The fight in the palace rages on as poltics twist and turn in unpredictable ways. Wang Shang Yi is determined to see Lu Zhen never move up in the ranks while Lu Zhen’s allies fight for her fight to become a Lady Official. Lu Zhen’s creativity shines through this episode.
Lu Zhen agrees to the terms of the bet. If she doesn’t get Number 1, then she will not only lose her 1st Level maid position but would have to become a 3r Level maid and then will also never be able to take the test in her life. Lu Zhen looks at Wang Shang Yi determinedly and agrees to the conditions. They walk away from each other, Lou Qing Qiang inwardly tells herself that she was right about Lu Zhen, this girl has guts and is special.
Lu Zhen is on the floor of her room, searching through the books for inspiration as Dan Niang shoos away girls who are asking what Lu Zhen is doing.
Dan Niang closes Lu Zhen’s door and meets Yuan Lu, who asks if Lu Zhen is okay. Dan Niang glares daggers at him and proceeds to aim several flying kicks to his rear and chases him out of the palace.
Lu Zhen lies on her bed, muttering, what can be made that is original and new. She sees the Guan Yin painting on the wall and smiles. She’s found her inspiration.
The next day she goes to report her plans to Wang Shang Yi and Lou Qing Qiang. She tells them that she will make a seven treasure ying luo (I think it’s a necklace). She explains that old Budhist masters use to say that a ying luo made with 3 treasures ensures a country is peaceful and 7 ensures people’s peace of heart and prosperity. A Seven treasure ying luo is something that deities wear, even the Guan Yin Goddess. Wang Shang Yi looks surprised at Lu Zhens’ words.
The Lady Officials tell them that they will need to be hear bright and early, anyone who doesn’t arrive on time will not be allowed in. They also need to write down what they need and give it to various departments to get the materials.
Wang Shang Y is with her maid and they discuss Lu Zhen’s new creation idea. Wang Shang Yi has a sense of foreboding when it comes to Lu Zhen. She points out that Lu Zhen’s 7 treasure necklace will not only please the Dowager Empress, who is a devout buddhist but also the Royal Concubine, who is a firm believer in Guan Yin (the Ying Luo is a personal sign of the Guan Yin Goddess). Lu Zhen’s creation will not only please the Dowager but placate the Royal Concubine, forcing Wang Shang Yi to give Lu Zhen a good score. Wang Shang Yi realizes that Lu Zhen is no ordinary little girl, and no matter waht happens, Wang Shang Yi has to get ride of Lu Zhen who is growing into a threat, for the sake of the Royal Concubine.
Meanwhile, Lu Zhen’s materials is being prepared by the Treasury Department, where Shen Bi works. Shen Bi realizes Lu Zhen needs all the material and goes to prep it herself, making sure to sabotage Lu Zhen’s materials.
Lu Zhen and the other maids are taken to a courtyard where they wil stay for the day and make their treasure to show in the morning.
When Lu Zhen makes the necklace and tests the strength of the string, it breaks on her.
One of her 7 treasures is shattered on impact and Lu Zhen is left a huge problem. Lu Zhen grabs the remnants of the broken jewel and head out. She implores the maid in charge to let her go somewhere so she can find another jewel, which is not disobeying the rules of the test. Lu Zhen bribes the girl with remnants of the jewel and is allowed to leave.
Lu Zhen heads to the Department of Internal Objects (rough translation) where she had met Eunuch Zhu – the old man who recognized the valuable metal pot she brought last time. Lu Zhen explains that she broke one of the treasures, and because it is so rare, the treasures department will not give her another one, the only place she knows would have it would be here.
Zhu replies that they don’t have it, it’s so rare, can she use another treasure to subsitute it? Lu Zhen looks around in thought and it hits her. She asks if they have ceramic making kiln Zhu confirms that they have one for making clay ware and asks what does she plan. Lu Zhen replies that she’s going back to what she is skilled at doing, she’s going to make a Zi Jing Ping (a small flower vase, usually light green in color).
It’s very rarely seen and still might be able to compete with the rest. As the the kiln being one that makes clay ware, she says that it’s okay to use to make ceramic as well.
Lu Zhen runs back to the Palace of Isolation and goes to the tree where she found the white soil that she knew would transform regular clay wares into beautiful ceramic (or china) ware.
She makes the vase and teaches the people working in the department how to make ceramic paste to cover the vases for the shine and sheen.
As she puts the vase and a tiny tiger statue into the kiln.
Lu Zhen also makes friend with Li Da Dan, who asks her what the difference between clay and ceramic was. Lu Zhen explains that there are some differences, such as the heat in the Kiln the wood used to bake the ceramic and also, most importantly, the ceramic powder that transforms clay into ceramics. In Dai (Lu Zhen’s country) it is very hard to find ceramic powder, and this is why ceramic is so rare and needs to be imported into the country. Li Da Dan tells her that her divulging these secrets might be bad for her business and Lu Zhen wins all the men working there by being humble and willing to share secrets.
Wang Shang Yi gets the news that Lu Zhen as left the testing site and is working at the kiln since somone has sabotaged her 7 treasure Ying Luo. She smirks and tells her maid to do nothing, tomorrow they get to watch Lu Zhen’s demise. Wang Shang Yi happily comments that never being allowed to rise in the ranks will be like hell for Lu Zhen.
The next morning Lu Zhen sees the smoke and tells the men that the ceramic is ready. She asks the kiln to be opened.
She hesitates to open the container and does so only with the urging of Zhu. When she does, it is revealed that the ceramic vase was a beautiful, pure white.
