Yu Juan was over 50 this year and had written a lot of excellent film and television works, especially from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. “Dongnu Kingdom” was her white moonlight script, and she had been preparing for it for ten years.
“As we all know, Wu Zetian is the first and only female emperor to be recorded in Chinese history. What few people know is that at the same time as her, there was a veritable daughter Kingdom in the Xiaojin County area under our feet. Xuanzang once recorded that there was a daughter Kingdom in the south of Congling mentioned in the record of his travels to the west to collect scriptures and knowledge. The Kingdom on the Dadu River in Xiaojin County is known as the East Nü Kingdom on the Western Sichuan Plateau.”
Yu Juan had a good heart, and she was honest. Dongnu Kingdom had only a few hundred-character records in “Old Tang Book” and “Tang Hui Yao”, and the rest could only be speculated or imagined, which also gives her a huge creative space.
Jiang Zheng did her homework in advance and checked the papers on this era. She knew that this Dongnu Kingdom was founded by the Qiang people. Although it was not well-known, it had existed for at least 200 years. It was rare in Chinese history to honor women as men, to make women emperors, and to let them lead the tribes of the Eight Kingdoms of Xishan.
The people depended on the mountains and rivers for their livelihood. Here, women were in charge of political affairs, while men were responsible for farming and fighting, men could not take concubines, and children were born with their mother’s surname, basically it was a typical matrilineal society. According to the research of historians, Lugu Lake in Yunnan may have belonged to the sphere of influence of the Dongnu Kingdom, as evidenced by the walking marriage model left by the Mosuo people.
Jiang Zheng played Tang Qinlan, the fourth-generation queen of the Dongnu Kingdom. The plot began when she sneaked out of the palace because of curiosity. At that time, she was still a princess who had just passed the rite of passage.
The closed-door reading lasted for a week. During this period, Jiang Zheng showed strong professional ability. She acted unscripted throughout the whole process. The character biography was very meticulous, and Ji Muye was not weak. The conflict between the characters and the emotional changes could always sparkle in their words.
Every time Yu Juan saw this scene, she was glad that Ji Muye was able to participate in the performance. She didn’t know why the emotional turmoil between the two of them seemed to be there, but maybe this was the so-called sense of CP.
Everyone saw it in their eyes and praised it in their hearts.
After the reading was over, the filming of “Dongnu Kingdom” officially started.
The crew and the local government cooperated to build a group of palace towers in a valley on the Dadu River. The Dongnu Kingdom was built by the Qiang people. They lived on the mountains and built their houses with stones, which were more than ten meters high. The palace tower where the queen lived was located at the highest point of the royal city, the official tower where the officials lived, and the civilian tower where the common people lived were laid in turn. At that time, after the filming was over, it could be changed to a film and television tourism base.
The first scene was a night scene.
At this time in April, the night in the high mountains was freezing cold, and the crew were wearing long down jackets doing the final preparations.
Jiang Zheng looked at the palace tower towering into the night and wanted to drink some wine to strengthen her courage but was ruthlessly rejected by Han Yi. She took a few sips of ginger tea, warmed her heart, and moved to the top floor of the palace tower.
According to historical records, the palace towers where the royal family of Dongnu Kingdom lived was nine stories high. It was inconvenient to go up and downstairs with such a high palace tower, and it was impossible for the noble queen to take the stairs. Therefore, the props group imagined reasonably, setting up a patio that could be connected up and down in the middle of the palace tower, using the principle of lifting and lowering the water wheel in ancient times and rope traction, the queen would sit in the wooden frame, and the strong man would pull the rope up and down.
When Jiang Zheng went to the top floor, she experienced a “wooden” ladder, which was fast and stable. It was indeed possible to apply the advertising slogan of “enjoyment of going up and down”.
Fastening the safety rope, Jiang Zheng climbed down the window.
This day, Princess Tang Qinlan slipped out of the palace tower in the middle of the night and secretly went to the house of her maid Cen Baoqian. The night wind was blowing, and the surroundings were quiet and silent. The palace fortress was brightly lit, and a dark shadow was hidden on the side.
This scene only needed to shoot Jiang Zheng climbing down and landing, but it still made Han Yi nervous.
He was just worried. Ji Muye, who didn’t have to wait there, still sat down with him and turned his head from time to time to ask questions.
“There are still a lot of climbing scenes in the future, doesn’t Teacher Jiang consider using a stand-in?”
