We start this week where we ended last week—with the Princess asking the Prince to set her aside. All she wants is to be with a man who loves her, which the Prince clearly does not. The Prince, his face almost entirely without emotion, tells her that he can’t grant her request. He regains some of his snark as he continues, telling her that it sounds like she wants to elope with someone, and his honor as a man won’t let that happen. Oh no—more sarcasm?
The Princess tries to protest, but the Prince won’t hear it. Besides, she has a family to think of. She needs to act like an adult and think of others.
With that, the Prince leaves. But as soon as he walks out the door, he realizes that he hasn’t been with the Princess for very long—certainly not long enough to fulfill his baby-making mission. So he goes back into the Princess’s room, but waits on a porch outside one of her windows, so that she doesn’t have to be in the same room with him.
Inside, the Princess starts downing shots, and I can’t say that I blame her.
The Prince is lost in contemplation outside, but he hears the sound of something falling and breaking. Through the door, he sees his wife’s silhouette stand up and stagger out of her room. He starts to follow as she drunkenly barges out into the courtyard, where both eunuchs are now waiting.
Pitiful as her situation is, it’s sort of funny to see the Princess trip her way towards the eunuchs, trailed by a lady-in-waiting who wants to get her back inside, or preserve her dignity at the very least. But the Princess won’t be stopped—she has a message for the eunuchs. She wants to see the King, so that she can formally renounce her title and go back to being Kang Yoon Seo. She’s never going to give the King a grandson, so she shouldn’t be the Princess anymore.
The eunuchs are horrified, but the King’s eunuch reacts pretty well, telling the Princess that she can’t see the King, as it’s too late. But the Princess is firm in her resolve.
Just then, the Prince finally arrives, and tries to make his wife come back inside to talk with him. She refuses—they’re not a true married couple, and he never speaks sincerely to her. So he picks her up to take her back in, asking the eunuchs to keep this incident quiet.
The Princess struggles on the way in, but by the time the Prince reaches her room, she’s asleep. She briefly opens her eyes, sees her husband, and then goes back to sleep.
After some time has passed, the Princess opens her eyes again. The Prince is still by her side, writing something. But when she wakes up the next morning, she’s alone.
First, the Princess feels her hangover. Then, with the help of her lady (who hilariously doesn’t even try to hide how scandalized she is), the Princess remembers her embarrassing behavior.
As for the Prince—he has gone to the hot springs to recover from his stabbing. But he left the Princess a letter. “If we’re in the same palace, we’re both under the King’s watch. I’ll leave for a while so you don’t have to feel pressure. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s entirely my fault. But… I can’t control myself.” Yes. Finally, he tells her what he should have said long ago—that she is completely innocent, and that she didn’t deserve to be treated so cruelly. “Mi Ryung is a flaw of my life I can’t even understand.”
In flashbacks, we see the Prince after he witnessed the murder of the real Mi Ryung. His Mi Ryung, Hyang Sun, has been bound like a criminal, but the Prince’s eunuch tells him that the whole family will be punished if this affair becomes public. Minister Yoon was entirely innocent—he shouldn’t suffer that. “It’s all because of that maidservant.” (Well, the original deception was actually the mother’s idea.)
The Prince, clearly in shock, has no idea what to do. His eunuch guides him to the solution—if the fake Mi Ryung dies, this will all go away. So the Prince orders Hyang Sun to kill herself, but he remains haunted by what happened.
“I’m sorry and I understand you, but I need some more time. Let’s take some time for us. This time I wrote this letter with my sincerity. I mean this, believe me.” The Princess finishes the letter, and though she doesn’t look happy, she looks relieved, like a weight has been taken off her shoulders.
Fifteen days later, Yong Gol Dae and his entourage arrive in Anju, in the northern province of Pyongan. Pan Soi is thrilled to learn that the party will be staying in the city for four days, giving everyone a chance to rest. Pan Soi, it turns out, spent the trip learning some basic Manchu. He uses this skill to act as an intermediary between Dal Hyang and a Manchu girl who’s been making eyes at him. It’s very cute.
Meanwhile, Yong Gol Dae is welcomed to Anju by Governor Kim, the local official.
In his house, Kim Ja Jum learns of the arrival as he examines an ornamental hair pin. Looking at the list of members of the General’s entourage, he sees Park Dal Hyang’s name. He’s pleased—Hyang Sun, Yong Gol Dae, and Park Dal Hyang have all come to him, so that he can take care of them at his convenience. Well this doesn’t bode well.
Dal Hyang comes to Yong Gol Dae’s temporary office, to get his signature on a document. While reading the paper, the General notices that Dal Hyang is wearing the Prince’s sword. Using writing to communicate (in situations like this, a common script is really useful!), Yong Gol Dae asks Dal Hyang if he’d like to learn how to use his royal sword properly. His skills are no match for Yong Gol Dae’s, and it was the General’s advice that helped the Prince beat Dal Hyang. Dal Hyang doesn’t respond, but the reminder of his defeat clearly stings.
Yong Gol Dae hands over the signed document, and Dal Hyang finally grabs the brush to write his own message: “When?” The answer: tonight, after the welcome dinner.
We cut to the dinner itself, which seems to be a very pleasant affair until Kim Ja Jum shows up. Governor Kim greets him warmly, but Yong Gol Dae, who of course already knows the Minister, looks troubled. But no sooner has Kim Ja Jum sat down than Yong Gol Dae receives word that he has a visitor.
In his office, Yong Gol Dae has a drink while he waits for his guest to arrive. And who should it be but Mi Ryung, who appears to have taken up Kim Ja Jum on his offer from last week. She works for him now. Her mission tonight is to drug Yong Gol Dae—which he realizes, too late, she has already done. The room swims before the General’s eyes as Mi Ryung comes closer. “I have a secret to tell you: the real identity of Park Dal Hyang.”
Cut to Mi Ryung, leaving Yong Gol Dae’s office. When his guards check inside, though, the General is still conscious, sitting at his desk. Looking both menacing and woozy, Yong Gol Dae orders for Dal Hyang to be brought to him.
Dal Hyang receives the message and goes to the General, confused both by the earliness of the invitation (he was expecting to practice his swordfighting with the General later in the night) and by the absence of guards outside the office door.
Inside the office, Yong Gol Dae attacks Dal Hyang without warning. Caught off guard, Dal Hyang puts up a good fight, but even drugged, Yong Gol Dae is too good. He quickly disarms Dal Hyang, then slices him across the back. Lying on the floor, his sword out of reach, Dal Hyang can only watch as Yong Gol Dae approaches, and brings his sword down. The General’s face is spattered with blood.
Outside, Pan Soi is drinking with the other servants by the gate when Min Seo and Seung Po ride up. Clearly on a mission, they leave their horses with Pan Soi and barge into the dinner.
Still at the dinner, Governor Kim and Yong Gol Dae’s second-in-command receive word separately that there is a problem. Min Seo and Seung Po arrive in time to see the two parties, Joseon and Manchu, leaving the dinner area.
They follow, but they seem to be too late. By the time they get to Yong Gol Dae’s office, it’s already a crime scene. The general is slumped over at his desk and in the middle of the floor is a headless corpse who has been identified as Park Dal Hyang.
NEXT: Rewind to 5 days earlier…