My Story-Part 5, The New Imperial Noble Consort

After three years of mourning, Lee is 23 years old already. I decided to bring her back to the Imperial family-not as my father’s widow, but as MY consort. I know there will be a lot of discussions and objections, but I don’t really care about them. I am the Emperor and as long as I handle the states matter right, no one can question my reign.

I am bringing her back…She used to be my father’s Noble Consort, I want to give her something more than that, to show her that she will be having a better life with me. As I already have a wife, and she has become the Empress Consort, the highest position available now is Imperial Noble Consort. That would be the title for Lee. Finally she is my woman.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://sn20140209.pixnet.net/blog/post/204181012-%E3%80%8A%E5%BE%8C%E5%AE%AE%E7%94%84%E5%AC%9B%E5%82%B3%E3%80%8B%E2%80%94%E9%82%A3%E5%94%87%E4%B8%8A%E7%9A%84%E7%B4%85%E9%98%BF%EF%BC%8C%E6%9C%89%E5%A6%82%E8%A1%80%E6%9F%93 last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
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last access 14th September 2016

On the day of ceremony,  she dresses up in the ceremonial attire. She reminds me of my mother who passed away decade ago. My mother used to be an Imperial Noble Consort of my father. She is wearing a Dianzi钿子, with phoenix pattern on one side, and flower patter on the opposite. Pearls, gems, jade..anything nice and luxurious I would give her to show everyone her status, and my love for her. The tassels move as she walks, making her even more demure and elegant. She can’t wear scarlet dress as she is not the Empress Consort. Her dress is bright yellow, the brightest yellow can be as she is the highest among all concubines.

Now she is my Imperial Noble Consort. It is like my dream come true. I respect my Empress Consort as well, she is kind and understanding, and she never show any objection in the new Imperial Noble Consort. But we were married because my father asked me to do so, not because I liked her. Anyway that is how marriage is usually arranged, by parents. Nevertheless, she will be kept as my Empress Consort, and I will provide Lee whatever I can to make her life no less than the Empress Consort.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://www.1-123.com/Article/Z/zen/zhenhuan/159860.html last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://www.1-123.com/Article/Z/zen/zhenhuan/159860.html
last access 14th September 2016

I hope my Empress Consort and Imperial Noble Consort can get along well.

The following year, Lee is expecting our first child. I was over the moon!I almost wanted to immediately assign the kid as the successor, but I know I shouldn’t. This time, Lee gave birth to the child smoothly and the kid is kept safe after birth. I will not let Lee lose a son ever again.

In the Imperial household, having a son is like having a amulet, Lee’s status is unparalleled as my Empress Consort did not have any kid with me. Meanwhile, Lee has wide connection with the noble man in the court, as we planned before. We have been suppressing all the royal clans and promoting capable peoples who do not have strong family background.Meritocracy is more emphasized.

I have to admit that I can’t handle all the state affairs without Lee, although I am not supposed to let my concubine to learn about any court issues. She is more vigilant, decisive, and farsighted than me. She can always think of a comprehensive solution faster and better than me.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://shows.cts.com.tw/shows_prog/drama/26.html#.V9lsKNl97mg last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://shows.cts.com.tw/shows_prog/drama/26.html#.V9lsKNl97mg
last access 14th September 2016

Lee has a best friend Ou, who was my father’s Xiunv but never get selected as a concubine. I allow her to visit Lee as she wishes, and sometimes stay over at Lee’s palace. Lee also has a servant from her family that has been with her since she first came to Palace. It is good that Lee has some real friends in this lonely and complicated place.

Another year passed, our son is one year old now. One day, Lee approached me and asked for a favor–she wants me to appoint marriage for her servant. I permitted her request and appoint her servant to a high rank Official’s son. Soon after which, her servant is sent out of the Palace to her new home. On the day of departure, Lee gave her a gold bracelet and some money personally.  After that day, I have never seen her again. I never ask Lee why she wants to send the servant away, maybe she feels that the servant has done her duty and deserves a better life afterwards, or maybe asked Lee to do her the favor—I am not sure, as long as Lee is happy about it.

(what happened is that Lee realized her servant always dolls up whenever she knows that she is going to meet the Emperor. Slowly Lee found out that her servant secretly wants so attract Emperor’s attention and is fantasizing about becoming a concubine herself. Lee can not tolerate the servant’s betrayal so she request to send her out of the Palace. Marriage is just an excuse to kill the servant’s hope. Lee still shows mercy to the servant as she as accompany her so decade, and thus find her a good family)

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1559085486 last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1559085486
last access 14th September 2016

Lee assists Empress Consort on daily affairs in the Imperial household. Although I continue to have new concubines from the triennial pageant, I never neglect Lee because of the new girls. As an emperor I have to take more concubines so to give birth to more children, and thus will have more choice in selecting my successor. It is a bless and a curse. I hope the rivalries between my children and my concubines next time wont be so cruel.

