It was great to have some sweet, lovey-dovey moments between Ying Zheng and Li Er.
Ying Zheng tells Yan Dan that some of the suffering he went through in the past was self-inflicted, his reaction to Chancellor Lu taking full power and control of governing Qin. Yan Dan says that it ended up being worth it since Ying Zheng became the King of Qin, the most powerful of all the states. When Zhao Jia returned to Zhao, the Crown Prince title was taken away from him, and Yan Dan has never stopped being a hostage of Qin. Ying Zheng realizes that this is not just a casual conversation, and asks Yan Dan if he’s been letting him win their chess games. Yan Dan answers Ying Zheng that he’s been winning because his skills have significantly improved, and Ying Zheng tells Yan Dan that he finds him boring.
Li Zhong and Han Shen arrive and report to Ying Zheng that Yao Jia’s military operation was a success. Ying Zheng asks Han Shen if he knows how to play chess, and when he responds that he does, Ying Zheng invites him to play a game with him. Yan Dan decides to take his leave and leave them to their game.
Li Er runs into Yan Dan, and he tells her that Ying Zheng is currently playing a game of chess with her martial arts brother. He notices that Li Er has a book scroll with her. Li Er is on her way to give it to Ying Zheng, who asked to borrow it from her to read. He is interested in knowing what the scroll is about, and Li Er tells him that it is about the principles of governance.
Han Shen defeats Ying Zheng in their game of chess, and Li Zhong has a look of disbelief like he’s never seen Ying Zheng lose before. Actually, Ying Zheng isn’t upset at all and is happy to see that Han Shen isn’t like everyone else. Others have always let him win because they’re afraid of offending him. He considers it very boring and he wants to play with someone who will play with him seriously and challenge him. Ying Zheng asks Han Shen to come and play chess with him often in the future. I find it fascinating that Han Shen didn’t seem to hesitate in defeating Ying Zheng, because he was there when Yan Dan was telling Li Er that he wasn’t in a position to defeat Ying Zheng because he has to live as a hostage. Good for Han Shen if he always puts his full effort into a competition, regardless of who he is competing against.
Ying Zheng tells Han Shen that life is similar to chess. When you play alone, it can be very lonely and boring. He mentions that Han Shen has been serving in the palace for years so he can protect Li Er, and asks him if he has any intentions of getting married and having children. Normally at his age, a warrior like him would already have a wife and children and would be traveling the world. Han Shen says that he has never thought of getting married or having children. He’s used to being alone, and he doesn’t want to make any woman suffer with him.
Ying Zheng and Li Er enjoy a calm night of reading together, and Ying Zheng asks her about the scroll she was going to lend him. Li Er tells him that when she was on her way to give it to him, Yan Dan borrowed it instead. He had seemed really interested in the scroll, and she couldn’t bring herself to refuse. As you can imagine, Ying Zheng is not happy and asks Li Er if he’s that unimportant that she would give Yan Dan the scroll to read first. Li Er doesn’t understand where his anger and attitude are coming from, and says that wasn’t what she was thinking. If he’s in that much of a rush to read the scroll, she will go and retrieve it from Yan Dan.
Ying Zheng pulls Li Er to him and tells her that he won’t allow her to talk to Yan Dan anymore, and that he will cut out Yan Dan’s tongue if he dares talk to her again. He’s acting so jealous, and Li Er doesn’t see what the big deal is. Ying Zheng wants Li Er to tell him what they talked about during the day of the archery competition, and Li Er tells him that if he’s that interested, he can go ask Yan Dan himself. Lol. Ying Zheng’s attitude changes and says, “Okay, okay. My good wife.” So cute.
Ying Zheng tells Li Er that he lost to her martial arts brother in chess earlier, and Li Er says that Han Shen’s chess skills are exceptional. When he used to play with her grandfather, you could never tell who the winner would be. She says that if he continues to play with her martial arts brother, his skills will definitely improve. Lol. As he leans in close to her, Ying Zheng says: “Playing chess is just a small pleasure. What I want is the kind of pleasure I have with you.” That was smoldering hot. Ying Zheng tells her that he wants to hear all about her childhood and the experiences she had before entering the palace. He then kisses her. Ahh!
