People come and leave but the memories stay.
One of the signs a show is gearing towards the end is characters start to leave left and right. Death and separation are some of the reasons, but the people they left behind will never be the same again. I was too busy paying attention to Yeon-chul’s last moments and didn’t really bother about the other details but when I watched that scene again, my eyes couldn’t help but to focus on Ta-hwan. This young Emperor might have dreamed of that scene for countless times and it was indeed among the thing he looked forward to since he gained his courage to fight back. But then, his relieved face changed into that of astounded when the old man started spewing what sounded like ridiculous prattle of a traitor who’s about to die, but Ta-hwan’s expressions ranged from shocked, disgust, to fear, and in the end…relieved, as though it was apparent that Yeon-chul’s death had changed something in him. He would never be the same again, although the old man would not be around to boss him around like in the past. Same thing goes for Tanashiri: Ta-hwan’s lack of affection caused her to try to change his heart, to the point of committing murders to secure her position. The question is: will Ta-hwan continue to treat Lady Ki above everyone else or is he going to change his way of treating his consorts after learning his lesson the hard way?
Back at the rock cave, the slaves had been searching for the said gold but nothing had been found so far. Byung-soo started to think that it was just a groundless rumour, yet Dangkise was still confident that they woud come across it soon. One of his underlings had been assigned to find out about Yeon-chul and he came back with a bad news: the Chancellor had been sentenced to death and the Emperor had his dead body exhibited to the public together with Tapjahae’s body. Dangkise was taken aback and he cried while calling for his father, apologizing for being unable to protect him. Poor guy (ㅠㅠ)
The bodies were exhibited in a procession with Ta-hwan, Lady Ki, and Empress Dowager leading the procession. The citizens were cursing and jeering at the traitors as Seung-nyang thought about her father.
Seung-nyang: Father, are you watching this right now? Those people who caused you to die a miserable death had turned into those lifeless corpses. This Yang-ie had relieved your grudge, so please rest in peace now…Father.
Yang-ie ya! *sobs*
Ta-hwan saw her wiping her tears and asked what was wrong but Seung-nyang chose to keep her grief to herself. The citizens knew about Lady Ki being the person behind the downfall of the traitors and sang praises for both her and the Emperor. Empress Dowager faded a little when she witnessed the scene as the realization dawned on her: Seung-nyang was the celebrated and unbeatable hero. Even Yoo’s underlings predicted that Seung-nyang would fill the empty Empress’ seat soon.
Tanashiri went ballistic upon hearing about what had happened to her father and her brother and she demanded to meet the Emperor. Ta-hwan appeared as if he was summoned and she asked him mockingly, whether he was satisfied to humiliate her family like that. He just looked at her with disappointment, realizing that she had not changed at all. Tanashiri remarked that she had changed and instead of hating him for killing off her family, she cursed him and thanked him for giving her the ‘honour’ to do so. She wasn’t afraid to hear that the poison would be sent to her soon and challenged Ta-hwan to tear off her limbs, but Ta-hwan only hoped that she would beg for forgiveness from the people she killed before she died. Tanashiri was only thinking of letting Maha know about her suffering so that he could avenge her death. Yeah, right.
Gifts were pouring in for Lady Ki after the victory and Empress Dowager grew uneasy over the acknowledgement Lady Ki got from the officials. Ohhhh I smell jealousy and fear brewing inside her! Seung-nyang’s chamber was filled with the gifts and the maids showed them to her one by one, but Seung-nyang decided to send them to the Imperial Treasury instead of keeping them for herself. Among those gifts was a box of ginseng sent by the Royal House of Goryeo, together with a secret letter for her.
Yoo also got a letter from his father, who had heard about the possibility of Lady Ki becoming the Empress of Yuan. His father advised him into helping Lady Ki to rise to the Empress’ seat since it would be a great help for their country. The maids weren’t that happy to see the secret letter since they were thinking that the King only noticed Lady Ki after she had became powerful while before this, the tribute women were ignored. Seung-nyang chose not to open the letter and kept it to be read later. Eunuch Bang and Moo-song thought that Yoo had offered enough help to Seung-nyang and it’s about time for him to stop doing so.
Jeombakyi barged into the room, bringing the news about Taltal searching through Yeon-chul’s office. Bi-soo was sure that they were looking for the information about the secret treasure and Yoo went to meet Baek Ahn, who was furious that he couldn’t find what he was looking for. Plus, they didn’t even know where Dangkise was at that moment. Baek Ahn was so confident that he would become the next Chancellor soon and reminded that Yoo had to continue working together with them even after he got back his throne, because Goryeo was still Yuan’s tributary state, after all. Heh, even Moo-song was pissed off to hear that.
Yoo’s underlings thought that Baek Ahn was no better than Yeon-chul and the old man had never ask such thing directly in front of him. They predicted that he would only get worse once he became the Chancellor, showing his true colours after they had won the fight and. They ran into Seung-nyang and Yoo took the chance to remind her not to trust Baek Ahn. No matter how he saw Seung-nyang as a rare gem, he was still a Mongol and the fact that she’s of Goryeo descent would come back to him. He also wished that she watched her steps in front of the governors since their eyes were on her and a small mistake would affect her. Seung-nyang was still confident that Baek Ahn would not betray her since he was the one who made it possible to come this far.
