The ninth of June, Changsi married Zhao Wan, the young daughter of Lord Xuanping, who would become a crown princess. I drank a few cups of wine with Noble Consort Wen, she sighed, "I didn't expect that you will have such a destined connection."
The next day, Changsi held his Little crown princess's hand, went the Yongan Palace to meet Emperor and me.
That little girl, that little girl...
Many years ago when we were all young, Consort Shu always said I resembled the former Empress when she was young. The similarity was not our looks, but our personality, the former Empress also said so. I was wondering all the time what Empress looked like when she was young. It turned out she looked like this.
There was no need to bring about the beauty. In her eyes and eyebrows hided the view of mountain and water, she was all elegant and graceful. The more precious thing was the expressions reflecting that she was unaware of the worries and all carefree. Her mouth and eyes all contained a smile, you would feel the sky turning brighter as she looked at you for one moment.
I had that expression like that? Now, I often slightly frowned like the former Empress I knew used to do.
Emperor shook and stood up, his voice was shivering, he asked the little girl whose fingers crossed with my son, "Who are you?"
The crown princess perhaps knew something, she looked directly to Emperor and said word by word, "I'm the crown princess that you arranged for the prince."
Emperor fell sick just like that.
The imperial physician said it was because the destructive wind penetrated into his body, there was no cure for that.
On the third of September when Changyi got married, Emperor struggled with his sick body and stood next to me on the palace wall, watching her carriage driving away, and leaving the cage which had trapped me as well as him for our whole lives.
I supported him, he was coughing violently and fixed my hair. He said,
"Thank you for all these years."
At the end of this year, Emperor appointed the crown prince to govern the country. He was trying to make the crown prince take two concubines. Ever since he met the crown princess, he never talked about it any more. After the Spring Festival, he remembered he had another daughter, so he arranged a marriage between Kangle and the second grandson of Prime Minister Wen.
Noble Consort Wen said to Kangle, the Wen Family didn't have anything to praise except her father, the later generations were all quite mediocre. However,
"The ancestral doctrine of the Wen Family, if men dared to mess up with prostitutes or maids, take a concubine after having a son from his wife, the wife could break his legs to keep him away from causing trouble to the family."
...What an extraordinary ancestral doctrine!
It was no wonder the Noble Consort Wen was disdainful of Emperor when she just entered the palace. It was not only because Emperor didn't have a taste for embroidery, but also because he was such a playboy that his legs would have been broken long ago if he was from Wen Family!
Kangle got married in a hurry. The good news was that the young master of the Wen Family was gentle and thoughtful. Kangle was good at taking charge of family affairs. They made quite a good couple.
The crown princess Wan was really a nice cutie. You could hear her laugh before you actually met her. It didn't take many days for us to get close. She came over to help me deal with affairs of the harem everyday, she did everything in a right way. But the kid blushed every time we talked about Changsi, every time. We couldn't make fun of them any more. When she stood with the wife of the fourth prince together, one was sweet, the other one was dim-witted, both very adorable. I finally could show off how I got along well with my daughter-in-law to Noble Consort Wen, with Consort De together.
Changsi got to govern the country, but he was only twenty years old after the Spring Festival. He had some difficulty when he dealt with affairs of the state, The Fourth Prince would help him all the time, even Changnian could do something for his brother. Only the poor Fifth Prince made trouble everywhere, Changsi wanted him to help, asked him to follow a case in the Punishment Department. The Fifth Prince did that by drinking wine with the staff there, from the vice minister to the prisoners in jails all drank until their tears went out. The minister of Punishment Department told the crown prince, if you didn't take your brother away, I would leave.
After The Fifth Prince came from the Punishment Department, he beat a plate for rhythm and sing A Lotus Rhyme, just to share the burden of his brother. It was said that he learned that from an old beggar in the western city, no one could sing better than the old beggar.
I told these to Emperor as a joke, he laughed and swore, "These bastards." But he sighed then, "My son was luckier than me."
He was thinking of something, his eyes were deep. I didn't know if he was thinking of his childhood which was filled with blood and conflicts.
He didn't look at me. His voice was very low, "Thank you for these years."
This was the second time that he said these to me. I didn't respond, I dropped one tear somehow.
Emperor became more and more sick, he knew that too. After he had told all the things after his life to the important officials in the court and the crown prince, he held my hand and talked unconsciously,
"Jiaojiao, after the weather turns warmer, I will take you to fly kites, is that all right? I will make a kite of big butterfly. No? What about wild goose? A kite with seven wild gooses linking each other..."
