You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.
(Barbara de Angelis)
When I saw the spoiler pictures for episode 17, chills ran through my body. Suddenly I felt so scared because the fire in both Yoo and Ta-hwan’s eyes were saying it all: they could do anything because of Seung-nyang. I do realize that it won’t be that easy for them to kill each other without a solid reason, but it dawned on me that we are really moving into the love triangle between the leads, with both men aware of each other’s feelings for Seung-nyang. Plus, they’re already at the different ends of the conflicting countries, so it makes their fight more nerve-wrecking. Will the love rivalry gets in between these two, or will they eventually acknowledge that they can work together to defeat their common enemies at the moment?
I still have a hard time believing that we’ve reached episode 17. Time flies so fast!
Wait, I’m so nervous. Okay, let’s get started with the episode. I can do this!
Yoo went back to his quarters, wallowing in his jealousy by himself and even crushed a cup in his fist. His hand is bleeding! But he didn’t really care about his physical pain as the only person he could think of was Seung-nyang. Meanwhile, Seung-nyang was preparing the bed for Ta-hwan and he mocked her, saying that it’s better if she offered a hug compared to her back for him to lean on earlier. Pwahahaha! Trust him to ask for more from her!
She told him to dream on and he pulled her to sit on the bed in front of him. He covered her ears with his and her hands, before telling her this affectionately:
Ta-hwan: Aish, this idiot. Can you hear me? I am going to fight against Yeon-chul. I don’t want to show you my weak side anymore. That’s why, I need you to lend me the courage (to do so).
Seung-nyang: What are you doing? I feel stuffy~
Ta-hwan:You have to stay by my side, looking over me…how I make the effort to become an emperor.
Sweet. He was all smiling and looking intently at her even when she told him to remove his hands. Seung-nyang clearly didn’t hear anything (Awww) and he told her that he saw something of her, which pissed her off. Kekekeke. And they ended the day with the usual bedtime reading session, this time with Ta-hwan staring at Seung-nyang as she read the poem.
Yoo went outside for an archery session by himself, completely immersed in his thoughts to even care about his bloody hand. He kept shooting the arrows one after another, every single one hitting the Bull’s eye. The pain was nothing compared to the inner pain visible in his eyes. Ah, poor Yoo-gun!
Yeon-chul was heading somewhere with the soldiers in tow and Taltal remarked that he might have been shaken so much to have the soldiers following him even inside the palace. He was planning to give a surprise visit to the Empress Dowager, who was interrupted during her praying session. Yeon-chul told her arrogantly to tell him her wishes instead of praying to Buddha. Although he warned her not to look for the blood letter, she was brave enough to challenge him to stay alive for the longest time to see who would win in the end.
He left after giving her a warning (LOL he even kicked the door like a badass he was on his way out! So rebellious) and she didn’t waste any time to order Tutor Jang to find out why Yeon-chul was acting like that. However, one thing Yeon-chul could get from his meeting with the Empress Dowager was she didn’t have the blood letter yet, for she would attack him if she had it in her hands. The old man looked lost this time!
Yeon-chul ran into Yoo and Co. on his way out of the throne hall and asked Yoo about the rumours circulating inside the palace. Yoo admitted that he heard about it and Yeon-chul warned him to be careful so that he won’t have to suspect him. The old man totally had no idea that it was Yoo’s doing all along!
Ta-hwan was on his way to the Empress Dowager’s quarters and suddenly, he stopped when his eyes felt itchy because of the dirt flying into the eyes. He refused to let Golta blow his eyes (Hahahaha poor eunuch…he’s violently pushed away!) and ordered Seung-nyang to do it. Of course, Ta-hwan won’t let go with only one blow and told her to do it again. And of course, Yoo just happened to pass by to witness the scene, which kinda romantic if you looked at it from afar.
Yoo’s eyes said it all (Gahhhh Yoo, be patient!!) and Seung-nyang put some distance in between her and Ta-hwan when she saw Yoo. They exchanged brief glances and Seung-nyang’s eyes were full of guilt. Ta-hwan greeted him and walked away, but Seung-nyang was still standing there, unable to move an inch as she looked at Yoo. Ta-hwan told her not to fall out more than three steps from his side and she had no choice but to follow his order. This starefest is killing me slowly…
Resident fangirl Tanashiri was doing her embroidery (this is a surprise since I don’t expect her to have the patience over the activity) when she recalled Yoo’s words about being crazy for pretty girls in front of the drinks. She was so into it and accidentally pricked her finger. Court Lady Seo came in, bearing the news that she didn’t have to perform her morning greetings to the Empress Dowager. She remarked that the palace’s atmosphere was different and Tanashiri wanted to miss nothing, so she decided to go to the Dowager’s quarters.
Ta-hwan greeted her and exchanged awkward and snarky remarks about each other, as usual. Yoo’s arrival cut their interaction short and prompted different reactions from the married couple: Ta-hwan’s bored face and Tanashiri’s glowing face at his perfection. Hahaha! She couldn’t take her eyes away from Yoo, let alone hiding her giddiness!
They greeted the Empress Dowager and she wondered why Tanashiri was there although she released her from the morning greetings. Empress Dowager was clearly annoyed with the bratty Empress! Ta-hwan called for Seung-nyang and ordered her to serve the tea since he couldn’t drink the tea if it’s not her serving it. Yeon-hwa, who was preparing the tea, had to step aside for Seung-nyang to take over.
