Another great episode for The King’s Woman is in the books. This latest episode was really eventful, and it was a fantastic watch. Seeing all the drama that unfolded in the palace after Li Er’s arrival was enormously entertaining, and I especially enjoyed all of the scenes between Ying Zheng and Li Er.
Things do not start off well as Li Er despises Ying Zheng and Qin for their tyranny and ruthlessness and doesn’t bother hiding it at all. She alternates between openly displaying hatred and contempt for Qin and being completely indifferent towards Ying Zheng, refusing to give him the time of day. That’s not even counting the moments that she makes it obvious that Jing Ke is who she wants to be with. I love it. It’s a constant source of anger and frustration for Ying Zheng, and those feelings explode more than once. I‘m sure that if anyone else were to behave towards him the way that Li Er does, he would’ve had them executed.
Ying Zheng is extremely persistent though, and he still visits her frequently at her residence. Although she is strongly resisting him, I can’t help but think that he’s still winning here. After all, she is living in his palace and he can go see and talk to her whenever he wants, which is a lot more than can be said for poor Jing Ke right now.
Ying Zheng finds out Li Er’s condition and is furious that she is now carrying another man’s baby in his palace. It’s a total attack on Ying Zheng’s position and his dignity, and we all remember how angry Ying Zheng got when he felt that he was being disgraced by his mother’s actions. Ying Zheng: “You think that I don’t dare to kill you?” In fact, he comes pretty close when he takes Li Zhong’s sword and puts it to Li Er’s throat. His anger seems to grow after Li Er doesn’t move or say anything, and Ying Zheng asks her why she doesn’t beg for mercy. Her stoicism contrasts sharply with how everyone else grovels as his feet, including his mother and the King of Wei.
Li Er: “This is your palace. If you want me to die, how can I live?” Ying Zheng: “He’s a bastard!” Li Er: “He’s my child!” Ying Zheng can’t bring himself to follow through with killing Li Er, and tosses the sword to one side. He storms out, telling Li Zhong to protect Li Er well (or face death. Sure.) and the physician is to keep it secret that Li Er is pregnant (or face death. Well obviously). Li Er collapses to the floor after Ying Zheng leaves while Jing Ke rides on his way to Xianyang City.
Ying Zheng has called a meeting with his consorts and concubines. They chat about how this rarely happens, and wonder what all the fuss is about. Madam Chu thinks that she might be receiving some kind of reward from the King. Um, no – sorry, keep dreaming. Her face falls when Ying Zheng enters followed by Li Er.
The meeting is to announce the naming of Li Er to Liang Ren, fourth rank consort, and she is to be called Li Ji. Madam Chu looks angry enough to murder Li Er then and there, while Li Er thinks to herself that she can’t stand to be named a consort to the King of Qin. It’s a disgrace and embarrassment to her and her country since she is a descendant of the Gong Sun family of Wei.
Madam Chu whose gears are turning on how she can embarrass Li Er suggests that Li Er should recite a poem to celebrate the occasion. Maybe she thinks that ordinary women don’t know any poems? Ying Zheng agrees. Um, you’re going to regret that.
Li Er recites a poem that she knows is sure to upset the King, written by a woman who vows to be loyal to her first love and not submit to a domineering King who wants her. Sounds a bit familiar…. Sure enough, Ying Zheng is completely furious and glares at Li Er.
Since that didn’t work out, Madam Chu says that Li Er should demonstrate her martial arts skills for them since she is from a renowned swordsman family. Madam Min tries to argue that such a display would be inappropriate, but Ying Zheng is still enraged with Li Er’s poem and decides that the idea is a great one. He will even have his top general, Meng Wu, come spar with her. Li Er knows that Ying Zheng hopes for her to have a miscarriage and lose her and Jing Ke’s baby, but she has a determined look on her face.
Everyone has gathered outside to witness Li Er and Meng Wu’s sparring match. There’s even banging of drums. Does it need to be so dramatic? I thought this was only a simple martial arts demonstration, lol. The visuals here are really stunning. Li Er has changed into fighting clothes, and she looks beautiful, so much better than when she was dressed as a royal consort.
Madam Min tells Meng Wu that he should exercise some restraint and not hurt Li Er since this is just a demonstration. She seems nice, but I wonder if she’s just putting on a show. Of course, Madam Chu can’t have that and baits Meng Wu by saying that if he loses to a consort, he will lose face in front of Qin’s troops. It will only be a good show if Li Er and Meng Wu both fight using their utmost abilities. She even adds a prize for the winner, and it’s significant – 500 pieces of gold and 10 horses.
Li Er tells Ying Zheng that since the winner is owed a prize, if she wins, she wants the Gong Sun family sword returned to her. He says to wait and see until she wins. He tells Meng Wu that this is a normal competition and that he doesn’t have to show any restraint. Still angry, I see.
The fighting begins, and Meng Wu charges at Li Er with his sword. She dodges and blocks his attacks until a particularly harsh one makes Li Er run backwards across the field. Ying Zheng looks extremely concerned that Li Er has really been hurt. Um, you pushed her into this fight.
Li Er worries for her unborn baby, and puts her hand to her stomach, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Ying Zheng and Li Zhong. When Meng Wu attacks once more, Li Er grabs and pins Meng Wu’s sword arm using her left arm, and brings up the sword in her right hand to his throat. Everyone is shocked that Li Er has won, and it’s pretty awesome. Ying Zheng’s look of shock quickly changes to looking very impressed.
