Pleasantly surprised when Yuan Ling presents the jade rings to her, Qing Chen exclaims “Such a pretty color! It is the color of blood!” With a smile, Yuan Ling explains “I made this with my sweat and blood.” Not realizing Yuan Ling’s words were literal, Qing Chen assumes Yuan Ling carved the jade bracelet himself and gives him a map made with sorcerer’s power in return.
Princess Duo Xia receives the dreadful news that her father has passed away and the very foundation of her country is shaking. With renewed determination to protect her country at all cost, Princess Duo Xia marches into the palace and publically accuses the emperor of not keeping his promise. Following Duo Xia’s lead, both Yuan Zhan and Yuan Ling unite in confronting Xiao Ji until he leaves in anger. Furious that his two sons orchestrated such an elaborate show just to protect a woman, the emperor vows again that he will bring both sons to heel.
Qing Chen finally confirms that 9th Prince is not only alive but has conspired with Xiao Ji to kill Princess Duo Xia. Showing up with Princess Duo Xia, Yuan Zhan discusses the current situation with Yuan Ling and Qing Chen. Was that a look of concern on Yuan Zhan’s face? For Princess Duo Xia?! I had always assumed Yuan Zhan would be stuck on Qing Chen forever, but he is such a perfect male second lead that it would be nice if he found his own happy ever after.
Knowing full well that no amount of help from Yuan Ling can help her already crumbling country unless he marries her (because he is the God of War and that fame alone can strike fear into all the tribal leaders that are thinking about rebellion), Princess Duo Xia begs Yuan Ling to enter into a fake marriage with her and promises to divorce herself the moment they are rid of their common enemy Nan Liang. Exchanging a glance with Qing Chen, Yuan Ling replies “I only have one wife in my heart, and that’s Qing Chen. Only Qing Chen deserves the title of Princess Consort Ling. I can’t allow her to suffer any amount of distress.”
Surprised when Qing Chen takes Princess Duo Xia’s hand and says she can grant Duo Xia her wish, Yuan Ling vehemently protests “Even if it is for the sake of this land, I will not sacrifice you. I will not let you be wronged.” Teary but determined, Qing Chen replies “I don’t feel wronged. I understand Duo Xia. If Mingyi Tower was in the same situation I would do the same. If the title of Princess Consort Ling can safeguard a country and allow its people not have to suffer war then why not? If I am tied down by the greed for a title, then how do I deserve to be your wife?” Staring at Qing Chen intently, Yuan Ling asks “Do you really mean what you are saying?” Nodding, Qing Chen adds “And it is also my request to you.” Not taking his eyes off Qing Chen, Yuan Ling replies “In this world, no matter what, as long as you ask it, I will grant you that wish.”
Walking towards a stewing Qing Chen, Yuan Ling asks “Tell me the truth, do you really not mind even one bit.” Huffy, Qing Chen replies “Of course I mind. Since you’ve lent the title of Princess Consort Ling to someone else, then I don’t want it anymore.” Releasing a big sigh, Yuan Ling starts to walk towards Qing Chen but breaks out in a smile when Qing Chen continues “I will wait until you give me the title of Empress!”
Snuggling his face next to Qing Chen’s, Yuan Ling whispers “Who could imagine such a little sorceress would have such a grand aspiration!” All trace of her generosity gone, Qing Chen warns “Listen, marriage is one thing, but you can’t touch her, or take off her wedding head covering, you can’t tie the string knots with her, you can’t get into the marriage bed. After bowing to the heaven, you will be her husband and she your wife.”
Turning to glare at Yuan Ling, Qing Chen declares “If you let her into your heart even one bit, then I will go and love someone else. If you marry her for real, then I will go marry someone else!”
Leaning in and silencing all of Qing Chen worries with a kiss, Yuan Ling whispers “My woman. I would like to see who would dare to covet.”
Walking into her bedroom, Qing Chen is startled when one of her jade rings suddenly shatters. Staring at the broken pieces of the ring in dismay, Qing Chen is clueless at that very moment Yuan Ling is suffering in agony for her sake.
Curious to find his youngest brother banging his head on a column muttering “Another day without Ming Yan!” Yuan Zhan asks 12th Prince what is the matter. Missing Ming Yan terribly, 12th Prince replies “It has been 18 days since I have seen her! Ah! You won’t understand what I am feeling!”
