These episodes gutted me. Shawn Dou’s TV debut performance will be one to remember. While he’s deemed at losing the love of his life later on, Shawn got the meatier role, thanks to Li Ying. Lol!
Everyone loses something in these episodes, some more than others. It didn’t feel draggy to me at all – and this is coming from someone who read the novel, caught the episodes live, recapped, and then screencapped them. Essentially, I watched them at least four times. I didn’t know my puny-sized body had that much tears. These episodes are critical because they set off the trajectories of all our major players. It’s a game-changer and I wish it happened earlier, cutting out all the unnecessary maid krap so we can have more time with our “grown-up/jaded” characters and their future, more interesting developments. We have more characters to meet and it’s taking forever to get to them!
Episode 24 RECAP (written by Kappy):
Consort Wei brings her two gullible kids, Yuan Song and Yuan Chun, to a chamber with a view of the execution platform known as Jiu You Tai. I don’t know what’s worse, knowing that you can’t help or seeing and knowing you still can’t help.
Yuan Chun wants to get out of course but she’s stopped by the guards, and Consort Wei again reminds her not to entertain any ideas of saving Yan Xun, if she does, she’s going against her father which won’t end well for their family. Yuan Song speaks up then, asking in a hoarse voice why his mother brought them to this cruel place and she worriedly speaks up her mind, even if one is royal and seemingly untouchable, their necks aren’t very far from the same set of bloody knives.
Wei Shu Ye’s older cousin, Wei Shu You, leads chained Yan Xun and Chu Qiao out to Jiu You platform, while the nobles enjoy a performance by masked dancers. They stop right in front of the steps, the frame capturing both captors in the mouth of the gleaming guillotine. Shu Ye looks conflicted but proceeds and invites the execution supervisors to the platform. Lo and behold, it’s the Yuwen brothers; Yue is the the vice director and steps out first to the dismay of Yuan Chuan, Yuan Song, Chu Qiao, and Yan Xun (he steps forward a little in anger), and the nobles merely smirk in their seats, gleefully watching the friends-turned-foes interactions. Yuwen Yue looks at his friend and then steals a glance at Chu Qiao, who returns a cold stare of her own.
The main lead supervisor is Yuwen Huai, holding a royal decree in his hands; he reads the king’s stupid make-up story of Yan Shi Cheng’s rebellion and the king thanks heavens he was saved and annihilated the traitors. At that, shocked tears start brimming in Yan Xun’s eyes…and Huai reads the King’s last order for Yan Xun’s presence at the ceremony today. His life is spared for this moment – they need him to confirm the identity of the dead.
In disbelief, Yan Xun turns to Yuwen Yue and asks if this is all true, and Yue replies briefly, “Yes.” Shu Ye then declares the traitors to be brought up. And we see golden boxes being carried up the stairs, placed in a circle at the main platform. Yan Xun is to verify that the decapitated heads are indeed his family members. So dastardly wrong. Yan Xun shakes in anger; Yue can’t watch anymore and walks up the stairs, standing at one side of the top, while Yuwen Huai drops the bomb to Yan Xun; with the exception of Yan Xun and his mom, everybody has been killed. He wants Yan Xun to accept the royal decree on his knees but the latter resists and knocks the decree to the side and charges at Yuwen Huai, giving him a nosebleed, but then gets beat up by the soldiers and lies prone on the ground. Yuwen Huai takes his behavior as a traitorous move and orders Yan Xun killed for disobeying royal orders.
Before the guards can strike Yan Xun, Shu Ye screams at Yan Xun to accept royal order. Omg, this kid kinda kills me. He wields the least power here but dares to shout, against the glares of everyone else, to try to save Yan Xun’s life. Yuwen Yue FINALLY follows suits and tells Yan Xun to accept the royal decree. Yan Xun tries to get up using his head (GAHH) but gets kicked back down by Yuwen Huai as he walks up the platform to announce that the time has come for the verification process.
Yuwen Huai laughs maniacally as he opens the first box containing Yan Shi Cheng’s head. He picks it up and taunts Yan Xun to greet his long-time-no-see dad and that challenge does it, releasing an inner rage within Yan Xun for him to beat the living daylights out of the soldiers detaining him, breaking his hands free of the chains, and continues to snap at every soldier coming his way. He turns and his eyes zero on the box containing the head and Yuwen Huai sends forward more soldiers to kill the traitor.
As Yan Xun makes his way up the stairways to doom, he gets stabbed in the abdomen by four soldiers and they push him down the steps. Watching helplessly on the sideline, Chu Qiao screams his name over and over again. I’m not crying…I’m not crying…. No matter how many slices they cut into him, Yan Xun stands up again, beating and getting beaten by the soldiers, while his so-called friends watch on – the Royal Yuan siblings are devastated in their station, Shu Ye’s eyes shimmer with tears, and Yuwen Yue has on a subtle pained expression.
