In the last recap, We left the lovers at a terse moment.
Briefly, Ruo Xi asks 8th to give up his fight for the throne. He is shocked. She speaks of her love and her dream of their life together. He accuses Ruo Xi of being manipulative. 8th does not understand how his ambition was related to their live.
Ruo Xi responds, “If you agree, we will be together. If you don’t, then we will separate.”
The prince is furious and demands to know if everything she has said, sung and done had been been directed to her request that evening. Ruo Xi answers that her feelings towards him are real and sincere. She puts his hand against her chest and cries out, “You know I have you in my heart. You know it. You know it!”
With tears gleaming in his eyes, 8th wants to know why.
He remembers what she said clearly. Why does her future have to be control by someone else. Why can’t she decide it herself. He scolded her then but in his own heart, he had often asked the same question.
Because 8th’s mother comes from a low-ranking family, the prince was often ignored and isolated. He spend much of his life fighting to advance just so that he can decide his own future. He shouts that every one of them is a prince. Why should it be the Crown Prince. Why can’t he be the one? If the Crown Prince is a talented and capable man, he has nothing more to say. But the Crown Prince is not up to scratch. His second brother became the Crown Prince because his mother was Kangxi’s beloved Empress. When he was born, he was given everything. 8th cannot accept this.
He asks if Ruo Xi knows hard he has worked. From a nobody to someone who no one dares to despise. How much he had to do to persuade 9th, 10th and 14th to follow him. How time and effort he had spend mentally and physically to be where he is. He has no family support. He could only depend on the support of the court officials.
Ruo Xi weeps. There is so much danger in the fight for the throne and all she wants is to be with him and grow old together with him. She fears with a reason; a reason she cannot explain. Ruo Xi tells 8th that she struggled long and hard before deciding to be with him. All she wants is to be able to give her heart to him.
8th can see her deep distress and he reaches out to wipe her tears. He tells her that he wants the throne. He also wants her. The prince pulls her into his arms and Ruo Xi is devastated. She has lost her gamble.
The prince asks her not to let her imagination run amoke and tells her to go back and rest well.
He looks confused and desperate as he holds her.
Back in her room, Ruo Xi’s misery racks her and she continues to cry. She wonders how she could rest well knowing what she knows. She agonizes about what she should do.
Li Fu notices that 8th has been buried himself in his work since they left the camp. He is worried that the prince is overworked and that his health will be affected,
8th replies that within the Forbidden City anything could happen within the space of a few months. Although 9th, 14th and the officials supporting him are in the capital, there is still many issues that require his personal attention. How could he rest.
Li Fu says it is because 8th works harder than anyone that he is nicknamed ‘Virtuous 8th Prince’. Since 8th is not tired, Li Fu suggests inviting Ruo Xi for dinner since he has not seen her for a while.
His serious mien lights up briefly before he rejects the idea. He claims he needs to concentrate on his work.
Ruo Xi rides the carriage on the way back to the Forbidden City. 8th has not looked for Ruo Xi since their last conversation. She knows 4th will be coronated but how could she tell 8th that. Would he believe her if she tells him that her spirit is from the future, 300 years from now and that she knows what will happen. He will either believe she is insane or a demon.
She has been been silly to try and capture a man’s heart once. Is she going to make another attempt like Bai Suzhen (Madame White Snake) and try to find out if a man could love someone who is not human? What if he tries to find her Fahai and tries to eliminate her. Ruo Xi sighs and lies back, closing her eyes.
Yu Tang notices Ruo Xi’s misery and holds her hand.
Ruo Xi asks Yu Tang what she would do if she knows someone is going to die but no matter how she tries, the person will not listen. Yu Tang asks how Ruo Xi knows this person will die. How can she be certain he will not die even after she tells him.
Ruo Xi reflects and finally says to herself. “I am myself. I am not Maertai Ruo Xi. I want to live for myself.”
Ming Yu drags the protesting 10th to the 8th residence. She twists his arm and he demands to know why they are there. After all 8th is expected back the next day. Ming Yu says since he knows 8th is coming back, he should realise how busy her sister will be and that they should offer their help.
She is both happy and unhappy that the whole Imperial entourage will be back in the palace.
