Folks, we finally made it! I’ve been having so much anticipation for the moment when Gong Sun Li comes to the palace to meet the King of Qin and realizes that he is the Master Zhao she knew in Luoyang City, and I think the meeting delivered everything I wanted and more. It’s a key turning point in this drama that leads to Gong Sun Li formally entering the palace, and it has made me look forward to writing this recap so I can talk about it, haha.
I’m loving our characters in the drama, and the actors are doing such a great job. I think the storyline and the pacing of the episodes are great since it doesn’t feel like things drag on and on, and events are taking place when we’re ready for them. I really look forward to seeing what happens in the following episodes!
When Gong Sun Li realizes that Jing Ke was injured because of her, she asks Tian Guang to look after him while she’s away. Knowing that she has no choice but to see the King of Qin, she takes a horse and rides day and night without rest towards Xianyang City to try and obtain the antidote in time to save Jing Ke’s life. Jing Ke twists and turns in his sleep, obviously not doing well.
In the palace, Ying Zheng holds the cloth that had been used to wrap his injured hand as a child and reminisces the moments he shared with Gong Sun Li, both when they were children and more recently as adults. Is this his normal routine? Aww. There’s this one look that Ying Zheng gave young Gong Sun Li when she was tending to his wounds, and I think that’s the moment that he fell irreparably in love with her. And seriously, young Gong Sun Li is so cute and pretty.
Gong Sun Li enters the palace and is escorted by guards to the main hall where Ying Zheng holds court. The palace is huge, intense, and intimidating – exactly how it’s meant to be and everywhere there are soldiers and servants present. I sort of wish we had gotten to see when Gong Sun Li had arrived at the palace and asked to see the King, but it’s fine.
There are nice transitions back and forth between Gong Sun Li and Ying Zheng as they walk through the palace grounds, making their way to the main hall and the visuals are extremely striking.
Once she arrives, she makes the long walk to the front of the room where the throne is, but there’s no one there. Ying Zheng stands behind a pillar where she can’t see him, just looking at her. Ha. Spy!
He calls out to her from behind the pillar.
Ying Zheng: “You’ve arrived. This is my palace – how come you’re not greeting me formally?”
Gong Sun Li: (kneels and bows) “Gong Sun Li greets Your Majesty.”
Ying Zheng: “You’ve lost weight.”
Gong Sun Li: (shocked) “Your Majesty has seen me before? Please forgive my rudeness, but I have never done anything harmful. Why are you trying to capture me?”
Ying Zheng: “This is my palace. No one dares to question me.”
Gong Sun Li: “Please forgive me my rudeness.”
Ying Zheng: “You’ve come to my palace alone. Are you not afraid for your life?”
Gong Sun Li: “I’m not afraid to die. I only hope that you can save my martial arts senior’s life.”
Ying Zheng: “I don’t want your life.”
Ying Zheng walks over to stand in front of her, but she keeps her head bowed and can only see his robes and shoes. He tells her to look at him, and when she sees who he is, she‘s completely in disbelief. Nice camera work in panning up from Ying Zheng’s feet until the moment she sees him.
Gong Sun Li: “How is it you? Why is it you?” She flashes back to Luoyang City – when he accidentally called himself ‘Gua Ren’, when he gave her the Qin military seal, and when he told her that the King of Wei had been isolated from the world.
Gong Sun Li: “I should have known. The only person who can freely enter and exit the King of Wei’s residence, and to command such respect from the King of Wei – there is only the King of Qin. That is why you wanted to capture me, whatever it cost. You said that I helped you once – this is how you repay me?”
Ying Zheng: “You can say whatever you want. Right now, my kingdom Qin is the most powerful state in the world. You should feel fortunate that I allowed you to receive a debt from me.” What arrogance.
Gong Sun Li: “But you sent people who hurt my martial arts senior.”
Ying Zheng: “Any goal requires methods.”
Gong Sun Li: “So when you gave me the military seal, you already had a plan.”
Ying Zheng: “That was to protect you.”
Gong Sun Li stands right up and says, “I don’t need your protection!” I don’t imagine many people dare to stand up in front of Ying Zheng before he gives permission.
Ooo. Ying Zheng does not look happy at that and steps in front of her. Ying Zheng: “Then why did you come and see me? Isn’t it because you have a request of me?” There isn’t anything Gong Sun Li can say to that, as she knows he’s right. “Now you should understand. I don’t want to take your life. I want you.”
Gong Sun Li thinks to herself that Jing Ke’s life is in danger, and that he is her only option and she willingly exchanges herself for the antidote.
Gong Sun Li: “Okay. Give me the antidote. My martial arts senior is about to die.”
Ying Zheng: “How long?”
Gong Sun Li: “Three months. I’ll give him the antidote and help him recover. During these three months, I won’t tell anyone of our agreement. Once the three months are up, I’ll immediately enter the palace. But if you hurt my martial arts senior, you’ll never have me.”
