The maid named Shen, who was a good behaved girl, was appointed as Xiuyi Shen. We could see that she was a little afraid when she came to greet us. However, all the people in the harem had seen the fate of the favourite Imperial consorts, like Consort Xu, Noble Consort Chen and Consort Yao, who were in high favor for a while but were all in the prime at last miserably. Therefore, everyone felt that it was unlucky to be a favourite Imperial Consort, and didn’t envy Xiuyi Shen so much.
Like the flowing water and falling flowers, the life in the palace was short but also very long.
In the following five years, everyone had a peaceful life, I also had a good time with the Consorts in the harem. The children also grew up day by day. When Jiale was 15 years old, she was no longer a little plump girl. She was taller than Imperial Consort Shu who was a beauty with long legs. She had a out-going character and was always smiling, just like another Consort Shu. But we all felt pity because she was too thin to be cute, so Consort Shu would like to ask her to have five meals in one day.
Changchuan, the 13-year-old third Prince, was always cowering. He was frightened no matter who talked to him. I just wanted to care about him, but he would answered all questions in a very low voice hesitantly. Every time the Emperor took an examination of his homework, which could frighten him to speechless, so the Emperor immersed himself for a long time in the doubt whether he was too frightening. Therefore, he was more and more impatient with the third Prince.
The fourth Prince Changshen and the fifth Prince Changhuai were nine years old, who always made us crazy. Changshen was a boy with few words. He looked like my third uncle very much. When I was a child, I was afraid of my third uncle so much. But now, every day when he said, "See the Queen Mother" to me with a respectful voice, I could not help but straighten my waist. If I could smash my family member’s job, I really wanted to change a teacher for Princes.
Changhuai and Changshen were just the opposite. He was very good-looking, but he was too talkative! And he grew up by listening to the legend love stories of Jieyu Song. Every day, he would walk and jump casually. He had a pair of peach blossom eyes even when he looked at the handkerchief, he would be affectionate, which made many little maids blush when talking about him. For fear of his bad behavior, Noble Consort Wen changed all the maids who served him into the internal servants and the old maids. But within a few days, some of them were also very shy when talking about him. So Wen had no idea.
Changsi had been skinny since he was a child, and even more when he was eight years old. He had a lot of naughty ideas. When he was young, he liked to be the leader of his brothers and they were all willing to listen to him. Even the timid third Prince also followed him to pour soy sauce and vinegar into my third uncle's tea cup secretly and the fifth Prince was on guard. Although the fourth Prince had already known it, he would say to my third uncle respectfully, "Teacher, please enjoy the tea." After being caught, Changsi was so righteous that he stood in front of his brothers and said to the Emperor, "If you want to punish someone, please punish me! Don't punish my people! "
Well! What a bully boy! So the Emperor punished him to copy the Analects fifty times in three days. As a result, his brothers, elder sisters and younger sisters all helped him copy it. Within two days, they handed over the Analects with different handwriting to the Emperor. The Emperor laughed so much that he not only didn't blame them, but also called us to have a meal together. There was a sense of pride in the Emperor’s words, "I am a genius who can not only regulate the family but also rule the state because I have such a united family."
So Consort Shu shook her head and said to me, "The Emperor is really confident! And this is what the Emperor really needs!"
Changyi and Kangle were one year apart. These two little girls had a good relationship. Kangle had a good temper, she had learned to be very thorough and considerate from Consort Xian at a young age and she always took care of all the people. All the maids were managed by her properly. Although she was only one year younger than Changyi, she always coaxed and supervised Changyi not to eat too much sugar. But it was a pity that she didn’t look like Consort Yao, otherwise the Emperor would not always ignore her.
I once went to the dog house to see Consort Yao. After all, she didn't make any big mistakes and we were both poor women. However, She was cheated by the Emperor so badly that she went mad just after being pushing into the dog house. She cursed me to die early with her loud voice every day. I didn’t know what to say. What I could do was to ask the maid to take good care of her, not treat her badly, and let the doctor go to see her on time.
Changyi looked like me, cute and innocent. She liked to eat and play, wanting to make friends with everyone. She was probably the Emperor's favorite child. When the Emperor put her on his knee, he asked, "does little Changyi like me?" Changyi nodded her hand cutely. The Emperor asked: "Would you like to give the Osmanthus Cake made with lotus root starch to me?"
When it came to food, Changyi became clever immediately, she said, "Do you like the Osmanthus Cake?"
"Yes," said the Emperor.
Then she took a big bite of the remaining Osmanthus Cake and said, "Then I will help you eat it!"
The Emperor couldn't stop laughing and he ordered the craftsman to carve a small jade pendant in the shape of the Osmanthus Cake for Changyi.
