It takes Dan Niang to knock some sense into a despondent Lu Zhen. Sometimes I think the side characters have the hardest job in this show. They have to herd the main character to the right conclusions. I raise my glass to Dan Niang, without you, this show might have stretched to 85 episodes, 70 of which focus on the numerous misunderstandings between Gao Zhan and Lu Zhen.
*Side note: Please welcome back my editor, Elizaphantrex!
The Dowager punishes the Royal Concubine for keeping the Emperor from visiting other Concubines by making the Royal Concubine kneel for hours. The Emperor hears of it and goes to see the Royal Concubine, who is holding a giant book above her head as Lou Qing Qiang reads a long list of rules the Royal Concubine should be obeying. The Emperor cannot stop it from happening because he knows that the Royal Concubine is too proud to let him interfere. The Royal Concubine finishes her punishment and glares at the self satisfied Lou Qing Qiang with hate filled eyes.
The Emperor goes back to his palace, and he tells all the servants to leave him. He wants to be alone with his thoughts. He goes into his palace and there is a strange fragrance that makes him stagger to his bed. Arms come around him and he assumes that the Royal Concubine had came to visit him. As he kisses the girl he realizes it’s not the Royal Concubine. The girl tells him that the Royal Concubine had sent her to care of him.
He throws the girl outside and finds the royal concubine smirking at him. She tells him that the Dowager had admonished her for taking all of the Emperor’s affections. How did he like the girl she found for him?
He is enraged and asks why she treats him like a toy. He only likes her. He is so angry that he spits blood and faints. The Royal Concubine looks shocked and genuinely worried for the Emperor.
The Dowager wants to use this opportunity to order the the Royal Concubine be kicked and her position stripped. The Emperor said that if anything happens to Royal Concubine then he doesn’t want to live either.
It’s only by this tactic that he is able to save the Royal Concubine’s life. The Dowager leaves in exasperation; the Royal Concubine tries to say something but the Emperor turns his head away from her and tells her to leave.
Shen Bi finds a eunuch and gets news about Gao Zhan. He tells her that he is doing well and was doing a good job taking care of the flooding. He advises Shen Bi to go to Gao Zhan’s palace. They will have more news there. Gao Zhan’s maid had just received a letter for Lu Zhen from Gao Zhan and the maid, seeing that Shen Bi is from Lu Zhen’s department, asks her to give the letter to Lu Zhen. (We all know that will never happen.)
Shen Bi opens the letter to find it is Gao Zhan begging Lu Zhen to forgive him, after all they have gone through so much together and that he is thinking of her. Shen Bi is enraged that Gao Zhan didn’t even mention a word about her. She picks up her pen and starts mimicking his handwriting. Shen Bi smiles evilly as she destroys the original, intending to get a maid to give the new one to Lu Zhen.
Meanwhile, The annual Lady Official Test that Lu Zhen has studied diligently for has arrived. It’s a competition about skills and knowledge amongst the current Lady Officials. They mentioned it a couple of times but I could’t be bothered.)
Lu Zhen and Shen Bi, as heads of the Clothes department are ordered to create an embroidery.
The former head of the Clothes Department comes to judge, praising Shen Bi’s choice of colors and composition. She turns to Lu Zhen and almost immediately declares her the winner. Lu Zhen had embroidered the Pheonix Tail Embroidery, with a stitch that was far more advanced than Shen Bi’s. Of all the Lady Officials, Lu Zhen does the best and gets 1st place. Shen Bi is practically green with jealousy.
Lou Qing Qiang comes with the Dowager’s edict. Lou Qing Qiang tells Lu Zhen that, as the Dowager promised, if Lu Zhen gets 1st place then she would be re-elevated back to 7th Level Lady Official. Lu Zhen happily runs back to her palace and on her way there she spies the Emperor sitting in silence. The Emperor sees her and calls her over to sit. He tells her about the fight he had with the Royal Concubine.
Lu Zhen tells him that they should try to get back together. The Crown Prince told her… The Emperor looks at her sharply and asks why she is calling Gao Zhan the Crown Prince, are they still fighting? Lu Zhen tells him about the fight. The Emperor sighs and says that he and the Royal Concubine are so different from Lu Zhen and Gao Zhan in that the Royal Concubine never really cared for him.
Lu Zhen asks after Gao Zhan; she hasn’t heard anything. The Emperor looks surprised, saying that Gao Zhan has sent letters to everyone. Lu Zhen is stunned and starts crying before she realizes it.
The Emperor is alarmed and starts wiping away her tears with his hands, trying to comfort her by telling her that it’s no big deal.
Lu Zhen returns to her rooms and Dan Niang tells her that there is a letter for her. Lu Zhen is over joyed because it is a letter from Gao Zhan. (We know its a fake from Shen Bi.)
She opens the letter and sits down in shock. In it, she reads that Gao Zhan wants to break up with her, saying that she was a cruel and petty woman and that they should be strangers from now on. Lu Zhen tells Dan Niang the contents of the letter and Dan Niang tells her that the letter must be fake.
Lu Zhen asks why she says that and Dan Niang tells her that the night before Gao Zhan was about to depart, he had gotten drunk and called Lu Zhen’s name over and over. Yuan Lu had come over to tell Dan Niang to take good care of Lu Zhen. If it hadn’t been that Lu Zhen was kept at the Department overnight by Shen Bi, then she wouldn’t have missed Gao Zhan.
Lu Zhen realizes that Shen Bi and the Royal Concubine were behind the whole thing. She surmises that Gao Zhan is a really careful person and would never end their relationship through a note; he would also never let a strange maid send a letter to her.
Lu Zhen is now completely clear about the people who are making trouble for her.
I finally finished the episodes from hell. The next episode is actually good and fun, and once I do the mini-recaps, I can take a breath and start enjoying the next ten. Thanks again Elizaphantrex for editing this even though you just came back from vacation. You are one hell of a friend.
E: Thanks, it’s true.