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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2020] Royal Nirvana 鹤唳华亭


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1 hour ago, bluehibiscus said:

A piece of BGM used in Ep1 of the latest TV drama Legend of Yan Chuo (starring Luo Jin’s wife Tang Yan) bears great simiilarity to Royal Nirvana’s 《鹤》. You can fast forward to just after 10 mins or so to hear it. Ah Kun’s name does not appear in the credits so not sure what’s going on. It’s a big production though and the story seems to have a happy ending.


Someone did a comparison clip here.


Thank you @bluehibiscus I just watched it and it does sound very similar. The main motif is in a slightly different key, but yes...


I've been waiting for this drama as I'm keen to watch it. I know it premiered yesterday, I wonder if we'll see it soon somewhere else. And a happy ending..? After RN, that would be just wonderful, what more could one want!

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3 minutes ago, DramaLover said:

@bluehibiscus, somehow after re-watching episode 12, I feel as though they left an “out” for CP and WX in that he could have survived his suicide as his tears were still streaming when the Emperor glanced into the room, and WX was never seen after her scene at the swing. They then ended the scene with both of them at the pavilion.


(Just maybe they both got exiled after the birth of A’Chen?)


Also, it sounds like A’Chen is the Crown Prince as 6th Prince was helping him plant a tree at the Crown Prince Forest. 


Yes, the drama left it open ended enough for viewers to choose the ending they like. The script released by the second scriptwriter implied Wenxi survived alone.


Some viewers said they could tell they changed the dubbing in the tree planting scene (I have looked at the scene in question but can’t really say for sure) to make Ah Chen the heir to the throne to have a more positive message of reconciliation between father and son. 

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1 hour ago, DramaLover said:

@bluehibiscus, somehow after re-watching episode 12, I feel as though they left an “out” for CP and WX in that he could have survived his suicide as his tears were still streaming when the Emperor glanced into the room, and WX was never seen after her scene at the swing. They then ended the scene with both of them at the pavilion.


(Just maybe they both got exiled after the birth of A’Chen?)


Also, it sounds like A’Chen is the Crown Prince as 6th Prince was helping him plant a tree at the Crown Prince Forest. 

That's a very interesting proposition... It is maily left unsaid, though don't they announce the CP is dead as a voice over at some point? I suppose one could take it to be for form's sake. I do wonder why Wenxi just disappears. And of course the two of them in the pavillion at the end... Just like the ending of ep 60, yes that would be such a nice ending.


What of Wenxi's voice over? Qing ni, deng deng wo, again, like previously, the last words are 'wait for me'. I took it to be 'wait for me in the afterlife' , though I'm more than happy to think differently!! 


(sorry, this is more of a thinking aloud sort of post) 

13 minutes ago, bluehibiscus said:


Yes, the drama left it open ended enough for viewers to choose the ending they like. The script released by the second scriptwriter implied Wenxi survived alone.


Some viewers said they could tell they changed the dubbing in the tree planting scene (I have looked at the scene in question but can’t really say for sure) to make Ah Chen the heir to the throne to have a more positive message of reconciliation between father and son. 

I'll watch that again, I just very quickly took it to mean that Achen would be the next CP, as that would tie in with CP being the sacrificial lamb to open the doors to a more harmonious state. No longer conflicted between the Gus and the Xiaos, finally there can be peace. And indeed the Emperor now has no need to be suspicious; he is going to teach the child himself (as well as Xu) as well as letting himself be the loving father (or grandfather) he perhaps longed to be with CP. 

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19 hours ago, PPB said:

though don't they announce the CP is dead as a voice over at some point

I think that’s just an edict announcing the death of the CP and his posthumous title. It doesn’t mean he died. The Emperor could still let him (secretly) leave to live in exile elsewhere. 

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4 hours ago, DramaLover said:

I think that’s just an edict announcing the death of the CP and his posthumous title. It doesn’t mean he died. The Emperor could still let him (secretly) leave to live in exile elsewhere. 

Excellent, there IS hope!! :blush:

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Ep 4 Transcript (By Bluehibiscus. Please do not repost without my permission)


Day. Inside Yan An Palace.


CP reads the urgent military report from General Gu Silin.


(The northern barbarians are invading in large numbers. In view of the critical situation, official requests to personally lead 200,000 soldiers out of the pass to meet the enemy and we will surely emerge victorious. Military report urgently submitted —Gu Silin)


CP: General Gu is requesting to lead 200,000 men out of Changzhou to meet the enemy. That’s really soon.


Emperor: What are you worried about?


CP: Wu De Hou’s leg suffers from an old injury. It is cold and steep outside the pass and would not be favourable for travelling.


Emperor: You have a filial heart indeed. The funds and food supplies that this army needs have to be transported from the capital to Changzhou along the main roads, forming a mighty, steady stream that will not cease until there is victory. The army is a weapon that saints only use as a last resort.


Emperor: This military campaign is unprecedented in the one century of our country’s history. My ten over years of reign may also be exhausted in a day.


He coughs and Chen Jin starts patting his back.


Emperor: This morning in court, your fifth brother offered to donate his salary to help share the country’s burden. As the Crown Prince, what have you been busy with everyday?


CP: Your Majesty has forgetten, I’m currently grounded and cannot attend court. 


Emperor: When you are not the head of the family, you don’t know how costly the necessities are. You may go.


CP: Your Majesty, I request that my grounding be lifted and I be allowed to go to the Ministry of Revenue.


Emperor: What are you saying?


CP: In times of peace, we should be prepared for danger and plan for rainy days.


Emperor: You still haven’t given up.


CP: It is imperative to increase the taxes.


Emperor: Aren’t you afraid the Yu Shi Tai (Censorate) will once again impeach you and request to depose the Crown Prince?


CP: Whether I am the Crown Prince or not, I should have a big enough heart to tolerate different views and the fortitude to fight to the end and press on, knowing full well the difficulties.



Day. Inside Dong Gong.


Xu: His Majesty gave his approval?


CP: [I‘m] going to the Ministry of Revenue to supervise the grain and fodder.


Xu: I heard that during this morning’s court session, Zhao Wang proposed that the tributary rice be offered to raise army provisions. The beneficiaries of the tributary rice are all relatives of the Emperor and high-ranking court officials.


CP: Fifth Brother is probably acting upon His Majesty’s order. It is just like when His Majesty used my memorial to the throne to test the waters. Only the result was unexpected and the whole court now knows how little support the Crown Prince gets when he proposes a cruel policy.


Xu: Your Highness harbours great ambitions and must therefore endure hardship to achieve them.


CP: I don’t wish to endure anymore. My mother’s surname, family background and that folksong are a thorn in His Majesty’s flesh.  Since it twinges when touched, why not pull it out and let it bleed? At least there is hope that it will heal.


Xu looks greatly troubled.


CP: Registrar Xu.


Xu: Pulling out the thorn may allow the wound to heal but it can also be a fatal thrust.


CP: When Feng En taught me shooting while we were young, he used to like to say “a fatal thrust” a lot. 


Xu: He Yang Hou comes from a renown family, his shooting skills must be incredible.


CP: I wonder if his steed is still the one I gave him. With the campaign about to start, he as the Deputy Commander-In-Chief must be at the frontline. Despite supervising the grain and fodder, I am unable to join him in Changzhou and experience the difficult conditions of the border together.


