♫ 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 36 [ Yangxin Hall ] Second Attendant Wei, please go change in the dressing room. His Majesty is already waiting for you in the chamber. – Your Highness.
– Sit. This time don’t be like last time, drinking all day and downcast. Such a foolish act, once is enough. Yes. To be heartbroken twice over the same person, it’s indeed not worthwhile. That’s it. Wei Yanwan knows to calculate for herself. You need to calculate for yourself too. I know. How about becoming a guard in the Imperial palace? I came from the Lower Five Banners. (T/N Manchu Banners, eight total) Imperial Palace guards must come from Manchu’s top three banners. I don’t qualify. There are exceptions to all things. Imperial Palace guard is the best prospect for palace guards. If you’re willing, I can help you. But you have to forget about that person in the Imperial Palace. I will obey your instruction. There it is then. Don’t run. Your Majesty. Where am I? I’m here. Don’t run. I will catch you and you’re done. You won’t catch me. Where are you? Your Majesty, let go of me. Alright. Alright. Stop playing. Emperor, since the ninth month, the pox epidemic is going around everywhere, from Hebei slowly to the capital. Children are dying from the illness everywhere, it’s incurable. We must be cautious in the palace. Our founding Emperor died by the pox, (T/N Qing Taizu, better known as Nurhaci) and Emperor Shengzu had it in his youth as well. (T/N Temple name for his grandfather, Emperor Kangxi) We have lots of princes and princesses in the palace, so we must be cautious they don’t contract it. You are right, Royal Mother. Also, in and out of the palace, ban frying of beans and splashing of water to avoid the pox. Empress Dowager, I will give offerings to the Smallpox Deity. The Seventh Prince is weak in health. The entire palace must be on guard. Starting today, no stranger is allowed in Changchun Palace until the smallpox is gone. I understand. Moxin? Yes. You don’t remember? She was Imperial Noble Consort Huixian’s close maid. Of course I remember. Before her death, Imperial Noble Consort Huixian was worried about her, so she sent her to hold a post in the antique room. But I was wondering why she’s looking for us. I don’t know either. But it’s no harm in meeting her, right? A death at home? My mother passed away. Suoxin, get fifty silver taels for Moxin’s mother’s funeral. I will go back to the palace now to retrieve it. Thank you for your favor, instead of decrying me for helping the Imperial Noble Consort to harm you in the past. You were only her maid and at best, you only were following orders. Why should I bother nitpicking with you? I was dishonorable to you. I can only amend this with my death. Just that since Your Highness the Noble Consort is being generous, fifty in silver isn’t enough. After my mother’s funeral, I will have to hold another’s funeral soon after. So you should give me one hundred in silver. How do you mean? My mother died from smallpox. This morning I discovered… I’ve got a few red pox on my arm. So I am staying far away from you. You’ve already got the smallpox, but you’re meeting us? You are not trying to get us to contract the smallpox too, to get revenge for Imperial Noble Consort Huixian? I have always remembered how Imperial Noble Consort Huixian hated the Empress. I promised to her that I would avenge her death with the Empress for her. You’re dying, how will you get revenge? I know. You two mistresses hate the Empress just as Imperial Noble Consort Huixian did. I am not skilled enough, so I am asking for Your Highness’ help. How do you wish us to help? I’m still alive now, besides serving my mother, all I think about is how to complete my late mistress’ request. Finally, now, I have a way. The one in Changchun Palace cares the most about her legitimate heir. Now the Seventh Prince is weak, and he can’t withstand the smallpox. Moxin. This matter is not something I or Consort Yu can do. Sister! Sister, don’t forget how the Empress harmed you. You barely