The real reason why Empress Dowager invited Yoo to join the early tea time was to discuss about his marriage with one of the Yuan princesses, Princess So-hwa. Both Yoo and Seung-nyang were taken aback, and Tanashiri complained that she wasn’t aware of the arrangement. Yoo declined the proposal, to her delight, but Ta-hwan supported Empress Dowager since it would be beneficial for Yoo’s status in Yuan’s court. Yoo said that he’s not thinking about marriage yet, and Tanashiri wondered if he had someone in his heart for him to keep declining the proposal.
Yoo and Seung-nyang looked at each other as Tanashiri asked the question. Squeeeeee!!
He was smart enough to turn their attention away, thanking them for their concern for his marriage. He decided to leave after having his tea and Seung-nyang was just about to serve the tea when Yeon-hwa intentionally tripped her. She stumbled in front of everyone, sending the tray flying in the air and Yoo was fast to hug her. The hot tea fell on him and he cringed in pain for a moment, but he told everyone that he’s okay and Tanashiri couldn’t even scold Seung-nyang there. He left, but not before leaving Seung-nyang with a smile and this:
I’m really okay, so you don’t have to worry about me.
Darn, I’m flailing over here!!!
Ta-hwan witnessed it in silence but he acknowledged that Yoo endured his pain for Seung-nyang, knowing that the tea was hot enough to scald him. Yeon-hwa apologized on their way back to their quarters, but Seung-nyang knew that it was intentional and warned her not do it again. You don’t mess with someone’s lover, girl!
And…Ta-hwan was venting his anger over his jealousy. Awwww, Baby Emperor was upset that Seung-nyang didn’t even bat an eye when he was injured during the football match but she’s worried to death for Yoo! But then, he told himself that an emperor shouldn’t get angry easily over petty things like that. So adorable! Suddenly, he realized that Seung-nyang wasn’t there and knowing that she would go straight to Yoo’s quarters even without his permission, he told Golta to go and fetch her.
Yoo turned out to be badly scalded from the hot tea and Seung-nyang arrived, offering herself to treat him. He told her to leave, but she’s persistent enough to snatch the first aid kit from Eunuch Bang and entered his room. Moo-song let her in, knowing that it’s what Yoo wanted although he didn’t say it. Although Yoo reminded her of his order before, she pleaded him to let her treat the wound.
Seung-nyang nearly cried when she saw how bad it was and Yoo didn’t stop her from applying the medicine. She attended to him tenderly and blamed herself for causing the injury, only to have him warning her not to chide herself in front of him again. Moo-song informed her that Golta came to fetch her and Seung-nyang promised to drop by later at night, knowing that it would be harder for him to deal with the wound at night. Yoo told her not to do so, but when she left, he let out a sigh and everything was clearly shown on his face: his pain and his longing.
Back at Ta-hwan’s quarters, he asked Seung-nyang about Yoo’s condition and she’s surprised that he knew about it. Dear, he could read you like a book, although he couldn’t read at the moment! She decided to come clean about her plan later, asking for his permission to leave for Yoo at night. Seung-nyang thought that she could leave when Ta-hwan fell asleep, but the latter won’t let himself to fall asleep easily tonight! He was so sleepy but tried hard to stay awake in order to prevent her from leaving. Ah, Baby Emperor…why so adorable?
Meanwhile, Yoo was tossing and turning on his bed, unable to sleep. Someone was at the door and he woke up excitedly with a smile, but it turned out to be Eunuch Bang, bearing him something to drink. Awwwww…Yoo, are you thinking it was Seung-nyang coming to you? He was so disappointed but still hoping that she would come…
Yeon-chul was mad (was there any time that he wasn’t?) that they couldn’t find the instigator of the rumours and the search for the blood letter was still fruitless. He ordered for the magicians to be publicly executed to remind the people about their crime and offered reward for those who could provide information about the instigator. Yoo decided that Yeon-chul was shaken enough for him to advance to the next stage, using the same disappearing ink trick and the weather. His underlings plastered the copies of notice along Yeon-chul’s way to the palace. Yeon-chul saw the notice when the rain poured, revealing the secret message for him: The Curse of Emperor Myungjong has Begun.
The public was in uproar because of the message and the palace was also the same. Although he knew that it was someone’s doing to shake Yeon-chul, Ta-hwan wanted to believe that the curse was really from his late father and Empress Dowager thought so too, but she thought it’s wiser for him to do nothing and just wait for the right time. Ta-hwan refused to continue living as Yeon-chul’s scarecrow, and he’s planning something!! Yeay!!!
Heh. Yeon-chul felt challenged and decided to show his curse, as Yoo planned on showing him the curse in front of his face. Knowing that rats would be the animals the Yuan people consider as troublesome and signified trouble coming their way, he ordered Officer Park and Jeombakyi to gather a large number of rats for their plan and he would tell him the way to do it. Off they went to buy something for catching the rats before heading to the next destination.
At the Goryeo village, Mak-seong saw Byung-soo working diligently, carrying some woods for the villagers. Byung-soo said he had to contribute something for the village (Heh) and showed that he’s eager to gather more for one of the houses with many children. Jeombakyi and Officer Park arrived at the village and Mak-seong hilariously mumbled, “Aish, why are those people coming here again?” He’s willing to hear out what they were going to say this time and Byung-soo saw them Uh-oh, trouble is coming!
He went to eavesdrop on their conversation and they were just beginning their discussion when Mak-seong thought he saw something outside the door. He went closer to the door and poke through the paper, right into Byung-soo’s ear. Hahahahahaha! That sent Byung-soo running off in an instant. Serves him right, but he’s so sure that there’s something going on. Darn, the sight of him spells trouble.
