This work is an amateur fan-translation of original work by Tong Hua as available in free online format in Mandarin Chinese at:
The translation is done as good will, so that fellow fans who do not read Mandarin may enjoy this lovely work. We declare that we do not profit monetarily in any way from this work, and also do not pretend to be professional translators. Hence, we apologize in advance for inadvertent translation errors. In addition, reposting of the translation must be done with explicit permission of all translators as contactable via spcnet.
Characters Introduced So Far
(In Alphabetical Order)
Crown Prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinreng): The second son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently the Crown Prince and thus next in line for the throne.
Dong Yun: One of Ruolan’s maids.
Fourteenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinzheng): The fourteenth son of Emperor Kangxi. He is described as being quite handsome. Is currently around fourteen to fifteen years of age.
Fourth-prince (Asin-Gioro Yinzhen): The fourth son of Emperor Kangxi and the future Emperor Yongzheng. Slightly pale and has an impassive demeanour.
Eighth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinsi): The eighth son of Emperor Kangxi. Also known as the Eighth Bei’le. Ruolan is his Ce’fujin (Second Wife). Is often seen smiling out of the corners of his mouth as well as conducting himself with a calm and gentle disposition.
Kangxi: The current Emperor of China.
Mingyu Ge’ge (Guoluoluo Mingyu): Younger sister of the Eighth-prince’s Di’fujin, Guoluoluo Minghui. Not on good terms with Ruoxi. Most likely the one who caused the original Ruoxi’s accident after an argument. During the Tenth’s Birthday banquet, Ruoxi and Mingyu gets into a fight, resulting in quite a spectacle.
Ninth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yintang): The ninth son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently not given a peerage title. Seems to have a more taciturn personality. Nicknamed “the venomous snake” by Ruoxi.
Qiao Hui: One of Ruolan’s maids. Qiao Hui used to serve Ruolan even before Ruolan’s marriage. When Ruolan married, Qiaohui accompanied Ruolan to Eighth-prince’s household. Seems to be concerned for her mistress especially regarding Ruolan and Eighth’s relationship.
Ruolan, Maertai: Ruoxi’s older sister. The two are especially close as they are born from the same mother. She is also the Ce’fujin (Second Wife) of the Eighth-prince. Mild and gentle in nature, Ruolan likes to spend a better part of her days reciting Buddhist scriptures. Has a deceased lover who was a soldier in her father’s army. The man was of Han descent and had taught Ruolan how to ride.
Ruoxi, Maertai (Zhang Xiao): Protagonist of the story. Originally a modern day, white collar professional named Zhang Xiao. Under certain unexplainable, supernatural occurrence, Zhang Xiao’s spirit travelled through time upon her death and took over a young Manchurian girl’s body. Now stuck in ancient times, Ruoxi must navigate through an entirely foreign environment armed only with the little historical knowledge she remembers.
Tenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yin’e): The tenth son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently not given a peerage title. A bit of a simpleton. Likes to tease and bicker with Ruoxi. Nicknamed “the blockhead” by Ruoxi.
Thirteenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinxiang): The thirteenth son of the Emperor Kangxi. Nicknamed “the Death Challenging Thirteenth” by his brothers. Has a more carefree and unrestrained demeanour.
Glossary of Terms
(In Alphabetical Order)
Bei’le: Shortened from Duo’luo Bei’le. A peerage title that can be bestowed to those within the royal family. It is the third rank in the Qing peerage system for the imperial line.
Ce’fujin: A title. Meaning second wife or ‘side’ wife in Manchurian.
Di’fujin: A title. Meaning first wife or main wife in Manchurian.
Ge’ge: A Manchurian word for young mistress, or lady. It is a title you would call an unmarried noblewoman (or before they are bestowed an official title by the Emperor) above a certain rank.
Jie-jie: Older sister in Chinese.
Ji’xiang: A standard greeting one of lower status uses to greet people with higher status in court. The word literally means auspicious and can be translated as, ‘I wish good fortunes, prosperity and happiness to you”
As soon as I went in, I found myself in a parlour. I could smell strong stenches of alcohol permeate through the room but there was no one there. I took a few glances at the archway on one side of the room before I walked through the beaded curtains, causing the beads to bump into one another, creating a pleasant sound.
The Tenth-prince was lying sideways on the bed. With his eyes closed, he shouted, “I’ve said to leave me alone! Get out!”
I immediately went forward and was about to speak when I realized that I didn’t know what to say. He suddenly opened his eyes, angry. When he saw me, that anger turned into surprise, and then sadness. He slowly sat up.
I sat down on one of the chairs, picked up a wine jug on the table and shook it before putting it down. There was still some wine inside.