Changyi proudly showed it off to her brother, but Changsi said happily, "Now all the people in the palace know that you are a greedy cat for the Osmanthus Cake."
After heard that, Changyi cried poorly. At that time, my little Changnian who was only five years old had to did it justice, “Brother you should say that, and sister, please don’t cry, he didn’t mean it.”
Changnian was just like a little angel, with his mediation, both Changyi and Changsi hugged him and kissed him heavily. Then these three kids played on my bed and fell into sleep.
Xiuyi Shen was promoted to Zhaoyi Shen and gave birth to the eighth Prince. Unluckily, during her pregnancy, she met with the Maids Selecting Activity in the palace. She was so silly that she worried about it so much. At last, she was unhealthy and her baby was as weak as a sick cat, who was able to walk well at the age of three.
The palace held two imperial consort selections in five years. At first, the Emperor liked Zhaoyi Shen very much. But in the first activity, there was a young girl named Yang, who was lively, lovely, charming and pretty, and she was a little like me. So the Emperor liked her so much that he appointed her as Beauty Yang. Then ten days later, he appointed her as Consort Yang and ordered her to live in Changle Palace. He even slept with her for a month. But before she became powerful in the harem, she contacted her family privately and secretly supported his brother forced the daughter of a small official as his Consort.
Consort Yang was so happy that she dared to ask the Emperor to impeach the former Imperial officer and let her father do this position. The Emperor was pointed out by the Minister in the court that your consort did something behind your back. Therefore, the Emperor ordered to punish Minister Yang by caning 20 times on the spot and put him in prison. Minister Yang was so poor because he always called himself the Emperor's father-in-law to others, but just in a second, he was beaten by his son-in-law, crying and shouting. Once again, this thing told us a truth: You would not have a good ending if you wanted to be someone’s father casually.
This kind of thing was not a big deal in the period of the former Emperor. But it was a great crime at present. The Emperor was so angry that he ordered to kill Consort Yang. I couldn’t bear it and asked him to forgive Consort Yang because of her pregnancy. However, the Emperor also ordered to beat her to death while holding me in his arms and covering my eyes.
And the whole family of Consort Yang had been executed.
Don’t piss the Emperor off, sometimes we could say something bad back towards the Emperor, but if someone really made the Emperor burst into anger, hundreds of people would lose their life.
After Consort Yang died, the Emperor thought of Zhaoyi Shen. However, she was frightened by the death of Consort Yang, adding the tough delivery, Zhaoyi Shen was thin and pallid without any bright light in her eyes. So after seeing her twice, the Emperor never went to see her any more.
There were one or two girls caught the Emperor’s eyes as well, so he sometimes came to see them and then the sixth Princess came to the earth, whose mother was appointed as Shuyi Xiao. Shuyi Xiao was so artificial that she asked the Emperor to leave from my palace by the excuse of the sixth Princess’s illness. The Emperor was so impatient that he relegated her as Beauty Xiao and wouldn’t see her daughter any more. Beauty Xiao used to believe that the Emperor liked her so much, but after going through this, she got a serious illness. When she recovered, the Emperor had already forgot her. If I didn’t help them, it was very hard for the sixth Princess to survive.
In the second Maid Selecting Activity, the youngest daughter of Minister Sun, the Minister of the Personnel, had been chosen. The girl was as proud as a peacock, but because her face was similar to that of the Consort Yao, who was in the dog house. The Emperor appointed her as Jieyu Sun, and was obedient to her.
Jieyu Sun was a spoiled girl by her family, and immediately got the Emperor's favor when she came in the palace. So she was stunned by the victory and began to bully others. As a Queen, I couldn’t connive what her did. So I called her, asked her to be united and friendly in the palace, and ordered her to copy the Diamond Sutra five times to correct her character.
However, I didn't expect her to be a rather clever kid. She deliberately exposed herself to the cold weather and got ill. The next day, the emperor came to me angrily.
I finally ushered in a decent palace fight ten years since I entered the palace.
Actually I had many ways to make the emperor feel bad for me, but I didn't use them. Days before, my grandmother died after the death of my grandfather.
As the youngest granddaughter, I've mothered three children. My grandmother surely lived a long life. She experienced four dynasties and had 21 sisters. Among them, three were married in other countries, seven didn't live to marry. Although my grandmother couldn't recall the look of her father, she was lucky enough to grow up healthily and had a happy marriage with my grandfather, who passed the highest imperial examination back then. Many of her highly favored sisters struggled for rights and status, and died miserably. When the emperor succeeded, only four of them were named Princess. Among these four princesses, two fought their lives with Empress Dowager Renhe and died; one was expelled out of the city and died in depression, leaving just my grandmother living safely to the fourteenth year of the new dynasty.
