. Let’s send her off physically and let her rest in peace. Royal Mother, we should still conduct a decent funeral for Empress Ula-Nara. Conduct the ceremony as an Imperial Concubine then. She can also be buried in the garden. During the funeral, don’t write any status and avoid eye contacts. As for the memorial tablet and remains, let’s just send them back to her mother’s home. – Zhang Tingyu.
– Here. Do you have any objections? As for the late Empress, we will do so according to what Your Majesty and the Empress Dowager have said. I have no objections. I’m taking my leave. The Emperor is busy with the affairs of the state. I’m going back. Sending off Royal Mother. Take care, Empress Dowager. – Wang Qin, you can leave.
– Yes. Qingying, we are alone now. Tell me, how did your aunt pass away? Your Majesty. What I just told you, it’s all true. It’s already over. Just be done with it. If Empress Ula-Nara were still alive, she would only implicate you. Now that she has passed away, Royal Mother’s anger will stop at this. This incident is over. For these next few days, walk around less and don’t create any attention. I understand. [ Yangxin Dian (“Hall of Mental Cultivation”) ] Empress Dowager, don’t worry. Mistress Qing is a smart person. Greetings to the Empress Dowager. You can leave. You came out that quickly? Seems like you were tight-lipped and didn’t back-stab me and report it privately to His Majesty. I have already clarified everything in front of Lord Zhang. Come for a walk with me. How did your aunt die? Tell me about it. My aunt wanted to gain the honor in the titles of Imperial Mother and Empress Dowager only for the sake of glory to her mother clan. But what my aunt cared about the most was to be with the late Emperor in life and death. However the late Emperor had said to my aunt that he would never see her again. Hence my aunt was in deep despair. She could not gain the love of the late Emperor, so what use is left in winning the seat of Empress Dowager? So she chose to protect you. Looks like she still doted on you. Aunt doted on me… but inside this palace, the only one who can protect me is the Empress Dowager. Not only did the Empress Dowager want me to die, the Empress Dowager also wanted my aunt to die. Furthermore, you wanted her to die in front of me. But there is someone who’s speculating about my aunt’s death. With me here speaking on your behalf, no one would dare to insult the Empress Dowager’s reputation. You are very smart. It’s not that I am smart. It’s that everything is in the Empress Dowager’s grasp. Your aunt was also a smart person. She calculated precisely in everything. When it’s time to fight, you will fight till your death. When you can’t fight, you will naturally choose to protect yourself for your own benefits. That’s the reason you were allowed to live. Yes. My aunt died suddenly, but the gossip will not fade away. If I’m alive, I can testify for you. Excellent. Excellent. Such a smart person should live. Thank you, Empress Dowager. Mistress. Your Majesty, you should sleep early. There is the grand enthronement ceremony tomorrow. I know. I have prepared the Dragon robe. Would you like to try it? – Since this was tailored, there’s no need to.
– Yes. Has the work in Shoukang Palace been completed? Everything has been done appropriately. Shoukang Palace is the residence of the Royal Consort Dowager, but the chamber of my royal mother must be formidable and detailed. Of course. – You may leave.
– Yes. [ Three days after Yongzheng’s thirteen year, nine (lunar) months and three day reign. (October 11, 1735) ] [ Hongli ascends in Hall of Golden Chimes as Emperor Qianlong. ] [ Thus begins the reign of Emperor Qianlong, in Qianlong’s first year in reign. ] Kneel. The first bow. The second bow. The third bow. Rise. Kneel. The first bow. The second bow. The third bow. I am enthroned today, committed to carry out the ways of a devoted man. I honor the late emperor as Great Emperor. I entitle my birth mother of clan Niohuru as Sage Mother, Empress Dowager. I entitle my principal wife of clan Fuca as Empress. I assign the procedures in title establishment to the ceremony and etiquette ministries to work in collaboration. Emperor is devoted and merciful, a blessing to all people. Long live the Emperor. Move it. It’s a major event for the Empress Dowager to move to the palace. His Majesty is filial. He has been renovating Cining Palace. I believe everything has been done appropriately. Now we’re just waiting for you to enjoy your peace and luxury. How is the funeral proceeding for the Jingren Palace Empress? It’s done. We can’t have that interfere with the great auspicious event of enthronement. Hence, I did it quietly. Hurry up. Hurry up. Stop. Put down the sedan chair. Empress Dowager, we are here.
