Ah, I’m so happy to be finished with episodes 20-30 that this episode already feels like we are on the road to recovery. Here it is:
The Dowager is delighted for two reason. One, her assassination plot against Gao Zhan is underway, and, two, the entire palace has been abuzz about The emperor wiping away Lu Zhen’s tears. The Dowager is delighted and tells Lou Qing Qiang that she’s ordered Lu Zhen to go and personally take the Emperor’s measurements for his new robe. She’s going to try her hardest to get them together. Lou Qing Qiang asks if the Dowager is worried that Lu Zhen will be unmanageable once she becomes a concubine and the Dowager scoffs; Lu Zhen will not have the guts, she is only a lowly 7th level Lady Official after all.
Lu Zhen goes to measure the Emperor who apologizes for his mother’s eagerness. She says its okay, she actually wanted to ask the Emperor to do something for her. The emperor sends the rest of the servants away, and Lu Zhen asks him to send a package from her to Gao Zhan.
The Emperor opens the package and finds the Ceramic White Tiger, which Lu Zhen had fixed. Lu Zhen tells the Emperor that she doesn’t have any words for Gao Zhan, but he will understand once he sees the figurine.
The Royal Concubine is reading buddhist sutras when her maid tells her that she must do something about Lu Zhen, otherwise Lu Zhen might really get together with the Emperor. The Royal Concubine closes her eyes and says that she doesn’t have any power right now.
Lu Zhen goes to the Office of Silks and Clothes, where she sees everyone staring at her because of the rumors. Ling Long comes to greet her and Lu Zhen tells Ling Long that she doesn’t care what others think, but Ling Long should know that Lu Zhen only has one man in her heart. She asks if Ling Long found the termite problem and the mistaken embroderies on the maid’s clothes strange. Ling Long frowns and agrees. She had found that no one had checked the clothes before they were packed away and Shen Bi was the one that gave the wrong flowers to be embroidered. Lu Zhen confirms her suspcions about Shen Bi being behind the sabotage.
Lu Zhen confronts Shen Bi about the Gao Zhan Letter, the Termites, and the Flower Emorideries.
Shen Bi admits to liking Gao Zhan but screams at Lu Zhen that she had nothing to do with the rest of it. That was only Lu Zhen’s fault. Shen Bi runs out crying. She stops on the steps, thinking that Lu Zhen should have believed her acting. Shen Bi is worried because Lu Zhen is really powerful now; she needs someone stupid enough to take Lu Zhen down for her. The Royal Concubine has no power, so she goes to see Shen Jia Min.
Shen Bi scares Shen Jia Min into getting a few maids together to beat Lu Zhen up. All they have to do is destroy her face so that she gets sent out of the palace.
That night Lu Zhen walks back and two attackers chase after her. Lu Zhen manages to escape them and runs into a seemingly empty pavillion.
However she hears a noise inside and it turns out Wang Shang Yi is there with her lover.
Lu Zhen tries to escape, only to be stopped by Wang Shang Yi who is equally stunned. Lu Zhen runs away, after screaming “I saw nothing! I saw nothing!”
Lu Zhen realises who could be the ones that attacked her and surmises that it must be Shen Bi and Shen Jia Min; the Royal Concubine doesn’t have the power to get away with this now that she isn’t in favor.
Lu Zhen goes to see Du Si Yi and ask that Du Si Yi teach her how to deal with such devious people; Lu Zhen is tired of getting used, being sabotaged, and having no way of fighting back. (Yes I realize that she had this epiphany HALFWAY into the show). Lu Zhen asks to be Du Si Yi’s disciple and fight back against Shen Bi.
She also knows that Du Si Yi wants to cultivate Lu Zhen into a minister who can change the fate of the kingdom. Du Si Yi takes Lu Zhen outside and gives her a handful of soil telling her that “Under the Heavens the Earth is most important, He who owns the earth, will be protected by it.” This is Lu Zhen’s first lesson as Du Si Yi’s disciple.
Shen Bi tells Shen Jia Min that they failed, and that Lu Zhen even saw the face of one of the attacks. They assume that Lu Zhen hasn’t connected the dots and decide to lie low. Shen Bi tells Shen Jia Min to get rid of the girl. While Shen Jia Min looks uncomfortable with that, Shen Bi tells her it’s either the girl’s life or hers. Only dead men tell no tales.
Wang Shang Yi goes to look for a jade pendant she had lost and Lou Qing Qiang’s maid sees what she is doing and finds the jade pendant.