Mak-seong resumed their conversation and got to know that the two gentlemen wanted his help to catch the rats, but he had to keep it a secret from the outsiders. He agreed to do so and told the to come for the rats early in the morning. He had nothing against it, since it would mean less hassle for the people in the future.
Dangkise dismissed other maids to have a private conversation with Seung-nyang. He asked if she had heard Ta-hwan mentioning about the blood letter and offered to give her everything in return, but she thanked him, saying that it would be her chance to get back on Yeon-chul with the blood letter. Mocking her that she was brave to have faith in the young Emperor, he warned her that she’s like the rabbits that dared to stare at him but eventually met their demise at his feet. As usual, Seung-nyang couldn’t care less about his talk about his lovely animals.
When Seung-nyang reached the Emperor’s quarters, Ta-hwan was already up in his official robe and he told her that he would wake up early in the morning from now on, so she had to come earlier. He’s planning to go to the throne hall, something that Golta afraid Yeon-chul would find out, but he’s thinking of a secret mission for Seung-nyang. He also ordered for Baek Ahn to meet him secretly. Seung-nyang was suddenly alert and eyed Ta-hwan, who showed rare confidence. Yessss, this is what I’m waiting for!
Baek Ahn and Taltal went to meet Ta-hwan, and Ta-hwan told them that he’s about to give his first imperial order to them. The order was to find the blood letter, and although they stated that they didn’t believe its existence, the way Yeon-chul tried to find it with all his might was enough of a reason for Ta-hwan to try his luck too. Taltal was worried that it might cause him harm, and Ta-hwan told them that they could protect him (Brilliant!). Baek Ahn questioned why he would believe them as they could receive the order from Yeon-chul too, but Ta-hwan knew that Yeon-chul won’t be too happy to find out that they saved him in Daechung Island. They had no choice but to accept the order. Our Baby Emperor is so cool!
He told someone to come out and Seung-nyang appeared from behind the throne. He asked if this was the image of emperor he should show her (Awwww!) and she asked back: was he planning to really fight against Yeon-chul this time? He’s set his mind on it and Seung-nyang realized that finding the blood letter would the the fastest way for both Ta-hwan and Yoo to defeat Yeon-chul, and offered her help. Ta-hwan replied, saying that she once promised not to do anything for his sake, but she said that she had her own share of grudge against the old man, which was something she looked forward to have a proper payback. He’s more than glad to receive her help and Seung-nyang smiled in return.
On their way out, Baek Ahn remarked that Ta-hwan’s eyes were different this time, probably full of confidence, but Taltal didn’t think that someone like him would change easily. He suspected that something was off, considering that Ta-hwan was still trembling in fear the last time he met Yeon-chul. Thinking that someone might had backed him up and them being stuck in between Ta-hwan and Yeon-chul, having the blood letter in their possession would be the only solution to the problem.
Seung-nyang went back to her room to find Court Lady No throwing tantrums again, refusing to leave the room that was once yours. The mention of the blood letter got Seung-nyang’s attention, and she took over to help her calm down, offering the room to her. She told Dok-man that she would take care of the lady, and he reminded her as well as the other maids not to mention about the blood letter to other people. Yeon-hwa eyed Seung-nyang suspiciously on her way out and Seung-nyang asked Court Lady No about the blood letter, but got no specific answer yet.
The next morning, Ta-hwan woke up and immediately asked Golta about the preparation of a shadow play. Golta didn’t think that it was necessary to invite the shadow play troupe just to trick Yeon-chul about his ignorance, but Ta-hwan wanted something stronger. I bet he has some other plans in his mind! Hehehehe! True enough, he wanted Golta to keep the play a secret from Seung-nyang and the eunuch smiled knowingly. LOL these two are epic! Ta-hwan thought that Seung-nyang would love the play to bits.
Seung-nyang and the maids came in bearing the things for washing his face, and Ta-hwan told her to do it personally. Even Golta told her to do it gently. HAHAHA! She didn’t offer him his gentle touch and scrubbed his face in annoyance, wondering why he’s telling her to do a maid’s task. His reply?
Ta-hwan: I don’t want other women to touch me except you.
Kyaaaaaaa!!! That one was only in his mind (Ahhhhhh) but he still smiled at her…and Seung-nyang threw the towel onto his pretty face. Hahahaha!
Court Lady Seo went to Tanashiri’s quarters, eager to inform her about the latest news that she heard: the Emperor had planned a shadow play! Tanashiri thought it was prepared for Lady Park but he court lady reminded her that the lady was pregnant and won’t be able to move around easily. She’s giddy thinking that it was for her (it’s so hilarious!) and decided to include Yoo in the list of audience, thinking that with Yoo being in love with her and the ongoing rivalry between Yoo and Ta-hwan, she might had the chance to instill jealousy in Ta-hwan’s heart and got to bear a child this time. HA! I love it when Court Lady Seo wondered how Tanashiri knew Yoo was into her and her expression at her reply = priceless. The court lady was sent off to invite Yoo and Ta-hwan to a lunch session, and Tanashiri was left alone, praising herself in front of the mirror. She’s so full of herself!
The preparation for his plan had been completed, and Yoo told his underlings to act on that night. Suddenly, Moo-song informed him that someone from the Empress’ quarters had come. Somehow I feel sorry for Yoo because he had to attend the two Empresses’ invitation all the time, but it’s probably good since he could see Seung-nyang, right?