10th asks why he should be concerned about Ming Yu’s happiness. His wife pokes him and calls him an idiot. She will tell him anyway. She is happy because Ming Hui will be reunited with her husband. She is unhappy because Ruo Xi will be back in the capital and 10th will be able to meet her again.
10th examines Ming Yu’s face and asks if she will be unhappy. She replies that she will be. 10th starts to laugh and says that if she is unhappy, then he is happy. His wife chases after him and they run into Ming Hui who is dressed to go out.
Ming Yu asks where her sister is going. Ming Hui is on her way out to visit Liang Fei, 8th’s mother, who has suddenly fallen sick. She asks her younger sister to supervise in her absence.
In Liang Fei’s quarters, Ming Hui feeds her mother-in-law. Liang Fei feels it is inappropriate for Ming Hui to personally attend to her. Ming Hui replies it is natural for a daughter-in-law to care for her husband’s mother.
Ming Hui tells Liang Fei that she had heard there was an uneven distribution of the palace budget but her broadminded mother-in-law had not complained unlike the other wives and concubines.
Liang Fei comments that the others in the harem are of good birth. She was lucky to catch the Emperor’s eye or she would have still been a palace maid and not be where she is.
Ming Hui says Liang Fei is the Emperor’s concubine, the mother of 8th who is the beloved Virtuous 8th Prince. He is the hope of many. Liang should be proud in front of the other wives and concubines in the Inner Court.
Liang Fei is unconvinced. She believes that if 8th has a mother of good birth, he would not have suffered any injustice. She blames herself but Ming Hui tells her mother-in-law that is not the case.
8th has grown stronger and understands propriety. She reminds Liang Fei that 8th was conferred his title when he was seventeen. He was the envy of all the princes. In court, 8th is well regarded and has developed his full potential. None of the prince had been able to achieve this.
The others might well quibble about their mother’s upbringing. But not 8th. He has the support of her family. She strongly believes that Liang Fei will see the day where she will be well regarded.
Liang Fei praises Ming Hui and hopes her son appreciates his good fortune in marrying such a good wife. Ming Hui tells her mother-in-law that it is her good fortune to marry such a talented and intelligent man like 8th.
The older woman says that she believed a woman’s happiness comes from being well loved by her husband. She hopes her son treasures and loves Ming Hui well. Ming Hui smilingly thanks her mother-in-law.
Back at the 8th residence, Ming Yu welcomes her sister. Ming Hui is surprised to see her younger sister and asks why she is not back home. Ming Yu reminds Ming Hui that she had asked her to oversee the 8th household and she would not have run away from that responsibility. Unlike her stupid husband who said he is buying fruits and has not returned.
Ming Hui reprimands her younger sister. She should support 10th even when others might be against him. Ming Yu answers, “Just like what you do for 8th.” She admits she may not have the patience. She admires her sister’s ability to take care of the 8th residence. She starts to say her sister even takes care of matters outside the 8th residence but cuts herself off.
The 8th Di Fujin orders the servants to leave and asks Ming Yu to speak her mind.
10th Di Fujin leans close and whispers that she had heard from 10th that 8th is wooing more court officials in order to expand his influence. She believes 8th might be aiming higher and wonders if her sister will still continue to support her husband.
Ming Hui replies that it is a wife’s responsibility to support her husband. She will try her best to do what she can for 8th. No matter how wild his ambition is. Even if his goal is the dragon throne.
This scene shows how differently Ming Hui treats 8th. Unwavering support for her husband, she does not question his ambition.
Ruo Xi visits 8th. Without any sign of welcome, 8th dismisses Li Fu who closes the door after he leaves.
Both are solemn and remain quiet until 8th stands to hug Ruo Xi.
He says they will be back in the capital. He will find the best time to beg his Emperor Father to bestow Ruo Xi as his wife.
Ruo Xi asks if he agrees to her request. His silence answers her question and she moves away.
8th examines Ruo Xi’s face and murmurs deeply, “With the decree in hand, how could you possibly go against it?”
Ruo Xi smiles and answers even if he manages to get the decree, if she does not want to marry, there is nothing anyone can do. She could shave her head and become a nun. If that is not possible, she can choose the three yards of white (committing suicide).
8th does not understand why she would choose death over marrying him. She answers that it is not that she does not want to marry him. She just hopes he will not contend for the throne.
The prince is truly puzzled. What is the connection between her marrying him and whether he agrees to her request.