Han Shen and Madam Chu run into each other in the palace. Madam Chu’s maid refuses to let him pass because he was being disrespectful. Han Shen very sarcastically gives Madam Chu a formal greeting and says that he has a request – for Madam Chu to always stay as far away from him and his martial arts sister as possible. Madam Chu says he’s offended her more than once, and Han Shen tells her, “Stop it already.” Lol. I love him. He says that if she hadn’t offended him first, he wouldn’t even take the time to offend her. He tells her that if she wants respect, she has to earn it first. She tells him that she’ll get back at him. Somehow I love the interactions between these two. Madam Chu gets so worked up that she wants to scratch his eyes out, and Han Shen just doesn’t care. He’s always calm and collected.
Madam Chu finds out that Ying Zheng has arranged for Han Shen and Qing Er to meet alone that night in one of the palaces. He’s trying to make something happen between them! Ying Zheng obviously knows how Han Shen feels about Li Er and wants to turn his attention elsewhere. Madam Chu, thinking that Ying Zheng loves Li Er (yes), Han Shen loves Li Er (yes), and Li Er loves Han Shen (wrong), plans to use this opportunity to catch Han Shen and Qing Er together and make Li Er hate them, along with Ying Zheng for being the one to set them up.
That night, Han Shen and Qing Er find themselves alone together just as Ying Zheng had intended. Qing Er mistakes him for a thief, and tries to hit him over the head with an antique before Han Shen stops her. They realize that Ying Zheng set them up, just as Madam Chu storms in and demands to know what is going on. Han Shen has no time for Madam Chu’s nonsense and tells her that he was just telling Qing Er to take care of his martial arts sister, and then he leaves. Haha. On the other hand, Qing Er is scared to death of Madam Chu, and swears that she and Han Shen did not do anything. After Madam Chu lets Qing Er go, she practically throws a fit that nothing happened. She’s evil, but she’s also a bit crazy. It’s entertaining.
During the next morning, Ying Zheng asks Qing Er how her evening was. Qing Er is so embarrassed that she runs away, and Ying Zheng is very amused. Nice smile. Li Er, not knowing what happened, asks Ying Zheng what is going on with Qing Er. Ying Zheng tells her that he arranged for Han Shen and Qing Er to meet alone the previous evening, but it seems like nothing happened between them.
Apparently, Han Shen is too noble to have done anything. Li Er is shocked and asks Ying Zheng how he can do such a thing. Ying Zheng says that he just wanted to help reduce Han Shen’s loneliness, but Li Er tells him that he shouldn’t do such a thing without discussing it with her first, even though she wouldn’t have agreed. She says that Han Shen and Qing Er don’t have those kind of feelings between them, and asks Ying Zheng how she should deal with it if they are both embarrassed around each other in the future. Ying Zheng says that if there is really nothing between them, there wouldn’t be any feelings of embarrassment.
Li Er says that her martial arts brother is not that kind of person, and Ying Zheng leans towards her so they are face to face. Ying Zheng asks if she means that Han Shen would not like someone else because he likes her, and Li Er says of course that isn’t the case. He asks her if she enjoys the feeling of Han Shen liking her and that’s why she doesn’t want him to like Qing Er. Li Er thinks he’s being ridiculous. Me too.
Ying Zheng says that’s what concerns him most, and that he also doesn’t want Han Shen to have a one-sided love. That seems to give Li Er some food for thought. He’s even thought of giving him a position where he can go travel the world. He storms out, and Li Er is left amused at his behavior.