The luncheon was held with Ta-hwan, Tanashiri, and Yoo in attendance, plus Seung-nyang was also there. Yoo kept stealing glances towards Seung-nyang and Tanashiri questioned the reason why Seung-nyang was the one who conducted the food testing. She changed her attention towards Yoo and talked about his marriage, but she’s so polite when she gladly accepted Yoo’s wish not to talk about it for the time being.
Tanashiri suddenly asked Ta-hwan about the shadow play, causing him to choke on his food and he wondered how she got to know about it. She gladly invited herself to Ta-hwan’s regret, and Golta’s expression is priceless! He sighed (and secretly cursed) at the ruined plan initially for Seung-nyang. To his horror, she even invited Yoo along (OMG I feel so bad for Ta-hwan!) and Yoo could see Ta-hwan was uncomfortable to have him there, so he rejected the offer..but then, he had no choice but to attend at her insistence. Ta-hwan was dejected!
Yoo’s underlings disguised themselves as the eunuchs and the palace guards in order for them to move around without raising suspicion, and off they went around the palace to release the rats. Woaahh they even threw a bag of rats onto the roof! Were the rats still alive?
The trio sat down for the play and Tanashiri wondered how Ta-hwan got to know that she loved shadow play. He thought to himself that he would never prepare it if he knew it earlier. HA. Reminds me of him destroying the flowers for her in the earlier episode! The servants withdrew themselves to the back and the play started, with Ta-hwan the only person who’s not enjoying it.
Hong-dan and Yeon-hwa were in the storage room, retrieving some rice when Hong-dan screamed at the sight of a rat. Yeon-hwa was shocked, thinking that it was something else but scolded Hong-dan for scaring her because of a mere rat. They left the room without realizing that there are more rats on the floor.
Ta-hwan was still cursing at the fact that the person enjoying the play (Tanashiri) was different from what he planned (Seung-nyang). He called Seung-nyang to come closer to have a proper sight of the play. Golta urged her to do so and even Yoo made way for her to stand beside him!
She truly enjoyed the play to both men’s delight, and Ta-hwan tried to hold her hand. Seung-nyang resisted and Yoo saw it. She hid her hands behind her but Ta-hwan was still trying hard to reach for her hand…and Yoo also did the same.
Ta-hwan saw it and he reached for Seung-nyang’s other hand. The two men were trying to make her look at them and Seung-nyang was stuck in the middle, unable to do anything…
Episode 18. Seung-nyang was torn in between those two men but soon, Tanashiri realized that Seung-nyang was standing too close to them the higher-ups and scolded her, telling her to go back to her position. Both Yoo and Ta-hwan released Seung-nyang’s hands and she went to the back of the room, as Tanashiri still thought that the two men were fighting for her. Uhh you, girl, are so full of yourself!
Ta-hwan went back to his room and proceeded to give an order to Seung-nyang: she could never talk to , meet, laugh, or cry because of Yoo. He had enough of her endless banter about her beloved King and sent her out, with Seung-nyang nearly cried because of his anger. Ta-hwan could only sigh at himself after she left. Ahhhh these two…
Seung-nyang headed back to her quarters but on her way there, someone was waiting for her: Wang Yoo!
Wang Yoo: Do you want to go back to Goryeo with me? You and I..together, Seung-nyang ah..
Seung-nyang: Yes, Your Majesty. I’ll go. I would go anywhere if it means following you.
Wang Yoo:There will be difficult times in front of us.
Seung-nyang: I’m ready for it.
Wang Yoo: I’m not even sure when it will be (the time for us to leave).
Seung-nyang: Thousand, even ten thousand years…I’ll be waiting for it.
Wang Yoo: Promise me one more thing: don’t think of helping me. Seeing you getting hurt is more painful than dying.
Seung-nyang: Yes..I understand, Your Majesty.
Seung-nyang walked away but Yoo pulled her swiftly into a hug (Kyaaaaaaaaa!). She couldn’t hold her tears and cried as she hugged him back, sobbing in his arms(I’m crying!!!). Even Yoo was getting teary-eyed! OMG! Someone was looking at them from afar…and it was Dangkise. Uh-oh.
Ta-hwan was still up, thinking whether he should summon Seung-nyang to his quarters to make her read for her or not. It seems like our Baby Emperor feels guilty for yelling at her earlier..and he looked so lonely in the room.
Baby Emperor woke up the next morning, rolling on the bed and opened his eyes to see a rat in front of him. Haha, what a nice surprise! He screamed, causing Golta and his (flowerboy) bodyguards to barge into the room in alert. The three men were also scared of the small rat and Seung-nyang was the one who caught the rat without a much fuss. Ta-hwan chided his men for being scared of rat and even pointed swords just to catch it. LOL, he chased them out, throwing his only pillow at them. Hehehe!
Yoo was on his way to meet Empress Dowager and ran into Tanashiri, who probably just completed her morning greetings. Suddenly, the rats came out of nowhere and the court ladies were jumping around trying to avoid them. Tanashiri even lifted her skirt but Yoo was fast enough to swoop her into his arms and carried her away, bridal style. Eeeep! She was surprised but took the chance put her arms around him. Kekeke! She probably had the best time in her life and Yoo had to tell her to remove her hands. Hahaha! She thanked him but thought that she was too overjoyed. Even Court Lady Seo was thinking the same thing. Heeeee. By that time, the rats were everywhere and luckily, the Empress Dowager was quite brave…if not, Dok-man might had to carry her away! LOL
Yeon-chul played baduk with Dangkise and defeated his son. He clearly never lose to Dangkise and shook his head disapprovingly at his son’s lack of strategy in the mere game. Baek Ahn disrupted their game to report about the rats inside the palace. Yeon-chul thought it was just a small problem (he even threw the baduk stones at Baek Ahn’s armour in anger! Hahaha!) but Taltal informed him that it’s not a small amount of rats.