Xu: Your Highness...


CP: We’ve not seen each other for three years. I really...miss him a lot.


Night. Outer city wall of Changzhou.


Feng En: Father.


Gu Silin: Why is the Deputy Commander-In-Chief here instead of drinking and making merry with the men?


Feng En: Today the men are rewarded with wine for the military parade. I am worried Father will drink overly much.


Gu Silin: Come over here. Look at that star. Does it appear brighter than in previous years?


Feng En: Astronomical signs are not significant. Father will surely be victorious after leaving the pass.


Gu Silin: You have requested to go to the frontline on numerous occasions but I made you keep watch over Changzhou. Do you resent me for depriving you of the chance to distinguish yourself?


Feng En: How can I possibly be?


Gu Silin: Li Ming An is based long term in Changzhou, with 30,000 soldiers in hand. He is the Emperor’s disciple. If we leave him to guard Changzhou alone, the future of our Gu  Army is worrying. This time the Tian Chang Army that Li Ming An controls will be led away by me to be vanguard in the war, effectively cutting off one of his arms. This way, you and he will each occupy a corner within the city of Changzhou like a pair of horns, with neither side dominating and arousing His Majesty’s suspicions. In all matters, make forbearance your priority. Before my return, avoid clashing with him and disrupting the overall situation.


Feng En: I will bear it in mind.


Gu Silin: One more thing. Originally I did not want to tell you but this time I will be travelling a long distance for battle. Although I’m confident of victory, untoward things can happen and it is better to explain things clearly to avoid leaving behind any potential for trouble in future. I received a secret report from the capital that Zhao Wang was greatly praised by court officials for his ideas to raise army provisions, his limelight pushing against His Highness’. He has openly used paintings to accumulate wealth and has been befriending Yu Shi Tai in secret.


Feng En: Zhao Wang? The one who likes to hang out with girls? The fIfth son?


Gu Silin: He’s almost twenty now but His Majesty hasn’t appointed a formal wife for him and makes no mention of when he will leave for his estate. He must be trying to cultivate him to keep His Highness in check. This is an old trick of His Majesty but if this person is not willing to be subservient and be used by His Majesty, the threat he poses is no less than that of Prince Qi previously.


Feng En: Father, should we report to His Highness of this matter?


Gu Silin: It is not the right time yet. According to the report from the capital, His Majesty has placed His Highness fully in charge of grain and fodder for this war. I don’t wish to distract His Highness at this juncture.


Feng En: It has always been the rule for the Crown Prince to refrain from participating in administration. Is His Majesty’s intention to have His Highness grilled over the fire?


Gu Silin: His Highness occupies a high position. If we win the war this time, there will be no benefit to His Highness. If we lose, it will be the source of his misfortune. When I think of what happened in the past, how can I dare to treasure this head of mine or make the slightest mistake in this campaign? I can only die in battle to repay His Majesty for his favour. 


Feng En: Father!


Gu Silin: I was just saying it. Why are you getting anxious? I have spent half my life in combat. Without any odds of winning, would I have raised an army to go out of the pass? I haven’t laid eyes on my grandson. Daughter-in-law is about to deliver soon?


Feng En: It should be in May.


Gu Silin: I heard you’ve already picked his nickname, called Ru Er. Last time I gave you the name of Cheng Ru, hoping you would follow in your Grandfather’s footsteps, enter officialdom and assist His Highness. Who would have thought you would follow me in the end.


Feng En: It’s my fault for not living up to your expectations.


Gu Silin: It’s my fault. I chose a career in combat when our dynasty favours civil officials over military officials. I have harmed not just you (sighs) but also Cheng En.


He walks away, closes his eyes and surreptitiously wipes away a tear.


Gu Silin: What’s with me today? Is it the liquor?


Feng En: Father holds your liquor well. In a few days, you will be going on the expedition. You must take good care of your body.


Gu Silin: Deputy Commander-In-Chief.


Feng En: I’m here.


Gu Silin puts his arm around Feng En’s shoulders: Follow me to have drinks with the soldiers.


Day. Inside Dong Gong.


Sixth Prince and his entourage are making their way to Wenxi’s courtyard.


Sixth Prince: Xiao Wang (referring to himself) will go in to return the vase. None of you is allowed to follow me.


The eunuch hands the vase to Sixth Prince.


Two eunuchs working nearby takes note of this.


Eunuch A: Gu Cai Ren’s courtyard. Has the grounding been lifted?


Eunuch B: Who knows?


Chang An, who is sweeping the floor, overhears their conversation.


Eunuch B: There are only two of them, mistress and servant, inside. It is worse than the Cold Palace.


Sixth Prince: Sister-in-law. Sister-in-law.


Not seeing Wenxi, he places the vase on the altar.


Wenxi comes in, calling: Xi Xiang—It’s you.


Sixth Prince: I have brought a new vase. I didn’t see anyone upon entering the room. I hope Sister-in-law will not blame me for entering without prior announcement.


Wenxi: Xiao Wang Ye cares about keeping your promises. Admirable.


Sixth Prince: I walked a long way. Now I feel thirsty.


Day. Crown Prince’s study.


Sixth Prince cautiously pushes open the doors to Crown Prince’s study and pokes his head in, drawing Xu’s attention. Sixth Prince is about to close the doors when Crown Prince calls: Aren’t you coming in?


Sixth Prince enters.


Xu: Has Liu Dawang come to hand in your homework?


Wang: Liu Dawang is obedient.


Crown Prince: Hand it over.


Liu Dawang presents a stack of papers and a wooden ruler.


Sixth Prince: Please punish me with the wooden ruler. Being hit by the brass ruler is too painful.


Xu: Is Liu Dawang aware that the brass ruler was bestowed by His Majesty? Last time His Highness was punished by the same ruler when he made mistakes in his homework.


Sixth Prince: But Teacher said our body, hair and skin are from our parents and we should be fearful of harming/damaging them. That is the basic of teachings.


Flashback begins.

CP (at Wenxi): What are you crying out for? 

CP grunts in pain when his palm is hit by the brass ruler: Ugh!

CP: You are the only person I have taught this unique skill of mine. You are not talented enough in the first place. Why can’t you work harder? 

CP (guiding Wenxi’s hand): Hold this.

Flashback ends. The scene transitions to CP holding Sixth Prince’s hand as he writes.


Sixth Prince: Your Highness, don’t press [on me]. I am not able to breathe.


CP: You get tired easily. No wonder you can never write well.


Sixth Prince: Kang Kai (calligraphic script) is restrained and boring, not what a man should write. I want to learn Your Highness’ Jin Cuo Dao.


CP: You’re still young and your wrist is weak. You should start by learning the basics so that your calligraphy in future won’t become a building in the sky (illusory).


Sixth Prince: Your Highness would rather teach an outsider and not me.


CP: Is your fifth brother an outsider?


Sixth Prince: I’m not talking about Fifth Brother.


CP: Who else have you seen writing in this style (Jin Cuo Dao)?


Sixth Prince: Nobody.


CP: Wang Weng.


Wang: Yes.


CP: Call over the people who have followed Liu Dawang these few days for questioning.


Wang: Yes.