The past few years in palace, she occasionally came to see me. She always told me, “Liu'er, you must be obedient to survive in the palace.”
For fear of my mother embarrassing me, she submitted a written statement to the emperor and transferred my father to be a Cishi in Xuzhou after discussing with my grandfather.
Her death made me feel less loved in the world.
I understand that a qualified queen should be able to control her emotions and turn the situation to her favor in the face of slander, but I'm not that kind of person. I knelt down without emotion in front of the angry emperor and said: “You are right, your honor. Please punish me.”
It seemed that I invoked some kind of memory of the emperor, he was so angry that he pointed at me and shouted at me for a long time without any actual words. Finally, he left.
That night, Noble Consort Wen and Consort Shu rushed to my palace. Consort Shu's anxiety could hit the ceiling, ”My dear Liu'er! You can do anything but argue with the emperor! This is not good for your health! Seriously? You can't be seriously angry! Even if the emperor is mad at you, you shouldn't be angry!”
Noble Consort Wen shouted: “All these years, the emperor surly didn't gain any wisdom! Bah! He must die of his stupidity”
I buried myself in the arms of Consort Shu and cried aggrieved just like when I first entered the palace ten years ago.
Jieyu Sun was even more arrogant after this incident. The emperor promoted her to Zhaoyi to make me feel sad. I was so angry that I wanted to quit the job of being an Empress, scaring Consort Xian and Consort De to death.
Consort Xian sincerely advised: “My Empress, you shouldn't let anger cloud your judgment. You've always been the kind and beloved queen for the last seven years, and a lot of the Consorts in the palace can't live so easily and happily without you. Your kindness and small punishments awakened so many idiots with bad intentions. Today's peace and harmony is all because of you. Please don't leave us behind.”
Consort De also cried: ”My Empress! All these years of you being the queen, all the children in the palace were born and got to grow up in peace. This is all because of your tolerance. Should we had a different queen less tolerant, I'm afraid half of children would be killed, let alone being so united and friendly! For these children, my Empress, please don't give up.
Seven years, a stupid person like me has been a kind queen for seven years?
The palace was indeed peaceful all these years, but I believe the credit should go to the kindness of our ancestors. Although Zhaoyi Sun was highly favored, but few except several new entrants flattered her. Instead, many Consorts went to my palace to comfort and accompany me. They gave me a lot of gifts and told some jokes to cheer me up.
Beauty Xiao held the sixth princess to me for fun. She taught her to call me “mother” and ask me to “Take good care”. Even in sickness, Zhaoyi Shen took the eighth prince to my palace and comforted me timidly. The eighth princess called me “mother” and touched my face gently like a kitten.
Consort Shu said: “Liu'er, you are so kind to everyone. No others can be compared to you. They are not fools. The emperor doesn't care about them, but you do. Your presence guarantees their peace and comfort. They all wish you could reconcile with the emperor and win his favor again.”
I suddenly felt the emperor doesn't deserve his harem.
On the one side, the emperor ignored me, and on the other side, he spoiled Zhaoyi Sun with a high profile. As to me, I enjoyed fine cuisines from Consort Shu and beautiful clothes made by Noble Consort Wen. All the anger faded away.
Three months later, Zhaoyi Sun conceived a child and was promoted Consort Sun. Four Consorts Gui, Xian, Shu, De ignored my advice and made up a plan. When Zhaoyi Sun framed Jieyu Song and Beauty Wang for almost killing her child, and implied that I instructed them, Noble Consort Wen smiled and threw the witnesses and evidence she gathered in front of the emperor: Consort Sun was never pregnant, she just vomited a bit because of gastrosia. She then made up a plan to frame the queen!
The evidences were gathered by Consort Xian and De, and the plan was made up by Consort Shu, starring Jie Yu Song and Beauty Wang. As Noble Consort Wen was the head of four Consorts, she was the one to testify the guilt of Sun.
Consort Shu explained the plan to us like she was guiding an army. Consort Xian was not suitable to appear because the emperor was guarding the General's house. Consort Shu was not in high favor. Consort De was favored, and was suitable for this mission, but the way she speaks was too informal. That's why Noble Consort Wen was the most suitable one. Noble Consort Wen's father is the most trusted minister of the emperor for more than ten years, making her even more trustworthy.
And what did I do? Er... I listened to their discussions and cheered for them.
Although Noble Consort Wen sounded confident and serious on the palace, we all saw her struggling to remember the lines last night. She even wrote some of them on her left palm.
The Emperor hated frames and fights in the harem, because they all remind him of Empress Dowager Renhe. Consort Sun was surprised to learn that her glory ended for just a few words of Noble Consort Wen. Seeing all the evidences, the emperor removed all of her titles and put her into the cold palace to accompany Consort Yao.