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Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (Arc1 Chp2 Pt1)

Chapter 2: Zi Chu [1]自处 (zì chǔ) has several meanings. The Baike page lists six: 1) Find a place or arrangement for oneself; 2) Supporting oneself; 3) Handling things by oneself / Attitude towards oneself; 4) Living by oneself; 5) Taking care of oneself; 6) Being cautious and guarding oneself as though guarding jade. (Part 1)

Translator: Tygris
English proofreader: 247Reader

The moonlight outside was hazy, so dim that no brilliance could be seen. Qingying said in a low voice, “I am afraid it will rain soon.”

Suoxin was concerned. “Little Mistress [2]Earlier, the Empress was referred to as the Mistress [of the Six Palaces] or 主子 (zhǔ zi). The other concubines, or non-legitimate wives, are sometimes referred to as 小主 (xiǎo zhǔ), or Little Mistress, which emphasizes that the concubines are “smaller than” or lower in rank than the legitimate wife. should stand under the eaves. If raindrops begin to fall, I fear you will get chilled.”

Coincidentally, Suxin was now bringing the Imperial Physician out. When the Imperial Physician saw Qingying, he performed a qianer [3]Greeting etiquette usually performed by men, consisting of bending the left knee forward, bending the right leg backward, leaning the upper body slightly forward, and dropping the right fist to the floor. This greeting is considered a midpoint between bowing and kneeling. bow and said, “Greetings to the Little Mistress.”

Qingying nodded. “Get up. Is Mistress’s phoenix body free from ailment?”

The Imperial Physician hurriedly said, “Mistress has ten thousand blessings; it is only she has worked hard over these past days to organize funeral rites and has also been overly sorrowful. She can recover after taking it slowly for a few days.”

Qingying said politely, “Imperial Physician has worked hard.”

Suxin said, “May the Imperial Physician hurry. Niangniang is still waiting for your prescriptions and medicine.”

The Imperial Physician responded in the affirmative.

 Suxin turned around and smiled at Qingying, her words much more polite than before. “Replying to the Little Mistress, Mistress is going to rest inside. I am afraid that she will not be able to go to the Great Hall [4]T/N: I could not find a specific answer online, but I believe this refers to the biggest palace within the Forbidden City: 太和殿 or The Hall of Supreme Harmony. See: Forbidden City Map (English) or Forbidden City Map (Chinese). to preside over the funeral tonight. Mistress said that everything will have to rely on you, Little Mistress.”

When Qingying heard these words, she knew that née Fucha understood that Xiyue could not be depended on for heavy tasks, and so, in this situation, could only rely on Qingying. She hurriedly said, “May Mistress recuperate in peace.”

Qingying returned to the main hall. By now, the crying sounds saturating the entire palace had become much weaker; anyone who cried on their knees for an entire day would have been tired. 

Qingying ordered the maids outside the palace, “Several elderly Primary Consorts of the Imperial Clan may not be able to endure the hardship of staying up all night. You go to the Imperial kitchen to fetch stewed ginseng soup, and let the Primary Consorts drink some. If any are still unable to endure, then guide them to the side hall to rest. Invite them back when it is time for the Crying Ceremony [5]While the raws do not use this exact term, the Crying Ceremony refers to the 哭灵 (kū líng), which refers to the part of a funeral during which the participants all wail bitterly in front of the casket/tomb. During Ancient China, people believed that there was Yin and there was Yang, corresponding to the spirit plane and the mortal plane. They also believed that for up to forty-nine days after death, the soul lingers within the mortal plane. Crying, in addition to expressing one’s pain at losing a loved one and showing one’s filial piety, also has the purpose of attracting and preventing the soul from getting lost and guiding them to the spirit world as they linger on the mortal plane immediately after death. at the Time of Zhi [6]See: Traditional Chinese timekeeping – Wikipedia (11 PM to 1 AM).”

The maids agreed and went down. Xiyue could see this from the inner hall, and a slightly dissatisfied expression appeared on her face. 

Qingying entered and said, “Earlier, I asked Younger Sister to take charge in the absence of Mistress. Younger Sister has worked hard.”

Xiyue did not respond, simply saying, “Your repeated calls of ‘Younger Sister’ come so easily. Actually, by age, I am seven years older than you.”

Qingying knew what [Xiyue] was referring to, but back in the qiandi, she had been the first to become a Secondary Consort. The ranking was clear, and it had nothing to do with age. At this point, she did not react, only giving a slight smile. “Is that the case?”

Seeing that she did not take it seriously, Xiyue nursed her anger and turned away, refusing to speak to [Qingying] again.

After a shichen, [7]1 shichen = 2 hours it was time for the Crying Ceremony. The entire palace was silent and still. Each and every person endured the sleepiness and roused their spirits, fearing that if they failed to cry their utmost, the accusation of “Disrespect to the Late Emperor” would fall upon them. 

The eunuch in charge of the ceremony shouted in a high-pitched voice, “Express condolences!” Everyone waited for the Imperial Consorts and Concubines to take the lead in kneeling so that they could begin to cry loudly.

