If it’s something that I can’t fight off…I might as well prepare for it.
In between Ta-hwan who wanted to hide the gold and the rest who were intrigued by the Emperor’s reaction, Seung-nyang chose to reveal the gold chest to everyone. They were surprised to see the gold but Seung-nyang was prepared with an excuse: the gold was merely a gift from the merchant group for granting them the right to provide supplies for the palace. Empress Dowager didn’t want to believe her and Seung-nyang ordered for the rest of the containers to be opened. Phew, they all contained ordinary goods such as silk, ceramics, and ornaments! Seung-nyang had planned it all with Bi-soo, knowing that it’s not safe to bring in all the gold in one trip and chose to transport one chest at a time.
Ta-hwan could see that Seung-nyang’s gaze was different; in fact, he felt that they had grown further apart and she had changed. Golta, unlike his usual cheery self, reminded Ta-hwan that Seung-nyang had been someone that shouldn’t be trusted from the beginning. He pleaded for the Emperor, who was no longer a weak and lonely person like he used to be, to escape the lowly concubine’s influence had on him. This enraged Ta-hwan and he threatened his eunuch that he won’t stand still if he heard someone cursing his most precious person, the person he won’t give up on even if it would cause him great pains. Seung-nyang was thinking that she should tell Ta-hwan about the treasure but Eunuch Park knew that Ta-hwan would use it for the expedition. She wanted to give it a try to persuade Ta-hwan into agreeing with her wish..
..but it’s not going to be easy since Ta-hwan must had made up his mind for him to tell the officials about the military expedition. The Three Lords didn’t agree with the expedition since they had more pressing issue to be dealt with such as famine and plague. Going into a war amidst the citizens’ hardships was impossible but Ta-hwan, through Baek Ahn, threatened to kill those who dared to oppose the Emperor’s order. The governors were ordered to provide manpower and supplies for the expedition and Goryeo was not excluded from the responsibility to do the same thing. Taltal didn’t look amused and he too thought that it’s not a good time for a war. Baek Ahn, just as stubborn as ever, didn’t want to hear any of his thoughts.
Seung-nyang went to meet Baek Ahn with the intention of persuading him by insisting that he was paving his path as another Yeon-chul in the making. He thought that his dream of painting a new history for the nation was not greed but Seung-nyang didn’t think so. It’s their way of life as warriors and she would never understand. Seung-nyang wondered if Baek Ahn would acknowledge her as an Empress if she agreed to support the expedition but he played the same old card again: he won’t mix personal feelings with his duty and she should give up on that dream. Yeah, Seung-nyang…he was indeed scary, far worse that Yeon-chul, probably.
Dangkise, Byung-soo, and Jo-cham were in hiding and they’re back in the capital since Dangkise had been summoned by the Eagle Group’s Leader-nim. Dangkise suspected that Leader-nim was a person inside the palace and he might had met him before. They happened to hide near the temple (per Leader-nim’s order) where Wang Yoo and Seung-nyang had been meeting all this while and those two happened to meet again on that fateful night, witnessed by the wicked Byung-soo. Of all places…why there? Seung-nyang admitted rather dejectedly that they won’t be able to stop the war. Yoo had a plan in which they would be able to give Seung-nyang the power to control the assets and armed forces of Yuan. He was going back to Goryeo but he’s leaving his underlings in Yuan to work out a new merchant group. Byung-soo saw them and reported what he saw to Dangkise, who was impatient to get rid of Seung-nyang; however, Byung-soo had a better idea and grinned his infamous menacing grin.
Seung-nyang went back to her quarters, where Ta-hwan was waiting for her. He wanted to know what she prayed for after hearing that she went to the temple but thought that her prayers (she wished for the people to be safe from the war) was useless. She tried to persuade him again into reconsidering his decision, afraid that the citizens would blame him for going into a war despite the difficulties faced by them. Ta-hwan then told her about ‘yeokrin’ a.k.a. a dragon’s inverse scales: once those scales were touched, the dragon would be furious and it could kill the person who did it. Using the metaphor, he warned Seung-nyang not to touch on his ‘yeokrin’ that would turn him into a mad dragon. Seung-nyang wondered if he would kill her if she happened to touch it, but he assured her that she’s always on his side and he won’t kill the people he included in his plan: Seung-nyang and Ayu. He begged for her to agree with him but Seung-nyang was thinking of something different; one day, he would understand that she did it for his sake.