[ Shoukang Palace, Home of the Royal Consort Dowager ] Why is it Shoukang Palace? Doesn’t the Empress Dowager live in Cining Palace? Informing the Empress Dowager, Cining Palace is being renovated. It’s not habitable for the time being. Shoukang Palace is where the Royal Consort Dowager lives. Are you letting the Empress Dowager and the Royal Consort Dowager squeeze together in there? Yes, that’s right. Thus, His Majesty specially instructed that Empress Dowager’s temporary residence is set up in full detail. It will not be lacking to Cining Palace. His Majesty is filial. Since Cining Palace is being renovated, I will wait then. Let’s go in now. Empress Dowager, take care. [ Shoukang Gate ] Greetings to Your Highness the Empress Dowager. Greetings to the Empress Dowager. Rise. Thank you, Empress Dowager. Sit. I used to be an Imperial Concubine (Pin Fei, 5th rank where Empress is first rank), and would rush to greet the Empress Dowager and the Royal Consort Dowager. Today, in the blink of an eye, I have become the Empress Dowager, looking at how young you are, and pretty like flowers. Empress Dowager, you are the beautiful peony which has blossomed, unlike we who are young and impatient. Just some unsightly reeds. You are good with words. Thank you to the Empress Dowager for your compliments. I’m not that smart. May the Empress Dowager please guide me. Today is the day that His Majesty ascended to the throne and you came back here to greet me. I have some instructions too. His Majesty is young and there are many concubines here. In the future, regardless of how many concubines there are, I don’t want to see any dirty stuff. Behave yourselves. Thank you, Empress Dowager, for your advice. We will remember this in our hearts. Your Highness. A few dowager consorts and I are already staying in Shoukang Palace. The six palaces to the east and west will be prepared soon for you to live in. As the Empress, stabilizing the inner palace is your responsibility. I understand. After His Majesty’s ceremony, I will allocate the six palaces among the many Imperial concubines. I will do a good job in this matter. If I don’t understand something, I will still need Your Highness the Empress Dowager’s guidance. Other than this, there is still something else. It’s a long tradition to place prominence over the first son and the son of main wife. The Emperor already has First Prince Yonghuang of concubine birth and Prince Yonglian of his main wife. Having another son is also very important. The first son born of the Emperor upon his ascension will be deemed an auspicious sign and a great honor. Thus, you must do your best to provide the Emperor with the first-born son after his enthronement. Yes. Empress, the pummelo newly-offered in from Fujian . (T/N Provincial name for Taiwan) It’s sour and sweet and refreshing. Please have a try. Why bother spending so much energy in peeling it? I don’t have the appetite. If it can enter your mouth, only if it’s just one bite, it would be this pummelo’s fortune. A truly blessed person wouldn’t be living in this Shoukang Palace. His Majesty is filial. He wants to renovate Cining Palace first before he lets you move in. The Emperor is indeed filial. He didn’t tell me at all and sent me to Shoukang Palace. His intention is hard to read. It’s true. Living here seems improper and not customary. It’s also not the rightful residence of the Empress Dowager. If I wanted to move sooner into Cining Palace for proper title, I would have needed to borrow a hand, and also check if that person is useful or not. Empress Dowager has entered Shoukang Palace. Is there anything she’s unhappy with? Everything’s fine. Although Shoukang Palace is smaller, the decor is considered elegant. But once the renovation at Cining Palace is done, Royal Mother should move in there immediately. I know that you are filial. By the way, did the Empress Dowager give Qingying a hard time? She didn’t. Why would she give her junior a tough time? This is good then. Be seated, Langhua. Langhua, do you know why this is Yangxin Hall. (T/N Hall of Mental Cultivation) Do you know how it got its name? I’m not aware. When Royal Father was alive, he would always mention a phrase by Mengzi. (T/N Mencius) “To cultivate your mind, begin by reducing your desire.” Hence he named it “Yangxin Hall”. A person’s desires, once they increase, the rights and wrongs increase too. Your Majesty is sitting in the high seat. The kingdom is yours. So it’s natural to reduce your ambition in order to cultivate your mind, but everyone from low to high depend on Your Majesty. We put all our aspirations on you, so how can we reduce our desire? Thus, I hope that you will manage the inner palace well to make all the unprovoked right and wrong disappear, so that the inner palace can be at peace. I understand. It’s just that I’m not capable. I’m afraid that I may not do well. How can this be so? You are virtuous and generous. If you put your mind to it, you will only do well. To add further, if there’s anything you don’t understand, you can consult Royal