Sixth Prince: Wang Weng, don’t. There is no need to call upon them. I will speak. I saw the writings of Gu Cai Ren. They look like Jin Cuo Dao.


Wang (to the woman): Leave.


Sixth Prince hurriedly kneels before CP.


CP: Speak. Why did you run over there for no good reason?


Sixth Prince: That day, i was playing with Fifth Brother in Crown Prince Woods. We took turns to throw sticks. Somehow, the stick landed inside Gu Cai Ren’s courtyard.


CP: Who threw it?


Sixth Prince: It...it’s me. I broke the worship vase so...


CP: So you got a new vase and took it to her.


Sixth Prince: If Your Highness already knew, why did you still ask me?


CP: You intruded twice into the forbidden grounds of my harem. Am I not entitled to ask? The first time was unintentional but what about the second time? Who asked you to go? Don’t cry.


Sixth Prince: Nobody. I wanted to go because I promised to compensate her with a new vase.


CP: Then why didn’t you tell me?


Sixth Prince: I...I heard Gu Cai Ren had an intractable disease and Your Highness isolated her for several years and forbid others from visiting her.


CP: Then why did you go repeatedly?


Sixth Prince: No one stopped me when I went there. And when I communicated with Gu Cai Ren, I found her to be gentle and intelligent, more intelligent than most, so I think she has been cured of her illness and can start meeting people.


CP: Do you think you are a physician? What did she say to you? Tell me truthfully.


Sixth Prince: Is Your Highness interrogating me? I’ve forgotten what we talked about exactly. I only remember...(CP bends forward in interest) I only remember she never once asked about Your Highness.


CP: Kneel straight.


Sixth Prince: Is Your Highness angry? Please don’t be angry. I won’t go there in future. 


CP gets up from his chair and walks towards Sixth Prince.


Sixth Prince: Ding Liang will work diligently to learn writing from Your Highness. I will never write Jin Cuo Dao. Please stop being angry, Your Highness. It’s almost time for the evening filial duty. If Your Highness is not in a good mood, Your Highness will surely be reprimanded by His Majesty. Ding Liang doesn’t want to see Father scolding Your Highness.


CP gives into a smile and brings Sixth Prince up from his knees.


CP: I must have spoiled you these few years until you become totally lawless. In future, remember that if you anyhow intrude the grounds of my Dong Gong, I will not go easy on you.


Sixth Prince: Yes. I will follow Your Highness’ order.


Wang breaks into laughter.


CP: What are you laughing about?


Wang: Seeing Your Highness and Liu Dawang, I’m reminded of how He Yang Hou used to be when he was in Dong Fu. He Yang Hou must have left the pass together whth Wu De Hou.


Xu: No, he stayed behind to guard Changzhou.


Wang: Father and son soldiers when going to war (means: one can only rely on one’s closest kin in critical times). How can He Yang Hou bear it?


With his hand, Xu signals to Wang not to continue further.


CP closes his eyes and lets out a sigh.


Day. Changzhou (exterior).


Feng En is standing on a cliff staring into the distance.


Soldier: Deputy Commander-In-Chief.


Feng En: Speak.


Soldier: Our men had a dissent with Li’s men over the distribution of provisions. Each side has nearly a hundred men locked in confrontation outside the eastern city gate. A conflict is about to break out.


Feng En: Let’s go.


Soldier: Yes.

Riding into the city, Feng En swings down from his horse.


Soldier A: Deputy Commander-In-Chief.


Soldier B: Deputy Commander-In-Chief.


He and his men enter Li Ming An’s quarters. One of them bear a box in his hands.


Soldier C and Soldier D: Hold your steps!


Li Ming An: Do not be rude!


Li Ming An: He Yang Hou.


Feng En: My respects to Lord Li.


Li Ming An: He Yang Hou is of the same rank as me. You may dispense with the formalities.


Feng En: A fight over rice occurred outside the East Gate. My lieutenant was guilty of oversight and has been beheaded on the spot by me. I have come to Lord Li expressly for your verification.


A soldier steps forward and opens the box for Li Ming An’s viewing. 


Feng En: The rice grains that were scattered have been picked up and returned to the granary for allocation strictly by the officer in charge of provisions. I have come to Lord Li to plead guilty for my lax discipline of my men. Lord Li, please report the details truthfully to His Majesty.


Li Ming An: He Yang Hou is too modest. Gu Army is strict in disciplining its soldiers and He Yang Hou is swift and resolute in enforcement. I am very impressed.


Feng En: Since I was unable to stop the incident from happening, it was necessary to end it swiftly. Otherwise it could grow to become something more serious and won’t be as simple as just fighting over food provisions and the shaking of the army’s confidence.


Li Ming An: We’re on the brink of war. His Majesty is already overworked and His Highness is the one supervising the provisions. In my opinion, let’s not trouble His Majesty and His Highness over such a small matter. This matter ends here between you and me. What does He Yang Hiu think?


Feng An: Since Lord Li cares deeply for our sovereigns, I will naturally comply.


Li Ming An: After three years of toughening, you have the style of your father.


Day. Inside CP’s study.


Bringing the letter close to his nose, CP smiles: It’s Long Xian, his favourite fragrance.


Xu: May I take my leave now?


CP: Hold it. I made you wait here so we may discuss the contents of the letter.


CP slits open the seal of the letter excitedly.


Your Highness please accept this letter, Feng En kow tows to you. Zhao Fan (Zhao Wang) has planted spies in Dong Gong for years and is suspected of colluding with the general at the border (Li Ming An). His intentions are to be feared. I have written to trouble Your Highness because I am worried it will lead to problems.


CP smile freezes and his hands begin to shake. With a bitter, disllusioned smile, he burns the letter.


(Flashback begins.)

Xu (Off-screen): Three years ago, it was Zhao Wang who helped Gu Cai Ren gain audience with His Majesty. Perhaps by then, he had already known his biological brother would fail and decided to lend a helping hand to gain Your Highness’ trust. And in truth, he has achieved it. The one who took Liu Dawang into Crown Prince Woods was also Zhao Wang. Without being instigated to get closer, a mere kid would not have the strength to throw a stick beyond the wall into the courtyard


CP: Why are you here?

Fifth Prince: His Majesty’s edict.


CP (gripping Wenxi’s throat): Who sent you here?

Fifth Prince: Your Highness! Your Highness!


Xi Xiang: Ah Bao Jiejie!

CP: She—just—called you...

Wenxi: It’s my nick...nickname back home.

CP: All these things, who is the one instigating you?

(Flashback ends.)


CP walks swiftly from his study to Wenxi’s courtyard.


Eunuch A to Eunuch B: Why is the Crown Prince here? Hurry, go and report.


CP steps into the room. On walking out from the bedroom, Xi Xiang sees CP and falls to her knees in surprise, depositing the tray she is bearing hurriedly on the floor before prostrating: Your Highness.


CP: Where is Gu Cai Ren?


Xi Xiang: Jiejie has gone to collect the dried rose petals in preparation for bathing. I’m here to fetch the comb.


CP makes a hand gesture and the eunuchs behind him move into action.


Xi Xiang: Your Highness, you—this—


CP: What I want to do has nothing to do with you. You just wait here with me. There is no need to inform your mistress to come over.