Not a single person jumps to his defense. Not a person could.
He finally makes his way up the stairs again and bashes a soldier’s head on the pavement, as he then slowly trudges over to the golden box… Yuwen Yue with a shaking hand motions for the soldiers to stop attacking… but Yuwen Huai continues his devilish act anyway, he attacks Yan Xun and kicks him towards the guillotine. Seeing the malicious intention, Chu Qiao breaks free and launches herself at Yan Xun, knocking him out of death’s door with all her weight.
She cries his name over and over, trying to get to him, but the soldiers get to her first, and her screams of Yan Xun’s name echo throughout the whole place, almost hauntingly deafening. Lying unmoving on the ground, Huai wants Yue to examine his friend’s status. Yan Xun finally opens his eyes and turns to look at an equally stricken Chu Qiao, whose eyes are bright red but the relief is instantaneous. He takes a moment to gather himself as a tear escapes and struggles to stand up.
For showing an ill-mannered attitude and disobeying the King’s royal order, Yuwen Huai announces Yan Xun’s punishment as death and calls forward the archers. Yue looks at his friend begs him in his mind to stop trying to come up the platform. That is too late of a request Yue. You can see how emotionally draining this scene was to film as Li Ying’s eyeballs and eyebags are all red and puffy. GAH.
Yuan Song restrains an emotional Yuan Chun from coming out as she also begs Yan Xun not to stand up, but the fighter in Yan Xun doesn’t back up, earning him arrows in different body parts. Yuan Chun can’t look anymore and turns around, while Yue silently pleads again for Yan Xun to stop trying. Yan Xun breaks the arrows from his body and plods forward, eyes on the golden boxes. Yuwen Huai waves another hand, signaling more arrows, and these two shots land dead straight in Yan Xun’s chest. I can’t take this anymore!
Yuan Chun’s pleas to her mom and brother to save Yan Xun fall on deaf ears again. Battered and bloodied, Yan Xun climbs the ladder on all four now, each step is stained with his blood. Yan Xun makes it to the landing again and Yue helpfully steps in the way of another archer to silently save Yan Xun. That mollifies me Yue, but not enough. He calls off the verification process and asks to proceed with the final punishment. But Yuwen Huai intervenes, questioning Yuwen Yue’s stance, but Yue is merely trying to stall time, hoping a miracle would happen to save him.
Not allowing the torture to end so soon, Huai steps on Yan Xun’s head forcing him to stay low at his feet. I hate this. He claims the royal decree states the verification process has to be completed before they can punish the traitors. But Yue finally finds his balls because he bellows to proceed with the punishment, as he will accept any consequences for going against the King’s words. But Huai threatens to kill Yue on the spot for going against royal decree and further extends the death penalty to Yue’s “Xing Er” down at the platform. Yue clenches his fist, not having a comeback.
A voice from the opposite end gets the attention. It’s Yan Xun’s mother, Bai Sheng, and she’s here to do the dirty deed of confirming the heads’ identities. Mom, why are you here! RUN! RUN! I don’t want to see you go too….
With her head held high and proud, Mom declares the people up there are her family, her husband, her sons and daughters, “In this world, no one is more qualified to verify their identity than I am.” Yue nods in silent agreement while Huai is suspicious of her words, but she’s firm when she proclaims she’s acting on the King’s order, which will come a bit later.
In a silent but dignified walk, Bai Sheng betrays no emotion until she catches sight of her bloody son on the other end and Yan Xun collapses, letting out these painful cries as he becomes a frightened child in her embrace, calling mom repeatedly. T___T I love this moment, how naturally we as humans resort to our inner kid selves when confronted by hardships in front of our parents.
He screams that these people have incriminated Yan Bei, “Why?!!”
Bai Sheng: “Xun Er, do you believe in your father?”
Yan Xun nods. “I believe.”
Bai Sheng smiles, proud of her son. “Then you don’t have to ask why. In this world, not everything has a reason. Like how a tiger eats a wolf, wolf eats rabbit, and rabbit eats grass.”
Her eyes turn icy, “There’s no reason to it.”
Yan Xun cries that all their families have been killed and collapses back down, leaving his mother to approach the ominous golden box with her husband’s head. She confirms it’s him, caressing the scar he bore on his face, telling the story of how he got it in the first place. It was a number of years ago when he led troops and saved the trapped royals in the palace. That time, the King was only a Crown Prince and he, Yan Shi Cheng, had carried the unconscious Prince out to safety, fighting against 3,000 troops and bearing over 30 scars all over his body. He had to recuperate in bed for half a year before he was able to leave bed. “That time, he was only 17.”
