How do you go from being lovers to awkward workmates? The aftermath of Hae Ryung’s decision is seen as she and Prince Lee Rim still have to work and see each other often. But a bigger, more pressing issue might just be their ticket to slowly reconcile and come to terms with their relationship.
Several petitions are being made to remove the female historians in the Royal Palace due to the scandal. The Crown Prince is furious because such a petty matter is being prioritized more than the country’s well-being. He berates the advisers for jumping on the bandwagon and putting all the blame on Sa Hui, when he is equally at fault for what happened. The King calls of Prince Lee Rim’s wedding because of what happened and the Second State Councilor has no choice but to take all of his rage with an apology.
Bearing medicine, the Second State Councilor visits Sa Hui at her home and apologizes that if he only knew she felt that way for the Crown Prince, he wouldn’t have pushed her to marry him. Sa Hui tells him that she’d rather be punished for her deeds but he responds back with a threat that since she works for him, he is willing to spare her life just this once.
It’s Prince Lee Rim’s 20th birthday and Sam Bo and his 2 court ladies excitedly surprise him with flowers and confetti. He visits the Queen Dowager in her chambers and she asks him to accompany her to the dethroned King’s grave to pay their respects as it is the latter’s death anniversary. Hae Ryung also accompanies them to the trip since she is the historian assigned to the Queen Dowager. After the ceremony, the Queen treats him to lunch and promises him that she’ll find a suitable bride for him in the future. Prince Lee Rim replies that he wishes not to get married soon but his grandmother seeks help from Hae Ryung to encourage the Prince since she has spent a lot of time in Nokseodang. She awkwardly agrees that he would be a great husband one day.
Once out of earshot, the Prince clears the air with Hae Ryung that she should not feel uncomfortable around him. He is still upset with her, even mentioning that he got annoyed listening to her telling the Queen that any woman would be lucky to marry him. Still standing by her decision, Hae Ryung exclaims that she is trying hard not to think about their situation because they frequently have to see each other. The Prince leaves her with his last words that he also tried his best and that she should treat him like nothing happened. Yikes😥
Jae Kyung meets with the Queen Dowager that same night as she is fuming with hatred for him, blaming him that it was his fault that the revolt against her son (the King then) happened. Mo Hwa explains to her that he wants to pay for his sins and is looking for a missing daily records book. The Queen Dowager reluctantly agrees but only until Prince Lee Rim becomes King.
Having dreamt about the deposed King (Prince Huiyeong), Prince Lee Rim walks around the Palace to clear his head. He meets Hae Ryung along the way and she asks if he had a nightmare again. He opens up that he found it weird that the Queen Dowager asked him to go attend the memorial ritual. Hae Ryung finds it odd as well and they wonder what Prince Huiyeong was like and what crime he had actually committed since little information is known about him. The Prince thanks Hae Ryung for listening and she smiles ever so slightly, I think feeling relieved that he is not mad at her.
On their way back home, the Royal party is ambushed and attacked by assailants with arrows. Prince Lee Rim falls off his horse and is separated with the others in the middle of the road. Hae Ryung gets a small table to shield herself from the incoming danger and manages to get close to the Prince. He hugs Hae Ryung when he sees an arrow being shot near her to get her out of harm’s way. They make their way to the other side to where Sam Bo and the others are hiding behind an overturned wagon. A few minutes after, the assailants stop shooting and runs away. The coast isn’t clear yet though as it’s revealed that Prince Lee Rim was shot in the back with an arrow.
The King is furious (again, hahaha😜) at the Second State Councilor as he suspects him of planning the attack. He responds back by saying that Prince Lee Rim is the first son of the dethroned King and doesn’t know why he hid that information from him all this time and why he’s even still alive. The Second State Councilor exasperatedly shouts back that it is the Queen Dowager who is leading Seoraewon. They leer at each other, with both men trying to contain their anger towards the other, knowing that they need to set their differences aside if they want to to stop the Queen.
After finding shelter and recovering from the attack, Hae Ryung notices that the arrows that were shot at them had blunt tips. She goes back to the site where the ambush happened and found one of the bows used to attack them. She discovers that the bow is flimsy and that the bowstring is too thin. Hae Ryung relays the information to both the Crown Prince (He came to ensure his brother’s safety) and Prince Lee Rim that the body parts targeted (Arms and legs) were not fatal. If they we’re really planning to harm Prince Lee Rim; they would have been easily able to do so, yet the clues they have gathered says otherwise and no one was killed. Prince Lee Rim concludes that the raid happened because he visited the deposed King’s grave.
The Second State Councilor and his minions discuss what happened and suspect that it was actually the King who planned the attack. The former doesn’t seem to think so and speculates someone else to have done it. The Queen Dowager apologizes to the Crown Prince for putting Prince Lee Rim in danger. She turns sour when he mentions that the dethroned King committed high treason and asks her to stop visiting his grave. The Queen Dowager cryptically counters that he doesn’t know the whole truth of the matter. Then why don’t you just tell him? Aargh!!😤
Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim go for a walk that same night and talk about the incident further. The Prince mentions the tombstone that he saw about Ho Dam and Yeongan’s name and Hae Ryung deduces that Yeongan is the author of the cowpox variolation book. They also connect the book to Mo Hwa, who Hae Ryung states she saw the other night meeting with Jae Kyung. Prince Lee Rim goes to check a locked villa inside the Palace, the one similar to his dreams. He and Hae Ryung see a portrait of the dethroned King and are in awe of their discovery. A memory comes to her mind as she recalls meeting him when she was a kid as Ho Dam.
Okay, let’s get our facts straight:
-Ho Dam is an alias the dethroned King used. He had a hand in establishing Seoraewon and is Prince Lee Rim’s true father.
-Yeongan is Hae Ryung’s father. He was a great doctor and is most likely friends with Ho Dam.
It’s sad to see the Queen Dowager making decisions for Prince Lee Rim, someone who she loves dearly, not consider his feelings. Yes, yes, it was a different time back then and I suppose losing her son made her more protective of the Prince. I just wonder what the Crown Prince would feel since it’s obvious she’s favoring his younger brother over him. I’m sure they won’t fight over the throne given their good relationship, not that Prince Lee Rim would want to handle state affairs as well. Since Ho Dam/Prince Huiyeong was in favor or Western practices, that’s probably why he was viewed as a heretic and rumors could have twisted the truth of his intentions even further. This is enough reason for the current King to oust him and take the throne.
I was a little bit disappointed that the marriage plot was discarded as quickly as it started because this was the 1st actual confrontation our OTP had with regard to their relationship. But it’s ripple effect was huge, that even if the wedding is called off, it doesn’t mean things can go back to the way they were before. I’m not sure how they’ll resolve it other than Prince Lee Rim abdicating his throne because I can’t see Hae Ryung becoming a Princess or a Queen at this point. Forget about their social status and duties, I truly believe that she wants to explore the world and soak up every bit of knowledge she can as a free and adventurous woman.