You’re really worthy of a Ula-Nara, never put a foot wrong in words. Compared to your aunt in her time, you’ve much improved. No wonder your aunt was willing to spare herself to preserve you. Aunt has passed away a long time ago. If I made any progress, it is due to your teaching, Empress Dowager. I can’t teach you to be an empress like your aunt. My aunt did tell me to become the empress and extend Ula-Nara’s glory. But I am incompetent and ignorant. I thought it for so many years, but still haven’t understood. Why only being the empress can one extend her clan’s glory? Back then, your aunt trapped herself to death by that intention. Thinking about it, I have never been an empress. But now I sit here safe and sound. I’m also the one in the future who will be buried with Late Emperor. And thinking about your aunt and her obsession, isn’t it ridiculous? You’re right, Empress Dowager. My aunt died in despair and I can only feel heartache for her. But I also thought, what if I become an empress like her? Life is like a spring silkworm. You make your own cocoon and trap yourself. You think it through yourself. Whether you will bind yourself to your cocoon like your aunt. I shall mark your teachings to heart. Perfect makeup. You did a good job. Fujia, change my clothes. Yes. I shall take my leave. Sister. I heard Empress Dowager summoned you urgently to Cining Palace. What’s the matter? Nothing. If nothing, Empress Dowager wouldn’t have summoned you especially. Did she ask about the matter of Prince Yonghuang and Prince Yongzhang? I will go to Empress Dowager and tell her I did that and it had nothing to do with you. This matter ends here. It’s done and never mention again. Sister. I’ve already told you there’s no difference whether you or I did it. Sister, I thought you dislike me being malicious and would never talk with me. I understand what you did was all for my sake. But a matter like this can never be repeated a second time. Even if we can evade Empress Dowager’s interrogation, we cannot escape from our own guilt. Noble Consort Chun’s been ill for so long. Have you gone to see her? Her illness is because of anxiety, and it’s useless even I go. Whoever started the anxiety should end it. So you should end it. If I want to end her anxiety, I would have to take back my words of that day. To tell her, Yonghuang and Yongzhang will still have the possibility to be the crown prince. Royal Mother, those children held intentions they shouldn’t have, and I couldn’t bear it. Be careful not to choke. Here, have some soup and wet your whistle. I understand. Kids disappointed you. But when children are grown up, they don’t obey their parents. It may be not all Noble Consort Chun’s fault. You cherish old relations, but the imperial harem shall not be vacant of the empress even for a single day. If there’s no empress for too long, people will have their own intentions and make trouble. Royal Mother, Empress Xiaoxian just passed away, I’m not in the mood to appoint an empress. Even I would, it has to be in two years after the mourning period is over. Your love is longlasting, but the affairs of the harem can’t be unattended. Perhaps you can promote an imperial noble consort first, like an assistant empress, taking control of the imperial harem. I think Noble Consort Chun has both sons and daughters and makes an excellent choice. In terms of offspring, of course Noble Consort Chun has the most. But in terms of the ability to manage the harem affairs, Noble Consort Xian has been assisting in managing them for years and doing well. She is a better choice to be the imperial noble consort. You know Noble Consort Xian’s birth clan. Ula-Nara has long declined. She is of no assistance to you in the royal court. Lacking of family power is the best family power. You’re afraid someone will try to monopolize power? Emperor, remember this. In the palace, the offspring come first. It’s exactly because she has no children that Noble Consort Xian will have equal treatment to all princes. Good. Good. So you have such a thorough plan. It seems that I’m over worried. Royal Mother, you are worrying for me, I understand. But I am no longer an ignorant youth. In many things, I have my own judgments. You can rest assured. Royal Mother, there’s another matter. Da Jinchuan’s Shaluoben has been making trouble lately. I’ve sent forces to suppress, but regrettably the army morale is scattered and they have suffered repeated defeats. I plan to appoint Neqin as commander and dispatch him to end the war. Neqin is versed in military strategy but not in war tactics. He’s not a talent for commander. You should reconsider. Neqin is your clansman and also my great assistant. I believe he will do his utmost for the court to set a merit. Good then. You manage the court affairs. But the harem, I will say one more thing. An empress without family power and children will be very difficult. Royal Mother, if Noble Consort Xian can’t overcome the difficulties, then she is incompetent. Just like Neqin, I give him the