Lu Zhen completely reorganizes the Clothes and Silks department, making everyone more accountable and having them all memorize the rules and regulations. She tells the maids to remove Shen Bi’s desk from the Dais where Lu Zhen sits to show everyone that she is the one boss they have to report to. Shen Bi is furious but also powerless.
Wang Shang Yi comes to ask Lu Zhen if she has seen the Jade pendant she had lost. Lu Zhen acts as if she never saw Wang Shang Yi that night. Du Si Yi had advised Lu Zhen to act this way; it will give Lu Zhen some good will and power over Wang Shang Yi. Although Wang Shang Yi understands that Lu Zhen wants that night forgotten, she warns Lu Zhen that it will be her life if anyone else knows about it. Lu Zhen feels uneasy about the issue still. Lou Qing Qiang’s maid brings the jade pendant to Lou Qing Qiang. Lou Qing Qiang realizes that Wang Shang Yi must have been meeting with a man that night (they found a thread in the pavilion), and that Lu Zhen must have seen the meeting.
If Lu Zhen tells the Emperor about Wang Shang Yi’s meeting then Wang Shang Yi will be put to death for violating one of the palace’s most serious rules. Lou Qing Qiang has also found the maid that Lu Zhen saw that night and the maid had confessed that Shen Jia Min was behind Lu Zhen’s assault. If Lu Zhen goes to tell on Wang Shang Yi, then Lou Qing Qiang will make sure that Shen Jia Min and Shen Bi suffer too. Lu Zhen refuses to do so and Lou Qing Qiang screams and howls at Lu Zhen for being an ungrateful dog, telling her to watch her back, because, from now on, Lu Zhen has lost Lou Qing Qiang’s protection.
That night, Dan Niang comes to ask if Lu Zhen is afraid of Lou Qing Qiang, and Lu Zhen admits that she is. But she can’t get Wang Shang Yi in trouble. Wang Shang Yi is just a woman who followed her heart, and there is no rule that should transcend love. (Aw, you silly romantic, that’s why I love/hate you). Wang Shang Yi’s life has been hard enough. She had been engaged to be married but her kingdom fell. She is fated to be single forever. Lu Zhen even respects Wang Shang Yi, because Wang Shang Yi would defy the rules of the palace for love.
Lu Zhen sees the emperor drinking tea at her palace the next day. Lu Zhen asks why he is there. He tells her that he’s been ordering Lu Zhen to come see him, but since she has always refused, he came to her.
He tells Lu Zhen not to worry. He has explained to the Royal Concubine that he and Lu Zhen are just friends. Lu Zhen assures him that it’s not that she’s worried about, but the ugly rumours about her and the Emperor. He tells Lu Zhen about a man who used to sleep naked outside of girls’ houses (Really Show?). Lu Zhen looks alarmed and the Emperor assures her that he has no intention of doing so, but that the innocent will always be innocent no matter what is said of them.
E: Wait, what?
Lu Zhen agrees and the Emperor is happy that she calls him “you” instead of “Your royal Highness”. He tells her that he will stop using the Royal “I” in front of her too. The Emperor complements the palace of Isolation to be a truely beautiful palace, and Lu Zhen teases that the Dowager is planning to spend more money on it.
The Emperor asks Lu Zhen not to fault the Dowager for being so pushy. She really wants to see the Emperor like another woman. Lu Zhen asks the Emperor if he is so sad over the Royal Concubine why he doesn’t make up with her. The Emperor sighs and tells her that he is always the first to extend the hand of forgiveness, but this time he doesn’t want to .
Lu Zhen changes the subject and asks why the Emperor is here. The Emperor tells her that Gao Zhan has a message for her. He wants her to know that he understands how she feels and loves her too. (The rough translation is “will not disappoint your love” in six characters.) The Emperor sighs that he was so jealous when he had heard. Lu Zhen is happily repeating those words to herself. She nearly cries and the emperor teases her that she can’t, aren’t the rumors bad enough?
The Emperor spies Lu Zhen’s ceramic making kit and asks how to make ceramic. He uses his hands and finds it to be too slow…
He uses his foot…
And when Lu Zhen laughs at him he throws clay at her, only it hits his eunuch.
Okay, compared to the last few episodes, this one was so much better. It’s not there in terms of how good episodes 10-20 were, but we are finally getting on the right track. The Emperor is someone who I was annoyed with at the beginning, but then I got to pity him a lot more. Lu Zhen is an idiot but luckily she knows that she can’t survive without the backing of other people. With Du Si Yi at her side, she will be more protected from the nasty war.