The romance and the politics move forward. Lu Zhen’s political life is heating up as well as her closeness with Gao Zhan. We move from the focus between the two of them to the rest of the players. This is the episode that the Emperor Shines.
Lu Zhen closes her eyes and protests as Gao Zhan comes closer and closer. He swerves from her lips and says, “I hope that you don’t keeping calling me by my full name” Lu Zhen opens her eyes with this look of disbelief.
She hollers, “you lied to me again” she was fully expecting a kiss. He grabs her arms and asks her if she agree.
She bashfully says, “Brother Gao”. He huffs and says, “there’s so many guys in our country with the name of Gao, how do I know you’re not calling them?”
She mumbles, “A Zhan” (this is basically a diminutive and a term of endearment). He leans in, “I can’t here you” She says “A Zhan” a little louder. He leans in closer and she says it a little louder. He says “I can’t hear you” and she yells his nickname in his ear, smiling mischieviously. He says, ” This Woman…”
Lu Zhen remembers something and asks why Gao Zhan wasn’t in the guards house the night she went to go find him. Gao Zhan has this face of, crap I need to lie quickly to save my ruse, and tells her that since he’s the Crown Prince, he lives in the Crown Prince’s palace. If she ever needs him, all she has to do is send Dan Niang to find Yuan Lu and he’ll get Gao Zhan. Gao Zhan asks if she knows how to play the Gu Qin (a string instrument played sitting down, asian version of the piano before asian tiger mothers discovered the piano)
Dan Niang and Yuan Lu are off to the side. They observe the couple and Yuan Lu admires his master’s technique at getting the girl, sighing that if he had 1/10 of his master’s skill, he would be amazing at getting girls. Dan Niang scoffs and says that he has to have the right equipment. Yuan Lu proudly says that even eunuchs have pride, in fact, with his position, he’s the equivilant of a high official. Dan Niang tells him whatever, and proceeds to kick his ass around.
Lu Zhen talks to her old teacher, telling her about Shen Bi’s punishment. Her teacher asks about the boy who bought her the hairpin and Lu Zhen hedges around about her feelings for him. Her teacher urges her to be forthcoming with her feelings and just tell him that she likes him. Lu Zhen can marry him and revenge her father that way.
Lu Zhen vehemently disagrees and says that she’s noticed that men believe women aren’t as good as them. Her father believed that too, and through her own hard work, Lu Zhen is going to prove all of them wrong.
Shen Bi tries to go see her father but is told that her father has gone out of the palace. The Interal Affiars of the Harem has accused him of consorting with people in the harem (which is a big no no) and he is being punished. Shen Bi looks desperate and worried.
Over the next few days, Lu Zhen begans to embroider a strip of cloth.
She goes to see Du Si Yi, her mentor whom she met when she was sick. Du Si Yi explains that there are two parts to the Lady Official test. One is the written, if she writes about the virtues of the current emperor, then she’ll be fine. The other part is skill, that is the more difficult part and only Lu Zhen can think up something.
Lu Zhen replies that she’s studying diligently. She goes to pour some tea for Du Si Yi, and Du Si Yi notices pricks on Lu Zhen’s finger. She grabs Lu Zhen’s hand angrily and asks what happened? Lu Zhen stammers that she had some embrodiery work. Du Si Yi calls that bull, there is no mistress in that palace, and Lu Zhen is the Head Maid, she doesn’t need to do any work.
Does Lu Zhen have some kind of man whom she is stitching a love token for? Du Si Yi tells her that of the thousands of maids, only Lu Zhen has been taught by her and if Lu Zhen fails the tests because of some bastard, Du Si Yi will skin her. Lu Zhen’s resolve strengthens and she tells Du Si Yi she’ll work hard.
Lu Zhen and all the other Head Maids and 1st Level maids gather in Wang Shang Yi’s court. Wang Shang Yi explains that there are two parts – the written will be thirty percent and the skills will be seventy. The skills test will be about making something original and new (vague I know). This year they will take two lady officials. Lateness and cheating will be severely punished.
As Wang Shang Yi leaves, she notices Lu Zhen. She grabs Lu Zhen’s chin to get a better look and snarks that Lu Zhen certainly climbs the ladder fast enough.
As Lu Zhen is leaving, the emperor passes by. He notices Lu Zhen and tells his servants to stop the palaquin. Lu Zhen happily says, “You (informal) still remember me!” He grins and tells his eunuch that he’s going to walk with her for a while. Even with his servants protesting, he began to walk with her.
The Emperor tells Lu Zhen to act normally with him and she sprouts Han Fei Zi (a philosopher)’s works about respecting the position of the Emperor.
He’s impressed that she knows Han Fei Zi’s work and remarks that it’s no wonder that A Zhan (he used tonal Zhan of Gao Zhan’s true name) and she looks at him confused. The Emperor quickly recovers and says A Zhan (this time using the fake name’s tonal Zhan pronouciation). He says, no wonder A Zhan likes her. Does she have feelings for Gao Zhan?
Lu Zhen kneels in a panic and says that it’s all on her, that all they are are friends. But if the emperor wants to punish them for communicating with each other, the he should definitely punish her. The Emperor quickly helps her up and says that he’s glad that Gao Zhan has found a girl like her who will protect him. But Lu Zhen should also know that she’s not the only one that feels this way. In all the years the Emperor has known Gao Zhan, Gao Zhan has never talked about a girl the way he does with Lu Zhen.
Lu Zhen smiles and they talk until the Eunuch has to remind the Emperor that he has a banquet with the Royal Concubine Xiao, who is waiting for him. The Emperor remarks that time passes fast when in a friend’s company and turns to leave.