The governors were debating on whether Lady Ki would be on their side or not, since she was Baek Ahn’s adopted daughter. Lord Oh remarked that it was possible for a man to betray his own father, let alone an adopted daughter like Lady Ki , who didn’t share even a drop of blood with Baek Ahn. Lady Ki arrived at the meeting place with the intention to know the reason why the governors sent the gifts to her. I like how she already look like an Empress in front of them! The governors told her their wish to have her on their side since they felt threatened with Baek Ahn. They thought that if Baek Ahn became the Chancellor, the Emperor would soon forget them. Hence, they were thinking of putting Lord Oh as the Chancellor to maintain the governors’ influence. Lady Ki didn’t think that it was her place to decide since it was all up to Ta-hwan’s decision, but she reminded them that she didn’t want to see any of them betraying the Emperor. Ohhh scary.
Ta-hwan was troubled with the award list, pondering over it by himself. He wondered where Seung-nyang had went when she arrived at his quarters and showed her the list which he made himself (and his head was about to burst from working on it! Hehehehe). I can only understand Baek Ahn’s name there, listed as the Chancellor, but Seung-nyang thought that they had to give the highest position to Lord Oh and the governors to keep them on their side. Ta-hwan was also thinking the same thing but it was impossible to put all of them on the same position as Baek Ahn. Seung-nyang had an idea and she reshuffled the list. Ta-hwan praised her idea and told Seung-nyang that the person who deserved a reward the most was not on the list; that person was not Baek Ahn or the governors, but Seung-nyang herself, who paved the way for Ta-hwan to become a respected Emperor. He assured her that he would give her a big reward afterwards.
Empress Dowager arrived afterwards and the sight of Lady Ki beside Ta-hwan was not a good thing to her anymore. Remember those good old days when she thought Lady Ki was heaven sent to the Yuan court? I’m sure she’s thinking otherwise now. She put a forced smile in front of them but she almost lost it when she saw the award list. Her eyes were about to pop out when she took a look at the list and she was clearly dissatisfied to know that Lady Ki was the one who came out with the list. Tutor Jang was mad that they were a step too late, but Empress Dowager was looking forward to the ceremony since Baek Ahn’s reaction would be a sight worth to be seen. Rawr! I love the scheming Empress Dowager!!!
The day had arrived and Ta-hwan (in his new black robe!) was joined by the officials who had contributed to his plan of exterminating Yeon-chul’s people. Tutot Jang read the award list, starting with Baek Ahn, who was appointed as the new Great Chancellor. Cue surprised looks on the governors’ face who might be thinking that Lady Ki had decided not to side with them! But then, it was announced that Lord Oh would be the Grand Secretary, Lord Pu the Grand Tutor, and Lord Seol as the Grand Protector, which made them the Three Excellencies. Baek Ahn was extremely disappointed with the outcome and it was clearly written on his face! Wang Yoo was granted the freedom and he was free to leave at any time, following Royal House of Goryeo’s order.
Ta-hwan didn’t say anything and he only studied the expressions of people in front of him. Baek Ahn questions the Three Excellencies since it was abolished long time ago, but Ta-hwan decided to use it as his own way to reward his loyal retainers. Awwwh, Baek Ahn couldn’t object but he was frowning afterwards. Ta-hwan then announced that he’s going to choose a new Empress soon. Since Lady Ki was the main contributor to their success, he was thinking of putting her on that position, but Empress Dowager cut his words midway before he could tell them his plan. The Dowager thought that it was improper siince Tanashiri’s penalty was still undecided and although Ta-hwan insisted that he would order her execution soon, she thought that it won’t be too late to wait until the execution was carried out. Seung-nyang took the role of a peacemaker, supporting Empress Dowager’s suggestion. If not for Seung-nyang, I do think that Ta-hwan and Empress Dowager would start to argue in front of the whole court.
But then, Seung-nyang could sense that Empress Dowager was acting cold towards her; still, she nodded to Ta-hwan, assuring him that it was a right thing to do. Between Baek Ahn’s visible scowl, Empress Dowager’s hidden smirk, Ta-hwan’s furrowed brows, and Yoo’s silent stare, I’m sure they had started to plot against each other. How about forming new allies?