Upset that Bai Sheng is basically spitting her husband’s accomplishments at them, Huai tells her to stop talking about these things, and Yue glares at him, asking Bai Sheng to continue. And she does without hesitation, barking in the faces of the nobles and royals at the platform, how her husband restlessly hurried from Yan Bei to save them, and how the King swore that day that Western Wei and Yan Bei would always be kinship, never forgetting each other. “That year, you guys were all there.”
She turns her baleful glare at Yuwen Huai, pointing him out as the person who decapitated Yan Shi Cheng’s head outside of Chang’An. “Do you not recognize your own work? Can’t recognize the wound you inflicted? Do you not recognize the person you killed was Ding Bei general, Yan Shi Cheng! Do you not really not know?!” She thunders and gives him a smirk, basically calling them hypocrites for setting up this silly verification process when they should good and hell know who they killed.
Bai Sheng smiles and confirms the head was her husband, Ding Bei General, Yan Shi Cheng.
Yuwen Huai, as if he needs to confirm that he doesn’t have even ONE ounce of humanity in him, asks Bai Sheng why hasn’t the decree arrived yet and orders Yan Xun killed.
Chu Qiao screams Yan Xun’s name.
Episode 25 Recap (written by Kappy):
Before the archer can shoot at Yan Xun, Yuwen Yue hollers at Huai to stop before the decree arrives and he’s shown as obstructing his highness’ order.
Bai Sheng continues down the line of heads and when it comes to her children, her calm composure cracks; they were young, brave warriors, and she lists off their accomplishments, but the nobles merely scoff, and only Chu Qiao and Yan Xun shed unstoppable tears along with mom as she plants a kiss on her second son’s head. I’m running out of tears. They chose the right actress and dubber for this role. Her screen time might have been short, but it was straight to the heart and powerful.
Mom arrives at her daughter’s station, eye shooting daggers and announcing Zhao Xi Feng as the person in charge of killing her. She adds painfully, “She was 7-months pregnant…”
She embraces the golden box and rests her head on it, allowing tears to trickle down as she inhales the death of her daughter.
Mom makes her way up the higher platform where a large incense burner sits in the center with the heads surrounding it. In a clear loud voice, she announces the heads belonging to the warriors of Yan Bei, the citizens of Western Wei, and that they were all traitors (no use in arguing otherwise but her voice is in contrast to her words), turning to Yuwen brothers and asking them to begin the execution. At once, the heads are thrown into the huge incense pot with Bai Sheng looking up in the skies and noticing a flock of birds flying together.
That sight has Yan Xun running up the platform and Mom hurries to stop her only child from death. She hugs him fiercely then looks at Yuwen Yue and tells him to wait for the royal decree because the King has promised to spare Yan Xun. Yue nods and she pulls out the arrow from Yan Xun’s back. She pulls back and looks at him, “Xun Er, don’t cry, Yan Bei men can shed blood but they never shed tears.”
With that she pushes him away and he falls down the stairs with a thud. He watches as she slams her head into the incense burner with a loud bang. As if heavens can’t watch another good person die or the foreshadowing of dark days ahead, the skies darken to everyone’s dismay and Yan Xun, with his endless supply of energy, crawls up to his mother. He cries for the death of his family and asks why she had to go as well.
Taking her last breath, Bai Sheng tells Yan Xun to continue to live, even if he’s in his last breath, he cannot give up. “Don’t forget Yan Bei is still waiting for you, the people are still waiting for you. Even the spirits of the Yan household are waiting for you. You still have a lot of things to do.” As blood seeps out of her body, Mom begins to recall the beauty of Yan Bei and those are the last images in her mind.
Huai smirks and soldiers creep up behind Yan Xun, ready to strike, but the sh**** king finally issues another decree, sparing Yan Xun’s life. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and Yuan Chun faints in Yuan Song’s arms in exhaustion.
Yan Xun pulls himself up and lets out a spine-chilling scream calling for his mother. A bellow of betrayal and anger so strong, thunders appear and strike the chains holding the pillar. As the pillar falls, it hits the incense burner and the contents spill out.
Love how this scene is shot, foreshadowing that Yan Xun’s ties (the chains) to this dirty land has been cut today and forever. The tipping of the burner also signifies the erupted volcanic anger he’s been holding from within.
Everyone looks scared at the natural heavenly reaction. You guys should be. Every one of you.
And then it rains.
The King learns of the news and almost tumbles to the ground, in shame might I add? I don’t really care for you.
Yuan Chun is aided back to her chamber, her face in a daze as she sends her personal maid out and collapses on the floor, sobbing and apologizing to Yan Xun, for not being able to do a single thing to help him.
