The two factions fighting the silent harem war are more than willing to battle for Lu Zhen in an attempt to show who is the bigger power. Lu Zhen, stuck between Wang Shang Yi (supporting and supported by the Royal Concubine) and Luo Qing Qiang (Supported and supporting the Dowager), must learn to navigate or suffer the consequences.
We pick up where we left off. One of the maid trainees observes that the palaquin is so small, it must not be someone very important. Teacher Yang says that Chang Guang Wang (Gao Zhan) has always tended to be very quiet and non-showy. One maid observes that even Wang Shang Yi has more air and graces than he does. Teacher Yang says that all the Female officials are about the same, they are more or less like the officials who meet the emperor in the morning court. However, there was only one precedence in the last dynasty, a 4th level Female Official was privy to the meetings, even the prime minister had to be very respectful to her. There have been no female officials that has reached that level in this dynasty. Lu Zhen asks what happens if a female official is accused of something or is in trouble. Teacher Yang explains that a female official is like every courtier, her sentence will be comuted to a lesser degree and she’s allowed to reopen any cases in which she is accused in. Lu Zhen is very happen when she hears this.
Gao Zhan meets with his sister the Princess. The Princess is still naive and doesn’t really know how evil the dowager is. She tells him that the whole assasination was probably not done by the Dowager’s brother, and that someone framed him. Gao Zhen guesses that the Dowager probably told the Princess these things, but he decided to drop this subject. He brings up the jade pendant, and says that if anyone comes with it, can the Princess protect that person? She agrees and asks who he gave it to. He explains that he gave the pendant to a girl. The princess asks if its someone special and he lies. She laments that there’s no one by his side. It’s perhaps time he forgets Huan Yun (Royal Concubine). His face darkens and she quickly backtracks and says, “that person”.
The palace is preparing for the banquet and they are short of hands. The new maids in training are made to help make shoes for the various concubines and female officials.
During the night, Teacher Song, pricks her finger and puts blood on a pair of shoes that Shen Qiu Niang was working on. Teacher Song probably mistook Shen Qiu Niang’s shoes for Lu Zhen’s. Lu Zhen, pitying Shen Qiu Nian who is working for Concubine Li Ping, who is notorious for her temper, decides to trade shoes with Shen Qiu Niang.
Lu Zhen takes the drops of the blood and makes butterflies and bees. Everyone admires her work. But Teacher Song tells this to Wang Shang Yi. Shen Qiu Niang asks to switch back shoes with Lu Zhen, because Shen Qiu Niang needs some goodwill from her superiors.
Zhen kindly agrees. Meanwhile, Wang Shang Yi is urging the Royal Concubine to wear some new clothes, she needs to compete for the Emperor’s attentions with the banquet coming up and all. Royal Concubine Xiao declines, saying that she will wear something plain and simple. Wang Shang Yi is worried that she will be outshone, but Royal Concubine says that she can face the Dowager and her schemes head on.
During the banquet, the Dowager is mad that Royal Concubine is late. She remarks its probably because she doesn’t want the Emperor to visit the other concubines. The emperor remarks that it’s not that Royal Concubine Xiao who’s stopping him, but that he doesn’t want to.
Royal Concubine Xiao arrives and the Dowager asks why she’s dressed so plainly, and why so late? Royal Concubine replys that she’s dressed plainly because the old emperor has not been dead for 100 days. She’s only following traditions, it’s the Dowager who has been rude. The Emperor admits that she’s right perhaps they should cancel. Royal Concubine Xiao says no, since the Dowager is so eager for the Royal Concubine to meet the new concubines, they should have this banquet.
They proceed with the banquet and Concubine Li Pin (the one who is wearing the shoes with bees and butterflies) is called. Everyone admires the shoes for their beauty. But Royal Concubine smirks and makes double entendre about the butterflies (die)and Bees (feng), which baisically means that Concubine Li Ping is a slut. This makes the court laugh, and Concubine Li Pin storms off enraged.
Back at the trainee maids pavilion, the Female Disiciplinary Official comes in and asks who made Li Pin’s shoes? Shen Qiu Nian happily says that she did. She is given a cup of wine as a reward which she happily drinks. She is asked if anyone else helped and when she was about to reply that Lu Zhen did, Teacher Yang stops her. Shen Qiu Niang began to feel the effects of the poision in the wine and dies, leaving everyone in shock. Teacher Yang asks why this has happened and the female disciplinary official tells her that Li Pin commited suicide after being humiliated, killing off Shen Qiu Niang was the only way to save everyone who might have been invovled.