Baek Ahn was wondering the reason why Ta-hwan made that decision and his underling suggested that he went to the Emperor to hear his explanation, but Empress Dowager was faster to drop by his office. She disclosed the fact that the decision was not made by Ta-hwan, but it was all Lady Ki’s doing. Seung-nyang was explaining to Taltal that the Three Excellencies was not as powerful as the Chancellor, but Taltal knew that his uncle did not think so. I feel bad for Seung-nyang since she seemed to be thinking that Baek Ahn won’t think that she would betray him. She was sure that Baek Ahn won’t betray the Emperor just because of this matter but in case he misunderstood her intention, she left it to Taltal to explain it to his uncle. Ouch, Taltal’s face didn’t look too happy this time…he seemed to have no confidence to persuade his uncle…
It’s too late for an explanation since Baek Ahn was already sitting in front of Empress Dowager, stressing that Lady Ki would never betray him. The Dowager was brilliant to tell him about the governors who were ready to support Lady Ki to become the new Empress. She’s cunning but the Dowager had her way of playing with words. Knowing that Baek Ahn was a nationalist who lived for the dignity of their Mongol ancestors, the Dowager fed him with the possible things that would happen if Lady Ki sat on the throne as the Empress: Prince Ayu would become the Crown Prince, and how degrading it would be for them if their country would have an Emperor of Goryeo descent in the future? She thought that Baek Ahn would be the best person to prevent such thing from becoming a reality since he’s supposed to be the country’s protector. Wow, she’s one brilliant rival to be able to manipulate Baek Ahn’s thoughts!
Dok-man congratulated Eunuch Bang since Yoo had been restored to his original status, but the latter was more curious about Prince Maha. Eunuch Bang wanted to see Maha with the excuse that Yoo felt guilty for causing the young prince to be left behind alone. He went to Maha’s room and realized that the child resembled Yoo a lot and confirmed that he had the birthmark. Eunuch Bang was worried that Maha won’t be safe once Tanashiri died but he was at loss since he couldn’t do anything to save Yoo’s child. Poor child, he was innocent. *sobs*
Tanashiri was expecting Empress Dowager to come to the Cold Palace and she knelt in front of the Dowager once the latter arrived there. She pleaded for the Dowager to protect Maha since no one would be able to do so except her. The Dowager didn’t expect to hear such thing from the haughty deposed Empress (my heart fell a little when Tanashiri was addressed as ‘deposed Empress’), but Tanashiri was more than willing to die if only her son could stay alive. She continued to beg while crying her heart out without thinking of her so-called pride.
Baek Ahn’s mind had been poisoned by Empress Dowager since her words were logic: Lady Ki was the Emperor’s favourite and the governors’ pride, so it would be a matter of time before she wielded her power in the court. The Dowager heard that Baek Ahn had a pretty little niece, so what about he took this chance to become the Emperor’s uncle-in-law, then it would be easier for him to get rid of the Three Excellencies. He told his plan to Taltal, which was to make his niece the next Empress. Taltal thought that the seat belonged to Lady Ki, but Baek Ahn had already set his mind on his plan. Oh my, Taltal already looked troubled with his uncle’s sudden outburst. Beware of his future changes, dear!
It must be the execution day, because Tanashiri was waiting nervously in the Cold Palace before the eunuchs (led by a scary looking Dok-man) arrived to drag her out. Court Lady Seo and Yeon-hwa could only look at her helplessly as she was brought to the palace compound. The Imperial Concubines were smirking at her and the maids had the disgusted look in their eyes. Tanashiri, being a girl full of pride she was, challenged them to keep jeering at her. The poison was brought to her, but she threw it on the floor, demanding to see Ta-hwan.
And that man appeared, with several bowls of poison for her. Darn, Ta-hwan knew she won’t take it just like that. Tanashiri threw those bowls on the floor one by one although Ta-hwan threatened to force feed her with it, and she threw the bowl to Ta-hwan. She really had nothing to fear at this point! Ta-hwan didn’t do anything except staring at her dejectedly.
Tanashiri: Your Imperial Majesty had killed my father and my brother to avenge the late Emperor’s death. But then, why are you going to kill me?
Ta-hwan: Why I am going to kill you? Listen carefully. You’ve killed the pregnant Lady Park and the maids without any remorse, and that’s not the end. Your countless crimes would tear my mouth from saying them all, and I am too embarrassed to say them out loud!
Ta-hwan: Who made me like this? Don’t you know? From the beginning, you ignored me and won’t even look at my face. The one who turned me into this evil woman, it was you, Your Imperial Majesty!!
Tanashiri grabbed Ta-hwan’s collar, to the collective gasps of the spectators around them.
Tanashiri: And then, why am I the one who’s made the criminal? What did I do wrong, exactly? Why am I the only one who have to die?!
Ta-hwan pushed her away and the disappointment was written all over his face; he couldn’t believe that she refused to admit her crimes until the end. She demanded to know whether Maha would be his target next and the reason why she couldn’t bring herself to take the poison was because she felt wronged to die alone. Woah, she really thought that Ta-hwan should die along with her since he was guilty in her eyes! Lady Ki appeared, telling Tanashiri to shut up. That was just like a cue for the deposed Empress to put the blame on Lady Ki next, accusing her of influencing Ta-hwan and causing Maha to lose his Crown Prince’s seat. Seung-nyang suggested that Tanashiri was to be sentenced to death by hanging since killing her with poison would be too lenient compared to her crimes. Ta-hwan took a deep breath and ordered her to be executed just like what Seung-nyang said before taking his leave.
Tanashiri begged Seung-nyang to save her son (it’s kind of heartbreaking to see her thinking about Maha all the time when she’s about to die), but Seung-nyang was more interested to reveal the fact that she knew Maha was not her real son. Yup, scary. Seung-nyang vowed to let the whole world know about the truth and Tanashiri fell onto her knees, probably wondering how Lady Ki found out the truth she had been hiding all this while.
