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Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (Arc1 Chp3 Pt1)

Chapter 3: Wind and Rain (Part 1)

Translator: Tygris
English proofreader: 247Reader

Late at night. 

In the palace, née Fucha was drinking medicine with Lianxin serving beside her. She took the medicine bowl that née Fucha had emptied and handed over water to serve [née Fucha] in mouth-rinsing. After [née Fucha] finished rinsing, Suxin offered a honeyed preserve. [1]A fruit preserved in honey or sugar. “These are newly marinated sweet and sour apricots. Mistress, taste one to remove the bitter taste in your mouth.”

Née Fucha ate a piece and was about to pull up the covers and lay down. Then, as though she heard something, she suddenly sat up, tilted her head, and said with a furrowed face, “Is Yonglian crying? Is he?” 

Suxin hurriedly replied, “Mistress, be at ease. The Second Prince is at a’ge’shuo[2]Author’s note contains a good amount of information. Here are links to maps: Forbidden City Map (English) or Forbidden City Map (Chinese). and is currently sleeping soundly.” 

Née Fucha did not seem to believe this. Worried, she continued, “Really? Yonglian recognizes his own bed and is afraid of the unfamiliar; he also likes to cry at night.”

Suxin spoke, “Is it not the case that because the Second Prince recognizes his own bed, Mistress ordered the wet nurse to bring the bed that the Second Prince is familiar with from qiandi? Additionally, the palace has increased the number of wet nurses and servants by sixteen; there will not be anything overlooked.”

Née Fucha breathed a sigh of relief. “That is good. Though, are those wet nurses and servants reliable? And the Eldest Prince is also living at a’ge’shuo …” 

Suxin gave a slight smile. “When have Mistress’s arrangements been anything but proper and leakproof? Though the Eldest Prince is living at a’ge’shuo, how can he be compared to our Second Prince?”

Née Fucha nodded. “Though the Eldest Prince’s birth mother is of the same clan as I, she is one without fortune, passing away before the Emperor ascended the throne and leaving the Eldest Prince on his lonesome.” 

She glanced at Suxin. “You go order a’ge’shuo to take care of the Eldest Prince wholeheartedly. Do not bully this motherless child.”

Suxin gave a sincere smile. “This slave understands and knows what to do.”

Née Fucha seemed to be unable to put down her worries, tossing and turning. Lianxin put down the ink-painting curtains [3]Ink-painting examples. and advised earnestly, “Mistress, please be at ease. You have to arise to preside over the funeral ceremony within not even a few shichen. If you are not able to attend tonight, who knows what kind of commotion will occur in the [funeral] hall.”

Née Fucha gave a slight smile, and somewhat tiredly leaned back on the pillow. A waterfall of silky black strands snaked down along a curvature as soft as her current tone of voice. “That is right. Who knows what kind of commotion will occur? They are merely yet-to-be canonized concubines, but are already unable to restrain themselves?”

Lianxin was indifferent. “Let them create commotions. As long as Mistress is the Empress, no one can cause any trouble.”

Née Fucha smiled faintly. “Cannot cause any trouble? Back at qiandi, they were already like black-eyed chickens. [4]乌眼鸡 (wū yǎn jī) is a way of describing people who aggressively hate each other. Now, the commotion will only become more intense.” 

She turned over to sleep facing inwards. “It is simply that they cannot resist their commotion-loving temperaments. Just let them go ahead and make trouble.”

Née Fucha did not continue speaking. Lianxin lowered the curtains and Suxin blew out the lights, leaving only a single lamp burning. The two quietly retreated.

Qingying returned to her palace as if nothing had happened. Her dowry maid A’Ruo came forward with a smile on her face. “Little Mistress worked hard today. This servant already prepared hot water to serve Little Mistress in washing up.”

Qingying nodded but did not speak. She raised her eyes and saw that A’Ruo had prepared everything skillfully and perfectly. The usual serving maid, holding a golden basin, a comb, and a towel, was standing to the side, still and silent. [Qingying] said in surprise, “Where is the need for such efforts? According to the rules back at qiandi, it is enough to wash up simply.”

A’Ruo smilingly approached Qingying, trying her best to suppress her joyful expression. With a furtive look on her face, she responded, “Since Little Mistress entered qiandi, you have been the Emperor’s favorite. Not even Mistress Primary Consort can compare. Although Little Mistress Gao is also a Secondary Consort, she began as a gege and was afterward raised to the position of a Secondary Consort. How can she compare to your nobility and glory?”

Suoxin gave A’Rou a light glance. “Nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Why are you speaking to Little Mistress of this?”

A’Ruo’s smile grew thicker, and she looked quite proud. “The Eldest Prince is the son of Fucha Zhuying gege. Zhuying gege passed away a long time ago, so let us not mention her. Mistress Primary Consort birthed the Second Prince and will naturally become the Empress in the future, but whether or not she will be favored is hard to say. Little Mistress Su has the Third Prince, but just like Little Mistress Gao, she is a Han Bannerman, [5]During the Qing Dynasty, status was strongly associated with the Eight Banner system: the three main types of banners were Manchus of Eight Banners, Mongols of Eight Banners, and Han Army of Eight Banners. The Eight Banners had to do with the military system but had a great impact on the social, economic, and political status within the Qing Dynasty. More-or-less, noblemen were all associated with banners. Within the banners, Mongolian Banners were a close second to the Manchu Banners, while the Han Banners were solidly at the bottom. One’s ethnic identity was also basically synonymous with one’s associated banner, rather than who one’s ancestors were. which is not ideal.”