Empress Dowager was not happy that the rats were everywhere, including the Emperor’s quarters and they were too many of them to capture. Dok-man also informed her about the rumour that he heard about Emperor Myungjong’s curse, which had begun. At the same time, Eunuch Bang spread the rumour among the commoners by disguising as a monk, telling them to pray and spread the news, including the gossip about Yeon-chul being the person responsible for the late Emperor’s death. Yoo was the one who orchestrated it and he was glad to hear that the rumour was circulating inside the palace as well, thanks to the rats.
Yeon-chul was clearly affected by it and didn’t even try to hide his anger in front of Ta-hwan, tearing and throwing away the public appeals. Ta-hwan told him that he heard about the rumour since he also had eyes and ears, and although Yeon-chul told him to live as if he’s dead, the public would be restless upon hearing it. Yeon-chul refused to budge, saying that the public was not a big problem since the commoners were just immature brats who could do nothing. He mocked Ta-hwan and the latter could only seethe in anger silently, before Yeon-chul was called by Baek Ahn to see something. Ta-hwan sighed after he left, but Seung-nyang assured him that Yeon-chul had fear in his eyes, just like Ta-hwan in front of him.
The big surprise waiting for Yeon-chul was at the imperial temple, where Empress Dowager discovered that the Buddha statue there cried tears of blood. He told them to keep the matter a secret, but Empress Dowager was crying, scared of what could have caused the Buddha to do so. She believed that the curse had really begun and wondered if Yeon-chul was not scared of the Buddha. The old man was so mad that he took away Dangkise’s sword and wanted to destroy the statue. She blocked him, screaming that he must had gone crazy to be thinking of destroying it. He left (and kicked the door again on his way out! Tsk-tsk), and Empress Dowager continued to pray fervently for everyone’s safety. Yeon-chul mulled over the things that happened and thought that he needed someone to help him. Dangkise could only look at his father from outside of the office and decided against approaching his old man.
Yoo was surprised to hear about the Buddha and this time, it was not part of his plan. Moo-song suspected that someone else planned it but Yoo didn’t give it too much thought since it would be beneficial to his plan: causing Yeon-chul to have doubts and fears in his heart. He assumed that the old man would need help from someone else and smiled menacingly at that thought. And the next morning, Yoo was seen to be playing baduk with Yeon-chul, something that surprised Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang. He defeated the old man, proving that he was indeed well-versed in strategies. Yeon-chul wanted to hear what he’s asking for, and Yoo informed him that he knew about the old man’s betrayal against Ta-hwan’s late grandfather, Emperor Mujong. Although he was threatened that he could die, Yoo was brave to challenge Yeon-chul into making his decision wisely and not to make the same mistake twice.
Yeon-chul was really driven into the corner as he’s finally thinking of pulling Yoo to his side, something that Dangkise didn’t agree with. Dangkise knew that Yoo was someone who won’t lend his strength to them, the Yuan people easily, but Yeon-chul scolded him, assuming that he’s ignoring Yoo’s ability and only thought of killing the deposed King out of hatred. The old man said that he didn’t need a son who’s lacking in everything and Dangkise had never done anything for him. Ouch. He thought that Dangkise should learn a thing or two from Yoo (double ouch!) and left, but Dangkise knew that his father made a mistake this time and vowed to show him his real ability. What a brilliant way to shatter your own son’s pride, Chancellor! Poor Dangkise….
Now, this is one cute scene! Seung-nyang was walking alone, heading back to her room when she heard someone calling her name. It was Yoo, who was hiding behind the wall, calling her to come to him while grinning widely. Awwwwww, he’s so cute when he smiles! He was so excited to see her (Kyaaahh~!) but she was more cautious, afraid that someone would see them. He asked whether she heard about the Buddha and she wondered if he’s the one who planned it. He just admitted it although he had no idea who did it (I assume he was just too happy being with her) and told her not to spread rumour about it. She urged him to leave and he walked away smiling (he even waved at her!). She sighed…
…and we got to see the person who made the tears of blood. It was Seung-nyang, who thought that she couldn’t bear to see Yoo working hard alone on his plan. Oh dear, let me hug you!
Seung-nyang entered her room to find Court Lady No looking at her mirror but the lady quickly hid the mirror upon realizing that she was there. The lady was in her right mind and she got angry when Seung-nyang displayed lack of respect towards her as the superior one. She told Seung-nyang to massage her leg and asked whether Seung-nyang was from Goryeo. She spit out some displeasing remarks about Goryeo people before admitting that she’s also a Goryeo person. From the way she looked at Seung-nyang, Court Lady No seemed to be fond of her.
Ta-hwan ran into Yoo and started to ask about his sudden closeness with Yeon-chul. Yoo said that he was just a deposed King and a hostage in the palace, so he’s just doing his best, plus if Ta-hwan wanted, he could also join forces with him. Ta-hwan asked Seung-nyang if she had seen that Yoo was vicious and wondered if Seung-nyang was still thinking of working for him, but she won’t budge from her decision to help Ta-hwan since it would be beneficial to Yoo too if Yeon-chul was defeated. He remarked that she’s not even considering his feelings and cheating both him and Yoo, just like a heartless woman. She apologized and he walked away.