Later in the evening, Tanashiri was escorted out of the harem and the sight of Yoo turned her into a crying mess. She resented him for what he had done, regretting her foolish action for trusting him and giving him her heart. Although she would die soon, Tanashiri promised that she won’t forgive him and cursed him forever. Yoo told her to resent him to her heart’s content and he would accept all her curses. Tanashiri wished for him not to attend the execution since she didn’t want to show him her pitiful last moments. Tanashiri…did you really love him all this while? She took a last glance towards Yoo before walking away.
The citizens were gathered outside the palace to witness the public execution and Dangkise was also there, together with Byung-soo and Jo-cham. Dangkise was about to lose himself when Tanashiri wass dragged out, but Byung-soo warned him that they would die if he couldn’t control himself. The public was shouting for Yeon-chul’s daughter to be killed, while Dangkise could only look at his pitiful sister from afar.
Dangkise: My little sister, please forgive this weak brother of yours. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, my sister, Tanashiri.
Tanashiri had the noose put around her neck and she started to think about her family, feeling afraid and powerless to face her death alone. Seung-nyang took a look at the trembling Tanashiri as her mind wandered off, thinking about Lady Park.
Seung-nyang: Lady Park, are you watching this right now? My poor friends, my pitiful son Byul; it’s time for all of you to close your eyes in peace. You can let go of your grudges now.
Tanashiri’s eyes scanned the people in front of her and suddenly, she saw Dangkise among them. She was about to call out for him but the floor opened up, causing her to die in an instant. Dangkise witnessed her death helplessly as the others had the horrified looks on their faces. Seuung-nyang was calm, wiping off her tears after witnessing the whole thing in place of her dead friends.
People of the Inner Court returned to their usual routine and Lady Ki was having breakfast with the rest of the concubines. Lady Oh congratulated her in advance, calling her the Empress since the news was widely known to all of them. Lady Ki assured them that she had talked with the Emperor and he would raise their ranks soon. Her appointment as the Empress would mean that Ayu was the preferred candidate for the Crown Prince’s seat, and Seung-nyang vowed to protect her son with all her might, unlike what happened with Byul. The same Byul was in the Empress Dowager’s care right now and it’s clear that she was thinking of using Maha to prevent Ayu from becoming the heir to the throne. Maha’s real identity was not her biggest concern since she could see that Tanashiri’s eyes were full of motherly love for her son. Madam, if only you knew that Maha/Byul was a pure Goryeo blood…that would give you a heart attack.
Ta-hwan was planning to make an official announcement regarding the Empress and the Dowager thought that she should attend too. The rest of the officials were already at the throne hall (with Baek Ahn looking like a big grumpy bear there) and the governors were confident that no one would dare to oppose the decision to make Lady Ki the nation’s Empress. Ta-hwan thanked them for their support; however, Golta brought him a bad news: Empress Dowager was kneeling outside the hall in her undergarments. She was begging the Emperor to give up on the idea and Ta-hwan knew that it would turn out to be like this. He demanded to know the reason why she opposed Lady Ki’s appointment as the Empress since she knew it better than anyone else, how Lady Ki was his benefactor. Empress Dowager admitted that she’s aware about it, but she won’t let a Goryeo woman to become their country’s Empress. She refused to budge, and Seung-nyang witnessed the whole scene.
Ta-hwan assured Seung-nyang that he would put her on the Empress’ seat at any cost. Baek Ahn and Taltal went to meet them and Ta-hwan thought that Baek Ahn would have to persuade the Dowager into changing her heart. Taltal showed him a list of people who opposed Lady Ki’s appointment and the first name on the list was Baek Ahn the Chancellor. It came out as a surprise to Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang (but not to us) and he thought that Baek Ahn would support him since Lady Ki was his adopted daughter. His excuse? The Empresses before this mostly came from the Onggirat clan and he couldn’t simply change the tradition because of his personal feelings.
Seung-nyang wanted to know the reason she was deemed unfit for the position: was it because of her Goryeo origin, or Baek Ahn was planning from the start on getting rid of her after their success? Baek Ahn replied that Seung-nyang originally entered the palace to get rid of Yeon-chul and she had achieved everything she dreamed of, so for her to covet the Empress’ position was nothing but her greed. Baek Ahn suggested that she was to elevated to the Noble Consort rank since it would be the best solution for her. Ouch, his words were right, and Lady Ki couldn’t provide better argument, hence she agreed to follow his suggestion. But then, it was clear that she was thinking otherwise and she exchanged glance with Taltal, who had nothing to say over the matter.
Seung-nyang went back to her quarters and recalled Yoo’s warning about not giving Baek Ahn her complete trust. She read the letter from the Goryeo King as she gave it a thought, but Hong-dan went into the room to inform her about the new Empress candidate: that person had arrived! It does feel like a deja vu since the scene was just like the first time Ta-hwan met Tanashiri: Baek Ahn reminding his niece that she had to become the Empress and catch the Emperor’s attention. Taltal was so cranky the whole time, as if he’s wishing that he could disappear from that scene! Empress Dowager told Ta-hwan about the rumour she heard about Baek Ahn’s niece and they’re all good things.