Cut: Eunuch searching through the belongings and leafing through books.


Xi Xiang: Then I will serve tea—


CP: Since it occurs to you only now, there is no need to trouble yourself.


Cut: Eunuch searching through the belongings and leafing through books.


Eunuch: Your Highness, we only found this. 


He hands a letter to CP. CP opens it; it is the prescription, somewhat worn and tattered.


Wenxi: Xi Xiang, it’s been so long, [have you located] the item—


Her voice trails off on noticing the eunuchs stationed outside the door. Turning around, she sees the back of CP standing in the room. Her heart stutters and she drops the basket of rose petals in surprise. At the sound, CP turns around and looks at her.


Touching her hair self-consciously, Wenxi says: Xi Xiang, you go out first.


Xi Xiang gets up from her knees, salutes, then picks up the tray and retreats from the room.


CP: You must resent me for not coming to see you for so long.


Wenxi: Concubine has an intractable illness. That Your Highness did not abandon Concubine is already fortunate. I don’t dare to have any resentment.


CP (waving the prescription): How many times have you looked at this prescription for it to come to this state?


Wenxi: Concubine merely inserted it casually between a book. Why has Your Highness uncovered it?


CP tears the prescription into pieces.


CP: (quoting from a poem) After your husband went to the east, your hair has become messy.


Wenxi: (quoting from the same poem) It’s not that I lack cosmetics but there is no one to groom myself for.


CP holds her chin and tips her face up for a kiss but Wenxi turns away at the last moment. He picks her up and carries her to the bedroom. Wenxi starts struggling: Your Highness! Your Highness!


Wenxi: Your Highness! Your Highness—(CP stifles her words with a kiss).


They tumble onto the bed.


CP: It’s been three years since I last saw you.


They look into each other’s eyes for a long moment. Wenxi holds his face with both hands, her face softening and conveying her consent. Then they kiss again...

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From the scriptwriter of the first season:


55: Night. Zhang Lu Zheng’s residence.


Zhang Lu Zheng looks exceedingly hesitant.


Seeing Xu Chang Ping deep in thought for half a day, he gets up: Xu Han Lin, please take a seat. I have somehing to ask of you.


Xu Chang Ping: Minister, much as I would like to, in this matter, I’m truly unable to assist.


Zhang Lu Zheng: It is not this matter. I have a personal matter. As you know, I have two daughters. Her Highness has already...my youngest is still unmarried.


(Cut) Outside, Zhang Shaoyun listens in surprise: Are you going to be my Second Brother-in-law?


(Cut) Xu Chang Ping looks at Zhang Lu Zheng with surprise: I am only a lowly official, how can I be worthy of Minister’s daughter?


Zhang Lu Zheng: My daughter may be ugly but she has been spoiled by me and swears to marry only the creme of the crop. In today’s court, who other than Official Xu is worthy of this description?


Xu Chang Ping smiles: You flatter me. I truly don’t deserve such praise. If I had known of Minister’s intention, I wouldn’t have dared stepped into your door.


Zhang Lu Zheng bows to Xu Chang Ping and does not get up: I am sincere about this. I hope  Xu Han Lin can understand my selfish  love for my child.


Xu Chang Ping tries to help him up but without success: I don’t dare to accept as I have done nothing to merit this. Why don’t we wait till Minister has been promoted before we discuss this again?


Zhang Lu Zheng is exhilarated: I look forward to Xu Han Lin turning the situation around.


The smile on Xu Chang Ping’s face carries a hint of contempt.

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From the scriptwriter of the first season.

This should be somewhere around Ep 43:


13: Night. Inside Dong Fu.


CP continues copying from the copybook while Xu Chang Ping continues studying his discarded writing out of boredom.


CP: You’re here not just to talk to me about a maid.


Xu: That is Your Highness’ household affair. Even though I am an idle person, I’m not so idle as to do something so stupid.


CP: His Majesty has already agreed. You can save your energy and stop speaking for somebody else.


Xu: I’m not, I’m not. But curiosity is natural and I just want to ask why?


CP: It’s the most basic formality as a subject. (Gives him a glance) Are you a subject?


Xu puts down the crumpled piece of writing and restrains himself a bit: Official understands. It is the Emperor’s bed. You can’t simply get on it upon invitation.


CP: What is there to ask then?


Xu: But His Majesty invites, Your Highness declines, His Majesty invites, Your Highness declines, then His Majesty either stops inviting or he invites and Your Highness accepts. This is what’s called the formality between sovereign and subject. But now it’s become the more determined Your Highness is to decline, the harder His Majesty invites. The harder His Majesty invites, the more determined Your Highness is to decline. This is no longer formality/manner but non-manners.


CP: First “Shi Shuo/Tales of the World^” and now formality. Looks like you wish to take over He Dao Ran’s class?


^A compilation of stories about the Northern and Southern dynasties.


Xu: So it is true Your Highness has been reading “Shi Shuo/Tales of the World” recently?


CP speaks impatiently: He (He Dao Ran) is teaching it.


Xu: “Shi Shuo/Tales of the World” is the story about Wei-Jin period. (He casually turns the pages of the copybook). Since Your Highness admires Lang Ya Wang Shi’s* calligraphy so much, Your Highness should be very familiar with this piece of history.


(*Wang Xi Zhi, Wang Xian Zhi, Wang Dao, Wang Xun etc all came from Lang Ya Wang Shi, one of the four great families of Eastern Jin. Although the rulers during the Eastern Jin dynasty were descendants of Sima Yi, in truth the ruling power lay in the hands of the four great families.)


CP: Not that familiar.


Xu: “Wang and Ma—“, you must at least have heard of this saying?


CP: What are you trying to—


Xu: Wang Shi’s military power was too great. After ascending to throne, Jin Yuan Emperor Sima Rui repeatedly tried to reduce his power, only to end up being nearly forced to abdicate. Hence, the saying, “Wang and Ma, share the country.”


Xu: Your Highness has also seen for yourself, what His Majesy has been copying these few days, are all—


Coming to realisation, CP’s fingers start to tremble: Can it really be—


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From the scriptwriter of the first season.


34: Night. Inside Yan An Palace.


Under the light, the Emperor is reading through official documents.


He mutters softly: Zhang Lu Zheng becomes—interesting.


Xu Chang Ping bends his head: Yes.


Emperor: Xu Han Lin, how long have you been by my side?


Xu: It’s been a little over half a year.


Emperor: Only half a year? Why do I feel like it’s been very long?


Xu: That’s because Your Majesty handles many state affairs in a day.


Emperor: What Xu Han Lin really wants to say is too many things had happened in the past six months.


Xu: I don’t dare.


Emperor: I am saying you are very tactful, much better than my sons and nephews. I look upon you like my sons and nephews. 


Xu: I don’t deserve these words of Your Majesty.


Emperor: This year, Xu Han Lin is—?


Xu: Official is twenty-three.


Emperor: Older than the Crown Prince by three years. Not that young anymore. Have you taken a wife?


Xu: Not yet.


Emperor: Are you betrothed?


Xu: Not yet.


Emperor: Why? No lady has caught your eye?


Xu: Yes.


Emperor: Being too arrogant is not a good thing.


Xu: Official will follow Your Majesty’s teachings.