Ruo Xi murmurs that the fight for the throne will be fierce and dangerous. The winner will stand above all. At best, the losers will end up being incarcerated like the eldest prince, locked up for the rest of his life. Her voice fades before she turns and asks what if he loses his life because of this struggle, would he still continue to contend.
He answers in an equally soft voice, “Victor or traitor, I am willing to gamble and live with the consequence.” After spending so many years, it is impossible that he will give up now. Given who the Crown Prince is, his chances of victory is high. But even if there is no chance of victory, he will still gamble and fight.
Ruo Xi asks why 8th cannot be like 5th. 5th is also a talented literate whose spends his life learning.
8th looks away from Ruo Xi, rejecting what Ruo Xi has said. She is pained and turns to leave. He asks if he is coronated and he makes her his empress, would she be willing to gamble with him.
Without emotion, she answers that she has never thought of becoming empress. She starts to walk but 8th commands her to stand still. He closes the gap, his mind working hard to find what he could say to make Ruo Xi change her mind.
Softly, he asks her to turn around. She keeps her eyes down after facing 8th once more. He wants to know what the difference is between her willingness to die instead of marrying him and facing death together with him in his gamble.
A reasonable question. Why indeed!
Ruo Xi replies, “I am afraid. I am afraid we don’t have a future.”
Ruo Xi is distracted. She scoops two different batches of tea leaves into a cup. Yu Tang notices her distraction and asks if Ruo Xi is deliberately doing this to find how this will taste.
Ruo Xi picks up the cup and stares into it. She comments that if two that is not meant to be combined is forced together, the result is only bitterness. She pours out the tea leaves onto a tray.
Yu Tang wonders if Ruo Xi has a problem. She replies that she is just affected by a story she read. The two maids are curious what story she has read.
Ruo Xi asks if they have heard of the Butterfly Lovers.
Yun Xiang says she has read it. That is about a pair of starcrossed lovers who could finally be together as butterflies after their death.
Ruo Xi asks if what if they love someone but know that their time together will be short, would they disregard everything and still be with their lover.
Yu Tang answers that in the vast sea of people, for two people to meet, to know, to love each other is a miracle.
Yun Xiang adds given the choice of living with someone who she not like for a lifetime, she would rather live with someone she loves for a day.
Ruo Xi quietly wonders if that is how it is suppose to be.
Yu Tang adds that no one knows how long they can be with someone they love. Besides it is just a story. Ruo Xi smiles and replies that perhaps she is over analyzing. She asks for more tea leaves.
Left alone, Ruo Xi wonders if it is as the others had said. To be with someone she loves, it is worthwhile to suffer for a lifetime just to have a day of happiness with someone she loves.
This question haunts Ruo Xi for days. She is walking in the rain and wonders why she cannot be like Yu Tang and the others. Being contented to be with 8th and forgetting about everything else.
If she decides to be with 8th, there are still sixteen years of happiness together. She asks herself, “It is because there are only sixteen years of happiness or is it because I don’t love enough.”
Ruo Xi shelters in a pavilion. She hears a childish voice and sees Ming Hui accompanied by Ming Yu and her son, Hong Wang. Ruo Xi walks forward to greet both sisters. Ming Hui waves her up. She tries to excuse herself but is interrupted by the young boy who notices that she looks almost like Ruo Lan.
Ming Yu replies that they are sisters, that is why there is a similiarity.
Hong Wang runs forward and kicks Ruo Xi’s shin, declaring they are bad people who bully his mother. He will bully those who bully his mother.
Ruo Xi thinks to herself, “They? ‘They’ also include my sister. What have they done to my sister. I never thought this situation will play out so soon!” She pushes herself up while Ming Hui recalls her son.
Coldly, Ruo Xi says since the two ladies have no instructions, she will take her leave.
Ming Yu remarks that she had long observed that Ruo Xi is a rude wild woman. By comparison, Ruo Lan treats Ming Hui with respect and manners. While a mere palace maid acts without restraint.
Showing disdain, Ruo Xi turns away but is called back by Ming Hui who demands to know who allows her to leave.
Ruo Xi turns back, informing both women that there are laws for the state, and rules in the palace. Though she is a lowly maid, she is still part of Han Qing Palace. If Ming Hui wants to reprimand her, she could report Ruo Xi to Li De Chuan who will punish according to the palace regulations.
