Watching the person in the mirror’s countenance pale and grow haggard, Examining love together with regret, both new and old. Keeping watch still by a lantern though it is daybreak, drenched with tears, Watching others meet as promised, as twilight falls. Story of Yanxi Palace
Episode 60 Don’t misunderstand. I will not harm your beloved. I just find Imperial Concubine Shun familiar at first sight. If she wishes, she may come to Shoukang Palace often to accompany me for conversations. Yes, I’m willing. [ Shoukang Palace ] Yingluo, how is Imperial Concubine Shun? Fine now. Let’s go. What happened exactly? Today, I attended Princess He’an’s death anniversary. I had wanted to seek Empress Dowager’s delight, but the offering suddenly erupted into flames. The Grand Shaman said I was ominous, and pressed Empress Dowager to punish me. How did you escape it? I don’t know either, but Empress Dowager was going to grant me death… and suddenly she changed her mind. Before, a palace maid accidentally dropped and broke He’an’s childhood doll. That Empress Dowager who’s always been so merciful actually ordered for an immediate flogging to death. That was the first time I ever saw the Empress Dowager furious. Her complexion completely changed. Since that moment, I knew He’an wasn’t just the beloved daughter of Empress Dowager, she is also her only sore spot. Today you ruined the memorial. She had to vent her anger at you, but why did she then uphold you… and let you go so easily? I . . . I really don’t know. I want to hear the truth. It was Consort Ling that saved me.– Consort Ling, what are you doing?
– Yingluo!– Yingluo!
– What are you doing?– Saving your life.
– Where are you going?– Don’t move.
– Hurts so much.Hurts? Better than having your head drop.What are you really doing?You’re bleeding. Don’t move. I’ll stop your bleeding.Starting now, every word I say, you must remember them clearly.If you remember half a word wrong, you’re done.Indeed that was the case. Your Majesty, you guessed it? Yingluo was accompanying Empress Dowager all along. She is very familiar with all aspects of Empress Dowager. If she wanted to drive a wedge, that head of yours wouldn’t still be attached to your neck long ago. Then, you still blame her? I am happy. You’re not happy. You know clearly Consort Ling is innocent, but you reprimand her on purpose still. You’re clearly angry at her. Angry at her for what? Angry that she doesn’t care about you, that she’s still living her days continuing on as always. Acting blind to Your Majesty’s act of pampering me on purpose. Chenbi. Don’t talk nonsense. Your Majesty. I, Chenbi, have eyes. I have a heart. I know how to figure things out. Your Majesty treats me very, very well. But in your heart, another woman has moved in long ago. Stop thinking wildly. Rest early. Your Majesty, I am willing to help you to probe Consort Ling’s heart. Your Majesty, you are the person I admire the most. I respect you like a god, and I want you to be happy. Chenbi. I really don’t quite understand you. In your heart, you must think the harem consorts envy each other. The dissension, it’s all too natural. But I’ve always believed that consorts can live in harmony. No. I don’t want to be friends with your other women. Except for Consort Ling, I am willing to accept her. She’s someone with a cold face but a warm heart. Someone worthy of befriending, and Your Majesty’s beloved woman at that. Isn’t that so? – Chenbi.
