For Li Si’s involvement in framing Han Fei, but taking into consideration his past service to Qin, Ying Zheng punishes Li Si with fifty hits with the plank. He should use the rest of his life to repay Qin. Li Si is just extremely thankful to Ying Zheng for sparing his life.
Madam Chu (sorry, Chu Liang Ren) is furious and gives Han Zhang Shi a hard slap across her face. She accuses Han Zhang Shi of delivering the glass pearls and poison to Han Fei in prison, and being responsible for her demotion to Liang Ren (fourth rank consort) and expelled from living in Zhao De Palace. Her new residence and clothes are definitely a grade below what she had previously. She is frustrated that Jing Liang Ren’s death has been blamed on her as well, when she had nothing to do with it. She accuses Han Zhang Shi of scheming with Li Er in the deaths of Han Fei and Jing Liang Ren.
Chu Liang Ren is ready to slap Han Zhang Shi again when Li Er arrives and tells her to stop. Li Er tells Chu Liang Ren to calm down and grabs her arm when she raises it to hit Han Zhang Shi again. Love her. She tells Qing Er to take Han Zhang Shi back to her residence. Chu Liang Ren keeps going, and Li Er tells Chu Liang Ren that she knows Li Er is skilled in martial arts, and she may not be able to handle it if she uses her abilities. Ha. She tells Chu Liang Ren to stop causing trouble because it’s not going to benefit her at all before she turns and leaves. Chu Liang Ren stews in her anger.
Li Er meets with Han Zhang Shi, who thanks her for her concern. Han Zhang Shi tells Li Er that actually, she still has the glass pearls that Chu Liang Ren gave her. She places the glass bottle on the table to show Li Er. She says it’s true that she helped Chu Liang Ren frame Han Fei, but she thought he would only be imprisoned for a few days. Naive girl. She feels awful about Han Fei’s death since he really was a good person. Li Er tells her that Han Fei’s death was not only her fault, so she should stop blaming herself. Li Er sniffs Han Zhang Shi’s clothes when she recognizes the smell of incense. She asks Han Zhang Shi about it, and Han Zhang Shi says that it is only Madames who have access to incense.
Han Shen meets with Li Er and gives her Yan Dan’s jade pendant. He tells her that Yan Dan had given it to him to help in rescuing her when she was kidnapped. Li Er takes the jade pendant and says she’ll return it to Yan Dan. Han Shen tells Li Er that he has long disliked Chu Liang Ren, and thinks she’s gotten what she deserves. If anything, the punishment was too light.
Li Er is deep in thought and Han Shen asks her what’s on her mind. Li Er says everything that’s happened in the palace recently has been very strange, and she feels that there is some hidden secret beneath it all. Although Li Si and Chu Liang Ren schemed together against Han Fei, they ultimately did not gain any benefit at all. In fact, they were both punished by the King. Lord Chang Ping seems to have gained the most advantage, but it also doesn’t seem like he was behind any of this. She thinks someone used Chu Liang Ren and Li Si’s hands to kill Han Fei, but she can’t think of who would hate Jing Liang Ren and want her dead more than Chu Liang Ren. She really can’t be sure that it was Chu Liang Ren behind Han Fei and Jing Liang Ren’s deaths. She tells Han Shen to be careful because there might be a hidden enemy near them. She has good instincts.
And we find out who really was behind Han Fei’s death. It was Madam Min all along! She and Zhao Gao must have conspired together to eliminate Han Fei after he recommended that Ying Zheng attack Zhao. I knew she wasn’t that innocent. She tells Han Zhang Shi that she did well, and she doesn’t think anyone will suspect them, especially not the foolish Chu Liang Ren.
Han Zhang Shi tells her that she is very impressed with Madam Min’s plan, and Madam Min tells her she doesn’t have to suck up to her because they just used each other for mutual benefit. Madam Min says that Chu Liang Ren and Li Si must still be trying to figure out what went wrong when the poison meant for Lord Chang Ping was given to Han Fei instead. It turns out that in exchange for Han Zhang Shi’s help, Madam Min has prepared a place to live and 3,000 gold pieces for Han Zhang Shi and her family in Zhao state. Han Zhang Shi is eager to leave the palace immediately, but Madam Min stops her. It would be too suspicious for her to leave the palace so soon, so she must stay in the palace and behave for now.