Cutting off 12th Prince’s long descriptions of how much he is missing Ming Yan, Yuan Zhan says “How would I not understand exactly how you are feeling.” Ever the supportive brother after he confirms with 12th Prince that the girl he likes also returns his feelings, Yuan Zhan encourages 12th Prince to work towards the happy ending he wants. Nosy as always, 12th Prince asks “So why aren’t you pursuing Qing Chen then? Are your feelings not sincere?” Looking off into the distant sky, Yuan Zhan replies “Our situation is different. There is someone else in Qing Chen’s heart. If you really like someone more than yourself, then you won’t try to bend her will to yours but will instead be content on guarding her from afar. You will be willing to do anything for her.” Seeing a perfect opportunity to enlist some help, 12th Prince asks immediately “7th brother would really be willing to do anything for Qing Chen?” Without hesitation, Yuan Zhan affirms “If she needs…but often she doesn’t need me at all.” His mind working quickly, 12th Prince says “Qing Chen has run into a big trouble lately. And if she doesn’t solve this in time, her life will be in danger.” Stunned when 12th Prince goes on to explain that Qing Chen would die if they don’t find the remaining sorcerer’s stone, 12th Prince demands “If what you are saying is true, then why are you only telling me this now?” Rolling his eyes in frustration, 12th Prince defends himself “Do you not know Qing Chen’s personality?! She wouldn’t let me say anything!” Accepting 12th Prince’s explanation and his estimate that Qing Chen only has 2 months left, Yuan Zhan reveals that he knows the whereabout of one of the sorcerer’s stone.
Worried about Yuan Ling knowing the harrowing night he must’ve had, 12th Prince asks a very weak Yuan Ling “4th brother, do you regret the decision you made?” Shaking his head, Yuan Ling asks “Is this what Qing Chen had to go through?” Pained to hear 12th Prince answer in the affirmative, Yuan Ling replies “My only regret is that I didn’t find out sooner and Qing Chen had to go through this alone.” Wrinkling his nose in disgust, 12th Prince sighs “You are hopeless.” Thoughtful when 12th Prince tells him that Yuan Zhan knows the whereabouts of one of the sorcerer’s stone, Yuan Ling generously rewards 12th Prince by sending him off to spend the day with Ming Yan.
Here is one of my favorite scene in this episode: Catching 12th Prince and Ming Yan having dinner together, 11th Prince and Cai Qian automatically assume Ming Yan must be the palace guard 12th Prince has a crush on. Unable to stand 11th Prince’s suggestive glances, 12th Prince confesses that Ming Yan is the one he likes…and she is a girl. Smiling gleefully, Cai Qian looks at Ming Yan then offers to “make sure” of Ming Yan’s gender for 12th Prince. His arm shot up protectively in front of Ming Yan, 12th Prince declares without thinking “I have already made sure myself” which of course just prompt even more suggestive glances from 11th Prince and Cai Qian.
Much comforted when Yuan Zhan comes to pay her a visit and explains that he had foiled Cai Qian’s marriage alliance because he is going to use Cai Qian to lure 11th Prince to his side, Imperial Concubine Yin is overjoyed as Yuan Zhan list off the many things he will do to take the throne from Yuan Ling. Convinced by Yuan Zhan’s show of ambition, Imperial Concubine Yin gladly hands over the Yin family jade pendant when Yuan Zhan claims that he needs it to spread his control. Taking the pendant from his beaming mother who for once is so proud of him, Yuan Zhan silently apologizes to her.
Gathering from Qing Chen’s memory that there is a birth secret hidden in his past, Yuan Ling decides that instead of digging around in the dark he will just ask his mother straight out. Frankly admitting that all the rumors of the emperor usurping his brother and the speculation that Yuan Ling is actually the previous emperor’s son are all true, Ding Shui reminds Yuan Ling that he must be careful at all times in front of the emperor.
Ready to show his sons once and for all that no one can fight against his will, the emperor summons Yuan Ling for an audience. Standing on a high tower with the emperor, Yuan Ling is mildly puzzled when the emperor points out the fact they could see Qing Chen walking into the building down below. His puzzlement turning to horror as the emperor orders his team of archers to point their arrows at the room Qing Chen is in, Yuan Ling listens with disbelief as the emperor says “I will never allow my best son to be destroyed by a sorceress. Are you going to marry Dou Xia or let her die? You choose.”
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