– Your Majesty. You try to probe Yingluo with all sorts of measures. Isn’t it just to see if she values you? If I can coordinate well, you will surely find out her feelings. I can vouch for it . I’ve used you. You truly aren’t angry? Your Majesty. You’ve given me much more than that. You respect my personal life and allow me to be unconstrained. Even the little horse outside. You selected it personally too. Someone like you is worthy for me to give my all to love. I never thought…you would say such a thing. Your Majesty. I am willing to give you all the best things in the world. Thank you. However, I’m doing this not because I deem Wei Yingluo especially valuable, I just can’t allow that in her heart, I am not first. Do you comprehend that? Yes. I understand. My words. You’re not allowed to tell anyone. Your Highness. Your Highness, the Empress is inside. Greetings to Your Highness the Empress. Consort Ling, I’ve reminded you not to be close to Imperial Concubine Shun, but you let that just be passing wind to your ears? Your Highness the Empress. I’ve said this before, this matter is not linked to me. Yuan Chunwang. Consort Ling. You just came out of Empress Dowager’s Shoukang Palace, and Empress Dowager rushed to find the head monk ofWanshou(“Longevity”) Temple. What was that about? Empress Dowager invited the Grand Monk to come to the palace to hold a meditation. What’s peculiar about that? Wei Yingluo. I thought you were someone crafty, but also someone who keeps her words. I didn’t imagine you would break your promise and abandon the oath. At Shoukang Palace, not only did you not get rid of the future disaster as planned, but you actually saved Imperial Concubine Shun instead! Are you insane? Imperial Concubine Shun’s crime is not worthy of death. Seducing the Emperor is deserving of death! Now the one who deserves death most is you! How dare you ruin my plan. I only agreed to cooperate with you. I didn’t agree to kill Imperial Concubine Shun. Today, Consort Shu and Consort Jia both qualify to ask, only you are not. What are you saying? Empress, do you really think I know nothing? If Empress Dowager really killed Imperial Concubine Shun over momentary anger, it will anger His Majesty. And His Majesty is devoted to his mother, so he naturally wouldn’t blame Empress Dowager over a woman. He would vent his anger at whom? Empress? Consort Shu or Consort Jia? None of them. The first one he’d lash out at would have been me, because I have been with the Empress Dowager all along and am now deemed her confidante. Empress, your act of borrowing a knife to kill…. The first instance is toward killing Imperial Concubine Shun, the second would come toward me. You’re a woman who’s lost favor anyway. Why His Majesty would kill you? In the end, you just wanted to save Imperial Concubine Shun. I really don’t understand. Publicly, she’s a seductress who’s deluding the Emperor. Privately, she should be your love rival. By saving her, what were you really after? I have said it already. Imperial Concubine Shun’s crime was not worthy of death. I already advised you that Imperial Concubine Shun is not that simple. You refused to listen and believe it. Sooner or later, your kind heart will cause to pay a painful price. I will wait…for that day. Take care, Your Highness Consort Ling. Yingluo, did you offend Her Highness the Empress badly? Once the Empress has taken care of Imperial Concubine Shun, she will target me. What’s there to offend? But if you make enemies with the entire harem because of Imperial Concubine Shun, is it worth it? I already said, I’m not doing this to help her. I’m doing it to help myself. You are so stubborn, and refuse to admit defeat. Your Highness, please calm down. It’s not worth this for those petty people who breached your trust.Long live His Majesty! Long live His Majesty!How great is that Wei Yingluo! (T/N sarcastic tone) Before I took action on her, she took precautions first! Looks like she’s going to join forces with Imperial Concubine Shun to go against me. Mistress, don’t worry. The Grand Shaman has made the arrangements. She won’t leave any other future troubles. I’m not worried that this matter will leak out. I’m only worried about the Empress Dowager’s protection. In the future, it will be harder to take action on Imperial Concubine Shun. Mistress. If we can bribe the Grand Shaman, why can’t we bribe the Grand Monk of Wanshou Temple? Grand MasterGuangjiis a person who supports just causes. He won’t compromise his integrity for a small sum of money. (T/N “broad river”) As long as you, Mistress, remodel the golden statue of Buddha, and also provide some money, grains and silver to appease those displaced people in the templeand help the temple to tide over the crisis, I was thinking,when it’s the appropriate time, we can let the Grand Master say a few righteous words. It’s probably not a problem to be blinded by Your Highness. Yuan Chunwang, your brain moves very fast. Mistress, thank you for your praise. I’m willing to share your burden. Greetings, Empress Dowager. You suddenly wanted to see me? Do you have instructions for me? Grand Master Guangji has taught me that when it comes to being reunited with a person through reincarnation, out of many tens of thousands of people, this will happen to only one or two. I thought about this for a long time. The more I think about this, I feel that it’s not right. Let me ask you. Does the branding of Imperial Concubine Shun’s face has anything to do with you? Empress Dowager, how would I dare to do that? You really didn’t do it? His Majesty dotes on Imperial Concubine Shun. Although I don’t blame her, but I wouldn’t help her to fool you either, Empress Dowager. Yingluo, you have been with me for three years. I know you better than anyone else. Your entire body is full of thorns. You think very fast. Perhaps you would lie just to save Imperial Concubine Shun. Empress Dowager, I wouldn’t dare! Empress Dowager, Imperial Concubine Shun is here. Since you don’t want to tell me the truth, I can only summon Imperial Concubine Shun here. You can confront each other. She’s not that delicate. If I find anything from my interrogation, I will definitely punish according to the law. Tell her to come in.Yes.I respectfully greet the Empress Dowager. Imperial Concubine Shun, were you telling the truth? May the Empress Dowager please forgive me. I didn’t lie at all. Fine. Be honest. Did anyone teach you to say this? If this is the case, I’m going to mete out punishments. Empress Dowager, I did lie. They were right. I’m unlucky. What are you trying to say? When I was born, everything was normal. When I was older, I kept being sick. I kept saying that I lived in a crystal house. I would even ask for my Nanny Wen and dancing dolls all day.Everyone was scared. A visiting lama passed by.He did an exorcism on me, and thus I returned to being normal. He said that this is called a “borrowed reincarnation”. Good thing it was found out early on. If not, he couldn’t have preserved my life.Empress Dowager. When the Grand Shaman brought this out in the open on that day,I was terrified. That’s why I denied it.Yes. I’m not normal like othersbut I have never done anything bad to harm anyone!I know that concealment equals deception.If Empress Dowager wants to punish me, punish me severely then. Empress Dowager.Imperial Concubine Shun, Empress Dowager is a kind person.She won’t blame you. Why would she pursue this matter? Rise quickly!Hurry and come here! Come here now.My dear child, I’ve been told it’s rare to have such an encounter in life. This is God’s gift to you.How could I blame you for this?Don’t be afraid, child.Thank you, Empress Dowager. What you said just now, I didn’t even know that. Who taught you that? – His Majesty.