opportunity to set a merit, if he fails, he is also incompetent. The court affairs are not finished. I will take my leave first. Go and do your business. Farewell, Your Majesty. He is no longer the newly reigning emperor. Yes. His Majesty is very tameless. If we can’t grasp the new empress, your position in the imperial harem may not be so stable. His Majesty said he wouldn’t appoint an empress. Just an imperial noble consort. Then I will wait and see first. Kneel. Announce. Noble Consort Xian of Ula-Nara clan. Nurtured in noble family. Refined in character. Granted marriage to the house of prince. Blessed by Empress Dowager’s mercy, to be promoted as Imperial Noble Consort, and to act upon the affairs of the six palaces. Consort Jia of Jin Clan is promoted to Noble Consort Jia, assisting in managing six palaces. First Class Attendant Qing of Lu Clan is promoted to Noble Lady Qing. First Class Attendant Wan of Chen Clan is promoted to Noble Lady Wan. Second Class Attendant Xiu of Xu Clan is promoted to First Class Attendant Xiu. Palace maid of Fang Clan is promoted to Second Class Attendant Kui. Qian is promoted to Second Class Attendant Ping. End of the announce. Award the book. Bow. Thank you for your grace, Your Majesty. Carry out the ceremony of six honor, three genuflexions and three bows. Ceremony completed. Imperial Noble Consort, I shall leave first to report to His Majesty. It’s hot, and I think everyone’s tired. Let’s go inside and rest. I have prepared icy almond drink. So she’s an imperial noble consort and she’s different now. Everyone sit. Thank you, Imperial Noble Consort. Empress Xiaoxian’s death and Jinchuan’s war made both the court and the harem have no peace. So this promotion ceremony is simpler. It’s already not easy that you managed it like this. Imperial Noble Consort, you toiled away. By the way, we haven’t formally congratulated your promotion. Noble Consort Jia, your confinement is approaching. Just skip it. Thank you then, Imperial Noble Consort. Congratulations for your promotion, Imperial Noble Consort. Everyone here serves His Majesty. Don’t let our titles get in the way of our bonds. Everyone, get up. Thank you, Imperial Noble Consort. The war makes His Majesty anxious. So we’ve invited Master Anji from the south to the palace to lead the prayers. He will be here in a few days. At that time, we can pray for the victory of the war and Great Qing’s glory. I heard Master Anji is well cultured in Buddhism and is respected everywhere. I also heard he is young, promising and handsome. People feel comfortable at first sight of him. Noble Lady Qing, as consorts, we shouldn’t say that. Yes. Imperial Noble Consort, my labor is happening soon. I always feel unwell. So I’m afraid I’ll be only in the name of assisting with you, but I can’t help with anything, and I do feel sorry. Don’t worry about that. You just need to manage your health. Safely giving birth to the royal heir is the priority. Yes. Royal Physician said the baby should be a boy again. I will surely give birth to another son for His Majesty safe and sound. Lixin, you may leave. What is it? I heard news that the old lord has passed away and the heir succeeded to the title smoothly, and he’s the new king of your maiden clan. I heard the new king needs to come to the capital to greet His Majesty. It has been so many years, maybe I can see him once more. Yes. You surely can. This time, you are the noble consort and the new king would be happy when he hears of it. It’s a pity that Noble Consort Chun has fallen. And Ula-Nara got promoted as Imperial Noble Consort. She got a cheap deal. By the age of the prince , it should be our Yongcheng’s turn. Ula-Nara has no children. Besides, she’s just become the imperial noble consort and has not stabilized her position yet. She will be easily fall if someone gives her a push. If Imperial Noble Consort falls, it’ll be only you in the palace. When the new king comes, I must tell him this great news. You finished reading the petitions? Yes. Neqin went to the army and put a three day limit to conquer Shaluoben. If anyone disobeys, they would be punished by the military law. All soldiers are on guard. It seems he’s resolute in winning this time. Zhang Guangsi is a great general and Neqin is your capable courtier. If they can work together, victory is on the way. I’m hoping for good news too. This orchid is light in posture. But the brush strokes should be set freer. I am not versed in painting. Noble Lady Wan is an elegant painter. Noble Lady Wan does paint well. But every time she sees me, she’s always so cautious. She’s graceful but lacking of emotion. Her painting is boring then. You aren’t talking about painting, but judging the person. Your Majesty, news from Yu Clan. The heir became king but was in discord with the queen. The queen was so furious and ended up committing suicide. I remember this new king of Yu, his queen is his legal wife. Just because this new king of Yu angered his wife to death that he’s now the subject of objections. How can