Seung-nyang proceeded with the plan proposed by Wang Yoo. She went to meet the Three Lords or the governors’ representatives, having heard about the order for them to provide supplies for the army. She told them to give only a part of the supplies and the rest would be bought by Bi-soo and the gang to be sold to the army with a higher price, with the profit used to save the suffering citizens. It’s a risky business but Seung-nyang realized that there’s no gain without risk!
Seol-hwa played with Maha outside and he wanted to go to Seung-nyang but Seung-nyang walked away. Awww…was she trying to put some distance to avoid any attachment later? Bayan got an idea after witnessing the scene and planned something by trapping Yeon-hwa into working for her. She made it that Seung-nyang would be taking care both Maha and Ayu to make the princes grew closer to each other. Maha approached Seung-nyang right after Ayu fell asleep and Hong-dan joked that Maha might be jealous of Ayu. Awwww~! Seung-nyang put Maha on her lap and Eunuch Bang, who happened to drop by to take some documents from Seung-nyang, was surprised to see Seung-nyang with her biological child. Maha’s babysitter came over to take him away and he refused to be brought away from his mother *sobs* Seung-nyang didn’t think it’s a good time to reveal Maha’s real identity since it could affect Ayu negatively; plus, she thought that Maha was pitiful. Ack~~!!! Even Eunuch Bang was touched to see Seung-nyang her real child in her arms.
The babysitter handed over Maha to Yeon-hwa during her break and Yeon-hwa had this evil glint in her eyes. Uh-oh! Maha was crying non-stop afterwards and the Dowager wondered what happened to him. Bayan suggested that he might be hurt somewhere and the Dowager found some bruises on his body, suggesting that someone had pinched him. Poor baby! The babysitter suspected that Seung-nyang was the one who did it since the prince was with her before this. Ta-hwan was feeding Ayu when the Dowager barged into his quarters and slapped Seung-nyang. WHOA. Empress Dowager accused her of hitting Maha but Ta-hwan won’t believe it. Seung-nyang wasn’t someone who would do such thing. He ordered for all the people who spent time with Maha to be gathered and Seung-nyang suggested that Maha to be brought there too.
Seung-nyang held Maha in her arms and he didn’t cry, showing that she didn’t harm him. Although the boy couldn’t speak, his reaction would be more than enough to see who was the real culprit. Everyone was to hold Maha and he was calm except when Yeon-hwa held him. Oops..sorry, Bayan. Try again next time…or probably not. Seung-nyang ordered for Yeon-hwa to be dragged away but she could see Bayan’s changing expression. She realized that the Empress was the person who was behind Yeon-hwa. Although she was tortured, Yeon-hwa didn’t admit that she was ordered by Bayan but Seung-nyang was aware of it. Seung-nyang told her that she knew about Maha’s real identity and the reason she spared Yeon-hwa’s life was to become the witness when the right time came. Bayan went to the prison and Seung-nyang told her that the Dowager was the one who ordered Yeon-hwa. Bayan was relieved to hear that but Seung-nyang was just trapping her. She sent Yeon-hwa back to the Empress.
Wang Yoo went back to Goryeo and ascended the throne. The first thing he did was cancelling the military support meant for Yuan’s military expedition and ordered for the dispatch of tribute women and men to Yuan to be stopped at once. He also rooted out the officials who were working for Yuan. Ta-hwan received the report and followed Taltal’s suggestion to stop the sea trading to put pressure on Goryeo since they were currently focusing on the expedition. Taltal suspected that Seung-nyang had been working with Yoo but she denied it; after all, she and the rest of the staff of Goryeo origin had been abandoned by their mother nation, hence it’s not her place to meddle with Goryeo’s business. Taltal reminded Seung-nyang to stop getting involved with Goryeo since it would only meant harm for her, but Seung-nyang was still worrying over the fate of her country after hearing about the trade.
Bi-soo and the Gang made a visit to Goryeo to meet Yoo. They were nervous to see Yoo sitting on his throne but Yoo still thought of them as his comrades who fought along with him. Aww~! This was the second time Bi-soo appeared with her new attire and I like this one! Bi-soo recalled the words Yoo told her back at the border: Yuan held the control over the sea trade route but it’s different for Silk Road. Hence, he wanted Bi-soo to open the Silk Road again; it’s about time she kept the promise made when they first joined forces at the border. He offered Bi-soo to handle the trade with other countries and she asked for Goryeo ginseng and silk to be traded.