Ta-hwan wasn’t interested at all but he didn’t ignore the girl completely; she bowed to him and introduced herself as Bayan (Im Joo-eun!!). Seung-nyang witnessed their first meeting from afar. The girl was just like the rumour said: beautiful and kind. She was glad to be able to meet the Emperor, but Ta-hwan informed her beforehand that he won’t pick any new Empress soon, so it’s better if she took her leave right now. However, Bayan was bold and brave enough to assure him that he would pick her as the Empress after he heard her thoughts. The new Empress is smart! After all, she came from the same family as Taltal, so she ought to inherit those genius genes in her, right?
Seung-nyang was informed that Baek Ahn had ordered for 300 tribute women to be sent from Goryeo. That alone was enough to tick her off and she decided to meet Wang Yoo. They met later on that night at the library and Seung-nyang started by telling him about the letter she received from Goryeo King, telling her to join forces with Yoo and put an end to Yuan’s influence over Goryeo. Yoo thought that she should not be troubled over the matter, but Seung-nyang already made up her mind.
Seung-nyang: Will you hold hands with me? I can never forget their expressions. I’ve been involved in this fight for the sake of my father, and from now on, for the sake of the Goryeo people inside this place, and my son’s sake…I will fight. Please make me the Empress. I will make my son the Emperor and rise to the highest position in this palace.
“Will you…hold hands with me?”
Seung-nyang showed her reply to the letter sent from Goryeo and with that, Wang Yoo agreed to help her. He wanted to know what he would need to do and she was thinking of the getting her hands on the secret treasure of Yeon-chul, the same thing Yoo was searching for at that moment.
Eunuch Park noticed that Seung-nyang seemed troubled and assured her that she had made the best choice. Suddenly, Hong-dan informed her that Ta-hwan was waiting for her. Uh-oh! He was wondering where she went to in the middle of the night but she only told him that she was taking her midnight walk. Ta-hwan felt guilty because he couldn’t keep his promise to make her the Empress as soon as possible, but he was planning not to select anyone for the time being. Seung-nyang knew that they had no other choice but to make Baek Ahn’s niece the Empress since they had received his help; but then, she asked to be allowed to move into Heungdeokjeon, the quarters used by the secondary Empress (which would be deemed unfit for her Noble Consort rank) in order to protect Ayu. Ta-hwan didn’t question it and agreed to her request.
Bi-soo was strongly against the idea of helping Lady Ki since she couldn’t trust the concubine; a person who bore the Emperor’s son would betray them any time if it was for the sake of her son. Yoo was confident that Lady Ki would never do something like that but Bi-soo threatened to end their alliance if he decided to join forces with Lady Ki. His underlings urged Yoo to think about it again since Bi-soo would be a greater help to them compared to Seung-nyang and it would be a wasted effort since it was almost decided for Baek Ahn’s niece to become the Empress, but Yoo stated that it would be enough if Ayu could be made the Crown Prince. Jeombakyi was suddenly curious about what would happen to Maha then and the other two reminded him to stop talking. Whoops, that was close! How could I forget that Jeombakyi and Moo-song also knew about Maha?
Yoo went to the palace on the next day and suddenly, the prince’s ball rolled towards him. He saw Maha running towards the ball and held the boy in his arms. Awwwwwwh! His underlings were so nervous, afraid that it would be odd to be seen like that since the boy was a prince, but Yoo felt sorry for the little boy every time he saw Maha. That’s your son!! Please stop torturing me, show! Empress Dowager came over and remarked that Maha was well-behaved when he’s in Yoo’s arms. She tried to take Maha away, but the boy refused to move. The Dowager thought that he was craving for a father’s attention since Ta-hwan had never held the poor boy in his arms. She said that she took care of Maha since the boy had no one else. He’s the first son, after all. Maha looked so happy with Yoo and I’m melting over here. So adorable!!
Tanashiri’s maids of honour were still alive but they had been demoted to maids. I’m not used to see Court Lady Seo in maid’s clothes but she looks good in them! Hong-dan bullied them a little and Yeon-hwa chose to follow her orders instead of fighting back since they’re of lower rank now. Court Lady Seo found it hard to tolerate the humiliation but for the sake of Tanashiri, they had to wait for the chance to seek revenge for their pitiful Empress.
Lady Ki was in her chamber, holding Ayu in her arms. It was time for the little prince’s meal, but the food turned out to be poisoned. It’s the fastest way to incur the wrath of the protective mother because Seung-nyang immediately tried to make the maids confess to their crimes. Ta-hwan wanted to take over the matter but Seung-nyang persuaded him into leaving the matter to her. She had several suspects in mind and they’re no other than Court Lady Seo and Yeon-hwa. They were dragged to face the angry Seung-nyang, who was set to hear them confessing to their crime of poisoning Ayu’s food. Both of them looked clueless about the matter but she continued to torture them.