I was silent for a minute, and then asked, “Are you planning to keep on drinking like this? Thinking that if you are drunk you wouldn’t have to marry Mingyu Ge’ge?”
He didn’t speak for a while before he finally said, “I’m just a bit troubled.”
“Why?” I asked.
With his head down casted, he proceeded to put on his boots. “Can’t you tell?” he said, sounding frustrated.
I did not feel as nervous as I did when I first entered the room and could calmly reply, “First of all, you do not like Mingyu Ge’ge yet you have to marry her. Second, you have some feelings for me, but cannot marry me.”
He stood up and came to sit by the table as well. He picked up the wine jug and poured himself a cup of wine before he stared blankly at it while holding it in his hand. After a while, he asked softly, “Would you be willing to be my Ce’fujin?”
For a moment, I was caught off guard, not having prepared for such a conversation. I had forgotten about that in the ancient times, having multiple wives was of the norm.
He looked up at me longingly with renewed hope and earnestly said, “I’ll treat you really well, I’ll definitely…”
I quickly interrupted him, “I’m not willing.”
He clenched his teeth, looked at me, and nodded his head. Suddenly he lifted his wine cup and drank the wine in one shot.
“I know! Even if I wanted you to be my Di’fujin, you might not have agreed. I had a glimmer of hope before, but now,” he laughed bitterly, “it’s impossible.”
I picked up the wine cup to look at it. “If you already knew, then be sensible. Don’t make Bei’le worry or the Emperor angry.”
He poured himself another cup of wine and drank it, “I’ve already succumbed to Imperial Father’s orders. Am I not allowed to even express my feelings?”
I took the wine jug and poured myself a cup, “You have already accepted the big thing. Then why do these little things that will only ‘cause your family pain and your enemy joy’?”
I took a swig and drinking perhaps too quickly, I choked on the wine. I used my handkerchief to cover my mouth and coughed it out. I was wiping my lips when he asked in a low voice, “Ruoxi, have you ever liked me?”
I looked up and saw in his eyes a mixture of longing, apprehension, and fear. I lowered my head, wrenched my handkerchief and after a moment, I answered quietly, “I had liked you.”
He let out a big breath, and then chucked lightly, “Ruoxi, I’m really happy. Do you know? In these past few days, I wanted to ask you that question, but was afraid of what your answer would be.” He took another drink. “Don’t worry. I’m going to live well from now on. I will think about how you had sung a song for me, had made me happy, and had been sad because of me, and I will be happy again.”
He paused for a while, and then slowly continued, “Since I was young, everyone thought that I was stupid. I don’t study well or make much progress. But what they didn’t know was that I’ve really tried my best. It’s just that no matter how much effort I’ve put in, I still could never be comparable to Fourth brother, Eighth brother, or Fourteenth brother. They only need to read something once before they could memorize it by heart. I could read things three times and would still not remember. Whatever Imperial Father says they could quickly understand it; while I would rack my brains about it all day and still not get what he meant. I also have a bad temper, which gets me in trouble countless of times. People would laugh and make fun of me behind my back. Only Eighth brother would care for me and protect me.”
He paused again before asking forlornly, “Ruoxi, do you think I’m stupid?”
I chuckled, “Of course! If you’re not stupid then how could I have bullied you all the time?” I deliberately paused, “But the reason I like to play with you is because you are stupid and because you show your feelings frankly. If you’re happy, you’re happy. If you’re not happy, then you’re not happy. If you like something, then you like it. If you hate something, then you hate it. You’re not like those hypocrites, who would smile on the outside but hold hatred in their hearts. That’s why, in front of you, I could laugh out loud if I’m happy and be angry if I’m not. Do you know? When I’m with you, I’m happy, truly happy.”
He stared at me the entire time I was talking but turned away as soon as I finished and didn’t speak for a while.
“I am also very happy,” he whispered throatily.
In that moment, the two of us did not know what else to say and could only sit there quietly until I heard the Fourteenth-prince’s voice, “We should head back!”
I stood up, poured two cups of wine and gave him one. I raised my cup as a toast to him, drank and then set the cup down on the table. He saw that I had finished the wine and downed his too.
I smiled and dropped down in a curtsy. “Ruoxi bids you farewell,” I said and lifted the beaded curtain to leave.
Chapter 5 (Part 1)
This winter’s first snowfall came silently and without warning. The sky was perfectly normal the day before, but the next morning, a world that seemed to be dusted in powder or carved from white jade is found.
Ever since graduating from college and moving to Shenzhen for work, it has been more than three years since I have seen snow. Upon unexpectedly seeing this sparkling, jade-like scene before me, an indescribable feeling of surprise and exhilaration fills my heart, and in my excitement, I decide to go out for a walk.