At Qing Shan manor, Yue Qi and Yuwen Yue return and Yue Qi asks if he wants the heater in here since the room is cold. Yue has some planning up his sleeves as he states there’s no time left, “Have to do something now.”
Cut to the Wei household as the evil cousin, Wei Shu You, wonders why the King spared Yan Xun’s life, thinking that he liked his mother, but Wei Old Man says the King is paranoid and one just can’t correctly guess his thoughts. Talk turns to Warden Luo – the man in charge of prison where Yan Xun is held and Wei Shu You wants to get rid of him since he’s indebted to Yan Xun’s father and is silently protecting Yan Xun in prison. They want to target Warden Luo’s little son. Shu Ye wants to do something but is told by his uncle to stay put in the house, so he asks his servant to send a help message to Yuwen Yue. Aww.
At Hong Shan manor, Yuwen Huai tries to find ways to eliminate Yan Xun without tainting his hands. He sends a letter to Da Liang Princess who smiles at the content. The message has arrived and Yue is finally a step ahead as he has ordered protection for Warden Luo’s family, making sure he isn’t pressured by the evil people to make troubles for Yan Xun in jail. GAH. All his friends helping behind-the-scenes…
Yue asks a horse be prepared…he’s headed for an audience with Princess Yuan Chun, who wakes up from her exhausted sleep and is just about to find Yuwen Yue herself.
Da Liang princess orders Yin Xin to kill off Warden Luo, since he’s without protection. BAH.
In prison, Chu Qiao fends off a mouse from eating their food and tries to spoonfeed an unconscious Yan Xun some water but it naturally seeps out. Elsewhere, Warden Luo is attacked and killed.
Yuan Chun questions Yuwen Yue’s intentions, saying that she can’t believe him after what he had done at Jiu You Tai but he mirrors their situation as helpless and powerless, hoping she would understand. Then she brings up the fact that he was the one who shot Yan Xun, shutting down his escape attempt and Yue answers in a matter-of-factly tone, “If I did it, how would the public know about it?” implying that someone else did it and spread the false news. Mollified and having no one else to trust, she asks what he came here for.
After killing Warden Luo, the killer makes his way to prison as Chu Qiao wipes the blood from Yan Xun’s body. He comes offering hot congee for the Prince but Chu Qiao catches sight of blood on the hem of his pants as he walks away. She spills the congee on the ground on purpose and waits as the mouse eats the congee and dies shortly after. Such a morbid moment.
The guard returns and smirks at Chu Qiao’s intelligence. She asks who sent him but he doesn’t answer since there is a herd of bad people desiring Yan Xun’s death. When he aims the crossbow at her, meaning to kill her, Chu Qiao observes that he’s people from Jianghu, surely he knows about Feng Yun Ling? His interest is piqued and he wonders who she is. Who she is isn’t important, the important thing is she knows where Feng Yun Ling is located. She can tell him but he has to help her out since she isn’t close with the Prince, escaping on her own is a survival tactic. He asks for some evidence, allowing her to approach and at which point, she punches his throat and kills him on the spot, stealing his crossbow for good measure. However, the whole exchange is witnessed by a man above. Chu Qiao gives a wry smile at the usefulness of Feng Yun Ling, so many people want it. “Fight for it in hell then.”
Yin Xin tells the good news (Warden Luo’s death) to Da Liang Princess and they are curious about why the hired assassin hasn’t returned, but it doesn’t matter now because people in Jianghu can rarely be tamed. Tao Ye returns in a rush and says the person they sent had been killed by the slave girl by Yan Xun’s side. The wheels in their eyes start spinning when they learn that Chu Qiao might know the location of Feng Yun Ling.
Discussion time is over and Yuan Chun worries it might not work (we don’t know what they discussed). Yuwen Yue says to leave it to heavens as they have tried their best. News reaches them AND a happy Zhao Xi Feng that Warden Luo is killed. Krappp!
Chu Qiao sits by Yan Xun’s bed and talks to him like he’s listening. She knows he’s going through a lot of pain and suffering, and thinks that death is the easier route, having no messy endings.
“But death is very easy, there is no pain and no hatred. It is like an eternal sleep. In your dream, you’re still a high and mighty Prince. Your parents are alive and healthy, your family is safe. It is truly beautiful. Death is always the easiest thing to choose. The difficult thing is wanting to die but one must live. Yan Xun, I’m a person with nothing, even the memory of my parents is blank. Everyone who was kind to me has died. Some was used and died unjustly, some was raped and then tossed out like trash. This world should be fair! Even a slave has the right to live. I don’t understand why this world determines a person’s rank and status just as they were born. Why is a wolf allowed to eat a rabbit but the rabbit doesn’t have right to fight back? But now I have understood – it’s because the rabbit isn’t strong enough. If one doesn’t want to be looked down, then one has to stand up first. Yan Xun, I might be small and weak now, but I have patience. I have time. Every person who owes me, no one can escape. I will watch with my own eyes as they pay the price for the things they have done. If not, I will die without closing my eyes. ”
A small cough escapes Yan Xun and Chu Qiao turns to him, reminding him of his mother’s last words. He has to live and endure all the humiliation and pain, bide his time, and personally kill all those involved in his family’s massacre. As she speaks on his mom’s behalf, Yan Xun’s fist clenches, his eyes slowly flutter. “You have the heart to let them down? Let the empire your dad created be destroyed before your eyes?! You allow yourself to be killed pettily in this stinky prison?!”