4th walks up unnoticed as Ruo Xi continues, asking if Ming Hui intends to impose discipline on her within the Emperor’s palace.
Both Guoluoluo sisters sees 4th and bobs their greeting. Surprised, Ruo Xi twists and curtsies as well. He asks all of them to stand. He stares hard at the two sisters.
Immediately, Ruo Xi says she will excuse herself if 4th has no instructions for her. 4th allows her to leave, enabling her escape. The two sisters exchanges glances but keep their peace.
Ruo Xi readies to leave but shoots last words at Ming Hui, “Why bother use someone who truly cares about you to bully someone who only wants to chant scriptures and has no interest in fighting with you. Hiding behind him and pretending to be a virtuous mother. Does that make any sense.”
Ming Hui stands speechless while Ruo Xi calmly opens her umbrella and walks away into the heavy rain. 4th looks on, following Ruo Xi’s back as she disappears and perhaps there is a hint of admiration in that Ice Face prince.
Court is dismissed and 8th slows when he sees Ruo Xi standing by the side, obviously waiting to speak with him. He smiles his welcome but Ruo Xi retains her somber mien. His joy fades.
He asks after her health. He chides Ruo Xi for not treasuring herself, walking in the heavy thunderstorm. She says she is fine. She tells him that she has something to ask him. She tells 8th that according to his son Hong Wang, he frequently visits her sister to disturb and find fault with her. She asks 8th if this is true.
8th wonders when his son told her this. Ruo Xi replies when is not important, what’s important is what the young boy said. 8th brushes it off as a young child’s playfulness, asking if Ruo Xi takes it seriously. Ruo Xi replies that what a child says is often the truth.
The prince admits that Hong Wang will sometimes tease Ruo Lan but mentions that Ruo Lan herself considers it as a childish prank and is not troubled by it. Yet Ruo Xi is treating this as an offence. He wonders why she is doing this.
Ruo Xi notes that Hong Wang is his first child. She does not care how much 8th spoils his son. But when someone uses a child to bully another and the prince turns a blind eye, that is too much.
The prince demands to know if Ruo Xi is aware he had reprimanded Hong Wang. He angrily asks, “How much do you know about what happens in my own residence. How dare you pass judgement on me.”
She replies she does not care about what happens in his residence but her sister is someone who does not care about worldly affairs. Ruo Xi hopes 8th will protect her. She adds it is best that 8th finds out if Hong Wang’s behaviour is really just child’s play.
The prince looks away, his face stiff with anger. He paces a few steps and then twists back. He asks what has happened to them. They were so happy and carefree on the plains. Why can’t Ruo Xi be like she was then. It is hard for them to even meet, yet here she is quarrelling with him.
Ruo Xi coldly replies that on the plains, there was only him and her. There was no throne. There was no wife. There was no son. Right now there is so many people and issues between them, how could it possibly be the same.
8th can feel her desolation and slowly he reaches out for her. He tells her he will find out from Hong Wang and asks her not to furious over what a small child says.
The prince holds her tightly but Ruo Xi does not respond, standing stiff and still in his embrace. He smiles and tells her that if she is so worried about Ruo Lan, she should marry him as soon as she can. This way, she can see her sister everyday. He teases her, saying with Ruo Xi beside Ruo Lan, who would dare bully ‘Daredevil 13th Sister’s’ sister. Wouldn’t they be afraid of being slapped.
Ruo Xi does not answer and 8th realises she has not changed her mind.
The prince tells Ruo Xi that he is really baffled by her resistance. He does not understand why she thinks in this way. He does not believe she fears death and asks what is holding her back. Does she have so little faith in him? He adds slowly, “Or is there a different reason?”
8th repeatedly brings this up. He questions her and perhaps he does not trust her at all. Does he think she has someone else? 13th? Or perhaps 4th? I wonder if he really does love Ruo Xi for herself or if she is a proxy for her elder sister, Ruo Lan. I will come back to this later.
Ruo Xi is still struggling to find an answer. She obviously does 8th but she questions herself and the depth of the feeling. She asks 8th for a little more time. 8th nods almost grudgingly.
He tells Ruo Xi he is not Xiang Yu* and he will not allow her to be Consort Yu (Yu Ji)*. 8th leaves and Ruo Xi watches him.