Baek Ahn was ready to depart with the troops for the military expedition and he assured Ta-hwan that he would return safely although it would take a long time. Ta-hwan issued his order for the soldiers to return alive and see their names recorded in the history. The expedition started out well for Yuan with news about their victory reaching the capital. Yoo also heard about the victory but at the same time, Bi-soo had left for the country at war with Yuan, Ilkhanate, to sell the goods. Seung-nyang gave the profit from the trade to the governors to be spent for the suffering citizens.
Golta seemed to have a bad news for Ta-hwan as he dashed through the doors towards the Emperor’s quarters. He had got his hand on a secret letter allegedly sent to Lady Ki from Wang Yoo. Ta-hwan read the letter and his glare was deadly. He reminded Golta to keep this matter a secret. Anger and disbelief were visible on his face before Ta-hwan decided to destroy the letter by burning it, as if it would make him forget what he just read. Seung-nyang dropped by and she found it odd that he was still awake. He pulled her into a hug, assuring her (and himself) that he was thankful to have him by his side and he’s content to be like that. Those eyes…oh, those eyes! They’re full of insecurities again..
The letter was planted by Dangkise and Co. with the intention to make the couple grew apart. Urgh! They were just waiting for the right moment to strike! They visited Eagle Group HQ to ask for Leader-nim’s help and Leader-nim wrote something that gave them a surprise..They’re up to no good, right?!
*Five years later* (That was quite a stretch..)
Both Maha and Ayu had grown up into boys (naturally). Maha was a good brother to Ayu but treated Seung-nyang coldly, thanks to Empress Dowager who never failed to remind him that Seung-nyang had killed his mother. Aish, I feel bad for this poor boy. (ㅜㅜ) Seung-nyang got to know that the expedition met another defeat and she looked worried, somehow. Maybe it was related to Ta-hwan, who was drunk, disheveled and grew more furious upon hearing the devastating news. The defeated troop was waiting in the throne hall and Baek Ahn was trying to console them. Ta-hwan staggered into the hall and Seung-nyang greeted him with worry in her eyes. I think it was a common occurrence for them and Seung-nyang couldn’t do anything. She looked so worried for him 😦 Ta-hwan approached the general and insisted that the man had done a serious crime although Baek Ahn tried to tell him that the general had tried to fight the larger enemy’s troop with his small troop.
Ta-hwan suddenly took Taltal’s sword and slayed the general, to everyone’s horror. He accused the troop of ruining his mood and they deserved to die.
“Am I right, Consort?”
Ta-hwan stepped closer to the soldiers with the sword still in his hand. They were trembling and pleading for their lives to be spared, but Ta-hwan heard different things from them: in his ears, they were jeering and mocking him as a puppet Emperor. He stepped back but he couldn’t stand the sight of those lowly soldiers mocking him and insisted that they had to be killed. Baek Ahn tried to stop him, but Ta-hwan accused him of defying his orders and held the sword on his Chancellor’s neck. Uh-oh! Taltal tried to help his uncle but Baek Ahn stopped him, saying that he’s willing to sacrifice his life if his death could knock some sense into Ta-hwan’s head. Ta-hwan looked like he could kill Baek Ahn at that moment but Seung-nyang stopped him and stared straight into his wild eyes.
Seung-nyang: I am Yang-ie. Yes, Your Imperial Majesty…I am Yang-ie.
Ta-hwan’s glare softened as he realized that it was really Seung-nyang in front of him and he broke down. He admitted that it was another hallucination and soon came to his senses: he saw the dead general and the bloody sword in his hand 😦 Maybe the shock was too much for him…and Ta-hwan passed out in front of others.
