Sun Di, the best friend of Li Ce and the think tank of his governance core, is waiting for CQ in front of a newly built mansion that is supposed to be part of CQ’s trousseau. “Have you thought through clearly?” He asks, before presenting the mansion. “Cannot be clearer!” CQ nods. “The night roads are risky, use this lantern to light the way a bit.” Sun Di hands his lantern to CQ, which she ignores. “Light of candle can be extinguished by wind, not that of heart.” CQ answers in a low voice while passes by from Sun Di and enters the splendid mansion, “From now on, my eyes would be my lantern, with my heart being the light.”
During the past two years, Li Ce had seriously prepared CQ with her wedding. The mansion and everything else are nothing but accessories. What CQ really needs is a noble status which would empower her to be equal with Yue in their marriage, so that no one in Daxia could even be able to argue on the marriage using CQ’s opponent status of Xiuli Gernal in Yanbei or her slavery background in Daxia. Inside the mansion, Sun Di hands over to CQ a half accomplished royal decree declaring CQ’s noble status, with only the exact title left in blank. Li Ce was not satisfied with the titles proposed by the Ministry of Rites, and the issue was since been postponed. No one, including Li Ce himself, would expect that there would be no chance anymore to accomplish the decree. Since it was not officially announced, CQ asks Sun Di to take the decree back and forget about it. CQ moves in to the mansion with Ping’an, Jingjing and Meixiang. Yue’s letter arrives, but CQ doesn’t open it. Confronting with YX and Zhao Yang simultaneously, there is no room for Yue and Zhao Che to make any imprudent move. Meanwhile, the state of Biantang will soon be swept by another political storm. CQ must wait, in a sober mind.
The old empress dowager has committed a suicide and dead after Li Ce’s death. She’d revenged for the husband and the son whom she loved with the life of the husband and the son who loved her the most (She’d also poisoned Li Ce’s father to death after twenty years of plotting). Who should be responsible for such a tragedy? Li Ce’s father? Maybe. He might have paid his debt with his own life, but who should pay the debts owed to Li Ce? As all the relevant persons passed away, those loves imposed and concealed, hates burned and hidden, debts paid and unpaid are all buried in the glorious tombs in the royal mausoleum.
The six-year-old Li Xiuyi, Li Ce’s oldest son, has become the new emperor of Biantang. Both the empress dowager Yuan (his biological mother) and the empress dowager Zhan (Zhan Ziming) were assigned as the guardian of the emperor, but because Li Xiuyi’s own mother was originated as a low class maid, the power falls in the hand of the empress dowager Zhan, and behind the scene, her brother Zhan Ziyu has turned to the real ruler of the state. All of Li Ce’s men, including Sun Di, have been put in jail in the name of being allies of prince Luo, thus, wiped out from the political stage. The influential tycoons of Biantang remain silence, except few scholars stand out and publicly resist the ruling of Zhan Ziyu, which have been soon suppressed brutally. Finally, someone proposed Zhan Ziyu to be the king of regent, which he unsuccessfully refused, until one day, to his reluctance, he is forced to step on a grand seat that is about the size and height of the imperial seat. Just three days later, the gate of the Jinwu palace is broken by the Xiuli army led by CQ in her military armor, the palace is soon taken over, and Zhan Ziyu’s political ambition bankrupts.
It was Zhan Ziyu who had schemed the assassination of Li Ce, and when the assassination failed, he had informed Li Ce’s mother for the following step. Since Li Xiuyi was actually held hostage by the Zhan siblings, the actions of eradicating them must be cautiously planned to avoid alarming their nerves, and be completed in a flash blow of surprise. Lack of the military support, Zhan Ziyu’s dream is smashed by the Xiuli army. Before his own death, Zhan Ziyu pleads a mercy for his younger sister from CQ, but CQ declined, for there would be no mercy to those who had harmed what she deeply cares. CQ promises to Zhan Ziming that her son, Li Qingrong, will be taken in good care, and commands her a suicide, which the later accepts without any objection. It turns out that Zhan Ziming has already been overwhelmed by her own guilty towards Li Ce whom she secretly loved, thus, the death is rather a relief than a penalty. Something out of CQ’s expectation is the suicide of the empress dowager Yuan, and with their mothers all dead, Li Ce’s both sons are left in orphanage. While Li Xiuyi has already had an intimacy built with CQ during her staying in the Jinwu palace, and Li Qingrong is but an infant of barely six month, CQ is destined to protect the two sons of Li Ce.