Ta-hwan wanted to hear about the progress regarding the search for the blood letter, in which Baek Ahn could only offer his apology for the lack of progress. Ta-hwan was sick of apologies, and Baek Ahn apologized again. HA. Taltal told him about the late Emperor’s bodyguard Jeokho who was probably alive but his whereabouts were still unknown. He dismissed them and Golta, together with Seung-nyang came forward. Golta heard about Jeokho when he first entered the palace and proceeded to entrust the mission of finding Jeokho to one of the trusted eunuchs under him.
At the Goryeo village, Byung-soo realized that the rats in the village suddenly disappeared and there’s a rumour about the sudden appearance of rats inside the palace. What followed after was a funny conversation between him and Mak-seong.
Mak-seong: They (the rats) must have moved there. If you’re a rat, won’t you move too? Living in a palace is much better than this place.
Byung-soo: If I’m a rat, I won’t live here.
Mak-seong: Then, even as a person, why are you living in this pathetic place? (In your face, Byung-soo!)
Byung-soo: That is…because it’s like a hometown in Goryeo over here. (As if you miss the country you betrayed that much!)
The eunuch entrusted with the task came over to the village, asking whether Mak-seong knew someone who worked as a bodyguard inside the palace named Jeokho. Knowing that the eunuch was from the palace, Byung-soo was suddenly alert and asked why he wanted to find that person since he might be able to help. Mak-seong was curious on how he got to know that person, but Byung-soo only said that he heard that name a few times before.
Then, Dangkise, together with Tapjahae and Ja-chom rushed to the courtesan’s house, and they were there to meet Byung-soo. He told them about Jeombakyi and Officer Park’s trip to the Goryeo village, before the rats mysteriously disappeared. However, he didn’t see them catching the rats himself (THANK GOD!). He also told them about the eunuch coming there to find Jeokho and Dangkise recalled Yeon-chul talking about that man. They followed the eunuch and realized that he was one of Ta-hwan’s eunuchs, leading them to assume that Ta-hwan was also looking for the blood letter. Dangkise suspected that Ta-hwan’s sudden bravery was because of the people he’s learning from: the fox brat aka Seung-nyang and also Wang Yoo. Oh, this is going to be a big trouble!
Golta brought a good news: that Jeokho person had agreed to meet them that night at the courtesan’s house. I have a bad feeling about this, but Ta-hwan wanted to go himself. Seung-nyang was worried that this might be a trap (YES!) and it would be better if she and Golta went first to verify it (NO!), but Ta-hwan was confident since he also encountered the same thing before in Goryeo. Seung-nyang looked at him, wondering which experience that he was talking about. Don’t worry dear, you’re not the only one who’s dying to know about it!
Yoo was still waiting for Yeon-chul to contact him and wondered if the old man had given up on working with him, but suddenly, Dangkise paid him a visit. Oh no! Dangkise dropped by to tell him about his father’s wish to meet him later but to prevent others from witnessing the meeting, it was set outside at the courtesan’s house. Yoo agreed to do so while I’m trembling over here. Is this a trap?!
Ta-hwan had a brilliant idea, which was to make one of his bodyguards (Namoo – it means tree) to dress up as himself and lie down on his bed, just like what he made Kkwebo did back then. He assured that no one would find out, plus with Golta guarding the room, nothing would happen. Golta was worried about Ta-hwan’s safety without him, but Ta-hwan assured him that he had his bodyguard Guksoo (his name means noodle! Kekeke) and Seung-nyang to protect him. Golta recommended him to bring the eunuchs trained as the bodyguards, but Seung-nyang was afraid that it would draw unwanted attention towards them.
The three of them sneaked out of the palace, but Dangkise saw them and told Tapjahae to alert their father about the person searching for the blood letter had made his appearance. The eunuch was the one who gave Ta-hwan the false info and he was forced to do so as Dangkise threatened him with his parents’ lives. Dangkise promised to let him leave the palace but killed him off in an instant before ordering Ja-chom to get rid of the body. Meanwhile, Ta-hwan was safely out of the palace and breathed in the freedom in the air outside the stuffy palace. He was not in a hurry and seeing Seung-nyang in a man’s clothes reminded him of their time back on Daechung Island, a memory that Seung-nyang wasn’t that eager to remember. He’s too happy to see the manly Seung-nyang again and ran after him while screaming her name, just like a little boy. Cute!
It’s an unlucky day for Ja-chom when he ran into Baek Ahn and Taltal as he’s trying to carry away the dead body of the eunuch earlier, whom they recognized as one of the Emperor’s eunuchs. Out of fear, he told them about Dangkise killing the man and Baek Ahn barged into Ta-hwan’s quarters to inform him about it. Golta tried to block them but to no avail and they realized that the sleeping man was not Ta-hwan, but his bodyguard Namoo. Golta explained that the Emperor wasn’t there and Taltal told him that one of his eunuchs had been killed by Dangkise. Golta was shocked to hear about it. Baek Ahn wondered what Dangkise what planning behind them.
Dangkise saw Ta-hwan Seung-nyang, and Guksoo entering the trap he planned without them suspecting anything. Yoo was also there but in a different room and Eunuch Bang could feel that something was off that night, but Yoo refused to go back to the palace. Dangkise came into the room and informed him that his father would be late and he sat to drink with Yoo. The trio realized that Jeokho had not arrived yet and Seung-nyang only had the password to identify the Jeokho person. A courtesan knocked on the door and passed a message from that person, saying that he wanted to meet Seung-nyang alone since he’s afraid of disclosing his face. She decided to go to the place alone and Ta-hwan sent her away with his glance. What’s up with the slow motion?! Don’t tell me they are going to be separated, show?!