Qingying slowly adjusted a snow-white beaded flower on her temple. The silver nail guards [6]护甲 (hù jiă), literally ‘protect nails’ were, in addition to protecting nails, used as a symbol of status, wealth, and power. Long fingernails indicated that one did not need to engage in menial tasks. However, nails take a long time to grow but are easy to break. Hence, nail guards were invented. At first, they were only worn at night to protect the nails, but over time, they began to be worn during the day and became more and more elaborate. See this Chinese Fingernail Protectors Highlight from NPS for pictures and description. lightly slid across the beaded flowers with a small sound, but as her fingertips slowly started to seep sweat, even touching the smooth pearls felt difficult and uncomfortable. Qingying’s voice and expression remained calm. “And so?”

A’Ruo was only concerned with her own happiness and did not notice Qingying’s state at all. “So, Little Mistress will unquestionably be titled the Imperial Noble Consort, second only to the Empress, equivalent to being the deputy Empress. In the worst case, [Little Mistress] will still be at least a Noble Consort. If we wait till Little Mistress gives birth to a prince, it will be unclear to whom the position of the Crown Prince belongs …”

Qingying looked towards the deep darkness outside the window. The inky-black night in the Forbidden City gave one an unfamiliar and uneasy feeling. The two white lanterns under the eaves shook in the night wind, giving rise to a sense of panic. Qingying interrupted A’Ruo, “Alright. If you can speak, you might as well go pour me a cup of tea to drink.”

Suoxin was sharp-witted. “Little Mistress cried for a long time today. I am afraid she is extremely thirsty.”

A’Rou was about to leave in high spirits; Qingying could not help but call her back. “The late Emperor has passed. If someone saw the joy written all over your face, you would not be able to atone for the crime even if you had ten lives. Do you think we are still at qiandi?” 

A’Rou was frightened into a shiver, and hurriedly restrained her expression before retreating obediently. 

Qingying frowned faintly. “She is unable to hold her composure to such a degree … Suoxin, you go watch her. Do not let her lose her sense of proportion and court disaster.” 

Suoxin nodded. “Yes. A’Rou is straightforward and does not understand restraint.” 

Qingying swept her eyes over the palace people waiting upon her, saying lightly, “I do not enjoy being served by so many people. You all retreat; it is enough for Suoxin to serve.”

The crowd of people retreated.

Qingying sighed and then sat down with a hand against her head. Crying for a long time, even when not emotionally invested, would still lead to tiredness and headaches. She said helplessly, “No matter what happened in qiandi, it could only reach a certain extent behind closed doors. The Emperor favors me, so, inevitably, the servants and slaves will lose a certain sense of proportion. But now, the situation is not the same as before. The Forbidden City is so extensive, with eyes and ears everywhere. If A’Ruo continues thus, she will not be able to survive peacefully.”

Suoxin nodded, saying, “This servant understands and will caution and remind all the tongues within our palace to not make any mistakes.”

Qingying nodded and allowed Suoxin to serve in soaking her hands. The little eunuch from outside announced, “Reporting to Little Mistress: Little Mistress Hailan has come.”

Because Hailan reported sickness, she had not attended the Crying Ceremony today at the Great Hall. Seeing that she was standing outside the door, Qingying said, “Why have you come so late? It would not be good if you caught a wind chill. [7]A more olden / ancient term for the common cold, but back then, a common cold could actually take one’s life. Quickly come in.”

Author’s Notes

①A Ge Suo: [8]These three characters, word-by-word, translate to ‘Princes’ Courtyard/Land/Office/Residence’. Refers to the fixed residence of the Qing palace [9]Born of the Emperor, instead of from branches of the Imperial family princes from childhood to marriage. 

This mainly consisted of “Southern San Suo”, “Qiandong Wu Suo” and “Qianxi Wu Suo”. Qiandong Wusuo is east of Qianqing Palace and north of Qianyingmen. These are actually five southern courtyards. From west to east, they are called “Dongtousuo”, “Dongersuo”, “Dongsansuo”, “Dongsisuo”, and “Dongwusuo”. [10]The names are literally ‘first east-facing courtyard’, ‘second east-facing courtyard’, etc. These had been the residence of princes since the Ming Dynasty. The majority of princes of the Qian, Jia, and Dao [11]T/N: Fairly certain this is referring to the Qianlong, Jiaqing, Daoguang Emperors of the Qing Dynasty. See Emperors #5-7: List of emperors of the Qing dynasty – Wikipedia. eras also lived here.

Generally speaking, after a prince gets married and is titled, he will open his own residence and move out of a’ge’shuo. However, there are also cases where a prince will stay in a’ge’shuo after getting married and titled.

TL Notes

A’Ruo: Hahaha our Little Mistress could one day surpass even the Empress!! 

Qingying: Why do I have such an … unreliable dowry maid…

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