Lu Zhen calls after him and shyly says that she hasn’t seen Gao Zhan in a long time. The Emperor smiles knowlingly and says that while Gao Zhan is out doing work for him, he’ll be back soon. If she shows up by the pond tomorrow night, the Emperor will deliver him to her. Lu Zhen smiles happily.
In another part of the palace, the Dowager Empress is fuming at the stranglehold that the Royal Concubine Xiao seems to have over the Emperor, complaining that every day the Emperor does not visit his other wives, is another that she can’t have a grandson. Even now Royal Concubine Xiao is working for Gao Zhan, who is meeting a foriegn delegation for the Emperor. Doesn’t the Emperor know that this means Gao Zhan will have more chances to look for allies?
Lou Qing Qiang advises the Dowager Empress to take things calmly. Let the emperor make a few mistakes then he’ll know that the bond between mothers and sons is tighter than between brothers. As for the Royal Concubine, Lou QIng Qiang has heard the news that emperor has personally walked with Lu Zhen today.
The Empress looks mightly happy at the news and is reminded that Lu Zhen is the girl she met last time. Didn’t she have a scar, she inquires? It’s healed, Lou Qing Qiang replies. And, she adds, Lu zhen looks even more like the Royal Concubine. Lu Zhen is practically mentored by her, Lou Qing Qiang continues, so she’ll be loyal and everything. But the emperor should not know about Lu Zhen’s connection with the Dowager and her faction. Lou Qing Qiang tells the Dowager that Lu Zhen definitly has the attention of the emperor, they are even meeting by the pond tomorrow night.
The Empress looks estatic at the chance to lure the Emperor away from the Royal Concubine.
That night, Lu Zhen waits anxiously by the pond as she holds a cloth belt in her hands. Muttering, “Stupid Gao Zhan, if you don’t come, I won’t give it to you!”
He teases and says, “really” She mumbles that it was something taht she made while waiting for him. She thrusts it at him and says, “please accept this!”
Gao Zhan notices a shadow and a pair of shoes, he realises that they have a spy and sees that the shoes are worn only by the Lady Officials. He knows that if he doesn’t act quick, Lu Zhen will be in danger.
(This is not word for word btw) “Why do you think I would ever take your belt?” Lu Zhen looks shocked at his coldness, he repeats, “Who do you think you are that I would take you belt?” Lu Zhen ask him, “A Zhan?”
He continues, ” Shut Up! Just because we’ve met a couple times. It’s just a coincidence. Why are you out and about at night?” Lu Zhen is stunned and stutters, “I…I” Gao Zhan yells “Stop calling my name!Because you know the princess and has helped me out, I’ll forgive this time. But stop bothering me!”
He grabs her belt, “As for the stuff you give me, I would never think they’re good for anything. Don’t come and bother me anymore!” He throws it to the ground and walks away. Lu Zhen grabs the belt, throws it in the pond and runs off crying.
Lou Qing Qiang and her maid come out of the darkness having watched the spat. Lou Qing Qiang understands now that its the Crown Prince and Lu Zhen. Her maid asks her if they should still keep Lu Zhen, now that they now it’s not the Emperor she’s after. Lou Qing Qiang says of course, now that Lu Zhen’s been rejected, she’ll hate Gao Zhan and they’ll have great use of a girl who hates the crown prince.
Lu Zhen runs back to her room and cries her heart out and drinks a ton of alcohol, humiliated and miserable. We’ve all been there. She cries bitterly that she’s judged Gao Zhan wrongly and should not have trusted him.
Meanwhile Gao Zhan has had Yuan Lu find the belt Lu Zhen threw into the pond.
He grabs it and smiles. Uncle Zhou sees the belt and asks if Gao Zhan met with Lu Zhen.
Gao Zhan asks how Uncle Zhou knew. Uncle Zhou smiles and replies that he knows Gao Zhan would never accept a belt from anyone else. Gao Zhan is even more confused. Uncle Zhou explains that it is traditional for a girl who wants to tell a boy that she likes him by making him a belt.
Gao Zhan is stunned and horrified by what he did. Yuan Lu calls him an idiot, how could he not know and do what he did to Lu Zhen. He sighs worriedly, “This is the end… She must hate me to death”
Gao Zhan replies that because he saw the lady official, he knows that it would put Lu Zhen in danger no matter whose faction it was. He rises to go and explain it to her.
He stops and Yuan Lu asks him why is he not going anymore. Gao Zhan says that Lu Zhen has the exam tomorrow and she needs to rest, he’ll explain afterwards.
Lu Zhen wakes up and realizes that she is extremely late to the exam.
She rushes towards the examination palace only to be stopped by Wang Shang Yi who tells her that she will definitely now be allowed in. Even Lou Qing Qiang has no way of getting Lu Zhen into the written part this time.
Lu Zhen makes a desperate bet with Wang Shang Yi. Let Lu Zhen take the skills part of the examination and she’ll definitely be Number One. Since the skills part is 70 percent, Lu Zhen still has a chance to become a Lady Official. If Lu Zhen loses, then she’ll not partake in the Lady Official test for the next three years.
Wang Shang Yi agrees but changes one condition. If Lu Zhen doesn’t get Number 1 on the skills test, Lu Zhen will never be allowed to take the Lady Official test, she’ll be relegated back to Level 3 maid and can never rise up again. Is Lu Zhen willing to bet her then?
I am slightly sleep deprived but I want to keep up this update. This is an amazing episode in terms of romantic movement. However, as with all asian drama Misunderstanding is an essential part of it. As for the big Misunderstanding – it’s a test to their relationship.
I LOVE the emperor, especially because he wants badly to see Gao Zhan happy. It’s refreshing to see a bromance that an actual bromance. His teasing and his willingness to get to know Lu Zhen, and creating opportunity for the two love birds. He is the epitome of a good brother and a good Emperor. I’m slowly falling in love with him again.