Lu Zhen’s life changes again as she becomes a Lady Official and she meets new problems and new people to whom she has to once again prove her mettle.
Lu Zhen is in her room, looking through two piles of ceramic dirt, one from the time she made white ceramic and a newly dug pile that did not produce white ceramic. She’s confused because it all came from the same source, but produced two types of ceramic.
She hears a noise at the window and checks it out, when there’s nothing there she turns around to see Gao Zhan standing in front of her. She glares at him and asks what he wants, it’s late and they don’t know each other that well, he shouldn’t be here.
Gao Zhan tries to explain that he didn’t mean those things he said, the had gone through so much that can’t she let this misunderstanding go?
Lu Zhen glares at him and says the Chinese equivalent of “Bullshit!” She says that only explaining these things clearly will be effective at ending the spat, what he’s doing is basically lying to her face.
Gao Zhan tries to explain that there was someone spying on them, but if he told her it was the Royal Concubine, the Dowager, then he would have to explain who he truly is so he settles with telling her that someone close to the emperor was spying. Lu Zhen laughs and says that the Emperor was the one setting them up. Gao Zhan couldn’t really lie straight.
Lu Zhen throws back the words that he used at the pond that night, that he should leave her alone because she’s not worthy, her status is so low that the must be ashamed to be seen with her. Gao Zhan tells her that she is in his heart, she has misunderstood all that he said. She spats back that she never misunderstood, when he saw that someone was watching her and Gao Zhan, he must have felts that she’s too beneath him to actually be with, that’s why he acted the way he did, didn’t he. She says, no matter how he feels about her, that’s his business, but she has her pride. From now on, they’ll lead separate lives.
Gao Zhan tells her that he understand the meaning behind her belt, and tries to grab Lu Zhen in a hug. Lu Zhen pushes him and he knocks over the table with her two piles of ceramic powder. She keeps pushing him to the door, and turns away from him. He consents and leaves, saying that he knows she won’t listen to anything he’s saying, he come later, but he wishes that she’ll become a 6th Level Lady Official, so she can get her wish. He leaves and Lu Zhen turns around, obviously wanting to say something and keep him there. She doesn’t and lets out a sigh/yell of frustration.
Lu Zhen turns to the table where both powders had spilt on the floor. She notices that in the pile that produced white ceramic, there was no iron shavings, but seeing a giant magnetic spoon was covered in metal shavings in the pile that couldn’t produce white ceramic, she realized the problem.
The next day, Lu Zhen has Dan Niang tell her about how the tree was watered and how the maids throw the uneaten vinegar on it because Gui Hua trees needed acidic soil. She goes to the pottery and kiln once more.
Master Zhu sees Lu Zhen’s confidence and asks if she realized what the problem was, Lu Zhen happily explains that because the white ceramic soil she used was from the top layer of the Gui Hua tree, the metal shavings had been dissolved by the acidic vinegar that the maids threw on the soil. The soil they had gotten on their previous failed attempts were from the lower layers where the vinegar had not seeped to. Since she went through the powder with a magnet, they should be fine.
The workmen find that the new vases are again, pure white and Lu Zhen smiles happily at the result, she had recreated white ceramic and now she can become an 8th Level Lady Official.
The Emperor is impressed with the new vases Lu Zhen has produced and is marveling them with Gao Zhan. He tells Gao Zhan that he was going to promote Lu Zhen through some backdoor channels, but it looks like Gao Zhan’s girl has some amazing talent in her own right. Also, will Gao Zhan tell Lu Zhen that he needs a tea set of white ceramic?
Gao Zhan shakes his head and replies that Lu Zhen isn’t talking to her. The emperor asks if it’s because he was idiotic and said the wrong thing that angered Lu Zhen. When Gao Zhan doesn’t reply and the Emperor laughs delightedly and says Gao Zhan probably deserves what’s happening, and teases Gao Zhan,”Now it’s usually the Royal Concubine who bullys me, who knew that you, Gao Zhan, would have the day where a girl bully you?”
All kidding aside, the Emperor elevates Lu Zhen to 8th Level Lady Official, a Zhang Zhen (the equivalent of a manager). And allows her to live in the palace of isolation, that way, he tells Gao Zhan conspiratorial, Gao Zhan can keep secretly meeting her. Gao Zhan smiles abashed.
