A/N: This idea has been playing in my mind for a very, very long time. Sometimes I get a bit bored with the 17th century setting and wonder, what would it be like if all the plot of HZGG actually happened in the 21st century? Well...a lot of things wouldn't happen, for one thing, with DNA testing being available. And polygamy wouldn't be possible.
But still, it stayed in my mind...how would everything change if this was modern day? And then the Korean drama, Goong came along...I have never watched Goong - I have very limited patience for K-drama, but I know the general idea. So what if China was a constitutional monarchy? It was possible. Emperor Guang Xu considered the idea. It just got shot down by Ci Xi, and then he died. But what if he lived longer and succeeded in making China a constitutional monarchy? (By the way, Guang Xu means Prosperious Succession, which is kind of a bitterly ironic reign name for the real emperor considering the emperor that comes after him was the last emperor of China.)
So here I will take the liberty of rewriting Chinese history, which means I really have to put a disclaimer here: No profit is being made out of any of this, no offense is being meant to anyone and all this is purely a result of my over-active imagination and written down for my amusement and hopefully, your enjoyment.
This fanfiction will consist of a series of random oneshot that might or might not be in chronological order, dealing what might happen if the plot of HZGG was moved to a 21st-century, modern day, constitutional monarchy China. Update might be pretty random and the chapters might not to flow after one another, but I will try to make things pretty clear about what is happening and when.
A Reworking of the History of China
In 1875, Emperor Tong Zhi died, without issue and his nephew was chosen as his successor, to rule under the reign name Guang Xu, meaning Prosperious Succession. Being underaged, the government was actually rule through the joint regency of the Dowager Empresses Ci An and Ci Xi. Ci Xi was the birth mother of Tong Zhi. Indeed, however, Ci An concerned herself mostly with the domestic affairs of the court whereas Ci Xi controlled the state matters. However, in 1881, when Guang Xu was 10 years old, Ci Xi died suddenly of a stroke. Guang Xu being still under aged, this forced Ci An to take a more active role in matters of states. She would rule behind the curtain for another six years, and proved to be a shrewed ruler despite staying away from such matters previously. In 1887, when Guang Xu was 16, he was officially given the right to rule indepedently. In 1889, he married Lady Tatala who becomes Empress Ke Shun and her sister is made Jin Fei. Seeing the weaknesses of the old governmental system in China and seeing a time for change, during the next ten years, Empress Ke Shun assisted the Emperor in exploring reforms options to make China a constitutional monarchy. In 1898, near the turn of the century, the Bao Huang Reforms was enforced by Emperor Guang Xu.
Over the next 30 years of his reign, Guang Xu eliminated court exam procedures, industrialised China, slowly turned it into a constitutional monarchy run by paliarment consisted of the Inner House and Outer House. Parliament was chosen by tri-annually elections. The Prime Minister is head of government, consults with the Emperor, head of state. Polygamy was eventually made illegal. The succession did not revert back primogeniture but remained on a by-merit basis, where the Emperor would will the throne to the most capable Prince and appoint a Crown Prince or pass the throne through a will.
China did not play much role in the First World War. In fact, while the rest of the world were in turmoil, China used the rest of that time to straighten out its new system.
To symbolise that his son's generation would be the first full reign of a new China, the restarting of the Qing dynasty, Guang Xu decided that the generation name of his grandson would not be Heng like was to be expected, by reverted the naming convention back to the beginning, starting with Yin. (Yin Huang Yong Mian...).
In 1904, the Sixth Prince Pu Ming was born to Empress Ke Shun. In 1928, Guang Xu died, passing the throne to the 24-year-old Pu Ming who took the reign name Shun Zhi.
In 1927, Prince Yin Feng was born to Pu Ming. In 1954, Prince Huang Li was born to Prince Yin Feng. In 1958, Emperor Shun Zhi dies, Yin Feng becomes Emperor Qing Le. In 1979 Qing Le dies in an accident, Prince Huang Li becomes Emperor Rong Jing.
In February 1984, Prince Yong Qi was born to Rong Jing and Empress Xiao Xian. In the same year, Rong Jing visited Jinan, where he had an affair with a young woman named Xia Yu He, who eventually gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Zi Wei in August 1985.
In 1989, the Empress Xiao Xian died from multiple scelorosis and was survived by the Emperor, five sons (of whom, Yong Qi was the youngest) and two daughters. In 1995, the Emperor remarried, and the new Empress Yi Shun eventually gave birth to two more princes and princesses.
The Imperial Family Tree:
Emperor Rong Jing (b. 1954)
-- m. Empress Xiao Xian (b. 1956, m.1974, d.1989)
---- First Princess He Jing (b. 1974)
---- First Prince Yong Ling (b.1976)
---- Second Prince Yong Zhong b. 1978)
---- Third Prince Yong An (b. 1980)
---- Fourth Prince Yong Lin (b. 1982)
---- Fifth Prince Yong Qi (b.1984)
---- Second Princess He Xin (b.1985)
-- m. Empress Yi Chun (b. 1970 m. 1995)
---- Third Princess He Jia (b. 1997)
---- Sixth Prince Yong Yan (b. 2001)
In 2002, just after Zi Wei's high school graduation, her mother died from cancer, leaving her no relative, and only a token, a fan and a painting given to her mother by her father. Zi Wei had to wait until she turned 18 in August 2003 to go to Beijing to seek out her father. Meanwhile, being an exceptional student, she worked hard as a tutor for the money to go to Beijing. In Beijing, she found it was extremely hard to get in touch with the Emperor at all and survived by working as a waitress at a cafe/restaurant. Here she met Xiao Yan, an orphan who just moved out of an orphanage, and was also studying for the national university exam to get into Yong Le University, one of the most prestigious universities in Beijing. Zi Wei moved in with Xiao Yan.
After a while, Zi Wei told Xiao Yan her secret. Xiao Yan encouraged Zi Wei to try for the university entrant exam too, and if they could both get into Yong Le on scholarship they might be able to meet the Fifth Prince Yong Qi who was attending the same university. Yong Qi's choice of university was considered to be a strange one, as the university was named after a Ming emperor and was famously attended by many students whose political ideal leaned towards anti-monarchy. They also found out that he was reading History and Politics, the former of which both of them were interested in studying.
Both Xiao Yan and Zi Wei passed the entrant exams with flying colours, being the two highest scorers and granted the only two full scholarships for History at Yong Le. They started university in September 2004, when both were 19. By this time, the Fifth Prince was in his second year, having started university a year later than usual, because he took a gap year. Despite making the front page, they didn't want to draw attention to themselves at university. They wanted to somehow meet the Fifth Prince but didn't want to come off as 'fans'. He got into Yong Le on his own merit rather than political influences and kept a low profile at university, though it was a tough order as his pictures were constantly in the newspaper...
A few more author's notes:
Lady Tatala, in real life, was Zhen Fei, concubine to Emperor Guang Xu.
Regarding the Imperial family, because the Emperor has only one wife (at a time) and his children were born of the same mother - more or less - the family dynamic would be a lot different. I won't be focusing too much on the Imperial family, but just as a point of interest, Yong Qi gets on pretty well with all of his siblings.
A lot of this fic would just be an excuse to write Xiao Yan Zi/Yong Qi in a modern context.