– His Majesty? He was afraid the beans would be spilled.You are always sloppy in the way you do things.You don’t reconsider first. You will get into trouble sooner or later.Are you saying…When He’an was young and taking her medicines,she would always bawl her eyes out.Empress Dowager sent the staff to place many glass objects in her room.It was to shift her attention.It’s just like…It was just like a crystal house.She also relied too much on her Momo Wen.Once it became sunset, she would start looking for her.No one could coax and stop her.Empress Dowager even customized a puppet for her.When she looked at the puppet, she would be very happy,and danced for joy.His Majesty takes care of you very well. Perhaps, he’s really not doing this for me. My mistress was even worried that she won’t say it so naturally. She couldn’t sleep last nightand dragged me to practice with her.Fortunately, it’s due to you that Empress Dowager didn’t pursue this. Yingluo lied for me. Of course, I can’t conceal it anymore. He protected me and I protected you. I must act well. The less you talk, the less there is to expose.Remember this.Yes, I will remember this. Empress Dowager doesn’t hate Imperial Concubine Shun at all. She totally changed her attitude today. Your method used drastic measures to deal with the situation. It’s a real life-saver. Empress Dowager is powerful and sits in a high position, but she is also human. A human will have weaknesses.Even if she has doubts in her heart,she will still be on intimate terms with Imperial Concubine Shun.This is your merit in teaching her.I will teach her how to read and write.From the look of it today, Imperial Concubine Shun is the smartest student. She can pick up a lot of things. She can also deduces from many cases. Yingluo, there seems to be a hidden meaning in what you said. No, she’s a good person. It is I who am vigilant against others and can’t fully trust others.No matter what, by helping her, it will only cause the harem to be more jealous.In the past, you had His Majesty’s protection.You have now lost favor with him. I fear it will be tough for you with every step.Don’t worry, the sky will not fall.[ …hope the Dharma Realm ]Mingyu, where’s the Wujin stone I brought back from Hall of Mental Cultivation? I think it’s in the storeroom. – I’m going to look for it.
– Go then. Your Highness, do you have instructions for me? Yes. It’s a happy matter. Sister Mingyu! Sister Mingyu! What’s wrong? I’m fine. I walked too fast earlier and felt a bit of chest tightness. Do you need me to assist you to rest? I already said that I’m fine. Go back to work. But you look very pale. Just go. Go. Come. All of you come in. Place it inside that room. All of you, be careful. Slow down. Come. Come. Hurry up! Xiao Quanzi, what are these? Sister Mingyu, congratulations. – Congratulations for what?
