Eating in a tavern by his lonesome, Yu Jin gets into an argument with a few thugs when he realizes they were betting on the fact that he would be forced to “submit” to his new wife on their wedding night. The argument soon turns violent but fortunately, our fragile hero was rescued by his wife’s trusty right hand man, Hu Qing. Having long heard of Hu Qing’s fame, Yu Jin eagerly treats him to a meal and proceeds to complain about his bad luck of being forced to marry Xie Zhao. Lost in thought after Xie Zhao curiously asks “You spent eight years with the general, did you really have no clue of her real gender?”, Hu Qing mind is taken back to the precious memory of how he had accidentally discovered Xie Zhao’s secret.
Scrambling to his feet when someone yells that Xie Zhao has come searching for him, Yu Jin tries to escape through the tavern’s back door but of course our heroine was already waiting there for him. After a futile attempt to run off with Xie Zhao’s horse, Yu Jin finally goes home to his worried mother.
Deciding it is best to set some clear boundaries, Xie Zhao tells Yu Jin point blank “I know it is extremely difficult to have someone like me as a wife so let’s just live without interfering with each other. You can gamble and have as many concubines as you want, my only requirement is that you have to act like a good husband in front of my family so they don’t worry.” Delighted to see that Xie Zhao’s family is her weakness, Yu Jin haughtily asks why he should care if her family is upset or not. Promptly putting on her scary face the moment Yu Jin dared to disrespect her precious family, Xie Zhao walks away satisfied after a shaken Yu Jin reluctantly agrees to behave when he goes home with her.
True to his promise, Yu Jin behaves himself during his visit to Xie Zhao’s family and even uses his vast knowledge of the town’s gossip to help Xie Zhao’s sister-in-law avoid hiring a bad tutor for her son. Pleasantly surprised by Yu Jin’s seemingly sincere desire to help by suggesting Hu Qing as her nephew’s new tutor, a grateful Xie Zhao could not deny her husband’s request that she start acting like a good daughter-in-law to his mother.
Obediently reporting to her mother-in-law’s place three times a day as a good daughter-in-law would, Xie Zhao tries her hardest to compliment Madam Zhao constantly…but always end up making things worse for some reason. I am LOVING the scenes between Xie Zhao and her mother-in-law. Poor Madam Zhao wants so badly to show the other noble ladies that she is still the high and mighty mother-in-law despite having a general for a daughter-in-law that she is forcing herself to wake up at the crack of down just to accept Xie Zhao’s morning greeting. (It has to be that early because Xie Zhao as THE general has to report to the palace meeting with the emperor every morning.) My favorite scene in this episode is when Madam Zhao is trying to pick on Xie Zhao by suggesting that since Xie Zhao can’t take care of her husband properly then she is going to bring in more concubines for her son. Quite pleased to have more delicate pretty girls around, Xie Zhao eagerly agrees and proceeds to list off a bunch of suggestions (including an offhand remark that girls from a certain province are so well known to be beautiful and attentive that she herself was sorely tempted.) for her mother-in-law. Shaking with disbelief as she stares at her daughter-in-law’s animated face chattering on with excitement, Madam Zhao yells “Are you choosing concubines for my son or yourself?!”
Our two leads’ relationship continues to be shaky…although thanks to a visit to the Grand Empress who sincerely reminds them that a marriage to the general is for their own good, both Yu Jin and his mother are resigned to be stuck with Xie Zhao for good.
On Xie Zhao’s side, our heroine continues to be utterly puzzled regarding the mysterious art of pleasing one’s mother-in-law. Hiding by himself to nurse his broken heart, Hu Qing laughs sadly when he is informed of how Xie Zhao is seeking advice from her men of how to deal with Madam Zhao. Eager for an opportunity to prove herself as the conscientious daughter-in-law, Xie Zhao personally brews Madam Zhao’s medicine and was even thoughtful enough to add more “stuff” to make it taste good (after our heroine’s crazy grandfather had already added some very interesting ingredients to it). Alarmed to walk in to see his mother moaning pitifully after taking the “special” medicine, Yu Jin turns around angrily to glare at a flustered Xie Zhao and demands “What have you done to my mother!” Horrified when Xie Zhao promises that she will continue to strive to be a good daughter-in-law, Madam Zhao shook her head in terror and mumbles through her swollen lips “No, no. Son, I still want to live a few more years!”
Out having his usual fun with his friends, Yu Jin’s attention is caught when someone notices that his wife is actually also celebrating in a seemingly intimate atmosphere with her own men. Huffy to realize that all of the town’s courtesans are over at his wife’s party, Yu Jin decides to put on a dance himself to show off. At first rather proud to see her lovely husband’s performance, a slightly drunk Xie Zhao decides to show off a talent as well when Hu Qing explains that Yu Jin’s little dance was meant as a derision towards them. With a grin, Xie Zhao leaps into the air, interrupts Yu Jin’s dance by twirling him into her arms then promptly plants a kiss on him.
Her fighting spirit fully aroused after the kissing incident, Xie Zhao decides it’s time for her to use her military strategy to conquer her willful husband. Knowing that sometimes taking a step back is two steps forward, Xie Zhao hands an overjoyed Yu Jin a bill of divorcement she has already signed. Unable to believe his luck as Xie Zhao calmly explains that she doesn’t see a reason in forcing him to do something that is so distasteful to him, Yu Jin eagerly consents to Xie Zhao’s suggestion that they should stay married for three years (out of consideration for the emperor and the grand empress) before Xie Zhao herself will personally inform the emperor of their divorce. Believing the shackle of doom is finally gone, Yu Jin instantly regards Xie Zhao in a much kinder light and listens with empathy as our heroine explains that a past assassination attempt was why she sleeps with a dagger underneath her pillow.
