Rewind to the end of last week’s episode, where the king declares that he’ll behead Yong Gol Dae himself to show Joseon’s position to the world.
Yong Gol Dae gets word of the King’s order and makes a run for it, and we catch up to Dal Hyang and Yong Gol Dae facing off in the bamboo forest. Dal Hyang tells Yong Gol Dae that he has to capture him since it’s the King’s order, and by the way, he’s not having a very good first day of work, even having been poisoned by a girl. However, since the Prince told him that the King’s order comes first, he’ll hold off on his other mission and take care of Yong Gol Dae.
At the same time, the Prince declares that the 2M (the 2 Musketeers, Seung Po and Min Seo) have to get to Yong Gol Dae first and protect him, setting up our friends for an awkward situation.
Dal Hyang and Yong Gol Dae go at it in the scenic bamboo forest, and Dal Hyang holds his own despite being weakened from the poison. Yong Gol Dae gets the upper hand and pins Dal Hyang to the ground with an impromptu bamboo spear. [Q: Why doesn’t he just kill Dal Hyang? Perhaps he’s the honorable type? Or because killing the hero in Episode 5 would make for a poor story?] As soon as he manages to unpin himself, the chase continues, joined by some of the King’s soldiers.
The Prince is shown the high window that Yong Gol Dae leapt from, with an officer telling him not to worry since a lot of soldiers are after him, which is exactly what worries the Prince.
Yong Gol Dae is running though the mountains with Dal Hyang and company hot on his trail. Meanwhile, a young noblewoman is conveniently passing by on a horse with her servants in tow, giving Yong Gol Dae the perfect opportunity to kill them all and ride off on the horse. A soldier just stands there watching Yong Gol Dae having trouble getting the dead woman’s foot out of the stirrup, so Dal Hyang grabs his musket. He has trouble lighting the fuse, which attracts Yong Gol Dae’s attention. They stare at each other while the longest fuse ever slowly burns out, and #1 shooter Dal Hyang fires at Yong Gol Dae just as he finally gets on the horse. Everyone, including the Prince, Yong Gol Dae’s freshly captured right-hand man, and the King, hear the gunshot and wonder if he’s dead.
However, the shot was way off, and a confused Dal Hyang notices a meteor hammer (a pair of weights connected by a rope) wrapped around the end of the gun barrel, and suddenly a similar weapon comes flying through the air and takes out the soldier. A third pair knocks out Dal Hyang, and we see that it was thrown by none other than the pretty musketeer Min Seo, and Seung Po resumes the chase on horseback. Dal Hyang starts to come to, and pretty boy has to knock him out again, apologizing to the unconscious Dal Hyang. Seung Po races to catch Yong Gol Dae and draws an arrow from a galloping horse and lets loose…
Back at the palace, the King sits before the entire assembly while an officer is getting railed for not having caught Yong Gol Dae despite the hundreds of soldiers looking for him. The officer apologizes and says that they’ve blocked all paths leading out, so they’ll be hearing good news soon.
The Prince’s teacher/court official explains that this is the worst possible situation, where whether they catch Yong Gol Dae or not, it will likely be war either way. They need to release the envoy team first and calm them down, and be sure that Yong Gol Dae is captured alive. The opposing side continues to be loud and contrary, while the Prince’s eunuch secretly hands him a message from Seung Po, which he reads with a subtle smile.
Cut to Dal Hyang lying in his bed at home with his servant tending to his head wound, and he wonders how he got there. His servant Pan Se worries that there will be war again, while Dal Hyang thinks back to the weapon that knocked his gun off target and also took him out. He realizes that there’s someone helping Yong Gol Dae, but doesn’t know who it could possibly be.
Pan Se remembers the small packet he took out of Dal Hyang’s clothes and unwraps it, asking why Dal Hyang has a needle. Dal Hyang quickly knocks the poisoned needle out of his hand, asking if he wants to die. Dal Hyang rewraps it and leaves in a hurry.
The Princess receives word that the Prince just returned, and the she asks expectantly if he’s on his way to her, but alas, he’s heading to the military officers building.
The cute Princess and her entourage go out to “happen to” run into the Prince and she trips over her skirt, falling fully into his arms. All the servants turn away smiling. Holding her close, he calmly tells her that if she keeps pulling stunts like this, everyone will think that the talisman is really working. Does she keep falling in order to be a good daughter to her mother?
He starts to dismiss her by telling her not to worry if she came after hearing the rumors, but she stops him saying that she came for herself, and that she’d waited all day for him. He asks what it is, and she looks around nervously, causing the servants on both sides to slink away.