Empress Dowager went there and when she heard that Lady Ki couldn’t prove that they were the culprits, she ordered for Yeon-hwa and Court Lady Seo to be released. Seung-nyang questioned the reason why the Dowager spared those who used to serve Tanashiri, but the latter replied that a person of lower rank should not question the order of the person above her. Ohhh that’s cold. The Dowager wondered if Lady Ki would continue to think that everyone was as cruel as Yeon-chul’s family and reminded her that she wished to see peace in the Imperial Family, although Seung-nyang couldn’t stand the thought of the culprit who tried to harm her son getting away with the crime. Eunuch Park noted that even the Dowager was suspicious this time. Please don’t make her the culprit…she’s too classy for this!
Bayan underwent the Empress training and she was obedient and bright, unlike the hot-tempered Tanashiri. Empress Dowager looked at her favourably and thought that she was the best candidate. She tried to persuade Ta-hwan into choosing Bayan as the Empress (it seemed that they had several candidates for the Empress’ position), but he’s only interested in talking about Lady Ki. He was planning to make Lady Ki move into Heungdeokjeon right after she was elevated to the Noble Consort rank. Of course, this didn’t sit too well with the Dowager and she thought that Lady Ki forced Ta-hwan into agreeing to her request. Ta-hwan said that lady Ki had went through so many things because of him and his next sentence cracked me up.
Ta-hwan: Well..if Bayan who had done nothing can be the owner of the Empress’ quarters, what’s the reason for me not to open the door to Heungdeokjeon?
LOL nice one, Emperor! The Dowager was speechless and Ta-hwan added, “I’m not telling you this to get your permission. It’s something I’ve decided, so hopefully you’ll understand.” Heeee~
Seung-nyang had already planned everything before moving in to her new quarters: picking the maids from Goryeo, the bodyguards, and even making Hong-dan a Court Lady (finally! It’s about time!). Another thing he ordered Eunuch Park to do was to build a secret room inside the new quarters in order for her to carry out the work related to Yeon-chul’s secret treasure. The culprit who poisoned Ayu’s food was not caught yet, but Seung-nyang sincerely hoped that the person wasn’t Empress Dowager as she won’t forgive that person.
Court Lady Seo and Yeon-hwa were summoned to the Dowager’s quarters and they received a good news (for them, not for me): she’s planning to assign them as court ladies to the new Empress’ retinue. This came with a mission as the Dowager wanted them to become the new Empress’ most trusted people and not to let Bayan know that they were originally her minions. She’s already planting spies around the new Empress! Tutor Jang wondered if the Dowager was really planning to put Maha on the Crown Prince’s seat and her reason was simple: she couldn’t stand the sight of the half Goryeo blood Ayu becoming the heir. Plus, with Lady Ki being the person responsible for Maha’s maternal family’s death, it would be Maha’s right to avenge them. Yeah, Tanashiri would be singing praises for you in her grave, Empress Dowager. I hope Tutor Jang had realized that the Dowager was crazy for power. And can someone please take the poor Maha away? He’s been fed awful words continuously: first from Tanashiri and now from Empress Dowager!
Bayan was dressed in the formal Empress robe, ready for the coronation ceremony. She heard about Court Lady Seo and Yeon-hwa from the Dowager and she sincerely hoped that both of them would assist her lacking self. Everyone attended the ceremony, with the concubines frowning in their new robes and Empress Dowager smiling triumphantly to see Lady Ki’s expression. Bayan made her entrance and Hong-dan’s face when she saw evil minions getting back their court lady position said it all: I’m disappointed too! Seung-nyang was calm throughout the ceremony as Ta-hwan announced Bayan as their new Empress. Bayan smiled at her but she didn’t show any expression. Both Baek Ahn and Taltal glanced over at Lady Ki but only Taltal seemed to notice her true feelings (or it’s just my imagination).
Lady Ki made her official entrance to Heungdeokjeon as a Noble Consort (kwibi) and Hong-dan had been elevated to a Court Lady rank! The place seemed to be more impressive compared to the Empress’ quarters, though. She went to see the secret room and she’s satisfied with it. Eunuch Park gave her a letter sent by Yoo, who had went to the mountain near the place they thought to be the location of the secret treasure. He reminded her that if their secret was known to others, no one could save them. Seung-nyang was aware that Baek Ahn had found Yeon-chul’s record about the treasure and wanted to know where the record was kept.
It was the wedding night for Bayan and Ta-hwan. Bayan was still in her official robe, waiting for Ta-hwan so that he would be the one who took it off for her. Court Lady Seo was amazed with her patience and started to feed her the information about the Emperor’s favourite concubine Lady Ki. Bayan didn’t give it much thought and dismissed her servants. Meanwhile, Ta-hwan was getting drunk in his quarters and he’s planning to go to Seung-nyang instead of visiting his new Empress. Golta tried to persuade him into completing the ritual but Ta-hwan had never thought that he’s still unable to love freely although he’s the Emperor.