that be? If he can’t be good to his wife, then he’s heartless. To force his wife to commit suicide is unfitting to be human. Have him detained and escorted to the capital, I’ll interrogate him personally. Yes. Also, don’t let Noble Consort Jia know it. Let her have a smooth delivery. Yes. How can that be? What brings you here, Noble Lady Ling? I came to visit Noble Consort Jia. Mistress is fatigued in pregnancy and resting. May you go back. Alright. These humble gifts, please send them to her for me. Qixiang Palace isn’t lacking of these miscellaneous items. You are too cordial. Noble Lady, is there anything else? Don’t need to waste words with Noble Lady Ling should she come again in the future. She was just a palace maid at Qixiang Palace before. Why bother bowing to her? Yes. Noble Lady Ling, greetings to you. Please rise, Eunuch Jinzhong. It’s hot today, but you look unhappy. Seeing your mood, you got bullied by Qixiang Palace again. I don’t even get a chance to fawn on Noble Consort Jia. Yes. She’s about to give birth again, and you don’t even have a princess. His Majesty is consumed by the war. He doesn’t even come to Yongshou Palace. What can I do? You ought to think of a way even when there isn’t one. I raised you up not to see your worried look. Look at Noble Consort Chun and you will know. Favors don’t matter. It matters if you can give birth. But having a child can only rely on yourself. No one else can help you except yourself. Have a child. Have a child! There’s another urgent matter. I just saw my master rushing to dispatch someone to escort the new king of Yu Clan to the capital. What? That’s the king of Noble Consort Jia’s maiden clan! Yes. I looked into it in detail. Yu Clan’s new king pushed his wife to commit suicide and His Majesty was furious. But he’s ordered not to tell Noble Consort Jia in order to keep the baby safe. But this matter can’t be hidden. You’re right. But if Noble Consort Jia knows it right before delivery, what do you think will happen? Of course. If she knows it after delivery, no matter how angry she is, she won’t harm her body. I understand then. This news, I shall keep well. I need to deliver cakes. I shall take my leave. Lancui. Go find a person for me. Your Majesty, you finally flip a tag. The mistresses of the six palaces are all waiting for you. It’s been over half a month. You’ve kept all your mind on the Jinchuan war. Xu An, where did I go less frequently these days? Noble Consort Chun, Concubine Yu, Concubine Mei. Noble Lady Ling. You didn’t go to any of them often. Noble Lady Ling comes to greet you often, but she doesn’t get to see you. Last time the incident of bird’s nest with noodle threads, I can see she is coarse. Forget it. Let’s go to Concubine Shu. Yes. In three days, I will take all the wives above the imperial concubine ranking to Zhai Palace for a day and a night to pray for the Jinchuan war. Noble Consort Jia is about to deliver. Should she go too? Let her rest. I will go make the arrangement now. Guard Zhao, I heard you were recommended by Lord Ling personally to come to Kuning Palace and take over his old post. You are promising! Actually my brother Ling Yunche, he’s nothing special except loyal! Lord Ling saved Empress Xiaoxian, and he will put in good words for us and help us out. Give me silver. Don’t worry. Thank you. Give me silver. Guard Zhao, someone wants to see you. Who? A woman. A woman? A woman? I shall go see then. You play first. You want to see me? You’re Zhao Jiuxiao, Ling Yunche’s buddy? Yep. You are? Noble Lady Ling has a task for you. Change into this eunuch’s clothing and come with me. Where did this eunuch’s clothing come from? Smelly. Cut the nonsense. But your beard… Lower your head later and if someone asks you, just say you’re a newly arrived junior eunuch. Got it? Come with me. Guard Zhao, don’t look around. Mistress, Guard Zhao is here. Greetings to you, Noble Lady Ling. Don’t be so cordial, Brother Zhao. Have a seat. I wonder why you want to see me, Noble Lady Ling Guard Zhao, please sit. Mistress has questions for you. Thank you, Noble Lady Ling. Brother Zhao, are you and Guard Ling seeing each other much? We are still like the old days. Guard Ling and I are childhood sweethearts, now we are aloof. I think he must hate me very much. Noble Lady serves His Majesty. Although Yunche is sad, he’s still worried about you. He’s already given up long ago. What’s worrying? So many years of affection, how can he not? He came to the cold palace to visit me a few times, I saw him in a daze now and again. I knew he was thinking of old days. Even so, he must complain about me to you? He never did that. Yunche is honest. If he hates someone, he can’t hide it. Hearing this, I feel relieved. We were friends before, I hope he bears me no grudge. Lancui. Yes. Send Brother Zhao back. Yes. I take my leave. Where is His Majesty? His Majesty is preparing for tomorrow’s prayer at Zhai Palace. Everything has been prepared? All prepared. But Mistress, you’ve made up your mind. Why bother asking a