She starts to tell him that she made a mistake, and looks so guilty and nervous that he says it must have been a big mistake from her expression. She loses her nerve and tells him it’s actually nothing and not to worry about it. The Prince says that he’ll come by later, to which she asks him to pretend that he didn’t hear anything, and walks away looking completely mortified. The Prince just looks amused as always.
The Princess walks in on Dal Hyang telling the Prince’s eunuch that he has something private to tell the Prince, who asks him to wait while he informs him. Dal Hyang turns around to be face to face with the Princess and drops his gaze.
They stand there awkwardly as Dal Hyang deflects one question after another about why he’s there, and she starts walking away. Dal Hyang suddenly asks if happened to lose a letter. She turns and stares at him in shock, and rushes back into her quarters.
She asks her head maid to call Dal Hyang in to speak to her in secret, and Dal Hyang soon enters her room, obviously uncomfortable with the whole situation. He delivers an appropriate bow on the other side of a sheer screen.
She coldly asks him if the reason he knows that she lost the letter is because he stole it himself, and he tells her that he saw who has it. When asked who stole it and why, Dal Hyang says that he can’t tell her, but that he’s sure that it will be used against her, and that she needs to be wary about her servants as there’s definitely a spy among them.
When asked why she didn’t burn the letter as she’d claimed, she becomes indignant and tells him not to get the wrong idea, and that she only wanted to keep it as a memento of her youth. She asks if the Prince knows, to which he replies that he’s here to tell him about it, though he can’t tell her the reason, and to please hurry and find the spy for her own safety.
When there’s no response to from the Princess, Dal Hyang lifts the screen to see her crying. She is instantly indignant but he gently asks her why she’s crying. She softens, and tells him that she hates it there in the palace – where she can’t trust anyone, everything is a secret, and there are walls all around her.
He asks her if she’s not being loved, to which she responds, “Love? What is that? That word has no meaning here.” She berates herself, feeling stupid and helpless, as getting kicked out would endanger not only herself but her family, and perhaps even Dal Hyang. He tells her that it’s not her fault, and to find the spy. That he’ll take care of things, and to trust him.
The tender moment is broken by the arrival of the Prince, who strolls into the room with a moment’s warning from the head maid. The Princess is standing there alone looking calm enough, and he asks what it was that he was going to tell him earlier. As she stammers, he gently touches her face, noticing that she’d been crying, which she tries to deny. That makes him wonder how big a mistake it must have been to make her cry, as he casually starts walking around the room.
“Could it be something like… say, bringing another man secretly into your room?” as he flings open the screen that was hiding a guilty-looking Dal Hyang. [*not awkward*]
The Prince calmly tells Dal Hyang that this is the reason why he can’t let him on his team, and that he was right all along, which Dal Hyang denies. The Prince starts getting worked up, saying that when he first found out about the letter, instead of being grateful for his mercy, the Princess complained that he was being un-husbandlike by not being jealous. So this time, should he show her once and for all how a husband ought to react?
The Princess is terrified, and explains that someone stole the letter, and that it was her fault for not burning it. She had gone to him earlier to tell him, but got too scared, and Dal Hyang only came to inform her about it.
The Prince asks who stole the letter, which she can’t answer since she doesn’t know. Dal Hyang tells him that it was the woman he’s looking for, but he had to check with the Princess to confirm. The only reason he hid was because he didn’t want to cause the Princess any more trouble on his account, all the while holding his gaze with the Prince.
This is news to the Princess, who asks who this woman is, while the Prince and Dal Hyang have an intense stare-off. The Prince tells him to come out, and as he leaves, Dal Hyang tells the Princess not to worry and that the Prince will let things slide. Confused at this, she asks why he would do that, to which he replies that it’s because in this matter, the Prince has greater fault. Dal Hyang accompanies the Prince to his room, where he’s ordered to tell him everything from the beginning.
Dal Hyang: “Yong Gol Dae had the woman as a hostage, and she entered the Mohwagwan disguised as the wife of the vice general, but she escaped as soon as she got there. As you said, she introduced herself as Hyang San, and she knew that you’d send someone. And knew about me and the Princess. I tried to catch her, but missed her thanks to this poison needle,” which he shows the Prince. “She also killed a maidservant with a needle like this.” The Prince stares at the needle with a lip that quivers slightly, but is otherwise expressionless.
“She told me to tell you about how it feels to have the poison spread throughout your body, since you’ll be next.” When the Prince asks what else she said, Dal Hyang remembers how she gave him a word of advice, that Dal Hyang doesn’t have to be so loyal to him, since the Prince isn’t someone worth risking your life for. “You’ll become like me in the end.” But he doesn’t tell the Prince that, and instead tells him that she was practicing the Princess’ handwriting with that letter and that she’s surely planning something.