Yan Xun’s eyes gently open.
Episode 26 Recap (written by Kappy):
Awake, Yan Xun listens to Chu Qiao’s advice, to stay alive even when he’s dunked in mud, he must rise, because only the living can have hope, “Only living can you fulfill your broken dreams, and only living can you take back what is yours.” Tears drop from her eyes as she adds how unjust the world is and that Yan Xun can only depend on himself. Tears pool in his own eyes and he takes in deep breaths. The tears fall and Yan Xun mutters softly, “I want to live.” He swears on the skies of Yan Bei to take back what is his, “I want blood to soak Chang’An.” Oh, hell!
Zhong Yu and her fellow female warriors, along with Feng Mian, plan to rescue Yan Xun that night, but their plan is foiled with the arrival of Zhao Xi Feng and the group of Da Liang spies. So I guess nobody is sleeping tonight? Zhong Yu and Co. take on Da Liang spies, having no other choice, allowing Zhao Xi Feng to enter prison and does what he likes to our two unlucky prisoners.
He takes offense at Yan Xun’s cold stare and considers himself the kindest one of all their friends, ‘cause all he did was killed Yan Xun’s pregnant sister. Man, are we sure this kid is human? He then tells Yan Xun that Yuwen Yue, his good brother, has been gathering intel on his family’s misdeeds. Because of Yue’s provided evidence, the King had to act first. Still believing his friend, Yan Xun calls bullcrap on those words (awww…) because Xi Feng goes further by revealing the person who shot Yan Xun and prevented his escape was Yuwen Yue. Chu Qiao’s eyes glow in recognition since she did check out Yan Xun’s wound and there was no arrow – signature icicle arrow from Yuwen Yue.
Zhao Xi Feng has tasted many life luxuries but never experienced being on the short end of the stick before, he alludes to Chu Qiao’s crime in cutting of his two fingers and visits their prison today to chop off all her fingers. Yan Xun: “You dare?!”
Xi Feng orders his men to attack and Chu Qiao takes them out quickly but is rendered useless when Xi Feng has a weak Yan Xun at his feet and demands her to stop fighting. She does and Xi Feng steps on her hand, ready to take back what he lost but Yan Xun screams that if he wants fingers, he can take his. GAHHH. Given the little knife, Yan Xun unsheathes it with a determined look, ignoring Chu Qiao’s pleas for him to stop, she even goes as far as saying her life isn’t worth much anyway. But you are! You’re worth it to him!
Yan Xun: “Who said your life isn’t valuable? To me, your life is more important than everything else.” *chops his finger off without letting out a scream*
Chu Qiao struggles free and runs to his side, but Yan Xun only smiles at her. Zhao Xi Feng isn’t satisfied with just one finger but he can’t prolong the torture because more government guards are coming.
After the inhumane dogs are out of prison, Chu Qiao helps Yan Xun sit up, her head bowed and tears fall from her eyes in mounting guilt. He softly tells her to stop crying because he’s okay. She cries that he’s lost a finger, how would he yield a sword and shoot an arrow in the future? Sweetie, if Yang Guo can be a badass jianghu hero with only one arm, Yan Xun can too!
He consoles her by saying it’s his lift pinky, so he’s a righty, hence his skills will be unaffected. She continues to cry as she wraps his hand, and Yan Xun insists that she stop crying, he would rather die than see others bully her. T______T He touches her face and pulls her close, embracing her with one hand as she cries in his arms.
Unlike his usual style of being up-to-date, Yuwen Yue arrives too late to save the day. He hurries inside, “How’s your injuries?”
“Can’t die yet.” Yan Xun wants some straight-forward answers from Yuwen Yue. The last arrow that shot him during his escape, was it from Yue? Yes. The King ordered Eyes of God to collect evidence of my family’s treason, is that true? Yes. You knew the king wanted to kill my dad? Yue doesn’t answer and looks down, a silent yes, and Yan Xun can only look down in betrayal as tears escape his eyes.
Yue defends himself by saying that he has implied, dropping hints to Yan Xun many times, but Yan Xun roars, “10 years of friendship! Matters relating to the life and death of the whole Yan Bei clan, we only deserved your hints?!”