How was he to know that Ruo Xi knows what will happen to him. That his fate is similiar to Xiang Yu.
Keeping his word, 8th questions Hong Wang. Ming Hui asks 8th to allow his son to stand up. The prince does not say anything and Ming Hui gestures for the boy to stand. 8th promptly demands who has given Hong Wang to get up. His son looks terrified while Ming Hui is mortified.
She says it was child’s play and he had only kicked Ruo Xi in her shins. How much could a kick from a young child hurt an adult. Ming Hui reminds 8th how he had punished the servants when Hong Wang had accidentally overturned the candle on himself. The most seriously punished stayed in bed for more than three months. Angrily, Ming Hui cries out that because of Ruo Xi, he is willing to punish his son.
8th replies it is not only because of Ruo Xi. It is also because of Ruo Lan. A child should not use playfulness as an excuse to act recklessly. His eyes looks at Hong Wang but his tone is directed towards Ming Hui.
Ming Hui asks her son to leave. 8th does not say a word again and at Ming Hui’s gentle flutter, Hong Wang bows and quickly runs off. 8th watches his son leave. His wife sits beside 8th and asks what the prince meant by his previous statement.
8th asks Ming Hui directly if she uses her son to find fault with Ruo Lan.
Ming Hui asks if 8th just listens to whatever -she- says. Presumbaly she is referring to Ruo Xi since Ruo Lan will not speak up for herself.
8th asks if he needs to find from others before he knows what is happening in his own home. He sees Hong Wang as a blank piece of paper. Regardless of the reason, he does not want to see his innocent son being stained in any way.
Ming Hui asks with tears in her eyes if there were any stains between the both of them. 8th sits quietly and seems thoughtful.
Ruo Lan is chanting scriptures when 8th enters. He presents Yunnan cloth to Ruo Lan’s use. She thanks him but asks that the gift be given to Di Fujin instead.
8th wonders why Ming Hui constantly gives Ruo Lan problems despite how well Ruo Lan treats her. Ruo Lan insists Ming Hui treats her well. The prince answers that he knows what is happening and asks Ruo Lan not to speak up for Ming Hui.
The prince says it is also his fault; a cultivated self and a properly run home leads to a properly administered country. He has already stumbled in the second instance.
Ruo Lan asks 8th not to be too hard on himself.
8th tells Ruo Lan he is aware of the kind of life she has led since she married him. Ruo Lan sighs and looks a little impatient at 8th’s insistence on explaining the past. He feels that he has wronged Ruo Lan.
Ruo Lan looks away and insists no one has ill-treated her.
The prince cries out if this is what Ruo Lan wants. He tells Ruo Lan that there are some matters he did not want to explain. What’s past is past. He thought he was the one who was wronged. But he realises that it only widened the gap between both of them and deepened her pain.
8th takes a step forward. Ruo Lan holds her rosary close to her chest. He takes a deep breath and blurts out, “He was not killed by me.”
Ruo Lan twirls, looking shocked at 8th’s words. She echoes 8th, “He?”
The prince is distressed. He tells Ruo Lan that after she married him, he had never seen her genuinely laughed. He asked himself why. He send men to investigate and found the reason but his men’s questioning alerted her father. To save the general, her father assigned him to the frontline and the man she loved was killed.
Ruo Lan’s face twist as 8th continues his explanation. Although it was not his idea, the general still died. He uses the same phrase Ruo Lan had used before when speaking of her general. “I did not kill Bo Ren, yet Bo Ren died because of me.”
Ruo Lan looks at 8th, tears welling in her dark eyes. Later he discovered that Ruo Lan’s heart had followed her love into his grave. Even if he could win against every other man in the kingdom, there is no chance he could ever win against -him-.
The prince tells Ruo Lan he knows it is more painful to spend a lifetime with a man she hates than it is to spend that lifetime with a man she has no feelings for. Ruo Lan’s fights to keep her composure but tears roll down her cheeks.
8th looks at Ruo Lan and says softly, “I hope you will not hate me anymore.” His eyes are somber and earnest. The prince turns to leave, yet he could hear Ruo Lan’s stifled weeping. 8th pauses briefly before going on his way. Ruo Lan covers her mouth and cries uncontrollably.
This is a poignant moment between 8th and his wife. He finally confronts the ghost of their past in order and tries to exorcise them for their sakes.