“Who is she? Why is she trying to hurt us, and why were you trying to kill her before? What in the world happened 5 years ago? Please tell me. I can’t continue on while being left in the dark. And also, this is something that affects the safety of the Princess.”
The Prince is getting annoyed, and tells him that he’ll be the one to worry about her, but Dal Hyang keeps pushing, saying that the letter was his, so he bears some fault as well. The Prince coldly replies that it sounds like Dal Hyang is claiming that he still owns the Princess’ heart by claiming the letter as his own. “As much as I admire your innocent heart, there’s only so much I’ll forgive. How long do you think I’ll just smile and let things slide? You always need to be listening carefully to what I say, and know when I’ve stopped joking.” They’ve been staring intensely at each other the whole time – Dal Hyang never once drops his gaze.
The eunuch’s announcement of the officers’ arrival breaks the stalemate, and Dal Hyang is dismissed. He orders his eunuch to search all of the Princess’s servants, including their families and friends, and to report anything odd.
The Princess is fretting alone in her room when the Prince comes to see her again. She blames herself for stupidly feeling sentimental about a token from her youth. When the Prince claims his own fault in the matter, he answers her confusion by gently telling her that if anything happens because of this, he’ll protect her and take her side, so not to worry. As he leaves, he stops to ask if Dal Hyang told her the same thing – not to worry, and to trust him – and her expression says it all. The Prince just chuckles, calling him a cheeky bastard.
Dal Hyang is reflecting back to how the Princess tearfully told him that she hates it there and accidentally bumps into Min Seo, who is instantly awkward. Seung Po breaks the mood by greeting him warmly, and asks what he’s doing here. When Dal Hyang says that he was called here, Seung Po jokes, “By the Princess?” at which Dal Hyang’s eyes get big. Seung Po starts going on about how Dal Hyang sure moves quickly, and it is the big city and all, and that having a secret lover is a must. “What did she say? That she misses you?”
Dal Hyang gets indignant, and says that he was just here to report something. When Seung Po asks what he reported to the Prince, Dal Hyang tells him to go ask him himself, at which the 2M give each other looks and make like they need to go because they’re busy. Dal Hyang notices that a blood-stained handkerchief was dropped on the ground and calls to them. Min Seo quickly grabs it and says it’s his, and Dal Hyang looks after them suspiciously. He begins to leave until he remembers the wound on his head and looks back.
Yong Gol Dae is roped and gagged in a cave somewhere, and a bag is thrown over his head. He is taken to what looks like a library. The bag and gag are removed by the 2M, and he finds himself in the presence of the Prince, who apologizes for the rough transport due to the urgent nature of the situation, all in the Manchu language.
They untie him and return him his sword, and the Prince introduces the 2M as his friends, motioning them to leave. The Prince is one brave guy, as he faces an armed Yong Gol Dae alone, and asks him if he’s hurt. Yong Gol Dae replies that he didn’t know that the Prince spoke his language.
“I’ve studied it for a while now – I thought it would be more important than the Ming language. You know how our government is – if they knew that the Prince spoke Manchu, I’d have to make an official apology, or be removed from my position. So now you know my weakest point, and you know my position about today’s incident as well – I kidnapped you to protect you. If you’re looking for an ally in Joseon, I’m better than Kim Ja Jum. I wanted to tell you this.”
Yong Gol Dae is still uncertain, but replies that he’s known about the Prince for ten years, but never imagined they’d be talking like this. The Prince continues in a sincere tone that he doesn’t want to be kicked out even before he takes the throne, and doesn’t want an unnecessary war. He believes that Yong Gol Dae met with Kim Ja Jum for the same reason.
As the Prince reveals to a shocked Yong Gol Dae that he has been brought into his private library on the palace grounds, we get two flashbacks. The first is of the note given him by his eunuch during the assembly. We finally get to see the two words that made him smile – “Captured alive.” The second shows how the 3M got around the blocked roads to fetch the hidden Yong Gol Dae by carrying the Prince in a covered palanquin and stuffing Yong Gol Dae into the small space with him.
The Prince continues that the palace is the only place that has yet to be searched, and is the safest place for him right now, so they might as well sit and talk. Meanwhile, the 2M are standing guard outside the dark library as someone approaches – it’s Dal Hyang.
Seung Po makes small talk about how they thought he’d left the palace, but Dal Hyang says he came back to confirm something. Earlier that day when he was about to kill Yong Gol Dae, someone interfered, and even knocked him out. “For some reason, I have the feeling that it was someone I know,” as Min Seo looks around nervously. He said that even as he was losing consciousness, he remembered the attacker gently wiping the blood off his face with something that looked a lot like Min Seo’s bloody handkerchief.