My Story-Part 4 Succeeding to the Throne

Lee told me I need to gain my father’s trust in a very discreet way, so that my siblings wouldn’t suspect anything or point their arrows to me. At the same time, I should show no interests in competing for the throne—until the very last moment where I supposed to act reluctant but no choice in accepting the grant. All is to protect me, and to ensure the plan is carried out smoothly.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://www.tvzn.com/11088/juqingjieshao/165703.html last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://www.tvzn.com/11088/juqingjieshao/165703.html
last access 14th September 2016

At the end of every month, my father would meet me and test my study progress. I never liked that day as I always put little effort in things that I was not interested in. This month, as usual, my father came again. He brought along some of his states report and was going to question me about some current issues. Little did he know, that I have already memorized by heart all the answers of the possible questions, as Lee taught me. Lee also told me that these answers were not the perfect answers and that my father surely would have something to add on. However, these answers were good enough to impress my father of my progress without overdoing it. As expected, my father asked me about the flood in the south, and I replied him with what I memorized–lowering tax, send refugee supply, etc . He was very impressed, that I started to pay attention to states issues and started to have my opinions. Of course I didn’t, it all was Lee. And all these my brothers didn’t know.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_741d8de50102vfjl.html last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_741d8de50102vfjl.html
last access 14th September 2016

The second time was my fathers birthday. Every year, all the princes would prepare a gift for father to wish him longevity. All along I have given the task to my servant and ask them to get the task done. This year, Lee was my adviser. I thought she was going to present something very expensive or rare, but she didn’t. She told me that a lot of things need to be considered. If we prepare a very expensive gift, it would be suspicious as I am not supposed to be so wealthy even though I am a prince, furthermore, as an Emperor, my father would not be lacking expensive things. If we present something is very rare, that means we have put a lot of effort in preparing the gift, which should not be the main focus of a prince as we are supposed to be studying and worrying about states issues. The gift must be of appropriate amount of effort, value, and most importantly, shows love to my father. In the end, Lee chose an unused item of my own—a jade flute. My father loves music as well, but not as  much as I do. The jade flute was a treasure of mine although it is not very expensive. I had kept it nicely as my most favored item. Lee says giving my most favorite item to my father is the best way to show my love as a son to a father, this gift was definitely not a competition with my brothers, but my father would love it very much. As Lee had foreseen, my brothers have researched on my fathers hobbies and had presented the luxurious, rarest item they could find. But father seemed to be happiest when I present my humble gift. Lee said, nothing should be overdone. Meanwhile, my brothers regarded me as childish and naive.

Slowly, under the guidance of Lee, my father had increasing interests on me. I suppose he still wasn’t considering appointing me as the emperor to be, but things were promising. Meanwhile, Lee also helped the Noble officials gained my fathers trust, so they could participate more in important discussions and their opinions are heard. All was happening secretly until one year before my father’s passing away.

Father knew that his health was declining, and assigning the successor was of the top priority. Official Lin, who is an alliance of us, was giving suggestion to my father. My father surely wasn’t aware of what was happening among me, Lee and him. Official Lin advised my father the possibility of considering me as the successor, the reasons were  similar to what Lee told me, that I was the only son of him that will let the brothers live peacefully for the rest of their life. And given that my knowledge and study has been improving, I should no longer be put out of the choices of candidates. That was, probably, the first time my father had this idea in his mind. That was the moment of change.

I did not know what Lee had told my father in the last one year, she must have done it so subtlety and carefully as women are not supposed to take part in any court affair. All I knew is that my father has kept his decision until the last moment of his life, maybe to prevent unnecessary rivalries among the brothers.

Everyone was kneeling outside my fathers bedroom, until his last breath. In the end, I became the new Emperor. So now I can save my brothers and most importantly, Lee…I suppose?

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://www.wanhuajing.com/d227448 last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://www.wanhuajing.com/d227448
last access 14th September 2016

It is now the period for nation-wide mourning, people are to wear black and white clothes, and are not allowed to cut their hair, or organizing any type of celebration event. Lee is in her mourning attire as well, simple, minimal decoration, minimal makeup and accessories. Her accessories are all silver and white now-but she still shines in the crowd. According to customs, after the death of the Emperor, all concubines are to mourn for their husband and are to either become Buddhist nun, or stay lonely in the Palace for the rest of their life . However, I won’t let Lee be like that for long. After I consolidate my reign, I will bring her back… soon.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://rosetruth.pixnet.net/blog/post/111933639-%E5%BE%8C%E5%AE%AE%E7%94%84%E5%AC%9B%E5%82%B3%E8%A7%92%E8%89%B2%E7%9F%AD%E8%A9%95 last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://rosetruth.pixnet.net/blog/post/111933639-%E5%BE%8C%E5%AE%AE%E7%94%84%E5%AC%9B%E5%82%B3%E8%A7%92%E8%89%B2%E7%9F%AD%E8%A9%95
last access 14th September 2016

My Story-part 3-The New Emperor To Be

The three years before my fathers death, Lee contacted me through one of her servants. After meeting her, she told me that she wants to form alliance with me, in fighting with other princes and Officials. It was totally unexpected as I am the least possible person to be appointed as the new emperor. My father had never put hope on me as an emperor, neither did all my siblings. Furthermore, I myself had no ambition in the throne, or any intention to fight with my brothers. I was just weak, carefree, non-self driven..basically, I was still a kid inside. I did not know what Lee saw in me.