Standing in the center of the dark Jinwu palace, sword with dripping bloods, CQ stares at the remote north, as if looking at someone whom she cannot reach. All her naïve wills of the world and unrealistic fantasies of the future have been burned out by the wild fire of the fate. From now on, all the weaknesses, the griefs, the useless kindnesses must be left behind, and she must stand strong to protect everything that she cherishes. Anyone who would dare to offend with a single step would pay an unaffordable price. Sun Di and all rest of Li Ce’s supporters are released from the jail and returned to their original occupations. Li Xiuyi sits on the seat of the throne and accepts the respects of the high rank officials, with CQ standing beside. No one knows to whom the respect is presented, the six-year-old emperor? Or the lady who held firm with the royal military and the Xiuli army?
However, CQ’s custody of Li Xiuyi lacks the legitimacy. Those who are entitled with the legit right to look after Li Xiuyi, i.e., the side branches of the royal clan, are competing over the official custody of the young emperor. Among them, the Grand Duck Jing’an wins the highest preference from the officials. Furthermore, the military supporters of the Grand Duck are making their moves already. There is one way to justify CQ’s custody of Li Xiuyi, and Sun Di is trying his best to sell it to CQ: The half accomplished decree, though blanked in the title of the noble status to be granted, has already been affixed with Li Ce’s imperial seal, therefore, valid and legal. The only thing needed is to fill in a proper title on the decree to empower CQ to be the guardian of Li Xiuyi, and that title can only be the empress of the previous emperor, Li Ce. If CQ is granted by Li Ce to be his empress, she would be the real empress dowager after Li Ce’s death, and her custody of Li Xiuyi as well as ruling over Biantang will stand in no doubt.
CQ is annoyed by the suggestion and asks Sun Di to leave. Tie You (Li Ce’s right hand man, general of the royal military, also appeared in the drama) has come to Sun Di and the two begin to argue about what Sun Di had plotted behind CQ’s back. Tie You reveals that Li Xiuyi’s birth mother, the empress dowager Yuan has committed suicide following the suggestions of Sun Di, so that a stronger and more powerful person is enabled to protect her son in a better way. Sun Di explains that his ultimate target is to keep CQ in Biantang, for no one else in the world has the willing and the capacity to protect Li Xiuyi without coveting his throne. While Tie You argues Sun Di’s plan of being too selfish by sacrificing CQ’s personal life and fortune for the goodness of Biantang, Sun Di asks in return what else they could do to safeguard the kids and the state of their old friend, Li Ce? Tie You is left with no further argument.
Li Xiuyi is awakened from his nightmares again and is soon comforted by seeing CQ lying beside him. CQ holds the kid tight in her arms until he falls back to asleep. She gets up and sits beside the window, holding a stack of unopened letters in her hand. Sun Di’s suggestion flashes again in her mind, then, she recalled what Yue had said to her under the rosy twilight of the sky: “There is still a long way to go, and accidents may burst at any time, are you afraid?” And she rememberes clearly how she had answered him. But too many eyes are taking close watch on her moves. Slowly, she burns all the letters into ashes. CQ summons Sun Di and, to his excitement, agrees with his suggestions. She orders him to arrange the following issues, including the wedding of her ghost marriage with Li Ce, and warns him with “This is the last time!” as a conclusion of their conversation. Soon, the testament of Li Ce granting CQ to be his empress is declared to the world. The decree was dated and sealed in three month before Li Ce’s death, and the handwriting was from Li Ce himself. No one could doubt the authenticity of the decree, and the wedding, following the previous emperor’s will, is dated in three days. The news of the wedding arrives to Yue who is hurrying towards Tangjing. “Remember, I’m waiting for you.” whispers CQ in a tender voice beside his ears while he urges his horse faster.
The day of the wedding arrives, and CQ is dressed up with a special phoenix robe in black. The parade of the empress (dowager) has passed all the main gates of the Tangjing city and reached the grand stage of Fengyou that was built for the ceremony, where CQ steps out of the carriage and walks towards the recently built high stage. The moderator announces the title of the new empress dowager in a solemn voice and holds the seal of phoenix representing the authority of her highness. CQ stands on the stage that is the highest in its surrounding, a huge crowd is kneeling down there on the ground, and among the gazes, there is jealousy, hatred, fear, suspicion, and some hope, but nothing is warm. One step forward, a quarter of the Ximeng continent would be under her ruling, and she would be on the summit of power. But what she sees is just a pair of eyes, cool but embedded with fires. “Wait for me!” written by him, in a dark, bold, ink.