Lu Zhen goes for her “crowning” ceremony where she exchanges her hairpiece of that of a maid to that of a Lady Official. Du Si Yi arrives to conduct the ceremony for her and Lou Qing Qiang presides it. We learn that Du Si Yi is actually the daughter of powerful minister and Lou Qing Qiang wants to stay on her good side.
Lu Zhen is elevated to the 8th Level Zhang Zhen status, and hereto therefore is known as Lu Zhang Zhen to her lowers.
She is also told that she no longer has to call herself “this lowly slave girl” and now can refer to herself has “this lady official” when speaking to people.
Of the 6 departments, Lu Zhen will be assigned as the head of the Treasury Department.
When Lu Zhen walks out of the ceremony. Shen Bi and a group of maids see her walk by and they all have to bow to her. One of the maids comment that just a year ago Lu Zhen as just a lowly maid like them, but like a carp jumping through heavenly gates, she’s had a meteoric rise that no one has seen before, even the Emperor dote on her. Shen bi’s eyes shoots rays of jealousy and dislike.
Lu Zhen arrives at Si Bao Si or the Inner Harem Department of treasures. The senior maids under her is Ling Long and Ling Lang.
Ling Lang had snubbed Lu Zhen the last time Lu Zhen was here but Lu Zhen does not mention it. Lu Zhen is uncomfortable with the show of respect all the maids give her and calls them “older sisters”
Through this, Ling Long becomes assured that Lu Zhen is weak and probably harmless. Lu Zhen will not be able to discover the maids’ long tradition of taking things from the treasury for their own (it’s been going on even before Ling Long and Ling Lang’s time) Since Lady Officials come and go from the Department of Treasures so fast, she doesn’t think Lu Zhen will be a threat to her power and tells Ling Lang not to worry about Lu Zhen auditing the records. Besides, Lu Zhen is so young she probably doesn’t know how the records work, didn’t the last Lady Official see the tower of records and faint?
Lu Zhen is meticulously poring over the records and realizes that there are holes in the records everywhere. She asks Ling Long and Ling Lan about why certain jade bracelets are missing, how come the value of a gold buddha, worth thousands of gold pieces suddenly lost so much value? Ling Long tells her oily that Lu Zhen probably doesn’t understand the process of making gold into statues, as for the bracelets, someone probably broke one. Lu Zhen looks annoyed with the excuses.
Ling Lan asks Ling Long worriedly what they’re going to do about Lu Zhen auditing all the records. Lu Zhen has gone through one of the six departments in the treasury and she’ll be checking Ling Lan’s next. Ling Long smirks and says that Lu Zhen is probably just going through a phase and will calm down once they make sure she sees how impossible the task is.
Lu Zhen overseas the maids as they audit the books, but quickly realizes that the girls can’t read some of the records or can’t do maths.
Ling Long smirks and says that Lu Zhen is asking too much of the girls and that she should just take care of the records for her own time, there is no need to do a mass audit of all the years the treasury has been in operation. Lu Zhen glares at her and tells everyone to leave, she throws a book in frustration.
Wang Shang Yi and her maid are walking near the treasury and sees all the girls hurrying. Wang Shang Yi says that Lu Zhen is going to bring around her own downfall. The treasury and any monetary issues are all under Lou Qing Qiang, if she finds issues, that means the two will go head to head. All they have to do is watch.
Lu Zhen goes to see her old teacher and complains that the maids are nice to her face but are completely different when they work. They don’t do anything Lu Zhen says and act as if Lu Zhen is the interloper. The teacher gives her a scenario – if she was a palace maid who has worked for five years already and on the 6th year when she is about to be released, suddenly a new crazy Concubine comes in and orders her to scrub the floors twenty times a day and to clean and do all the menial tasks, how would Lu Zhen feel?
Lu Zhen is confused as the teacher tells her that the maids at the treasury look at Lu Zhen as if she is the Crazy Concubine in the story. Lu Zhen needs to learn how to take control, she can’t call the maids “elder sisters?” and act all respectful, she is the boss. She needs to pick out a few girls who are misbehaving and make examples of them and beat them. Lu Zhen shakes her head determinedly and says no, she understands what Teacher has said, she’ll become a leader but she will not beat them.