She looked so pale and unwell, the only same thing she had was that Zan簪 from her family. She dressed up very simply and low-profile. ” Li Hong”, she called me by name. It was the first time she actually talked to me face to face. I knew I only had a crush on her, it was nothing serious–in fact, it was not supposed to be happen. and I had no idea if she knows about it.

 

“Li Hong, I know you probably do not remember who I am” Of course I did, how not to remember her.”I had plan that is daring, and dangerous. I am telling you this because I trust that you are a kind and good kid, and I know you always wanted the best for all people. I am not forcing you into this plot, you can reject me if after hearing the plan you feel strongly against it.” She looked into my eyes,”We are going to make you the next emperor, I know you might have hundreds of questions in your mind now, but let me explain to you. You can be no less familiar with the infighting for throne and power. Your brothers are not like you, they crave for the title, and will eliminate anyone threatens their authority. Which is why if, anyone of your brother becomes the next emperor, he will kill the rest competitors. Your father probably is worrying about what would happen after his passed down his throne, that is why he never openly decide who is the crown prince.”

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://news.163.com/12/0429/11/808N8LT400014AEE.html last access 14th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://news.163.com/12/0429/11/808N8LT400014AEE.html
last access 14th September 2016

“HOWEVER, you are different. Your brothers never see you as a competitor, because they never expect you to fight against them for the throne, they see you as a little brother in the family. Your father did not see you as a future emperor so far, that is why you can survive and live peacefully for so many years in the palace.” She then stepped backwards and asked me firmly”Think about, if you are the future emperor, will you ever kill any of your brothers?” I shook my head, she continued, “The possibility of your brothers usurping the throne is much lower as well because they still have the brotherhood with you in their hearts.”I could not find any word to reply her at that moment, and I didn’t know what I wanted to say. So she carried on, “Of course, only you and me is not enough to even start the fight. My family is not a strong backing, and you have never expand your connection in the court. Currently, the politics is greatly controlled by the royal clans, Empress Dowager and relatives. We cant rival with them for now. We can only develop our own partisan. We can start from the minority group in the court that get into politics through hardworking, studying and Imperial examination. They are capable people who are always suppressed by the royal clans, and thus can never climb to high positions in the court. If we form alliance with this group of people, they will be loyal to you, and if we ever get power, it is beneficial for the nation’s future as the royal clans will not have the monopoly over politics anymore.”

“But I DON’t WANT TO BE THE EMPEROR.” I replied her, “I know nothing about politics, about states affairs, and my father never put hope on me. How to convince him, I cant’t even convince myself.”

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://zj.sina.com.cn/news/s/2013-01-21/153953204.html last access 15th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://zj.sina.com.cn/news/s/2013-01-21/153953204.html
last access 15th September 2016

“Then it is time for you to start learning! You are the son of the Emperor and you can never escape the obligation. You are expected to be outstanding and well taught in politics. If your country is in crisis you are supposed to step out and contribute. You don’t want to see your brothers kill each other do you?”

Maybe she was right, but I still had no confidence in all these, or maybe I was just not ready to be involved in the rivalry.

She seemed to know what I am thinking, so she added”You don’t need to worry about how to deal with or impress your father, I will teach you. In the mean time, I need to gain back his attention, so it is more reliable for the noble mans to form alliance with me and you. A favored Noble Consort with a prince, that would convince them. AND…” She came closer to me, “It was the only way I can survive in the Palace. You want to save ME, don’t you?”

Well, I found myself in no position to reject her. I did want to save her, I liked her so much. I did not really care about the throne or even the country, but I cared about her.

So the plot began…And I had the mission to impress my father. I was not as smart as Lee, she seemed to be planning about a lot of things, and I only need to do what she asked me to do.

Soon Lee had gain back my father’s interests. I guess it was not hard for her, as she was still so pretty and attractive, as long as she dolls up and try to please, I believe no man won’t fall prey.  She was still the Noble Consort Lee, but everyone knew she can be an Imperial Noble Consort if she ever opens her mouth to my father.

from drama Empresses of the Palace image source: http://ent.ifeng.com/tv/news/mainland/detail_2011_11/22/10818300_0.shtml last access 15th September 2016
from drama Empresses of the Palace
image source: http://ent.ifeng.com/tv/news/mainland/detail_2011_11/22/10818300_0.shtml
last access 15th September 2016