Emperor places a document into his hands before leaving: This is the document  submitted by the Crown Prince this morning. You take a look.


Xu Chang Ping opens the document, takes a look and gives a resigned laugh.




35: Night. Dong Fu, garden (exterior).


Under the glow of the moon, from a pavillion on top of a fake mountain, the sparkling waters of the pond can be seen. The back of CP. He is holding a flask and pouring into his cup.


(Cut) Wang leading Xu Chang Ping up a narrow path.


Xu Chang Ping looks at the wine cup beside CP: Your subject thought Your Highness really didn’t know how to drink.


CP: I learnt to drink a little during my time at Zong Zheng Si.


Xu: That’s true. What man never changes?


CP: Instead of chasing after your good marriage prospects, what are you doing over here?


Xu: Your Highness should know—


He walks before CP and places an official document on the table: Your Highness didn’t copy the letter I gave you but submitted it as is to His Majesty.


CP: And then?


Xu: And then the original Secretary returned from his mourning period and I have to hand over my duties to him.


CP: So you’ve come to accuse me after losing your post. It was tit for tat. Didn’t you deceive the sovereign? I’ve asked General and he said that day, other than playing chess with the Emperor, they didn’t speak about anything else.


Xu lets out a sigh: Then Your Highness and I are even now?


CP smiles mockingly and gestures: Pour yourself a cup.


Xu sits and pours himself a cup.


CP: In the end, your prospective father-in-law has been let off lightly.


Xu: He is not my father-in-law. Moreover, was he really let off lightly?


CP looks blandly at him: You are no longer the bearer of the royal decree. Please be more respectful when talking to me.


Xu thinks, then says: Then can your subject—respectfully—ask about the letter in the hands of nei gui ren (Wenxi). Did I win the bet?


CP shakes his head.


Xu: Then I lost?


CP shakes his head.


Xu: That means Your Highness didn’t look at all—but you still handed in the official document. Looks like from start to end, my guess was thoroughly wrong. Like the crouching tiger and the hunching racoon (they assume these postures before attacking/grabbing), Your Highness was not afraid but conserving your energy and enduring until the end before making your move in public. Not only did it leave His Majesty with no room to refuse, but by taking first before giving, showing kindness and power in equal measures, Minister Zhang must have broken into tears of gratitude.


CP: He did break into tears but I'm not sure if it was in gratitude. After all, your future father-in-law can treat anyone as his sovereign.


Xu: He is not my—His Majesty’s power tactics, when did Your Highness learn them?


CP drinks: It was my choice not to use them, not that I’m incapable of such.


Xu: Then can your subject respectfully ask, why have you decided to use them now?


CP continues to pour into his cup: I’ve long heard that you are a great reader of people’s minds. Make a guess.


Xu: Your Highness said I deceived the sovereign. That’s not entirely true. Wang and Ma, share the country—it was clear Your Highness believed it because of a prior perception, was it not so?


CP offers neither a confirmation nor a denial: Was it?


Xu: You must have a Chancellor you can be sovereign to and contend with His Majesty. If not, after getting rid of the influential official, next is getting rid of the influential general—this is hardly hitting the ni lin, this is getting into the Emperor’s bed and pulling the ni lin. Is it to protect General?


CP pushes a wine cup to him: You guessed wrongly. Punish yourself by drinking a cup of wine. It's not for General.


Xu drinks with a look of incomprehension.


CP’s eyes are slightly drunk and lost: lt's for Uncle.

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From the scriptwriter of the first season.


37: Night. Dong Fu (exterior).


A slightly inebriated Xu Chang Ping walks out of the Palace gates.


A slightly inebriated CP heads straight to the study.


CP (Off-screen): Are you returning to Han Lin Yuan?


Xu (Off-screen): I’m a little drunk. I’ve to go home first.


CP (Off-screen): I caused you to lose your post. Why not—do you want to also get a post in my study?


Xu (Off-screen): Since Your Highness is asking so politely, I will grudgingly—


CP (Off-screen): You must be an internal official first.


Xu (Off-screen): Then forget about it. But what does this “also” mean?


(Cut) Supporting the back of his head with his hand and placing his feet on the desk, CP looks outside the window.


CP (Off-screen): You seem to be very concerned towards her.


Xu (Off-screen): Why would I be concerned towards her? I am only concerned about Your Highness. Such as Your Highness didn’t look, was it because you didn’t need to, didn’t care to, or—simply didn’t dare?


CP (Off-screen): Xu Han Lin, being terminated from your post is really light punishment.


Xu looks at the moon and smiles.

CP looks at the moon and smiles lightly.



30: Night: Inside Dong Fu.


Xu: Not severing when it should be severed, you will suffer the consequences. Originally I still wanted to—I guess it is redundant.


CP: I know you are skilled at persuading people to kill people. With honey in your mouth (pretty words) and a sword in your stomach (malicious intentions), you brew poison. Feng En’s departure from the capital was at your urging, wasn’t it?


Xu: A sword in my stomach and my mouth can spit honey—I’m not a bee. Moreover, Your Highness is different from her. Even if it is poisoned wine, Your Highness can choose not to drink.


CP looks at the medicine box and mumbles to himself a famous satirical poem by Li Dong Yang: 

卿耶谁耶高与杨 (Sorry, not so sure about the first four characters. I think they mean “Who are the high-ranking officials?”) Gao and Yang**

非姚非宋还非张 Not Yao Not Song Not Zhang** 

有言如此尚不用 If you don’t take the advice 

岂有药石针膏肓There is no cure for the illness.


**Gao and Yang refers to Gao Lishi and Yang Guozhong whom Li Longji (Emperor Xuanzong of Tang) overtrusted in his later years. Yao Song Zhang refers to upright officials Yao Chong, Song Jing and Zhang Jiuling.


CP keeps the medicine box and gets up: Registrar Xu, please leave. I will wake early and I will be ingratiating and obsequious (towards the Emperor).


Xu watches him walk into the night with knitted brows and mutters: ...he really took the advice?

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From the scriptwriter of the first season.


1: Night. Outside Dan Feng Gate.

(Xiao Dingquan’s dream. Reshoot using a different angle)


Snowy ground that is so white that it is glaring.


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan slowly trudges across the pile of snow in the square outside Dan Feng Gate.


Xiao Dingquan (Off-screen): Teacher, I had that dream again. The older I get and the more experiences I have, the more I don’t understand instead —


In shock, he watches 17-year-old Xiao Dingquan banging his clenched fists on the tightly-shut Palace doors with all his might: Open the doors! I’m the Crown Prince!


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan mumbles as he walks: Unless it concerns urgent military reports, the Palace gates cannot be opened once closed, in case there is an attempt at uprising which puts the Emperor’s life in danger.


17-year-old Xiao Dingquan: Her Majesty, is she alright?


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan: She is not well.


17-year-old Xiao Dingquan: Where is His Majesty?


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan: Deng Hua Palace.


17-year-old Xiao Dingquan suddenly begins beating the doors: Mother—Mother—Father—open the doors!


A young Gu Feng En strides past 20-year-old Xiao Dingquan. In startlement, he sees Feng En walk forward and carry 17-year-old Xiao Dingquan away from the doors: ...Feng En?