Ying Zheng. “Okay, three months. But if you go back on your word, you know what I’ll do to you. And your martial arts senior.”
Having gotten what she came for, Gong Sun Li leaves the palace.
Ying Zheng looks awfully pleased, as he should, since his plan worked exactly the way he wanted. Li Zhong asks Ying Zheng if he knew all along that by poisoning her martial arts senior, Gong Sun Li would give herself up. He answers by saying that Jing Ke is the only one in the world right now with the ability to make him feel jealous.
Gong Sun Li returns and gives Tian Guang the antidote to use on Jing Ke so he can survive. She had traveled without rest and collapses from exhaustion. When she wakes up after a day and night of sleeping, she‘s very happy to see that Jing Ke is up and doing much better. Regarding where she got the antidote, Gong Sun Li tells Tian Guang: “His power can shake the heavens. He’s evil like a demon.” Yikes. Tian Guang agrees to keep her secret.
In the palace, it looks like Ying Zheng can hardly wait until Gong Sun Li enters the palace so he can finally be with her. There are flashbacks. Naturally.
Meanwhile, Jing Ke tries to figure out how he was healed and questions Gong Sun Li. She lies that she was able to get it from an alchemist in the city, with a made up story that she had to wait for a full day to see the alchemist, and before he would give her the antidote, he had to read her fortune first.
Jing Ke apologizes for making her worry, and she tells him to recover quickly. He takes her hand in his, but knowing that she’s going to have to leave him soon, Gong Sun Li pulls away. They turn in for the night, and Gong Sun Li can’t stop from crying.
I love Gong Sun Li’s character and I feel so sorry for her. She’s strong and brave and is doing what she has to in order to help those close to her. At the moment, the most important person to her is her martial arts senior and she has to do what is necessary to save his life. In three months, she’s going to have to leave him to live in the palace with the King of Qin who she detests immensely.
Two months later, Jing Ke had steadily recovered and gotten stronger. Gong Sun Li helps him do some physical training, and the two joke and play around. It’s sweet and painful at the same time because you know what’s coming. They decide to go into Anyi City to spend the day, and while they’re there, Jing Ke buys her a pink silk scarf with flowers on it. So. cute.
Jing Ke wants them to hide when he sees a group of soldiers, but she points out that the wanted posters for her are no longer there. She feigns ignorance as to the real reason and remarks that maybe Qin finally realized that they were after the wrong person. They decide to go eat, and just then we see that Han Shen is in Anyi City as well.
Back at the palace, Li Si is advising the King on the strategy to conquer the Six Kingdoms. He tells Ying Zheng to take the offensive by conquering the nearby Kingdom of Han as the first step, an attack sure to shock the other kingdoms.
Ying Zheng goes on to appoint Li Si to the position of Tingwei Officer. We are seeing two parallel stories – the story of Gong Sun Li and Ying Zheng, and Ying Zheng’s path of conquering and ruling the world. My guess is that in the rest of the drama we will see these two stories start to intertwine. What will be Gong Sun Li’s role as Ying Zheng aims to take over the Six Kingdoms?
One night, Jing Ke mentions to Tian Guang and Gong Sun Li that he plans to start training harder to make up for lost time while he was injured. Tian Guang says that he knows of a warrior who had wished to duel with Gong Sun Li’s grandfather – Gao Jianli (also called the Yanxiang swordsman) from the Kingdom of Yan.
Tian Guang says that it would be a great opportunity for Jing Ke to improve his martial arts skills if he were to duel with Gao Jianli, and that he can write a letter for them to meet. Gong Sun Li says that she will stay and rest, since she’s been tired from taking care of Jing Ke. Jing Ke hesitates because he doesn’t want to leave Gong Sun Li, but she and Tian Guang ultimately talk him into it.
I’m almost positive that Tian Guang and Gong Sun Li made a plan and staged this conversation so Jing Ke wouldn’t be around on the day of her departure. I wonder if Gong Sun Li ever thought about asking Jing Ke to run away together, as far as possible. I think she probably considered for a second, but realized it was impossible. Given his threat, Ying Zheng would have pursued them to the ends of the earth and captured them eventually.
The next day, Jing Ke asks Gong Sun Li to practice some sword techniques, and Gong Sun Li asks him if he remembers the sword technique that they developed together as children. He says of course, they were going to use the sword technique to take over the world. Cute. Poor Jing Ke, he’s so happy to be with his martial arts sister and has no idea that she’s headed for the palace where they may never meet again.
Preview: Gong Sun Li leaves Jing Ke and enters the palace.
Thanks everyone for reading! Hope you enjoyed it! I wanted to let you all know that going forward, I might start to combine a couple of episodes into one recap to get them out faster and keep up with the episodes as they air. Don’t worry, I won’t leave out any of the good stuff!