Golta was probably more curious about what the couple was talking about rather than worrying about Ta-hwan’s condition as Seung-nyang held Ta-hwan in her arms, consoling him after what happened before. He didn’t want to stop the military expedition because he thought that it was his only chance of proving that he’s capable of being a true Emperor, but he promised not to get drunk anymore. Seung-nyang wondered if he was harbouring any resentment towards her since she noticed that the way he looked at her had changed. He was about to ask her but decided against it, hugging Seung-nyang while telling her that she’s the only person he could hold onto. It is too much for him (ㅠㅠ)
It turned out that Byung-soo and Dangkise continued to send the fake letters to Ta-hwan as they’re still waiting for the moment of Seung-nyang being abandoned by the Emperor. Sheesh. Dangkise was focusing more on a new info he found out from a spy: Goryeo had been dealing with Ilkhanate. Instead of meeting Maha, Dangkise wanted to send the information about Yoo’s involvement with Ilkhanate to Empress Dowager since he knew that the Dowager was raising Maha to be more powerful. Urgh.
Maha was a bright child with deep interest in learning though I wished that he could escape the bad influence coming from those three women around him: Empress Dowager, Bayan, and Court Lady Seo. He wanted to learn how to fight but the Dowager advised him against it since it would make the Emperor furious. Bayan told him to be patient for the time being. At the same time, Seung-nyang was teaching Ayu, who resembled Ta-hwan a lot when it came to being sleepy during lessons. LOL. He was happy to go to the morning greeting session with the Emperor but Seung-nyang knew that he was more excited to see his brother Maha.
The two princes went to greet Ta-hwan but it was obvious who was the favourite of the father among those two. Maha could only put a longing stare towards Ayu and Ta-hwan. Ayu had to recite what he had learned so far but got stuck and Ta-hwan laughed, but when Ayu said that Maha would be better at it, Ta-hwan’s face said it all: he wasn’t amused to know that Maha had started to learn how to read. Maha questioned why he couldn’t learn but Ta-hwan refused to answer him. Ayu looked upset to see his brother being scolded like that and at the same time, the Dowager came to Maha’s defense. Ta-hwan didn’t give the permission for Maha to learn since he knew that the Dowager intended to use the boy just like how Yeon-chul did to him and he wanted to protect Maha from the torture he had to face. Maha was not interested in receiving pitiful look from Seung-nyang and acted rudely in front of her but Seung-nyang reminded him that he’s old enough to judge between wrong and right. Empress Dowager and Lady Ki’s relationship was getting worse through the years and Bayan was only waiting for them to kill each other. Maybe if you looked around more, you’d realized that Lady Ki had someone planted beside you..
Yeon-hwa brought Court Lady Seo along with her when she went out to meet Byung-soo and Dangkise was glad to meet Court Lady Seo. She informed him that Maha had been living in sadness and Dangkise wanted her to tell the kid that his uncle was still alive. He also gave her the letter to be passed to the Dowager. The troops returned with yet another defeat (I really like the camera work here) and Baek Ahn informed the Dowager that Ilkhanate had a large supply of explosives. The Dowager grabbed this chance to tell him about Goryeo’s deal with Ilkhanate and suggested that they fabricate the proof to put the blame on Yoo. Drat. She’s even thinking of trapping Seung-nyang this time since she had found out that Seung-nyang had been working alongside Yoo all this while.
A Goryeo official sent a petition to Yuan reporting about Yoo’s trade with Ilkhanate and his plan of raising the army with the profit to reclaim their land from Yuan. This was deemed an act of treason and Yoo deserved to be deposed again. Maha was used to inform Seung-nyang about it and just like what the Dowager planned, Seung-nyang managed to get her hands on the petition and the fake ledger since she had the control over most of the palace staff. Seung-nyang realized that the explosives trading between Goryeo and Ilkhanate was something new to her; however, she knew that the ledger was fake since the explosives were originally from Yuan and the amount recorded was more compared to the original supplies. Baek Ahn and Empress Dowager brought the matter to Ta-hwan, who didn’t believe that Seung-nyang would dare to to do something like that; but then, he recalled the letters from Yoo to Seung-nyang that Golta managed to intercept and he chose to burn them. He started to get suspicious, but Seung-nyang arrived to give him the petition and the ledger. Phew!
Actually, it’s all thanks to Dok-man, who sensed that something was off when he was at the Dowager’s quarters. He managed to alert Eunuch Park about the plan and Eunuch Paek thanked him for helping Lady Ki. Dok-man was only trying to save the other Goryeo people as he knew that they could die if Lady Ki was accused of helping Yoo. It’s kinda sad to hear his words: he was neither a Goryeo nor Yuan person. What he did was purely for his own life.