salvaged your life out of the Cold Palace. Don’t be too merciful now. If you’re scared, I will do it. You doing it is not different than my doing it. The Seventh Prince was born ill and his life is difficult. You and I are mothers and we can’t do this. Sister. We can’t. [ Multitude of Glory Gate ] Greetings to Your Highness Noble Consort Xian, Your Highness Consort Yu. Second Attendant Wei. You’re working hard. Your Highness must be cautious of the chill. If you get sick, no one can manage all the affairs of the palace. I am on my way back. I disgust you so much? Second Attendant Wei, I don’t understand your words. Your Highness Noble Consort Xian has always regarded me as someone ungrateful of old relations for future gain, so you are always cold to me. But you don’t know I have my bitter reason. How you walked step by step here, I have seen it all along. What is the bitter part? I heard you were born from the Ula-Nara clan. This clan is glorious and rich. When you were suffering in the Cold Palace, you never forgot your family so you riled yourself up. I am the same as Imperial Concubine Xiang, who came from a similar background. The various sufferings I went through, someone noble like you wouldn’t understand. But I haven’t forgotten my clan, just the same as you. Being mindful of your clan doesn’t mean you had to take this road. Your choice today did indeed betray someone true to you. Someone like me whose clan or family can never bring any glory to himself! I must depend on myself to carve a better future. A true heart. Such a private indulgence! Even if I can’t cut it off, I must cut it off. The road you yourself chose. You just need to walk it happily. Sending away Your Highness. Mistress, why do you care how the Noble Consort treats you? We are nothing to her. How are we nothing? The Empress has been sporting weak health since bearing the Seventh Prince. Noble Consort Xian has the power to manage the six palaces. I must be carefully respecting her. By the way, I said to go look at what kind of conception medicine Imperial Concubine Shu is taking. Did you? I looked into it. Imperial Concubine Shu’s conception medicine is made by the House of Respectful Affairs. I will go take care of it now. Alright. Take Chunchan with you. Who is it? Eunuch Xu. Hello, Eunuch Xu. Oh, what brings you two maidens here. We heard you just got back from His Majesty’s Yangxin Hall. His Majesty flipped Imperial Concubine Shu’s tag? – Indeed.
– Eunuch Xu. Come in. Eunuch Xu, this is conception medicine for Imperial Concubine Shu after serving in bed. Physician Qi had me deliver it. Put it there. After the House of Respectful Affairs boils it, it will be sent tomorrow by Eunuch Jin Bao. – Go back.
– Yes. Second Attendant Wei asked us to come today for a favor. May I speak to you in private? Our mistress said, every time her tag, hers is always in the back. His Majesty can’t see it easily. So tonight we came to see if we can trouble you to find a way that our mistress’ tag can be placed in the front. After Noble Consort Xian, or Consort Jia or Imperial Concubine Shu. That’s fine too. I got it. I can arrange it. Actually Second Attendant Wei is well-favored. Is this needed? Who doesn’t want to be favored longer though? I will thank you on my mistress’ behalf then. No problem. Then we won’t disturb your rest. We need to go back and serve our mistress too. Go slowly. Mistress. Keep it. I will take this medicine tomorrow to the Royal Medicine Court and ask a physician to quietly make up the same prescription. Everyone’s drinking conception medicine in the palace. Only Imperial Concubine Shu’s is granted personally by His Majesty, so it must be very potent. But…Imperial Concubine Shu drinks it each time she tends to him, and we don’t see her pregnant. Then that’s her being unlucky. The Royal Physician already said her health is weak and it won’t be easy to conceive. That’s why she’s drinking conception medicine. You should still look into it in detail, as to whether it’s really a good conception tonic. Yes. I’m almost