17-year-old Xiao Dingquan sobs: Gege, I must get inside the Palace. Mother is probably—


Feng En doesn’t reply but sets him at the side, pulls out a military report with three feathers attached to it and shouts at the top of his voice: Urgent military report from Changzhou for immediate presentment to His Majesty! Open the gates!


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan suddenly recovers himself and stops him: You can’t —you can’t—something terrible will happen!


The doors still crunch open. He watches the two youthful figures disappear inside.


An instant later, the sound of dagger-axes and armour rings out.


The secret signal and shouts of Konghe Guards: Close the gates! There’s a rebel!


20-year-old Xiao Dingquan helplessly beats his fists.

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From the scriptwriter of the first season. I think this fits somewhere around Ep 49 or thereafter. 


38: Night. Dong Fu (exterior).


The moon is as beautiful as the sparkling waters.


CP is talking a walk by himself in the back garden along the pond.


Xu (Off-screen): Who I am, Your Highness can investigate. What I want to do, Your Highness can observe and experience for yourself. I know Your Highness will not trust me. I also know, Minister Lu must have said something like “a wise bird chooses the tree (to nest) and a wise man chooses the lord (to serve)”.


Xu (Off-screen): It is not wrong for a wise man to choose the lord but must the lord choose a wise man?


Xu (Off-screen): The one who chooses the lord is wise. Wise man, foolish man, treacherous man, devious man, knowing how to control and utilise them for his own benefit, that is a wise lord.


(Cut) Xu Chang Ping is already riding swiftly along the roads of the capital.


Xu (Off-screen): Knowing Your Highness doesn’t trust me, I still chose Your Highness. Tonight, I take my leave. I will go back and wait, see what the outcome of my staking my entire assets and life is.


Three to five riders gallop past him towards the direction of Dong Fu. Xu Chang Ping turns back to look at them.


(Cut): Xiao Dingquan continues walking forward.


Xu (Off-screen): [If] Your Highness is benevolent, I will resign and leave the capital. [If] Your Highness reports me, I will put my neck out for execution. But if Your Highness should decide to choose me, I will surely also obediently—let Your Highness use me for training your hands (skills).

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@Cdrama Just thought you would like to know I’m getting soon to the exam scenes you expressed an interest in but there are some difficult phrases for which I’m unable to figure out the meaning (I suspect there may be a couple typos in the script). I will just post whatever I can figure out. Cheers.


From the scriptwriter of the first season:


20: Day. The square outside Dan Feng Gate. The viewing tower above Dan Feng Gate.


The eyes of a hundred over imperial scholars are trained on the Emperor’s carriage slowly moving through Dan Feng Gate.


The seated imperial scholars immediately turn and bow down on bended knees towards the direction of the carriage.


He Dao Ran and the other officials from the Ministry of Rites also get up from their seats.


Only Gu Feng En anxiously lifts his head, searching for the figure of CP.


The only person walking beside the Emperor’s carriage is Prince Qi.


(Cut) The Emperor’s carriage stops before the tent.


Only Li Baizhou remains seated calmly.


Prince Qi, who is now standing still, sends him a look, indicating him to stand.


Li Baizhou gestures for him to help His Majesty down from the carriage.


Prince Qi shakes his head, once again using his eyes to signal he should look to a certain direction.


Brows furrowed, Li Baizhou lifts his head and follows the direction of his gaze to the viewing tower above the city walls in front of him.


(Cut) Viewing tower above Dan Feng Gate. The Emperor is already atop the city walls.


Within his view is a sea of bowed heads.


Among the imperial scholars, Feng En who has half risen, looking left and right in search of CP, is especially noticeable.


Emperor speaks to someone behind: —see that?


Xiao Dingquan who is standing behind him: Yes, Feng En is still so rash and careless— (Sends the Emperor a look of gratitude) Thank you, Your Majesty!


The Emperor gives a hrmph.


Xiao Dingquan steps forward to support one of the Emperor’s hands: But Your Majesty—


Emperor looks beneath his feet: All the heroes of this country are meant to enter the range of my bow and arrow (my trap). Only from a height can I see clearly the rash and careless ones, and the ones who are not at all—


Within his sight, Li Baizhou slowly stands and meets his gaze: —rash and careless.


Li Baizhou finally steps forward and bows down on his knees: Son of Heaven, ten thousand years!


All the other officials and imperial scholars follow his lead and change the direction of their bow: Your Majesty, ten thousand years!


The Emperor looks at everyone for a moment before saying: I have kept you all waiting—perhaps some of you are cursing me silently.


The imperial scholars bend their heads: Your subjects—


Emperor: But I will not apologise.


Scholars: —don’t dare—.


The Emperor looks at the bowed heads of the imperial scholars and gives a small smile: Because I, too, have been waiting a long time for you.


Panoramic view of the examination venue.


The imperial scholars prostrate: Your Majesty’s benevolence—is vast—.


Only Feng En looks towards the faint figure of Xiao Ding Quan standing behind the Emperor. He crushes the blank sheet of paper in his hand into a ball.

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From the scriptwriter of the first season. (?) means I can’t figure out the meaning.


36: Day. The square inside Dan Feng Gate. The square outside Dan Feng Gate.


The struggling figure of Lu Wenjin being taken away by the imperial guards passes before the transfixed scholars.


Eyes brimming with tears, Lu Wenjin struggles: Father...Father!


His fingers closing tightly around an ink slab, Gu Feng En contemplates standing up.


Under Prince Qi’s anticipatory gaze, he grits his teeth and slowly lets go of the ink slab; he can only watch the imperial guards take Lu Wenjin away.


(Cut) Li Baizhou looks at the Censorate gathered before the palace gates who are unwilling to be dispersed by the imperial guards and gazes once again towards the inside of the palace gates.


Li Baizhou (Off-screen): We are all disciples of the highest saint. When handling the scholars, Dawang has only to remember three words, “Sovereign, kin, teacher.”


(Cut) Prince Qi takes his gaze away from the palace doors and knits his brows: Look carefully—It doesn’t matter if you are an imperial scholar or yushi zhong cheng! The one who instigated them to rebel, even if it is (pointing at the viewing tower) Dong Chao (CP), will not escape—[punishment by the law]


An ink slab suddenly hurtles against his face. In shock, he touches the ink dripping down his face and walks closer: Gu Er (Second Gu son), how dare you!


Gu Feng En slams the desk: Xiao Da (eldest Xiao son), how dare you!


Prince Qi stops in his tracks.


Gu Feng En: As a noble, you should already have scrammed, what right do you have to be here—(overturns the desk)—reprimanding the imperial scholars and slandering the Crown Prince?


Prince Qi: Slander? Today’s incident, if he is not the one feeling resentful and instigating, then it can only be—


Prince Qi nods: —Lu Shiyu.


Scholar A is startled: ...Teacher?


Scholar B, C and D who had been busy writing put down their pens and lift their heads: Teacher?


Prince Qi: Yesterday, Lu Shiyu went to Xing Gong (where the Emperor was staying temporarily while travelling) and asked for justice for Dong Chao (CP).


Gu Feng En: Shut up! Who are you to call Minister Lu by his name?—


Prince Qi: Disregarding sovereign father, home country, to be lunatic to this extent—he thinks that because he has resigned, he can—


Another ink slab hits his body.