Ta-hwan was angry to find out about the trade and he had issued a decree to depose Yoo. But then, it would be possible for Yoo to resist the order and it would be better for them to send Tutor Jang to Goryeo first. Seung-nyang tried to persuade Ta-hwan into finding the truth first before deposing Yoo but Ta-hwan had set his mind and he wanted Seung-nyang to stay out of the matter since he didn”t want to suspect her. With everyone’s eyes on her, Seung-nyang couldn’t do anything to send a warning to her fellow Goryeo team. Maha wanted to follow Tutor Jang to Goryeo with the excuse that he wanted to see the person who killed his mother, but he was actually going out of the palace to meet Dangkise. Eunuch Bang and Co. saw Maha and his entourage on their way to Goryeo and he decided to go back to Goryeo too. Another thing worth mentioning was Eagle Group’s Leader-nim was probably a she…but anything could happen, right? It’s as if Leader-nim became shorter after a few years and s/he also got prettier. HA.
Seung-nyang was on her way out when Taltal went to see her and it turned out that she wanted to meet him. He had been watching her closely during the last five years and knew that she used the treasure to help the citizens and also for her own ause, which wa to bribe the officials to be on her side. Taltal wondered if she was helping their enemies (you know who…) but Seung=nyang denied it, but she admitted that Goryeo trade was teh source of the money she had been using to help Yuan. She asked for Taltal to help her since he knew everything and her life was in his hands. These two’s chemistry is no joke =.=’
Maha had reached Goryeo but he wasn’t glad to step on the enemy’s land. Well, if only you knew your real identity…He went straight to the palace with the intention to meet Yoo and Yoo was surprised that a young prince went on a long journey like that. Maha demanded to have Yoo step out of his audience hall to greet him and Yoo was like, “Challenge accepted, boy!” Both of them refused to give in (like father, like son?) but Eunuch Bang told Yoo to give in since Maha was still a boy and Yoo acknowledge the prince’s persistence. Yoo was ordered to go to Yuan to provide an explanation on why he refused to provide military suport and tributes after he had been reinstated. Later on that night, he met Maha to know why the young prince joined the trip and Maha told Yoo that he wanted to meet his mother’s killer. Maha vowed to teach Goryeo a lesson when he became an Emperor but Yoo reminded him that he had a lot of things to be learned. Yeah, I also thought that it’s a waste for Maha to be raised under the wrong people, Wang Yoo..
Bi-soo had a nightmare about Yoo and it was indeed happening: the Emperor aimed to depose Yoo and Yoo was going to Yuan without realizing the Emperor’s true intention. Oh no! Maha was probably thinking about Yoo’s words over and over again along the journey as he stole glances at the Goryeo King (who was also your biological father, kiddo!). Tutor Jang suggested that they stopped there for the day since they had reached Yuan’s border and Yoo agreed, although it was suspicious since they had been hearing some rumours on their way to Yuan. Yoo was more concerned on Maha and Eunuch Bang told him not to worry over someone not related to him (but he was!).
Tutor Jang was expecting someone and it’s Dangkise and Co. Maha had actually told Tutor Jang beforehand about Dangkise and he’s letting them meet each other only this time. Dangkise went to meet Maha and they shared a teary reunion, but Dangkise was going to attack Yoo after he went to sleep. Although Yoo tried to fight back, he was soon overpowered and the real decree from the Emperor was read to him: he was to be deposed because he helped Ilkhanate against Yuan and he was deemed a traitor of Yuan. Maha was glad to see him being captured but he’s troubled to see Yoo being tortured on their way to Yuan.
They had reached the capital and the citizens blamed Goryeo for causing Yuan to be defeated. Ouch. Please don’t make him suffer any more (ㅠㅠ) Bi-soo and the gang were unable to help them and she could only cry. Argh! He was dragged to the palace to meet Ta-hwan.
Ta-hwan rushed to the gate and so was Seung-nyang, but Ta-hwan reached the place first and he wasted no time to take his bodyguard’s sword. Ta-hwan exchanged death glares with Yoo and he was ready to strike Yoo with the sword as Seung-nyang arrived to witness the scene.
What will Seung-nyang do?
Preview for episode 44 can be found HERE.