Qiaohui, seeing that she could not convince me otherwise, lets me have my way and hurries off to find a cloak and snow hat for me. I chose a bright red cloak made of silk crape and lined with white rabbit fur. I also put on a matching snow hat before walking outside hurriedly.
Behind me, Qiaohui cries out, “Don’t come back too late.”
Snow is still drifting down, and although it is not falling very hard, everything seems blurry. It is hard to see beyond ten steps.
There is no particular place I would like to go, so I allow myself to walk wherever I desire. There is no one all around. I walk onward, a step treading lightly, another step treading heavily, while thinking that, although this is a big world, I am different from all of them. There is a feeling of loneliness, a feeling of “I am alone in this space between the heavens and the earth.”
Just as I am walking along in my own world, I suddenly hear the sound of footsteps. Someone catches up from behind and walks alongside me.
I turn my head to the side. It is the Eighth-prince. He is wearing a black, marten fur cloak and a wide-brimmed, black, bamboo hat. I know I should perform the ceremonial greetings, but for some reason, I want to ignore him. So, I look away from him and keep walking as before, wherever I please.
He does not speak, nor does he leave. He merely continues to walk beside me in the snow.
The snow is still falling. The whole world is in a quiet calm with only the sound of our footsteps. I feel as if, in this vast world of whiteness, there is only him and me. Even though neither of us speaks, that previous feeling of loneliness gradually disappears, and my heart becomes extremely tranquil and extremely calm. I could keep on walking and walking.
All of a sudden, I step on a stone that was hidden by the snow. My foot slips out from beneath me, and I was about to fall. I was sighing silently over my bad luck when a hand reaches out and supports me firmly. After steadying myself, I did not utter a sound and begin walking again. He does not speak either and only continues to hold onto my hand. I try several times to shake him off, but seeing that I am unable to pull my hand away, I let him be.
With my hand clasped in his, he walks for another while. I had not paid any attention to the surroundings, only following his lead, and hence had already lost my sense of direction. In addition, everywhere is blanketed in snow, so I do not even know where I am at the moment.
As we are walking, the Eighth-prince’s personal eunuch, Li Fu comes toward us. By the time I noticed him, he is already very near. In a panic, I hurriedly try to pull my hand back, but he grasps it even tighter. I listen to him order, “Dismiss everyone who is in the study.”
Li Fu bows and answers, “Yes,” before turning around and hurrying away. I try a few times again to pull my hand away, but still he clasps on firmly. Holding my hand, he continues strolling ahead. We walk a little while longer until I realize we have arrived at the study.
Only Li Fu is standing watch at the door to the courtyard, and upon seeing us coming, he hurriedly bows. The Eighth-prince takes no notice of him and leads me straight into the room.
Once we enter the room, he releases my hand, helps me take off my snow hat, and then stretches out his hand to help me untie my cloak. Alarmed, I quickly jump back a couple of steps and say, “I can do it myself.”
He smiles and pays no heed to me as he removes his own cloak and hat and hangs them up.
A fire burns in the room, making it nice and warm. I unfasten my cloak, but after hanging it up, I do not know what I should do so I have no choice but to remain standing.
He pours a hot cup of tea and hands it to me. I automatically take it and let it warm my hands.
He walks over to the desk, sits down, picks up some documents, and starts reading. With the tea cupped in my hands, I stand there stupidly. After quite some time passes, he raises his head and asks smilingly, “Do you really like standing?”
I give a start and hastily find a chair situated the farthest away from him and sit down. Smiling, he shakes his head slightly but pays no attention to me and continues to read the documents with his head lowered. From time to time, he picks up the brush and writes something.
And so, we sit there like that. Some time in between, Li Fu came in quietly, changed out the tea twice, and added some more coals to the fire. His movements are practiced and nimble, and he had not even made a single sound before he had retreated out of the room.
At first, I do not dare let my gaze turn in his direction and only stare at the ground right before me. Later, I discover that his concentration is on reading the documents, and he does not so much as raise his head. Only then does my courage gradually increase, and I start to secretly assess him. He is dressed in a light teal gown. His complexion is brilliant and smooth, his features defined, and a faint smile touches the corner of his lips. As he reads through the documents, his brow would occasionally crease slightly, but very quickly, it unfurls again. When he holds the brush to write, his gestures are elegant and immaculate. From my perspective, I cannot help but say “his elegance is like the dewy bamboo and cool breeze; his graceful bearing is like pearl and jade.”
 Orig. 青色. Refer to footnote  in chapter 2. I have assumed the color is teal.