“Teacher Jiang’s schedule is so busy, how can she find time to practice these skills?”
“That’s right. Teacher Jiang’s memory is also super good. Memorizing lines is no pressure to her, really enviable.”
Han Yi smiled and said, “I didn’t expect Teacher Ji to be so interested in my Zhengzheng?”
Ji Muye touched his nose, noncommittal.
“It will make me misunderstand that Teacher Ji likes my zheng.” Han Yi put down this sentence.
Ji Muye coughed twice and laughed dryly, “Han Yi, I didn’t expect you to be quite humorous.”
Han Yi shrugged and thanked him. Sure enough, Ji Muye was much quieter after that.
After this scene was filmed, the scene moved to another official tower. This was Cen’s house, five stories high, with an excellent location and view.
Tang Qinlan sat upright by the bedroom window, drinking while listening to the sound of horse hooves from time to time. This was the sound of a man riding a horse to get married.
He would tie the horse to stop, climb the tower and knock on the window, the sweetheart would open the window for him, and then they would be together, and finally the man would leave before dawn.
She suddenly sighed and said faintly: “The lonely palace tower is as tall as a cloud, and no one dares to climb. Even if someone climbs, I am afraid that the only way is to die by a fall.” So, she sneaked out to take a look at the east. Every woman in the Dongnu Kingdom got an experience that only she could not have.
“I heard that in Yizhou of Tang Dynasty, men and women need to listen to the words of their parents to get married, and they cannot settle their affairs privately. The custom of my Dongnu Kingdom is just the opposite. Women are respected and unrestrained, they sit quietly in the room and wait for men to climb the wall. If they like it, they can accept, and if they don’t like it, they can refuse.”
As a princess, Tang Qinlan had never set foot on the borders of the neighboring Tang Dynasty, as she seldom left the palace. However, her ancestors had sent envoys to Chang’an to pay tribute many times, and some of the items they brought back were books from there. The Tang customs she knew were learnt from these books.
The maid Cen Baoqian knelt down at the feet of the princess, and cautiously advised: “Your Highness, the night dew is getting thicker, I’m afraid the cold will hurt your body. It’s better to ask Wei Chen to escort Your Highness back to the palace.” The only one who suppressed her was the Queen. This time, she had wanted to come to watch the private walking marriage, and she did not dare to refuse. These words of persuasion could only be said once, not twice.
Tang Qinlan didn’t seem to hear, she raised her head and drank a glass of wine, while staring down at the glass. Her mother emperor was busy with government affairs, while her father was bedridden all the year round, and in the huge palace towers were always only those female officials, and she was tired of looking at them. She was the eldest daughter of the mother emperor and had been designated as the heir from birth. For as long as she could remember, her every move had been in preparation for becoming a future queen. But she was probably the most restrained among the women in the East Women’s Kingdom, and she couldn’t even decide on her future husband.
There was silence all around. The camera zoomed in, and Jiang Zheng in the monitor had arrogant brows and eyes, but the smile on the corner of her lips brought a deep sense of loneliness, which suddenly led people into her emotions.
Suddenly, the sound of horses’ hooves sounded under the Cen’s official fortress. It turned out that Cen Baoqian’s suitor had come uninvited. Seeing this scene, Tang Qinlan teased, “Which one is it?”
Cen Baoqian was so frightened that she quickly bent down and kowtowed to apologize. This person came at an untimely time, and if he saw the princess sneaking out of the palace, he would have to lose his head. Moreover, the master was feeling unhappy about her husband’s affairs, how could she be better than the master as a minister?
At this time, the camera zoomed out, and a young man was climbing along the wall to the window on the top floor. This was also a fierce man, his feet were placed neatly, as he knocked on the window like a monkey.
Cen Baoqian nodded quickly, startled and anxious, “Rong Weichen, chase him away.”
Tang Qinlan smiled and shook her head, “It doesn’t matter. How can I be a bad person?” She decided to go back in order to avoid the embarrassment of the official, but as a result, she ran into Cui Ling, played by Ji Muye, head-on.
Their eyes met each other, one was riding on a horse, looking condescending, while the other was sneaking over the wall and squatting on one knee.
Cui Ling was wearing a black cloak, as he narrowed his eyes, and said leisurely: “I haven’t been back for many days, when did the person who climbed the house here turn into a woman?”
Tang Qinlan stood up, her back straight, and looked coldly at the rampant opposite, “Bold!”