"When you were a kid, you said you liked me the most, do you remember? You were changing teeth at that time. The crown prince tried to hit me, you stopped him and argued with him, do you remember? Well, you don't remember, but I do all the time... It's okay that you forget that, you were so young at that time..."
"Jiaojiao, could you make me an embroidered purse? Could you make me a handkerchief? Jiaojiao... Jiaojiao... I don't want some other's, I want yours..."
He held my hand, acting like a child. I responded him from time to time, and he didn't get annoyed. He just spoke of whatever he came up with.
"Let's stay together all the time like this, all the time. They can have the country, we don't need that. Let's stay together, is that all right?"
He held my hand, his eyes were full of deep emotions that had accumulated for his whole life.
These words weren't said for me, I didn't respond. He got anxious, "Jiaojiao, don't be afraid. I won't allow the crown prince to take you away. Don't be afraid! The people who hurt us, they killed my mother, they also hurt you. I will send the people to death, those people who hurt you!"
"They were dreaming, trying to take you away from me! They were dreaming!"
His voice was sharp, he clenched his teeth and held my hand so tightly that my hand turned red, "They were all dead! Whoever hurt us were dead! It was all because of the old woman, that old bitch hurt us! She killed my mother, she hurt you, hurt our Changping! I will kill her slowly! Make her suffer!"
His eyes were red, his voice was as terrifying as the demon from the hell. The empty laugh couldn't hide the sadness, he laughed for a while, suddenly he cried, "Why did you desert me? Jiaojiao, why did you desert me? You said you liked me the most, you said when you were so young. We kept a little white rabbit together. Why did you desert me... "
His hair was all grey, his weak body was breaking down. He lay on my bed and cried his heart out, "Jiaojiao, why did you desert me? You call me Brother Xiu, call me Brother Xiu. Jiaojiao, I am right in front of your door, why won't you open the door? I have been waiting for so long, why won't you open the door?!"
"Jiaojiao, why did you desert me? Why did you desert me..."
He cried and cried, and fell asleep when he felt tired. In the shadow of the candle, my figure was stretched as long as the boundless year in the lonely harem.
If the former Empress got to listen these words from his heart, would she shed a tear for him?
His deep love for her was real, but her suffering life was real, too.
What was the meaning of the deep love?
What was the meaning of the deep love?
Vain reminisce of the swear in the Palace Changsheng. The country weighs more than a beauty. The water of Huaqing Pool and the earth on the Hill Mawei. The same person used to be there before.
The country weighs more than a beauty.
See, the ancients had made it clear. When I read those poems and history in my grandparents' arms when I was a kid, didn't I know that already? It was just if we said it all clearly, the life would be of no meaning.
In the May that year when I was fourteen, the sophora flowers were giving out fragrance. When I had a nap with my hand supporting my hand in the Palace Yongan, the man smiled with indescribable tenderness, he said, "Are you this sleepy?"
Didn't I have a feeling that moment? Didn't I have a feeling?
In that year, I was only fourteen years old. I was at the age of youth, I first met someone like that, he fixed my hair and draw my eyebrows, read poems and sang songs for me. He called me Jiaojiao? Did I really feel nothing about that?
I lied to Consort Shu, who was my friend and sister, I lied to Noble Consort Wen, who was obsessed with art. I lied to many people, I almost lied to myself.
But there was nothing that I didn't know. I knew it very early. When Emperor kept calling me Jiaojiao, when he always draw the back of me in the portrait, even earlier, when I was favored for only three days, I played The Phoenix Seeks A Mate for Emperor for the first time. Emperor said one word, I pretended that I didn't hear, he said,
"Yaoyao, will you play for me every day..."
Every day, Emperor wrote about "The man came with a bamboo horse, circled around the handrails, playing the green plums. Living together in Chang Gan Li, without any distance since the childhood." But I didn't get to experience all this with him, how could this poem possibly written for me?!
The lucky thing was that I only had a feeling for three days, then my heart burned into ashes. Since then I had been living a happy life without any worries in the harem. The unlucky thing was that I only had a feeling for three days, then I figured out the mystery. Since then I couldn't hate that man, no matter how heartless he was. Looking back the twenty years of being seen as someone else, I don't know who to blame.
Who to blame? Who wasn't a poor man? Even as powerful as an emperor. In more than twenty years, he could only face the marionette one after another, and called them by his lover's name.
What was the purpose? You had killed your lover by yourself, didn't you know that? Didn't you know that? if you didn't know, you would not lose your mind every time I imitated her to shed my tears and frowned the way she did that.
When I was young and innocent, I did advise the former Empress. I told her, Emperor read everyday about "We lived, close neighbors on Riverside lane. Carefree and innocent, we children twain." Didn't the Empress get my point? But she said, "You are such a good kid."