As soon as Seung-nyang left, Yeon-chul arrived with the soldiers in tow, ready to attach the person who was looking for the blood letter. Yeon-chul entered the room where Ta-hwan was waiting and both of them were surprised to see each other there. He didn’t expect to see Ta-hwan being the one searching for the letter. Meanwhile, Yoo realized that Yeon-chul was being too late but Dangkise was so calm about it. Dangkise told him that at that moment, the person who spread the rumour about the blood letter was also there and Yoo started to feel uneasy. Seung-nyang knocked on the door and Dangkise answered with the password. He opened the door…and Yoo was surprised to see Seung-nyang there. She couldn’t do anything since the soldiers were ready to strike and Dangkise rejoiced menacingly at his success to capture people responsible in that matter.
Ta-hwan had to deal with Yeon-chul by himself, questioning the old man whether it was wrong of him to find his father’s will. The old man asked if he was the one behind the rumoured curse but Ta-hwan denied his involvement. After confirming that they are surrounded with their men in the place, Yeon-chul took the sword, ready to strike Ta-hwan…
Taltal arrived at the courtesan’s house (what took you so long?) and realized that the situation was getting worse; however, Baek Ahn and him saw Empress Dowager with her entourage, the bodyguard eunuchs, heading towards the place. Yeay, it might be Golta who asked her help since he was also there! Taltal and Baek Ahn had to choose whether siding with Ta-hwan or Empress Dowager.
Yeon-chul was so close to killing Ta-hwan, but Empress Dowager’s arrival stopped him from doing so. Phew! Taltal and Baek Ahn decided to pick Yeon-chul’s side and blocked Empress Dowager from entering the place. They were ready to strike, same for the eunuchs, but Yeon-chul suddenly walked out together with Ta-hwan. The old man warned him not to do anything foolish like this and Ta-hwan was safe for the time being. Empress Dowager told him to be escorted away and Golta had to do so, although Ta-hwan was screaming for Seung-nyang’s name and trying to tell someone to save her.
Taltal and Baek Ahn managed to come up with an excuse for their appearance, saying that they followed Empress Dowager there. Yeon-chul realized that Dangkise was nowhere to be found and unknown to him, his big son was busy judging Yoo, accusing him of being the person behind the rumour. He didn’t have any evidence but he’s so confident that he could use Seung-nyang and Yoo’s relationship to his advantage. Yeon-chul joined the party later and Dangkise told him that Yoo was the instigator. However, Yeon-chul didn’t believe him since the rats could come and go as they wished and slapped him hard, disappointed that his son offended Yoo, who was someone who would help him. But then, Seung-nyang was dragged away since she’s been helping Ta-hwan and Yoo could only look at her helplessly.
Yeon-chul wondered if Yoo was still interested in becoming his people and Yoo didn’t have any answer at that moment, but Yoo went to meet him later to accept the offer, with the condition that Seung-nyang was to be released from her palace duties. He’s willing to do anything for the old man as long as she’s saved and offered to tell him about the instigator of the rumour, but Yeon-chul had to release Seung-nyang first.
Ta-hwan was worried about Seung-nyang and as soon as he got to know her location, he went to the prison where she’s locked in. She was actually being tortured and passed out. Dangkise touched her face, saying that she won’t be able to escape from him and leaving him would mean death for her (creepy). Yoo arrived there with his sword, threatening to slice Dangkise’s neck and told him that Yeon-chul had agreed to release her. He gave Dangkise another ‘present’ that was a punch in his face, causig him to fall down unconscious.
Yoo approached the unconscious Seung-nyang and called her name but she didn’t open her eyes. He was just about to carry her out when Ta-hwan arrived there, and the two men stared at each other….
Arggggghhhhhhh! That cliffhanger! And no preview! And no episodes next week!
I think I can live through this two weeks because of this week’s episodes. The stakes are raised in both love and political conflicts, and I’m all for both of them! I am grateful that I haven’t picked up a ship between Yoo and Ta-hwan, because choosing one between these two fine men would be a hard decision to make. I used to ship Yoo and Seung-nyang, but Ta-hwan’s steady development stole my heart and breath away, so I decide not to love only one of them: I’ll just root for both of them. Call me indecisive, but they are great in their own way! Don’t tell me to choose!
Regarding the blood letter, how nice is it when Ta-hwan decided to take the matter into his hand? Baby steps towards the bigger achievement! Although he’s not imroving by leaps and bounds, I’m still proud of my Baby Emperor! He can be confident, cool, and brave when he sets his mind to do so, and also when he has the support system that is his loyal people, one of them being Seung-nyang. With her looking out for him, he’s gaining confidence to do something, even fighting against the mighty Yeon-chul. Even if it’s risky, he’s brave enough to grab the opportunity in front of him. Failure? It’s something that he has to face eventually, so it will be a priceless experience for him in the future. Yes, he’s still immature and sometimes careless, but the mistakes will be the greatest teacher for him to plan his act better later.