Mother. Your Majesty’s instructions for me, I will remember this in my heart and won’t dare to forget. Fine. Your Majesty, you have exhausted yourself for the whole day. You should sleep early. You as well, Empress. I’m taking my leave. Wang Qin. Here. Is Qingying still in Jingren Palace? Perhaps, she’s still there at this time. Go over there and relay something on my behalf. Greetings to Mistress Qing. Did His Majesty tell you to deliver this? Yes. His Majesty knows that you are still keeping vigil at the funeral. Knowing your energy is spent, His Majesty had me bring this tender bamboo and ginseng soup, to let you nourish yourself and take care of your health. His Majesty also said the current situation has you in a difficult position. His Majesty didn’t forget that you and His Majesty are of one heart. If anything is faring less than smooth for you, remember these words of His Majesty. No matter how rough, you can be at ease still. I understand how His Majesty feels. I have troubled you to come all the way here. I’m taking my leave then. Let’s go. Royal Mother, the ranks for the consorts. You sent them back both times. Did I do something wrong? How did you write this? How did you amend this? You’re the Empress. You must be thorough in everything. Are you discontented with Lady Ula-Nara’s rank? It’s my fault for not reading Royal Mother’s desire sooner. May Your Highness the Empress Dowager please guide me. Where is Lady Ula-Nara? She has been keeping vigil for three days at Jingren Palace. Today should be the ceremony. Shouldn’t be she here today? – Fujia.
– Empress Dowager, Mistress Qing is already here. Let her in then. Empress, take a seat. Yes. Greetings to Empress Dowager and Your Highness the Empress. The Jingren Palace funeral is finished? My aunt was sent to the consort burial site this afternoon. Empress Ula-Nara is your aunt. Based on custom, you should mourn for three years. Let’s do this. You don’t need to go to your aunt’s tomb. Why don’t you just stay in the Emperor’s old manor from before he was enthroned? You’re not allowed to leave the manor without a decree. and mourn for your aunt there for three years. Why must she mourn for three years? This will depend on how filial she is. For the Empress Dowager’s allowing for me to carry out my filial devotion at the old manor, I thank you. Why did the Empress Dowager remove Lady Ula-Nara’s position? Qingling’s title gets marked out, over and over again. To have the title of a Guiren is compromising her! (T/N Noble Lady, six ranks below rank 1, Empress) She’s my second wife. She should be titled as Guifei (Noble Consort, third rank) only naturally. Sister Qingying is affected by the Jingren Palace Empress. I had thought of giving her a consort title, then add on to it later on. (T/N Fei, fourth rank) However, Her Highness the Empress Dowager still rejected it. I had no choice but to name her Guiren (Noble Lady, sixth-ranked), but the Royal Mother was still unhappy. The Empress Dowager scratched off her name. Isn’t this removing her position? Your Majesty, Royal Mother ordered Sister Qingying to live at the old residence from before your enthronement, and wants her to mourn for Empress Ula-Nara for three years without stepping out. What? Royal Mother has long had the power of the harem. She ordered it to Sister Qingying in front of me. I didn’t dare to talk back. Royal Mother is monopolizing the authority of the inner palace without even a discussion with me first. And why didn’t you dare to talk back? Your Majesty, please don’t be angry. Your Majesty, Royal Mother used filial devotion as justification for Sister Qingying’s predicament. I couldn’t find fault in it. Why don’t we wait a few days later? We could go and make our plea together to Royal Mother to be merciful. I understand. Sister Qingying is being confined. But the others already have their ranks and titles settled, with only the living arrangements left. Just do it as given. Yes. Be careful. Leave it over here. Leave it over there. Do it gently. Come, move this over here. This chest should be placed here. Be careful. Don’t touch this. Okay, I know. Slowly. Okay? This is not straight. Put my precious box down gently. Don’t break it. Give me a hand. Okay, I’m coming. After us leaving, Chonghua Palace will be locked up. Are you talking about Miss Qingying? Will she still be able to go out? Empress Dowager wants her to mourn for three years. She may not be able to come back forever. – Who knows?
– Bring it over here. Be careful. Don’t dirty it. Place it down gently. – That was given to me by the Emperor!
– It’s all tidied up. Come here. Did you hear that? They are hoping that you wouldn’t be able to leave here forever. All the other mistresses have their arrangements set and moved. If we really live here for three years before we can go out, will she still have a position in the palace? Sister A’Ruo, don’t say anymore. She will be sad when she hears this. Are you the only one who knows this? I am worried about her too. ♫ 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. ♫