This man was obviously different from the men in the Dongnu Kingdom, and there was no cowardice in his eyes when he looked at a woman. Could it be a Han Chinese from Yizhou in the Tang Dynasty?
At this moment, a few clanking arrows broke through the air.
The sharp arrows were shot from a height and rushed straight towards Tang Qinlan, Cui Ling shouted to be careful.
Tang Qinlan’s eyes were cold, as she bent down suddenly, and the arrow passed by her back.
There was a black shadow passing by quickly on the watchtower, and he rushed to the front in a short time.
Tang Qinlan suddenly turned around and drew a long whip from her waist, like a long snake, and slammed it fiercely at the sword-wielding assassin.
Cui Ling hurriedly patted his mount and stepped aside, for fear that the long whip would hurt him. He even used the horse’s back as a stand and watched a good show with his palm on his chin. He didn’t forget to comment, “Your whip dance is beautiful, but you are still slow to shoot. Fortunately, these idiots with swords are not good at swordsmanship…”
Tang Qinlan had never seen such a faceless and shameless man. Her heart had gone cold, and she swung her whip along the way. Cui Ling turned over and swept up gently. The whip hit the air, but it didn’t even hit the corner of his clothes.
The assassins glanced at each other, and separated as they swept towards Cui Ling. The two sides, who had been fighting so hard, suddenly agreed to something and picked on Cui Ling.
Cui Ling’s Qinggong was excellent, and he shouted for mercy, but neither Tang Qinlan nor the assassin could catch him.
The assassin leader was annoyed and shouted, “Catch him and silence him.”
Tang Qinlan’s face sank.
Cui Ling pretended to be annoyed, “I’m really frustrated. I’ll just do a good thing today.”
It was too late to say that, he came flying like an eagle, stretched out his arms around Tang Qinlan’s waist, and pulled her straight on horseback and ran away.
Director Xing Weimin called cut, he turned his head and exchanged a gratifying and gossipy look with the assistant director. Jiang Zheng’s whiplash was handsome and powerful, and Ji Muye’s reversal movements with him hanging in the sky were also controlled freely. The two actors were of equal strength and would not hold each other back. In the future, the crew could basically rest on time.
It’s just, why was there a strange atmosphere of “I can’t be compared by him (her)” between them?
Jiang Zheng was hugged tightly by Ji Muye, and the night wind whistling past her ears was as cold as ice, in stark contrast to the hot temperature coming from her back. She bit her lip, the jerking of the horse’s back making her heart beat out of rhythm.
Crazy. Just now, Ji Muye, who came down from the sky to save her, was really handsome. The camera shot at her face at the time, she was afraid of it capturing her thoughts.
Ji Muye was not much better. He had worked with many actresses for so many years since his debut, but no actress had ever made him feel dizzy and his heart beat faster when she hugged him. The more he tried to control his breathing, the more chaotic it became.
The speed of the horse was too fast, and the two of them slammed into a bamboo forest path.
Ji Muye pulled the reins, the horse’s head was raised, and the horse slowly stopped.
The tall bamboos blew in green waves, and the scent of pear blossoms lingered in the nostrils. The two did not speak as if they had reached a tacit understanding, quietly listening to the sound of the rustling bamboo forest. At this moment, they really seemed to be the people of the Dongnu Kingdom from a thousand years ago, walking on the wind and staying in this paradise.
After some calm, both seemed to have regained their breathing rhythm.
After a while, Jiang Zheng reminded softly, “We should go back.”
Ji Muye hummed inaudibly.
Turning the horse’s head, the sound of the horse’s hooves clapped between the hearts of the two.
There were voices in the distance, presumably because other people didn’t see them and chased after them.
Riding together was indecent and would only increase the scandal. Jiang Zheng said lightly: “Teacher Ji, the hairpin on my head seems to have fallen off.”
Ji Muye looked down and looked around, “Where did it fall?”
Jiang Zheng pointed at random, Ji Muye jumped off the horse, and bent down to look around, but when he got up, he heard a chuckle behind him.
“Teacher Ji, go ahead alone, thank you for your ride.”
Ji Muye turned around and saw Jiang Zheng clenching the reins, her legs tucked around his horse’s belly, and she didn’t forget to turn around and give him a sly smile, then she left him just like that and ran away.
Ji Muye: “…”
T/N: Finally it is over…. Such a long chapter… PHEW!!!!
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