Chu Qiao speaks up then, asking if he has delivered Yan Xun’s dad’s letter to the King before and Yue wonders how she knew. Okay, buddy. That is not the way the conversation should’ve went. If you insist on being vague and terse, you really have no one else to blame when Yan Xun takes it out on you in the future.
Yan Xun cuts ties with Yuwen Yue then and there and asks him to leave. Outside, Yue Qi tells the guard to alert their manor immediately if unwanted visitors come again. Bring the best food, medication, and clothes to the Prince for the time being.
Prince Yuan Song reports the fight outside prison to his father (why is a prince doing this job?), explaining that the corpses are mostly identified as people from jianghu. His father calls out his lies, knowing it’s Yan Bei scattered soldiers, still lingering around to save Yan Xun. He wants Yuan Song to lead troops to areas with Yan Bei people left and annihilate the roots of them all but Yuan Song quakes in fear. The king sees his soft-hearted nature and tells him to forget it. The king then mentions his seventh son, which he calls Che Er, and says this job is perfect for him. Prince Yuan Song then brings up the topic of replacing Warden Luo since he wants Yan Xun to be protected somewhat but the King says it’s not an urgent matter. You piece of crap. You want others to do the dirty work and kill Yan Xun for you, huh?
And that’s exactly what Yuan Chun says to her brother, who reprimands her for thinking badly about their father, the King.
Two masked men try to enter prison that night but someone shoots them. It’s Yue, being Yan Xun’s prison guard now. Aww!! Use your batcape, buddy!! Be protector of the night!
Our two prisoners wake up from their nap and Chu Qiao asks the guard for some food and he lets them know that Yuwen Yue had asked them to take care of them. As if sensing Yan Xun’s resistance, Chu Qiao places a hand over his arm, willing him to swallow his pride for now. When given the bowl of soup, Yan Xun asks if Chu Qiao ate yet and she answers she’s not hungry. Li Ying, why you be lying girl? Lol. He feeds her a spoonful anyway and laments the fact that he has broken his promise to take her back to Yan Bei. Instead of living a peaceful life, she has to go through hell with him. He apologizes and promises not to make any more empty promises. For now, he will try his best to protect her.
Chu Qiao honestly tells Yan Xun she didn’t treat him as an almighty prince before, so there’s no reason to look down at him right now. “I agree to be your friend not because you’re the Prince of Yan Bei, but because of the person you are.”
She lightens the mood and says they are not in that bad of a situation – still have food and a shelter. She believes he will flip the table around in the future. “Then I will follow you and live a comfortable life.” They smile at each other. She optimistically says she wants to open a martial arts club in Yan Bei, but quickly takes the idea back, as she doesn’t want to fight fight and kill kill all day. With Yan Bei’s peaceful nature, she switches to the idea of horse academy, they can create troops on horses, by then no one would be able to bully her.
Such beautiful dreams. T_______T
This show be stabbing my heart to death.
Yuwen Yue’s parrot also visits prison, calling Chu Qiao silly and then calling her maid’s name, Xing Er. Morning comes and the only guard around opens the door to find dead bodies scattered on the steps. What a long night it was for Batman.
The king wants to know who’s protecting Yan Xun in the shadows and wants to send a new person in charge to Yan Bei. His eunuch says a lot of names, none of which impresses the king. Yuwen Yue also sorts through the same list of potential candidates, hoping to eliminate the troublesome ones. Three people make the cut and he tells Yue Qi to relay the news…to princess Chun Er. Her brother asks if she believes Yuwen Yue’s sincerity in helping Yan Xun and she honestly replies she has no one else to call for help, so she chose to believe Yue and help him spread the news.
Yue Qi asks how Yue attempts to save Yan Xun and he says with Yan Bei troops – called Xiu Li Jun (beautiful troops, lol) creating a ruckus over their dead leader, the king needs someone strong to settle the big and small matters in Yan Bei. Whoever owns Yan Bei has significant power in his hand so the King won’t want to pick someone from the rich nobles. He would like someone with a humble background, someone who has no connections, who doesn’t have a name for himself, but must know how to lead a troop and fight in wars. But it’s impossible to find such a person and the only way to keep Yan Bei in his palm, the King has to keep Yan Xun alive. I really don’t understand this part. Lol.
The princess speaks in private with the King’s eunuch and exposes his intention of suggesting his own people to the King, all three are from Huai Bei. She tells him not to ruin his own future and the eunuch mulls over her meaning….
Enraged that the nobles are lusting after Yan Bei, the King throws a tantrum in his chamber and even kicks the eunuch for his “suggestions.” Western Wei is his! He’s not sharing any part of it with anybody! He thinks it’s time to call back Seventh Prince and then suggests giving Yan Xun his dad’s title. Now homeless and family-less, they can keep Yan Xun in Chang’An as a form of carrying out his family’s punishment.