Gao Zhan and Yuan Lu are discussing the same thing and Yuan Lu suggests that they help take care of the two head maids who are causing Lu Zhen trouble. Gao Zhan shakes his head, he says that Lu Zhen is still angry, if she hears about how he helped out again, she’ll never forgive him. Besides, he adds, as a Lady Official, she can’t have someone supporting her all time, she needs to be independent.
Lu Zhen gathers all the treasury maids and tells them that she’s not someone to be messed with. Someone has told her that she should beat the dissidents, but Lu Zhen doesn’t want that. So Lu Zhen is going to make everyone audit the records in five groups – any problems with the records must be written down.
She will go over it in the end. If anyone tries to hide the problems, she’ll take their earnings and add it to the treasure’s monies. The girls all whisper to each other. Lu Zhen continues, they’re going to go through all the records in 12 hours, each group will be in charge of 14 years worth. Ling Lang interjects, what about food? Lu Zhen sits down and says that working for your masters is a joy, no one is allowed to eat during this time, including herself.
They get to work and a girl spills ink on the books. Ling Long pounces and tells Lu Zhen to punish the girl and make her an example, after all the girl must be hiding something if she got the records dirty. Lu Zhen cuts Ling Long off and tells her to stop it, the records is 13 years old, the girl wasn’t hear it. Ling Long is chastised.
Lu Zhen tells the girls that she know they’ve been taking money from the treasuries, but today they are just doing an audit, she is not looking to blame anyone. She tells them as long as they find the issue, all she wants to do is make sure that the missing amounts get filled back. There of course is a reward, she continues, the first group to finish will get 2 liang of gold, the next group 1 liang, and the 3rd group 1/5 liang. The all sit and began to work earnestly.
Lu Zhen tells Ling Lang and Ling Long that the same applies for them, do good work and stop making trouble for her. They sheepishly agree.
Lu Zhen’s Teacher comes and is impressed with Lu Zhen. Lu Zhen tells her that when she was managing her father’s business, the workers there had way stickier fingers than these girls. She had learned how to manage them and she can certainly manage these girls, once she got the hang of it.
Later that night, the girls are tired and Lu Zhen is getting exhausted as well. Ling Lang asks if Lu Zhen needs some food.She just got over being sick. Lu Zhen refuses but allows Ling lang to get everyone some goats milk.
Ling Long comes and offers Lu Zhen milk, but Lu Zhen refuses, saying she must lead by example. This wins Ling Long to her side, and she decides to follow Lu Zhen faithfully, if Lu Zhen is not drinking the milk, then neither will Ling Long.
Lu Zhen goes over the records with Ling Long the next day and forgives Ling Long for the issues in the records and Ling Long’s behavior. Ling Long reveals that there is a chest of treasure that has never been found on the records, so they can melt it down or us it fill all the gaps and whatever is owed. Lu Zhen is delighted but faints from hunger.
Dan Niang berates Lu Zhen for being careless and idiotic about her health. Lu Zhen teases Dan Niang about how responsitbily has changed her, was it only a few days ago when Dan Niang, trying to find some food, slipped and fell on her face (Lu Zhen uses the Chinese word Dog Eats Shit) and Dan Niang smiles, saying that she isn’t that bright.
Lu Zhen tells Dan Niang that not being bright is not an excuse to not do well, even dumb duck, following a stream can find shrimp. Dan Niang’s eyes brightens and says that shrimp eating duck is one of the best ducks to be made into stew.
Lu Zhen sighs and smiles, saying that Dan Niang doesn’t understand, but the pain she suffered at the treasury has helped her win the loyalty of the maids. Du Si Yi comes in, saying, So. It was all for show?
Thoughts: This episode was again to prove how smart Lu Zhen is but it also makes me appreciate the bromance between Gao Zhan and the Emperor. Actually this series does a really good job of making me like the side character and also annoyed at some of the others (Shen Bi and Co.) There are times where I can’t help but love Dan Niang and Yuan Lu, whose antics are somewhat just as cute and Lu Zhen and Gao Zhan.
As For Lu Zhen’s reaction to Gao Zhan’s refusal, it’s understandable. But I feel as if she’s not being as smart as we’re suppose to think she is. Sometimes I kind of giggle at how much this show doesn’t make a lot of sense. But making sense has never been Yuzhen’s strong point in creating these palace stories.