dead. Before I die, I need to tell you a truth. The Empress didn’t want someone as lowly as you to bear the first heir to His Majesty after ascension. So she made you lose the baby. Wasn’t it done by Gao Xiyue? Gao Xiyue was the one who hated me the most. Don’t try to lie for her. My mistress did it indeed. But my mistress acted on the Empress’ orders! Otherwise, even if she were so daring, she wouldn’t touch a royal heir. Then what about Imperial Concubine Yi? The Empress is false and two-faced. She appeared to want to raise Imperial Concubine Yi’s child, but actually she didn’t want another heir to threaten the Second Prince who suffered from asthma. Think about it, without the Empress’ order, why would Imperial Noble Consort Huixian dare to touch the Empress’ person? Think about it in detail, Your Highness Imperial Concubine Mei. My mistress was someone who wore her emotions on her shoulders. (T/N idiom, openly for all to see) How would she comprehend the secret strategy needed to plot murders? The Empress is the one with an evil heart. She had my mistress frame Noble Consort Xian too. Yes. The Empress’ main wife position. She got it from Noble Consort Xian actually. She would naturally really hate Noble Consort Xian. I am about to die, and I won’t spew out nonsense. She made you lose your son. I will give you a clear answer. And I will not die with regret. Okay. Good. I’ve arrived at a point and I finally understand. Yes. Imperial Noble Consort Huixian has already died. The Empress lost the Second Prince, but gave birth to the Seventh Prince. The central palace is really that lucky? She harmed others’ children and won’t pay retribution? Why wouldn’t she? She must! The heavens won’t forgive her. I will not forget her either! Yes. Maybe her karma is right before her. The Seventh Prince. What do you want to do? You must help me. This is newly-washed for Changchun Palace’s nursemaid. You can starch it. Yes. Your Highness. You know what to do? Yes. Don’t you worry, it’s all my doing. Yes. Is Changchun Palace’s clothing ready? Coming. Who is it? Mother Chun. (nursemaid) What is it? Seventh Prince is hungry. He’s crying so loudly, you didn’t hear? Her Highness said to hurry and go over. I’ll come as soon as I change. – So fragrant.
– Yes. Spare the formality. Come. Ruyi. Tonight’s dinner, I’ve prepared all your favorites. So many dishes. Is today some special day? Today is like a small new year’s (meal). You’re working hard managing the six palaces, so I prepared you these dishes to reward you. Then I thank Your Majesty very much. I will eat this entire tableful of food. Today is a small new year’s, so I wish you, health and happiness, long life. Here, Ruyi. Let’s eat. How is it? Delicious. First Attendant Wei. His Majesty is having dinner inside. Then may I trouble you to announce? Yes. First, follow me inside. Your Majesty, First Attendant Wei seeks your attendance. Just who we were talking about. Tell her to come in. Yes. Greetings to Your Majesty and to Your Highness the Noble Consort Xian. Rise. Why are you here? This morning, I simmered some swallow’s nest. I knew Your Majesty and Noble Consort Xian were having dinner, so I brought it especially. You came in time. I was going to promote you to Noble Lady, (T/N sixth rank below Empress) with a title set. Thank you, Your Majesty, for your grace! Rise. Your Majesty just had the intention to promote me, and I just made the bird’s nest dish with a new recipe to serve to Your Majesty. Your Majesty and I are connected in our mind. Lancui. These noodles are made from mung beans. This morning, I simmered them with pigeon eggs and orange day lily powder, and added three heaps of bird’s nest to the broth. May Your Majesty and Noble Consort try something new. Three heaps of bird’s nest is quite the expense. As long as Your Majesty likes it, who cares about expense. But this is too expensive and too much, and it will seem unsuitable. Ruyi, you instruct First Attendant Wei just how to use bird’s nest for meals. First Attendant Wei’s bird’s nest dish is pure