On the battlefield, Qin does not do well and is pretty much routed by Zhao. General Fan of Qin orders his soldiers to retreat. Zhao’s general, Li Mu, returns to Zhao’s palace and is rewarded for his achievement by being named Lord Wu An. The King of Zhao doesn’t even pay attention as he enjoys himself with a concubine. Eww. Not a good King at all. Li Mu exchanges looks with Zhao Jia.
It turns out that Zhao Jia has a secret – Chancellor Lu faked his death! He’s still alive! And he’s living in Zhao, helping Zhao Jia go against Qin. Wow. I really thought Chancellor Lu had killed himself. Zhao Jia is thrilled that Zhao was able to defeat Qin, but Chancellor Lu says that there is a lot to do for Zhao Jia to become King. What the eff is Chancellor Lu doing helping Zhao go against Qin! Ying Zheng is his son, right?
General Meng Wu has the unfortunate task of reporting to Ying Zheng that Qin’s army has repeatedly lost to Zhao. Zhao Gao looks impassive, but he must be thrilled. Ying Zheng is furious that he has lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers and considers this a great insult to Qin. Ying Zheng demands to know where General Fan is, and Meng Wu has to tell him that he’s missing. He may have been too afraid to return to Qin after losing on the battlefield.
Ying Zheng orders Meng Wu to send 5,000 soldiers to search for him. They can kill him on sight and he wants General Fan’s head brought back to him. Meng Wu tries to speak on General Fan’s behalf, and Ying Zheng asks him if he needs his permission to have someone killed. Of course not. I do not like this violent, ruthless version of Ying Zheng who thinks nothing of killing other people. How did Li Er reconcile her ideals with Ying Zheng’s violence and grow to love him?
Yan Dan has arrived and has been listening outside. He enters when Meng Wu leaves, and says he wants to return the scroll he borrowed from Li Er. This really does not seem to be the best timing given how furious Ying Zheng is. He just learned that his army has been losing to Zhao. Ying Zheng orders Zhao Gao to take the scroll, which….really? He couldn’t just take it from Yan Dan himself? They’re only a few feet away from each other. Zhao Gao was farther away from Yan Dan than Ying Zheng was.
Ying Zheng asks Yan Dan if he should order the death of General Fan’s entire family. WTF. No, he should not. Yan Dan speaks up for General Fan, telling Ying Zheng that General Fan has rarely lost in the past. Perhaps there is a good explanation for him to have lost these recent battles and not returning to Qin. He might be gravely injured. He says that General Fan has done extremely well, and if his family is killed, it could affect morale. Ying Zheng is definitely angry and asks Yan Dan why he’s defending General Fan to that extent. He asks Yan Dan if he and General Fan have been communicating in secret and dismisses everyone from the room.
Ying Zheng tells Yan Dan that he received a letter from his father asking him to allow Yan Dan to return home. He asks Yan Dan if this is his work, because he knows that Yan Dan and his father are not close. He says that he has always treated Yan Dan like a friend and a brother, and he asks Yan Dan why he did not discuss returning to Yan directly with him. What is he supposed to think? Yan Dan finally can’t keep it in anymore, and yells at Ying Zheng that keeping him in Qin is treating him unfairly.
No matter how long they have known each other or what their relationship is, Ying Zheng is the King of Qin and he is the Crown Prince of Yan. He says he wants to return to Yan because that is his true home. He doesn’t want to stay in Qin as a hostage forever. Ying Zheng is furious and hurt and asks if Yan Dan always thought that Ying Zheng treated him as a hostage when Ying Zheng considered him a true friend.