Fingers hold a delicate snuff bottle as a brush puts the finishing touches on the picture painted on the glass. Three dogs are fighting under the spreading fronds of a bush. A white curly tailed dog against two other coloured pekinese.
It is 4th who is painting. Fully engrossed, he does not notice his younger brother watching from the doorway. The older prince examines his handiwork and he laughs softly.
He is obviously remembering something. Amusement warms his stoic face before he suddenly looks up when he hears footsteps as 13th move further into the room.
Calmly 4th asks when 13th had arrived.
13th replies just a little while. He noticed 4th’s preoccupation with his painting and decided not to break his concentration by announcing himself or greeting him.
4th puts down the bottle and asks 13th what brings him. There is affection in his voice when he speaks with his younger brother. 13th replies nothing. He was bored and decided to visit 4th for a chat and tea.
13th comments that he knows 4th excels in calligraphy but he was not aware 4th is also proficient with fine and meticulous handicraft. 4th listens and then asks 13th to critique his work on the snuff bottle.
At first 13th declines, saying he lacks the eyesight and judgement but 4th insists.
13th accepts the bottle and examines it. He points to the two chihuahuas and declares they possess a fierce and frightening air. Although the little white dog with the curl hair on the left looks adorable and energetic, it also looks very proud. It will stand up to the other two dogs without bowing its head.
Without hesitation, 13th asks 4th what is the hidden meaning behind the painting. He cocks a quizzing brow at his brother.
4th has a small smile when he replies that he feels a person should learn from the little white dog. To faces adversity and battles without any fear. This is what truly is called character.
13th nods, agreeing with 13th.
4th asks if there is anything lacking with the painting. 13th immediately shakes his head and declares there is none. His elder brother gives him a dubious eye and insists with a silent snort.
13th grins and says if forced to speak, the painted little white dog is too adorable.
4th asks, “Is it?” He looks rather amused.
13th replies, “Isn’t it?”
I have a feeling 13th knows who the dogs represent. Part of the conversation echoes a previous conversation they both had about Ruo Xi in the last Northern inspection. About her derring-do spirt and courage.
Ruo Xi continues to agonize. She toys with the bangle and stares blankly in thought. Yu Tang enters with a tray and chides Ruo Xi for leaving the door open and asks how she is feeling.
After a warm soak, the chill has gone but Ruo Xi still has a stuffy nose. YU Tang suggests summoning a physician but Ruo Xi turns down the suggestion. A little rain will not kill her.
Yu Tang agrees as both of them usually take good care of themselves and are healthy. She has brought food. Ruo Xi thanks Yu Tang for her care. Yu Tang says they are good sworn sisters. Yu Tan thought Ruo Xi was suffering as she sat transfixed.
Ruo Xi says she was lost in thought. Yu Tang asks she is still thinking about the story Liang Shangbo and Zhu Yingtai. Ruo Xi replies she is thinking about what happens after.
Yu Tang exclaims, “The next part?”
Ruo Xi says she wonders what if both lovers lived and and got married. Yu Tang approves of this ending and thinks it should have ended like this.
Ruo Xi tells Yu Tang she has not finished her thought. Liang Shangbo and Zhu Yingtai got married but they had to pay a price. Zhu Yingtai had to share her husband with other women.
Yu Tang thinks for a while and replies it is not a terrible hardship. As long as both lovers are able to be together, that is all that matters.
Ruo Xi asks if this deep love could truly survive under the pressures of jealousy and infighting when one man is shared between many women. She asks Yu Tang if Liang Shangbo and Zhu Yingtai could support and sustain each other under challenges.
Yu Tang looks uncertain but before she can answer, there is a knock on the door.
It is Xiao Shun Zi making a delivery for 4th. Ruo Xi says she does not lack anything and asks it to be send back.
Xian Shun Zi replies that Miss Ruo Xi has a stuffy nose and that snuff will help clear it. Ruo Xi ignores him and the eunuch looks at Yu Tang, handing the box over to the other maid.
Yu Tang looks at Ruo Xi with a speculative eye. She steps close and nudges Ruo Xi, urging her to accept the gift. Ruo Xi pushes Yu Tang away. The younger palace maid opens the box and sees the snuff bottle. She takes it out and admires it, praising its exceptional quality. The painted dogs are vivacious and adorable.