Since née Fucha was not present [to lead the Imperial Consorts and Concubines and the titled Madams], Qingying began to cry sadly and readied herself to be the first to kneel. Who would have guessed that Xiyue, who stood one step to her side, moved to kneel down first, then began to sob mournfully.

Xiyue’s voice was already beautiful and gentle, and once she began to cry, it became even more exquisite and stunning. It was extremely mournful, with the effect of one singing, three sighing. [8]一唱三叹 (yī chàng sān tàn) is used as a form of praise, generally towards poetry. Even the miscellaneous eunuchs who were waiting outside at a distance began to feel pain in their hearts.

Based on their ranks in qiandi, Xiyue should have been behind Qingying. Unexpectedly, she had barged in ahead of Qingying to cry out and mourn. This sudden situation stunned everyone.

Su Luyun, who had been a gege back in qiandi, was open-mouthed but tongue-tied. [9]张口结舌 (zhāng kǒu jié shé) means to be unable to speak but have one’s mouth open, describing one’s state of being frightened, panicked, or speechless, with a negative connotation. She could not help but whisper, “[Xi]Yue Consort, you … Qing[ying] Consort’s rank is above yours.”

Xiyue completely ignored née Su’s words, remaining motionless as she knelt and sobbed.

Qingying, having been disrespected in front of everyone, was furious at heart, but she forcefully endured it and kept silent. Suoxin’s expression flipped, and she was about to step forward to speak, but Qingying subtly blocked her. She glanced behind herself at gege Su Luyun, and slowly knelt down.

Luyun understood [Qingying’s] meaning and immediately followed her, kneeling down. The gege behind them knelt one by one, followed by the Consorts of the Royal Clan, the titled Madams, and the palace maids and eunuchs. As Xiyue raised her right hand, then leaned down to salute, the crying began in unison.

Amidst the mournful voices, Qingying stared at Xiyue’s delicate raised wrist. A red lotus bracelet of jade beads and golden silk, half exposed between the sleeves of her heavy silk mourning dress, shone like spring water in the reflected fire light, painfully piercing her eyes. Following etiquette, Qingying leaned down, harshly biting her lip as she looked at the identical bracelet on her own wrist.

By the time the ceremony was over, it was already halfway into the Time of Zhi. [10]Approximately half a shichen, or an hour, has passed. Xiyue stood up first and looked around at everyone, saying, “Today, return to temporary rest. Tomorrow, continue the salutes. Please come on time.”

As such, everyone left in order of rank. Qingying, supporting herself on her sore knees, stood up. She held Suoxin’s hand and walked out without a word.

Gege Su Luyu, who normally had a timid and fearful personality, suddenly and silently pushed away her maid’s hand and followed closely behind them.

Qingying had anger in her heart. She didn’t even bother sitting on the soft sedan chair when she stepped out of the palace gate. Her footsteps became faster and faster until she reached the depths of the long street. 

Finally, Suoxin couldn’t contain herself anymore, saying, “Little Mistress, Little Mistress, you should rest your feet.”

Qingying slowly stopped and took a breath, noticing the soreness of the soles of her feet. Turning back, she saw Luyun panting, the hair at her temples disheveled. It was then she realized that, as her emotions roiled, she had walked too quickly and failed to notice Luyun following behind.

Unconsciously, Qingying gave a bitter smile. She said softly, “It has been just over three months since you gave birth to the Third Prince. Won’t it hurt your body rushing to follow me like this?” Qingying saw that [Luyun’s] posture was trembling and felt even guiltier. “It is my fault for not realizing you were following me.”

Luyun timidly responded, “Secondary Consort is overly serious. My health is not that important. But today… Elder Sister Gao’s rudeness… What should be done about this?”

Qingying was just about to speak when she saw Jin Yuyan, a gege from qiandi, quickly approaching on a soft sedan chair. [11]翩跹 (piān xiān) is typically used to describe light and quick dance moves. Translated as only ‘quickly’ here because Jin Yuyan is sitting on a sedan that is being carried by several eunuchs.

Jin Yuyan alighted from the sedan chair holding the maid’s hand and came towards them. With a smile, she said, “What should be done about this? This type of big event will always come to the attention of the Emperor and Mistress, to say nothing of the Empress Dowager. Are you still afraid that the injustice the Secondary Consort suffered today will go unavenged?”

Qingying said gently, “We are all sisters of the same family; there is no revenge to speak of. Younger Sister Yuyan is overly serious.”

TL Notes:

Also, I’ve been seeing mini-theaters at the end of chapters for other Chinese novels and wanna try some myself. Unfortunately for you people, you’ll have to suffer my experimentation 😆

Please lmk if you hate or love it lol 

Mini-Theater ~

Gao Xiyue: The Crying Ceremony is a great time to diss Qingying. She can’t do anything to me anyway.

Jin Yuyan: I’m just so much more beautiful than anyone else. Even alighting from a sedan chair looks beautiful. What to do?

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