In this chapter there will be many chinese honorifics. Try to remember them, I’ll be using them more in future chapters.
“What are you talking about? How can he be dead? Did someone kill him?”
“He was sick for a very long time. Now you need to marry the prince… now he’s the emperor immediately.”
“I’ll go say my goodbyes.”
I barged into Yun Wen’s room. He was half-dressed. I saw a dragon picture on his arm. He put his clothes on as fast as he can.
He was silent for a moment.
“Didn’t know that day will come so fast.”
I hugged him.
“Are you leaving with that man?”
I shook my head.
“Then why are you leaving? Does he know you’re leaving?”
“I’m going home.”
We stared at each other silently. In the two weeks that we were together, I got to know him really well. He’s arrogant but really soft-hearted. He’s like a brother to me.
“Will we see each other again?”
“Do you know why I gave you up? Not because that man is better than me or that you love him. It’s because I don’t love you. I like you but I don’t love you yet. You’ll be happy with him. Beside I’ve a mission to finish. I’ve no time for women. No go outside. I’m a busy man.”
“Yun Wen, I’ll miss you. Really thank you for everything. Take care of Hei Tou for me.”
Hei Tou was sleeping. I tucked him in. I can’t take him to the palace with me. It’s better if he stays here.
Everyone is busy preparing for the wedding. No one seems to remember that the emperor has died. Only I don’t feel happy. Tomorrow I’ll be married. I’ll never see Xuan Chen again. I’ve made a necklace with the ring. It’s a simple ring. Exactly how I like it.
I’ll always carry Xuan Chen in my heart like this necklace. I stared outside the window. So many stars. Tomorrow will be full moon. I’ll be the empress of this nation and my husband, the emperor. My heart feels empty. Lian Er looked at me pitifully. I can only sigh. Ming Long must’ve silenced the man who followed me. My father didn’t come asking me about Xuan Chen. I don’t care either way. He wants to sell his daughter. So be it.
Today is the big day. I’m full in red. Everyone said I look beautiful and how envious they’re of me. I smiled half -hearted at them.
I just want them to leave me alone. On the way to the carriage, tears kept falling. I tried not to smudge my look, but I can’t help it. It’s a good thing that the veil covered my face.
The emperor helped me out of the carriage. Surprisingly his hand was really warm. I couldn’t see his face well because of the veil. We bowed to heaven and to the empress dowager. I was sent to the wedding room in The Palace of Earthly Tranquility to wait for him. I dreaded of what will come. Will I be able to sleep with somebody I don’t love and have his children? I need to spend the rest of my life with him while thinking about another man.
I became more afraid as time passed. I clutched the ring. The night went by and he didn’t come. I was actually relieved. Some maids help me change. They looked at me pitifully. Everyone must know that the emperor didn’t spend his night here. He has officially humiliated me in front of everyone. I’m not even mad at him. I even feel relieved. We don’t love each other, why feel anything for him?
“参见德妃 ( canjian de fei, greetings to you Consort De).”
“Oh… I see that the emperor hasn’t slept here. He was with me. Poor you to spent the wedding night alone.”
I smiled at her and then slapped her.
“本宫是皇后 (ben gong shi huang hou. I’m the Empress). How dare you came here and be so rude? Kneel!”
She obediently kneeled while looking angrily at me.
“Listen carefully. You’re just a consort while I’m the Empress. Don’t you know the rules of the palace? Why didn’t you do the greetings? You’ve been here for so long and still you don’t know the rules. I don’t care what you did before me, but since I’m here you’ll be respectful to me. Now get out of my sight.”
“臣告退 (chen gao dui, this subject is leaving).”
I didn’t want to make an enemy out of his other wives. But she provoked me. In the future there’ll be more problems. She dared to be so rude, she must be highly favored. I sighed.
I toured in the palace. It’s so grand. If I didn’t have the maids I’ll probably be lost.
“We’re at The Palace of Heavenly Purity now, Empress.”
So this is where my husband lives. Someone is playing the flute. This melody, isn’t it what Xuan Chen played? Is Xuan Chen friends of the emperor? It can’t be, right? Now that I think about it, he has too much money to spend. He did go home when 先帝 ( Previous Emperor) died. What is his relationship with the imperial family?
I wanted to go in but the guards don’t let me in. Then I saw Ming Kuang in eunuch attire coming my way. He was also shocked to see me. There’s something going on in my head but it can’t come to a conclusion. I’m blocking myself from forming a conclusion. He regained his composure before me.
“参见 Empress. Emperor doesn’t want anybody to disturb him now. Can you go back and the emperor will come to you.”
“Ming Kuang, is Xuan Chen’s full name 愛新覺羅玄晨(Aixin-Jueluo Xuan Chen)?”
He didn’t get to answer me, when the emperor himself walked out and yelled: “朕, don’t want to see anybody, didn’t you hear? Go away.”
He looked up and saw the shocked me.
参见 ( canjian) : A way of greetings when meeting someone of higher rank than you.
德妃 (Defei): 德 (De) is the name, 妃 ( fei) is consort. Consort De.
本宫 ( bengong): A form to say I by the consort and empress.
臣 ( chen) : A form to say I by someon lower in rank than the one he’s speaking to.
告退 ( gaotui) : What someone lower in rank need to say when they’re leaving.
朕 ( zhen) : the way emperors address themselves
Palace of Heavenly Purity 乾清宫 ( qian qing gong): The place where the emperor resides.
Palace of Earthly Tranquility坤宁宫 ( kun ning gong): the residence of the Empress. Two rooms are specially used for the Emperor’s wedding night.
先帝 ( Xian Di): the emperor before the current emperor.
Palace has too many rules. How can they stand it?