white. It’s very detailed and you picked very clean bird’s nests. Thank you, Noble Consort Xian. But this bird’s nest is an luxurious item that is usually best slowly brewed into a soup, with miscellaneous greasy meat ingredients as secondary. Your bowl of bird’s nest used three heaps, and you added everything all together. This excess has made the beauty become lost. I received your teaching. I did not cook well. I’ve shamed myself before Your Majesty and Your Highness the Noble Consort Xian. This bird’s nest. No trouble. Your intention, I understand. You may go. Yes. Forgive me. I am careless. I broke your white porcelain burner. That is not white porcelain. This isn’t white porcelain? I don’t recognize it then. This is a sweet white glaze. (T/N a newer style of porcelain, both whiter and thinner than the standard white) Alright. You can go. I take my leave. Before, I thought she was sharp and pitiful. But now… Your Majesty thinks..? Never mind. Let’s eat. Mistress. Don’t laugh at me. I’m becoming a Noble Lady. I just wish you to be careful of your foot. Mistress, His Majesty knows you’re well-meaning. It’s because I’m ignorant. I don’t recognize “sweet white glaze” and I am dull using bird’s nest. It’s because I’m shameful. At least His Majesty didn’t take back his promotion of you to Noble Lady. He’s at least cordial. Lancui, look carefully. Have I become old? Have I become ugly? Mistress, you are as beautiful as the flowers and in prime of youth. What’s the use of just being beautiful? Mistress, then do you have more plans? While I’m still young and in prime beauty, whatever Noble Consort Xian knows, I will learn slowly. One day, I will know for sure, and I will surpass her. Mistress, you will succeed for sure. Your Majesty, Physician Qi wishes to see you on an urgent matter. Let him come in. You find someone to escort Noble Consort Xian to bathe in the dressing room. Yes. I take my leave. Where is the bead flower? We just came out from the warm hall. I believe it fell onto the ground? I will go find it now. You get the water ready. I will go find it myself. Yes. It’s dark out. Careful. Your Majesty, even as I mention it now, I feel startled. Two days ago at mid-day, First Attendant Wei’s maid Chunchan sought out one of my junior disciples, and asked him to prescribe an item just like the one in this pouch. My disciple was afraid to do so, and took it furtively for me to see. Who knew that when I opened it and saw it in detail, I discovered the medicine to be the same as the conception medicine Your Majesty granted Imperial Concubine Shu. At the time, I thought it was strange. Was this something First Attendant Wei stole from Imperial Concubine Shu? First Attendant Wei wanted to conceive, so she..? Since First Attendant Wei wants this medicine so badly, go ahead and make the same for her. This medicine was for me to keep Imperial Concubine Shu at bay since she was recommended by Empress Dowager. So I don’t wish her to conceive easily. If you prescribe it, it won’t be damaging to the health. This medicine is harmonious and will not harm the body. Then that’s good. Mistress. Let’s bathe. Did you find it? It’s dark at night. It’s hard to find it. We will go find it tomorrow. Suoxin, if there is someone you treat honestly but that person is manipulating you without you seeing it, would you be scared? What are you talking about? If you know someone is being deceived all along, but if you tell her the truth she will be sad and heartbroken, do you tell her or not? If this person is happily-deceived, but she will be heartbroken after finding out the truth, then it’s better not to tell her. Right? Mistress, you’re talking out of nowhere today. Did something happen? Nothing. Ruyi. What’s wrong? What are you thinking? Nothing. Let’s rest. Your Majesty. Your Majesty! Your Majesty! – Your Majesty, it’s bad!
– He’s so unruly. What is it? The Seventh Prince contracted smallpox from his nursemaid, Your Majesty! Please go look. Yongcong? No one touches my Yongcong. Your Highness! Empress. – Your Majesty.