Li Er meets with Han Shen and they discuss the events of the previous night. Meanwhile, Madam Chu hides behind a pillar to eavesdrop. Li Er wonders if she’s been too selfish, keeping Han Shen in the palace next to her. She feels guilty that if not for her, he may have already married and had children. Han Shen tells her that it’s his choice to remain in the palace and he has never regretted his decision, but Li Er wonders if Ying Zheng had the right idea. He just didn’t go about it the right way. Han Shen tells her that he can understand Ying Zheng’s reasons for wanting him to leave her, because he is also a man. Li Er advises him to leave the troublesome palace and create a family. Han Shen tells her that he understands that she doesn’t have him in her heart, but he won’t leave. He is satisfied seeing that she and Tian Ming are safe. Madam Chu steps forward and comments on how close their relationship seems to be, practically crackling as she pretends that she didn’t hear anything.
Jing Ke and Lan Er are on their way to Tian Guang’s residence. Jing Ke takes care of Lan Er with food and water and when she thanks him, he tells her that she wouldn’t have gotten hurt if it weren’t for him. Lan Er tells him that she’s willing to die for him. He tells her that it’s not worth it. If something happens to her, he wouldn’t know how to explain it to her father.
Han Fei works late into the evening formulating a strategy for Ying Zheng to strengthen Qin. Han Zhang Shi tells him that she admires him very much for his talent and sincerity. Han Fei tells her that she treats him so well, and in the future, he would like to ask Ying Zheng to let them both return to Han. Han Zhang Shi is surprised that he thinks of returning to Han, and tells him that the King of Han is not a good man. The people of Han are not able to live well, which is why she decided to leave. Her family has been ruined and she has no desire to return. Han Fei agrees that what she’s said makes a lot of sense.
Madam Chu points out to Li Si that with Han Fei joining Qin, it means that his enemies are increasing in number. She says with so few positions of power open in government, it is important to eliminate any rivals. Madam Chu and Li Si hatch a plan to forge a letter written by Han Fei and make Ying Zheng turn against him.
At royal court, we hear that Qin has been losing in its battles against Zhao and we see that Ying Zheng is absolutely furious. Li Si tells Han Fei to explain himself, since he was the one to propose that Qin attack Zhao. Han Fei says that he’s written up a strategy for Ying Zheng to review, and Ying Zheng can’t be bothered. He tosses the strategy to one side and criticizes Han Fei for continuing to recommend that they attack Zhao when Qin keeps losing. He questions Han Fei’s motives, and Li Si says that Han Fei is looking out only for Han. He says he has proof, and calls his witness. It’s Han Zhang Shi! She has a secret letter written by Han Fei to the King of Han. Han Fei swears that he is not writing secret communications to the King of Han, but when Ying Zheng reads the letter, he believes that Han Fei has been trying to sabotage Qin. He orders Han Fei to be locked up.
Li Er is shocked at finding out that Han Fei has been imprisoned based on information provided by Han Zhang Shi. Madam Min questions whether it is Madam Chu behind Han Zhang Shi’s actions. Sure enough, Madam Chu meets with Han Zhang Shi and gives her a gift for her work – glass beads from Chu that are usually only worn by the royal family. She says that they are all one family now. They talk about how Li Er even went to Ying Zheng to ask him to release Han Fei, and they ended up having a fight over it. Madam Chu says that soon, Li Er will not even be able to protect herself.
Li Er goes to visit Han Fei in prison, and she believes him to be an upright person who wouldn’t pretend to help Qin while secretly plotting against it. However, because he is from Han, no one would believe that he has no interest in protecting Han. Han Fei says he really has no intention of harming Qin, and he never had any secret communications with the King of Han. Li Er contemplates the various relationships and connections between Madam Chu, Han Zhang Shi, Li Si, and Zhao Gao, and she promises that she will do what she can to help Han Fei.
Li Er is attacked in her residence and kidnapped. Okay, I thought there is supposed to be really heavy security in the Qin palace. Like it’s supposed to be the hardest place in the world to get into. WTF.
Thanks to all the readers of this recap!
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