– Of course, it’s for your joyous event. All of you, slow down. Be careful! Mingyu? Why are you here? You sent people to deliver so many gifts. What are they for? Consort Ling didn’t tell you? Those gifts are my betrothal gifts. Who said that I’m marrying you? You’ll reach the age to leave the palace by the sixth month of this year. Have you forgotten? Consort Ling is anxious about it. She even sent an envoy to my house to talk about our wedding. She didn’t tell me anything! She said that if she told you, you surely would refuse to leave the palace. Of course, I can’t leave her alone here in the Forbidden City! Mingyu, are you then willing to make me wait forever? I’m the only son in my family. Because I keep refusing to marry, my mother is already very worried. You two have arranged my marriage behind my back. I still haven’t agreed to it. I’ll tell Consort Ling that the marriage is canceled. Wait! You were deliberately fooling me! Mingyu, I’m earnestly asking you now, are you willing to marry me? – I…
– I will eventually join the battlefield one day. Maybe the ending that’s waiting for me— Don’t speak any inauspicious words! Even so, are you still willing to marry me? Hailancha, I’m willing to be your wife. You can go fulfill your wish, but remember, no matter what happens, I’ll wait for you. I’ll wait until you return.I can only find the needles hiding under her skin.It’s possible that some have traveled into her lungs. I fear…Miss Mingyu, you must be very careful.When the needle enters your lungs, even the deities can’t save you.This is the scent of jasmine flowers.This is jasmine oil. The way to make it is similar to making osmanthus fragrance that I taught you last time. It’s just that the fragrance won’t last as long as that of osmanthus flowers. But I still like more the white lily fragrance you gave me last time. After applying it, the scent can still be appreciated after a month. You’re done checking the betrothal gifts? I’m not getting married! Yingluo, I think the flowers outside are in full bloom. I’ll go pick some flowers to make fragrance, okay? Let me borrow this fragrance manual too.[ Hong Chu’s “Xiangpu” – Notes on Fragrances (T/N Song Dynasty work, there are two with the same name but authored differently, circa 1100 CE) ]Mingyu, you and Haiilancha have been together for a long time. Although it’s not official given the hindrance of your statuses, you two love each other. Now, you’re able to wait for the clouds to disperse and the moon to shine through. Why are you suddenly saying that you’re not marrying? We’ve been together for a long time. I can’t bear to part with you. I don’t want to leave the palace anymore. I also don’t want to get married. I’ll just stay and accompany you forever. Okay? What silly words are you saying? Once you marry, we still can see each other. Also, you are after all a palace maid. Your identity is special. Although you’ve reached the right age and can have your own marriage, Hailancha still officially expressed it to the Emperor just to show his respect. Now, you mustn’t change your mind. I don’t care! Anyway, I can’t marry him! I can’t! If you won’t marry, you must give me an acceptable reason. I can’t get married. I will never marry Hailancha! – Mingyu!
– This one then. Yes. Imperial Concubine Shun? Why are you here? What has happened? What could happen? Just that I don’t want to get married. If you’re not willing to marry him, why are you still making him shoe soles? You deliberately angered Yingluo. What are you hiding? Nothing! Mingyu, you’re sick. I’ll go tell Yingluo right away. No! Don’t tell her. You must not tell her. I beg you. Why? There is a silver needle hidden in my body for a long time. Moving with my blood, it has reached my heart. I don’t know how long I can still last. Maybe a year. Maybe a few months. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe, in the next moment, I’ll just fall down. If you tell Yingluo, she surely won’t be able to take it. But you need treatment. It can’t be cured. Ye Tianshi said that it’s incurable. Since that’s the case, why waste time? This is the reason why you won’t marry? If I marry Hailancha now, I’m just going to let him watch me die right in front of him. Mingyu, Hailancha personally reported this matter to His Majesty. That once you reached the right age to leave the palace, and regain your freedom, he will immediately hold your wedding ceremony. Yingluo knew that your family background is poor. She even personally prepared your dowry, so that you can be married off in a grand manner. Now, you’re just saying that you won’t marry anymore. How will Hailancha face people from now on? But I can’t tell them. When Yingluo learns about this, how sad will she be? I can’t say anything. Mingyu,the wood has been made into a boat.(T/N it’s too late to turn back now) As long as you’re alive, you then must enter the marriage sedan. Yingluo, let Minyu get calm. You don’t understand. Of course I understand. You granted her a marriage because you feel it’s not safe by your side. You want to protect her, isn’t that it? Chenbi. Don’t presume recklessly. If Mingyu hears you, she’ll overthink it. It’s because of me. Because of me, you offended the Empress. You’re afraid you’ve courted her revenge, so you’re sending Mingyu out of the palace. Mingyu fulfilling her age to leave the palace is a good thing. You’re overthinking it. Also, I’ve never been scared of anyone. You’re not afraid, but you always want to protect others. You two are both thinking about each other, but you won’t come clean with each other. Yingluo, you protected me and I’ve marked that in my heart. Don’t worry. I will never let the Empress harm you. What are you doing? Your Majesty. I greet Your Majesty. Rise.