guy like him? In order to get something done well, you must be very sure. Take this and go to see Ling Yunche. He will know. Yes. This way. Go straight and you’ll see the Long Road. Miss, thank you for showing me the way just now. I haven’t asked your name yet. I’m just a servant. Interesting. It’s so late. What does Noble Lady Ling want to see me? Our mistress is being bullied by Noble Consort Jia all the time. She just can’t bear it and is thinking of ending life. I really don’t know what to do, so I want you to persuade her. Then how is Noble Lady Ling now? She keeps on wanting to die. But fortunately Lancui and I are watching her in turn. But if this goes on, sooner or later something will happen. You’re the one she trusts most in the palace. Please find a way. Don’t let the noble lady meet misfortune. Yanwan wouldn’t be so feeble. If things are truly like that, it must be Noble Consort Jia forcing her to it. Yes. Mistress was never favored. And she can’t escape from Noble Lady Jia’s torture. She’s really living a hard life. Now His Majesty and all the consorts have gone to Zhai Palace, there’s no need for you to safeguard Yangxin Palace. Help me persuade my mistress. Let’s go. Guard Ling. You can’t bring a sword into the palace. Guard Ling, this way. Please lead me, Chunchan. Mistress is in bad mood, and I dare not to go in. There is someone serving you inside. Noble Lady Ling. Noble Lady Ling. He goes in? I don’t know if that thing works or not. That’s secret incense. A great item left by Emperor Zhengde. Easy for him today. After the deed is done, I will give him a pot of poisonous liquor to send him to the next world. Noble Lady Ling? Noble Lady Ling? What is this smell? Noble Lady Ling. I should not stay here long. I shall take my leave first. Brother Yunche, what’s the rush? I’m here. I, Ling Yunche greet Noble Lady Ling. Chunchan said you want to end your life and asked me to persuade you. Brother Yunche, before I thought it was fine without you. But when it really happens, I’d rather die than live. You have to live through it. You chose it. I believed you were bullied by Noble Consort Jia and couldn’t think through. But now, I think that’s not the case. I take my leave. Brother Yunche, don’t leave. Please hug me once more, just like before. Even though His Majesty is by my side, I still think of you. Brother Yunche, I know, only you are nice to me. Noble Lady Ling, please behave yourself. Noble Lady Ling? I’m your Yanwan. No. Yanwan wouldn’t be like this. We should have done this long ago. Brother Yunche. I miss you so much. Do you know? What’s going on inside? Nothing could’ve happened, right? Brother Yunche, isn’t this what you’ve always wanted? Noble Lady Ling. Noble Lady Ling! No. Brother Yunche. Brother Yunche, what’s wrong with you? Do you have someone else in your heart? What did you do to me? Brother Yunche. I don’t want to be bullied anymore. I want to have a child and let my next half of life live in peace. You… I want the child’s father to be you. So you tricked me here to use me. After that, you will kill me. Something is wrong. Go. Hurry. Hurry. Let him go. Hurry, go. Go. What to do? Go. Mistress. How come you let him go? He won’t talk about it, right? We need to kill him. He won’t. He won’t. I trust him. He treats me sincerely. Brother Yunche, what’s wrong with you? Do you have someone else in your heart? The tummy always feel uncomfortable and sore, and my back can’t be straight. It wasn’t like this in the last two pregnancies. Every pregnancy is different. This time the royal physician said especially you should be calm. Be careful. Who is that? So clumsy? Royal physician said so many times that mistress needs calm rest. You’re just a little maid delivering ice from the ice bureau. What if you disturb the fetus? Please forgive me. I know my fault. I will never make fault again. Shut up. Drag her out. Tell the supervisor at ice bureau, let her kneel under the sun with no food and no water. Yes. Be merciful, Your Highness. I knew my fault. Your Highness, be merciful. Mistress, the master is coming today and you need to welcome him at Anhua Temple. I got it. Should we pray for fetal stability by the way? Alright. Let’s change. The master is handsome. He deserves to be a master. He is well cultured in Buddhism. He is extraordinary and charming. Yes. Of course. You toiled at traveling the distance, Grand Master Anji. Sorry to bother you, Imperial Noble Consort. Greetings, Grand Master. This is Noble Consort Jia. Peace to you, Noble Consort Jia. Jinchuan war is not ceased and the nation is unstable. His Majesty is weary all the time. To have you in our palace to pray for the war is a great honor of Great Qing. War harms harmony. I will pray for peace for the souls of the dead soldiers of war. Starting today, Ghost Festival, continue to pray and cultivate, until August 15th, Mid-Autumn Festival. Thank you, Grand Master. Then please you and the disciples live in Anhua Temple for your cultivation and prayer. Thank you, Imperial Noble Consort.