As Seung Po tries to deflect, Dal Hyang continues that it’s strange that the Prince would return to the library in the middle of the night, and that the 2M would be standing outside guarding it. “There’s the saying that your enemies are among those closest to you. I need to check and see if Yong Gol Dae is inside this library.”
Seung Po finally drops the facade and tells him that the Prince and Yong Gol Dae are inside talking about something very important right now, which despite his suspicions, Dal Hyang can hardly believe.
“The king ordered us to kill him. How could the Prince rescue him and be sitting in there chatting with him?” Seung Po replies that there is a good reason, and lightly tries to get Dal Hyang to just help them out, since they are homies who have already fought together many times.
Dal Hyang is darkly serious as he explains that he was ready to lay down his life if necessary back when he was helping them catch the betrayers who were working with the enemy. He accuses that what they are doing now is no different than what Kim Ja Jum was doing. Seung Po still tries to keep it light by saying that politics aren’t that simple, and it’s to protect the country, so can’t he just let it slide?
Dal Hyang takes it to the next level by drawing his sword on the 2M and telling them that whatever the reason is, they are disobeying the King’s order, which is treason, and warns them to move aside. Both Seung Po and Min Seo try in their own way to calm him down, but Dal Hyang won’t be swayed, and soon he and Min Seo have their swords at each others’ throats, with a nervous Seung Po looking on.
Inside the library, Yong Gol Dae tells the Prince that he believes that invading Joseon would be a waste of energy, and that he’s firmly against it, but the emperor still wants to invade. All he wants is a properly formal reply to the letter from the King. [Then what was all that posturing to force the King to come to him??]
Now that they know they’re on the same page, they decide to make a plan when suddenly, the sounds of swords clashing come from outside. The Prince goes out and sees the three men fighting.
He commands them to stop, and asks Dal Hyang why he’s here. “I’m carrying out the King’s orders and I’m confident that Yong Gol Dae is here, but these guys keep blocking me.”
The Prince repeatedly orders him to stand down, to which Dal Hyang replies, “The King’s order comes before yours.” *staredown* “As you told me yourself, the King’s order takes priority. I’m only obeying you in obeying the King, so please step aside, or I’ll have no choice but to call the soldiers.”
“If I don’t, will you attack me? Those eyes tell me you can do it.”
“If you’re going against the King’s order, then I have no choice.”
The Prince removes his hat and draws his sword. “Fine – then beat me first and then go in.”
After a few more rounds of “I’m only trying to fulfill the King’s orders,” the Prince accuses him of using it as an excuse, and that the real reason that Dal Hyang is disobeying him is because he lost his girl to him, and has been mad about it from the beginning. He calls him childish without understanding what’s going on around him, which Dal Hyang vehemently denies, as the 2M share uncomfortable looks.
The Prince: “Yes, the general is in there. If you beat me here, I’ll hand him over to you. As the one who caught him, you’ll be recognized and become successful. However, if I beat you, all the kindness I’ve shown you thus far will be cancelled. Your passing of the exam will be cancelled too, so you can just go back home. Life is unpredictable anyhow – doesn’t it sound like a worthy bet?”
As the 2M weakly try to intervene, the Prince commands Dal Hyang to draw his sword. Dal Hyang says that he can’t fight the Prince, since even if he fights well, it’s not like he’s a soldier who fights for a living. The Prince responds by offering him to be killed by a non-solider. They fight, and the Prince is no slouch, but Dal Hyang has the upper hand. Dal Hyang notices that the Prince’s arm wound from the other night is bleeding and hesitates. The Prince takes advantage of the opening and slashes Dal Hyang in the arm.
They swing their swords at each other as the Princess runs in between the two and they stop their swords inches from her neck on either side. Dal Hyang removes his sword first, as the Prince follows. The formerly meek Princess is suddenly furious, and yells for them to stop, and asks what in the world they are doing. The Prince brusquely tells her to step aside, that it’s a bet between men. Dal Hyang says that it’s dangerous, and asks her to step aside, as the two men get ready to resume fighting.
The Princess again yells for them to stop as she delivers them withering glares in turn, and the two men hesitate.
So, what did you think about this week’s episode? Any guesses on the real history between the Prince and Mi Ryung, and why he would order her to kill herself? Is the Prince a good guy who’s misunderstood, or does he have a more sinister plan in place? What’s going to happen now that our hero Dal Hyang and the 3M are on opposing sides? Is the bromance already over?
This was my first ever full recap, so show me some grace 🙂 Huge props to the recappers out there, and to knims for providing all the lovely images.