Yan Dan says Ying Zheng doesn’t understand – when Qin would attack Yan and kill his people, there was nothing he could do. He could never express his true feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness. Right now, he only sees Ying Zheng as an enemy who killed his citizens and soldiers, and he wants to kill Ying Zheng to get justice for his citizens. If they hadn’t been born royalty, him, Ying Zheng, and Chengjiao could’ve been the best of friends. As it is, he asks Ying Zheng to let him go home. Ying Zheng says there is no way he will ever let him return home to Yan. Sigh. I see where Yan Dan is coming from and the pain he is feeling. I think Ying Zheng should be able to understand his feelings because when he was young, he was held as a hostage himself in Zhao.
Yan Dan wants to send a letter to his father for help in thinking of a way to leave Qin. Before he can do so, Ying Zheng has deployed soldiers to Yan Dan’s residence, led by Ruan Qing. They use protecting Yan Dan’s safety as an excuse, but it’s really more that Yan Dan has essentially been placed under house arrest so that Ying Zheng can control everything.
Yan Dan decides to seek help from Li Er. He hides a message in a scroll and convinces the guards that it is a scroll borrowed from Li Er which needs to be returned.
Ruan Qing goes to the palace and tells Li Er that he has a scroll from Yan Dan that has to be returned to her. As her scroll has already been returned previously, Li Er catches on and tells Ruan Qing that Yan Dan has in fact borrowed numerous scrolls to read. Li Er dismisses everyone from the room, and opens up the scroll. She sees the circled characters that Yan Dan had made in the scroll, and figures out that Yan Dan wants her help to leave Qin.
Yan Dan is not sure that Li Er will actually help him, but he thinks of her as a great and intelligent woman. He thinks that Li Er may be the person most able to understand his suffering and what he is going through.
Ying Zheng is drinking when Li Er comes to see him. She asks Ying Zheng if there is really no way for him and Yan Dan to reconcile, considering they were as close as brothers. Ying Zheng tells Li Er that when he ascended to the throne, he was nothing but a puppet. He gained comfort by spending his time with Chengjiao and Yan Dan. Yan Dan would always come and pull him to go play together. Aw. Li Er tells Ying Zheng that she could tell that Yan Dan truly thought of him as a friend, but Ying Zheng says that now, Yan Dan wants to kill him to avenge the citizens of his state. Not too long ago, those were the same feelings Li Er had towards Ying Zheng for Wei. I think she can understand where Yan Dan’s coming from very well.
Li Er asks Ying Zheng if there is really no way for things to go back to the way they were. Or, he could allow Yan Dan to return home to Yan. Ying Zheng stops her and tells her that Yan Dan’s father is not a good King. Yan Dan is different – he’s smart and capable, and if he returns to Yan, he may revive the state and scheme with Zhao to come against Qin. No matter how much he thinks of Yan Dan as a friend, he is still the King of Qin. Ying Zheng is bound by his responsibilities to his state. He should understand that is exactly how Yan Dan thinks and feels.
A basket of oranges from the palace is delivered to Yan Dan’s residence. Yan Dan is encouraged to eat these Jizhou oranges while they’re fresh. They know that Jizhou does not have any oranges, and there must be a deeper meaning. Yan Dan starts going through the basket, looking at the oranges, and finds his jade pendant at the bottom of the basket. Once he sees the pendant, Yan Dan continues looking through the oranges and finds one that contains a message. It’s a message from Li Er. Yan Dan knows that by returning the jade pendant, Li Er has been in contact with TIan Guang and they are thinking of a way to help Yan Dan leave Qin. “Li Er is a woman of great courage. She is indeed the granddaughter of Puyang Commander-in-Chief Gong Sun Yu.” Yan Dan knows he’ll die whether he stays in Qin or not, so why not take the risk.
Jing Ke and Lan Er practice their sword play. Upon their return, Tian Guang says they have probably guessed that he is Crown Prince of Yan Dan’s strategist. It is obvious that Tian Guang has something to ask of them, and Jing Ke tells him not to hesitate and tell them what he needs. Lan Er also agrees. Tian Guang opens up and tells them that he needs their help to rescue someone.
Thank you everyone for reading!