Agreeing that Yan Xun poses no threat if he’s locked up in Chang’An, the king relaxes and the eunuch reports the good news to Yuan Chun.
Episode 27 Recap (written by Kappy):
News that the King has appointed Yuan Song as the new person in charge of prison reaches Yuwen Huai. He seethes and knows it’s Yuwen Yue who’s quietly protecting Yan Xun. He needs to punish Yue for intervening with his plans so before Yuan Song is officially installed at work, his people kidnap Chu Qiao from prison, after giving Yan Xun’s a needle of tranquilizer. On the excuse of investigating his grandfather’s death (he even has Official Zhang with him), he asks Chu Qiao who sent her on the mission and she says it’s him. LOL.
He wants to punish her for lying and covering up for Yuwen Yue and she merely states that it’s not a big deal who killed whom since Yuwen people are always at each other’s throat anyway, another death is no biggie. Heh. Before he can torture her, our cold Prince arrives.
Since Chu Qiao is a servant at his manor, Yue questions Huai’s interference and wants to take her away for a personal interrogation. Nope, cannot happen as Huai grabs Chu Qiao by the neck and asks if Yue has feelings for her, then raises Chu Qiao up from the kneeling position with his grasp firmly around her small neck. “Seeing her like this….hurts you?”
He strangles her right in front of Yue and thinking fast, Yue sends a needle into her abdomen, she spits blood and sprawled on the cold ground, spewing more blood, while her eyes gaze up in pain at Yue. Sigh…
Yue: “A woman who can’t be controlled can’t even be compared to the dead.”
He orders her dead body to be taken away and Yuwen Huai asks Official Zhang to check for sure that she’s dead.
Huai looks at Yue, “I have underestimated you…”
Yue: “My people, even if they are to be killed, I will be the one to kill them.”
Once outside the door, Yue is called upon by the King and needs to go immediately, so he tells Yue Qi to take Chu Qiao’s body home and wait for him.
Kneeling before the King for what seems like an eternity, Yuwen Yue focuses on the sand timer, afraid that he won’t make it back in time to save Chu Qiao and her blood will be blocked and death is not far from reach.
Like the undead grandpa that he is, Yuwen Zhuo says since the time he ordered Yue to stop Yan Xun from escaping, his grandson hasn’t stepped a foot in his room. He wants to know what’s up and sends for Yue Qi. I really dislike you and your ill-timing of taking up screen time.
At court, the King finally speaks and Yue admits he’s the person who saved Yan Xun from the killers at night. His honesty is surprising to the king but it doesn’t matter anymore because he wants to send Yue somewhere for more training while giving Eyes of God to Yuwen Huai. Yue doesn’t even register those words cause his eyes are fixated on the sand timer. Lol. Poor dude.
Yuwen Yue rushes home to be told Chu Qiao has died and her body was taken to the cemetery. LOL. So funny. I can’t believe you didn’t teach Yue Qi how to save a person from that condition. You fail me, Yue!
On his horse, Yue and his people rush to the cemetery with only half an hour to spare. In voiceover, he tells Xing Er to wait for him. Alas, Da Liang spies stop them midway… and I’m like YOU GUYS ARE THE RANDOMEST PEOPLE EVER!!
Yue fights them off and in his rage to save Chu Qiao, he slices the neck of the tall guy. Okay, fine, his name is Yin Xin. But he’s dead now, forget the name. I love it when Yue shows his rage. HAHAHA.
Still late to save Chu Qiao and her body is in the flames. How poetic it is….just like how he kicked her brother into the fire. Once the fire is put out, he digs through the ashes and finds the ring he gave her. Taking in the news like a punch to the guts, Yue walks away listlessly by himself…
The drug wears off and Yan Xun asks the guard to let him out, he needs to save Chu Qiao from Yuwen Huai but the guard is firm on his duty, telling Yan Xun to stay alive because many people have come by with food and medications for him. Yan Sun sits down and remembers Chu Qiao’s smiles….
In his own garden of eve, Yue drinks in broad daylight and Yuwen Huai thinks it’s because Eyes of God was taken from him. He’s here because he wants to take a look at Eyes of Gods and Yue scoffs that his brother doesn’t even know the truth about Eyes of Gods’s current state at all. Yue leads him to the intel storage room and Huai isn’t thrilled that he’s inheriting a bunch of papers. He wants the Kungfu manual, the riches, the treasure maps, everything that he’s heard about. But Yue tells him to think of bigger things because this intel room contains secrets that can cause a warring storm if exposed. He gives Huai examples of some deadly secrets.