Lu Zhen is devastated and feels horrible. Teacher Song is not only humbled but assures Teacher Yang that from now on she will never get in between the two factions
Lu Zhen is called in by Lou Qing Qiang, who asks for her Jade pendant and asks why the Princess doesn’t remember her. If she didn’t steal it, then Lu Zhen wouldn’t mind that a maid takes the jade pendant to the Princess to confirm who Lu Zhen is who she says she is. Lu Zhen makes a gamle and say yes, then is made to wait in fretfulness. Thankfully Gao Zhan has squared everything with the Princess, and Lou Qing Qiang gets the confirmation that Lu Zhen is approved by the princess.
The Emperor comes to drink with Gao Zhan, who tells the Emperor to stop drinking too much. The Emperor asks if Gao Zhan will try to control him too? The Dowager won’t let him rule, and Huan Yun ( Royal Concubine Xiao) never really shows him a good face. Also, the Emperor knows that Gao Zhan’s assasination was probably done by the Dowager’s family. Gao Zhan tells him that it is a small matter. The emperor says that it’s a huge deal, not only is Gao Zhan his only brother, but also the future emperor. Gao Zhan says that he doesn’t want it, once the Emperor has a son, Gao Zhan will step aside.
The Emperor says no, he will have no son. He and Royal Concubine have been married for three years with no issue. Most of the concubines die or are sick. Besides he owes Gao Zhan too much, first the throne and also in love. At that moment Gao Zhan’s enunch,Yuan Lu comes in. He is one of my favorites (and provides much needed comic relief)
Yuan Lu observes that the Emperor comes so rarely that he’s like a ghost, earning a well-deserved glare. No! I mean Immortal being! Yuan Lu changes. Yuan Lu has brought medicine for Gao Zhan. When the Emperor tries to take a sip, curious of what it is, Gao Zhan drinks it all. When the Emperor leaves it is revealed that it is a slow acting poison that the Dowager has slipped in his medicines, to make him sick. However, Gao Zhan knows this and has began to build an immunity against it. He does this so as to make the Dowager believe he isn’t slowly building his power base, to allay suspicions.
Back at the trainee-maids place, Lu Zhen showcases her knowledge of cloth, she not only know what they are but what they are made of as well. Everyone admires her and A Bi shows that is very jealous of Lu Zhen. That night Lu Zhen goes to burn some ghost paper money for Shen Qiu Niang, and says how sorry she is. Teacher Yang sees what she is doing and yells at her to stop, burning ghost money in the palace is punishable by death. A wind blows through and knocks some embers out of the pot. Lu Zhen and Teacher Yang tries to stamp it out but the trainees rushes over saying that A Bi has told the higher ups – per Teacher Yang’s Orders.
Wang Shang Yi asks what happened, why would she try to commit arson? Lu Zhen tells her she was only burning some leaves. Wang Shang Yi commands her to be punished and then thrown out of the palace. Teacher Yang asks for clemency because Lu Zhen is the Princess’s recommended person. Wang Shang Yi says okay, she’ll give one more chance and tells her to recite all of the Palaces’ Behavior Rules for Palace. Lu Zhen starts shakily but does it perfectly by the end.
While Lu Zhen doesn’t get thrown out, she couldn’t escape punishment either, she gets hit many times with a big stick (I really have no other way of describing this, and I cringe every time I write it)
Gao Zhang gets word that someone has come foward with the jade pendant for the Princess. He recognizes it immediately as the one he gave to Lu Zhen smiles like a man who ‘s seen the light. He deduces that she’s a palace maid, having gotten there through using the jade. He tells hims guard to ask for her quietly, no one can know, especially not the Royal Concubine.
Next Recap – THEY MEET AGAIN!
Thoughts – It takes the wind out of my sails when this drama crawls like a snail on a sunday. But it’s necessary to set up the palace like the way it’s been done. We meet all the characters and get a taste of what this palace is like. I’m a huge believer in the two and the next episode does contain a dose of cuteness you don’t want to miss.