Emperor Ping: What I do not give, you must never take by force.

Emperor Ping: It has been 25 years. I thought that I would never see you again.

[attempts to touch Mrs. Jiang's face]

Mrs. Jiang: [knocks the Emperor's hand away]

Emperor Ping: [grabs Mrs. Jiang] And you married the Imperial Doctor!

Mrs. Jiang: [slaps the Emperor roughly] At the time, you were only a lowly captain plotting day and night to become Emperor. You flattered the King of Liang into letting you marry his daughter. You planned meticulously to have my entire family put in prison. Later, I alone managed to escape. Far from home, I almost died. It was the Doctor who saved me. Who then, do you think I should have married?

Empress Phoenix: So you are leaving. Are you afraid?

Crown Prince Wan: You are my mother, Your Majesty.

Empress Phoenix: We have been intimate for three years. You, of all people should know who I am.

Crown Prince Wan: I am first and foremost my father's son.

Empress Phoenix: [grabs Wan, attempting to seduce him]

Crown Prince Wan: [recoils from the Empress] Mother!

Empress Phoenix: I am not your mother!

Prince Jai: [upon discovering the Black Fungus] Mother was taken ill yesterday. Was it because of this?

Empress Phoenix: [nods head]

Prince Jai: Why is Father doing this to you?

Empress Phoenix: Jai, after the Chrysanthemum Festival, I shall tell you the whole truth.

[turns away]

Empress Phoenix: Each day, in front of your father, I have to feign ignorance. Every two hours, I swallow this poison without protest. Nobody knows what is happening. I shall die exactly as your father intends. A half-wit. But I refuse to submit without a fight. On the night of the Festival, I shall put an end to all this.

Prince Jai: Do my brothers know?

Empress Phoenix: No.

Prince Jai: If I had not returned, would Mother have gone ahead?

Empress Phoenix: Yes.

Prince Jai: Then why did you tell me?

Empress Phoenix: Because I want you to be Emperor.

Prince Jai: Are you going to kill Father?

Empress Phoenix: I shall force him to abdicate, but it is not my intention to kill him.

Prince Jai: Mother, a son cannot stand in rebellion against his father! Whatever the circumstances, he is still my father and my Emperor.

Emperor Ping: [while placing ingredients on a scale] This will cure your anemia.

Empress Phoenix: I thank His Majesty for his concern.

Emperor Ping: All good medicine tastes bitter.

Emperor Ping: You have excess bile, poor digestion, Yin and Yang are out of balance. That is why you are so infractious, listless and lethargic, and capable of nothing but cutting remarks. These are all sympptoms of anemia.

Empress Phoenix: It has been more than ten years. My so-called sickness is clearly not improving with Your Majesty's treatment.

Emperor Ping: [angrily throws scale to the ground] If your father were not the King of Liang, I would scarely be speaking to you with such restraint.