Yuwen Haui quakes in fear, what he wants is power and wealth, not targets on his back for knowing these dark secrets!
Yue shows him the self-destruction button of Eyes of Gods and tells Huai to prepare himself. He will have to live in the dark like Yue did these years, never ever being able to leave the manor. Yue is thrilled his job is now taken away, he feels free with the burden of secrets lifted from his shoulders. HAHAHA. The best revenge.
In his anger, Huai pushes everything to the ground and hits the BUTTON! The whole place burns down….and Huai escapes death.
What the hell. Eyes of God, you have no eyes.
The King doesn’t care one bit his spying network is gone. He orders the release of Yan Xun and he’s to be locked up in Ying Ge manor. When the eunuch reads the royal decree and tells him to kneel, Yan Xun doesn’t lift a finger to move and remains seated in his prison bed with hawk eyes. Lol. The guard explains that Yan Xun’s heavily injured and might not be hearing very well. HAHAHA. He will be released after three years under house arrest.
Outside, Zhong Yu and a veiled lady – CHU QIAO – wait for him. The relief in their eyes to see each other.
They’re led to Ying Ge manor and Chu Qiao instinctively holds onto to Yan Xun’s arm, an act to calm his simmering anger at their trapped position. With very food in the kitchen, Yan Xun carries some water from the well and makes tea. When asked how many guards are watching them, Chu Qiao says openly there are 80, but hidden, the number is probably bigger. They wonder who will make the first move to eliminate Yan Xun and he brings a cup of tea to his lips as he says that it doesn’t matter, first come first to die.
Night time. Yan Xun finds Chu Qiao sitting idly on the bench and joins her, wondering how she escaped Huai’s grasp and we see that in flashback, Zhong Yu has arrived on time to save her, she even brought Xiao Ba and Xiao Qi along.
Princess Yuan Song sends her maid to Wei Shu Ye and asks him to take care of Yan Xun, but he is a man of no power and worries about Chun Er’s safety in getting involved. Princess Chun Er also wants Shu Ye to alert Yuwen Yue of any weird happenings around Yan Xun, since she only trusts Yue to save Yan Xun. This conversation is essentially useless, everybody knows to look for Yue at this point, Shu Ye did it before without being asked! Waste of screen time, moving on!
Time for bed. Chu Qiao shares a room with Yan Xun, but she wants to sleep on the floor so Yan Xun says no. Chu Qiao: “Because you are…”
He looks at her, “Are what? A Prince?” He knows he’s living on borrowed time and having a place to sleep is already a blessing.
Knowing that he won’t give up without a settlement, she assigns sleeping duty. The person standing guard will sleep on the floor half the night and the other person will try to get some shut eye for the other half of the night. He agrees and goes to bed. And their song starts playing, gahhhh. The title is “Because of One Person.”
Yan Xun lies in bed, eyes looking at Chu Qiao’s back. The night continues and he approaches her, only she instinctively fights back and relaxes once she knows it’s him. He picks her up bridal-style and carries her to the bed….because yunno the distance to bed is very FARRR. He has carried her and spun 360 before so this is piece of cake.
Once they are in position, Chu Qiao calls out, “Yan Xun, we are still alive.”
“Let’s continue to live together.”
Yue Qi reports to Yue that Huai has sent men to kill Yan Xun. Yue doesn’t care anymore and tells him to kill them all. What could they say in defense anyway?
—– END —–
Kappy: Shawn nailed it in episode 24, pulling in his emotional weight of the balance, along with his perfectly-cast mom. You two stole the hour. As I stated before, I really loved how his mother showed up and you can really see the breakdown of Yan Xun’s outside armor. He was raised a warrior on horseback and he demonstrated his tenacious and unbending pursuit of the goal at hand – to reach his father’s head singlehandedly. But the moment he realized his mom was present, the hardened face of a warrior was no more, he turned into a child, crying out in short, heart-breaking sobs for her warmth and touch and protection.
Mom was a wonderful ball of contradiction in her words and actions. Her spitting out all her family’s major accomplishments while glaring at the cowardly men was so heart-breaking and damn satisfying. She knew it was no use to argue with these wicked men and she didn’t, she went the high road and pinned her hopes on saving the last blood of Yan Bei while holding up a steely composure. I’m so sad we didn’t get to see her more. She would’ve gotten along with Chu Qiao and maybe would’ve been the best match-maker out there.
For Chu Qiao and Yan Xun to go through this much together and not end up together kills me, completely, and all over again, just like the book. These are the kind of episodes that cement one’s loyalty to a “developing” pairing. There’s a special bond built when the audience lives through the emotional tragedy with the characters, as opposed to being told about it in short, quick flashbacks. A successful job here.
Guess I’m going to hell with Yan Xun. Again.