A color that has never been seen in the history of ceramics. The workers marvel at the beauty of the color and Lu Zhen, taking her vase sprints for the judging ceremony.
She arrives in the nick of time and presents her beautiful vase, much to the disbelieve of Wang Shang Yi. Lu Zhen explains that the vase is made by her, that it’s unprecedented creation was due to the luck and piety of the current emperor. Wang Shang Yi scoffs at Lu Zhen’s glibness as Luo Qing Qiang smiles satisfatorily, saying that Wang Shang Yi should announce the winner.
Wang Shang Yi says of course, and does not pick Lu Zhen. Lu Zhen is shocked and Lou Qing Qinag is outraged. Wnag Shang Yi says that anyone can win, but Lu Zhen can not. SInce Lu Zhen did not create what she was originally going to make, Lu Zhen has shown that she cannot fulfill her promises. She will now never be allowed to compete again.
Lou Qing Qiang says that Wang Shang Yi is being extremely unfair. Lu Zhen tells Lou Qing Qiang that is okay, she will accept the punishment, all the while tears are falling out her here eyes. Eunuch Zhu rushes in and they all bow to him, since he is the head of the Interal Objects dept.
He angrily tells Wang Shang Yi that she is unreasonable, the tests were made so that the most talented were allowed to serve the emperor. Lu Zhen has created a hereto unheard of marvel that even he, a skilled veteran has never created before, and instead of rewarding her, they’re going to demote her?
Lou Qing Qiang quickly agrees and explains that the Kingdom of Chen had destoryed Wang Shang Yi’s old kingdom, and Kingdom of Chen is also the biggest exporter of ceramics to the Kingdom of Dai. Anything the King of Chen does or likes, Wang Shang Yi will hate and try to destory. Wang Shang Yi is outraged.
Wang Shang Yi replies to Eunuch Zhu that this is not part of his affairs, she may respect his position as a 4th Level official, but she is the ultimate decider and now she will order Lu Zhen to never be able to compete again.
Eunuch Zhu grabs Lu Zhen’s hand and says that they are going to see the Emperor, if she is not allowed to work as a 9th level Female Official for the treasury department, he will make sure that Lu Zhen will work for his department as an 8th Level Official (even higher). They are about to leaven when a royal edict, summoning Wang Shang Yi, Lou QIng Qiang and Lu Zhen to the Emperor’s palace.
The Emperor has heard about all the is going on and wishes to see the white vase. He’s delighted by the color and tells her that her work is truely wonderous, since he doesn’t want to renege Wang Shang Yi’s choices for the 9th Level Lady Official, he will elevate her to 8th Level Lady Official in thanks for her creation instead.
Wang Shang Yi freaks out and protests. She says that Lu Zhen might have created it on accident, and that the affairs of the Harem aren’t really under his control. Lou Qing Qiang snarks that the affairs of the world at the Emperor’s to govern, and besides, the affairs of the harem truely belongs to the next Queen, the Royal concubine is just a convenient subsitute for now. Wang Shang Yi glares at Lou QIng Qiang is about to bit back but the Emperor interupts.
He tells her that he’ll forgive her for her rash words and that to prove Lu Zhen did not create the white cermaic vase on accident, he orders Lu Zhen to create new white ceramics in 5 days time. If she can’t produce it, she can go back and be the 1st level maid again. Lu Zhen looks relieved and excited.
Lou Qing Qiang is happily walking out, she explains to her maid that the Emperor barely knows or cares about the harem, yet he went out of his way to help Lu Zhen, only Wang Shang Yi was idiot enough to not see that and anger him. She also happy at Wang Shang Yi’s mistakes and fails. Her maid says that she though Lu Zhen liked the Crown Prince Chang Guang (Gao Zhan) … Lou Qing Qiang says that she’s confused about the relationships too, but it would not be the first time that Gao Zhan and the Emperor liked the same girl.
Yuan Lu comes looking for Lu Zhen, and Dan Niang explains that Lu Zhen is at the Kilns. She hasn’t had time to come back to the Palace of Isolation. Besides, hasn’t Gao Zhan done enough damage. Yuan Lu asks if Lu Zhen has read the letter Gao Zhan sent. Dan Niang explains that Lu Zhen has torn it without even looking. Dan Niang explains how Lu Zhen got drunk and missed the tests and her troubles were cause by Gao Zhan. Yuan Lu tells Dan Niang that Gao Zhan didn’t know about the belt tradition and Dan Niang looks in disbelief, she says, “I’ve finally found someone who is dumber than you and I”
Meanwhile Lu Zhen at the Kilns can not recreate the same white ceramic and she is worried, not understanding why it’s not working.
She sways and we learn that she hasn’t eaten all day. The workers persuade her to go and get some rest, she still has 3 days left. Lu Zhen sits in her room and ponder the problem.
Thoughts – the good thing about Lu Zhen is that she attracts people who will eventurally help her in terms of getting her to where she wants to go. However, people like Shen Bi and Wang Shang Yi will always want to slower her progress. I like that this episode was about the harem, and while the department names were difficult, I think that the gist is Lu Zhen’s ability far surpasses that of a normal human being. After all she creates the First White Ceramic vase, which is a huge deal. The conflict with her possibly loosing her position was resolved nicely and cleanly, as always. Which is good and bad for a viewer. Good that I don’t have to wait for the next episode to see what happens, bad because all her conflicts play out so fast that there is no urgency or angst. They more or less get resolved with her coming out better than she started.