[ Hong Chu’s “Notes on Fragrances” ]This is Hong Chu’s “Notes on Fragrances”. When did you become interested in making fragrance? I was just looking at it to kill time. Nothing much. At Yanxi Palace, how are the rule lessons coming along? Consort Ling is teaching me rules. Teaching me embroidery and to admire paintings. She seems to know how to do everything. She does know how to do everything, but nothing is refined. I’ve said to her many times before, to focus on just one thing, but she would argue with conviction that she says she didn’t want to become an expert, but a person who can do many things shallowly. All absurd talk. I think she just doesn’t have patience. She learns everything but learns nothing to refinement. If you scold her, she will argue with full conviction and that sharp tongue she was born with leaves you no chance. Your Majesty. Why did you stop? You go to Yanxi Palace daily. Consort Ling, has she mentioned me half a moment? Of course. What did she say? She said . . . She . . . She never mentioned me at all, right? Your Majesty, don’t blame Wei Yingluo at all. You’re always treating her coldly, over and over. She’s making efforts to disoblige you. Disoblige… or perhaps not caring at all? It’s impossible that she is does not care! She’s your consort. She only has you in her heart. Of course she misses you and longs for you. She won’t say it now, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t. One day you will force her to speak her heart. Will I? You will. Of course you will. Then that requires that she really has me in her heart. Your Majesty, no matter what, I will always treat you as my first priority. Your Majesty. Don’t be upset. If you’re upset, I can’t be happy either. You’re like a child. Mingyu. The wedding dress is here. Try it on. I’ve already said everything that needs to be said. Yingluo, don’t force me. I am not forcing you. I am worried. You’re worried about what? I am worried you’ll miss out on your own happiness. I won’t marry Hailancha at any rate. You should forget that thought. Mingyu. How did you get in here? I climbed the wall. What exactly are you doing here? I can’t sleep, so I wanted to come chat with you. I am not used to sleeping next to someone! – You sleep over there.
– I don’t believe you. If His Majesty were here, you’d still push him out? – Hey, go sleep there!
– Okay, alright! – Alright!
– Get over there! – What are you doing?
– Why are your feet so cold? I’ll warm them for you. No need! – No need.
-What is that sound? Today is the lunar eclipse. His Majesty will dress unadorned to evade the moon. The high ministers will also burn incense and bow, and assist with the moon ceremony. What you heard was the sound of gongs and drums, and people yelling to banish theheavenly dog(T/N the dog who eats the moon if not driven off) to save the moon. You don’t believe it? You also don’t believe it. The first time I saw you, I already knew. You are not someone who believes in gods or ghosts. On the exterior you’re speaking so seriously. But in your heart, you must despise it. You speak as though you know me so well. You are clearly have a cold face with warm heart. You always keep people a thousandliaway. At this rate farther and farther away. Sometimes women need to learn to show a softer side.That way more people will care about you.You coax His Majesty in all ways, but you won’t say one word from your heart to him. Someone like you is a tough mouth with a soft heart. You’ll lose out big time. Why do you always pester me? You and I both don’t belong in the Forbidden City, but we have to be confined here forever. You’re so lonely, but I am also very lonely. Why can’t we seek warmth from each other? I have Mingyu. Your words. Your actions. You have to explain to her repeatedly. She follows you…but she doesn’t understand you. Isn’t it regrettable? Without reciprocity, you cannot be true friends.Forgetting Each Other♫It’s very likely that recalling vivid images will throw me into upheaval,♫ ♫The past graceful, concerning passions have gone only into hibernation.♫ ♫Along with my lord, my original aspirations are now distant, the promises and wishes to accompany each other♫ ♫Are proof of yearning endured, trembling in the endless night.♫ ♫How true our feelings were, even though our fate was shallow,♫ ♫Hearts locked away in dark halls from the light, difficult to find and recover.♫ ♫Other people envy my splendid, bright clothing, the warmth beside my pillow, (T/N the love of her lord)♫ ♫Then turning round sigh admiringly, through wet tears in somber-colored robes.♫ ♫Who clearly would cling to a moment of being in love and inseparable?♫ ♫The end of passion becomes merely a sentimental entanglement.♫ ♫If one uses separation to cut away the bindings,♫ ♫Forgetting one another is also difficult in the depths of one’s dreams.♫ ♫Who clearly would still cling to these deep feelings and desire them again,♫ ♫And give free rein to this state of mind over and over in their dreams?♫ ♫Glory and splendor give shelter to appearing to forget the pain,♫ ♫From dreams awakening after a time, with nothing new to worry about.♫ ♫Treating them like smoke dissipating, ashes flying away, cold hoarfrost under the moonlight…♫ ♫All the memories of love, memories of hate….♫ ♫All the memories completely vanish.♫