Hiding a small smile as she walks off after Yu Jin earnestly promises to treat her to the best wine and food the next day, Xie Zhao is certain that she can eventually win Yu Jin over.
Getting wind of the general’s intention to get a divorce, Yu Jin’s three concubines react to the news with panic. Knowing full well that there is no possibility on earth that Yu Jin’s next wife would shower them with expansive gifts and take them out to tea, the three concubines vow to do everything they can to make sure Xie Zhao remain as our hero’s wife.
Yu Jin’s view of Xie Zhao continues to improve at a lightning pace especially when our heroine shows up with her battalion to help Yu Jin seek justice against a gambling establishment. Feeling completely secure with the bill of divorcement in his pocket, Yu Jin now has the peace of mind to listen with pleasure as Xie Zhao orders the gambling hall owner to do whatever to make her husband happy. (The gambling hall’s boss had laid a trap for the young son of the tavern’s owner in order to force the owner to give up his family’s secret recipe. The gambling hall is a money laundering device for someone in power so that’s why our hero had to go to the trouble of making the gambling hall lose a vast amount of money to him so he could turn it over to the tavern owner secretly. Urgently telling his servant that the tavern owner has to leave town asap in order to stay safe, Yu Jin also orders his men to trash the tavern with the excuse that he was displeased after eating the food from there.)
Surprised when Yu Jin tells her who he thinks is the real owner behind the gambling hall, Xie Zhao exclaims that she had always thought the man was quite a decent fellow. Sneering at Xie Zhao’s naivete, Yu Jin explains that the man is only good at pretending but will resort to anything to get gain. Breaking out in a proud smile when a very curious Xie Zhao asks about his uncanny ability to guess the numbers on dice, Yu Jin explains that he had fallen into an icy river when he was young and due to his weakened body was confined to bed which allowed him lots of time to teach himself the skill of listening to dice rolling.
Knowing exactly the memory Yu Jin is speaking about, Xie Zhao tries to get Yu Jin to talk more about the “boy” who was carrying him before he fell into the river but Yu Jin clamps up in fear that his wife is planning to go beat up his childhood friend. So it is probably safe to assume that our heroine is Yu Jin’s childhood friend which also explains Xie Zhao’s happiness when she found out who she was going to marry.
Feeling extremely comfortable spending time with his wife…now that he knows she will be gone in three years time, Yu Jin shudders in terror when Xie Zhao excitedly tells him about the “tried and true secret tricks of seduction” his concubines had taught her and proceeds to demonstrate them for him. Shaking off the scary image of Xie Zhao holding a metal club while batting her eyes, Yu Jin promptly tells Xie Zhao that she should just be herself.
Getting word of what Yu Jin did to the gambling hall, the emperor figures it’s time to put his nephew to some good use and appoints a position for him. Not at all pleased that the emperor gave him a grand title that really just means he is now the town’s street police in charge of settling neighborhood fights, Yu Jin protests grumpily but ends up fainting dead away when the emperor causally replies “If you mess up, that alright. It will just cost your head.”
His already sour mood becoming even worse when he comes home to find his three concubines busy admiring his wife…again, Yu Jin is finally placated once Xie Zhao good naturally clams his ruffled feathers. Seemingly forgetting for a moment that Xie Zhao will leave in three years time, Yu Jin starts to talk about their kids growing up in his family estate. His heart softening at the sight of a forlorn Xie Zhao who mutters that it doesn’t look like she will ever have a chance to be a mother, Yu Jin blurts out “If you really have no place to go, then you can come back here.” Overjoyed, Xie Zhao asks “You mean I can come back as your wife?!” Realizing what he just said, Yu Jin retorts “No! You can come back as a lowly maid.” (There is also a little piece in the conversation where Yu Jin calls himself “useless”. Amused by Yu Jin’s words, Xie Zhao assures him that she has done much much worse than him and that he is just doing what a young man would do before growing up.) It is starting to be clear that Yu Jin actually has a lot of potential in him and our heroine is the perfect woman to set him on the right path.
His heart and mind finally opened to seeing Xie Zhao’s many good qualities, Yu Jin tells his attentive friends of the many positive things that had resulted from his marriage with Xie Zhao.
- His mother used to pick on Yu Jin’s sister-in-law because she wasn’t from a good enough family. However, since Xie Zhao’s arrival, Yu Jin’s mother has come to appreciate her daughter-in-law greatly and sees her as the perfect wife for her son.
- Yu Jin’s older brother used to be glum all day because of his lame leg. Now, Yu Jin’s older brother comes home with stories of some crazy thing Xie Zhao did that day and our hero can often hear his brother laughing in his room.
- Xie Zhao is not the kind of wife to get jealous over concubines and such. In fact, Yu Jin tells his stunned friends that he often has lively discussions with his wife about which brothel has the prettiest girls.
Coming to the conclusion that a marriage with Xie Zhao has a lot of potentials, Yu Jin declares to his friends that he is just going to shape our heroine into the perfect wife for him.
Marching home with a determination to teach Xie Zhao some much needed book knowledge, Yu Jin’s first attempt ends with Xie Zhao falling asleep and him chasing her around with her sword.
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