Ruo Xi refuses to look at Yu Tang but her friend shows her the snuff bottle, The bright painting catches her eye and Ruo Xi reaches for the bottle.
Ruo Xi fingers the bottle and examines it with deep concentration. She immediately recognizes what 4th has painted. It was the exchange between herself and the Guoloulou sisters.
Yu Tang observes Ruo Xi and calls her, breaking Ruo Xi out of her reverie.
The older palace maid comments on the bottle. Three dogs fighting, they are painted with energy. It has a certain charm.
She suddenly pauses and her expression changes. She softly murmured with irritation, “He’s actually comparing us to dogs!”
Yu Tang echoes Ruo Xi and asks what that means.
Ruo Xi glibly points out that there is much conflict and quarrels in the palace. Yu Tang grins and agrees.
A moment later, Yu Tang gives her sworn sister a sly grin and asks why 4th send snuff to Ruo Xi. Ruo Xi says 4th had seen her when she was drenched and she guesses 4th worries that Ruo Xi might fall sick and be unable to serve his Emperor Father. She wonders if it will really help.
Yu Tang says they should try it. Ruo Xi immediately hands the bottle to Yu Tang. Yu Tang opens the cap and starts to sneeze. Ruo Xi giggles.
Yu Tang declares that it is definitely helping her and offers the snuff to Ruo Xi. Ruo Xi covers the bottle and says she will put it away and save it for another rainy day. Yu Tang insists the other woman tries it as well.
They laughingly tussle and Yu Tang chases Ruo Xi around the room with the open bottle. Ruo Xi manages to retrieve the bottle and runs off with Yu Tang in hot pursuit.
Both women obviously care a lot for each other. Though Ruo Xi opens her heart to Yu Tang, she is still careful about what she shares with the other woman.
The royal princes gather for afternoon tea. Ruo Xi serves 4th and 8th who are playing weiqi with 9th looking on. The Emperor is in the garden with the Crown Prince, 13th and 14th with Li De Chuan and Li Xi attending.
Li De Chuan suggests the Emperor continue his stroll after a short break. Kangxi agrees and the princes walk towards the pavilion where the others are.
4th offers his seat to the Crown Prince. 9th and 14th steps aside while 13th walks towards the table where the weiqi board is. 9th wonders why their Emperor Father had invited them for tea. 13th replies that their Emperor Father has such a busy schedule, he also needs to relax and to enjoy himself.
The Crown Prince agrees and says since the brothers seldom have a chance to meet like this, they should take advantage and enjoy the day to the fullest. The heir notices an improvement in 8th’s weiqi gameplay and asks if 8th is willing to have a game with him.
8th agrees and there is smiles from the other princes.
Ruo Xi glances at the princes and she too smiles. She thinks to herself, wishing that these smiling princes could always treat each other with such warmth and goodwill.
A dog barks suddenly. 8th and 9th looks down and 9th leaps up, looking rather scared as he tumbles away from his seat. 4th smiles while the others laugh merrily at a white curly hair dog hiding under 4th’s robe.
The Crown Prince is amused that a small dog has startled them. Ruo Xi giggles softly at the sight.
A young palace maid scurries up, throwing herself onto her knees and begs for mercy. Ruo Xi immediately steps up to smooth the incident. 4th is watching the white dog.
Ruo Xi bows to 4th and says she will retrieve the dog. The princes watches on with amusement. The Crown Prince and 8th resumes the game.
Ruo Xi holds the dog in her arms, stroking it and her eyes happen to catch 4th’s.
Their glances lock briefly before 4th’s mouth twitches in a quick smile. Ruo Xi looks away and scolds 4th silently, “Is it funny. I am not at all like this dog.” She gives the dog a few more quick strokes and stands.
4th waves the young palace maid up. Ruo Xi reprimands the young girl, saying she is lucky. She tells the young girl she has to keep this lesson in mind. The next incident might end with heavy strokes. She asks who will take care of her if she is seriously hurt.
Ruo Xi is definitely softhearted and kind. 4th listens while 8th keeps his eye on Ruo Xi. Ruo Xi bows to 4th and after a quick glance at 8th, she returns to her post. 14th frowns.
Another poor break as this scene continues in the next episode break.
See you then!
* See Notes for explanation