Yoo is still brilliant as ever, planning his moves and literally poking Yeon-chul here and there without the old man realizing that he is the one responsible for everything that has happened so far. He’s the hostage but he’s daring enough to take the chance in order to get rid of his enemy and eventually retrieve his lost throne. Plus, he’s indirectly helping Ta-hwan too while he’s at it and sometimes I wish that they would join forces. If only they know…but that won’t happen easily, since they will eventually fight for Seung-nyang’s affection, right? One more thing, I’m so happy that he’s ticked off by Ta-hwan’s extreme chumminess with Seung-nyang and decided to show what he’s capable of. Although there’s no direct “I love you” from him, it’s safe to assure that both him and Seung-nyang are aware of their feelings for each other. Hee. I’m still squeeing over the scene when he went to meet Seung-nyang secretly. He really looked like a boy in love! Somehow I miss this carefree side of Yoo, just like in the earlier episodes.
So far, we only see Seung-nyang in action once in a while since she can no longer act according to her wishes. I was skeptical too about her maid and court lady life inside the palace, but looking from the bright side, this is her chance to learn something new. She spent her life wandering around and disguised as a man while acting as a leader in her pack of street gang. However, she’s soon brought to the lowest level of her life, forced to become a woman and becoming a servant in a foreign country, not to mention the need to obey the people above her who could kill off her in an instant. She went through her inner conflicts, in between avenging her parents and saving her fellow Goryeo citizens around her and eventually chose to protect the people. She might appear low key all the time, serving tea and obeying orders, but it brings more satisfaction when she carefully plans her moves without anyone knowing about it. It’s a rare chance to see her in action but for now, I’m content with her brilliant scheming once in a while. After all, she’s still learning about the people around her, silently observing them. I can’t wait to see her bringing down the enemies but it’s still a long journey ahead, so patience is needed in this case!
Tanashiri is putting away her scheming brain for a while, probably because she has learned something (or not?) from Lady Park’s case and she has no one to feel jealous at. Thank God, because right now, she’s one of the rare source of laughter with her dense personality and being so full of herself. Haha! She’s really thinking that Ta-hwan is still liking her and even Yoo has set eyes on her pretty self. She’s like a total fangirl in front of Yoo and it’s so hilarious to watch her blushing at the sight of him! She’s blinded by her own ignorance for now, but it’s going to get complicated when she gets to realize that the person that both men are looking at all this while is not her, but the court lady Seung-nyang. Maybe all hells will break loose when that time comes..
Dangkise, the hateful but pitiful character. Is it safe to assume that he’s beyond repair? He’s creepy when it comes to his way of displaying affection towards Seung-nyang, which seems more like an obsession rather than pure affection. It’s entertaining to watch at first, but he’s a dangerous person that should not be taken lightly. However, he’s at the same time has his own issues. I’m not sure whether it’s because of how the character is written or actor Kim Jung-hyun is doing a terrific job of playing the character (or both), but Dangkise is full of inferiority complex, especially when it comes to getting his father’s recognition. I think he’s intelligent and even Baek Ahn admits it, but he has issues of anger management and that often clouds his judgement of others. That’s probably what makes him so unworthy in front of his father and he’s falling deeper into the complex with each vicious comment made by his dear father. I feel sorry for him, but that doesn’t justify his cruel actions towards people around him, especially when it comes to killing and torturing people without any feelings. He really needs counseling, if there’s any during that time.
Yeon-chul is getting weaker, especially when it comes to his judgement towards Yoo. Maybe he’s succumbing to his old age and his fatherly instincts are kicking in when he sees Yoo’s intelligence. I bet if Yoo was a Yuan person, he would adopt him, or even marry off Tanashiri to him. The old man is totally wrong this time, but I’m also worried for Yoo since he’s agreed to help the old man in return for Seung-nyang’s safety. What are you planning, old man? I hope you’ll stop playing with the politics and go pray at the temple together with the Empress Dowager. You have so many things to ask forgiveness from the Buddha before you die!
Baek Ahn and Taltal have been getting more exposure in the recent episodes. I think it’s the set up for them to take over Yeon-chul’s place and influence after the old man makes his departure (I’m not sure when). These two are so different from each other but they stick together all the time as the uncle and the nephew. I realize that these two tend to follow the more powerful side to save themselves. They might seem indecisive but it’s still a brilliant tactic in order to ensure their safety. They did have some faith in Ta-hwan when the young Emperor impressed them with his speech on the beach, but realizing that they won’t be safe by sticking to him, both Baek Ahn and Taltal chose to stay inside Yeon-chul’s good books for the time being. They are still unsure about their stand and it was visible when Empress Dowager was on her way to save Ta-hwan. Taltal questioned whether they should stay with Yeon-chul or changed sides to Ta-hwan/Empress Dowager, but realizing that Ta-hwan won’t be able to protect them just yet, they ended up on Yeon-chul’s side again. I think this will be a recurring thing in the future, especially for Taltal, because he’s smart enough to read the people’s moves and he will choose the stronger side that will benefit him. This is what the Empress Dowager told Ta-hwan before: the influence and strength will flock towards the stronger side.
Case: The Curse of the Blood Letter is not solved yet, and I’m anticipating to see who will be the one who find the letter first. Any guess? Hmmm…I think it can be anyone, including Byung-soo. In two weeks we shall see..or maybe even longer than that!
There will be no new episodes of Empress Ki for next week since MBC will air the awards on both Monday and Tuesday nights: Dec 30th for the MBC Drama Awards and Dec 31st for MBC Gayo Daejun 2013. Episode 19 and 20 will be aired on the following week (Jan 6th and 7th, 2014), so we will have to wait until next year for the next episodes. Maybe MBC is trying to make our wait more bearable since they are planning for a special broadcast, probably including the interviews and behind the scenes of the cast, scheduled on Jan 1st, 2014 at 2.15 PM KST 🙂