Empress Dowager arrived at his quarters, telling Ta-hwan that an Emperor won’t get everything he wanted; an Emperor was someone who would act according to the rules of the court while restraining himself and that person would be the one who followed the customs. That’s what made the Emperor a great person, she said. Ta-hwan laughed at the ridiculous statement, thinking that it was a description of a weak Emperor. He sensed that the Dowager was going up against him these days, but she had no choice if he wanted to keep Lady Ki safe inside the palace. Although Ta-hwan was furious to hear that, the Dowager had her point: Lady Ki could end up being kicked out of the palace for keeping the Emperor to herself. Thinking that the Emperor would cause Lady Ki to forget her place with his endless affection, she advised Ta-hwan to keep his position for the sake of Lady Ki and completed his wedding ritual with the Empress. Ahhhh…it’s the same thing all over again…
Seung-nyang received the news of Ta-hwan visiting Bayan and her face fell. Was she waiting for him? She looked at the sleeping Ayu in her arms and recalled the time when Ta-hwan came over to play with Ayu. He cooed at his son and Seung-nyang told him jokingly to stop teasing their son, afraid that the baby would get upset. Ta-hwan was jealous of her attention towards Ayu and stated that he’s more upset. Awwwwwww! He then asked Seung-nyang the million dollar question – who’s more precious to her: Ayu or him? She was brilliant to avoid answering the question by asking him back – who’s more precious to him: Ayu or him? Hehehe! Ta-hwan and Ayu looked at each other and the father only grinned at his son. He put Ayu on the bed and sat in front of Seung-nyang.
Ta-hwan: Yang-ie ya. Ummm…I’ve never felt happier than this before. Even while eating or taking a walk, I was afraid to think if all these things were just my dream.
Seung-nyang: It’s not a dream. I am here beside you, with Ayu.
Ta-hwan: That’s why…I’m terrified at times. I’m more afraid of waking up from this reality compared to my dream.
Seung-nyang: No such thing will happen in the future.
Ta-hwan: Regardless of this being a fantasy or a reality, waking up or not, for that reason…I’m going to make you the Empress. Our Ayu…I will make him the Crown Prince. And then, the three of us will live together happily until we die.
*sobs* So beautiful…(ㅠㅠ)
Back to the present, Seung-nyang assured her son that no one would be able to harm him and she herself would make him the nation’s Emperor. Yang-ie ya…are you afraid that Ta-hwan will abandon you?
The drunk Ta-hwan stumbled into the Empress’ chamber and continued to drink the wine. Bayan tried to pour the drink but he pushed her hand away.
Ta-hwan: Bayan…forgive me. For now and in the future, there will be times that I will have to seek forgiveness from you. This is the last time I apologize. There is nothing for you to do. Don’t you ever seek for my affection, Empress.
Bayan: Your Imperial Majesty, please call me by my name, Bayan. As your Empress, I can ask for that, right? That is enough for me. If you don’t want it, I won’t seek for your heart anymore.
Ta-hwan continued to drink and fell asleep on the chair as Bayan looked at him, while Seung-nyang was still awake, probably hoping for Ta-hwan to show his face even for a short while…
Ta-hwan woke up on the next day with Bayan staring at him and he was lying on the bed at the Empress’ quarters. She should had called his eunuchs to bring him back to his quarters but she didn’t want to do so. Bayan tried to stand up but her legs were stiff from sitting on the chair through the night (but then, was she just acting in front of him?). Ta-hwan helped her to sit while chiding her for being so clueless. He also helped her to take off her belt and her crown. Ta-hwan couldn’t help but to notice that the Empress’ quarters met another oddball for an owner: Tanashiri was extremely evil and Bayan was extremely kind. Bayan then wondered who would be deemed suitable to become the owner, but Ta-hwan didn’t answer her; instead, he was planning to have his breakfast at Lady Ki’s quarters. Bayan told him not to worry about her as the Emperor’s ladies should be friendly with each other and Lady Ki would be treated nicely by her as the Emperor’s favourite. Well…sometimes being too kind is a problem too..
Ta-hwan was so happy to see Seung-nyang when he arrived at her quarters. He must had thought that she was out to welcome him, but Seung-nyang was actually on her way to meet Taltal. Ouch. She had rejected the request to have breakfast with him and didn’t really pay attention to his excuse. She excused herself but Ta-hwan knew that her heart must be hurting. Ahhh..it’s not your fault, Baby Emperor! Don’t show me that sad face~(ㅠㅠ)
The search for clues about Yeon-chul’s secret treasure was still futile but Taltal was confident that they would find it among the old man’s record. Lady Ki arrived and he ordered for all the record books to be kept away. She saw them and showed sudden interest about the treasure, which was still hidden according to Taltal. He noticed her haggard face and asked whether she resented his uncle. Taltal is concerned for someone other than his uncle!!! She would be lying if she didn’t hate Baek Ahn since she felt like she was abandoned after being used, but Seung-nyang was there to ask for his help. She didn’t want the Empress to have any misunderstanding about her after hearing that Ta-hwan didn’t sleep with the Empress, so she hoped that Taltal would convey her words to Bayan. Taltal heard about Ayu being poisoned and he seemed to know who the culprit was…
Court Lady Seo continued to whisper bad things to Bayan, accusing Lady Ki of playing with Ta-hwan’s heart. Bayan didn’t want to hate Lady Ki because of mere rumour and Court Lady Seo thought that she was really kind. Taltal went to see her and Bayan was so happy to meet her cousin. She thought that he came by after hearing about her unsuccessful first night but Taltal was so serious, asking for him to address her comfortably.