– Where’s Yongcong? Your Majesty, the Seventh Prince is being cared for by the Royal Physician. You all should die! How did you serve him? Your Majesty, we don’t know how the nursemaid got the pox. She nursed the Seventh Prince daily. The Seventh Prince, h-he contracted the pox. Who got the pox in the palace first? Isn’t it all gone? It was a momo. She’s Imperial Noble Consort Huixin’s maid, Moxin’s mother. Afterwards, Moxin got the pox too and they all died. Can’t let Yongcong stay in the palace! Xiefang Hall is empty. Send Yongcong to Xiefang Hall and treat in isolation. Your Majesty, Yongcong is still young. He’s never left me. I will go with Yongcong. Empress. I am doing my best. I am doing my best to keep Yongcong in the palace, but I must be mindful of all the lives of the Forbidden City. Why are you back, Elder Sister? Aren’t you serving in bed tonight? The Seventh Prince got the pox. His Majesty is in a panic. Life is up to God. Hailan, you didn’t do it, right? Of course not. Why did you ask me that? Good that it’s not you. I was just thinking, Moxin just sought us out and the Seventh Prince has the pox. Sister. Of course I would love to get revenge for you on the Empress. But you told me not to harm a child. Afterwards I’ve had no dealings with Moxin. The Seventh Prince getting pox has nothing to do with me at all. I overthought it. I just thought, Changchun Palace is always so prudent. How is it the Seventh Prince who got the pox? Is it because he’s born weak and it’s a coincidence? Or is it the case that Moxin found someone else? Who is to know this? But whether it’s a coincidence or Moxin found someone, it’s all Empress eating her own bitter fruit. At any rate, the young child is innocent. The Seventh Prince’s illness is coming on strong. I don’t know if he can pull through this. I hope he can. Mistress, Changchun Palace is in chaos. We shouldn’t play anymore, okay? Who said I’m playing the pipa? It’s the dead Imperial Noble Consort Huixian coming to claim a life! Mistress, don’t scare me. Who’s scaring you? I’m so happy. Why just me all these years? Only I cried out all my tears for my child? They all should cry. Cry with me. Mistress. Mistress! Someone come! Yongxian, look what Brother has in his hand. Kick it. Kick it!
– [ Fourth Prince Yongcheng ] Yongcheng, play a bit more and let’s sleep. It’s getting really late. Mistress. This Seventh Prince was born weak. He wasn’t going to live long anyway, and this was done by Imperial Concubine Mei. Nothing to do with us. I understand, but I just feel startled. Don’t think about that now. Royal Physician came by today. I am pregnant again. Yes. Yongxian, Yongcheng. You two will have another brother. Are you happy, Yongcheng? Happy. Happy, Yongxian? You are…? Forgive me, Your Highness Imperial Concubine Mei. Tonight all the senior physicians went to Xiefang Hall to look after Seventh Prince. So I was sent here. No problem. The Seventh Prince’s life is urgent. May you forgive me for being blunt. Has Your Highness been bleeding? Yes. Your menstrual flow is also spotty but incessant, with more than half a month needing padding. Since I lost my child painfully, I have been suffering this illness. I saw your prescription that you’re on. The physician is treating you diligently. But your body is weak and your blood is thin, so tonight you were emotional, and thus you fainted. If you want to have a few more years of peace, then Your Highness must stabilize your mood. You mean… I won’t live more than these next few years? That’s not certain. But your bleeding that’s not treated, you will end up exhausting all your blood supply. Like a flower that’s lost water, it will dry up. I will go now and write a prescription first. I take my leave. Your Highness, your meal is ready. Please at least eat a bit. Your Highness, rest a bit at least. You’re not eating and drinking. Guarding outside Xiefang Hall like this without rest. It’s already been three days. You can’t go inside anyway. [ Anhua Hall ] Your Majesty, you’ve been kneeling here for a long time. You won’t eat. So at least drink some water. I won’t drink. What about Yongcong? Yongcong is still at Xiefang Hall. Royal Physicians are trying to save him. Empress? Empress is at Xiefang Hall, unwilling to leave half a step. Yongcong, when will he get better? He’s almost better. Tomorrow’s New Year’s eve. A new year. Everything will be better. The Seventh Prince has died! Seventh Prince!
[ Xiefang Hall ] Your Highness. Seventh Prince! Your Highness. Seventh Prince! Your Highness! Seventh Prince. ♫ 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. ♫