Since Li Er has won, she asks Ying Zheng for her family’s sword. He agrees that she does deserve a reward, making it seem like he’ll really return the sword to her. Li Zhong asks him to reconsider because with Li Er’s skills at martial arts, it will be a danger to the King if she has it. Li Er: “What do you mean?” Ying Zheng says that he never intended to return the sword to Li Er. Li Er: “As a King, how can you go back on your word?” Ying Zheng: “When did I say I would return the sword to you? How have I gone back on my word?” He’s not wrong.
Li Er: “Ying Zheng!”. I think this is the first time Li Er has called him by name, and it‘s his given name, not his title. Ying Zheng walks up right next to her and says, “Letting you keep your unborn child is already the greatest prize. What else do you want?” I think Ying Zheng decided that he has to spare Li Er’s unborn child because he realized from earlier how maternal Li Er already feels towards the baby, and if anything were to happen, she would be a complete wreck and would never forgive the person responsible.
Li Er prepares for bed when Ying Zheng arrives at her residence. Ying Zheng: “I’ve already named you a Liang Ren. How come you do not greet me as your King?” Li Er: “Why did you name me? Being named a Liang Ren is the dream of the other women in the palace, not me. You’ve never been my King.” Ying Zheng, ticked off: “Don’t forget who is allowing you to keep your unborn bastard child.” Li Er: “My child is not a bastard. He is my and my martial arts senior’s…” Before she can finish her sentence, Ying Zheng grabs her by the throat with his hand.
Li Er tells him that he’s hurting her and to let go. He tells her that if she wants to keep her baby, she has to make everyone believe the baby is his and to never bring up her martial arts senior. The child will be sent out of the palace immediately after he’s born. Ying Zheng tells Li Er to swear that she will never leave Qin, because that is the price of giving birth to her child. After she hesitates, he grips her closer to him, “Say it!”.
She swears that she will never leave the Qin palace, and he finally lets go. He tells her that he will let her know that he is her only King and he pushes her onto the bed. OMG, this scene. Ying Zheng’s rage can be completely terrifying. His grip on Li Er’s throat was so tight that I think he could have really killed her. The scene was really hard to take. How can a person who truly loves and cares for Li Er do that to her? If Jing Ke finds out, he’s going to kill Ying Zheng for sure.
Jing Ke is in the palace masquerading as a guard. He overhears a conversation between Li Er’s palace maids, and asks them where Li Er is. Li Er’s maid becomes suspicious of who he is and calls for the palace guards. A fight ensues and even though Jing Ke tries his hardest, he is overwhelmingly outnumbered and is finally subdued.
Ying Zheng hovers over Li Er on her bed, and asks her why she keeps resisting him when he never did anything to hurt her. Li Er sets him straight – two generations of her family, her grandfather and her parents, were all murdered by Qin. What else can she do but hate the people of Qin? Ying Zheng tells Li Er to tell the truth and answer whether she wants to kill him. Without any hesitation, she says: “Yes. I want to kill you right now and bring your head back to Wei to avenge the deaths of my people.“
Ying Zheng pulls himself up, “Forget it. I’m not interested anymore.” I’m sorry, was Ying Zheng actually looking to spend the night with Li Er? She lies on her bed and cries after Ying Zheng leaves, telling herself that she has to continue living, because she has to be there to protect and nurture her child.
After leaving Li Er’s palace, Ying Zheng goes to the palace of Jing Liang Ren, another one of his consorts and spends the night with her. Considering that Ying Zheng has stayed away from the inner palace for so long, he’s obviously doing this out of anger and frustration over Li Er. We find out that Ying Zheng’s inner palace includes at least 800 consorts and concubines. Wow!
While in jail, Jing Ke hears a group of soldiers discussing the King’s latest consort, who is a fierce ordinary woman skilled in martial arts. Jing Ke realizes that they are talking about Li Er and erupts in anger, yelling at the soldiers to shut up. He gets a whipping as a result. Just when Jing Ke is about to have his nose cut off by some nasty soldiers, an order arrives that he is to be sent to Li Mountain to serve time as a construction worker.
Madam Chu hears that the King visited Jing Liang Ren the previous night and is furious. She calls a meeting with Jing Liang Ren and another consort, and convinces them that they should stick together and take care of each other to prevent Li Er from gaining power and influence in the inner palace. Of course, they shouldn’t keep any secrets from each other. They’re all acting so fake – it’s hilarious.
Madam Chu’s maid, Xiang Yi, reports that recently, the King has been going to Li Er’s residence at night off and on but he has never stayed the night. Madam Chu wonders what the truth is, and she tells Xiang Yi to keep a close eye on Li Er and report back anything she finds out. Instead of going herself, which will be immediately traced back to her, she tells her maid to send someone who knows how to do the task.
Ying Zheng comes to Li Er’s palace for a visit one evening. She has no reaction and just continues to read her scroll. He leans in close and says: “If you want to keep your unborn child, shouldn’t you play nice this time?” But she continues to ignore him.
Ying Zheng sends everyone away, and you can sense his anger growing. He takes Li Er’s scroll and throws it across the room, pulls her towards him and carries her to the bed. OMG. I don’t like how forceful Ying Zheng is being, but this is also really really hot. Ying Zheng: “Didn’t we already sleep together in Luoyang City?” Li Er: “I should’ve known a long ago that Master Zhao was a liar.” Ying Zheng: “I never sleep with anyone. That man who slept with you that night was Master Zhao, not the King of Qin.”
Thanks everyone for reading!
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