Taltal: Although we’re distant cousins, I’ve heard about your childhood from uncle. Thus, I know you well, more than anyone else. Don’t you ever repeat that crazy act again. Sending poison to a young prince…are you even a human? I know that you’re more competitive and heartless compared to anyone else. You’re the person who put the remains of the birds in the cage when you feel bothered by their noise.
Bayan’s face changed from that of an innocent lady to a cold-blooded Empress, telling Taltal to stop talking informally to her. Yeah, that’s sort of creepy for an angel-like girl to be two-faced like this!
Bayan: Yes, I was the one who sent the poison Do you really think I’m that reckless to kill a person? I just wanted to show her just a little. I am the Empress of this nation. I didn’t come here to lose the Emperor to a lowly consort. Just wait and see how I will cast away that consort and steal the Emperor from her.
Taltal warned her that it’s not his place to get involved in the Inner Court matter, but he won’t stand still if her action would affect their clan. Darn, both of them were not joking at all! Bring it on, lady! Let’s see what Taltal will do if you’re to smear your uncle’s reputation!
I knew it, Seung-nyang definitely had something on her mind when he visited Taltal before! As soon as he left his office for the day, Hong-dan and Eunuch Park went into the office to steal Yeon-chul’s books. It was Seung-nyang’s order and she decided to have the contents copied before returning the books to the office. Hidden in one of the books was a map of Yeon-chul’s house but the house was already occupied by Baek Ahn, so it would be dangerous to be seen digging around in the house compound. Taltal told Baek Ahn about the progress of their search and suggested another way: they could try to meet the Eagle Group’s owner since that person would know about the location of the treasure. Baek Ahn was keen on finding the treasure, wishing that no one would be able to snatch it away from him.
Speaking about the Eagle Group, Dangkise was introduced to the representative of Eagle Group, which was no other than Bi-soo! I wonder if she’s still working with Yoo or not. She brought him to meet another man who seemed to be of higher rank than her in the group but that man only know the rough details: Yeon-chul used to bring his men to a mountain, possibly to hide the treasure. Bi-soo paid attention to their conversation and Dangkise was hoping that he could meet the owner of the group, who might have an idea about the exact location of the secret treasure. The owner won’t simply reveal his face to any person but that man would try to persuade him into meeting Dangkise. Bi-soo was worried that getting involved with Dangkise would mean big problem for their group since he’s basically Yuan’s Most Wanted Criminal at that moment but she also wanted to meet the owner. The man said that their owner was nearby but it’s not the time to meet him yet. Who are you, mystery man? Come out and reveal yourself!! The bad side was also having its own issues, with Byung-soo planning to stab Dangkise on his back and make the treasure his (in order to save his poor Yeon-hwa. HA). Dangkise was sure that Baek Ahn would be looking for the treasure too and ordered his henchman to find out the recent news from the palace.
Wang Yoo and Co. reached the said mountain, where the local kids were singing local song and kept pestering them. Jeokho/ Mak-saeng was still there with the slaves working at the rock cave and it seemed that they had stopped looking for the treasure for the time being. Dangkise had also left the place in a hurry, disappearing along with Byung-soo. Yoo realized that it was not an easy task and their conversation was interrupted by the singing kids again. Yoo was suddenly curious about the song but it was said to be a local song. I’m sure that song has a hidden meaning behind it!
Seung-nyang was working on finding the secret treasure and she predicted several locations where Yeon-chul might had hidden it. She knew that the old man won’t tell anyone about the location. But then, her work was interrupted when Hong-dan informed that Ta-hwan was on his way to her quarters. That was close! She managed to walk out of the secret room at the same time Ta-hwan arrived there. He demanded to know why she didn’t come when she was summoned, but Seung-nyang made an excuse that she wanted to be alone. He replied that he couldn’t stand living without her and she asked to be given more time to mend her heart.
Ta-hwan: Noble Consort, there’s one thing I want to ask from you: please do not make me angry.
It felt distant and odd to hear him adressing her with such formality 😦 Seung-nyang was keeping the matter about the treasure a secret from Ta-hwan since she didn’t want it to be declared as national asset; she’s planning on protecting it herself. She received the message from Yoo, asking to meet her at a temple outside the palace. Taltal was also thinking about the treasure, believing that Yeon-chul won’t keep it too far; instead, that old man would had put it within his reach but still hidden. He saw that the books’ position was switched, proving that someone had touched them. He realized that another person in the palace was also interested in finding the treasure.
Dangkise was still in the capital when he heard about Seung making a trip outside the palace. It was his chance to get rid of her and Seung-nyang was soon approached by the assassins. Dangkise revealed himself to Seung-nyang and he was impatient to avenge his family’s death. Seung-nyang was glad to see him too since it was her dream to deal with the person who killed her mother. That person was no other than Dangkise.
“Tonight, I will put my mother’s grudge to rest.”
Be very afraid, Dangkise!!
No preview for Episode 40.