Scholar A also flips his desk and stands: Neither monarch nor the crown prince, how dare you slander an important official?


Prince Qi: Outrageous! You better—


Scholar B flips his desk and gets up: Neither a former wise man nor a current wise man, how dare you besmirch a gentleman?


(In the mix is the frantic and helpless voice of He Daoran: Sit down! sit down! You can talk while sitting down!)


Scholar C flips his desk: Neither Prince Regent nor court official, how dare you talk nonsense about state affairs!


Scholar D flips his desk: Unworthy son of the Son of Heaven, how dare you overstep your bounds and discuss the will of the Emperor?


Scholar E:  (?) Your explanation doesn’t make sense. Who is your teacher?


(He Daoran: Your scholarly honor—don’t you want it anymore?)


Scholar F: Even if I want to write, you keep making noises—(He throws down his pen and rises from his seat)


Prince Qi: All of you—Sit down! Otherwise—


The remaining imperial scholars all stand up: Why don’t you sit down first? No wonder they want you to leave. (Indicating the sounds of crying outside the gate) This kind of scholarly honour, I can do without—(throws down his pen).


Scholar A: We don’t know who is (?), who is (?) but we know (?)—


Prince Qi who has achieved his purpose of causing trouble feels alarmed at the situation. Step by step, he slowly retreats: What are you trying to...He Daoran, you first—


Then he retreats as fast as possible towards the viewing tower.

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From the scriptwriter of the first season.


38: Day. The square outside Dan Feng Gate (exterior).


Behind Prince Qi, an official from the Ministry of Rites holds a name list and walks before a standing imperial scholar, using a red pen to circle his name. The imperial scholar’s expression is that of supressed anger.


A few of the standing imperial scholars look hesitant, observing the actions of fellow scholars, vacillating over whether to sit or not.


Gu Feng En (to He Dao Ran): Minister He, you are the official in charge of this exam. How can you allow him—!


He Daoran covers half of his face with his hands and speaks to Prince Qi: Dawang, in this matter, have to follow—


Prince Qi: It’s the royal decree!


He Daoran is stunned for a moment: —then we have to follow the royal edict—if you all just sit down, isn’t the problem solved?


Infuriated beyond words, a few more imperial scholars get to their feet.


Prince Qi says to the imperial guards: —Other than these few—


His finger points to Xu Changping who is writing as if no one is around him.


Qi: Apprehend them all.


Tens of imperial guards move towards the imperial scholars with shackles.


Gu Feng En walks out and stands at the front of all the imperial scholars. He questions Li Chong Kui: Dian Shuai?


Li Chong Kui helplessly indicates above the city walls: Jia Yibo, it’s the edict.


Gu Feng En (outraged): But these are the literati of the country.


(Cut) The noise reaches the viewing tower. On his knees with his hands bound behind him, Xiao Dingquan’s tightly clenched fists finally loosen. Enduring the pain, he hurriedly breaks free of the not-very-tight ropes and gets to his feet before the Emperor. Disregarding the astonishment in the Emperor’s eyes, he walks straight to the side of the city walls. Seeing the imperial guards about to arrest the scholars, he shouts: Imperial Scholar Gu Feng En!


Gu Feng En lifts his head in shock.


Xiao Dingquan: Take them through Dong Hua Gate. Return to Guo Zi Jian!


All the people below the city walls are stunned.


Xiao Dingquan: Qi Fan relayed a fake edict! This is the real edict!!!


Emperor: Crown Prince?


Prince Qi has shock written all over his face: You dare—?


From the city wall, Xiao Dingquan flings down a jade fish from his jade belt: Anyone who obstructs the royal edict—Qi Fan included is to be killed without pardon.


The Emperor is furious: Xiao Dingquan!


Xiao Dingquan doesn’t look back and doesn’t answer.


Below the city wall, Gu Feng En catches the jade fish, hesitates for only a moment before saying to the imperial guards: Make way!


Observing the expressions of the various parties, the imperial guards hesitate, about to retreat but not yet retreating.


Xiao Dingquan: The examination will be held another day. All of you don’t worry, the Son of Heaven has already waited for you for this long, why will he mind waiting—a few more days?


The examination venue is silent.


The young imperial scholars lift their faces and look up mutely.


Xu Chang Ping finally abandons his pen, stands and gets on his knees, shouting loudly: Thank you, Your Majesty!


After a stunned moment, the other imperial scholars follow his lead: Thank you, Your Majesty!


Li Chong Kui looks towards the viewing tower. This is no sound or movement of dissent.


He waves his hand, allowing the imperial guards to retreat.


Gu Feng En snatches the marked name list from the Ministry of Rites official’s hands and tears it into bits. Then he says to the other imperial scholars: Let’s go!


41: Day. Dan Feng Gate (interior).


A small carriage under the palace doors. The eunuchs close the windows. Then two eunuches holding a bale of white silk start wrapping the carriage securely on all four sides.


42: Day. The square outside Dan Feng Gate (exterior).


The palace gate opens half a door. A carriage wrapped in white silk moves through the path that the imperial guards have cleared by forcibly separating the officials of the Censorate into two sides.


(Cut) Inside the carriage, wearing only white, Xiao Ding Quan sits hatless and bare-footed. He is unable to see what is happening outside.


Censorate weeping: Your Highness—officials are guilty—


Xiao Dingquan lets out a small sigh, closes his eyes and keeps silent.


Suddenly, Lu Shiyu’s voice sounds from outside: Who is in the carriage?


Xiao Dingquan’s eyes fly open: Teacher?


43: Day. The square outside Dan Feng Gate (exterior).


As he is being taken away, Lu Ying, whose eyes and mouth are stained by blood at the edges, suddenly breaks free of his shackles and kneels before Lu Shiyu who has arrived, dressed in casual clothes: Teacher, this is all Lu Ying’s fault.


Lu Shiyu shakes his head and continues walking: Now that things have come to this, this campaign has failed. Not only is it going to be impossible to raise the issue of Prince Qi departing from the capital from now on, it is also giving [others] endless excuses for the change of Crown Prince—


Lu Ying is dragged away by the imperial guards.


(Cut) The imperial scholars leaving through Dong Hua Gate.


Lu Shiyu (Off-screen): If His Majesty suspects them of receiving favour from His Highness, in future even they will—

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From the scriptwriter of the first season. I have done quite a lot of translation this time so it’ll be a while before I do any more. Enjoy reading and I hope to see discussion of the scenes posted so far.


44: Day. The square outside Dan Feng Gate. Within the carriage.


Walking past the chaotic mass of people, Lu Shiyu looks up at the imposing viewing tower below the sky of justice and raises his voice.


Lu Shiyu: Your Majesty, your subject is about to leave. Your subject has received much grace from this country. Having nothing to repay with, please allow your subject to put in a word before his departure.


(Cut) Inside the carriage, Xiao Dingquan tries without success to open the carriage door: Teacher! Teacher! Let me out!


(Cut) Lu Shiyu: On the Fourth Year of Huang Chu, Sixth Month, Seventh Day, I was then yushi zhong cheng. The late Emperor summoned me into the Palace, pointed at His Highness who was then five years old and said to me, “Please teach my grandson and do your utmost to help him become loyal, filial, kind and righteous, a gentleman who is upright.” That day, I drank the tea His Highness served.


(Flashback begins)

Fifteen years ago, from the point of view of Lu Shiyu, young CP offers a cup of tea. (New shot)

(Flashback ends)


In the fifteen years that follow, not a single day goes by that I don’t remember His Late Majesty’s instructions and expectations.


(Cut) During his speech, the cries of the Censorate grow softer.


Lu Shiyu: I don’t dare to boast that I am conscientious but the Crown Prince is intelligent, quick and self-disciplined. Leaving the bedroom at the age of five, it’s been fifteen years since. Wind, thunder, scorching summers, five thousand plus days. For lectures, I have taken sick and applied leave a number of times but His Highness has never skipped a single lesson. 


(Flashback begins)

From Lu Shiyu’s point of view, a young Xiao Dingquan bows and salutes him from behind the lecturing desk. (New shot)

(Flashback ends)


Hence, I don’t dare to boast that I am a teacher.


Lu Shiyu: Assuming the position of Crown Prince at the age of eight, it’s been twelve years since. Snow, rain, sweltering days. For court sessions, I have called in sick and taken leave a number of times but in his morning and evening filial duties to Sovereign Father, twelve years, eight thousand plus times, His Highness has never missed a single time.


(Flashback begins)

Yesterday under the eaves of Xing Gong, the silhouette of Xiao Dingquan holding his right hip as he waits to see the Emperor. (9-1)

(Flashback ends)


Hence, I don’t dare to boast that I am an official. 


(Cut) In the viewing tower, the Emperor’s tense expression eases slightly.


Li Shiyu: Previously there were a number of sudden major incidents which were quietly resolved, all thanks to His Highness’ self-restraint and forebearance. There are things a gentleman ought to do and things a gentleman ought not to do! That which ought to be done is not easy, that which ought not to be done is also difficult! Hence, I don’t dare to boast that I’m a gentleman!


(Cut) Using his left hand, Xiao Dingquan picks up the yin ji (a kind of wooden furniture) inside the carriage and beats at the windows: Teacher, go back, go back!


(Cut) Lu Shiyu: Father and son have kinship, sovereign and subject have loyalty, husband and wife have differences (different roles to play and respect), seniors and juniors have order (of seniority), friends have trust, these are the five relationships of Man. Of the Five Relationships, the ones at the top are father and son, sovereign and subject. People say, “Turn filial piety for parents into loyalty to the sovereign” or “Loyalty and filial piety cannot exist at the same time”. In the whole wide world, the Crown Prince is the only one whose loyalty to the country is filial piety and filial piety to the sovereign is loyalty.


Lu Shiyu: People with morals are like jade, they should be cultivated and protected, not put aside and discarded. People with morals are like jade, the country should help them to achieve their potential and treasure them, not taint them and obliterate them. Otherwise, people aren’t people, country isn’t country. A small matter can result in the total destruction of righteousness. Not just for the sake of the Crown Prince, to ensure people with morals not lose their rightful positions is the duty of my generation, the duty of the home country, the duty of the world!


(Cut) Gu Feng En and the other imperial scholars have already passed through Dong Hua Gate but as if sensing something amiss, they look back at the sky.


Lu Shiyu: Crown Prince, the country’s public instrument, the foundation of the country (Guo Ben). Guo Ben’s loyalty and filial piety, I have not let His Late Majesty down. [If] Guo Ben topples, I have not done my part as an official! According to our country’s system, the eldest di son is made qian xing Crown Prince and shu sons are hou xing vassals. Crown Prince remains in the capital while vassals depart for their fiefdoms. Crown Prince is sovereign while vassals are subjects. Qian xing should occupy its rightful position and hou xing should revolve around the valuable object (qian xing). This is the way for sovereign-subject, the order for senior-junior and the ethic of ruling a country!


But today, the shu son is grown up and strong , living in the same capital as the Crown Prince and occupying the position of qian xing. The rise of this rumour is causing panic among the people and is the root cause of the shaken foundation of the court.


(Cut) Prince Qi’s brows furrow and he looks anxiously at the Emperor, hoping for a response but the Emperor ignores him.


Lu Shiyu: Qi Fan’s matter is a matter of the royal family and therefore a matter of the country! Your Majesty’s choice, its effect, is not limited to only a day or merely a person.


(Cut) The lattice of the carriage window is broken. Outside the window is a strong layer of cloth.


Xiao Dingquan hesitates for only a moment before pulling the gold hairpin from the crown of his hair and piercing it resolutely through the cloth.


Lu Shiyu (Off-screen): A superior person’s ethic is wind, a commoner’s ethic is grass (Means: The moral principles of a leader will influence that of his people. When the wind blows, the grass bends). The people the Son of Heaven protected today, the scholars of this country, will help Your Majesty spread morals and virtues, forging a clean/transparent world, a peaceful society, a prosperous culture, the elderly being taken care of, the young having someone to rely on, parents kind children filial, sovereign self-restrained subjects respectful, so that our dynasty’s teachings and practices may travel ten thousand miles, so that our dynasty may leave behind something of benefit to a hundred succeeding generations.


A layer of cloth is shredded. The hairpin breaks. One layer remains.


Lu Shiyu (Off-screen): I hope the saintly Son of Heaven will consider this point greatly and make the choice today, in this place a standard for your subjects and a role model for the hundred generations to come.


Xiao Dingquan: Teacher! Don’t! Say anymore...


(Cut) Lu Shiyu pulls from within his arms the petition of the Censorate: Today’s matter is instigated by me. My crime is as heavy as the mountain and I cannot decline dying ten thousand times. I dare not remain within Your Majesty’s range to await punishment but I beseech Your Majesty in your perspicacity, not to implicate or exterminate my clan.


(Cut) Xiao Dingquan picks up the yin ji and throws it mercilessly against the carriage walls. He cries weakly: Father! Teacher! I beg you all—


(Cut) In the viewing tower, the Emperor senses something is wrong: Go down and stop him. Also stop—


(Cut) Lu Shiyu tears the petition into pieces. The pieces sail with the wind and scatter into the now-quiet crowd of people.

Lu Shiyu: The sins of all parties—end with me.


(Cut) Lu Ying, casting a backward glance, utters a sudden cry that breaks the silence.

Lu Ying: Minister Lu?!


(Cut) Within the carriage, Xiao Dingquan, who is in the process of picking up a broken leg of the yin ji, is stunned for just a second. Then he uses the jagged end of the leg to pierce through the last layer of cloth.


Light streams through. With his unbound hair falling down loosely, Xiao Dingquan stares in shock at the scene before him.


The shreds of paper on the ground and Lu Shiyu who has run headlong into the polearm of an imperial guard.


An instant of silence, all sound vanishing.


Fresh blood begins to drip onto the ground. Lu Shiyu falls to the ground.


The devastated cry of Xiao Dingquan: Teacher!

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Fantastic news, thank you. I'm thrilled it has been recognised for the great drama it is. (Luo Jin should have won too!). 


Since RN aired I've watched a fair number of Chinese dramas (RN was the second), and though I've enjoyed most of them, for me, nothing has come close in terms of high quality, and high artistic achievement. 

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